Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media on Friday following the team's second day of practice in preparation for the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
LT Duane Brown
RG Antoine Caldwell
RB Justin Forsett
RB Arian Foster
QB Case Keenum (Practice Squad)
FS Glover Quin
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's health) "We're the same today, same three guys out, (WR Lestar) Jean, (SS Quintin) Demps, and (RB Ben) Tate, so nothing different from that standpoint."
(on WR Lestar Jean's status) "That is kind of been the plan all along. He is working very well. He's running routes today with the training staff and catching balls. I would probably say he's a game-time decision. At the same, time our thought process all along was that we were looking at a couple weeks before he makes it back. He's been a lot better than anticipated. I would say that."
(on the plan for RB Ben Tate) "We'll work (RB Ben) Tate tomorrow, see where he's at. There is a lot of time between Saturday and game time this week because of the Monday night game, but we will get him some work tomorrow to see if he's available and go from there; could have done some stuff today if we wanted him to."
(on if there is a difference in playing on a Monday night ) "Not really, I think the biggest thing is the back end. The next week is where it really affects you and how you go about getting ready to play, but as far as what we do, how we prepare, it's the same. Just got a long day on Monday sitting around a hotel waiting to play, but our routine, what we do, it doesn't change. It's the same."
(on what they do during the long day on Monday) "We meet. We have meetings. We have to make up for some meetings that we will miss. Normally we will work out here on Sunday morning or Saturday morning when we're traveling. We'll miss that because we have to go to the east coast so we got to get going early in the morning. So we'll make up that meeting time, and really just hopefully use it to get some rest because they're a month into this, about 300 snaps into it both offensively and defensively. We got a lot of guys that have played a lot of football and of course some guys that have played none. Hopefully those guys that have played a lot use that day for a little bit of rest."
(on RG Antoine Caldwell) "He was fine. He took his normal practice. He's battling through it. I think it's going to be something he's just going to have to battle through. Hopefully he gets through clean a couple weeks, and (C) Ben (Jones) is there to help him. We'll go back and take a look at it but all signs indicate to him being ready to go as of right now. You know what, I'm wrong. (LG) Wade Smith did not practice today. Wade Smith had his knee drained yesterday, did not practice today, sorry. It was precautionary. We're just holding him. He will come back and work tomorrow."
(on LG Wade Smith's knee) "It swells on him from time to time. (LG) Wade's (Smith) played a lot of ball so yesterday we took him in to get it drained. He wanted to go to day, but we just held him. It's good for (G) Brandon Brooks to get a lot of reps because we never know when he's going to be up. It was our decision."
(on if he's concerned about LG Wade Smith )" No I'm not. I think he'll be fine. I think I'll walk in here tomorrow and tell you he practiced, took all his reps. He's ready to go. That was just us."
(on preparing for the Jets' offense) "It's hard because you only got so many reps that you can put your players through. We've added some walk through stuff, some reps that way without stressing the team too much physically. There is some recall there. There is some things that we do offensively, training camp, to help them prepare for that. We're not a wildcat team per say, but we do teach some stuff that helps them prepare for things like that. They have had to prepare for a couple of issues in case it happens. There is some recall, but obviously you have to overload them a little bit more this week because of what they could get."
(on preparing for the Jets' without WR Santonio Holmes) "Well I don't know if it's harder, but it just makes things balanced. It's kind of like what we went through last year. We played 10 weeks without (WR) Andre (Johnson) and the balls got to go a little bit everywhere for you to be successful. Sometimes that is good offensively, I would say, because you're not stressed trying to get this guy the ball or that guy the ball. You're just going out there and running your offense and throwing it where it's supposed to go. (QB) Mark (Sanchez) has played very well against us. He can throw it around with the best of them. I think the key is if we can get him in some third down situations. It's going to go back to stopping the run for us which has been a key."
(on how the team is handling the national exposure) "I think they've handled it good. I think they're getting an opportunity to do that right now. We're going to get an opportunity because of some of the games we play in and different times we play so we have to adjust to a lot of things. All the good teams that I look back that I've been around, the one thing you want to be able to say when you get to January is you played everywhere. You played a lot of good teams and you really know what you're all about. You know if you play good football, you can win anywhere. I think over a period of this season, we're going to get a chance to do that. None bigger than us going in there with their crowd and their place to play so it's a good test for us, but we got to have confidence in our game and how we win and do it any place."
(on WR Andre Johnson's importance and approaching 10,000 yards) "He reminds me of two great, great players that I was around, Jerry Rice and Rod Smith. The biggest comparison there is work habits, but I think the thing that I'm most impressed with (WR) Andre (Johnson) for is when I came here, I think Andre might have been in year three. Just to watch, this day and time for a player to stay the course with an expansion franchise like he did through some very tough times, first off tells you what he's all about as a person. We're all happy for him. His career has been excellent, but we're happy because we finally gave him a good football team to work with. That's important to the success in the long haul and that's what Andre wants. His career speaks for itself, but as a person, he's been exceptional."
(on WR Andre Johnson's demeanor ) "(WR) Andre (Johnson) is even-keel. He doesn't talk much, but when he does, everybody just stops and listens. It's just the way he is. He's a joy to be around, have some great conversations with him on the field believe it or not, just in passing. Like I said, just impressed as a player but more proud of just how he's handled his career here in Houston. I think has been impressive."
(on the team's mentality) "You're right. I think we do a lot of things from a coaches' standpoint with (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and the guys getting everybody involved. When everybody is making plays on our team, it's contagious. I think that's kind of what we are right now. I don't think anybody knows who is going to make the big play on our football team right now offensively or defensively. We're spreading the ball and spreading the wealth on the defensive side. They play with a lot of enthusiasm. A lot of young players with a lot of enthusiasm on this team, very hard on themselves. Obviously when you have a little success, it makes it a lot more fun, but they're working really hard with what they're doing."
(on if this could be a trap game) "The only trap I've ever been in is when you play bad you get beat. If that's a trap then every week is a trap. Like I said, our talk with our team is if we play good we got a chance to win. That's not going to change, and that's what they're focused on. They were absolutely focused today, a great practice today. That's why they give themselves a chance to play well on Sunday or Monday."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on DE J.J. Watt winning AFC Defensive Player of the Month) "Certainly everybody recognizes what he did. It's good to get that recognition for him. He certainly had a tremendous month. I've had Reggie White and Bruce Smith and Elvin Bethea and Curly Culp, who may go in the Hall of Fame this year. I've been around a lot of good players and I don't know that they had any better four games than what he's had, really six games. The last six games he's played have been that way. It's great to see him get that honor. He deserves it."
(on preparing for the Jets) "The complicated thing with the Jets as everybody knows is they do have two quarterbacks and both of them have played. They're completely different offenses when one is in there and the other is in there. They could probably run the same offense with either one. (Tim) Tebow, you have to get ready for the things that he does and all the things he could do. The old wildcat kind of stuff except he's a quarterback. The wildcat overall was a running back, back there that really couldn't' throw the ball. He gives you double-dimension there being able to run it and throw it. That's a problem. Then (Mark) Sanchez, the first game and the third game he really had big games. Of course, he had a big game two years ago against the Texans. We know what he can do. He's a number-one pick quarterback."
(on the Jets' offense ) "They struggle one week, but they also scored 48 one game and the other game they had a big game. He had 300-something yards passing the other game. We look at their best things and what they do best and we're going to have to try to stop those."
(on facing the Jets' offense) "We just have to get a feel for what they're going to do during the game as far as their receivers. Certainly (WR Santonio) Holmes is a really good receiver so we wanted to play against their best but we're not going to be able to."
(on ILB Brian Cushing's importance) "He's our playmaker from the inside at linebacker and makes plays all over the field, makes plays that I don't see any other linebackers being able to make. He gives you a lot of versatility. He can cover man-to-man. He can play on third down so you play every down. He can rush. He's just a versatile player that does everything well."
(on if anything changed for ILB Brian Cushing this year) "No, actually the Moe linebacker normally makes more tackles than the Mike. We had a different situation last year, and we used (ILB Brian Cushing) Cush at the Mike. The Moe really is set up to be able to make more plays and also you can cover man-to-man more if you have a Moe that can cover man-to-man if you can play more man-to-man stuff. It gives us a lot more versatility."
(on how much the other players feed off of ILB Brian Cushing's intensity) "We've got a special group as far as feeding off each other. We've got guys that play like (ILB Brian Cushing) Cush does. We've got quite a few of those guys. That generates a lot of energy for our defense."
(on if he ever has to slow ILB Brian Cushing down at all) "No, he makes good decisions. He's not hitting people late or things like that. He's flying all over the field, a la Robert Brazile when we had him way back. Almost every play, if you look around, you'll see his number. If he doesn't make the tackle, he's right there even if it's a pass play down the field and a receiver catches the ball, you see him around the pile. He's going to show up a lot."
(on ILB Brian Cushing playing with a controlled recklessness) "He's learned to do that I think as he's gone along. That's a unique aspect for a guy like that because some guys play out of control, over-run every play, that kind of thing. He's learned to be patient and then attack."
(on former Houston Oilers LB Robert Brazile) "I got Robert Brazile. He attacked every play. I couldn't believe how good of a player he was when I came in my first year with the Oilers. He was phenomenal."
(on FS Danieal Manning) "(FS) Danieal Manning's really the leader in the secondary although (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe, I think everybody certainly respects the things he does at cornerback, but Danieal, even at the last of the game last game, we had two safeties out. We put in our second team all across the board. I think he was only starter that was playing in the last five minutes of the game last week. You saw him make some plays, make some outstanding plays at full speed. That's just the way he is. He's that kind of player."
(on FS Danieal Manning's impact ) "He's really focused on what we're doing. He plays so fast. He made a play. A lot of people don't remember it, but Cincinnati last year when we were up there. They broke a play, looked like a touchdown and he caught him from behind and made the play down there. We stopped them. They kicked a field goal. Those kind of plays that end out being game winners although looks like the offense made the game winner on the last play, but he actually made a great game winning play and he does that quite a bit."
(on preparing for QB Tim Tebow) "We use the quarterback sometimes to move around and throw the ball. Sometimes we use somebody else to simulate his running. It's hard to simulate him specifically because he can run. He can throw."
(on DE Antonio Smith's play) "(DE) Antonio (Smith) has started out real well again this year. He's very active. He's so quick. We've got to put him on the move a lot. He's' not a huge guy. He's actually played the run a lot better this year. He's playing stronger against the run, which helps us overall. Just lack of size is probably the only negative on him, but any pass-rush situation, the guards have a lot of trouble with him because he's such a good rusher."
(on the team's pass rush) "(DE) Antonio (Smith) is playing really well too. Our outside rushers we know are coming all the time, and our inside rushers are both doing well. Then we'll bring (ILB Brian Cushing) Cush sometimes. We might bring (FS Glover Quin) every once in a while."
LT Duane Brown
(on if this could be a trap game) "No trap game for us, we know better than that. We know what kind of team we're getting. We know the Jets are very talented, especially from an offensive end. Looking at their defense, we know how much talent they have. We know how hard they play. You can't look at a team based on what they've done in weeks past. We know that we're going to get their A game. It's a Monday night stage. They're playing at home. They're hearing about everything that's going on. I'm sure they're looking to make a statement. We're preparing as we do for every game. We're not looking at it any other way."
(on more Texans fans showing up on the road) "I get a lot of tweets about it, how people traveling. You show up, you get in the tunnel, you see how many people out there cheering for you. That's huge for us. We love that our fans travel so much and are really rallying behind us. It's great to see people in the stands, to hear them cheering for you. It really gets us going."
(on if the Texans are building a national following) "I wouldn't doubt it. I think people are taking notice of the work we're putting in. I think we have great character guys. They're all likeable that the nation is just starting to embrace it."
(on if they change anything protection-wise to protect QB Matt Schaub) "We haven't changed anything. We're more aware of that, and we just have to get on our blocks and sustain them. I think we took a big step forward in that area last week. We'll definitely have to this week. We know that they're going to blitz from all angles, and something we've really made a point of emphasis on this week."
RG Antoine Caldwell
(on his health) "Practiced yesterday, practiced today, not really too much pain, so expecting everything to be back to normal Monday."
(on if he expected it to be worse than it actually is now) "Yeah I was. When it happened, I thought it was going to be pretty bad. For a little while, I couldn't really feel anything initially afterwards so that's what kind of scared me, but we went in there and got the test and everything seems to be okay and I came out here Thursday in practice and then today in practice. Everything feels good."
(on how relieved he is about his health) "Very relieved, like I said, the way it looked and the way it felt, could've been a lot worse. It's a blessing that it worked out and I'm back out here with the team and everything feels good."
RB Justin Forsett
(on if he feels like he's still learning this offense) "I've been in this offense for a couple years now before I got here running a zone scheme and West Coast offense. I'm pretty accustomed to it."
(on the team's confidence in him) "It's unbelievable. It feels good that they have confidence in me. They trust me to go out there and I just got to be consistent and continue to show them what I can do."
(on having a three-headed monster at running back) "It's special just because I try to put in a lot of work. I try to work hard every day. For other people to take notice, I'm appreciative."
(on what he can bring to the offense) "Just a lot of energy, a lot of excitement, I can go out there and make plays and be productive any way I can and try to be a spark for the team."
RB Arian Foster
(on playing on Monday night) "Anytime you're on the national stage, it means a little something. Once the ball gets snapped all that hype goes away and you got to just play the game."
(on the Jets) "They have capable people. Obviously Darrelle Revis is one of the better players in the NFL, but they have people that can step up and get the job done. They pride themselves on defense."
(on RB Justin Forsett) "He's a running back that can get the job done. He's shown that every time he gets an opportunity. This league is about opportunity. With (RB) Ben (Tate) being out for a while, he's going to step up and do good for us."
(on playing to a national audience) "I don't know, man. I'm not really worried about anybody, what they think about us. I don't really care. We're going to play. They're going to watch. If they want to deem us as a good team in the NFL, they'll deem us. If not, they won't. You can't really worry about that."
(on playing on the national stage ) "Anytime it's a national game, obviously it means something. Like I said earlier, once the ball is snapped you don't think about any of that. It's just a game, and you got to execute."
(on how he feels four games in) "I'm feeling good."
QB Case Keenum
(on practicing as QB Tim Tebow in practice this week) "It's obviously a little different. He's got a lot of different skill sets, but I'm trying to do whatever I can to help the defense right now. Whatever look that may be, quarterback, receiver, obviously Tim (Tebow) can do a lot of different things so just trying to give the defense the best look. It's going well."
FS Glover Quin
(on the Texans building a national following) "When you're playing well a lot of fans want to support you. When you're not playing well, they really don't. For a few years, we weren't playing very well so they probably didn't want to come or spend the money on tickets. Now that we are playing better, we come close to a city near them, they might say, 'You know what? we're going to catch this Texans game because I'm from Houston or I'm a Texans fan. I just live someplace else.' Maybe more people are just caring about us."
(on not viewing Monday as a trap game) "That's our whole motto. We take care of business. We don't care who it is, who they line up. Our job is to win. We don't get caught up in who is going to play, who is not going to play. We don't get caught up in that. We worry about us doing our job and that's what we stay focused on."