The Texans practiced Friday morning at the Methodist Training Center, and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of his players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakTE James CaseyRB Arian FosterSS Bernard PollardDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the status of TE Owen Daniels) "He and (LB Xavier) Adibi still didn't come over today in practice. It's still a game-time decision. What we are doing is working with them over there. They've been kind of cool out. They both are nursing hamstrings. We'll see where they are at and work them out on game day."
(on considering his expertise at the position, if practice is needed for TE Owen Daniels) "(TE) Owen (Daniels) can play without practicing. It's been pretty cool though, so Kap (Director of sports medicine/head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan) has been working with him over there. We will see where they are at tomorrow and actually work them out Sunday morning."
(on if he's going to adjust the offensive game plan with TE Owen Daniels possibly being out) "We are not going to change anything we do offensively. (TE) Joel (Dreessen) has played well given his opportunities. I just feel bad for (TE) Owen (Daniels) because he works so hard to come back from a major knee surgery and then starts having little hamstring problems and tried to play through them for the team. It just got worse the other night. I just feel bad for all the work he's put in and not able to compete, but we'll get him back."
(on the status of WR Andre Johnson) "No, I think he's okay. He's practiced the last two days. He's taken all the reps that he could take. He's tells me that, 'Hey, I'm fine, I just gotta keep battling through it.' I think the key is that if (WR) Andre (Johnson) can get through two or three games without tweaking it I think he's going to be fine. We'll keep him on the same routine right along."
(on WR Andre Johnson playing through the pain) "To play that position, coming off a high ankle sprain like that and being as productive as he has been, tells you what type of player he is. He'll give it up for his team. He always has."
(on his game plan at the linebacker position) "It's a little different game. We played all nickel last week. This is a big change for us because now (LB) Kevin (Bentley) goes on the field. We play a lot more base because this team plays in two backs and one back. That's going to change for us from that standpoint. Kevin is not a guy you worry about reps. He's played a lot of plays in this league. They've had a good week of work and they'll get tested against a hell of a group because they can move the ball."
(on how much more comfortable that he think LB Brian Cushing will be comfortable at middle linebacker) "I think he's getting better every day. I think every day is going to be a growing process. He is getting more and more confident. Making the calls is getting easy for him. It's a new challenge this week because now he's out of a nickel mode and into a base mode. It'll be a different challenge."
(on the possibility of Chargers TE Antonio Gates missing this week's game change the game plan for the Texans) "No, we got to prepare for their offense. He's missed practice before and went out there and lit it up. So we are counting on him being there and get ready to stop their offense."
(on if he expects of WR Jacoby Jones to handle kickoff return duties this week) "We knew going into the game that it was a big positive going into the game. We knew they were struggling kicking off. We should've had good field position in the game and we did. We were to the 50 or inside the 50, I think, in four possessions in the first half and had three points to show for it. We knew that was something to take advantage of and we didn't do it."
(on if WR Jacoby Jones did a good job returning kickoffs) "He did a good job. You all remember now, that was probably his first healthy game back too and he's had a good week of practice. So he'll stay back there."
(on his thoughts of playing with the roof open or closed) "I tell you, I wouldn't even know personally. All I know there is sun in that one end when it's open. We got to play good football."
(on the possibility of TE James Casey getting more snaps) "I'm excited for him. He's been working real hard for an opportunity to play. We'll see where (TE) Owen (Daniels) is at, but it could very well be his opportunity."
(on how much has TE James Casey has improved) "(TE) James (Casey) is a player who works really, really hard for a young guy. He has not had a lot of opportunities, but when he gets one, he's going to take advantage of it. He does everything you ask a guy to do as a young player. So if he get more time this week I wouldn't be surprised to see him make some plays."
(on will bouncing back with a win this week will mean a lot for the team) "Well, we got to beat a good football team. We did not get it done last week and we got to come back this week and play exceptionally well to find a W, but it's going to be that way for us down the stretch. We got to regroup and have a quick turnaround this week and be a bunch of pros and get back to work and play good football."
TE James Casey(on head coach Gary Kubiak being confident in taking advantage of his opportunities) "It means a lot. It's my job to go out about my business. I don't say much and try to show through my actions that I'm ready to play. I think the coaching staff knows that I want to play and I'm not content on being a backup player my whole career. You just have to wait and be prepared when you do get opportunities and try to take advantage of them, show them that you could do the job and help the team. If I do get opportunities this Sunday, I have to go out there and show them that I'm prepared and make plays."
(on if he's excited about the possibility of getting snaps at tight end) "I'm keeping my composure down, but I am fired up. If I do get some opportunities, of course going into the game, where you might be getting more opportunities than you are used to, you're excited about it. At the same time, I try to keep it the same every game and be prepared like I'm going to start every game because you never know what's going to happen in pregame. Anything can happen. I'm just going to go in and be ready. I don't know how many plays I'm going to get, if I get any at all. I might just be special teams again, but I'll be ready either way."
RB Arian Foster(on facing the number one-ranked defense in the NFL and what challenges he anticipates) "They run a 3-4 and 3-4 teams can be confusing with their alignment with different blitz packages. So we got to be on point with what we do."
(on why it is so difficult facing a 3-4 defense) "It's because of the alignment. 3-4 defense likes to misalign and disguise things a lot and it can become very confusing."
(on if facing a 3-4 defense is confusing from a blocking standpoint) "It's blocking, coverage, running, everything."
*SS Bernard Pollard *(on practice this week) "It's going to be a lot of fun this week. We are back home and got a game under our belt from the bye week. I think we had a great week of practice. We had a great week of preparation. So we are ready to go."
(on facing some really good offenses down the stretch of the season) "That's fine. You know what? We can't be worried about them. I know that so many have turned their backs on us. So many people have doubted us. So many people say that we are this or that. At the end of the day, it matters about us and every guy in this locker room. It's about us and nobody else. Some people are throwing blame here and throwing blame there. Until you sit in our meeting rooms. Until you know what guy has what, you don't know what's going on. You don't have an idea. Our biggest thing is that we have to block that out and get ready for San Diego because they are looking for a win."
DE Antonio Smith(on how hard it is not to get in a verbal match with Chargers QB Philip Rivers during the game) "I've came across very few quarterbacks that like to talk crap and jaw. I would reckon that being a quarterback you shouldn't do that because you got people gunning after you, but if that's his game, that's his game. Sometimes, you got to pay the boat man when you're going across the river."
(on if the type or verbal jawing from Chargers QB Philip Rivers is funny or personal) "I've never really been out there to notice him jawing. I think I've played him one time and I just didn't notice it."