Head coach Gary Kubiak met with the media during a Sunday afternoon press conference at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the teams injury update) "(WR DeAndre) Hopkins is doing better today. We'll start the protocol tomorrow, but he is doing better. (S) Orhian Johnson had an abdominal contusion. He's going to be day-to-day. (S) Shiloh Keo had a quad. I think it was reported last night, somebody said it was a calf. It was a quad. He's got a quad contusion. He'll be day-to-day. (ILB) Mike Mohammed has a slight hamstring. He'll be day-to-day. (S) Eddie Pleasant has a knee sprain, could be a few days on Eddie before we have any more information for you but we don't think it's going to be long. I think that's about it. The biggest thing tomorrow, coming back on the field tomorrow, the two guys that we expect back from the field tomorrow when we go back to work are (WR DeVier) Posey and (T Brennan) Williams at this point. That's where we're at right now."
(on RB Arian Foster) "Not tomorrow. I'm going to have to make a decision what I'm doing on Tuesday. As of right now, we've met with the doctors that have been treating Arian's back yesterday, right before the game or a couple of hours before the game. It was determined that they want to give it a few more days or whatever that period of time is before they put him back out there. He's still experiencing some soreness so the decision was made yesterday that he would not return tomorrow."
(on what is wrong with RB Arian Foster's back) "Yeah, he just has some lower back soreness that is bothering him in his legs a little bit. He's had some injections to try and alleviate some of the soreness and stuff. The way I understand it right now, we're trying to get through the injection process, that it's causing some discomfort and it's something that's going to take some time for him to get through."
(on if OLB Whitney Mercilus will be coming back this week) "We were hoping, but I just talked to Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) walking in the door, and I know he will not be out there tomorrow. We'll work towards Wednesday. We'll see."
(on the possibility of CB Brandon Harris moving to safety with some of the injuries) "Yeah, we've got some issues, especially going into this game with (S) Shiloh (Keo) and (S) Eddie (Pleasant). Brandon can definitely go back there and play. We've got some maneuvering to do to play this football game and obviously we want to play our ones at least a good half of football, possibly more. We'll see where Shiloh is. Shiloh probably has a better chance of playing in this football game than Eddie does, but we expect them both to be fine, so we'll do whatever we have to do."
(on how he views S D.J. Swearinger's hit on Dustin Keller) "It's just unfortunate. Any time a player gets hurt is very unfortunate, so you feel bad for the player, whether that guy is on your team or you're the guy playing against him. You just don't want to see those things happen. All the targets are from the shoulders down in football now and D.J. was playing an out-route and reacted to an in-route and just reacting and making a tackle and unfortunately got caught in a horrible situation. You just feel very bad for the young man. You don't want to see that happen at all."
(on the backup quarterback situation between T.J. Yates and Case Keenum) "Exactly where it was when I left here last night, a few hours ago. Like I said, I said last night they both are making it real hard for me and that's good for the team. They both are doing their jobs and doing it very well. Both of them played very good last night. I thought (QB) Matt (Schaub) played very good. Our quarterbacks have played very good throughout the course of the preseason. There's still a lot of football to play. Matt is going to play the majority of this one. I'll decide what I'm going to do after Matt later in the week. Obviously, we have a four day turnaround or a three and a half day turnaround so we might have to go to Dallas where those two guys are going to play possibly the whole football game. We've got a couple of weeks, but we have a nice problem right now. We've got three guys playing pretty good."
(on if he anticipates making a decision about who will be the backup quarterback after the fourth preseason game) "Oh, no doubt. Yeah, that decision could be made middle of the opening week. I don't know yet. We're in no hurry there."
(on the latest on FS Ed Reed) "Well, what we did last week is we have him, he's working with a guy out of Atlanta that he's worked with before that's been working with Kap (Head Athletic Trainer) Geoff Kaplan on his rehab process. We sent him down there to check to see where he's at compared to when he went through this the last time. My understanding, got some good news yesterday. We think he's ahead and has responded very well. We were going to do that again this week for a few days. So we're just exhausting everything we possibly can do to get him ready to go and push toward the beginning of the season. He was with us here last night for the game last night and we did meet with the people he's been working with. There has been a lot of progress, lot of good progress."
(on how concerned he is about the health of the safety position) "Well, you have to be concerned. Obviously, we draft a young man and we feel like we're pretty deep there, and we're playing pretty good through the preseason and, in one night, you have two guys banged up. But that's kind of part of it right now. We just have to push through. We have to push through New Orleans and Dallas in a short period of time. What's that, a nine-day period or a 10-day period? We're going to play two games, so we just have to battle through it, do whatever we've got to do, and we do have a nice window between Dallas and opening night. We've got another big window there because we're the last game of opening weekend. We'll have to use our time wisely to get all of those guys back."
(on evaluating the rookie free agent running backs) "Well, I don't think anybody has separated themselves. I think I said last night, there's something about (RB) Deji (Karim) that's very trusting. He's played a little bit of football in the NFL. He does everything right. He's helping (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) on special teams. I think, if anything, he's probably a little ahead of the other guys, probably just from experience. (RB Dennis) Johnson has shown some signs, has practiced extremely well. It hasn't transferred to the field the way I'd like it to, but there has been some good things. He's excellent in his pass protection. Last night, not much happened in the run game and then he turns the ball over, which obviously you can't do. We're going to continue to give him opportunities because it's been an excellent camp. (RB Cierre) Wood's got a lot of talent. He's inconsistent in what he's doing. He's got to play better for Joe on special teams. Those guys have got to sort it out for us and they're going to get a great deal of tome here over the next two weeks."
(on the depth at the linebacker position) "It's a concern because we're going to be very young from a depth standpoint of our team. It's exciting though. It's exciting to see some of these players like (OLB) Willie Jefferson that we think can really help our team and has an upside. To look at some of those guys that way, to look at (WR DeAndre) Hopkins with a huge upside and how young he is. I was sitting there with the coaches today, just kind of mocking myself through the football team if we were at this point in two weeks, what would we do here? What would we do there? It's very difficult right, but that's a good thing. We'll just keep playing them and let them sort themselves out."
(on how concerned he is about RB Arian Foster being available for San Diego) "I'm not there yet because I see him work. I see what he's going through. I am concerned about repetitions and that's just me as a coach. It doesn't mean I'm right. I just think guys need to get the practice reps, need to get the reps ready to play. We've got to do what we've got to do. We've got to do the smart thing here. We've got one back with NFL experience really on our team other than (RB) Deji (Karim) getting a little time last year in Indy. When you look at that big picture right there, boy, the running back picture is concerning to you. Just getting him back healthy and just getting him back to where we feel like we're at full-strength. We'll listen, we'll listen to his doctors, we'll listen to Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) and, when he's ready to go, I know Arian can make up a lot of time very quickly. I think tomorrow will be our 27th football practice as a team, so there's a lot of work ahead."
(on if it's safe to say he will keep three quarterbacks this year) "It's never safe to say anything."
(on if there is a chance he doesn't keep three quarterbacks) "I don't know. I'm going to keep good football players, I can tell you that. Those three guys are good football players right now. There's a chance."
(on NT Terrell McClain) "If you look at last night on defense, some things that really stood out to me. (DE) Antonio Smith has had a wonderful camp and it just went back on the field last night. He did the same thing. Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) looked very good. But when you're talking about some of the guys battling for spots, Terrell McClain for the second week in a row has been a very, very bright spot. Not just playing in at nose, but showing us that he has some pass rush ability and what he's doing. It's your job to go make the football team and boy is he doing his job right now. He's doing a heck of a job."
(on the back up Nose Tackle battle) "Yeah I think what he (NT Terrell McClain) and Dan (NT Daniel Muir) and (NT David) Hunter, the competition might be the best competition we've had. Whoever is going to end up with that job or even if two of them find a way on this team, I think it's been the best competition since I've been here at that position."
(on RB Arian Foster's back soreness) "No, it's my understanding that's mostly from the injection. He had the injections I think the Thursday or Friday before the first preseason game and they say that these things take some time to work themselves out."
(on if he is concerned about RB Arian Foster) "No, they've done numerous MRIs and everything looks fine. They're just trying to make sure that he's comfortable with how he is feeling and where we're at before we say 'go.' You know, the thing about nowadays it's always a question of when you yank him off the PUP, so we're trying to do it at the right time when we know he is ready to step out there and play."
(on getting ILB Brian Cushing back and how he looked) "Well, he looked real good. He got banged around some and he banged some people around, so that's the way Cush plays. We had a play count on him, we had 10 plays on him. The tenth one, as I said last night, could have been his best one of the night: the sack. So he was kind of sick about that but it's just good to have him back. One thing as a coach, or as a player too, when you see guys go through injuries like Cush went through and you watch how he worked to get back on the field. I was walking down the tunnel literally with him last night before introductions and you could just sense 'hey, I made it back. I'm fixing to go back out there and play.' So you're just real proud of him and what he's done. We're all rooting for him. You know, it's a big, big year for him and for our football team. Brian has always been an emotional leader of this football team and you can just see that last night. He's energy coming back on the field."
(on his thoughts on the return game) "I'm concerned about it. Obviously last year, we lost a field position battle especially form a kickoff standpoint, at kick return and kick coverage standpoint. It's something you're probably down about 50 percent nowadays as far as getting the opportunity to return kicks, but we got to do it better. We had a chance last night with (WR) Keshawn (Martin). We missed a couple of things inside but we'll keep looking. I think we'll let (RB) Deji (Karim) return some kicks this week because of what he's done in the past. I do like Shiloh (Keo) as a punt returner, and then obviously we know (SS) Danieal Manning's going to go back there. We got people but we need to continue to give some guys opportunities, because with somebody like Deji is going to stand out here in the next two weeks and say, 'Yes, I belong.' Maybe it's going to happen in that area. We got to see."
(on DE Tim Jamison) "It's helped us a great deal because (DE Jared) Crick and Timmy are a lot alike. They can play the nose. They can play the end. They're both effort players. Tim coming off of the Achilles, the same thing that (WR DeVier) Posey's coming off of. The thing about Tim is from the first day of training camp to right now, it's been improvement all of the time. Tim's an effort player so I think he's getting really close to being 100% back himself, but we've been pleased with his progress."
(on keeping P Shane Lechler out) "His plant leg, he had a little issue down in Minnesota so we just shut him down. But we do want him to hold to keep that continuity with (K) Randy (Bullock), but boy, you know about players taking advantage of opportunities. I mean (P Andrew) Shapiro's done a wonderful job. I tell players all of the time, 'you may not make this team, but go prove to everybody you can play in this league.' And I know one thing; he's proved he can punt. I mean he's done a great job."
(on being happy with K Randy Bullock) "Yeah, I think Randy's done a good job. He's gaining more confidence each day. We're putting him in front of the team a little more than some of the other kickers we've had. I think with kickoffs, he can continue to get more consistent in what he's doing, but I think Randy's having a good camp. He's coming along."
(on if he thinks he will be cutting anyone before he has to) "I don't think so, unless we got to sit here and talk about this safety issue we've got right now so we will see what happens."