The day after his team's third straight victory, a 31-10 road triumph over the Bills, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the status of TE Owen Daniels) "O.D. tore his ACL. I visited here with him about an hour ago, before he left. They're going to let the swelling go down over the course of the next 10-12 days and then schedule surgery, so surgery will probably be in about two weeks. Obviously, he's done for the season and a big blow to our football team. I just feel bad for him. Boy, he was having a tremendous season—a special football season and we're going to miss him big time. He'll get well. He'll be back. He's a worker. He'll be back better than ever."
(on the tight end situation) "(TE) James Casey had a scope this morning too. He had a scope and he will be out this week. We hope to have him back after the bye. So we're hoping for a three week turnaround right there gets him back on the field to help us. So that gets us down to two (tight ends)."
(on other injuries) "(S Dominique) Barber has got an ankle. He'll be day-to-day. (DT) DelJuan (Robinson) has an MCL sprain. He's day-to-day. (LB) Xavier (Adibi) has an ankle. We'll know more about him towards the middle of the week. We came out of the game with some issues obviously—tight end the biggest issue, knowing that we go forward with just two this week. We've got some things to look at as we move forward and obviously we have a roster spot to fill so we'll see."
(on if they are looking at bringing in another tight end) "That's obviously an option. It's something we're looking at right now. At the same time, the most important thing, we've got to get ready to play this game. What gives us the best chance this week to go to Indy and be successful? So, whether that means brining in another guy or bringing up a guy or however we go about that, we're week-to-week right now."
(on the level of trust he has in the play of TE Anthony Hill) "He's a very young player and obviously we haven't had the luxury of suiting four guys. We have been impressed with his work. He's a physical player. Is he ready to go? I don't know. We'll see, but it's time for him to go. This is a tough spot for him to get started, down in Indy, in this football game, this crowd noise, but hey, that's part of the game. That's what we drafted him for. We've got to bring him a long way. (Tight ends coach) Brian (Pariani) has got to do a good job with him, but it's time for him to play."
(on how limited they are in doing their multiple tight end sets) "We've got to get even more flexible now. I think we've done that over the course of the last month, with some of the things we're doing offensively, with some issues like I said with the guards and those type of things. Now we've got another thing we've got to deal with, but however we need to move the ball, that's what we have to look at. How do we go to Indy and move the ball and find a way to score some points? (TE) Joel (Dreessen) played good in the game. He'll play well for us. Obviously, he's got to continue to snap for us so we've got some more adjustments to do as an offensive coaching staff."
(on if Dreessen will continue to be the long snapper) "Yeah, I think that's the best option right now. He will. Obviously, we've got to get him some rest in some other areas of special teams because he's been doing everything, even when he's not snapping. So that's something we have to do, but I think going into this game, it's still best that he's the guy and obviously, this week, we'll probably look at some snappers. We'll look at some tight ends. We obviously have got a lot of guys to work out to try and solve some issues."
(on what he likes about Dreessen's game) "He does a little bit of everything. He's a guy that can play a lot of football with limited reps. He went in yesterday and played 52 plays of offense. Snapped, punt snapped, field goal snapped, covered kicks—I mean the kid was on the field probably almost 80 football plays when it was all said and done. He's just very flexible. He can do a little of both as a tight end on the line of scrimmage, as a receiver. It's a big opportunity for him and his career. We've to use him the right way and he's got to step up and it's a big opportunity for him as a player."
(on if TE James Casey's injury is cartilage damage) "Meniscus."
(on the play of Casey) "Boy I was impressed. He played 42 plays in the game and he was hurting. What he did yesterday for his teammates, and he made a couple big plays for us in the game. Very impressive for him not to come off that field yesterday. He gave it up for his teammates. I tell you, it was impressive. It makes me feel even better about getting him back in three weeks because how he was able to do that yesterday, just tells me his physical toughness."
(on the running back situation)_"We'll see. I'm going to play them all. I'm in no hurry to make that decision but obviously, we're going to need all three of them. We're going to go to practice and work them all. We'll make a decision when we get to Indianapolis."
(on how RB Ryan Moats is in pass protection) "Obviously, protecting (QB) Matt Schaub is a huge priority for us with any back that we've got back there, so that's a big concern. I would say that Ryan and (RB) Steve (Slaton) are about the same from that standpoint, size-wise and what they're able to do in protection mode. (RB) Chris (Brown) is probably a little bit better than both of them. That's why we have Chris in a lot of those situations. Bottom line is that they've all got to be able to do it, so we'll work all three of them."
(on what he told Slaton) "I didn't talk to him personally. I talked to him in front of the team. I told him to keep his chin up, that we need him. That we're going to need him. Let's face it, it's got to get fixed. The only guy that can fix it is Steve. We're all trying to helping him to do what we can do but it's got to get fixed to be able to go out there and help our football team win, which he can do. He can help us win. It's just disappointing. It's way too many."
(on how RB Ryan Moats compares to RB Steve Slaton as a receiver) "I'd say hands-wise they both have great hands. Steve's obviously a dual threat, he can go outside like a receiver and run some routes which y'all have seen us do with him—the play that he fumbled on yesterday, he ran a great route. So we've got a little more confidence in Steve in that stand point. We may get down to playing him on downs, how we play him on downs, first down, second down, third down, that could be part as we move forward but we'll see."
(on DE Antonio Smith) "He's one of our players of the game on defense. He's playing very well. He's much more active in what we're doing. The interception that (CB) Jacques (Reeves) got, he had a lot to do with that with his pressure on the quarterback, but Antonio seems to be getting better every week for our football team so that's very encouraging. We all played very good up front yesterday and he was the leader of the pack. (DT) Shaun Cody continues to get better too."
(on how it feels to be 5-3) "Well, I mean, I like the way we battled through our issues here early in the season. Obviously a few weeks ago we were staring at, what, four of five on the road and we had a, what, 2-2 record at that time, something like that, so obviously we worked very hard to get ourselves in decent shape and we're there with five wins right now at the halfway mark. But obviously we've got a tough, tough road to hold and it's none bigger than starting this week on the road against Indy. A lot of division games coming up. I think our next three are all division games if I'm correct."
(on the challenge they face going to Indianapolis) "First off, going to Indy is number one challenge. You know how difficult it is with their crowd. And they're an undefeated football team, add that. They've got one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. So those things all kind of add up but we're looking forward to it. Our guys have got some confidence right now and we're going to have to dig deep because we've got some issues with our team from an injury standpoint but I think our guys have learned to try to work through those things and we're going to have to work through them again this week to be successful. So it's a big, big challenge."
(on if he likes the attitude of the team) "I think they're working through some things that they wouldn't have worked through before. They're finding ways not to let things just drive them down and affect them over the period of a game or a period of a couple of weeks and they're understanding that for us to get it done or get to where we want to go it's going to take everybody. We've had that issue on offense, starting with the guards and those guys are stepping up and playing better and now we get the issue that (RB) Steve (Slaton) has had and (RB) Ryan (Moats) steps up. So now who's going to step up at tight end? We'll see. But in the long haul it's about guys doing that so we'll see how we end up."
(on how important this game is) "I think when you get to where your football team's pretty good, they're all big. It's just nice that we're to the point now where we should play in a lot of big football games here in the second half and none bigger than here in the first one. So that's a nice position to be in. We've been working real hard to do that."
(on if he has more confidence in the offense after they overcame a rough start) "I have a lot of confidence in them moving the ball. We've been able to do some adjusting offensively and still been able to move the ball. The turnover issues—they still bother the heck out of me because we're looking at, I think we're plus two as a team and you look at that as a positive but you look at the big picture: defensively we're in the top five at getting turnovers; offensively we're in the top five at giving them up so we still have not improved offensively from that standpoint. And we're not going to get away with that. We won't get away with that in the second half. We won't get away with that as a team throughout this season if we continue that. So that is a big concern for me but we have been making some plays. Our defense has kept us in some games and then we responded with a big half yesterday."
(on being in position to make the playoffs) "I'm obviously proud of the fact that the team has battled back from a very difficult start. When we left the field opening day, we didn't feel very good about our football team and you all didn't either. And I don't blame you, because it was not good. But we worked our way out of that. We worked our way through some issues and now we get a chance to do something about it and play some big games. Obviously the football team deserves some credit for getting themselves in the position they're in."
(on the run blocking by the offensive line) "We're behind where we were last year. We were as good as we've been all year yesterday. I think the group is starting to come together. I think (G) Kasey (Studdard) played his best game for us yesterday and that was his fourth or fifth start. (C) Chris White played very well for us yesterday. That's his second start as a pro. I think just them growing up together hopefully they continue to get better. Obviously it was a big step in the right direction for us yesterday but we'll have to continue to improve. Our tackles have been consistent all year long."
(on the team's belief system) "That goes back to going in the tank when things aren't good. In this league you're going to have quarters, you're going to have halves where things aren't good. Those other teams, they're paid to play good too. They're going to play good football. But I thought yesterday at halftime our football team felt that we should win that game, and if we go out and play the way we're capable of playing that we would do that. I was just glad the way they regrouped and the sense of urgency in the second half."
(on if WR Kevin Walter will get more passes thrown to him) "I think we're going to need them all to step up. We've obviously been playing four receivers. Now we've got to look at options. There's a possibility we're going to see five all the time. There's a possibility now where you may see us suit six. (WR) Glenn (Martinez) is a good special teams player. Obviously the production of catching the football and those type of things have got to continue to come from some place. Does it come from (TE) Joel (Dreessen)? Does it get spread out amongst the receivers? We'll see. But it's another adjustment period for us as an offensive coaching staff."
(on what he's happiest about through eight games) "The improvement of our defense. They've improved every week, after we had, what, three pretty rough weeks to start the season. Since then we've just continued to improve as a group. Tackling. Getting turnovers. Not giving up big plays, I think that's been the key to where we're at right now. Yesterday we're out of that football game in the first quarter if we're not playing great defense. We played great defense all day yesterday."
(on the play of CB Jacques Reeves) "He took a step forward. I thought his legs were a little tired. You go back a couple of weeks to when he was just getting off that broken leg, he's obviously starting to find some confidence. Yesterday was a big boost for him. He had a pass breakup on a third down. Of course the big interception. They're playing well as a group. (CB Glover) Quin is playing very well. (CB) Dunta (Robinson) yesterday, you take two or three plays away from Dunta and it was his best game of the year. I just think the group continues to get better."