Head coach Gary Kubiak and various players answered questions from the media Monday. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak T Duane Brown WR Andre Johnson CB Dunta Robinson
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on why he mixed in the run in the second half when they were throwing so well) "I agree with you. We threw the ball extremely well in the second half. We did not run the ball well in the first half and we were playing catch up. I think the run you're talking about was to our left and we ended up losing about three yards. Actually, that's the play that (G Mike) Brisiel got hurt on, which we're dealing with today. I guess one was too many. We should've thrown it one more time. We did rally and find a way to make plays with the receivers and (QB) Matt (Schaub). We held up in protection. We got ourselves in position to win the game; we just didn't get it done."
(on if he is reevaluating personnel on the goal line) "No. I believe in (RB) Chris (Brown). That is Chris' role to me, with our football team. He got in on the same play earlier in the game so no, I'm not right there right now; just disappointed in the fact that we didn't get in. I thought we should've scored on all four of the plays, not just one of them, so it's just disappointing. You've got to give them credit. (DT Darnell) Dockett makes a great play on first down. He peels backs and stops (RB Steve) Slaton on the one. Of course, he gets stopped on the second down, which I don't see any reason why we shouldn't get in there. We ought to make the play on third down. You know, good excuses, it just didn't happen."
(on the key to turning it around in the red zone) "We were better in the red zone yesterday. We just obviously, didn't get in on the last drive, and then we went for it on 4th and 1 I think is the other one. We should make that play too. We're good enough to make that play as a team. So, we got five opportunities down there and that's good. You want opportunities, but obviously, when it's all said and done, we need to be at least 4 for 5 to be in a position to win this game and we weren't."
(on if running the ball will be the key to moving forward) "It's a very frustrating and I don't want to keep giving y'all the same answers, but it is very important to the team's success. When you run the ball well and control the football, it helps the defense. It helps everybody. We have not been doing that. We're not going to run away from it. We're not going to give up on it. Obviously, it's a major, major concern coming out of these games the way we're doing it. On the positive side, we are throwing the ball extremely well. We need to find some type of way to run it better."
(on G Mike Brisiel's injury) "He's got an injured foot. He finished the game with it. I'll let you know probably more tomorrow, but it doesn't look good right now."
(on if there were any more injuries) "No, we came out pretty much okay. We had a couple guys banged up. (LB) Zac (Diles) banged his shoulder a little bit, but other than that, we came out okay."
(on if the offensive line is an area of concern in terms of the running game) "The whole running game is a concern. Obviously, it starts with our guys up front, but it includes everybody. It includes backs, wide receivers. To be good in the running game, everybody's has got to be doing their part. Obviously, we've had some changes, losing (G) Chester (Pitts). Now, we could possibly be playing with another young player with Mike missing some time here. So, we've got some adjustments to make, but it was obviously a big strength for our football team last year, and there is no reason why it shouldn't be this year before it's all said and done. Those guys need to step to the plate and play better and I think they will. I do."
(on if Antoine Caldwell can play right guard) "We'll probably, if Mike's out, we'll probably have him and Chris both working there. Probably not try to interrupt (G Kasey) Studdard's progress. He made some great progress in this game and played pretty darn well, so I don't want to move him around too much. If that's the case, we'll probably be working with both of those guys."
(on how much has Caldwell worked at guard) "He worked a bunch there after he worked center in training camp, so he could get the calls and all that, which is the toughest spot to work and since then, he's basically been working at guard."
(on how much consideration went into other fourth down calls) "Anytime you're not successful, I've got a lot of things going through my ahead that could've been other options. I think we did the right thing; we just didn't do a good enough job. We ran the plays that were our best down there. We had three shots at it from the one and they made the plays, we didn't."
(on the team just playing better in the second half) "I think the second half is all predicated on third downs. If you look at the first half of the game, we had six third downs. We should've made four easily. But when you're 0-for-6, you don't stay on the field. Offense is about getting more snaps, staying on the field. More time on the field comes production. When you're 0-for-6, you're eliminating 18 plays of your offensive football team right there. I think that was the key for the first half."
(on what DT Amobi Okoye is doing better) "I think he's adjusted to (defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar) and what Bill is asking him to do. We put some packages together that I think freed him up a little bit. I think (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) has done an excellent job moving some people around. I had another package yesterday with (LB Brian) Cushing doing a lot of rushing, playing a down in some situations. I think Amobi has gotten loose in some of that stuff. Obviously, I like his motor. He's playing better. I think his effort is better. In the second half, we rushed the quarterback extremely well."
(on if that is mental or physical) "Probably a combination of both him just getting very comfortable to what's going on and what we're doing and just revving his motor up a little bit more; getting there a split second faster. It looks like he's having fun to me and obviously, it shows. He's making some plays."
(on if he has given up on the 50-50 balance of rush to pass) "Obviously we weren't balanced yesterday but it gave us a chance to win. I think the key to being a good football team is you've got to run the ball in this league. You're going to have a hard time changing me on that, but I've also got to look at what's going on with my team right now and what's happening. We're throwing the ball very, very well and we're not running it very well. We're going to do what we have to do to win, but we're not going to give up on the run. We're going to stay committed to it in our preparation and our work and it needs to come around."
(on why they aren't getting to the second level in the zone scheme) "I think we're getting to the second level. We're cutting pretty good. We've done that pretty good but we're not running the ball well. I've got no excuses for you. We're just going to keep working and try to get better at it."
(on if he is concerned that defenses have finally caught up with the zone scheme) "I don't think so. There is a lot of people running the zone schemed and running it very well. We ran it very well last year and I don't think over the course of one year that it's no good anymore. I'm not that type of guy. I believe in what we're doing. We found a way to move the ball yesterday. We didn't get in the end zone—the one yard line, so we get beat."
(on if RB Steve Slaton is not an option in short yardage situations) "He was in there in short yardage yesterday and we got stopped on 3rd and 1. It was the second quarter; we got stopped on 3rd and 1, so he was in there. They can both be in there."
(on if he feels he has his top five in the secondary) "Well, first off, (CB) Jacques (Reeves) was a pleasant surprise. It was good to see him come back and play. He played a lot better than I thought he would. He moved around pretty good. He looked fine to me as far as his knees so he gets through his first game. With him back, that makes us even stronger. I think (CB Glover) Quin is becoming a fine player. He's got a chance to be an excellent player. (CB) Dunta (Robinson), to me, has improved every week so the group is strong. It's young. Those guys are young in there but it's getting stronger and it should be getting better every week."
(on how the team looks to get out of the hole) "I don't look at the next eleven. I look at the next game. Like I said, obviously, we're 2-3. We've been on the one yard line in two football games which is very, very disappointing but that's part of the National Football League. We've got to worry about Cincinnati and find a way to go down there and win. We'll take them one at a time."
(on how they prepare for Cedric Benson and the Bengals rushing attack) "I think their team starts with their quarterback. Obviously, we didn't face him last year. He wasn't healthy, so it starts with (QB) Carson (Palmer) and what he's able to do. Because he throws the ball so well, they get a lot of seven man fronts, so to speak, to run the ball against. They're a very balanced football team, playing extremely well so we'll have our work cut out for us on both ends, defending the run and pass."
T Duane Brown
(on how they got stalled inside the one yard line) "We just didn't get enough push. We blocked everybody we were supposed to, we just didn't get enough push to get (RB) Chris (Brown) into the end zone."
(on Cardinals players being glad WR Andre Johnson didn't play the last few plays) "He's a great player but you get down to the three yard line, you don't want to have to look to your receiver to win the game for you. Me being an O-lineman especially, you want to be able to run the ball in. It's best when you have four downs to do it and us not being able to do that, it was pretty bad."
(on how they can improve in that short yardage situation) "I think it's all about attitude. You get that close to the goal line with that much on the line, you've got to take it upon yourself, each individual has to take it upon themselves to get their job done and get the touchdown. There's not much more you can do. They gave us a good play call, we've just got to get the job done."
(on how important the running game is going forward) "It's very key. Defenses are going to look to try to stop our passing attack eventually and you're going to have to run the ball. To be successful on the field you've got to be able to run the ball. We have great receivers and (QB) Matt's (Schaub) been playing well but you're still going to have to run the ball to make yourself have a balanced effect."
(on why the running game isn't clicking) "Like (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak and (assistant head) Coach (Alex) Gibbs said to us, it's like six inches. One guy not pushing a guy six more inches or one guy running six more inches to cut to open a hole up. Everyone has their responsibility—the line, the receivers, the running backs. Everyone has to take responsibility, it's not just one particular unit that's not getting it done."
(on why the team ran well last year) "You're not going to just come out and run the ball because you did it last year. I mean everybody's going to look to stop that and do everything they can and defenses have had good game plans against us. We know we can run it, it's just all about doing it. When you watch film, it hurts because you see one or two blocks that could spring us for 50-plus yards on different runs and it could change the whole game around. But it's all about getting it done."
WR Andre Johnson
(on how much disappointment this team can take now that it's been so close many times) "I think the way you fight back, you know you do everything to try to win the game and it's a tough pill to swallow. But at the same time, I think (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) said it best—you take away, or we make four or five more plays in all the games that we lost except for the Jets game, we could easily be sitting at 4-1. And, I mean, that's just the game of football. You go out and make two more plays yesterday and we come out with a victory. So it's challenging but at the same time it's something that you can't get discouraged about."
(on if it stuns him that they can be that close in two different games and not make the plays) "Yeah, that's tough. You just wish that there was something that you can do or if you can just be out there you do anything to help but like I said, we had some third downs that we didn't make in the first half that could have easily given us 15, 20 more plays. So we just have to look at things like that and be critical of ourselves and just make those plays when it comes back around."
(on the difficulty of watching from the sidelines on the final play) "It's very frustrating. You know you want to be out there to do anything you can to help the team win. I wasn't out there but there was no doubt in my mind that we would punch the ball in, but it didn't happen."
(on some of his teammates saying they don't want to throw the ball when that close to the end zone) "No, you know, you've got to have your run game established and as a football team you should be able to get one yard. That's killed us in two games. So we just have to take it upon ourselves and get the job done."
(on the importance of the running game going forward) "I think that if we can get our running game going I think that will help us out a whole lot. We just haven't been able to get it going. Not yet this season. But I think if we can get that going it'll help us out offensively a whole lot."
(on the touchdown where he escaped three defenders) "It was a good play. I was able to keep my balance. The guy threw himself at me and I was just trying to do everything I could to get in the end zone. It was a good play at that time in the game. I think it kind of gave the team a lift, also. Defense went out and got us another three-and-out and gave us a chance to go out and win the game. But, you know, we didn't do that."
(on where that touchdown catch stacks among his personal highlights) "Probably the best play I probably made depending on the point in time during the game and you know the situation and everything."
(on that play making his teammates think they could win the game) "Like I said, I felt like it gave the team a boost because we were down 21-0 and most of the time when that happens in the first half, I mean, the game's pretty much over. But like I said after the game, there was no doubt in my mind that we would come back and tie that game up and win that game. We just knew that we had to come out and execute our offense in the first half and the defense knew what they had to do because we went in at half time and you hear all the guys talking about it. So, when we came back out the second half it was like a totally different football team."
(on if the defender was trying to pry the ball out of his hands on that touchdown catch) "Looking at it on film, I didn't even know he'd left his feet. When he hit me—I think by him not having his feet on the ground, you know, having his base, that's what made me bounce off of him because he just threw himself at me. But it was a good play in the game and like I said I think it gave the team a lift but we still didn't get the job done."
(on facing a Bengals team that's a tipped ball away from being 5-0) "When we played against them last year they were a very good defensive football team. They were missing (Bengals QB) Carson (Palmer), they were missing some players but they have all of those guys back now and they look really good. They're going out and they're winning football games. Like you said, they're a tipped ball away from being a 5-0, it's going to be a big challenge for us, it's on the road and we just have to do everything we can to get ready."
CB Dunta Robinson(on what clicked with the defense in the second half) "Everybody just stepped up and made plays. We didn't wait for one group to bail the other group out. The secondary didn't wait for the linebackers, the linebackers didn't wait for the defensive line, the defensive line didn't wait for any of us. Everybody went out there a did the job and if we can get that done for 60 minutes we'll be a pretty good defensive football team."
(on if he feels badly for the offense) "It's tough on those guys, especially all the work they do to set themselves up to score and then come up short. But the same way went want to make corrections and get things right on the defensive side I know they want to do the same on that side and they'll get it corrected. They'll get it straight. (RB) Chris Brown's been in that situation twice on the one yard line and so I know the next time he's in that situation, I know he'll have a burning desire to get that football in the end zone and I know he will. So it's just one of those situations where right now things haven't been going our way but we've just got to keep scratching, keep fighting, keep clawing and hopefully the ball will roll our way."
(on what he thinks of WR Andre Johnson's touchdown catch from the perspective of a defensive back) "That's Andre Johnson. That's what you expect out of him so it doesn't surprise us. It didn't surprise me. I know he didn't play the way he wanted to in the first half—had a drop—and I know he's a competitor and he wanted to redeem himself and he came out and did a heck of a job redeeming himself."
(on if he worries about the hangover effect going into Cincinnati) "No, I don't. And you know, those are the things you can't worry about. If you lose a game, there's no sympathy. The next team doesn't have sympathy for you. They're trying to win the football game. So we have to put it behind us and get ready to go. We're facing a 4-1 team who's a tipped ball away from being 5-0, you know what I mean? So it's going to be a tough football game. So whatever happened in Arizona, we've got to put that behind us and get ready to go win a football game in Cincinnati."