Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke with the media Thursday in Indianapolis at the Combine. The following is a transcript of his conversation with the press.
(What it will take to overtake the Patriots and elite teams?) "I don't think there is one answer to that next step if that's what you're asking me. I think we have to stay committed as an organization and a football team to get ourselves in that position. You can never go to that championship game or win that Super Bowl unless you continue to put yourself in that position. And obviously, we're going to have to be better once we get there. We have a young football team. But we have a lot of guys who have experienced four playoff games. That's a good thing. Our quarterbacks have now experienced two playoff games. We have to continue to grow from that. We have to stay committed to our program if we do that, keep puttingourselves in that position, than I think we'll find a way to get that done.''
(on Colts QB Andrew Luck) "I remember standing up here last year and knowing what I knew about him and watching this process, I thought this guy had a chance to be tremendous right off the get go. He was exception. I was very impressed with what he did as well as some other young quarterbacks in the league, but the job he came in here and did and he took this football team over, and the job the coach did as a whole with him leading the way was very exceptional."
(on finding a second WR) "I think that continues to be right now a big focus for us as an organization. We drafted a few young guys last year. I do have a young guy in Lestar Jean that I think a lot of. DeVier Posey was making big, big progress and now we're dealing with a significant injury that is going to take some time. So I think its important that we continue to strengthen our team in that area. Andre is in year 11 or something like that now so weve got to find some other guys to continue to produce alongside of him."
(on FB James Casey) "I think he was very much involved with what we did. I think he had a 30-plus catch season playing the fullback position for us. If there's one thing that maybe kept that from getting bigger is the fact that (TE) Garrett Graham was such a fine player for us in training camp. We took a risk going with two tight ends going into the season, if you counting James it was three. OD (Owen Daniels) and Garrett played exceptional for us. James did a good job. He played all over the place. He starts at fullback for us. He's grown a lot as a player. He's in a free-agent situation but we think the world of him. He's done a good job."
(on WR Keyshawn Martin) "I'm real excited for him to come back. There's another level for this young man to reach. He gained a lot of confidence. He probably had the best training camp of any young player that we had. Was contributing early in the season. I think the season got a little long on him, the rookie wall whatever they want to say. I think he'll come back and be an even better contributor for our football team and has a chance to be an excellent returner. He can play both. He's small from a stature standpoint. But when he learns to play through the bumps and the holds of this league, which he can do a better job of he'll be more productive.''
(Question about penalties) "We're a big penalty team in special teams. That's a big concern of ours. If I'm looking for a reason why we fell off a little bit, our inside linebacker situation got very thin when we lost Cush. When you're having problems at linebacker in the NFL, you're probably going to suffer on special teams. We're not going to use that as an excuse. But it's something we have to do better. It was young players for the most part. But that's not an excuse. You're going to play with young players. We've got to do a better job of not having it happen. And if they do, find a way to overcome them. It's just something we have to continue to work on especially when you're at a point in the season when we're not putting the pads on anymore and you can't beat on anymore late in the season, you have to maintain your focus."
(on OLB Brooks Reed) "He's very capable of being a stack player, playing inside in our 3-4. Yes, that could happen. But we'd liked him as a SAM, he's a heck of a SAM player. But you've always have to have some flexibility with one player or two players in various situations when you come across like what we did last year. Depending on what happens with our football team moving forward right now with Connor (Barwin) and some other things we're always looking for some flexibility.''
(Does Matt Schaub need more flexibility audibiling at line?) "He does do a lot for us. We do a lot more than you may think. We do a lot of at the line of scrimmage. Matt probably does as
much for me as I've had anybody do in a while. Matt's played a lot of football for us. Yeah, if we keep going I trust him to do a lot of things. We're built a certain way, so we're going to teach our system. But he's very capable of getting us in the best play possible. And I think we're doing that most of the time anyway."
(What gets you better at coming from behind in two minute situations?) "It's about making plays. You look at last year, you look at Jacksonville and Detroit, we were exceptional. We won two shootouts, back to back where we had to come from behind, had to throw the ball every time. So theres a lot of good going on there. We got caught in some situations in New England where obviously the first time we were in a really bad situation. Probably not as bad in the playoff game. I just think it's experience. It's the experience of the quarterback and the weapons he has around him. Being able to function when everybody around him knows he has to throw."
(Evaluating the QB depth in draft) "You're always looking to do that. I have a young player in T.J. (Yates) who I think a lot of. He goes from playing a lot of football, starting a playoff game to basically not doing much of all this year, having maybe 10 snaps, that was tough. I have a young player from the Univ. of Houston in Case Keenum, I think a lot of who came a long way for me last year. I feel good about those guys pushing Matt. And then we did sign McGee here a couple of weeks ago. In this business, you better be looking for young quarterbacks you think have a chance to be a 10, 12-year guy. This year will be no different.''
(How important is Glover Quin?) "He's very important. First off, he's not only a heck of a player for us. He's a leader in our locker room. A class act. He played very well for us. It's very important, Rick and I talked about it and as a staff, obviously, we want him to continue to be there for our football team. We have to go through the process. But he's very important to what we're doing.''
(Question about being in favor of eliminating low blocks) "Obviously, it's a big part of what we do. We cut offensively. I think it's part of the game. I do understand what the league is doing. There's some things going on, some peel back situations when players are coming back towards their own goal line and cutting people. I think we need to find a way to get that cleaned up. I think the league took some steps towards doing that outside the box, now they're working on doing that inside the box. I understand. Anything they can do to make their game safer and protect players, I understand that.''
(Should there be a total ban on low blocks?) "Me? No. I think you know that answer. That's part of what we do. It's part of football. We teach it the right way. Hopefully, that part stays with us. But I do understand the issues going on as far as going back towards your particular goal line.''