The Texans practiced Thursday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from reporters. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakOLB Connor BarwinCB Johnathan JosephSS Glover QuinQB T.J. Yates
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if there was anything unusual today) "No, we had to stay inside because of the weather, so our normal guys we hold off the turf, we held today. Other than that, we had a good practice. It's good work for us, go play on the road in this League, learn how to handle traveling and getting ready to play."
(on if he's made a decision on if ILB DeMeco Ryans will play on Saturday) "Well he wouldn't practice today on the turf. I wouldn't turn him loose. We'll see. We'll wake up tomorrow, see where he's at. Obviously he hasn't had any work this week. That really doesn't scare me really as much as just that we do the right thing with him."
(on if it's a big deal if ILB DeMeco Ryans doesn't play on Saturday) "I think every player needs to play. I don't care who they are. DeMeco has played a lot of football, but we have to do what's best for him physically right now. I think he's going to be fine, so we'll see."
(on the offensive line's health) "It's a little nerve-racking right now. Obviously our ones have been fine. Our second group is really our third group that we started camp with. It's been a struggle here the last couple weeks. We'll see. It's a big game to get through hopefully healthy and play those young guys next week, but we're down in numbers."
(on G Shelley Smith's injury) "He got rolled up yesterday and so he's not out here today. We'll see where he's at tomorrow."
(on if it's nerve-racking from an injury standpoint) "Yeah, just think about this; normally our second group has been (Kasey) Studdard, (Antoine) Caldwell, (Rashad) Butler; that's a dang good group and all of a sudden it's all young guys. When you get beat up in camp, those are types of things that happen and I think it really showed up especially in the second half last week offensively. We didn't play very well in my opinion. It's an opportunity for those young guys and a couple of them may end up making this team, so we'll see."
(on how T Rashad Butler is doing) "He's fine, but he will probably not play. He just tweaked his hamstring again last week. He hasn't practiced all week; you just haven't been paying attention."
(on the progression of QB T.J. Yates and if he has the ability to become a second string quarterback) "I think he has the ability to do that. I think he's like every other rookie in the league right now. He's missing his OTAs and offseason work and you can't substitute that for players. He's got the ability, he's got the arm, he's got the brain, all those things, just needs reps and the closer we get, he gets less, so that's the thing that makes it hard."
(on the nose tackle situation) "I feel good about it. We'll see where Earl's (Mitchell) at, whether or not he plays, but I think we've got two good football players that are kind of sharing time in a lot of ways. They've got a job to do up front and I think they'll do a hell of a job."
(on if the defense will become more complex for Saturday) "What (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) trying to do is make sure we're getting good at something before we move on. It's the third preseason game from a standpoint of how we prepare, how we go through our week, how we go through it as coaches, as players. We're teaching them to do that. Does that mean we go and throw some full-blown game plan in there? Probably not. We're still progressing with what we're doing because we did miss the offseason, so we'll stay to that progression, regardless of what game it is."
(on if he's surprised that QB Kerry Collins signed with the Indianapolis Colts) "I didn't even know until I got off the field yesterday, but he's a good player. He's played really well in this league and obviously he's got some people there he's familiar with. He's a hell of a player. There's room for good players in this league."
(on WR Jacoby Jones) "Still got a ways to go, but I think it's been good. He missed some time with the CBA and he missed some time when he tweaked his ankle for a couple days, but he's had a good week this week. He'll play a great deal in the game and we're counting on him."
(on if he anticipates building upon the success the defense has had in getting to the quarterback) "We're going to build on everything we do offensively, defensively, special teams. We'll continue to move forward, but we got to make sure we're fixing the things we're not doing well. That's just as important."
(on the special teams) "I think we've got a lot of improvement to make. We've been playing a lot of people and so it's kind of going to settle down Saturday as far as all the guys that we play. A little bit more geared to ones and twos, so to speak from a special teams standpoint. We need to improve in that area and I don't have any doubt that we will."
(on how much of a concern special teams are) "Just a little bit covering kicks. Our return game's got to improve a great deal for our team. It was poor last year. It's going to be a difference this year in the League because if the kickoffs hold true and you are starting at the 20 the majority of the game, field position switch with returns and stuff like that are going to be used in this League, so that's something we have to improve upon and we'll get Jacoby (Jones) going this week more with the punt returns. I want to look at Sherrick McManis too."
(on if he's going to alternate players on kickoff and punt returns) "Right now, I'm going into it with Jacoby (Jones) and Sherrick (McManis) and we'll go from there."
(on who will kick) "I've had (Brett) Hartmann doing most of the kickoffs. I'm just trying to see if that's a big strength of his, but they'll both kick in this game."
(on CB Brice McCain) "He's got new life, new group, new coaches. He's taking to what they're doing and he's just had a really good camp. He's had a chance to get his hands on a couple balls. He's made plays, playing with a lot more confidence right now than he ended up last year."
(on what he expects from CB Johnathan Joseph on Saturday) "I'd like to get a half out of him, but I am going to put a play count on him, so we'll see. His practice has been good. We stopped him today. We didn't practice him on the turf. He's a pro. He's played a lot of football, but he, like anybody else, needs to play some before we get started, so I hope we get a half. We'll see."
OLB Connor Barwin(on if the attention OLB Mario Williams is getting will open up opportunities for him) "I hope so. I hope that's what happens. I hope Mario can go get eight sacks in the first half of the season and they start sliding the protection his way every single time and then they send me, so I'm just on backs and tight ends. That's something that hopefully will happen, but who knows?"
(on the past year coming back from an injury) "It was hard because in training camp last year, I felt like I had a really strong training camp and then to just end the season in Week 1 like that was really hard. Then, just really a whole 10-month rehab session. Even throughout that offseason, with the hiring of (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and the change in the defense and me having this opportunity to come in here and start and play on the other side of Mario (Williams) was something I thought about the whole offseason, the whole summer and made sure I was prepared as I ever could be for this year."
(on if it was harder mentally or physically recovering from the injury) "The physical part was probably the hardest because there were weeks and weeks where you didn't really feel much change in the rehab, but it just took that long process."
CB Johnathan Joseph(on the injury) "It's part of those things. I guess it's training camp fever as you would call it, just a simple groin injury. As of today, I think it's behind me and I'm just ready to keep moving forward and looking forward to the game Saturday."
(on if he plans on playing in the game on Saturday) "Absolutely. Today we were in here on the turf and coach (Kubiak) kind of didn't want me to go on the turf with the groin injury, things like that, so I kind of had to slow it down a bit today."
(on what he feels like he needs to do on Saturday) "I haven't even really thought about it. I just have to go out and do my job, whether it's batting balls down or covering guys and not batting any balls down, but still covering guys. As long as my job is done and the team wins at the end of the day, can't ask for anything more I guess."
(on what he wants to see from the team on Saturday) "Just continue to take steps from last preseason game. I think that's the most important thing is to continue to climb each week and get better than your last game out, so when Week 1 comes in the regular season, you're hitting everything on all cylinders."
SS Glover Quin(on if he feels at home playing safety yet) "Oh yeah, I feel at home on the football field. I don't care where they put me. They can put me at outside backer or somewhere, nose tackle. I just like to be on the field. I feel like if I can get on the field, I have a chance to make plays and that's where I feel at home."
(on if it's more of a cornerback attitude for him while playing safety) "Right, I definitely feel like I can cover. I've played two years in the NFL as a cornerback, so I definitely feel like I can cover, but I'm a scheme guy. I'm a guy that I understand the defense, I understand the schemes and I understand my leverages and my help. When you're playing corner in this League, if you understand the scheme and you understand what's going on, you can for the most part survive if you know where you've got your help at. There's not a lot of people out there that can just cover every route by a great receiver. You can't do that, but if you know you got help on the inside, well if he goes inside, I don't care. I'm playing every route on the outside or vice versa or I'm fighting everything deep because I know I've got short help. It just depends on the leverage and the scheme that you have. I mean, if you understand that, than you can be successful as a corner."
(on how much work he did as a safety during the lockout) "Well the lockout definitely didn't help me get a head start because I was out of OTAs and all that stuff, out of the coaching. It was a little tougher because I didn't know for sure that I was going to be a safety, so mentally it was harder to make the switch because I didn't know for sure that I was going to be playing safety. I had the playbook, so when I would study, I would study corner, safety, all of them because I didn't know where I was going to play and that actually ended up helping me because now as a safety, I know my corner's responsibilities, so I'm able to tell them things like where I'm going to be at on a certain plays and I can help them out and we can all work together. As far as drill-wise, in this scheme, we do the same footwork. I'm a safety, but I do the same drill that the corners do because covering is covering."
QB T.J. Yates(on if he feels comfortable enough to run the offense) "I wouldn't say I'm completely comfortable, but I've been doing my best to get the playbook down. I think I've got the mental aspect of it. It's just that being a third-string guy, you don't get as many reps as you would like to get physically comfortable. I think I'm mentally comfortable with the playbook and everything, but as far as going through my footwork and in live situations, that's the one thing that's hard for somebody in my situation to get down. That's why we stay after practice and try to work it as much as possible."
(on how much the lockout set him back) "I think a lot because I was here with the guys working out, but I wasn't getting the coaching from Coach Knapp and Coach Kubiak as far as my footwork and going through progressions and stuff as much as I needed. Those OTAs and those minicamps really would've helped me progress in my footwork and being comfortable."
(on if he feels confident enough to play in the NFL) "Absolutely, I'm very confident in my game. Whenever I get a chance to get out there on that field, I feel very confident. I study hard and make sure I'm prepared mentally. As far as just getting those in-game reps, it's something that I haven't got a lot of, but when I got in there, I felt pretty comfortable."