The Texans practiced at the Methodist Training Center on Thursday, and afterward, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of his players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews from the morning and afternoon practices.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
General Manager Rick Smith
OLB Bryan Braman
TE Owen Daniels
ILB DeMeco Ryans
RB Ben Tate
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on ILB DeMeco Ryans' injury) "His elbow (swelled) up, like I said yesterday. He banged it in the game and it (swelled) up pretty good yesterday. We're being cautious with him right now trying to rehab it and make sure we get it back down before we send him out here. It's still an evaluation process."
(on if he's concerned about ILB DeMeco Ryans' injury) "No, he's going to be fine. I'm just trying to be smart. This is our only day in pads this week. We needed to work and it didn't make sense to send him out here and bang on it some more. We've got a couple of jog-through type practices before we play New Orleans, but we'll see where he's at."
(on his goals for this weekend's game) "Just to kind of pick everything up. Our ones will play football. How much will that be? I don't know, but just to pick it up a little bit. Obviously you get a little bit more limited in the second half with who you play as you go through the preseason. We're down at the offensive line position, so it's a concern, especially in the second half right now. Then I got to make a decision at running back how we're going to go about this, but Arian's (Foster) looked good and (Ben) Tate was able to practice today too."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph's injury) "Johnathan came out today and he took all the individual periods that were planned and did not do the team (period), so a step forward today."
(on if CB Johnathan Joseph will play on Saturday) "I'd say it's 50-50."
(on if he's glad he and New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton cancelled the scrimmages against each other) "Yeah, I don't know how we would've done it. First off, you stop and think about what's going on with practice nowadays for a team to travel that far to only be able to have a good one practice against you because the second one has to be a walkthrough. That factored into it and the fact that we played on Monday night and the way we got out of it banged up, it would have been hard for us to go two days in pads."
(on if he expects New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams to be aggressive against the Texans offense) "Gregg's aggressive. They're a very fast offensive football team and they're a very aggressive defensive football team, a lot of pressure. I think he's one of the best, he's been doing it for a long time and I've got a lot of respect for him. You better be on your toes when you play him all the time."
(on if he's hoping RB Ben Tate will play on Saturday) "Yeah, I hope so. Let me go back and watch practice. I just talked to him sitting here stretching. He felt good. Let me watch him in the walkthroughs we have. If all signs are go, he needs to play. How much does he play? It'll be his first time out, but he needs to play a little bit."
(on SS Glover Quin) "He's doing really good. It's a natural position for him. We can play him at the deep safety. We can play him down in the box. I think his career's got a chance of taking off. That's where he really belongs."
(on what went through his mind when the Jets dropped the touchdown pass at the end of the game on Monday) "That was kind of nice to see happen. What was good is we talk about finishing games and last week, preseason or no preseason, offensively we finished it with a touchdown, defensively we finished it with a stop. That's this League. Hopefully you get a couple breaks along the way and we did get one there in the fourth quarter."
(on WR Lestar Jean) "He's done good. His reps have picked up. He's going to play more in the game. More of a load came at him today, but he handled it good."
(on ILB Xavier Adibi) "He's impressive. I tell you what, him and (Darryl) Sharpton right now have been very, very impressive. They have really taken to what we're doing and doing really well."
(on who he will be watching on Saturday) "I want to see (Zac) Pauga play a little bit at fullback too. (Shaun) Cody and Earl (Mitchell), they're pushing each other. Obviously Shaun only played to 15 plays, but Cody played a great deal and played very well."
(on FB Zac Pauga) "I want to watch him. He's just very physical at practice. He needs to get some reps and we didn't get a chance to do that with him the other night."
General Manager Rick Smith
(on WR Lestar Jean) "I told the guys you only get a certain amount of draft picks so you have to have all those guys evaluated and ranked. We just felt good about his ability and like I said, he's come in and done a nice job."
(on how important it is to find a guy like WR Lestar Jean) "Well, in the salary cap era and the free agency era, it's important to find players that aren't your high draft picks that are able to come in and are capable of making an impact on your team. That's how you round out a solid roster."
OLB Bryan Braman
(on his incident in college) "No sir, it was actually at West Texas (A&M). Unfortunately it was just a life lesson. Learn from your mistakes and what you do with the second chance that you get kind of defines you as a person. I feel very blessed that I'm able to come out here and show people that what happened wasn't me and it's in the past and I'm happy to be able to move on."
(on if he doubted that he would ever have this chance) "I did. There was a long time where I thought I wasn't going to be able to have a chance to come out here and play but now I'm out here and I'm trying to make the best of the opportunity."
(on what Texans defensive assistant Bobby King means to him) "He means a lot. Actually, he was the reason why I was able to go to West Texas (A&M). He recruited me out of junior college. Being my d-line coach, he made the transition to the NFL and I just want to make sure I worked as hard as I could to make sure I get my shot. I don't think I'd be here today if it wasn't for him. He stood up for me and I love him for it. I'm out here trying to live up to my name as well as his."
(on the uncertainty during the lockout) "Well hardship has never really been a problem for me growing up with a single mother and stuff like that. Working's never been a problem for me. It's something that I'm okay with. Just training, making sure that I was ready for a shot. I knew that I was going to be able to play football somewhere, I just didn't know where it was going to be. I wanted it to be in the NFL, but if I had to go to the Arena League or the Indoor Football League, the Canadian League, it didn't matter. I just wanted to play football."
TE Owen Daniels
(on what they need to improve on this weekend) "I think the biggest thing for us is, camp has been talking about starting faster, get off to a cleaner start during games and don't wait until the second quarter to get going. I think that's going to be a big thing for us this weekend."
(on the Saints defense putting pressure on the offense) "Yeah, you gotta be ready. That's one thing they do a lot is, they'll bring people from everywhere. They'll bring corners, safeties, backers, obviously. You just gotta be on your toes and have your eyes open and hopefully we can gash them when they do that. It's basically a challenge if we can't get the ball out or if we can't be on our assignments, so if we are that'll get them off us pretty quick."
(on if these preseason games are a test for the team) "Definitely. These first two weeks are a really good test for us. Different defenses, but two defenses that do a lot of things, send a lot of blitzes, have a lot of different looks."
ILB DeMeco Ryans
(on the progress he's making during camp with the team and if he'll be able to play Saturday) "We've been practicing all this time so things are going well. We got some reps in last Saturday so it's not that big of a deal if I make it or don't make it."
(on the progress he's making in the 3-4 defense) "I think we're doing fine. I think we've learned a lot of stuff in the past couple of weeks. I think the way we went out there last week and played, I think we did well. Of course, we still have some things to improve on. We're not satisfied with where we're at right now. We're still climbing, still trying to get better and that better be ongoing throughout the season."
(on how the fans perceive the linebackers vs. how the players perceive them) "It's potential there but we all know that we have to put the work in and we have to go out there and perform on Sundays. That's what counts no matter what the expectations are from other people. We have high expectations for ourselves. We know we have to excel in this defense."
(on if he sees the ceiling on what the linebackers could be) "I know we definitely have the potential to be a great bunch of linebackers but I said we have to play together day-in and day-out and let the work speak for itself."
RB Ben Tate
(on how he'll stay within his game against New Orleans) "Yeah, that's the thing, it's going to be tough to do that but at the same time I know I have to stay within the system and stay within myself and let the plays come."
(on what he would say to those who don't know what he's about) "I would say that's one thing you'll figure out before the end of the season is over with."
Head Coach Gary KubiakDefensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's injury situation) "Nothing new. Still held (ILB) DeMeco (Ryans) out of the walk-through this afternoon. It's like I said, a sore elbow. I'll make a decision on him tomorrow. Obviously, we've got one more short practice in the morning before we go play. Other than that though, (ILB) Cheta (Ozougwu) was back here today. Of course, (RB Arian) Foster and (RB Ben) Tate went, so we'll see. We'll see where they're at tomorrow."
(on if RB Arian Foster and RB Ben Tate will play on Saturday) "I think they will unless there's a setback between now and tomorrow. I think they'll play. Now what I have to do is go back and it's their first time out, so I have to decide how much I'll play them. I would think between Ben and between Arian, if we can kind of do with them what we did with the first group last week, that'd be good."
(on if RB Javarris Williams is ready to play on Saturday) "Yeah, he's got enough that he could go play. (He's had a) very short time with us, a lot of information, but he knows enough that he could go in there and play in the second half."
(on if he's worried the Saints will put a lot of pressure on the quarterback with RB Javarris Williams playing) "That's a concern. You throw somebody back there and you're getting blitzed and stuff and you expose your quarterback. You got to be careful there, but I think he (Javarris Williams) knows enough that we could call it a way that he'd be okay."
(on what he wants to get out of Saturday's game) "(I) just want to move forward. I want to see these guys play more, going to play a lot more with the first group, maybe even up to a half. We'll see. Just see if we can correct some of the things we didn't do well and see if we can keep moving forward. We're obviously doing a little bit more offensively and defensively this week. We're down to kind of two offensive lines, so we'll get to see those guys extensively."
(on what made him take a chance on OLB Bryan Braman) "He's got a lot of ability and the bottom line is we had a coach on our staff (Defensive Assistant Bobby King) that knew him and had him and stood up for him, and he felt like the kid deserved a chance. So far, so good."
(on RB Derrick Ward) "Derrick will probably not play, but he will be cleared very quickly here. He's doing well."
(on ILB Brian Cushing) "Cush is ready to go. I kind of have to make the same decision with Cush as I make with (RB) Arian (Foster) and (RB) Ben Tate, but Cush has been practicing a little more than them so expect to see him a little bit more than those guys but he's ready to go."
(on if there are any new health issues) "No, no we're okay. We came out this morning making a big decision on (G Kasey) Studdard this afternoon. He's meeting with doctors trying to decide exactly what the best step is for him."
(on if WR Terrence Toliver will play on Saturday) "Yeah, he'll play more. He'll play a lot of special teams and he needs to do a better job on special teams than he did last week. I think he came out of the game knowing that, so yeah, we want to look at him."
(on ILB Xavier Adibi playing if ILB DeMeco Ryans can't) "Yeah, he and (ILB Darryl) Sharpton are interchangeable, but they both are going to play a lot of football. X (Xavier Adibi) is having a very good camp."
(on what he wants to see during Game 2 that he didn't in Game 1) "There's some special teams stuff that I didn't like. I want to see us do a better job in the return game. That's been a big point of emphasis. Obviously, offensively I'd like to see us run the ball better than we did the first game, but that gets back to getting our (running) backs back and getting all our people working. It's still a second game and it's been a very, very short week. It's a quick turn-around so hopefully I can freshen them up between now and game time."
(on whether he wants to make a decision on a punter quickly) "No, because they're both doing fine from that standpoint. They are both doing well and I think it's going to go down to the wire. Really, (P Brett) Hartmann's deal will be how well does he kickoff, is he really that dominant of a kickoff guy? He was pretty good the other night, but it wasn't like it was up in the stands, so we'll see how he does in the next few weeks."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on getting to the quarterback Monday night) "Yeah, we missed a few layups there where nobody blocked the guy and we missed the tackle, but I was pleased with our pass rush overall. We've still got to work hard on it."
(on going against the New Orleans Saints offense) "Yeah, they're one of the best. We knew that. We know that. (New Orleans QB Drew) Brees is an exceptional quarterback and they've got a veteran team that knows what to do, especially in the passing game. It'll be a tremendous test for us."
(on OLB Bryan Braman) "Well he's a free agent and he did play against the (Jets) second team. He didn't play against all of the first team guys. He's still got some work to do. He's a work in progress. He needs a little more strength but he's got really good pass rush ability overall and you could see that in the ball game."
(on OLB Bryan Braman's pass rush ability is what stands out the most about him) "He finished plays. He worked really hard. He had good effort in the game and it takes not only ability but effort."