The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and some players answered questions from the media. Also, Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris and quarterback Josh Freeman answered questions from the Houston media during a conference call. The following is a transcript of all those respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordinator Rick DennisonT Duane BrownFB James CaseyILB Brian CushingTE Owen DanielsCB Johnathan JosephWR Derrick MasonOLB Brooks ReedQB Matt SchaubDE J.J. Watt
Tampa Bay Head Coach Raheem Morris Conference CallTampa Bay QB Josh Freeman Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on WR Andre Johnson) "Andre, it was a no-run day for him, so there was nothing unusual. He's run four out of the last five days, so we gave him the day off. He will be right back tomorrow working. There's still a possibility, but I know he will work with Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) tomorrow instead of us. But he is on schedule. Everything's going good, but it'll be a weekend decision once again."
(on if there's a chance WR Andre Johnson will play this weekend) "Yeah, there's a chance, but we're going to do the smart thing. He has been working very hard, gave him the day off. We'll come back tomorrow and see where he's at."
(on DE Antonio Smith) "He did not practice today. He did not practice, Cush (Brian Cushing) did not practice, Connor (Barwin) did not practice. Eric's (Winston) back tightened up on him. We're getting him looked at this afternoon, so he was not even out here. We had quite a few guys miss today, but we had plenty of reps to go around. We practiced very well, practiced very good."
(on what's wrong with ILB Brian Cushing and OLB Connor Barwin) "Just beat up. Connor just general soreness and we just held them out. They could have practiced."
(on the Buccaneers) "Well first off, they're a good football team. They've played some really good people, New Orleans twice, San Francisco, Detroit, Chicago, the people that have beaten them. Every team that has beaten them has won over five games in this League. We think they're a quality football team. They're 3-1 at home, got a big back, got a heck of a young quarterback that's capable of beating you any given day. Then defensively, they present a lot of problems with a lot of things they do. They're a good team and we got to go do it at their place, so we'll have to play well."
(on taking their momentum on the road) "We've been home for a couple weeks, so we go back to a hostile environment. We'll work with the noise tomorrow. It gets down to handling all that stuff as far as your success goes. Playing good road football, protecting the ball, playing good defense, find a way to run and see if we can find a way to win another game."
(on how concerned he is about T Eric Winston's back) "I'm okay right now until I see him tomorrow. He was walking around fine. It just tightened up on him, so we sent him down to make sure everything's okay."
(on QB Josh Freeman) "Size, athletic ability, can extend plays. He reminds me of (Ben) Roethlisberger a great deal. He's just a younger player. He's hard to tackle in the pocket and keeps the ball alive a lot, makes a lot of plays off schedule."
(on RB LeGarrette Blount) "Boy, he's a big guy now. They start pounding the ball. He's something. We'll get tested running the ball. It seems like we do every week. It'll probably come down to who runs it better, so hopefully we'll find a way to continue to run the ball."
(on if the way he is using RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate is to keep them both fresh) "I'd like to tell you it's perfect design, but it doesn't work that way. You go into the game and we've got a certain number we'd like to come out with but you don't know how the course of the game's going to go. I just have (Running Backs Coach) Chick (Harris) keep tabs on it and (Offensive Coordinator) Rick (Dennison) and try to have it come out a certain way. If it does come out the way you want it, that means things are going pretty good. He needs to touch the ball. He's a big play player, so hopefully he continues to do that."
(on what it's like to have two good running backs) "I think we have three, believe it or not. I really like our third (RB Derrick Ward). I think if he was getting the same opportunities, you'd see the same thing. We're playing well up front. They're giving whoever's back there plenty of room to go to work and those guys have done a good job."
(on if the way RB Ben Tate is playing has helped RB Arian Foster stay fresher) "Yeah, you know, Arian would probably answer he wants the ball every snap because he's a competitive guy and a hell of a player. It just makes the team stronger. More guys contributing makes the team stronger, continues to push everybody to a new level and that's what we're trying to do right now."
(on DE Antonio Smith) "He did not practice, but he's doing good. He ran and he did a few things with the guys, but he was not involved in practice. He'll be there."
(on NT Earl Mitchell) "Earl did not practice. Earl has a sore ankle. He did not practice, so we had four or five guys out and added Eric (Winston) to the list before we came out here. Hopefully they'll be back tomorrow. We'll see."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on if he feels guilty that he has two good running backs) "Absolutely not, no. Our guys have done a great job working. That's all I can say. Guys up front have worked hard. They've worked hard to figure out what we're doing and I worry just about us. I can't worry anybody else. We've got enough work to do around here."
(on if it's a game-by-game thing to determine how many carries RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate get) "It's a feel thing. (Running Backs Coach) Chick's (Harris) on the field, I'm in the box. We just kind of work it out. Try to keep one fresh all the time. You never quite sure how that's going to work out, but it seems to balance pretty well."
(on if balancing carries between RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate helps keep them fresh) "That's what we like to do. You like to see that burst. When one of them comes off the sideline, it seems like they got an extra burst, rather than carrying it four or five times, especially if you carry it as much as we did last weekend. You like to have a fresh one in there. They've done a great job."
(on the Buccaneers tough schedule this year) "Well, just like you said, everybody's winning games that they've played. It's not like they're getting a lot of points scored on them or anything. They've all been close games they've won. We played New Orleans. We know how good they are. They beat them once and it came close down to the wire the second time. They've played some very good teams and they've hung in there and they've played them tough, so it's another challenge, a good challenge for us."
(on how valuable the reps have been for other players with WR Andre Johnson out) "Yeah it is. Everybody's done a great job stepping up. When you lose a good player like that for a while, everybody's got to step up. I think those guys have done well. They've listened and they've worked hard in practice. It'll help us in the end, that's for sure."
T Duane Brown
(on the Buccaneers' defense) "Pretty good defense, very stout front seven, pretty good on the back end as well. They had a couple of rough games, but overall pretty good."
(on if the Buccaneers are a dangerous team) "Yeah, definitely. Just watching film, you give them a reason to believe and give them confidence and they'll be one of the toughest teams we've faced. You see on film once a couple teams got up on them early, it was kind of tough for them to get back into it."
(on wanting to go into the bye week with a win) "Definitely. It's all about momentum. We have pretty good momentum right now. Just trying to get this wins going and go into the bye week 7-3 would be a heck of a lot better than 6-4."
(on what the difference is when RB Ben Tate is in the game compared to RB Arian Foster) "For me, it's no different. For us up front, same blocking scheme. Both of them have the same reads. They're different style running backs, but as far as the rest of the offense, we don't feel like it's a difference at all."
FB James Casey
(on how he's feeling) "Much better. I'm getting a lot better. I feel like I've really turned the corner a little bit this past weekend. Coming in today, I felt a lot better at practice. I'm still not 100 percent. I've been limited, but I'm feeling much better and getting a lot more confidence with it and a little more upbeat now that I can go out and do a little more."
(on what the mood of the team is) "We're still business-like. Nobody's getting too excited because of course most people were here last year and we know we started off well and didn't finish. We got the bye week coming up and we know how important this game is. If we can get to 7-3, it'll be great going into the bye week and then hopefully finishing strong after that. Everybody's business-like. We know we got to take care of business in Tampa Bay, so we're ready to put a good week of work in and travel to Florida."
(on the Buccaneers) "They look really good. I mainly pay attention to their front seven. Their defensive line is playing very well. I know they spent a lot of draft picks recently on their defensive line, so they're playing well. Just like every team in the NFL is, they got really good players, so we're going to have to execute. They give us a lot of different fronts. I think that's one thing our offense does well. We're real disciplined and hopefully we'll be able to respond to whatever they give us."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on if he felt like today was the most energetic practice of the year) "I wasn't able really to contribute to that, but I thought the guys were flying around. I think people are excited. It's been a long time since we've been playing like this, if ever, and it feels good. It just feels right and we're going to continue to roll with it."
(on how he's feeling physically) "I'm doing good. It's getting later in the year, but I'm doing well. I'm going to be alright. I feel good. It's just one of those days I just probably needed one more day to get going again."
(on how it feels to be the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL) "It feels really good. It's an honor. It's something we worked hard for and we're happy about it, but it's something we're not going to just settle on. We feel that we're still improving and there's no limit for this defense."
(on the mood of the team) "It's good. It's a lot of football left and we feel we still haven't played our best football yet. That's something to look forward to and something to build upon."
(on how shocked he is that the defense is ranked first in the NFL) "I'm not shocked. At the same time, I know it's quite an accomplishment to do that. I know the talent we have, especially with the coaching that's here now. There's no other excuse but for us to do it."
TE Owen Daniels
(on being one of the best teams in the NFL) "It's weird. I don't think we're worried about being an elite team or what people think about us. We're just going out there and going to work and trying to get wins. I think that's good that our focus is in the right place and we're not worried about what people think about us or if they want to say we're a leader or we're a great team or whatever it is. We're worried about what we're doing in here and getting ready for Sunday."
(on if this team feels like they can control the game from beginning to end) "Yeah, that's the goal every week. I think we can do it in different ways, which is exciting. We can win in different ways. Our defense can win games for us. Our offense can win games for us. Our special teams are making plays. When you can go out there and do it in different ways, I think that just builds confidence within the team."
(on WR Kevin Walter saying he almost doesn't want the bye week because of all the momentum the team has) "We like the momentum, but it's been a long stretch here. I don't know if I'd agree. We will worry about the bye next week and we'll get some rest. I think we'll all be looking forward to it, especially if we can get to it how we want to."
(on RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate playing so well) "We knew what we had in Arian last year and what he was able to do. It's been impressive to see Ben come out. I'll be the first to tell you I didn't expect this out of him this year. He's worked his butt off and been really unselfish about playing. He didn't play a ton of plays last week, but he made the most of them and he's looking to do that every week. You got to give credit to the guys up front, making sure those guys have holes to run through."
(on how big it is to have a lot of production out of RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "That means so much. Usually it's just a guy spelling someone for a couple plays and hoping they can hang in there and have a good run or two. But you got two good backs with a little bit different styles. It's a good one-two punch, that's for sure."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on the defense being ranked no. 1 in the NFL) "That was our goal coming in. We wanted to be a top defense in this League, we wanted to be a good football team and all those things, and they come with hard work. Over the course of the season, we've continued to get better week-in and week-out, and for us, we want to finish the second half of the season the same way we finished out the first half of the season."
(on whether he expected to have such a big impact on the defense this year) "I wouldn't necessarily say it's all on me. I think it's a number of different things. Like I said, the guys up front are playing tremendous; we're getting pressure on the quarterback every play, pretty much, and we've got other guys in the back end. The safeties have been playing tremendous, our linebackers have been playing tremendous in pass and run defense, so I think overall it's a number of different things. I'm just glad to be a part of it."
(on how much he knew about the secondary's struggles in 2010) "I heard some things when I came in (and) saw the rankings. I said when I first got in here, that was last year and doesn't have anything to do with this year. We're sitting right now number one, and of course we've got a red dot on our back, but that's a good thing."
(on building on the momentum from the last three weeks) "To be good in this League, you have to win your home games, of course, and you have to go out and win some tough games on the road. We have a road game coming up before the bye week, and it's one of those games you want to kind of go out and win to go into your bye week feeling pretty good about yourself."
(on Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman) "He's a tremendous player in this League. He's grown some. I had a chance to play against him last year and I think he's taken tremendous strides in his game. For us, it'll be a test just because they're so young and they've got a lot of talent all over the field."
(on Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount) "I think he's a great running back. He's a young player. Like I said, they've got a team full of young guys over there who have all been stepping up and playing lights out for them over the past year and a half, and he's another one of those guys that's been playing tremendous. He's been banged up some, but when he's in there, he's playing good."
WR Derrick Mason
(on what it feels like playing for the Texans) "I've gotten myself into a good situation. Everything happens for a reason. You can either sit back and be discouraged by the moves that have happened to me or I can take it as a positive. I'm having fun here. I've landed in a good situation, a young group, a hungry group, a group that's winning and they know how to win. Very seldom do you find a young group of guys that know how to win. These guys know how to win and that's a good thing."
(on the Texans compared to some of his previous teams) "It's kind of unfair to compare the teams that I've played with to this one, but I think one thing that both the teams that I've played with and this team has is confidence. You have to be able to go out there and know that you can win a football game, regardless of what the situation is. Whether you're down seven with a minute to go or you're down 14 with a quarter to go, if you have that confidence that you're going to win, you're going to win and this team has it. That's the kind of confidence that teams that I've played for, we've had."
(on if the confidence has increased throughout the season or if it's always been there) "You saw the progression. I saw it over the last four games from the Baltimore game where we had it and it kind of slipped away from us. Some teams would have kind of went in the tank and felt sorry for themselves, but this team understood that that's a game we should have won and we're going to build on how we play versus Baltimore. We're going to build on that and we're going to continue to play with a lot of confidence and this team has the last three games. Each and every time we went out there, no disrespect to the other opponent, but we felt if we did what we needed to do offensively and defensively, that it was no match and that's the type of confidence that you have to have going into late November, December and into January."
OLB Brooks Reed
(on QB Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers offense) "He's shown to be a very elusive quarterback and he can throw the ball around. They have a great running back too. They run the ball hard and they're going to try and test us."
(on if he expected to be a part of the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL) "I would have never thought that a year, when I was in college, that I would be playing for the number one defense in the League, but I still think that we can get a lot better. I'm starting to feel a lot more comfortable in this defense at the Sam position, so I think I can only see improvement."
(on how important it is to keep the momentum going into the bye week) "This is a huge game for us, the game right before the bye week. We just got to have another great week of practice."
(on how he's feeling physically) "Physically, I'm feeling pretty good. I always feel pretty sore the next day for a couple more days and I usually start feeling better a couple days before the game."
(on what it means to have CB Johnathan Joseph in the secondary) "It means a lot. They work hand in hand. D-line's getting after it, it helps the DBs. When they're covering their guys, it keeps the quarterback in the pocket to help us, so it's great."
QB Matt Schaub
(on the Buccaneers' defense) "Well they're a very physical group. They play very well. They do a lot of things, so we really have to be on top of our game and be ready to handle anything that they do. But they've got some veteran guys that have played a lot of football and so it's another tough challenge for us."
(on the Buccaneers' defense without DT Gerald McCoy) "Well they're still a very physical, talented group up front, but he's a good player. So, he'll definitely be missed by them, but like any team, you're going to have injuries and the next guy has to step up."
(on the challenge of keeping their momentum on the road) "After a couple games here at home putting back-to-back wins together, three in a row now, we got to go take it on the road and go execute our game plan much like we did the last time on the road at Tennessee and go get a tough challenging win on the road."
(on being able to win without having to throw the ball a lot) "It's fun to watch. It's fun to watch those guys, especially after the fact. I don't get to see a whole lot during live action, but to go back and watch the film and watch those guys up front work, the receivers work, the tight ends, the backs, it's fun to watch."
(on if there's a difference when RB Ben Tate is in the game compared to RB Arian Foster) "Just a different guy to hand it off to. There's not much difference. They're both playing at a high level and executing our offense and doing good things. As long as those guys up front continue to play well, our backs are going to do well."
(on the skill sets of RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "Well, they're very similar as far as their running ability. Arian has a little bit more explosiveness in the open field and may turn in those 10-yarders into 30-yarders, but Ben obviously has shown the ability to do so, break tackles, run through people and has good balance and vision. They're very similar as far as their skill set and they both can catch the ball out of the backfield as well."
(on how important it is to get ahead early in games) "Well just the way the game is flowing and our team, the way our defense is playing, if we can give them a lead and execute early in the game, they play well. It allows them to cut it loose on opposing offenses. The other day, they get a turnover on the first play and then we score a couple plays later and it's 14-0. The playbook for us opens up, the playbook for them opens up and they can just play a little bit looser and freer. It's fun to watch."
(on if getting ahead early puts the other team on their heels) "Yeah, you come out and you got a lot of energy early in the game, but when you can start fast on teams, it can deflate them a little bit and set them back in their confidence. You instill a little bit of doubt and you just keep going from there throughout the game."
(on if he's scripting the first 25 plays the same as last year, but executing better) "It's not really 25. I wouldn't say it's that many. You're lucky if you get that many snaps in a half of football. We do script, but obviously game situation dictates if you're in third or red zone. Yeah, we still script. It's just about execution and staying out of negative situations. Just keep on schedule and you can stick to your script."
(on becoming a tougher football team) "Yeah, I think it's always been there. We just got a little bit more maturity. We were a young football team five years ago. I can't believe it's been that long. As we've grown up as a group, guys have learned how to handle things, learned how to play through things, deal with them. Just going out there and understanding our jobs and our role each week. Guys have better grasp of the system and the scheme and how to win those tough ball games and I feel like that's just toughened us up a little bit."
(on if he feels like this is the first team he's been on that has the talent to win any game) "I think we've always had the talent. It was about putting it together and putting 60 minutes together. Especially offensively, I feel like we've had the talent. We just haven't been as consistent as we would like to be as we have this year. As long as we can keep playing that way as a whole team, offensively, defensively and special teams getting some of those big plays, we'll be in good shape."
(on playing well without a lot of players) "It just shows, like I said before, the maturity level and the growth of this team over the years. We've played with some good players in the past without them, Kevin (Walter) and Jacoby (Jones) at the wide receiver position without Andre (Johnson). Mario's (Williams) not out there. Guys are just stepping up. We're going to the next guy and it just says a lot about the scheme and what we're doing as a group. Everyone picks up the slack and we just keep moving forward."
(on how the offensive line is playing) "I think we all know they're playing pretty well. They're playing at a high level. With that group, especially in our scheme, our offense and pass protections and run game, the continuity and them playing together that long is vital because so many things happen on the fly and adjustments and they're always working together. You always have help somewhere or someone working with you. To have that group together that long is a lot of the reason we're having so much success."
(on trusting the defense to protect leads) "Absolutely, I think we all know that we can say that. I think any defense, if you get a lead, it lifts them up. It sparks the whole team when you can score early, especially the first drive of the game and then when you get a turnover, you can make it a two-score lead. Points are hard to come by in this League and I think no matter where your defense is in their level of play or development, it gives them the ability to go out and play better."
(on if the Texans are sending a different message to opposing teams this year) "I don't know how teams view us and really it doesn't even matter to me. I just worry about us going out and executing our plan and putting our best plays and our best team out there on the field to go out and win games."
WR Kevin Walter
(on how much RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate help the receivers) "Having those guys run the ball as well as they do, they bring another safety down in the box. That opens it up for us. Last week, we didn't have to throw the ball as much as we like or at least the receivers like, but they're doing a great job. Everyone as a whole, blocking well, executing and if you can run the ball and play good defense, it's hard to beat us."
(on how much pride he takes in helping the running game by blocking for the running backs) "We take a lot of pride in it. If you're out there, you're not out there just to catch balls. Our responsibility is to block and obviously catch the ball. I enjoy blocking and Jacoby (Jones) is doing a heck of job blocking. We're all as a receiver group, tight ends, across the board, the whole offense is doing a good job. I personally take pride in it because not a lot of guys like doing that stuff and I really do. I like springing a long run for Arian (Foster) or Ben (Tate). We just got to continue to do that."
(on making blocks for the running backs) "It's great. It's fun, especially when you come in here on Monday and watch the film. You can see the defense, they don't like that stuff. Secondary doesn't like, safeties don't like us digging them out, but we got to keep doing that because that helps the passing game out. It's hard to prepare for us, I would think. We can throw the ball. We can run the ball and we're pretty balanced right now and it's exciting to be in."
(on the keys to the Buccaneers' defense) "They fly around. They play a lot of coverages. You don't know what you're going to get. You get all sorts of coverages. Sometimes we go into a game feeling they're going to play a certain amount of coverage 80 percent of the time. Not with this team, they play everything, so you got to be ready for everything. We have a lot of plays. We have options. We just got to go out there and execute. Obviously, their secondary, they play well. They got two good corners. Ronde Barber, he's experienced. He's been in the League 15 years and he's smart, so we got to go out there and run by, just be physical and do our thing. It's going to be a lot of fun this Sunday."
(on how impressed he is with the Texans defense) "How impressed are we with the defense? Man, serious, those guys are making plays. That's what it's all about. It's fun. Like I said before, every week I go out there and you don't want to sit on the bench and make adjustments. You want to go out there and see what this defense is doing. Guys are making plays, interceptions and getting to the quarterback and that's fun to watch. That's big-time for us."
DE J.J. Watt
(on playing at Tampa Bay this weekend) "It's another great chance for us. They have a very good team. They've lost to some very good football teams. They have a good quarterback - big guy, great arm, moves around, tough to tackle; so it'll be a fun game for us."
(on the front seven getting consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback) "That's our goal. We want to make their (the secondary's) job easy, and they make our job easy back there. That's the best part about playing in a good defense is everybody just gets to have fun. Nobody really complains a lot because everybody's having success and having fun. I think J-Joe (CB Johnathan Joseph) makes our job a lot easier."
(on the defense's increased confidence in themselves) "I think we'll always believe. It's kind of one in the same. What we know is if we go out there and execute what the coaches give us all week, we'll have success, and I think that's the biggest part. We believe in the game plan, and as long as we execute it, we'll have success."
(on what will be the keys to stopping Tampa Bay's offense) "I think what we've been trying to do all year: stop the run and stop the pass. They have a very, very good quarterback, and we'd like to shut the quarterback down, and they have a good running back in LeGarrette Blount. We just want to shut both of those things down, and I think if we do that, we'll have success as a team. Our offense is playing so well that we just need to get them the ball as many times as possible."
(on what makes Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman so dangerous) "He's big and strong, and what we see in the film is you can get some pressure on him, but he gets the ball off and he gets away, so that's one of the things that we're focusing on is making sure we tackle well, once we get that pressure that we finish the sack. That's what we're going to focus on is trying to put him in tough situations."
(on Tampa Bay looking to bounce back from a tough loss to New Orleans last week) "Yeah, after a tough loss, definitely want to play your best the next coming week and kind of avenge that loss, but our team here is real determined. We're real focused and we want to head into that bye week with that 7-3 record, so we're just going to attack this week like we have every other and try to come out 1-0 again."
(on if he enjoys watching how well RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate are playing) "It's a blast, as a defensive guy, when we get to sit on that sideline and watch them go to work. Two 100-yard rushers is very rare in the NFL in one game, and for them to do it, I believe that's twice this year, that's crazy impressive. Hopefully they do it every game from here out, because it makes our jobs a lot easier."
(on if he catches himself watching the offense while he's on the sideline during games) "I definitely peek up at that Jumbotron every once in a while because we're witnessing something special with that offensive line and with that running attack that we have. It's fun to be on a team where the defense is good, the offense is good, everything's clicking. We just need to keep it rolling."
Tampa Bay Head Coach Raheem Morris
(on the Texans defense) "You see their front seven playing very well and not to say that their back end is not playing well, but you see dynamic get off. The young J.J. Watt is playing well for them. (Brian) Cushing's been playing well for them the last couple of years and what they've been able to do with the new additions of Brooks Reed and those guys, Shaun Cody, Antonio Smith. They're playing really well up front. Then the back end, they're really doing a nice job of locking down and playing their coverages and doing the things they ask them to do. They're doing a great job on defense. They're really playing exciting and it's making for an exciting brand of football in Houston."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph) "Johnathan Joseph has been the same for a long time. He plays hard, he plays fast, he plays consistent. He's consistently going to be a pest on your top receiver or whatever receiver you decide to put him on. He's been that type of way since he's been in the League. Moving Glover Quin back there to safety, he's really giving you some activity. He's giving you some versatility to be able to play with different tight ends and do different things of that nature. They really got a nice secondary. They're playing fast. They're young. They're exciting. They're really doing a great job."
(on RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "They're scary. They do a great job and I hate to call anybody a system running back, but their system fits these guys to a tee and what they do. They run the ball north and south. They run it downhill. They run crest right at you. They got the ability to make one cut and then go yard. That's what they do very good. That's what they do very well. He runs like it's easy, both of those guys. They do a nice job of just collecting yards and running the system the correct way."
(on the Texans offensive line) "You got to start first off with their coaches because you can just see the unison on tape and how these guys have collectively bought into what they want to do. That's always a great attribute when you talk about coaching. But the players, they play with such a nasty demeanor that they got to be one of the top offensive lines we've played and possibly the NFL on what they're asked to do and what they're asking those guys in their skill set and as far as what they want to do in their system."
(on what they have to do to improve their run defense) "We got to be sound. We got to play hard, we got to play fast, we got to play smart and play consistent. That's the only way we have a chance to defend this great running team."
(on losing DT Gerald McCoy for the season) "You lose some of your initial quickness, some of your get off guys. We missed him the last couple of games and he came back in and got hurt right away. We got to deal. It's going to be dealing with the next man up and it's kind of our mentality."
(on how much of a leader QB Josh Freeman is at a young age) "What a great leader for us. He is only 23 years old. He's far from a finished product, just like his football team, but he's doing well. We've dealt with some adversity earlier in the season and we're still 4-4. That's always a beautiful thing because if he's playing his best game, we can be a lot better. I'm hoping we can continue to improve him and get our team a lot better."
(on if the team goes as the quarterback goes) "I'd have to say that would be the result just about of any team, but especially ours. Our team is certainly driven by Josh Freeman and what he's able to do and what he's able to produce. Certainly he can control a lot of things both offensively and defensively by keeping our team on the football field."
Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman
(on the Texans defense) "They're a very good defense really all around. You look at their D-line, (J.J.) Watt, (Brooks) Reed. Then you got the linebackers, (DeMeco) Ryans and (Brian) Cushing are playing great football right now. That's one thing that shows up. They're a quick pass rush to cover team. They can create matchups with Cushing on a running back. They just have a lot of high motor guys, high energy guys. They're a fun defense to watch."
(on what it is about ILB Brian Cushing that's allowing him to play so well this year) "Just his physicality. He's very, like everybody else, a high motor guy. He plays really physical, whether it's shedding blocks in the run game or just his pass rush abilities. He's definitely a presence on the field."
(on how much CB Johnathan Joseph makes them change what they're doing on offense) "We're going to continue going through our progressions. That's what you got to do. He's playing at an extremely high level. Him and (Kareem) Jackson, they're both playing good football. Secondary, all around, is just a very, very solid defense."
(on how big the home field advantage for them) "It's been big. We've got a great crowd. It's just been a different energy this year playing at home. Guys find a way to make plays, find a way to win games."