The Texans practiced on Thursday at the Methodist Training Center, and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and the players met with the media. Also, Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and defensive end Dwight Freeney answered questions from the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of all their respective quotes.
Head Coach Gary KubiakLB Brian CushingRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonWR Jacoby JonesSS Bernard PollardCB Glover QuinQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio SmithRB Derrick Ward
Colts Head Coach Jim CaldwellColts DE Dwight Freeney
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on today's practice) "We got some good noise practice. We're in here, came inside and got some good noise. I thought we had a good practice. We got everybody back on the field. (LB Xavier) Adibi is back on the field today. (DT) Earl (Mitchell) is still not out here, but it was a good practice."
(on how his defense is coming together under LB Brian Cushing) "It's a growing process for him, but it's exciting to watch. Some things we struggled with Monday and Tuesday, they were fine and okay today. So I can imagine it's going to be like that, but it's exciting to see what's going on and watching him try and take over and lead from that standpoint. Like I told him this morning, 'Hey, we've all gotta pick it up.' They've all got to help from that standpoint and they're trying to get ready to play the best. Tough challenge."
(on what's the biggest thing LB Brian Cushing has to do) "It's just an adjustment of running everything, being the voice on the field. When you're at the other spot, you're waiting on that guy to make the calls for you and those types of things. That's probably the biggest adjustment for him, but from a football perspective, it's very challenging for him. I think it's been very good for him."
(on Cushing being vocal) "He's a vocal player from the standpoint of jumping around and a loud guy on the field. That's the way he likes to play the game. So that's not going to change. Like I said, I think the key is that the other ten understand that we all need to talk more, not wait on one voice. They got so used to waiting on (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) that they all need to share the verbiage out there."
(on attempting to get QB Peyton Manning out of his comfort zone) "We've just got to make him move around and get rid of the ball. That's just being active up front. We know they're going to throw the ball. We've got to get to that launch point and go make him move and get the ball gone so we can be fair to our guys in coverage and that so that means mixing up what we do and playing fresh bodies. We'll try to keep fresh bodies out there."
(on QB Peyton Manning and his pocket presence and other factors that make him the player he is) "If you go back to Week 1, we were able to get a little pressure on him. He's the least sacked guy in football, so that tells you right there. It's not about how many times you sack him. It's about how many times you can get him off his spot and make him get rid of the ball."
(on how fun it is playing meaningful games this late in the season with a share of first place on the line) "It's early in the season. There's a long, long way to go, but obviously, it's a big division game. Our emphasis is that we have to play better in our division. To be a real good football team, you have to be able to go and play in places like this and find a way to get it done. That's a big challenge for us and probably a lot of people in this league when they go there."
(on if matters that the Colts are missing key weapons) "It doesn't change a lick. It doesn't change what they do. They do the same thing. Whoever is out there, he'll get them the ball. He's going to beat coverage. That's what he does. He beats coverage. He knows what you're playing and finds a way to get into the right route and so we're going to see the same thing."
(on how different it is for players when they know they're playing a Monday night game) "I always hate to speak for players. Obviously, it's always the only game in town; you know that. It is a routine-changing experience. It's a long week for us. This is our first day of practice, really, leading up to this game and we've been at it almost three or four days. It's different. You kind of got to keep them corralled, so to speak. We've got to build up to Monday night. We've got a long way to go. You need to have a good week of practice, a good week of meetings. But they understand. They understand that they're the only game in town once that night hits and I think that's what makes it special."
(on if he says anything different to his team when playing a Monday Night Football and divisional game and how a Monday night game is different for coaches) "I don't think I have to them. I think they know that. I think my biggest responsibility starts on this end, the build-up end. You know, we can't be ready to play today. But we had a great practice. We got to build up toward the end of the week. From a coaching standpoint, Monday night games are very difficult because you don't have your day to prepare for the next team. So we actually have to get a head start on the next group before we ever play the game on Monday. So it's a little bit different for us than it is for a player."
(on the likelihood WR Jacoby Jones take reps as a kick returner this week) "Pretty likely. We want him to touch the ball. Anyway he can get a chance to do it, he'll get a chance."
(on why he waited until now to use WR Jacoby Jones in a kickoff return role) "Well, I thought (RB) Steve (Slaton) did a pretty good job in the preseason. I did not think we were doing a good job for him early in the season. And (WR) Jacoby (Jones) was hurt, too. But if he's ready to go and he's feeling good, there's a chance he could be back there, always is."
(on if WR Jacoby Jones can return kickoffs and punts) "He can do both. We still have confidence in (RB) Steve (Slaton). But we're trying to get (WR Jacoby Jones) touches in the football game. He can go back there."
(on the psychology of losing a key player like LB DeMeco Ryans) "Well, it's something you talk about from the day you get started in training camp. We're gonna lose players. We're gonna have adversity. That way, it's not a shock when it happens. Like I tell them all the time; the teams that eventually work through these things…being healthy all year long obviously is a big advantage, but the teams that are able to work through issues and still be standing at the end are good football teams. It's another big, big challenge for this football team and another big test and we have to pass it."
(on if he feels unduly affected by injuries that beset his team) "I don't feel sorry for myself. I just keep going."
(on how WR Jacoby Jones has grown as an athlete and as a player) "He's night and day, he's night and day. Just responsibility, how he practices, the team being able to count on him. He's night and day."
(on how important it was for WR Jacoby Jones to mature from his rookie season to now) "It's important to his career. It's important to me as a coach that he gets the most out of his career. Anybody they send to me to play for me, that's what I want to see happen. He's well on his way in doing that."
(on the backup competition between QBs Matt Leinart and Dan Orlovsky) "They're the same. I have a lot of confidence in (QB) Matt (Leinart). He's come a long way. He could run our game plan. He used to be limited if he was to end up playing. He definitely would not be limited right now if he were to play.
(on the progression of DT Damione Lewis) "It's just our first two looks at him. It's hard to tell."
*LB Brian Cushing *(on how eerily the Indianapolis crowd goes quiet when the Texans defense is on field) "It's weird. You could almost hear a pin drop when we are on the field. It's one of those atmospheres where it's very odd and you could hear everything that (Colts QB) Peyton (Manning) is saying."
(on how could he stay motivated with key players being injured) "That's what you signed up for. It's part of the game. You got to go out there with your best 11 and your healthiest 11 and you got to go after it. There are no excuses. We play to win the game and that's the bottom line."
(on is it tough going forward going without LB DeMeco Ryans) "Of course, there's no question. We would love to have (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) out there. We would do anything to have DeMeco out there this Monday night, but he's not going to be out there. That's just life and that's just football. So we're going have to come back and put our best 11 out there and we have to win."
*RB Arian Foster *(on if he will get a little extra excited playing Monday night) "I think you do. You'll be lying if you say you didn't. The world is watching."
*WR Andre Johnson *(on winning despite the defense not performing well) "That's the only thing that matters at the end of the game when the clock hits zero. As long as you are on the winning side, that's all that matters. It doesn't matter if the score is 30-0 or 3-0. You take it however you could get it. I'm pretty sure you ask anybody around the league they'll tell you the same thing. You could fix the mistakes when you come back and watch the film. Nothing has been perfect for us so far this season and that really happens in this game of football. You have to overcome obstacles. We've been doing that so far. When we go out and execute as an offense and get in our rhythm we go out and play well. That's something that we have to do when we go out and play on Monday night,"
(on the possibility of winning at Indianapolis for the first time) "I've never won a game up there. I've only beaten them twice in my career. It'll definitely be big to go up there and get a victory in Indianapolis."
(on this week's game versus the Colts is the biggest game for the Texans franchise) "I think it is just by looking at the situation that we are in our division. I don't think we've ever been in this situation at this point of the season and to be playing against Indy, the team that has pretty much ran the division, it's a big test for us to go up there and play against them in their house and then being on Monday night. It's going to be a big challenge for us and I think a lot of people are look forward to see how we would respond."
WR Jacoby Jones(on what it means to know that head coach Gary Kubiak has gained confidence in him) "It's a good thing that they know that I'm maturing. That's something I've worked hard to do in the offseason over the years is to grow up on the field and off the field, so that's big to know. But like I said, I'm just going to play my role."
(on how far he has come since his rookie year) "I'd probably say some miles, but I've still got room to grow, so that's a good thing."
(on possibly taking on the added responsibility of returning kickoffs) "It's just playing a role. Whatever they need me to do. If they want me to come in on a certain play and block one person, I'll do it. Whatever it is to help the team out, I'm going to do it."
(on if he wants as many touches as possible) "Hey, I'm not complaining."
(on if it's fun to return kickoffs) "Oh yeah, it's very fun. It's like playing 'It.' Catch me if you can."
(on the difference in mindset returning punts versus returning kickoffs) "Well, on punts, everything happens a lot faster and it's more of a sudden move. Kickoff is more of hit the seam, more about chemistry and blocking assignments. It's all about chemistry."
(on if the Texans Week 1 win over the Colts enhances the rivalry) "It's the NFL. Any given Sunday. You never know who'll come to play. Look at Oakland , they came and put up 59 points. Whoever comes to play and they are doing their job that will get the job done."
*SS Bernard Pollard *(on this week's game being called the most important in franchise history) "Definitely it is. I think it's going to solidify where we're at position-wise. This is a must-win for us. Speaking from the defensive side of the ball, this is one those things that we have got to come out. This is the best quarterback in the NFL. This is the best quarterback that will probably go down to ever play this game. To be able to contain him and do what we're able to do. That's going to be big for us. That's something that we're looking forward to. Being 32nd in the league , we can't do anything but go down. So we are looking to go down."
(on on repeating the defensive performance in the first three quarters from their week one victory against the Colts) "Most definitely and that's one of the things that we are looking at. Players get better as the season goes on. We know that 18 is going to show up and play. He's going to be ready to play football. He's going to throw that rock around. I think the biggest thing for us is to understand where we're at. To understand that we are last, you can't get any worse than what we are. We got to contain him. We got to keep our composure. We have to be able to be sound in everything that we do. We've got guys in new positions so we have to be able to come together and made a vow to each other. We had a meeting and we had a vow to turn this thing around."
(on how much does he look forward on playing on Monday night) "It's going to be big. I think coming out of a bye week and just the time that we've sitting and getting our bodies back. It's been a good bye week, but I think just to be able to get back to football. It doesn't get any better that Monday Night Football . We know what everything that's going on. We know what it's going to take to be this team and we got a lot of people rooting for us. We've got a lot of fans and everybody, but at the end of the day it's about us believing in each other and going out there and coming together with a win."
CB Glover Quin(on if the Peyton Manning mystique is intimidating) "No, when you go into the game you understand that you're going against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. You just have to go out and play. You can't be worried about being intimidated by this or that. You just have to know that he's going to throw some good balls. He's going to make some plays, but we have to keep fighting and keep grinding for 60 minutes and try to make more plays than they make."
(on Colts QB Peyton Manning knowing an opponent's defense just as much as the opponents themselves) "I wouldn't say that he knows our defense like that. As a quarterback he knows certain things as far as seeing a hot safety or if there are double hot safeties. I wouldn't sit here and say that he knows every time we are in man-to-man or every time we are in certain type of zone, but he could look and see alright if they are rolling a safety down they're going be seeing a hot safety and I could probably attack this area. There is going to be double hot safeties I could probably attack this area. The fact that he's been on a bye week as the same as us, he's had two weeks to study us as well. He's going to know a lot of things that we are doing, but we just have be on top of our game and execute our defense better than they execute their offense and we'll be fine."
*QB Matt Schaub *(on the possibility of going 5-2 after defeating the Colts) "It's another opportunity for us to go out there and win and take the next step as a team and we're looking forward to it. As we continue down the road we are going to be coming to a lot of points where we are going be doing things that haven't been done around here. We just have to accept that and just go out there and do it. We had good practices the other day and today we had a good practice. Guys are wired in and ready to go."
(on having a good practice) "Obviously, when you practice well and you're locked in to your game plan on Wednesday. Usually that means there are good things for the rest of the week. We just need to keep our concentration and focus level up on those things because we have a long time till Monday night. Usually when you practice well and you're locked in what you're doing both mentally and physically good thing will come."
(on how smoother the offense run with a healthy TE Owen Daniels) "It runs much smoother. (TE) Owen (Daniels) playing at the level that we know he could play at as well as (TE) Joel (Dreessen) who's playing really well gives us some pretty good weapons and good matchups that we like against certain linebackers or even safeties."
(on if the Colts are still the gold standard in the AFC South) "Absolutely, one game doesn't change things. We still have to come on top. Until somebody else does it in the division, they're still going to be the standard that is set not only in the AFC South, but in the AFC. Until we're able to do that in the long haul we have to go up there and beat them in their own place and beat them twice in one year."
(on if the Indianapolis crowd is the most discipline crowd he's ever seen) "I have to say so. I think there's a prerequisite for season tickets that you know that when they have the ball you don't say anything and when the other team has the ball you can't hear yourself think. That's the case, it's one of those indoor stadiums that when we have the ball it's hard to communicate so we really have to be on top of our cadence and what we are doing pre-snap so we wouldn't have any unnecessary penalties, but then when the defense is out there you could hear a pin drop in that place. So they are very disciplined, yes."
(on if he gets a little bit more motivated going against Colts QB Peyton Manning) "Just to go out and play gets me revved up to play on Sunday or Monday. I'm not playing against him. I'm playing against their team. Anytime you go up against one of the best you want to come out on top as a player and as a team. We just have to go out and play smart football and play well."
(on if this game is worth two wins) "Yeah, that's how divisional games are. They are worth a little bit extra because they are in the division and it means a little bit more."
(on how big would it be to sweep the Colts for the season) "It'll be big for us because it's a divisional game. We beat them once already and to beat them twice head-to-head against them. That'll make 2-0 in our division and 5-2 overall those are the pluses behind them."
*DE Antonio Smith *(on if teams have done a better job in blocking the defensive line resulting in no sacks in recent weeks) "I think a lot of teams have taken the approach of max protecting and quick throws and things like that to frustrate our defense, but I think that we've got to find a way to be there regardless of whatever they do. We got to find a way for our defense to prosper. I think that once you get in a lot of those games we wouldn't ahead. Once a team is behind, it forces them to open up, whether they had a game plan to throw the ball or not. We just didn't get that job done."
(on how will the defensive line get to Colts QB Peyton Manning) "With (Colts QB) Peyton Manning I think that you got to get pressure up in his face off the line. Your interior, that's where it got to be at. Let your end rush the edge, but your inside guys got to get in his face and get pressure in from of him to cause him to take a split second to think about the throw that he's going to throw so that can cause you to make plays."
*RB Derrick Ward *(on if he's surprised of his productive performance so far this season) "No, I'm not surprised myself. I've done this before in the league. It's just good to get back to what I'm used to and be able to help this team win."
(on averaging 8.3 yards per carry) "When you get an opportunity like I've been getting as far as running the ball in this offense you never know if you'll ever get the ball or not. So I try to take full advantage of every opportunity that I get when I get the ball. It's been working out good for me."
(on fitting right in the Texans offense) "I'm used to the offense. We ran the same kind of the offense in Tampa. When I first got here it wasn't hard for me to pick up the terminology with that and playing behind this great offensive line that we have and all the weapons that we have on offense. It's given a great opportunity to succeed."
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell(on if there is a sense of urgency for the Colts to get a win versus the Texans) "We are preparing like we would normally prepare. We know it's a big game, obviously. It's a divisional opponent and team that is playing well. So we are getting ready."
(on how much he has looked at the first game against the Texans this year to prepare for this week) "You look at everything. You evaluate and analyze and take a look and revisit a lot of things because they had some success with a lot of things they did against us. I'm sure there is a possibility that we are going to see them again. We better take a look at and make sure we get those things covered. For the most part, things change too from now and then. It's been a few weeks and our team certainly looks a little different. So we have to adjust and look at the most recent game so that we could reformulate our plan."
(on how Colts TE Jacob Tamme compares to TE Dallas Clark) "(TE) Jacob (Tamme) is a guy that has certainly been in our system and has a sense of what we do. He just not has had the repetitions this year because obviously (TE) Dallas (Clark) being in that spot. Now it's going to certainly increase for him. He is a guy that runs well and he could catch the ball. He's got some big shoes to fill, but Jacob is his own man. He's a guy that got his own talents and he's versatile. We are looking forward for him to show us what he could do."
(on the Colts' mentality of bringing the next man up when a starter goes down) "First of all, it's nothing that we discount the loss of the individual that went down. When we have a loss at times it leaves a really big hole in terms of our offense, defense or special teams. We look at it as such where there is not a whole lot that we could do about it. After that, we look at the situation and assess it and then we go to work. We anticipate that whoever steps in to perform at a high level."
(on when was the last time he had so many injuries with key players) "From year-to-year there always has been some. There has been quite a few if I go back and recount. We've had several situations where we've been stung in one position more than others, but I think that we're no different from any other team in this league. I saw the Green Bay game the other night against Minnesota and I heard one of the commentators mention that they had one of their offensive linemen playing defensive line. Everybody kind of goes through it, but the big thing is that can you adapt, adjust and perform? That's what we try to focus in on."
(on how has moving Texans LB Brian Cushing to middle linebacker changed the Colts offensive scheme) "They are all outstanding players. That's no question about that. No matter where he's lined up he's a guy that you have to make certain that you deal with. Now he's in a position where there is a little bit more sideline to sideline. Obviously, he's got great leadership capabilities. I know those guys feel good about him in that spot. We think he's an outstanding player, so we have to deal with him."
(on how has the Colts defense progress since their opening day loss to the Texans) "I think when you look at from a statistical standpoint you could see we have been a bit up and down. Some games, we've been very good in that area and some games we have not been as good as we liked to be. So, this one will be a great challenge for us."
(on why have the team has been inconsistent) "It's a lot of things, you just can't put your finger on it. Sometimes it's the technique. Sometimes it's the fundamentals and things of that nature that we just have to get cleaned up so it varies."
(on what were the few things the Texans did to open up creases for RB Arian Foster to run through) "First of all, I think he's got very good vision. He's a guy if there is a crack he's going to get in it. He's got good spatial awareness. We had a couple of guys that certainly left him some seams in term of getting reach to cut off and that's where he found his holes."
(on Texans TE Owen Daniels) "He's a guy that can run and a guy that can certainly catch the ball extremely well. He's a big play waiting to happen. It's just like anything else, we have to make sure that we are in position to execute our looks in terms of what we do on defense and be in position to make the play because he's a guy that can create some problems for you."
(on what kind of matchup problems Texans TE Owen Daniels creates) "He's a lot like our guys. The guys that we have that has the size and bulk, but also speed and can catch the ball and create matchups versus your linebackers that make it tough. That's what he does and you can see him coming along and getting better every single week."
Colts DE Dwight Freeney(on what is the mindset of the team of how big this week's game versus the Texans) "We take this game as big as any other game when we're playing a divisional opponent. We're not worried about what our record is and what their record is. We understand they've won the prior, too, so obviously this is important from the standpoint that this game counts as double. If it's a tie-breaker from that standpoint, but from a preparation and mindset standpoint we are playing it pretty much the same as we always have."
(on how much do he and the Colts go back and look at their season-opening loss to the Texans) "Obviously, you use a little bit of what happen in the past. Potentially they can come back in here and change things up. I don't see why they would change as much because obviously the won and that was the first time they beat us in I don't know how long. Chances are they'll probably keep things similar."
(on what was the key for the Texans to run the football successfully against the Colts earlier in the season) "A lot of it had to do with the fact that we were out of our gap responsibilities. They have a great running scheme. They do a great job of finding vulnerabilities in defensive lines and if somebody is out of their gaps they'll find it based on the scheme that they run."
(on if the Texans success of running the ball was a result of the Colts lack of preparation) "Well it's football and nothing about lack of preparation. Those guys get paid too. Sometimes they make plays and they were playing a little bit better in the interior and actually all the way around from that scheme than we were trying to maintain our gap integrity and making tackles. A lot of it was self-inflicted. Whenever you could have big running games like they did; I'm not exactly sure much exactly. I think they had, around 200 yards or whatever they had. It's more self-inflicted than what they did, but they definitely took advantage of the fact that we were not in our gaps and things were not done. There was a reason why we were not in our gaps because they do a good job in what they do."
(on what makes him so successful in using his spin move against Texans T Duane Brown) "Going after him on a pass play is pretty much the same as you go against other guys. You come up with the game plan and you execute. There is no spin move. It comes within the flow of the game. Sometimes I work and sometimes I don't. Depending on what he does, sometimes it's a reaction thing. Sometimes it's a player thing and depending on what he's doing that day and what I study on the film. I've beaten him with spin moves before and I've beaten him outside. I've beaten him on bull rushes. It's all a developing thing throughout the game depending on what's going on."
(on what observations he's seen of the Texans since their week one loss) "I think they're doing a good in sticking to what they do. They do a good job of staying out of third and long situations. They make a lot of their yardage on first and second downs based on their plays. That's what you want to do as a team. That's why they're doing as well as they are doing right now is because of the fact that they can do that and stay out of those third and long situations."
(on how is the team dealing with the number of injuries on the roster) "We have the mentality over here for the most part is this, what's the next guy up? We've had injuries every year. Guys in key positions have been down year-in and year-out. That's why you have 53 guys on the roster so that next guy can step up and makes that play for and take up that banner and keeps that banner and pick it up for you. I think that's the mentality that I think you have in the National Football League. Other teams have injures too and they have to deal with. We have to deal with it and no one cares. You just have to go out there and play."
(on if he's seen Texans QB Matt Schaub improve the last two years) "Yes, absolutely, he's developed in to one of the better passers in the National Football League. He does a great job in getting rid of the ball. He has great awareness of how to run his offense very well. I think that he is a little bit underrated as a passer. He does a good job in controlling the game and knowing when to get rid of the ball."