Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media in a Monday afternoon press conference at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the injuries after yesterday's game) "We came out okay. Mario (Williams) got his knee banged. I think he's going to be okay, so he'll be listed day-to-day right now. Kareem (Jackson) got his knee banged a little bit. He'll be listed the same way. Other than that, Joel Dreessen, banged-up shoulder, but I think we came out pretty clean."
(on if there are any serious injuries) "As of right now, there's no big concerns that we have."
(on if CB Jason Allen will start if CB Kareem Jackson cannot play next week) "That's getting way ahead. Kareem (Jackson) should be fine. All indications are today he should be fine."
(on if he's concerned about CB Kareem Jackson's play) "I think as a group, we didn't play well, especially in the fourth quarter. We weren't as aggressive in our coverage and stuff to me in the fourth quarter that we had been throughout earlier in the game, trusting some of the things that we're doing defensively and what (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) asking us to do. I thought that reflected across the board with the group, not just Kareem (Jackson). Can Kareem play better than he played yesterday? Yeah, he can play better, but he had been playing pretty good football for us. He had a good week last week, good week of practice. Any time you get beat, that's not good enough as a team. That's not just about Kareem. He's got to get better, but so does everybody within the group."
(on how much the Texans blitzed against the Saints) "I don't know what percentage we did. Obviously in the 3-4 defense, a lot of people consider zone pressures blitzing. It doesn't come off that way with us. It's just part of what we do. We're always bringing our edge guys and those type of things. I don't know what that percentage is, but we brought our forms of pressures and those things. When they spread us out, we still tried to come get them, playing some three deep, three under with just some zone pressure. We just did not cover well enough in the fourth quarter, especially in the last drive. We gave up too many easy plays, I would say. We didn't make them work the way that we should've made them work. To go down there and score the go-ahead touchdown, just too many easy throws. It gets back to like I said, to trusting in what you're doing defensively. It doesn't matter if it's the biggest drive in the game or if it's early in the game. If we're playing man, get up there, bump them and challenge them. If you're up 33-32, get up there and challenge them, so got to stay consistent in what we're doing."
(on the plan for RB Arian Foster this week) "I hope he's full-go, ready to go. We'll see. He was feeling good yesterday. Obviously, we decided to give him that week this week, thought that it was the best thing to do as we go through this process with him. I know he's chomping at the bit today to get back on the field full-time and we'll sit there and watch how he works and hopefully everything's full speed. Hopefully, the extra week gets us to where we're not dealing with any more setbacks and he's ready to go for the rest of the season."
(on how he plans to start finishing better in games) "Well, the first two weeks, I mean last week in Miami, we finished excellent as a football team. This game, we scored twice in the fourth quarter offensively. We gave up too many points in the fourth quarter defensively. Regardless of how you look at it, we had a lead with four minutes left in the game, so we got to close the game. Do you close it offensively? Do you close it defensively? It doesn't matter. You got to close it. We had some great opportunities on the offensive side of the ball with a nine point lead to make some plays that we didn't make. Defensively, we had opportunities third down-wise in the fourth quarter. They made six out of eight third downs in the fourth quarter and I think the shortest one they might have made was like eight yards, so we had excellent chances to get off the field. We just did not close the game."
(on the problems moving the ball in the fourth quarter) "We had a 9-point lead. We checked the ball down to Ben (Tate). We dropped the ball. That would have been a first down. We had a big play on the run, the second play, we thought should have been a big play. We got a half a yard. We don't make the third down. We had a little problem with protection. That was three of the six, if I'm thinking right. We went for a big play on the next play when we got the ball back. We had the play to make. We didn't make it. We were aggressive and we were playing a good football team that scores a lot of points. We needed to stay aggressive and keep playing and had a whole quarter of football left to play. We had our chances to go put some more points on the board and keep moving the ball the way we did all day long, but during those two series, we didn't and they score back-to-back touchdowns. Got to keep playing, got to keep working, keep playing."
(on what the team could've done differently in the red zone to score more touchdowns) "There's not one thing. You got to look at the big picture. We changed our routine today and basically addressed that before we even addressed the football game as an offense, came in here and watched the last three weeks. I think it gets down to a few things. I continue to mention the run factor. I think we've run the ball 26 times in the red zone, 11 times it's been a yard or less. We've got to be more positive down there when we're doing that. Then I think out of 10 third downs we've had in the red zone this year, seven of them have been over eight yards. You're putting yourself in poor position. I've got to look at myself, what I'm asking the guys to do. That's where I start. That's where I always start. Our coaches have got to do a better job in their preparation with their groups and players got to make plays when it's time to make plays. We have a nice problem, going down there a lot. Obviously what we're doing is not good enough and we've got to figure out a way to fix it, so big emphasis on that. We've got to get better."
(on the success in the red zone last year with RB Arian Foster) "Down there, the field gets very small. Every yard is huge. Positive yardage is huge. When you're running the ball well, then you're keeping yourself from 3rd and 8 at the eight. It's just tough. We had a couple of runs yesterday that, in my opinion, they ought to score, but they didn't. So we've got to go figure out how we can get them to score. We had a couple of plays to make in the red zone versus man coverage that we've got to make. A couple of calls have got to be better. It's not one thing. It's not like saying, 'fix this and we'll be okay.' It's everybody taking responsibility and see if we can be better against Pittsburgh. Like I said, we just have got to improve on it, no excuses."
(on the defensive line saying they left sacks on the field) "They're telling the truth. We did not pressure the quarterback as well as we've been pressuring the quarterback. They're (the Saints) good. They do a good job up front. Their guards are very stout, but we did not factor into the game with our pressure like we have been doing the first couple of weeks. I know they're disappointed in not getting there enough. We knocked a couple balls down and we had a chance to possibly, if they bounced the right way, we could make a couple big plays in the game. But our pressure needed to be better and it needed to be better at the right time. It seems like that was when it was, I don't want to say at its worst, but it was not good when they got going there in fourth quarter and spread us out pretty good. We needed to come up with a couple big plays on the quarterback and we didn't."
(on why CB Kareem Jackson didn't look back to bat the ball down on the touchdown pass to WR Lance Moore against the Saints) "You're talking about that touchdown over the back shoulder throw on the post? He's playing a technique on the upfield shoulder. You're trying to make a quarterback make that type of throw and hopefully you get a hand back and make a play on the ball. He's playing the technique you want him to play; he's in the right spot. We just got to, like you say, somehow get back around and make a play on the ball or get some safety to come help us. You do have to give them some credit. (Drew Brees) made a hell of a throw to the kid."
(on the Saints' two 2-point conversions) "As far as the two 2-point plays, both plays we're in blitz; we're in inside leverage and you are giving up the out route, so to speak. But you got to go get there and make the play. Got to go coach it better, play it better and do a better job with it."
(on if QB Matt Schaub could have thrown to anyone on a shorter route to get the first down on his final throw of the game) "It was fourth and twenty-something, so I told him to throw it. Hell, we're going to try to make the first down. We just didn't do it."
(on why he's convinced the Texans won't give up a fourth-quarter lead every game like they did against the Saints) "Well, I believe in what we're doing. I believe in who's leading the group. We've got two heck-of-a football players that, to me, played very good in the game. Johnathan (Joseph) had a big pick in the game. Danieal (Manning) had a big pick in the game. Yesterday, we were playing a good football team and you're right, we did not close the game. We take full responsibility for that. We take whatever you want to give us from that standpoint. But we got a lot of confidence in what we're doing and we get our chin back up today and correct our mistakes. We'll have to play even better this week to beat Pittsburgh. As of 12:30 (p.m.) today when we got through with our meetings, we're starting to think about Pittsburgh."
(on if he was tempted to give FB James Casey the ball more after seeing him run for an 11-yard gain) "No. I mean, preparation-wise in the game, as we got toward the end of the week, it looked like we were going to have to play with two (running) backs. So I had some offense in the game plan where he (James Casey) was very much involved and he responded. He's turning into a heck of a player. As far as having him play the running back position, I don't know. He's capable of going back there. He's capable of protecting. We're always going to have some wrinkles for him because he's playing so well and he's a good football player. No, I never had the thought of him lining up and playing tailback."
(on if he had an idea that FB James Casey could have the type of performance he did against the Saints when he was moved to fullback from tight end in the offseason) "No, I mean I believe in James (Casey). I know he's got capability, but as far as that happening in that game, I didn't know that was going to happen. We caught a blitz one time, with him in the backfield on a scat call where Matt (Schaub) made a great play; got him the ball up the sideline. We didn't practice that, it just happened in the game. James catching the wheel route on the touchdown; because of the coverage, that's where the ball went. Didn't expect that to happen. A lot of times, things happen in the games that you don't prepare for during the week. They don't come off exactly like you want them to because of coverages you catch. So, some of the things they were doing gave James a chance to make plays and he made them. I think he's well on his way to becoming a heck of a player. He needs to continue to get better in the run game. But he's obviously a threat for us catching the ball."
(on RB Ben Tate coming up lame with an ankle injury against the Saints) "Yeah, he has a sore ankle but he's okay. He finished the game. He's alright."
(on the status of RB Derrick Ward) "It hasn't changed as of today. We'll see where we're at Wednesday. He did not make the trip."