The Texans practiced Friday at the Methodist Training Center. Afterwards, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players met with the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakT Duane BrownLB Zac DilesDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on today's practice) "It was a real good practice. We got outside on a beautiful day. We had some good tempo in what we're doing. We need to finish up well tomorrow, but we are having a good week. We need to keep working."
(on what he wanted to see accomplished today) "I like the way we are talking. That's probably the biggest thing this week with some of the changes with the communication because we know that we'll be in a hostile environment where communication will be of the utmost of importance. I like what I've seen in the way that we've been communicating and our guys will know what it will take; what game and what type of effort that we'll need to get it done in this place. That's what we're working toward to get that done."
(on the players-only meeting held earlier this week by DE Antonio Smith) "That's up to the players. (DE) Antonio (Smith) does his job. He plays hard and he does his job. Guys that do their job, players don't mind them standing up and speaking their piece and telling them what they think. He's a guy that they know that they can count on every week."
(on how impressed he was with DE Antonio Smith's leadership in calling a players-only meeting to address issues) "He's always been that way. Just because he did that makes no difference to me. To me, he leads all the time by how he plays and that's what's important."
(on any further thoughts on WR Jacoby Jones being named starting kick returner) "(RB) Steve (Slaton) wasn't here yesterday. He had a death in his family. He will be ready to go, but like I said, we are going to give 12 (WR Jacoby Jones) touches. Whether it is punt return or kick return. We are going to give him his touches."
(on the right guard rotation) "(G) Mike (Brisiel) is back and is coming off his knee (injury). He has looked good the last two days and we are hoping that he could carry his load. We have been playing him and (G Antoine) Caldwell pretty much even. So I don't expect it to change."
T Duane Brown(on if it's true that Colts DE Dwight Freeney has had the upper hand against him in past meetings) "Well yeah, in my five meetings against him he's got me with me sitting on one move and giving him something different. I've got a pretty good plan going into this game. I just got to go out there and execute it."
(on how difficult it will be facing DE Dwight Freeney with the crowd noise in Indianapolis) "I don't think that it will be as difficult than what it was before. I think the main thing going into this game is that I have more experience. Looking at every meeting that I've gone against him I've gotten better. I just want to keep that going. I've been down the past four weeks. This bye week has helped me a lot so I could get my technique down and just getting on the field and into the swing of things. Like I said, I've got a pretty good plan going into it. I think I'll be fine. The crowd noise, you just got to deal with that. If you get too wrapped up in that it'll throw you off guard. That's when it'll really affect you, but I think I'll be fine."
LB Zac Diles(on how much of an adjustment it has been to have LB Brian Cushing at middle linebacker) "It's not too big of an adjustment. It is big because 59 (LB DeMeco Ryans) is not there, but (LB Brian) Cushing has been here for two years now and he's familiar with the defense as a whole and familiar with the linebacker position. He knows the Mike (middle linebacker) position very well and in practice he's doing the duty of the Mike linebacker's job really well. Of course, with number 59 not there we're losing a big part of our defense, but Cushing is capable of going out there and playing the position."
(on how tough it is to play in nickel coverage against the Colts) "Coming into a game like this, we pretty much know that's the way it's going to be. So you're prepared for that, to come in and play nickel the whole game. It's nothing new to us. That's what we've been doing since I've been here. The two times that we play the Colts in the year, you know you'll be playing in the nickel. It's nothing like a big surprise. I don't think that it's too much of an issue."
(on if it's more tiring to play in nickel coverage the whole game) "I mean, with just the tempo (Colts QB) Peyton Manning runs his offense, you're definitely going to start to wear out a little bit during the game because he's so quick with his pace. He's back to the line of scrimmage and getting another play off so fast before you could make another substitution. Just because that aspect of the game it can get you a little fatigued. Coming into that week, you already know you're going to get something like that. So you just got to be prepared for it."
DE Antonio Smith(on the message he wanted to send at the players-only meeting earlier in the week) "I just basically wanted to give whatever bit of knowledge that I have from what I've been through in this game and try to relay to my teammates the sacrifices that need to be made by myself and everybody else on the defense. I just think that it was something that needed to be said."
(on if the players-only meeting was held due to frustration from defensive performance so far this season) "I guess you can say out of frustration of how we've played. Not being disappointed with the way of the outcome of each game that we've had, giving up so many yards even though we're winning games. I think that it's stuff that needs to be fixed. I think we all know that. I was just telling them basically a run-down of what I've been through and me myself knowing where we can fall or where we can rise."
(on if players-only meetings are unusual in football) "No, it happens everywhere I've been. It actually happened last year with (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) after the first three games where we were on track to be the worst run defense in the league. DeMeco and (CB) Dunta (Robinson) called up the defense and basically put themselves out there on the line to make a sacrifice to do extra and put in the extra time and then challenge everybody else to do same."
(on if the players-only meeting will work in turning the defense around) "It helps a lot because, to the contrary to what everybody believes, everybody don't know. Everybody don't have the same experiences as others. We have a lot of young players on this team that haven't been in certain situations that we've been in. Sometimes I think that people tend to hold it in and not want to put themselves out there on the line because once you speak out, all eyes will be on you after then. I think that leaders and people that have been through things like that should speak out just to give younger players knowledge of what needs to be happening at a time like this."
(on if there has been more than one players-only meeting this season) "Yeah, we have players-only meetings all the time. Probably once and twice a day, sometimes you got to pump each other up talk to each other and hold each other accountable. I think a coach can tell you that until he's blue in the face. You want to please your coach and want to do right, but I think that it's more pressure when your brother puts the pressure on you and when your peers put the pressure on you."