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Quotes: Thursday practice

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar
LT Duane Brown
CB Kareem Jackson
CB Johnathan Joseph
SS Danieal Manning
RB Ben Tate

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on injury updates) "(RB Ben) Tate did not practice today. (DE) Antonio (Smith) did not practice today. He's sick and (ILB Tim) Dobbins was limited in practice today. (NT) Shaun (Cody) did practice. (TE Owen Daniels) OD did practice, so another step in the right direction with those two guys. That's where we're at today."

(on RB Ben Tate's status today) "Well he worked yesterday, looked real good working and then just didn't like the way he came out of it this morning, how he was feeling, was sore. So we back off for a day, he'll go back to work tomorrow. We'll see where we're at. It's just a process, getting this kid on the field. He missed a lot of time. We need him to get back out there and trying to do it the right way. I don't think we had a setback or anything. I just didn't like the way he responded to his limited work yesterday."

(on DE Antonio Smith's health) "He's just sick. We've actually had a few people sick, so battling through it.

(on how TE Owen Daniels looked today) "He looked better today than yesterday. Obviously, today we worked real hard, so to see him make it through that is important. I've got to go back and look at it some more. We got another couple days here, but I think he's heading toward playing. But there are some other things we still have to see him and (NT) Shaun (Cody) do, in my opinion, but they've taken steps in the right direction."

(on Reliant Park being sued over the field conditions) "First off, I'm not going to comment on that. But I will say this, I think our field is great. I think our guys do a great job. That's all I've got to say."

(on if he's concerned about the field) "No, I think our field is excellent. I think our guys do a wonderful job with it."

(on the defense's success) "I think we're gaining confidence. I think I made this comment yesterday, we had a group of guys that was put together in a lot of different ways. You go get (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe. You go get (SS Danieal) Manning, two very good players. You, I don't want to use the word stumble, but you end up with a hell of a draft choice in (DE) J.J. (Watt). All of the sudden, there is a lot of talent on that side of the ball and they've played a lot of football together in the last year and a half. Obviously, (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) does a great job and the coaches have done a wonderful job. I think it's an effort that just kind of continues to grow together because they got so much confidence in each other. I think the best is yet to come and that's a good thing for us."

(on if this is a great defense) "You don't use those words until you get through a season. That's just the way it is. I can say this, they work to be great every day. All our players do. We've got a wonderful group of guys that are committed to a cause and the way they go about their business. They were very good in practice today. I know I say that a lot but that's the way they work. They're hard on each other and it shows when they play."

(on ILB Darryl Sharpton's status) "He's doing really good. I think there is a decision we could be making at the end of the week. We still have another week if we don't want to do it so there is still time. He's been doing some hitting himself. We have put him in some pads at times so that he's getting some work without beating up some of these guys that have played 600-700 snaps. I think we're close and maybe this weekend. I don't know."

(on how he is doing this season) "I'm doing alright."

(on if he's a better head coach this season) "A head coach is as good as the people that are around him. I've got a great group of guys working for me, working with me, the coaches. The job, like I said, the job (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips), the job (Offensive Coordinator) Rick's (Dennison) done has been absolutely incredible, in my opinion. Rick lost five key players and look at the job he's done and what we've done running the football and offensively.  The job (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano) is doing. What we went through the first half of the season, to watch Joe turn this around the last few weeks and get it heading in the right direction, it takes a lot of people to be successful."

(on if he did his self-evaluation at the halfway point of the season) "I do. I'll always go back. All my years in this league, I'm a guy that takes a lot of notes and how I did this a few years ago, how I handled that a few years ago, why we did this, why we did that, so always checking myself from that standpoint. I've also got great people that I can pull from. If I think we need to get out of pads for a day, I'm not going to just go do it. I'm going to go ask some of these guys, 'What do you all think? This is what I'm thinking.' You learn a lot. You've got to go out and be aggressive to win games and a lot of ways sometimes you learn how not to lose games. That's something that you've got to learn, too, when you're team is in position to finish a day off and not make a mistake so to speak. Hopefully I've learned a lot and I've had a lot of good people around me to help me."

(on what it was like having Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar back at practice) "It's good. I understand (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line) Bill (Kollar) stopped by here to talk to you all. Bill's energy on the practice field, does a tremendous job with our guys up front. The people he's had some issues with some injuries, some things going on, but yet they continue to produce. Bill gets young players playing really well, real quick. (DE Jared) Crick is a great example right now, the job he's done with Crick up to this point, the way he's starting to help this team. First off, Bill's health is most important, but it sure is fun to have him back at practice and out there griping today, so it was good."

(on how often he's glad that SS Danieal Manning is on this team) "Every day. I can't tell you what him and (CB) Johnathan (Joseph), those acquisitions last year, I think if you really go back and look what's happened since they came in here. It's been huge and I say this all the time, but not only as football players but they're great people. They're leaders down there. (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe has been a great example for (CB) Kareem (Jackson). (SS Danieal Manning) D-Man's be a great example for (FS Glover Quin) GQ, for (SS Quintin) Demps and those guys. It's one thing to get good players. You go out in free agency and obviously you're chasing good football players, but when you get great people too that sure as hell helps."

(on watching the defense from the sideline) "I watch every play of the game. Like the other night, to get those turnovers in the first half, it was huge because we had given it up a couple times ourselves. To feel the energy of the team last week with four minutes left and a very difficult situation to play in, you could feel your team saying, 'Hey coach, run the dang the ball. We're going to win this game. We'll stop them again. Let's not make a mistake.' We all feel that, but that's a great feeling to know that you turn something over to them they'll finish it off for you. Yeah, we take a lot of pride in finishing games offensively, the way we can run the ball against any front. Those two things together hopefully will win us a few more."

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on being motivated this week) "What do we do to motivate this week? I know that's coming. I told (SS) Danieal Manning that we're playing Chicago this week, but they're wearing Jacksonville uniforms. But I told too, in all seriousness, you have to play at a high level and you have to get ready and you have to be motivated every ballgame. Whatever that motivation is, our motivation is really it's not because you're playing a really good team like Chicago. Our motivation is to be as good as we can be. To do that, you have to get ready. I think this game, if we play the same high level, high intensity as we did last game, we've taken a step forward. If we don't, then we've taken a step back so that's the way we approach it."

(on if this is a great defense) "I think we're playing at a high level. That's what we have to do. We did that last year. I thought at the end of the year we were awfully good at the end of the year, maybe in the great level at the end of the season last year. I think we're getting back to that point. Again, it takes a whole season and whole body of work. We don't make many mistakes in the ball game. That's what I like. We play tremendously hard. Our tremendous effort along with the talent has made us where we are now. Anytime you're up there like you are, and they were talking about and rightfully so, Chicago being a great defense. I would say we're in that category especially after this last game."

(on what his best defense has been) "3-4 has been my best defense. We played a little bear defense at Philadelphia when I was there. I don't really compare them. I've been lucky to be with a lot of really good teams and really good players. A lot of it's been first the players, but then also the offensive teams that we've been with control the ball when we got the ball back those things of things. I was with the Oilers with (DE) Elvin Bethea and (DT) Curley Code, who may go in the Hall of Fame. I was with (DE) Reggie White. I was with (DE) Bruce Smith. We had a great defense at San Diego when I was there. We led the lead in sacks. At Dallas, we led the league in sacks. I've just been with a lot of good teams. I think winning is the most important part of all of it. The year we went 14-2 at San Diego we had an awfully good team. We went to the Super Bowl at Denver. It's all team. Again, it's not stats. It's really winning. That's what you want."

(on his best defense) "Well, Philadelphia was awfully good and San Diego, we were really good. We had a lot of turnovers in San Diego. And part of that was they were 4-12 the year before and then we went 12-4 with that group, so I think to make that step forward so much, I just think a lot of that group. (LB Shawne) Merriman was there when we led the league in sacks and (Shaun) Phillips and those guys."

(on if he's ever had a team suffer a major injury like ILB Brian Cushing's) "Bruce Smith was out the first few games my first year at Buffalo. We lost the first three, but he came back and we came back. Michael Vick was out the last season in Atlanta, the last three games or whatever and we won two out of those. It can affect you certainly, but our guys have stepped up. (ILB Tim) Dobbins has played really well. (ILB) Bradie James has played really well for us so that helped us."

(on ILB Tim Dobbins being fined) "I don't understand the fine system when (ILB Brian) Cushing gets put out for the season on an illegal play. I know (ILB Tim) Dobbins hit the guy. I understand that. It's his first offense. (QB Matt) Schaub got hit way worse than that in a ballgame and the fine was a lot lower than that, I know that. I just don't see the fairness in all of it when it's only defensive players, basically. If a linebacker gets put out for the season, well it's $10,000. But it's $30,000 if a quarterback gets hit and he made an 11-yard run the next play and tried to run over our defensive back. Then he played the next series and had a 19-yard run in that series. When did he get a concussion? You can't say he got it then for sure."

(on determining if a quarterback is beyond the line of scrimmage) "Well he's throwing the ball, you still have to be careful because you can't determine whether he's 1 or 2 yards past the line of scrimmage unless he tucks the ball under or something like that. If he's in a throwing motion, we've got to be careful. We teach that. I'm not saying the guy shouldn't have been fined. I'm just saying I don't understand the fine system because it was on national TV and it was a quarterback and they said the Chicago quarterback got a concussion. Now it's a big fine. It's not if (ILB Brian) Cushing played in another game. I don't understand all that."

(on DE Antonio Smith saying the he coached the defensive line on Sunday) "Yeah, (DE) Antonio (Smith) took credit for that. He sure did. But those four guys played really well – we only played four guys, and they rotated, so I thought those guys played tremendously well to have only four guys there."

(on how good it was to have Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar back at practice today) "It woke everybody up. It's great to have him back. All of you know he's a tremendous coach, and he got a big hand when he was in the meeting today from the players for him returning. We're obviously glad he's back and going to be okay."

(on how his outside linebackers have been playing despite not getting many sacks) "They're playing really well. You saw (OLB) Connor's (Barwin) ability when he jumped over the back and it was an incompletion on the play. We almost had an interception. That guy's a great athlete. He gives tremendous effort all the time, as does (OLB) Brooks Reed, and (OLB Whitney) Mercilus is playing, too. We got him in the ballgame and he did some good things, so I feel good about the way they're playing. Again, if you're judged only on sacks, I think you're wrong. I've had some really good linebackers that didn't get many sacks but were really good players, and these guys fit in there."

(on how he has prepared for a Sunday-Thursday turnaround like the one Houston will face in the next two weeks) "We have our quality control people working on next week, but we don't look at next week. We look at right now and play this game, and then when it comes, even though it's fast, we have to spend a certain amount of time working on the next opponent. It's just you've got to do it fast. It takes more time because it comes in a shorter period, but we've done that before. Of course, I was at Dallas, so we played every Thanksgiving, and then certainly played on Thanksgiving Day against Detroit and Dallas. The other team has to do the same thing, even though they're playing at home, which I think is a good advantage for those teams; I thought it was at Dallas that we got to play at home in a short period, but you've still got to play well, no matter what."

(on whether the short turnaround between Sunday and Thursday impacts personnel decisions on Sunday) "For the next game? No. You try to win every game and then whenever you play the next one, you play it. And when we're winning games, we think about that. We've taken guys out in certain games and said, 'Hey, we want to make sure so-and-so doesn't get hurt in this game,' because there's always a chance of injury in football."

(on the reasons for the secondary's improvement over the last two seasons) "Well, I think we were at the top of the League last year, so I think they're playing at a high level. It's just more experience in what we're doing and how we're doing it, and they work hard on the techniques involved. Everybody says, 'Well, you play man-to-man or you play zone,' but it's how you play the man-to-man, how you play the zone. There's so many looks in football, as far as offenses give you so many different looks, from five wide receiver look to three backs in the backfield, so there's a lot of different combinations and the more experience you have in it and when you do the certain techniques in certain ways and you see the same things again, then you use that resource."

(on whether he feels that the expanded Thursday night schedule is good for the NFL) "I think now that more teams have them (Thursday games), it's probably better than when you only had a couple. I know Lamar Hunt always wanted to have (more) because he always felt that Dallas and Detroit had an unfair advantage of having the only Thursday games. I think it came from him that they got an extra one, and now we've got quite a few. It's the same for both teams, and I don't even know that the home team even has an advantage. Now that we've got a lot of them, we'll see. Usually the best team has an advantage."

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar
(on when he got back to Houston) "I got back around 3 o'clock and got over to the office and got ready on the Jaguars."

(on what happened in Chicago that resulted in him going to the hospital) "Well, I had it once before up in Buffalo and I know the ramifications that you can get out of it. I had a hard time breathing, and sort of got ramrodded a little bit to not be able to go out onto the field, but as it turns out, obviously we had a great win and I'm still alive, so pretty happy about that. Hopefully everything moves forward from here."

(on whether it was a blood circulation problem that sent him to the hospital) "No, I had some blood clots in my lungs and also down in my calves. What happens is it really ends up getting to the point where you have a real hard time breathing. Like I said, the only way I knew it was because I had it once before and wanted to make sure everything was taken care of the right way."

(on what caused the blood clots) "Well, I had knee surgery three weeks ago and was on blood thinner right afterward for 10 days, and unfortunately, though, it didn't work quite as well as we had hoped and the blood clots occurred."

(on how much of the game he was able to watch live) "Zero."

(on how difficult it was to not be able to see the game) "It was real bad. I was over at the hospital at the start of the game and I kept telling them I wanted a TV and they didn't have any down in the emergency room, so I never really got to see it until the fourth quarter started, but obviously I was really excited the way the game went and to get the win like that was sure awesome."

(on receiving the game ball from Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "Oh yeah. That's a heck of a gesture, obviously, and I really appreciate it."

(on what he thought of the game after watching the tape) "A game like that is really tough to end up playing for everybody, when you're sliding around the field and all that kind of stuff. It really takes a heck of a game, especially to be on the road in a hostile crowd like that, and to be able to come up with a win obviously turns out to be a tremendous thing for the Texans, and we're really looking forward to keep moving forward."

(on how it felt to be back on the field with his players today) "Oh, awesome. It's really tough; it's almost like you're totally away from it when you're not there at the game. It really is a really funny feeling. I've never had that before. I talked to the guys after the game and on Monday and Tuesday, and to get back out, it really ends up making it nice."
(on DE Antonio Smith saying that he coached the defensive line in Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Bill Kollar's absence) "Yeah, and you saw how hard it was, too, when he was doing it. No, he did a heck of a job. The guys ended up working hard and doing a heck of a job."

LT Duane Brown
(on expecting a physical game against the Jaguars) "Their front seven is tough. They've got some big guys over there. We're strapping up. We're getting ready and being that we won the last meeting, we're expecting them to give us their best effort coming in here. That's what we're expecting."

(on why the games against Jacksonville always seem to get testy) "It's just history. We play them twice a year. They've gotten the best of us sometimes and some games we've won. Regardless, we know both of us are trying to hit each other in the mouth. That's what it is. Both of us have very physical styles of play. Their offense likes to run the ball, likes to pound it. Our offense likes to do the same. Like I said, they're coming in our house this week so we're expecting their best effort and we got to get after it."

(on his feelings for the Jaguars) "We just go out and try to handle business every week. Like I said, we know what kind of team they are no matter what their record is for either team. We're expecting a very physical game. I don't hate anybody, but I'm going to do my job and I'm going to try to beat the person whoever is lined up in front of me. That's just how it is."

(on if he doesn't 'hate them' what describes his feelings for the Jaguars) "I don't have any negative feelings for them. It's a respect that I have for them. I just know what to expect. I don't go sleeping on any player on their defense. I know to buckle up and to get ready for a big play. That's how I look at them, but I don't expect to lose either."

(on what he expects from the Jaguars) "For them to try to hit you in the mouth, they're a very tough group, not a finesse team by any means, very physical. That's what you have to bring to the table as well."

(on not overlooking the Jaguars) "Absolutely, I would never overlook them. You can look at some of the games they've been in. Look at the game they had against Green Bay, that's in my opinion, the best team that we played this year. They were in a very, very hard-fought game against them, so this is not a team that I overlook at all. You can't overlook anybody in this league, especially not them."

CB Kareem Jackson
(on the Jaguars' offense) "They kind of go into a spread if you want to call it that or whatever. They have playmakers as well. They're doing a lot more. It'll be exciting for us. We'll get the chance to make some plays."

(on what he attributes his success this season to) "It's a lot of things. (Defensive Backs) Coach Vance (Joseph), he's helped me out a lot with my technique. My thing was just get better every year and so far I've been able to do that."

(on if he ever lost confidence) "No, I know what I'm capable of as a player coming in. It takes time to get accustomed to the new things that you see. I'm sure when you first started your job, you weren't the best at it. As times goes on, you get accustomed to the things. You learn different things that can help you throughout the way. That's kind of the same thing with me. Year three, I've been able to improve every year. I just want to continue to get better."

(on how the secondary is close off the field) "It helps a lot because every day, all day, we're always talking football, whether we're here, whether somebody is having a gathering at their house, whether we're bowling, whatever the case may be. For us, we see eye-to-eye in every aspect even off the field issues whatever the case may be. It's almost like we're brothers so that helps out a lot once we're on the field. We know we'll all be on the same page."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon) "He's obviously a physical guy. He's got great physical tools with his speed and size ratio, and things like that. He's a young player, first year in this league. You're going to go through some growing pains but from the first time to the second time we played them, you watch on film you notice that he's gotten noticeably better at a lot of different things."

(on how important it is to keep Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon from having a big game) "Just stay the course, just use your technique and things that you do all week throughout practice and just take it to the game field and don't do anything different that you've done before."

(on what makes the secondary so good as a unit and if it's a trust factor) "I think that's probably the biggest thing that we have with each other. We trust in each other that we're always going to be in the right spots. We're all going to do it the right way and make it look the same way each and every time. When you have that in the back end, you limit your chances of giving up big plays and things like that because everybody is on the same page."

(on Coach Kubiak's praise for him and SS Danieal Manning) "It's always good to hear that from your coaches, your peers, teammates, anybody that gives you praise like that because for me and (SS) Danieal (Manning) and the guys on this team we just want to come out and show guys how to work each and every day and put the time in and not just on Sundays. Whether it's in the classroom, in the locker room, being great teammates to the younger guys, or on the practice field showing guys how to practice and show up each and every day."

(on CB Kareem Jackson's progression) "Like I said, when I first got here, the first time I watched him I could tell the guy was a football player, just from his knowledge of the game of football overall. In this league, playing cornerback in the type of defense that we play, of aggressive, man-to-man style, we sometimes have them all by yourself for the most part of the game. You're going to probably give up some plays here and there, but for the most part he's minimized those plays. He made pretty much every play that came his way. That's what you want to see from a guy. He gives us a lot of leverage and things that we can do in the back end with manning him up man and me up on the outside and just sending extra pass rushers."

SS Danieal Manning
(on if the offense gets the breaks when it comes to discipline) "I just think sometimes it's not properly justified or guys are not telling us exactly how and when and where to hit people. They bring it in early in the season. They tell us about it, but you always have questions. It's not enough time to ask every question."

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's praise of him and CB Johnathan Joseph) "It says a lot about (CB) Johnathan (Joseph) and myself and how much we put into this team and how much we put into this game. It does say a lot about the experiences that we both acquired from our journey in the league. We come here and we're able to make that connection with other guys and guys are able to listen to us. I also pick up stuff from (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe as well, just some routes he knows, some alignments. He teaches me and I learn what I can do as a safety."

(on the secondary developing a trust factor) "It's definitely that. It's definitely just snaps and a lot of people don't understand that after this we do more off the field stuff. We hang out all the time. We're at everybody's house. We're going to the movies, going bowling, going to eat. We're always hanging out. You get to learn more about a guy, you tend to trust him a lot more."

(on if he's had similar camaraderie with other defensive backfields) "This one is different because everyone is hanging out. You don't really have too many cliques. Every DB is always hanging out. Even the coaches come hang out with us. It's a lot of love in this back end."

RB Ben Tate
(on when he injured his hamstring) "It happened against the Ravens, the last time I touched the ball, that cut back run."

(on if his progress has been slower than he would like) "No. It's not. I'm actually pretty much on pace to kind of where I thought I would be. Actually beginning of this week, it's been feeling great. Sunday is still a possibility. We just got to see where it goes."

(on not practicing today) "It's fine. I've been working hard on it every day. It just needed a rest."

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