The Texans practiced Tuesday at the Methodist Training Center, and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonSS Bernard PollardQB Matt Schaub
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on how they approached practice today) "We kind of did the same thing we did yesterday. We got back in our pads, so we really had two good practices with everyone out here except two players right now. Two good physical practices, I'll give them their day off tomorrow, their normal day, and then we'll get back into our routine on Thursday."
(on the progress of the linebackers in their new roles) "It's going to be a day to day deal. Obviously it's night and day from yesterday to today. It's going to be a growing process but no doubt, we feel that's what's best for our team. We have got to have some patience. We have to help them. The key is that we continue to get better each day and that's our focus."
(on if everyone is buying into their new roles) "They better buy into it. That's the way we're going. You've got to understand the situation we're in, between Cush (LB Brian Cushing) and (LB) Zac (Diles), really the two healthy linebackers on this team. Now that (LB) Kevin (Bentley) is back on the field, (LB Darryl) Sharpton's back on the field, but they haven't been out there. So we have to do what's best for our group moving forward and there's no doubt that's what we're doing."
(on balancing the work and rest of the bye week with a short week next week) "Yeah, we're obviously going to get back real late and have a short week next week. For us, it was about getting healthy, which we had a good week toward doing that and now we've got some extra time to bring along some of our changes, I guess is a good way to put it. We've had two days to do that. Now, we just get back in our routine."
(on how much they look at the season opener in preparation for this game) "You start over. That was the first week and its sure going to take something different to be successful this week. We have a lot more challenges as far as noise and them not having noise—all those things. We understand what we're facing and understand how well we'll have to play."
(on Monday Night Football being different for the players) "Yeah, I think it is. Just because you're the last game of the weekend and everybody's usually sitting home watching this, so I think there is something a little different to it. It breaks your routine. You've got a lot of time on your hands all day Sunday and all day Monday. It's time that will be well spent for us so it's probably coming at a good time."
(on QB Peyton Manning) "He's amazing. I've said this before; it's like a computer chip out there playing on the field. He's absolutely amazing and you just understand what you're up against. You understand he's going to make his plays. You understand all that and you just try to keep things in perspective and you try to understand what it's going to take beat him, gaining a possession or two somewhere along the way by creating a turnover or getting a stop in the red zone. We all respect what he's all about, but we know what we have to do as a team to have a chance to be successful."
(on the defense believing they aren't catching any kind of break by the Colts missing some weapons) "No, that one weapon that's going to take all them snaps is pretty good. They know. They understand."
(on if there is anything they can take away from the season opener for this game) "Yeah, obviously, you go back and look at it, but they're a little different team right now. We're probably a little different team and obviously, look differently from a defensive standpoint. Things change. They change week to week in this league. Like I said, you never know what it's going to take week to week."
(on if it is hard to not overlook the Colts) "Overlook this team? Golly…no. Hell no."
(on the play of the offensive line in the season opener) "Well we did play well. We played especially well in the second half and that was a big key in the game. Your team, you have to have a complete team effort against this group—offense, defense and special teams and then it's still going to be hard. We're going to have to play as close to perfect as you can play on the road in a hostile environment. We know that."
RB Arian Foster(on if there is anything to draw from the season opener against the Colts for this game) "Yes and no. I think we know what kind of game plan we have to put together. I think the execution is going to be different. I think the atmosphere is going to be different, so it's just a whole different animal."
(on what his performance in the season opener meant to him and the team) "It was kind of was and identity game, but our team on a national standpoint, not just me, but our team because it was against the Colts. It was the opening day kickoff game. It kind of set the tone for the season. It was just one game. That's what I was saying throughout the course of the whole week. It was just one game. This is just another game."
(on if it clearly set the tone for him individually moving forward) "I think somewhat it did, yeah. I think, more than anything, it proved that I can play in this league."
WR Andre Johnson(on their success in the red zone) "It's important. When you're able to get down there and score points, of course it's big. It's something that we talked about that we needed to improve on and it's something that we work on in practice. So far, it's been paying off."
(on if it's special playing on Monday night) "Of course it's exciting to get to play on Monday night. But at the same time, for me personally, I don't put any extra pressure on myself. I still approach it like a regular game. I think for us to be in the situation we are right now, playing against a team like the Colts, it'll be a big test for us. It's a national televised game and people will get to see how the Texans respond."
(on how much of their red zone success is due to QB Matt Schaub) "When your quarterback plays well, then the team plays well. That's something that Coach Kubiak harps on a lot with Matt, 'if you go out and play well, then the team is going to play well.' Being a quarterback is a big responsibility. Matt knows that and he's been doing a great job."
(on playing for first place this late in the season and the importance of this game for the franchise) "It's very important. We've never been in this situation before. To be playing against the Colts, being a division game and both teams are tied, its big. We understand the significance of the game. It's not like it's the Super Bowl or anything. We have to go out and prepare like we normally do and go out and execute our offense and execute our defense. That's the only way we're going to go out and win the game."
SS Bernard Pollard(on if everyone is buying into LB Brian Cushing moving to middle linebacker) "Cush is going to be okay at middle linebacker. He's going to be okay. Obviously, they made the decision. It's the best move for our defense. It's the best move for Cushing. It's time for him to understand that as the Mike, there is only one Mike in the huddle. He has to be that communication link for us as far as getting the plays and everything else in. I'm going to do as much as I can to help him, but we have more than enough problems on the back end. We have more than enough problems. I just think if we're sound, we can take so much pressure of him and let him and (LB Kevin) Bentley and (LB) Zac (Diles) understand, hey, let's take care of this first seven and go get the job done."
(on if they've made it clear they are sticking with the defensive backs) "Obviously, they're not making any moves with any safeties or corners. You guys see that. We see that. I think that shows us how much they trust in us. It's not about the talent. It's really not. It's about us making mistakes. We make the stupidest mistakes in the craziest times in the game. You look at the Dallas game, we were in the game all the way to the end of third/fourth quarter and we make mistakes. With us, when it rains, it pours. That's what happens with us in our secondary. It starts with me. I'm supposed to be a captain on this team. I'm supposed to be a leader in that secondary and I'm doing everything that I can. Honestly, I take the blame. The coaches get on me and you've got to take the criticism. You've got to play with tough skin and I am. I'm so excited about what's to come. We have ten games remaining. We're going to take every game one game at a time. We understand where we're at and we understand where we can go. We know where we want to go. So that's what we're going to do. We have to push the envelope. We have to push this thing."
(on his own individual play thus far) "Not good enough. It's really not good enough. I have to step up and make plays. I really do. I have to make plays but I'm not going to press it, because pressing it, the last six weeks, that's what happens when you press it. We have too many guys pressing and you've got more than one guy or even when you have one guy pressing—it's just about one guy messing up in the secondary and it's always a touchdown. I have to play better. I really do. We all have to play better. Like I said, our offense is number four overall— number one in certain categories. We have to be able to be a backbone. We have to be the backbone of this team. It's been said so many times, our offense is the Texans. I'm so tired of hearing that. I really am. I'm honestly tired of hearing that. It's time for us to actually step up and actually do something about it. We have the talent."
QB Matt Schaub(on if they have had more red zone emphasis with Rick Dennison as the offensive coordinator) "We've emphasized it more in Training Camp and in the offseason and going into this year. We work on it more throughout the week. It's not necessarily something that's Rick has done, it's just something that we wanted to get better at than last year and so we've put more of an emphasis on it."
(on Kubiak saying the key to their red zone success has been running the ball well) "Definitely. To be able to run the ball effectively down there when space gets condensed and the defense doesn't have to cover as much field, it's imperative that we be able to run the football."