The Texans practiced on Thursday at the Methodist Training Center, and afterwards 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 KubiakDE Mark AndersonWR Andre JohnsonCB Brice McCainDT Earl MitchellLB DeMeco RyansDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the status of WR Andre Johnson) "(WR) Andre (Johnson) took what we expected him to take today. He was limited for practice, but he did practice and see how he comes out of it. It was very encouraging as we work toward the weekend."
(on the status of WR Jacoby Jones) "He still did not practice today. Like I said yesterday, my thought is to get him out here tomorrow and see what he can do and we'll go from there."
(on if either WR Andre Johnson or WR Jacoby Jones will play against the Giants this week) "They'll both be game-time decisions."
(on how are the team reserves performing this week in practice) "From a receiver's standpoint, (WR Dorin) Dickerson, he was up last week. He has been preparing to play. Of course (WR) David (Anderson) steps up if there is an issue there (wide receiver position). He's been fine. As far as (WR) Jacoby (Jones), our biggest thing is returner. David will take the punts and (RB) Steve (Slaton) will take the kicks. GQ (CB Glover Quin) has the ability to take the punts. We got a little maneuvering to do right there. We'll be ready to do it."
(on DE Mark Anderson) "I know a lot about him. I studied him hard coming out. He's a younger guy. I think a four-year player. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) played with him and stood up for him. He had a lot of success early in his career. Not so much the last year and a half. He's got some pass rush ability and we'll take a look."
(on the status of S Eugene Wilson for Sunday) "He should be okay. He's practiced two days in a row and may be a little bit limited today. He should be okay if things keep going."
(on if anything new at the depth chart for the backup quarterbacks) "It's the same. I think (QB) Matt (Leinart) continues to push (QB) Dan (Orlovsky) everyday because he's much more comfortable in what we're doing. I've got confidence in both of them, but our pecking order stays the same and we keep going. They're both working good."
(on how does he analyze WR Andre Johnson's injury) "That's going to be a risk whenever he comes back, regardless. We would never put a guy out there that we didn't think could protect himself and play at a level that we think you need to play at. This week will be no different from last week from that standpoint, but he's way ahead of where he was last week at this point."
(on the Texans offensive line and what they have accomplished) "We've added a new face in (G) Wade (Smith). All those other guys have played a lot of football together. That's been the key around here. Those guys have played a lot together and been on the field together. So I think that's been the biggest positive and the job (offensive line coach) John (Benton) has done with them. John's had them for five years since I've been here and John's a hell of a coach. He's added some things to our running game to me that really improved us and given us misdirection and those types of things. It's a combination of a group, coach and players that have been together there hasn't been much change."
(on the enhancement at the running back rotation having RB Derrick Ward) "It means a lot because also he's been successful in this league. So you know nothing is too big for him when he steps on the field each week. He's done good stuff. He gives us another big guy that is a tough guy to tackle. (RB) Steve (Slaton) is the change up guy of the three. I'm just very encouraged just by getting him and now even more so encouraged by how far he has come."
(on the status of RB Derrick Ward's ribs) "He had some sore ribs coming out of the game, but he practiced today and it shouldn't be a factor."
(on players in the NFL wearing pink this month for breast cancer awareness) "First off, our sport is awesome. It's such a good message that you could send in our sport. I think everybody has their reason why they put on their pink towel or the pink shoes. It's probably affecting a lot of guys' lives. I know I had a good friend back in Denver that I was thinking about all last week just because of this situation. I think it's wonderful what the NFL does. I think it's great that the players show their support also."
(on if the coaching staff emphasized to the players to wear pink) "No, it's up to them. I promise you, if a player puts on lime green one week and does good he'll probably have it on next week."
(on does it mean a lot to him to see the players wearing pink) "Yes, it does. But you'll have to ask each guy. They probably have special meaning to why they do it."
DE Mark Anderson(on playing with LB DeMeco Ryans again) "I've played with (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) at Alabama for four years. I'm used to the high energy that we play with. I'm just ready to go."
(on if he can get back to level of play from his rookie season) "I think so. It just takes reps and going out there and learning the system and seeing how they want to play. Just going hard basically."
(on if it was hard on him leaving Chicago) "It was pretty hard because I've been there for four years. The way they did it, I felt that it was kind of unprofessional a little bit. It's the business and I have to roll with it."
(on his relationship with LB DeMeco Ryans) "He is a great guy and high-energy-type player and very passionate in what he does. That's the type of energy that I like to help out and bring to Houston."
(on LB DeMeco Ryans' endorsement to head coach Gary Kubiak to sign him) "I've played with him and I know his style of play. I know he's very passionate about this defense and I just want to help him out the best way I can."
(on what will he bring to the Texans defense) "I'm a high energy type guy. I just like to get after the ball and try to make plays and create havoc. Just have fun."
(on if he feels like he could let loose a little more in the Texans defense) "Hopefully, I'm still learning the defense and the different schemes. They have some good packages that I've been learning and I think I could make some plays."
(on if he's extra motivated to succeed after the Bears released him) "I'm not really worried about the Bears right now. That's in the past and in the rearview. Right now, Houston is what I'm dealing with. I'm just trying to make the best out of this situation."
WR Andre Johnson(on his status) "It (the ankle) feels pretty good. I still have a little soreness, but it felt pretty good running around."
(on what is his prognosis for Sunday) "I'm planning on playing. That's what I said after the game last Sunday. That's pretty much it."
(on how important it is for him to get back out and play) "It's important to be out there, but at the same time you don't want to do nothing that will hurt the team. It's just being smart about it."
(on if he feels much better than a week ago) "It feels better than a week ago. At this point last week I wasn't able to practice. With me being able to go out and run around and I also ran yesterday. It feels better. Coach is not 100 percent, but I feel like I'm able to go out there and play."
(on if he sees his playing status as a game-time decision or does he see himself playing) "I plan on playing, but at the same time if it was up to me I would've tried to play last Sunday. Coach (Gary) Kubiak is in charge of all that. I'm not sure if they will have me workout before the game. As far as that situation goes. I just plan on playing. That's pretty much what I can say about it. I'll find out more as the week goes on."
(on how much does he worry about re-injuring his ankle) "I practiced with a brace on today. The brace keeps my ankle pretty stable to protect it from something like that from happening. I practiced in it today and it felt pretty good. It keeps my ankle stable. We're making some adjustments to make it as comfortable as possible for me. I'll run back again tomorrow in it and see how it feels."
(on if the brace limits him in anyway) "No. It doesn't limit me at all."
(on the Giants defense) "They're a great group. Their record may not show it right now. You look at them on film and you see a bunch of guys flying around and to the ball. I think they're in the top ten as far as offense and defense. I think the biggest thing is that you can't have the mental errors against those guys. If you look at the game last week and how they got after (Bears QB) Jay Cutler you wouldn't want something like that to happen to our quarterback. The biggest thing is just to protect him and just making the plays as they come to you. You just have to take advantage of every opportunity you get because they are very explosive on the offensive side as well."
(on playing a team that had 11 sacks the previous Sunday) "The biggest thing is just protecting and trying to get open as fast as you can. They have a great defensive front. When you look at them on film, the film speaks for itself. It's going to be a big challenge for us and we're going to do everything we can to get the victory."
(on if he can still make his cuts with the brace on) "Like I said before, I'm not at a hundred percent. There's a little soreness here and there at times, but at the same time it's not nothing where it's killing me. Like I said, I have a brace that I'm wearing and the brace keeps my ankle pretty stable. I've never in a brace before so today is my first time. That was kind of new for me in trying to adjust to it. Like I said, they are making more adjustments to it to make it as comfortable as possible for me. I'll go back out tomorrow and do some more stuff. Hopefully, it'll be comfortable like it should be when I wear it on Sunday."* *
CB Brice McCain(on the demeanor of the young Texans secondary) "I just want to get better and make it a little easier for people in the locker room to come talk to us. We just have to be happy and know that we did pretty good each week. We know we did bad and we're quiet right now. We got to do better as a secondary, period, and get the job done."
(on if he thinks that the secondary is improving at a good rate) "We've been doing pretty good since training camp. We just had a lot of bad plays. I think we're staying consistent and getting better not only as a whole, but with the little stuff. We just put pieces together. We'll be pretty good."
DT Earl Mitchell(on what to expect when he faces the Giants ) "It's going to be a good one and definitely we will have to get after it up front because they will be coming downhill. They don't play any tricks and don't have anything up their sleeves. It's coming, you just got to buckle your chinstrap and get ready for it."
(on if the Giants look the most physical of any opponent the Texans faced so far this season) "Just as far as their game plan goes, they run a lot more than most. I think they're a pretty physical team and they like to establish that."
(on what it's like being in the pros in your hometown as opposed to having a very successful high school career at nearby North Shore H.S.) "It's all been pretty good. It's just a really good feeling in just being here and having my family here and having my high school behind me. It's a great feeling just to be here and a great experience. It's a really good feeling being here."
(on how has head coach Gary Kubiak been able to pull this team together) "He's a pretty laid back guy. He's pretty calm. No matter what the situation is he keeps his cool and you don't see the panic in him and we feed off that. No matter what situation we're in, we've been in every situation. He's put us in every situation in training camp. No matter what, we've practiced against it. That's the way he goes about things. It's a good feeling to have that type of coach around you because in a certain situation you should want to feel what you're head coach is feeling. He's pretty calm all the time. It's a really good feeling to see him smile no matter what."
LB DeMeco Ryans(on the Texans secondary's performance this season) "Those guys put a lot of pressure on themselves. It's a total defensive effort when it comes to throwing the ball. We have to get pressure up front. If we're blitzing we've got to find a way to get there and make him get the ball out quick. If it's just the front four guys, they have to find a way to make the quarterback make quick decisions. That's a totally defensive effort and it's not just those guys in the back. I know they like to put a lot of pressure on themselves and say that it's all on them, but it's not."
(on the winning atmosphere in the Texans locker room as a opposed to his rookie season) "It's special to see things change and to see the attitude change. I think that is the biggest difference now. Guys actually believe that we could go out and win games and finish games off even when we are down. When we we're down against the Redskins, there was no doubt amongst anyone on the sidelines that we were going to battle back and find a way to win that game. That's the biggest thing that changed here and that's the key to our success and that's why we've been doing well. Guys just believing in it and going out fighting and scratching to get it done."
(on DE Mark Anderson) "Me and (DE) Mark (Anderson) were at 'Bama (Alabama) together for four years. Mark is a good teammate. He's a good pass rusher coming off the edge. A little explosive guy that I think will help us a lot once he gets acclimated to our defensive scheme. He's going to help us a lot rushing the passer."
(on endorsing DE Mark Anderson to head coach Gary Kubiak) "I stood for (DE) Mark (Anderson) because he's a great guy and teammate that I spent a lot of time with in college. I know Mark is a guy that can definitely come help us. I've been in those situations in which (head coach) Gary (Kubiak) ask me about other guys, but if the guy doesn't fit our team I wouldn't want him here. I know Mark can come and help us out a lot." * *
DE Antonio Smith(on what impresses him the most about the Giants on film) "How elusive the back is. I think from all the film of the backs we've seen this year, he's broken more tackles than all of them put together. When he breaks tackles he has the ability to take them to the house."
(on how the Texans rush defense will fare against the Giants rushing attack) "I think this is going to be our biggest run game test yet. I don't think that we've been tested to this point yet. I think that this back will give us a big challenge."
(on if this week's game against the Giants will be the most physical game yet) "I think so. I'm looking at the offensive line and how both the backs run. Even though he's a smaller back than (Giants RB Brandon) Jacobs, he still runs hard. I think it's going to be our biggest test. I think that we'll have to stand up to that man-to-man. They're not going to change their game plan. They're going to come in here and run the ball and throw the ball. We just got to stop it."
(on the Giants defense 10-sack performance against the Bears) "I was excited. You hardly ever see that. I wasn't really thinking that we play these guys next week. It's just exciting to see fellow defensive linemen get out there and have fun like that."