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Quotes: Thursday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
LT Duane Brown
RB Arian Foster
C Chris Myers
G Wade Smith
DE J.J. Watt

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on injury updates) "(CB) Alan Ball didn't practice and (TE) Owen Daniels did not practice. Owen is fine. He's got a sore hamstring so we're just being smart with him today. It's obviously a very cold day outside, so basically he did take the walk-through portion and those things at practice, but we held him out of the physical part of practice."

(on OLB Brooks Reed and RB Arian Foster) "Yeah, everything looks fine with them. (OLB) Brooks (Reed) took his load today. (RB) Arian (Foster) is fine. Brooks will take the majority of his practice tomorrow. That's the way he did it last week, but everything is heading toward him playing more snaps than he played last week. I think he played like about 25 last week."

(on the relief that RB Arian Foster is okay) "Yeah, it is. Anytime something like that happens, it's unusual so it concerns you. I shouldn't say the good thing, but the positive thing was when it took place it was, 'Okay, we've dealt with this before.' I don't know when it was. I think I've told you all that a couple times. They felt fine about it even to the point where they encouraged me that he could probably go back in the game, but I said no. At least it's something that they had a little history with that they could deal with."

(on how close CB Alan Ball is to returning) "He's pretty close. He's been running with the trainers. We knew we were looking at probably about three weeks when this took place. I don't know how long it's been now. My expectations are for him to be ready to go as we move forward after the regular season this week. He's very important. He's a heck of a special teams player. He's our fifth corner, played a lot for us. Hopefully he's back, but the expectations are for him to be back for the playoffs."

(on RB Arian Foster's irregular heartbeat) "No, like I said, I know it's happened one other time and I'm not quite sure when it happened. I want to say it was training camp, so not quite sure."

(on if he's ever played a team twice in three weeks before) "Yeah, I've done it. I've seen that happen. I've played teams three times in a year when you catch them in the playoffs, too. That takes place sometimes. We're division rivals. Obviously, the dynamics of us playing them is a little bit different this year than the past just because they've changed as a team from the standpoint defense, offense. It is only our second time with them that way. It happens. You draw as much as you can from the game you played and obviously you have one in between to look at. It's that time of year. It's an interesting time of year for both teams because we're both going to be playing some more football. I'm sure we both want to be at our best, but we both want to be healthy also."

(on the importance of momentum and taking it to the next level in the playoffs) "It's huge. I think in this league with where this franchise started and what it was trying to become and where it was trying to work to get to, they worked extremely hard. It's in a good place right now from that standpoint, but once you get there, there is another level. There is another level that you play the game at. There is another level of expectations. There is another level of responsibility. That's why you see a lot of the same people in the playoffs all the time. That's why you look year in and year out and you see a lot of the same quarterbacks, a lot of the same players, a lot of the teams, a lot of the same organizations because they find ways to raise that level. To me that's the next step for this organization so we're pushing hard to be a part of that and prove that we can play at that level when the time comes."

(on if he'd like to see the team have more big plays than physical plays) "I think we have been explosive. I disagree with you. I think we can do everything. We want to be physical. We want to run the ball. I think that's important to winning in this league consistently. If we've got to line up and throw it a ton we can do that. We won games this year, Jacksonville, Detroit, throwing it all over the yard. I feel like we can win any way we have to win, but I think from a consistency standpoint it's important that our team plays physical. Being physical means running the ball and staying on the football field. That's something that we haven't done the last few weeks. We haven't done it well enough to stay on the field and make third downs."

(on having to send the defense back out quickly after a big play) "I don't worry about that. If you can make those big plays, I don't mind sending them back out there. One thing you've got to do too, you've got to be smart. If you go out there and all you're doing is trying to make home runs, maybe you'll make some of them, but you might make a lot of negative plays, too. I know one thing, this place we're going this weekend, we're not going to sit back there and throw it 50 times. Something bad is going to happen. It's a tough place to play. They've got a great pass rush. As a coach, you evaluate what gives you the best chance to win. You've got to go do that. We understand the challenges we have. They're 6-1 in this building. This team is 6-1 at home this year and they've been exceptional. It's a huge, huge challenge for us, but it's a team challenge. It's not one side of the ball or the other, it's a team challenge."

(on having eight Pro Bowl selections) "That's pretty cool. First off, I'm happy for them. I'm proud of them. That's a compliment to the whole team. As coaches, when you see guys, you see a free agent make his third Pro Bowl as a running back. You see (G) Wade Smith who is a free agent who we're able to get, work 10 years and make a Pro Bowl. How far (T) Duane Brown has come. I can go on and on, but to watch some of these guys, how hard they've worked to get that respect. I look at the job (Offensive Line Coach) John's (Benton) done with this group up front. The job that (Running Backs Coach) Chick (Harris) has done. (Offensive Coordinator) Rick Dennison has been a coordinator here for three years. His running back has been in the Pro Bowl every dang year then (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) bringing (DE) J.J. (Watt) along so quick. We go get (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe and look what he's done. A lot of great things going on there. It's a compliment to the coaches and the football team and very proud of them."

(on having six offensive starters be named to the Pro Bowl despite the unit's recent inconsistency) "We've been pretty good. We haven't been pretty consistent the last few weeks. Hopefully we can get back to that, but we've done a lot of good things. We've got a defense that's in the top 10 in the National Football League and an offense that's in the top 10 in the National Football League. Ever since I've been around that's pretty damn good. We're always trying to get better and we need to play better than we've played the last couple weeks."

(on if he remembers the game DE J.J. Watt had last season in Indianapolis) "Boy, I think he's been doing it all the time. I guess I can't pinpoint a game. I think he's been exceptional since he's been in the league. I know through the playoffs last year he took it to a new level. I think that's continued this year."

(on what it would mean for DE J.J. Watt to break the sack record) "I think it'd be great. It'd be a heck of a deal for him. It'd be well-deserved for the defensive group and everybody. I think it's something that has to come along with winning so we're focused on trying to go play well and win a game. That'd be awesome."

(on winning close games) "We've showed a lot of character. Twelve times we've had some tremendous character and found a way to win in this league and it's hard to do. You're right, we've been able to make some big plays in some tough situations offensively, defensively, special teams. That's the only way you're able to win that many games in this league. But it's coming to the point now where we're going to have to make a lot of big ones. Everybody involved right now moving forward is excellent and you got to raise your level of what you do."

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on DE J.J. Watt possibly breaking the sack record ) "What's he's done already is better than anybody's done in I don't know, a long, long time that I can remember. I haven't seen a guy play like this. Even the great ones I had didn't have all the knockdowns and you're talking about three Hall of Famers that I've been associated with. They didn't have all the knockdowns, tackles for losses and tackles that he made and from that position. He's had a tremendous year. Whether he can get a few more sacks or not, I don't know. You know he's going to give the effort to make plays no matter what it is."

(on the team's Pro Bowl selections) "Yeah, I'm proud of our guys. We have some really good players on defense, not all of them made the Pro Bowl. I think from last year to this year because we've won so many games in the last two years now, players are starting to get recognition because you win. It takes winners to win. Those guys are winners."

(on playing a team twice in three weeks) "It's amazing. I've been in the league awhile and we've done it before and you can have two completely different games. We've had a low scoring game and then the next time we played them was a high scoring game. Even two weeks apart could be a lot different game than it was last game. Of course, we were here last time and there this time."

(on how important it is for this team to play well this week) "This is our opportunity. We had an opportunity last week, but we still have another opportunity. We've earned that opportunity. It's a chance for us to get home field all the way through. That's still one of our goals and we can accomplish that by winning this week."

(on if he remembers DE J.J. Watt's game at Indianapolis last year) "I don't remember it at all. I wasn't there. I was in the hospital at that time. I saw it a little bit on TV, but they had a tube running down my nose. They had some kind of pump that pumped in to numb my body. I really didn't get a look at that game."

(on if he watched the film of that game later) "I did. In the offseason I did a little bit because when I got back we were ready for another ballgame. I don't remember much about that game."

(on winning one-score games) "We've had some big wins. When you win 12 there is going to be all kinds. I think it's pretty amazing what they've done. They've won a lot of close games like six or seven. He's got six or seven comebacks in the fourth quarter. They've got them playing the whole game as hard as they can play. That's why they've done well."

(on the importance of  home field advantage and momentum in the playoffs) "I think it's overrated a little bit as far as momentum. It's how you play each, how you match up with each team. I know the Giants one year won four out of their last eight games and they won the Super Bowl that year and they w¬ere a wild card team. I don't know if Green Bay was a wild card team also. They didn't win their division. It's not always that. It's the team that plays well once you get into the playoffs. That's why it's so important just to get in. Reaching that goal was a really important step for us two years in a row. Having home field, certainly, we'd like to win at home."

(on if he'd be okay if the offense had a few quick scores to get the defense back on the field) "Well anytime you score it puts the other team in a disadvantage by making them have to do what they don't want to do in some cases. It takes away the running game in a lot of cases. We had to battle the running game the whole game last game because they were ahead. Even though we stopped a good runner, you can't really come after him. Once we can come after him, we're a pretty aggressive team. Sure, it helps anytime we score, anytime we get ahead."

(on playing a lot of plays in some games) "A couple games here we played 75 and 80 plays the last few games. They play hard."

(on how OLB Brooks Reed played last week) "(OLB) Brooks (Reed) brought a spark to us as far as the defense was concerned. He should play some this week, maybe the same amount, but maybe spread it out a little bit. We think he's going to be able to play this week. He adds a spark. He's a tenacious player that really adds something to your defense. We could tell we missed him when he got in there because he played so well when he started out the ballgame."

(on if it's advantageous to see a young QB like Andrew Luck so quickly again) "I don't know. He's a unique young quarterback. He's such a good player at such a young age. He's very accurate. He can move. He can do a lot of things really well and you can tell he's learning on the job. He's learning by winning, which that's very unusual for young quarterbacks.  I don't know that we learned anything from it the first game except we just got to keep trying to put pressure on him as much as we can."

(on what impressed him about QB Andrew Luck in the previous game) "He was under a lot of duress in that ballgame. I thought he held up well. We did rush the passer well, got a lot of hits on him, got to him several times. He still fought back and played like a champion."

LT Duane Brown
(on if he's proud of the three offensive linemen being selected to the Pro Bowl) "I'm extremely proud man, extremely proud because I always say, o-line, you're only as good as the guy you're playing beside. All of my success comes from (G) Wade (Smith). His comes from (C) Chris (Myers) and it just goes down the line. The guys I'm playing besides getting invited to whole Pro Bowl to the Hawaii just like I did, it means a whole lot for me."

(on if it's frustrating to see six offensive starters being named to the Pro Bowl but the offense struggling the last few weeks) "Not frustrating, you can't really base our performance off a few weeks. It's been a long season and I think we've played at a high level for the majority of the season. We've had a few games with some poor performances. I don't think that'll frustrate me."

(on if he's ever played a team twice in three weeks) "Not that I can think of. I've always had at least a month between teams. To play one team and then to play them again a couple weeks later, it's different. I think it has its advantages that fact that we know exactly what they're going to show us. I don't think they'll be able to change up a lot, but at the same time we're not going to be able to change too much from the last time we played them. I think it all just comes down to will, determination, and who wants it more."

RB Arian Foster
(on what it means to see three offensive linemen make the Pro Bowl) "It's a good feeling. I told them all it's an honor for me to be a part of that accomplishment. I told them, 'Let's keep the party going.'"

(on his success gaining the offensive linemen notoriety) "I think it's vice versa. I think a lot of their success gets my notoriety and so I tell them that all the time. I tell everybody who wants to hear that all the time. As a running back, I don't care how good you are, you're only as good as your offensive linemen. I praise them all the time."

(on his irregular heartbeat) "Anytime you're dealing with a vital organ like the heart, it's serious. My condition it's very minor, as minor as you can get with a heart. I'm not worried about it. I talked to my doctors and they assured me everything is going to be fine. It's nothing to worry about."

(on what made the doctors determine he had an irregular heartbeat during last Sunday's game) "That's because they've been heart doctors for years and they kind of know the symptoms."

(on what he felt when he had an irregular heartbeat) "I just felt the uneasiness in my chest. That's it. We ran some tests and everything. They knew what it was."

(on the first time he had an irregular heartbeat and if it was in training camp) "I forget. It was somewhere around there though, yeah."

(on if he had an irregular heartbeat at all before the training camp occurrence) "I felt some of the things before, yeah. It's never happened during the game before. Every time it happens, it always goes away and it did again Sunday. I've never had it happen during a game before, so it kind of startled me."

(on if he's taken medication) "No."

(on if the irregular heartbeat could be caused by stress) "No. It's a heart thing."

(on the young girl on Twitter who showed her concern for him) "I think it was a mother that did it, tweeted a picture of the little girl that showed concern. No pun intended, but it was a heartfelt message. It just let you know that there are people that care out there about you aside from how many yards you put up. Getting the opposite reaction of that from the entire day, because you know I like to be active on social media, but hearing a lot of the opposite of that, it just gets you annoyed because there are really people out there that feel like that, you see something like that and it's very genuine. It's very sincere and she didn't have anything to gain. She was just being a very genuine little kid. I felt the warmness of it. It touched me."

(on the many fans who cared about his well-being) "You obviously want to be cared for as a human being, aside from being good at football. I think that's a lot of the reaction that I got was genuine, a concern for my well-being. I think initially that whole fantasy football debacle a long time ago, that's where that stems from because here a player gets injured and people are only worried about how many points did he give me. That to me is kind of sick. It still is, but to see the opposite reaction because, heart issues, they're kind of serious. Mine is okay. I'm fine. I went to go see Oz. He gave me a new one, so I'm good. Just to see that reaction from fans that were like, 'I hope you're okay, football aside.' It gives you a little hope for humanity."

(on where Oz lives) "Down the Yellow Brick Road, man."

(on why he got more Pro Bowl votes than everybody but Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) "People click my name more, I guess. I don't' know why."

(on if he ever speculates why he got so many Pro Bowl votes) "I think everybody likes the underdog story. I know I did. I saw myself in a lot of underdog stories growing up because everybody has trials, tribulations, and hardships, obstacles they feel they have to go through. I think when you see a story like mine, or a Victor Cruz, or guys who came from the bottom of the bottom, economically, in any case, and you see them climb to the heights of his profession, it's inspiring. I think aside from me playing well on the football field, I think people kind of flock to that idea of them being an underdog and them relating to that, maybe. I don't' know."

(on if it's weird to play a team twice in three weeks) "I think teams grow week to week. They change, different players go down. Different players step up. In the NFL you see 16 teams throughout the season so when you see a team twice it's not the same team you played the first time. You saw that when we played Jacksonville twice this year. You saw that last year when we played Cincinnati. We played them twice that year, Baltimore. Any time you play a team twice it's a totally new game plan. You attack it differently. They've learned from their mistakes. We've learned from ours so it's a totally new team."

(on his success against the Colts) "Luck, I don't know."

(on factors behind his success against Indianapolis) "Different factors in different games. I guess some of my good games just happened to fall on the days that we play Indianapolis."

(on if this week feels like the first week of playoffs last year) "I don't remember."

(on the vibe to overcome last Sunday's loss) "I think it's always that vibe just because you play well doesn't mean the circumstances were bigger or you weren't any more or less focused. I think sometimes you play good, sometimes you play bad. That's just the nature of the game."

C Chris Myers
(on preparing for the Colts) "It's obviously a huge game. It's basically a playoff game for us. It's big implications, between basically a one seed and potentially a three seed so we know what's at stake. We've got a tough test ahead of us. We just played them two weeks ago, seems like just yesterday. They're going to have stuff new for us as we will for them so it's going to be a big test."

(on what Offensive Line Coach John Benton has meant to the linemen) "(Offensive Line Coach John Benton) J.B. has been that cog for us. He basically got us all in the zone scheme and pretty much taught everyone from scratch. It's great to be able to see kind of some accolades a little bit going back and him getting some recognition for everything going on because he holds us together. He's the one in there with us day in and day out. We're real lucky to be able to have him. I'm sure there are bigger and better things up for him down the line, but we're glad to be able to have him, trust me."

(on what it means to be a Pro Bowler) "It's one of those real humbling experiences. When I had it last year, it was one of those things I didn't expect and it came my way. I still kind of view myself as a little kid from Miami at Palmetto High School. That's the kind of approach I take every season trying to earn my spot. When these type of things come along, I think it's more of a team award and kind of a whole offensive line award as opposed to individual, but real honored by it and real humbled."

LG Wade Smith
(on what it means to be chosen for the Pro Bowl after working hard for many years) "It's a pretty awesome feeling. I put a lot of hard work and effort into it, to be recognized by your peers, the guys that you have to line up and play against every week, and the coaches that have to game plan for you and then the fans, is just a great feeling. But I really couldn't do any of it without all the guys around me. You see we have eight Pro Bowlers. I think we have three or four alternates. We have a lot of great players here. It just shows that with the Pro Bowl mentions."

(on Offensive Line Coach John Benton's importance) "Great coach, I talked about it a little bit on the press conference yesterday, just the simple fact that we lost guys here, guys like (T) Mike Brisiel and (T) Eric Winston, (G) Chester Pitts. He's lost a couple coaches, Bruce Mathews...He's lost coaches, but really hasn't missed a beat. That's a tribute to him and the job that he does for us."

(on what he's thought about his Pro Bowl selection over the past 12-24 hours) "I would just say that it's humbling. Not a lot of people, it's kind of a select group of guys that become Pro Bowlers. At the same time, I kind of celebrated it with my family a little bit. But I was watching film getting ready for the Colts this week. That's the most important thing that we have going right now is we have to go out, go do something we've never done here in Houston before and go up there and get a win in Indy. That's our number one goal right now."

DE J.J. Watt
(on eight Texans heading to the Pro Bowl) "It's great. It's great for the organization. It's a testament to the coaches and the players on this team. None of us would be there without each other so really excited that we can represent this group."

(on three offensive linemen being selected to the Pro Bowl) "It's really cool and they're very deserving. They're very good football players. I know going through voting you can't vote for your own guys and you're just sitting there like, 'Man, these guys deserve to make it.' So I'm glad that they got that recognition."

(on if he's surprised only two Texans defensive players were chosen for the Pro Bowl) "Obviously, I think our entire defensive should've made it. A little bit, but I think that none of it will matter anyway because we're hoping to be busy that week."

(on if making the Pro Bowl was a goal for him personally) "It was on my list. It's definitely on the list, but there are many bigger goals out there still to achieve. Like I said, I'm very honor, but working hard toward bigger goals."

(on if thought about what all is happening for him at a young age) "I really don't think I do. I think that's part of the fun. Like you said, I am just a 23 year old kid trying to take it all in, trying to do my best and trying to prove that I can be one of the best in this game. It's crazy, like I said. Someday I'm going to sit back in a recliner and think about it and be like, 'That was pretty cool.' For right now, I've got too many things to work towards, too many goals to achieve. I don't really have time to sit back and reflect."

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