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Quotes: Thursday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
OLB Bryan Braman
TE Owen Daniels
FS Quintin Demps
RB Justin Forsett
K Shayne Graham
RB Jonathan Grimes
WR Andre Johnson
DE Antonio Smith

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's  health) "We had two guys that did not practice today. (G/C) Cody White continues to be sick and so we kept him out of practice. Then (RB) Ben (Tate), obviously, did not practice today. Other than that, we're back to work, a few guys on a limited basis but back to work with everybody."

(on RB Ben Tate's status) "I think I'll know tomorrow. I'll have a pretty good idea tomorrow. I knew he wasn't going to work today with us being in pads getting back in our pads for the first time in over a week. We'll see where he's at tomorrow."

(on the military members attending practice today) "We had all the military at the barbeque before practice and we invited them all out to practice. We had a pretty good crowd. They watched about half of practice. It seemed to add a little juice to our players. I think they enjoyed it too, so got a chance to spend some time with them after practice. I think the organization does a tremendous job with this weekend for our troops so a very special day."

(on RB Jonathan Grimes' quick return to Houston) "He sure did. He actually came running in the building at about a quarter to 12 and he went from a handshake to kickoff. He's back to work real quick. He knows what we're doing. He's a very smart young man. It's great to have him back, doesn't happen like that very often. We knew we probably lost a darn good young player, but fortunately found a way to get him back. Happy that he's on our team, he's going to be up this week and he's going to contribute somehow, someway. He'll play for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano). He did some special teams stuff for us in the preseason."

(on TE Owen Daniels this season) "He's playing very well. He's having a really good year, just very consistent I think (TE) Garrett's (Graham) development has helped (TE Owen Daniels) OD. I think I've said that a few times. What's OD now? Year seven? He's been with me here from the start. He's mastered our offense. OD can miss some practice time and go play a game plan or operate a game plan without any problems so we're able to rest him more. He's a fine player. His career speaks for itself. He's been a pretty consistent player the whole time. The only thing that's held him back is a few injuries, but other than that he's been a very good player."

(on if TE Owen Daniels is as strong as he was before his injuries) "I think he is. (TE Owen Daniels) OD, I could be wrong, he's overcome two different knees if I'm right. One in college and then one here. That's very hard to do. It tells you what type of worker he is. I would say he's playing right now as good as I've ever seen him play since he's been with me and he's played pretty darn good in the past. Hopefully, we keep our fingers crossed here, he stays healthy. He's on his way to a big year."

(on the Bills kick return game) "I told my team that we could singlehandedly get beat by these two returners. They're excellent, punt return, kick return. Obviously we started over from that standpoint with the bye week and our approach and what we're trying to do and how we're trying to get better. It couldn't be a bigger test for us right off the get go. If we're going to change our field position, we're going to have to get better in those two phases of the game. It will be as difficult this week as it'll probably be all year so it's a big challenge."

(on K Shayne Graham's kickoffs) "I don't think you can all of a sudden say if he's kicking it two yards deep say it's got to be out of the endzone. You can do what you can do. He does directional kick pretty good. The thing we've noticed he kicks off pretty well early in games and as the game goes on, they're not as good. So we tried to focus on that trying to keep him focused on some things we think can help him. We're going to have to be smart some of the things we do kicking the ball, too. If you know you can't kick it out of the endzone then you better know where you're kicking it and how you're going to cover, so we've got our hands full there. Hopefully we can start to improve that this week."

(on if some starters will play on special teams) "I think you'll see that as we go. We've got some guys working there, taking some reps there. When you've got a guy playing 60 plays, you hope that you can rest him on special teams, but I think the further we go, if we've got to call on a (WR) Kevin Walter or somebody to take a snap or two special teams, they'll be ready to do it."

(on SS Quintin Demps' status) "We don't take people to the ground, but watching him practice today I know he had one interception. He might've had two so he's using his hands good. He's big to our team. He's played well for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano), so all the indications today coming out of the padded practice that he should be ready to resume his role this weekend. So that's important to us."

(on NT Shaun Cody's status) "He's fine. He operates on a limited basis in practice, but he had his pads on. He took nine-on-sevens, so that's encouraging. He'll work tomorrow. We'll keep him on that program all year long. We know what we're going to get from (NT) Shaun (Cody) and there is no reason for us to leave his reps on the practice field."

(on SS Quintin Demps ) "He's a pro. He's been doing it awhile, and he's very demanding guy with his teammates and with his special teams guys. He plays the game physical so if we get down on the box and their running the ball nickel and we got him on the field, we feel good about him tackling, doing some type of things. I think we've missed his time on the field. I think it'll be good to have his presence back."

(on honoring the troops today and all week) "It's special for various reasons for me I don't want to get into. I do know that my trip the NFL gave me the opportunity to go on a couple years ago really touched me with what they do and how positive they are and what they do. Just to have their families out there today and we're starting to see a bunch of them. We're starting to see a bunch of them for a second and third time come out to practice. I commend our guys. Our guys are excellent with them, spent a lot of time with them. Like I said, the organization does a great job. It's a great weekend for them, and hopefully we can make it a little bit better."

(on why the Bills have a poor run defense) "They've been on the field I think more than anybody. I'm not positive with that, but I want to say time of possession-wise they've been on the field a bunch. When that happens that means somebody is probably running the ball on you. I don't know. I got to stay focused on what we do and for us running the ball is very important. That's the only thing I can think of right now."

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on his time with the Bills) "Obviously, I coached there six years, which really is the longest I've ever been anywhere. It was a privilege to coach for Ralph Wilson who was in the Hall of Fame, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and an honor that he picked me as a coach there, as it was with Jerry Jones and Pat Bowlen, and even Tom Benson on an interim basis and Arthur Blank on an interim basis. I don't have anything against Buffalo. I worked hard and tried to do the best I could do there and moved on when I had to. As far as any ill feelings or vengeance or all that, I'll leave that to somebody else. I had a great time there. I enjoyed it there. Like I said before, if I had a vengeance against people that let me go then it'd most of the teams in the league."

(on if he misses shoveling snow) "I had somebody do that for me. She's still with me though."

(on the Bills' playoff loss to Tennessee when he was Buffalo's head coach) "It was a low point but it was really a high point. Obviously, they had a great team. They were undefeated at home. It was 16 seconds left, we were ahead of them. It was almost a miracle victory for us. It was still a forward lateral, but that's neither here nor there."

(on the Bills' offense) "They're averaging a 150 yards a game (rushing), 5.3 rushing. They're the best running team we played against this season. They've got two really good backs. Both of them are capable of making big plays and they do. They're a spread-out kind of offense so they spread you out. It's more like a college offense than what we see every week. They're spread out all the time. They do a lot of empty stuff. It's a different situation, different challenge. Of course it is every week, but they give you a challenge especially in the running game because they have really good runners and their offensive line is good. When they get them all healthy, they've got a really good offensive line."

(on if there is any part of the defense that he isn't satisfied with) "Coaching probably first, we can always do better. You don't look at stats for everything, but I think it gives you a gauge on how you're doing in most areas. We're pretty strong in a lot of areas our guys don't make many mental mistakes. I can think of one that we had against Green Bay where we didn't cover a guy at all. Most of the time we have people-on-people covering them, guys rushing, our guys on the right responsibilities as far as the run is concerned. Our assignment football has been good. It's always working on technique, which you try to get better. We have great effort. Our team plays with great effort."

(on if he thinks the Green Bay loss was an aberration) "We think so. I'd like to play green Bay again, see what happens."

(on playing against DE Mario Williams) "It's a little bit different with players, I think. Almost every player I've been around, of course coaches can't go out there and get anybody anyway, but players most of the time, they play harder or better against the team that they were with before. That's what I've told my guys before. If you could play that good against your former team then you need to play that good every week. That's what we expect of you. It's motivation. With players, a lot of it is motivation to do better. It seems that for whatever reason even though they're happy, even though they seem they're not mad at the team they left, they tend to play better."

(on if it's uncommon to lose a player like DE Mario Williams and have the defense not be affected) "We had time to adjust because it was really four games and nine plays is all he played last year. We had a chance to adjust defensively and see what our players could do. We had some guys come in that played tremendously well for us, obviously."

(on the crowd possibly booing DE Mario Williams) "They booed me when I went back to Buffalo. I did the best I could do. You've got to figure that's going to happen."

(on people who think DE Mario Williams failed in Houston ) "No. (DE) Mario (Williams) played well for us the early part of last year."

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus having a larger role) "He showed some things last game, which we gave them an opportunity and took advantage of it. That's what you ask players to do is when they get the opportunity try to take advantage of it. Once they do that, they get more playing time and more opportunities."

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus' confidence level growing) "He and (OLB) Connor Barwin, you can just tell a difference even though both of them are doing well and what they did. You can tell confidence wise both of those guys are just stronger mentally."

(on SS Quintin Demps) "(SS Quintin) Demps practiced, except for two broken arms he's doing pretty good. Actually, it's an arm and a thumb."

(on SS Quintin Demps returning) "He's a good player. He was starting for us in our nickel stuff and third down stuff. It'll be good if he can get back and play."

(on if SS Quintin Demps can tackle) "I think he can. We're not tackling, but I don't think he'll have a problem with that."

(on the Texans defense) "You really have to play good pass defense in this league. Our emphasis and everybody says, 'Oh, you all don't have a good enough running defense,' and all that stuff at times. I just think we try to play really good with whatever the other team does. Our guys are focused on the two running backs this week. If we can stop those two guys, then that'd be a big part of winning. Our guys have learned to win. I think that's probably the biggest thing is they've learned how to win."

(on ILB Barrett Ruud's status) "We let (ILB) Mister Alexander go. I think he'll probably, (Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) can tell you more, but he'll probably be active this week. He's learned the defense, but you're still playing with a guy that you hadn't had. He'll see limited action that way. We'd like to get him back in, because he has been a good football player in this league."

OLB Bryan Braman
(on stopping the Bills kick returners) "Just play the game plan that's given, (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe's (Marciano) drawn up a pretty good game plan. He's given us a lot of good information for us to use so that way we can take their special teams out of the game."

(on what impresses him the most about the Bills) "They've got a good return game and their coverage game isn't real horrible. We've kind of struggled in the return game. Their coverage game can obviously hurt our return game. Their return game can obviously hurt our coverage team. It's something that we're really emphasizing this week as far as their returners and making sure that we're getting our returners going. We're out there concentrated on that in practice. Hopefully we can get it going."

(on how the Bills' return game compares to others) "They've got two returners back there. Normally the other teams that we faced have one returner back there. That's an angle that we're having to take a look at. (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe's (Marciano) got us drawn up a pretty good game plan for us."

TE Owen Daniels
(on the challenges of helping block Buffalo DE Mario Williams) "Well, we know what type of player he is. I saw it for six years. He's a big, physical guy. He's good (against) both run and pass, I think. He's really, really stout against the run and obviously a really powerful pass rusher. We tend to face guys every week that we kind of have help on. Don't want to leave the tackles on an island too much. It's good to get help from time to time. We'll do what we usually do. But we know he'll be ready to play, for sure."

(on his mindset going against a guy like DE Mario Williams who he's gone against a lot in practice) "Same mindset. I don't think because we know Mario (Williams)that things will be too different. I've got to be really conscious of fundamentals because he's such a big guy and has such long arms. I need to pay attention to that and be on my game that way. Any way we can help out Newt (RT Derek Newton) and (LT) Duane (Brown), it's going to help our team, for sure."

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying this is the best he's seen him play) "It's good to hear that from him. Really good to hear that from him. I feel good. This is the best I've felt physically in a long time. I think it show up on Sundays. They've been taking really good care of me, obviously during camp and throughout the first half of the season, giving me breaks and taking reps off, just so I'm fresh on Sundays. I think I'm pretty good about making sure that I know what I'm doing mentally. So missing a couple reps during the week isn't a big deal. It pays off on Sundays."

(on if he thinks he is playing as good now as when he made the Pro Bowl) "I think I'm more complete, honestly. I'm playing a lot better against the run, a lot better in pass (protection) than I was back then. I know I'm stronger than I was back then. I think I'm just a little more stout. I was younger then. I was like 26 years old. I'm getting close to 30, but I feel great. I feel as good as I did back then."

(on his route-running ability) "I played a bunch of sports growing up. Being able to use quickness from basketball, explosiveness from track and field, stuff back from high school I think that helped me transition when I was at Wisconsin, getting into route-running, just having a feel for it. I don't if I think that just came naturally, but that's something you've got to work on because guys in the NFL are good. They'll watch film and they'll catch up to you. You've got to change things up and keep people off-balance that way. I've continued to work on that and will continue to as well."

(on if there is a difference taking care of his body now compared to when he was younger) "It was just easier to recover back then. But I learned doing things differently in the offseason, making sure I'm eating right and doing the right things after practice during the week to make sure my body is as fresh as possible for Sunday. You didn't have to pay as much attention to that when you're first coming out of college. You learn from older guys. You see (WR) Kevin Walter and (WR) Andre (Johnson) taking care of their bodies. It's no surprise that they've been playing as long as they have and as well as they have. I just try to learn from those guys."

(on if anything happened that made him alter how he takes care of himself) "I don't think so, nothing really specific. I think, as you get older you just find ways to make sure you're feeling good when you start training camp, make sure I did all the right things all offseason to make sure I'm feeling good and fresh and not overdoing it. Obviously you want to work hard, but you want to work smart as well. You don't want to wear yourself out before things get going too much. I think I'm a couple years removed from injuries and had a healthy season last year, for the most part, under my belt. And that helps going into an offseason, where you can just focus on getting fresh and getting in shape. You don't have to worry about rehab and stuff. I think that has a lot to do with it."

(on keeping his mind as well as his body fresh) "I think anytime you have a chance, we were talking about the bye week, to be able to get away, obviously taking care of your body, having a rest in that fashion helps out. You also have got to be able to get away from it mentally, so you can come back in the building, be fresh and ready to go that way. So much of the game is mental. I think it's mostly mental, honestly, especially playing tight end in this offense, you're expected to do a lot of different things. That makes it fun and making sure you're fresh mentally is really important going down the home stretch in the second half of the season."

(on how long after his last knee injury did he feel like himself again) "That's a good question. I'd like to say earlier than I probably was, in reality feeling great. I know I felt pretty good at times last season. I kind of felt like I was wearing down toward the end of the season. Sometime during last season I felt pretty good and I felt more explosive. Definitely this offseason with what I was doing with training and with Ced (Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Cedric Smith) and the guys here felt really, really good."

(on if the success he is having this season may be because he is feeling better) "I think so. I can see, I can look on film and tell a difference with the way I'm moving this year compared to last year. I can probably show anybody and they can probably recognize it. That's what I like seeing. I'm excited to see that and hopefully I can continue looking like that on film and I can continue moving around well. That's where I'm at right now."

(on how his relationship with WR Andre Johnson has grown over the years they have played together) "I love playing with Dre (WR Andre Johnson). It's an honor playing with Dre. He's in my mind, the greatest, if not one of the greatest all-time. His game has helped me out a lot. I think the success I've had has had a ton to do with what Dre's doing on the field. You've always got to have a safety over the top with Dre. He's always getting help. There's two people paying attention to him at all times, at least two people. That kind of leaves everyone else kind of manned-up. I take pride in beating man coverage. Just what he does out there gives us more opportunities to make plays. I've seen him grow as a player over the years. His talent is just limitless in my eyes. I've seen him get better at catching the ball from the time I was a rookie to now. He's always been a hard worker. He's always been the hardest worker out there. It's amazing to see a guy as talented as he was, as a good a player as he was when I came in in 2006 to progress the way that he has and fought through in injuries and stuff like that and still be a positive leader for this team. He's definitely opened up more. I think I was as a rookie, obviously, a little bit in awe of  Andre. I think most people who come in here are. Still in awe but I can actually talk to him and we can joke around and stuff like that, as much as you can joke around with Dre."

(on if there are any tight ends he has tried to emulate) "The whole paying attention to tight ends was new for me because I only played it a couple years in college. I was more focused on the quarterback I wanted to be like. But since I've been in the league, one of the things I do every offseason is look at film from other player, other guys that are productive guys in the league that can run, that can catch the ball, that can block. I've always looked at a guy like Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, those type of guys that have been consistently productive and have been doing it for a long time. And there's other guys on that list but just try to see what they're doing and see what I can get from their game to improve my game."

(on what he wants to see from the offense coming out of the bye week) "Well, there's a lot of things we need to work on, like starting faster. Those last few weeks before the bye we didn't really get off to really great starts offensively. It took us a few series to get going. It was almost like we were waiting for something to happen before we got going. So if we get off to a faster start like we were earlier in the year and putting a great drive together and getting points right off the bat is big. We've been pretty good on third downs and I mentioned this before, being perfect on third-and-short yardage, third and 1 and 2. Since we pride ourselves in running the ball, being able to get a yard, if they have everyone in the box, it shouldn't matter. We still should be able to get it. Those are the two big things that I think if we can get better there, we'll be able to stay on the field longer and keep the ball in our hands, keep our defense off the field, keep their offense off the field, give us a lot better chance to get some more wins."

(on if he remember tearing his ACL against the Bills in 2009) "Yeah, I remember that day. I had done it before a couple times, so I knew exactly what happened right when it happened. It was tough for a lot of different reasons. I was playing well. The team was playing well and it was the best start we had had. At the end of the day on that Sunday I got hurt, we ended up winning and we were 5-3 and in control of our own destiny at that point. So not being a part of it from that point forward, that's a nightmare as a player, having to watch your guys go to work and not being able to help them out. It's always tough that way. Thinking about the road ahead, obviously, is tough, too."

(on if it's tougher or easier coming back from an ACL injury when you've been through it before) "I'd like to say that in my mind it was going to be easier but it ended up being harder. I knew the lay of the land, I knew the ropes, in terms of what it was going to take getting back to rehab and how patient I needed to be. But I don't think I was back as quickly as I wanted to be. I had a setback during the rehab, so that hurt. But we made it through that. I think it's tougher because, probably because I was a little older. The body doesn't react as quickly, doesn't recover as quickly when I was 18 and hurt my knee. It was a tougher road. I wish it would have been easier."

RB Justin Forsett
(on if anything has changed for him this week knowing he could play a lot on Sunday) "Nothing has changed for me. I try to go out every practice and work as if I'm going to get time in the game. That way I'm not surprised or anything like that going into the game I'm ready for it."

(on this opportunity on Sunday) "Anytime I can step on the field and show what I can do is an opportunity for me. I've been in this league a long time and I still carry a chip on my shoulder. I still think I have something to prove every time I get on the field. It's a great opportunity for me to seize."

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's confidence in him) "That feels good to know that and the guys around me encouraging me and telling me they believe in me. It's awesome to have that. I'm excited to go on the field and prove them right."

SS Quintin Demps
(on his injuries this season) "It's crazy. It's been a struggle, but without no struggle you can't get better. I'm just looking forward to getting back on my teammates and making progress."

K Shayne Graham
(on the challenges of facing two kick returners) "Wherever the ball is, it's going to be in someone dangerous's hands. It's not completely out of the ordinary to have never seen it before. I've seen it quite a few times. It's always different. Every team is coached up differently and placed in different spots on the field. It's just something you adapt to."

(on if he's prepared to make tackles) "I think every time we line up we're ready for that. We hope it doesn't come down to that. Sometimes you make those tackles. I've made some of those tackles since I've been here and I've missed one of those tackles since I've been here. My job is to play my role on that team. If it comes down to making a tackle, then that's what I'm willing to do."

RB Jonathan Grimes
(on how it feels to be back with the Texans) "It's really good. (Head Coach Gary) Kubiak and (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick Smith always said I had a home here. It's just good to be back home, feels really great."

(on his arrival in Houston) "I got here around 11, like 10:15 and came here and got on the field as soon as I could."

(on him playing Sunday) "Alright, ready to go to work. It's just good to be back and be back in this system and everything."

(on what he plans on adding to the team) "Whatever they need me to do, whatever role they want either on offense or special teams, I just want to contribute positively every play."

WR Andre Johnson
(on if it feels good to be back to work after the bye week) "It's good. Football is always good. It was different. We had a little break, but I think it's something that was needed for the team. Guys were a little banged up, but that's just part of the game. We had a little break to get fresh and get ready to play nine straight."

(on the challenges the Bills present) "I think they're a very talented football team. You can see it on film. They just haven't been able to put it all together yet, but they definitely have a lot of talent. Like I've said before, you can't overlook anybody in this league. You have to come and play every Sunday or you can be beaten. We're going to go out and prepare and do what we need to do just like we do for any other team."

(on how he feels) "Yeah, I'm fine. I think week by week my body feels better and better. I'm fine."

(on TE Owen Daniels and this offense) "(TE) Owen (Daniels) is a great player. He's runs great routes. I think that's one of biggest things I recognize about Owen when he first got here, the way he set guys up when he runs routes and things like that. He means a lot to our offense. He's another big weapon for us. He's a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end. He's on a great pace right now so far this season."

(on if TE Owen Daniels looks as good as he did before his injuries) "Yeah, you can tell he's much more comfortable out there when he's running and stuff with the ball. His running form and everything, he looks like he's much more comfortable. He's running a lot faster and things like that. Sometimes when you have those injuries it just takes a little time to get back comfortable especially when it's dealing with knees and stuff like that."

(on facing Bills DE Mario Williams) "It'll be different, but we've still got to go out and play the game. He spent several years here, and I'm pretty sure it'll be different for him just being in the visiting team locker room. Pretty sure he's going to come out with a lot of emotion and things like that. You can't get caught up in all of that. You still have to go out there and play the game."

(on the Bills defense) "Like I said before, I think they're very talented. You just see sometimes where they do things to hurt themselves when they bust a coverage or something like that. I think overall they're a very talented group. It's just about them putting it all together. They rely on their front to get pressure on the quarterback. They have a good front. We have to go out and protect (QB) Matt (Schaub). We as playmakers have to go out and make plays on the field."

(on why he's wearing a Rice hat) "I haven't had a haircut in a few weeks so I don't want you all to see my hair."

(on if he knocked off rust earlier this season from missing preseason time) "When I actually sit down and think about it, the past two seasons I've missed a ton of football. I can't tell you the last time I've really done a full training camp. Those are things that, training camp, even maybe full OTAs, those are things that get you ready for the season. I've missed a lot of that just battling through different injuries and stuff like that. I think now I'm just starting to feel faster, feel a little bit more flexible and things like that. I think my play is kind of starting to show it because I've had a few people that come up to me and say, 'Hey man, you look like you're feeling more comfortable out on the field and stuff like that.' I'm starting to feel better and like I said before, every week I feel better."

(on if it's exciting to feel that good right now) "Yeah, hopefully I can keep feeling better as we keep winning and it can just carry on throughout the season. Knock on wood, we just hope nothing bad happens."

(on his missed practice yesterday) "I just had something personal that I had to take care of. It wasn't nothing about no injuries or nothing like that. It was just something personal off the field I had to take care of."

DE Antonio Smith
(on what concerns him the most about the Bills) "What concerns me the most is they got like a lot of things that we haven't seen. That's what I would kind of feel antsy about is that the offense they run we haven't seen this year. They spread people out, but yet they still run the ball effectively. It's something we're going to have to adjust to and figure out how to play."

(on if the Bills' offense reminds him of college offenses) "Yeah, basically. Basically a lot of the college teams are running that style of offense. When I was playing, Texas Tech used to kind of run it. Oregon is kind of running it now. If you're familiar with that, you know it's just a spread-out offense where they're throwing quick, short passes to pick up first downs, but yet they still got a good running game, keeping you off your toes."

(on if he's talked to Bills DE Mario Williams) "I've talked to him via text. Right now, he's playing tough like I ain't getting under his skin. I ain't really messed with him yet, but that's my brother. I'm like big brother, so I've got to mess with him."

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