The Texans practiced Thursday at the Methodist Training Cetner 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 PhillipsSS Glover QuinDE Antonio SmithT Eric Winston
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on who was missing from practice today) "(Brian Cushing) Cush did not practice, Andre (Johnson) did not practice and (Tim) Bulman did not, so the same three. Nothing's changed as of today."
(on if anyone's status for the game has changed) "No, I expect (Brian Cushing) Cush to practice tomorrow. Andre (Johnson), to me, is still a question mark going into tomorrow. We worked him in the pool today is what we were doing. Timmy (Bulman) did run a little bit, so I think Tim could be on the practice field tomorrow too, so we'll see what happens."
(on playing in colder weather in Cincinnati) "Yeah, you could tell before the season started, you knew that was your big chance to play in a cold game. It's kind of been nice. Yesterday, we had some pretty cool weather out here for us to work in for Houston. We got to go handle it just like anything else and I expect us to do that. It'll come down to probably playing great defense and us continuing to find a way to run the football and that's kind of been our M.O. all year."
(on if he has an idea of what they're going to do with WR Andre Johnson tomorrow) "I would say we probably have a pretty good idea. We'll see. It's a touchy situation because we are very fortunate. We came out of it a lot better than we thought. At the same time, how quick do we go back and that type of thing? He has gotten good work inside in the last two days. Whether we bring him out here tomorrow probably will be a big deciding point on where we go in the game, so we'll see."
(on if the cold weather factors into the decision on whether or not to play WR Andre Johnson) "I don't think so. One thing about playing, once you're out there, that cold weather's not that big of a factor once you get moving on. No, if we can play, I assume he can play in anything."
(on how close FS Danieal Manning is to returning kickoffs again) "Just kind of wait and see. He's 100 percent. He really practiced well today. He had some big-time plays in practice today. He can always go back there. I can do it this week, but I think Sherrick's (McManis) been doing a good job and I want to make sure Danieal feels very comfortable with what he's doing before we go and do that."
(on P Matt Turk) "He kicked the ball good today. The biggest thing, we went to field goal today and we were automatic, so those two guys have worked together. We need Matt to come in and help us out and I know he's looking forward to it."
(on how practice was today) "It was very good. It was a little sluggish yesterday, but we practiced very good today. We bounced around, we were on top of what we're doing and we need to finish tomorrow the same way."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(opening statement) "Yeah, I know we're not first anymore, four yards behind Pittsburgh. We're looking forward to this game. This is a big game for us. It's important for us to keep playing well and our guys have a great attitude. We're going to keep that."
(on if he's surprised by how well Bengals QB Andy Dalton has played this year) "No, I got to see him a little bit in college and I thought he was going to be a really good player. I'm surprised a little bit that he's come on this quickly, but I think everybody knew he was going to be a good player. I know our coaches had him rated really, really high in the draft. We weren't looking for a quarterback, but I know we had him rated really high."
(on what makes Bengals QB Andy Dalton so good) "He's just got a quarterback feel. For a young player, he has a lot of patience. He reads well, throws the ball quickly. He's got all the assets. He's got a quick arm, strong arm and a lot of touch. His accuracy's real good. He's got all the things it takes."
(on the impact of CB Johnathan Joseph) "Johnathan Joseph, he's been our bell cow. He's the guy that we put on the best receiver every week and most of the time, the best receiver for the other team doesn't do well, so that says a lot for him."
(on the matchup between CB Johnathan Joseph and Bengals WR A.J. Green) "A.J. Green's another outstanding young player. They got a great young quarterback and a great young receiver. I know their future's bright with those two guys."
(on what's made CB Kareem Jackson an improved player this year) "Well, Kareem Jackson's worked hard at what he does, he's conscientious and he's talented. When you put all those things together, you're going to do well."
(on how much CB Johnathan Joseph has helped CB Kareem Jackson along) "Yeah, I think experienced players always help other players. I think the overall attitude of our team has helped him a lot as far as how we practice and those kind of things, so all that put together has helped him."
(on if he's seen CB Kareem Jackson take a big step confidence-wise) "Well, I wasn't with him last year. I don't know how confident he was last year, but I think this year he's been sound all the way through and worked to get better all the time."
(on CB Kareem Jackson making strides from the beginning of the season to now) "Well, hopefully all our players have. Hopefully, we're a lot better than we were when we played New Orleans. I think we are and I think he's one of those guys because he's worked hard at it."
(on if he tried to draft OLB Connor Barwin when he coached the Dallas Cowboys) "I liked him as an outside backer, yes. We thought he would be kind of what he is now. Yeah, he was high on our list. Of course, we had DeMarcus Ware and we had some outside backers that were pretty good players, but we liked him as an outside backer prospect."
SS Glover Quin
(on what defensive backs coach Vance Joseph has meant to him) "He's meant a lot, just the demeanor he has, the way he goes about coaching and the knowledge he has of the game and the fact that he's played and he understands. He knows how things work on Sundays and he does a good job of breaking down and telling you exactly what the offense can and can't do and the things that they're going to do against us and things they're not going to do. After 12 games, he's been right."
(on how much defensive backs coach Vance Joseph has helped the unit come together) "He's helped a lot. He brought a family-type environment, an open environment. Guys feel comfortable. Guys feel that they can be themselves. They feel relaxed and when you're relaxed and you're yourself, you're going to play well. He's done a good job of doing that. He's done a good job of listening to guys' suggestions, guys say, 'Hey, I feel better playing it this way.' 'Fine, get the job done.' A lot of times you need that with a secondary because it's an athletic position and everybody's different. Some things that I may do well, somebody else may not and vice versa. If I feel comfortable doing it a certain way and it's getting the job done and it's not hurting the team or it's not hurting the unit, he's all for it."
(on no one getting too excited about possibly clinching the AFC South this week) "My approach is we got to go out and win a game. Every scenario you can think of involves us winning. The only thing we can control is winning the game. That's our part of the bargain, so if we go out there and win and if we continue to win the rest of the year, it doesn't matter if Tennessee wins or loses. If we continue to win, we'll be in. That has to be our focus. That has to be our goal to try to win all our games."
(on Bengals QB Andy Dalton) "Dalton's a good guy. I played against Dalton for probably two or three years in college. He went to TCU and I was at New Mexico. I'm pretty familiar with him. I know him. He's a good quarterback. He's mobile. He can make things happen off-schedule and he's very poised. Obviously, playing at TCU, he played in a bunch of big games. He's poised and he's going to make some good throws and we have to make sure we stay on coverage because he can run with it a little bit. We just have to be on top of our game."
(on if he expected Bengals QB Andy Dalton to play like he has after what he saw in college) "I just knew in college, when we got ready to play TCU, I knew it was going to be a big game for us, probably not for them. They pretty much dominated us every year we played except for one. He could make the throws in college. He made some good throws in college and he always led his team to victories. He always did that. He had a will about him in college to win and obviously it's carried over."
DE Antonio Smith
(on if there's added excitement that the team can clinch the division this weekend) "Yeah, everybody's thinking about it. I think that that's a goal that was at the top of our list when we started training camp, when we started this thing, is to clinch the division and then once that happened, that's a goal knocked down and we can move on to the next goal."
(on what it says that no one's talking about possibly clinching the division this weekend) "That says good because we want to just sneak in there. We don't want everybody to be knowing what's going on. We're going to slide up in there and take over. That's the approach. I kind of like that nobody's talking about it, that nobody's said anything about it. It's just like work. It's just the next day, next team, next job."
(on being ranked No. 2 in defense) "We talked about that today because I've been still staying number one, but I found out today that we slipped down to number two. We got the opportunity to win it back against the same team that Pittsburgh took it from us from."
(on clinching the division not being the final goal for the season) "No, like I said, it's one of the goals. At first, it's one of the top of your goals because you know if you win your division, you're in the playoffs, so that was our key to win our division, get into the playoffs. We can clinch it this weekend with a win and they lose, so clinching the division, you got to shoot next for home field advantage. Then after that, you shoot for the Super Bowl."
T Eric Winston
(on no one talking about possibly clinching the division this weekend) "Yeah, absolutely, you don't hear much about it. You don't hear a lot of talk about it. It's just, hey, we need to take care of our business and do our deal. Like I said, if we just keep racking up wins, no matter if it happens this week or in two weeks, it's going to happen."
(on if they had to go through struggles last year to become the team they are now) "We've been going through a lot of struggles not just last year. I think no matter how bad it got last year, I thought everyone in here handled themselves like a professional. We practiced hard every day. We never got down and everyone stayed together. I think it would have been pretty easy at a lot of junctures last year for this team to split apart, but we never did and I think it's said a lot about the character of the guys on this team. It tells you a lot about the leadership, a lot about the coaches. I think everyone believed we were on the right course. We just hit a bad detour and I think we've found our way back."
(on if it's amazing what the team has been able to accomplish) "Yeah, I don't know if it's amazing or not. I don't know what you really call it, but it's a situation where it's exciting. We've already done a lot of things that this franchise has never done and we're going to do some more before this thing's over. Like I said, nothing happens unless we win and I think everybody knows that and everyone's just got their eye on that prize."
(on not wanting to talk about being able to clinch the division this weekend) "Yeah, you can hear me, I haven't said it. I'm not even really sure what you're referring to other than just winning this game. We're talking about Cincinnati. We're going to win Cincinnati. Like I said, whatever comes after that comes after that."