The day after his Texans moved to 8-7 with a victory over the Dolphins, head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he thinks about the Colts resting some of their starters and losing their game) "Obviously I would love to have seen them win that game, but for us, it really doesn't matter. We've got to worry about taking care of our business. We've got a big game. We've got to beat, to me, the top franchise in football here over the last 10 years. We've got to stay focused on us and make sure that we're handling our business. Indianapolis is a great team and they had a tremendous season. They've got to do what they think they've got to do, but we've got to worry about ourselves."
(on how he keeps his players from focusing on the playoff scenarios) "As I told y'all last week, they know. I think they understand what the situation is and I think if I'm right, I looked at the schedules for this weekend, every game that affects us I think is a late game this weekend. We are the only early game and so if we don't take care of our business and find a way to beat a great football team it won't matter for us. So it should be easy for us to stay focused on ourselves."
(on the possibility that the Patriots won't play all of their starters) "That would surprise me. I think the team I saw yesterday is getting ready to make a big run. They're a great football team and I don't see them coming in here any different."
(on the success of the pass rush the past few games) "If I would have told you that going into Miami, that we thought they'd throw it 55 times—I would never have thought this game would go the way it did. For us to run it more than we throw it and for them to throw it 55 times, that tells you how out of whack the game was just looking at both teams going in. So obviously that helped us and we could have had a few more. We missed a few. But I think the thing that's going on for us sack-wise: we've got more guys involved right now. (LB Brian) Cushing has obviously added some to that, (DE) Antonio (Smith) has played the last month really, really good football. (DT Jeff) Zgonina got there one time with Antonio. (DT) Amobi (Okoye) has played really well this past month. I think for us it's been more than just (DE) Mario (Williams) getting the pressure or one guy getting the pressure, two guys getting the pressure; it's been a group effort."
(on if the coaches talk about the playoff scenarios among themselves) "Not really. I don't want to be repetitive but if we don't just stay focused on this team we've got to play—you know, we get back late last night from a great win and a tough road trip, and then we flip on the film today and see what challenge we have with (Patriots head coach) Bill's (Belichick) team this week and that franchise so we're trying to stay focused right there. We hope we have that problem. We hope Sunday night that we're having to scramble and get going in another direction. We hope that comes up, but right now that's really not a topic for us."
(on what was different in the second half of the game against the Dolphins) "Defensively, I mentioned this after the game, we played 30 or 31 straight plays defensively, 18-play drive then a 12 if I'm right to start the second half. We were on the field a lot, I think that hurt us. Offensively we could have come up with a big drive and helped us—you know the first play of the second half, (QB) Matt (Schaub) gives (WR) Andre (Johnson) a good ball, I mean that's a 65-yard touchdown. So it's just little things like that that could have been the difference in us continuing to dominate that football game but you've got to give them credit. They hung in there. We had a big drop, we had a turnover, some things that gave them some momentum and our defense was on the field a great deal, but our defense stepped up, made some big plays and found a way to win. Things that were glaring were misses by us and probably them on third downs; they were very good on third downs in the second half and made some big plays."
(on if he'll start playing RBs Arian Foster and Ryan Moats more) "Yeah, I think they're going to play more than (RB) Chris (Brown) when it's all said and done, just from a standpoint of the job that they're doing. Of course we're using Chris in a lot of protection situations, but they've all been involved. Of course Ryan and Arian were much more yesterday. Arian did some very nice things, his best outing as a pro, and hopefully he builds off of that going into this week but he took a big step in the right direction and ran the ball well."
(on how they came out of the four-game losing slump) "I just think we stayed focused. I don't know that we were in a slump. We got beat. If you're playing bad, it's one thing. I don't think we were playing bad football. I think we were doing some good things and we lost some tough games. I think they kept that in perspective and just kept working and got a few breaks there along the way. Got rid of some penalties. We've been excellent in the penalty department the last three weeks. When you go back before that, we had a couple of horrible weeks back-to-back. So just getting some of those things corrected obviously helped us as a team."
(on QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson leading the NFL in passing and receiving) "That's pretty special, when you've got a leading receiver and I think Matt's the leading thrower in the league right now after this weekend. So they've come a long way together and usually when you get a combination like that working and you can keep them in one place, in this league it's hard to keep players in one place for a long time with free agency and stuff but these two guys have got a chance to hopefully play together for a long time and be successful so what they're both doing—they've both had great years and we'll see how the players respect that tomorrow. I think the Pro Bowl comes out (tomorrow), but both of those guys have had exceptional seasons."
(on how LT Duane Brown did yesterday on the bad knee) "I was very impressed with Duane. He did not practice all week. He took a little bit of the walkthrough on Saturday morning before we left. Up until an hour and a half before the game, we debated whether to suit up three tackles—that's how concerned we were. I went over to his locker before the game. I said to him, 'I'm listening. Tell me. Do you think you can hold up?' He said, 'If I don't think I can, I'll let (T Rashad) Butler go, but I promise you I can got back in and finish the game for the football team, so go ahead and suit two guys. We'll be okay.' He gave me a lot of confidence and I think he gained confidence as the game went on with the way we were playing. I think the heat helped him play better as far as being loose and everything. So I'm very impressed with him stepping up. We had a lot of players do that. We had a lot of guys beat up in that game and y'all know how warm it was, but it was a pretty good gut check."
(on how impressed he was with RB Arian Foster bouncing back after a disappointing week last week) "Well, that's what you have to do. It's really just a matter of Arian—I talk about becoming a pro and I use that verbiage a lot—of him understanding what's expected of him in practice, meetings and everything that leads up that will tell his teammates that 'I'm going to play good this week.' That's what I'm trying to teach him and he's a very talented young man and when he finds consistency in everything he's doing, he's going to have a chance to play, be effective, and play for a long time. I liked what he did yesterday and the respect factor with his teammates is the most important one."
(on what they've been doing that has enabled them to get the ball to TE Joel Dreessen) "Well this team yesterday, coverage-wise, did some really interesting stuff to (WR) Andre (Johnson). So it not only gave other guys opportunities to make plays, it created a lot of situations where some of Andre's doubles actually rubbed off some players, linebackers and stuff that were trying to cover Joel. Joel played very well in the game. He played 55 plays. He was our offensive player of the game. It was probably his best outing as a pro. I think the fact that we've been able to get him off the field snapping has helped him get better too."
(on the play of the offensive line yesterday) "We went in the game thinking that running the ball would be very difficult against this football team and the two edges that they have. We did a good job up front. We moved people around. We gave our backs opportunities. The only sack we gave up, actually, (FB) Vonta (Leach) is going to get the ding on that one. He got blocked up on the outside linebacker. That was really a coverage sack, but our guys up front led the way. They played very, very well and as I said, us running the ball at a four-yard clip is as good as we've been all year other than Buffalo. It had a lot to do with us being successful."
(on WR Jacoby Jones making the big play yesterday) "He got some more opportunities yesterday. Of course, (WR) André Davis has a little finger issue, so you did not see him on offense yesterday. Jacoby took advantage. (WR) Andre Johnson was getting so much attention that (WR) Kevin (Walter) and Jacoby were getting single coverage in a lot of situations and Jacoby stepped up and made some big plays. Good to see that. He's been working hard and it's good to see him step up and be a factor. His plays were all huge plays—very big plays."
(on why coaches script the first 15 plays of the game, but they don't in the second half) "You know what? I do. We script the second half, too. So we can't use that as an excuse. We go in at halftime and script the first eight or nine plays. We try to do it the same way. Obviously, you're doing it in a very short manner of time compared to a couple days' preparation, but we do. The script just wasn't as good as the first one."
(on if they ever rested guys on the final game when he was in Denver) "Long time ago… I think one year. I remember one year, we went to Green Bay and sat some guys down. I can't even tell you what happened the following week. I think we went to Indianapolis and it wasn't good. You hope to be in that position as a team. You hope you've had that type of season where you start to worry about those types of things. Hopefully, we'll get there someday."
(on how he feels personally on going from 'hopeless and helpless' to getting to maybe somewhere this franchise has never been) "I'm excited for our players. That's what you work for. To be sitting here, the last game of the season, when we walk out there Sunday, it means everything to our team. It means having a winning record for the first time. There's just so much for us to play for and the thing that I think is good, it's hard but I think it's good, is we're going to have to beat the top franchise in football to get to that point. It is a great challenge for us as coaches, as players, and I think that's the way it's supposed to be. If we want to get there someday, these are the type of people we've got to be able to compete against. We've got to be as good as we can be this weekend."
(on whether or not the RB personnel will change based on the last two games) "We're not going to get to where we want to go as a team if we're 30th or 29th running the ball in this league. That's not good. It's not going to give us a chance to be as successful as we want to be. Regardless of whether we're talking about scheme, or whether we're talking about coaching, we're talking about players, regardless, we've got to find a way to get better running the football. It's been a disappointing year from that standpoint."
(on how C Chris Myers played) "I thought the group up front probably had one of their best games of the year. Chris was part of that. He played against a very good player. That guy's a big, dominant player and Chris was singled up a great deal throughout the day, so he played well."
(on if the success San Diego and Indianapolis are having without a good ground game changes his philosophy) "They're proving me wrong. I'm just talking about my philosophy of what I think it takes to be successful in this league, week in, week out. Consistency over the long haul. I think for this football team to be as good as it can be, and our defense to continue to improve, how we can control the line of scrimmage as a football team is very important, so I'm just speaking from my perspective."
(on the job defensive coordinator Frank Bush has done) "The job Frank's done has been super. We've gotten some teams in some throwing situations especially these past 10 or 11 weeks. We've been excellent against the running game. The defense as a whole has made a lot of progress and I think that the biggest thing there, and I've said this over and over, is the fact that they've all been on the field. Other than (FS) Eugene (Wilson), everybody's been out there. Of course we lose (FS) Dominique (Barber) yesterday, he will not be able to go this week, but other than that we've been fortunate on the defensive side of the ball. They've got a lot of reps under their belt, and it's shown. I think that's why they've gotten better."
(on if he'll make a personnel switch at safety) "Yeah, you're going to see us have to do something here, real quick, to get somebody back in here."
(on what impact DE Mario Williams had against Miami) "He needs to factor more in the game. He played hard. He did some good things. He could've factored a lot more in the game, and I think he'd be the first one to tell you that."
(on if DE Mario Williams will be needed to beat New England) "No doubt. We're going to all have to take it up. He's part of all of us, so we need more."
(on what other injuries there are) "(LT) Duane (Brown) came out fine. (LB Brian) Cushing has a fractured finger, so he'll just have one more bandage on, but he'll be back out there. Dominique as I said will be out, but he might be an IR candidate before the day is over here. (DT) Shaun Cody hyper-extended a knee, and will be day-to-day."