Texans coach Gary Kubiak addressed the media on Monday during his weekly press conference from Reliant Stadium. Among the topics he discussed: The controversial fumble ruling on running back Ryan Moats at Indianapolis, kicker Kris Brown and free agent running back Larry Johnson.
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on if they have any interest in RB Larry Johnson) "Obviously, I think when a name like that comes on the free agent market like today, we'll obviously go back and take a look at him just like any other player. But obviously, he's been a good player in this league, and I'm sure he'll get a lot of interest from a lot of people."
(on if that means they're interested) "I think that means we will take a look at him. That's what that means."
(on if he has talked to anybody at the league office about the replay at the end of the first half) "You know, I haven't talked to anybody yet. We basically filed our report and then we get a response back. So no, I haven't gotten anything back. The bottom line, they're saying that the ball was not touched by anybody who was out of bounds. Or if it was, it was only touched by Ryan (Moats), who was on top of another player. We thought looking at it that 41 (DB Antoine Bethea) is touching the ball and he's out of bounds. So we'll hear back from them. I don't know. I'll let you know when I hear back."
(on the process for people talking to him from upstairs) "Well, I want to listen to everybody. Obviously, you've got six guys in the booth. Headset-wise, you're hooked into just certain people. But I want them all to look. I want to hear everybody's opinion, the guys on the field, the guys in the booth. But ultimately it's my decision, so I've got to listen and go from there."
(on being set up to run a play and then letting the clock run off) "Well, you know what, that was strictly me. My whole mindset in that scenario right there, really, what had happened over there (with the fumble), the topic never came up that there was a problem over there. So I was strictly trying to control the game from the standpoint of hoping not to put our defense back on the field and give Peyton (Manning) the ball with too much time. I was very comfortable. I think it would've been second-and-two. We go to the two-minute warning. Hopefully we score on second down, if we don't, we score on third. We're taking time off the clock, so we don't put our defense in a bad situation and we go in 13-7 at the half. So I'm trying to control the football game from that standpoint. Obviously, when we come back from the two-minute warning, then the discussion starts. 'Oh, they're looking at this play. This ball might be out.' So at that point it's too late, but it was not a discussion up until that point."
(on if there should there have been a discussion) "Well, I think hindsight obviously is 20-20; we'd like to have done something. I know that we didn't think there was an issue there. We thought he was out of founds, we were moving forward. I can't speak for the Colts, but I'm not sure they knew there was an issue there, neither, until we got to the two-minute warning."
(on the procedure for getting a play off after a close call) "Yeah, we've got a code to go up there and run a play, like everybody else, if we're trying to beat a call that could go in our favor. Obviously, we can do that."
(on if he was satisfied with the referee's explanation of the decision) "It doesn't matter if I'm satisfied. It was very lengthy. It was hard to even follow when he was talking to the crowd for me personally. It got even tougher when came over and did it on the sidelines. But hey, the call is what it is and we'll hear back from (NFL Vice President of Officiating) Mike (Pereira) and those guys, but ultimately we still got our chance to win the football game. We should get it done."
(on how his team can change and play four quarters of consistent football) "I think I told you all last week: everybody is searching for four perfect quarters of football, and we'll keep doing that through the season. Hopefully, we'll find it. We were sloppy in the early going. Somebody asked me to compare it to last week. Last week we went right down the field and then turned the ball over. We were pretty explosive in our first four or five plays. This week, we were very sloppy – sloppy on the first play from a quarterback standpoint, not getting our job done; sloppy on the second play from an assignment standpoint; sloppy on the fourth play; the seventh play.Four out our first seven. When you're playing a team like that and you have three three-and-outs, or was it four three-and-outs, I'm not sure; this team can have you down right away 21 to nothing. So we were very fortunate. Our defense was excellent. We were still in a 13 to nothing football game and they gave us a chance to get back in. Yeah, I'm very concerned about how we started yesterday. I thought we lacked some focus early in the game, and we lacked some focus from some very, very important players. We talked about it this morning in our meeting. Hopefully we'll get it fixed. You can't get away with that, usually against anybody. You don't get away with it against the Indianapolis Colts."
(on if he thinks about changing the scripting of plays) "I think we obviously look at all kind of ways. We do script plays. We're trying to get players to touch the ball. Trying to get the ball in people's hands and get them going early in the football game. We've been pretty good at doing it, but obviously we weren't doing it yesterday."
(on if he was concerned about time on the final drive) "You bet. Very, very concerned. The rule of thumb is usually 17 seconds. We got away with it with 14 seconds. Very, very fortunate right there. We talked about the situation today—we got lucky, to be honest with you, that we got it done that quick that we got set up."
(on if the last drive was more important than getting K Kris Brown in range) "No, I think just getting Kris a try. What would it have been had we not gotten the extra yards? I think it would have been like a 54, 55-yarder, something like that. Of course, our chances should improve when we get him in that 42-yard range. Right there, a couple of things on your mind: We need a field goal to play some more football. We don't want to give (Colts QB) Peyton Manning the football back with anything on the clock with what they're capable of doing. So a lot of things going on right there, and (QB) Matt (Schaub) did a good job. He got us right there in position to get our job done, and we just didn't get it done."
(on where K Kris Brown likes to kick the ball from) "I don't know, it's probably any given day. Kris is pretty good anywhere. He's been pretty dang automatic, and like I said, I know nobody feels worse than him. We believe in him; he'll come back and make big kicks for us."
(on the run game) "I thought (RB) Ryan (Moats) obviously deserved an opportunity to start after the way he played last week, and he didn't do nothing in this game to hurt himself. I thought he played hard. We didn't run the ball real well when you look at the numbers. We did try to stay committed to it, basically kept us in some good third-down situations in the second half. But (RB) Steve (Slaton) was basically a third-down guy, he did still play some in base, he did some good things. We missed a couple of big protections in the game as running backs, which hurt us very bad, especially there at the end of the game. Both of them need to play better for us to be successful."
(on if this team is still taking a step forward) "I don't think you step forward when you get beat. We had a lot invested in that football game. We had been working really hard, playing good football, had a really good week last week, had a tremendous effort by everybody involved with the football team in that game. You come out—we're not at that point, we're past that point of feeling good about coming close. We went in there expecting to win and we had our chances to win and we're all very, very disappointed but we know our job is to move forward and we will. We will."
(on if it's hard losing before the bye week) "Yeah, you've got to live with that one for two weeks. You'd like to turn around and go play again, but we need a break, too. We've got to get some guys fresh again and healthy, mentally and physically, for this big push. So it will be hard to swallow here for a while but it is what it is, and we've got to move on."
(on if he still things this is a playoff-caliber team) "I told the guys—I actually told them Saturday night—if we went in there and beat the Colts, does that mean we've accomplished our goal? No, we would have been far from it. If we didn't get it done, does that mean we can't accomplish our goal? No, we're going to keep working to accomplish our goal. We talked about that, we talked about it after the game. Obviously, the AFC, to me, looks very strong right now. There's a lot of teams right there battling and we'll have seven big, big games to play and our goal is still within reach, there's no doubt about that. But we'll have to play excellent football all the way through. We've got to clean up turnovers as a football team to give ourselves a good chance to win, but we've got a good football team. We expect to be there every week."
(on the bye week evaluation process) "Well, that's what the coaches are doing right now, they're watching and will self-scout, we'll meet tonight and go back and I just want to hear from them, what they're seeing from ourselves—our strengths, our weaknesses. I want to have them talk to me about players, who they think our top guys are right now and how they're playing. The same thing we do at the end of the year I try to do it at the bye week so by the time I leave here tonight I'd like to have a good idea. One of the things that helps you sometimes to see where you're making some mistakes. Maybe you keep trying to do something that your players are telling you that they can't do. So hopefully, we come out of these next couple days cleaning some of that up as we move forward."
(on the penalties called on the Texans) "We had penalties in all phases, so I can't pin them on one phase. We had 13 penalties. Trying to overcome that many penalties and still beat this football team makes it very, very difficult. Two of the big, big penalties in the game, to me, were the pass interference on (CB) Dunta (Robinson) and the one on (FS) Eugene (Wilson). The bad thing about those two penalties was that it led to 20 more snaps that the defense was on the field. Sometimes, I don't think players realize that. Obviously, we had too many. We had them again in special teams, and like I said, trying to overcome that many is very difficult. We've been pretty good penalty-wise, but yesterday was obviously our worst day."
(on the adjustments made without TE Owen Daniels) "I think we spread his plays around. I thought our receivers were a big strength in the game.I thought (WR) Kevin (Walter) played well. (WR) Jacoby (Jones) played well. (WR) André (Davis) had a chance to make a big play. (WR) Andre Johnson was absolutely excellent yesterday. I thought we spread the ball the way we needed to do. Obviously, y'all saw us in some four wides and some of those types of things. Our young tight end (Anthony Hill) came in and gave us six or seven snaps, but they were very positive. I think it can be different week to week. We'll get (TE) James (Casey) back and I'm expecting James, over the course of the next seven weeks, to prove that he can be a big-time pro. Numbers-wise, we'll be OK. How we go about it probably has a lot to do with how much progress he makes and where we go from here."
(on RB Larry Johnson not seeming like the type of guy the Texans would go after) "Your question was, 'Would we take a look at him?' and I said, 'Yes, we would,' because he's a free agent and he's out there."
(on if he is interested in signing Larry Johnson) "I don't know. We have to take a look at him first and evaluate him. Larry Johnson is a good football player and we're going to take a hard look at him."
(on what he is most proud about his team) "I guess the progress of the defense, and I've probably said that a couple of times. They've come a long way. The game (SS Bernard) Pollard played yesterday was exceptional. To me, they're just getting better and better; the strength of our football team right now, the way they're playing. I'm very proud of how far (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) has brought them. There are a lot of good things going on. We just have to find some more down the stretch."
(on what he is most frustrated about thus far) "Turnovers. I don't have the words to describe how frustrated I am. It's hurting our football team. It's not one guy. It's not two guys. It's a little bit of everybody. Fixing that problem, being better in that phase over the course of the next seven weeks, will have a lot to do with what we're talking about come January."
(on any injuries other than CB Antwaun Molden) "No, we came out pretty good, so we're OK. Molden got a pretty good quad, so he could miss some time here. I'll let y'all know."
(on what they are hoping to get out of their self-scouting analysis) "It just depends. We go sit up there tonight and to give you an example, (assistant head coach) Alex (Gibbs) may say, 'Why do we keep running this particular play?' or 'We need to get out of this protection. We can't do this anymore. This is a weakness for us. It's proven here on film.' Defensively, you may look at a player who has played— (DE) Tim Bulman has played maybe 20 percent of the time. You may say, 'This guy needs to play.' What we're trying to do is just catch ourselves. So many times you get caught up in the season and going to the next week and the next week and something doesn't hit you between the eyes like it can if you go back and watch everything today and tomorrow. So that's what we're trying to do."
(on if the offense and defense look at each other) "Exactly. That's why we meet together and talk together, because many times, we'll sit in the room and ask our defense, 'Hey guys, what do y'all think of this young man as a receiver or running back?' 'How hard is this guy to block (assistant head coach/defensive line coach), Bill (Kollar), when he's rushing the passer?' So we're just trying to check ourselves as best we can."