Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he attributes the team's increase in sacks allowed to) "Well I think the first thing is we're playing from behind in those games. You go to New England, we're playing from behind. Minnesota, we're playing from behind. Yesterday we're playing from behind in the fourth quarter. When you're doing that you're in a drop back mode and I think that's where a bunch of those things have come. At the same time, any time you have sacks, there are some that are on the quarterback and there are some that are on the guys up front. We've got a combination of things going on there along with a lot of other things. We break each one down and try to correct it and try to move on. Like you said, we had four yesterday, I would attribute a couple to what we're doing and a couple to actually breakdowns in protections. You just have to get them fixed. But I think we're throwing a lot because we're coming from behind."
(on Cincinnati's defense) "No doubt. I think it will be the biggest challenge we've faced in the last four weeks. They're a lot different this year. First off, they have the same coordinator. (Mike Zimmer) Zim does a great job and Marv (Marvin Lewis) has been a defensive guy his whole career. But there are some things going on with them up front defensively. They've been exceptional. At linebacker they've been better. They've got a young player in there who's playing really well. Secondary is really totally different than what we faced last year, both times we played them. They're playing well, what are they ranked, fifth or sixth in defense in the league with 50-plus sacks? It'll be all we can handle and obviously we have to play a lot better. So it's going to be a tough, tough assignment, but we have to do a much better job than we've been doing."
(on some of the offensive problems the Texans have had overall) "Well I think the biggest thing, we've got inconsistencies in a lot of places, not just offensively. As a team, we've got a lot of inconsistencies in what we're doing. But offensively, it starts with running the ball. We're very inconsistent. I think it's about three weeks in a row we've walked in at halftime and we've had – yesterday we had, what, 12 or 13 carries for 20-something yards. So not a lot of snaps, not a lot of production. Then we come out in the third quarter and run the ball extremely well. We have to have a consistent day where we get out there and run the ball 30 times like we're accustomed to doing and what we do best, and that hasn't happened."
(on what has contributed to struggles in the secondary) "I mean, we've played some top-notch guys, but it's still not an excuse. We've had some changes back there. Obviously losing (CB) Brice (McCain) made us change some things up with a young nickel coming in with (CB) Brandon (Harris). So that's been a big challenge for us. We've given up some plays in situations that we shouldn't. What was it yesterday, third-and-23, that's not us. We've done that twice this year. We did that yesterday, we did it against Jacksonville back a few weeks ago. Getting off the field has been a problem defensively. Once again, I think we played good yesterday, but we gave up 60 percent of third downs. So when you do that, the other team is going to be on the field. It starts with pressure. If we get pressure, we usually play better on the back end."
(on what he can do to help QB Matt Schaub get comfortable) "First off, you take a lot of responsibility as a coach because you're always trying to put your quarterback in the best possible position to be successful. And I haven't done the job that I need to do in the last month from that standpoint. At the time, we've had some plays that, Matt (Schaub) has got a touchdown pass yesterday that we don't make the play on that I know (WR) Andre (Johnson) would like to make. That would help the quarterback. There are things. You throw a screen, you throw a ball, we had a couple of catches yesterday in the game where we should make better runs after the catch for him, maybe we would take one to the house. There are a lot of plays to get a quarterback going and make it look a lot better from the standpoint at the end of the game statistically that could help him. But at the same time he's got to do things better. And I'm up there searching all I can to put him in a better situation to be successful."
(on the team's penalties) "It's driving me crazy to be honest with you. All of us as coaches, we were an excellent football team through about 10 weeks penalty-wise, then all of a sudden the last five weeks, it's a lot of things going on right now, and that's at the top of the list. We had nine yesterday, and I think probably four of them were giving people first downs, whether it was offsides or whether it was a (pass interference) call, or us ending up with a 3rd-and-20 whenever they took the lead 21-16. It's a problem. We're addressing it, we're working on it. But it's got to get solved. And I told the guys today, if we go out there this week and we have nine or 10 penalties again, it's going to be hard to win. As many mistakes as we made yesterday, we still had an opportunity to win. But when you walk out of the game with that many things going against you you're making it way too hard on yourself."
(on DT Geno Atkins and his play) "He's exceptional. I talked to the coaches on the plan on the way home when we knew who we were going to be playing, when we were going to be playing – offensive guys, that's the first name that came up. And like I said, corner-wise, they're different at corner. They're playing exceptional at the corner position this year. We have our hands full with their front. The four-man front is very physical. They have a Mike linebacker in there in there who's one of the top players in the league in my opinion running the show. So we have a lot to do."
(on how the team gets past the disappointment of how the regular season ended) "First off, you need to look at the big picture. It was a season you know what I mean? The season's over and it's time to move on to the next season. The season was a good one. It's disappointing here at the end of the season. This last month we have not played the type of football we need to play to win. We played some good people and you don't get away with that against good people. We're refocused. We had a good meeting today. We aired out a lot of things. We talked about a lot of things. We've got a very quick turnaround. We just need to stay positive, move forward. We've got to go out there and make the plays to get all that mojo going back in the right direction. The only people that can get it done are the coaches and the players. We're back at it and looking forward to getting started tomorrow."
(on if allowing a lot of big plays in the passing game can be attributed to personnel, miscommunication, etc.) "I don't know about that. We're in the right coverage on third-and-23 yesterday. We don't play it the way we need to play it to get off the field. We've had some issues with (FS) (Shiloh) Keo and (SS) (Quintin) Demps. We've had a lot of guys playing and like I said, with (CB) Brandon (Harris). We have had some different guys playing on the back end, but it's not an excuse for giving up those plays. When we get to the quarterback is when we play our best on the back end, so we need to do a better job of that. They didn't throw the ball actually that much yesterday, but we did not get to the quarterback."
(on if the recent penalties signal that the team is unfocused or undisciplined) "That hurts. Yeah, I think you're right. When you're having too many penalties that's a discipline issue and that's on me the coach. I take full responsibility for that and I've got to get it fixed."
(on if he anticipates continuing the offensive line rotation) "We definitely will. That's what's best for our team. (G Antoine) Caldwell's got some back issues right now, so we continue to go with our young guard. We're going to continue to play both of those guys. They're doing some good things. They both continue to do some good things. That's the first time both of those guys walked in that place yesterday. They did some good stuff in the game, but they're continuing to learn. That's been an issue all year long. That's not going to change. They need to continue to step up and play better."
(on if he's surprised by the last few weeks, given the leadership and experience on this team) "It's never surprising to me if you don't play good you don't win. In this league, I know it's a broken record but it doesn't matter what week who you play, if you go out there and do some of things we've been doing, you make it very difficult on yourself to win. This is the second year for a lot of our players to be in this good position that they're in, which is a great position. They're in the playoffs. That's what you strive to do as an organization. We didn't handle the end of the season the way we want to handle it, but that doesn't mean that we can't handle these playoffs the way we want to handle it. We understand how we have to play. We accept the responsibility. This guy accepts the responsibility of how we've played the last month, but I've got confidence in our players and our coaches in what we're doing that we can get out there and play some good football starting this weekend."
(on if OLB Brooks Reed is expected to play on Saturday) "I think it'll be touch -and-go. I can say this, if he can walk he's going to play. He wants to play. We think we had a decision to make yesterday, which was very important to him playing some more football this year and we think we made the right one."
(on if TE Owen Daniels is being hampered by injury) "He's had some nicks, some things going. He had his back issue. He had some hamstring issue. He's missed a lot of practice for all the right reasons. We're trying to get him to game day. We've got to get him more involved with what we're doing. He's holding up. It's just that time of year, been through a lot of things where some people you're just trying to get to the next Sunday, or the next Saturday in this case, so they can help your team. So from that standpoint it's been a battle for the last six weeks."
(on if he's concerned that nobody is emerging to help WR Andre Johnson) "We need some other guys to step up and make some plays. (WR DeVier) Posey steps up and makes a play early in the game the other day. He had a couple chances to make a few more. He needs to make them. Like I said, I'd like to see us make a few more runs after the catch. We had a couple plays yesterday we had a chance to make some big plays from that standpoint. (WR Andre Johnson) 80 is doing his part. He's playing huge. When the ball gets spread around that's usually when we're at our best, so you're right. It's been directed pretty much in one direction here for the last few weeks."