Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and some players spoke to the media after Friday's practice. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakRB Arian FosterDE Antonio SmithRB Ben TateOLB Mario Williams
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if RB Arian Foster will play on Sunday) "It'll be a game-time decision. He practiced today much like he did yesterday. He took a limited amount of reps, but he was involved in the whole practice. We'll watch him tomorrow morning when we watch him go through our jog-through, see where he's at and probably actually put him through a little workout before the game."
(on WR Jacoby Jones' and WR Kevin Walter's injuries) "Jacoby (Jones) took his practice today. It looks like we're heading in the right direction with him. Kevin's (Walter) been fine all week, guys."
(on if expects WR Kevin Walter to be at full speed on Sunday) "Yeah, he's been fine. Kevin's (Walter) been fine."
(on if he might play RB Arian Foster differently on Sunday to err on the side of caution) "No, I think you either play or you don't play. I mean either he's ready to go, if that's what you're asking. We need Arian (Foster), as I tell ya'll all the time, to have our best everybody on the football field, but at the same time we're listening to Arian. As we put him through some work, we listen to him the next morning. How you feeling? Listen to the doctors and we'll come up with the best decision for the football team on Sunday morning."
(on if RB Arian Foster has been honest about his injury) "Yeah, he's been good and like I said, we're just trying to make sure we keep the work process going. He's had good work this week, but we have limited him a little bit in practice, not to overload him and we're going to see how he responds to that."
(on if practice squad RB Chris Ogbonnaya is an option for Sunday) "Chris (Ogbonnaya) is inactive. We'd have to activate Chris. It's a possibility, yeah. We have not made that decision."
(on the stats and records not meaning anything) "I agree. It's just about being as good as you can be each week. We're playing a very difficult schedule and then they're the next team up. They're an excellent football team and been a world champion here not far long. We've just got to go out there and see if we can be our best every week and just find a way to find our games. We're not caught up in where we're at right now or where we've been in the past. How good can this team be? So, we're just staying focused on that. We've had a good week of work and boy, have we got a challenge ahead of us, but we're excited to go play."
(on if it's a coincidence that the Texans are leading the League in total defense and rushing attempts) "Well those things go hand-in-hand. When you run the ball and I think time of possession-wise, we're one or two in the League. You keep your defense off the field. That's how you win football games. I don't know that I've ever had a quarterback throw it 53 times in the first two games of the season, but when we're throwing it 25, 26 times, good things are happening for our team."
(on if he believes in statement games) "I think it's about the season; it's not about a game. This is the next one. Ever since I've been in this business, every one you play is the biggest game of the year, so let's just keep going."
(on how he's going to handle T Rashad Butler's injury) "Yeah, (Derek) Newton steps up and he becomes a swing guy. He's a young player with a lot of talent. Now he's being pushed into a lot of activity, so we need to see him get better, but that's the only way you find out if he can do it."
(on Saints RB Darren Sproles) "He's got a chance of making huge plays. The kicking game will be big in this game in my opinion. It's been big for us. It's been big for them early in the season, so big challenge."
(on if RB Steve Slaton will play a big role in pass protection) "Well yeah, whoever's in there at running back is going to get tested. They're going to come get you and you're going to have to step up and pick up protection, whether it's a linebacker, whether it's a DB. That'll be part of this game for sure. Like I said, hopefully we can stay on schedule to where we're not too predictable. If you get too predictable against this team, they're going to come get you."
(on if CB Brandon Harris might make his debut on Sunday) "Good chance. Very good chance, yeah."
RB Arian Foster(on how he's feeling today) "I feel wonderful today."
(on how much progress he's made in the last couple days) "I'm just not sure how to gauge progress with a hamstring injury anymore. It's tough, but I'm working, I'm working hard and it feels like it's gone. But, I'm going to keep on fighting the good fight."
(on how he weighs wanting to play with how he feels) "It's tough. I think it's more mental than it is anything because like I said before, it's not something you can really push through. It's not something that you can play with at 100 percent, so you just got to be patient with it. It's just got to work that way."
(on if he would play if the game was today) "I would make an attempt. I make an attempt every week. It's just my mentality."
(on if he feels any different now compared to last week at this time) "I think it's further along than it was last week, but you don't want to do anything to try to set it back, so they were limiting my reps and it's just part of the process. This is a tough injury."
(on how much he's worked with RB Ben Tate the last few weeks) "Well he knows the system. He was here last year and he knows it pretty well. He's been doing a great job. I'm here for any advice he's seeking if he wants to seek it. We have a good relationship in our running back group. Everybody's pretty close. We're all pulling for each other."
DE Antonio Smith(on if the stats and records don't mean anything) "I don't think it is. I don't think it's a big deal. I think that we had a good start last year and you see how that turned out to be, so everybody's just got their head down focused on our main goal, which is the playoffs and the Super Bowl. I think that everybody's on that page. We're not going to be just satisfied at everybody saying 'Oh the Texans may be a contender' or 'They even made it to their first first-round playoffs.' I think that the mindset that everybody has here is that we have the talent to do it. It's about time we just put our head down and done it. That's just it."
RB Ben Tate(on the possibility of becoming the second running back to rush for 100 yards in his first three games) "It's not really on my mind. Number one priority is winning the game. It's a big game for us. It's a big step for this team and that's our number one goal."
(on being one of 11 running backs to rush for 100 yards in his first two games) "It's a good group to be with. It's an awesome group to even just be mentioned with those guys, but it's just a start to my career. Honestly, I haven't took time to really think about it, but I would have to say it's important. I guess it's a big thing that it happened. Other than that, I haven't really had time to think about it. My mind is on getting ready for the Saints.
(on not starting despite having two 100-yard games) "I can't control that. Only thing I can control is what I do when I get out on the field, so that's the only thing I worry about."
(on his performance in the first two games) "I work hard. I worked hard to come back from this injury and I think always when I talk to kids, when I tell anyone, I always think hard work pays off. I'm just going to continue to work hard and continue to try to get better each and every day."
OLB Mario Williams(on if the Saints playing a quick offense will affect him since he's learning a new position) "I know the position now. It's just about me going out there, playing ball, going to my keys and my responsibility, knowing what I see and going off of that."
(on how much fun he's having playing) "Yeah, it's a lot of fun going on out there. We're a lot more comfortable, including myself so pretty much just trying to go out there and let loose."
(on if he feels like the pressure has been taken off him) "I ain't got no pressure, man. I don't play with that mess, man. I do what I do. They tell me what I'm supposed to do and I go out and I play ball. I don't walk around saying I got pressure on me. That doesn't matter to me."
(on if he believes in statement games) "Every game's a statement game. If we lose to a team that's not a statement game, what would you call us? If you lose to a team you're not supposed to, what would you call us? Every game is a statement game. That's not a but. That's just the way it is. Every game to us is a statement game. We got to take a different mentality this year."
(on if he seems pretty business-like) "Yeah, it's another chance to go out there. We don't get a lot of chances. There's only 16 regular games. This is our third, so I'm taking it one game at a time and just focusing on the Saints."