Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media on Friday at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his press conference.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on today's roster moves) "Obviously we're not finished and obviously nothing's official, I think it's eight o'clock tonight, but there's a couple things going on with our team. First off, we've traded (CB) Sherrick McManis to Chicago for Tyler Clutts, fullback out of Fresno (State). That has taken place today, and then I can give you a list here of the guys that I have talked to that have been released; like I said, there's still a couple things going on: (TE) Logan Brock, (DE) Keith Browner, (OLB) D.J. Bryant, (NT) Hebron Fangupo, (RB) Jonathan Grimes, (NT) David Hunter, (WR) Juaquin Iglesias, (OLB) Delano Johnson, (QB) Case Keenum, (DE) Mitch King, (ILB) Shawn Loiseau, (WR) Jeff Maehl, (T) Nathan Menkin, (OLB) Rennie Moore, (FB) Moran Norris, (S) Eddie Pleasant, (TE) Philip Supernaw, and (C) Cody Wallace and (G) Cody White also."
(on the roster numbers) "I think we're one or two heavy. I don't know. I've been doing so much this morning right now. So I think we're still heavy one or two and like I said, we got a couple things still to get done. It'll be a fluid process through tomorrow as we get all the cuts tomorrow morning and take a look at our roster and take a look at what's going on around the league and try to put our group together. But that's where we're at as we speak right now."
(on FB Tyler Clutts) "(Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick (Smith) and them have been looking at him for a couple weeks. Obviously we've been working throughout the course of camp with really James (Casey) is our fullback and we've been working with Moran (Norris) so we kind of been looking at a few guys out there. They had studied him a little bit, and then they passed him to me. I've studied him the last week or so. He's a young player. He's a conversion player too from a few years back, started in Cleveland, went to Chicago and kind of running a portion of our scheme. I know some guys that have coached him and just like to try, I don't think anything is every etched in stone, but we'd like to try right here. We think he's got a lot of ability and he's a young, ascending player. So we got a lot of catching up to do. We'll get him in here tomorrow and get him started, but we think he can help this team."
(on deciding the quarterback spots) "Well first off, I think John (Beck) had an excellent camp. After what we went through last year, obviously it's a concern of mine going with two. It is a conversation because when you're putting your team together there's always a conversation, but I think John had a good camp. I thought last night he played exceptional. He gives us some security there. He knows our system moving forward. Obviously we think a lot of Case (Keenum) and what he's gone and we've got to put a practice squad together. He's getting great consideration from that standpoint so we're going to make sure we got enough guys knowing our system moving forward so we don't get caught like we did last year and having to scramble in such a tough time."
(on FB Moran Norris) "Last night I would say he probably played his best of the preseason. It's just evaluating what he's done. He's been in the league. He's been banging for a while. I think 12 years he's been at it. The availability we had with this young man (Clutts) and it was just weighing one against the other. Like I said, you never know. I think Moran did a heck of a job, and I think he's capable of helping this team. But we're going to give this young man a chance here first to come in and see how it goes. But I respect Moran, I think he did a heck of a job for us and played well last night."
(on if RB Jonathan Grimes made the running back decision difficult) "Yeah, he's had a good camp. He's a young player who's still got a ways to go. He did some good things for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano). Unfortunately, you can't keep them all. But he's really had a good preseason. You go back and look at how Justin's (Forsett) played this preseason, he's been exceptional and the special teams. It was tough. That's tough to let him go also."
(on T Andrew Gardner) "Well he brings experience. He's played some ball around this league. He's been put in tough situations. First off, when I got on the film this morning I was very impressed with how he played last night. He was fighting for his life and he fought. He played well. Obviously there's a situation when (Rashad) Butler goes down, it changes the dynamics of what we're doing and what we're putting together. It's an opportunity for him, but I think we all looked at the film this morning and felt very pleased and now he's going to get an opportunity to show that he can handle that. Last night was a step though in the right direction."
(on WR Trindon Holliday) "Well first off we know he's been exceptional. Trindon's a lot better football player than he was the last two years. Trindon can go play on the offensive side of the ball. He does know what we're doing from that standpoint. I did not play him at receiver much because of the young guys I have. Trindon can play gunner for us. I think he's a much more complete player as far as us finding ways to use him as a player. But what he did throughout the course of this preseason was exceptional and his spot on this team was well earned."
(on if the team is looking at any more trades) "We're looking at a lot of things. We got to look at finishing up today, getting to our number today. Then we'll start first thing in the morning looking at the waiver wire and seeing how the guys on the waiver wire were we think we might be able to help our football team. That could happen. That could not so like I said there's still work to do through tomorrow."
(on keeping two tight ends) "Well I feel like I have three because of James (Casey), but you're right, we had four tight ends, one fullback last year. The dynamics are built a little different as a football team. That starts at six wide receivers and it also starts with six corners right now. So we are built different. I feel good about the group. I think that (Owen Daniels) and Garrett (Graham) have been excellent. I think James (Casey) gives us flexibility all over the place offensively and we'll continue to do that. I'm expecting him to play extremely well."
(on QB John Beck's preseason) "I would say that I think he played better than he was practicing for a couple weeks. When he went on the field in Carolina, I thought he played very good. Practicing reps, we were trying to get Matt (Schaub) going so there weren't a lot to go around and I thought he struggled in practice a little bit I want to say. I don't know what week it was, the third week or so when I let Case (Keenum) go against…what was that, San Francisco? Heck, it's all running together now. But every time I've given him a chance to move the ball at practice or to go into a preseason game, he's handled himself like a pro. He has started some games in this league so it gives us a comfort zone there to fall back on. I think he earned it. I think he did a good job."
(on cutting players "Well it's tough for all of them because they bust their tail for you for six weeks and then you say 'no thanks'. Obviously you're talking to some guys hoping you get them back on the practice squad so those conversations are a little easier on the young men than some others. You grow to respect them through what they do. It's never a good day. It's about two bad hours to be honest with you. I just got through with it before we went on the field today for a light practice. There's some quality young men and there's great futures for some of these guys and hopefully some of their future is still right here in Houston."
(on the secondary) "Well first off, (Brandon) Harris has come a long way. He's been exceptional in camp. I think he's probably come the furthest of any of them. Alan (Ball) has come in and fit right in kind of in the roll that Jason played last year. He knows the defense. He's done some really good things for us, played well for (Special Teams Coordinator ) Joe (Marciano). Then Roc (Carmichael) is really a one year player. He missed all of last year. I thought Roc played last night his best football of the preseason. So you're running out of spots there. Sherrick (McManis) was an excellent special teams player for us, and gave us an opportunity to get a young fullback and see how that's going to work out. But we had a little bit of a surplus there and between the corners and the safeties, probably the most difficult task today."
(on DE J.J. Watt's status) "Yeah, he'll play with that (elbow) brace for a period of time. I don't know how long that'll be. We went out, obviously we're in our pads in warm-ups so it was his first time to be in pads and bang a little bit. Then we did practice today, our ones. I worked our ones today and he took every rep in practice. So he's on his way. He's fine, just getting comfortable with that thing, but that is something he will have to play with for a period of time."
(on his healthy defense) "They'll all be back and ready to go. The first thing I'm going to do is freshen them all up. I'm going to give them a break here this weekend as we finish putting this team together. Then we'll have a little extra work on Monday and give them their normal Tuesday. So I think this weekend is about getting them all fresh and back, frame of mind, body, everything moving forward. Everybody should be there. I don't foresee any issues. Andre (Johnson) practiced today so we should be ready to go."
(on SS Eddie Pleasant's preseason) "He had a good camp, boy what a wonderful play he made last night. He's a young player. He's a lot like (Jonathan) Grimes. He's showed some flashes of ability to play in this league. He's got a ways to go, but we were pleased with his work. Like I said, he's a young man we think a lot of, but we start to run out of spots. Hopefully some of that still works out. We'll see what happens."
(on the offensive line) "Well first off I like the group that we have. I think I said this yesterday I don't know who I was talking to. I like our group. I don't think we're anywhere close to what we can be when it's all said and done. So I think we're still a work in progress replacing two players, two key players. I like our camp. I think we've gotten better every time out. I think we got a couple of guys that are pushing people for play time, which makes your starters better. I think Brandon Brooks played as well as he's played last night. Our young center continues to play well. He played guard last night. So I think it's a good group, and obviously we knew it was going to be a different group. I think the potential of the group is excellent. We're not there yet, but that's why we're going to work here. But I like the makeup of the group."