The Texans practiced Wednesday inside the Methodist Training Center. After, head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media. Also, Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio answered questions from the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak(on injuries) "No problems at practice. We got a few guys, like I said, losing (LB Darryl) Sharpton, we'll have to make some adjustments again as we move forward. (CB Sherrick) McManis will be out, so we had a few adjustments to make from that standpoint. We got forced inside by the weather but we practiced well."
(on if he is giving his team "rah-rah" speeches) "They're pros. They all know what we've been through and how tough it's been and it's important that we do this thing the right way this week and play well as a football team. Like I said, I told them just now, 'Show me how important it is to you, throughout the week. Show me Sunday how important it is to you.' And we'll see. But we were good today."
(on special guests at practice) "Yeah. Bum (Phillips) was out here today. He's awesome, he comes out. (Dan) Pastorini was out here today. I saw him in a restaurant a couple months ago. That's nice to have them come out. They are part of my childhood. That was a long damn time ago."
(on if Dan Pastorini or Bum Phillips talked to the team) "No, they just wanted to come out to practice. They may come out tomorrow, too. So I had a chance to visit with them. I just think they're showing their support for our players and what we're doing and that means a lot to me. It means a great deal."
(on if he had heard that Jacksonville QB David Garrard would be out for Sunday's game) "Somebody said that to me out on the field. Join the crowd. Hey, we've all got a lot of players out. We got a few out ourselves."
(on if he has thought about experimenting this game, being that a lot of his players may be out) "I wish we had the ability to experiment. I wish we had so many guys sitting there that haven't played. Other than the quarterback position and probably (RB Steve) Slaton, everybody on this football team has been on that field. We need to put our best group on the field. We need to win a football game this Sunday and end the season the right way. No, from that standpoint, I don't see us throwing guys out there that haven't played."
(on having three players named to the Pro Bowl) "First off, it shows you that pro football is fair. I mean, here are two free agent players, a fullback and a running back, that are going to the Pro Bowl. In this league, if you do it, it doesn't matter where you're drafted or if you're drafted or not drafted, if you're a good football player, people will recognize it. So it tells you how fair the league is. It's also a great compliment to the coaches on that side of the ball. The job that (running backs coach) Chick (Harris) has done, (offensive coordinator) Rick (Dennison), (offensive line coach) John (Benton); you know, we didn't have one offensive lineman get an alternate (spot) or anything, and what job they've done this year. We have the leading rusher in the game of football and that's hard to do. A lot of credit deserved across the board. We got one more game to hang on that thing, so hopefully we can do it."
(on the biggest change in RB Arian Foster this season) "I think it was really just buying into what we were trying to tell him; trying to tell him how to practice, how to meet, how to handle himself. A lot of guys don't want to, (they) do it their way and he wanted to early, but I think at some point he said, 'Let me try it their way.' It's paid off for him."
(on running backs coach Chick Harris having a fullback and running back selected for the Pro Bowl) "That's something. I guess he gets to go to Hawaii twice since he's got two players. (running backs coach) Chick's (Harris) been doing it a long time. He's a very good coach. Great person. A very proud moment for him to sit there and have two guys make the Pro Bowl. I'm sure they will be nice and take him with them."
(on what it's like to be "at the eye of the storm" with rumors spreading about his position as head coach of the Texans) "It's like I tell you, I'm going to do this for a long time. I'm a good coach. I've got a lot to give. I plan on coaching for a long time. I know it's part of the business. When you get yourself in the position I'm in as a head coach, those are things you got to deal with. So I will deal them the right way and I will come out of it a better football coach and I understand it's part of the deal. Is it tough? You bet. It's pretty damn tough."
(on how his family is dealing with rumors spreading about his position with the Texans) "It's tough on them, too. It's tough on them. They're okay though. They'll be fine."
(on how important it is for him and the team to help RB Arian Foster get the NFL rushing title) "Very important. I don't think you go out into the game and say, 'We're just going to run the ball so Arian wins the title.' But I think it's important that if we play the way we're capable of playing, he should find a way to get that done. It's important to everybody. I think I've had one guy in my career do that and that was Terrell Davis. So this will be very nice. We've got to think about the receiver we got, too. That's unusual, to have the leading rusher in the league and a receiver as high as (WR) Andre (Johnson) is, so some good stuff going on."
(on what WR Andre Johnson has persevered through to have the type of season he's having) "And I told his teammates this morning, and he's made a lot of Pro Bowls; I think he's made (it) four of the five years since I've been year. That one year, he missed a lot of football games. We know he's a great player. He played 14, 13 weeks on one ankle, basically, and took shot after shot, after shot and missed probably an accumulation of probably three games over the course of quarters and stuff that he missed. And to still do what he did…I've told all y'all before, you won't see one like that in a long time, so you better appreciate him. He's something else."
(on if it will be a game day decision to play WR Andre Johnson against Jacksonville) "It's like I said last week, I hope he's beating me up to play this week. But obviously it's worse than it has been. I can tell you Friday. As of today, there is still nothing."
(on if he'll make the decision to play WR Andre Johnson on Friday) "It's strictly up to him. He can either do it or he can't. We will do nothing to set him back, for sure."
(on if he can look to the future at this point in the season) "No. It's very hard to sit here this week and think about next year. We've got to focus on this game, playing it the right way and doing the right things. I think that would be wrong to start thinking that way. Let me get through this week. Let us go play some good football, or as good as we can play and then we'll go from there."
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio(on how Jaguars QB David Garrard injured his finger) "I don't know a lot of detail about it. I think he initially banged it in the Indianapolis game and then banged it again this past week. He's got some disruption in there that's going to require surgery to fix. I think he has that scheduled to be done tomorrow."
(on how much pain QB David Garrard has been in the last couple of days) "All those types of questions I have to defer to our trainer or (QB) David (Garrard). I just don't have that."
(on what has impressed him about QB Trent Edwards and his play over the past few weeks) "We were just fortunate to acquire (QB) Trent (Edwards) during the season and get him the opportunity to learn our system. Primarily he's working scout team and getting us prepared for the opponent. Now with (QB) David (Garrard) down, obviously he's going to get the lion's share of the work and getting prepared to take on the Texans."
(on if QB Trent Edwards has done anything specific that has impressed him) "He's been a pro in the terms of the way he has approached his job. He's got some experience in the league. We'll have to lean on that this week. As a football team we have to find a way to rally around him and not ask him to necessarily carry our football team. We need him to operate efficiently and effectively and help us move the chains and score points."
(on if RB Maurice Jones-Drew hurt his knee in specific play or if the injury is a lingering issue) "It's very similar to what (Texans WR) Andre (Johnson) has been battling all year. I think you're talking about two really good football players that have fought all year to be with their team. Obviously, they are both Pro Bowl players. They are both very talented and they have great hearts. That's what we are seeing and I know that's what Houston is seeing with the receiver. It's an issue that we dealt with all year. It's just gotten worse. We'll see how this week finishes and whether or not what we have available next week."
(on how has the recovery of RB Maurice Jones-Drew has gone in the last couple of days) "It's hard for me to get in to those kinds of discussions. I just think for us we are doing all we can. He's doing all he can in terms of rehab and strengthening and doing things conditioning-wise to give himself an opportunity to be there if at all possible."
(on if he plans on keeping his players inform the Colts-Titans score during the game) "No, if it happens to be up on the board and guys see it them so be it. I'm not going to make a concerted effort to share that information. For us it's about going out and playing good football and finding a way to win. That's where our focus has to be and it really where it is. At the end of the day certainly we're pulling for and hoping for Tennessee to be able to pull off a victory over Indy, but first and foremost it's the Houston Texans and the opportunity to finish the season the right way."
(on the first game against the Texans this season and the things that made his team so effective to get ahead early) "I don't know. I think we did a few things well and they did some things well to kind of close the game. It was real tight there in the end and we made a few plays and pulled it out. We've had very good contests over the years against these guys and expect to have a good tough game on Sunday."
(on what was his reaction to the Hail Mary pass to WR Mike Thomas) "Thanking God and it was a prayer that was answered. It was a lot of prayer going on. There really was a lot of prayer going on and specifically Hail Marys. It was kind of ironic that it went that way and it's a Hail Mary pass that wins it. It was one of those things that don't happen very often. It was a rare moment and I was very thankful that we were able to pull that out."