Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media during a Monday press conference at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB Matt Leinart's injury and which quarterback he's going to sign) "Matt has a fracture, which is what was believed and it's been confirmed, will have to have surgery. It's my understanding we're going to try to do it sometime quickly here in the next week. I visited with him today at length, very disappointed, obviously, with his opportunity he had and what happened. So, we move forward from there. You know, the most important thing right now for me is moving forward with T.J. (Yates) and Kellen (Clemens). We will bring another guy in. That's something (Executive Vice President/General Manager) Rick (Smith) and I have talked about, the options. When that will happen, I don't know, but my focus right now is strictly with T.J. and Kellen, moving forward with Atlanta and getting through yesterday's game. I don't have much for you at this point from that standpoint, but we've talked about a lot of players."
(on who looked the next-best from the quarterbacks that worked out last week) "They all did a good job. Different type players, you know, you got Jeff Garcia, who's been successful in this League, who's been around a long, long time that (quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp) Knapper has a little familiarity with. Then Brodie Croyle I thought worked out very good, who's played in this League. Chase Clement did a good job in his workout. I don't know. I know what I saw in that workout. I did get a chance to watch all of those. I don't always watch every workout, but I did watch the quarterbacks. I have an opinion on those guys. There are some other names that are going to come up here over the course of the next day or so and we'll just have to sort it all out. I've talked to (Executive Vice President/General Manager) Rick (Smith). We've had good conversations. I'll let him continue to do that work, but I've got to stay focused with the team moving forward."
(on if QB Kellen Clemens will be the No. 2 quarterback for the game against Atlanta) "We'll see. Yeah, I have to assume that today. Once again, this is a big responsibility for a guy that we just signed here last week. He does have a little knowledge of what we're doing from his background. It probably all depends what we do, but I've got to assume that and I've got to move him forward that way."
(on if QB Brett Favre can be ruled out) "I don't think you rule out anybody. I know there's, like I said, a lot of names being mentioned. We've got to continue to work through the process. I'm not going to rule out anybody, nor confirm anybody. Like I said, I'm the guy that's got to stay focused on T.J. (Yates) right now and the other stuff will get worked out."
(on if he can remember a time when a third-string quarterback led a team into the playoffs) "No, there have been some tremendous things happen in this League with guys getting opportunities. I remember when (Tom) Brady got his opportunity with (Drew) Bledsoe going down. Of course, Kurt (Warner) getting his opportunity. It's ironic how it's happened back-to-back, two weeks in a row, but we'll keep our chin up. I do think a lot of this young man, ya'll know that. He's worked very hard with this team. I think he has a lot of ability. It is a tall task, but this is a good football team and we'll rally around him. We'll work our tails off with him and I know he'll do his job too and we're going to give him the opportunity and I'm looking forward to see how he does."
(on what happened to the running game in the second half) "Good question. We didn't run the ball very good. I'll take the blame for the second half. I don't know if I put our guys in great position. I was concerned having one quarterback out there and making sure that I was trying to find a way to win the game that day. I don't like some of the things I did. We played hard. We just didn't play very good offensively in the second half."
(on how impressive DE J.J. Watt and OLB Connor Barwin were yesterday) "Well the whole group's impressive right now. They're just playing very, very hard. The thing that's most impressive, I use the word 'group' because everybody's making plays. It's contagious. Everybody's chipping in. It's ironic that you mention those two guys. There hasn't been a game this year where we've given a player of the game to two players and we could not separate those two guys in this game, so we had two defensive MVPs in this game and those were the two guys. They were exceptional."
(on QB Matt Schaub saying that QB T.J. Yates has picked up the offense quicker than anybody he's seen) "Oh yeah, he's been very good. He's sharp. He's learned from a good guy. He's watched Matt work and how he prepares to play. He is getting some reps now. He got a bunch last week. What he had to go do yesterday, that's not easy to do. He had never taken a snap in the NFL and he got thrown into the two-minute drill and took his football team down there. Second half, he's the only guy on the field and I thought he handled himself like a champ and he should only get better every day that we work. But he's an impressive young man and what an opportunity for him and what a challenge for the football team."
(on if he had to say much to QB T.J. Yates before he went into the game) "I didn't have time. He still had his earpiece in when I was screaming at him to get in there. I thought he did a heck of a job. Like I said, we ran the ball. I called a timeout, probably wouldn't call a timeout in that situation, but I wanted to get him composed with what I wanted to get done right there and boy, he went in there and did a good job. He dropped that one snap, but he got rid of the ball. That's a tough situation, but he kind of knocked off the nerves there before we went in at halftime and then everybody really rallied around him at halftime, letting him know they were there for him. I respect the job he did yesterday."
(on if he will bring in another quarterback to start or be a backup) "Well I would think as we move forward here, whoever we bring in, we've got to hope that we can catch him up very quickly, if that's what you're asking me. We are going with T.J. (Yates). It's T.J.'s opportunity and it's his job and I told him and I told the team that today. But I also told the team that we will bring in somebody else. We've got a young quarterback and a backup who's been here for four days, so we've got to find some experience out there, who's been in a few rodeos, so to speak, and make sure we're preparing ourselves for down the road. We still have a lot of football to play, so that's what we'll try to do."
(on what he saw out of QB T.J. Yates at North Carolina) "Well he kind of ran our offense. I knew his coordinator had been in the NFL for a couple of years. His terminology that he used at North Carolina is a little bit like ours. He had a lot of things going for him when he stepped into the NFL as far as how he had been taught. I think that did help him and it was a great opportunity for him. Remember, if you go back to camp, (Matt) Leinart missed what, the first five or six days of camp and T.J. took all the reps along with Matt (Schaub). All those things added up, he plays the game fast. I think you have to play it fast in this League. You've got to be able to get rid of the ball. You've got to be able to move. He's got those things going for him and now it's just a matter of getting a ton of reps and seeing how much progress he can make."
(on how much he had to dial back the offense due to their being no backup quarterback) "Well, obviously I did, that's what I said. That's on me. I was just trying to make sure we won the football game. That's what I was trying to do. Having one quarterback for the second half and if you lose him, I love O.D. (Owen Daniels), but I don't know if he could've gotten us over the top. I was trying to make sure he was upright the whole half. We had a two-score lead and the way we were playing defense, I made sure that I didn't put him in a bad situation. I'm not scared to go call the game or have any holdback at all. We'll go play. We'll give him his opportunity to play just like everybody else. By the time we get to next Sunday, we'll feel comfortable with what's going on and I'll make sure he's comfortable with what we're doing."
(on how disappointing it was for QB Matt Leinart after all the work he had put in) "Yeah, I tell you, boy I've been a little bit part-coach, part-counselor here the last couple of weeks. I've got Schauby in my office all-day last Monday and today I've got Lefty (Leinart) up there. It's just difficult. It's difficult for both of them. To go to Leinart, I'll just mention what I mentioned yesterday: he had been to the top of this league from the standpoint of opportunity, draft status, all that stuff. He had been there. He had been knocked down in this league. He had been told no. He was making his way back and you've got to respect that as a person and a player. He was playing well yesterday and he was, no doubt in my mind, going to do good things with this football team. From that standpoint, we all hurt for him. He's a young man. He's 28, I think. We'll get him healed up and don't be surprised to see him come back and get ready to do it again. He's made of the right stuff."
(on if the team is exhausted emotionally from all the resilience they've shown) "I don't feel that way. I feel so much energy with the group right now. They know their challenges. I can't describe our locker room to you at halftime yesterday. When we walked in, they knew what had happened. They knew what our situation was. They were so positive towards T.J. and what we needed to go do to win the second half and win the football game. Today in the meeting, you can just tell. They've got a lot of people telling them they can't do something. Believe me, they believe they can. It's been about the team all year long and it will continue to be that way. It's just another obstacle. We'll rally and get ready to go this week. We play a great team in Atlanta."
(on his thoughts on facing CB Dunta Robinson) "I haven't even gotten into Atlanta. I've got a little bit on my plate so when I get through with you guys, I'll get started on Atlanta. He's a great player. He did a hell of a job for me. I respect him."
(on what it's like having an 8-3 record but feeling down week after week with another guy down) "Well I'm not down. I've got some issues on my hands, but I'm not down. This team is not down. I want everyone to know that. I want the city to know that. We're excited about our opportunity. It has been very challenging, but hey, that's part of life. You get some challenges, you've got to step to the plate and find a way to get it done. I'm looking forward to going to work with this team to do that. We've just got to stay focused on one game at a time and we get a chance to come home this week and play in front of the home crowd so we're excited to do that."
(on if he's concerned about overloading QB T.J. Yates this week) "I'm really not. I'll do what he can handle, but I'm going to challenge him because this is a situation we're in right now as a football team with where we're at that his level is going to have to rise real quick, you know? I'm going to challenge him to do that. I'm going to give him that opportunity. I've got to be smart and the feedback I get from him and watching him prepare and watching him get ready to play, but I think this is one of those situations that's very rare and we're going to give a young man a chance to meet the challenge. I'm with him. We're all with him. So we'll see how we do."
(on how WR Andre Johnson and FS Danieal Manning came out of the game) "Andre came out fine. He played too much. Dang it, I had him in there too many plays. He got tired on me. He took a step forward. It's going to take a few weeks for him to get back to himself, but for the progress he's made to play yesterday and come out of the game okay, I feel good about that. I just wish I would've had 10 or 12 less snaps than I did. I think I left him out there too long. Danieal was fine. He played in the thirties. He came out fine, feeling good. I just walked past him in the locker room—very upbeat. It's amazing what he's done. Those guys should continue to get better, so we're okay."
(on if QB T.J. Yates is more mobile than QBs Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart) "He's very mobile. He moves around very good. He took off that one time yesterday and slid a little bit before the first down but that's something he can give us. He can move around. He's very athletic."
(on how much that added mobility can help the team) "Something like that is instinctive, so we'll see how much it helps us. We'll encourage him if they are locked up and playing man-coverage and you've got a chance to leave the pocket, go make a play. I think that's something he does naturally. He did it in college. We'll see. Like I said, you never know with those things, they're instinctive. We'll see how it works out."