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Quotes: Friday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
OLB Bryan Braman
RB Arian Foster
K Shayne Graham
CB Johnathan Joseph
CB Stanford Routt
DE Antonio Smith

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on injury updates) "As far as the guys that did not practice, (CB) Alan Ball did not practice. (T Derek) Newton did not practice and (OLB) Brooks (Reed) did not practice. Of those three guys, Alan Ball worked with the trainers. The other two were inside. Other than that, everybody was back at practice."

(on if CB Johnathan Joseph could start on Monday) "I think we've got to keep going. It's a long week. What's today? Friday? So we've still got three days before we play and all the steps have been positive. Yesterday, he did more today. Same thing with (ILB) Bradie (James). They're all heading toward playing, but I think until we get there, we have to be smart and see what's going on."

(on if they're still game-time decisions) "Well, I think if they all come out of practice, these guys we're talking about, come out of practice fine tomorrow, they should be ready to go, should be no setbacks. You're talking about some players that have been out for a while and we're bringing them along with a process here. It's not like he went out there and took 100 percent of the snaps today, but it's been good."

(on RT Derek Newton's status) "You know what, he got sore. That was his first workout back yesterday, got sore on us so we shut him down today. He will, hopefully, go back tomorrow and if the steps he takes are good over the course of the next couple of days, he could still be there. In response to his first time back on the field, we shut him down today."

(on WR Andre Johnson not considering himself a leader ) "He's a leader. That's (WR) Andre (Johnson). He's very quiet from that standpoint, but he leads by example. That's the greatest there is, when you do things the right way. He's a worker. You all know what I think of him. He's a class act, how he handles himself with you all, in this city as a player as a person. Everybody looks to him. I can tell you this, when he talks in front of the team, everybody listens. I think he's a big-time leader."

(on possibly playing in bad weather on Monday) "I don't think anything makes us panic. If we show up and that's the type of night we've got to play in, we've got to go get it done. I know one thing, it's not going to be like it's been out here the last two days. What was it, 80 degrees out there today? I think we kind of welcome getting some cooler air when we go on the road. If it's wet or whatever, we're playing on turf, so it will be a different type of field than what we got in Chicago. We'll have to handle the ball and protect it like we did that night."

(on not practicing on turf) "I don't like practicing on it. I'm going to be outside. I'll do walkthroughs in there just to keep them out of the heat early in the season. I'd really rather not ever practice on it."

(on if there is a need to practice on turf at all to prepare for Monday's game) "No, I don't think so. I just think two hours out there wears some guys down. We have such nice grass here, such nice fields, so we're going to be outside."

(on the NFL possibly eliminating kickoffs) "I've been worried about the Patriots. I don't know. Obviously, I think it's something as coaches when the NFL shows you statistics at the end of the year why this or why they may be thinking about doing something. I think as a coach, maybe you look at it a little bit different. Right now, it'd be hard for me to have a comment why. I know we're going to kick off this week, so we better do it good."

(on kickoff safety) "I think the movement of the ball, what was it? Five yards and doing away with the wedges has definitely changed a lot of the collisions, just from my perspective on it. I think they're always looking at ways to protect players. That's a good thing. They're always looking at things for that reason. I think that's a good thing."

(on WR Keshawn Martin's high punt return average) "It ought to be higher. We get rid of our penalties it'd be a lot higher. That was my message to the team the other day. I've never seen a kid have so many yards called back. We knew he had it in him. We started one direction at the beginning of year, didn't want to put too much on his plate, then we felt comfortable with it. I think he's been excellent. I think he's gotten better each week. He was a difference maker last week in field position for us as a team. He's gained a lot of confidence. He's played a lot of football. He's like a second year player out there right now. I think he's one of those guys that can win a game for us, can make a big play and win a game for us right now."

(on the Patriots CB Aqib Talib) "You kind of notice since Bill's (Belichick) got him, he's locked him up in some places on some people. Anytime we go anywhere with (WR) Andre (Johnson) we're obviously capable of seeing stuff like that. They're multiple-coverage football team and play a lot of man coverage. The thing I'm impressed with, they do a good job getting to the quarterback. They really do. They get inside pressure, outside pressure. Regardless of us staying on schedule, keeping our down and distances manageable is going to be huge in the game."

(on if Patriots DE Chandler Jones has stuck out) "Yeah, he definitely did. He hasn't played what in a couple weeks now. I don't know what his status is, but he's very long. We loved him coming out of the draft. He's been a real good player for them."

(on QB Case Keenum's role preparing for the Patriots' quick offense) "Actually (QB) T.J. (Yates) gets the bulk of it, but (QB) Case (Keenum) kind of plays everywhere. Case has done a wonderful job this year. I think he's got a bright future in this league. I'm looking forward to these next eight weeks, but I'm really looking forward to his future coming back after a year with our team because he's made a lot of progress. He knows what's going on. He's going to be very competitive come next year."

(on CB Stanford Routt) "Kind of what I told you yesterday, he can lock somebody up. He's very talented. He was better today, as far as scheme-wise and what we did. He took more reps today. Depending on (CB) Alan (Ball) right here, he could very well be suiting up this weekend. If he does, he's going to have to play some special teams and possibly go out there. I think it's a good chance for him and his career and where better for him to get a chance to get that thing going again than right there where he went to school? It's a good situation for him."

(on if WR DeVier Posey will have to play cornerback this week) "No, we got enough guys now. We've just got to get them all to the game, got a lot of guys on the roster at that position right now. (WR) DeVier (Posey) needs to stay where he's at. He covered some kicks good last week. He's practiced well, so we'll go from there."

(on the feeling of the team now compared to this point last season) "It's a lot the same. What was going on last year, what week are we in? This is Week 13, so it was Week 13 last year that we won on the road and got in the playoffs. Some of that's been the same. The team is, I think, a little bit more businesslike in their approach and what they're doing. Like I said last week, they expected to get in this position. They're playing in big game after big game. That's why you do it. They handle themselves very well. I think they're very humble. We've been through enough situations as a team that they stay focused. They know, 'Hey, we've got a problem here. We've got to hunker down here and get this done this week. We've got a problem there. Somebody else has got to step in.' I think they stay focused on what it's going to take to win next week. If these first two days are an indication, we've practiced very, very well. That means they know. They know what they're fixing to face down there and how they're going to have to play. That's impressive to me."

(on what makes Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips so good) "First off, not very complicated, he's got a lot of confidence in what he's doing. First thing (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips), we were able to put together a good group of coaches with Wade. Getting (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) to come with him was very important from a teaching standpoint, getting (Secondary Coach Vance Joseph) V.J., (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line). Bill (Kollar) was obviously here. We had no training camp. They were very simple. They didn't overload these guys. We had some young players and then they started implementing as we went along. I think how they went about bringing it to where it's at right now has been very important. Summing all that up, Wade's just tremendous at calling the game. He knows how to bust protections. He knows how to go get the quarterback and very aggressive from that standpoint. It's been that way forever in his career."

Houston Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on the defense's use of DE J.J. Watt and how to disguise him) "You know it's more (DE) J.J. (Watt) than what we're doing, as far as disguise. He's such a good player, you can put him about anywhere and he can make plays. So that's the big part of it. We move him around some. We don't move him around all the time. He's going to play mostly on the left side, our defensive left, and people know that. We've got some things, if they start doubling him, we've brought pressures from the other side that have been giving teams problems. Once they start trying to do things to him, we've got answers for it. But he'll get double-teamed and make plays."

(on playing DE J.J. Watt against guards and centers) "Well that's what he plays on the nickel defense all the time. He plays more on the guard, and in our base defense he plays on the tackle and the guard. And we have some other schemes where he plays defensive end or outside. We do want to move him around some, you don't want to say 'Hey, here he is.' And that's what you've seen over the years, (WR) Andre (Johnson) the same thing. Andre used to play the weak side receiver all the time, now you see him different places because you know people are going to get after him. They're going to try to double those good players."

(on DE J.J. Watt being a dominant player inside) "He's certainly a dominant player inside, but like I said, he can play anywhere."

(on if DE J.J. Watt should be considered for the NFL MVP) "I don't have any doubt that he should be. He's already setting records right now and we're not through with the season, obviously. We play New England and Indianapolis, which are both some of the least sacked teams in the league. So it'll be a tough time to be on the top of the league as far as that's concerned. A lot of that is how many sacks teams give up, and we're playing teams that don't give up many. But he still gets his share."

(on if more defensive players should get consideration for NFL MVP) "Sure. I mean why wouldn't I? I'm on defense. I think they're the most important players. (DE J.J. Watt) certainly is going to get recognition because he's earned it."

(on New England moving the ball down the field at a high speed) "It's just more plays, and the more plays you have, the more yards you're going to make. That's what college football is doing. They're running the plays so fast. If you have 90, 100, plays, you're going to have more yards and more points. The flip side of that, hopefully you have good enough defenses that cause problems for them, where you have turnovers, those kinds of things. It's always a struggle back and forth that way. They (New England) do a great job of that. That's why they're scoring so many points and their defense is doing a good job of getting the ball for them. If you can hurry up and run more plays and not turn the ball over, you'd want to do that. Everybody would want to do that."

(on if QB T.J. Yates has done a good job of preparing the team for New England's offense) "Yeah, we basically work that way all the time. When we start training camp, I always purposefully call the signals late so the guys have to think fast when the other team is already ready. Our teaching process involves that because I want them to have to think right now, quick, and know what to do and get it done. A lot of our whole season and especially training camp, we teach that way. So when we do find someone who hurries up, we're used to thinking that way."

(on the Patriots' scout team using rackets and brooms to simulate knocked down passes) "I'd use a broom more than a racket because it's a lot longer. But whatever they want to do is fine. We've played a lot of teams already and we're doing a good job in that area and I expect us to continue that."

(on already facing QB Aaron Rodgers and now facing QB Tom Brady) "Great quarterbacks can play great at any time, that's why they're great. (Tom) Brady is so good, everybody knows how great is. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer, one of the greatest all time. He's certainly a big challenge."

(on DE Antonio Smith's year) "Yeah (DE) Antonio (Smith) is having a great year, probably had his best game last (week). (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line) Bill (Kollar) said he probably had his best game ever here last ball game. He's a great inspiration for our guys, he's a good leader. He's real talented, especially in the pass rush area, although he's played the run really well. Our run defense is pretty strong and he's a big part of that."

(on CB Brandon Harris against WR Wes Welker) "(WR Wes) Welker has 92 catches and I don't think Brandon has 29 plays. It's a challenge, certainly. We expect him to step up and play, we're going to try to help him in certain areas. But it's going to be one-on-one some. It's going to be one-on-one pass rush with our guys to put pressure on the guy and it's going to be one-on-one for our guys to cover them sometimes, that's just how it is."

(on how CB Brandon Harris played last week against Detroit) "I thought he had a good game, he was ready to play, and that's the key thing. Coming in and playing when you haven't been playing at all, I thought he did a really good job. He had some bad plays, but not very many. He's smart, athletic, he's real quick - he's a good inside corner for us. We felt like he would be a good nickel guy. That's what his strength is, and he had to play it, and I thought he did a good job."

(on CB Stanford Routt) "He's faster than everybody, so that's a good start. He's very athletic. And he's a veteran guy who can come in and understand the concepts. He's already caught onto what we do defensively, especially on third down stuff. Which I think is where he'd have to play early for us if that would come about. And without J-Joe (CB Jonathan Joseph) he's going to have to play."

(on SS Daniel Manning's influence) "Yeah, (SS Danieal) Manning is such a tremendous player. Besides his ability, his leadership out there. Not only out on the field, but even in the classroom. He's really strong in those areas, and I can't say enough about what he does there."

(on CB Jonathan Joseph's status and if he is healthy) "I hope so, he didn't practice the whole practice today. I don't know what we turned in. He did practice, and when he did practice he looked like he was fine to me. But I'm not the doctor, and we didn't practice him every play."

(on looking toward the future as far as player health is concerned and motivation for each game) "This game is not a motivational game for you as far as a coach is concerned because they know what they're up against, they're going to be motivated for the game. So it's not as big of a deal there. It's more detailed as far as what we're going to do. We really don't look past this game, that's the way we've been all year. We'll continue to do that. Obviously this game is the biggest of the year until the next one."

OLB Bryan Braman
(on his thoughts on doing away with kickoffs) "I appreciate (NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell) trying to look out for the safety and the health of the players, but guys like me would be out of a job. So I don't really find that too amusing at all. But this actually is the first that I've heard about it, so yeah, I don't like the sounds of that at all."

(on if he thinks that too many guys are getting hurt on kickoffs) "It's definitely been talked about. But if you think about it, we're not playing volleyball or baseball, it's a pretty violent sport. I believe injuries are part of the game, and they have been from the beginning. I'm pretty sure that everybody who comes into playing football is well-informed on the risks that they take with their safety and they go out there and do it anyways. I don't see what it will do other than just change the game."

(on K Shayne Graham's comment on them trying to take the 'foot' out of 'football.") "I like that, that was good. It doesn't seem like it would need to happen. Football is football. Let us go out and play. And I respect the fact that (Roger Goodell) is trying to make it as safe as possible, it's a violent game, and it's big guys and we like to go out there and be violent. Taking all that out of the game doesn't seem like it makes very much sense."

(on if anyone enjoys kickoffs more than him) "I like to think that I enjoy them the most. I mean, I love my job and I definitely have a lot of fun going down there and doing that. I'm going to say no, I don't think anyone likes kickoffs more than I do."

RB Arian Foster
(on the challenge of facing the Patriots) "The challenge is it's a really good challenge. New England is a tough team. We're really looking forward to the challenge, big stage on Monday night and it's going to be a tough game."

(on WR Andre Johnson calling it the biggest game in team history) "I'd say it's a really big game and if (WR) Andre (Johnson) says it's the biggest game in team history then that's exactly what it is."

(on playing on the Monday night stage) "Anytime you have a chance to play on a big stage, I think you have to come through. It shows the character of the team the bigger the stage the better you play. That's a sign of a really good football team."

(on how he feels today) "I am feeling good, really well-rested. Had a good practice, as well as the other guys, so just looking forward to tomorrow."

K Shayne Graham
(on the opportunity of playing the New England Patriots and formerly playing for them) "You look at what they've done, obviously that speaks for itself. We're excited about it, because we know we're being given the opportunity to prove ourselves and to be looked at as a really good team in this league. I played for them in 2010 and had success with them when I played with them and I look forward to being back there on that field."

(on having pressure on every kick in the NFL) "Every kick, there really isn't a difference between the last kick and the first kick. You might make or miss any of those. And that first kick of the game could end up making the biggest differences as that last kick in the game. You don't put the importance on them any more than another, you just treat every kick the same. That's how you become more successful in this league and have a career is when you treat every kick like it's a game winning field goal."

(on if he would want the opportunity to make a game-winning field goal against New England) "Obviously I would love to have that. I think anyone who plays this game wants to be in that situation. Especially this year, I got a chance to make one. But I had a chance – I could have closed a couple before that. I think it would be good for me and this team. If that's what it came down to, I would love to be able to have that opportunity. But I think we would all like to see the game not be very close, but yet, if that's how you win, that's how you win."

(on the possibility of there being no more kickoffs in the league) "I don't know how much 'foot' you can take out of 'football.' I really don't know what to say because, I mean I heard about it, and when you hear about it – how do you take something out of the game that's been such a tradition for so long? But yet, I guess it's all about the injury concern. They tried moving the ball up, they're getting a lot of touchbacks. Maybe fans would like to see more returns, but in order to have those returns, you have to have those violent collisions coming in. Who knows? Those collisions happen on punts, too. Those collisions happen on crossing routes. Those collisions happen every time a fullback takes on a linebacker on a lead block. It happens all the time. You can try to eliminate it. I don't really know what to say, as far as the validity of that rule change or if it will even pass. I don't know how that's voted on, how the competition committee, if players have a say in it, or coaches, I really don't know. I know a lot of special teams coaches would probably want to keep the kickoffs in there because it's more of their chance of a challenge and teaching and coaching a game."

(on kickoffs being a chance to set the tone) "It's a big tone setter. That opening kickoff of the game does a lot for momentum sometimes."

(on if kickoffs are more violent now than ever) "I think what you end up seeing, is you see guys who are faster, guys who are more muscular, stronger, you know. With people learning more about health and nutrition, guys are able to be bigger, faster and stronger. Guys are learning more about physical conditioning than they did 20, 30 years ago. You had big guys back then, you had fast guys. But the guys today, the average fan doesn't understand just how big and strong and fast these guys are. And when you see it every day, you're amazed at how just the routine play can be so violent. And the more and more these guys get bigger and faster, the more violent the game is going to be with certain hits. They eliminated the large wedge on kickoff returns and now it's only two guys can be together, you can't have more than that. They've tried ways to eliminate the big collisions, but I think they're going to be there no matter what."

(on the two sides of the violence in the league) "It's a double-edged sword. You have the guys who are like, 'Let the guys hit." You even think that the league, look at the commercials for NFL football, they show some of the biggest hits, but yet we get fined for hitting too hard, helmet-to-helmet hits. And those have been a part of the game for a long time. And yeah, we want to eliminate anything where anyone can get hurt, but then it becomes, how do you take away that hard-nosed violence of the game that we've been taught since we first put on a football helmet and then turn that into you're being punished for hitting too hard. It's really hard because you don't want people getting hurt. But we're also taught to hit hard. I've heard so many different arguments on this, but it's tricky. No matter what, there's something that you can have a hard time with either way."

(on if he would come down against or for the abolishment of kickoffs) "I really don't know. I enjoy kicking. I enjoy kicking. So whatever more I can do for my job, I enjoy it. Players play, coaches coach, and other people make these decisions that I'm not a part of. I'll handle what's given to me. That's all I can do."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on how he feels) "I'm good to go. I'm good to go. I practiced yesterday and today, felt fine, so I'm good to go."

(on if he's starting on Monday) "Yeah, no doubt about it."

(on facing the Patriots' offense and their pace) "It's an up-tempo offense. They get on the line fast. (QB) Tom (Brady) obviously makes a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage. For us, it's just about staying calm and just being focused and paying attention to the small things. It's not the big picture in that particular situation because you can't get focused on him making all the checks and lose focus of what the particular coverage is and things you're responsible for. For us, it's just staying focused and focused on the defense that's being called."

(on how excited he is to play on Monday) "Words can't describe it just because I'm just happy to be back out on the field with my teammates and running around again. Acting like a little kid out there yesterday, couldn't stop talking through the warm-up line and guys kind of giving me crap about it a little bit like, 'You can tell he's back out here because you hear him talking.'"

CB Stanford Routt
(on what this defense is like from the inside) "It's great. It's got playmakers on all three levels. Pass rush, linebackers and especially in the secondary. So it's going to be real fun to be a part of it."

(on what he thinks about the opportunity to be a part of this team) "It's great. Be able to play in my home state. Playing for a team that's winning and on its way to the playoffs. Like I said, we'll just have to see what happens, but I'm happy."

(on if he has heard from a lot of Houston fans) "Yeah, I heard from some of them, so it's going to be real fun.

(on how he fits in with this defense) "I think I fit in real well. They play a lot of man coverage, mix it up a lot. The corners are aggressive and play with a lot of confidence, so I think it's going to be a good fit for me."

DE Antonio Smith
(on getting guys healthy back on defense) "We got most of our parts back. There is still a couple banged up and missing. It's going to be fun. It's going to be fun to have all those faces back and be able to go out there and let it all hang out."

(on how they can keep up with the fast-paced Patriots offense) "Play football, in every game we play in some way shape or form, the teams have tried to speed up the offense. We're used to that. We're used to a team trying to get us tired, trying to slow our rush down, and playing a quick tempo, quick pace type of offensive game. It's nothing that we haven't seen before."

(on if the Patriots fast pace makes it harder to get to QB Tom Brady) "No, it's the same. It's going to get you more tired. You've just got to fight through that. It gets you a little winded. Sometimes it can work against the offense, too, because you're doing that quick-paced offense. It takes one big play and it can mess it up, slow it down."

(on how much fun it is playing with DE J.J. Watt and their success) "We just have fun out there. We enjoy playing with each other. Bulls on Parade is the best defense ever to be on, to have this many characters, for us all to enjoy playing with each other and joking with each other, it's just finding cool things to do like make letterman jackets. Like who does that, you know?"

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