Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Thursday's practice.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
RB Arian Foster
DE Tim Jamison
CB Johnathan Joseph
SS Danieal Manning
DE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on today's practice) "First off I guess practice-wise, (DE) Antonio (Smith) I missed him yesterday when I was in here. He did not practice again today with his sore ankle. Arian (Foster) was back at practice. (OLB Bryan) Braman was a half-time participant in practice, through half of practice got a little sore. We pulled him in the second half. Everybody else was a full go so that's where we are at."
(on DE Antonio Smith's ankle) "Yeah it's just sore. It was sore yesterday. I think he could've practiced today. We decided to hold him so I expect him to be back on the field tomorrow."
(on if he's concerned about DE Antonio Smith's health for Sunday) "I'm not at the concerned stage yet. When (DE) Antonio (Smith) tells you I'll be fine. I'll be ready to go, you trust him. He's always been that way. He's a guy who can play without missing something. He gets plenty of reps. Heck, I can't remember the last time he's missed a day or two. I'm not concerned right now. We'll see where we are at tomorrow."
(on RB Arian Foster and DE J.J. Watt today) "Arian (Foster) was fine. J.J. was fine, feeling good. We had a very good practice as a team. I thought it was excellent. Our focus was very good."
(on if he will try to work FB Tyler Clutts into the fold) "(FB) Tyler (Clutts) is getting a lot of practice. He's playing special teams for us. He's struggled a little bit last week. He had only been with us a week so that's hard to get done but he's improving, I think he'll play probably according to how the game goes and how (FB) James (Casey) is doing. James is playing very well right now, had a good preseason. I'm hoping it's one of those situations where I hope James is out there all year. Tyler is ready to play. He's far enough now that he could go in this week and play 20-30 plays for us and handle his end of the business."
(on the replacement officials) "I haven't noticed them. I know they're working extremely hard. We've been fortunate. We've had a group a couple times so the guys we had last week we had in New Orleans also so you gain a little relationship with them. The guys that we've had have been great before the game. I know they're working very hard. They're asking a lot of questions at least from my perspective they are of us as coaches and trying to do as good a job as they can possibly do. I know that's a tough duty that they've been put in, but I think those guys are working really hard and doing the best job they can."
(on the relationship between coaches and officials) "It's maybe not so important, my relationship with an official. That's nice to you have guys two or three times a year and you kind of develop a rapport with them so to speak with the guys that are on your sidelines and stuff. Where it's important I think is that they understand your brand of football. There are so many different brands of football played in our league. There are throwing teams and no huddle. There are running teams. There's teams that cut, boot, teams that do that. Our guys really understand each team's concept of football and these guys are having to do that very, very quickly. I think that's the biggest thing for them and for us getting used to each other."
(on replacement officials studying teams' game tape) "They have to know what teams do as far as the guy in the back end behind the quarterback. Can he get in the way on a bootleg? So they have to kind of know how you play the game. I know being a former quarterback your relationship with the head guy back there on game day is a very comforting feeling from the red cash in days to those guys who were out there that you had four or five times a year. I know quarterbacks really appreciate that relationship with those officials."
(on Jaguars' QB Blaine Gabbert) "I think he's playing very well. Mike's (Mularkey) a heck of a quarterback guy. Everywhere Mike's coached his quarterback has played well. He knows how to gain the confidence of the player, how to get him going so to speak. So I see him doing a heck of a job with him. I think he's benefiting from playing all those snaps last year. You get thrown in the fire like that kind of like (Ryan) Tannehill did last week and will this year, that's the only way you'll get better in this league. You can see that he's reaped the benefits of playing all those snaps last year and is much more comfortable this year."
(on the problems the Jaguars' defense presents) "They're huge. They might be the biggest group we play. We play them a lot so they're very similar with what we do and how we do some things. It means we have to change some of our tendencies up and those types of things. It's just division football knowing each other very very well. The fact that they are so physical and it's usually a pretty good battle between us in the trenches and I don't think this game will be any different."
(on division play being important) "I think they are. They also hold a little bit more weight. I know it's one game. It seems like at the end when you get close to the end of the season those games hold a little bit more weight, the head to head situations and nothing tougher than playing on the road. We better have a good focus and we did today. We had excellent focus today."
(on the most impressive thing about Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "He's so hard to tackle. We talk in our meetings, the biggest thing with this guy is you better make sure he is down when he gets in those piles and guys are not standing around but think the play is over and all of a sudden here he comes out of a pile and makes a big play on you. He makes you tackle him as probably as well as any back in football. He is not going down easy ever and he's a big threat catching the ball. You go back and look at what they've done with him against us, they run a lot option routes. They basically try to get him to touch it a bunch and I'm this week won't be any different."
(on how RB Arian Foster has improved) "(RB) Arian's (Foster) had a great camp, a tremendous camp. You know he had a couple issues this last week with his knee being sore, getting a little sick yesterday so I want him to get back in that rhythm from that standpoint. He practiced well today, and we kind of go as Arian goes. We get him going, it helps everything else we do. He's working. He's doing everything he can to have a great year. Ben (Tate) helps him that way too because I think Ben (Tate) has pushed him and well they push each other."
(on QB T.J. Yates' improvement) "He's very confident. This is that time of year when backup quarterbacks don't get a lot of reps. As I come in here and talk to you guys, he's still out there. That's why he's got a chance to be a good player because he works really hard at it when nobody is watching. He'll be ready. If something happens to (QB) Matt (Schaub), he continues to push himself and he's a better player this year than he was last year. He understands what we're doing a little better."
(on trying to get off to a faster start in Sunday's game) "We started fast from a standpoint of made some big plays offensively and went right down the field. The sack stopped us or else it would've been a good start to the game where we kicked a field goal. I think we talk about everything. You focus on just starting fast and maybe you don't finish well. We just want to continue to play better. We want to continue to push ourselves as a team, look at the things we're not doing well and always searching for that perfect football game. Everybody in this league is and we're no different so hopefully we're better this week."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on Jacksonville) "Jacksonville always has been a power team with the running back they have obviously. He's had a week and he's ready to go. I'm sure he'll be starting. (Maurice) Jones-Drew is a great player. He led the league in rushing. I'm not sure that their offensive line gets as much credit as they should. They have a powerful running attack with a great back, but they are strong, powerful, big guys that move the pile and so forth. That'll be a challenge for us. Obviously, their quarterback (Blaine Gabbert) and their passing game, they've changed all of their receivers except for the tight end (Marcedes Lewis), who is a really good player. The quarterback is doing a great job. I think they've done a good job with him. I think he's matured some. He's hitting check downs that he didn't throw last year. Things like that, you can see him maturing as a quarterback. Some of the passes he missed last year, I think he tried to stay on the deeper receiver all the time and couldn't get it to him. Now he's learning to check it down and he did well in the preseason. They've done a great job with him as far as teaching, you can tell. He knows where to go with the football. He does a good job of that. They're a lot better offense than they've been and that's obvious."
(on what is most impressive about Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "How short he is and how good he is. I kid him about that. He's a great kid. He's so powerful and he's got really quick feet. He has speed, too. I think people misjudge him a little bit because of his size, but that's probably been his whole career. He can do anything. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He can return punts and kickoffs, all those things. I'm glad he doesn't do those for them, but he can do all that. He's a guy that can do everything."
(on the key to stopping Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "Anytime you play against a great back, we've always pointed him out. Everybody knows where he is. You have one eye on him all the time. The linebackers, secondary, everybody has one eye on him and where he's going with the football. On him, you especially have to gang tackle because he'll break tackles."
(on the evolution of the tight end position and how you defend the bigger tight ends with smaller defensive backs) "Marcedes (Lewis) has been a guy that everybody has worried about. If they start getting him the ball, what's going to happen? Well now they're starting to get him the ball. He's real talented and he's got great size. I'll tell you what, that guy is as good a blocker as any tight end we play against, too. That's part of their running game too. Again, he probably doesn't get enough credit, but he's a really good blocker and that helps their running game too. He's a receiver too. You have to be aware of him. We know the challenges there."
(on playing so many large tight ends this season) "Yeah, we're going to try and get taller I guess. I don't know. We'll work on our height in practice. No, we have some talented guys too that are covering those guys. Even though they're tall like that, if somebody is on them, it takes away from the quarterback wanting to throw the ball there. The quarterbacks with the experience and have been playing with a guy for a long time, somebody like (Tony) Gonzalez, they'll throw it to him anyway and he'll make the plays. We'll just have to wait and see if they do that with this guy. We'll have somebody on him but we'll see if they throw it. We're going to have to have some pressure and those kinds of things to keep them away from that."
(on if he has had to alter the way he approaches his defense with the evolution of the tight end) "We have calls that we can hold up the tight end. You play those kinds of guys that are dominant tight ends, that just like a dominant running back, you have to do certain things to try and slow them down. Gameplan-wise, you have to take into consideration who you are playing against and who you have."
(on DE J.J. Watt's ability to knock four balls away) "We led the League in that last year, batted balls. (DE) J.J. (Watt) was a big part of that. Part of our study on him was he led Wisconsin in passes broken up. That's a defensive lineman, so that tells you something about the knack he had for it anyway. We just try to utilize that. (Tim) Jamison knocked the ball down on the fourth down. We work on that. Those are things we work on. That's part of coaching. That's what you do when you're rushing the passer."
(on the Texans ability to take passes broken up at the line to another level) "I think anytime you're successful and the other guys see a guy do it, then they do it. (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach) Bill Kollar works hard on it; we work hard on it as a team. We've gotten results from it."
(on if he expects teams to dry and deter their guys from knocking passes down) "Well if you cut, and you miss him, you're putting your quarterback in trouble. We don't see a whole lot of three-step cut game like they do in college because if you miss them and he holds the ball at all, the quarterback gets drilled. It's a short passing game that we're knocking down. Not everyone runs a three-step drop all the time either."
(on who DE J.J. Watt's game reminds him of) "All players are unique. They're all different in certain ways. I did say Howie Long last year, and I didn't coach Howie, but just watching him play and his quickness off the ball. He was a disruptive guy and real agile for such a good-sized guy. He's a good player in his own right."
(on Jacksonville Head Coach Mike Mularkey saying they'd have to punch DE J.J. Watt in the chest to slow him down) "Yeah, well if you try to do that, he might go by you. When you start trying to punch a guy and you start moving your weight forward, you allow them to go by you and get the quarterback. There are ways for both sides certainly."
(on forcing four turnovers against the Dolphins) "Yeah, seven turnovers. You only count four, but I count all seven of them because we got the ball back on fourth down (turnover on downs). I think we tried to be where we left off last year. That's what our goal was to start off the season, playing like we did last year. I thought we played at that tempo and at that level. We didn't do everything perfect, but we played the kind of game that I had hoped we would to start the season and we continued that."
(on if he was pleased with the run defense last week) "Anytime they make 16 yards in the second half, you've done pretty good. They ran a completely different offense than they ran in the preseason. They ran two tight ends during the game, which they hadn't run but six plays of the whole preseason. It took as a little while to adjust some of the stuff. I think we adjusted well. It's hard for a team to score any points just trying to keep running the ball on us. I know they made six and seven yards, but they didn't make 10-, 15-, 20-yard runs in that game. It's just hard to control the ball like that. I think it will be against us. Once you're forced to throw it, then we're in good shape."
(on if Jacksonville WR Justin Blackmon adds anything to their offensive attack) "Sure. Justin Blackmon, I've been really impressed with how strong his hands are and how he runs after the catch. He's got that elusiveness and that strength after the catch that he can make a big play, even on a shorter gain. He can go up and get the ball on the longer passes, so he's everything they thought he was I'm sure. He's what we thought he was."
(on the secret of OLB Connor Barwin's success) "He just needs to keep playing at the level he's playing. At outside backer and especially his position, they can run away from you. You're not going to see him all the time, but he's a relentless player. He's a great leader. He's first in every drill. He's first in everything we do. He's going to do well, there's no doubt about that."
(on if OLB Connor Barwin needs to play at a certain weight) "He's strong. He's really strong. When he came in, when they first got him, he wasn't strong. Now, he's real strong. He's a strong, powerful, fast guy who is real smart, that plays harder than most people. He's got all the intangibles plus he has ability. A guy like that is going to do well."
(on what he would like to see the most improvement form his defense this week) "I would like to hold them to three points every week. I was disappointed that they got the three because we actually caused a fumble there and had a chance to keep them from that. As long as we keep playing at the level we're playing and not making many mistakes, which we didn't make many mistakes, and play at a high level, that's what we're looking for on this team. They should improve as we go."
RB Arian Foster
(on how he feels) "I'm feeling well."
(on his legs) "My legs are fine."
(on his thoughts about the running attack) "Well I just have to do my job to the best of my ability. I think if everybody does that, we'll be successful because we're talented on offense."
(on if he was surprised by last Sunday's performance) "It's football. It's the National Football League. Not to make any excuses, but the other guys are very good also. You're right, we do set a high standard here, but that's a part of the game. You win some. You lose some. Hopefully you win more than you lose though."
(on the Jaguars' defensive front) "Jacksonville's always stout in the run. They've been like that since I've been here, and they keep getting guys to fit in their scheme better and better. They have great personnel, a great defensive coordinator. They always give you problems from an offensive standpoint."
(on Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "I think he's one of the best in the game right now obviously. I think highly of his game. It's fun to watch him run. He runs with so much heart. It's good to see him do well."
(on the division game against Jacksonville) "We have a rivalry. It's a divisional rivalry. That's how they play us. It's always going to be a lot of smack talk. It's always going to be a lot of jibber-jaw back and forth, bad blood between each other. We got into it last year some of our o-line and some of their d-line. Every time I play them there's a lot of respect. It's always good when we play them."
(on if people's high expectations are crazy) "No, people are going to say that anyway. It doesn't matter what people say."
(on DE Tim Jamison's month) "My man Tim (Jamison), I'm just happy for Tim because we came in together as walk-ons. We call each other walk-ons. It's just good to see him do well. It's good to see his hard work paying off. He's had a tremendous work ethic, to see him grow because I was right there by his side starting from the ground up and just to see him blossom into the player he's become, I'm just happy for him. He has a family and it's good to see him and his family doing well."
(on how much he talked to DE Tim Jamison when they were rookies) "We were kind of at the same starting point, the same level. So we were always like 'Man, when's that next check coming?' We were talking things like that, but we always worked hard. That's one thing we always kind of saw in each other was each other's work ethic. I've always admired him for that and it's paying off. It always eventually pays off, man. It's just good to see him do well."
(on if he jaws to the opponent during games) "It's a part of the game. We've been doing that since we were kids. A guy you know plays street football, a guy talks stuff to you, you're going talk stuff back. If he's short you're going to call him extremely short, you know? That's just the nature of the game. You pick on guys and try to get in their heads mentally. It's all part of the fun. To me, I never take it off the field. Especially in the NFL, guys aren't going to take it off the field and a guy that you're jawing with back and forth in the game usually at the end of the game you walk up to him and say 'It's all love man, just talking stuff.'"
DE Tim Jamison
(on his journey in the NFL) "I started at the bottom. You never forget about that. You always constantly want to get better. When you've been there, you don't want to go back so that's my motivation to keep on improving."
(on if DE J.J. Watt's ability to knock down passes fired him up) "We work on it in practice every day. We knocked down a few passes today in practice so they say if you don't do it in practice you're not going to do it in the game so hopefully it carries over."
(on if he's talked to DE J.J. Watt about his technique) "He's one a kind man, but we work on it in practice and got to go to our d-line coach and show him."
(on his relationship with RB Arian Foster) "(RB) Arian (Foster) is a good guy. Me and Arian came in, we did come here undrafted the same year, so every time one of us gets an opportunity like that, when he got a contract extension I congratulated him because he knows what it's like to start from the bottom and he did the same thing for me when I got mine."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on his health) "Today, I'm actually a lot better than yesterday obviously. I had a chance to go back out at practice and run around and sweat some of it out, just looking forward to the game Sunday."
(on Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "You don't just happen to be the leading rusher in the league by chance last year. Obviously he's a big part of the offense, missing time in training camp but I'm sure as a professional he's kept himself in great shape and things like that. He'll be ready for Sunday."
(on getting to know FS Glover Quin) "Ultimate leader, kind of reminds you one of those guys back in the day when you're a young kid you had your Boys and Girls Club director and everything. He's kind of like the younger guy back there in the secondary but the older guy with his brains and smarts. He shows up every day to work and competes hard. He's a very versatile guy. He drops down in the box, plays safety and covers tight ends as well."
(on watching DE J.J. Watt knock down passes) "It's a great thing for a defensive back because sometimes your guy may have step on you or something like that and obviously he saves you by knocking the ball down and things like that or he tips it your way and you make an easy interception. However it may be, it's good for us anytime we have getting his hands up or any of the defensive linemen for that matter knocking balls down."
(on if he's ever seen someone do what DE J.J. Watt does) "Not at all, I have never really seen someone have a knack for it or just a great feel for it. He kind of knows and expects when the quarterback is going to release the ball and gets his hands up."
(on the Jaguars' physical offense) "I would probably say so with the running game and things like that with the fullback. A lot of teams don't use fullbacks today in their offense and using a fullback is a big part of their offense and running the ball and rushing the ball as well with the big offensive line up front and things like that."
SS Danieal Manning
(on remembering the Hail Mary play in Jacksonville that FS Glover Quin was involved in, in 2010) "Honestly, he did everything they asked him to do and what we're taught to do. You go up, you just want to go up and knock it down and that's what he did. It ricocheted, the guy caught it and fell in the end zone."
(on if he's talked to FS Glover Quin about it) "We actually talked about it. I told him it happened to me when I was playing against the Redskins. I broke a pass up and it bounced off my shoe and (Chris) Cooley caught it for a touchdown."
(on FS Glover Quin's development) "Being a safety in this defense you have to make a lot of calls, get corners in the best position so they make plays and linebackers, talking and communicating so you have to grow up and know exactly what to do. Playing this position, that's what's happened."
(on the Jaguars) "Good team, they got the skilled players. Definitely had a lot stuff with the running back situation, but now that they got that I'm sure they are going to come in looking at what we played last year, they're going to try to establish the run and put it in his hands and let the quarterback make plays there at the end. That's pretty much the game plan I believe they're going to come with. You never know."
DE Antonio Smith
(on his ankle) "It'll be alright. My right ankle is bothering me a little bit, same one I had a little surgery on in the offseason."
(on playing Sunday without practicing) "I just don't like not practicing. I have never not practiced all these years. As far as me knowing the plays, I know all the plays. I know how to the play defense. There isn't any problem with that. I just don't like watching my boys out there and they were kind of hurting, taking all the reps because I'm gone."
(on his ankle) "It feels a lot better today. Yesterday, no bueno. But today it felt a lot better."
(on what happened to his ankle) "I don't know. I'm serious. It was aching after the game and probably Monday after the information went down it was just a sharp pain."
(on Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "He's one of the best running backs in the league. At any given time, he can big plays happen. He's always made big plays happen. He's always been these past few years top of the league in rushing. Whether he on a good team or a bad team, he's always dangerous."
(on what makes Jaguars' RB Maurice Jones-Drew special) "I don't know. He probably got a little extra something that other running backs don't have. I don't know exactly what it is but he can run the ball hard. He's a physical blocker. He's probably what they call a complete back. He can block, run, catch the ball, do it all."