The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Wednesday as they began preparing for the 7-0 Indianapolis Colts. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak T Duane Brown LB Brian Cushing TE Joel Dreessen WR Andre Johnson RB Ryan Moats S Bernard Pollard CB Dunta Robinson LB DeMeco Ryans QB Matt Schaub DE Antonio Smith T Eric Winston
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the tight end position) "Obviously, we've got two going into the game, Anthony (Hill) and Joel (Dreessen). I mean we've still got plenty of guys to go do what we do, we're just not as deep, you know, normally we carry three on gamedays. So that's the way we'll work and we've got (T Rashad) Butler can work at some tight end in some various situations for us as a player. So just some adjustments on our part but it's not going to change what we do."
(on the running back position) "I'm going to work them all. I'll make a decision at the end of the week but I'm going to work them all, I'll play them all. We'll need them all to win. I'm in no hurry right there."
(on if the Texans signed a new player today) "We activated (DE) Jesse Nading yesterday in O.D.'s (TE Owen Daniels) spot. We need him for special teams. Then we have two practice squad players: (Marcus) Freeman from Ohio State, the linebacker, and the tight end—I'm at a loss for names right now, who's the tight end? From Mississippi State, I know that— Sherrod, that's right. Dezmond Sherrod."
(on if he's concerned that whoever he designates as a starter at running back will be affected by the mental aspect) "No, it doesn't matter to me. They know they're all going to play and they know that they're all going to be a part of what we're doing. So I just think we keep working them and obviously (RB) Ryan (Moats) earned some time on the football field the way he played but we've got to get all three of them ready to play because that's the way we go about our business."
(on if RB Steve Slaton could learn something from the way RB Ryan Moats carries the football) "We've got Steve with it high and tight. We've been working on that. But obviously we've got to get higher and tighter. But that's just, like I said, that's part of the job. Steve's working hard and we'll need Steve to win this game."
(on what the 49ers did that was so effective against the Colts) "Are you talking about defensively? Well, they changed things up a lot. They actually got to him (Colts QB Peyton Manning) more than—you know, there were two sacks against Peyton going into that game and I think San Francisco got three in that day. So obviously they got some pressure and held them to some field goals. You know, you're not going to stop them. You hope to slow them down and then make a few plays in the game that are the difference and we understand that so we've got a lot of preparation to do to get ready to play them."
(on the importance of team confidence) "It's huge. We've never won a game like that around here in the past and so it talks about the maturity and the direction that we're heading. They knew at halftime they should win that game and they went out and did that. Now, at the same time I see a lot of maturity today because there's not a lot of smiles today. They know what they're facing this week and they were very tuned in to practice and their challenge as a football team. I liked the way they worked today."
(on Colts DEs Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney) "Yeah, you know, you go in there an—they're very difficult to block if we play here. But when you go in there it makes it even tougher because of the noise and them getting off the ball. I told the guys this morning, everybody understands when we decide to throw it how quickly it's got to get gone. That's a point of emphasis all week."
(on which backs he sees going against which Colts defensive ends) "You know what, they're all going to have to do it. So I want them all to be able to do it."
(on if this is the most important game since he became Texans head coach) "It's obviously a big, big game in the division. They're, what, one of two teams that are undefeated in the league. I hope we play in a lot of big games. We don't treat it any different. But obviously it's fun starting this back half with this type of a football game and we're looking forward to it as a team."
(on what he's told TE Joel Dreessen) "I told him in front of the team this morning, we're not going to try to replace everything O.D. (TE Owen Daniels) did with one player. We're going to replace him with everybody. So just get in there and do his job. We've got a lot of confidence in him and I know he will."
(on what makes TE Owen Daniels special) "He's reached another level as a player in this league. Beat man coverage, on the line of scrimmage, the respect he gets from a coverage standpoint, what we see. We could see something different this week than we normally see because of Owen not being in the game. It'll be an adjustment period for us as an offense in general and as a staff."
(on TE Joel Dreessen's progress) "Well you know what, he and (RB Ryan) Moats, a lot alike. There's a lot of guys in this league that are drafted at a decent level—I don't know what Joel was, but I know Moats was somewhat high—and it doesn't work out. People tell you no. And some guys, that no is no for good and for some other guys they still want to try to do it and they know they can play. They're two players that have gotten a second chance and taken advantage of it."
(on if the Texans have closed the gap between them and the Colts even though they've only won one game in the series) "Well, the only gap you close is when you beat them. We played them tough last year but they made the plays in crunch time at the end of the game. If you want to win the AFC south in this league you've got to find a way to beat this football team. We understand that and we know the challenge and know how big it is. You just reminded me."
(on crossing the psychological hurdle of only having won one game in the series) "You don't just cross it by talking about it. You cross it when you stand up that day and you're better than that team. That can't happen till Sunday. We're going to get ready to go and I know we're going to play hard and I know our guys will be excited to go in there and play. But we understand what type of effort it'll take."
(on if he notices a change in attitude from the defense) "They're gaining a lot of confidence if that's what you're asking. Obviously when they practice, when I watch their meetings every day, they're gaining a lot of confidence in themselves, a lot of confidence in (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush), and that comes from some success. But their challenge this week is the biggest one they've had all year."
(on who will take TE James Casey and Dreessen's spots on special teams) "Well, I've got a decision to make. We activated (DE Jesse) Nading for that very reason because what Jesse can do is basically replace Joel on special teams. Joel not only snaps for us, he played on everything. So we need that body type, so that's where Jesse comes in. Then after that, you've got decisions to make—is it a DB replacing him, Nick (Ferguson) could come up this week. So that's a tough decision for us, and that one will probably go all the way up to Sunday."
(on if TE Joel Dreessen will continue snapping) "Oh yeah, he'll continue to do that. He's the best guy, gives us the best chance to win."
(on LB Brian Cushing) "He practiced a little bit today. You've got to remember—Brian hasn't seen this quarterback or this team so he needed a few reps today and we didn't wear him out by any means but he was part of practice and we'll probably do a little bit with him tomorrow, too."
(on LB Brian Cushing being named defensive player of the week for the second time) "That's something. Twice over and eight-week span. He's a fine player, he's on his way to a great, great year and a great career here, so we're very fortunate to have him."
(on DE Mario Williams) "I think he's good. He's probably ready for that week next week, you know, it'll be good for him but he's feeling as good as he's felt so there have been no setbacks."
(on if the shoulder injury will linger all season) "I don't think so. I think if he gets through this game clean and he's got a couple of weeks before the next one I think he could be 100%. I really do. He's not missing any time or anything."
T Duane Brown
(on going to Indianapolis where this team has not had a lot of success) "It's always tough up there. I've only been there once last year. It's definitely not a hospitable place for us. Those fans get after it. They're very loud. Me being a left tackle, it's really rough out there for us. We know what we're getting ourselves into so we're preparing as much as we can for them this week."
(on if he gets Colts DEs Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis) "Freeney."
(on if it matters which you get) "No, both of them are great rushers. I think (Colts DE Dwight) Freeney has a little bigger arsenal of moves than (Colts DE Robert) Mathis, but they're both great rushers."
(on how going against him before will help him on Sunday) "It's helped me out a lot. Just watching him on film, it's nothing like the real thing. I got one game here (Houston) and then I got one game at Indy, so I got two different extremes when I was at home and away. I know what to expect."
(on how difficult it is playing there with the noise) "It's very tough. It's tough enough trying to block a guy who is a freakish athlete, but when you get the crowd noise behind him and him getting a jump on the ball makes it that much tougher. One thing we just can't do is panic. You have to stay true to your technique and know what you're doing and trust that people around you are going to be there to help on certain plays. (QB) Matt (Schaub) knows the importance of trying to get the ball out quick and different jobs and everything. You have to stay calm and poised and now have a good week of practice heading into it."
(on what Colts DE Dwight Freeney does other than use his speed) "He plays with great leverage. He's about 6'1" so he plays very low to the ground. It kind of gets it out of your comfort zone being down that low. He's very quick. He can stop on a dime, redirect and his spin move is known throughout the league. He's very tough out there. He can bully you, bulrush you, speed around the edge or spin move. He's got a load of everything. I'm studying as much as I can to try and get a key on when and what he might do something."
(on how important it is for the running back to help with blocking) "It's important. Most important is knowing exactly when it's going to happen because he definitely plays off of that. Sometimes he'll go into it and sometimes he will avoid it altogether. You just have to be on the same page with your running backs or tight ends whenever they're going to help you and however much they're going to help you."
(on not missing opportunities offensively against the Colts) "It's a lot of pressure on us. You want to keep (Colts QB) Peyton Manning off the field as much as possible. You want to be able to control the clock. If that means running the ball as much as you can or passing the ball, either way you want to keep the chains moving and our defense off the field. No one has beaten them but San Francisco did a pretty good job. They came close, so we're going to try and do that this week."
LB Brian Cushing
(on playing the Indianapolis Colts) "They're a special team. They're a great organization and it's going to be a good match up. We know that."
(on being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week again) "It's great. It's special. It really is. It's a good thing but it's Wednesday, I'm over it. I'm looking forward to a new week. I have to because you can't rest on something like that and thinking about that. We're caught up in this week."
(on if he is surprised at what he has been able to accomplish so quickly) "That's the kind of impact I try to bring—the whole offseason, studying and getting into the playbook and doing what I can. You know I think (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) and (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak and all those guys knew what they wanted in the draft and knew what they wanted specifically—a guy that kind of roams around the field, kind of a rangy linebacker. I think they put me well into the defense and it just enabled me to do what I can."
(on what LB DeMeco Ryans has meant to him) "Everything. He's been my mentor. He's really guided me on the field and helped me a lot. He's shown me the ropes. He's a Pro Bowl linebacker and even in the beginning, he was basically lining me up and telling me what to do."
(on watching Colts QB Peyton Manning on tape) "He's good. Where he can put the balls and his arm strength and accuracy and just how smart he is—there is a reason why he's so successful. He's done a great job just getting that whole organization to where it is now. There is no slowing down for him. It seems like every year he's getting better."
TE Joel Dreessen
(on WR David Anderson saying that Dreessen studies the playbook a lot) "I definitely spend my fair share of time studying. David lived with me for two years. I was always sitting at the desk looking things over and over while he was playing video games. Some people got to do what they got to do to feel as though they're prepared. I'm just one of those people that's pretty meticulous about knowing what I need to know."
(on how he views this game) "I'm excited about it. Mostly because we're 5-3, we've won three in a row and we're going to play the Colts. We're trying to knock them off of their undefeated streak. First off, I feel absolutely terrible for (TE) Owen's (Daniels) situation. He's as special an NFL player as there is. There's no replacing him, but at the same time, with injury comes opportunity and I do think I can be very effective in this offense."
(on his winding path in the NFL) "The funny thing is, you don't really take a deep breath and take time to think about that. You're just always hungry for more, always hungry to find more ways to help your team. I look back at that year in 2006 after the Jets released me and I spent the whole year out of football. I didn't have any practice squad eligibility, so I was running around every Monday and Tuesday going to workouts with different ball clubs. They'd all tell me the same thing: 'We can't believe you're not on a team,' and 'If we have an opening here, we'll sign you.' It just never happened. As cliché as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. I ended up being here in Houston and it's been a blessing ever since."
(on getting more of an opportunity) "It's always encouraging to have an opportunity. I'm very excited about it. I'm excited because I've been a backup guy, I've been a special teams guy thus far in my career, and I'm looking forward to making the most of it."
WR Andre Johnson
(on having never won in Indianapolis) "It gets frustrating. It's aggravating, but you know, this year is a new season. It's a new test, and we're looking forward to it. We're going to do everything we can to try and get it done Sunday."
(on if this is the most important game that he's played in) "I think this game is very big. Like I said after the game, I think every game that we play from here on out is going to get bigger and bigger every time you win. All the rest of these games that we have are big games, so yeah, this one is probably the biggest game we've had since I've been here."
(on playing in games that mean something and have something on the line) "If you just look at the attitude around here, it's probably the best attitude it's been since I've been here because we've never been in this situation before at this point in the season. We just have to take it one game at a time and just focus on the game that's ahead."
(on what's different about the Colts defense from years past) "You look at them on film, they pretty much look the same. (Colts DE Dwight) Freeney and he's healthy now, (Colts DE) Robert Mathis and all those guys are playing well for them. They're not giving up many points. They've got (Colts SS) Bob Sanders back. He's a big factor in their defense. They look like the normal Colts defense but they're all healthy now."
(on he and QB Matt Schaub being on the field together against the Colts for the first time) "I didn't know that. I never really thought about it. It's great to have Matt out there. He's been through a lot of injuries and things like that. I just approach it like any other game. I'm really not going to approach it differently because Matt is out there. I go out there and prepare the same way that I've been preparing, but it will be great to have Matt out there playing with us this time."
(on beating the team that is ahead of you in the standings) "It's important to win all of your division games. I think that the thing about this game is that it's on the road and (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak stresses that if we want to be the team that we want to be, we have to learn how to win big games on the road. We've been playing pretty well on the road this season. I think this will be a big, big test for us because of how big the game is and the situation that we're in. We're looking forward to it."
(on saying it was the biggest game of his life after the Buffalo win) "Yeah, it is. When you think about the situation, they're undefeated. They're playing real good football. We're in a situation that we've never been in before at this point in the season and like I said, every game is going to get bigger and bigger. If we go and win this game on Sunday, we have a bye week and we come here and play Tennessee; that game is going to be even bigger. The more you win, the bigger the games get for you."
(on the type of looks they'll get without TE Owen Daniels) "I really don't know. We can't replace Owen. We all have to pick up our play as an offense. Me, myself, (QB) Matt (Schaub), everybody, we have to take our game to another level to replace what Owen has done for us on the football field."
RB Ryan Moats
(on his impressions of the Indianapolis defense) "A good defense, you can't deny that. A good team all the way around, so we just have to go out and play our game and concentrate on ourselves."
(on if the team's mindset is different going into Indianapolis than in years past) "I don't think that changes anything for us. I think we just have to concentrate on ourselves like I said before. We just have to go out there and play our game and look back on it later."
(on what he gained from his performance at Buffalo) "Of course, more comfortable, and that's a great feeling to have when you get comfortable with an offense, so I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to getting another opportunity to go out there and run again."
(on going into this week's game knowing that he's going to get to play) "Personally, I think that all three of us have something to contribute to the offense. We're all different styles of running backs, so in the long run, I think that's going to help our offense not be where they can time up anything or know who's going to play when and where."
(on his comments after the Buffalo game that he comforted RB Steve Slaton after the game) "Well, you can't deny he's a good back; you can't deny he's a great runner and he's going to continue to have great runs in the future. So I think I've been playing a longer time than he has and I try to help him as much as I can. You never want to play out a guy that's going to be an important part of this offense for a long time to come."
(on the offense trying to keep Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning off the field) "Yeah. Well, my job and (RB) Steve's (Slaton) and (RB) Chris Brown's job is to keep the offense on the field as long as possible, so that's kind of how I look at it, not to keep him off of it but to keep us on the field. So that's kind of how I look at that."
(on if it matters who starts at RB) "I don't think it's important who starts. I think we can do it all together. I know a lot of guys get individual praise for individual things that they do on the field, but it all comes back to the team, so personally I feel that we all three can run the ball together."
(on how RB Steve Slaton handled being benched last Sunday) "I think he handled it good. He's learning from his mistakes and of course we all go through it as young players, and that's just a part of this monster, so he'll be fine. You can't play him down; he's going to continue to do big things."
(on if he wants to hear that he'll be the starter) "Like I said again, I don't think it's really important. When you were a younger guy in high school and in college, starting was a big thing to you, but I think in this situation, I don't think it's that important because I think in this league today, no one back can do it; you have to do it together."
(on if things were any different for him after his performance last Sunday) "Well, I mean, I wouldn't say life has been different. I try to stay as low-key as possible, but I guess it's a good thing. I'm just trying to take it in swing."
(on if he received more phone calls) "A little more phone calls, yeah, but that's fine. You've just got to learn how to deal with that."
(on the difficulty to cure a fumbling problem once it starts happening) "I think mentally, you can't let it get to you mentally. You have to figure out what you're doing, physically, to stop doing it, but don't let it affect you mentally. Because mentally, if you think about it enough, things like that are going to happen more often, so my advice that I've told (RB) Steve (Slaton) is don't think about it. Just go out there and keep being the athlete that you've been in the past and it'll turn around for you."
S Bernard Pollard
(on the challenge of the Colts) "We'll be okay. The biggest thing we need to do is go in there and execute. We understand what we're going against. This is a wonderful experience on which we're about to embark but this is a job we're about to go do. He's a great quarterback. Everybody understands what he does. Everybody understands their offense. We know the weapons that they have. But we've got to man up now. We've got to go play. They make it look easy. If we go out there and we grind it out, we hit them, we get the ball out, we try to confuse them, we can win."
(on Colts QB Peyton Manning's lack of mistakes) "He's human. Nobody plays this game perfect. We have to try to get him to play out of his comfort level. We have to play with a high intensity. We have to play like we've been playing the last four or five weeks. We're going to win if we go in there and do that."
(on the magnitude of the game) "This is why you play football. Every game is big for us. But when we go there, this is a division game and we understand what we have to do. Everybody's got to elevate their game. Everybody's getting a feel for what we're going to play and how we're going to play it."
CB Dunta Robinson
(on Colts QB Peyton Manning) "no doubt about it. You cut on the film and you're still 'ooh'ing and 'aah'ing. Sometimes you have to remember to get away from that and understand what you're look at on tape. The guy is still making all the throws. He's making unbelievable throws. Guys are covered and he's still putting the ball in perfect position where only they can make the play. Nothing has changed about Peyton Manning. He is still the best quarterback in the NFL."
(on what you do to beat him) "You just can't make mistakes. One thing he's great at is capitalizing off of the defensive mistakes. We have to be in the right spots. When you have to drop, you have to drop as deep as you're supposed to. We can't come out there and get caught up on the run fakes and do all those things because that's what he wants you to do on those other mistakes that he capitalizes on."
(on how Colts WR Reggie Wayne ranks with the other WRs they've covered this year) "Watching him on tape, he's catching between seven and I think his high this year is maybe 12 or 13 balls a game. He's definitely in my top five. He's one of those guys. I've covered (Bengals WR) Chad (Ochocinco) this year. I've covered (Cardinals WR Larry) Fitzgerald this year, along with (WR) Andre (Johnson). He's right up there with those guys. He's that caliber of a receiver."
(on if they are finally closing the gap between them and the Colts) "That's something that you can't judge right now because we haven't played them yet. We've got them twice in the next four weeks. If we can't beat them, then the gap is not closed. So that'll be something that I'll be able to answer in a couple weeks."
(on if coming close last year indicates progress) "No. You've got to win. We felt like it was progress when we beat them a couple years ago. We felt like we were making progress, but we lost to them last year and it was like, 'Here we go with the same old thing again.' This is a team that we feel now that we're good enough to win this football game, and we've got to go out and do it."
(on some of the issues of facing the Colts) "Peyton Manning is the biggest issue you have when you play a team. He affects the offense. He affects the defense. He affects the special teams. We've got to get to him. We've got to get pressure on him and we've got to get off the field on third down. The best way to beat this team is keep their offense off the field, and that's what we have to do."
LB DeMeco Ryans
(on LB Brian Cushing winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week) "It's a huge honor, huge honor. It shows that he's playing good. He's playing his butt off and he's making plays, big plays, and if you make big plays, you get the big honors."
(on how proud he is of LB Brian Cushing) "I'm real proud, real proud of the way he's been playing. Him and (LB) Zac (Diles), real proud of that. It makes me be on top of my game just getting those guys right. It makes me proud to see them go and getting the accolades that they're getting."
(on what the 49ers did to Colts QB Peyton Manning) "They got after Peyton a lot. They hit him. It's always hard to hit Peyton, so they did hit him a little, they rattled him. We have to take our physical part of the game to him. We have to be very physical. It's going to be tough, but it's going to come down to the wire, it's going to be a tight game and we just have to find a way to make two or three more big plays than they make."
(on the swagger they've developed on the defensive side) "I think as a defense, you have to have the swagger when you step on the field that you're going to get it done, you're going to go make big plays to get off the field. That's the type of confidence that we've been rolling with, and we're going to continue to have that."
(on if they have closed the gap on the Colts) "I think we have, but we've got to cross the road. We have to find a way to come out with a win against a great team."
(on being physical as a defense) "Well, we set out to be physical each week, and that's our game plan. If we're not physical, we're not playing good defense. That's the first thing for us, to go out and be physical stopping the run and get some hits on (Colts QB) Peyton (Manning) , just frustrate him, that's going to be our key."
(on what happened after the third game for the defense) "We got some key guys back and everybody started being more accountable to what we were doing on the defensive side of the ball. We didn't have people running free. Everybody was just sound in what they were supposed to do."
(on if the defense is less thinking and more reacting) "Oh, yeah. There's not a lot of thinking going on because we've been running this defense for a while now. So it's a lot easier to go out there and play when you know all the adjustments, you know everything that can happen and guys are communicating well with (S Bernard) Pollard back there. It makes his job a lot easier because he's a great communicator in the back end, and I try to get the guys right up front. So when you have two guys on the defense that are communicating well, all the problems are easily solved."
QB Matt Schaub
(on the upcoming game against the Colts) "It's a divisional opponent on the road and a tough place to play against a very good team. We're really going to have to be on top of our game and play good football. That's going to be what it takes to win."
(on playing in games that mean a lot because of their record) "That was our goal and we want to be playing in meaningful games in November and December. To get to where we want to be that's what we're going to have to do and that's what it's going to take is to win games on the road at this time of the year against tough teams. This is what we wanted and what we set ourselves up to do so it's our job be prepared and go out and play well."
(on if the Colts' powerful offense puts pressure on the Texans offense to make something of every opportunity) "I definitely think that it puts an added emphasis on each possession, each play, to play good football and be smart, take what they give us, execute our plays at a high level and not give them any extra opportunities with it because with the offense they have they're going to take advantage of those things."
(on how much he watches Colts QB Peyton Manning) "I don't go out of my way to watch because we have so much to do here but they play enough night games and we have so many common opponents that watching film we always see their offense. So it's pretty easy to catch a glimpse of what he's doing and how he goes about his business."
(on how things with change with TE Joel Dreessen playing more and TE Owen Daniels out) "It's a huge opportunity for him obviously and he's been playing extremely well for us. He's a very dependable, reliable player and so I have a lot of confidence in what he can do. Obviously Owen was having a tremendous year and is an exceptional player, one of the best tight ends in my opinion. So it's obviously tough to lose a guy like that but we have confidence in what Joel can do. At the same time it's going to be something that—it's not all on his shoulders to come in and fill in Owen's void. The other receivers step up and have to get some of those catches. So it's going to be kind of by committee."
(on TE Joel Dreessen always catching what he throws at him) "Definitely. He's a guy that, he's going to be in the right spot, he's going to run the right route and if you give him a chance he can make a play on the football. So I have a lot of confidence in him."
(on if he's excited to play the Colts since he didn't personally face them last year) "Oh yeah, it's going to be exciting to go back out there and play against them. It has been a few games since I played against them so it'll be fun."
(on how the players having fun translates to good play) "I think it gives you the ability to just go out and cut it loose and have fun. Guys are playing with confidence and it just lets you go out there and play the game and not get caught up in if you make a mistake or little things like that. You just go out there and play. And I think that's what allows you to go out and make plays. You don't get caught up in thinking about it but just go out and play football and have fun."
(on WR Kevin Walter saying he'd bribe him to throw the ball his way more) "I'm open for anything but I haven't been approached with any suggestions or anything like that. But we could probably work something out I guess."
(on if he feels there's more opportunity for WR Kevin Walter) "I definitely think so. He's one of those guys that comes to work every day and he's so reliable, when you give him a chance he has such great hands and an ability to catch the football in traffic. And you know he's fearless going over the middle so I could see him catching some more balls. But we're going to have to have a bunch of guys catching them."
(on TE Joel Dreessen's preparation) "I wouldn't be surprised if he does eat pages from the playbook. He's a studier, he's a worker, he really is on top of every assignment. If it's in the book and he's being told to do a certain way he's going to do it exactly that way. So we have no worries that he's going to be on top of his responsibilities."
(on TE Joel Dreessen's progress) "He's just a guy that's an extremely hard worker. If you come in here at 5:15 he's showing up and he's in here again extra time and studying, working, lifting, watching film. And he's just a guy that's such a hard worker and he's been cut before and he doesn't want to go through that so it gives him added motivation to keep working. And I think he's just going to do tremendously well."
DE Antonio Smith(on what the 49ers did against the Colts) "They ran the ball. They ran the ball, kept their offense off the field and played aggressive, power defense. They play the same way week in and week out. That was the same way when they came in here and we played them. It was the same way when they went up there and played Indy.
(on if they made QB Peyton Manning move more and made him uncomfortable) "Yeah, I think that they told us three sacks against them and he only had two sacks on the season before that. So I think what they did was got in his face, put some pressure on him and played aggressive."
(on what are some keys for the Texans) "Do the same thing. You've got to play aggressive. You've got to get in his face, disrupt him a little bit. It's hard, because he is the quarterback he is, but you've got to fin d a way to do it."
(on what the mindset is since very few people get pressure on Manning) "Keep working. Never stop. Just go to work, just keep working down in and down out."
T Eric Winston
(on the Colts defensive line?) "Those guys are just, they're great pass rushers. They've honed their skills over a long period of time, over a lot of years they've done it and they've been guys that just, they know how to pass rush. As simple as that. They just know how to get to the quarterback. They've got a lot of riding moves and they're just going to go out there and do it."
(on Colts TE Robert Mathis) "The thing I think that's underrated about him is how talented he is and all that kind of thing but he plays extremely hard. He's not going to quit even if you push him by the quarterback he's going to get back in and try to knock the ball out."
(on the challenges of playing in Indianapolis, especially the noise) "We've just got to be dialed in. And we've played at some wild places already this year, I'm sure that's helped us a little bit. Arizona was pretty loud. So we've just got to all be on the same page and I think we ought to help each other out and pass the calls along, just know the cadence, and there we are."
(on how much they think about never having won in Indianapolis) "I don't know if anybody's thinking about that. I think everyone's just looking to take the next step and I think this happens to be the road block in that way. So we've got to go out there and find a way to win. I think we've done a good job on the road so far this year. We've been in every game. We've won every game on the road except one this year and that was won there at the end. So we've just got to have that same mentality, I think. Go out there, it's 70 versus 70,000, and just keep fighting the whole game."
(on the importance of this game) "I think there's been a lot of big games this year. There's been a lot of organizational/franchise's first, kind of a big game so it's just going to be helpful to win in any. But we've got to go out there and prove it. This is more of a 'prove it' game for us, to prove that we're ready to be part of the top echelon of NFL teams and that's what we've got to prove."
(on TE Joel Dreessen) "I think Joel's one of the most underrated players on this team, I really do. How much he does, not only from deep snapping but from the tight end position, I think he's really underrated as a receiver and I think he's always been a steady blocker and just real knowledgeable about the game, so that allows him to do a lot of different things."
(on if Dreessen is giddy with the opportunity he has as a starter) "I'm sure he is. He's not showing it. He's a pretty even keeled guy, but I think everyone has a lot of confidence in Joel, in what he can do and what he can bring to the team."