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Quotes: Tuesday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak
OLB Connor Barwin
T Duane Brown
FB James Casey
CB Johnathan Joseph
T Derek Newton
OLB Brooks Reed
DE J.J. Watt

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how he would evaluate his special teams particularly his kicker and punter) "I think they've been bright spots. I think (P) Donnie (Jones) has punted very well. (PK) Shayne (Graham) has one miss, otherwise he'd be perfect, so he's about a yard and a half from perfect, missing that 51, 52-yarder. I think those two guys have been bright spots. They've held their own. We've got a long way to go. We've got to get a lot better special teams-wise. Probably the two most disappointing things have been covering kicks and kickoff return, which that boils down to your field position as a team and where your average drive starts. That's something that we really spent a lot of time on as a team with Joe (Marciano). We're going to start from scratch. We've got to get it improved, but we're going to start over here when we come back from the break and obviously we've been looking at it. Hopefully we do some things that can help us out."

(on where they have struggled on special teams) "It's a lot of things. I think I let our returner bring the ball out of the end zone too deep. I think that's on me as a coach, trusting us to come out of there seven or eight yards deep. That's something that we've got to assess. Do we hit a knee or do we give our guy a chance? Some of our blocks up front and our technique and how we engage and where we engage, we think that's a problem and something we're working on. As for covering kicks, covering kicks is different against a lot of teams. We have a lot of positive, a lot of inside the 20 plays, but when you give up big plays and you give up kick returns for touchdowns. You give up two outside the 40 the other day or whatever that was and all of a sudden your coverage yardage is going to drop real low so it boils down to big plays. I think there are just a lot of things that have to get better. Me and Joe (Marciano) coaching it, and players doing it. We may have to get a few starters involved in what we do as we get deeper into the season too."

(on if P Donnie Jones has been better than they thought he'd be) "I think he has. He had a good camp. He was solid throughout the course of camp. It really was his from the get-go because of the situation that we had with our other punter being suspended. For him to not only get the job, when we made the decision, but to perform the way he's performed, I think he's been a very bright spot. He's an excellent holder too, so that was very important."

(on if there are repercussions to using more starters on special teams) "Well, that's always a possibility. Everybody has roles on the team. The backup players should be your top special teams players. That's what they should be doing. I think there comes times throughout the course of the season where hey, (WR) Kevin Walter has got to go play a special teams play or (OLB) Brooks Reed has to. I think that comes up all the time as you go through the course of a season. You hope it doesn't come up too often, because you're trying to stay healthy throughout the whole thing but as we move forward and as you get deeper and deeper in the season, I think it's something you have to think about."

(on injuries to his team) "Of the guys that are injured, I'm not real concerned about (NT) Earl (Mitchell). I don't know if Earl will be back on the field Monday when we come back, but I expect him to be back on the field Wednesday and be ready to go. (OLB Bryan) Braman has been cleared; he's fine. He practiced today. (RB) Ben (Tate) does have a hamstring pull, a slight pull. There is some time there, but he's thing biggest concern of the three right now."

(on what his message to the team was at the break) "What did I tell them? I told them I wanted them to get away from the grind and everything, but I don't want them to get away from the opportunities that this football team has. I expect them to be back here on Monday, fresh and ready to go. I think everybody needs a break, coaches included. I'll get them a break at some point this week, but we need to come back fresh. We've got a great opportunity in front of us as a football team and an organization. I'm looking forward to it."

(on what young players are going to need to contribute in the second half) "We've got a lot of guys that are going to get a chance to contribute big time to this team, like (DE Jared) Crick the other day. Wade (Phillips) and Rick (Dennison) talked to y'all yesterday, but Crick showed up on film and did some good stuff. (WR DeVier) Posey and (WR Keshawn) Martin, I think are going to be big. I think (WR) Lestar (Jean) is going to be big in the back half of this season. I think (T Derek) Newton, I'm already watching him grow up. (G) Ben Jones has really stepped up his game and played very well. How far we come with those young guys and how much they contribute and how much better they are as players, the only thing I told them was that they're not a rookie anymore. We've been here for 11 games, so you're in year two, so there are no excuses, let's go. They're going to have to play even better than they've played."

(on how he would tell his quarterback to deal with a defensive player like J.J. Watt) "Boy, I tell you what, it's difficult. He's not the one that has to deal with it. It's not like you can duck and throw under him and stuff like that. I think it's more your technique and what you do up front. If you can run the ball and do those types of things, hopefully they're not standing there beating and batting them down. The good thing about that with what's going on is its spreading. The other day (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) bats a ball down and it gets intercepted by GQ (FS Glover Quin). (DE) J.J. (Watt) got one and (OLB) Connor (Barwin) got one. It's contagious right now on our football team. If you can't get there, get your hands up and it has turned into a lot of big plays for us."

(on if he's been surprised with what J.J. Watt has been able to do this year) "I wouldn't say I'm surprised after what I saw in the playoff games last year. I think what's happened is J.J. is playing exactly how he played against Cincinnati and Baltimore last year and has just continued. He's a smarter player and what I mean is he is seeing players for the second time, playing against them for the second time so he knows them better. He's got a gameplan so to speak, it's not just all his ability, but he really works at what he does. I think Bill (Kollar) has just done a tremendous job with him."

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus getting more playing time) "We've been wanting to get him more involved. We had a little package in for him against Green bay. I don't know if y'all noticed, he played a little bit against Green Bay. We've got to give Connor (Barwin) and Brooks (Reed) a break at some point. When you start talking about snaps, we're at 480-90 offensively and like 420 or something like that defensively. That's a lot of football. At some point, you have to take some of those snaps off of guys. His confidence should really jump right now. I basically practiced young guys today. Me watching him today, it was like night and day practicing. You could see confidence coming out of the Baltimore game with him on the practice field."

(on if the rookie receivers have shown him enough thus far) "Yeah, I have confidence in them. If Dre (WR Andre Johnson) is out of the game or if (WR) Kevin (Walter) is out of the game, I'm not going to call the game different right now. I'm going to call what we've got. To the credit of those two older guys, they're playing pretty darn good right now. They were actually our Offensive Players of the Game in the game, Kevin and Andre. I think they combine for 13 or 14 catches and 180 yards, something like that. No, I have confidence in them. I think it's growing from Rick's (Dennison) standpoint. Larry (Kirksey), as we got started, Larry may have come to me and said here's what I feel comfortable doing with them. Now, they're fine, just go ahead and call it the same what you call it. That's important to the team."

(on WR Lestar Jean) "I still see Lestar a little bit ahead of both of those guys (WRs DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin). It hurt him. The first week back against Green Bay, he wasn't himself. He was better last week. He'll be better in two weeks, so that's part of the process, but I have a lot of confidence in Lestar. I really kind of see him as our three. We try not to move those guys around too much so we don't get them confused."

(on handling expectations and postseason possibilities) "It's so early. It's just so early in the season. I think those things may come up way down the road and hopefully we've got that problem seven, eight weeks from now, still talking that way. It's way too early in the football season. I think and probably the thing that I'm most excited about our team is that I don't think we've touched the surface of what we can be up front. I think we can be much better. I think receiver we're only going to get better. I see our team getting a lot better throughout the course of the season so we're going to stay away from that one. We're just going to try to play every week and find a way to win every week and see what happens here down the road."

(on how he'll handle the bye this week) "I go about the bye really by what's going on with the team right now. The league it set up where you can work three days basically with your players, but I've got a group of guys right now that have played so much football, been on the field for so many snaps that I've got to get them fresh. I had a group of guys today that really needed to work and we did that. I feel good where we're at. I think this week will do us a lot of good. We got a good group of guys that are going to have to just stay right here and stay in the training room. We'll find a way to still get better. Obviously, we're all going to get a break, but there are some guys that still got to stay here."

(on CB Kareem Jackson's development) "That's why it is so impressive. Guys make it in this league because they're pretty tough mentally and what they're made of. What he went through and the growing pains that he went through to withstand that. Now he gets a new coach to come in, and he really gets his confidence. Now he's out there. Kareem is playing so well right now. The ball used to come his way all day long. It's going to both sides of the field now. That's how well Kareem is playing and to just watch his confidence on the field, you're happy for guys like that. That's the guys that end up playing 10-12 years and being really good players when they can withstand some hardships early in your career when you're young and battle through, make you better."

(on young players who experience adversity early in their careers) "To be honest with you, the majority of them, you're going to go through that. It's just part of this game. A lot of guys that have so much success right off the bat, to me I remember having (RB Steve) Slaton . He had so much success early. I remember telling him Steve you're next 1,200 yards will be the toughest 1,200 you'll ever get because now everybody knows who you are and what you're doing. I think that's almost harder for players that have so much success early, to come back in year two and year three and everybody is expecting that as compared to that guy that maybe got beat up a little bit but he stays the course and keeps going. It boils down to it's about a career. It's what it's about. You want to have a good career. He's working his way toward doing that."

(on RB Ben Tate's hamstring) "I'm a little concerned because what year is Ben, three or four? We've had a few hamstrings with Ben along the course so this is not the first time so until he's back out there I'm confidence, but I have a lot of confidence in my other guy. He's a good player. He's done a good job so if Ben can't go, (RB) Justin (Forsett) will play well."

(on evaluating the team) "We're just going to go to Buffalo and see what we got to do to beat Buffalo. We've spent yesterday and all day today all we basically did was study ourselves, said 'this is what we are, this is what we're doing, this is what we're good at, this is what we're not good at and did it as coaches too and this is where we're going. Every player leaving this building today knows what we think and where we're heading as a football team.  That was the most important thing, but we got to figure out a way to win a seventh game and that's what we're going to stay focused on."

(on the things he's most concerned about and pleased with) "I would just go right to average field position. If you look at it, we're losing that battle in this league but yet we're still finding a way to win games. We're a team that's built if we can play the game on your side of the field, defensively throughout the course of the game, we ought to be pretty successful. That's the one thing that's bothering us right now and something we got to improve on. The thing I'm probably most pleased about is how well we're playing when we protect the ball. I think we're protecting the ball as good as anybody in football right now. If we continue to win that battle throughout the course of the season, we're going to be successful. Those are things we'll stay concentrated on."

(on if they'll continue to play seven offensive linemen) "We played pretty good for the next three and a half quarters. Like I said, we're going to continue to play those guys. I think the young guard has improved drastically. I think (G Antoine) Caldwell has played pretty consistent, but he's had a hard time staying healthy and being consistently on the field healthy and those types of things. That's something he's got to work on. I think our young tackle is much improved from week one to week seven. I think (T) Ryan (Harris) has helped (T Derek) Newton improve because he's taking a little a little bit off of him. He's taking 15 plays off of him, 20 plays off of him. I think (Derek) Newton has responded and played better. Hopefully we're headed toward somewhere late in the season where we're settled down to our five. If we think it's best to play our seven, we're going to keep doing that."

OLB Connor Barwin
(on getting his first sack and if it changes anything for him) "No, same thing moving forward, same thing I did the first six weeks or five weeks. Definitely happy to finally get off the snide so to speak."

(on if he's happy to not have to answer questions about getting his first sack anymore ) "Well not really about answering the questions. I don't care about answering the questions. It's just I wasn't happy that I wasn't contributing you know what I'm saying. I'm happy to finally be able to say that I did that."

(on how much he's looking forward to resting) "I'm definitely looking forward to it to get away for a little bit. Four days away will be nice. I'm healthy knock on wood. Hopefully I can stay healthy. Obviously to get away to clear your mind a little bit is nice."

(on how often the defense talks about sack totals) "We're not very high right now in our room so there's not that much talk about it yet, but in the past you're always competing against everybody to try to be at the top in those kinds of stats."

(on how batting down passes has become contagious) "I think Bill Kollar deserves the most credit f or that because he emphasizes that. He's emphasized it ever since I've been here even my rookie. You won't hear too many other d-line coaches that say a batted ball is the same thing as a sack. We continue to hear that for years now, and I think guys remember and think about that when they're out there rushing the quarterback and they see they're not going to get there. They remember to put their hands. You'd be surprised, well you guys see, how much you can hit balls down when all you have to do is put your hands up."

T Duane Brown
(on if he's looking forward to the time off) "Absolutely. The season is a long grind. It's just good that we're able to celebrate time off being that we're in the position that we are right now."

(on leading the league in Time of Possession) "It's great. It can be a bit tiring, but it's worse on a defense. For a lineman you love to be able to run the ball constantly, and eat up the clock the way we do. It's a great feeling."

(on if it means more for an offensive lineman to lead in time of possession) "Definitely, because that means you're controlling the ball. You're running the ball well. Teams that control the clock usually don't drop back as much as other teams. I think that's a testament to the work we put in."

(on if he welcomes the break even though the team is playing so well right now) "Absolutely. We've been going at it hard since the end of July. It's good to have some time off. Guys that are nicked up, banged up, get a chance to get a few days to themselves and get your body back and just get away from the sport mentally, physically. It'll help you prepare and refocus and rededicate yourself to it."

(on what he'll do during the bye week) "I'll be traveling a little bit somewhere a little tropical, just relaxing. Any physical and mental stress is out the window."

(on what he'd like to see the offense do better after the bye week) "Just be more consistent, I think we've had flashes of a good running game, flashes of being able to drop back, everything, but we've had a lot of lulls in the game. We've had some spurts where we ran the ball for big yards and then we got a lot of plays with no yards so just being consistent week in and week out."

FB James Casey
(on what Coach Kubiak told the team to do during the bye ) "He said enjoy it, just try to get your mind off of football for a little bit because we got a grind coming up towards the end of the season. We got to make sure we get ready when we come back be ready to go. Go home, visit family, and just stay out of trouble of course, but get your mind off football but be ready to come back. We got a lot of work to do when we get back."

(on improving after the bye) "You always want to work on just small stuff, just try to be perfecto n anything you do. You're never going to have a perfect game, but as far as what I do as fullback and doing a little tight end stuff, just trying to stay on my blocks longer, trying to get up in the pass game and make plays when I get opportunities and just work on the small stuff. As I get more and more opportunities, I think I'm only going to get better as the season goes on."

(on what WR Andre Johnson does for other members of the offense when he's spreading the field) "It makes it a lot easier for us because I know going into the games defenses are not focused on me. They're not really game planning for me at all. We got a lot of really good playmakers like Andre and (RB) Arian (Foster) and (TE) Owen (Daniels) and (WR) Kevin Walter so I know they're not focused too much on me. It opens up things underneath for me and they got to send a safety over the top of Andre so it opens up a lot of check down stuff. When he's on the field it also helps out the run game."

(on leading in time of possession offensively) "It's a great feeling when we're out on the field for a long time because we know how important that is to our defense, keeping them off the field, keeping them fresh. It's always a good feeling when you can win the game when you have the ball in your hands at the end of the game. When we're running the ball really well that's what we pride ourselves on and having the time of possession like that it helps out in so many other factors like keeping your defense fresh and it starts wearing down their defense."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on what he's going to do in the bye week) "Rest up, man. Rest up and spend some time with my family."

(on how improved CB Kareem Jackson is) "I think he's improved on. I would probably say he's playing on the highest level he's probably played since he's been here. He's made steps and he's one of those guys you can count on each and every week to show up. It's the same thing I've been saying since I've been here, that I had seen in him last year when I first got here."

(on how the offense eating the clock benefits him and gives him time to rest) "It's good to see. Anytime you can control the game the way they control the game on the offensive side, it only helps the defense out because it keeps us fresh. And once we get out there we know we have the ability to go out there and play all out because we get back to our offense they're going to rest us up and give us another opportunity to go back out there."

(on the offense helping the defense) "Yeah, I think it all kind of ties itself in. To have a great defense, you have to have a great offense to control the game and things like that. You can't go out there and just throw it and expect us to go out there and hold up each and every time. They do a good job of keeping us on the sideline and things like that, getting first downs and things."

(on if the bye week is coming at a good time) "I just think if you can have a bye week, this would be the perfect week for us. At this point, we just happen to be coming off a loss then we go and get a big win."

T Derek Newton
(on what change he saw in his play) "I became less tense, it became more easy for me to just go out there and play. I was doing a lot of thinking, worrying about what was going on, trying to worry about what to do on the play. But as the weeks went on, just learned to be patient and take it one play at a time."

(on what it feels like to have Head Coach Gary Kubiak say he was much improved) "That's good. That just tells me that I got to keep working hard and keep getting better. Just keep working to be a better player."

(on if T Ryan Harris has helped him become a better player) "Yeah, week to week I'm still talking to him, (T) Duane (Brown), (T) Rashad (Butler) when he's around. Just asking those guys is helping me out a lot."

OLB Brooks Reed
(on feeling left out with his lack of big plays) "Yeah, I'm feeling really left out after last game. I'm ready to come back stronger this kind of second half of the season here. Get ready to go."

(on how it feels to have the best record in the AFC) "Feels really good. It was a very important, vital one for us last week. We knew even before the season started that that would be an important game. So it feels good."

(on the importance of the win over Baltimore) "Yeah, it was right after a tough loss, a bad loss. So to have a game like that really boosted our confidence back up again, kind of reassured us as players and the coaches that we do have something special."

DE J.J. Watt
(on having the opportunity to see his brothers play football this weekend) "It's unbelievable. I'm really excited. It's my brother's senior year of high school, and they're undefeated and hopefully making a big run in the playoffs, and obviously Derek is starting as a freshman for Wisconsin, so I'm really excited. It's special for me to be able to see them play."

(on whether football is becoming the Watt family business) "It is. It's a lot of fun to see them succeed because they put in so much work. They work their tails off, and I love seeing them reap the rewards."

(on the reaction to NFL Films' 'Miked Up' segment featuring him from last week's game) "It's funny. I think it's funny. It's just part of the game. It's funny to see that, because normally nobody ever hears what you say out there."

(on Baltimore RB Ray Rice's reaction to Watt saying he'd eaten burritos bigger than him) "They muted his part out for a reason. I'll leave it at that."

(on what he takes away from the first seven games of the season) "We're having fun. We're on top of the AFC and we're playing very good football. You can't ask for much more. We're headed into the bye week and we're going to get good rest, and then come out in the second half and try to keep doing what we're doing."

(on whether the bye week comes at a good time for the Texans) "Yeah, I think it's good. I think we're going to rest up and we're going to get our legs back under us and we're going to make a huge run here in the second half of the season. We're on top, and you can't ask to be anywhere else but on top."

(on seeing his teammates sacking the quarterback last Sunday) "I love it. It's so much fun to see everybody in on the party. It's so much fun when everybody's making plays, everybody's getting their chance. You see a guy like Whit (OLB Whitney Mercilus) getting his first sack, you see a guy like (OLB) Connor (Barwin) getting his first sack of the year, a big safety, so it's awesome. It's so much more fun when everybody's making plays."

(on how the Texans offense leading the NFL in time of possession helps the defense) "It gives us a lot of time to relax on the bench, catch our breath, and get ready for the next series. I'm not sure if I have it right, but I think we lead (the NFL) in three-and-outs from a defensive standpoint, and I think part of that is we're so fresh and we're so ready to play because our offense takes a lot of time off the clock. We get a lot of rest, we get to look over the plays, talk about what's going on and then go out there and execute."

(on how he is dealing with becoming the focus of opposing offenses) "It's a good challenge. I love it. I love that I have to fight through a double-team or I have to fight through a chip block to get a sack, because it's so much more gratifying to get a sack when you have to beat a couple guys, and I love it like that. They can put all the guys on me they want. Then they've got (OLB) Connor (Barwin) coming free off the edge, they've got (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) coming free off the edge, they've got (OLB) Brooks (Reed). So give me all the attention; let the other guys get the sacks. I don't care. As long as we're getting the sacks, it doesn't matter how."

(on whether quarterbacks ever say anything to him after he bats down their passes) "I'm not going to tell you anything anybody says on the field to me. I'll let you guys think about that. Maybe you'll catch it on 'Miked Up' sometime."

(on what Head Coach Gary Kubiak told the team before they broke for the bye week) "He said it was a good part of the season, obviously be safe and smart, get your rest and make sure you get away from football a little bit, get your mind back and then come back ready to play. We have a great opportunity in front of us, he said, and we know what's at stake and we need to come back here focused and ready to go in a week."

(on when he first started being called 'J.J.Swatt') "I couldn't tell you. I'm not a huge fan of it. I like my last name, and so I don't like that people mess with my last name, but I understand it, I understand why it's a big deal, so that's cool. But I like to honor my grandparents and everyone, so I like my regular last name, too."

(on taking the nickname as a compliment) "Oh, absolutely. I appreciate it, and the signs are cool and the big hands in the stands, and all that comes with it – the Swatt Team, the whole deal. The fans are great. I love what they do, and any way they support me, I appreciate it and accept it. It's unbelievable. I love this city. I love the fans of this city; I love everyone who comes out to support us because they're such great people and they've welcomed me in an unbelievable fashion. I've never seen anything like our fans and they're awesome."

(on dealing with his celebrity and fans being so excited to meet him) "I love it. It is one of the coolest things ever. It's what you dream about as a kid: you've got fans asking for autographs, asking for pictures. It's getting a little crazy, chasing my car and places I go, seeing me at breakfast and stuff like that, but it's all part of the fun. It's a blast."

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