Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media on Sunday afternoon at a Reliant Stadium press conference. The following is transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on any injuries from last night's game) "Probably the biggest one is Cush's (Brian Cushing) bruised ribs. He didn't miss any of his time. He played extremely well. He's pretty sore today so I think he'll be day-to-day. Obviously, we're not going to do anything today or really tomorrow. We're just going to correct some mistakes. All the guys that are nicked up should be back on the field Tuesday."
(on RT Derek Newton's play) "He did pretty good. He continues to flash. He's a young player that flashes the ability to be one heck of a player. We're trying to find that consistency there along the way but I think he took a step forward. We gave him an opportunity to start. I think he took advantage of it. I think he went out there and did some good things. We still got to get it totally consistent. (RT Rashad) Butler played well also in the game. That battle is going to go until the very end. On who starts this week, we'll wait and see. But it was a good outing for both those guys."
(on NT Earl Mitchell and NT Sunny Harris) "We're trying to go right down the middle and play them as if we were playing a regular season game. Rotate those two guys. When Shaun (Cody) is in there, we rotate Shaun and Earl (Mitchell). I want to say they played like 19 plays and 23 plays, respectively, so pretty much down the middle. Earl (Mitchell) continues to grow as a player. We have really liked what we have seen from Sunny (Harris) throughout camp but he has missed some time with an injury, a muscle issue, but was able to make it through last week. He did play and it was a positive step for him. He did some good things in the game."
(on giving WR DeVier Posey reps with the first team) "The way it kind of played out last night, the guys that are working with the third group did not get many reps last night. It's just the way the game came out. I wish I would have got DeVier (Posey) a little bit more but those other two guys (WR Keshawn Martin and WR Lestar Jean) are playing extremely well. They're picking things up extremely well. I wouldn't say that DeVier is not doing the same things. I would not say that. I just think that it has taken him a little bit more time to get going with the offense, so to speak. I mentioned many times throughout the course of the month, he did miss a year of football in a lot of ways last year but his ability shows up. He had a chance to make a play. Case (Keenum) missed him there late in the game trying to give him a chance to make a play. He will get plenty of time between this week, we're going to play our starters a bunch this week but before this preseason is over, he'll get plenty of time."
(on the kicking battle between K Shayne Graham and K Randy Bullock) "He (Graham) was good last night. He made his two kicks and Randy (Bullock) missed his one but he's done a good job. They've both done a pretty good job kicking off. The biggest thing with those two guys, that battle is going to be decided. There's so many things going on. We're looking at the big picture. Not just one preseason game or one practice. We've been charting them the whole time. It's very, very close. One's a veteran guy and one's a young guy with a lot of talent that's got to prove that he can do it. It's going to be a tough decision. They're both making it tough on us but Shayne (Graham) did a good job last night."
(on letting K Randy Bullock do all the kicking in the preseason to get him ready for the regular season) "Well, we're not going to give anybody anything. You got to earn it to be out there and competition makes everybody better. It's been very competitive in camp. It's been very close. It has kind of went back and forth each and every day. I think in the long haul, obviously one of them is going to be our kicker and I wouldn't be surprised if the other one is kicking somewhere else so that's good for our team. We'll see how it plays out. We got a couple weeks to work through it."
(on how much it helped to play a hard team in preseason) "Oh, it helps a lot. I said after the game, that first half of football was a very physical game, two teams getting after it. And it is a preseason, but that was a very real picture for us I think as a team of where we're heading and where we have to be here in a couple weeks. Got a lot of respect for the program and the job that they do. It was a good test for our one's; our one's were able to look at a good first half of football both offensively and defensively and kind of evaluate themselves and see where they need to go this week."
(on if the starters will play more against New Orleans) "Yeah, my plan always in the third preseason game is to hopefully play them three quarters. Sometimes I've done that, sometimes I've taken them out before that period of time is over, but I want their mindset to be that they're going to go three quarters this week because, in a lot of ways, it is their last tune up before we (play) Miami."
(on how QB Case Keenum did against San Francisco) "I thought he did fine, he made a great play. We're in a position right there, it's tough as a coach because you're trying to put that game away, you're probably not throwing the ball there with five or six minutes left, but I wanted to give the young man a chance to make some plays. He made a great play in the first play on the boot, he made a great throw. He missed (WR) DeVier (Posey) on the deep over route that would have been a nice play for both of them to make, but I like what he's done, I like the way he handles himself, he handles the group. You always want more reps for all those guys but they're hard to come by. We'll have to, it's like everything else, take everything into account here as we move forward and decide what we're going to do behind (QB) Matt (Schaub) and (QB) T.J. (Yates). So it's a good battle going on between him and (QB John) Beck."
(on what WR Lestar Jean did this offseason to put himself in position to make plays) "Well, he had a good offseason. He was very good in our program as far as working and that type of thing. I do know this, there was a period of time when OTAs are over and when camp starts nowadays in the NFL it's about five weeks or something where coaches and players are in no contact with each other, but I know this, I know that he was in (QB) Matt (Schaub)'s hip pocket and worked extremely hard with (QB) Matt (Schaub). I think it shows. I just think he knows what he's doing now so it's not hard for him to go out there and play. As far as assignment-wise, his talents kind of take over. He's gaining confidence with every play that he makes. All the skill is there, and I don't think he has a chance to be a good player, I think he has a chance to be a really good player. So that's what we're pushing him toward."
(on if he knew WR Lestar Jean had star potential when he signed him) "Well, the size and ability, that'd be easy to talk about. But I think one thing you never know about players is some guys just when the lights go on, they get a little bit better. It seems like this is that type of young man. He was having a good camp last year but he goes out there against the Jets and, all the sudden, boom he makes a couple big plays. It's happened this preseason again. That's what you're looking for; some guys find a way to take it up a notch once you hit the field on game day and it sure looks like that's what he tends to do. So that's a good sign."
(on WR Trindon Holliday covering a punt late in the game being an expanded role for him) "I told you, he's going to have to do a lot. We've been planning on doing that with him. Obviously, with that speed and stuff, he can go out there and Trindon's tough, I can see how difficult he is to tackle, too, on the returns, but that's something else we would like him to do. If he's going to make this team as a specialty player, the more snaps we can get him on the field, the better. So if that's something he can do for us, it gives a DB (defensive back) a break when we do have to punt. Those type of things should make our team better."
(on what he saw on film in the first half running the ball and stopping the run) "Well, obviously I don't think we stopped the run the way we need to stop the run. I think we can tackle better when we tackle. They are a good, physical football team. Some of those runs were in situations like third and longs, a lot of third down runs on us, so that's something we've got to shore up. As far as us running the ball, we came out aggressive throwing the ball early. I think we only ran like eight or nine plays in the first quarter. I did want (RB) Arian (Foster) to touch the ball 10 times, and I think he actually had 10carries in the game. I thought as he got going, he got better. We can always play better up front, but I thought our one's were pretty good and our two's, offensively, I was disappointed in how we played; we played a lot better last week than we played last night."
(on CB Brandon Harris playing really well) "Yeah, he really is. Throughout this camp, guys' names come up like (TE) Garrett Graham, players like that, (ILB) Mister Alexander, guys taking a big step early in their career, showing a lot of improvement, and I think you got to put B (Brandon Harris) in there. From the last four, five days of OTAs throughout this training camp, he's become a better player every time he steps on the field; that's been important. And the thing I liked last night, he responded. He needs to play better on special teams for us, and he did that last night. He and I talked about it last week, and he came back and did a pretty good job."
(on FS Shiloh Keo having to play some in the box last night) "We played dime, which you've got one backer (linebacker) on the field or if we go to nickel and you've got two backers, it all depends on what's going on, but he can get caught in that box. It happens to GQ (Glover Quin) on some of the things we do. That was my point when you're asking about running the ball on us. They ran the ball in nickel on us on some third downs when we had our smaller group on the field, our cover group on the field. If we do that, then guys like Shiloh and that have to hold up. We've got to tackle and find a way to get off the field. He's very aggressive. He made some good plays last night."
(on if DE J.J. Watt has any chance of playing in one of the last two preseason games) "I think we're very close. I was just talking to Kap (head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan). He's going to go to work starting tomorrow doing a lot of sled work and position specific type stuff. He will still work with the trainers. I think we are very close to getting him on the field and to say later this week would probably get me really excited, but I think to say that he'll be on the field next week, getting his reps with the defense, would probably be a pretty fair assessment at this point."
(on how nice it was for him to see QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson connect for a couple passes) "That's important. They practiced real good the last 8-10 days to me, because Andre had missed some time and Matt had been rusty. You can see them, in practice, starting to come together a little bit. That's very important because that gives confidence to our whole offense. Watching some of these young kids, it looks like will contribute to our football team, we could end up very strong at a position we were pretty concerned with going into this camp. So hopefully these guys keep moving forward and Andre and Matt continue to play the way they've always played for us."
(on what he was most disappointed at during the game) "Probably our second group offensively, I guess, if I'm going to go to one place. I thought we had taken some good steps last week. We're trying to get Brandon Brooks a lot of reps. We had three or four holding calls with the group and we just didn't operate very smoothly and I wanted to see those guys take a step forward. Now in the same breath, let me say this, (C) Ben Jones is playing very well. The young center is playing very well with that group. He's been a bright spot throughout camp and you guys can see him continue get more reps."
(on one thing he was happiest about from the game) "Our effort. I liked the way we were playing. We were playing hard offensively, defensively, special teams. We're making mistakes, but when you play hard, you find ways to still win games through mistakes. You come correct them the next day, so I love our effort as a team right now."
(on if the team always plays hard) "We're supposed to. Hopefully we keep doing that."
(on how he can tell if the team is playing hard than another game) "I'm not saying we played harder this week than last week. I think we pride ourselves on playing with great effort as a team. We really challenge each other. Players are hard on each other. We talk all the time about little plays that are the difference between winning and losing. I'll give you a great example, last night, the play (FB) James Casey makes on the third-and-2 is the difference between being up 10-6 at halftime or being down. Plays like that are the difference. He makes another great play on Arian (Foster)'s run three plays later. He played extremely well in the game. We always talk about those types of plays as a team because we think they're the difference when it's all said and done, week-in and week-out, of winning. We need to continue that effort."
(on how much of that team effort stems from the team leaders) "It starts with consistency and coaching. I think coaching effort and holding guys accountable and then it filters from the leaders of your team. You're right, if they do it themselves, then they are going to demand it of others and then it filters throughout you're whole football team. That's a good trait to have and we need to hang onto it."
(on NT Shaun Cody) "We expect Shaun to start running tomorrow. We'll see where we're at. He'll be day-to day."