Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke with the media during a Monday press conference at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB TJ Yates' shoulder injury) "It's a shoulder injury to his non-throwing shoulder, which we talked about that yesterday. He is feeling pretty good today. He is sore. Like I said, we still think he could have came back in the game yesterday. All indications are that he will be ready to go next weekend. Obviously we got to get him back on the practice field and to feel good and confident about that, but all indications are that we will get there and do it day-to-day. As far as all that other stuff, I don't know. We'll see how he does.
(on if he's concerned about anyone injury-wise) "We came out of the game, (Derek) Newton's has a hip issue he is dealing with; he will be day-to-day. (Bryan) Braman has a stinger, he will be day-to-day. Jason Allen had some back spasms yesterday, was unable to play in the second half. He will be day-to-day. That's the four biggest guys as we move forward. Then of course we are hoping that (Mike) Brisiel is back on the field this week, probably know a little bit more about him tomorrow, but the hope is that he will be able to contribute to us next weekend."
(on if QB TJ Yates is still the starter) "If he can play, he is going to play. He played really well yesterday. He was really sharp early in the game, continues to do good stuff, as I've told ya'll. He is very young and this is a big, big game, but he's the best guy for our football team and if he is able to go and do the things that we need him to do in practice, then we will turn him loose and let him go."
(on what makes him think that this is not too big for QB T.J. Yates) "Preparation. Just watching him prepare with a game plan, sit down the night before a game answer questions, go through a game plan, his reads, all those things. He's a very quick thinker on the field. Things happen fast for him. Sometimes things happen a little too fast and you can see that as a young guy. He's very sharp as what we are trying to get done on game day. He handles the group very well. They have a lot of confidence in him. Even though he is young and has his own issues, he can still help everybody out and seems to be getting better every time he goes out there. So, he is building confidence within the group and with us."
(on the first game against Cincinnati and what worries him the most from that game) "I can say we were sloppy, but you got to give them some credit. They're darn good. They made us play sloppy. They hit us on the mouth on the 1-yard line, knocked the ball out, made us turn the ball over from an interception standpoint, knocked the ball out on Arian (Foster). We had a kickoff return we got hit and got a ball knocked out. When I go back and look at that film, late last night with them, to me, we can sit here and say we didn't do things well but you got to give them credit for how poorly they made us play by their effort. They're a heck of a football team, they are a lot like us in a lot of ways, the way they're built. They played extremely well that day and they've been playing well. They played well yesterday, they had their opportunity to win yesterday and they probably play in the toughest division that there was this year. You play Pittsburgh twice, Baltimore twice, you're going to be a very physical football team and they've done that."
(on how he gets players ready for the playoffs) "You can talk about it all you want, but they have to go experience it. They'll see the energy; they'll see the difference in the speed of play and the energy when they show up on Saturday. We've got a few guys that can talk to them about it. Antonio (Smith) got it started right after the game when he talked to the team yesterday but they'll see the energy build this week. They'll see what it's all about and like I said it won't take them long, probably two or three plays on Saturday, to see that the tempo just went up. But it's time to get some experience and this is where we want to go as an organization and playing games like this, win a championship Sunday, we have to learn to do this. Looking forward to the first one."
(on who will start at the other corner now that CB Johnathan Joseph is back) "Kareem (Jackson) will still start. I mean, this team is going to make you play everybody. They made us play a bunch of Nickel the first time we played them. They're very capable of spreading you out and doing those type of things like Tennessee did to us yesterday. Kareem could have played better yesterday, a lot of guys could. He needs to find the ball better in a couple of situations. He was in good position and didn't finish the play, but for the most part he's had a good year and it's time for him to be even better."
(on some of the defensive adjustments made against Cincinnati last game and how a home field advantage can help this time around) "They ran the ball very good on us the first game. Two things were obvious. They ran the ball well on us and they were willing to put the ball up to their young receiver no matter what. We were in good position to make plays but Andy (Dalton) still put it up and A.J. (Green) went up and made a couple of great catches on us. So we know that's something we're going to have to deal with. I think the second half, the biggest thing is that we stopped the run. That was the biggest thing we had going right there. We were able to get a turnover and played much better from that standpoint so that will continue to be a key. People have spread us out the past few weeks and thrown the ball around a little bit so if that's going to happen we better get to the quarterback. You know, we started to do that a little bit yesterday. Antonio (Smith) had a nice day yesterday getting ready for this week so all those things will be important."
(on FB James Casey's injury and his role) "James is fine. James has been healthy five or six weeks. Every week has been an adjustment period for our team this year. If you go back, we started the season and we used James in a lot of various ways, as a full back, a tight end, moved him around. We moved the ball extremely well in the first six weeks of the season. We were very complicated to deal with. We lost James for three or four weeks and then we lost our quarterback. Now we have to adjust and play to a young quarterback. That eliminated some of the complicated things we were doing. We were trying to get T.J. going and get James back healthy, Vickers came in and we probably ran the ball as good as we ran it for a month there during the period of that win streak. It's been an adjustment period for us all the time and yesterday we had to adjust again. We gave James the opportunity to make some plays and he makes some. It will take everybody we've got and James played extremely well, so he'll be a big part of what we are doing. We're going to all have to make plays. "
(on the confidence QB T.J. Yates gained from his game against Cincinnati) "Well, I've got a lot of confidence in him either way. I mean, it's just not that game. It wasn't so much the game as it was the fourth quarter, more than anything the way that he played in the fourth quarter. At this time of year though, in these games, you're going to have to play well for four quarters and you're not going to get away with what we were able to get away with down there that day. So, he will have to play more consistent and we will have to play better as a football team. I think we took a step in the direction yesterday towards getting back to doing that. I liked the way we played with the energy in the first half. We protected the ball for the most part until Jake (Delhomme) got one knocked out, so to me hopefully yesterday is an indication that we're getting back to being ourselves from that standpoint."
(on overcoming a three-game losing streak going into the playoffs) "Well, you've got to let it go. You could come in with a three game winning streak and you've got to let it go too. No, you're right. We haven't been at our best in all three phases, but I did think we took a step in the right direction yesterday. We've had a ton of adjustments to make over the course of the last four, five, six weeks with our football team and what has been going on. Through those adjustments we've handled some of them very well and found a way to get some things done and then at times we haven't. We've lost two very close football games the last two weeks that we could easily have won. It's time to go win one like that and we've got to let everything go and start over. I liked our mindset after the game. I liked the player's mindset. They understand what we are fixing to face, so we need a good week of work and to get ready to go play."
(on the advantage of his playoff experience for the Texans) "I don't know. Well, it's our first time to go together so that's the most important thing. All those things took place for me somewhere else with a different team. I've been growing as a head coach with this group I have. They've been growing with me as a football team. It's our first opportunity together, and that's what's most important – just the significance of the game, what it stands for, how much is at stake. There's no film to come back in and watch the day after if you don't win in the playoffs. It's over, so guys should be upbeat. They should feel very confident. I try to get them as prepared as I possibly can, but it still boils down to me as a coach and us as coaches getting them to do what they do best. You can't over-coach this game. You just got to make sure your guys have a chance to do what they do best."
(on if it helps to have so many coaches with playoff experience) "Oh, no doubt. No doubt, yeah. I think if anything, it keeps you from doing too much. Well, it's kind of hard to do too much right now because of the pretty short night for us and one day to get ready to go, so maybe that's a good thing."
(on how the fans can help the team on Saturday) "Well, they can help us by being real loud. They've been that way all year, but I know this city is excited about Saturday afternoon. I just want them to know how excited we are as a football team. We're looking forward to going to battle with them. That's the key. We're all in this together. It's a big, big game for everybody. We're looking forward to giving our best effort, and I know we'll get theirs."
(on how the Texans are handling the schedule this week) "We'll operate the same way. Obviously our week will start tomorrow. Tomorrow's our "Wednesday" so to speak, so we get back on our normal deal and just work into it. We're coming off a short resting period, but yet our guys did not play that much. Most of them played about between 25 and 30 plays, so we should be able to freshen up pretty quick."
(on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' health and if he will coach again from the press box) "He's doing good. It was a long, tiring day for him to be up there for three and a half hours. He told me the chair wasn't real comfortable, so we'll try to get him a more comfortable chair. But he came out okay. It's a long road back from what he's been through. Like I said, we're just trying to make sure he gets his rest and he'll be ready to call the game on Saturday once again. It's a little bit different dynamics of how they work, but me listening to it, it sounded the same way it sounds on game day. He can't be down there right now, so we have to continue to function this way."
(on OLB Bryan Braman's helmetless hit on special teams) "Well, I tell you what, we went to second half, and we wanted to play our young guys. Braman lasted all of one play for me. I told him he was fine when he came off, but he said no he wasn't. He had a stinger. But he'd made some big plays for us. Are you talking about the special teams play? Yeah, he'll go hit anybody. He doesn't care. He's played really good for us. He goes in and plays one play and gets a sack. I think he'll be able to go this weekend. He's always played well, and of course (Derek) Newton made it three or four plays, so if anything, I was giving the two of them a hard time. I expected them to play a lot more yesterday, and hopefully they'll be ready to go Saturday."
(on if he has ever seen somebody go after someone without a helmet before) "I've seen it a couple of times. I saw it in a college game the other day. Somebody was showing a highlight of some young man that did it in one of the college bowl games."
(on if FS Danieal Manning will return kickoffs in the playoffs) "That will definitely happen. Danieal will go back there. Jacoby (Jones) will take the punts. We'll go back to full strength. We've been working that way the last couple of weeks, so that will definitely happen."