The Texans practiced at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakRB Ben TateT Eric Winston
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how practice went today) "It went good. Same three guys missed practice, (Mike) Brisiel, (Troy) Nolan and Sherrick (McManis). Andre (Johnson) was better today, so we're well on our way to him playing this weekend and practice was very good."
(on if he still has a decision to make on if WR Andre Johnson will play this weekend) "Yeah, I think until we get there, but yesterday there was improvement. Today there was improvement off yesterday. So, we'll go into Friday and see where he's at, but everything looks like we're heading in that direction."
(on how things are going with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips) "He's doing fine. He came to walk through. He had a doctor's appointment, so he's doing fine. The expectations are for him to be in the press box on Sunday as long as he's feeling up to it. But he's been a part of the game plan, been a part of the meetings all week and with the guys. He just had an appointment today at I think 12 o'clock."
(on how important it is that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has a voice in the defense again) "No, there's no doubt. His voice has never left. It's just his presence while he's having to obviously get well. It's huge. You need all your pieces in place and we've definitely lost a few this year. I've never been through a coaching one though before, so that's a little bit different. We've kind of come to expect some issues and we go work with them and try to find a way to win the next game, so that's what we got to do."
(on how G Mike Brisiel is doing in his recovery) "He's doing exceptional. He's a little over two weeks out of the surgery. He is doing field work, so everything is geared up towards him possibly playing next week. I would be wrong to make a statement on that right now, but he is making progress."
(on not being able to convert on third down lately) "No, we have and we have been exceptional. I think we're eighth or something in the League now and we've had two just horrible weeks. It goes with our team is my point. We haven't been staying on the field on third downs. Defensively, we've played poor on third downs the last two weeks. Those two things offset each other and what happens is the other team's controlling the football game. All the things that we've been doing that had us winning on the win streak and playing very well, which was protecting the ball, controlling the clock, being on the field more than the other team, those are things that we've had a problem with the last few weeks. So, if we have a problem with them, we're going to have a tough time winning. That goes hand in hand."
(on if he's re-emphasizing playing better on third down to the team) "We emphasize it every week and the amazing thing about it, as bad as it was, we still had our chance, in my opinion, to win the last two games. So, we got to stay positive here. We got to understand how important that is. We got to get better each day and we got better today on the practice field."
(on if QB Jake Delhomme is still the No. 2 quarterback) "Yeah, Jake's the number two and we'll go into this game just like we've been going into all the other ones."
(on the progress that QBs Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia have made) "Well I think Jake's a little bit ahead just because he had about a week head start, so one's four weeks, one's three weeks with us. That's not a lot of time, but they're both working very hard at it and if something happened to T.J. (Yates), they could go in and operate. Obviously we couldn't operate at full throttle with what we do offensively, but they've made a lot of progress."
RB Ben Tate
(on if he expects a different look from the Titans defense) "I would think they would do something a little different. They're playing for a playoff berth, so I think they're going to let it all hang out, all types of blitzes. That's what I'm thinking, but you never know."
(on if it's harder to play a team the second time) "Always. Always. Especially them being that rival, that rivalry. It's the League. It's hard to beat a team twice."
(on if the team had good practices this week) "Yeah, I feel like we've been having pretty good practices this week. I think we had an especially good practice today. I think we definitely have to go out and get this W and we need momentum going into the playoffs."
(on if getting 1,000 rushing yards is on his mind) "It is, but I think that's going to be pretty hard to do."
(on being able to bounce back from injury and have a good season this year) "I thank God. It's a blessing and I thank him every day for it. I come back, had I think a pretty good year. So, if I get a thousand yards or not, to me, I think it'll be a very, very successful year for me."
T Eric Winston
(on how the team fixes its mistakes) "Well, you just go out and you concentrate. Sometimes things work for you, sometimes they don't. But I think the big thing is, we got to keep pressing the envelope, we got to keep pressing the issue and make sure that we're doing things right. I think that goes back to just every man looking at themselves, doing everything they can. Offensive line, we got to get more on first and second down, so those third downs are less. Third downs, we got to protect better and it goes down from every man from that. Receivers, let's run better routes. Running backs, let's do our thing better. I think if everyone just steps up their game, we'll get back to where we were."
(on being off-schedule in the Indianapolis game) "Yeah, like I said, you get to those points. We can't have negative plays and I think that's also hurt us the last couple weeks. We've had some negative plays. Like I said, you get back to the formula of what we're doing right. The points and everything are going to take care of themselves."
(on if WR Andre Johnson's return will stretch the field) "Sure, you always see some imaginative coverages when he gets in the lineup. It'll be interesting to see how they play him, but I've said this before, if we're looking for 'Dre to come in here and solve all our problems, then we're really looking at the wrong thing. He's going to do his thing, but we got to get back to what we were doing. 'Dre being in the lineup is not going to help us hold on to the ball better. It's not going to help us protect better. It's not going to help us do those things that we need to do to improve as a team better. He makes a difference in a lot of areas, but every man's got to step up and do their part too."
(on playing Tennessee for the second time this season) "Well, division matchups are always finicky. You never know what you're going to get. There's always a little bit of a flip flop when you come into the second go around. Usually the first game is not really indicative of what's going to happen the second game. If you had a low-scoring game, sometimes it's high-scoring the second time around. You never know what you're going to get, so we're going to come in there just like every other game. That means we got to play good defense, we got to hold on to the ball and we got to do those little things like we've done from that game forward up until the last couple weeks to be successful."