After the Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center, head coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and some players answered questions from the media. Additionally, the Houston media asked questions of Oakland head coach Hue Jackson and quarterback Jason Campbell. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Houston Head Coach Gary KubiakHouston Offensive Coordinator Rick DennisonWR David AndersonOLB Connor BarwinILB Brian CushingTE Owen DanielsWR Jacoby JonesRB Ben TateWR Kevin WalterRB Derrick WardDE J.J. Watt
Oakland Head Coach Hue JacksonOakland QB Jason Campbell
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on WR Andre Johnson's injury) "All the information that we're getting moving forward is very positive, so that's a good thing. He did have the procedure done yesterday. We're not putting any timeline on anything right now. We just know that everything went well. The doctor feels good about it. Andre feels good about it. He should be back here sometime maybe this afternoon and we start our rehab and move forward. We're going to miss him for a period of time. We're going to have to have some guys step up and play well."
(on if there's a timetable that usually goes with the procedure that WR Andre Johnson had) "No, Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) could probably give you more information on that. I just know that we had it done yesterday. Obviously, I'm in game-plan and stuff on Tuesdays. The biggest thing for me and for the team, me talking to the team is just how positive everybody feels about moving forward. I'm listening to the doctors, listening to Kap, listening to Andre. I had a great talk with Andre yesterday. We know we're going to get our captain back and that's a great thing. We've just got to go to work on getting that done."
(on going against the Raiders without WR Andre Johnson) "Well, we're probably going to get played different. When Andre's on your team, everybody tries to take him away, so we get played a little different than most teams, but that could change this week again. Like I said, I don't know if I told y'all this or the players this, we can't replace Andre. We've got to, as a group, try to replace all the production that he has on the field. That means everybody's got to pick it up. If we're a good football team across the board, then we'll have a chance to prove it. We're going to be missing a heck of a player and we've just got to step up."
(on what happened with WR Andre Johnson's injury) "I'm going to let Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) tell you. I really don't know. It's my understanding it has something to do with the tendon. That's all I know."
(on the health of the rest of the team) "(RB) Derrick (Ward) did not practice today. He's day-to-day. (RB) Ben (Tate) did not practice today, but is doing pretty good, so we're hopeful there as we move forward. (CB) Kareem (Jackson) did not practice today. He did some individual (drills). He was brief in practice and then we shut him down."
(on if he thought RB Arian Foster would be as productive as he was last Sunday) "Well, it surprised me that he was able to hold up for 30 carries, play the way he was playing and still bringing the ball hard downhill at the end. We got in a situation where we lost (RB) Ben (Tate) early and the way he was playing, he said, 'Kub, I'm fine. Let's go,' so I trust him and he came out of the game good. I asked him today how he's feeling. He said, 'Other than being sore, I feel great.' That's a good sign because he's a better player the more he carries the ball."
(on the Raiders running game) "I think it's the best in the league, if I'm right. They've just got big-play capability. Their schemes are a lot like ours, so we should be able to give our defense a really good look this week with our scout team. They've got big-play players and a lot of speed, and they're committed to the run. They're going to run the ball. It's probably a totally different challenge than what we've been facing early in this season, so we'll have to step up."
(on his hopes for running backs Ben Tate and Derrick Ward on Sunday) "Well, like I said, right now I would say Ben's probably a little bit ahead, but I don't know. I know that Derrick is much better. I told you guys the process we're going through with the injection and stuff. Coming out of the injection this week, he's much better than he was last week, so hopefully that's a good sign, but he's still got some ground to make up to play."
(on FB James Casey) "James is a versatile player for us. It just kind of all depends on what we're doing game-wise. We got in the game last week where we were physical and running the ball and playing a lot of one-back formations and stuff, trying to protect our edges against Pittsburgh. I don't know. You never know how a game's going to go. James has always got his stuff in the game plan where he's got a chance to be very productive. How it ends up, I don't know."
(on whether CB Jason Allen's starting role is dependent on CB Kareem Jackson's health) "No, he stepped in, got a chance to start, played extremely well. Obviously Kareem was unable to practice full-time today. As we move forward, we'll see. Toward the end of the week, hopefully they're both healthy, but I think Jason's obviously earned the right to play more. Who's going to start the game? Let me watch practice this week and see. I consider them both starters. That's the way they're playing."
(on how the offensive game plan changes with WR Andre Johnson out of the lineup) "You study them and approach your game plan. When you're putting a plan together, you always just assume Andre's going to get certain coverages and stuff, so you're expecting those things. Maybe we don't see these things this week. Maybe we still do. I don't know. You just try to get your players in the best position to make plays and like I said, I don't think Andre's production's got to go fall on (WR) Jacoby (Jones) because he's the starting X. I think it's got to fall on the whole offense to play better as a group."
(on the importance of running the ball well against the Raiders) "Like I told you the other day when you asked me, I think it's important all the time, not just this week. For us to be as good as we can be, we need to run the ball well and when we do, we usually play good football. It's not about this week, it's all the time."
(on Raiders QB Jason Campbell) "Yeah, he moves around very good. He's got a big arm. They're a running team that when they do throw it, they try to make big plays, so that concerns you. They put the ball up the field a great deal and then these backs come out of the backfield and they play, so the Raiders are always built around team speed."
(on what the team proved last week against the Steelers) "We had a good Sunday. We played pretty darn good as a team and a hell of a football game, but we got to come back and do it again this week. We understand that. We understand the long haul, but it was a good week last week and hopefully we can continue."
(on RB Chris Ogbonnaya) "Ogbonnaya's doing very good. Obviously, his reps have picked up. He played good on special teams for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano). He made a couple nice tackles. He's very important to the football team right now with what's going on, so it's a good opportunity for him."
(on WR Bryant Johnson) "He's doing good. It's been a mental thing catching up with us, but I think he's pretty close to feeling comfortable and he's going to be a big part of the rotation this week. He's got to be able to play both spots, not just one, so if (WR) Kevin (Walter) comes off, he goes. If (WR) Jacoby (Jones) comes off, he goes. Good opportunity late in his career for a nine-year player to step up and help the team, so we'll see how he does."
(on how OLB Connor Barwin is playing) "Playing very good. Last week, he and (OLB) Mario (Williams), was their best week as a tandem of outside guys. Connor continues to get better. I think he continues to gain confidence off his injury, number one, and confidence in what he's doing defensively. We've got to remember that Connor's a two-year defensive football player. He was a tight end in college before he put his hand down, so I think it's only going to get better."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison(on the Oakland Raiders defense) "They're a very talented group, big guys, and they play a lot of man coverage. They pressure quarterbacks. There's a lot of good things that they do and we've just got to do what we can to keep the quarterback upright and see if we can find a crease here or there."
(on the matchup with Oakland) "We're going to do whatever we can to move the ball, whether it's running or throwing. But they do, like I said, they have a very talented group. I had the opportunity, we played them last year and they're a tough group; big, physical players."
(on how injuries to RBs Derrick Ward and Ben Tate affect the rotation behind RB Arian Foster) "Whoever is up, we're going to do all we can. Hopefully, we won't get too thin to where we can't run it when we want to run it. The guys are going to play when they need to play. I think we'll keep them fresh."
(on RB Chris Ogbonnaya's progress) "I think he's done fine. He got a couple chances in the game and he did a nice job when we asked him to protect and he got the ball downhill and he's got a lot of experience through the training camp and the opportunities we got to run him in preseason. We feel pretty confident he'll do what we need him to do."
(on how things will change if the team doesn't have WR Andre Johnson) "We're still going to do what we need to do. I mean, obviously if he doesn't play, he's a big factor of what we try and do, but we'll distribute the ball and get open and make our runs and make our throws."
(on the assumption that the Texans will run more if WR Andre Johnson doesn't play) "I guess anybody can assume whatever they want, but generally speaking, we do whatever the defense presents itself. If there are some cracks to run, we'll do it. If they give us a chance to throw it, we'll do that, too."
(on if the play-calling is limited if the team doesn't have WR Andre Johnson) "I think if anything, it will distribute the ball more because he gets open all the time. We've got some guys that can get open. Hopefully we'll do enough running that they'll have to crowd the line and make plays."
(on the importance of WR Bryant Johnson stepping up) "If (WR) Andre (Johnson) doesn't play, everybody's got to pick up their level, because he means so much to the offense, and keep guys fresh. They're going to pressure our guys a little bit outside. They keep them fresh so they can run fast and get open."
(on if he's tempted to use FB James Casey more as a runner) "You know, I don't think that may be an option. It might be. I don't know. Like I said, this is Wednesday. We're putting our stuff in and seeing what looks good and what doesn't, we'll scrap and start over again. There's a lot of things that are available and I'm not sure that's where we'll go."
(on if WR Bryant Johnson can be a factor) "Yeah. He'll help us. He knows what he's doing. He's comfortable with what we're trying to do, especially when we start moving guys in and out. They'll all feed off each other and everybody's got to step up."
(on how much he'll use the Texans tight ends) "We always try to use those, especially with guys like (TE) Owen (Daniels) and (TE) Joel (Dreessen). We try to get those guys open inside, too. I don't think we'll deviate very much from what we've done in the past; we'll just kind of continue to do what we do and try and find the one that works."
(on how satisfying it was to put the Steelers game away with long drives) "As a team, that was a good victory for us. They're a good team. They've been in the playoffs consistently. For us, it was a tough competition and we put everything together as a team. Each facet contributed and I think that was the important part."
(on the Pittsburgh win being a building block) "Oh yeah. Every win is a building block. We try to take each win as a step forward to what we want to get done. We try to look at all the positives we get out of it and try to learn from the mistakes we made."
(on how much it helps to have tight ends and a fullback who can catch the ball when WR Andre Johnson is missing) "Everybody's got to step up, the wideouts and the tight ends, because the ball is not going to be spread to 80 (WR Andre Johnson) if he doesn't play. So we'll just keep working on it. If they can get open, they'll get the ball because 8 (QB Matt Schaub) does a nice job finding the right guy."
WR David Anderson(on how he feels about becoming a bigger part of the rotation with WR Andre Johnson out) "Exactly like you said, we've been here before. You're missing a great player. You can't make up for him with just one person. You got to do it by committee, so if everyone makes four or five more plays or catches every ball they throw to them, I think we'll be alright."
(on how special it is to him that he'll be able to play on Sunday) "That's why you come here is to play football, not practice. That's nothing new. Everyone's saying 'Are you ready?' I've been ready. I've been ready to play and that's just the way the numbers work sometimes, but hey, it's football. It's something that I've been doing since way back when. I'm always ready to play."
(on if the psychology of the game changes knowing that defenses won't have to concentrate on covering WR Andre Johnson) "I think sometimes we're such in question on what they're going to do defensively anyways. Are they going to bracket or are they going to roll over the top? The Saints did some funky things when playing on his side of the field, things like that. You never know what it's going to look like, so maybe it helps us out in that we know a little more of what they're planning on doing. You never know what teams plan on doing. I'm sure they're going to try to stop Arian (Foster), but every team tries to do that. We have lots of Pro Bowlers on this football team and just like I said, it's not something you can do just by one of us. It's going to be by committee."
OLB Connor Barwin(on the upcoming game against the Raiders) "Well like most of you guys know, we're going to have to stop the run. The Raiders are a really good team. They've been able to run the ball on people so far this year, so that'll be the number one thing we have to do on defense."
(on how they're going to stop the Raiders running game) "I don't know if we have any secrets. We just have to tackle (Darren) McFadden before he gets out in the open field and can make any big plays."
(on how much more comfortable he is as a defensive player after a couple years in the NFL) "Yeah, it's continuing to get more comfortable to understand the feel of the game a little bit more. You kind of start to feel a little bit of when they're going to run, when they're going to pass. You start to feel when to run certain games, feel out rushes, those type of things, so just kind of a natural process. Another thing is playing full-time allows you to feel out the game a little bit more. My rookie year when I was just a nickel rusher, that's hard on guys to come in there and just not play first, second down, not really get a feel for the tackle and just being there every three or four plays."
(on RB Darren McFadden) "It's similar to what the Texans running game does and what guys like Arian (Foster) do. McFadden, they run that zone and he sees that cutback and gets in the open field, he can really get dangerous out there."
(on QB Jason Campbell) "He's only been sacked twice this year. That's all I know, so their offensive line is doing a nice job. He obviously can run with the ball a little bit and scramble so it'll be a challenge to bring him down."
ILB Brian Cushing(on if he's excited to go against a team that runs the ball well) "It's something I'm looking forward to. I think as a linebacker, it's a game you anticipate. They have a hell of a running back and a great running game, so it's something we're definitely looking forward to going into the week."
(on RB Darren McFadden) "Very physical running back. He's got breakaway speed too. He's one of those guys, one yard, two yards, one yard and then 80, he breaks off and he's just gone. You're not going to catch him either, so it's a running back you bring your A game all four quarters against."
(on having to stop RB Darren McFadden before he gets going) "Yeah, he's definitely very talented and that's something you don't want to do. You just want to shut him down for the entire game. Like I said, he's one of those guys that can break out at any moment."
(on if it affects the defense in any way that WR Andre Johnson is out) "It's a team game. Everyone's got to step it up a little bit more when you're missing a guy like that. He's a huge integral part of the whole team and when someone like that goes down, everyone else has to step up."
(on if seeing a great running game in practice helps the defense get ready for the Raiders) "For a while now since camp's ended, we really don't practice them. It's more of a scout team look and preparing against the team you're going to play against, but practicing against Arian (Foster) and the running game and the kind of scheme they have in the preseason definitely prepares us for that."
TE Owen Daniels(on what changes without having WR Andre Johnson in the lineup) "I think everyone else has to step up and kind of make up for what Andre usually gives us. I don't it's going to be one person doing it. I think it's going to have to be a lot of people stepping up and making the plays that he usually makes."
(on if they are more equipped to deal with WR Andre Johnson's injury than they have been in past seasons) "Yeah, it obviously hurts not to have him, but we got a lot of guys that can make plays and we're going to have people step up. We played the Raiders in the past without Andre. It won't be a new thing in terms of playing this team."
(on the depth of the team) "Yeah, definitely, you look around across the board at receivers, tight ends, backs, we got really good depth and people that can step in. It's not our ideal situation, but we'll deal with it."
(on what it feels like when WR Andre Johnson is not playing) "I don't think it can be the same. We try not to focus on the fact that he's not out there. We got to focus and do our jobs and do it even better than we were doing it before, but not seeing him in the huddle is different and not having his presence out there is definitely different."
(on how much he relishes the opportunity to become more of focal point in the offense with WR Andre Johnson out) "I always look forward to it whenever I get a chance to make plays. If someone's out and there's more opportunities, then I love that. I love that chance to go out there and get better and help out the team in whatever situation it may be in. I've been in that position before and I'm looking forward to it."
WR Jacoby Jones(on WR Andre Johnson not being able to play next Sunday) "Well of course that's a big part of our game. When you miss 80, that's hard shoes to fill, but everybody got to step up and play their role."
(on how he feels about having more playing time with WR Andre Johnson out) "Same as it's always been if somebody went down. It's nothing new. I'm confident. I'm ready to go to work, still play my role. When they call on me to make a play, I got to make that play."
(on if he's more comfortable now because he filled in for WR Andre Johnson last year) "Yeah, like I said, in time you mature and time goes on. I'm comfortable more with the playbook and my plays, looking at defenses and being in the system. Then you still got that guy to help me out and still to put things in my ear too, so that's big."
(on if there's any more pressure now that he's starting) "No, like I said, pressure's what you make it. If you take it as a pressure, then it'll be pressure. If you just go about your day and still play football, you'll be alright."
(on how much he looks forward to taking advantage of his opportunity to start on Sunday) "It's good to be able to get back on the field quick from the start of the game. That's fun, trying to get in that rhythm quick. That's the only big thing is getting in that rhythm quick."
QB Matt Schaub(on how much different it will be without WR Andre Johnson on Sunday) "Any time one of your better plays gets injured, you've got to pick up the slack as a group, so that's what we've got to do. We've done it before. I don't know his situation right now, but if he doesn't go, we've played games without him before and it's just a matter of all of us picking our game up that much more as a group and finding a way to execute our plays. If you look last year when we went out there, he wasn't playing. We just have to all pick it up, offensively, defensively, and play better."
(on the Raiders defense) "They're very talented on both sides of the ball. They have a big physical front. They play very good coverages. They're good cover people athletically in the secondary, so it's going to be a tough test, a tough challenge and one that we have to be ready for 60 minutes."
(on if the Raiders are as familiar to them as a divisional opponent) "It seems like it. It seems like every year we're playing them. It's as much a rivalry and a divisional opponent as you're going to get."
(on if WR Andre Johnson being injured changes what the offense does) "Well, it doesn't really change what we do. Obviously, there are certain plays that we have dialed in to go to a guy like 'Dre, but we're going to run our stuff and whoever's open, whoever the play is designed to go to, whoever beats man coverage and stuff like that, that's who's going to get the ball."
(on how much it helps that WR Jacoby Jones filled in for WR Andre Johnson last season) "It helps out a lot. Jacoby's been around our system for five years. He's really mature in what he's doing, how he works and how he goes about his business, and he's playing really well for us. He's going to jump in there and he's going to go make plays."
(on if it's a comfort to have FB James Casey and TEs Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen) "It definitely is. All of our guys have stepped up in one form or another over the last few years for us, no more than our tight ends. Having Owen back healthy, Joel's always been there playing at a high level and James has really emerged and played extremely well. He gets a lot of mismatches playing the fullback position on linebackers, so it gives us a lot of weapons. (RB) Arian (Foster) and our running backs create a lot of problems for teams in the pass game as well."
(on the whole team's performance in the win against Pittsburgh) "I think overall the mental toughness and maturity that our team showed in the game last week really came through, especially in the second half when they battled back to make it 10-10 in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, and we responded with a drive of 85 yards against their defense to start the fourth quarter and score. Then our defense went out there three times late in the ball game and really shut them down and created some negative plays for them in the backfield. It was huge to see that against a team that is the defending AFC Champion. From that standpoint, it was a big step for us in that direction."
(on the significance to Head Coach Gary Kubiak's speech to the offense during the game against Pittsburgh) "Whether he said it or one of us said it as players, it was just one of those things. They went on an eight-minute drive to start the half and we go out there, we have three plays and out. That wasn't good enough. We put ourselves in a second-and-long and then we had to throw a hot route and we had, I don't know, it was like third-and-eight or something like that. Me and (RB) Arian (Foster) didn't connect on a route that we normally always connect on. Just from an offensive standpoint, we're not built or we're not made to go three-and-out. That's not our makeup. We're built to stay on the field, get down in their scoring zone and make something happen. It wasn't good enough execution-wise, so whether the coach said something or one of us players, we just needed to look each other in the eye and say 'We're not going to let that happen again.'"
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak being more demonstrative than most people see) "Well he's a former player. He knows what it's like to be a player in this league. You only get so many chances to go out and do what we do. You get 16 of them a year and you got to take advantage of every single time you're out there. You only get so many plays in the game and everyone is important. When you look back at a game, usually in the NFL, you're going to win or lose by one or two plays and you usually know when they are. When something goes wrong or you don't execute, that could be a point that you look back and say, 'You know what, that's why we didn't get it done,' and you don't want to have regrets and you don't want to think back about things, so he understands that and we understand that as players and for us to all get together and say, 'You know what, let's get this thing right the next series.'"
RB Ben Tate(on how he feels after leaving Sunday's game with a groin injury) "It's getting there. I ran today and ran pretty good, so we'll see how I progress."
(on whether he is progressing faster than he expected) "A little better than what I thought."
(on how difficult it can be to gauge groin injuries) "It is. It's one of those things where sometimes you don't want to come back too soon and re-aggravate it and have it become an ongoing thing. It's something that you try to fight through, but at the same time, you really can't because you'll end up going backwards."
(on whether he feels additional pressure to play because WR Andre Johnson may miss the game) "Not really. I know I've got to be healthy, but we are going to miss Andre and we've got to find some way to compensate for it."
(on how he balances the desire to play without rushing himself back prematurely) "You've just got to listen to your body. You push it as far as you can go until maybe you feel something, and then you back down. You've just got to listen to your body when it comes to these things. Your mind is telling you you're going to be alright, but if your body is saying now, you've just got to let your body tell you what to do."
WR Kevin Walter(on the entire offense having to improve to make up for WR Andre Johnson not playing) "Absolutely, not one guy can take over what Andre does. We all know that. As long we understand that, we all know we need to pick up our games, not just the receivers but everybody on offense, Matt (Schaub), receivers, running backs, offensive line, tight ends, everybody needs to."
(on if there's more pressure on the offense now) "A little extra pressure? I don't think there's extra pressure. I think we've been in this position before. Do we like it? No, we need 80 (Andre Johnson) out there, but we've done it before. We've won without him and we need to do that. We need to execute our game plan and make our plays."
(on how important it is that they have won without WR Andre Johnson before) "It's important. We get paid too. We're no slappies out there and we can get the job done. Is he one of the best players on this team and in the league? Yes, absolutely 'Dre is, but we can get it done, too."
(on how the offense changes without having WR Andre Johnson) "How does it change? It changes that he's not out there. Obviously, it changes that he's not getting the ball thrown to him because he's not playing, but we still got to go do our thing. We installed the game plan today and I think it was a pretty good one. We know Oakland. We know what they're all about. We need to beat man coverage. If 'Dre was playing, we still need to beat man coverage. If he's not playing, we still need to beat man coverage. That's what it's going to take."
(on if not a lot has changed in the approach to the game) "No, it changes, but my mindset is you still have to go out there and make the plays, no matter who's out there. That's the way I approach things. That's the way I approach practice. That's the way I approach the games. I think we all feel the same way."
RB Derrick Ward(on how he's feeling) "I'm doing good. I ran and cut today. I'll do some more stuff tomorrow and see if I can get back out there on Friday."
(on the injections he's been taking) "Well the first one, it kind of irritated it, but the second one that I had is actually working wonders for me now. I don't really feel the pain anymore, so that's a good thing and just going to continue to do my rehab and pick up the pace when it comes to running and cutting tomorrow and just see how it goes."
(on if he will play on Sunday) "I don't know. I have no idea if I can or if they'll let me or not. Like I said, tomorrow I'm just going to do more than I did today and then Friday, we'll see if I can get out there and have a couple plays or two."
(on if he feels like he's coming back quicker than normal from the high ankle sprain) "I do. I feel like I can do more than I did last week, obviously. Today was another stepping stone that I accomplished as far as cutting and running 80, 85 percent today, so I'm going to try to pick it up to 100 percent tomorrow and see how he goes from there."
(on how important it is for the team to show they can still win without WR Andre Johnson) "It's very important. We know that Andre's a big part of this offense, a big part of the team. He's one of our team leaders, but somebody has to step up and make plays. We have great guys that can get the job done. We got Jacoby (Jones). We got Kevin Walter. We got those type of guys. It's just going to take a collective group of people to get the job done while he's out. I think we'll be okay."
DE J.J. Watt(on if he's excited to go against a team that runs the ball well) "Yeah, when you bring in the top rusher in the league and he's going to come to town, obviously it's a good challenge for our defense. It's going to be one of those games where they try to pound it down on us and we need to stop them, so we need to stop the run."
(on defending against the run compared to the pass) "This is football. This is old school. They're going to run the ball and we need to stop it. It's one of those where you almost know what they're going to do and it's your job to stop it."
(on what stands out to him about Oakland's offensive line) "They're good. Obviously you don't produce the top rusher without a good offensive line. They're good players, but not unbeatable so we just need to do our job, have a good week at practice and come out on Sunday and play."
(on QB Jason Campbell) "He's a good quarterback. Obviously, they trust in (Darren) McFadden a lot to run the ball. Campbell's also a good quarterback, so it's going to be a good challenge for us."
(on if the defense has found its identity) "Every week we're working on it. I think obviously we're just building confidence, building momentum and we're starting to come together really well and just trying to get as many guys to contribute as we can and we're having fun."
(on if playing well against the run would get the defense closer to establishing their identity) "I think so. I think that's a good challenge for us. Obviously, they're going to bring the top rusher and if we can shut him down, then I think it's one more step towards establishing our identity."
Raiders Head Coach Hue Jackson(on why the Raiders' speed at wide receiver and defensive back is so important to the team) "That's just kind of the way we build our team here and those guys are good football players. Obviously, speed gives you a chance to make plays. You guys got some fast guys down there too. I'm sure that everybody likes the thought of having a little speed on their team."
(on how much of a luxury it is to have speed on his team) "It's a luxury because again it puts a little fear into the offense, defense, whoever we're playing because those guys can make plays. It still comes down to being a football player and being able to make plays."
(on how the defensive game plan changes knowing that WR Andre Johnson will not play) "Well I think obviously he's a huge part of their offense, but we expect a lot of Arian Foster anyway. He's a tremendous player also, but they're not void of wide receivers there. Kevin Walter, who I coached in Cincinnati, he's a really good player. (Jacoby) Jones is a really good player. The tight end, Owen Daniels, is playing great and is a really good player. I don't think too much is going to change as far as how they do it. Obviously Andre was the focal point of how they throw the ball, but they're still going to do what they do. They have a very good offensive football team and we're looking forward to having a great challenge before us."
(on QB Matt Schaub) "I spent a little time with Matt before we let him go when I was in Atlanta before we traded him to Houston and I know he's a tremendous competitor. He's smart, he's bright, he's got a big arm. He loves to compete. He loves to play. I think he's one of the elite quarterbacks in this league. I don't think he gets enough mention about how good he is, but he is a tremendous football player."
(on the key to the Raiders running attack) "Well obviously it starts with the offensive line and I don't think there's a Darren McFadden if we're not blocking the way we're blocking. But obviously, Darren's a huge part of that. Michael Bush is a huge part of that. Our tight ends are a huge part of that. Our receivers are a huge part of that. That's just kind of the way we go about it. We're a team that, make no bones about it, we like to run the ball just like Houston likes to run the ball and what we try to do is make sure we get a hat on people, try to finish blocks and have our runners run."
(on if he saw the running game as a strength of the Raiders going into the season) "Yes I did because we were a team that finished second in rushing a year ago. It was something I thought we would continue to be able to do, hopefully do a little bit better and I think we've gotten a little better. We're not exactly where I want us to be, but I think we're working towards it."
(on if it's advantageous to be a running team in a league where other teams are passing more) "I think it has to be. Hopefully as the season goes along, I think the league will get back to what it was. The teams that can throw the ball will always throw it pretty good, but I think when it gets late in the year, you got to be able to run the ball. I think that's how you win games and I think everybody understands that because it could be snowy, it could be rainy, where you might not be able to throw it as well as you want. I think that's an advantage for teams to be able to run it. There's a great rushing team right there in Houston. They're number two in football in running the ball and they know how to run it too."
(on if teams are struggling to defend against the run because they're focusing more on defending against the pass) "I don't think so. I think that was very uncharacteristic as you just mentioned of Pittsburgh. Maybe they went into that game plan, I can't speak for (Steelers Head Coach) Mike (Tomlin), Mike does a great job, maybe trying to defend the pass a little bit more than the run. I don't think that's what's going on. I think obviously a loss of practice time, a loss of time to communicate has played a huge part of it. I think the rules have played a huge part of it and people are throwing the ball, but when it's all said and done the teams that's going to be around in late January and be ready to challenge for February, are going to be teams that can run it."
(on the potential of the Raiders running the football) "I think we can be one of the best teams in the league if we can continue to work at it, running the ball. I think we can be one of the better offenses if we continue to grow and get better. We have to play teams, defenses like the Houston Texans, who I think is an outstanding defensive football team. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips has done a tremendous job. Those guys are playing hard, they're running to the ball. I see a difference in every defensive player there. I think we have to be able to rise up to these kind of challenges and play well."
(on the if the Texans defense is weaker against the run) "I don't think so. When I look at the tape, I see these guys tackling people, taking them to the ground and getting off blocks and flying around. I think it's as good a defense we've played all year. I think obviously there's some tremendous players over there. There's nothing but first or second round draft picks over there, so we've got our work cut out for us."
(on if a 3-4 defense is susceptible to the run on the edges or up the middle) "Well, I think it's how you run your offense. I don't think it's so much the 34 defense. I think it's how you attack teams, how you game plan teams and how you see them."
QB Jason Campbell(on what the speed of the team allows them to do) "It just allows us to get guys involved, keep everyone involved on offense. We do a lot of different things to try to move the ball and we have a tremendous amount of speed. We just want to make sure we're playing fast. It's one thing to have a lot of speed, but it's another thing if you don't play fast. We just try to teach that every day and stay constantly on top of that, going out and trying to play fast."
(on how the effectiveness of running the ball well as helped him settle in to playing quarterback) "Running the ball is always the friend of a quarterback. Anytime you have a successful running game the way that we do, it allows us to do a lot of different things offensively. That's where it all starts at. It all starts with the running game, starts up front and then everything else that you do builds off of that."
(on how much RB Darren McFadden's success has meant for them) "It's incredible the way the guy runs. He has a strong stiff arm. The guy's fast. He's big. He's an all-around back. He has what it takes to be one of the best in the league. Every day, our goal is just to let him go out and play and do his thing. Everyone on offense we want to just play. I think the coaches do a good job of using his ability, getting his space and letting him run."
(on WR Denarius Moore) "Yeah, he was a steal in the draft. He's one of those special guys. He has a tremendous amount of ability. There's not a lot you have to teach with him. Some stuff just comes natural to him. He's just one of those guys that kind of got hid in the draft and the Raiders were able to scoop him up. He's definitely been a tremendous addition to our team this year."
(on WR Denarius Moore's role now with WR Jacoby Ford back) "All these guys are going to play. All these guys are going to play. It's not like we're going to have just one or two starters when it comes to the receiver position. All those guys are considered starters because it all depends on what formation we're running, the different things that we're doing as an offense, so it's not about who's starting from play one in the game, who gets the role as a starter because all these guys are considered starters. They all play pretty much equally."
(on the Texans defense) "I already knew when Wade Phillips got the job as defensive coordinator, their defense was going to improve. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, playing against him when I was in Washington each year. One thing he does a great job of, you see on defense, those guys run to the ball. They play faster. Mario Williams is the anchor guy. He's a big strong guy. He's physical and can make plays. He's tall. They've got a lot of guys that they've picked up in the offseason, so he's doing a good job with that team on defense and we already know offensively they can score points. It's definitely a tremendous team that we're playing because they've improved this year. We've improved this year. We lost a heartbreaker to Buffalo and both teams could easily be sitting here 3-1. We're 2-2 and they're 3-1 and we understand why. They're a good football team."
(on how much the Texans defense reminds him of the Cowboys defense in past seasons) "His scheme and everything that he does, that's (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips). He's been successful in the league for a long time. Like I said, he does some things differently because the personnel is different. You pretty much do everything to your personnel's strength and I think he does an outstanding job of getting those guys prepared and putting them in the right situation."
(on if there's a different mindset in Oakland this year) "Yeah, definitely. The starters last season always kind of have a different mindset to improve this organization and turning things around. We finished the season 8-8 last year and then coming into this year, it's all about having that mindset always expecting to win when you touch the field, not the Raiders years ago or anything like that. These guys here, they work hard in practice and they have the will to want to win. That's where it starts at."
(on if Head Coach Hue Jackson has changed the mindset in Oakland) "Yeah, everything stems down from your head coach. I think a lot has to do with his mindset and his mentality, the way that he wants things done and the way that people see things the way they should be. A lot of it starts from him and the guys that he has here. The guys the Raiders brought in I think also has helped improve the team."
(on DE Antonio Smith) "He's quick off the ball. He does a great job of keying the ball and getting off and I think that's what makes him special. Anytime a D-end can key the ball and get off with his type of speed, it's tough for a lineman."
(on if the players see Owner Al Davis a lot) "We don't really see him. I haven't seen him this year at all. I know guys enjoy seeing him when we do, but this year we haven't really seen him. I think he's pretty much letting (Head Coach) Hue (Jackson) do his job. Like I said, he's probably keeping up with the team and he still watches practice and all those type things. I think he pretty much trusts Hue to run the team."
(on what the players think of Owner Al Davis) "Guys like him. They love him. We want to win for him. That's all guys talk about is wanting to win for Mr. Davis. He's the one that started this franchise and he had a lot of great years. The last finishes before last year was hard on him and we're trying to do everything we can to turn it around for him and his family and go back to winning games."