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Practice quotes: Wednesday


The Texans held their first practice of the week to prepare for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Members of the team spoke to the media about the upcoming game.

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on if anything is new) "Nothing, we had full participation other than Brandon (Harrison). You know, Brandon is pretty iffy this week because of his shoulder. (Mark) Bruener is probably still that way. Ahman (Green) went back to work; did some work. So couple of guys went back to work."

(on if RB Ahman Green will be available in the game) I don't know. We'll go back and see what he did today. He basically took scout team stuff today, so he practiced. We'll try to up that a little bit tomorrow and see how he comes out of practice."

(on if RB Steve Slaton has developed faster than he thought) "Well, he didn't have any choice. I think we are all excited about his start in his first game out. The quicker he becomes a fine, fine player, the better it's going to be for our football team here. I think the thing that was very encouraging for us was, we were concerned with how much of a load he could handle and he ended up handling a lot more than we expected. So that was very encouraging and he's out here and he looks fine today. He's all business."

(on people thinking RB Steve Slaton could only be a third-down back coming out of college) "I think maybe that's because of what you saw him do in college in that spread system. He's obviously shown us that he can do everything. He protected well in the game. Had one blitz pick-up where he actually ended up on (Titans DT Albert) Haynesworth and went in there and mustered it up and did the best he could and did a good job. So I'm encouraged by the progress he's making and I'm real encouraged of how he's come back from his first NFL start to practice today. He was fine."

(on if there was anything on tape from the game that really surprised him about RB Steve Slaton) "Oh, really just the things I talked about - the stamina to go all day, to step up in pass pro (protection). He had one MA in the game, one missed assignment. We don't need any, but that's pretty encouraging for a guy who went out there for the first time in that environment."

(on WR Andre Johnson admitting his mistakes openly) "That's why he's a great player. When your teams struggling and things aren't going good, it's easy to try to figure out what everybody else's problem is. But real players worry about their problems and as long as everybody is doing that, then you're going to find a way to work out of it."

(on how you improve on the 1-6 red zone performance last week) "Well, first off, it's a nice problem to have. I'd like to have six opportunities every week down there. To get six chances against Tennessee's club down inside the 20 down there, I'd take it every week. The execution though was disappointing. We had some chances down there to make some plays. We had some better calls we could make on my part. We need to run the ball better down there. There's all kinds of things, but usually red zone is the difference between winning and losing in this league and we have not been very good on the defensive side of the ball and offensively we struggled this past week. So we're picking up our work down there. We doubled up on it today and going to try to find a way to improve it."

(on how important the leadership of the veterans is for the team to get back on track) "Well, leadership is important all the time. It doesn't matter if it's Week 3 or Week 15 or 16. But all those guys have to step up all the time. They have to keep people working when times are good and keep people focused when things aren't so good. It's part of doing their job and that hasn't been a problem. Our work has been good and they came out here ready to work today."

{QUOTE}(on if he is surprised they haven't been better defensively against the run) "Well, first off we knew that we were facing some teams that we were going to have to improve drastically. We start with Pittsburgh; you end up catching Tennessee second. And now what was this team, one or two in the National Football League last year? All you have to do is look at the schedule this year in our division and it's something you have to improve upon. Those teams are going to run the ball. I think the key is that we have to be effective, effective stopping the run. That doesn't mean you're going to totally shut it down, but you have to find a way to keep it under control and get yourself off the field. We did that in the second half the other day, but no challenge bigger than trying to do it again this week against a two-headed monster. They have two great backs back there."

(on if they are stressing wrapping up and tackling this week going against Jacksonville's running backs) "Yeah, you better hold your gap because that's what they've done. You look at Indy last week and they had some plays stopped and all of sudden they came out of there and made real big plays. The big plays they made against us last year, the two big plays, the ball came out the backside and we missed the tackle. They are going to challenge you from the opening kickoff to they blow the whistle at the end of the game. That's just how good they are at doing it."

(on what's different about the Jacksonville game than other ones) "I don't know. A lot of people have asked me that. It's another division game. I know it's very competitive in our division, people get after each other and we've had some dang good football games with them. You're going to have to play really, really well to beat them. We know that, but we're going to have to play a lot better than we've played."

(on what concerns him about the Jaguars defense) "Well, they are very big and physical so you are going to get pounding on all day long. They'll be probably the biggest group we face throughout the season, biggest group number 20 (Slaton) has been tackled by. So they're going to really be physical from that standpoint. So when we've hurt ourselves against this team is kind of like everyone else, when we've found a way to turn the ball over. So we're going to go down there and play clean and find a way to stay consistent. If you start getting third- and-longs against this group, then you're in trouble."

T Duane Brown

(on if the speed and power of the Jaguars' defense changes his approach) "Not too much. I still have to use the same technique I used against other guys. (I) just have to be ready to hold my ground quicker than most people."

(on if he is better today than he was three weeks ago) "Yes, very much."

(on why he says he is better today than he was three weeks ago) "Just because of my experience being at two away games against great players, all pro caliber players. Just having that experience makes me better."

(on if the team is due for a big win to help boost confidence as a team) "Definitely. We were really disappointed with last week. We had numerous opportunities to take that game over and (we) let it slip away from us, so we're really looking out to go and get a win. We really had big expectations for ourselves coming into the season and to start 0-2 is a disappointment for us. So we're really preparing hard for this week to try to get that first 'W.'"

WR Andre Johnson

(on why they usually play Jacksonville tough) "I really don't know. Since I've been here that's kind of been like our rivalry team. Guys tend to get up for that game. Other than that, I couldn't really tell you any other reason. It doesn't matter who it is we just try to go out and play our best against them."

(on what they have to do to improve on the red zone offense) "We just have to execute our offense better. You know, we got down there and we didn't execute. That's pretty much the thing we saw on film."

(on if he feels differently about the two dropped balls he had last week) "Well, you just look at and you try to learn from it. The first pass, just from looking at it, I should have just ran through the ball rather than jumping, trying to reach out for it. And the second pass, I think I should have just stopped and went up for the ball. Like I said, I didn't feel the DB behind me, so I just tried to let the ball come down in my hands. But you play and you learn. I should have just went up for it and made the play on it by jumping up, just attacking the ball. I learned from that and like I said, it's something I'll try not to have happen again."

(on if he has forgotten about those passes and moved on) "Of course, I'm upset that I didn't make those plays. But as far as affecting me for this game, once it's happened it's over. You know, during the game, once I drop a ball it's over. There's nothing I can do about it. I can't go back and fix it. So I'm fine. I'm ready to go. I'm ready to go out and try to get this win against Jacksonville so that things will be a little bit different around here."

(on coach Kubiak giving his confidence to QB Matt Schaub) "It's big. You look around the league and you hear a lot of different things about different quarterbacks and their coaches stand behind them. And their teammates stand behind them and I stand behind Matt. I know Matt's a great player and I know Matt's going to be a great player. Right now, it's not just him struggling; it's all of us struggling. So he can't take the blame for everything; it's not a one-man game. We're out there on the field trying to play just like he is and he can't take the blame for all of us. We are just going to rally behind him."

(on what's different about the first two games this year and the first two last year) "It's just, things have been happening where people have just been taking turns. Whether he's not having time to throw the ball or we're not making the play or things like that. I always say, in football, one man can mess up a whole play. You look at the pass, you know it was well protected. He throws the pass and I drop it. It was a bad play on my part. I made that play bad, so the play was not executed because I didn't catch it. So you just have guys taking turns messing up and it doesn't just affect Matt, it affects everybody. So football is not a one-man's game. You have to have everybody on the same page working at one time."

(on if he thinks the offense would be run better if Sage Rosenfels were the quarterback) "I think it runs better no matter who's in there. I think we have two great quarterbacks. I think it's just the fact, like I said, guys are just taking turns messing things up. I think we'll go out and give a better performance than we have in the last two weeks this week."

(on how Jacksonville likes to control the clock, which makes the offensive possessions more important) "We know they'll be real crucial. They like to run the ball. I think they had to the ball for like 40 minutes against Indy. That's going to be tough, and hopefully our defense can go out there and stop them and give us some opportunities. I'm pretty sure they will. They have two great running backs and they run the ball real well. We know it's going to be a big challenge for the whole team."

(on him not having a problem admitting he made some mistakes) "Because I live up to my responsibilities. I don't have a problem with people. I go out and play, and when I play I go out and give it my all. If I mess up, it's not like I tried to go out there and do it. Things are going to happen. You're not perfect. No one is perfect. So, I just let it roll off my back so if people want to criticize me about those two dropped balls in the Tennessee game, let them go ahead. It's not going to bother me, I laugh at it."

(on not many other athletes criticizing themselves like he does) "I can do that. I'm criticizing myself because I know it's just going to make me better. To be honest, I really can't wait until Sunday because I just want to go out and do something because of what I did last Sunday. For me, it's just extra motivation and I just want to go out and do something special for this team and get this thing headed in the right direction."

(on Jaguars QB David Garrard saying the reason the series between them has been close is because they took the Texans lightly) "Coming from him, that's something you expect. Every year there is always something said, but we really don't worry about that. We just go out and play the game."

(on if he knows Jaguars QB David Garrard) "No, I really don't know David. It's kind of shocking to hear him say something like that. You never really know him as a guy to really say much. He seems like a pretty laid back guy but it's shocking to hear him say that. But we'll see on Sunday."

(on if the rivalry between the Texans and Jaguars is different now than it has been because there are less players that have played for the other team on each roster) "It's pretty much the same. You go out there, we know those guys. We play against them twice a year, every year. So we know what to expect from them. They know what to expect from us. It's just a matter of who is going to stop who. That's pretty much it. It's going to be a real competitive game. It always comes down to someone making a big play during the game to help their team win. So hopefully we'll go out and have a great performance."

G Chester Pitts
(on if it is time to hit the panic button) "I wouldn't say that. We're not the only 0-2 team in the league. If everybody hit the panic button, it would be—what, 12 to 14 teams hitting the panic button right now. So we'll be fine. We have to get ready to go and play Jacksonville this week."

QB Sage Rosenfels

(on if it's frustrating to not play for him) "I've always said that frustration is a self-inflicted wound. So I'm not going to let anything frustrate me. As a competitor, I'd love to play. But as I also said, changing one player out isn't going to make - I can't imagine it making some huge difference. But, yeah, as a competitor I'd love to play. But everyone knows that Matt is the starting quarterback on this team."

(on QB Matt Schaub not looking as comfortable as he did last year) "I'm not sure. I'm not out there. I do know we've played two very good defenses, defenses that at the end of the season are probably in the top five in the league. That's never easy for a quarterback. I think that he wishes he was playing better and I think he will play better."

(on the media saying that the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the team) "I haven't had TV for the last week, or the internet. So I couldn't tell you what's going on around town. I don't listen to talk radio when I'm driving to work in the morning or when I go home. So to be honest with you, I really don't know what the feel of Houston is. It doesn't really matter, though I do appreciate people's support."

LB DeMeco Ryans

(on if there is something different about playing Jacksonville because of the success they have had against them) "I can't say there's a glaring difference in playing Jacksonville and the other guys because they are all three tough competitors. We've had some big plays and when we play Jacksonville, we just somehow find a way to make some big plays that put us in position to come out with some wins against those guys."

(on QB David Garrard saying that the reason that sometimes the Jaguars have lost to the Texans is because they took them lightly) "I can't say. If that's how they perceive us, then that's how they perceive us, but us. We don't take any opponents lightly, and every week is a tough week in the NFL."

(on if that is offensive saying that they have taken the Texans lightly before) "Is it offensive? Nah. I don't see it as offensive because all of that talk, that doesn't win football games. Talking during the week to the media doesn't win games. You can talk all you want to. The team that wins is the team who is the best between when the game starts on Sunday and when it ends on Sunday. If you're the best team, then all the talking doesn't matter."

(on what can QB David Garrard bring to the table) "(David) Garrard, he is a guy - they haven't been winning with him throwing the ball. They have been throwing the ball well. So with him they have a couple of boot legs with him running the ball and also a couple of quarter back draws where they get him in the action and he is also running the ball. So that's what he brings to the table and that's what's going to be tough for us to deal with."

(on how it used to be said that there is more talk during this game against Jacksonville on the field than any other) "I can't say there is more in Jacksonville. There's talk out there every week. We're jawing every week at each other when we're out on the field, but that's the competitive nature of football. When you're out on the field, you're going to be jawing back at one another. That's why I love the game because it's so fun because when you go out and do that, it's just fun to do."

(on if he does any jawing) "(laughs) I do a little bit. I do a little bit of jawing every now and then."

(on if he tries to get in the players head with jawing) "Oh, nah. I just let them know that it's not going to be an easy task coming at 59."

QB Matt Schaub

(on what it means that coach Kubiak gave his confidence in him) "It means a great deal. To have the head coach to have the confidence in you to just go out and play the game and focus on what it's going to take to win this week. It means a lot."

(on if that was even on his mind) "No, it wasn't even on my mind. All I can control is my play and my performance, and I wasn't up to par with my expectations or what the team needed me to do on Sunday. So it's just about what I can do to get better and improve my game."

(on if things looked different after watching the tape of the game) "Yeah, there were a few plays there where I definitely would alter what I did. But there at the end we were trying to make a play and there were a couple of throws there late where I was trying to put the ball in the end zone and you know had a couple of turnovers at the end. But there were definitely plays on film there early in the game that I don't characteristically make, so I just need to clean those things up and understand that I'm going to have to play a lot better for us to win."

(on if it was just mind set or execution) "It's just execution, a little bit of both. Again, the rhythm of the game and you try to make things happen. And you just want to put your team in the best situation."

(on the Jaguars' defense) "Obviously, it's a big physical group. They play really well together. They have a good front again, a good seven man front. Their secondary plays well together and they are a good unit and have good players and they fly around and make plays."

(on how important the game is for the team) "Well it's a big game for us. Go on the road, in Jacksonville, to get a win - we want to erase the taste of the first two weeks out of our mouths and get off the streak that we've been on here. You know, 0-2. To get that first win, it's a big test for us, but one we have to stand up to."

(on LB DeMeco Ryans saying the time is now) "It's huge. We have to have a sense of urgency to this week to go out and everything we do in our preparation and how we go out and play the game, to go out and get it done now and not wait for someone else to make or something to happen, to go out and make the play ourselves. And as a group, if we all take that mind-set, good things will happen on Sunday."

(on how important it is for him to lead the team and make sure players don't get down) "It's huge. To have the veterans step and have the leaders of the football team to stand up and say, 'We're going to get this right.' It is two pieces of the puzzle we dropped here early in the season. It's not the start we wanted, but you know what? That's the way it is. We can't change what happened. All we can do is correct and move on and change the things we did and correct them and make them positive this week. You look at it, there are a lot of teams that are behind the eight ball right and we're one of them. We just need to go out and correct those things because we have a long season ahead of us."

(on how encouraging it was to have RB Steve Slaton play so well) "Yeah, I think that was great to see him go out and play the way he did in a tough environment against a good defense. He really played well for a young guy; we're really pleased with what we saw."

(on for the offense to work you have to get the running game going) "To see what he was able to produce and the tackles and the plays he was able to make after contact was very encouraging."

(on what the Jaguars will do after seeing RB Steve Slaton on tape) "I think they're just going to do what they're going to do and play their game. You obviously have to stay in your gap and tackle as far as defense goes. So we just need to continue to do what we do and continue to give him those creases to where he can make a play."

(on being 1-6 in the red zone last week) "We had a couple of miscues down there. Obviously, the fumbled snap was one of them. It hurt a drive. We just have to find a way to put the ball in the end zone. When we get down there, we need to convert those and get those touchdowns and not settle for two of those field goals and those fourth downs. We have to convert those. Coach is giving us a chance to go and make a play to go and help our team win and we have to take responsibility for making sure we get that ball across that marker and the end zone."

(on playing well against Jacksonville and not Tennessee or Indianapolis) "I don't know. I can't really finger anything on that. It's just a matter of going out and playing well and executing our game plan and converting our opportunities into touchdowns."

(on if hearing the calls for QB Sage Rosenfels to get in the game bother him) "No, it doesn't. That's the nature of this business. When you win or you lose, you're the first guy that people are going to point to. That's the way the game goes; the business goes. So you just have to continue to hang together and go out the next week and keep fighting."

(on how much the slow start could be attributed to the good defenses they've played) "Well, we're not going to attribute that to that. We can play much better and we had an opportunity to win that game on Sunday and we didn't' covert those opportunities."

(on how much different the AFC South looks right now) "We are a very equal division and it just shows that this league as a whole, anyone can go out and beat anybody any given Sunday. You always have to be on top of your game and play at a high level to win."

RB Steve Slaton

(on what mistakes he has made) "Running the wrong routes. Yeah, I've run the wrong route a couple of times."

(on if running the ball in the NFL boils down to instinct and if he thinks that there isn't a lot to learn about running the ball in the NFL) "No, there still is. Trusting your reads, you make a few bad reads here and there, but that's going to come along in a game but as long as you take advantage of the good ones."

(on if he likes the system in place and if he thinks it's a good one) "Yeah, we ran a zone system at West Virginia. So I think it's an easier transition for me."

(on if he feels more comfortable starting than coming off the bench) "I feel more comfortable either way. When you start, you can get that hit out of the way earlier and then you get to see how fast the defense is coming and everything."

(on if he thinks he has proven already that he is much more than just a third-down back) "I think that's any running backs mentality. You don't just want to be labeled as just one position or just one down. You want to carry the ball as many times as you can."

(on what he has seen on Jacksonville's film about their defense) "It's going to be a tough defense. Their have fast guys, fast secondary, big upfront guys. We're just going to have to beat them to the point."

(on if he surprised himself in the first half versus Tennessee) "Yeah, I think the first big run I had it was. To be honest, I didn't think it would come this fast, but it's just being myself and keep working."

(on how much of an emotional boost it was for him to have a good first half like that in his first start) "It was big. It was really big. I feel like I started off a little slow, just had a big break and just try to keep it moving."

(on what his expectations were going into the game) "Just get positive yards. That was my biggest thing, to try to eliminate all of the negative yards and just stay positive."

(on how the team will fix the red zone problems) "Just make the plays that we have. We had a lot of missed opportunities, and I think that we'll get that fixed. We all know that we have playmakers on the team that can make those plays."

(on what has been the biggest adjustment or surprise playing in the NFL) "Pass protection. The range of people that you have to pick up, picking up defensive tackles, corners, safeties and stuff, so it's been a bit different."

(on if he didn't do a lot of blocking at West Virginia) "I did block, but I had a good full back in front of me, so we let him do a lot more pass protection than I did."

WR Harry Williams
(on who sent him the signed ball that he was holding) "Some of my old teammates from the Giants and all the wide receivers have signed the ball and sent it to me. That's very classy right there."

(on what that means to him) "Oh, it means a lot. It means you meant something to people, and when I was up there, I was good to them. When you are a good person around people, people don't forget things like this when you have trying times, like this."

(on what it means to him to have his name on his locker still) "It means a lot because I go through a lot, still wanting to be out here everyday. I come in here and say, 'Well, my name's still here. My name's still on the roster.' So, I feel everything these boys are going through with the losses and everything. I feel like I'm right there. Every game I am right in front of the TV like I'm there, fussing and cussing and stuff like I'm there. So, I just still feel like I'm part of the team and I'm always going to feel part of the team with my name on the locker or not."

(on if when a call or play goes against the Texans he gets just as angry if he had a uniform on and playing) "Oh yeah man, like I said, I think I'm a part of this team. I'm still part of this team, and that's in my heart right now."

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