After Wednesday's practice, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. Also, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley and linebacker Derrick Johnson talked with the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Houston Head Coach Gary KubiakWR Jacoby JonesCB Brice McCainCB Glover QuinQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio SmithG Wade SmithKansas City Head Coach Todd Haley Kansas City LB Derrick Johnson
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on getting back on the practice field) "Well, it's good to get back to work. You know, when things don't go good and you don't play good, one good thing about this league, you get to go back and do it again. So, we practiced pretty good. We had a lot of guys out but we still practiced pretty good."
(on players who missed practice with injury) "(DE) Mario (Williams) didn't practice. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) didn't practice. (LB Brian) Cushing didn't practice. (CB Sherrick) McManis, (WR) Jacoby Jones, (LB Kevin) Bentley, (G Mike) Brisiel and (WR Dorin) Dickerson. Other than that, it was fine."
(on his concerns about the injuries) "Just overall, the guys that have been missing time is the same. (WR) Jacoby (Jones) is the same. Now, I did watch Jacoby run today; it was encouraging. So we'll see. Everybody else, just some soreness and things and trying to get some guys back healthy. We're battling that type of thing right now and we just got to push through it and we did today."
(on how uncomfortable he is with the injury list that long) "Well, no, but it is part of it. A lot of those guys I just mentioned are guys that are playing the 70 snaps a game. We'll see where we're at tomorrow, but I thought it made sense today to just give them a break and get them as healthy as I can."
(on the Chiefs' running game) "They're very explosive. They've actually got three guys carrying that ball, and very explosive. They do a lot of formations; can go Wildcat, can do things to you. But the bottom line; they really want to run the ball on you, so it's a big challenge for our defense. They've been thrown on a lot and I'm sure we're still going to get tested but you better stop this team's run."
(on Kansas City's improvement) "They've got young speed. They went and drafted these playmakers out of college, young players that can fly and you've got to keep them contained; two of the best returners we've seen in the league, much less this year. So, a big challenge from that standpoint. I think, defensively, they've got a big, stout 3-4. (Kansas City defensive coordinator) Romeo's (Crennel) got 'em playing well. He's a hell of a coordinator. They've really turned themselves around and are a solid, well-coached football team."
(on if his team's approach is different this week as opposed to last week) "No, our approach isn't different. We're going to practice the same, we're going to meet the same. Hopefully our result is better at the end of the week. All you can do is go back and fix your mistakes, which we did that on Monday and then come out here and try and improve throughout the week. There is no secret to how we played or what we did wrong. It's just now, you've got to go back and fix it. I'm looking forward to having a chance to go back and fix it."
(on what is special about the Kansas City return game) "Really just the returners. They got guys that do a good job, but they can break tackles, they can make people miss. They can make plays on their own, even if we've got some guys free. We're going to have to contain them."
(on how Kansas City's offense has improved on under offensive coordinator Charlie Weis) "Look at who their two coordinators are; Romeo (Crennel) and Charlie (Weis), how many world championships they have between them. To get an organization to get those two guys back in one place and the way they're playing, it just tells you what they're capable of doing. Charlie knows how to get the ball in playmakers hands and that's what he's doing and doing it very good."
(on if Kansas City's Dexter McCluster has a chance to take it to the house every time he touches the ball) "You bet. No doubt."
(on if he talked to his players about losing a home-field advantage) "First off, that's gone a little far. I never said anything about losing our home-field advantage. What I said was, what I talked to the players about is that as a player or as a coach, anybody, sometimes maybe you take things a little bit more for granted when you're at home and you're comfortable and not worried about having 85,000 people breathing down your neck or you can't hear. Some of that can make you lose your edge as a player and as a coach, too. So I just told them we got to make sure we keep our edge, regardless whether we play here or on the road or on Kirby (Drive) somewhere. We got to maintain the same edge. This league is too close. Everybody is too good and any lapse of your edge as a team, I shouldn't say player or coach, but as a team, and you're in trouble. To me, that's one of the reasons we got our tail kicked."
(on his team having the "edge" at the start of the game against the Giants) "Yeah, I thought we did. I mentioned that too when I was asked. I thought we came out on fire. We had a big play offensively, we got a ball knocked down. We had to punt, that's okay. We pinned them. Our defense is unbelievable; three and out. We get the ball at the 50. That's a pretty dang good start in this league. And then from there, it just kind of went south. Why we lost that edge after six plays or seven plays or whatever, is something we've got to figure out."
(on why the defense lacked the "nastiness" it got back in the third quarter against the Giants) "It's not just the defense. It's a whole football team. Offensively, we did nothing in the football game, to me, the whole game. We gotta help our defense. If they're struggling, we gotta play well. If we're struggling, they gotta keep us in the game and play well. It's a team sport. When you get every phase going south like we did, put the special teams in there too, it's difficult. When you're playing a great team like we played on Sunday, it's going to get even harder. We've got to all check ourselves. It's not just about one guy or one side of the ball. It's everybody. We win as a team. We lose as a team."
(on the Texans' kickoff returns) "I'm not happy with kick returns. It's been very poor. Are we going to change returners or anything? No. We need to block better. We need to return better. We all need to do something better, but it hasn't been good enough. It has hurt us."
(on what he expects to see from LB Brian Cushing) "I think you're going to only see him get better but he played pretty darn good. He's very active and did his job, did his part. Like I said, hopefully his body is just reacting today to his first time out. Hopefully he's back fresh by Sunday, but I think you're gonna see him only get better."
WR Jacoby Jones(on his health situation) "I feel pretty good. I ran on it today and it felt pretty good. We'll see how it'll do tomorrow too."
(on if he expect that he's play on Sunday) "I'm hoping. That's what I'm pushing for."
(on how much better this week than he felt this time last week) "On a scale of one to ten it's off the scale. I feel that much better."* *
*CB Brice McCain *(on what is the key for the secondary this week) "We're going to come out and try to be consistent. We've got lows. Sometimes we're up and sometimes we're down. When a big play happen everybody go down. We just have to stay consistent. It's not about who make a big play. It's about what you do after the big play is made. What are you going to do about it? How are you going to stop them? That's how you get better at it."
(on how bad as defensive unit to be ranked last in the NFL) "It hurts, but you can't pay attention to stats. When you're winning, nobody don't even notice stats, but we're losing right now so people are telling us that we're last in everything. When you're winning stats doesn't mean anything. You could have the worst defense in the NFL and be undefeated. We don't even look at the stats. We pay attention to it because we know we're trying to get better because we want to be better on paper and not just on the field."
(on how close is the defense away from turning it around) "We're very close. We're getting better every week. We just got to put it all together in each quarter and limit the big plays." * *
CB Glover Quin(on how close the defense is from turning its performance around) "We talked about it this morning. When you look at the Colts game right there at the end we give up a 75 yard pass. So that's like 10 receptions for seven yards. Against the Redskins I think we gave up two for 63 yards. Against the Cowboys we gave up one and two for 40 and 50. We very close to being a top 15 or top 10 defense. We just can't give up that one big play here or there. Over the course of the game and over the course of the season it'll subject to add up and once you get in that hole against all the other great defenses it's kind of hard to climb out of it sometimes. It's not as bad as it seems. We talk about it every day when we look at the film. We just have to fix things that we're doing wrong. Unfortunately, the way the NFL works is to continue to attack the things that you don't do well. So right now we're getting attacked in the pass game because we're not playing the pass well and we haven't shown that we haven't been able to stop it. So we have to go out and put on film and show that we know how to stop the pass."
QB Matt Schaub(on if it's a good feeling to be back out at practice) "Absolutely. It's a good feeling to get back on the practice field; get back to work after a disappointment on Sunday. Get back after it and get ready for Kansas City; big game at home for us and a chance for a fourth win. Guys are locked in and excited to get after this week."
(on Kansas City's defense) "They've been playing well. They have a great front seven. Their back end is young but they have experienced corners, so they've been playing really well. They're an athletic group and a tough test."
(on Dallas knocking down passes against him last week) "We had three-step drops. Their guys read the three-step and they have a big front four. Their defensive linemen are all at least 6-6 and long arms. It's one of those things where you just gotta try and find the throwing lane a little bit better."
(on what it's going to take to play better at home) "It's going to take us to come out and execute and play well and execute our plan and not hurt ourselves."
(on if it's easier to stomach a loss that's a blowout rather than a close game) "No. A loss is a loss, whether it's by one or it's by 20. I don't know, it's tough. We just got to, as a team, put it behind you after you leave here on Monday and move on to the next one."
(on how getting WR Jacoby Jones back with WR Andre Johnson will help him on offense) "It just brings back our weapons and gets us at full strength. It means a lot to have a full complement of our guys because they each bring something a little bit different, as far as what they do best, to the table. So we just have to get them back into it and get them going."
(on how he thinks he's played this season) "I feel like I can play better. I feel like I can do more to help our team in the pass game. We're not as crisp as we have been in the past and we were last year. With getting those guys back and healthy, as (TE) Owen (Daniels) keeps getting back, (TE) Joel (Dreessen) has been playing really well. We'll find that rhythm."
(on how much he missed relying on the run game last week against the Giants) "We want to be balanced. We want to be able to run the football and execute our play-action pass game. Last week, it did get away from us a little early, getting behind. We want to stay as balanced as we can be."
(on how much a win going into the bye week will help the team's confidence) "Winning can cure a lot. It's paramount in this situation, going into our bye week that we give everything we can to this game, to this win. That's what we're all focusing on. That's what the leaders on this team are directing our team in that manner. We're going to come out, we're going to put everything we can into this game plan and getting ready to go out and play well."
(on the optimism around the offense knowing that it hasn't played is best game yet this season) "There's a ton of optimism. I mean, we're going into Week 6 and we're still right in the thick of things. There's no reason for any of us to be down or negative. It's about us staying positive and turning things around."
(on what stands out about Kansas City's defense) "Well, they're a physical group. They fly around and they make plays. They have some veteran guys on that team that really direct that ship. They've been playing well. They're not giving up a lot of points. They're good against the run. You can see, last week, they played Indy really tough. It came down to the wire. We're going to have to be ready for a street fight."
(on how much it will help to get WR Jacoby Jones back) "To have a full complement of guys; it brings a lot, as far as explosiveness to our pass game, so it will be good to everyone back healthy."
(on how aware he has to be of Kansas City moving S Eric Berry to various spots on defense) "We just got to be on top of our game plan in what we're doing and not focus so much on what they're doing with one person. They're going to run their defense and play their coverages and we're just going to have to go and execute."
(on if there is another safety in the NFL that Eric Berry compares to) "No. He's still young. Still a lot of games that need to be played."
(on if he has higher expectations of himself this year after the year he had last year) "No. My expectations are through the roof for myself every year. I guess a little bit. I guess, after the season, yeah. They go up a little bit, but I mean, they're still high, regardless. I still don't feel like last year I played as good as I can play. Naturally, expectations are high of myself."
(on if his confidence is unshakeable after starting for four years) "Exactly."
(on if he handles interceptions better now than he did four years ago) "Yeah, I'd say so. I learned in college how to deal with some of that situation; having myself, when you're rotating with another guy in college and having to deal with some of those adversities I think really helped me be able to handle the good and the bad."* *
DE Antonio Smith(on this week's game versus the Chiefs heading into a bye week) "I think it's very big. I think once you get to falling two games three games behind. It's a worse hole to dig yourself out of. You want to get the bad taste out of your mouth as soon as we can. I think this is a team, a Kansas City team that we haven't seen in a long time. They're looking pretty good out there. (Chiefs head coach) Todd (Haley) got them playing like champions. It's going to be a tougher game that anybody out there thinks. That's a good test for us to have especially coming off of a game we just had."
(on not wanting to lose this game heading into a bye week) "No, it's kind of like going into the offseason 3-13. You never want to sit on a loss for too long. That's a bad place to be and a bad feeling in your stomach. I think that especially where we want to go we could make a quick turnaround and get the season going where we need it to go."
(on has the team leaders have stepped up to sent a message to the rest of the team) "I think it's in the process of happening. I think it needs to be a little bit more on everybody's behalf, but it's in the process."
G Wade Smith(on what did he think of the offensive line's performance after watching the game film versus the Giants) "We weren't good enough. We weren't good enough for us five up front and the eleven of us on offense. We figure it starts with us. If us five aren't clicking and doing what we need to do then it's going to be tough for us to be successful as an offense."
(on having trouble winning at home) "I don't think it's even about that. It's about when the ball is snapped what are you doing for those six seconds. We just didn't execute well. It has nothing to do with us being at home. We be the Colts at home and we lost a couple of games at home. That's something that we don't want to do. You have to protect your home field if you want to be a playoff team and you want to get far. That's something that we have to handle in the upcoming weeks."
Kansas City Head Coach Todd Haley(on what was his defense was able to do to hold Colts' QB Peyton Manning in check) "Well, we didn't hold him in check enough. The guy is a phenomenal player. He's the X factor as far as I'm concerned because he's one of those rare players that even when you do everything right exactly the way you're coached to do it and the way you're supposed to do it and at a high level. He could still make the play and make the throw and put it in a spot. It does not matter. That's a big test. Anytime you're going against him no matter where it is home or away. I just think defensively. We continued to do the things that we've been doing here going all the way back to last year. I've said multiple times that we are in the foundation building process and that started last offseason when I got here. It continued through the year last year. We continued to make progress throughout the year last year. We came into the offseason and continued that. What we really made the big jump was in the offseason because the whole team came in already in shape. Whereas the first year we lost 770 pounds, we were severely out of condition and terribly out of shape. Whereas this offseason we came in at our baseline and then started to make some real strides both from a strength and conditioning standpoint and that continued through the preseason and then through the first quarter of the season. To me it's not an easy answer. It's a long answer of we continued to do the things the way that we are coaching them and they just continue to make progress doing it."
(on facing former Chief and current Texans SS Bernard Pollard) "(Texans SS) Bernard (Pollard) is someone with great personality. He has a great personality for a team. Teams need personality. On top of that he's an athletic, physical and smart football player that plays with passion. Bernard was a very well liked teammate. It was a difficult decision for us when we decided to let go of Bernard, but I've been happy to see him catch on down there and continue to improve as a football player and continue to make a name for himself. Anytime you go against guys that have been here or been part of the team. There's always a little buzz."
(what was Texans SS Bernard Pollard was let go of the Chiefs last year) "I don't think that can. It's not that I don't want to, I just think that this business is a tough business. As coaches you got to make difficult decisions that are made for a lot of different reasons. The number on reason is to make the right decisions for your team. Sometimes you don't know if those decisions are right or not. Especially in short periods of time to analyze it, but that's all what it was. It's just that when we continued to move forward as a team and trying to build this team with the types of players we want to build it with that was just one of those tough decisions. I want to be clear about that, it was a tough decision and not an easy one. Some are easier than others. Like I said, I'm just happy (Texans SS) Bernard (Pollard) because I think a lot of Bernard. I like passionate guys that are in to football and passionate about playing this great game. He's definitely one of them."
(on how does he see Chiefs' WR Dwayne Bowe will match up against the Texans secondary after getting over the issue of dropping passes)" Having coached receivers for a long time in the league, I think it's not a lot difference than with defensive backs. You got to have a short memory and though you want to make plays and (Chiefs WR) Dewayne (Bowe) really wanted to make a couple of plays in the game that he didn't. He came back in that game and made plays for us in the run and the pass game and one of those was potentially a real big play for us. We've completed a fourth down late to keep the drive alive that would've put us into field goal range that would've kept us in the game. It would've given us a chance to onside and if we'd recovered had a chance to tie the game. To me that's over and done with. I'm not speaking for Dewayne, but again having coached receivers for a long time he's got a short memory when it comes to negative plays. He blocked extremely well throughout that game. He made a couple of other plays in the passing game and one of those was a real big one after any drop. So to me, he moved forward as that game progressed."
(on how does he see WR Dewayne Bowe matching up against the Texans young secondary) "I think that Houston plays very good defense. They are a very active, physical and fast defense as a whole in my opinion. The secondary fits right into that. I just said to our guys here, there's a nice mix of veteran and young guys which is really as a whole the two teams have some similarities. I think that the Texans are a couple of years ahead of us from a transitional or developmental state. That's something I've talked to our players multiple of times already about this the type of team that we want to mirror or become what they have become because I feel like the Texans are over the hump. Even though the record hasn't shown it quite the way everybody have want it to for various reasons. I think it was 6-10, 8-8, 8-8 and 9-7 last year. They could've been a couple of more and then everybody would've been buzzing even more than they are about the Houston Texans. It's a good team across the board. A well coached team and we will have our work cut out for us."
(on the impact of Texans LB Brian Cushing returning to the defense last week) "(Texans LB) Brian (Cushing) was a player that I really liked when he came out (of college). He's a true impact player and another guy that's real passionate about football and has played at a high level. Obviously has played at a high level last year to get the notoriety that he did and that's tough to do in this league. Especially at linebacker, but anytime you get a player back of that caliber you're going to notice a difference. Even though that being said, I think that everybody that stepped in and played for him while he was out obviously did a very good job in a lot of different areas. That's another sign of a good team. When guys like Brian are out and other guys are able to step in and fill his shoes so to speak and help the defense to compete at a high level, but again I'm sure that everybody's happy to have him back. I'm disappointed."
(on what does he worry about the most with Texans LB Brian Cushing in the lineup) "I think he's a complete linebacker. That's the reason why I like so many things about him. We spent a lot of time with him at the combine. He would've somebody that I would've been real happy to have on our team. Unfortunately you can't get everybody you want. He's a complete player. He can obviously run. He's physical. He's very good against the run. I think he's a big part of the core of the defense there. I think he's one those guys that isn't afraid to carry the flag out there and stick it in the ground and isn't afraid to have a lot of guys following his lead. I wish that would've been a longer deal and even missed ours too from a selfish standpoint. He'll be there and we'll have to do a number of different things to handle him."
(on Chiefs QB Matt Cassel and the passing game) "I talk about the season in quarters. Our number one goal is to finish each quarter with at least three wins and we were able to do that for the first time since I've been here. Our wins are team wins and team loses. The quarterback is as responsible as anybody else in outcome of football games and the number one thing that I'm looking for my quarterback is what the final result is. We have three wins and one loss. He's been a big part of the three wins and he was part of the one loss. (Chiefs QB) Matt (Cassel) is a young developing player like a number of other players on our team. The key thing is that he is developing and he is making progress and I think to date even though I think loss part of it weren't in the mix last week to date I think was one of the best signs I've seen from Matt as far as going on the road in a hostile environment against a front that could really disrupt the game quickly. Especially at Indianapolis, he came out of that game with just one sack which was his deal because the ball slipped out of his hand. He came out with one sack and no interceptions. He did a great job understanding what was expected of him in that game. Unfortunately, we just didn't execute quite enough in a couple of different areas offensively, defensively and special teams for the result would be different. I think with Matt is making progress and this is the next week for him that he could continue to take steps in the right direction."
Kansas City LB Derrick Johnson(on facing former teammate and current Texan SS Bernard Pollard) "He was a teammate of mine for the last three or four years. We became good friends and he was a great teammate and was good player on the field. He was a competitive guy so I know he'll be ready to go against his old team."
(on if he kept in touch with Texans SS Bernard Pollard) "Not much. We're both pretty busy, definitely during the season. During the offseason maybe a few times, but during the season it's hard."
(on Texans SS Bernard Pollard calling this game against his former team as, "just another game") "Well that's how you go into it. That's a mindset that you have to have for any team that you go against. Even if the situation is him going against his old team, you don't want to go into a game trying to do more than what you're asked to do. That'll mess your game up, but I'm pretty sure he wants to have a good game."
(on was he surprised that the Chiefs cut Texans SS Bernard Pollard) "Things happen in the league where you don't understand. I don't know what went on up in the front office so I can't really speak on that. I do know that (Texans SS) Bernard (Pollard) is a good player."
(on was he surprised to see Texans SS Bernard Pollard make such an impact in improving the Texans defense last year) "He's a good player. I like him a lot. He's a tough guy. He wants to knock your head off. That's his mentality."
(on what is the biggest improvement in the Chiefs' defense this year from last year's, was it different players or new defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system) "It's a little bit of both. (Chiefs defensive coordinator) Romeo (Crennel) has got this defense going in the right direction. The players have all bought in. We're all in this thing together and it started from training camp with just practicing in pads every day we became a really physical defense. We kind of pride ourselves in that every week. Romeo holds us up to a high standard too."
(on if he is happy being a Kansas City Chief) "Yes, I'm happy. I'm definitely happy. The frustrating thing from last year was that I wanted to be out there with my teammates. I'm a team guy. Win or lose, I want to be out there fighting with our team and that's what I'm doing right now. So I'm loving it."
(on what was the key for the Chiefs defense to have such a good game against Colts QB Peyton Manning) "Well, playing within the scheme. Bending, but don't break. You got to have that mentality with (Colt's QB) Peyton (Manning) because he's one of the better quarterbacks in the league and probably the best quarterback in the league. He'll get passes here and there. You just got to have a short term memory when things happen and breakdown you have to regroup. Knowing when you get down to the red zone it's going to get harder because the field shrinks."
(on what makes Chiefs LB Tamba Hali such an effective as a pass rusher) "He's like a dog coming off the edge. He's relentless. He has a motor that you'll not believe and it starts in practice. You can just see (Chiefs LB) Tamba (Hali) just going and going every play. He definitely gets himself tired out there because rushing the passer is a dirty job and he's doing it well now."
(on if he would ever see a time that he see the Texas Longhorns lose three in a row) "I hope not. This going to be a hard game for us, but we got to pull it off. It's going to hard."
(on what did he learn from the NY Giants defense against the Texans) "It starts with the run. You got to stop the run. They're a zone running team and they do it very well. (Texans RB Arian) Foster has really came into his own and he's a back that's hungry. You can tell by the way he's running out there. If we can stop this run which not people have it will definitely help us in the game."
(on if the NY Giants defense does anything with their gap control that he could take away from and use against the Texans) "They were physical. If you can get really physical on a zone team and catch a couple of breaks because I saw a couple of times were the run was almost out and it didn't happen and they still regrouped. They just played good team defense. You got to play good team defense against the Texans."
(on what are the similarities between the zone blocking schemes of Denver and Houston) "It's the same. It's all zone. The hard thing about zone is that you have boots off of those zones and the back has so much freedom in the zone scheme offense to cut wherever he see fit."
(on how has the Chiefs defense had perform against the Denver Broncos zone running scheme in the past couple of years) "We've done okay. We've probably always split with Denver at 1-1. Denver has been a good team for many years and since I've been here. They've ran their scheme pretty good. They haven't gassed us too bad, but with a zone team at this time you can't really think about Denver at this point. You just got to hope that (Texans RB Arian) Foster will have a bad day because if not he could break out."
(on what is the overall confidence of his team coming to Houston with a 3-1 record) "We're confident, but we're not over confident because in this league any day you could be a zero or a hero. Definitely going down to Houston to play the Texans, they're trying get on board. They lost a tough one last week and they're going to be all jacked up and ready to go. So we have to match that."