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Houston Texans

Quotes: Head coach Gary Kubiak


Head Coach Gary Kubiak**
(on what moves the team made today) "We're just finishing that up and we have started our process, but I haven't had a chance to talk to any of the young men yet so I'm not going to disclose those right now, but you should be getting them here pretty quickly, when I get out of this meeting."

(on the backup quarterback situation) "What I'll do is I'll start (QB) Case (Keenum) this week. They'll both play a half of football going into this one. Obviously they're going to be playing with a bunch of young players, but I think it's been extremely close. It would be hard to make a decision today. But if I would have to make one, I'd make one. I think this game is still important. They've continued to get better, each of them, and push each other. I think it's going to be a good thing for our football team. I'm going to hold off here and let them play this week and then we'll probably lock in before we go into our total San Diego process which would be the following Thursday. I'm going to let them compete one more week and see how it goes."

(on what QBs T.J. Yates and Case Keenum are doing well) "They're both moving very good. They're both making a lot of plays moving around. They both protected the ball extremely well. That was a little bit of a concern of mine during training camp. We went through a period there where we weren't protecting the ball very well for a couple of days, if you remember when (QB) Matt (Schaub) missed practice for a couple of days due to a family situation. They've cleaned that up. They've moved the group very well, both of them. Only thing that could've been different is we finish that drive last night and we're still out there trying to figure out who's going to win that football game. They've both been very good and in command of what we're doing and their growth in our offense. Like I said, I probably feel as good as I've felt after my starter probably in a long, long time. Like I said, it's a nice problem to have. We'll see where we end up here in a week."

(on previously stating the backup quarterbacks were neck-and-neck and one would have to lean at the finish) "It's time to lean. First off, they both needed to play a lot. The preseason is so important to your backup quarterback, whoever that is, so they are going to get to play a bunch this week. At the same time, they are going to be playing with a bunch of young players that we're trying to make decisions on in other areas. I understand that, but I just think they need the experience. We'll see how they handle it, go on the road and handle it."

(on where QB Case Keenum has taken the largest step forward) "It's just command of what we're doing offensively. He understands our offense and you can see that playing under center is second nature for him now, so that was a big change for him a year ago. I think just the command of game plans and what we're doing and what the expectations are. You see some of his athletic ability take over, like last night, take off and run in the situation, understanding coverage and what's going on. He's just come a long way as a pro and he's very comfortable right now as a player in his own skin. I can tell when he's out there. I feel the same way about (QB) T.J. (Yates). I think the last two weeks of T.J.'s play and his practice has probably been as good as I've been around."

(on RB Ben Tate) "He's played well. We didn't run him much the first couple of weeks. You understand the situation we've been in throughout camp, it's kind of been a concern of ours just having one healthy veteran back. He's had a great training camp. All of the good players I've been around, they have good camps that usually carry over into the season. I like Ben's attitude. Ben has got a chip on his shoulder. He knows this is a big, big year for him. He wants to be successful. He's that way for all the right reasons right now. I liked his mindset when we took the field last night. I told him before the game, I said, 'It's your call. You only come off the field when you want off the field and need a break.' I thought he handled himself very well and played very well. He's ready to go. I think Ben will play very well for us this year."
(on if there were any new injuries from the New Orleans game) "I think I told y'all after the game, we're a little concerned about (TE) Garrett (Graham). He's got a hip-pointer. He's going to be okay. Whether or not he's going to be available Thursday, I don't know. Other than that, we've just got some nicks. We are going to get two players back this week. (ILB Mike) Mohammed will be back this and (NT) Chris Jones will be back. So we're going to get two guys back that need to play that are battling for jobs on this team. That's where we're at right now."

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "He's doing good. I'm expecting him on the practice field tomorrow. We'll probably do some extra work with him. Whether we expose him Thursday, I think he's going to be in position to play Thursday, whether or not we expose him Thursday is a question we have to answer. You'd always like a guy to play some in the preseason before the season starts. At the same time, we have to be smart. He's ready. He's got a good week of work."

(on LG Wade Smith) "Wade is doing excellent. You're going to see Wade return to the field with the trainers this week. You'll see him working off to the side. He'll start his field work. There is a goal in mind as we go towards San Diego. A week from Thursday, we'll start our San Diego preparation, as far as our normal game week. We've kind of had that as a near mark for Wade, pushing towards that. We'll see if we can get there, but we should take some steps forward this week."

(on if there is any chance of RB Arian Foster or WR DeVier Posey get snaps against Dallas) "Arian, no. DeVier, yes there is an excellent chance. I want to watch him practice tomorrow. Obviously we've got a very short, limited amount of time, but DeVier had real good work yesterday. We'll work him tomorrow again. If everything continues positive, I would like to see him get on the field and get some snaps because it's been awhile."

(on if ILB Darryl Sharpton is hurt again) "No, he got sick on us. Nobody asked that last night, but we were in the hotel Saturday and he got sick on us after the meeting and wasn't feeling good. He could've played, wanted to play yesterday, but we made a decision right before the game to go without him. Sharp has had a good camp. He's really worked hard and stayed healthy and we think he can be a fine player for us. That's what took place."

(on what position or two will be toughest in terms of making final cuts) "I don't know. I could go all over the place. There are a lot of young linebackers that we have to really evaluate. There are probably going to be some tough decisions to make right there. Our defensive line has been as competitive as it's been. We kept six guys last year. That's not a lot of players for that position, so that's a very competitive position. I think the running back situation still has to figure a way to sort itself out with those three young guys. They're going to play a bunch this week. Those are some things that stand out to me right now."

(on if he likes that players cut by the Texans are being picked up by other teams) "Yeah, my approach as a coach in training camp all the time is don't get so consumed with where you're at on the depth chart or always worrying about this team. You're trying to prove you can play in the National Football League. I approach them all that way. You're proud of guys that if they can't find a way to make your team, they go make it in the League. That's a credit to the job that (general manager) Rick (Smith) has done and the scouts have done. If you look, this year, right now, at our draft class, the guys that have played really well. We've had some guys injured, but boy if you look at our (college) free agent class, this might be about as good as we've had as far as the numbers that could possibly be on this football team come final roster cuts next week. I've been very pleased with some of the free agent acquisitions we've had coming out of college that they have a chance to make us better."

(on if it will be hard to cut OLB Willie Jefferson and CB A.J. Bouye) "Well, we do all that next week, so no head starts. Willie's had a very good preseason. He's got some things that you can't teach. He's got length, athletic ability. (linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring) and (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) have brought him, he's come a long way with them as far as rushing the passer. Bouye has been a big surprise. It started in OTAs, so wasn't like it just started in the last couple of weeks. He's been excellent in his work, but special teams wise, he's been a big, big positive and that's so important. If you're going to be a fourth or fifth corner, you've got to be an extremely good special teams player and he has been through the course of preseason."

(on the chances of FS Ed Reed playing in Week 1) "I think we're going to really have a good idea when we come out of this week. He is in Vail today getting some injections and spending time with his surgeon. I think there's one more trip planned to Atlanta here on Tuesday, something like that this week. As we work to Dallas, we're going to have him do that. I think we're going to have a really good idea where we're at coming out of Dallas and starting our preparations because we do have what 10 days or something like that to get ready for San Diego."

(on if he's still worried about the coverage teams) "I'm concerned. We are going to be young. (K) Randy (Bullock) kicks the ball off as well as you can kick it off and the one that we don't get deep enough gets a big return on. That's a concern. (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) is still looking at a lot of players, so I think we will settle down. I think we'll improve just by settling down the nature of our final roster, but we're going to have a lot of young guys covering kicks and that's usually the case in this league. He and Lig (assistant special teams coach Bob Ligashesky) have to get them all in the right spot. It's something we've got to improve upon."

(on if it ever gets easier to reduce the roster) "No, it's miserable to be honest with you. I'm fixing to walk up here, what do we have? 14 guys, I think, to let go within with (DE) Antonio (Smith's) situation. Any time guys come in here and work their tail off for you for a month and you've got to tell them, 'No, not this time,' it's difficult. We're also talking to some young men who are going to get opportunities elsewhere. You appreciate all of their work. There's a lot of guys who did not get to play last night because we played our starters, so that's tough as a coach as a coach to see guys work and they don't get to go out there and get the chance to compete like some of the others. It's a tough day, but you've got to handle it the best way you can."

(on DE Antonio Smith not counting towards the roster until Sept. 10 and then having to make another move) "Yes, that's the approach right now."

(on if there's any one thing he wants to see going into this last preseason game that he wants to see more than anything else) "I can't say one particular thing. I know I've got to get a good look at these backs. I know that. We're trying to figure this thing out. I would say (RB) Deji (Karim), we got a pretty good look at last night. D.J. (RB Dennis Johnson) got a little bit. (RB) Cierre (Wood) did not get much at all. That's something I really want to work through and try to sort out. I think the linebacker situation, (linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring's) got to play a bunch of young guys this whole football game, so we can see and (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano's) got to play them too, so we can try to figure out who's making the steps forward and those type of things. It's going to be a very young group playing."

(on if the running backs are getting short changed because the offense has been throwing the ball a lot) "Yeah, I think they have not gotten the carries that you'd like them to get. We've been trying to figure out our wide receiver situation. We've gotten a good look at them. None of our young guys have missed practice, so we have a lot to go on from that standpoint. Now, watching it transfer from the practice field to the game, if we don't get to see it like we'd like to in the preseason, we've got to sort through as coaches. But it's always going to go back to special teams. It always does."

(on if he's concerned about the limited number of receptions by the backup wide receivers in their careers) "Well, they're young players. (WR) Keshawn (Martin's) a second-year guy. (WR) Lestar (Jean) and Pose (WR DeVier Posey), Pose was coming along at the end of last year. That's just the way we're built right now. I bet that's not the case when we get through this year, but I've been pleased with how much progress we've made. I think (WR Alec) Lemon has done a good job. I think we're going to have a good group of guys. We can spread the field a little bit. I love our first two tight ends. We've got a young tight end that's got a future in my opinion and we're going to have a good group. We've got to be able to be pretty balanced in what we're doing."

(on if there's uncertainty involving the status of FS Ed Reed) "I think we know what's going on. We feel good about understanding where he's at. I think the question is, 'Is he going to be ready right off the get-go?' That's got to get sorted out pretty quick, but you've got to understand our approach too. Our whole training camp, our approach has been without him, so the team's not going to panic. We understand and it's like the situation we've got with (DE) Antonio (Smith). Nobody's going to panic. (DE Jared) Crick's going to go in and play his tail off, like he did last night. But we will know more coming out of Dallas. To me, Ed's a guy, I talked to him yesterday at length, he knows and he's been through this before, and he feels very good about where he's at right now. I think we will know more as we head into San Diego."

(on the defense not having all played together and if the defense is where he wants it to be right now) "Well, yeah, I would have liked to see us play better in the preseason in the first half. Well, I shouldn't say the first half because there's a couple of preseason games they haven't played the whole first half. But we have given up some big plays. That's a concern in what we were doing last night. We were looking at it and did not like the way we played in the red zone. Yeah, you're right, there's some situations going on. We could show up on opening day and be close to full strength with 10 or we could be three short. We don't really know right now. That'll be determined. Probably my biggest concern is getting (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) the reps. He's such a young player. Getting him back out there working with Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) and all the guys he's going to play with—working with (OLB) Brooks (Reed). We've got to really get him back to work this week regardless of whether or not we play him Thursday at all. Once we start, we should only be getting better as we move forward because we do have them all back in place here at some point.

(on if he has made the decision to start DE Jared Crick in Week 1) "He and Timmy (DE Tim Jamison) are both playing but I think (DE Jared) Crick has really stepped forward as a player and has really kind of established himself in a lot of ways as our fourth (defensive lineman). There's still another week to go but we feel very good about what he's done."

(on how he would compare G/C Ben Jones' game at left guard to David Quessenberry's against New Orleans) "I think Ben (Jones) struggled, especially early in the game. Ben played very good at center. Remember, Ben worked on the right side all the time last year.  Now he's working on the left so I think there's been some adjustments there. I think (David) Quessenberry plays like a rookie. He plays really, really good and then there's some things we've got to fix. There's a play clock that we've got to fix, where it's all the time. It looks the same all the time but he is young. There is a situation where we could be without (LG) Wade (Smith) opening day; we don't know where we're going to be there. I think it's a very competitive environment and it will continue to be until we get to San Diego."

(on if it was expected that FS Ed Reed was going to get injections on his most recent trip to Colorado) "Yes. Yes, that's been part of the process all along."

(on if he feels like his offense is still a run-based offense and if that is against the trend of the NFL) "We're going to do what I think we have to do to win. A lot of things we do start with the run. Obviously, we've been missing (RB) Arian (Foster) throughout the course of training camp but I think (RB) Ben (Tate) has held up well. We want to be a physical football team. But the one thing I preach to our guys all the time, whatever we have to do. If somebody's going to line up and make us throw it, we've got to throw it. If not, we've got to be physical and line up and run the football. I think we've made some good progress as a football team throwing the football this preseason, I think we really have."

(on if he feels like there is too much made about the conversation of the trend of the way offenses are going in the NFL) "I don't know. I'm worried about my group. I can't worry about the trends and what's going on. I've got to do what's best for our football team."

(on if the prevailing thought that a strong passing game should be a team's bread and butter if they want to win a championship) "I don't know. I think you've got to do what your team does best. You can't worry about what everybody else does or what everybody else thinks is the formula. Last year, our formula, we played great defense, we ran the ball well, we held onto the ball longer than anybody in football. It was an excellent formula for our football team. This year, I don't know. We've got to go see. But I believe we're going to be able to run it and throw it and I expect us to play great defense again this year. We'll see how it goes but I want to have the feeling that we can do whatever we have to do to win."

(on how ILB Brian Cushing is doing) "He's done good. He's really good. And he got a bunch of good snaps in last night and I think his confidence is sky-high right now. He needed a couple preseason games and I think he comes out of last night feeling very good about going into San Diego. "

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