The Texans practiced Thursday at the Methodist Training Center, and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of his players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakRB Arian FosterT Ephraim Salaam
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on how WR Andre Johnson looked today) "He did everything we expected him to do today. He worked the first hour of practice outside on the grass, but I did not want him to work inside. He felt okay. I think he'll be ready to go. I just got to make sure I get him good and fresh before Sunday, but he'll be ready to go."
(on the status of QB Matt Schaub) "He's okay. He hasn't missed anything. He's fine. He's just beat up. When you go down five times and throw it 52 times you're going to get sore. He's okay, he hasn't missed a rep."
(on if T Ephraim Salaam is in shape) "Yeah, for a guy that has played as long as he has. He's doing fine. I think it's just nice to have somebody that knows what we're doing and can hop in right away and knows our players and knows how we do things. It's good to pull from that direction."
(on how comfortable T Rashad Butler looks in the starting lineup) "He's had good practice. He's played a lot of football. It's not like he's new to what we're doing. He's been with us for awhile and he's got plenty of reps. He just hasn't been out there on Sunday as much as the other guys. He'll know what he's doing. He's got a big challenge ahead of him and we got to help him with his challenge."
(on if he sees the team becoming really good playing at home) "I think the key of being a really successful team in this league is that you take care of your business at home and your place is a really tough place to play. Making it a tough place to play and getting our fans into, that's up to us; they've always done their job. It's another big week. We need them to be loud. They were great opening day against the Colts and we'll need them again."
(on the difference in maturity of this year's team from years past when they are down at halftime) "When we came in there was some frustration. Obviously, guys are on in each other when you first walk in the locker room, but that gets out of the way real quick. Then we start talking about how we're going to win this game. How are we going to go into the second half; when we got through with our installation and I talked to them and that's when I thought we got back to business. We were very calm in our approach and knew what we had to do. I think that's part of growing up. If you don't believe that you can't come back and win that game. It's hard to act that way."
(on if winning like this can take on a life of its own) "The confidence comes from knowing you can win a lot of ways in this business. If you as a team and your players believe that is the only way we win this is our strength and this is how we win then it makes it tough. Because if you're not getting that done on game day guys would start to doubt themselves, but if they can believe they can win with offense, defense and special teams and believe they can win that way. Then they could stay focused and stay in to what's going on. I think we're heading in that direction. We got a long way to go, but I think we're heading in that direction."
(on what challenges does Dallas NT Jay Ratliff bring) "They all do because you end up with a lot of singles with (C) Chris (Myers) inside with (Dallas NT Jay) Ratliff and the inside backer (Dallas LB Keith) Brooking. We didn't see Brooking in the preseason, but he's a hell of a player. They got a great front. They've been excellent through the years not just now. It's a big challenge for us and it's a scheme that we did see last week. It helps us a little bit from a carryover standpoint, but it'll be a challenge."
(on how the Dallas defensive scheme is different from the Washington defensive scheme) "They're just very aggressive in what they do. Washington is the same way. The safety gets involved just like (Washington SS LaRon) Landry did last week. (Dallas head coach) Wade (Phillips) will see to out blitz you. That's something you don't see much in this league. You're going to get a lot of aggression from them. How you handle it is probably based on how much you give."
(on how CB Kareem Jackson is progressing) "I think he's doing really well. Obviously, we've given up a bunch of yards in the backend, but I see him getting better in practice. I see him doing things better in a game. I thought probably in our backend last week he might as played as well as anybody we had when it was all said and done. I think he's only going to get better and he's had some big challenges on his plate for two weeks and he'll get another one this week.
(on LB Zac Diles being under the radar, but leading the team in tackles) "He hasn't flown under our radar. He's turning into a hell of a player. With Cush (LB Brian Cushing) not being around this first month, I think he's taken on more of a leadership role. He's done a good job and I expect him to do better."
(on Dallas TEs Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett) "Anytime you have guys like that, it presents problems for you defensively matchup wise with linebackers and safeties. They got as good of a tandem as there is in the league that present a lot of formations for us also." * *
RB Arian Foster(on how the Texans ran the ball the first game of the season and passed the next game) "It just shows that we're multi-dimensional and we're not just a run-oriented or pass-oriented team. We could do both effectively and now teams would have to defend both."
(on when the passing game is successful, does it open opportunities for him to run the ball) "Yes, absolutely and vice versa."
(on how tough will it be to rush against the Cowboys defense) "I've only played against them once. We had some success in the run game early, but that was just the preseason. The regular season is a different animal. I haven't played them in the regular season yet. We'll see on Sunday."
(on he thinks the Cowboys will do scheme-wise defensively that they didn't do in the preseason) "They're always going to blitz, but with that it means that they have to cover man-to-man. It's tough covering our receivers man-to-man. They're probably going to do some zone blitzes and we got to be ready for whatever they throw at us."
(on does he know how much a win against Dallas mean to the city of Houston) "Yeah, you hear the rumblings and how important this game is. As much as we want that for the fans, we have to focus on team X. We can't really worry about it being the Dallas Cowboys versus the Houston Texans. We just got to go out and execute the game plan and do what our jobs are."
(on how much he has improved with catching the ball out of the backfield) "I've always been a good receiver out of the backfield."
(on his jersey being on sale in the Texans Team store) "It's kind of surreal, but it's cool and part of the perks of playing in the NFL. I've got to get my family one. It's pretty cool."
(on if he ever thought about himself as the NFL's leading rusher) "Not really, because it's only the second game of the season; I really just want to get these wins and if that means me running the ball all the time, then that will be a great accolade. If we're not winning, it really doesn't mean anything. It feels pretty good knowing that you are, but it's short lived. We have some great running backs in this league and there is going to be people putting up big numbers. So you really can't worry about the numbers. You just have to come out and focus on your job."
T Ephraim Salaam(on he did to stay in shape) "To stay in shape, I just play basketball. I haven't really lifted any weights or anything like that.
(on what was he doing when he received the call from the Texans) "I was with my production company. When he (General Manager Rick Smith) called me Monday, I was on set in Los Angeles working on a show called, Night Tales. It's a horror series for television."
(on if he thought he would ever play football again) "I didn't know. I was preparing for life after football and going in another direction. It was fine. I stay in shape, no matter what I'm doing just for life purposes."
(on how often he plays basketball) "Three times a week. I play with a lot of ex-NBA guys like Mitch Richmond, Mark Jackson and Bryon Russell and a whole bunch of guys.
(on how odd does it feel to be back in the Texans locker room) "It's not odd because I'm used to it. I got a different number, but same old me. I'm excited to be here. Especially given the team's success and whatever way I could help, I'm honored."
(on what he believed the Texans needed to do in order to be successful this season) "I was saying they needed to do two things in order to be a good team. They needed to win a game that they're not supposed to win and they need to win a close game. It just so happens that they took care of both of those in week one and week two."
(on the Texans learning how to win games) "We just have to continue to learn from the things that we need to fix and just keep this thing rolling. When the momentum is going, especially the young guys around here, can realize how good it can get. I've been on a train where it's been steam rolling over everything and that's the feeling you want." (on if winning taking on a life of its own) "Without a doubt, it's very contagious."