The Texans practiced Thursday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakDefensive Coordinator Wade PhillipsCB Jason AllenFB James CaseyRB Arian FosterCB Kareem JacksonDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if there's any new information on any injuries) "No, (Ben) Tate and (Derrick) Ward still did not practice today, but both of them took a step forward, so we're hoping that they're out here tomorrow. Kareem (Jackson) did practice today, so that's a sign in the right direction. Other than that, that's it."
(on if the first priority against Oakland is to stop their running game) "No doubt, they can control the game on you. They can not only run the ball well, but they make big plays running the ball, so that's what scares the heck out of you. It's a big challenge for us because it just seems like the first month of the season, we've played more spread out teams, throwing football teams than we have downhill running teams, so that'll be a different challenge for us. We've been playing some 3-4 teams and now we catch a 4-3 team, so a little bit of a changeup in what we've been seeing."
(on WR Andre Johnson) "Andre (Johnson), he's doing good. Ya'll saw him. He's out here today. It's my understanding he's a little sore coming out of the surgery, but very upbeat, knows exactly what he's dealing with. Like I said, we'll just keep our fingers crossed that we get there pretty quickly. Knowing him, he will."
(on if he has a better idea on WR Andre Johnson's recovery time) "No, I really don't. I think the way it was described to me is after about a week of getting in the rehab process, I'll have a better idea of what we're looking at. The fact that everybody's so positive, the doctors, trainers, everybody, makes me feel pretty good about it."
(on all of the injuries) "Kareem (Jackson) did practice today. He's doing well, so we'll see how he does tomorrow. (Derrick) Ward and (Ben) Tate did not practice and (Tim) Dobbins did not practice either."
(on CB Sherrick McManis) "He did practice today. He's coming off of a tweaked hamstring, but he did practice today. We'll see where he's at tomorrow."
(on who will start at cornerback opposite of CB Johnathan Joseph) "Well, I think first off, Kareem's (Jackson) got to prove to us tomorrow that he's back to 100 percent or awful close to it before we put him back out there, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. Like I said, I'll make that decision going into the game. Hopefully they're both available. I look at them as both starters, so we'll see, see what happens."
(on the Raiders defense without CB Nnamdi Asomugha) "Well they still got very good corners. They still play the same defense, play man coverage, a lot of eight-man fronts. That's the Raider way. It's been that way for years. I don't see much change from that standpoint. Very aggressive, probably as good up front as any team we've faced right now, so that's a big challenge for us, offensive line."
(on the running backs rotation) "Well I've got two healthy ones. If that what happens, then (Lawrence) Vickers or James (Casey) would have to be my third on game day, so let's see what happens. I'm hoping those two guys maybe practice a little bit tomorrow and make it tough on us."
(on how difficult it is to have two healthy running backs) "Well it's very difficult. We played the whole game last week in that situation after Ben (Tate) went out. You always want to suit three guys. You hope you never get to that guy, but you always want to suit three. The scary thing is we've been beat up at that position all year, so I'm kind of waiting for us to come back the other way, get everybody healthy, so when (Derrick) Ward and Tate are both back out there, then you feel like you're good."
(on if RB Chris Ogbonnaya is the No. 2 running back right now) "Oh yeah, going into the game, he's going to be my number two probably one way or another."
(on how he feels about RB Chris Ogbonnaya being the No. 2 running back) "I feel good. He's getting better as a player. He played very good for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano) on special teams. Obviously it's a big step for him in his career, but he's worked hard. He deserves an opportunity to do it. He's done a good job."
(on if he's stressed the carryover effect from last Sunday to the team) "Hopefully carryover the good stuff, is that what you're talking about? It's a tough league from that standpoint. You have a tough loss in New Orleans, you got to turn around and play the Steelers. We had a big win last week everybody feels good about, we got to turn around and do it again this week. That's part of the NFL, but our focus has been good. We practiced good in the last two days and finish up good tomorrow and go to work."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips(on playing the Oakland Raiders and RB Darren McFadden) "Well, we're facing one of the best backs in the League. Certainly, we have the best one but he's really a top player and leading the League in rushing. We're very aware of that. They're a strong running team but they're averaging 409 yards a game in total offense, so it's not just a running team. They've been very good offensively this year and it's going to be a challenge for us."
(on if Oakland RB Darren McFadden compares to anyone he's faced in the past) "He looks a lot like Eric Dickerson did, I think. He's that kind of a runner. He's got quick feet and that tremendous burst. But he's real powerful."
(on Oakland RB Darren McFadden being tall) "Yeah. He runs a little high but you can't get to him. He's a great back. A guy that won it all in college and now he's finally healthy and you can see what he can do."
(on if his first job is to stop Oakland's running game) "It's always scoring defense. Their strong suit is running the ball, so that's our challenge, certainly."
(on what he learned about the team against the Steelers) "Well, I think we're a tough physical team. We'd like to think we're like they are. I thought we played the kind of game you need to play against that team. It's different every week."
(on if the Raiders will be the first big test of the defense against the run) "Well, I think it's a tremendous test. I don't know if it's the first real test. I mean the other teams have tried to run the football. Pittsburgh's been a good running team for a long time. I don't know if it's the first real test, but it's going to be a big challenge for us because they really run the ball well and they had 500 yards last week."
(on if speed is a real factor in a game) "You look for football players. They come in all sizes and they come in all speeds. You look for good players. They have a lot of guys with speed that are good football players."
(on if stopping the Raiders' run game is first priority) "Not necessarily. They run the ball tremendously well, but they're averaging over 400 yards a game, so it isn't all rushing. The scoring part of the game, the pass comes into it, unless you can just run right over somebody. We're prepared for both because they do both well."
(on the perception that a 3-4 defense is weaker against the run) "Why would that be a perception? Pittsburgh's been the number one run defense for a long time. We led the League when I was in Buffalo. It's good players. It doesn't matter what you line up against, it's what kind of players you have. I think 3-4 teams have been just as strong or just as weak against the run over the years as 4-3 teams. It's who you have and how they play."
CB Jason Allen(on his performance last week) "Last week is last week and it's time to move on. We got new opponents this week, so I just want to focus on the Oakland game and we have at stake going into this week."
(on if he will be starting against the Raiders) "We all prepare as starters each and every week, so you just go out and practice to get better."
(on what concerns him about the Raiders) "We know that they have a lot of speed. They're capable. What they want to do is go deep with us and they have a lot of guys without a lot of speed and a lot of size. We just got to play disciplined and play smart football."
(on taking advantage of his opportunity last week) "Well it's something that just throughout this League, whenever you have opportunity, you got to take advantage and take full advantage of the opportunity. Opportunity, they come and sometimes they go, so whenever they come, take full advantage of them and hopefully they'll come again."
(on WR Denarius Moore) "He's a speedster. I remember watching him at Tennessee and some of the plays he's making this year, I was saying maybe if he could have had a better quarterback, maybe he could've made some of those big plays like he did at Tennessee. I stay watching those guys all the time. He was a playmaker at Tennessee and he's definitely showcasing the same talent now out in Oakland."
FB James Casey(on what it's like to have a lot of different options of where he could play) "It's great. Of course I want to be on the field. I want opportunities. I'm not going to shy away from any kind of, that's what the League's all about is opportunities. Take advantage of it. I want the ball. Just like anybody else, you want to be out there making plays. I take it all in stride. Wherever they want to line me up, I look at everything as an opportunity and it's a chance for me to go out there and make plays with whatever position it is or where ever I'm lining up. In whatever situation I'm put in, I got to go out there and just try to do my job, try to make plays. That way, they'll keep giving me opportunities."
(on if it's hard knowing all the positions he plays) "Yeah, I got to do a little bit extra. I got to meet, have a little bit more meetings with the different stuff that I'm doing and I got to study a little bit more of the plays and watch more film. It's my job. Football's my job. I watch a lot of film. I study the offensive stuff. I was very fortunate to be in the offense for two years and kind of sit back and learn everything so now it's not as bad."
(on if he got any grief for jumping in the air with the ball in last week's game) "Yeah, I caught a lot of grief all week for that. I think I've learned my lesson hopefully and probably won't consider doing that anymore.
(on what everyone was saying to him after that play) "Coaches, players, everybody, mainly just talking about just taking care of the ball and making sure I don't fumble because you never want to do something like that where it risks turning the ball over, but I did not fumble. We kept the ball. It's in good fun, so nothing serious. Nothing bad happened."
RB Arian Foster(on winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors) "That's a huge honor in our League whenever you're recognized for anything, so it was good, but I'm not much for individual accolades. They're good and I accept them, but we have to win."
(on how much more pressure falls on him with WR Andre Johnson out) "I believe he's the greatest player in our game today. He's going to be missed, but that's the thing about this League is you have to step up and have guys step up. We played a couple games without him last year and we fared pretty well, so that's what we're looking to do again and this is what we have to do."
(on how much it helps that the team still played well when WR Andre Johnson was out last year) "Well it does, but before that I think we just have faith in our coaching staff and our teammates. We have guys that can get the job done. There's no slouches in this locker room. These are some of the top athletes in the country, so they can get the job done and they will."
(on if he was sore at all this week) "A little bit, but that's what I signed up for."
(on RB Chris Ogbonnaya) "We've all had confidence in him since training camp. We knew what he was doing then when he was carrying the load in training camp when everybody was hurt. We all have confidence in him and I'm happy to see that his hard work has paid off and he's on the 53 now."
(on being able to play as much as he did against the Steelers) "I believe that's what the offseason is for is for during the season, you can withstand that kind of load and you can carry your team if need be. That's why I worked so hard."
(on how much he's talked with and encouraged RB Chris Ogbonnaya) "We've been there every step of the way. Me and him have had talks, down talks outside of football just getting to know each other and about our situations current and past. I think that's what makes running backs so close is we go through a lot of the same things."
(on the Texans giving opportunities to players coming off the practice squad) "I think it says a lot. When I first got here, I remember Coach Kube said, at the time Brian Cushing was our first round pick and he said, 'I don't care if you're Brian or an undrafted guy. If you can play, at some point in time, we're going to find a way to get you on the field.' I believed him and it wasn't a lie. He was telling the truth and I think that's really how it is across the League. If you don't get your shot at your current team, there's 31 other teams and if you work hard enough and if you want it, you'll get your chance somewhere."
(on if he pays attention to what RB Darren McFadden is doing in the NFL) "Yeah, absolutely. I'm a fan of his. I tell him that every time I see him. I'm still a fan of the game and he's one of the better backs in our League right now and it's fun to watch him operate."
CB Kareem Jackson(on how he feels) "Physically, I feel pretty good. Guys in the training room know we've been doing everything to get everything back to 100 percent. Those guys have been pushing me and doing all the right things, so I feel pretty good about this week."
(on if he's ready to play against the Raiders) "Oh, definitely. Definitely."
(on RB Darren McFadden) "Darren McFadden's definitely a great running back. He's fast, he's big, he's physical. He's known for that stiff arm, so any time we get in the open field with him, got to try to do everything you can to get him on the ground."
(on how tough it was to be inactive last week) "It was really tough standing on the sideline watching those guys go out there and play the way they play. I definitely wanted to be a part of it, but those guys did a great job."
(on how important it is for him that he'll be back this week) "For me, it's very important. I know I can't take another week of watching the game like that, so it's really important for me to get back out there, help my teammates and go out and get another win."
(on if he has any limitations) "I'm in pretty good shape, no limitations. Just ready to go."
DE Antonio Smith(on RB Darren McFadden playing like RB Eric Dickerson) "I didn't really watch Eric Dickerson growing up. I've seen him on a couple highlight films. He does run high like him, powerful. He drops his shoulder in there. I've been watching him on film. He's playing a lot more aggressive than I've seen him play for couple of years he was in the League. He's lowering his head in there. He's coming, he's breaking out of blocks. He's taking it to the house. He's got the speed, the power. He's looking good right now."
(on if RB Darren McFadden is like RB Arian Foster) "I've never really seen a running back like Arian, I don't think. Arian has this like, smooth style that I've never really seen before. It's almost his own thing. I think that as far as me seeing McFadden, he sticks it in there a little bit more. He's more of a power back but still has the speed to outrun you."
(on what he learned from last week's win) "What did we learn from the win? How to win in the fourth quarter. That's what we learned, how to finally pull it out because so many times you be on the wrong end of the stick of fourth quarter comebacks and I think that last week was a tale that we can get it done. If we just keep flying around, keep doing what we're doing and don't really lax at any moment, we can pull it out."