The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center, and after, Texans chairman/CEO Bob McNair, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. Also, the Houston media asked questions of Titans head coach Jeff Fisher and running back Chris Johnson. The following is a transcript of all those interviews.
Texans Owner Bob McNairTexans Head Coach Gary Kubiak TE James Casey|RB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonWR Jacoby JonesDT Amobi OkoyeQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio Smith
Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher Conference CallTitans RB Chris Johnson Conference Call
Texans chairman/CEO Bob McNair(opening statement) "First of all, I want to clarify what I had to say after the game Sunday. I was speaking about the game and the great comeback that we had, and I was very proud of that comeback. But at the same time, you can't win games playing 59 minutes, and that was the big disappointment. We just have to learn to play 60 minutes and get these things closed out. I was not making any reference to a critique of the coaches or the players by saying they were great, so let me clarify that. None of us are happy with the performance of our team. We are underperforming. Our coaches know that; they say that. Our players know that; they say that. We've got to turn this thing around. The way we'll do that is by playing 60 minutes. That's the emphasis. I have faith in the team. We've got a tough team we're playing this weekend. I think we're going to go out and win this game and if we do that, then probably we'll be in second place in the division, one game out. My message to the fans is this team is not quitting. They're still fighting and they will continue to fight. I think you're going to see some very pleasant things happen in the future."
(on his thoughts and feelings regarding head coach Gary Kubiak) "We talk about what's going on and the game and the performance and the various things I'm talking about. It's obvious to all of us. For us to come back the way we did after being down and being in their stadium with 80,000 fans up there cheering against us, it was just a tremendous comeback. If we would've closed that game out, there's no doubt in my mind, it would've been the biggest victory we've had period, bar none. We didn't do it. We let it slip away. We just can't let that happen and the team has got to realize during that crunch time, you've got to turn it up. The other team is going to turn it up. If we don't turn it up, we're going to be on the short end of the stick. We're ready to go forward though and be ready to play this game this weekend."
(on if he is still sticking with head coach Gary Kubiak) "I'm concerned about winning this game against Tennessee. I always do what I think is in the best interest of this team. That's what motivates me. It's in our best interest right now to get ready and play Tennessee and go out and win this game and that's what I expect us to do."
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on today's practice) "We had a good practice. (TE) Owen (Daniels) worked with the trainers today. (LB Xavier) Adibi is back out, he missed. (DE) Mario (Williams) did not practice. (LB) Zac Diles is back to work. Other than that, we're just fine."
(on the status of DE Mario Williams) "It's a pattern of getting every Wednesday off. He's been sore, but (DE) Mario (Williams) has always answered the bell. He'll play. He'll be okay. We're just doing the right thing with him on Wednesday."
(on does he feel about the team bouncing back this weekend) "We had our chances of bouncing back in the past few weeks. These guys work hard. It's human nature not to feel too damn good today, but we got back to work and we'll get in real early tomorrow and get another good day of practice. We'll be ready to play."
(on if the team is showing him the effects of being beaten down) "You got to work through tough times. If it's not bothering you then you got a problem. So yeah it bothers us, but when it's time to go to work we go to work."
(on if any players or dragging around) "No. We could have more life than we had today. But we'll go find it. We'll find it tomorrow. We'll practice good."
(on how to prepare for a game this Sunday and then the following game on Thursday on the road) "Well players just need to stay focused on one football game. Coaches have a dual task. That's just part of the business. When the schedule comes out you know what you're facing. We got a long hard week ahead of us and pushing for next week, but for players they got to stay focused on this weekend."
(on if the coaching staff is preparing for Philadelphia) "We'll have to at the end of the week. We can't right now. It's just too much to do to get ready for Tennessee. When you get to the end of the week and you're game-ready then you got to step into another direction."
(on if Titans rookie QB Rusty Smith starting changes anything in his preparation) "No it really doesn't because I know what kind of team we're going to get. We going to get a physical team that's built on the run and playing very physical defense and complicated special teams. That pattern has never changed about Jeff Fisher teams. It won't be any different with this guy. This quarterback will play good. I know how's coached and I know whose coaching him. He'll be ready to play."
(on RB Chris Johnson) "He's been unbelievable. Him and (RB) Arian (Foster) got a nice race going on. He's a tremendous player and a homerun threat every time he touches the ball."
(on QB Rusty Smith) "I've only seen him in the preseason and the few snaps he took last week. I studied him as he came out for the draft and obviously was very impressed with him."
(on the comparisons between CBs Cortland Finnegan and the Jets Darrelle Revis) "They're a little different players. (CB Darrelle) Revis is a big guy, but nobody's more aggressive than (CB Cortland) Finnegan. He plays every snap as hard as he can play. He plays special teams too, a very impressive player."
(on the Titans woes of late) "Yeah, they've got injuries and lost a tough game at home last week. They had their opportunity to win that game, but that's the National Football League. Both of us are going to try to bounce back."
(on his confidence in his interior defensive line going in this week) "Our defense up front got the most pressure on the quarterback all year. Probably the most disappointing thing is we could've gotten there four or five more times. Linebacker-wise, that's probably the best we've played. (LB Darryl) Sharpton will be back on the field this week. He's going to play a great deal."
(on the play of DE Mark Anderson coming off the bench) "He's been doing a great job for a few weeks now. He's been giving us a boost. He lost an opportunity in Chicago and he's taking advantage of an opportunity here."
(on WR Randy Moss) "He's (WR) Randy (Moss). He can make the big plays. He hasn't had a lot of balls come his way, but that team is built around the run game in what they do. You know the minute you pack the box the ball is coming out his way. That's obviously something we have to worry about."
(on the defense not being effective early) "A few weeks ago, we had a great start against San Diego, but other than that there has been some slow starts. We worry about what happens over the course of the game, but we definitely got to play better earlier in the game."
(on what he wants to see more of from WR Jacoby Jones) "He got to get consistent catching the ball. We didn't help him last week from a returns standpoint. Our kickoff return was poor. So we got to help him from that standpoint."
(on if WR David Anderson has moved ahead of WR Jacoby Jones in the depth chart) "(WR) David Anderson started at the zebra last week and has played very well when he got an opportunity a couple of weeks ago and will continue to get an opportunity."
*TE James Casey *(on the mentality of the team this week) "Of course it hurts the way we lost these last couple of games, but at the same time we got to be professionals about it and be men about it. I promise you, we're not giving up. We're still going to go out there to battle and keep fighting. That's all we can do. We can't sit and whine and complain about what has happened to us. We still got six games left to play and we feel like we are a really good team. We just got to go and demonstrate that, we've got six games left and we are going to go out there and prove it."
(on the playoffs starting now for the Texans) "Yeah, pretty much we understand the situation we've put ourselves in at 4-6 right now. Most likely, if we want to have a really good shot we need to win the last six to give ourselves a pretty good shot. We could think about that, but you can't put too much focus on that. You know the old cliché, you got to take it one game at a time, because if we don't handle and do well against Tennessee on Sunday, none of that stuff really matters. That definitely matters. So we have to go out there and focus for Tennessee and find some way to make those special plays at the end, those special plays to get the job done."
(on he sees when he looks at the Titans) "Of course they're a good team. Everybody we play is going to be great athletes. Their defensive ends, the kind of stuff I watch as a defensive end, their defensive ends get in a nine-technique, which is outside the tight end. They kind of just watch the ball and kind of come hard, try to crash you down, kind of make the field smaller. So we're going to have to deal with that. It's going to be a physical game of course with Tennessee. We've got a little rivalry with them. So it's going to be a little more intense out there, which we're excited about. Finally get to come back home and it's going to be a lot of fun. We just got to go and take care of our business and not be too concerned about what they are doing."
*RB Arian Foster *(on the mentality of the team after two close losses in a row) "Actually today, I felt so much energy from the team in practice. It felt really good out there. It feels like we are back to square one. There's still a lot of football to be played. Anything can happen so everybody's pretty positive."
(on if the team is talking about little room for error at this point in order to make the playoffs) "We strive for perfection. That's why we play the game. We are obviously are not going to attain it, but that's what we go to practice for. Keep working, anything can happen."
(on if the Texans would have to go unbeaten to make the playoffs) "I don't know. I don't really have a crystal ball, but we can only control what we can control and that's the last six games. So we got to do what we got to do."
WR Andre Johnson(on this team, season and what is at stake) "We know that we are not where we want to be as a football team, but if you look at practice and the way we went out to practice today the energy is where it needs to be. Of course we're upset about the things that have happened, but guys are working to get it fixed. That's a good thing."
(on owner Bob McNair's comments that the team underperforming) "I think that feeling, the way he feels is very mutual amongst everybody in this locker room. We know where we can be as a football team, but we're not at that point. It's very discouraging because we know we are a much better football team than we've shown. The only way to get this nasty taste out of our mouths is by going out and winning a football game."
(on Tennessee's defense) "They've always had a great defense. Guys play hard every time we play against him. It's a very physical and tough game and guys get after each other. We expect the same thing. We really don't expect anything different. What we see on film is some of the same things we've seen every other time that we've played them. We expect for it to be a physical football game."
(on if Sunday's game needs to be won at all costs) "Any sport you play is all about winning. We haven't been very fortunate to be on that side. We've lost four games in a row and guys are upset about it. Like I said before, the only way to get that nasty taste your mouth is by winning. Every football game that we go out to play, you approach it the same way. By any means, you need to go out and win that football game. They may say that for this game because of how many games we've lost in a row, but I approach every game like that."
(on if the remaining games on the schedule are must-win games ) "If we want to get where we want to be, we have to win them all. That's it period, point blank. That's it, we have to win. If we don't win, then we don't get to where we want to be."
(on if Titans CB Cortland Finnegan has made him angry in the past) "Yes he has, but that was one game. That's the past, I'm over that. That's way behind me, I don't think about that. Like I said, he's a feisty player and plays hard. When you go out there and play against him, you'll have to go out there and earn everything you get."
(on how does the team keep from doubting themselves down the stretch in games) "Bad things happen at times and once they have happened, there is nothing you could do about it to change it. If we are put in the same position again, we just have to come through to win the game. That's pretty much it. You can't really dwell on the past and what has happened already. If it happens again, you just have to find a way to come on top."
WR Jacoby Jones(on the mindset of the team after two tough losses) "We're sitting at 4-6. We got to keep looking forward and stay on straight path and go to work and get us a W."
(on getting the offense starting earlier in games) "We got to have that mindset from jump and stop worrying about picking it up in the second half. When we come out in the first half, just go to work. It's simple as that make plays. Make big-time third down plays and big-time catches."
(on how can the offense get in the mindset to start early in games) "It starts off in practice. You start making those plays in practice and finish our run in practice and we will be alright."
DT Amobi Okoye(on this game being the final test) "I'm sure that we are going to pass the test. I'm very confident just like every other week. Going into this week, I'm very confident that we'll get the job done."
(on what are some keys against the Titans offense) "You've got to stop the run. You got (RB) Chris Johnson back there and what we experienced with him last year. He's been having a great year again this year. I think the key is stopping him and then I think the rest is going to fall in place."
(on how to stop RB Chris Johnson) "Hit him. Getting more than one hat on him for sure. The thing about him is that he has good stability. Once you get one person on him then the second person has to come in and get the ball out. Once you get one person on him, the second person has to come in and try and get the ball out, all that good stuff. He tries to just stand there and let you fall off and then keep going."
*QB Matt Schaub *(on did he feel like he was able to get rid of the ball quicker against the Titans last year) "No, we ran a bunch of seven-step drops. We had good timing. Our offensive line played exceptionally well and we had a lot of guys getting open and making plays. It was just us doing our offense. We weren't necessarily three-step drop and getting rid of it any quicker than we normally would."
(on the issue of the offense not starting off early) "That's our objective, our goal every week. Obviously last week we were playing a very good defense in their place. We were in a tight ball game all first half and scored a touchdown, but tough situations backed up and was able to turn the field position. Obviously we want to go this week and score early and get a lead and let our defense play with a lead and get out to a fast start."
(on how does the team keep its spirit up after two close losses) "We just come back out and get ready and practice. We're all professionals. That's our job, is to come out here and get ready to play this Sunday. That's what we're doing. We have a job to do and we are going to do it and we're going to have good practice this week and go out and play a good game."
(on the keys to the Titans defense) "They are the usual Tennessee Titans. They have a stout group up front. They can get after the passer and stop the run. Their secondary is very veteran. They have a lot guys that played some football and are smart and physical. It's always a battle when we play them, physically. It's going to be 60 minutes of hard-nosed football."
(on if the team has shown some resiliency this year) "Absolutey, we've shown it throughout the season; in games, during series. It is something that we just need to reset our jaw and go back out there and come out swinging. That's our mindset and mentality. That's what we're going to be about."
(on if it's tough to move along from the two tough back-to-back losses) "We're moving on to then next one. We are on to the next one. That's just what we have to do. That's what we're here to do. If we're dwelling on what has happened in the past, we're not focused on the right thing."
(on if every game is a playoff game with six games left) "Right now, we're just focusing on this one. We can't win them all right know. We got to win one right now and get off this losing streak. Win this one and move on to the next one. Right now it's a one-game season for us. We are just focusing on what it takes to beat Tennessee."
*DE Antonio Smith *(on the Titans going with a rookie quarterback and RB Chris Johnson) "I think regardless of whoever they got at quarterback they still got (RB) Chris Johnson and that's still what they want to do which is run the ball with him. He gets probably a good 60-70 percent of their possessions whether it's passing it to him out of the backfield or running the ball. He is who we are going to have to stop regardless of whoever is at the quarterback position."
(on owner Bob McNair's comments on the team and coaches underperforming this season) "He's just speaking it how it is. If it walks like a duck, quack like a duck, it's probably a duck. You can't say nothing against it. The statistics are what they are. We are underperforming. We have a good team. We have great players on the team, but we are not winning so that's what this game is about and right now we're not pulling that off."
(on if he's worried about the team) "Yeah, I'm worried about this team of what could happen to it. Where it could go and what could happen to some of the younger players. It gets to the point of when you think of the worst, but when you wake up in the morning you got to shake it off and come up with a new frame of mind. You'll be worried about it, but you got to put that in the back and go on and handle your business."
Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher(on QB Vince Young being denied access to the team facilities and if players on injured reserve are required to attend player meetings and practices) "I don't know where that's coming from. What is accurate is that when we came back in Monday once the team meeting was scheduled and I needed to address some issues without him in the team meeting. I went to look for him and couldn't find him and I asked one of my assistants to just inform him that he wasn't welcome in the team meeting and he was free to leave. That was all that was said. He's going to follow along with the normal injury reserve protocol here which is players are not required to attend meetings or practice. They will get various treatments if it's required. All injuries are different and we don't take injury reserve players on road trips."
(on if QB Vince Young would like to attend practice on the sideline) "He's welcome to do that. We had two players last week come out. (DE) Derrick Morgan came out who is rehabbing an ACL came out and watched practice. (RB) Stafon Johnson comes out on occasion and watches practice. He's welcome to do that."
(on how much the QB Vince Young issue has been a distraction in his preparation to face the Texans) "It is not. This is what we do on Monday. We meet and put the game into perspective and correct the mistakes and address any issues that took place and you move on. That's what we've done."
(on rookie QB Rusty Smith) "We drafted Rusty particularly because of the type of things that he did in college. He played in a pro-style offense and made all the throws. He's a very accurate passer. He has a strong arm and tall and sees well. He's very intelligent. As a matter of fact, we had him up on the (draft) board and had him quite high after our visit with him. We just felt like he had a chance."
(on where does WR Randy Moss fits in the game plan against the Texans) "There were some other opportunities for (WR) Randy (Moss) that we just couldn't take advantage of. Randy's done a great job. Since coming here, he's been a real pro. He's having fun and helping the younger guys. He starts for us and we hope to get him more involved."
(on if he expect QB Vince Young to be on the sideline this Sunday) "I can't say whether he will or not. He's not making the trip with the team. We don't take injury reserve players with us. It'll be a rare occasion where we have, but we don't make that a habit."
(on what happens if the decision is made by Titans owner Bud Adams to make a choice between him and QB Vince Young) "This issue has nothing to do with what's going on this Sunday. Our focus is on our next opponent that's playing very well. This is a must win game for both teams. That has no merit as far as what's going on here."
(on has he ever seen a worse secondary than the Texans in his whole career in the NFL) "Passing yards are up all over the league. Secondaries are giving up plays. We've got some incredible things happening offensively. We've given up plays ourselves. I think they're a young secondary that is talented. They have just been at the wrong place at wrong time on occasion. It's a very solid defensive front seven and the DBs can tackle. In the National Football League you can get things corrected in a short period of time. It could be a week-to-week deal."
(on what was QB Rusty Smith was able to do in training camp to beat out QB Chris Simms for a roster spot) "It started in OTAs with his understanding. You tell him something once and he gets it. He has a real good understanding of the offense and protections and where he needs to go with the football. I just felt like he had a huge upside."
(on if there is a quarterback he coached in the last 15 years that he could compare QB Rusty Smith to) "No, I don't think so. It's too early to compare him to anybody. He's attempted six passes in the National Football League. We'll see how long it will take (QB) Kerry (Collins) to get back. In the meantime, we'll get a pretty good feel for what he could do."
(on RB Chris Johnson average of six yards per carry since WR Randy Moss joining the team) "It's reconfigured defenses. On occasion, I think we were able to take advantage of that. He's drawn some rotation and the extra defender is a little late to arriving in the box.
(on DE Jason Babin's turnaround in Tennessee) "He's come in here and fits the system. Wash (defensive line coach Jim Washburn) is obviously an outstanding coach. He fits the system. He's edged. He's up field and plays hard. He's really enjoying the way we play and this opportunity."
(on if he is surprised by the performance of RB Arian Foster this season) "I think most everybody is surprised. I don't think surprised is the right word, I think impressed. We've faced some good backs this year, but clearly he's an elite back in this league. The Jets are a very good tackling defense and you saw what he did to them. It's a huge concern of ours."
(on if he could remember seeing a team in his career having the bad luck the Texans have this season) "There are games that are going to end at times unusually and certainly it's been difficult for them. You watch them on tape and they are a highly explosive offense and very, very well coached, solid on special teams and a defense that plays very hard. They are capable of lining up and beating anybody in this league."
(on if he has ever seen a Hail Mary play like the one involving CB Glover Quin) "No, I have not. The last one I think I saw was in New Orleans, when Mike Ditka was there. I think that was his first win on a Hail Mary."
(on players on the team have not come out in support of QB Vince Young this time around as opposed to the past) "(QB) Vince (Young) is placed on injured reserve. He's got an injured thumb that's going to require surgery. It's the players' responsibility anytime you are without a starter for everyone else to step up. We are starting a rookie quarterback for the first time and the rest of the offense is going to have to step up so he could be successful."
(on how difficult it is for him to deal with QB Vince Young and his mishaps) "I've addressed all that and we moved on and truly my focus is on the Houston Texans."
(on if past issues with players is helping him deal with this current issue with QB Vince Young) "I don't think anyone would've dealt with it any differently than I did. There were several issues that were addressed. Unfortunately, he's hurt now. Like I said, we've moved on."
(on if he expect for QB Vince Young to be with the Titans next year) "My focus is not on next year. My focus is on trying to win a game."
(on rookie WR Marc Mariani) "I was familiar with Marc for obvious reasons. I got to see him play several times in person and watch most of the games. I felt like Marc had some skills that may transfer and convert over to this level. He was evaluated like every other prospect in the draft. We put a grade on him and we drafted him where we thought we had value for him."
(on does he feel for opposing coaches on the hot seat) "(Texans head coach) Gary (Kubiak) has done a great job in my opinion. He's team plays hard and competitive every week. They are a highly explosive and a very difficult team to game plan against. Obviously, he's put his mark on that team and he should be proud of that. Gary wasn't defending the Hail Mary. Gary is doing everything that he possibly can to try and win games. I'll always have respect for him."
(on if LB Brian Cushing looked like the Cushing of last year last week) "I thought the defense played very, very physical. He in particular was running around and making plays and shocking and shedding and playing with a great deal of emotion."
(on the Texans defense without LB DeMeco Ryans) "There are very good players all over the league that had to step aside because of injury. The responsibility is to get someone else to step up. They're doing the best that they can. Like I said, I'm very impressed with their front seven."
(on what makes CB Cortland Finnegan so special) "He battles. He's very competitive. He loves challenges. He's very smart. He has a great deal of respect for opposing players. He is focused on his game and his challenges. He's been one of the main reasons we've had two younger corners step up and play as well as they have, just because he provides an example for them to look up to."
(on if CB Cortland Finnegan's influence rubs off on the rest of the defense) "I think our defense is feisty and play hard. They play with enthusiasm and they play with a lot of energy. That's what we expect of them."
(on if its special coming back to Houston where he got his start) "It's been years now. The challenge is the team. The challenge is finding a way to make a play to win the ballgame. These games are very, very exciting and to me, it's quite a rivalry."
(on what Finnegan has done so effectively against WR Andre Johnson through the years) "Well, you look at the numbers, I think our defense has probably had more problems with Andre than any receiver that we face with maybe the exception of (Colts WR) Reggie Wayne. Cortland accepts challenges. He has great respect for him and is going to try and keep him from getting the football."
(on what could he do to try to slow down WR Andre Johnson) "I don't know. You're going to have to watch and see."
Titans RB Chris Johnson(on what was the key to having two great games against the Texans last year) "Basically executing the plays that where called and things like that. Basically checking my reads and those type of things."
(on how much of his play is on instinct) "There is nothing that you don't think about. You have to think about your reads. That's the whole key to the play. You have to read the play right."
(on how important it is for him to catch up and pass RB Arian Foster for the league lead in rushing) "It's very important to me. That's one of my goals. I can't worry about what he's doing. I just go to keep worrying about myself and hopefully at the end I'll be the leader. At the end of the day, I just worry about my job and just continue to put up numbers myself."
(on if playing against a guy that is ahead of him in rushing gets him even more fired up to do well) "I wouldn't say that. Anytime I face another back in the lead, I'm always motivated to do better than they do in the game. That's all the part of being the best in the league."
(on what role has WR Randy Moss played in his last two performances) "It plays a lot. If you look at the top backs in the league, or who is leading right now, a lot of the times when they're playing they are not playing against, like how I've played through the season, against eight, nine guys in the box. That's what I was playing against the whole first half of the season. Now that I got him, you just can't throw all those guys in the box. They won't let anybody else beat us because they know the type of player he is out there on the outside. He's a major factor."
(on what he has heard about RB Arian Foster) "I really don't know much about him. I just know that he's leading the league right now and that's about it."
(on what percentage of his run plays did he see eight or nine players in the box before the arrival of WR Randy Moss) "I would say over 80 percent. Over 80 percent of the runs, you just look at the film. If people don't believe that, they can look at the film and see it. When I run a passing route, there's two guys pick me on a passing route. It's kind of crazy. I know a lot of people came in there and were like, 'Whatever we do, he's not going to do anything. We're going to let somebody else beat us.' That's basically what their game plan was."
(on what percentage of his runs does he see eight or nine men in the box since the arrival of WR Randy Moss) "I'm not sure. They kind of mixed it up. It's probably 50, 60 percent. They'll still play it, but they mix it up."
(on has seen RB Arian Foster play this year) "We are in the same division so I've seen a couple of games when I watched the film against other people. So I've seen a couple of his games and things like that."
(on what does he think of RB Arian Foster's running style) "He's a good back."
(on if the situation with QB Vince Young's will be a distraction for the team) "We have to focus on Sunday's game. As much as me and this whole team is going to miss (QB) Vince (Young) being around here and things like that, at the end of the day we got to focus on the game and hopefully put that on our shoulders and play our heart out for Vince."
(on how disappointed he was with QB Vince Young after he threw his equipment in the stands) "I wasn't disappointed at all. I didn't see that. I don't know, so I can't say that I was disappointed."
(on QB Rusty Smith) "I played with him last game. He came in there, he didn't seem nervous or anything like that. He came in fired up. So basically, I think he'll be ready to go with some practice."
(on if having a quarterback making his first start this weekend puts more pressure on him) "You can't be one of the best guys in the league without pressure. You have to come up and make plays."
(on the play of G Leroy Harris and T Michael Roos blocking for him on the left side) "They are just executing their blocks and I'm executing my reads and the receivers are outside blocking. We just take advantage of those plays when we get a chance."