Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media during a Monday afternoon press conference at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on all the injuries) "Matt's (Schaub) just beat up. He got a chest bruise and is just really banged up, but he was fine. He went out and did the work today and he's like I said, just very beat up. He'll be day-to-day. I'll probably give him a rest Wednesday like I did last week, but all indications are that he'll be okay. I'll just go through this. (Dominique) Barber, you guys, is done for the season. He broke his, I think a Lisfranc, so he will be put on IR. He'll have surgery this week. Danieal Manning has got a lower leg contusion. Pretty sore today, so he'll be day-to-day. Duane Brown has got a knee bruise. He'll be day-to-day, but he did work with the team today. Other than that, we're just nicked up."
(on how concerned he is about QB Matt Schaub getting injured this early in the season) "Well it just seems we've played some very physical football games. He played one two weeks ago where he threw the ball a great deal in the fourth quarter as we were trying to come back and win the game and took some shots. Yesterday, we played a really physical football team and our goal was to protect him and I thought in the first half, we did a pretty good job of that as long we stayed on schedule. There at the end of the game, we were trying to make up some ground quickly and he took some shots. We need him on the field. There's not a break in sight right now. It's a month away, so we just got to be smart with him. Throughout the week, if I've got to give him a break a day a week or two days a week, Matt can play without the practice. I just got to be smart with him, but he is, along with a lot of guys, just very banged up right now after six weeks."
(on the importance of this week's game against the Titans) "That's the key. I think if we would have said when the season started, in Week 7, we're going to be playing somewhere for a lead in our division, you got to be excited about that. We're disappointed in the last two weeks. We've been in two very tough football games and haven't gotten it done, but we come in here today, we make our corrections. We've got to juggle some guys around because of some of the nicks we got going on, but we're going to Tennessee to play in a huge football game for the division lead, so getting over the disappointment of yesterday real fast and getting excited about playing this weekend."
(on his concerns about the running game) "First off, we're not a bad running football team. I think we're seventh in the League, but our standard of running the ball is very high and I don't think we've met the standard the last two weeks. Where are my concerns? My concern is with the group. It's not with the line. It's not with the backs. It's with everybody and I told the players today, I just don't think we're doing the little things that we do that put us at the top of the League, some of the little extra things we do work-wise, so I'm calling on them to get that done. I'm calling on each one of them to take a look at themselves. We knew yesterday that team would be tough to run on, but we tried to stay committed to it and keep ourselves on schedule. For the most part, we did that until really late in the third quarter. We've got to run the ball better for our football team to be successful. Our guys know that, so my challenge is for it to get better and I think it's got to get better with everybody. It's not just one particular group."
(on RB Arian Foster saying he had a terrible game and that it won't happen again) "Well hopefully you got players that feel that way. You go out there 16 times in this League and players know. Players are smart. They know what it takes to win. They know what it takes to be successful. You got to be honest with yourself sometimes in knowing you're not doing something right. Obviously, it wasn't all Arian. Arian did a lot of good things in the game, too, but we need him at the top of his game for us to be successful, but he needs a lot of help, too. You want guys battling like that and I know we got the right guys, so we'll go to work on making it better."
(on if there's any chance WR Andre Johnson will be able to play this week) "He made a lot of improvement last week. Had a long talk with him Saturday night at the hotel. He was feeling very, very good. We'll increase his work. I have a hard time saying right now. Maybe there's a chance he sees the practice field before the end of the week, so I guess if that's the case, there's always a chance, but we'll have to wait and see."
(on what the Ravens did to limit TE Owen Daniels' effectiveness) "They showed him a lot of respect. They doubled him in a lot of situations, tried to take away some of the things he's been doing very, very well, so it made it difficult for us to get him the ball in some of those situations. But Owen played good in the football game. It's like I tell you all the time, throwing the ball, the ball's got to go where coverage tells you the ball's got to go. Last week, it obviously opened up for him in a lot of the things we were doing. Yesterday, it didn't with the way they played us, but Jacoby (Jones) came back and played well. Owen had a good football game, but I got to do everything I can to get him more involved than he was yesterday."
(on if QB Matt Schaub's hip is okay) "No, the hip is very sore, so it's his chest and his hip. He took a good shot one play right in his hip and then another play took a pretty good shot from the big guy (Ravens NT Haloti Ngata) right in the chest. He's just very beat up right now, but like I said, he went out to practice and did what he would normally do on a Monday."
(on if he considered playing QB Matt Leinart yesterday due to QB Matt Schaub's injuries) "I didn't feel that way. If Matt (Schaub) was that way, he would tell me. I assumed he could keep going."
(on WR Derrick Mason) "Well for a guy that just practiced for two days, he came in and made a few plays for us. Had a few mistakes in the game that we got to get corrected, so we got to take another step as coaches with him. I think Derrick can help us. That's a tough situation to be put in, in the middle of the year, have a guy come in and go straight to the field with a couple days practice. But he's very smart and I think he'll feel better this week. We'll feel better about what he can do, but he stepped in and did what we asked him to do yesterday."
(on CB Kareem Jackson starting over CB Jason Allen) "Kareem had not been healthy. He got healthy last week. He had a great week of practice. As I told you, we look at both of them as starters. We felt good going into the game. Kareem's a very physical player. This team's a very physical football team, run the ball a great deal, so we started Kareem and he played well. He played very well in the game. We gave up a big play and actually that's not even his play. We didn't play the coverage the way we were supposed to play it, but we felt like Kareem played good. The game got going, I thought we settled down defensively after the first drive and we were playing good defense and we turned around and Jason doesn't play that much. I would like Jason to play more. He should have played more in the game, but Kareem played well for us too."
(on how much more difficult it was to game plan without FB James Casey) "James gives people a lot of things to worry about. I missed him from that standpoint. He always makes plays with us with his hands. He gives us a lot of opportunities with his brain for what he can do for our team. I think there's a chance this week. He did go out and work out before the game. I think there's a chance by the end of the week we could be talking about this, but right now, we're still day-to-day."
(on what the Ravens did to stop the run) "Well they're very good up front. They've got a heck of group and very big up front, so you know you got to just kind of pound away at them and you got to be willing to have some dirty 2- and 3-yard runs, which we did. Cutting the back side is a big thing that we do. They're very athletic. Sometimes we cut them well, but the ball didn't get back there. Sometimes the ball came back there, but we didn't cut so well. Like I said, it continues to be a combination of things that we've got to improve as a running football team right now."
(on going for the fourth down early in the game and if Kevin Walter was open on that play) "No, we called a run. We were just unsuccessful, no excuse. We need to line up and get a yard right now, the way it's been the last couple of weeks running the ball. That's me sending a message to our guys and our guys have to know that I have confidence in them to come off the ball and get a yard regardless of who we're playing or where we're playing. I thought we needed that opportunity. I'd sit here and tell you that I'd give it to them again. I think we need to be able to handle that as a football team. We just didn't do it. They pushed the line of scrimmage pretty good."
(on OLB Brooks Reed) "I would say I was very excited by how he played. First off, it wasn't too big for him. For his first time out there, to walk into Baltimore and start, I thought he was very active in the game. He played solid. He graded out good. Can he play better? Yes, but for a first time starter in this league, I think we all have to be excited with what he did. He and Connor (Barwin) played every snap at outside linebacker; both of them played every snap. I think his future is very bright and we need it to be right now."
(on his reaction to the dust-up in the 49ers-Lions postgame) "I've got a lot more on my plate today. I've got no comment on that."
(on DE Tim Jamison) "That's one of the things I told the team today. It's a crying shame that we're not sitting in here winning that game because Timmy probably would've been Player of the Game. This guy gets an opportunity and has two sacks, causes a fumble, gets a fumble. He had a chance for another sack and slipped. I see a young Antonio (Smith), is what I see. He's got a ways to go, but it is exciting to watch him play every week. He played the most he's played this year for us and he played the best. So I think that's telling us something, so you're going to see more of him."
(on how he plans on getting DE Tim Jamison more playing time) "You like to come out of the game with those defensive lineman playing somewhere in the 40s (plays). You don't want them playing 60 plays, 65 plays. Yesterday, we evened that out a little bit better. (Shaun) Cody actually played some end in the game and played good. He played 30-something snaps. Earl (Mitchell) played 20-something. We got Antonio's (Smith) snaps down a little bit and J.J.'s (Watt) snaps down a little bit. We would like it to be more even like that. Yesterday is about as close as we've got to being 65-35 type situation."
(on if finally making a few big plays will help them get over the hump) "The last two weeks, I think that's part of this league. I think every game is close. You look around the league and you don't see many blowouts in the National Football League. Games get to crunch time and the last two weeks, against Oakland and against Baltimore, we've been in positions to win games. We haven't gotten it done. That's disappointing but that's the position you want to be in as a player and that you want to be in as a coach. That hump thing—I don't know what that is. I don't know that you ever get over the hump. I think you just keep playing. We've got to be honest with ourselves and guys have to be honest and step up and make some of the plays that we're not making late in the game like yesterday. It was all three phases yesterday. When we were 14-13 in that game, when we took the lead, from that point on, offensively, defensively and punting, we had a chance to be a big factor in the game and we weren't. We've got to go to Tennessee this week, another hostile crowd, big situation, and we've got to handle those situations if we're going to walk out of those places winning."
(on if they were mental or physical mistakes) "It's a little bit of both I would say. We dropped some balls. We had a big third-and-8 that could've been a difference in the game. Defensively, we had them, with a 14-13 lead, we had them third-and-12 and we jumped offsides and gave them a first down. Two out of the next three plays were 107 yards passing, so all of a sudden it went from playing really, really well to boom. In five plays, what the heck happened here? Some recall from the practice field to the field is bothering me right now. We got a blitz yesterday that we went through a couple times. We got the same blitz in the game and don't handle it. Defensively, we played a route a certain way all week in practice. We got the same route in the game and don't handle it. When that happens, you have to look at yourself as a coach and say, 'what do I have to do to get this player to transfer that to Sunday afternoon in front of 80,000 people?' If you're going over it once and you need to go over it two or three times. That's what we're looking at right now."
(on if the players need to be more accountable with those situations) "It comes down to all of us. We're a team. It's my job as a coach to figure out what a player does best and get him in the best position to be successful. It's his job to go out on the field and do it, but we're all involved. Whether its success or failure, we're all involved in what's going on. We've got to stick together and figure out a way to do it."
(on how much WR Andre Johnson's absence is affecting QB Matt Schaub) "We're getting played different. There is no doubt about that. There is a level of consistency when Andre is on the field with what people try to do. I don't think it has affected where Matt goes with the ball on this play or that play. He's got to do what he's got to do from that standpoint. I think in some of these situations that we've been in, I hope these guys aren't looking for him because he's not out there. Somebody else has got to step up and make that play. We're in the situation we're in until he gets back. We've got to find a way to work through it. I look at two weeks ago and we moved the ball as well as we've moved it all year, but we didn't score enough points to win. There is plenty of ball movement. Yesterday, we went in there and went toe-to-toe with a dang good football team and we needed a new hero. Somebody needs to step up and make that play. Until Andre gets back, someone has got to assume that responsibility."
(on if WR Trindon Holliday is still a possibility to play on special teams) "He's a possibility but the problem that we have right now is that when you have injuries on your team, which we've had, there is a trickle-down effect to special teams. We lose (Dominique) Barber yesterday, who is arguably our best special teams player. We start to have body issues. You've got to replace DBs and linebackers with DBs and linebackers from the standpoint of how you compete on special teams. So it is an issue right now that Joe (Marciano) and I have got to work through. I would like to have Trindon come up and return some kicks and hopefully we can find the roster spot to do that but we've got some other issues."
(on if the players understand the magnitude of big games like the one coming up) "I know they understand. I know they understand it. We talked about it today. You prepare for every game the same way. The meeting is going to be the same. The time you put in to go be successful is going to be there. Everything is going to be the same. You're preparing to play four quarters of football and trying to get your guys ready to go. As far as the importance of the game, they are all important. I don't think, at this time in the season or at the end of the season, you never know when you look back which one was the biggest, which one wasn't. They're all important. This is the next one, obviously it's for first place in our division. We always have some big battles with Tennessee and we've got to go do it there. We knew we had some really tough games early in this season and this is the next one up. So we're going to have to play well."