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 PhillipsNT Shaun CodyRB Arian FosterCB Kareem JacksonDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if there are any injury updates) "No, everything's the same as yesterday. James (Casey) and Andre (Johnson) still did not practice, but everybody else is fine. Everybody else came back and worked today."
(on QB Matt Schaub's work at practice today) "He was fine. He took his normal Thursday. We've been getting (Matt) Leinart a little bit more work just not to overwork him, but he was fine. He's okay."
(on how you transfer things from practice to the playing field) "That's a problem all the time. That's something you're always trying to be 100 percent on. I guess the way to answer your question is probably about half the things that happen in a game don't happen here during the week and players got to react. But when you do work on something that you feel like you're right on top of and you're going to get it on Sunday and you do get it and you don't handle it, that's just bothersome. We've had a couple situations like that, but just keep working, keep plugging at them and hopefully you're better week in and week out. Sometimes you get away with making those mistakes and obviously we're not getting away with them, especially these last two weeks. We got to keep plugging to make sure they don't happen."
(on if he knows if WR Andre Johnson will play this week) "No, I got nothing for you until he practices guys like I told you. He ran very good. I watched him and James (Casey) run. It's impressive to see how far he's come in such a short period of time, but until he's back out here with the team, you never say never, but he has not practiced yet."
(on if it's the same situation with FB James Casey) "Yeah, James is fine from that standpoint. It's just a matter of us feeling like he can go out there and do the work he has to do with his arm. As of today, he couldn't do it, so we'll see where he's at tomorrow."
(on if FB Lawrence Vickers is making progress) "Yeah, Lawrence really is. It's a totally different situation. They're two different players, so we as coaches have to work around that, but he's very physical. I think he played in the 20 last week, play-wise and he did a good job. I would expect him to come back and be better this week. We need to kind of adjust to what he does best too. It's his show right now, so he needs to step up and do a good job."
(on how different FB Lawrence Vickers is from FB James Casey) "Well they're just two totally different players. One's a big physical pounder and James (Casey) can do many things. We can create a lot with James from that standpoint. It's just different how we go about it and it's adjustment for us as coaches, but you got to get the guys you got in the best position to be successful. Lawrence has a lot of good things that he does that maybe James doesn't do as well, so we have to adjust to that."
(on what Head Coach Mike Munchak does done with the Titans) "They're playing very well. They're 3-2 coming off their bye week. They had a big home win against Baltimore and they beat Denver and what was the other team they beat? Cleveland, right? So those were their three wins. They're playing well. Short period of time as a head coach, but their personnel hasn't changed much other than the quarterback really. That's been the only change and then defensively, to me the scheme is very similar to what they were running in the past and all those guys have been with Jeff (Fisher) in the past, so they've got up very quickly and I think (Matt) Hasselbeck has a lot to do with that."
(on if he expects to use WR Trindon Holliday in returns this week) "We'll see. You know, I got to see how our numbers add up going into the game because we've lost special teams players. We've lost (Dominique) Barber and we've lost James (Casey) if he's unable to go. It's a matter of replacing the right bodies with the right bodies, so we'll see how the numbers work out."
(on if he's hesitant with FS Danieal Manning because he got injured last week) "No, he's fine. Actually he practiced his full load today, just has a bad shin bruise actually and had a hard time working through it yesterday, but worked through it fine today. He's a tough guy. I expect him to be ready to go."
(on if FS Shiloh Keo will be able to play on special teams right away) "Oh he will definitely do that. One thing, you're always preparing those guys if you call them up. (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe's (Marciano) been preparing him and it's time for him to play and he's got to take on a big role. He did a good job in the preseason, so it's a good opportunity for him."
(on if CB Jason Allen will play more this week) "Yeah, I think he'll play more. I do think Kareem (Jackson) played very well in the game and he continues to practice very well. Today he had an excellent practice. They're going to both play and how it's going to pan out numbers-wise, we'll wait and see. I'll give (Defensive Backs Coach) Vance (Joseph) the rein to see how he feels from that standpoint and (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips), but yeah, they definitely will both play."
(on if RB Derrick Ward will play this week) "Well, it's hard to play three backs in a given game, but I got a lot of confidence in Derrick. He's missed a lot of time with the ankle sprain and he is back. He's working good and we'll see how the game goes. It's hard to rotate three football players back there, but he played some special teams for us also."
(on how concerned he is with the running game) "Yeah, I'm concerned. I think we played a team last week that we knew was going to be tough to run the ball on, so I understand that. It's like I've told ya'll before, my expectations for us running the ball are very high and a lot of people would be happy with where they are running the ball right now. We're in the top 10 in the League, but for our team to be successful, we need to be striving to be at the top, so it's very important. When you're struggling with something, you just need to keep banging away and work your way through it, so that's what we're trying to do right now."
(on RB Arian Foster's play being affected by the fact that he's missed time due to injury) "I think Arian's fine. My point is he's played in three games this year. Most of the guys that have played in three games are coming out of preseason and here we go, it's the regular season. Well we're in Week 7, so that's the difference. I don't want him to get frustrated and that's why I make that comment to ya'll and I've said the same thing to him. Just keep going. It's a long season and don't try to make up the four games you missed with one game. Just play one play at a time as good as you can play it and keep his chin up and things will start to come back. That's our approach that we're taking and he's working hard, working very hard. If he's not fresh, then I need to give Ben (Tate) the opportunity to go in there because we've got a couple other good players also. Just trying to keep him positive and keep moving forward."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips(on the upcoming game against the Titans) "We're looking forward to this game. Obviously everybody knows what kind of game it is and we're looking forward to it. I think we worked real hard, still got some things to do, but we're really anxious to play this game."
(on not looking at Titans RB Chris Johnson as average) "No, I think it's pretty easy to see and of course we bring out tape from other games. He can make a big play at any time. He's a home run hitter. Looks like the (Texas) Rangers need him. He is that kind of guy. You got to have everybody watching him all the time because he doesn't run the ball where the whole is all the time. If it's not blocked here, go somewhere else. We don't want to get him started on a big game. That's for sure."
(on what's impressed him about Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck) "Well, 64 percent on passing percentage. He's thrown very few interceptions. He's been sacked one of the least times in the League and on third down, they're one of the top third down teams, so that's all pretty impressive."
(on if CB Jason Allen will be playing more this Sunday) "We're going to play guys in the game the way we need to play them."
(on stopping teams late in the game) "The previous two games, we've stopped both teams the last four drives. This game, we didn't stop them on one drive and that ended out hurting us real bad. We played good in that situation before. In fact, the two previous games, we played tremendously well, so we just got to keep after it."
(on how much CB Kareem Jackson is growing) "We're a work in progress. I think everybody knows that. I feel good where we are. We're adding things every week and I think that's going to help us as the season grows."
(on not being overly concerned about the Texans' ability to stop teams in the fourth quarter) "Yeah, I think the guy (Ravens RB Ray Rice) averaged 3.8 even with a 27-yard run. We let him get out a big run late in the game and that hurt us. We had two big plays, two pass plays that hurt us, but that was last week. We're looking forward to this game."
(on how you finish games) "We just keep playing the way we're playing and get better and better at it. There's no secrets to it. You got to play well throughout the game whatever it is. The first drive of the game hurt us as much as the last drive or the late drive. That's part of the process is just working and working on what you do and getting better and better at it. We've come a long way in a short time, but we've got a ways to go."
(on just playing their way through their struggles) "Yeah, we will. Like I said, we've done some good things. I was disappointed last week a couple times, but I was also excited about some of the other things we did, especially losing Mario (Williams) and compensating for that too."
(on the referee running into him in the last game) "That was my fault. Any time you're in the white area, I wasn't on the field, evidently I was in the area where he was and that's my fault that the official hit me. I'm pretty tough so I just bounced back up."
(on Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck is even more impressive without having WR Kenny Britt) "Yeah, he's been a really good quarterback for a long time and we've known that. When he was at Seattle, they won games. I believe they went to the playoffs last year and beat New Orleans and he had a big game. He's a top quarterback that can play with any receivers."
(on who's stepped up for the Titans with the absence of WR Kenny Britt) "Well, (Matt) Hasselbeck. He's thrown to all the receivers, Nate Washington probably the most because he's a talented receiver. He's one of the real good receivers that you see."
NT Shaun Cody(on the upcoming game against the Titans) "It's an important one for us. It's for the division. There's a little rivalry there, so it's going to be a fun game. It's always good to go against those guys. They present a good run attack and they got a good running back."
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson) "He could explode at any time. He's that kind of back who can make big plays happen. He's fast, makes something out of nothing and he's a very talented back. He's fast as heck so we got to definitely corral him."
(on Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck) "He's getting rid of the ball quick and he's on target. He's very accurate as a quarterback and he's smart. He knows what he's doing out there. He's getting rid of the ball and he's getting it to his guys, so he's doing a good job so far."
(on if the heated game last year against the Titans carries over to this year) "I don't know. I think it's a heated rivalry just from years past. It's fun. In those kind of games, everyone's juiced up. Everyone's excited to play."
(on if this game is more important because they will compete with the Titans for the division title) "Yeah, this is a big game, like I said, and it's for first place right now this weekend. That's why it's the most important game right now."
RB Arian Foster(on what the team has to do to become more effective running the football) "We just got to not panic, you know? It's two games. We had lulls last year and as a team, you're going to have lulls throughout the season. It's a long season, so we just got to not panic, do what we do and I think we'll be fine."
(on if he is pressing and trying to make up lost time due to injury) "Am I pressing? No, I obviously want to make an impact for my team, but I'm not trying to do anything extra or out of my characteristics. It'll come. I just got to be patient and our team as a whole has to patient as far as the run game is concerned."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying the running game is a collective effort and not just his fault) "I think what you have to do is take accountability. I can't play for anybody else as far as assignment-wise, so when I said I had a bad game, I'm just saying I had a bad game because whoever asked the question asked me about my performance and that's what I said about my performance. But as a whole, we could always get better as a team and the way we get better as a team is each individual takes his assignment and does it better."
(on if he's frustrated about the running game) "I'm not frustrated, like I'm not pulling my hair out saying 'Why are we not getting yards on the ground?' No, it's not to that. It's just I know we're a good running team and I think that we've had some tough opponents as far as run defense. They've done a good job, but at the same time, we haven't been opportunistic when the opportunity presented itself in certain situations and I think we just got to be more aggressive."
(on what opponents have taken away from their running game) "They've just done a good job. They get paid to play too on the other side of the ball, so sometimes they make plays and it happens with high octane passing offenses. Sometimes, they'll have a week or two or three where they're not themselves and it happens. This is the National Football League."
CB Kareem Jackson(on the Titans offense being dangerous even without WR Kenny Britt) "Oh definitely. They still got weapons on the offense. They have a good quarterback, of course a good running back and got some good receivers, so we're going to have to bring our A game."
(on what Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck does so well) "From what I've seen on film, he gets rid of the ball quick. Those guys are in and out of their routes and he's hitting them with it quick."
(on not wanting Titans RB Chris Johnson to break out against them) "Oh definitely. He's a guy any time he touches it, you know he can go for a home run. We just got to do our part and contain him."
(on his performance in last week's game) "I felt I played pretty good. The knee wasn't an issue. I could've done some things better, some things differently, but it was a tough loss for us and hopefully we'll bounce back this week."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying he played well last week) "He's the head man, so if he says I played well, then I must have did alright. Just for me, me being a player and me being my biggest critic, some things I could've did differently as far as technique and I work on that every week, so hopefully I come out this game and be able to make some plays."
DE Antonio Smith(on the upcoming game against the Titans) "The way we view it and they way we're taking it right now is we're going to Tennessee to play for first place in our division. That's how we look at it. Due to the couple bad weeks we had, if you look at it in a positive way, we're still playing for first place and that's how we're going to approach it."
(on how to finish games better) "How do you finish games better? Find a way to sustain the energy that we sustained with Pittsburgh. I think when a game is on the line and it's close like that, you got to find a little extra something to pull it out. At the same time of doing that is when you have to be at your sharpest. You can't make mistakes. You can't get MAs (missed assignments) in those times. It was a few MAs. I think when it gets haywire and things started coming so fast, but you still got to line up and go, you kind of get a little too caught up and those are the wrong times to do it. It's the wrong times to make mistakes. It's the wrong time to get tired. At the end of the game is when you have to find that little extra umph and still have the focus to pull it out."
(on transferring things in practice to the playing field) "You really can't make it individually. It's one as a whole. I think it's all of us and what he was basically saying by that is things that we get in practice at a practice speed, when it comes to the game, it's not transferring over and to me, I think that it's hard to split hairs like that, but game speed and practice speed, game thinking and practice thinking is a whole another thing. When things started going haywire in the game and there is no start the play over or hold on coach, things start to go haywire and you got to make a reaction. You got to react and you got to play, but you got to do that and still have that same focus to do your assignment. I think sometimes in the game, some people can get a little haywire and miss an assignment and slip and not play a technique right or something like that. I think that might be what he's talking about."