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Quotes: Wednesday practice


Head Coach Gary Kubiak** Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
WR Andre Johnson
QB Case Keenum
RB Ben Tate
DE J.J. Watt
Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on what it was like being back with the team today) "It's just great to be back. Great to be back on the field. Obviously, I've been getting going again this week. But just good to get back to work."

(statement on injuries) "Let me do my business here. (Shane) Lechler's sick today. He's got the flu. He was not here today. Then we had Joe Mays was out, (Darryl) Sharpton was out, Wade Smith was out, Ryan Griffin was out, Elbert Mack was out and Mike Mohamed was out. We had our work cut out for us today, but we had a good practice."

(on if he'll coach on Sunday) "Yeah, all my indications (are) that I will be able to. I had a big appointment yesterday. I talked to them yesterday and, if everything goes well this week, yes, I will. I feel great today. I don't foresee any reason why I won't be doing it."

(on if he's back to all of his duties) "No, they've got me on kind of a different schedule, kind of hard to adjust to. But I'm adjusting to it. I'm listening to them. Obviously, I've got a lot of people telling me what I need to do. Some great people over there at Methodist that I've been dealing with for the last week-and-a-half. Plus my wife is pretty rough to deal with right now. I'm listening, doing what they tell me to do."

(on if there is an hour limit to his work schedule) "Yeah, kind of building me back up. I don't know how many I have to today, but I've still got plenty to do. I know that."

(on what the ordeal was like for him) "(Kevin Cooper) told me to get ready for that question and I said that I really don't remember a lot. I remember right before the half not feeling very good, had a headache and that's about the last thing I remember. From there, I was over at the hospital talking to some different people. That's about it."

(on if G/C Ben Jones wrote him a poem while he was away) "No. I was just jacking with the guys when I got back. I was teasing with them. I talked to them last week and I said, 'A lot of you guys would lose your man-card if y'all saw some of the text messages form your teammates.' And then I said, 'I'm going to read Ben's card. He wrote me a poem.' I was just giving him a hard time."

(on G/C Ben Jones putting a poem on Twitter) "He must have went and wrote it right after we talked. He did not do that."

(on the decision to release FS Ed Reed) "It all gets back to football. Obviously, I know there's a lot said and this and that. I talked to Ed yesterday. We're playing young guys and we really like the way D.J. (Swearinger) and Shiloh (Keo's) playing. His role became diminished, especially the last few weeks. In all fairness to him, like I told him, in respect to his career and what he's done, and for us to be in a situation where we're playing him 8-to-10 plays and that was going to continue with the way we're doing it right now. I thought it was fair to him to give him an opportunity to play somewhere else, whatever he wanted to do. That's how we came to the conclusion. He and I talked about it yesterday and we'll continue with these young guys. They've been doing a good job."

(on if he's concerned that the perception is that FS Ed Reed was released because he was critical of the coaches) "No, that's just part of it. When you're sitting here in the position we're in right now, obviously, there's a lot of disappointment. Everything little thing gets magnified, but the bottom line is it gets down to playing football. We've got some challenges on our hands right now as a team. We had what five new faces out there today trying to teach them how we practice and what we do. We've just got to stay focused on that as coaches and find a way to get ourselves going back in a positive direction. We're doing a lot of good things. We're playing extremely hard. We've lost some close football games and it's tough to handle. We've got to find a way to get over that."

(on if he can talk about what he went through the night he became sick) "I wouldn't know what to tell you. You're asking me about that night? I really don't remember a whole lot about it. I don't. I'd rather not talk about some of those things to be honest. It just feels great to be back. I can tell you that. You have a true appreciation for the opportunity you have, opportunity to be around the players, be around y'all. And come back and do my job again. I have a true appreciation for that."

(on if he learned anything from this experience) "I've been asked that. I don't know. I wasn't doing anything different than I've always done. I guess it just makes you stop and think a little bit. I've been through a lot of good times in this league, going through a hard time right now. But it's nice to go through any time and to be doing what you love to do."

(on if he'll use the rest of the year to see if QB Case Keenum can start each week and be a starter in the NFL) "No, I wouldn't say that. I'm going to keep going week-to-week. Matt's (Schaub) working really hard. I know what Matt wants back on the field. I think Case has played really well and done a lot of good things. He has made a lot of mistakes too that he's got to correct. We've been in some close ball games with the ball in his hand at the end of the game and we've got to get over the hump there. I think we just keep going. I think he needs a little pressure on him to continue to have to play well and stay in there. I'm not going to give anybody anything, much less a quarterback."

(on the roster moves) "We brought Jawanza Starling back, (a) safety who was with us in camp. He's on our active roster. We've got D.J. Smith, who was last with the Chargers as a linebacker that we brought in. He will play special teams and be back up linebacker. We have a couple of practice squad young men, wide receiver (Rico) Richardson, a young man here from Houston, (Loyce) Means. So we added four new faces today."

(on RB Ben Tate's status) "Ben basically did what he did last Wednesday. I don't know how he's listed on the report, but he did all of the individual, took a few reps. He'll be monitored every week."

(on the latest on RB Arian Foster) "Surgery will be tomorrow. I don't know what time. The surgery's in California."

(on the team's focus the rest of the way) "Every day's a focus. Obviously, we've got to get going and win some football games. That's the key. I'm sitting here watch guys play, I watched J.J. (Watt) play last week. He played tremendous in the football game. Watching Andre (Johnson) play at an extremely high level. Watching Ben Tate give it up for this football team. Yes, we have a lot of situations going on with young plays playing in some key positions, especially for Joe (Marciano's) situation. But we're going to keep battling. Our attitude is very positive. It's time to be strong, very strong. And that's what we're looking for is strength in people, strength in numbers as we move forward, and everybody having a positive attitude."

(on what it was like for him watching last week's game on television) "I wasn't able to watch the whole thing. I watched parts of it. Very tough. I hurt with them. I know they were ready to play. Wade (Phillips) did a great job with them last week. I know they're ready to play and play very hard. Just come up a play short. But we've had a few of those this year, so we've got to get over that and move on."

(on why he wasn't able to watch the whole game on television last week) "Just hard to watch. I don't know. Hard to sit there and watch a football game when you've been there the whole time for the last 30 years. Hopefully, I won't be watching too many more."

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on having Gary Kubiak back at practice) "It was great. It's great to have him in the building. It's great just to sit and talk to him. No doubt."

(on how is he looking at the quarterback situation) "Like any other position, we keep evaluating day-by-day and doing what we think is best for the team, so we continue to talk about it. But like I said, we're fine with what Case (Keenum) is doing, knowing well that Matt (Schaub) is a very good player. Short answer."

(on Case Keenum completing passes to eight different receivers and if that was a conscious effort) "I think any time that we design any play, he has a certain read or certain progression. Certainly, he works his way through it. I don't know that any play is designed to go to anyone. He does a fine job if nothing is there to do it off-schedule. That's a strength of his and hopefully we'll continue to use that. We've got guys that we need to touch the ball. We'll just keep working from there."

(on the team's second half struggles offensively) "I wish I had a real good understanding of that. Against Indianapolis, we moved the ball well; we just came up one play short. It's Third-and-3 and we had a play and didn't make the play and ended up kicking a field goal. I wish we had an answer. We got one last week, but we needed more. We'll keep working around deciding. We've tried a lot of different combinations, starting out running, starting out throwing. We'll find it and get our guys going."

(on his assessment of the play of the offensive line) "I think if you look at any one of our units, it's kind of a microcosm of the whole offense. We've had moments of great work and we've had moments where we've had some problems. As a group, I think each of our sections, you can say the same thing. We've had our moments and we've struggled. We have to find that consistent range and certainly, when we've had our moments we've shown that we're viable. We're a good group and can make some plays. We just have to smooth out the problems and we're not taking that lightly at all. I'm trying to find that consistent median that we can make all plays and stay on the field. That's our big thing. We've always been able to drive the ball and that's not what we did last week."

(on how he evaluates the right tackle position) "Like any other position. Like I said before, we have to just look at how they're doing in the games and J.B. (John Benton) is certainly on top of that. We talk about it on a week-to-week basis and then evaluate the practice. The rotation thing, I think it has helped to keep guys fresh and keep everybody focused on the same thing. I'm not sure we're moving too far away from that right now at this point in time."

(on if T Derek Newton's struggles have been due to fatigue) "At times, but you know, it's hard to pinpoint any one person. It's a consistency issue all the way across the board. Really, I can't say that enough. We have our moments of shining and we have our moments of just not doing what we're supposed to do."

(on RB Ben Tate saying he wanted more touches in the second half and how they split up playing time with the running backs) "With his experience we were trying to keep Ben a little fresh for third downs especially with their blitz package. He can handle the protections. Not that either D.J. (Dennis Johnson) or Deji (Karim) couldn't, but we just thought he was a little bit better and we tried to keep him a little bit fresher for the third downs and the situation didn't present itself. Certainly, we'd love Ben to have as many carries as possible, but we have quality players. It's hard to replace Arian (Foster). He's a great player. Ben does a very, very good job. The other guys are working at it. I kind of talked around the horn, but we have our players and we'll feed them the ball. We just have to get the right situation and make sure we're working at it."

(on wanting RB Ben Tate in for pass protection) "Certainly. We talked about it all week. They presented some things on third downs that his experience was invaluable to have back there."

(on TE Ryan Griffin's status and if TE Jake Byrne can fill in if needed) "We're hoping he can go. We have certain packages that we can go with. We can stay in our base with just one tight end. We can move to three wides, but our two-tight end package, Jake can do a good job. It's just one less guy out there that can fill in there at any one point in time and then you can be out of that if somebody gets nicked. We'll put it in and work on it each week and hope for the best for Ryan at the end of the week."

(on if TE Ryan Griffin is going through the concussion protocol) "I have no idea. You'll have to talk to Kap (head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan) about that. If those guys are out there at practice, I'm practicing them."

(on if Gary Kubiak jokingly critiqued his play call from the Arizona game) "Not even jokingly. I ask him to give me a little critique and he will. We talked about a couple of things, just certain situations in the game where it probably could've been handled differently. That's about as far as we went. We didn't go play-by-play. He obviously graded the film and I agree with everything that he said as far as our execution of the game. That is always where we're never very far there. It's great to him. He's a great coach and an even better friend. Just to have the guy around, it's awesome."

(on if they have recognized any trends to their offensive struggles in the second half) "There is no trend, I don't think. We've looked at and tried to find anything and everything that we can. We make our adjustments at halftime. We go out there and times and move the ball but we don't score points. The game is driven by points, so we'll find it. I have every confidence in our players and our coaching staff, so we'll find it."

WR Andre Johnson
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak being back at practice today) "It was good to have him back."

(on if it was a lift to have Head Coach Gary Kubiak back) "Yeah, he's our head coach. You always want to see him out on the field. It was great to see him out there back to normal."

(on FS Ed Reed being released) "It's not my call. That's people upstairs decisions. I can't talk about that."

(on if it was tough to see FS Ed Reed be released) "It's not something you want to see, but it's part of the business. I had a chance to talk to him last night and he's not in a bad place or anything like that. You wish he still could be here, but that's not what it is. The decision is made and you've got to move on from it."

(on FS Ed Reed and him not being able to get done what they set out to do) "It's disappointing for everybody. It just didn't work out and that's pretty much it. I don't really have anything else to say about it/ I think it's disappointing for everybody. Everybody's frustrated. It's just a part of it."

(on if he expects to see FS Ed Reed wind up somewhere else) "I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up somewhere else. I wouldn't be surprised at all. I wouldn't be surprised if he went somewhere and did very well. That's just my opinion."

(on if he would be surprised if FS Ed Reed retired) "I wouldn't be surprised by that either. Guy's a first ballot Hall of Famer. What more could you ask for? Can he still play? Yeah, I think so. But if you want to retire, that's on him. That's his decision. I'm pretty sure when he feels like he needs to make that decision he'll make it."

(on the issues the offense has had in the second half of games) "We just haven't been consistent. We come out and play good in the first half and come out the second half and it's not the same. Just have to become more consistent as a team. I've said that before. Some way or another, we've got to find a way to get it done. Period."

QB Case Keenum
(on if anything surprised him after watching the film from last week's game) "Yeah, it's a lot of the same stuff that I've been saying, which is tough to say. It's just still learning, still have got a lot to learn. There
S a lot to learn in this league. They put some pressure on us. If anything, I can expect more pressures now in the future. People have had success against that against us. So I can expect more and different types of pressures form teams coming up."

(on if he needs to learn more about hot reads because of teams pressuring him) "Yeah and just kind of mixing up different ways of getting into empty, different protections and different things in certain packages that we bring in, certain personnel we bring in. Then having good options when we get in those, good hot options as well as well as good plays if they don't bring pressure. Mixing it up, playing the whole chess game of, ' We're thinking that they're thinking that they're we're thinking this. That they know we're thinking this. But we're thinking that they know.' That whole game."

(on how it's different having Head Coach Gary Kubiak back) "It was good. It was really good. Trying to get back to normal. Having him there in center field, letting us know where the ball needs to go to. So it's always good to have his input during practice. His leadership is, I think, is huge for this team."

(on how special it will  be to have him on the sidelines on Sunday) "It'll be like normal. It'll be good. It'll be good to have him back and I know he's probably the most excited to be back, to be coming back. He'll probably tell you all of that. We all appreciate him and he's our leader, he's our guy."

(on playing against a fellow Houston Cougar in Raiders CB D.J. Hayden this week) "Yeah, I'm excited to play against D.J. We've gone back a few years talking crap in practice and stuff. It's been a while since I've seen D.J. Obviously, he's had an incredible path leading to where he is now. That's a huge testament to him and how he's battled through some incredible life and death situations. On top of that, he's a heck of a football player. Something I need to know where he's at. Along with their entire secondary who can play. It's going to be a good matchup this week. It's going to be a tough one. We're going to have to battle."

(on if he's going to talk trash with Raiders CB D.J. Hayden during the game this week) "Yeah, I'm sure there will. I know we're both busy doing our jobs. Being first-year kind of players, we've both got a lot of other things to think about. I'm sure I'll catch him before the game and say what's up."

(on if he thought Raiders CB D.J. Hayden would be at this level before he suffered his injury) "Yeah, I told somebody when he was coming out that he made a play, I remember specifically a play that I've never seen anybody else make on a football field. Just the speed and the recovery speed he had. He broke on a football and picked me off in practice. I still remember that play. Yeah, he's a special player and can make special plays."

(on how much the team focuses on fixing things in the second half) "Yeah, I think a lot of that's maintaining focus, maintaining energy, and then being able to adjust to our mistakes, learning from mistakes. And keeping your foot on the gas pedal, kind of keeping moving forward. I think we can work on practice making sure that we start just as fast in practice as we end. That's how we work on it this week is finish practice and everything we do finish."

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's message today) "This morning, it was back to business as usual, just kind of talking about Oakland and offensively and defensively what we needed to do to be successful this week. Just stuff to work on during practice. Like I've already said, just maintaining our focus, being fresh, knowing our assignments and being a mistake-free football team so we can have the best chance to be successful on Sunday."

(on if he's seen his jersey in stores now) "No, I haven't. I haven't been out shopping much lately. I don't have a whole lot of time to do anything else besides being up here. If I'm not up here, I'm at home with my wife. I don't do much shopping."

(on not having thrown an interception in three games and if he's even overcompensating for that sometimes) "Yeah, a couple of those probably, especially during that time of game, I need to give our guys a chance. Honestly, there's been a few times I've been lucky. There was that pass I threw straight to 58 (Karlos Dansby) there and it hit up and DeAndre (Hopkins) caught it. I guess living right there. There were some chances that the defenders got their hands on the ball, but our receivers and even our backs, I remember Ben Tate knocking one down that could have been picked off. There's been a few spots where I've taken some chances and gotten lucky. But that is something I do. I try to be conscious of. That's the number one job of any quarterback is to protect the football. I need to do a better job of it in some of those situations because you're not always going to get lucky."

(on the fine line between over protecting the football and sometimes needing to take a chance) "Yeah, there's situations that constitute going both ways, taking a few chances here and there. For instance, backed up, that's a ball I want back and I probably shouldn't throw, and I won't throw again."

(on if he expects to start the rest of the way) "Yeah, I'm taking it a week at a time, too. I can't think too far ahead. When it comes to anything, as far as who we're playing next week or what. I take it a week a t a time and a day at a time. That's all my plate can handle right now. I've got a lot on it. It's good. I'm staying busy and working hard. I'm getting better. Plate's getting bigger."

(on if he feels like he's on a short rope) "You really can't think about that. If you think about it, everybody's on a short rope in this league. Everybody's under a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. Somebody told me the other day though that if you start focusing on the fruit instead of the root of the tree, then the tree dies. So focusing on the foundation of what got me here. That'll help me thrive."

(on the difference now than from his first start) "There was a lot of unknowns that week. There are some differences, but, at the same time, my mindset, I'm treating it the same as I do every week. There's a lot of things I can't control. There were things I couldn't control that week of what were happening externally. There's things I can't control now, but I'm not worried about them. I'm not trying to think about them. I'm just moving onto the next one and worried about beating Oakland this week."

RB Ben Tate
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak being back on the field today) "It was good to see him back there in center field coaching guys up."

(on if will give the team a lift to have him back out there on Sunday) "Hope so. He is our head coach. I think it will definitely help out."

(on his health) "I'm OK."

(on if he's feeling better than he was on Monday) "Yeah, of course, a lot better."

(on how different it was not having Head Coach Gary Kubiak on the sidelines and not having him call plays) "I was focusing on the game, so I wasn't focusing on what it was like not having him there. I was more focused on my job and what it takes to help the team win. Honestly, I really wasn't thinking about it."

(on his opportunity to be the featured running back now) "Yeah, it's an opportunity. I've just got to try and make the best of it. Hopefully, there will be opportunities to do that down the road. "

(on the toll that this losing streak takes on the team) "It's tough. It's tough mentally. Like I said, when you have a team like this, with as much talent as we have on the team, for us not to be successful with all of the goals we had going into the season, it's tough. But we're a tough team and we're tough mentally, and we're just going to keep fighting through it."

DE J.J. Watt
(on having Head Coach Gary Kubiak back at practice) "It's really good to have him back out there and obviously, first and foremost, it's good to know he's healthy again."

(on how much of a lift it provides to see Head Coach Gary Kubiak back on the field) "It's good. I'm happiest for him because I know that this is what he loves to do and this is his passion. So you're really happy that he can be out there and doing what he loves."

(on FS Ed Reed being released) "In the offseason, myself included, everybody was excited. I think sometimes things just don't necessarily work out the way you thought they would. Ed's a Hall of Famer, a great football player and we wish him all the best."

(on turning things around and getting a win this week) "I would really like to win a football game on Sunday. That is the ultimate goal, obviously. I'm doing every single thing I can to make sure that we do that."

(on if he says 'what else can I do?' after having a dominant game and not winning) "I'll never say that because there's always more I can do. That's all I can do, is look for other ways where I can help us win and look for other ways where I can contribute and I think as long as each player looks themselves in the mirror and can do that, then that's when we're playing our best football and we're playing together as a team. But all I can do is every single day go to work and all we can do as a team is every single day put our best foot forward. That's all there is to it. Like I said, we needed to create some turnover. This game, we got some turnovers. We just need to win, man. We need to win."

(on how hard it is for the team to keep its spirits up and find something to inspire him) "I get to play football every single day and that's pretty darn cool. I can't stand losing. I can't stand the situation that we're in, but at the end of the day, I get to go out there every single day to prove myself as a football and as a man on that field. To me, my pride will never let me do otherwise. Like I said after the game, every single Sunday you're going to get my best, no matter what the record is, no matter how we're playing because that's just the way I'm wired. I feel like that's the way most of the guys in this locker room are wired. I know there's plenty of people in this world that wish they were in the position that I'm in and I'm very fortunate to be in this league and in this position. But I would be lying if I told you I wasn't extremely frustrated and extremely disappointed with the way things have gone so far." 

Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen
(on QB Terrelle's status with his knee) "Yeah, he didn't practice today. He's got a sprained knee. Really, we're kind of day-to-day trying to evaluate where he's going to be and whether or not he's going to be available this weekend."

(on RB Darren McFadden's status and RB Rashad Jennings' play in his absence) "As far as Darren's concerned, he's got a hamstring issue. He's working hard to get thing that rehabbed and hopefully we'll have him back soon. Again, we're kind on a day-to-day basis to see when he's going to be able to be back. I think Rashad Jennings has done an outstanding job the past couple of weeks in Darren's absence. And that's what you need in this league. Guys are going to get injured. Guys are going to miss games. You have to have guys step up and being to perform and do the job. Rashad Jennings has really done a nice job for us."

(on hearing about Head Gary Kubiak's collapse and if he wonders if that kind of thing can happen to head coaches) "Yeah, well, number one, I've known Gary for a long time because I played at Texas A&M. He was coaching there at A&M. My first thought was, 'God, I hope he's OK.' That was my first thought, was with him and his family, and hoping that he was going to be OK. Obviously, you try to take good care of yourself and you try to do everything you can to make sure you're healthy. I think coaches, in general, we're just wired hat way. We understand we've got a job and that's extremely important to us, and we take pride in our work. You want to be out there with your players. You want to be out there with your coaching staff. It's hard when you're not able to be there. I haven't really put a whole lot of thought into that other than I hope Gary's OK."

(on the up-and-down season of the Raiders defense and the key to being consistent) "It's all about coming out and doing your job on a week-in and week-out basis. Sometimes, in this league, you have one of those days. And we obviously did and it came at a bad time for us. But I was proud of the way our guys responded. I think we have a solid defense. I think our guys are competing and playing hard. That's what you have to do to play good defense."

(on his thoughts on the progress of QB Case Keenum) "I've been impressed. I think this is a guy that obviously has come in and come in a tough situation against some pretty good teams and some pretty good defenses. I think his first start as against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead, at their place. I think he's done a really nice job. He's seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He's protecting the football. He's finding Andre Johnson and getting him the ball. You can obviously tell that he's really trying to push the ball downfield. I've been really impressed with him."

Oakland Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
(on how his knee is feeling) "It's doing good. It's progressing, getting better every day."

(on if he practiced today) "I didn't go today."

(on if it's a concern that he didn't practice today or if he expects to practice tomorrow) "We're taking it day-by-day. I know today we had a collective effort to see if I felt good enough where we're at in terms of practice. We've got to do it again and see what we've got for tomorrow."

(on if his knee hampered him last week since it looked like it was bother him) "I try not to talk about the last game. You said it. It looked like it did. That's where we're at and trying to get better."

(on facing the Texans number one ranked defense) "That's the thing about the NFL, every single week is a challenge. It's a different challenge every week. It seems like every week we're facing the number one defense of something, third downs or whatever. So it's a challenge every single week and you've just got to prepare and be ready for the challenge."

(on DE J.J. Watt) "I played against him in college. I know he sacked me in college. He's a good player. We've got to block him."

(on his mobility helping him get away from guys like DE J.J. Watt) "Absolutely."

(on how things have changed for him from last year to this year in this offense) "It's really a new offense. I'm still learning about it every game, every practice and just trying to get better with it. Every day, you find something different that you get knowledge about. That's where you want to be at, trying to learn something every day because you can from this offense and whatever offense you're in."

(on if the playbook has been opened for him more each week) "Yeah, last week was tough on me just for the simple fact of the knee. I couldn't really push off. It's definitely getting better. Coach (Greg) Olson is definitely opening up the playbook and doing different things. We've just got to keep on getting better at it."

(on people thinking he wouldn't be starting quarterback in the NFL) "I don't really look at like that. I just look at it as I need to get better and find ways to get better, especially things I can work on. That's where my head's at. It's not really to look back and say, 'I proved everyone wrong.' I don't really want to go about it like that. My whole thought process is getting better and finding a way to be the best. That's where I'm at."

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