The Texans hope to win their second game of the season Sunday against Jacksonville
The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Wednesday. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak LB Brian Cushing TE Owen Daniels LB Zac Diles WR Andre Johnson CB Dunta Robinson QB Matt Schaub G Kasey Studdard T Eric Winston
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the situation with safeties John Busing and Dominique Barber) "Obviously, John's reps are picking up. We're going to rotate guys. We're going to play them all. John has earned the right to get on the field some more, so we'll work this week and see where we are at."
(on if he is looking for more consistency from QB Matt Schaub) "Yeah, but that's with the whole team. Matt played extremely well against a fine defensive football team so hopefully that builds his confidence. I think, obviously, his ankle is pretty dang close to a hundred percent now. He was saying it felt a lot better going into the game."
(on QB Matt Schaub being named Offensive Player of the Week) "I think that's the best game I've seen him play since I've been here. It's a tough environment and part of his task was to protect the ball, not go down with the ball, sacks, and all those things that feed a home team. I thought he did a great job with that and that's the key for him to becoming a better quarterback—protecting the football. That's a big step in the right direction and nice reward for it."
(on if he has seen a lot of growth in QB Matt Schaub) "Yeah. He's so sharp. He can handle so many things. He handles the team extremely well. In a hostile environment, as a coach, I don't have to worry about calls. You don't have to worry about anything. He's done a lot of growing up. I don't know what the number is, but I want to say his starts are probably not even approaching 30 yet, so he's still a very young quarterback."
(on what he wants to do to pick up the rushing game) "Obviously, we haven't been very good. We're last in the league. We've played two good defensive football teams. You have to give them a lot of credit, but bottom line, we haven't created enough space for (RB) Steve (Slaton) or (RB) Chris (Brown) or whoever it is. We've got to stay committed to it and be willing to grind it out until some big plays come and it gets back on track--none more important than doing it this week."
(on if the problems are simply execution) "It's a combination of things, but really, running the ball is just being committed to it. You can go out there and have a bunch of ugly twos and threes, then all of a sudden you bust one and it goes forty or fifty and then the average looks good. That's commitment to running the football and as I said, I don't think we were there a few weeks ago. I think we did commit to it the other day, even though it wasn't good, it did help us win the football game."
(on giving up the big plays on defense) "I think three plays accounted for 220 yards the other day and I think if you take 3 plays out of the Jets game, probably half the yardage we've given up as a football team this year has been on maybe six or seven plays. We're giving up big plays. Some of that's assignment. That's why we're continuing to practice in a hostile environment even though we're playing at home; we're having some communication issues, so we've got to get those solved and line up the play. You don't want to come out of games saying we just busted. You want to say, 'Hey, I got beat.'"
(on if he notices a difference in the team's demeanor) "Obviously guys bounce around a little bit today, feeling a little better about themselves coming out of that game. We've got another tough opponent this week. Presents some of the same problems, some the things we're having big problems with, they present for us. Running the football, getting after the quarterback, so we've got to have a good week of work. We had a good day today."
(on how G Kasey Studdard can help the team) "It's interesting how things work. He's earned his keep. He had a great camp, played like a starter throughout training camp. All of a sudden, we lose (G) Chester (Pitts), he's ready to go. He went in the other day. There was no flinching to anything we were doing. He went in there and did his job and he's going to play extremely hard. He brings an attitude to the group. He's going to make a few mistakes because this will be his first start. I know one thing, he'll give us everything he's got."
(on what he has liked about S John Busing) "There's some people in this league that, good things find them. They're kind of like the ball magnet. The ball tends to come to them, tip to them, whatever the case may be. I think it comes from a lot of hard work and a lot of studying. He's really sharp on the game diagnosis, notices things very early. Everybody in the secondary trusts him to get them in the right spots. With that is going to come more responsibility, we'll see how he handles it."
(on if CB Jacques Reeves will play in this game) "We'll see. He practiced pretty good today. He's obviously better than last week. The dilemma we're going to have is that when Jacques is ready to go and healthy, somebody has got to go down. So we're sorting through that right now. I think we've got to make sure Jacques is a hundred percent before we make that decision."
(on if CB Jacques would start) "We'll see. He's definitely going to play. Tomorrow, we'll see."
(on injury updates) "(WR) Kevin (Walter) practiced fine today, so that's a big step in the right direction. Last week, there was a setback on Wednesday—none this week. (WR) André Davis practiced. (DT) Shaun Cody, very limited in practice. We'll keep up with him day-to-day. (CB Antwaun) Molden is still not practicing. I think he would have to come a long way to be ready to go Sunday."
(on the effect of so much time off for CB Antwaun Molden) "It hurts a lot. Just conditioning, being involved with football and those type of things. Sometimes when you're coming off an injury like that something else happens to you and you're over-compensating for one reason or another, but I would expect him to be back really quick. This week though? I don't know."
(on the status of G Chester Pitts' arthroscopic knee surgery) "Chester did have the surgery. I was just talking to (general manager) Rick (Smith) and they do have some idea, but I don't have it yet. I'll go back in and find out and you'll have to talk to Rick this evening. He'll probably know more."
(on if the Jaguars run game is his biggest concern) "No doubt. They're strength is our weakness right now: running the football. They got a great back and a big strong quarterback so that's where we are. One of their strengths defensively is doing a lot of things with odd fronts and even fronts and that's something we've struggled with early in the season so those are two big dilemmas for us going into the game."
(on Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew saying that Kubiak should be licking his chops) "He said that? He's a great player. Boy, he's something else."
(on how hard it is to tackle Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "He's so low to the ground and so strong, and if you think he's down in a pile or something you better watch out, because he'll come out of a pile and go the distance on you."
(on whether or not defensive coordinator Frank Bush did anything differently in the second half) "I think (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) did a great job on the sidelines with the coaches and the group holding them together through adversity. A lot of credit has to go there. I think Frank has got a demeanor about him that says 'We're going to fix this.' He keeps it in perspective and I think we did a great job with the players at halftime. They believe in him. He just needs to keep going because he's a young coordinator but the players believe in him. They need to keep believing in him. That's what's most important."
(on if RB Steve Slaton is running as hard as last year) "Yeah he's running hard. Can he run better? Yeah, he can run better. There's some things he's not doing right now that he did last year. Running the football you just have to keep staying after it and if he comes out of one of these piles and has a big run, a lot of the confidence comes back. We've got confidence in Steve and he just has to keep working."
(on if he'll start holding the ball too long to react quickly) "He better hold the ball. We better do that first. But I want him to play. We better hang on to the ball."
(on if WR Jacoby Jones is gaining confidence) "Jacoby's earned some more confidence around here. He's had a good camp and obviously makes a couple of big plays the other day. He's been inconsistent but he's practicing well and we're going to give him some more chances to make plays. "
(on how well LB Brian Cushing is playing) "He's a rookie. No training camp, and two starts in the NFL and he's made some mistakes but boy he's made some big plays. None bigger than in the fourth quarter. He seems to play his best football when the game is on the line."
(on if QB Matt Schaub's ankle is still hurt) "No, he's fine. He looked good today. We're limiting his practice on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but he's okay. He's fine."
LB Brian Cushing(on solving the run defense) "Just getting better at it. Figuring out what the problem is, diagnosing it and going after it. I think we did a little better job last week. We'll continue to fix that. We're just improving on that right now and we'll get it solved."
(on why they do well on first and second down but not on third) "Well, we've got to understand that. We've got to understand what we're doing right on first and second down; we've got to understand what we're doing wrong on third down. Add a little bit of that to our third downs and we'll clamp down and get off the field."
(on if the problem is over-aggression) "I don't think it's over-aggression. I think it could be a mixture of both. A mixture of over-aggression and relaxation thinking we're going to get off the field because there's so many yards they have to gain. It could be a little bit of both."
(on if their struggles have anything to do with defensive coordinator Frank Bush's more aggressive push) "I think we are trying to make plays. The defense—we want to go three-and-out every time we're out there. That's the goal, to get the ball back to the offense. I think if anything we just keep pressuring and keep getting at it and I think we made an improvement on third downs, especially during the second half of the game."
(on what changed to make them better on third downs towards the end of the game) "I don't know. I don't know if it was a sense of urgency, you want to get that win, you want to get in and out. We knew how important it is. If we can that motivation and that mentality going into that third and fourth quarter, pick it up and start off in that in the next couple of games I think we'll be good."
(on if anything changed philosophically) "No, I don't think so. Just more of an attacking-style defense."
(on how he feels he's doing) "I'm doing alright. There's obviously some things I can clean up. Some rookie mistakes here and there, but I think my hustle and my play, everything's right where it needs to be, right where I expect to be. But like I said, I can keep improving.
(on stopping the run against Jacksonville) "It's a team that runs the ball real well. They've got a good running tactic, a good running back, a very good scheme. We're up to it though. We look forward to it as a great challenge and a good opportunity to prove ourselves."
TE Owen Daniels
(on the difference in the attitude in the locker room compared to last week) "When you get a win you feel better about yourself going into the next week's game, and we needed that. We needed to play better and we still have some stuff we need to clean up, but coming off a win you definitely feel better than coming off a loss."
(on the importance of the run game) "It's definitely going to be really important. You don't see too many teams make it to the playoffs when they can't run the ball or stop the run. We definitely need to address that. Put together some better schemes, block better for (RBs) Steve (Slaton) and Chris (Brown) and Ryan (Moats) and have those guys run better. We'll get it fixed."
(on QB Matt Schaub being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "I think he definitely deserves it. He played his butt off and I think we did a lot better job supporting him out there, and protecting him and getting ourselves open and making plays but I think he felt better and a little healthier this week than Week 1 and I think he's going to continue to feel better and for as long as we've got his back he's going to continue to play well for us."
LB Zac Diles
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson) "He's a very fast individual. He's the focal point. Stuff like that doesn't usually happen, but we're in here making sure it doesn't happen again."
(on the defense being successful on first and second down but not third) "Yeah, again, you have to be assignment-sound and technique-sound. That's the biggest thing right now. We shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to stuff like that. It's getting the quarterback down or whatever we have to do just to get off the field on third down, it's just little things here and there. But like I said, we're in here getting it hashed out and we're going to get better at that."
(on if RB Chris Johnson prepares them for RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "Oh, man. He definitely does, but they're two different styles of back. Maurice Jones-Drew, he looks for contact, he loves to come down and hit. I'm not saying that Chris Johnson doesn't, but it's just a whole different aspect. But he is a really focal point of their offense as well."
(on where RB Maurice Jones-Drew ranks on the toughest-to-tackle list) "Oh, he's up there. He's definitely up there. Like I said, he has a low center of gravity. You have to really bring it to him. You can't think he's going to be down after one person. We all have to swarm to the ball this week."
(on giving up most of their yards this season on only six or seven big plays) "Exactly. If you take away those three plays that Chris Johnson had, their total yardage on offense goes down drastically. Once we're on our keys and we play how we know we can play, it's a totally different story. As long as we just stay focused on that and just get that done, we'll be fine."
(on the way they played at Tennessee) "It was a never-give-up attitude. We were down early and we just kept plugging, plugging, plugging. We gave up big play after big play after big play, but we just kept plugging, plugging, plugging. You're never out of the game until that clock strikes triple zeroes. That's when you know of course the game's over, so you always have to fight until the end of the game."
WR Andre Johnson
(on how important consistency is for this team) "When you look at all the good teams, seems the ones that have won Super Bowls, that's the biggest thing—that they're consistent. They made the big plays when they needed to be made so of course, that's the big thing around here."
(on if he feels that was the best QB Matt Schaub has played) "I guess it's kind of hard to compare that game and the Green Bay game. Me and (WR) Kevin (Walter) were actually talking about that today, comparing the games, and seeing which game we thought was better. It's probably out of those two."
(on if he was impressed with QB Matt Schaub's poise and confidence) "He's done it before. Nothing that he does really surprises me. I think it surprises other people because he takes so much criticism. To me, it really doesn't surprise me. I know what kind of player he is. I talk to him a lot. I watch film with him every morning, so we know what each other are thinking. I know what type of player he is."
(on any differences or changes since QB Matt Schaub was traded from Atlanta) "I think Matt is just tough. He hasn't been very lucky with the injuries and stuff like that. If you look at him playing, the guy is out there on one leg, and he's still out there playing and no complaints. That's the thing people don't realize. I guess some people say, if you don't feel like you can play, you shouldn't be out there but the guy can barely move and he's out there playing. That just shows what type of person he is—what type of leader he is and what he means to this football team."
(on if it's important to shake off criticism and how hard it is to do that) "Well for me, it doesn't bother me because I don't care. That's something you can't worry about. You're going to get criticized regardless if you're playing good, bad or whatever. Until we win the Super Bowl around here, we're always going to get criticized."
(on if it is dangerous to face an 0-2 team that really needs a win) "I wouldn't say it dangerous. I would say it's important that you don't overlook a team like that. You look at the games, the two games they've lost, they just had some bad breaks. You change a couple of those plays and they're probably 2-0. They're a very competitive football team. Every time we play against them, it's tough. So we're expecting that on Sunday."
(on Titans head coach Jeff Fisher saying he started the fight by pulling Titans CB Cortland Finnegan down out of bounds) "If that's how Coach Fisher feels, you know—hey, he watches the film. He knows what goes on out there during those games. That's all I have to say about that."
(on WR David Anderson taking the penalty for him on Sunday) "That was funny. We teased him about that on the plane ride back home. A lot of tempers flare when we play against those guys so there is a lot of things that go on out there on the field, but I'm not worried about it."
(on if Titans CB Cortland Finnegan's taunts make him play better) "I wouldn't say it makes me play better. I think it just brings something out of me that people don't normally see. Just some things happen, things I don't normally do, like the fight situation."
(on if he is worried about being fined for the fight) "No. Not really."
(on if he isn't worried because it was all WR David Anderson) "Hey, the penalty was on David, not me. I didn't have anything to do with it."
(on TE Owen Daniels saying that Titans CB Cortland Finnegan took a shot at him even when he was down later in the game) "Yeah, he did. That's him. That's Cortland. That's what you expect from him so, like I said, they know what goes on. They can say what they want to say but they know the things that go on out on the field."
(on if his annoyance of CB Cortland Finnegan has gone a step further to something else) "Sometimes, but that's part of football. It's a physical game. Everybody has their own plan. So, we just choose to deal with it the way we choose to deal with it."
(on how a team develops consistency) "We just have to build off what we did last week. Just because the way we went out and played last week, we can't just be satisfied with that. It's just something we have to build off of. We have to take it to another level. Every time we go out there on the field, we have to try and take it to the next notch. That's the way you build that consistency."
(on if the leaders need to talk more during games) "There was a lot of talking going on out there on Sunday. You guys don't get to hear those parts but there was a lot of stuff going on Sunday. Us talking to each other; everybody is on each other. If a guy makes a mistake, guys are on him letting him know what he needs to do. The whole attitude on Sunday was something different than what it normally was. It was at a whole 'nother level to where I've never seen it before."
(on if that is because of people questioning their toughness or because of the opponent) "I think it's just something where guys are just tired of it. Guys just don't want to sit around and be quiet anymore. Everyone just took it into their hands and we were determined, no matter what, that we were going to go out and win that game on Sunday."
(on if that needs to continue this week and every week) "It's going to continue. Even when practice started today, guys weren't tolerating anything. We were out there, and guys were just saying, 'Hey, don't change now. Let's keep it going. Let's turn it up another notch.' I think that's something that is going to keep going on around here."
(on if that mentality is something different than anything he has seen during his years here) "Yeah, it's totally different. It's something that's never happened around here before. Like I said, I think it's something that's going to keep going on. Just from talking to the guys on the team, guys are pushing other guys, trying to make them play better and just trying to get everybody to pick their game up."
(on why it's taken so long for that mentality to take over) "I couldn't tell you why, but it's better that it's happening now than later."
(on if it has brought an edge to this team that it needed) "I think it has, because if you look at the way we played Sunday, and the situation that we were in, in the first half—normally, we probably would've lost that game. The way we came out and kept fighting, kept playing, it just seemed like we had an edge when we got to playing on Sunday."
(on if they can keep that edge without a team turning it on for them) "I don't think they turned it on. That was the attitude we had after the meeting we had Saturday night. It already was turned on before we got on the field on Sunday. It carried over into practice today. When we went out there to practice, that's the first thing these guys said, 'Let's not take steps back. Let's turn it up another notch.' That's something we were going to do—keep this intensity up around here."
(on being the second quickest receiver to reach 500 receptions) "I didn't even know. It's impressive, but like I said before, those things are great but the biggest thing is just winning. That's a great accomplishment and hopefully I can reach bigger and better things."
(on how it hits him when thinks about all the great receivers that didn't do it as fast) "It's big. It's a big accomplishment. I didn't know anything about it until you guys just said it but hopefully I can just keep improving and keep taking my game to another level."
CB Dunta Robinson
(on the defensive problems) "It seems to be on third down. Everything is fine on first and second down, and third down we're letting guys make huge plays on us. It's something that we're going to continue to work on and see if we can try and correct, but we'll have our hands full this week."
(on if what's going on third down is because players are being too aggressive) "Well, guys are just not where they're supposed to be. That's pretty much the bottom line. They're calling the defense, and we're not in the right spots. Once we get that corrected, we'll be fine. But it's something that we've got to get corrected and stop having to talk about."
(on of that's a result of study or focus) "I think it's a little bit of both, study and focus. But like I said, if we want to be the kind of defense that we know we can be, we've got to study a little bit more and we've got to focus a little more."
(on if players are holding each other accountable) "Oh, no doubt about it. Every guy has to do his job. Every guy has a job to do, and we've got to start doing it. It's not like the old days when you only relied on one or two guys to make the play on defense. We feel like we have 11 guys that can make plays, and everybody has to step up and believe they can."
(on S John Busing) "I trust him. You know what I mean? And that's kind of the bottom line. When you've got a safety down there that you trust to go out there and do his job, I feel safe with him on the field. I know what he's going to give me. I think he's doing a great job. He didn't start the game, probably didn't know he was going to play last week, and he came in and made plays. That's always a plus when you can get that out of a veteran."
(on if it's crazy that they're doing so well on first and second but not on third downs) "Right, because you watch the film, and we play so well on first and second down, we get teams in third-and-16, third-and-19, third-and-12. And then not just giving up a first down, we've been giving up touchdowns. It's kind of frustrating, but every week we come to practice and we look forward to correcting those mistakes and we look forward to going out there on Sunday and seeing if we've improved on those things."
(on why third down) "That I can't tell you. It's just something that we've got to fix as players. Guys are giving us a lot of shifting, a lot of motioning because they know we're going to have to reload, and I think sometimes guys get a little confused and big plays happen. But the more that we go out and work on what we have to work on, I think the better we'll get."
QB Matt Schaub(on preparing to play Jacksonville) "It's a new week. They're a good football team. Regardless of record, they're still a very good football team, a very physical football team. It's a game that we have to prepare well for and go out and play a good football game."
(on the running game) "We've just got to keep going with it. Keep preparing and keep harping on it, and we can't get away from it. We still have to go out and execute and we still have to go out there and plan to run the football and just do what we do."
(on moving on from the Tennessee game) "Every week brings new challenges and brings new things and obstacles and we just have to go out and prepare the way we do and go out and do our thing and concentrate on us and not necessarily on them. We just got to out there and play consistently good football."
(on receiving offensive player of the week honors) "It's humbling, you know? It's a team thing. For me to get that honor, I'm very proud but at the same time we got the win, that was the most important thing. I think it says a lot about our team and our offense and what we're able to do. A lot of guys played really well."
(on how it felt to get an offensive rhythm going) "It was big for us to go out and get things going. We played a clean game and played well. We didn't hurt ourselves with turnovers or penalties and we just played hard and played four quarters."
(on if he is 100% healthy) "Sure, yeah."
(on how positive he was after the game on Sunday) "It was just such a fun game to be a part of. We were going back and forth; it was a very physical, hard-fought game against guys we know well and it was just one of those games that was fun to be a part of. We're just fortunate to come out on the winning end."
(on his biggest concern facing Jacksonville) "It's another rivalry game. It's a divisional opponent that we know well, they know us and it's just a matter of going out and playing good football and the team that plays better and for four quarters is going to win. So we're just looking forward to the challenge and going out and playing well."
(on Arizona QB Kurt Warner's performance against Jacksonville last Sunday) "Well, I think one of the things he did well is he dropped back and got rid of the football and he got it to his guys and let them make plays. He didn't try to force things; he just took what the defense gave him and I think that was the big thing. They have so many weapons that he just distributed the football and gave his guys a chance to make the plays. That's what I try to do week in and week out—just get the ball in our receivers' hands, whether it be (WR) Andre (Johnson) or (WR) Jacoby (Jones), (TE) Owen (Daniels), (RB) Steve (Slaton), let them go do their thing with it because they're athletic and can make a lot of guys miss."
(on establishing consistency) "Yeah, each week we've got to prepare and go out and play consistently well and for four quarters and that's what we hope to do this week."
(on if he felt last Sunday was the best game he's ever played) "I think so. Just looking at the statistical things against the defense we were playing, I'd have to say that I agree with that, but for me to feel that way a lot of other guys in the huddle have to be feeling that way. And so I think the guys up front, with what they were presented with, they played their best game they've played since I've been here and our guys on the outside stepped up and made a lot of good plays for us."
(on where he's grown the most since he came here) "Just the comfort level. You come to a new team, new situation, new offense and new guys and you try to just learn as much as you can as quickly as you can, but until you reach that comfort level in your role and in your job and with the guys that you're playing with, it's hard to really have things just click like that."
(on the passing game being good even without WRs Kevin Walter and André Davis) "You know, (WR) Jacoby's (Jones) been around the system, he kind of knows what we expect out of our receivers and what we expect out of him. He's a guy that, the game's not too big for him. He's been in that role, he's been a returner but he's been in the game and he knows what to do out there. He just stepped up and took advantage of an opportunity. We've seen that before—two years ago when (WR) Andre (Johnson) was down for half the season and André Davis stepped in there and played big for us. So we've had guys in that situation that have had to fill in and play well."
(on throwing the TD pass to WR Jacoby Jones when he dropped a pass the play before) "That's just the way the play unfolded. He came back to the huddle and I hadn't even gotten the play call. I told him, 'Hey look, forget about it, move on. I'm going to come back to you at some point and I need you to make the play,' and it just so happened I got the play call and they gave us a coverage where that looked like a good play and I put it out there and said, 'I'm going to give you a chance,' and then he was able to make a heck of a play on the ball."
(on how he can win back the fans that booed during the Jets game) "We just have to go out and play well. That first game, there's so much anticipation and build up to it all offseason and for the home opener and we didn't go out and play well. And so, rightfully so, the fans reacted that way. So we just have to go out and play well."
(on which pass—to a wide-open WR Andre Johnson or the tight one to WR Jacoby Jones—was more difficult) "Sometimes the wide open ones can sneak up on you because you just want to go and walk it to them and just hand it off to them. But I'd have to say the one to Jacoby was a little bit tougher. But at this level and with the speed that DBs have, they're all pretty tough.
G Kasey Studdard(on practicing as the starter) "I felt good. Been running with the ones all during camp and already knew that chemistry between all of us, so I felt fine getting in there."
(on the different attitude he plays with) "I guess I'm an old school player and I like to play hard and finish all my blocks and just keep getting after it."
(on whether or not he has a nasty attitude) "I don't like losing, so I'll get a little hotheaded out there and get mad. But that's the way I play."
(on the things he'll do to complete a block) "You can't just give up on a play if a guy gets ahead. You just got to keep going and get him down and somehow make your block. You can't stop."
T Eric Winston
(on what Titans' DE Kyle Vanden Bosch did to anger him) "He plays really hard. He does what he thinks he needs to do and I personally think he gets on too many piles and falls around too much and I thought they were targeting (TE) Joel (Dreessen) a little bit. As one of the bigger guys on the team, as an offensive lineman, we've got to protect our skill guys. And Joel's a skill guy. He's a valuable member of this team and I'm not going to let anything happen to him. So if I feel like they're going after him, I'm going to go after them."
(on how that anger carried over into the fourth quarter) "I don't like that. He's (Dreessen) my guy and I'm going to protect him and that's what I've got to do."
(on whether or not that attitude has to continue) "Sure. It's on all of us to carry that on. I take that personally and that's something I need to do a better job of. If I want to be a leader on this team and I want to set an example then it's on me to do it. It's on nobody else and I've got to prove that week in and week out."