After Wednesday's practice at the Methodist Training Center, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and some players answered questions from the media. Also, Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback Blaine Gabbert answered questions from the Houston media on a conference call. The following is a transcript of all those respective interviews.
Texans Head Coach Gary KubiakTexans Offensive Coordinator Rick DennisonFB James CaseyRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonWR Derrick MasonFS Troy NolanQB Matt SchaubDE J.J. Watt
Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio Conference CallJacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the injury status of WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey) "Andre (Johnson) practiced. He went the whole practice. It's a huge step forward. It's just good to get him out of working on his own mode and work with the players. I think it's going to be a process this week, but there's obviously a chance, the fact that he practiced. It'll be a day-to-day deal. James (Casey) was fine. James practiced, took his full load. I don't see any setbacks right there but I think Andre is a day-to-day process."
(on the possibility of having both WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey back for Sunday's game) "Oh yeah, it gets us back to full strength. We've been working real hard with the other guys, they've been doing a good job. But that would get us back to our full strength. We just go to keep plugging. We got to be prepared to play either way and they got to go beat a defense and that's the most important thing."
(on what he's looking for from WR Andre Johnson before deciding on whether or not he plays this week) "I'll go back and it's hard for me just to watch a player practice, so I'll go back and sit down and watch it. But I'm gonna listen probably more than anything. He looked good running to me. But we got to see, like he wakes up tomorrow, how sore is he? Those type of things. So I'm going to listen to him and we got a long way to go this season and we need to make sure we do the right thing here. We've got a long week, we'll see what happens."
(on what he wants to see out of WR Andre Johnson when he makes a cut) "Just see him get to the ball like he normally does; to be able to burst to the ball and finish to the football like a receiver has to. A lot of it with him is him telling me, 'Hey, Kub, I feel fine,' or 'I still feel some tightness there. This, that.' I got to listen to him. He'll let me know. He's a pro's pro. He'll tell me what's going on."
(on if FB James Casey will definitely start) "We'll see. It all depends what we're doing. I think there's a place for both of them. As we move forward here, it gives us other avenues offensively. But, we'll see."
(on how nice it is to see WR Andre Johnson back on the practice field) "That's what me and (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) Kap were just talking. We were talking about how he did today and the last thing out of my mouth was from the day he fell down against Pittsburgh to where we're at today, that's pretty amazing. I think we're all very fortunate. We know that we're gonna get a great player back here at some point and hopefully sooner than later."
(on any other health issues with the team) "(ILB Brian) Cushing is sick today. He had a sinus infection. He did come out to practice and take all the reps mentally but was not able to do anything today."
( on injuries at the safety position) "We spent a lot of time Tuesday; I talked to you guys Monday about some directions we might go. Got a little concerned about just the depth as we move forward; if we asked too much of (Shiloh) Keo too early or asked too much of Brandon (Harris) too early and then maybe we start hurting ourselves in some other areas. We came to the conclusion that we're going to create a roster spot, bring (Quintin) Demps back. He did some good things in the preseason. He's a veteran player who has played a lot of football and he can return kicks. We've got to make sure we have our full complement of people in the secondary to work with week-to-week right now before we start mixing and matching too many people."
(on FS Troy Nolan getting a chance to start) "Troy is ready for an opportunity to be a starter, so he's getting one. The ball seems to find him. He played well last week. He practiced good today. Troy is one of those players everybody is rooting for. He's been working real hard for an opportunity and here we go, so we'll see what happens."
(on what he saw from Jacksonville in its Monday Night Football game against Baltimore) "I saw a hungry football team. It's a tough League and they have played some really tough football games; at the Jets, at Pittsburgh, New Orleans at home. They had lost some tough games and came out and played like a champion. That's what this League's about. It's a battle each and every week. They were at their best Monday night and we know they're going to be at their best against us. It didn't surprise me."
(on if he sees Jacksonville rookie QB Blaine Gabbert gaining more confidence) "Yeah. I mean, the more he plays, the more confidence he's going to gain. I think their coordinator does an excellent job offensively and he's got a young quarterback that he's bringing along the right way and he's got a great running back behind him. So I'm very impressed with the young man. I got a chance to spend a lot of time with him in Indy. Very impressive guy."
(on his interaction with Jacksonville rookie QB Blaine Gabbert during the Combine in Indianapolis) "I just interviewed him and talked football with him and went through the same process I go with all the players there and he was an extremely impressive guy."
(on why the Texans have struggled against rookie quarterbacks in recent years) "I think it just tells you, you never know what's going to happen. You can't go into a game saying, 'This is the way they're going to play us,' or, 'This is what they're going to do.' You've got to go in there and just try to play good football from your standpoint. This kid (QB Blaine Gabbert) can move around, he can make big plays, but yet you've got one of the best backs in football (RB Maurice Jones-Drew) that we know is going to get the ball somehow, some way, a bunch, so we've just got to be on top of what we're doing and play good, sound defense."
(on who will return kickoffs on Sunday) "Well, we have (CB Sherrick) McManis can do it and then (FS Quintin) Demps can do it, so it kind of all depends on who we end up suiting up; and (WR) Jacoby (Jones) can always go back there. I liked what (WR) Trindon (Holliday) did back there last week. It was really hard, but like I told him, I think this is kind of part of his career right now, the bouncing around until he steps up and has a big day, and then he puts the pressure back on us or some other team. I think he's going to make it in this league, though, so we'll see."
(on what surprised him in Jacksonville's win over Baltimore Monday night) "I don't know that anything surprises me in this league, and I know I give y'all that answer all the time. I think everybody's got pretty good football teams, and on a given day, anything can happen. On a big stage like that, they went out there and played very physical against a hell of a football team, so I can't say that it did surprise me. And I know they'll come in here and play the exact same way. I've got to worry about us."
(on the importance of the team putting together a series of wins now) "Everybody's trying to do that. We went back to work (well) today; we had a good practice today, a good focus, and you can't get ahead of yourself. You've just got to take each day, and I know it's an old cliché, be as good as you can be each day, each week, and see what happens. We need to build from what we did last week and come back this week and play another good football game.
(on whether he plans to play CB Brandon Harris at safety) "He's working there, but he's also working at corner. Our concern is that if we go and totally make the turn and then something happens at corner, then we'd be kicking ourselves. So right now, we've basically replaced (FS) Troy (Nolan) with (FS Quintin) Demps and we move on."
(on whether Jacksonville's physical play stood out to him the most from the Jaguars' Monday night win vs. Baltimore) "Well they're always physical. I think probably their defensive front will be probably as good as we'll play all year long; that's how good they are. We play each other so much and we know each other so well. But any time you line up against Baltimore and you don't play a physical game, you're not going to win. That's just part of the deal, and they stood up and did it."
(on RB Arian Foster being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "Yeah, that's a compliment to all of the guys, the offensive line and everybody, but Arian's been working really hard, trying to make up for some lost time here, and I think he's well on his way to doing that. He really looked like himself. And he's bouncing back on Wednesdays to practice better, in my opinion, just watching him with his legs, so it's got to be exciting for all of us."
(on the challenges that Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew presents) "Oh, huge. Not only running the ball, but catching the ball. I mean, you saw how Tennessee attacked us, moving (RB Chris) Johnson outside a little bit; I'm sure that Jacksonville will do the same thing with him. He's a big threat. He's going to touch the ball, somehow, some way, so we'll have to do a good job on Sunday."
(on why the offensive line played better last Sunday than the previous two weeks) "I thought they gave us an effort the previous two weeks that we could win a game, so it wasn't about that, but I think we just as a team did more little things – finished plays better, those type of things. I always tell you guys, when you have offensive plays , they're blocked for three or four (yards), but when you do a little extra, maybe you get six or seven. I thought we did a little extra that day."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison(on Jacksonville's defensive front being one of the best he's seen this year) "Yes, they're big, they're strong. They do a great job, so it's another challenge for us. Each week seems to be a different challenge. This is a good one and we got our work cut out for us."
(on what makes Jacksonville's front so good) "Well, the two inside guys play very well. They keep guys occupied, they penetrate when they need to. There's movement when they need to. They really get off blocks. I think that's really been key. So, we have to sustain, we have to hang in there and battle."
(on after struggling, Jacksonville is a more confident team coming into Sunday's game) "You think they may be struggling. I watched every tape on defense and they ain't struggling. They're playing pretty good, so I think they're a good football team and like I said, it'll be a good challenge for us, a really good challenge."
(on the play of his offensive line so far this year) "Certainly, the last game they played very, very well. You can't do what we did in the ground and keep people off the quarterback like we did last week. They did a fine job. Communication is key and it's nice to have them working together. They've been together for awhile. They just got to continue to keep working on the little things, which we stressed last week and they did really well."
(on if there is anything about RB Arian Foster that surprises him anymore) "No, not really. He just (never) ceases to amaze, I guess. He just keeps making big plays when we need them. I think that's the thing about Arian; he wants the ball in crucial situations and he makes the plays."
(on RB Arian Foster being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "Well, he got my vote, I know that. Without him, we would have struggled, so he did a great job for us."
(on how much it helps to have a veteran offensive line that has played together) "It makes the adjustments that (Offensive Line Coach) John (Benton) has to make, you have to ask him about that, but he makes adjustments on a play-by-play basis sometimes and it makes the adjustments for him a lot easier for him on game day and then if we need to do a new wrinkle here or there every week for game plan, it's relatively smooth with those guys."
(on RB Arian Foster pinning the loss to Baltimore on himself and using that as motivation against Tennessee) "All I know is he played very well. (He) caught the ball, ran the ball, he did everything we asked him. I wouldn't know about all that other…he played well."
(on what it would be like to have WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey back this week) "It'd be great just because of the players that they are. So we just have to wait and see how that transpires through the week. Anytime you get a couple guys like that can make plays, it's only going to help you."
(on if WR Andre Johnson looks any different to him coming off the hamstring injury) "He looks good when he was jogging over to rehab; he's such a good looking athlete and we all know what he can do, so we're always hopeful."
(on how much it would help him to have a full complement of offensive players) "That would be great because they each bring something different to the table. The guys that have been playing for us, with those guys (WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey) being out, have done a great job. I'm not slighting anybody. The more, the merrier. The more guys we have, the more plays we can make."
(on how much it can help when RB Arian Foster extends a play for more yardage) "Certainly it helps you. It moves you closer to the goal line and that's what we're trying to do, is points. Certainly with Arian (Foster), he can make people miss, he can go through people. He's got a lot of different things he could do and the more times he touches the ball, the more opportunities we have to move further down the field."
FB James Casey(on how he's feeling) "It's just day-to-day. I can do all the rehab stuff. I went through all that stuff and feel pretty good, but it's different when you go out there and you practice and you're going against guys. It's a lot more physical when you get in actual practice. It held up pretty good today. It's still bothering me. It's definitely not 100 percent, but it's much improved from what it was. I'll know a lot more tomorrow when we put pads on and go out there and practice."
(on if it will be interesting to see how he deals with it on Sunday if he plays) "Yeah, I don't know as far as what my role's going to be. It's kind of up in the air I guess, but I'll adapt to whatever role it is and hopefully I'll be good enough to go Sunday and whatever they ask me to do, hopefully I can contribute and get back out there and perform and make plays."
(on if he's still limited in his range of motion) "Yeah, a little bit of a limit. I'm going to have to wear some kind of contraption on my shoulder pads to keep my arm from going back as far as it used to be able to do, so that's going to limit me a little bit. When you injure your pec like that, it involves everything you do as far as pushing or trying to tackle or anything. Yeah, it's going to be a little different limiting, but hopefully I can come back and play and get better as I play. Each day I go out there, I'm going to get better and better."
(on what impressed him about Jacksonville's performance against Baltimore) "I think all of us were able to watch Monday night and we were probably not expecting to see what they did against Baltimore, shutting them down. I don't think Baltimore had any first downs in the first half, so that was very impressive. They're just real physical. They're big. They play fast. They always hustling and hustling to the ball. They got a lot of confidence with what they did against Baltimore, so they're going to come in Sunday excited and ready to play and we got to be able to answer that."
(on if Jacksonville beating Baltimore made them realize that playing Jacksonville won't be easy) "Yeah, I'd like to think there wouldn't be any tendency in the first place, but definitely after what happened on Monday night, that's definitely not going to be the case with what they did against Baltimore. You start looking at their stats and how well their defense has been playing, they got a really good defense. We got to be up to the challenge."
RB Arian Foster(on being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "It's a great honor any time you're recognized in this League full of talent. It's just an honor and I'm proud to represent this city and this organization."
(on the problems the Jaguars defense can cause) "They just don't move. They are great at staying in their gaps. Their linebackers are fast. Their DBs are very good. I think number 21, (Derek) Cox, he just came back and he's playing very well for them. They're playing great ball on the defensive side of the ball right now."
(on veterans on the team saying they need to put together a string of wins) "They're right, but you can't win three games in a row on one Sunday. You just have to focus on this week. That's where my focus is and that's where this team's focus is right now."
(on why teammates mess around with his locker) "I don't know. I got a target on my chest. I'm just a peaceful guy. I mind my business. I don't mess with anybody."
(on the importance of stretching plays out for more yards) "I'm not talking about myself, but I think any time a player on the offensive side of the ball can score from anywhere, it just adds that dynamic to your offense and I think it's important."
(on the job the offensive line is doing this year) "Oh, wonderful. I've been lobbying for them since last year. They're just now starting to get the recognition and it's well deserved."
(on having WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey back in the lineup) "Andre is the best player in the NFL right now and so that's always good when you have the best player in the NFL on your team. He's going to open it up even more and he's a weapon that you just can't replace. James is so versatile, so we're just looking forward to having those guys back out there."
WR Andre Johnson(on how he feels for Sunday's game) "I don't know. I just went out and did a little bit in practice today to see how I feel. I wouldn't say I felt great. I didn't feel how I expected I would feel, but I was able to go out and make a few plays. We just keep taking it one day at a time."
(on if he didn't feel as good as he expected or if he felt better than expected) "As good as I expected to feel, but like I said, I'll just keep progressing day by day."
(on how far away he is from being 100 percent) "You really can't gauge it because at times when I run, I still have some tugging and stuff on my leg. That's the thing that you're just trying to get rid of. I couldn't tell you when it's going to happen. I just feel it when I'm running at times."
(on if it's normal to feel the way he feels now) "Yeah, it's just the process that you have to go through with healing and things like that. It's normal for the procedure that I had. It has gotten better, but right now today, it's not where we want it to be."
(on if he has to get over any mental hurdles) "No, I don't think it's mental. I've been doing enough running to have the confidence in my leg, but I don't think it's anything mentally I have to get over."
(on if he will play on Sunday if he feels the same way he does today) "If I feel the way I feel today, I probably won't play Sunday, but today is not Sunday. We still have some days ahead of us that we have to work through. I just keep progressing day by day and see how it feels."
(on if he has to be careful not to hurt himself again) "No, they haven't really said anything about me hurting it again. They just said that this is going to have to be something that you just have to kind of fight through. That's what I continue to do every day."
(on not feeling as well as expected) "Why I said that was because when I went out and ran Monday, it felt pretty good and I thought I would feel better today than I felt Monday. That just wasn't the case. Sometimes you have days like that where you have ups and downs dealing with injuries. I may come back tomorrow feeling better than I felt today. It just depends on how it's feeling. I'll do all my treatment and stuff and see how it feels tomorrow when I go back out there to practice."
(on if it hurts to cut and explode during practice) "That doesn't bother me cutting at all. It's just more when I'm exploding and opening up my stride. That's probably the biggest thing right now, cutting or breaking down, running routes, doesn't bother me."
(on what he needs to know that he can play on Sunday) "Well I'm on the practice field. I just think that I need to see myself be explosive like I know how to be. Once I'm able to do that, then I'll feel like I'm ready to go out and play."
(on balancing his desire to play with doing the right thing for his health) "I want to be out there, but I'm going to do the right thing. Like I said before, you don't want to have any setbacks or anything like that to do anything to hurt your team. I can't just think about myself. I have to think about my team as well. I'm going to do what's best for the team. I'm not going to do anything stupid. Like I said before, everything's been going fine. It's been going good. I've been making big improvements and until I'm ready to play, that's when I'll be out on the field."
(on what it means that Head Coach Gary Kubiak wants to listen to him on the injury) "Well, the few passes I caught today in practice and I ran by him, he was just like 'Hey, be smart.' But he's always been that way. Any time I went through an injury or something, he's always said 'I'm not concerned about right now. I'm concerned about your future.' He was a player in this League, so he knows what we go through as players. It just goes to show that he understands what's going on."
(on if he's eager to see how the team handles being in first place) "Well, you really can't worry about anything that's happened in the past. Yeah, of course we had a great win last week, but you got another challenge this week. If you look at the way Jacksonville played Monday night, they're defense went out and played a heck of a game. I don't think they gave up a first down until the second half. It's going to be another challenge for us and we have to prepare and get ready just like we did in the past weeks and go out and try to win a big game."
(on if it feels different to know that the Texans are in control of their own destiny being in first place) "I don't know how everyone else thinks about it. I don't really get caught up into where you're at. You just try to take it game by game. That's just the way I look at it because if you don't win, then it really doesn't matter. That's the biggest thing is just trying to go out and win every game every week."
(on if it surprised him how physical the Jaguars defense was against the Ravens) "No, we play against those guys twice a year every year. They've always had a good defense, so to see what they did the other night is not surprising at all."
(on what's going on in his head standing on the sideline) "I've been asked about that just about every day, me covering my head up with the towel. That's not nothing. That's just something I do. I do it in practice every day. Sitting there on the sideline, you definitely want to be out there playing. It definitely gets frustrating just sitting there watching. It's part of the process. Like I said, I wish I could be out there, but right now I can't I'm just hoping that this healing process goes real fast so I can get back out there."
(on if he's surprised by RB Derrick Ward taping up RB Arian Foster's locker) "No, you guys don't see half of the things that go on around here with these guys. Anything that happens around here really doesn't surprise me."
(on if RB Arian Foster brings the pranks upon himself) "They all bring it on each other. Guys may not find their jerseys, helmets, telephones, car keys, it doesn't matter. It's a lot of things that go on that you guys don't see."
WR Derrick Mason(on his adjustment to the offense) "The first week was good. The second week, last week, I was able to pick up a little more of the playbook. So, hopefully by this week I have it all down pat but we always throw new things in there. But I feel confident in what I've learned thus far. I've got great coaching. Then I got a bunch of guys that are willing to help me out, so that's always a plus."
(on Jacksonville's defense) "I already played them once. This is my second times, so hopefully I can go 2-0 against them. I saw them play this past Monday night and they are a very good defensive team. They make you earn every yard and every point that you're going to get. So going against a team like that you know it's going to be tough. So you just got to take advantage of every opportunity they're going to give you."
(on RB Arian Foster's performance at Tennessee in Week 7) "It was unbelievable. Very seldom do you see a back go over 100 yards and also 100-plus receiving is very seldom done in this League because you have a back that carries the ball 25 times, 30 times a game is pretty much worn out. For Arian to be able to carry the ball 25 times, as well as catch it I think what, five or six times, 100-something yards. That's unbelievable and it shows you how hard he works, not just in the running game, but also in the passing game."
(on what he thought of Jacksonville's defense while he was playing for the new York Jets earlier this season) "They were tough. They're tough. They're sound, fundamentally. They are big hitters and they're gonna try and get at the quarterback. I think the biggest thing you realize about this team is that you're going to earn every yard that you get. They are not just gonna let you throw the ball overhead. Nothing is going to come easy. A five-yard game is almost like a three-yard gain because you're working so hard to get it. With a team like that, you just got to be able to be patient. Because if you're not patient, then you're going to go three-and-out."
FS Troy Nolan(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying he deserves to be a starter) "I feel good, actually, about him believing in me, just believing in me that I can go out there and do it and get it done, just help the team out."
(on whether his mindset changes when he knows that he'll be the starter) "I think the mindset has been the same from the beginning, but it's just that you've got to be on it, mentally. You've just got to be on it."
(on if there is any extra pressure on him as the starter) "Pressure? No, I'm not feeling any kind of extra pressure. It's just I've got to go out there and make plays and just do me."
(on if he's excited to be a starter) "I'm excited, yeah. It's a good opportunity, man. I'm excited to make a step."
(on what he saw in Jacksonville's offense Monday night) "Jacksonville Monday night, I saw a pretty good running game and a pretty good team overall. They made plays. Their defense was out there making plays; they kind of held Baltimore in check, so I see a physical team, physical defense, and the offense made a few plays out there to win the game. I see a pretty good team."
(on how much it helps him to have already played a lot this season) "Oh, it helps a lot. It's tremendous. It helps a bunch going out there, playing for a while. I got a couple of starts last year, so just knowing the team and knowing the team we're playing against; a couple of their guys we've been going against for a few years now, so just going out there and knowing what they're capable of and what they can do helps a lot."
(on whether the defense has stressed the need to stop Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "No, not us. We're not stressing out. As long as we go out there and do us, play our game, we're not going to worry about what they do. We've just got to go out there and do what we do best: fly around and make plays."
(on Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert) "He's a tremendous athlete. He's a great athlete. He can run around back there and he can make a lot of the throws, so he's a pretty good quarterback."
(on the defense not looking at Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert as a rookie) "No, you can't look at him as that. He's a rookie, but you can't go in there saying, 'He's a rookie,' and underestimate the guy because he's obviously out there starting. He's made some plays, so he can beat you, but we've got to limit the big plays."
(on whether the Texans defense will try to confuse Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert) "Yeah, we've got to go out there and try to confuse the guy, get him to think. Get him to think and try to get him off his game early, try to rattle him and making him think and getting him to see some looks and stuff that he's not used to."
QB Matt Schaub(on what concerns him about the Jaguars) "They're a very good team. Their defense is as good as any we'll face. Their front is very stout and physical. Their secondary has been around and played a lot of football. It's a game we got to go out and execute our plan and play four full quarters."
(on how much of a difference it makes for him if WR Andre Johnson can play this week) "Well, obviously he's a key part of what we do offensively. He's a great player and he gets back in there if he can go. We're just going to have to go play our game. We want to give him the football, but we have a ton of playmakers and he would just be one more added to the puzzle."
(on how good it was to have WR Andre Johnson practicing today) "It was great. It was fun to have him back out there. He brings a lot of energy and guys feed off that, so it was good to have him back in the huddle."
(on RB Arian Foster being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "Much deserved. He had a heck of a game last week. We just need to have him turn around and do it again this week against Jacksonville. Much deserved and he had a good practice today. Just need to keep working."
(on how surprised he was to see the Jaguars beat the Ravens) "I wasn't surprised. They're a good team. They have good players over there. They've just fallen short a few times this season. They've kept every game close. Their defense has played outstanding and we just have to find a way to make some plays and execute and convert when we have opportunities and keep ourselves manageable. I think Baltimore had a bunch of third downs that were long yardage situations, more than 10-plus yards. Those are hard to convert, no matter who you're playing."
(on if the team thought playing Jacksonville at home would be an easy win) "No, our minds aren't like that. We're focused and ready to play a tough football game. Our minds are focused on our task at hand and that's to find a way to win this game."
(on if Jacksonville's defense is one of the more physical ones in the League) "Yeah, they're a tough group. They're a top 10 defense, no doubt about it. Their front is playing very well and their linebackers have played a lot of football and their secondary, their two corners have been playing together for a few years now and they've brought in some new safeties that are doing a heck of a job."
(on how comfortable he is with the offensive line) "I'm very comfortable. Those guys know what they're doing. They're playing extremely well and I have all the confidence in the world in what they're doing."
(on if he has good chemistry with the offensive line) "I absolutely do. I've been with them now for some four years. Wade's (Smith) in his second year here. I'm in great chemistry with those guys."
(on RB Arian Foster stretching plays) "It's a good problem to have. If things are covered down field, I can check it down to him with space and he can make someone miss and turn like he did. We had a third-and-9 the other day and I throw him a flat route and he turns it into a 20-plus-yard gain and flips field position for us. That's a great luxury to have as a quarterback. You don't have to force things downfield in long yardage situations. You can check it down and make those plays."
(on how nice it's been to have the defense playing the way they are this year) "It's been outstanding. Those guys are playing extremely well. They're getting turnovers for us, giving us short fields. They're getting off the field on third down and also with that, getting us good field position after the punt. Those guys are playing extremely well. They're getting pressure on the quarterback and creating problems and getting off the field, which is what you want to do as a defense."
(on what makes Jacksonville's defensive line special) "Just the group of them playing together. They're very stout. They've got some guys in the middle that are hard to move, some big physical guys. Then their edges are playing very stout and their linebackers are making some plays. Daryl Smith's been there for a bunch of years and is playing well. Their other two linebackers are new coming in, but have played a lot of football, so they're feeding off each other."
(on veterans on the team saying they need to have some consistency now) "Yeah, we got to find a way to string them together now. After getting a good one on the road against a divisional opponent, it's time to go on to the next one and get one here at home and just put back to back good games, four full quarters of football together."
(on if he's eager to see how the Texans handle being in first place) "We're not even thinking about that. We're thinking about the next game. We're finding a way to win our fifth ball game and whatever it takes this week, we're going to do and execute our plan and we're going to go out and find a way to win."
DE J.J. Watt(on QB Blaine Gabbert) "As a quarterback, he's a mobile guy. He can move around a little bit. We just need to keep him contained and try to get as much pressure on him as we can."
(on Jacksonville overall) "Obviously they just beat a good football team in the Ravens. They're a good football team. They can run the ball. They're going to try to run the ball a lot. We just need to play our style of defense and try to stop the run."
(on the challenge of RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "Obviously, our goal is to stop him. He's a very good running back in this League and they have a great running attack. If we can keep him under 100 yards, that's our goal. We just want to go out there and stop the run."
(on if the defense is getting better each week) "I think so, especially after you see a guy like Mario (Williams) go out and Brooks (Reed) steps in. You can just see Brooks getting better and better. We're meshing. We're meshing together. We're playing well. J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph) had an unbelievable game. He's such a good corner. It was great to have him out there and it's just every week different guys step up in different spots. It's cool to see how well everybody meshes together in Coach Phillips' defense. It's a lot of fun."
(on not being overly concerned about FS Troy Nolan starting) "Absolutely, every time he's stepped in, he's played well. It's just that next man in mentality. That's part of the game. Guys go down. Obviously we feel for D-Mann (Danieal Manning), but we're going to move forward and we're hoping we'll have him back as soon as possible, but we're going to play great defense in his absence."
(on if he can exploit a rookie quarterback) "I think that's what we're going to try and do. Obviously, a rookie playing the position of quarterback is a very tough position to come into the NFL and start right away, so we need to rattle him. We want to put the game in his hands. That's what you'd like to do is try to make their rookie quarterback beat you, so we're going to try to put as much pressure on him as we can."
Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio Conference Call(on the Texans defense) "They're playing well. They're doing a nice job really across the board against the run, against the pass, getting pressure. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) done a nice job with that group."
(on WR Andre Johnson and FB James Casey) "Just added weapons. They're obviously good players and having them back just makes them stronger."
(on if the vibe in the locker room changed after the win over the Ravens) "Well, we remain kind of steadfast in our approach. I think it probably changes at least mildly the perception, but from our standpoint, we've been sticking together. We've been preparing hard. We're getting ready for a big battle down there in Houston."
(on it it's just about eliminating mistakes) "I think that's a great place to start. We've been very close on a lot of things and cutting down an error here, an error there could go a long way for sure."
(on if there's more to it than just eliminating mistakes) "I think that's a great place to start right there."
(on how QB Blaine Gabbert is progressing) "He's doing a good job of developing and growing. Certainly, we have a lot of room to grow yet, but we feel like we're doing things that will give us a chance to be much improved as we go through the season."
(on how much QB Blaine Gabbert knows as far as the playbook) "He's had five starts. He's got that under his built. He's gaining experience as we go. The playbook's been installed, so he's up to speed on all of that, but I think the more reps you get, the more experience you get, the more exposure you get, at this level with the defenses you face week in and week out, that's part of the growing experience for him."
(on what the biggest week to week improvement QB Blaine Gabbert has made) "The biggest? I'm not sure that I would single out any one thing as the biggest. We see him continuing to progress and gaining experience and the exposure that he's had against some real good defenses. Going up against another good one this week."
(on the difference in the Texans defense this year compared to previous years) "Well I think they've been a good team for a while. I think they probably feel a little bit more confident in what they've been able to do thus far. I've played for (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips). I know Wade well. He's a good coach and he's done a nice job there."
(on OLB Brooks Reed compared to OLB Mario Williams) "Well he's not as big, but he's definitely effort-filled and a guy that I liked coming up from the University of Arizona. Thought he was going to be a good football player and it looks like he's doing some good things for them."
(on the Texans defense with OLB Brooks Reed and DE J.J. Watt) "It's all good stuff. That's what you look for and they're definitely bringing it."
Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert Conference Call(on the Texans defense) "They're loaded with playmakers. I know Brooks (Reed) and J.J. (Watt) very well. We trained together out in Arizona. Them and all the other guys have done a nice job this year stopping teams on offense."
(on if he's aware of the success of rookie quarterbacks against the Texans) "No, to be honest, I am not."
(on DE J.J. Watt and OLB Brooks Reed) "Well the biggest thing is they're big, athletic guys. They work extremely hard to put themselves in the right position to make plays and they've done that so far this year."
(on if there's one guy or a group of guys that set the tone for the Texans on defense) "It's tone setters, definitely. They have a lot of guys that make plays for them. Of course, you've got DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing in the middle there that have been there and played well for some years now. They're big run stopping guys and you've got guys on the outside that are good against the pass defense. You've got guys up front that are good at rushing the passer."
(on if the game is slowing down for him) "Yeah, it's all about repetition. The more comfortable you get in the system that you're in, the more game reps you get, the more reps you get in practice against certain looks, it starts to become second nature like it has been in college and high school."
(on the other players he has to work with on his team) "Oh, it's awesome having two Pro Bowl guys right there in the box with you. Guys that you know are going to go out week in and week out and make plays for you gives myself confidence, gives our offense confidence and it really opens up other people on the outside."
(on how he carries the win against the Ravens into this week) "Oh, well we just got to come in everyday, keep working hard and getting better. You really can't let things like that carry over because that just takes away from your work that you're doing that week. It was a great win, got our team on a roll, but we still got to come in to work every day this week, work hard, study the film and get better."
(on if the win against Baltimore changed the vibe in the locker room) "The biggest thing is that it makes the next day meetings more fun, but other than that, we still got to come in to work Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and work just as hard."
(on if there is a cohesion within the team now) "Well it just boils down to execution. We played well as a team last week and we won the football game. We won the turnover margin. We just got to keep things like that rolling. We got to convert on third downs and score in the red zone and that's really what it boils down to for any offense."
(on the relationship he built with DE J.J. Watt in the offseason) "Yeah, J.J.'s a great guy and I also trained with Brooks Reed out in Arizona. We just had a chance to work out together, hang out and they're both really good guys and two of my buds and they've been playing well this season."
(on if he knew DE J.J. Watt or OLB Brooks Reed prior to working out with them) "No, I didn't."
(on if he's talked with DE J.J. Watt and OLB Brooks Reed this week) "No, I have not talked to those guys. J.J. and I are the same age and so we talk a little bit."
(on ILB Brian Cushing) "He's an extremely talented player. The things he does on defense, few guys in the League can do, so he's playing very well right now along with a lot of other guys on the defense as well."
(on his favorite moment in the NFL) "Just winning my first game. That was my biggest thing because that's all that matters. Wins and losses are what count and it was cool to get the first one on Monday night."
(on what it was like to know he would be starting) "Well, it was after the game and coach called me in and told me. I was excited for the opportunity. I knew there would be ups and downs throughout the season, but what I wanted to do, my biggest goal was to get better every play of every week. You just got to have that constant improvement throughout the whole season, correct the little mistakes and just stay focused, stay grounded and work hard."
(on if it's just about eliminating the little mistakes) "Yeah, that really amounts to everything for any football team. You got to win the turnover margin. On offense, you got to convert on third down and on defense, you got to get the offense off on third down. I know that's just not for our team. That's kind of the mindset of every football team throughout this League, focusing on the little things because then when that happens, that creates big plays."