Texans head coach Gary Kubak answered questions from the media in a Monday press conference at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the injuries to WR Andre Johnson and RB Ben Tate) "Well, Andre (Johnson), we're still in an evaluation process. Obviously, we are dealing with a hamstring. We do know that. We're going to get a couple different opinions here over the course of the next two days. It's hard for me to give you an answer right now. He's going to miss some time. I don't know if that's three or four days. I don't know if that's a few weeks. I don't know right now. Once we get a better evaluation and see how he progresses over the course of the next two days, I can probably answer your question better. Every other player is day-to-day. That would include (Sherrick) McManis, (Tim) Dobbins, (Derrick) Ward, (Ben) Tate. Tate's got a groin strain. All those guys are day-to-day. I might be missing one. I can't think of who else, but Andre's obviously is the biggest one right now."
(on if it's unusual to get a second opinion on a hamstring injury) "Is it unusual for us to have other people? No, a lot of our guys we get second opinions on everything we're doing, just trying to decide what's best. Obviously with Andre (Johnson) right now, there's big concern obviously right now with what took place yesterday and where we're going forward. But at the same time, we got to do what's best by Andre, so that's what we want to do right here so that he understands exactly what's going on, we understand exactly what's going on and we got a lot of opinions as we move forward."
(on if WR Andre Johnson's hamstring is torn or sprained) "I don't know at this point. Like I said, we're still evaluating it."
(on what he expects from WR Jacoby Jones if WR Andre Johnson can't play) "Jacoby (Jones) would go to X. He would start at X. Obviously Bryant (Johnson) would become part of the rotation. David (Anderson) becomes part of the rotation. I got a lot of confidence in those guys. Jacoby's grown up a lot as a player. He went in yesterday and played well. He's much better in the run game than he has been in the past. He's very capable of making big plays. If we're missing time with Andre (Johnson), you don't replace Andre. What you do is you got to pick it up across the board at other spots. Yesterday OD (Owen Daniels) did that for us from a receiving standpoint. If he's going to miss some time, we're just going to have to play better as a group."
(on WR Bryant Johnson) "It's been a mental catch-up thing for Bryant (Johnson), but he's come a long way. He played a little bit yesterday in the game. His preparation has been excellent. (Wide receivers coach) Larry (Kirksey) really thinks a lot of him as a person and a player and then we're going to find out right now how much he can help us because with Kevin (Walter) and Jacoby (Jones), our third receiver, what he always has to do is be able to go in the game and play two spots. We'll ask Bryant to do that right away and he'll get all the practice reps, so we're expecting him to step up and help us."
(on the penalties against Pittsburgh) "There was way too many of them. Some of them we feel like we're legit that we've got to go correct as coaches and players. We got to get those corrected. Some of them we disagree with. We'll turn those into the League and find out, but the thing I was most proud of is we did have so many that could've hurt us, could've sent us in a negative direction I guess is a way to put it and we didn't do that. We kept overcoming them as a football team, overcame them offensively in the first drive. Defensively, you get a roughing the passer at the end. You could sit there and feel sorry for yourself, but we came right back and made the next couple plays to win the game. Too many penalties, but the fact that we stood up to them and still won the football game was impressive."
(on CB Kareem Jackson's injury and CB Jason Allen's performance in yesterday's game) "Kareem (Jackson) was the other one I was missing. He will be listed day-to-day. He did run with the team today, so I think we're heading in the right direction with him, but we'll know more on Wednesday. Jason (Allen) was one of our Defensive Players of the Game, so that'll tell you how well he played. Got an opportunity to start and play full-time yesterday and took advantage of that, played very, very well. Where we'll be next week, I don't know, but I've got confidence in all of them. Brice (McCain) even played a great deal in the game and played good. Hopefully Kareem will bounce back and be ready to go this week and we'll see where we're at."
(on the special teams' performance yesterday) "Surprisingly, we didn't think we played very good on special teams when we look at the big picture. We had one of those games it could have been spectacular with the return for a touchdown, but we put a ball on the ground the opening kickoff that could've been a disaster. We had a great punt to pin them on the one. The punt before that was a poor punt that could've got out of control (on) the return. When we looked at our special teams game, it could've went either way, but (Brett) Hartmann has been doing a good job and he was our Special Teams Player of the Game today. I think that's more of a over the course of the month, not just yesterday, but he's been exceptional with us, kickoffs and the punt at the end of the game. You pin a team on the one, you should win the football game and we were able to do that. But we think we can improve drastically. We played some good special teams, but yesterday we didn't really think was one of our overall better ones, believe it or not."
(on the meeting he had with the offense during the game yesterday) "I was probably more mad that we only got three plays in the whole quarter, so I took it out on them. We had four possessions in the first three quarters of the football game. I've never been around that before. Three in the first half and we had really made the most of them. I thought we played very well and when you watch yourself go three-and-out, I think if there's a reason why you go three-and-out, then you understand it, but there was no excuse for us going three-and-out. We had a play to make on first, second down. On third down, we had a perfect play that we worked on all week to make and we don't make it. I just told them it didn't look the same and I knew that we were in a dog fight right there and we were going to have to respond and we did. We came back and went 85 yards, the go-ahead touchdown. That's what this game's about, responding to a little adversity in tough games and we did that as a team yesterday."
(on when TE Owen Daniels picked up the first down on a third-and-six in the fourth quarter) "To me, that play was huge in the game. To be third-and-six, for us to go three tight ends and do that tells you how much confidence we have in OD. He went down and got a bad ball from Matt (Schaub), made the play and just seemed to get us going. I think OD came right back and made the next play for about a 25-yard gain. You got to have things that jump start you and we had kind of controlled the game. They controlled the game. We controlled the game in the first quarter. They controlled the game in the third quarter. Who was going to be the best team in the fourth quarter and we stepped up and got it done."
(on being able to trust the defense to close the game) "Knowing that we could pin them and the way we were playing defense all day, you're right, that's a great feeling as a coach. At the same time, we got to remember, they had used two of their timeouts in the third quarter, so every possession we had there's two minutes less of the game we could take away. Now I would've loved to see us close the game and run the ball better at the end than we did, but I did have a lot of confidence in the way we were playing defensively and it held up."
(on what he said to FB James Casey after he jumped in the air and almost fumbled the ball in the second quarter yesterday) "Well, I told him he's not a wide receiver. He's a fullback and that he needs to stay on the ground, put the ball away because stuff like that happens, he's going to get hurt and he's going to turn the ball over. The ball came out too. He's in a learning process, but he's fun to work with right now. He gives us a chance to make some plays."
(on how important it was for him to see RB Arian Foster play well considering WR Andre Johnson may miss some time) "It was important to the team, not me. Arian (Foster) has done it before for the team and coming off an injury and concerned about how many carries he was going to have yesterday, we went into the game thinking between 20 and 25. We would've thought that would've been a heck of a first time out. Losing Ben (Tate) early in the game, he said 'I'm fine' and kept going. It was very impressive. He's able to take his work today at practice. That's what Arian is. The more Arian carries the ball, he seems to play better. Yesterday, it looked like he hadn't missed any time at all. He was good in pass protection. We're going to lean on him whether Andre's (Johnson) out there or not. He's a big part of what we do, so hopefully we've got him healthy for the long haul."
(on if they will have to lean on RB Arian Foster more with WR Andre Johnson possibly missing time) "No, I think we've always leaned on him pretty good. When we run the football 30, 35 times in a game, we're usually playing pretty good football as a team. I like to think we can do that every week. You never know what type of game you're going to play in, but Arian's going to always get his touches somehow some way and hopefully running the football again like we were yesterday where we have confidence to keep the grind, just keep going."
(on RB Derrick Ward) "He's day-to-day. He did jog with the team today and did work today. We'll have to wait and see."
(on RB Derrick Ward's injury has been worse than initially thought) "It has been. We thought we were close going into last week. We pushed his workload up a little bit. He got an injection last weekend. He got very, very sore off the first workout last week, so we backed off. We start that process over today. He received an injection yesterday once again. He did work today, so hopefully, we're closer. You're right though. It has taken a bit longer."
(on if the Pittsburgh game was the best his two offensive tackles have played) "We played good up front. They both did play well. They played against two great players on the edges. The good news is we helped. We threw the ball 21 times. If you line up against Pittsburgh and throw it 45 times, then your tackles are going to have a tough time being automatic. We helped them the way we ran the ball and the way we were able to stay on schedule. Duane (Brown) and Eric (Winston) continue to improve as players. Up front, as a whole, our five guys have been fortunate; they keep playing together and keep playing a lot of snaps. They're playing well."
(on if he is comfortable relying on RB Chris Ogbonnaya or is he looking for another back) "I'm hoping by the end of the week that Ben (Tate) is close and ready to go. We're hoping he can battle back from this. I've got a lot of confidence in Chris (Ogbonnaya). You rarely get to a third back on a Sunday. You do usually suit a third back for emergency situations. It's kind of like a quarterback. We've been hit pretty hard at that position. Hopefully, we're through the worst part and we can get some guys healthy and we get Derrick (Ward) back quickly and then we're okay. For right now, I've got confidence in the people we have. I could always put James (Casey) back there. I could put (Lawrence) Vickers back there if we got in that tough situation. Hopefully, that's not the case."
(on if he said anything to Danieal Manning on the block in the back call following his block of a field goal) "Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I thought the penalty was further back. I thought it was on Brian (Cushing). The talk I had with the official, he was describing that was the penalty he called, but it came off on the call sheet as being on Danieal (Manning). I never really had a conversation with Danieal until after the game and today about what happened. You just have to be smart there. The kicker is not going to catch him, so you have to be smart there. The guy that Cushing blocked 20 yards behind the play sure as heck isn't going to catch him. Every week, we show smart plays, plays that aren't so smart and we talk about hustle. We had to address those situations today because that took a touchdown off the board."
(on if Johnathan Joseph has been better than they expected at this point) "The difference between great corners and good corners is good corners can cover. Great corners can cover and they make the play on the ball. He's got great hands. If the ball comes his way, he tends to get his hands on it. To pick up that blocked field goal, that's tough to do. He gives you big play ability back there. He played pretty darn well against a very good receiver (Mike Wallace) yesterday, in our minds. We're excited about his work and moving forward."
(on if this is what he expected out of Jason Allen) "He had a really good camp. He's been playing well for us. He played well for us at the end of last year. I think Jason (Allen) will gain a lot of confidence coming out of this game. We'll see. We've been playing them both anyway, but Jason will be a big part of what we're doing and like I said, he made the biggest play of the day yesterday."
(on how much more confidence it gives Kubiak having watched Allen's success yesterday) "It gives us a lot of confidence. He's sitting in the locker room on Sunday and we don't know if Kareem (Jackson) is going to play until about 9:30 (a.m.). We worked him out and said, 'no,' so Jason finds out right there, 'Hey I'm the guy for the day.' He goes out there and plays the way he played yesterday. It can only give you more confidence in him, but the key is him getting more confidence in what he's doing."