The Texans practiced Monday morning at the Methodist Training Center. After, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their repsective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakT Duane BrownCB Johnathan JosephQB Matt LeinartFS Danieal ManningC Chris MyersRB Ben TateWR Kevin WalterT Eric Winston
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB Matt Schaub) "He will make his trip to Charlotte tomorrow and we'll have him looked at Wednesday morning, so we should have a definitive answer Wednesday which way we're going. We'll keep our fingers crossed."
(on if there's still hope that QB Matt Schaub can play this season) "Oh, you bet until this guy takes a look at it and gives us his opinion. We've got a couple opinions we're working with right now, but we'll hold out hope with Matt and wait 'til then and see what happens."
(on what QB Matt Schaub is doing with his injured foot) "They really just tried to get the swelling down. He was out here today. He's in a boot and just trying to keep him into what we're doing mentally. I know he's just got his fingers crossed that something good happens in the next 48 hours, so we'll see."
(on if there were any surprises today) "Surprises? Yeah, Danieal Manning practiced today with the team. It's amazing how far this young man has come. If he doesn't have any setbacks throughout the week, he should have a great opportunity to be available this weekend, so we'll see how it goes."
(on how FS Troy Nolan has played while FS Danieal Manning has been out) "He's done really good, played very good. Troy's played not only good defensively, but he's continued to play for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano), so great experience from him and we can get back to full strength. That should help Joe special teams-wise. Hopefully, Danieal, everything keeps going smooth."
(on if he's had to make any adjustments since QB Matt Leinart is left-handed) "No, I made the comment to you guys last week you don't change what you do. You change how you call things, so if anybody's got to make an adjustment, I do, just the way I set formations or set things that we do. But I've been through this before. In San Francisco, I had a pretty good lefty and then my backup was a righty, so I've been through this before, but it doesn't change the offense we run or those type of things. It just kind of changes how you set formations."
(on if the tackles have different roles with a left-handed quarterback) "Yeah, Eric (Winston) becomes a blindside guy. I think I said the other day, he's pretty darn important, but he's probably not going to get a raise at this point in the season, so he has to keep going with what he's doing. It doesn't change how Duane (Brown) and them play, but Eric becomes a blindside guy, so it is a little different."
(on QB Matt Leinart's practice) "It was good. We came out here. We needed to get them going, get the weekend out of their system and worked them pretty good. Matt practiced good. T.J. practiced good. Just trying to get a ton of reps and get everybody back on their feet."
(on if QB Matt Leinart has a different attitude now) "Well you see the opportunity he's got. You can see the fire in his eyes, so to speak, what's fixing to come up. What a great opportunity for him in his career. He'll give us everything he's got. I know that."
(on WR Andre Johnson) "Andre was fine. He took all his reps with the team. We will monitor his reps in practice and probably going into the game, but all systems should be go this weekend."
(on if he will try to add a quarterback to the roster) "Very well could. I think it's probably important because you never know. You get in a situation where you lose another guy, you better be grooming somebody. We got a big workout today. We got five guys we're going to work out today. It doesn't mean we'll sign one of those guys, but yeah, I think it's probably important here at some point."
(on how other injured players are doing after the bye week) "Well it was good for us. We needed it. The whole team needed it. We were fresh today bouncing around, but you got to get back in the routine. Antonio (Smith), he did practice a little bit today. OD (Owen Daniels), we're still holding a little bit today. Between those guys, we'll probably wait 'til Wednesday before we cut them loose. But it was well needed."
(on if he learned anything in his experience working with QB Steve Young that's helped him with QB Matt Leinart) "Are you talking about with lefties? I don't know. I just remember how we set things and how we prepared book-wise and stuff, so it was a little bit different. Matt's been doing everything we do and like I said, it's just a matter of me trying to find the things that he does best and everybody else trying to help him do his job and I know they'll do that."
(on if there's anything goofy about QB Matt Leinart since he's a lefty) "I haven't seen it yet, I guess. No, Matt's great. He works really hard. I think Matt Schaub deserves a lot of credit for teaching him how to study the game and prepare to play. I think Leinart has adjusted to that and he sees what it takes to be successful in this League and he's excited about his opportunity."
(on what quarterbacks are being brought in for the workout today) "You know what, I don't even know. Trent Edwards is coming in. I don't know them all."
(on if he sensed the team rallying around QB Matt Leinart in practice) "Yeah, they know that. They know that we got a chance to, in a lot of ways, prove what the word 'team' means after all we've been through this year physically. I think that's what's driving them right now and this challenge is as big as it gets, but we'll be successful if our team plays well and I said that last week. It's not about Matt having to win a game. It's about our team having to go play well enough to win an eighth game, so we'll keep our focus. We've been good and grounded and we'll keep working."
T Duane Brown
(on if he had an interesting bye week) "I did have an interesting bye week. I got engaged Saturday. It's a good feeling, man."
(on if he was nervous when he proposed) "I was pretty nervous, but I just wanted to get it over with. It was something I had been planning for a few weeks now, so I just wanted to get to the moment. It was exciting, man. I'm very happy right now."
(on how he proposed) "My fiancée is from LA, so I flew out there with her and had a little private dinner set up with her family and friends and made her think it was just some regular dinner and I surprised her with it. She was very excited, very emotional. Pretty good feeling though, man."
(on the differences with QB Matt Leinart starting now) "As far as drop back protections, everything will pretty much be the same. The only thing that I can think of that will be a little different is probably play actions, but other than that, it all feels the same. I'm not doing anything differently. We're not doing anything differently up front. Still have the same responsibility, that's keeping him upright."
(on T Eric Winston protecting the blindside now) "Yeah, like I said, I still can't get beat one-on-one, but if that was to happen, which it won't, he'll have a little more time to get out of the way, whereas Eric now, he gets beat over there, it's pretty over for him. But we'll be fine."
(on how QB Matt Leinart looked in practice) "He looked good. Like I said, we got the utmost in him and he's been preparing for this opportunity for a long time. He looked pretty sharp out there today, on point, strong arm, good in our audibles, things like that, getting us into the right plays, so we're excited going forward."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on if he's ready to get back to playing after the bye week) "Yeah, had a nice off week, time away from football. Had a chance to watch other guys play and put it behind us now. We're back to work now."
(on if anything changes with the approach to Jacksonville after playing them earlier this season) "For the most part, I would probably say no just because we played them pretty much three weeks ago, so I don't think it would change much from now to then. We just got to go in and keep our same game plan."
(on FS Danieal Manning possibly being able to play against Jacksonville) "Well today, I was surprised to see him on the field with us. He went out there and did some team drills and ran through and he looked pretty good, actually."
(on what it would mean to get FS Danieal Manning back on the field) "For us, it's all about his health. We don't want to push him too fast. We would love to have him out there, but that's pretty much up to him to look out for him down the road. We want to have him at the end. Right now, pretty much our goal is to get to the playoffs and go running."
(on how surprising it was to see FS Danieal Manning practicing today) "I rode him pretty much before we even got out there. I told him to slow it down just a little bit, but it was great for us to see him out there. He picked us up a little bit, us coming off the off week and having him back out there with us to begin this thing and finish it up down the stretch."
(on what it means to have FS Danieal Manning back playing even though FS Troy Nolan has played well) "Obviously, Danieal has been the starter since the day he's been here and Troy has played well for us. Troy understands the situation as well, but the more guys you can have to step up and play well for us is only a good thing for us."
QB Matt Leinart
(on how he is feeling) "Great. I'm doing good. I had a good bye week; got a chance to rest up a little bit and kind of get my mind right going into this week and the rest of the year, so I feel good. Today was good to get back after it, to get some reps and just continue to move forward every day."
(on whether he is more focused now that he'll be the starting quarterback) "You know what? I've worked hard, I've been focused every day since I've been here preparing for an opportunity like this just in case this ever came up. Like I said before, they know I work hard, I've been preparing, and now it's just time to take all that preparation onto the field, and that's what we plan on doing as a team."
(on the importance of having his teammates' respect) "It's awesome. They know I've been through a lot in my career and I've been up and down, and ever since I got here I've…been surrounded by a lot of positivity. (I've) gotten my confidence back over the last 18 months and I just feel good. I feel good, ready for this opportunity, and it's great to have a great group of guys on this team – not just on our side of the ball, but on this team. I know the guys have my back, and for me, it's just a matter of just going out there and just leading the team and just managing the game, and we've got a great group of guys around me."
(on whether he did anything football-related during the bye week) "Yeah. I obviously worked out a little bit trying to get in shape here for the stretch. I worked out a little bit, and really just enjoyed my son and my family and friends. It was just an awesome week to be with him. He's very excited that I'm playing now. At five years old, he doesn't know much, but he's excited."
(on how his son found out that he would be starting) "I think his mom or someone told him, but he doesn't really care. I'm his dad no matter what. It was a nice week, though. I had a chance to just watch some film, but kind of stay away from football just a little bit just so I can let my mind kind of have a break. Even when you're not playing, you're still in it; and having a late bye week, we were all kind of grinding there for a while, so it was a good time to have a little break."
(on whether he paid special attention to left-handed quarterbacks when he was growing up) "Actually, I was always a big Joe Montana fan and Brett Favre, but Steve Young just because he was left-handed. There haven't been a lot of lefty quarterbacks to come through."
(on why there haven't been many left-handed quarterbacks in the NFL) "I don't know. We're born that way, so I don't know! I've had a chance to know Steve (Young) fairly well, just over the years I've talked to him a little bit; and I actually became fairly close with Joe (Montana) just over the years, just having mutual friends. But yeah, Steve was someone I always looked up to, too."
(on whether he remembers Ken Stabler) "Oh yeah. Kenny 'the Snake.' They used to call me that at USC. Our equipment guys used to write 'Snake' on my cleats, actually. It was funny."
(on getting re-acclimated to the tempo of the game on Sunday) "It's going to be different, obviously. The last real game action was preseason, and starting the Minnesota game, which was good, but still, it's very hard to simulate that speed of a game play by play. That'll be something that I'm expected to do because we're professionals, and I expect to go out there and do that. Something great about this team is we've gotten off to fast starts. I think we've scored on the opening drive in however many games, so it's just to go out there and execute and start fast, not do anything crazy. It might be a little bit different, but I'm sure we'll find a rhythm, and hopefully it's quick."
(on LT Duane Brown's comment that Leinart is focused and ready) "I've been preparing, I've worked hard, and like I said before, they demand a lot of us at this position here, (Head Coach Gary) Kubiak and the guys, so we're always on top of our game. Matt's (Schaub) one of the best at that; that's something that I've learned from him in the two years I've been with him. As a backup quarterback, you always have to be ready if your number's called, and my number has been called, so I'm just going to continue to work hard, continue to prepare like I've been preparing. I don't want to overdo it, but I still work hard. I'm sure I'll have the extra hours with (Quarterbacks) Coach (Greg) Knapp and just continue to get on my game, but I definitely will be prepared."
(on whether he expects Jacksonville to give him different looks on Sunday) "I don't know. They're a very good defense. They've been a good defense all year, so defenses like that usually stick to what they're doing well, but you always find something new every week, no matter what, something that you don't see on film. I imagine with a new quarterback, maybe there's more pressure, maybe man-to-man. I don't know, but we do have (WR) Andre (Johnson) coming back, and it's hard to do that with the type of guys that we have, and especially how great we are running the ball. It'll be interesting to see, but I can't get too caught up in that. I've just got to trust my preparation and trust my reads and my footwork and get us in the right play and just go from there."
(on left-handers stereotypically being a little bit 'different' and if he fits that mold) "You know, I don't know. I love being left-handed. There are very few of us out there, so we've got to stick together, especially quarterbacks. It's funny – (Quarterbacks) Coach (Greg) Knapp has coached Mike Vick, Steve Young and now myself, so he's had a bunch of left-handed quarterbacks in his day, which you don't find very often. I don't know; I might be goofy. I'm sure some of the guys could let you know that."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's comment that he is drawing on his experience with Steve Young in coaching Leinart) "I don't know. We've communicated just what I'm comfortable with and what I like, but the great thing and part of the reason why I came back here is because I like the offense in general. I like everything that we do, but I've relayed the message to the coaches and we've shared and communicated what we like and what may not be our strengths, or my strengths or whatever, but honestly I don't think much is going to change. I just think we're going to go out there and execute the offense that we've been doing, and that's running the football, play-pass and getting out on the outside and making some plays. I'm fully prepared on just continuing to run the same offense that we've been doing."
(on his familiarity with C Chris Myers) "I don't think it's an issue. Like I said, when live bullets (are flying), it's a little bit different, but I've taken a lot of snaps in practice, preseason, training camp, and I know the offense. I'm comfortable with what we're doing, and they know that and I've told them exactly just things I like. It'll be a little bit of a process, but like I said, I don't see much changing."
(on how the Texans' bootleg game changes with a left-handed quarterback rather than a right-handed one) "It's pretty simple. Plays are designed to go both ways. Obviously, with a right-handed quarterback, you tend to go to his strength, and with a lefty, you tend to go to his strength, but (QB) Matt's (Schaub) done it both ways. You've got to keep the defense honest. But it's so funny that I've kind of been hearing that. We're all professionals to do this both ways, so it shouldn't be an issue."
FS Danieal Manning
(on how practice went for him today) "It went great today. Of course, I was limited on reps, but just being out there with the guys and running around. I tested some, see how fast I could run and see how my cuts were. Felt great out there."
(on what he found out about himself in practice today) "Well, initially, I kind of babied it a little bit just to see when we were warming up. As practice continued to go on and warming up, I got to put a lot more pressure on it, way more than I did when I was training and getting rehab. I felt great, no pain after practice, nothing. Just like nothing ever happened."
(on if he's encouraged enough to play this Sunday) "Oh yeah, but the good thing about it is Sunday is way off right now and I'll continue to work through it. I don't want to be negative, but things can occur. You never know, but right now, I'm staying positive and I'm looking forward to playing on Sunday."
(on if he's ahead of schedule in his recovery) "Yeah, I'm about two weeks, two and a half weeks ahead."
(on if he sensed that he was ahead of schedule in his recovery) "Well, rehab, those guys in the treatment room did a great job. Kap and his staff did a great job with me. Every day, I was up here, up here about eight, nine every morning. I didn't get home until about two every day, so doing the same thing on the same leg, working it out, running, strengthening it and I'm able to get out there in four weeks."
(on if he's hesitant to push himself too far) "No because like I said, some of the bigger tests were to not cut on demand, just reacting as I'm covering somebody, so I had to go through that a little bit in practice and I had an opportunity to cover some guys and run, do some running plays. I got to make plays doing it that way, so I felt great. The flexibility in my leg is there and the strength is there. Again, I was limited, but I want to see how the endurance will be if I can play a whole practice."
(on FS Troy Nolan's performance in his place) "I think he did a great job. Coaches did a good job with him. Troy's always been one of those type of players that has a knack for the game. The camaraderie with the team and the secondary, I told those guys this is one of the best units I've ever been a part of. The way the guys play together and want to push each other and at the same time, pushing each other to be the best is exactly what we're doing. When one guy goes down, guy's got to step up and that's been the tale of the season all year."
(on what the biggest adjustment will be for him to get used to again) "I would say playmaking ability. I want to make sure I'm healthy. That's why we have this practice and stuff like that. I want to make sure I'm as healthy as I was before I left and then, after that, just picking up the scheme of this team because I haven't played this team yet. The biggest thing was just getting myself back on the field. Now I got that first step down. It's just now picking up the nuances of the game and learn how to play with this injury that I have and learning to make plays with it. That's the difference."
C Chris Myers
(on how the bye week was) "Enjoyable. Lots of family time hanging out with the daughters and just enjoying some down time."
(on some Jacksonville players saying the Texans are cheap shot artists) "I don't pay attention to that stuff. We go out and play the game that we play. Obviously there's dirty games and there's soft games, but we don't think about it, all the talk in the media and stuff. You go out there on Sunday and once the whistle blows, you don't think about what's all printed and what all you guys say nonstop throughout the week."
(on if other teams ever try to take cheap shots at them) "I mean, nothing that I can remember. Things are said and there's also trash talking going on and stuff. There's stuff that happens in the bottom of the pile, but I don't pay attention to it, you know?"
(on how much of an adjustment it is to go from a right-handed to a left-handed quarterback) "It doesn't make too much of a difference to me personally. It's just one hand under me compared to the other. Aside from that, it's going to be us running the same offense that we normally do. We haven't got the game plan in, but I'm assuming it's going to be the exact same."
(on if he's ever played with a left-handed quarterback) "I haven't personally, no. No difference for me, one hand compared to the other."
(on if the pocket changes at all with QB Matt Leinart) "Five-yard drop's a five-yard drop. Seven-yard drop's a seven-yard drop or seven-step drop. It is what it is. I'm assuming we'll see how the tempo of the game goes with drop backs. It probably maybe will affect the tackles differently if he sets back an extra yard or so, don't know yet. We'll see how it plays out during the game."
RB Ben Tate
(on his thoughts heading into the final six games of the season) "Everyone around Matt (Leinart) and just team just have to raise his level. We believe in him. We believe he can get the job done, but we just have to raise our level."
(on how much different it was with QB Matt Leinart taking all the snaps with the first team) "A little different, but it's not that big of a deal. He's out there with us every practice every day, so when we see him, he gets reps with the ones. It's not that big of a deal. It's going to be more of a transition for him than it is for us."
(on if he's more used to working with QB Matt Leinart than others are) "I think I work with all the quarterbacks just about evenly, so it really doesn't matter."
(on if QB Matt Leinart has a different focus now) "Well I think Matt's always had, ever since he's been here and since he's re-signed, I think he's always had a focus on improving the little things in his game and getting better. Like I said, he's stayed after practice with the coaches. You see him always doing extra work, staying and throwing the ball to the receivers and some of the running backs. You can see he's always constantly working on his footwork, so I think he's always been focused this year, but now he just has an opportunity to step up to the plate and show everyone what he's all about now."
WR Kevin Walter
(on how his bye week was) "The bye week was great. It was nice to get some rest. Had my second child, my first son, so it was pretty intense. It was good times."
(on how everything worked out with the birth of his son) "It was very special. How did it work out? It worked out great. My wife, my son, they did great. They're doing well right now. She gets released tomorrow, so it's good stuff."
(on what kind of rapport he can develop with QB Matt Leinart that will transfer to the game) "He's been getting quite a few reps even before Matt (Schaub) went down. We're familiar with him. We're comfortable with him in the huddle. He demands attention when he's in the huddle also. He's been around here for two years now. He knows this system. He knows what it takes to get the job done and we got to keep this thing rolling."
(on if there's anything different with how QB Matt Leinart approaches the huddle compared to QB Matt Schaub) "I think they approach it the same way. They're the quarterback. They're the leader of the offense. When they're talking, when they're in the huddle, all eyes on him and he demands the attention. The only thing different about Matt (Leinart), he throws the ball lefty. For a receiver, it doesn't matter. You could throw lefty, righty. As long as that ball's in the air, you got to come down with it."
(on if they will be more up-tempo in practice trying to get QB Matt Leinart ready) "Yeah, we're going to continue to do what we're doing every day. It doesn't matter who's in there. The luxury of having Leinart here too, he's going to make plays and he's going to continue to do that."
T Eric Winston
(on if he has to worry about the Jaguars retaliating) "You know, the thing about defense and when you're playing against a defense, if they're doing that stuff, they're definitely not making the play, and it shows up pretty apparent. On offense, you can do some kind of, I would say, questionable things and it really doesn't show up so much, but you start doing that stuff and I just think it shows up."
(on now having to protect the quarterback's blind side) "A lot's been made out of that. I don't really know what to make of it. I got to prevent my guy from hitting the quarterback. Whether he's facing me, not facing me, whatever, I got to stop that. I think a lot of it's made out to be more than it really is and I'm just going to go about doing my job as usual, the way I usually do."
(on if there's any difference in the running game now) "There's no difference in the running game. There's no difference in protections. There's no difference in anything else. We run our protections. I haven't seen us put anything in yet. We're going to run the same running plays that we've always had. Whether you throw it left-handed, right-handed, under-handed, I don't think it really matters."
(on if protecting for the blind side will be good for him) "Yeah, I think maybe hopefully I'll get to slide some more too. Usually I'm always on the man side and everyone else is getting the slide, so maybe I'll get to slide some. That would be nice. Who knows? I don't know. Like I said, I think everyone makes a little bit more out of it than it is, but if that ends up happening, so be it."
(on if he senses more of a focus from QB Matt Leinart) "I feel like he's been focused. I feel like he's been working ever since he's been here. If I'd say Leinart has any misconception about him in the media or anywhere else or even my friends, I would say that for some reason he got labeled that California kid that never wants to work and just had a lot of talent, but I've always seen the exact opposite from when he's here. I've always seen a guy working. Last year, he'd leave dinners on Friday night early because he wanted to come up here early on Saturdays as a third string quarterback. You don't see that much. 7 a.m., he's up here on Saturdays getting some extra stuff in. This year, he's working. He's doing a lot of things. I'm excited about it. I'm excited about his opportunity. I know he's been waiting for it. I know he's been working for it. I'm looking forward to proving a lot of people wrong."