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Quotes: Thursday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
OLB Connor Barwin
G Brandon Brooks
WR Andre Johnson
WR DeVier Posey
OLB Brooks Reed
DE Antonio Smith

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team's health) "The only guy that didn't practice today was (CB) Alan (Ball) once again. (OLB) Brooks (Reed) took a full load today at practice, so that's an encouraging sign. All indications are he'll be okay as long as he makes it through the week and should be ready to go, so that's where we're at physically."

(on WR DeVier Posey's progress) "He's been coming all year long. I think over the course of the last month, I just think the lights kind of went on for DeVier. He doesn't have to work so hard when we put in game plans and new stuff comes his way. He understands things, so his talents have really started to take over. He played some special teams, did some good things for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano) and then he got sat down a couple weeks, too, just because of numbers. I just think he got real hungry. He's earned an opportunity. We gave him a chance to make some plays and he's stepped up and done that and will continue to. It's just nice to watch some of these young guys grow up as we get down the stretch here and move into January, because that's what gives you a chance to get better."

(on WR DeVier Posey) "Well DeVier has got the size. He's got the speed. He's got all those things that you look for when you're talking about ones and twos in this league. We knew that. He had missed a year of football and it showed when he came to camp; especially early in the season, you could tell just the day-to-day grind of everything. He was having to catch back up again. All the skill is there. Usually when players gain a lot of confidence at the end of year one, it can lead to some really good things in year two. You look at what (DE) J.J. (Watt) did at the end of last year and how he's played this year. I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him, but obviously he's got the ability to be a good player."

(on WR DeVier Posey's big catch last Sunday) "He's shown his teammates at practice that he's ready to do that, so that's an important part. They've seen it in practice. He really works (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Jo over from a standpoint of scout team. He won't let J-Jo rest on any given day, so he's earned the respect of the guys. Then he goes out there and does it. As a coach, you're always telling guys, 'If you do it out here in practice, you'll probably do it in a game,' so it's nice to see it carry over. I just think he's got a lot of confidence right now."

(on G Brandon Brooks' play right now) "Just the same thing, I could go through the same thing. The more he plays, the more confidence he gets. We put him in some goal-line situations. He's practicing now like a starter or a two, so from a rep standpoint he's getting a ton of reps. I think you know what a lot of credit too probably to (G) Ben (Jones). They work side-by-side together. They're good friends. They challenge each other. They study together and you can just see that Brandon has caught up from a standpoint mentally that he can go cut it loose every day.  That's the biggest challenge for those young guys. If he keeps coming, that's going to make us better too."

(on G Brandon Brooks' power ) "He's very athletic for a big, big man. He's very athletic. We play a lot of people from that standpoint. You're looking for people that are stout inside so you don't get pushed around. You look at a couple situations in short yardage last week, he was a difference-maker in us staying on the field, so it's encouraging."

(on if DE J.J. Watt deserves to be an MVP candidate) "I don't have enough time to talk about what he's done this year. Obviously, there are a bunch of players that have had some great years, but I'm sitting here watching this one every week and his teammates. Some of the Monday conversations I've had with the team about, 'Okay, here's what J.J. did this week,' it just seems like the legend grows. He's just been getting better and better. He definitely should be in that conversation. We know what he's done for our team and our defensive football team, not only at the end of last year, but all this year. The recognition, those things will come his way. He's just a very humble kid working. I watched him practice today, watched him chase the ball down the field. That's why he's a great player. Every day is the same. Every day looks the same."

(on WR Andre Johnson being motivated by skeptics heading into this season) "I could imagine and I think probably Andre, after what he went through when you've been playing ten years and physically what you go through and you're struggling to go back and find that everyday stuff that you had, it's tough. The thing about him, he always stayed focused on what he was doing. He continued to work. Andre has worked harder off the field this year than probably he's ever worked. If you're going to play 13-14 years, you have to do that. I think it's a great lesson for him and a great lesson for other players to see a player playing as long as he's played and probably playing at as high a level as he plays. It's a credit to him all the way across the board."

(on having WR Andre Johnson stay the course with the franchise) "First off, I don't think he could go anywhere. He's got one of those lifetime deals, doesn't he? He's been signing or redoing his deal like every two years. No, I made that comment because you're right. In this day in age in football, it's just guys get frustrated and with free agency and those things, it's so easy to say, 'I want to do something somewhere else.' He was fighting the fight when I got here and that fight continued for a few years before we found some success. He's been a rock around here. It's well deserving for him to be in the position he's in. He stands up and lets his teammates know what he can be accounted for. He's holding up his end of the bargain so it's fun to watch."

(on how much home field advantage matters in the postseason) "Obviously it's a nice thing to know that you play in front of your home crowd from a standpoint of noise and all the things that go with making it tough on the road. The fact that I've been in enough of them, I do know it still doesn't matter where you play. It's how you play that's the most important thing and I think our team knows that now. I think I beat that at them enough. They've learned through the course of growing up that regardless of what's going on, if they play good football, they're going to have a chance to win. Obviously, it's the next goal for us. It's the next step for us to take as a football team. I've said this, I think a couple in the last few weeks, our schedule year at the end of the season is very tough and against good football teams. I think that enables us to be as good as we can be."

(on Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's success since WR Percy Harvin went down) "The biggest thing is you can look at how everybody's played them. Everybody's got eight people, nine people in the box. If there's somebody extra there, he makes them miss, runs over them, whatever. From that standpoint, it has been very impressive. I think (Vikings Offensive Coordinator) Billy Musgrave has done a really good job, scheme-wise, of making sure he's getting the touches in the right places. The way they're using him and they're able to boot some and those types of things with the young quarterback, I think Billy has done a really good job with him."

(on if Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave was one of the people that recommended QB Matt Schaub) "Sure was, him and (former Texans assistant coach) Alex (Gibbs). Billy was at Atlanta."

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on RB Adrian Peterson's season) "Adrian Peterson. He's having an amazing year, obviously. Great talent. Good guy. He's a Texas guy that stayed, a Texas guy, but a real talent. Everybody is amazed, and I think you have to be, that he came back from injury like that. I saw him in the Pro Bowl that one year where nobody could tackle him – he looks like that now again. You put on the game film from almost any week, but really the last six or seven weeks, and you take out each play he ran the ball and it looks like a highlight film rather than just a game film. It looks like you made up a highlight tape of some guy. That's how good he is."

(on RB Adrian Peterson possibly breaking RB Eric Dickerson's rushing record) "Obviously, I think he's got a good chance of it. Hopefully he doesn't do it this week. I don't know what he has to average, but his average is up there big right now. The most important thing for us is certainly try to slow him down. But also, like any big time player, whether it's football or basketball, they may get their yards, but you need to win the game. That's the most important thing for us."

(on the Texans' schedule down the season) "You're playing a good football team that's in the playoff hunt late in the year. We played the Colts last week who are right in there, and we play them again. We've had a tough schedule here right at the end of the year. I don't think most people anticipated that, but we play as good of teams at the end of the year as we did earlier. It's a big challenge for us."

(on DE J.J. Watt being considered for MVP) "He is. Obviously, in my opinion, he is. And again, I've had Reggie White and Bruce Smith, two of the all-time Hall of Fame players, along with Elvin Bethea and some other guys I've had, they're in the Hall of Fame. But he's playing at that level. I don't think they got the MVP of the league or anything, but they were certainly deserving of it, and I think he is too. And even more so than those guys, he's knocked down more passes, he had more tackles for loss in the running game. Both of those guys were tremendous players and this guy is playing at that level."

(on DE J.J. Watt getting freedom to freelance defensively, his talent) "Certain players, and those type of players, you give them a lot more freedom. Part of offense, defense or whatever and playing the game is decision-making. He makes a lot of the right decisions so many times that you say, 'Hey, whatever you feel on this play, you go do that and we'll have somebody back you up or somebody else in case it isn't the right thing,' because most of the time it is the right thing. That way he can penetrate, he can go make plays. That's what we did with Bruce Smith. That's what we did with Reggie White. We said, 'Hey, whatever you see, you go get.' J.J. this last week made a play that I don't think I've seen anybody make. He played what we call a five technique, where he's playing outside the offensive tackle on his side. They ran a running play the other way and he tackled the guy in the backfield. I've never seen a guy make a play like that. I've had guys slant to make that play or whatever, but just to play outside of the tackle and see the ball and go over there and make the play. He's a phenomenal player, he really is."

(on what allows DE J.J. Watt to make that run stop) "He's very instinctive. It's decision-making. He sees what he thinks is a running play the other way and he's quicker than everybody else to go get it. You want linebackers to be like that, but you don't even find linebackers that can diagnose it that quick sometimes."

(on great players getting freedom on defense) "Yeah, we actually changed Reggie White when I first got there. He was playing, we were playing a 4-3, but he was playing defensive tackle and they were double-teaming him all the time so we moved him out to end, and then he had all those sacks. He made some from inside, but he was more of a force from outside. Now, Bruce Smith was a defensive end in a 3-4 for us. It's not that it hasn't been done before; you just have to let a guy go, you have to give him more freedom. We don't play the two-gap old 3-4 that some people play that they're not going to get many plays or sacks. But anyway, that's what we try to do with him. Like I said, once you get a great player, if it's a cover guy, you let him cover more. You do what they do well, you let them do it. And if we have to cover for him, we will."

(on what having OLB Brooks Reed back does for the offense) "Brooks Reed adds strength and power, tremendous tenacity, hard-nosed, all those things to our defense. He's a force out on the field when he gets over the tight end. It's good to get him back, or it looks like he's going to be back."

(on DE Jared Allen's play for Minnesota) "Yeah, he's a tremendous pass rusher – a tremendous player overall. We coached the Pro Bowl last year and he was in the Pro Bowl. I told him after the game that I thought he was terrible because nobody rushed in that game. They had some kind of pact or something. I said, 'I thought you were a better player than that.' I was only kidding him, because he is a great player. Certain players – I mean, he almost broke the (sack) record last year. He's that kind of player. I know the offense will have their hands full with him."
(on what it would mean if DE J.J. Watt breaks the sack record) "I think everybody here is pulling for him. Like I said, I've been lucky to be around a lot of great ones. Reggie White had 21 sacks, but he had them in 12 games. I've been around phenomenal players before, but it would certainly be a great accomplishment."

OLB Connor Barwin
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying statistics don't always tell the story) "Well, I appreciate it obviously, but it's like I said before. I'm not happy with having the stats that I have this year. I'd like to have more production. But it's better than him saying he's not happy as well. I appreciate him saying that and keeping some of you guys off of my back, but I'm still not happy with how I've produced this year."

(on staying critical of his own production) "I think one of the reasons we have success in this locker room is guys are hardest on themselves more than the coaches are, more than the media is."

(on if it has been difficult to reconcile not signing his contract last year) "Yeah, I still feel good about the way I've played generally. I still feel good that I'll be back next year and we'll get the whole contract thing worked out. But obviously I didn't sign the contract before the season and I obviously didn't think I'd have three sacks going into week 15. Looking back on it, things might have been done differently, but I'm still fine."

(on what he sees when watching RB Adrian Peterson on tape) "He's playing like an animal. He'll be the best running back that we have faced all year. He's hard to bring down. And when he gets in the open field, he is running by everybody. It's a big challenge for us. I'm excited about it. And even one of the biggest things is not letting him get started, because once he gets started it's hard to slow him down."

(on what the keys are to not letting RB Adrian Peterson get started) "Well, as far as football goes it will be important for me, (OLB) Brooks (Reed) and (OLB) Whit (Whitney Mercilus) to set the edge. We can't let (RB Adrian Peterson) bounce outside. If he gets outside, we need to keep him in the middle where the other 10 guys are. Because on the edge he's running by people. So it's important just for my position. And like I said, if he creases us and gets going. Instead of some running backs that we can catch them after 10 yards, if he gets a 10 yard go, he's gone."

(on what it means to have OLB Brooks Reed back on the field ) "It will be good. (OLB) Whit (OLB Whitney Mercilus) has done a good job in stepping in. I'm excited to go back and play WILL a little bit. It will help the rotation. But yeah, (OLB) Brooks (Reed) definitely helps. He's one of the best at stopping the run."

(on moving to either side of the line when OLB Brooks Reed comes back) "Yeah, well I've been doing that ever since Wade (Phillips) has been here. I can play the SAM or the WILL. That's probably the reason I've got the snaps that I have got the last two years."

G Brandon Brooks
(on his increased playing time) "I'm just trying to go out there every day and practice as hard as I can and take each rep as if it was a game rep. By doing that, I progress and brought it to the field. As far as how they use me I said it awhile ago during training camp, it doesn't matter where they line me up I'm just trying to get on the field and go from there."

(on finding out that he belongs) "Yeah, I figured out that I could do it just like anybody else and just trying to progress and get better."

(on if the game has slowed down for him) "Yeah definitely slowed down, but the biggest thing is at the same time I know what I'm doing on plays now, so by me being able to know what I'm doing, it makes the game slow down because it's not like you're going to panic at the last second because you've already went through. You're comfortable and it really does slow the game down."

(on how cool it is to hear good things from his coaches) "I'm just trying to feed off it with the positive encouragement I want it to keep going. Whatever they ask from me on the field, I'm definitely going to do."

WR Andre Johnson
(on what it means that WR DeVier Posey said he showed him how to get it done in this league) "I don't know, I don't look at it like that. I mean, I just go out and try to do things the best way I know how to do them and bring those guys along with me."

(on helping young receivers) "I think as a veteran, I feel like that what you're supposed to do. I think if you want your team to be successful, you have to bring the young guys along. I think sometimes some of us can be selfish and not do that. I want everybody on our team to be successful and you never know when you may have an injury or anything like that and the young guy might have to go out on the field and play for you. You want to make sure that you're ready and also that he's ready. I just try to stay out on top of them as much as I can."

WR DeVier Posey
(on how much it has helped to watch WR Kevin Walter) "(WR) Kevin (Walter) does everything right. When you have a guy like that playing for so long, same with (WR) Andre (Johnson), they have to do something right with their game. They just work on their craft and they're obsessed with their bodies and taking care of themselves. As a young guy coming out of college you really don't know too much about that. So you have to take that in and grasp that concept of taking care of yourself. Those are a lot of things that I've picked up from those guys."

(on if he got frustrated that he wasn't getting to play as much earlier in the season) "No, I wouldn't say frustrated. Of course the competitive side of me wants to play. But those are my good buddies, and I always want to see those guys play. And we're going to be working together here soon. In our group, it's always about everybody else, it's not about yourself. We get each other open. I was happy."

(on what his play against Indianapolis did for him) "It was just an opportunity – trying to take advantage of it. I think that was the first pass that (QB) Matt (Schaub) threw to me. The other one was from (QB) T.J. (Yates). I just wanted to build some rapport with him and show him that I'm not afraid to go get a ball for him. Just to hopefully build some more confidence in me from him."

(on what his teammates said to him after his catch in traffic) "They say 'big play.' I mean, everybody congratulates everybody around here. We have a nice family environment." 

(on what went through his mind when he was out at Ohio State) "It was just a lot. How to work.  I guess I knew I wasn't supposed to be playing, but at the same time on one end I didn't want to lose things in my game. I wanted to get better. I was trying to watch more NFL film and break down film as a coach would and understand things more conceptually. Like, why do we do things? Why are we running this route to pull this guy here that we're going to make a play to? As far as physically, I was just trying to get stronger. Take the time to lift and do things and it kind of got me into a routine that carried over here. Because on Thursdays everybody would be done with games. On Saturday they would be out of the facility. I would always be around doing extra lifts, watching a film, and I sort of just picked up that routine as this year goes. So I've been trying to carry that through and it taught me a lot of mental toughness. I was in a situation where I couldn't play and the only thing I could do, I couldn't cry about it or complain or rant anything on Twitter. The biggest thing I had to do was be mentally tough and walk through it. Walking through campus, people were just looking at you. I think that kind of prepared me for this season here. Learning and not being able to play and just being mentally tough and continuing to work."

OLB Brooks Reed
(on if he's anxious to get back) "It's pretty tough to watch. I can't wait to get out there and get back into it. It's a great time to come back and do that. We're facing a great team. It's going to be fun to try to contribute."

(on how he approached his rehab) "I've been doing it every day, all day since it happened. I've come back a lot sooner than people predicted. That's what I expected to come back quicker than expected and perform as good or if not better than how I was performing before I hurt myself."

(on his tenacity at his position) "I feel like I've been kind of caged up a little bit and got to let out some frustration a little bit. I'm just real excited to come back out and get back on the field instead of watching on the sidelines or on the TV so it's going to be a lot of fun."

(on returning to practice) "It felt really good. It's all that camaraderie and being out there and going through practice, just really kind of testing it out instead of just running out there by yourself testing it. You're out there pushing guys, but it felt good. Everything feels really good and I'm ready to go."

(on facing Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) "We all look forward to it. It is a challenge for us, but this is our chance to show that we have a good run defense."

(on if he has any limitations right now with his groin) "No, I'm ready to go. I just don't see myself re-hurting it. I think it's even better than it was before I hurt it. It's good to go."

DE Antonio Smith
(on what it would mean to have home field advantage in the playoffs) "It would mean that we're bringing the playoffs here to Houston, man. That's what everybody wants. Everybody is looking for the best road to the Super Bowl and that's the best road. You only got to play two games before you're in it and you get a week off to rest up everybody who've been hurting. We took some injuries over these last few weeks so we need as much time to get them healed as possible. I think it means just as much as a division championship right now because that's what is next. It's a big stepping stone for us to reach our goal."

(on how big it would be to have the home crowd in the playoffs) "Remember how it was last year for that playoff game and to have that throughout the playoffs, it's going to be amazing. That stadium is electrifying especially in the playoff games. I think in that game we got a couple false start penalties because of how loud our crowd was. It always makes you play better. It makes you feel better. Home is just home. We've got to protect it and people of Houston will be happy to have the playoffs here where they don't have to travel somewhere where it's cold to watch us play a game."

(on the offensive linemen and their Segways) "It makes me feel like a proud father because I started the Segway movement back when all of them were scared to be different. I'm proud of them. They're stepping out on their own, taking some initiative, getting them some Segways. I've got to tell you, them Segways will bite you so you better learn how to ride them before you get to trying to be comfortable on the thing."

(on if Reliant Stadium is the loudest in the league) "I think so. Out of any stadium I've played in, you know before last year's playoff game and most of all of this year the loudest stadium I've played in was Seattle. There is some way that they got that stadium built. It's like the sound is over you, around, it's kind of hard to hear. Our stadium, it's competing with it. It's right up there with some of the best."

(on if he sees opposing offenses hesitate in a loud stadium) "When you've got a loud stadium, it gives you an obvious advantage because a team has to totally disregard their snap count and go on some type of silent cadence and most of the time when they do, it's always the same. They might change it up here or there to catch you offsides, but for the most part it's always the same. That's when you see a lot of teams that have those home crowds like that and get a lot of sacks, a lot of false start penalties, it's all because the crowd is loud and the offense can't really function that well."

(on if he'd vote for DE J.J. Watt as MVP) "Yep. He is the most valuable player, not just because we're friends, because he's the most valuable player.

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