The Texans practiced Monday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakILB Brian CushingTE Owen DanielsWR Andre JohnsonILB DeMeco RyansDE Antonio SmithDE J.J. Watt
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on WR Andre Johnson) "He did practice today. We came inside because of the weather, but he did participate in practice and our expectations are for him to be back on the field on Wednesday, so we'll see how it goes."
(on if he's made a decision on if WR Andre Johnson will play this week) "Oh no, I got to watch him practice this week and see how he's doing, but today was a step in the right direction."
(on how he approaches the next game) "Well, we just need to keep going. We prepare like it's any other game. We understand the situation and what's going on from a standpoint of going into the playoffs. We got to find a way to fix some of our problems, get ready to play another game this weekend and play better than we've been playing in the last two weeks."
(on if he will approach the game differently with nothing on the line) "No, we're going to approach this game just like any other game."
(on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' health) "Wade was at work today for a couple hours, met with the players and went through the game the other night. I'm hoping that's kind of the process here leading into this weekend. Our goal would be that he would be in the press box on Sunday, but we'll also see how he feels. A couple hours in the office today looked good."
(on what it means to have defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "It was good. It was good for everybody just to know that he's doing better and on his way back to his full health. Like I said, he looked good. I know it was good for him to get out and be around the players for a little bit. It'll be a day at a time, but today's a good step."
(on if one game with WR Andre Johnson is enough to get in a rhythm offensively going into the postseason) "From Andre's standpoint, I'm just worried about getting him back ready to play for a couple weeks from now. I think that's why he needs to come back and play this week just to get on the field and get some reps. But I'll have to watch what's going on because we definitely want him two weeks from now. I'm just concerned with him playing. I'm not concerned with anything else."
(on if WR Andre Johnson's presence can get the offense back in a rhythm is only one game) "Like I said, I'm just concerned about Andre's health and getting him ready to play for two weeks from now, so that's my biggest concern."
(on how practice went) "It was good. It was really good. We needed to get out here and move around. We had three days off after the game or really two, we got back pretty dang late, so it was good. We worked against each other today. Then we'll go to work on Tennessee Wednesday."
(on any other injuries) "No, I kept some guys off the turf today. Connor (Barwin) was off the turf. Who else? OD (Owen Daniels) was off the turf, but they could've practiced. We should be okay going into Wednesday. The only guy that should be out should be (Mike) Brisiel."
(on how important it is to get a win before going into the playoffs) "Well, we need to play better. That's the most important thing is play better as a football team. The last two weeks have been disappointments from that standpoint, so we got to work on ourselves this week and get ready to play."
(on if he has to find an intensity when the next game doesn't mean anything for playoff positioning) "Any time you line up, it's got to mean something to you. Like I said, the biggest thing for us right now is the fact that we haven't played as well we're capable of playing the last two weeks. We got to have a good week of practice, prepare and get ready to play for a team that's got a lot to play for this weekend. It's important. Every time you step on the field, it's important and this week's no different."
(on if he's thought about letting QB Jake Delhomme play some snaps later in the game) "I haven't. I'm just going to prepare for this week just like we have every other game and we'll go from there."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on how much work got done with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips today) "We just watched the game film. He didn't say much for the most part. It's just nice having him back, really is."
(on if defensive coordinator Wade Phillips working in the press box will have an impact) "I'm not sure. I'm not sure as to how much he wants to do or how much he's going to do as far as game plan or where he's going to be during the game. I just know that he's feeling better and that's most important right now."
(on how defensive coordinator Wade Phillips seemed today) "Definitely better and I think for the fact just to come here so short after surgery, the type of surgery he had, to come back just proves the kind of guy he is and how much he really loves being around here."
(on how he views the next game) "Well, it's the Titans and any time we play each other, it's a rivalry game. It's an important game. They got a good team, there's no question about it. Any time we play each other, it's a battle, so that's how we're approaching it."
TE Owen Daniels
(on playing a team trying to get into the playoffs) "I think it will be good for us. It's always a tough game against the Titans. It seems like there's always something to play for even if in the past, one team or both of us aren't in the playoffs. I think we have a lot to play for and show ourselves that we can get back to work, do what we should be doing and obviously they do too, so it'll be fun."
(on if it's good to play a team that needs to win) "Yeah definitely. I don't think there's really any meaningless games in the NFL. We can't move up or down with our seed I don't think at this point, but it's going to mean a lot for us to play well and feel good about ourselves Sunday afternoon."
(on if one game is enough to get into a rhythm offensively) "Yeah, I think you could lose it in a hurry, you could get it back in a hurry. I think a lot of that will depend on how we work this week in practice. I think if we can get a lot done in practice, a lot of good work in and get some of our rhythm back and having 'Dre (Andre Johnson) back in there even for a game or however long it may be, just to get him in the mix and bouncing around a little bit is good for us this week and next week."
WR Andre Johnson
(on how he felt at practice today) "I felt pretty good, just glad to be back out running around a little bit with my teammates. Just taking it day by day. Today went good. We have a day off tomorrow. I'll come in and do some rehab and go at it again on Wednesday and see how I feel."
(on possibly playing this week) "Like I said, we're just trying to see how this week goes, see if I can make it through the week, first of all, without any soreness or anything like that. Like I said, today went fine. I'll be doing a little rehab tomorrow and I'll go back at it on Wednesday. Hopefully every day continues to get better and better."
(on how important it is for him to play on Sunday) "I would like to be out there. I would like to at least get a game under my belt before heading into the playoffs, but like I said, we'll just see how it goes through the week and if everything goes good then I probably should be out there."
(on if the team needs some confidence after the past two weeks) "I don't think the team lacks confidence. I just think that we haven't been playing football the way we should be playing for the past three weeks. We got away with one in Cincinnati and then two weeks after that, we just haven't been playing the way we should've been playing. If we play the way we know how to play, you see we won six, seven games in a row and we just haven't been playing that kind of football for the past three weeks. We just have to get back to that."
(on playing in a game that doesn't mean anything for playoff positioning) "I don't know. Everybody has their own view about it. For me, I just feel like for me, I just want to get a game to try to get the rust off. It's been a while since I played a game. I'm not saying that I have to go out and play a full game. If he (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) wants to put a play count or anything on me, I'll be fine with that, but I would like to go out and play. That's just my opinion, but I know coach is going to do what he feels is best for the team."
(on how important it is to get back on track before the playoffs) "Well, you definitely want to get back on track. You don't want to go into the playoffs playing your worst football. This is definitely a game where we need to get back on track and get back to playing football the way we know how to play it. That's something we need to do before heading into the playoffs."
(on if one game is enough to get into a rhythm) "Yeah, I've been playing the game for a long time, so it's not too much that I feel like I need to do. But you'd like to go out there and get a couple hits and stuff like that. When you don't have that happen for a while, you're not used it. You want to go out and get a little contact and things like that and just get back used to the flow of the game."
(on what percentage he was at when he came back from his first injury) "The Jacksonville game, I felt real bad. I felt rusty. I told my receivers coach after the game, I was like, 'Man, I played bad. I didn't feel like myself out there.' But when I came back the Atlanta game, I kind of felt back to normal. It's just all about getting a feel, getting in the flow of the game and things like that. Like I said, we're just taking it one day at a time still. We'll see how things go on Wednesday and then we'll move forward from there."
(on not wanting to be rusty in his first playoff game) "Yeah, definitely. There's no time to be rusty. It's either win or go home, so you definitely want to be playing at your best when you're in that situation."
(on if his presence will give the offense confidence) "I don't know, man. They won seven games without me. I don't know. We'll just have to see what happens. I definitely think the guys will feel good with me out on the field, but as far as playing the game, I mean, we've had injuries all year and guys have found a way to step in and make plays and pick up the slack. I would like to be out there and I would think they would like to have me out there."
ILB DeMeco Ryans
(on what it meant to see defensive coordinator Wade Phillips today) "It was a lot. It was great seeing Wade this morning. Kind of shocked when I walked in the room at first seeing him like I saw a ghost. I didn't know he was in the building. It was very good seeing him, good to see him up moving around doing well and just thankful everything came out fine with him. He's still progressing coming along well."
(on how important it is to have defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "It's important to get him back because he's been with us from the start of this thing. It's always important to get one of the most important pieces of this thing, the head of our defense, coach Phillips, back with us and just his presence alone is a lot for our room."
(on how important it is to have WR Andre Johnson back) "'Dre, that's our guy. Obviously, that's the best player in the League, so any time you get the best player in the League back on the field for your team is a huge plus, so I'm looking forward to getting 'Dre back out there and seeing him make some huge plays for us."
DE Antonio Smith
(on how important the next game is) "You got to get the winning feel back. The rest everybody thing, if I was a coach, which probably never happen, but if I was, the only guy I would probably rest is Andre Johnson. The rest of us are going to work because this game is more important than most people would ever know. You think that since it doesn't hurt us or help us as far as the playoff run, it doesn't matter. I think Cincinnati took that approach last year or was it the year before last? Year before last, when if they would've won, we could've got in the playoffs and that same team that they let beat them and get in the playoffs beat them in the first round of the playoffs, so that first game is important. I mean, this last game is important. You got to be firing on all cylinders when you're going into the playoffs. If not, ain't no telling what will happen."
(on what it was like having defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "It was like the aura. We were making jokes about it on the practice field today. It was like as soon as you heard Wade's voice because at first I didn't know he was in the meeting room and then I heard him speak on the microphone because normally he's standing up on the stage, but now he's sitting down and it was just like instant calm. Everybody was calm. It's a surreal type of thing. I can't explain it. We joke about it though. There ain't no explanation."
DE J.J. Watt
(on how the penalties from the Colts game have affected him) "I need to play a little bit smarter moving forward, but at the end of the day, I'm not going to change how hard I play, how physical I play. I feel like there's a right way to play the game of football and that's as hard as you can every single play. That's all I can continue to do. I just need to be careful when I get around the quarterback, obviously stay away from his head and his feet. I'm going to try and hit him right in that midsection and I just need to be a little bit smarter, so that's what I'm going to continue to do."
(on how he keeps from second guessing himself) "I think that's exactly what I'm not going to let happen. I think when you start second-guessing yourself, when you start questioning yourself, that's when you start to become less of an impact player. So, I'm not going to say, 'Oh, I better not hit him hard' because then I won't be a good football player. So, I'm just going to keep playing the way that I've been playing and hopefully it didn't fine me too much this week."
(on if he's worried about getting fined by the League) "It's inevitable. It's part of the game. Like I said, if you play the game hard, something's going to happen every now and then. So, I understand the consequences and I'll go through the proper appeals process if and when it does happen."