Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media during a Monday press conference at Reliant Stadium. Afterward, quarterback Matt Leinart spoke to the media on a conference call. The following is a transcript of their interviews.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
QB Matt Leinart
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB Matt Schaub's injury) "He has a significant foot injury that is being evaluated as we speak. We're going to have a guy out of Indianapolis, I think if I'm right, take a look at it, some of the scans that we did on it, the MRI, those things. We're going to send him to Charlotte here in the next week and have him evaluated there. There is another guy that I'm not sure, I don't know the names, that happens to be out of the country right now that specializes in this, so we're going to have him look at it. Like I said, he has a significant foot injury and he's going to miss some time, but we're going to do everything we can to get it evaluated correctly and see if we can get him back on the football field. It's disappointing, but we'll go to work and try to do the right thing by Matt (Schaub)."
(on it being reported that QB Matt Schaub has a broken foot and is out for the season) "There are a lot of things reported—reported before I ever even met with our doctors, so that's the way it goes. That's the best I can tell you right now."
(on if he was given any timeframe on QB Matt Schaub's injury) "No, he's going to be in a boot throughout this week. The evaluation process will continue and then his visits to see these doctors I think will start Monday or Tuesday next week. We're waiting on one guy to get back in the country and another guy we're setting up an appointment with. That's the best I can tell you right now. I just left Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) and that's where we're at."
(on if QB Matt Leinart will start against Jacksonville after the bye) "Yeah, it looks that way. Yeah."
(on how the injury occurred to QB Matt Schaub) "The quarterback sneak coming out of the end zone when we were backed up inside our one (yard-line)—somebody fell on the back of his foot and his foot got caught in the pile. He played the rest of the game. He was sore. We asked him and he said, 'I'm fine.' They taped it up at halftime and he played. He was complaining about it in the fourth quarter and we took him out of the game. After the game, the doctors still felt like he was going to be fine, so this all took place here today."
(on how T Eric Winston came out of the game with his back issue) "He did a great job. We had a lot of guys step up and play hurt: Eric (Winston), Antonio (Smith), Earl (Mitchell), but he held up well. He played well. Obviously we played pretty darn good up front and we had no setbacks. We took him out of the game there late in the game, but he seems to be fine."
(on how ready QB Matt Leinart is to play) "Well that's why he's (Leinart) here. That's why he came back. He liked his opportunity here. He liked this football team. He likes what we do offensively. You never know how an opportunity is going to occur, but here we go. It's a big one for him and his career. He's had a lot of reps. We've cut back on Matt (Schaub)'s reps the last month at practice so he (Leinart) has gotten a ton of reps. He has played in big football games in this league. He's played a lot of football. He's played in big football games in college. Matt (Leinart) has been around it, but the key is that the whole football team rally around him and playing well as a football team. Matt (Leinart) doesn't have to go win a game. The team has to go win a game. We'll rally around him and get him ready to go."
(on how disappointing it is to lose QB Matt Schaub right now) "Well, it's disappointing anytime you lose any player. We went into the game yesterday beat-up and we got a scare from Owen (Daniels) in the third quarter. We had this happen to us today. We've got (Lawrence) Vickers, who's got a little hamstring on us. You start to thin out when guys go down. That's kind of what's been going on with us and we've been finding a way to rally. We'll have to rally again. We'll call on everybody to step it up just a little bit."
(on the status of FB Lawrence Vickers, WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey) "James played yesterday as well as he's played since he went on the field, not quite 100 percent. He looked like himself yesterday. He got some fullback reps late in the game. He'll be 100 percent when we come off the bye. Vickers, I can't really tell you. It will be next week before we really know. As far as Andre goes, guys, our expectations are that Andre is a full participant next Wednesday or as we start our week next week and he's ready to play against Jacksonville. Let's be honest, until he steps on the field and practices a couple of days, we better probably hold on, but it sure looks like where we're headed."
(on if he's been told the specifics of QB Matt Schaub's injury) "No. No, like I said, it was described to me as a significant injury and they're trying to evaluate it. I know it's been reported a couple places exactly what's going on, but as of right now, they haven't given me any conclusions. They're just trying to give me opinions on what we should do and how we should handle it as of today."
(on the team's ability to have the 'next man up' mentality this season with all the injuries) "Well it's a team and that's the word. I've said this a couple times after the game, right now we're playing very unselfish football. Everybody's pitching in. I don't think we really care as a group where the plays come from or who makes the play, scores the points or gets a sack. We just care about winning and we're playing very hard as a football team right now. We're going to get tested even more now, so we'll have to call on everybody to do that. We do have a lot of confidence right now in what we're doing and we just got to keep our chin up and move forward."
(on how important it is to have three good running backs help QB Matt Leinart) "It's kind of been our formula for winning here lately. We've run the ball well and we've played great defense. As long as we got those guys back there, we're going to try to establish the run week-in and week-out. It's very important, but Matt (Leinart) will get called upon too to do his part and I expect him to do that. Like I said, it's a team game. That's one thing we've figured out through some of our injuries this year and how the team reacts is the key to our success. We'll be asked to react again here in about two weeks, so we'll have to get ready to do that."
(on if he is giving players less time off this week to work with QB Matt Leinart) "No, we got to get some guys healthy. Our list of guys who could go out and practice tomorrow or Wednesday is very, very thin, so we're going to do a lot of mental work. We're going to evaluate ourselves. We do have some guys that will get some extra work, that being Matt (Leinart) will get some, Andre (Johnson) will get some to make sure we get them ready to go the following Monday. This football team needs a break. It needs to freshen up and we need to get all these guys that have played a ton of snaps back fresh and ready to go for next week."
(on FS Danieal Manning) "You know what, he actually ran Friday. He's been on the AlterG, I guess that's what it is, the machine that takes the weight off of you. He actually did some running at full weight on Friday. He's doing extremely well. Everything is accordingly to schedule, if not ahead of schedule, so don't be surprised here in a few weeks if we start talking about bringing him out there to start working with Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan). He's making great progress and should contribute to the team before the season's over if things keep going."
(on if it can affect a team knowing that you're in first place) "The guys don't worry about that right now. The game's a confidence thing and we have a lot of confidence right now in how we're playing. Six games is a lot of football to play. Three of them are division games if I'm right. Two of those are on the road, so there's a lot of movement that can take place if you're continuing to play well and find ways to win games. The one thing we've done a really good job is just staying focused on the next game. I think the thing that's helped us do that are the problems that we're having, unfortunately. We have a big win and then we lose a player, so we got to adjust. Here we go again today. I think it's keeping everybody's focus on, 'Hey, how do we win in Jacksonville?' That's what we need to do."
(on how QB T.J. Yates has progressed) "He's progressed a great deal. I think he's going to be a player in this League. He's going to be called upon quickly to get ready to play. I've been very impressed with how he practices and I think he's got a bright future. He'll get pressed a little bit here to get ready to play and I expect him to step up and handle his situation."
(on what he saw in QB Matt Leinart last year that made him want to keep him) "I see a hungry guy trying. Here's a guy who's had the highs of football and then he's had some lows. He wants to go back and prove that he belongs and can be successful in this League. I really like the way our guys reacted to him last year when I had him when he stepped in the huddle, the way he'd lead the group running the scout team on a daily basis. This game's about leadership and he'll get his opportunity to do that, but I know our guys believe in him. They like him. They like the way he does his job. I love the way he studies. It's a great opportunity for him. We need to rally around him."
(on if he's confident FS Danieal Manning will be back this season) "Yeah, I'm pretty confident about that one. From what I'm seeing and what I'm hearing from Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) and the doctors, it sure looks like we're heading that way."
QB Matt Leinart
(on if he's ready to step in for QB Matt Schaub) "Yeah, it's a huge opportunity for me. First off, I just want to say I'm really bummed for Matt (Schaub). We've become very close the last year and this year. He's a leader of this football team and he's done a great job in the 4-5 years he's been here to get us to this point. He was really having a great year this year. I'm bummed. My heart goes out for him. I know how hard he's worked to get us to this point, but he knows and everyone knows in this profession that things happen and the next guy has to step up. That's my job and my responsibility as a quarterback, to take his place for now and help this team win. That's what I've wanted for a long time and what I've worked for every day and prepared for every day of the offseason and during the season. It's a great opportunity and I'm on a great football team and I love these guys. I'm just excited about the chance."
(on how being with the Texans for awhile now will help him going into this situation) "It's huge. Obviously, last year, getting a taste of the offense and how we do things and even without an offseason this year, coming into camp and getting that experience and practice and getting reps in preseason and getting out there and running our plays and offense, it was good for me. You guys all know, the backup quarterback only gets a certain amount of reps but you have to make the most of those in practice and in the game you have to be able to be accountable. That's something that I've learned in this League and in this profession. Your time is going to come and you have to be accountable for when that opportunity comes. I think my guys know that I work hard, study hard and I prepare very well. We're going to take this and go game-by-game. I don't think much is going to change. When we had Mario (Williams) go down, Brooks Reed stepped up and has been huge for us. When Danieal (Manning) went down, Troy (Nolan) and other guys have stepped up. There is nothing different here. Obviously, the quarterback position is an important position, but I don't think anyone expects anything different. That's what this team is about. I'm excited for this team and we have so many guys can step up. That's all."
(on what he took from his experience being a starter in Arizona) "It was obviously some up and down years there. My rookie year was the last time I started a lot of games and played fairly well. Obviously, that was a long time ago, but playing with Kurt (Warner), being a Hall of Fame quarterback, and having a chance to learn with him, that's really where I really started to grow up as a quarterback and learn and understand what it takes to be a pro and how to study and break down film. Ever since then, I've been waiting for an opportunity and a chance. Coming to Houston was the best possible situation for me last year, being released and then coming here to play for a great coach in Kubiak and being on a great team and an offense that is very balanced in what we do and explosive. I've started before. I think everyone's goal in the League is to be a starter so I'm excited. I'm very excited for the chance."
(on the Head Coach Gary Kubiak way of training quarterbacks and how he thinks that will help him) "It's huge. I've said it so many times. The coach here is second to none. The quarterback coaching is unbelievable. I think that is why Matt has been able to be so successful and very efficient for years now. I got a great taste of it this preseason and training camp, just trust what the coaches are telling us and I've worked really hard on my footwork and what they preach here to get to that point. As much as we hate it as quarterbacks, you can definitely tell a difference in practice or a difference in the game when you're thinking less and you trust where your feet to go with the ball where your feet tell you to go. They just harp on it, harp on it, harp on it and drill it and that's why Matt has been able to play well. That's why I think I can come in and play well and be efficient. It's great. The teaching here is unbelievable and it's made me a better quarterback. Despite the reps, it's made me a better quarterback in how they do things."
(on if the coaching and teaching in Houston was the reason he stayed with the Texans) "Yeah, I just think it was the best fit for me. I think it was the best fit and the style of offense that I feel like suits me the best. It's like I said, I love it here. I love being a part of this team. I love the coaching staff. I love my quarterbacks coach, (Greg) Knapp, who's a great, very detailed, great coach and then obviously playing for a coach who's played the position. It's fun the be a part of. This is why I came back. It's an opportunity. I got to go out there and just do what they're asking me to do, manage the game, be efficient and that's it."
(on how much different he is now from when he first came to Houston) "I think it's totally different because everything is different in Houston from where I was before. It's just a whole different offense. I'm coached different. It's just very different. For me, it's just more my style I guess. I don't know if that's the right word, but it's more… They're so demanding of us here, but in a way that they get the best out of you and that's something that I love. It's competitive and they push you to be great. So, for me, being here, I realized, 'Wow, this is awesome. I love this. I love this offense. I love the stuff we do.' And I'm just older, more mature. I learned from Matt (Schaub). I learned from these coaches, who've been around this game a long time. It's just completely different."
(on how comfortable he is with the Texans' boot system) "Well that's something that I've always been comfortable with. In college, we ran boot all the time as much as we do here and it's part of the reason why I love this offense so much. Arizona, we weren't a big play action and boot pass team at all and here, obviously that's there. With the way we run the ball so well, that's a huge part of our offense and that's something that I really feel comfortable doing and I think the coaches know that just because of my past experience and stuff. You know what, we run the ball so well and it sets up other things in our offense, but I'm very comfortable in doing that and I know we'll continue to do that stuff because that's what makes us so good. That's our offense."
(on how much the increased reps over the past month has helped) "Well it's good. Obviously one of the weeks, I got a bunch of reps at practice and trying to get the timing down. This offense is all about timing so you try to take advantage of any opportunity you get with the receivers, whether it's one on ones or whatever it is, in team period, seven-on-seven. I think my confidence has built every week as we've gone on in practice. Like I said, you just continue to prepare every day and you continue to work every day and you prepare like you're the starter just in case something ever happened where you are now the starter. Obviously it's a great time for the bye week to kind of clear our heads a little bit and then come in next week, the rest of this week and next week. We know we got six games left and just see where we go. I've worked with receivers a bunch in training camp to now that I don't think we're worried about all that stuff. I think obviously the more we practice together, the better off, but I think we'll be okay and hopefully with Andre (Johnson) coming back, that'll be huge too."
(on all the weapons he will have on offense) "Yeah, you look around and we've got a great offensive line, guys that have a lot of starts and just play extremely well as a unit and they make us go as an offense. Then you look at the running backs. I think we got the three best running back tandem in the League with those guys who are just, like you said, great weapons and can do so much. Then the tight ends and receivers, that makes it harder on the defense when you've got so many weapons. If you double Andre (Johnson), you leave Owen Daniels or Kevin (Walter) or Jacoby (Jones) one-on-one. There's not a lot you can do. I imagine now defenses are going to try to make me throw the ball to win and we've got some great guys on the outside to do that and we also got that running game. It's going to be fun. Like I said before, (Matt) Schaub is a great leader for this team and he's our leader of this team and he's got us to the position. I told him, we're going to continue to go and win some wins for him and just keep this thing moving forward."
(on if there is any extra pressure on him with the team playing so well) "I think it's easy to let the situation itself overpower you, but for me, that's why we play this game and that's why we get paid what we get paid. That's why we grind it out every day during the season and training camp is for things like this. I've played in a lot of big games from college to pro. I've been a part of a lot of big games and for me it's just about stepping in and doing my job. My job is I'm a quarterback. My job is to lead this football team, to move the chains, score points and to be efficient. You have to be accountable. It's exciting. This organization, we haven't been in this situation before, but we got a great team. We've got a great team camaraderie. Everyone is so together in belief of what we can accomplish. We just continue to march forward together."
(on if the team feels confident that they can overcome any injury) "Like I said, in the season, there are always injuries and things that happen and you define yourself as a team by how you react to those things or how you move forward. Whether it's a tough loss or an injury or this or that, like I said before, losing Mario Williams who is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, that's tough. But look at what we've been able to accomplish. Brooks Reed has three or four sacks in three games. Other guys have stepped up and you just continue to go. With Danieal Manning, another veteran guy who was a great player and then here, he goes down and another guy steps up. That's what it's about. Now our leader goes down and it's time for me to step up and for us to come together. That's what you have to do. That's what it's all about. We just have to keep going."
(on if there will have to be an adjustment since he throws left-handed) "You know what, I don't think so. It's funny, balls definitely come out different I guess, but it is what it is. You throw the ball and you catch the ball. I know none of us are worried about that."
(on how long he will be starting) "I'm not sure. I know there is not a timetable on Matt's (Schaub) injury. I know he has to go through some tests to see what's going to happen. I'm behind him 100 percent and praying for him to get back and get healthy as soon as possible. For me, we're going to go game-by-game. I've been preparing hard and working hard as if I were the starter if the situation were to happen. I have to be ready to go against Jacksonville and we'll just go from there."