The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. Also, Titans head coach Jeff Fisher and quarterback Kerry Collins answered questions from the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of those respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonDT Amobi OkoyeCB Glover QuinQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio Smith
Jeff Fisher conference callKerry Collins conference call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on what he did to pick his team up today) "I tried to get rid of the long face today and get back to work. Obviously we're beat up from a very physical football game less than 48 hours ago. So today we took a mental approach. We know this team, we just played them a few weeks ago. We are just trying to get ourselves going. We had some adjustments to make with some people from the standpoint of injuries. That's what we did this evening."
(on losing DE Mario Williams for the season) "We just got to do what's best for (DE) Mario (Williams). I would love for him to hang in there and give us 20-25 plays a game the rest of the way, but he just wasn't getting better. It's getting worse and the last two weeks have been the worst. The doctors just felt like he needed to get this fixed right away. So, he'll have surgery early next week. I think it's Tuesday. I'm not positive, but he needs to get it taken care of for his future."
(on any additional injuries on the team) "(WR) David Anderson went on IR. Mike (G) Brisiel went on IR. Two guys that played very well for us. Then we brought up (WR Derrick) Townsel to the active (roster) and then we signed two defensive linemen. It's a lot to do in one day, but it's kind of where we're at and so we'll get those guys healthy and some other guys will get an opportunity to play."
(on how long DE Mario Williams' injury has been bothering him) "It's bothering him going on eight or nine weeks. It's been a tough road for him. We were trying to work him in practice a certain way so that we'll get him to game day. I knew when we came out of Philadelphia we knew this thing has hit a boiling point so to speak. The kid was really down and couldn't go. We had a big break between that game and this last one and he tried for everybody, but it just wasn't working out. We'll get him well and (DE) Mario (Williams) has got a tremendous future and a big part of this organization. So we have to get the young man well."
(on the last time DE Mario Williams had an injury and was it similar) "One thing about this kid, ever since he walked in this town he has played every game. He has had a foot issue and played through that for us. (DE) Mario (Williams) is a tough guy and gives this team everything he has. Even when he's not a 100 percent he's a dang good player. There's a lot to be said for what he's been doing especially this year, but now it's time to do what's best for Mario and that's what we're trying to do."
(on the play of the defensive line against the Ravens) "They have been playing really well. We were a little disappointed coming out of Philly. Didn't think we played that well up front, even though we were able to get some shots on (Eagles QB) Michael (Vick). We played probably as good as we played the other night. We were very active. We had five sacks that came from different places. (assistant head coach/ defensive line coach) Bill's (Kollar) group always plays hard. Some new faces are doing a good job too. (DE) Tim Jamison has come in and played well."
(on how important it is for other players on the defensive line to step up now that DE Mario Williams is out for the season) "It's huge, we woke up today with seven healthy lineman. We'll get two new guys on the team. One of them will suit up, but that's a big load. It's an opportunity for them. We'll have to have some new guys to step up so we'll see what we'll do with Green and (DT DeMario) Pressley we'll see how that works out."
(on if WR Derrick Townsel will return kicks) "He did it in college, it'll probably end up whether we suit four or five. So it's an immediate opportunity for (WR Dorin) Dickerson and (WR Derrick) Townsel. Townsel deserves the right to be on the active (roster). When kids work for you all season like that, to get rewarded at the end and get on the active roster, the team is excited for him."
(on the improvements of CB Glover Quin) "Since he's had that three-interception day, he's gained a lot of confidence as a player and he's been playing well as anybody we had back there; that kind of go hand and hand in this league when good things happen to you. He's playing real well right now."
(on who will replace DE Mario Williams and G Mike Brisiel) "For (G Mike) Brisiel, (G Antoine) Caldwell moves up. (G Kasey) Studdard will obviously be active and he'll play some. For (DE) Mario (Williams), it's a combination of people. (DE) Tim Jamison is about to play a great deal."
(on if the players are playing for pride the rest of the way with no letdown) "We're pros in this and this is what we're paid to do- to win football games and prepare. The effort that was put forth the other night was a tremendous effort and what they were able to accomplish and get themselves in position to do. The hurt is there because the final product's not there, but these guys work hard and battle. They'll continue to battle and we'll continue to do that."
(on if he ever consider throwing away the play script at the beginning of games) "We kind of have thrown it away a couple of times after the first series, but I still think it boils down to the time of possession on the field. The first quarter is something we struggle with as a team. That's twofold, that's defensively getting off the field and offensively staying on the field. We just need to concentrate on playing well throughout. If we don't have a good first quarter then we need to play good the next three quarters. If we have a good first quarter we need to play in the next three also. We need to start off better as a football team."
(on facing Titans QB Kerry Collins versus previously facing QB Rusty Smith) "It's totally different. Here's a guy that played a lot of football and is compared to a guy that hadn't played any. It'll be a totally different team we will face this week and they played pretty good offensively against the Colts and got their confidence back. We know we'll see the real group."
(on what did he say to QB Matt Schaub after the loss to Baltimore) "I wanted him to know that I am there for him. I know what he's going through. All great quarterbacks go through this at some point and he'll be a better player because of everything he's going through. I told him he'll have to understand the great things he did to have his team in that position at the same time you'll get better because you'll push yourself to make the other four or five plays. That's just part of the process, but (QB) Matt (Schaub) is a tough young man. Nobody takes it more personal than him and that's why you want him to lead your team in the organization."
(on QB Matt Schaub is struggling in throwing the deep route) "The third or fourth play the other night that was just a great play by the corner; the one he missed to OD (TE Owen Daniels) on the sidelines, his arm got hit. We expect him to make all of those plays and when you don't make them you have to come back and make the next one. To his credit when you look at the other night, I just recall us dropping two big balls in the second quarter and he could've went into the tank and he comes back and scrambles and make a great play to (WR) Andre (Johnson). We got to make sure we're talking about those things too, but we need to correct the ones that aren't good."
(on if he expects the matchup between WR Andre Johnson and CB Cortland Finnegan to be physical) "Yeah, it got a little out of hand last time, but they always get after each other. They always play hard and physical. That's why they're two Pro Bowl players."
*RB Arian Foster *(on if having just a bittersweet season tough on him) "Yeah, it is tough. That's life; you just got to keep on trying."
(on how does he feel about the intense rivalry between the Texans and Titans) "It's nothing new. It's football. You have rivals and that proven to be one of our rivals. It just becomes a very physical game and it's nothing new. Physicality permeates through football all the time."
(on if the combative nature between the Texans and Titans will pick up where it left off from the previous game) "I can almost guarantee no fighting is going to happen, but the talking and the back and forth at each other's face that's just part of the game. It's grown men bumping heads out there. There is going to be some conflict."
WR Andre Johnson(on if he received Titans CB Cortland Finnegan's apology and if he has accepted it) "I heard something about that, but I haven't had a chance to talk to him. I'm not going out on the football field to start a fight. That's the furthest thing from my mind and I'm going to go out a play football like I know how I can play and try to win a football game."
(on if Titans CB Cortland Finnegan's refusal to quick-jam him off the line will bring problems to a minimum) "That's part of the game. If he does it, he does it. I'm not really worried about that. I just go out to play football."
(on how he heard of Titan CB Cortland Finnegan's apology) "I just heard it through one of the guys here. I haven't had a chance to talk to him. Maybe before the game if he's out on the field; we may exchange a few words or something like that, but I haven't had a chance to talk to him."
(on what it means that Titans CB Cortland Finnegan reached out to him) "It just shows that he thought about what happened. Like I said, I regretted the whole situation. I don't think that has changed the way I am. I try to go out and play football the right way. I know what type of player he is. He's a feisty guy. He plays very hard. If you look at other games he's been in, sometimes he gets guys out of their game. When we played them last time, he got me out of my mind and got me ejected. That is something that you as a player have to control and I'll do that on Sunday."
(on if he thinks Titans CB Cortland Finnegan has changed his ways since he attempted to apologize) "I don't know. I'm not worried about all that. I'm just doing whatever I have to do to help this team to win a football game. That's it."
(on if Titans CB Cortland Finnegan asks for his apology would he accept it) "Yeah, I'll talk to him. We'll talk and whatever we talk about, we talk about. That's pretty much it. I'm not going to make a big media thing about it because I don't think that it should be done that way. I think whatever me and him talk about, that's what we talk about and that's the end of it."
(on how he thinks he will respond if he is jammed roughly by Titans CB Cortland) "I wouldn't do nothing. I'll probably just laugh it off. I wouldn't react the way I reacted the last time we played them."
(on reports that Titans CB Cortland Finnegan will seek him out before the game and apologize) "I'm not going to make a big media thing about it. We'll talk and whatever we talk about, that's between us and we'll leave it at that."
(on what does it mean to him that Titans CB Cortland Finnegan wants to reach out and apologize) "I don't know. When we talk, we'll squash it there and that's pretty much it. I'm not going to sit here and just keep talking about it."
(on if CB Cortland Finnegan's apology will end the hostilities) "Probably, I think it would. Whatever what me and him talk about is between us and I'm going to leave it at that. I'm not going to come back next week and be like we talked about this or that because it's not necessary."
(on the "Send Leach to the Beach" shirt he is wearing) "We are trying to get (FB) Vonta Leach over to Hawaii (Pro Bowl). So I need everybody to go to NFL.com and vote for Vonta Leach and send him to Hawaii. We are trying to get him over there. I think he deserves it."
*DT Amobi Okoye *(on DE Mario Williams being out for the season) "We just keep on going. It's unfortunate to lose a guy like that and he's battled with it the whole year and has played tough. It's unfortunate, but we got to keep going."
(on with DE Mario Williams being down will other players step up) "Definitely, every time you have somebody that goes down it's an opportunity for somebody to step up and show the league, their teammates, peers and himself that he belongs in the league. We are looking for everybody to pitch in. It's going to take more than one guy."
(on if he got a sense of how much pain DE Mario Williams was in the last few weeks) "Oh yeah, pretty much since the season started and camp. You could tell in certain moves and things he tries to do that he was in a lot of pain."
CB Glover Quin(on losing DE Mario Williams for the season) "We are losing a pass rusher. He is our sack leader and physical presence, a big guy on the end. When people are doubling him, somebody else is free. We'll see how it'll turn out this week. But it's going to be a huge loss for us losing (DE) Mario (Williams) on the end."
(on if he think that they combative nature between the Titans and Texans will carry over this weekend) "Yes. It's probably going to be a super physical game. They are going to be fired up. We are going to be fired up. It's probably going to be cold and it's probably going to get chippy."
(on if the teams are at the point that they hate each other) "I don't like to use the word hate, but I'm not really sure how much the Texans and the Titans like each other. I'll leave it at that."
*QB Matt Schaub *(on playing the Titans for the second time will be different) "I don't know if it will be any easier. It's a team that we know really well. They know us well. So it's about going out and executing and its going to be a hard fought battle and physical game it always is. It's the team that is willing to make the plays at the end of the game to win."
(on if it's easier said than done to have a short memory in this league) "It's always easier said than done, but just the nature of the game is. Whether you put a game behind you good or bad or put a play behind you and move on to the next one. It's just something you got to have in this business."
(on if it is hard to maintain focus and intensity now that their playoff chances are slim) "We are still going to have that. We have enough guys in the locker room that are veteran enough to not let that happen. It's up to each individual to get there in their game plans and understand what we're trying to do and go out there and fight for each other and for this team and that's what we're going to do."
*DE Antonio Smith *(on losing DE Mario Williams for the season) "Obviously, (DE) Mario (Williams) is a big factor in our defensive line. It's bad losing any friend or any teammate to this game, but I just hope he could get his body right so he would be able to play in tip top shape next year."
(on was it tough for him to watch DE Mario Williams struggle with his injury) "Yeah it was because he was fighting and you could just tell he was in a lot of pain and every game he played in some way shape or form he had to come out to get stretched or whatever it took to get him back in the game. It's still painful and it was hard to play with. I think it kind of hindered him a little bit in this last game to the point that I knew it was something seriously wrong. I hope he gets it fixed."
Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher Conference Call(on the Texans-Titans rivalry and the way it's developed) "I think over the last couple of years, both teams had high expectations and there have been great games between the two. Certainly the Texans have done a great job building their football team and putting a very competitive team on the field and a very potent offense. I thought that we were going to be a little better than we are and when you get two good teams battling it's going to always be those kinds of things come up."
(on how he deals with having a disappointing season after having high expectations to start the year) "The players keep playing and keep preparing. Right now, there is still an outside chance, so you come back to work and put the loss in perspective or the win in perspective and you move on. I think they're professionals and they have a responsibility. I've been particularly proud of the way our guys have bounced back week after week. We've had some very unique injury situations obviously at the quarterback position with instability there. We've had some injuries up from in the defensive line, which has created some problems for us."
(on the latest on Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger) "He's doing well. He's back to work. He's in between treatment sessions right now. The side effects, from his standpoint, have been minimal. I'm just very proud of his commitment to this organization and to this football team and more specifically the offense."
(on if he sees Titans CB Cortland Finnegan and Texans WR Andre Johnson in another confrontation and risking themselves being suspended) "With Cort (Titans CB Cortland Finnegan), we are going to match him up the best we can and he's going to play this game as hard as he possibly can and try to do his part to contribute to a win. In my opinion, I don't think Cort did anything to deserve to be suspended or ejected from that game. Of course he's going to line up and play."
(on what makes Titans CB Cortland Finnegan and Texans WR Andre Johnson so special) "I think (WR) Andre (Johnson) is probably the top receiver in the league right now. He's got great ability. He's a great player and a great competitor and I'm sure he's a great teammate. Cort (Titans CB Cortland Finnegan) is a great competitor and he plays a different position, he's a defender. He plays with a short memory and he fights, scratches and claws every down. For the most part, he plays within the rules. Yes, he's had his share of fines for play-related things. Not a lot of his fines were from outside the line. I think he has a reputation around the league that if most people got to know him they would feel otherwise."
(on comments from Texans T Eric Winston claiming that the Titans are coached dirty) "I don't pay any attention to it. There is a lot of stuff that's going on that we're unaware of in the trenches and I don't pay attention to it. I think you got to be careful to say those kinds of things."
(on what did he like about DT Malcolm Sheppard to sign him from the Texans practice squad) "We got a good grade on him and our guys thought that he was athletic and played with strength and smart guy that has some potential. We've got our share of injuries upfront, so we felt like that he could come in and help us out."
(on if DT Malcolm Sheppard will have a chance to play this week) "I think he has a chance to be active. Yes."
(on if DT Malcolm Sheppard could be another Tony Brown) "We just got him here. (defensive line) Coach (Jim) Washburn is a great teacher. So time will tell."
(on if QB Kerry Collins is at 100 percent) "(QB) Kerry (Collins) is as close as he's been all year. This will be his third full week of practice and his third start after coming back. He was much more comfortable last week than he was the week before. He had mobility in the pocket and threw much more accurately. I think he's going to improve the rest of the season. I know he's excited about playing and exciting about this challenge."
(on the status of WR Kenny Britt) "He played in the game last week. He's had the weekend off. One would assume that there are not any issues with (WR) Kenny (Britt)."
(on if he stills has high expectations of getting WR Randy Moss more involved with WR Kenny Britt returning from injury) "The production and the catches are not there. We certainly would like to have more of that, but there's reasons for that. He's been a great teammate. He's been outstanding in the locker room and a great influence on the younger players. He's hung in there with us and been a real pro. He's a very popular guy here."
(on how difficult this season has been for him) "Well it hasn't been easy. There were a number of games that we had and could've won, much like the Texans. You have to win the close games in order to be in it and stay in it and have a chance to run away in your division. We didn't and we put it in perspective. We knew what happened. It's just one of those deals. It has not worked out the way we had hoped, but we still got fight left and there's reason to play hard."
(on what caused the season collapse for the Titans) "We went out to San Diego and had a chance to win that game. In that game, that's when (QB) Vince (Young) was reinjured and (WR) Kenny Britt left in the second series. Prior to that, Kenny already caught seven touchdown passes and we were explosive. We had the bye week and we came back and Vince was unable to go and he was a two (number two quarterback). (QB) Kerry (Collins) got hurt at halftime and Kenny Britt was not there. That's when the instability started at the quarterback position. When you have it there, you got to run it and people now that. As a result of that up to that point our defense started to play 40 minutes a game because we just couldn't get the ball down the field and complete drives."
(on if his longevity at Tennessee helps him cope with the disappointments and criticisms this season) "I'm not too concerned with those kinds of things. I look forward to coming to work every day. I go passionate into the work week and try to find a way to win a game. That's what we're called upon to do. Those other things are distractions and I don't pay attention to them."
(on how he keeps his players' focus during a time like this) "There are different creative ways. I think you stress perfect practice systems and preparation and different challenges and they respond. It's a good locker room and we practice very hard. They are finding ways to play as good as they possibly can to win the next game."
(on giving up fewer points than every AFC divisional leader other than Pittsburgh) "We've had some difficulty. Our defense has hung in there with 19, 20 and 17 points that we gave up and lost, particularly that we weren't able to score points on offense."
(on how the AFC South has panned out this season) "I think in our case and in the case in Indy, it's been injuries. That's been the situation there. Jacksonville is a young football team that was a little inconsistent early. (Jacksonville head coach) Jack (Del Rio) has done a great job with that offense and brining the quarterback around and centering his approach on the running game. They have taken advantage of that and teams get hot late in the year and they can run the football. Everybody still has a fighting chance. There are three left and a lot can happen."
Tennessee Titans QB Kerry Collins Conference Call(on how much will it help to have both WR Kenny Britt and WR Randy Moss in the lineup) "It's good to get (WR) Kenny (Britt) back last week. He was playing great before he got hurt and he did some good things in the game the other night. With (WR) Randy (Moss) and his abilities, we are excited about the possibility of them both being on the field at the same time."
(on if it helped to be on the sidelines against the Texans to look at their secondary from a different perspective) "Yeah, you could always learn things when you're watching. I thought they played really well. Obviously, we weren't able to do a whole lot. I think they have -continually gotten better. I think they played well against Baltimore the other night. They are being tested every game. For whatever reason it hasn't worked out in a win, but I think they are playing well."
(on what were some things he took from the Texans secondary in first game) "They just played real sound. They never really got out of position. Leading up to the game it felt like they did. In our game, they were in position and it allowed them to make a bunch of plays."
(on Texans CB Glover Quin improving this season since facing the Titans and how much of a challenge he would be this Sunday) "He's definitely playing well. He got to make some plays in our game and ever since then he's been playing with confidence and believing in what he sees. That's always a positive thing for a corner."
(on if he watched the matchup between Texans WR Andre Johnson and CB Cortland Finnegan during the first Texans-Titans game this season) "I wasn't watching it much. I saw what everybody else saw. That was about it."
(on if he expects any rough play going on this weekend between WR Andre Johnson and CB Cortland Finnegan) "I don't know. I think those things tend to go away. Everybody talks about them for a couple of days and then they go away. Rarely have I seen a repeat of something like that happen. I think both guys will forget about it and play football."
(on how much do the players put into the rivalry between the Titans and Texans) "Being a divisional opponent and the history with the Titans at one time being in Houston, there is obviously something there that's unique, that's different from any other division game or any team you play during the year. There have been some wild games throughout the series. It's just one of those good inner-division games that seem to bring out the best in both teams."
(on if Titans head coach Jeff Fisher informed his players to stay on the sidelines if another fight breaks out) "It hasn't even come up. We haven't even talked about it."