Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media after Tuesday's Texans Team Luncheon. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on what's new today) "Nothing much. We had a good workout this morning. We got a new receiver on the field this morning, so that was good. (Steve) Slaton was back to work today. We'll work out in the morning and head to Minnesota. I plan on playing a bunch of young guys."
(on if there's any new information on RB Arian Foster's injury) "No, he came out today and basically did what he did yesterday, stretched with the team, did a little jogging. We're heading in the right direction here. He will not make the trip with the team. He will stay back and rehab. Like I said, all indications are heading in the right direction and doing the right things."
(on if RB Steve Slaton will play on Thursday) "I don't know. We'll see. We'll see how he came out of today. We'll go back and have a light workout in the morning. Let me see how he does and we'll make a decision."
(on if CB Roc Carmichael will play on Thursday) "I was hoping that would be the case. I'll let you know tomorrow, but I don't know right now."
(on how he divides the playing time among all the players on Thursday) "Well I don't think it's a matter of dividing right now. We're going to play all the young players. There's plenty to go around. I would say we're going to play the twos for a half, the threes for a half, but really body count-wise, we're down and we're going to hold a bunch of guys. There's plenty of football to go around. You guys are going to see all of our young guys play the entire game."
(on if he's come up with the amount of players he will keep at each position) "No, we've talked. I've talked about how (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) has set his defense before, so obviously the numbers will be different than they've been in the past for our football team from a linebacker, d-linemen standpoint, but those things tend to work themselves out. I'm sure we'll get a head start on it on the plane after the Minnesota game. (General Manager) Rick (Smith) and I will start working on it."
(on if the game on Thursday will be an important game for QB Matt Leinart) "Yeah, it's a chance for him to play a lot. I still want to play T.J. (Yates) too. He will play a lot, T. J. will play. Matt (Leinart) improved last week. I think we kind of slowed ourselves down with Matt last week and made sure we weren't asking him to do too much and he played better and he practiced well today, so we'll see."
(on what's different about the final cuts compared to others) "We're pretty deep at some spots. You look at the defensive back spot, we're very deep. Those are going to be some tough cuts right there. Safety, we're very deep. I said defensive back, I was talking corner and safety, so we're very deep in those positions right there. What we do at receiver, how that pans out, our running back situation, if they're all healthy, what goes on there? We've got some nice problems, but at the same time, we're going to still try to make our football team better. We've got some concerns too with our backup offensive line right now and some of those things. Usually some of those things take care of themselves the last game, so we'll see how we come out of Thursday's game."
(on if he's going to have to sign some linemen) "That's a possibility. I think we're sitting here with a pretty good idea of how we would go with the group that we have right now. Let's see what happens Thursday. Let's see how we play. We want to take a good look at the young man we signed just yesterday and those guys are going to play a lot. We'll see, but it has been a topic."
(on if he's planning the game to make sure the wide receivers get enough catches on Thursday) "Yeah, I mean I'll try to call things where I get those guys, get them a chance to get them the ball. Coverage dictates where the football goes, so you can't guarantee that, but those guys are going to play a great deal and it would be nice to see them all touch a ball a couple times. Hopefully some of those questions get answered on the field and not in the meeting room."
(on if the new 3-4 defense presents a challenge in figuring out how many players to keep at each position) "No, this year the configuration of your team is different. Linebackers, you could have nine, 10 linebackers on a football team. You could have six defensive linemen. Everything's just totally different, but the numbers all add up the same. It's still down to 53, so how we put it together and whether we're heavy on defense compared to offense, that remains to be seen."
(on if RB Steve Slaton needs to play on Thursday) "He needs to play, but I've got to go back. I haven't even watched practice yet today. I came from practice straight to here, so I'm going to go back and see how he did at practice, how he looked and I'll watch him in the morning. I know Steve can play in this League. He can be successful in this League, but I'm not going to put him out there Thursday unless I really know he's ready to go. This morning looked good from what I saw, but let me go back and take a look."
(on who's surprised him the most out of the undrafted free agents) "I don't know, that's tough. There have been a lot of guys that jump at you a little bit along the way and then it'll be somebody new the next day. It'd be hard to put it on one guy. I think we've had a lot of second-year players that have made a big jump. That's been very encouraging to watch Connor Barwin's preseason, to watch Jesse Nading's preseason, to watch (Darryl) Sharpton's preseason has been excellent. I've been probably more encouraged by that than sitting here talking about a free agent that's jumped out at me. I think the progress of our young players has been good."
(on what the motivation has been in the locker room behind the preseason consecutive wins) "I don't know. As I said awhile ago at the luncheon, I think preseason is a great indicator of how hard our guys worked during the lockout. We had great leadership off the field and I think it has shown, but we've got to respond as an organization, coaching staff, football team. I think our focus has been good and the job (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) done getting the defense ready very quickly has been very, very important."
(on how much it means to have ILB DeMeco Ryans back for the regular season) "It means a great deal. When you walk around the building and people call you 'Cap,' that tells you what guys think of you. That's how much we think of him as a player and as a person. He has missed a lot of time. It has been a concern, but he's huge to this football team. He has looked good in practice the last two days, so we're heading in the right direction."
(on if he will consider playing some veterans on Thursday) "No, I want to look at our young guys. I think our veteran guys have had a good preseason. This turnaround from a San Francisco trip to a Minnesota trip has been very difficult on the guys. We haven't been able to do much leading up to this game. I want to keep some guys healthy and I want to find out about the other guys, so with that in mind, you won't see many veterans play."
(on what he likes about the two new signees) "Well we're just getting going. (Bryant) Johnson did practice today. He's a veteran guy. He came out the same year Andre (Johnson) did. He knows what's going on. It didn't take us long to catch him up a little bit. He will play in the game. (Andrew) Gardner has played some ball and he's going to play in the game too. To walk on the field and have to line up in two days to play is very tough, but we'll see what happens."
(on the special teams in the San Francisco game) "I thought we isolated who we played a little bit. I thought we played better. We played more consistent. We gave ourselves some opportunities in the return game. Even though the kick returns, the two were not great yardage-wise, I thought we gave ourselves a chance. I liked what I saw from (Shiloh) Keo, I liked what I saw from Jacoby (Jones), I like what I saw from (Sherrick) McManis, so we've got some depth there. Danieal (Manning) is ready to go once the season starts. I just thought we improved."
(on if he's going to start FS Danieal Manning on kick returns in the regular season) "Take the chance, yes. I was more concerned with him catching up with our defense."
(on what message he wants to give to fans in general) "Well I think I just gave them my message. First off, I appreciate everything they do for our organization. I told them how I felt about last year, which wasn't very good and we're all in that together and accept responsibility for that. We're looking forward for a chance to respond this year. We're excited. I asked them to get in the seats early because our players love that, so hopefully that didn't make anybody mad at me, but our players do love that when we warm up. We're just looking forward to a new season. We've got some work to do Thursday night, but we're looking forward to getting started."
(on if everything he is planning defensively against the Colts is with QB Peyton Manning in mind) "We expect the Colts to be at their best, so you bet."
(on how big Thursday's game is for WR Terrence Toliver) "Well it's very big, but he was unable to practice yesterday. He practiced just briefly today, so I'm hoping he's ready to go, so we'll see. He got dinged a little bit last game, so we'll see where he's at."
(on what Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips has brought to the team) "The first thing is instant credibility when we got started this year. When he walks into the meeting room with the players, it's like 'Coach, tell me what you want me to do because I know how successful your defenses have been.' Instant credibility has been great for our staff and then to try to do it as quick as we're having to do it because of the lockout situation, that's what's been the most impressive to me."