The Texans practiced outside at the Methodist Training Center on Wednesday, and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of his players answered questions from the media. Also, Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback David Garrard took part in a conference call with the Houston media. The following is a transcript of those respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakLB Brian CushingTE Joel DreessenRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio Smith
Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del RioJaguars QB David Garrard
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on today's practice) "It was good. We got a little weather and worked through it. The only way to get through struggles and to get through disappointment is to work through them and we are working like hell right now. Everybody's got a good attitude, and stay positive and keep pushing."
(on any health updates on the team) "(QB) Matt (Schaub) practiced. (LB Xavier) Adibi still did not practice and (TE) Owen (Daniels) did not practice. (WR) Andre (Johnson) did not practice, that's just his normal deal. You won't see him on Wednesdays probably for the rest of the year."
(on how concerned he is with QB Matt Schaub's health) "I know he's going to be there. He's going to play. I know he's sore. He took a good shot, but (QB) Matt (Schaub) has played hurt for this team before. For him to be out here, I didn't think he'll do much today. He basically did everything that he does on Wednesdays. He's working in the right direction. We'll see where he's at each day."
(on owner Bob McNair's vote of confidence on his job status) "That's great, but I know I got a job to do. I was brought here to win football games and that's my job and the coaches' job and the players' job. I expect to. I'm disappointed right now and disappointed the other day, but I like the work that's going on and I'm excited about getting back to work and trying to win a football game this weekend. I understand what my job is and what I'm supposed to do. I'm okay with it. I'm just fine with it."
(on what it means hearing WR Andre Johnson stating that he, head coach Gary Kubiak, changed the culture of the Texans organization) "I just think that we are all at a point now where obviously there is some disappointment. We want to be in a better place right now than where we are at halfway through the season. I watch the work every day and I watch what's going on. I watch (WR) Andre (Johnson) play nicked for his team. There is a lot of good things going on, but we need to go and fine the Ws. Everybody's positive. Everybody's got the right frame of mind and everybody's just itching to get a victory. The only way we are going to get that is to keep working and today was a step in the right direction."
(on what are his thought on his young secondary being targeted on throwing the deep ball against them) "They threw the ball well on us the other day. (CB) Kareem (Jackson) gave up some big plays. I tend to look at on the other side too. If we score a touchdown in the fourth quarter after his interception, we'd be talking about him making the play of the game. There is always going to be mistakes on a given Sunday. There's always going to be plays made on you. This is football. It's what it is. At the end of the day, you make more plays than the other team and can you come and correct your mistakes with victories and that's what we are after. Perfection, you are always striving for that, but we just need to keep battling. He needs to battle through his issues, but he had a lot good plays the other day in the game and we need to hold on to those."
(on if he has any further communication with CB Kareem Jackson and in what nature) "Yeah, I just support him. I know what he's going through. Hey, you all remember, I was John Elway's roommate. I've never seen a rookie year like that guy went through and he ended up being pretty damn good. He's going to be a great player and I'm going to stay positive with him. His team is going to stay with him, but we expect him to make those plays. We expect him to make the plays."
(on if he is happy with (LB) Brian Cushing at middle linebacker) "We have some flexibility for the first time. This is the first week that we've stepped on the field and felt like we have some of our flexibility back. If we want to play him at the Sam (strong-side linebacker), or move him to the Mike (middle linebacker) in the nickel. (LB) Kevin (Bentley) made it through a week, (LB Darryl) Sharpton made it through a week healthy, so for the first time we stepped on the field this week with a little flexibility. Does that mean we'll move him around? I don't know. We'll see."
(on if changing LB Brian Cushing to middle linebacker has always been on his mind) "It's definitely on my mind, but we did what we had to do two weeks ago with our situation. Now we are starting to get a little bit healthy. We would love to have (LB Xavier) Adibi out here because that gives us even more flexibility. The fact that (LB) Kevin (Bentley) and (LB Darryl) Sharpton had got through last week and they are in good shape today does give us a little wiggle room as we move forward."
(on when will he make a decision to include LBs Kevin Bentley and Darryl Sharpton in the rotation at middle linebacker to allow LB Brian Cushing to go back to playing on the outside) "I think you could see him doing both. In nickel he could be in one spot and in base he could be in another. As long as we got everybody healthy, then we got an opportunity to do more things."
(on if conceptually, the middle linebacker position is less likely to make explosive plays as opposed to the outside linebacker position) "I wouldn't say that. I think if you would play a lot of Tampa Two I would say that. The other day we had 50 snaps. That's probably the least amount that you could have in this game. We had 50 snaps and we played Tampa Two probably close to 20 snaps in the game. That does eliminate the Mike (middle linebacker) in a lot of ways. So his numbers are not going to be big, but he did play well."
(on if he worries about CB Kareem Jackson's mindset and confidence) "Oh yeah, I worry about all of them. It's like a receiver, you drop a ball. You worry about them coming back and making the next play, but that's part of the game. The thing that I really like about him is how tough he is. I like how hard he practices. I like how he meets. Everything to me, adds up to him having a great career. We just got to stay positive with him."
(on Jacksonville from both sides of the ball) "Physical. They are going to be fresh. Biggest team we've played all year as far as size-wise. We are going to have to stop the run. They'll come after our quarterback. They always do. They probably have the best special teams that we've played so far this year."
(on if he agrees that the offense has to score at least 30 points to have a chance to win) "No, I think we had our opportunities. We had an opportunity to score 40. I think that's frustration on their part of knowing that we could've put enough points on the board to win that football game. I think that's what that is. Mindset-wise you have to be able to think that you can win any way in this business."
(on if he ever had a situation in past years when his offense was the polar opposite than what it was the previous year) "Yardage-wise, we are exactly where we were last year. I think we are a much more efficient offense. We are better in the red zone. We are better on third downs. We've had the ball this year four minutes less a game and we are missing a lot of snaps, but yet we have the same yards. We have changed as a team. We are running the ball very well. We need to protect (QB) Matt (Schaub) better. That will be a key on the back half of the season with some of the people that we'll play."
(on if he has a reason why the team's run blocking and pass blocking has changed so much in the course of a year) "No, I really can't from that standpoint. As far as an emphasis of yardage, we are much more committed to the run than we were last year as a football team. That's something that we wanted to do. As far as the sacks, we've had some busts on some sacks. It'll be interesting to see how we will end up. I think throughout our bye week we studied some things that helped us. We still had Tuesday. We'll see, I think we can improve that.
(on if there will be more of TE James Casey this weekend) "Yes, he's playing very well. I expected him to play well and he did. He has a lot confidence in the practice field."
(on if TE Owen Daniels is improving) "Yes he is improving. They are just working with him inside every day. It doesn't do him much good to come out here right now. He's not ready for the field. We'll get out here some point."
(on if he's concerned that he's not getting enough pass pressure from LB Kevin Bentley on the strong side) "Pressure-wise last week, I thought that we were around the quarterback a great deal. I think our coverage can help us get there. As far as (LB) Kevin (Bentley) playing the Sam (strong side linebacker), we didn't bring him that much. When Cush (LB Brian Cushing) plays the Sam, we're more apt to get him involved in the pass rush. It has been tricky on how we are trying to organize our defense with Cush moving around. Hopefully, with some of this health we can get rid of some these problems that we've had."
LB Brian Cushing(on if there is going to be more pressure on him now to make plays now that he's back at strong side linebacker) "Well I'm going to make them. I'm going be back at the position that I need to be. Overall, I want to have a more impactful game and all the other 10 guys on defense as well."
(on if he was surprised when he was told that he was returning back to strong side linebacker) "No, I wasn't because I think the coaches could see the frustrations that I had. I felt okay, I didn't feel that anything was wrong. I didn't feel like I was really playing the game that I can. Now I'm going back to Sam (strong side linebacker) and doing things that I'm good at like playing the edge and rushing the passer. It's going to be a lot more pressure off me."
(on if he's happy about being moved back to strong side linebacker) "I am. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to do it. It was one of those things that was thrown my way and I have to handle it. If he asks me to play Sam, I'll play Sam. If it's Mike, then I'm Mike."
TE Joel Dreessen(on going up against the Jacksonville defense this week) "They're playing good right now. (DE Aaron) Kampman has definitely been a great addition to their team. (LB) Kirk Morrison, in the middle, he's playing really well. They run a lot of different defenses and you have to be able to adjust and it's going to be a challenge."
RB Arian Foster(on his patience in the backfield) "I think that's always been an attribute of mine. My running style is vision and patience. I think that's how you have to be as a runner, is patient, because things take time to develop. So as a running back, you have to show that."
(on if the bond between him and the linemen has grown throughout the season) "Yeah, we have fun out there. So when we're out in the huddle, we like to joke. I like to make the guys smile. Every now and then they make me smile. When it's down to the nitty gritty, we push each other. It's a fun thing."
(on his thoughts regarding the final eight games of the season) "It's time to go. Second half of the season, so it's a new season. So we gotta go."
(on if the players talk about what they have to do over these eight games to make the playoffs) "No, we just talk about Jacksonville this week. You can't look too far ahead or you're not going to focus on the task at hand. I think all of the guys in here are focused on one game at a time. This is a division opponent, so we need to get this one."
WR Andre Johnson(on how is he approaching this week) "Well we know how important these eight games are. We know how important this game we have this Sunday against the Jaguars. We are very aware of where we are as a football team. We have to do everything that we can to try to win these eight games we have left."
(on how he's been physically the last two weeks) "I didn't tweak my ankle at anytime during the game Sunday. Right now it's actually feeling pretty good. I wouldn't say that I'm 100 percent, but it's feeling pretty good. I really can't really tell how I'm feeling until I'm actually running around and cutting on it, but as far as walking, I feel fine."
(on how big is this week's game) "It's very big. A big division game for us. We have eight games left. In order for us to get where we want to go we have to win at least six of these games. We know that and the only the way we are going to do it is by approaching it one game at a time. All eight of these games are very important and we are going to go out and try to win all eight of them."
QB Matt Schaub(on the reasons for his success against the Jaguars) "Well, it's just completing balls, taking what the defense gives me and guys making plays. It's a group effort. We need to go down and have that same type of effort and go down and execute and win the game."
(on how hard it has been to take deep breaths this week) "I'm fine. Ready to go."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak being surprised that Schaub was practicing as much as he was) "I wasn't. I know how I feel. I feel good and ready to get going."
(on 4-4 not being the record the Texans wanted) "It's not where we want to be. It's disappointing and frustrating, but at the same time, we're moving forward. It's the only way we can progress and move in here into the third quarter of our season. (We're) going on the road against a divisional opponent, a good team that's also 4-4. We're looking at it and the other two teams in our division are one game above us. There's plenty of football left and we need to just go out and get a win. Winning cures a lot of things in this business and that's what we're focused on."
(on playing physical teams) "We're a physical team, also. We pride ourselves on playing that way. We played a very physical game the other day, we just didn't make plays late in the game to win the game. We need to go out there, on the road and do those things that cause you to win."
(on if the running and passing game are working smoothly together on offense) "I felt like this past week was probably our most complete game across the board; offensively, special teams chipped in, defensively, we just didn't put enough points on the board. We left points out there, offensively. But as far as running the ball and being effective and efficient throwing it throughout the game, it felt like we were well-balanced from that standpoint."
(on if having the run and pass game come together is a learning process) "No. It's just something that we've been working on. Obviously, over the years we've been working on getting the running game to where we want it to be and that's where it's at now. That's complementing our passing game. We have to cut down on the mistakes that are hurting me."
(on how painful the hit Chargers LB Jacques Cesaire put on him last Sunday) "It wasn't too bad. It was just one of those fluke things. Like I said, I'm fine."
(on the play of TEs Joel Dreessen and James Casey against the Chargers last week) "They did a great job. (TE) Joel's (Dreessen) been doing it for years, now. He's really played well; very consistent. We knew (TE) James (Casey) was ready to come in and play well and do good things. He had the little ankle thing going on early in the season but him getting his chance; he was ready for it and excited and really showed up and made plays for us."
(on the Jacksonville defense) "They're a physical group. They're good up front. They have some veteran guys in the back end. (CB) Rashean Mathis has been there for years and is a good player. Just their scheme presents a lot of challenges to us. We just have to identify them and focus on what it takes for our play and our scheme to be successful."
(on if past successes against Jacksonville matters) "Nothing in the past matters. All that matters is this Sunday."
(on if he has any regrets of the fourth-quarter fourth-and-1 sneak he failed to convert on against St. Louis) "I spent the better part of 36 hours agonizing on that and many other things that went on. Once you get done Monday in there, you got to let it go and move on to the next one or your focus is not on the right thing."
(on Wednesday's practice) "We had a very good practice. Guys were wired and focused on their job, just trying to put last week out of our minds and put it on the backburner and getting ready for this game. I felt we had a crisp, sharp, workman-like practice and I felt like that was what we needed."
(on if this is a must-win game this week) "They're all must-wins, especially at this point. After losing the last two, we need a win this week and we need to have a good preparation. We need to go out and just play four quarters of relentless football."
DE Antonio Smith(on his expectations for the remainder of the season) "As high as it was in Week 1, but now I've got a whole another vibe. You could just tell on the sidelines, we felt like we had the game won. A couple plays, here or there, could've gone our way, could've easily made the game ours. I think that working off of that is the best thing we can do, not looking back, but looking forward. I think so many positive things happened in that game that hadn't been happening for us in other games."
(on Kubiak saying this will be the largest team they've played) "They look big on film. They look pretty big. I don't know if it will be the most physical game, but if it is the most physical game, I've been waiting for it. Physical is the type of game I like to play. It isn't like I see it all over the film but hey, they might be just as pumped up to play us and get a win as we are."
Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio(on what is the team's current mood after the win at Dallas and the bye) "I think for our guys, we are just excited to get back to work and get busy in our preparations getting ready for the Texans coming in."
(on what has been the issue defensively for the team) "We've had a few issues. We'd like to think that we're improving as a unit and certainly we'll have a big test with the Texans offense coming in here."
(on Jaguars QB David Garrard's success against the Texans in recent years) "I'm not sure the best way to explain something like that. I think (QB) David (Garrard) is a good football player. I think he's had some good games against these guys. I just like to see us have the next one to be a good one. We can't really do much about what has happened whether it's good or bad. We need to have a good effort this weekend and need to find a way to get a victory."
(on if it's tough to keep his team focused on what he wants them to do instead of focusing on playing against the worst defense in the league) "I really don't look at it that way. We got a team that's working hard and working together and doing all that we can to help each other anyway we can on Sunday. I can't speak for them. I can only speak for the way we approach things."
(on what does he see on the Texans defense when he watches them on film) "I see some talented players. I think that (DE) Mario (Williams) and (DE) Antonio (Smith) are doing a nice job generating some rush. I think (LB Brian) Cushing's Pro Bowl berth speaks for itself. I think he's a real good football player. Obviously, they'll miss (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) because he was a heck of a player and a leader for them as well. I think (SS Bernard) Pollard is a guy that will knock your head off in the box. They've got some talented guys like we are. I think we've got some talented guys and we just need to play better football in the second half of the season."
(on the emergence of DT Terrance Knighton's ability to hold double teams, how confident his defense can hold Texans RB Arian Foster in check) "That's something that we've got our work cut out for us. That's something that we got to do. He's really been sensational all year starting in the first game against Indianapolis. When they went in there and just ran up and down the field. He really hasn't slowed down. He's leading the league in rushing and having heck of a year for them. So obviously, that's going to be somebody that'll have our attention."
(on every team in the AFC South being one game apart in the standings through eight weeks) "I think when you look at our division there is a lot of opportunity. All four teams are very much in it sitting here within one game of each other. There is a lot of divisional contest in the second half of the season. We've got Houston to start and finish this second half of the season. Then we play each of the other two divisional teams as well. We've got four divisional games in the last eight. Everything that you want as a football team in terms of opportunities is right there in front of us."
(on what has impressed him specifically about DT Terrance Knighton's play against the run this season) "(DT) Terrance (Knighton) is a good football player. He came in last year and started and played well for us and really kind of picked up. He's shown that he's going to be a really good football player for us and a guy that we can count on. He's been a force in the middle. I'd like to think that he requires four hands (double team). If he's not getting that type of attention then he'll be very disruptive."
(on RB Arian Foster) "He's just been very successful. He's a big strong guy. A one cut runner. He's made some people miss. He's showed the ability to finish. He runs when he gets out in open spaces. Not many people are knocking him backwards or sideways. It'll be a challenge for us. We are looking forward to it. It'll be a good challenge to up against a back like that with the passing attack that they have as well. It's very good offense that we'll have to play well against to slow down."
(on challenges of moving outside to middle linebacker) "I kind of experienced that as a player. It'll take a little adjustment. I'm sure he'll settle in and play good football. There is a difference in the two (positions) in the reads and some of the things that you've got to get done. There is no question that he's a good football player and he'll find a way."
(on if he's surprise to hear that RB Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the most difficult backs in the league to bring down) "We hear it all the time because he is. He runs hard he's a violent runner. Despite not being a large man, he runs like he is. He's a physical runner. He's a compact guy and very powerfully built and that's just his style. I know that he's not an easy guy to get down."
(on what type challenges does WR Mike Sims-Walker physicality bring to the Texans secondary) "That's one part of our football team that we thought has really improved. At one time, we were a little bit of running game or not a lot. We feel like that we developed that other side of our team that is not just getting (RB) Maurice (Jones-Drew) going and being able to run it. We feel like we could do other things to score points. (TE) Marcedes Lewis has had a tremendous year. (WR) Mike Sims-Walker and (WR) Mike Thomas have done a nice job for us as well. I think being more of a balanced offense and a well rounded offense that can run it and throw it is something that we are seeking to be. Both Mike and Mike has been very solid for us."
(on as a player, did he move from outside linebacker to the middle and how long did it take him to adjust) "Yes. After I stopped bucking it (the change) it took a couple of years, but I enjoyed a nice long career and settled in the middle and really played my best football there."
Jacksonville QB David Garrard(on what is the difference in the Texans defense now than what he's seen in the past) "Well being that this is a division game everybody knows they will be coming out with all they got on both sides. We got to be able to do our job and play our game. They are going to come out and be just as physical and just as tough and try to make plays in the passing game. We know their defensive line is going to do their best to get after me. We go to make sure we do a good job on (DE) Mario (Williams) and using our chip help. I got to count on my offensive line to make sure they keep those guys off me. Really it's just us executing. If we could execute we could do a lot things against anybody. It's really important for us to go out and move the ball, but really just do our jobs."
(on going against the league's worst pass defense change the Jaguar's offensive philosophy from running the ball to more of a pass oriented offense) "We like to be balance. We don't like to be high or low in any different phases. I think with (CB) Kareem (Jackson), I've seen him making plays too. If you look around the league a lot of the corners are getting beat at times, but it seems like that he could still step up and make some plays as well. We just need to be efficient in the run and the pass so that we can do the things that we are working on doing. In the run game, we like to use it to set up the pass. We just have to play our game and if we do that, then we could have a good day."
(on what has turned it around for him in his personal performance this season) "I just think, it's just continuing to play. You are going to have some games where you are not playing your best and you can't let that overwhelm you. You can't let that get the best of you. If you play in this league long enough you are going to have moment where people are talking about maybe you should be getting benched. That can happen to a lot of guys. I would be no different. You can't worry about that. You can't worry about what people are saying. You could only worry about the things that you think you could control. That's what I've done my whole life playing football. That's how I'm going to continue to do and whenever my time is up, it's up. But I'm going to make sure that I give it everything that I got every time I get an opportunity to go out there."
(on what explains the recent success he's had against the Texans) "I wish I knew. I really think it's just us executing. It's us doing our jobs and playing our game; knowing our scheme going into that week and executing it. That's really it. It's just playing confident and having confidence in my offensive line that they're going to protect for me and having confidence in my receivers making plays. If we can get (RB) Maurice (Jones-Drew) going that will help us get our passing game going. We got to be balance on both phases and that's what we are planning on doing."
(on how does he keep the team from focusing on how bad the Texans defense is and focus on the game plan) "Well first of all, nobody's thinking that. Nobody's saying that. Nobody's has even thought that. If you watch film, you see them making plays. We have to just continue to do our thing in practice. We never go into the week thinking a team is terrible. This is the NFL and every Sunday is its own season. We have to make sure that we have to continue that same focus all year long. That's really it."
(on how does he feel about all the teams in the AFC South being a game apart eight games into the season) "That's a good thing because one team has always taken control. We just need to make sure that going into this second half of this season that we just continue to pile up wins. That's what it really boils down to. This is a tough division. It's probably the toughest division in the whole league. That's great for us and tough for us at the same time. It's great and tough for all the teams in this division, but we just need to keep playing our game and doing our job and hope at the end we have enough wins that allow us to make it to the playoffs."
(on what type of advantages Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis has against the Texans pass coverage) "(TE) Marcedes (Lewis) provide a challenge for all defenses. He does a great job now of running the routes and understanding where the holes are and where the zones are; how to beat man coverage. He's such a big target. He has soft hands. He really allows me as a quarterback to put the ball anywhere and him go and make a play on it. We just feel that Marcedes has stepped up his game and has really turned himself into one of the better tight ends in the league. He just continues to grow with confidence and I continue to grow with confidence in him. With that, we just got to do our job and play our games so that nobody can stop us if we are on our game. Marcedes has really stepped up his game and I'm really proud of the way he's been playing and the way he's handled things all year long. We just got to continue on doing a lot of the same things."
(on how much of advantage WR Mike Sims-Walker has over the Texans corners) "(WR) Mike Sims(-Walker) have stepped up also. He started the season off slowly for whatever reason. It was really just him keeping his nose in the ground and just grinding and not letting the lack of catches get him down. There were times where I had to make sure that I kept him motivated and positive, but he's doing a great job of that himself and he is starting to reap the rewards now. We just need to keep targeting him and throwing the ball his way because he'll make plays for you if you give him the opportunity."
(on often he's been checking down to the open receiver this year versus last year) "I think just finding the open receivers period. Not just checking it down, but taking what the defense gives me and not throwing the homerun ball. This offense does a pretty good job of ball control, but if you are able to establish the run then that will give you things down the field as well. It's really just staying patient and just playing our game and letting things come to us and not trying to be too anxious or anything. There are times to take shots, but there are times to just to be smart and give the ball to somebody like (RB) Maurice (Jones-Drew) that can turn a three yard check down into a 50 yard reception. That's everything a quarterback wants to have. If you could throw the ball two, three or four yards and it turns into 15 or 20 yards or even 50 yards then that's a great completion in that in itself. We have great backs that can do a good job in getting some Yac (yards after catch) for us and I'm not ashamed to check the ball down at all. That's a quarterback's comfort to have a good check down game."