Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips**
T Duane Brown
DE Antonio Smith
DE J.J. Watt
Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
(opening statement) "Well, we just started practice, had a little practice today, get some movement. They hadn't been out in a while. That's what we did today. Looking forward to getting them back Wednesday and getting started."
(on who the backup quarterback is this week) "T.J. (Yates) has got a back problem right now. We're wrestling with that. (Matt) Schaub's available, certainly."
(on if it's different being the interim head coach this time around during the season) "Yeah, it's different. It's obviously a lot different than when Gary (Kubiak) was sick. I tried to keep just things going in order the way they were and wait until he got back, keep the seat warm, like I said. This is a different situation. We've got to finish the year and we know there's been a change and so we've got to go for it from there."
(on how surprised he was by Gary Kubiak's firing and how it affected him) "You know, well, it affects you personally certainly because we've been great friends. I appreciate him certainly hiring me here. A lot of closeness with our family's and so forth. It affects you obviously, but I've been a coach for a long time. I was with the Oilers here, I believe we had the most wins in football the three previous years and we got fired. I know this: they've fired good coaches, too. Gary or whoever the good coaches are, they get fired sometimes (and) they go on and do well."
(on what happened with special teams coordinator Joe Marciano's firing) "Yeah, that was a team decision. Coach (Bob) Ligashesky was here and we feel like he can do the job for us. So we're going to give him that opportunity."
(on if there will be any changes on special teams) "We started that today as a matter of fact. He's (Bob Ligashesky) got some different ideas. When you get new coaches in, you're going to get different ideas. We've got some different ways of doing things, different ideas. Not to take away from what Joe (Marciano) did, what a great career here."
(on if he can discuss his desire of wanting to be the head coach here on a permanent basis) "When they ask about another job somewhere, would you want to be this and that, those things. I'm right in the middle of it right here. I'm right in the middle of it right here. I'm up to my rear in alligators. I'm going to do the very best job I can do at what I'm doing. That's what I've always tried to do. This is a situation, I have been a head coach before and an interim head coach before. So I'm familiar with the situation. You have to come in and try to mold the team the way you feel like it ought to. The strengths, you need to utilize them and the weaknesses, you need to try not. And it's hard to do in a short amount of time. That's where the interim part is really tough. When you come in as a head coach in the offseason, you've got a whole (period of time). But this is what it is and that's what I'm going to try to do is utilize our strengths and what I think are our strengths, and go from there."
(on what it means to him that owner Bob McNair said he's a candidate for the job) "Again, like I said, I'm not really into that. Obviously, I'm going to try to get this team back on the right track and we'll go from there."
(on if he's had a chance to talk to Gary Kubiak at all) "Yeah, I talked to him and we've texted. Like I said, I've been in this situation before, too. It's not something foreign to me."
(on if he'll have more influence on the offensive side of the ball now) "Yeah, sure. Yeah, I'm going to try to influence some things offensively that I feel can help us. I'm not going to take over the offense. I'll probably delegate more duties defensively. Also, I have to help with special teams. I'm going to try to be a well-rounded head coach. I think that's what the head coach does is try to be involved in all aspects of the game. And I've done that."
(on who he would delegate responsibilities to on defense) "I don't want to go into it right now, but I've talked to the coaches about what specifics I would like them to do offensively and defensively and special teams wise."
(on if he was involved in QB Case Keenum being named the starter for the rest of the season) "Well, again, that's a team decision. I think Case needs to go through some of the rough times to get stronger in some areas. Sometimes, he's got to be able to bring them back during a game. That's what you want to see out of a young quarterback and see if he can do those things. It's not a trial basis. It's just an evaluation basis."
(on his message to S D.J. Swearinger given the penalties last game) "He's already been given that message. He knows that message. If you get aggressive penalties, that's one thing. But after the play, that's hurting your team and you're teammates, and players have to know that. I think the guy that can tell him the most is Antonio (Smith), hurt his pocketbook too. You finally learn after some point that you're hurting the team and not just getting back at somebody else. In his case, he was just saying, 'Get back on the bench. Get back on the bench.' They threw the flag on him."
(on the changes he'll make on offense) "No, we're going to meet today. We've got a game plan to do. I'm going to meet with the offense, I'm going to meet with the defense and I'm going to meet with the special teams."
(on if offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will call the plays) "I'm going to meet him today and we'll discuss all of that."
(on how different things will look now) "You want to win first. A win for this team would be big. That's our first goal is let's be ready to play and play tremendously hard, which I think we have. But loosen up and play a little better than we have. The team's a little bit uptight to me and you say, 'Well, now, you're not going to have any discipline.' But I think you can loosen up a little bit. All of the pressure has been on them. They put on themselves. We put it on ourselves rightfully so. We've just got to go play now. We've got to go play and play as hard as we can."
(on how far back he saw that the team was tight) "I just think that's where we are right now."
(on if he has a desire to be a head coach) "I think I have something to give. I can go into all of the stats and all of that stuff. Nobody wants to hear those. But if you look at the record, I think I have a lot to offer as a head coach, but that's somebody else to decide."
(on if these last three games are an opportunity for him to show that he can still be a head coach) "I don't because, just like I said, I've got a lot more to worry about than that. I want to get this team to start playing as good as they can play."
(on the progression of S Eddie Pleasant) "Eddie's a talented player and we've had him for a little while. He's learned what to do. It's a simple game. You need to know what to do and how to do it. He started to get to know what to do and now he's learning how to do those things."
(on the difference in what OTAs can do for a player like S Eddie Pleasant and being a street free agent) "It's working at it. We've seen free agents. We've got a running back here that's an all-star running back that was a free agent. It doesn't matter where you're drafted, it's what kind of talent you have and how you utilize that."
(on the hardest thing for him right now) "Being a head coach, there's a lot more things involved. Like you said, you have to get into the offense and special teams, where I was only working with defense."
(on if he thinks it would be fair for somebody to say that these last three games could impact whether he'll be a head coach) "The interim deal certainly is, when you come in, there's a reason. They've lost a lot of games. You're trying to mold a team when you start out before the season. As a coordinator or head a coach, trying to mold that the way you feel like can help the team win. When you're thrown in there with three games left, it's a lot harder, a quicker mold."
(on what he would like to see the defense do better) "Turnovers obviously are key. That's something that we harp on all of the time, but we also don't give up many yards passing. The passing game is a key game as far as people scoring on you. We saw it this week with what 90 touchdowns. So it's a tough part of the game for defense. We've got to keep working on our pass rush and our overall defense. But I think those guys are going to come through the last part of the year."
(on if there are any other injuries besides QB T.J. yates) "I don't know. I just him today and he was standing out there and they said he had had something with his back."
(on if he'd be interested in coming back as the defensive coordinator next year if he isn't hired as the head coach) "I would never say that because then they wouldn't hire you as the head coach. I'm not going to fall for that one."
(on how QB T.J. Yates got hurt) "I don't know. I really don't know."
T Duane Brown
(on his thoughts on former Head Coach Gary Kubiak being fired) "I just want to again express what a pleasure and honor it's been to play for Coach Kubiak. A great mentor and a great coach to me throughout my six years here. It's an unfortunate situation, but they felt they had to do what they had to do. For us now going forward, we've just got to pull together and continue to fight through this thing. It's been a very disappointing and frustrating season for us all. But we've still got three left and we're trying to finish off strong. We're all dedicated and focused to being successful these next three weeks."
(on if the players take any blame for former Head Coach Gary Kubiak being fired) "We do. I do because, at the end of the day, it's on us to go out there and get the job done. We've been in a position to win just about all of these games with the exception of a couple that got out of hand, but we've been in position to close out these games and switch some of those L's into W's, but just weren't able to get it done. I take the blame for us as a team and our lack of success."
(on if he was surprised by the timing of when former Head Coach Gary Kubiak was fired) "Yeah, it was surprising. We played a Thursday Night game and wake up Friday morning and hear that news. It was not something that I expected, but it's a business and you never know what's going to happen. That's just what it was."
DE Antonio Smith
(on his thoughts about Gary Kubiak being fired) "A part of football, I guess. You build relationships with people in this game, whether it be in the locker room or upstairs, so anytime something like this happens, it's like a breakup of a relationship. It hurts personally, but it's part of the game."
(on what he thinks about Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips getting that job and also being a candidate for the head coaching position as well) "I think that, when he came in and spoke in the meeting today, he hit the nail on the head. And basically what he said is that we all have got to be in on winning these last three games at the end of the year. It's not just up to him to come in and to get it going on the right accord or whatever he said that you're going to need each and every one of us. And I think he's right with that. We've got to give him help."
(on his thoughts about owner Bob McNair speaking to the team today) "You know it's always serous when he comes. When Mr. McNair comes to speak to us, when he came into the room, we kind of knew what was coming, but we didn't know what was going to be said. Basically, he just treated all of us like men and told us why he did what he did, and then the way he did it. That was it. He just gave us the respect of letting us know what was one his mind and the reason why he'd done it."
(on owner Bob McNair saying he wants to win these last three games) "I believe him. You could see the look on his face. I saw the look on his face at the end of the game in Jacksonville and it was the same pain that we were all feeling. You can obviously tell he does not want to lose and does not want to lose on purpose just to have the first-round draft pick and be content with that. He's an owner that loves the team and wants us to be winners, wants the city to at least end the season with some wins, with some confidence, with some juice going into the next year."
DE J.J. Watt
(on his thoughts about Gary Kubiak being fired) "Obviously, I had a great amount of respect for Coach Kubiak. I'm very thankful for the opportunity that he gave me. He's a great man. That's one thing you can always say about Coach Kubiak is that he's a great man. He always handled himself with class, always did things the right way and went about things the right way. And I don't think you'll meet anybody who's worked with him that'll say otherwise. He's a great guy. We all understand it's a business and, if you lose 11 in a row, they're going to make changes. So obviously we didn't play well enough and we didn't help him out enough."
(on this being the first time he's ever gone through having a head coach being fired and what it's like for him) "Obviously, it's frustrating. Very frustrating. You have to keep fighting and you have to keep putting everything you have into it because that's what represents what you are and what you put on film and the amount of work you put in on a daily basis. How you handle yourself in tough times will really tell you a lot about who you are as a person."
(on what he thinks about Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips getting that job and also being a candidate for the head coaching position as well) "Wade did this for us a couple of weeks (ago) in the middle of the year. He's going to come in here and he's going to be the coach. We're going to follow him just like we follow a head coach, and we're going to go about our business."
(on if the players accept some of the responsibility for Gary Kubiak being fired) "If you lose 11 games in a row, like I said, there's going to be changes. Obviously, the players are the ones who play the games, so we're the reason for those 11 losses. So obviously everybody's responsible for what happened here, but we know that it can't continue. Trust me, we're working as hard as we possibly can to stop this. This is not fun for anybody."