The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. Also, Denver head coach Eric Studesville and quarterback Tim Tebow answered questions from the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of those respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakCB Jason AllenRB Arian FosterCB Kareem JacksonWR Andre JohnsonFB Vonta LeachDT Amobi OkoyeQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio SmithG Wade Smith
Denver Broncos Head Coach Eric Studesville Conference CallDenver Broncos QB Tim Tebow Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on RB Arian Foster's status and players who did not participate in Wednesday's practice) "(RB Arian Foster) is fine. He practiced good today; no problems, no issues with him today. The only guys that didn't practice were (WR) Andre (Johnson), (LB Brian) Cushing, (K) Neil Rackers and (TE) Garrett Graham, who is still recovering from his hamstring."
(on if the players who missed practice were issues for Sunday's game at Denver) "I think (WR) Andre's (Johnson) is game-time (decision). We'll do our normal deal this week and see where he is at. (LB Brian) Cushing, it may be Friday before he's out here. His foot is sore. (K) Neil (Rackers), just being smart with his hamstring. Hopefully they'll all be there when it's time to go."
(on Denver rookie QB Tim Tebow) "I was impressed. I watched him play a little bit in the preseason and they had been spot-playing him and then he goes and starts last week. I was very impressed. Very competitive, made plays off-schedule. I was impressed, the way he threw the ball. He didn't throw a bunch, but when he threw it, he threw it well. He's a winner and brought some juice to their team last week. You could tell they played much better."
(on if QBs Dan Orlovsky and Matt Leinart will see more playing time now that the team is out of playoff contention) "No. Like I said, Matt's (Schaub) our quarterback and he's the best guy to be on the field for us. These games are just as important to me as the last 14 we've played, so Matt's ready to go; he'll play. He practiced today, he's okay."
(on his thoughts on returning to Denver) "I don't have a lot. My thoughts are right here with this football team and what's going on. Obviously, I spent a great deal of time there (Denver); a lot of friends and guys that I competed with for a long, long time. Boy, I'm worried about this group and getting ready to play week. We got to play a lot better than we did."
(on what he can do this week to change the Texans slow starts to games) "Well, we've been changing a few things but it hasn't changed. It hasn't happened in the first quarter. A key is we have to play better as a football team; I think I said that the other day in the press conference. It's easy to say, 'Well, we're not scoring points in the first quarter.' Well, we're not stopping people in the first quarter. So we're playing poor as a football team in the first quarter. We're three-to-one outscored in the first quarter, in the National Football League, you're going to be down. That's not where you want to be in this business, so hopefully we can change some of that."
(on if there is change in quarterback depth chart behind Matt Schaub) "No, it will stay the same. They split the reps but it will stay the same. We'll keep doing things the way we're doing them."
(on P Matt Turk struggling the last few games) "Yeah, he really has. He struggled last week, did not hit the ball well. He spent a lot of extra time with (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) today. Nobody works harder at it than (P) Matt (Turk) but he definitely needs to punt better than he's punted, especially this last week."
(on if he has received an explanation for the blocking below the waist penalty called on the Texans on the opening kickoff against Tennessee last week) "When you're covering a kick, you can't go low on guys. All kicks have change of possession; there's no such thing as blocking low or going low (for the defense). What happened was, (CB) Jason (Allen) was covering and then Jason slipped and fell and when he slid on the turf, he went low on the guy who was fixing to block him. So, nothing the kid could do. That's about the way it's been."
(on the large amount of penalties called in the first half last week at Tennessee) "When you have nine in the first half and none in the second half, it concerns you. We actually talked before the game, and normally before a game you just talk real quick about going out there and playing with passion, doing things hard. We actually talked as a team before the game about refocusing in your locker and what we're fixing to go do this first quarter. Refocus on the calls we're fixing to make. We talked about that and it didn't get much better. It's a big concern, we need to go change it."
CB Jason Allen(on playing against Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd) "We've got to play smart, tough and disciplined football. Play by the rules. He's a deep-ball threat who has made plays after plays. We just got to play smart and do the things that we are coached to do."
(on what impresses him about Broncos QB Tim Tebow) "He's a guy that's big. One thing that we have to do on our end is make sure we tackle well. Looking at a few plays on his game against Oakland, he definitely broke a few tackles. So we got to make sure we wrap up with him. We understand he could be a threat in the running game as well. They are going to do things to his strength with things that he's good at and things that he's been doing throughout his career at Florida. I think that's the biggest thing. We've got to tackle well and give him different looks and try to confuse him as much as possible. Give him a little pressure and doing the things that we're coached to do."
*RB Arian Foster *(on being eighth overall in the entire league in Pro Bowl Fan voting) "That's a nice gesture the fans showed towards me. It shows what they think about my game obviously. It was humbling. It feels kind of good."
(on if it is amazing how far he's come in the eyes of the fans) "Yeah, it's nice to be recognized for the hard work that you've done. It's always good."
(on having a great individual year, but having a disappointing year as a team) "Obviously I wish that we could win for them (the fans) because they deserve wins. We're trying, but they deserve better. Hopefully we could win out. We are going to try our best to win out. That's all we could do right now."
(on the challenges the Broncos defense presents to him) "They're a pretty good defense. Our challenges are ourselves right now. Obviously, we have to focus on what the other team does but we have to fix our worlds before we are totally concerned with what other teams do. We have to fix what's wrong with us first because if you're not executing, if you're not doing your assignments right and practicing the right technique, then nothing you do is going to work."
(on what the team has to do to get off to better starts) "Execution, obviously. Watching the film, the plays are there to be made, we're just not making them early on in the game."
(on FB Vonta Leach leading AFC fullbacks in fan voting for the Pro Bowl) "I'm happy for him. His campaign, 'Leach to the Beach' really worked. Fans show love. They view his hard work and they acknowledge. Good stuff."
(on what the team can try that they haven't already tried to not get off to a slow start) "It's just execution. It really is, because the plays are there to be made. It's just one guy here, two guys here, one guy here. It takes 11 guys to be on the same page on offense in order to be in sync and we haven't been able to do that."
(on if it's puzzling why the offense gets off to slow starts) "It's not puzzling. We're a pretty good offense, we're up there in the league in production. We just got to work on our consistency."
WR Andre Johnson(on FB Vonta Leach leading all fullbacks in the AFC in Pro Bowl voting) "It's great. It's awesome. I guess the little tweets or whatever we did and the pictures we put out with the t-shirts on have paid off a little bit. From what I've heard, he's actually leading our fan vote. It'll pay off."
(on what has RB Arian Foster has done this year and all the attention he's receiving from the fans) "I tease him a little bit about it. He tries to be very humble about it. What he has done this year really hasn't been a surprise to me. I really don't think it has been a surprise to any of his teammates either. The way that he came in from this off season and prepared, he was definitely a guy who would ask questions to what it takes to be an elite player in this league. Me and him sat down and talked about it and emailed each other about it. He listened to what was told to him. He's busted his butt. He's did everything that he's needed to do to go out and perform the way he's performed this year."
(on his performance this year at the receiving position) "It's always great, but I have bigger things in mind as far as a team aspect. It's always great to have that honor of going to the Pro Bowl."
CB Kareem Jackson(on facing college foe QB Tim Tebow in the NFL) "Three years in a row. He's a great player and everybody knows what he did at the college level. I'm looking forward to it."
(on what does he remember facing him in college) "He's a competitor. He's a winner. Those guys that played with him at Florida fed off his energy. I would assume it will be the same situation that he's in now. I'll be looking forward to it and it'll be three years in a row for me."
(on what was he able to do to limit QB Tim Tebow in the 2009 SEC championship game) "Last year was my second time going against him. So I just watched film on him from the year before in the game that they beat us. I think that gave me an advantage going against them."
FB Vonta Leach(on his "Leach to the Beach" campaign helping him get voted into the Pro Bowl by the fans) "I think the fans, my teammates, the Texans fans went out and voted for me. We had a couple national television games, so people got to see me and see what I do, so I think that helped a lot. But obviously, when you got a Pro Bowl player like Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, when they tell people to go out and vote on Twitter and stuff, that helps you out also."
(on how meaningful it is to him that the fans voted him into the Pro Bowl) "It just lets you know that the fans, they watch what I do and they pay attention to what I do. Not a lot of people pay attention to the fullback. I don't get to carry the ball that often. I obviously haven't had to carry it here since I've been here. That just shows you that the fans pay attention to what you are doing; they appreciate what you are doing."
(on what it means to him to have his teammates talk more about getting him to the Pro Bowl) "That means a lot. That just shows you the kind of guys that they are. (WR) Andre (Johnson) obviously, he's been to the Pro Bowl a lot of times, he's a Pro Bowl person, one of the best wide receivers in this league. (RB) Arian (Foster), he's the guy that came in and took the NFL by storm. He's the guy that just wanted to get me there. So hopefully we'll see. We still got the players and coaches vote. We'll see how it goes."
*DT Amobi Okoye *(on if the defense takes on the mentality to start a game fast) "Yeah, all year, defensively you go in with that mindset. Unfortunately, a couple of games, it hasn't been like that, but that is the mindset to start fast and finish strong. We didn't do that last week."
(on facing Broncos QB Tim Tebow) "He's a heck of a player. I was one of his supporters coming out. I felt like he could probably do the same things in the NFL."
(on watching film on Broncos QB Tim Tebow) "We've gone back and watched more film on him because last week will be his first start. Then we watched more film of him in the preseason and in other games that he's been in. We just wanted to see what kind of player he's evolved into."
QB Matt Schaub(on how he feels right now) "I'm good. We feel good. We've got to win. We've got to go out and get a win this week."
(on FB Vonta Leach, RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson leading the Pro Bowl fan vote at their positions) "I think it's great for our team and for those guys. They've had exceptional years. They've been playing really well, so I think that's great."
(on what QB Tim Tebow brings to the Broncos offense) "I don't know. I play on our offense. I don't really watch what he does or what they're offense does. I'm worried about their defense."
(on how impressive is the Broncos defense) "They're athletic and they're fast. They have some veteran guys that have played a lot in this league. They create a lot of problems for you. You just have to be aware of what they're running defensively and execute your offense."
(on what they can do to get off to a better start in games) "Score points, stay on the field on third downs and move down there in the red zone and score. It's easy."
(on if he feels as if he is playing for their coaches jobs) "We're all playing for our job. We've got a lot of pride in what we do as players and as a team. Every time we go out there, we're being watched and we're being critiqued and viewed as what we put on the field. All of us are playing for our jobs, for our careers. We're playing for our coaches. We're playing for ourselves in this locker room. We have a lot to play for."
(on if he can pinpoint why the offense has been more effective once they've been down in games) "No, we just have to go out and play. It just so happens that we have fewer points at that time and are playing from behind, but there is nothing I can pinpoint."
(on if he has any theories on why they've struggled from the start) "I just go out and play. I know we have a 60-minute game. Whether we play extremely well in the first 15 minutes or not so well, we get behind. That's why they make the game 60 minutes. Every point in the game is important. As long as you have more points at the end of the day, that's all that matters. We've just come up short the past few weeks."
(on if there is any aspect of this season that he can feel good about looking back on) "We still have two more weeks. We're focused on what it's going to take to beat Denver. There hasn't been any time to reflect on the previous three and a half or four months. We'll do that once the season is over. We have to worry about how to beat Denver this week."
*DE Antonio Smith *(on if it's been unbelievable to him the difficulties that has occurred on defense throughout the year) "I could say that's an accurate assumption. You try and try and bad things just tend to seem to happen and good things are not falling our way. It gets frustrating after a while."
(on if there's anything about this season that he feels good about) "I would feel good about the character of this defense because it has been beat down and dragged through the mud. First, you're at the highest of high that this team has ever been. My experience with this team is the lowest of lows. That's like a real big curve that we had to experience this year and we keep fighting. We keep working. I haven't seen one person not working or nobody try to put their best foot out there to try to figure out what we need to get this thing won and get wins. Especially on defense, to have games that we have won instead of the offense always bailing us out."
*G Wade Smith *(on the pressure the Broncos defense will bring to get at the quarterback) "Just like any week, it's our job as offensive linemen to keep it clean. We felt like we didn't do that last week as an offensive line. As an offense in general, (QB) Matt (Schaub) got hit too many times. That's something that we're looking to correct going into the future."
(on what did the Titans defense do differently last week to get after the quarterback) "They just played better than we played. It wasn't like they did anything different schematically. We didn't protect him well enough."
(on if he has ever been part of an offense before that begin such slow starts as the Texans has been this year) "I don't know. I have to sit down and think about it. There's been a time in games where we drive the ball and have to settle for a field goal. It's like if we get behind the eight ball we kind have to get one dimensional. That's hurts just as far as being balanced, but at the same time, even though we get one dimensional we've shown that we could come back and get ourselves back into games. As an offense, there is always something you want to improve on and starting fast is our biggest issue, I think."
Denver Broncos Head Coach Eric Studesville Conference Call(on how impressed he was in QB Tim Tebow's play last week) "We thought he did a nice job for us in the game. He handled our offense. He goes in and moved around and threw the ball well. Our receivers helped him out by going to make some plays. He scrambled, which is some of the things that we like about him on his feet. We felt like he played well in his first game out with all the lights on and everything going full speed and in particularly in that environment up in Oakland, which is difficult."
(on if there is quarterback that he has coached in the past that reminds him of QB Tim Tebow) "I don't know if I would compare him. I think all players are unique and I got to keep them on their merits as individuals. I try to just evaluate them as to who they are."
(on how he thinks the team responded to him since he took over as head coach) "You'd have to ask the players that particular answer. I hope what they have seen is that I've brought energy and enthusiasm every day and that my expectations are high for this team in what we're doing in our preparation and our performance and that they respect the effort and the preparation that we put into to try to give them the best chance possible to play on Sundays."
(on has he seen a change amongst the players since he has taken over as head coach) "I have not."
(on what has he seen of the Texans secondary) "Houston's secondary has got (SS) Bernard Pollard leading the team in tackles. He's certainly somebody we have to account for and know where he is. (CB Glover) Quin has some interceptions and is playing better and better. That's an NFL secondary and you have to know what you're doing every week when you go out on an NFL field. That's a group of players that we are going to give them a high amount of respect because they do play on Sundays and we are going to get our team ready the best we can and go forward."
(on if he is going to open up the offense more with Tim Tebow at quarterback) "We are going to worry about what we need to do and not base what our game plan is on stats or numbers or anything like that. We're going to try to put our game plan together to things that we feel gives us the best chance to go out and play the game on Sunday and compete in the game."
(on what Texans assistant head coach/defensive line coach Bill Kollar's defensive line has been doing effectively the last two weeks recording eight sacks) "(Texans assistant head coach/defensive line coach) Bill Kollar is an unbelievable football coach. He brings an energy level that is tough to match. He's going to have that group fired up and ready to play and he does it every week and he coaches them hard and gets them prepared and we are going to have a challenge in our offensive front to be able to handle those guys because we know that they're still going to play hard. They've got talented players up there and we got to show up and play and do our job."
(on what does he remember about playing with Texans P Matt Turk during his college day at Wisconsin-Whitewater) "(P) Matt (Turk) was more of a tight end than a punter. The punter transition came later in his career and as he made that move into the NFL, but he was a tight end when I was there. We had a couple of big tight ends, in which he was one. He was great teammate to be around and still a good friend. I enjoy seeing him whenever we've crossed paths and I think the world of him."
(on if P Matt Turk was tough to bring down as a tight end) "Anybody that was bigger than me was always tough to bring down."
(on what kind of game plan will he go with against WR Andre Johnson) "We obviously have to have a plan against (WR) Andre (Johnson). He's a tremendous player. He's an exceptional talent in this league and has been since the day he walked into the league. Our defensive plan is certainly going to have an emphasis on him and where he is. Houston has so many threats, (QB) Matt Schaub is playing very well right now. (RB) Arian Foster is leading the league in rushing. We've got a number of things that we have to take into account on the defensive side of the ball to get ready for the Texans. All of those are things that we're concerned about."
(on how much interest he has seen in Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in hiring Texans head coach Gary Kubiak if he is let go at the end of the season) "I have not seen any of that, but again that's not anything I've been concerned with. What we're going to do next season is out of my control and that's a decision that Mr. Bowlen will make at the time that he feels necessary. I'm trying to get this team ready to go this week and that's where my entire focus is."
(on if Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was offered the head coaching job at Denver would he be interested in joining his staff) "Again, that's a conversation for much later down the road. I'm worried about this right now and dealing with my responsibilities right here, right now. We will have those type conversations when there's a more appropriate time."
(on what impresses him about RB Arian Foster) "Here's a guy that was an undrafted guy from Tennessee. A big physical back that runs well, he's difficult to bring down because he is so physical in how he runs and just watching him and how he started out and how he's progressed through the year has been impressive. I'm happy for him because he is a talented young man and he's made the most of his opportunity. He's a great example of hard work and effort and how that pays off."
(on the play of FB Vonta Leach this season) "Fullback is a unique position. They're hard to find and guys that like that job description. (FB) Vonta (Leach) is certainly outstanding at that and to have that on the team where people trust you and the players rally around that, that just speaks to the caliber of his play and what he contributes to the team."
Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow Conference Call(on how comfortable he was in his first NFL start last week) "I felt pretty comfortable. I thought we had a pretty good week of practice. I felt like I knew the game plan pretty well going in and just tried to go and execute and keep us in good down and distances. We really tried not to turn it over. We knew if we did that, we knew we could give ourselves a chance. I think we hit some of our goals, but we also have a lot of room to get better and a lot of things to improve on."
(on what were some of the goals that he didn't accomplish last week) "Obviously number one was to win the game. Obviously, it's always our goal to give ourselves a chance in the end to win the game and be able to pull it out. We weren't able to do that and I just have got to get better and give my team a shot to win games."
(on his comfort level with WR Brandon Lloyd) "I think I've got a really good relationship with (WR) Brandon (Lloyd). We've been friends this season and he's a great playmaker. He's been a playmaker all year. He just really steps up and makes plays. I think he's a guy that makes quarterbacks look a lot better than they really are."
(on if he expected start this season and what this season has been like for him) "Well I didn't know what to expect. This is my first time coming into the NFL and I didn't know what to expect. I just tried to approach it as every day was an opportunity to get better and work hard and be the first one in and the last one to leave and try to improve every day. That's what I try to do from the point that I got here until now and not really worry about what I couldn't control."
(on what has WR Brandon Lloyd been doing effectively on deep routes this year) "I just think that he's a great athlete and he's got great speed and he can run by you. He can turn and make great catches. He's great at catching 'back-shoulder' (passes). He runs very crisp routes. I think he always keep DBs (defensive backs) on their heels."
(on if he has started looking at film of the Texans secondary and found any possible targets to aim at) "We definitely have been watching a lot of film and watched through a lot of their season. They definitely have got some guys that can make some plays and some good athletes back there and guys that you definitely have to be aware of as well."
(on what makes the Texans secondary so vulnerable on deep routes) "I think I've got to keep watching film and try to determine that and try to understand them better. I think this is still early in the week. So, I've got to continue to watch film to see that."
(on if he expect to see a lot of blitz packages against him this weekend) "I'm a rookie and going into my second start. You always have to be expecting that because a lot of defensive coordinators like to heat up rookie quarterbacks and put pressure on them because they don't know how to react. We are definitely going in with the mindset of being ready for pressure."
(on how would he compare himself to Jaguars QB David Garrard as a runner) "I'm not sure. I know he's a good athlete and he makes a lot of plays. I haven't seen him enough to fully know everything that he does, but I think he's a very good player and he's had a very good season."
(on if he expects to throw more passes this week and open up the offense) "Well, I'm not sure. That's not necessarily up to me. It depends on how the game is going and what's happening with the score and with our offense and if we're moving the ball, different and things like that. We'll just have to look at as the game goes and I'm just going to do whatever I'm told."
(on the differences between scrambling in the NFL and college) "Definitely the defensive linemen are bigger, faster, stronger. I think guys play a little more instinctive because they are older and wiser and they've seen every type of coverage and every type of protection that many more times, so they're very instinctive. At the end of the day it's still tackling and wrapping up. I think there is room for scrambling, but I also think that it's definitely a lot harder."
(on how Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has helped his throwing motion) "It was really Coach Josh (McDaniels), Coach Ben (McDaniels) and Coach (Mike) McCoy. The three of them has definitely been working with me a lot. It's not necessarily my throwing motion as it is my feet and my non-throwing arm and keeping everything in balance and being fundamentally sound."