Skip to main content
Houston Texans

Quotes: Thursday practice



Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
DE Antonio Smith

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's  health at practice today) "As for practice, once again (S Quintin) Demps is the only guy out today, and we signed Cameron Collins, linebacker from Oregon State to our practice squad. Other than that, we were full-go today."

(on if he's surprised by the offensive line's ability to protect QB Matt Schaub) "I think the good thing is we've been in games where I feel like we can protect him. We haven't been caught in a situation where we've had to throw the ball 50 times in a game. We've been pretty balanced. If we're able to be balanced, we're able to boot, we're able to run the ball and those things, then we've got an excellent chance of protecting our quarterback. But all that being said, I think our guys up front have done a hell of a job and I think (QB) Matt's (Schaub) matured as far as getting rid of the ball. He did an amazing job there the other night a couple times of getting the ball out of there on third down. Everybody is involved, but so far so good."

(on RB Ben Tate's status) "(RB Ben) Tate had a good practice today. I would say he was better than yesterday. So he's working toward Sunday. All indications are that he will get there, but he did work good today."

(on RB Ben Tate) "I think so. He had the little tweak and obviously the big load's been on (RB) Arian (Foster), but I think to me, we're number one in possession of the football, so our back whoever that is, is going to carry the ball a bunch. We'd like to spread that around, but big 23(Arian Foster), just seems like the more he gets it the better he gets. I think you're right. (RB) Ben (Tate) is doing what he's capable of doing and we should be able to spread that out."

(on if this is the best he's seen from TE Owen Daniels since his Pro Bowl season) "I think he's physically the best he's been since that season. I think the plan for (TE) Owen (Daniels) and I've said this all along, has gotten much better. You tend to, if you're pressing or something, you overwork a guy like him because Owen's a guy that's not going to tell you, 'Hey, I'm tired. I need a day off.' We put a plan in place for him last year and we've held to that plan throughout camp this year and throughout the season. The development of (TE) Garrett (Graham) once again is the biggest reason. I just think he's more fresh as a player and it's showing up."

(on ILB Tim Dobbins stepping in on defense) "From as far as knowing what he's doing and understanding (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) defense, that's not a problem at all, but he needs to get in there and get the reps with the ones. He got a ton of those today. He'll do a hell of a job. He should get better every time out, the more plays he plays with the defense from a full-load standpoint. At the same time, everybody's got to do a little bit more to help him out."

(on ILB Barrett Ruud) "He's practiced. We're bringing him along slowly. I think to say that he's going to be up this week might be a reach at this point because we're obviously trying to teach him this system and we do have eight healthy already. He's come a long way. (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) and (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) feel good about his presence and we'll see where he's at."

(on Packers CB Tramon Williams) "We knew he was here. Obviously we didn't see him do enough when he was here, because he's turned into one hell of a player. I know that. That's part of this league. Sometimes you make decisions and you're wrong on guys. Guys pass through that you miss on, and hopefully there is more that you're right on. It's part of the business, but congratulations to him. He's turned into one hell of a player."

(on Packers S Charles Woodson) "The first thing that jumps at me is (Green Bay Defensive Coordinator) Dom (Capers) is doing a ton of things with him. He is playing everywhere. He's a big blitzer in a lot of schemes they have and nickel. When you look at him and you look at (Clay) Matthews, the places Dom is able to get them in to make plays is exceptional. He continues to do it. This year is no different."

(on what problems the Packers offense poses) "First off, the quarterback's got to be as good as there is. They're going to spread the ball around. They're not a team that one guy is going to get to 12 or 14. They're going to really spread the ball around to all their people, so they're very dangerous. You start loading up on the back end, they're very capable of running the ball on you. I think we got as big a challenge as we've had all year. We got our own personal challenge as a team because what happened to us last week. We're also facing one of the top quarterbacks in the game."

(on QB Aaron Rodgers' struggles ) "I think they've played some good people. In this league, regardless of who you are, every week is tough. He lost one game on the last play of the game and another game where they had a 21-3 lead. That's part of the NFL, but the thing about this guy, he can come out and light you up for 500 yards any given day. We're going to have to play extremely well in the back hand. The best thing we can do, make him get rid of the ball."

(on defending the Packers) "I think obviously your approach with them starts with the quarterback. That's the biggest thing. One of the things in the run game we've been able to do, we've adjusted pretty good. We've had some people run the ball on us a little bit. We come back and adjust whether it's at halftime or the next week. If that's the case, we'll have to adjust again, but we better find a way to stop the quarterback."

(on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers' mobility ) "You have to be disciplined in your rush. If your contained rusher and you lose contain and he gets out, and not only is he going to make a play, but he makes huge plays when he moves. This guy can throw the ball 70-75 yards down the field off their boot game and some of those things that they do. The big play is a scare going into this game and keeping him in the pocket is the best chance you have of keeping that down hopefully."

(on Packers LB Clay Matthews) "I tell you, what a player. I really haven't crossed paths with him here in a couple years. We haven't played them in a few years. You watch what this guys' doing in this league. He's always going against the best tackles. It's just the way it is and people are chipping him. He is one hell of a player, tremendous motor, effort, leverage, very smart, beats cadence as good as anybody I've seen, extremely impressed. We all are, as an offensive coaching staff. It's a huge challenge for us to contain him somehow."

(on helping LT Duane Brown contain LB Clay Matthews) "Unfortunately, sometimes I'm not going to be able to help him. The best way we can help him is run the ball and not have to throw it a bunch. There is going to be times when he and (Derek) Newton are going to have to man up and handle him because they got other people that can get there, too. It's a tough go for those guys, but like I said, hopefully we're able to run the ball a little bit and that'll help them the most."

(on LT Duane Brown's improvement) "He's playing extremely well. He's as good a pro as he has ever been as far as (LT) Duane's (Brown) preparation, studying the people he plays against. Technique-wise he's gotten much better over the course of the last few years but that only comes with playing against good players. He always usually sees the best. Duane is on top of his game doing some good stuff."

(on helping LT Duane Brown ) "It's kind one of those things where obviously I have a ton of confidence in (LT) Duane (Brown) but also it's my responsibility to know the challenge he has and help him with that challenge. Hopefully we meet halfway and figure out a way to move the ball."

(on the offensive changes throughout the NFL) "I wouldn't say I'm surprised. I think just teams are built different ways and how you go about winning every week. What's your plan? Obviously, our plan is to be balanced. If we're running the ball well then we usually have success. You look at a team like New England, who could throw it all over the yard, but yet they've been running the ball as well as anybody. I think a team has to have confidence that they know you can go win different ways on Sunday. You can't just say we're a throwing team or we're a running team. We got to be able to go do whatever we have to do to win on Sunday. You look around this league, the good teams regardless of the games they get into, they find a way to win. Hopefully, we're able to do both."

(on the Packers' special teams success) "They're exceptional special teams-wise. Shawn (Slocum) does a really good job there. They've always got some fakes involved. They take some chances as special teams to make plays. That's a challenge for us. I think our biggest challenge right now special teams wise is ourselves in all honesty, just settling ourselves down, being better. We won't get way with our effort last week and beat good football teams consistently. There's been a big focus on us this week and hopefully we can make a drastic improvement."

(on who will replace ILB Tim Dobbins on special teams) "We'll see. (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe's (Marciano) just got to move some people around. He's still capable of doing. It's going to boil down to how many plays Dob (ILB Tim Dobbins) plays in the game. Does he play 30 or does he play 60? I don't know. If he's playing 30, you're going to see him play some special teams. I think we have to find that mix there. We'll listen to (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) and what's going on defensively during the course of the game and pick our spots from a special teams standpoint. I think starters do have to contribute. They have to contribute to your special teams."

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on DE J.J. Watt losing a sack from the Miami game) "Everybody saw where Elias took the sack away from, they went back and took it away from J.J. (Watt). I'm just wondering why they didn't go back and take Michael Strahan's sack away from him when he broke the record. If they're going to go back and take those things away, it just seems naturally that it wasn't a pass play, but he gets another tackle for loss. That probably makes him lead the league in that, too."

(on if he was surprised that Elias took a sack away from DE J.J. Watt now) "That's what I'm saying. They haven't done it in the past. When guys set the all-time record, they didn't' do it on that play so I'm surprised they did it. But that's okay."

(on how that process works) "Normally, the team turns it in after the game and say, 'Hey, that wasn't a sack.' The team you played. That's what we normally do."

(on changing credit for a sack or tackle for loss) "It's after the game. It's usually that team, but I don't know what happened. It wasn't a sack. At the time, I said, 'Well, they're not going to give him a sack because it was a running play. Quarterback fell down. He tackled the quarterback for loss."

(on what it says about DE J.J. Watt that he just wants to lead the league in sacks at the end of the year ) "He wants to win just like the rest of us do."

(on the Packers' offensive struggles this season) "They talk about the quarterback struggling and his quarterback rating is 97. He's hitting almost 70 percent of his passes. He's thrown 10 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He's struggling by last year's standards where he threw 45 touchdowns and only six interceptions. The year before when he won the Super Bowl he was a key member of their team that helped win the Super Bowl. Him struggling and them struggling is not like other teams. The Jets were struggling last week when we went in there, but these guys aren't struggling like that."

(on QB Aaron Rodgers) "He's a big, good athlete that can run, and he can really throw the ball well on the run and he looks downfield. Young quarterbacks come in sometimes and they run with it, but they don't see the guys down the field. He makes plays. He's run for big yardage, but he knows when to run and when to find people downfield. There was 25 seconds left in the game last week and he scrambles and throws a big play that gives them a chance for a field goal. He's capable of dropping back and throwing it, running around and throwing it, or running around and running with it."

(on QB Aaron Rodgers' ability to get sacked in spurts) "They've been sacked more than they would want. He's been sacked throughout the years, he still holds on the ball some to make the big plays. He's not like some guys that never get sacked. He's one of those guys that he gets sacked some, but he also makes a lot of big plays."

(on ILB Tim Dobbins stepping in on defense) "(ILB Tim) Dobbins is going to come in and play his best for us we know that. We know we can count on him. If you look at the game last week, (ILB Brian) Cushing did go out in the game last week. Dobbins came in and played. (ILB) Bradie James had eight tackles. Our third down defense, which Cushing was not on in the second half, they were one-for-five, so our other guys stepped up in that game, which makes me confident that we'll continue to  do that."

(on ILB Barrett Ruud) "I thought he was a really good player coming out. When he played for Tampa, I thought he played really well. We looked at him as a free agent when he came out as a free agent. He was one of the top guys on our list we just didn't need inside linebackers at that time. We felt fortunate that we're able to pick him up now."

(on ILB Barrett Ruud ) "He's played linebacker, and he's played in an under-defense which is really similar to what we do."

(on his thoughts about the block on ILB Brian Cushing) "I probably shouldn't say them. I thought it was unnecessary whether it was legal or not, all that stuff, I think it's just unnecessary to hit a defensive player when he can't see you. He doesn't see you. If a guy's coming in front of me and cuts me, you can see that and they can get away from that. But when they don't see you, I think the league needs to look at something like that. He was defenseless in that case. If the guy would've hit him in the head, it would've been a penalty because he came from the backside. So I just think they need to take a look at it."

(on if it's frustrating to him that the league seems to protect offensive players more than defensive players) "No, I don't want to say that. I think the league is trying to do all the right things. They always have. When these cases come up, they look at them and see. We had the horse collar tackle there for a while and players got hurt. Something like this happens and players get hurt. I think the league will look at it."

(on the loss of ILB Brian Cushing) "Anytime you lose what I call a great player, it's not helpful to your team. But like I said, the other guys stepped up during the game. We expect them to play well the rest of the year for us. This team has gone through that. We went through some of that last year where we had really top players out. We have to do the same thing."

(on if he's every lost a player as talented as ILB Brian Cushing) "I probably can. We lost (Karl) Mecklenburg in the Super Bowl game. It was bad. It was a bad game. We've lost players before that were really good players. He's a playmaker. He's a big time playmaker. He makes a lot of plays. He would've made a lot of plays. I thought he was one of the best, if not the best inside backer in the league. We coached the Pro Bowl. I thought he was just as good as those guys in the Pro Bowl that we coached on the AFC side. You're going to miss him."

(on if the play was over when ILB Brian Cushing was hit) "I wouldn't say that. It's never over for Cush (ILB Brian Cushing). He's pursuing the ball every play."

DE Antonio Smith
(on the challenges Packers QB Aaron Rodgers offers) "He's an awesome quarterback. He can throw the ball real good. He's one of those quarterbacks that can fit it in tight spaces so you always got to be prepared for that because he can make passes that most quarterbacks can't make."

(on playing on back-to-back primetime games) "I've never had that ever in my career. I think it's awesome. I think it's a great opportunity. I think that's something that this team has been working towards. I feel like we deserve it to have our team be on that type of stage."

(on how hard it will be to have the same kind of performance as a unit without ILB Brian Cushing) "It's going to be a challenge because like I've been telling everybody, (Brian Cushing) is irreplaceable. What he does, not many people period can do, but I also belief in (ILB)Tim Dobbins and (ILB) Mister Alexander and (OLB) Whitney Mercilus. Like I said, they're all talented guys. They do it in their own way. Everybody's not going to be in the same mode, but I think they're going to get the job done and the world is going to get to see that we got playmakers all over this team."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content