The Texans practiced on Monday at the Methodist Training Center, and afterwards, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakLB Xavier AdibiLB Kevin BentleyT Duane BrownLB Brian CushingWR Jacoby JonesDT Amobi OkoyeRB Derrick Ward
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the first day back from the bye week) "It's good. Like I said, we would've been hard-pressed to get much work out of ourselves early last week. We got everybody back on the field except for really (LB Xavier) Adibi and (DT) Earl (Mitchell). We were pretty full speed and got our pads back on. We'll get two good days of work and get back on our routine on Thursday."
(on if everybody being refreshed is a big factor) "The biggest thing is that we had so many guys that were sitting here that we were waiting on to get back on the field. We need them out here contributing. (LB Kevin) Bentley is here back on the field. (LB Darryl) Sharpton is back on the field today. (WR Dorin) Dickerson's back. It's just a whole big group of guys. We just need to continue to get them healthy. We should be totally at full strength by Thursday with (LB Xavier) Adibi back on the field and that's what we need because we got to have everybody working."
(on who is replacing DeMeco Ryans at middle linebacker) "The decision has been made. We are going to move (LB Brian) Cushing to the Mike linebacker. We made a decision early last week. We thought that was the best thing for our team for putting him at the Mike. We want him to lead our defense and take over it. That's where we are going."
(on the thought process behind moving LB Brian Cushing to middle linebacker) "I think the first thing came into my mind was (LB) Zac (Diles). I didn't want Zac moving. I just didn't like what I saw. I didn't like it back when we had the problem earlier. We want him to stay at home. I think it's about leadership right now with our defense and getting better as a group and somebody taking the group over. We took all that into account and number 56 was the best guy to step in and lead our defense."
(on who will replace LB Brian Cushing at Sam linebacker) "(LB) Kevin Bentley will go to Sam and (LB Xavier) Adibi should be back, but that's the way we'll operate."
(on personnel changes to the roster during the bye week) "We signed (LB Stanford) Keglar who has played in the league for a few years. He's got a lot of skill. He was last at Tennessee. He should be able to help us on special teams right away. He has played all over the place at the linebacker position, from Purdue. Damione Lewis, a defensive lineman from Miami that (defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar) has had before. Obviously we are looking for more speed up front and some way to get more active and get in front of the quarterback, so we added him. We activated (DT) Malcolm Sheppard who's been probably one of our most improved football players on our football team throughout the first six weeks, who was on the practice squad. So we activated him. We brought (DT) Tim (Jamison) back to our practice squad who's been here before. We let (DT) Frank (Okam) go yesterday. It was nothing that Frank did wrong. It's just we made a move to get a little faster on defense."
(on LB Brian Cushing's reaction when he was told that he will be starting at middle linebacker) "He was very excited about it. I think anytime you get a chance to be a leader in there and not that Cush (LB Brian Cushing) is not a leader when he's playing Sam, but he starts making calls and having all the verbiage is all reliant on him and putting him in front of the group and saying that he's the leader now. He's excited about it."
(on if LB Brian Cushing is up to full speed) "He's been fine. His two games that he's played since he came back from his suspension, he's been very active. He's been fine and I think the break did him some good because his body took those two weeks of pounding. So we're good today and we're catching him up mentally. I'm looking forward to seeing how he will grow and the job that he does with the group."
(on if he is worried about LB Brian Cushing understanding his new position at middle linebacker) "It wouldn't matter. With him making the move, the bottom line, he hasn't been doing all that. He's in the same meetings that (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) is in. Like I said, we looked at it from a leadership standpoint. Does he really have to amp up his classroom work? I think he does, but that's not a problem at all."
(on if he's happy where T Duane Brown is physically and mentally) "I liked what I saw. He's been working out. His conditioning looks good. If there is any problem at all, we could give him a break with (T Rashad) Butler."
(on what he is telling his players about the NFL's policy on violent hits) "We watched the film. The league sent us a film and basically gave us guidelines on how we address our team on the issue. So, I did that this morning with the football team. It's probably more so defense. It is every player in the league, but let's face it, more so about defensive players in terms of their aiming points in tackling and that type of thing. We addressed it. We don't want to lose our aggressiveness, but obviously everyone want to protect the players that are playing this game."
(on the status of G Mike Brisiel) "(G Mike) Brisiel is back. He practiced today."
(on if he is surprise that G Mike Brisiel recovered so quickly from his injury) "No not Mike, I expected him back."
(on if the new violent hit rule will make players hesitant) "I can't speak for players. I think that everything is being done to protect the players that play this game. I think as a league, I think we should protect these guys. It's a tough business and a tough game. It's a very short-lived career and we should protect the guys that are playing it. Also, look after the guys that played it before them. I'm all for that. We'll work through it."
(on playing the Colts in Indianapolis) "It's our biggest challenge as far as noise and where we're at and what they do, offensively they get the silent stadium. We understand our challenges. We've been there many of times. We've got a good long period of a week to prepare for it. We'll be fresh. They'll be fresh. Two teams that have been off, but we understand what we'll be facing."
(on the Colts missing key players due to injury) "I think everybody is. You look at every team. I think I watched every game that was played yesterday. Somehow and someway every team was missing this guy or that guy due to injury. It's just part of the NFL and whoever ends up fighting through it and find out to there in the end is the team that gets it done. So we got to fight through issues right now."
(on the status of DE Mario Williams and DT Earl Mitchell) "(DT) Earl (Mitchell) is not on the field today. Maybe Thursday we'll see. He and (LB Xavier) Adibi are the two guys that did not return today. (DE) Mario (Williams) is fine. He practiced today."
*LB Xavier Adibi *(on the current situation at the linebacker position) "I look at it more as a test for us as individuals and as a group. Everybody has to step up. Everybody has to step up their game. The show has got to keep on rolling."
(on players not stepping up their game) "You have to. You got to do your job. This is our job. That's the mentality that you have to have and if you don't do your job, then you can be fired.
(on if the Week One loss to the Texans will be on the minds of the Colts) "I'm pretty sure it is. I'm pretty sure they got a lot of redemption on their minds. They have some guys out, but the last I checked they still got 18 (QB Peyton Manning) throwing the ball. They'll be ready and we'll be ready at the same time."
*LB Kevin Bentley *(on starting against Colts QB Peyton Manning at Sam linebacker) "I'm grateful for the opportunity. I'm going to do my best to make sure I play at a high level for the entire time that I'm in the game and do what I normally do. I don't think I'm going to change anything. I'm going to be me."
(on the challenge of coming off knee surgery and starting immediately) "I don't think that's going to affect me. I think I did a good job doing rehab and keeping my conditioning up. I did a lot of football work. I just wasn't able to play in the game. I'm not worried about that from that standpoint. I'm ready to go."
(on LB Brian Cushing starting at middle linebacker) "That's the decision they made. We're going to live with it. He's going to play well and we're going to make sure that he plays at a high level. I'm going to do everything I can to help him."
T Duane Brown(on if he is getting back into rhythm with the offense) "It's pretty good. The communications I had to get that back. I had to get my calls back down, but I felt pretty good out there."
(on the challenges the Colts bring to the offensive line) "That defensive front four they have really thrived at home. When they get the crowd noise behind them and getting off on the ball, it makes it tough on you. It's a great challenge for me and a great challenge for us as an offense and a team. I'm excited and the rest of the guys are excited as well."
LB Brian Cushing(on how much did he play inside linebacker in college) "A good amount, I think I practiced a lot more than I played there. I was the backup Mike linebacker, just in case. In my senior year, I think I started two games there. They are very similar positions. The biggest difference is going to be the vocal part."
(on handling the middle linebacker position mentally) "On the mental part, I'm always going to have to focus on it a lot more. I'm going to be on the field just as much as I was at Will (weak side linebacker) or Sam (strong side linebacker). Overall, I just think that I've got to lock in a little bit more. I'm going to have to be the quarterback of the defense and I'm fine doing that."
(on if there will be more ground to cover at middle linebacker) "Not more ground to cover. I don't think I'll be doing as much running. Most of the time if I was a Will or a Sam linebacker I'll be covering slot receivers and tight ends 30 yards down the field. Mike is mostly man-to-man on the backs or just playing in zone coverage."
(on how much of a challenge the move to middle linebacker will be) "It is, there is no question. Every time you switch positions and you're going into Indianapolis and you're playing a new position, it's going to be a challenge, but I'm up for it."
(on matching wits with Colts QB Peyton Manning) "It's not going to be just me. It's going to be all 11 of us. I'll be the one getting the guys together and making the calls. There is no better challenge out there. I'll be excited for it."
(on not having to go against Colts TE Dallas Clark) "That's a huge part of their team. There is no question about that. We were talking about that today. I'm sure they got a guy up there that nobody has never heard of that's going to come in and do a great job because he's got 18 (QB Peyton Manning) throwing him the ball and he can make anyone look great."
*WR Jacoby Jones *(on coming off a bye and playing on Monday night) "The good thing is that everybody got to heal up and got the rest and we'll be fresh when we go out there. It'll be an intense game. It's Monday night. It's a big stage and that's what we are looking forward to."
(on the biggest challenge playing against the Colts) "You got to be consistent for one. We got to make the plays when we have them. We got to keep number 18 (QB Peyton Manning) off the field. That's the biggest key, convert our third downs."
*DT Amobi Okoye *(on other players stepping up to fill in for LB DeMeco Ryans) "Of course, everybody will have to step up. Like I said the other day, losing (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) is like your wife leaving you. We just got to step up. Everybody has to put in to make a full DeMeco."
(on if he was surprised to see LB Brian Cushing moving to the starting middle linebacker position) "A little bit because I have gotten used to him making calls before because he's been practicing when (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) was out and he steps in and he calls the defense and gets us lined up. It wasn't too big of a shock or difference. It's kind of like something you prepped up for."
(on the release of DT Frank Okam) "(DT) Frank (Okam) was a heck of a teammate. We are definitely are going to miss him and wish him the best of luck wherever he goes and whatever he does. I think with the addition of all the new guys and all the changes we've made we are going to be better."
*RB Derrick Ward *(on playing in an expanded role at running back on Monday night) "It's always good to get on the field and do some things for your team and helping to get in a position to win. Hopefully it continues and starts on Monday night versus the Colts. I'm just excited to get out there and play ball again."
(on if he has been informed that his role has changed in terms of more carries) "No, they haven't approached me about anything like that. I'm just going to be ready when my number is called. That's the only thing that I could do right now."
(on the key for his performance so far this season) "Getting familiar with the team and the offense, everything. I feel confident when I go out there and I'm able to perform at the level that I know that I can. Hopefully with the reps and getting the ball will continue to be a thing for me."