Monday afternoon at Reliant Stadium, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from reporters. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on WR Kevin Walter's injury) "Good news. I just got done talking to our doctors. It has been reported that Kevin (Walter) had a fracture. He does not. He does not have a fracture. It's being treated as a bad bruise right now and we should know more here in a couple days. He's obviously probably going to miss a few days and we'll see where he's at middle of the week and end of the week, but he does not have a fracture. That's good news. (Derrick) Ward has a sprained ankle and he'll be day-to-day."
(on if WR Jacoby Jones will move up if WR Kevin Walter can't play) "Yeah, obviously Jacoby (Jones) moves up."
(on WR Jacoby Jones) "He makes a huge play on special teams for us and that was great to see. He got a lot of help from some people on that play, but it was a great effort on his part. I think Jacoby had three catches for us, played a good 35, 36 plays for us. He was productive not only special teams-wise, but offensively and that's a big positive for us moving forward. I've told ya'll he's gotten better. He's been better in this camp than he has been in any previous year, so I'm hoping it equates to him playing as good as he's played as a pro. It was a good step forward yesterday for him."
(on if he's ruled out WR Kevin Walter for this weekend) "No, I think we'll know more here probably Wednesday, Thursday, but just the great news that I just found out, that there was no fracture."
(on if he's thinking about picking up another wide receiver) "Yeah, it's something we've got to take a look at. If all is said and we're here Wednesday and we think Kevin (Walter) is going to be fine, we maybe can continue to survive another week, but we're going to look at some guys here tomorrow. Obviously, we've got a couple guys on our practice squad that we could possibly move up, but we'd like to have at least four of them healthy going into each week, so we'll see."
(on if he considered putting QB Matt Leinart into the game against the Colts) "No, I didn't. I think your starters should play, should continue to run the team. I've always been that way. I'd love to see Matt (Leinart) get time and stuff like that, but I just think Matt Schaub's the leader of this football team regardless of who's out there. I like to see him out there every snap of every season if possible. So, no I don't think I would do things that way. I'll never say never, but that's not my belief. I think you leave the starter out there."
(on the running game against the Colts) "Ben (Tate) played very good. It's really his first time out and he goes out there and runs for 100-plus yards. He did a good job in pass protection too, so I was encouraged by that. We played very good up front. I told the backs today, I think there was about 30 to 40 more yards out there. I think there are some other things we can do running the ball and do a little better. So I'm going to push them from that standpoint, but we played very good up front and Ben was a part of getting those yards. Derrick (Ward) did a good job. Steve (Slaton) came in and had a couple nice runs. It's important, whether we're missing somebody or not that we continue to run the ball well and we were fortunate to do that yesterday."
(on if the game against the Colts was as physical as the offensive line has played) "Well they're getting better and better. We've got five guys that have played a lot of football together and we keep our fingers crossed that they stay healthy. They just seem to getter every time they go out. The thing that we can do with them, we can do a lot. We can, formation-wise, do a lot of things, call a lot of things and Chris (Myers) does such a good job of getting everybody on the same page. Any time you play that group, your tackles are in for a tough day. I think we did a good job, (Offensive Coordinator) Rick (Dennison) did a good job game plan-wise at helping the tackles, chipping, keeping some people in and kept them honest. It helped us run the ball."
(on how much confusion opposing defensive coordinators will have with the way he moves FB James Casey around) "It gives us a lot of options because we can run various offenses. We can run a two-back, one-back, three tights. James has not only turned into a fine player each and every time out, but his football IQ helps us as a football team, allows us to do a lot of things. I was proud of him. He played very well yesterday and did a lot of good things for our team."
(on ILB DeMeco Ryans' performance) "He was fine. I would kind of say it was like DeMeco's third preseason game, the one that you want to play the most plays in for all your starters because DeMeco basically missed a whole preseason. He was able to get 30-plus snaps in the game. (Darryl) Sharpton went in for a series or two and Sharpton's done some good things, but I think DeMeco comes out of it with a step forward and there's a lot of great football ahead for DeMeco and it's just important that he catches up and I think he's on his way to doing that. Yesterday was a step in the right direction."
(on T Duane Brown going against DE Dwight Freeney) "You don't come out of many games without him making a big play on you or getting a sack or two. Duane from that standpoint did a heck of a job and like I said, I thought (Offensive Coordinator) Rick (Dennison) did a nice job of putting people in position to help Eric (Winston), help Duane (Brown) on those guys because if you single them all day, sooner or later, something bad is going to happen in that pocket. We were able to keep them in check, so to speak, because they're just such great players."
(on T Duane Brown) "Duane's (Brown) bigger this year. I think ya'll probably noticed that. He's playing about 10, 11 pounds bigger than he has in the past. I think it's helped him anchor a little bit more. Duane's got a lot of confidence just playing more football, being around longer in what we're doing, so expecting good things out of him. All five of them played well. Eric (Winston) played good on the other side. (Mike) Brisiel played very well, Wade (Smith) played well. They played good as a group."
(on DEs J.J. Watt and Antonio Smith) "Well, just the whole group. We suited five defensive linemen and we got great effort from all of them. Antonio's (Smith) in the mid-30 play range, so that's nice that we have that much confidence in Tim Jamison to come in and spell some snaps. J.J. (Watt) played the most. He's the youngest, but he looks like he could play some more. J.J.'s conditioning level is very good. Both our nose guards played well. We got good production from five football players. To suit defensive linemen, that's unusual for me, but they all were able to pitch in and help."
(on the plan for RB Arian Foster this week) "He worked out today, worked very hard today and worked good. He will come back in tomorrow and work again. I would like to sit here and hope that he would be on the field Wednesday, but we'll see. He is working well."
(on if RB Steve Slaton will get more carries if RB Derrick Ward doesn't play) "It all depends. It all depends where Arian's (Foster) at when we get to the week. Obviously, (Ben) Tate's earned the right to go out there and carry it some more. I've said all along that I think (Steve) Slaton has been an impressive player this camp. Everything he's been through in his career, he never felt sorry for himself. He's worked really, really hard this camp. He has earned the right to be on this football team. Through what we've been through, for him to step on the field yesterday, made a couple plays, tells you what he's made of. I think Steve will help this team and will help it a great deal before the year's out."
(on if the Colts did any kind of tapping before snapping the ball on Sunday) "Yeah, everybody has a different way of handling crowd noise. Some people silent cadence-wise, quarterbacks give the heel. Some teams have the guard look back and kind of tap the center. Everybody does something different. Some centers look back and they make the call. They're a little unconventional, but the League has said what they're doing is legal, so we've had to adjust to it. I thought we did a good job adjusting to it yesterday."
(on how much quicker ILB Brian Cushing is this season) "Yeah, he played very well yesterday. He played with great effort. We sit here and talk about effort plays every day after the game and we show a little film to the team, not always productive plays, but show me something special effort-wise and we could have had eight or 10 of them on Cush (Brian Cushing). That's how hard he played and how well he played in the game. He's had a good camp. The biggest thing with Cush right now is he's been on the field for practice every day. He's had a good camp, he's healthy and it's showing up in his play. He's taking what (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) and (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) are doing with him, but I think just the fact that he's had a good month of football under his belt has him heading the right way."
(on having FS Danieal Manning with SS Glover Quin) "You got a seasoned pro back there with a good young player in Glover (Quin). Ya'll can see what (Danieal) Manning does for us in blitz packages, him coming on some schemes. He can get there very quickly. He's had one kick return that made a huge difference field position-wise in a game, almost had a chance for a homerun. He's brought a lot of energy to our team. He loves to play, a lot of excitement on the field and he's brought leadership to the back end."
(on OLB Mario Williams' first game as an outside linebacker) "It was a dang good one. Throughout camp, there's been questions how he's adjusting to the linebacker position and yesterday he steps up, has two sacks, probably really had three, had the penalty called on the grounding, knocks out a ball, had three quarterback hurries. Mario played very well. Some of it was with his hand up, some of it was with it down and that's what he's going to play all year, but it was a good first outing for Mario."
(on Offensive Line Coach John Benton) "He's very creative. There's been a lot of people make calls about John (Benton). John's been a coordinator before at the college level. He's worked with some great coaches in St. Louis, he gets a chance to work with (Mike) Sherman, he gets a chance to work with Alex (Gibbs). John's been raised from a coaching standpoint under some great coaches and you're right, it's been all his for the past three years and he's been exceptional. He's very creative in the run game, formation-wise and the things that he does. He does a great job with this room. Like I said, he's got a good group of guys playing for him and he's been lucky to keep them all in one piece right now and does a good job of developing young players, has done a good job with (Derek) Newton here, our young tackle, throughout camp that we got from Arkansas State. So John does a good job."
(on Offensive Line Coach John Benton working with Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison) "I don't think you ever have enough of those minds because so much of the game, offensively you can't do a darn thing if you can't block people. If you can't protect the quarterback and you can't block people in schemes, you better start with that premise. It's easy to draw up all the routes and all these great things that you want to do, but if you can't get the plays off, it doesn't matter. These guys, Rick (Dennison) and John (Benton), they understand how to protect the quarterback. They help me a great deal, 'Hey Kube, keep us in this formation, keep us in this type of protection, this will give us the best chance to handle their front this week.' They work very very well together, but you're right, they're kind of both raised the same way."
(on how he's been so successful against Miami) "If I recall, a bunch of those games have been some great games, field goals in the last minute. I think they're different now. We're different. They're a 3-4 team with Mike Nolan. I want to say they were in the top five defensively last year. If they weren't in the top five, they were awfully this close. They built their offense a little bit different this year. Their two big backs are gone. They have Reggie Bush in there, so they're spreading the field a lot more as a team, so it's a little bit different team than we've played in the past."
(on if the offensive line has been better as pass protectors or run blockers) "I think we've become better pass protectors because we're running the ball better. If you run the ball well, you're not sitting there in the pocket 30, 35 times a game and having those problems, so I think through us running the ball consistently, we've gotten better at protecting Matt (Schaub). I just go back and tell you the same thing. Because they're playing so much football together, I just think they're getting so much better, so hopefully we can keep them healthy."
(on if he's worried about the offense's performance in the second half against the Colts) "Oh no, I worry about it. I thought we still moved the ball. We moved the ball to start the quarter and then we had to punt. We moved the ball exceptional the next drive and had the ball at the 10-yard line starting the fourth quarter when we turned it over, but it doesn't matter. You got to build to protect the ball if you're up, down. You got to play the game. I don't want to sit there and draw on a shell because we had the lead. I want it to be aggressive and keep playing. You can't turn the ball over like that. We really hurt our defense when we turned it over back on our own end, so that concerns me, but I know it hurt the guys that did it and that's what's most important. It'd be easy if you win a game the way we did for guys to say that didn't matter, but I don't have guys like that. I know it matters to Matt (Schaub) and I know it matters to (Ben) Tate."
(on how he determines whether to play RB Arian Foster or not) "I think I know him pretty good, if that's what you're asking me. It'll all be predicated on practice. I think there's some positions where guys can maybe not practice through the week, polish a little bit on Friday and play. I don't know if running back is one of those spots. I think you got to know that you can burst and you can go. We're going to watch Arian (Foster) practice. He's a very good practice player. He works very hard in practice and if he's doing the things that we know he can do, then we want him out there. He puts us at our best. All indications Friday were that we were heading in that direction, so we'll see where we're at on Wednesday."
(on the September 11 ceremonies at the game yesterday) "That was an amazing day by the NFL. I just want to compliment the League. I think that was exceptional. You get caught up in your moment here in Houston with our crowd and everything. That was just really special yesterday, but I don't think I really got a chance to feel the magnitude of it. When I went home last night and I sat down to watch Dallas and the Jets and basically saw the same pregame that was happening at our place, I just think the NFL did a great job in honoring all those people and just very proud to be a part of yesterday in the National Football League. I thought they did a hell of a job."