Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media Friday following the final practice before facing the Dolphins.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
OLB Connor Barwin
LB Brian Cushing
RB Arian Foster
DE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(On the team's health today) "(Bryan) Braman still did not practice. (Arian) Foster and (Brooks) Reed, neither one of those guys practiced; so all three of those guys will be game-time decision. I would say that Braman is close, very close and the other two, I'm optimistic that they'll be ready to go but we'll have to see. We'll look at tomorrow and probably end up having to work them out before the game and see."
(on the injuries) "Arian's (Foster) just got a sore knee. I don't know if it's just the wear and tear of camp or whatever. It got real sore on him. He feels better today. I think if we pushed him to practice today, he would have went out there and practiced. We're going to be smart with him, but we'll have to show us that he's ready to go. I think Brooks (Reed) is a probably a little bit more sore than Arian as far as going out on the field today. He is also optimistic that he'll be ready to go. We'll have to test them both. Probably could test Arian tomorrow maybe and test Brooks on Sunday morning so we'll see how it goes."
(on if a certain play sparked the injuries) "No, nothing, like I said, Arian (Foster) practices fine. He went through half a practice. Brooks (Reed) was in a drill, came out of his stance and felt a twinge in his hip and got a sore hip. So we got to listen to him and see what's up.
(on the backup running backs and linebackers) "Well I told Ben (Tate) in front of the team yesterday he's done it all the time. Ben has had a great camp. He's been working really hard so if Arian is unable to go, this team knows that Ben will go in there and play well. Justin (Forsett) will play well. If Brooks is unable to go for some reason, that's what Whitney (Mercilus) is here for. Probably a bigger load gets on Jesse Nading's shoulders if something like that happens, but that's why you're a team. Guys got to be ready at a moment's notice. You never know what's going to happen. I'm going to sit here and hope that we're pretty close to full strength. So we'll see what happens."
(on RB Arian Foster's MRI) "Yeah we checked him yesterday just to make sure and everything was fine."
(on WR Trindon Holliday's speed) "Yeah he's got amazing burst. For a little guy, he's very strong, too. When he hits those creases and stuff and guys are trying to tackle him not only is he low to the ground but he's a strong player so he doesn't go down very easily. A great example is in New Orleans when he broke the one that went down the sidelines. A lot of guys go out of bounds right there. He's trying to run over the kicker at that point. He's very strong and hopefully we get him to touch it a few times and he can continue to make big plays for us."
(on track speed translating to football speed) "You never know. Some guys put their pads on and they go down a notch. He doesn't. There's football speed. You hear people talk. Obviously you got a 40 speed. Everybody's got a 40 speed. A lot of scouts and coaches when you watch a game you say his play speed is excellent. He carries his pads excellent. He doesn't get slower when his pads go on. So that's kind of scout talk, but it is true when you're watching film."
(on WR Trindon Holliday's speed providing him chances) "He was effective in college. It's not like he was just a track guy who didn't play in college. In college he made a lot of big plays there. But I think everybody knew if you were going to go get him, you were taking a returner. Could you get him to fit on your team? Could you get him to do some other stuff? So that was part of our thought process and I'm sure it was others too."
(on OLB Bryan Braman's chances to play on Sunday) "He's got a chance. I would've not said that yesterday, but watching him work with the trainers today, he's close. We'll give him tomorrow off. We'll work him out Sunday morning and see."
(on what happens to special teams if OLB Bryan Braman can't play) "Well Jesse (Nading) basically replaces him in everything that we're doing. We'd love to suit nine linebackers because all our guys contribute, but the chances are you're probably at eight every week depending on what's going on with the rest of your team. Jesse's basically taken his role this week."
OLB Connor Barwin
(on his contractual situation) "No, I'm the wrong guy to talk to. Talk to the business guys. We got a game in 48 hours. I'm obviously completely focused on that."
(on if OLB Brooks Reed can't play Sunday) "I think Whitney (Mercilus) is going to be fine. He's shown during camp that he's more than capable. He was ready to rotate with us anyways. So if Brooks (Reed) can't go, which I'll be surprised if he doesn't but (Whitney Mercilus) is more than ready to go."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on being selected as a captain) "It's a huge honor. I think if you ask me it's probably the biggest honor you can get because it's respect from your peers and guys look up to you. You want to play for them. You want to give back and show them they were right."
(on special teams captain ILB Tim Dobbins) "For a kid that comes in here, never complains, plays as hard as he does all the time whether its special teams or linebacker, he's a hell of a football player and hell of a kid."
(on if OLB Brooks Reed can't play Sunday) "It won't affect scheme or anything. It's just going to have to be 'next-man-up attitude.' We got a lot of confidence in Whitney (Mercilus) and whether Brooks is playing or not, Whitney is still going to play a lot so we have confidence in him."
(on getting national publicity) "I think winning cures a lot of things. I think if we're consistent, we're consistently good, take things step by step, go 1-0 every week, get on a roll and prove we're one of the best teams in the league, I think that'll change a lot of things, a lot of people's perspectives."
(on how earning national attention affects him personally) "I think anyone likes to be recognized as one of the best at their position. I think a lot of guys play for that. I play for that. Whether it's a win or being recognized as the player you are all those things are important to us."
RB Arian Foster
(on his health) "It's not my knee. It's around the knee area so there is no problem with my knee. It's just kind of a vague description of where the center point of the pain is."
(on playing Sunday) "I expect to play on Sunday."
(on the location of his injury ) "Well, just say it's around the knee area for now."
(on how it happened) "It just gradually happened over time. It wasn't a particular play or anything like that."
(on getting healthy ) "Yeah, I work extremely hard and sometimes things just need a little bit of rest."
(on how excited he is for the season opener) "I'm excited. I'm excited to get the season going. First game, it means something so I'm excited to see how we handle it."
(on if he's eager to see how the team responds after last year's disappointing finish) "I think we've already responded this training camp just seeing how we work and things like that. But as far as game time, it's over. We're not looking to rebound. This a new season, new year, new team, new chemistry and we're looking to build on that."
DE Antonio Smith
(on being selected as a captain) "First year was co-captain. This is my second year running as a flat out being voted as a captain. It feels good to me. It's always a blessing to know what you're peers think about you and that they respect the things that you do and the time that you spend with them. I was ecstatic about it."
(on the build-up to the season) "I think we saw that coming in years past. Last year was just a taste of it. I think this year is just a team transforming and morphing into what it's going to be. Every little thing that needs to happen is starting to happen. I think that the pieces that have been put in place are going to work just fine."