The Texans practiced Thursday at the Methodist Training Center, and after, chairman/CEO Bob McNair, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans Owner Bob McNairHead Coach Gary KubiakDE Mark AndersonWR Andre JohnsonFB Vonta Leach
Texans Owner Bob McNair(on what he talked to the Texans about following practice) "Well, I was at the League meeting yesterday and I was just sort of overwhelmed by the comments that our competitors had to say about our team because it had never happened before like this. They were all, frankly, pulling for us after they way we came back and they were heartbroken. They knew how upset I was. They just said it was just one of the most impressive comebacks that they had ever seen. What was interesting was they didn't talk about overtime. They didn't talk about the interception. All they could talk about was the comeback; they just could not believe it. And the level of respect that they have for our team and how close they think we are to just a good team, but an outstanding team. It was nice to hear your peer group say that about you. I just wanted the team to know how close not only we think they are, but how close our competitors think they are to being an outstanding team."
(on the most important point he made to his team today) "Well, it's just what Coach (Gary Kubiak) has been telling them; that is, when it comes down to crunch time, you have to step it up because the other team is going to step it up and if you don't, you get left behind. The last five games, for four of those five games, at the end of 60 minutes we either had lost a lead or we had not overcome the opponents' lead. And in this fifth game, we got there at the end of 60 minutes and I suspect that everybody was so excited because it was such an overwhelming experience to come back like that, that we probably lost our focus a little. It wasn't quite the same, maybe, and the outcome didn't turn out the way we wanted. But we're just that close and that's the point; until the game is over, you just got to step it up during those crunch times."
(on how stunned he was that his peers in the ownership groups wanted to reach out to him in that way) "I was shocked. Frankly, that's never happened before. Never. And you don't see it happening with other teams. I was amazed by it."
(on if hearing the comments from other owners will help him in his evaluation of head coach Gary Kubiak at the end of the season) "Well, what I think it does, it's sort of an affirmation that we're on the right track. Clearly, we have to do better because what we've done wasn't good enough, but that we're on the right track. I've felt that way all along and we'll review everything at the end of the year. And will we make some changes? I'm sure we will make some changes. We'll see some things that need to be improved. But we're very close to having the kind of team I think we can all be proud of. We just have to keep working hard and push it over the top and I think we're close."
(on how difficult this season has been on him) "Well, it's a killer. I hurt more than anybody. To see that we're so close to being where we want to be and to be denied is just very disheartening. But you know, it's like life. Does everything work out right in your life? I doubt it. You don't quit, do you? No. You just suck it up and go on. That's what you have to do. That's one reason this game is such a great reflection of life. It's what we face every day and our fans, I feel their frustration and what have you. I get letters and I write them all back and tell them, 'Hey, I'm just as frustrated as you are.' But nobody wants to win more than I do or (head coach) Gary (Kubiak), I'll tell you that."
(on his relationship with former Houston Museum Director Peter Marzio and how he felt following his passing) "Peter Marzio, the director of our museum, was just a great friend of ours. He had played football in college. He was one of those rare that would go from a football field to an art gallery and he loved the Texans. He came to all our games. If you recall, in our first year we had an exhibit over at the museum and he helped us in these sculptures of the bull and finding the sculptor to do that and the location and everything and helped us find a photographer to do that great coffee table book we did. He just loved the Texans and anything he could do at the museum to work with the Texans, he was all for it. He just did a wonderful job at the museum. I mean, it's one of the outstanding museums in the world. He brought in all kinds of people, that's what he wanted to do; bring in the sportsmen, bring in the kids, bring in the Hispanics, bring in whoever, Asians, whatever."
(on establishing a close friendship with Peter Marzio) "We were close friends and I'll really miss him."
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on what did owner Bob McNair say to the team) "He was just talking to the guys and trying to reinforce some things that we've been talking about. Talking about staying positive and keep working. It's good for him every now then to talk to them."
(on if owner Bob McNair talked to the team after practice at any other time this year) "He's done it a couple of times. He usually does it a few times a year."
(on if he asked owner Bob McNair to speak to the team) "No, he asked me. He said that he would like to say some things. I thought it was good."
(on how does he felt about what owner Bob McNair said to the team) "Good. It felt good."
(on what was the one thing that owner Bob McNair said that stood out) "I don't know, just talking about being positive in their approach and keep doing what they are doing and talking about respect a little bit in the National Football League; just a positive reinforcement."
(on if it surprised him that owner Bob McNair wanted to speak to the team today) "No, he does it from time to time. We talked from time to time. He just came to me today and said that he would like to say something at the end of practice."
(on how important it is to his players to hear a word from the owner from time to time) "I think it's good. First off, our guys know how much he cares about them. He's out here at practice all the time. He's in the locker room. He's very active from that standpoint with this football team and he doesn't say a whole lot and when he does speak people pay attention."
(on DE Tim Jamison) "(DE) Tim (Jamison) has been playing pretty good. He's obviously is going to play a whole lot. He and (DE) Mark (Anderson) can kind of rotate out there for (DE) Mario (Williams). It's a good chance (DT DeMario) Pressley will be active. Right now, I don't know with (DE Jarvis) Green. But Pressley will be active. It's an opportunity for some young guys. Tim's been getting the opportunities and taking advantage of it. Gump (G Antoine Caldwell) moves up and (G Kasey) Studdard could play some also in there for Gump. We'll see how whether we rotate or Gump goes the whole way. So that's what we're at right now."
(on if he's worried about the health of K Neil Rackers) "No, I'm not because they say it's very mild and they are just being smart and he told me, 'Coach, don't worry about me, I'll be fine.' He's actually going to kick some tomorrow."
(on the season that FB Vonta Leach has this year) "It's a position in this business that's rare, really, right now. There are probably 10 teams that actually line up in the I (formation) and have an iso-fullback. From that standpoint, (FB) Vonta is a hell of a player from what he does for us. Anytime you're leading the way for the leading rusher in football you get some respect. I think we're voting for Pro Bowl this weekend if I'm not mistaking. So it'll be interesting to see. I think he was an alternate last year. Usually when the guy behind is doing good, you get some credit too. He does a really good job. Vonta plays for about 50 percent of the time for us because we are a one back and two back team, but also played pretty good on special teams."
*DE Mark Anderson *(on stopping Titans RB Chris Johnson) "I'm up for that. It's my fifth year. I've played against some good running backs with (Vikings RB) Adrian Peterson and that whole offensive line for the Vikings. They are pretty big. I kind of compare them to the Vikings. In order to play them, you'll have to get off the rock and hit them before they can hit you because they're big guys and you could get smothered real easy."
(on what needs to be done to play the gaps better against the run) "My method is hit them before they hit you. Just try to shock them and hold my gap and then shed and then just make the play."
*WR Andre Johnson *(on what owner Bob McNair said to the team after practice) "I don't think that it was a bad thing. In a way it may motivate some guys."
(on what way owner Bob McNair's speech can motivate the team) "I just think that just hearing things from your competitors around the league and the things that they are saying. Just saying that you guys are on the right track and you guys are very close. It probably can help motivate some people."
(on was today's speech by owner Bob McNair the most passionate since he's been here) "That's not the first time he spoke to us when we've been going through something. This year has been frustrating for everybody. I really couldn't say it's frustrating for one person more than others. It's been frustrating for everybody. I'm pretty sure it's been very frustrating for him also. What he said today, I just really feel like he was saying what he had on his heart and what he was feeling at the time. I'm pretty sure for him, going into those meetings and having people coming up telling him stuff probably made him feel a little better, even though we're not in a situation that we want to be in. Maybe it's telling him that the team is heading in the right direction."
FB Vonta Leach(on if he appreciates the campaign by his teammates and fans to get him to the Pro Bowl) "I do, but that's not the most important thing. We have three games left here. The most important thing is to try to get wins. Everybody wants to go, but first you look at what you did as a team and then you look at individual stuff. I just hope that (RB) Arian (Foster) goes there. If I go, I go. If I don't, I don't."
(on if he feels like he's earned the right to be in the conversation to be voted to the Pro Bowl) "I think I've played pretty well to earn to be in the conversation."
(on if he takes a great deal of pride in what RB Arian Foster has done) "Yes, certainly I do."
(on the support he's receiving from fans and teammates through social networking) "I really like that. I like the support. All of my teammates on Twitter this morning when I got up because (WR) Andre (Johnson), (T) Duane (Brown), (C) Chris Myers, (TE) James Casey; everybody has been so supportive. Even (RB) Arian Foster has been sending out tweets getting their fans to go out and vote for me."