The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and safety Danieal Manning answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakFS Danieal Manning
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on what he needs to see from WR Jacoby Jones this year) "Continue to make more plays. He had his biggest year with us as a pro last year. He and (WR) Kevin (Walter) pushed each other every day. I think all three of those guys as starters. That's the reason we want him back on this team. I think he's in position now to make even more and more plays."
(on if he still expects WR Jacoby Jones to contribute on special teams) "Oh yeah, he'll definitely be our punt returns and (FS) Danieal (Manning) will be our kick returner. It's time for him to have some of those returns. He's had some in the past and it's time for him to get back on the top of his game."
(on if RB Derrick Ward has been cleared to play on Saturday) "Good question. He's been practicing. He will be cleared. I know that. I don't know if it was today or tomorrow, but he will be cleared."
(on how he's going to divide the carries between the running backs) "Well, (RB) Arian (Foster) needs to work, so the first group's going to play three quarters of football. That means that (RB) Derrick (Ward) and (RB Ben) Tate will spell him from that standpoint and one of those guys will take the fourth quarter. Like I said, there's still plenty of balls to be carried between now and opening day and we'll see how it pans out."
(on if there's any chance ILB DeMeco Ryans or NT Earl Mitchell will play on Saturday) "Yeah, I think there's a chance with both of them. DeMeco's doing a lot better today. I watched him work with Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan). He's got his flexibility back. I didn't want him out here because we were beating on each other a little bit today, so I'm trying to be smart. We'll see how he is tomorrow."
(on if there are any other injuries) "We're okay. (WR) Paul Williams was not able to go today. He was back yesterday and not able to go today, so other than that, we're okay."
(on who he is interested in seeing the most out of his regular players) "I don't know that I could say one or two guys. I'm just interested to see both groups go back out there together. We will spot-play some guys in the first three quarters as if we were playing a regular season game, so we will do that like we operate on opening day. That'll be interesting to see how those guys come in and swap play with the ones. Just to get a bunch of reps, we need to go out there and get 45, 50 snaps as an offense and defense and see how we do."
(on how NT Shaun Cody is handling the new 3-4 defense) "We're just playing an under front and he played an under the last couple years. That's really not any different. What (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and them are asking him to do, that sometimes is a little bit different. We're much more of a stunting football team and zone blitz-type team. Shaun's a real pro. He's had a really good camp. I think the one-a-days have helped him. Keeping him off the turf helps him, so we're looking forward to him having a big year."
(on CB Kareem Jackson) "He's doing really good. He's had a good camp. He's getting pushed every day by (CB) Jason (Allen), but he's held his own. He's grown up a lot, but that's part of being in year two. We'll keep going, but he's on his way to doing the right things."
(on what he likes about CB Kareem Jackson football-wise) "He's competitive. One thing about Kareem, Kareem loves to tackle, loves to hit; he's very competitive. He's got a lot of confidence in himself and it's getting used to the game and now playing in a system that he really kind of played in college."
(on if the defense needs to go against a running offense) "Yeah, no doubt. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade and them have done a good job this week. We've basically isolated on the things we had problems with last week and tried to fix those before we move on, but we'll get tested. They're (San Francisco 49ers) very good up front and young up front and got a heck of a back. I'm sure they'll line up pounding."
(on not having a big nose tackle) "I think it's kind of like who do you have, so to speak. If you've got that guy, you play a little different. If you don't, then you've got to stunt and do things to cut up the run game, let people move around and not sit there and just try to hold the point all day. We'll play to our strengths and our guys are kind of smaller, more active guys."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph) "He's looked good. He's looked real good. We kept him off the turf, so he's got a good hour and 20 minutes every day and he's ready to play."
(on OLB Brooks Reed) "He's been a big bright spot in camp. He's a player that gets better every day. I think there's a big upside to this young man. I just need him to keep coming. He's playing well for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano), too. That's important."
(on if there's anything OLB Brooks Reed has surprised them with) "I think just the transition from hand down to hand up. I think it's been pretty quick for him."
(on the offensive line) "That's a good group. First off, they've played a lot of football together, so that's important. Keep our fingers crossed here. We've been fortunate. If they can stay together and keep working together, they're going to be a dang good group in this league. They don't ask for a lot of credit. They just do a good job. That's why they're pretty good."
(on the offensive line compared to the line that he had in Denver) "Being good at something like that, it takes everybody. We've got a hell of a back back there. They're playing well up front. We ask our receivers to work in the run game. That's the difference in big runs. We're committed to running it. (Offensive Line Coach) John Benton does a hell of a job, doesn't get enough credit for the job he does. Let's see. We've got a lot of football to play, but let's see. We're heading in the right direction."
(on his plans for ILB DeMeco Ryans this week) "I'm going to see where he's at tomorrow. It made no sense for him to practice today when we were banging, so I'll see where he's at tomorrow."
(on if there are any other injury issues) "No, (WR) Paul Williams, we pulled him out of practice today. That was it."
(on how tough it will be to sort through all the depth during the second half on Saturday) "Well we're going to play our ones into the third quarter, so it will probably be the fourth quarter before you see most of those young guys. Remember now, you're going to turn around four days later and see them for four quarters. We'll get plenty of football out of them between now and Minnesota."
(on if he's close to making decisions on players) "No, I just told them I've got (90) guys I'm staring at and I get to keep 53, so they can do the math. They've got a lot of work to do in the next eight days to try to find a way to be on this team."
(on how much WR Jacoby Jones has matured since he first met him) "He's grown up from the standpoint of his preparation. Jacoby does a good job in the classroom now. So all those things of being a pro that make it easy to come out here and play, he handles that stuff now. Now he's just got to work hard at re-finding his skills and running routes, studying players and if he does that, then there's another level for him to reach."
(on FB James Casey) "(He's) doing well. It's very important to him. Every morning I walk in here at 5:15 and he's sitting at his locker, so I can't beat him here. He's doing well. This is a big year for him. James wants to be successful and he's going to do everything he possibly can to do that."
(on FB James Casey's blocking) "He's doing a good job. It's something that you've got to do a bunch to get good at it and get your pad level down, but he's really done a good job. He can get better and he knows he can get better. It's important to him and he'll find a way to get better."
(on the confidence of the defense) "That's important. They believe in the scheme. They believe in what (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) calling and if we're in the right spot, doing our jobs, then we'll come up with plays. That keeps guys from trying to overdo things, so to speak. It's the old adage, just do your job."
FS Danieal Manning(on if he's been impressed with CB Brice McCain) "McCain is great. He comes in and does a lot of good stuff inside on receivers from the slot. We play a lot of dime and nickel, so he's going to have a big play. I'm excited for him. These guys are young and what I'm seeing is they're very eager and they want to win. It's just all of us, we've just got to be able to put it together and figure out how to win."
(on what happened with the touchdown pass in last week's game) "Bad adjustment on a call that I made. I was thinking one coverage. I put us in one coverage and the rest of the guys were playing another coverage, so it was busted on my part. I was actually trying to run under a route and he ran a double move. We should have been in a different coverage, so I could play over the top instead of underneath."
(on if it was a preseason mistake) "It was a preseason play. It should be the only play now. Now that I've got that formation down and communicated all those kinks, thank God that it is preseason, but at the same time, you don't want that to happen ever."
(on SS Glover Quin) "I see a lot in Glover. Glover has the potential that he can definitely be in the Pro Bowl if he can continue to work hard, listen to the coaches and stuff like that and at the same time trusting and believing in himself. He's got all the tools."
(on what CB Johnathan Joseph will bring to the team) "Johnathan will bring the confidence that we need in our corner. If they play one-on-one, we can lock a guy down and guys can focus on other things on the field. We can take him and put him on one of their best receivers and the rest of the game all the other guys can do what we've got to do. Also, just the leadership that he has and the playmaking ability that he has."