Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media Monday afternoon at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his press conference.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on TE Owen Daniels' injury) "Owen does have a hand issue. First off, it's not going to keep him from playing. He's fine. He'll be back on the practice field when we get started on Wednesday. That's nothing that's going to hold him back. Still kind of in an evaluation process, but he went back in the game and he will be ready to go. It's not an issue from that standpoint."
(on if there are any other injuries) "No, we actually came out okay. (Mike) Brisiel, he ended up playing about three quarters of the game, got a little fatigued late. (Antoine) Caldwell went in, but Mike should be even better this week I would think. Other than that, we just got some nicks. (Bryan) Braman came out okay. He should be ready to go. We're thinking that Troy Nolan has an excellent chance to be ready to contribute this week. For the most part, we came out as clean as we could."
(on what the win on Saturday meant to the organization and the city) "The thing that hit me, I was just excited to see us get back to playing good football. I thought if we played the way we're capable of playing, we'd have an excellent chance to win a playoff game and move forward. That was my biggest concern. Obviously very happy for our city and I know it's a long time coming. Proud of the players and the way they went about handling their first playoff game and especially it being here at home. I think the thing that internally we're most excited about is just how we played. We liked the formula we played with. That's the way we're successful and hopefully we can continue that this week."
(on if defensive coordinator Wade Phillips interviewing is a distraction) "I don't look at it that way. I think it's a compliment. We all know Wade's track record and the job that he's done. That's not a surprise at all that somebody would want to visit with him about the head coaching job. I look at it different than probably a lot of people. I think it's a huge compliment to (linebackers coach) Reggie Herring, (defensive backs coach) Vance (Joseph), (assistant head coach/defensive line) Bill (Kollar), the defensive staff and it's a big compliment to our defensive players because of the job that Wade's done. Those are the guys that have helped him do that job. We're proud of any opportunity any one of our coaches would get. It will not be a distraction. Like I said, it's a compliment. We'll get ready to go."
(on fans being upset that Tampa Bay is asking for permission to interview defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in the middle of the playoffs) "That's just part of it. There's a window. I don't know the exact window. I couldn't tell you. (general manager/executive vice president) Rick (Smith) could answer that better but there is obviously a window where they have to ask for permission to talk to your guys and then you try to make it work within your normal schedule. Nothing will change about our schedule. We'll go through our normal week and Wade will visit them sometime Friday evening. He'll still be working Friday evening while everybody else is getting a break Friday evening. Nothing will change about what we do, so I want everybody to understand that."
(on how he is dealing with the underdog tag on this team) "I think it's kind of been our situation since we've lost some key players, especially since we had our quarterback situation. I think a lot of people have said there are a lot of things we can't do. We've had to go to work and try to prove them wrong, so to speak. That's been part of our motivation as a football team and we'll continue to be that. Like I mentioned with the first question, I think the thing that's most excited for us is we've felt so much better about how we've played. Regardless of how tough our situation is, this is a tough one this week, a tough place to play, a great football team. We know if we play our type of football then we'll have an excellent chance to win. We're staying focused on that. Saturday was a great step in the right direction."
(on what the Texans need to do when playing Baltimore this time around) "Well, they closed and we didn't. When you look at the game I think it was a 14-10 or 14-13 game late in the third quarter and then they made big plays in the pass game in the fourth quarter. We had opportunities offensively and didn't make them in the fourth quarter. They've been dominant at home this season. You look at them, they're 8-0. I think they've given up, I think one time they gave up over 20 points in all eight of their games and that was to Cincinnati in a game that they won like 38-22 so, they've been a very dominant football team at home. We know that we will have to play exceptionally well, but we're going to go to work and get ready to go do that."
(on how many plays WR Andre Johnson had in Saturday's game and how much that helps prepare for this weekend that he was able to play a full game) "I think Andre played in the mid 40s and came out of the game fine. A big, big help for us is that we turn around and play Sunday. We could use that extra day of rest so, you know, the players have had a couple days rest and tomorrow I'll just do some mental work with them. So, for Andre to have his first time back and to get an extra day of rest this week is huge for our team, but he came out fine. He's ok."
(on how much he can take from the team's last meeting with Baltimore considering QB Matt Schaub was starting and WR Andre Johnson was injured) "I don't think either one of us has changed a whole lot, you know, they're just so dang good at what they do. I mean you sit there and look at these players that they line up on both sides of the ball, the year that (Ray) Rice has had, (Joe) Flacco has had, their young receivers playing big time and then you go to defense, you go (Ray) Lewis, (Ed) Reed, (Haloti) Ngata, (Terrell) Suggs. I mean it doesn't stop so that's why they've won as many games as they have. That's why they're such a fine football team and to me they've got one of the best kicking games in football. So, like I said, huge challenge for us in all three phases and we're looking forward to getting to work and getting ready to meet that challenge."
(on how QB T.J. Yates has handled the crowd noise in away games) "He's been pretty good. I mean he's, I've mentioned this many of times. He's handled our team well. We haven't had huddle issues. We haven't had snap count issues, those type of things. This will be probably the ultimate test from the standpoint of the noise and being there in a playoff game, but it's our job as coaches, too, to make sure that we're doing things that give him the best chance to get in and out of the huddle and go play and to give our guys up front the best chance. He's done his part, and I think he continues to get better and gain more confidence."
(on how similar the game plan will be this week in Baltimore in comparison to the one against Cincinnati) "Well, I don't know. You never know what you're going to have to do to win. Obviously, we like to run the ball. We like to play good defense. That's kind of been a formula for us, but you know, this week, I don't know. We're going to throw it 15 times, or we're going to have to throw it 40 times to win. Whatever we got to do to win, we got to go do it, and you never know how a game's going to plan out, but just got to do everything you can to put your players in the best possible position to compete, and that's our focus right now as we put our game plan together. Just to give them the best chance we can for them to go out there and have a chance to be successful."
(on the importance of discipline in the secondary in this game on WRs Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith) "Yeah, you got to give them credit. (Joe) Flacco put up a lot of deep balls that they went up and got and made the play that we did not make. They have been a big play offense. They're running the ball so well with (Ray) Rice, and Vonta (Leach) is doing just a hell of a job, so it sets up for them to get the ball down the field when they do play action, those type of things. We got to stop the run first. You better stop the run against these guys first, or you're not going to get on the field. Stopping the big play with their receivers was an issue for us the first time, and hopefully we can correct it this time."