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, Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton talked with the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of all those respective quotes.
Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordinator Rick DennisonOLB Connor BarwinNT Shaun CodyILB Brian CushingRB Arian FosterQB Jeff GarciaCB Johnathan JosephWR Derrick MasonC Chris MyersILB DeMeco RyansQB Matt SchaubFB Lawrence VickersDE J.J. WattQB T.J. Yates
Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis Conference CallBengals QB Andy Dalton Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on WR Andre Johnson's status) "We did not even bring him out today. He's in the training room. Obviously with the weather, it's nice, but it's cool, so we weren't going to run him today. It'll be day-to-day. I'll let you guys know tomorrow. (Tim) Bulman did not practice today. (Brian Cushing) Cush did not practice today. That's where we're at."
(on ILB Brian Cushing's injury) "He's just beat up, just beat up from the last few weeks. We'll get him to game day, but hopefully we'll get some reps out of him tomorrow."
(on WR Andre Johnson's situation) "Well I feel fortunate. Is there a chance this weekend? I probably can answer that better in a couple days. There's always a chance. I feel very fortunate. I know we're going to get Andre back. The key here right now is that when we get him back, we need to make sure we get him back for the long haul. Hopefully we can get him back here real quick. He's upbeat. He felt good today, but like I said, until he gets back out here, we'll have to wait and see."
(on how familiar he is with Bengals QB Andy Dalton) "Very familiar. Heck, I remember when he played in high school. What a player. He's a winner. He finds a way to make plays and the rookie year he's had, the job that (Bengals offensive coordinator) Jay's (Gruden) done with him there in Cincinnati has been exceptional. Very, very impressed with him."
(on how frustrating it's been for WR Andre Johnson this season with injuries) "I know it's been frustrating, very much so for him, especially where his football team is right now. But all that frustration can go away. Get healthy, come back and finish the right way. That's what we're counting on, but I know it's been a difficult time for him."
(on his confidence in the other receivers) "Ya'll know how much confidence I have in them. Ya'll know how they played when Andre (Johnson) was out. It brings Derrick (Mason) back up to playing a lot more and Bryant (Johnson) up to playing a lot more. That's kind of the way it's been all season. Those guys practiced good today and I expect them to play well."
(on FB Lawrence Vickers' status) "He practiced and he should be good to go. We'll be smart with him through the week, but him not playing last week was the best thing. The trainers were right. He looks like he's good to go."
(on what FB Lawrence Vickers brings to the running game) "It's huge. He's been a big part of what we're doing in our two-back offense. He's playing very, very well for us, so to have him back not only for us, but for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) is important."
(on why he chose QB Jeff Garcia over QB Kellen Clemens) "You know what, I tell you what, I almost signed them both when was that, a week ago, two weeks ago, didn't do it then. Then all this time we're having to spend with Jake (Delhomme) to get him ready for an emergency situation and what I saw (quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp) Knapper and (offensive coordinator Rick Dennison) Rico go through last week, I said, 'You know, let's bring him in here. Let's do it with both of them, so if we do hit a problem, at least we got two guys vested in what we're doing and two veterans who played in some big games.' I thought that was important at this point."
(on how QB Jeff Garcia looked today) "He was fine. We didn't ask him to do much today. We're trying to get the cadence down and just get him going. It's just nice to be able to work with both of them, so we know we got a little comfort zone there."
(on if he talked to the players about potentially clinching the AFC South this weekend) "I don't. They know that. The only thing I know is every time you talk about a scenario, that scenario includes us winning, so let's worry about winning the next game. Our guys know that. We were sluggish today in practice early. It took us a while to get going and we can't be sluggish when we go there. We're going to have to practice better tomorrow, but they understand what's going on."
(on quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp's role this season) "Greg's an excellent coach, a great teacher of the fundamentals of the position. The way he prepares the quarterbacks, him and (offensive coordinator) Rick (Dennison) work together with those guys, but the way he prepares those guys is good as I've ever been around. The thing I really like about Greg, if I was a quarterback, is the way he handles them on game day. He's the positive guy all the time with them, in between series, what's going on. As a play caller, sometimes you get upset with this or that because they didn't execute this, but he keeps things under control and keeps people going and that's what he did a great job with."
(on how he's adapted to QB T.J. Yates) "Well, it's challenging, but at the same time, as a coach, it can be very rewarding for the player, for the coach. You get in a tough situation like this and the first thing you got to do is think positive and exude that with the player and that's what we're doing with T.J. This is why you coach, to see guys like this step to the plate and handle situations like he's in. Every day's a challenge, but he's getting better. He was even better today than he was Sunday."
(on if he asks QB T.J. Yates what he's comfortable doing in the game at the end of each week like he did with QB Matt Schaub) "I do. It is important that he tells me what he feels good about, but at the same time, I may say, 'Hey, I know you don't like this, but I think this is the best thing to do in this situation and here's the way I want you to handle it.' He really takes to coaching. When you tell him something once, it's fixed the next play. Today, we really made practice hard on him with noise, not only at the line of scrimmage, in the huddle, so we're going to continue to challenge this kid and ask him to grow up faster than anybody else would, so I think that's important."
(on how impressed he's been with QB T.J. Yates' ability to throw the deep ball) "Well, he handled it the other day. He made some big throws down the field, the one on the move to Andre (Johnson). He's capable of doing that, so we'll see if he has an opportunity to."
(on how QB T.J. Yates knows who to listen to with all the coaches and veteran quarterbacks around him) "It is going to be one hell of a picture, one hell of a quarterback picture at the end of the year. I think that's our job to make sure that we surround him with the right people and that's what we're trying to do right here. Let's remember Matt Schaub's in a meeting with him every morning, every day. That's probably the biggest guy that he needs to focus on right now, as (quarterbacks coach) Greg (Knapp) works with the other two that we've brought in. Matt will continue to be a big part of T.J.'s growth."
(on what he thought about Bengals QB Andy Dalton when he was drafted) "I was really impressed. He did not play under center much, if I remember correctly, but the thing you, when you watch film, he's just a winner. He found a way to make plays. He can play the game off-schedule. Just a battler, competitor, reminded me a little bit of (Brett) Favre when I studied Favre coming out, but he did throw the ball a lot more than Favre. Very impressed with him. I know a lot of people in Houston are proud of him."
(on if he sees himself in QB T.J. Yates) "He's a hell of a lot better than I was, I can promise you that."
(on having some good moments coming off the bench when he played quarterback) "There weren't many."
(on if he feels any special affection for QB T.J. Yates because he's in a similar situation) "Yeah, I know what he's going through. I know how he's thinking. It's like last Friday at practice, he struggled a little bit at times on Friday and I made him repeat some plays. After practice I went over to (offensive coordinator Rick) Dennison and I said, 'You know what he's thinking right now?' Rick said, 'What's that?' I said, 'He's thinking, 'Let's go play the dang game. I'm tired of practicing.' Yeah, I understand what he's going through, but our guys have done a really good job with him from a confidence standpoint and a support standpoint. He's on a good team and that's the best thing you can hope for."
(on how P Matt Turk has looked) "Matt takes care of himself, we knew that. He was here in town. We're lucky from that standpoint because he can come in and hold for Neil (Rackers) and we keep going from that standpoint. We've been lucky. We're lucky to get him to replace him."
(on the pass play that was ruled a fumble in the game against Atlanta) "Have not got back word yet, no I haven't. I've asked them to show me the look that they got that would verify their opinion."
(on the defense and how they get better every week) "Well the biggest thing, it's about the group. They're all contributing every week. You've got Kareem (Jackson) as the player of the game this week. It seems like it's been somebody different every week. They practice with a lot of energy. They work very hard. They play with a lot of confidence. They're coached with a lot of confidence and it shows on Sundays."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph) "Great player, but even better leader, so that's been important."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on how QB T.J. Yates looked today) "He did a good job. We all, as a team, lacked a couple times probably in the third period, but he did some good things. You know what, I gave him a couple things that he didn't do so well last week and he did better. He improved, which we kind of expected from him. He's a smart kid who works hard at what we tell him to do and he'll get better as we keep going."
(on if QB T.J. Yates has a better handle on the game than most young players) "I don't know. I haven't been around many young guys that we had to throw in there like that. He was pretty calm. Just from watching him, he was pretty calm during the game and it seemed like he handled the situation pretty well."
(on what QB T.J. Yates needs to improve on) "Well, if I told you that, then they'd pick on us. No, just certain throws, certain reads that we ask him to do and he got better at it. If he keeps taking strides, that's what we're asking because we as a group will take strides with him."
(on how much the return of FB Lawrence Vickers can help in the running game) "Well, he was playing very well. It's a different element for us, especially what he does as a two-back and leading for any one of the ball carriers. That'll be a big plus for us."
(on if he was surprised by how QB T.J. Yates kept plays alive by avoiding pressure) "No, he's a good athlete. He showed that when he got a chance to play for us and he showed that on the college stuff. We kind of expected that from him, maybe not to that extent, but he did a nice job keeping things alive like you said."
(on the weather in Cincinnati) "It could be just like today. They said 40 and sunny. I don't know. I've been in Cincinnati when it's been almost too hot early in the year and I've been there where it's been really cold. Whatever it is, they've got to deal with it and we've got to deal with it. Whatever we need to do, we'll do what we can to win."
OLB Connor Barwin
(on playing back in Cincinnati this weekend) "Yeah, it is special just because I had four great years there and it was where I got my first career sack, so hopefully I can repeat that in some way."
(on if he's had to buy a lot of tickets for the Bengals game) "Nothing like my rookie year, but I've got a decent amount of people. I know Kevin Huber at their place for the Bengals. He got me some good tickets."
(on how much he's grown since the first time he played the Bengals) "It's a lot different. I think maybe my first sack was a little lucky. But now, hopefully if I get one this week, it won't be luck."
(on what he was doing in Cincinnati during the offseason) "I was back there. I was in Cincinnati. As soon as the season ended this year, I went back to Cincinnati and finished my rehab at UC (University of Cincinnati) and worked out there for most of the summer."
(on when he realized that he belongs at the outside linebacker position) "I think that moment happened before we even started practicing. I knew it would be good for me and then just throughout training camp, I just continued to gain confidence."
NT Shaun Cody
(on the Bengals) "They got a good running back and a good young quarterback, who's doing some good things for them, and a really talented wide receiver who's making some big plays at a young age. It'll definitely be a challenge."
(on if Bengals QB Andy Dalton plays like a rookie) "No, it looks like he's been doing it for a while. He's pretty calm back there and makes plays with his feet sometimes and definitely can throw it a mile."
(on how much the team has talked about the possibility of clinching the AFC South this week) "We know what's at stake. You don't change the way you play, I don't think. You play every game as hard as you can and let the chips fall where they may. I think that's what this team's been doing. We've been going out there and trying to secure a win every week, going 1-0, so we're going to keep that rolling."
(on if he senses the energy from the fans) "I think if you were at the stadium on Sunday, you could feel the energy of the fans. They definitely want a taste of the playoffs and we do as players too, as well. But when you're playing, you got to put your head down and just keep grinding, keep grinding and don't take anything for granted."
(on what it would mean to be the first Texans team to make it to the playoffs) "We'd love to do that for the city. We'd love to do that for everyone in Houston. That's our goal this year is to get to the playoffs and make something happen in the playoffs."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on Bengals QB Andy Dalton) "I see a good player, a young kid that's come in, hasn't gotten intimidated much, hasn't been overloaded with a playbook or defensive schemes or anything. He's looked good since day one. He's a confident player that makes good decisions. He's had some rough outings here and there against some pretty good defenses, but for the most part, I think he's done a good job, a really good job."
(on if he senses the energy from the fans) "Yeah, I think so. I think just an overall sense of excitement. As you can tell from this past weekend, really how electric the stadium was and the fans and just the buzz around the city. As far as the players, we just got to take care of what's in front of us. Nothing else matters if we don't win the game. That's what we have to do, so we're just going to continue to keep the objective in mind and that's just winning, going 1- 0 every week."
(on how the team stays focused on just winning rather than what's at stake) "It's a big deal, but the deal to us is winning and winning this matchup, preparing the same way as we always do and just doing what we can. We just need to win the game. That's the bottom line."
(on his health situation) "I'll be good. I got the ribs and the knee right now, but I'm taking care of it and I know come Sunday, I'll be fine."
(on if there are any limitations for him right now) "No, I'll be fine. It's just one of those things, 48 or 72 hours after a game, it's still sore. It's just going to take a little bit more time."
RB Arian Foster
(on the possibility Houston could clinch a playoff spot if Houston beats Cincinnati and Tennessee loses to New Orleans) "There's a lot of 'ifs' flying around. That doesn't really matter. We're just trying to beat Cincinnati. If anything else happens, that's awesome but we're just trying to get a win against Cincinnati."
(on if he can feel the excitement of the fans Houston building) "Absolutely. Everywhere you go, there's the buzz going around the city. Houston has been wanting a winning team here for a long time. We're glad that we can finally provide that little spark, but we've got to go finish."
QB Jeff Garcia
(on how it feels to be back in an NFL locker room) "Well, it's a great feeling. It's awesome to be back and to have an opportunity to be part of a great team, a team that is really going places and to come in and see however it is that I can contribute, help the young guy out and just be a part of something special."
(on the process of trying out for the Texans) "You know, the first time it was exciting just to get a call. Honestly, I'm not saying that I checked out, but I was on to other things. Let's be honest, I'm 41 years old and as much as I keep myself in shape, I wasn't necessarily out there throwing the ball every other day. To get the call and to just have my name come up, it was a great feeling. To come out here, to be able to throw the ball around and show that even though I'm older, I can still run around with the young guys, that sort of thing. It felt good. Going home, it was like a win-win for me. My name got back on the radar, but yet, going home was not a bad thing either because I have a great life at home. When I came back last week and they didn't sign me, I went home angry. I went home mad and I didn't feel real good about that because now all of a sudden, it was like I wasn't just that I was being mentioned or on the radar. Now it was actually a little more serious than that. I really was hoping to be here last week and to start contributing right away and any way that I can and it didn't happen. I went back home and once again was just thinking, 'Hey, it's time to get back to my old life again.' Then the call came."
(on how quickly he can catch up to speed with the playbook) "Well, the good thing is that throughout my career, I've been a part of the West Coast system. Now granted, every coach has their own method of terminology and they put their stamp on it. So, there's definitely going to be some learning for me, but there are similarities too. There's overlap from what I've been part of before. I've always wanted to play for the Shanahan-Kubiak-type of offense. I feel like that's the type of offense that really would've suited me in a great way with the movement of the quarterback, getting the quarterback outside, with the way they run the football with the zone run. Those type of things I just feel like are a part of what I do, so to be back now, to have this opportunity is exciting to just be able to learn it and try to get on the same page as quick as possible. I'm fortunately from a coaching family. I've been around football all my life. I feel like I'm a quick learner. I can adapt. I can adjust. I can learn the terminology. It helps to have (quarterbacks coach) Greg Knapp here, who was with me in San Francisco for five years. So to have that familiarity and to be able to now be put into a situation where I'm not asked to step right in and play, but I know that there's an urgency to get on the same page with everybody else just in case. As you guys have seen here, you just don't know what's going to happen week in and week out."
(on how difficult it is to tell yourself that your NFL career is over) "It's very difficult. The fire still burns. I'm still competitive. I still have that hunger. I still feel like when I basically left the NFL, it wasn't on the terms that I would've liked to have left it on. So there was somewhat of an open ending finish there and to have this opportunity to now come back and maybe go out in a different way, it feels really good to have that opportunity. I'm thankful for that. But the fire never stopped burning and that was a major reason why I went and played in the UFL last year because I love the game of football and I just want to get out there. I want to compete. I want to be around the players and just have that camaraderie, have that sense of feeling where you're really putting a goal that you're trying to attain together as a team and to now be here with this team that has such a special thing going, it's really going to be exciting to see how it evolves and see where I can fit it in and blend in and just try to help the team get better week in and week out."
(on if he can ever walk away from the NFL satisfied) "Fortunately, I have a great life at home and I've really started to work on some things, different ventures that have really started to occupy my time and challenge me in ways and keep me around the athletes still. In that way, I realize as much as there's a certain edge that you have to have in order to play this game at high level, you have to have a certain make up within yourself, I was getting to that point where I was starting to accept it and move on. It's never an easy thing and that's why I think it's important to really have a transition, have an opportunity to go into something else that will occupy your mind and your time."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on whether he had this game circled on his calendar) "Not at all. For me, it'll be just like any other week, to be honest. I'm not really caught up into the hype of just me going back to Cincinnati or anything like that just because, me, I just want to go out and just play football and just have fun at the end of the day. So for me, it's not about Johnathan Joseph and the Houston Texans going back; it's about the Houston Texans going to Cincinnati to play the Cincinnati Bengals."
(on what stands out to him about his time in Cincinnati) "It's just overall just going through what we went through there, being at the bottom of the League in defense, and then my last three years there being a top-13 defense the last three years; so for me, I think that was special in turning around they were looked at defensively there."
(on if he expects to have any emotions when he walks into the stadium on Sunday) "I don't know what to expect, to be honest. [It's] My first time in a situation like this. I'm sure I'm probably well-liked there in Cincinnati; I didn't do anything for anyone to dislike me, other than probably coming to Houston, but for me, like I said, it's just going to be about the Houston Texans going to play the Cincinnati Bengals."
(on his mentorship role with CB Kareem Jackson) "From Day One coming in here, it's been like a brotherhood. I had a chance to watch those guys when I wasn't able to practice with the lockout rules, and for me, I just wanted to come out and show those guys just great practice habits each and every day, ways to study, and just ways to be a professional and to be held accountable for whatever it may be. And I think Kareem has done a great job of that throughout the year, and each week he still seems to me to get better."
(on any specific things that he taught CB Kareem Jackson) "There's nothing specifically. I talk to him just about little things, and as funny as it may sound, he tells me some different things that can help me as well. For me, it's just about footwork, hand placement, just recognizing things so you can be a player that plays just that much quicker. Instead of seeing and reacting, you kind of have a feeling or you know already."
(on the Texans keeping a businesslike attitude despite having the chance to clinch their division for the first time) "You should expect to win. You should never look at yourself as a loser by no accounts; and for us, we've been playing lights out all year long, but for us it's still about going out and being 1-0 the next game. We're not looking at what we did in the past, and we're not looking four or five games ahead into the future. It's just a red dot on Cincinnati because that's our next game."
(on being excited to have the opportunity to clinch the AFC South this weekend) "That would be a great feeling for us. Hopefully it happens this Sunday so we can get to move past that moment of us clinching the playoffs and be able to move on to our next ballgame. Hopefully Cincinnati happens that way, but if not, we just still have to go out and keep plugging and trying to get that playoff berth."
(on whether he'll cover Cincinnati WR A.J. Green exclusively on Sunday) "It's still up in the air right now how we want to handle things defensively, so for me, it's just about going out and just executing the game plan, however it may be finalized at the end of the week."
(on how to defend against tall wide receivers like Cincinnati WR A.J. Green) "You just want to go out and play sound technique. You don't want to gamble any because gambling gets you beat in this League, so like I said, you want to go and take the things that we do from the practice field to the game field. Obviously, he's a great talent. They selected him top-10 overall, and he's been living up to that bill ever since the moment he stepped in that building, from what I've heard and what I've seen on film."
(on what he remembers from Houston beating Cincinnati in 2009) "There's only one thing that I remember from that game, to be honest: about the dropped interception that I had on the sideline that was intended for (WR) Andre Johnson. That would've gotten Cincinnati the win. That's the only thing that I remember about that game, to be honest. For us to go and be successful, they're a physical football team, an explosive football team with the guys that they have on the offensive side, and they play great, sound defense and special teams as well. So for us, it's just about going out and playing a complete game in all three phases."
(on only remembering his mistake from the Houston-Cincinnati game in 2009 rather than what he did well) "Yeah, for me, I think that interception would've sealed that game and I didn't come away with it. I talked about that a lot after that game, even when I got here with (WR) Andre (Johnson) and (QB) Matt Schaub as well, so I remember that play particularly."
(on what has helped him make a smooth transition to Houston's defense) "I think (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) did a good job of adjusting to everyone and making everyone seem happy and a part of it because on defense, we have a lot of guys playing lights out over there. For me, I just wanted to come and be a part of the puzzle. I didn't want to come in and be known as the top dog or anything like that. I just wanted to be under the radar and the guy that's going out there and doing my job week-in and week-out."
(on whether he's playing better than he played at Cincinnati) "To be honest, I don't even know what I'm like because I don't really get caught up in a lot of the hype of how people value me on the team. I'm just all about me going out and doing my job. I don't look at interceptions or anything, because it's kind of hard to judge a guy's value off of those different things, so for me, I just want to go out and play consistent, winning football week-in and week-out."
(on whether the Texans defense has earned a reputation as a good defense this season) "I would hope so, being in Week 14 throughout the season, right now where we're at today, and we're still going out and playing great winning football week-in and week-out. But for us, it's not about anybody outside of [who's] in that locker room and who's on that field with us with their opinion, because we know what we have and where we want to go, and our main goal is about go in each game and go 1-0."
(on Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton) "I see a poised young man, a guy that goes out – he took some hits last week, but as you can see he still stands in the pocket. As a rookie quarterback or a quarterback in general, that's what you want from your guy. He's able to make the throw up the seam; he's able to make throws down the field; to the outside numbers; and as a quarterback, you want your guy to be able to do all those things. And he creates plays with his legs, as well, so for me, he's a guy that you want to be able to build a team around."
(on if the weather can make Cincinnati a tough place to play in December) "I think the weather will be some part of the factor, but for us, to be good and great in this League, you have to be able to go out and play winning football in any condition that's thrown at you. So for us, I think it'll be good just to see how we go out and respond to playing in Cincinnati."
(on helping QB T.J. Yates prepare for the Cincinnati defense) "Obviously, they still have the same defensive coordinator, but a lot of different personnel over there, so I don't know exactly what they're doing, but when I have a chance to look at things on film, I will help T.J. each and every with possibly I can to help him play better on Sunday. Any way I can help T.J., he knows my phone, and my door is open."
WR Derrick Mason
(on how QB T.J. Yates played in his first start) "The young man, he's not a kid anymore. He's playing great. I enjoy watching a younger player grow up in front of my eyes. Four or five weeks ago he was third string and learning behind both of the Matts. Low and behold, now he's a starter. He's going into his third game. He's 2-0. Hopefully we'll be 3-0 with him under the center. He's doing a great job. He's just growing by every snap he takes, every pass he throws. Every time he comes back to the sideline, you can see the young man grow."
(on QB T.J. Yates not being afraid to make any throw) "No, he's not and he can make every throw. What's special about him is that he wants to learn, he's eager to learn and he has great athletic ability. He can move around in the pocket; he showed that this past Sunday. He escaped a couple of sacks, threw the ball away a couple of times when he needed. You don't see that from young quarterbacks. Sometimes young quarterbacks like to thread the ball in there when it's not supposed to be and T.J., you saw him throw a couple balls out of bounds. That just shows you the growth and maturity of him."
C Chris Myers
(on QB T.J. Yates) "T.J.'s been doing real well. To step in the fire a couple weeks ago at the end of that second quarter and take us down there to point up to the last snap of this past week, he's just taken it in stride. He's always prepared himself just in case and it just came a lot sooner than he thought. Just his overall demeanor and his presence in the huddle is real low key. He cracks some jokes and loosens it up a little bit because with a typical third-string quarterback, there may be some nerves and a lot of stress about it, but he's taken it in stride and it's pretty impressive."
(on if he's ever seen a rookie quarterback as calm as QB T.J. Yates) "I personally haven't. I've never had to deal with this kind of situation. It's all new territory for all of us, so we're taking it in stride too."
(on overcoming all the injuries this season) "It's been that way the whole year. We've kind of taken pride in the whole season being able to have the next guy step up and right now it's T.J. It's something to be said from the coaching staff down to the players to be able to go in there week in and week out and keep on performing."
(on if he feels the energy from the fans) "I mean, obviously you feel it. You don't take into account too much talk about clinching when and clinching where. You guys do all that type of stuff. Yeah, the energy is unbelievable and for us to be in the situation we are right now, we need to seize that moment and take advantage of it and not let it go."
(on what it would mean to be the first Texans team to make the playoffs) "I talked about it before my rookie year up in Denver, we were 13-3 and the attitude around the locker room and the feeling of the team and players itself, it's real similar to here right now. We went all the way to the AFC Championship game and had a nice streak going. It's kind of the same feeling, so hopefully we can, like I said before, seize the moment and take advantage of it."
ILB DeMeco Ryans
(on the Bengals and playing in cold weather) "Cincinnati is going to be a very intense game. They're definitely fighting for a playoff spot. We're fighting, so it's going to be a tough game, a tough, physical game. Cold weather, it doesn't matter. I don't feel like that will be a factor for us. We have to line up and we have to find a way to win."
(on the biggest challenge of the Bengals offense) "They have a good running game first and foremost. The biggest thing for us is being able to stop their running game because they do a good job running the ball. Of course, A.J. Green and the receivers, he's a pretty good young receiver. As far a deep threat, he's going to be a tough matchup for us, but they match up well with us."
(on what impresses him the most about Bengals QB Andy Dalton) "Young kid, he's a rookie, makes good decisions with the ball. When he's on, he's on. Some games, he's lit a lot of people up for a lot of yards, a lot of big plays. Of course, any rookie quarterback, we have to find a way to rattle him, get pressure on him and make him make rattled decisions."
(on the impact of CB Johnathan Joseph) "J-Joe has been huge for us. J-Joe's a lockdown corner from day one coming in the building. We've put him on whoever's the best receiver. He's going to lock them down for us. Not only that, but the confidence he has, he's shown our younger guys that and they're picking up on it, Kareem (Jackson), Brice (McCain), those guys have been doing a great job this year."
(on if it's a confidence thing or a leadership thing with CB Johnathan Joseph) "I think it's leadership. It's confidence. Those guys, they're a tight group. The DBs are a tight group. They're always hanging together off the field, on the field and they just, J-Joe and Danieal (Manning), came in with the leadership part that I think we were missing in the back end because we had so many young guys."
QB Matt Schaub
(on how his foot is feeling) "It's still non-weight-bearing, but I'm feeling as good as I can feel. There's no pain or anything, but it's just good to be here to help the guys out in any way in their preparations and everything, and it's just good to be back in the building."
(on the turf at Reliant Stadium) "I think as the season goes on, any field that's grass is going to get chewed up a little bit and everything. I wasn't out there the other day, but I don't think there's any issue with it."
(on how proud he was of QB T.J. Yates' performance Sunday) "Oh, I'm very proud. He went out and performed well, did his job and performed his role well. [He] made some good throws, especially some of the down-the-field throws that he made were huge for us. He had the team in the right situation, and that was encouraging."
(on the chemistry that he and QB T.J. Yates have and how much they've worked together) "Yeah, I'm trying to help him out as much as I can. We spent a lot of time during the offseason. He came down here after the draft and worked out with us, so I tried to give him as much knowledge as I could, especially having all that time together, and he's just willing to learn and to listen to as much as we're willing to give him. You don't want to give him too much, but any insights and everything, he's willing to listen to and he's doing well with it."
(on how difficult it is to teach someone else how to do what he knows how to do) "It's tough because I'm not a teacher by trade, so it's difficult to convey the information in a way that someone else will understand it. You hope you speak similar terminology, but it works well. He's good about it and he has a good understanding of the position and everything, so it helps out."
(on his recovery timetable) "It's been a week. This is a six- to eight-month process, so no."
FB Lawrence Vickers
(on what he hopes to bring to the team when he returns to the field) "I just hope I can just add on and be a piece of the puzzle, like always. Just keep doing the things that I do good as far as running, blocking, getting guys hype, energetic and just going out there, bringing the passion to the game and having fun. Enjoying it. I want to be back part of this winning streak, too."
(on being a part of a possible playoff-clinching win if Tennessee loses) "That's not my first priority. My first priority is just being 1-0 at the end of the week. I've got to keep it basic, keep it simple. I don't want to get too excited about this or too excited about that. I like being under the radar. I like being, as some people have said, people not really watching or paying attention to us. I kind of like that. I kind of like being in that light, which is a really dim light, and just keep working and progressing and at the end of the day, we're going to lift our head up and hopefully we're at the end of the tunnel to where it's all good on the other side."
(on if he was chomping at the bit last week with the energy of the crowd at Reliant Stadium) "I missed it. It was crazy. It was actually louder than being in New Orleans, to me it was. It was like a playoff atmosphere, a lot of people said. I've never been to the playoffs, so I don't know. I know it was crazy and I can just only imagine how much better it could be. I had to sit on the sideline and eat sunflower seeds all day. I'm ready to get back on the field, man. I'm excited."
(on knowing what a championship would mean to the city as a native Houstonian) "Absolutely I do. Only good things come with that and I can only just imagine what those good things are."
DE J.J. Watt
(on what he remembers of Bengals QB Andy Dalton from playing him in the Rose Bowl) "He's a very smart quarterback. I remember that he made very good decisions. He didn't make a lot of mistakes, so one of the things we want to do is get a lot of pressure on him and try to force him into mistakes."
(on if he got to Bengals QB Andy Dalton in the Rose Bowl) "I know I didn't get any sacks in the Rose Bowl, so I'm looking to change that fortune this time around."
(on if there's something new with the defense every week) "It's just a lot of fun. Every single week, there's new things that we're having fun with. This week, you get Kareem (Jackson) get a pick and everybody's excited. There's just different things. Every week a new guy steps up and it's awesome and it's a lot of fun to be a part of."
(on playing in the cold weather in Cincinnati) "I'm excited for it. I'm really excited for it. I can't wait to play in some cold weather. Practicing today out there in 38-degree temperature or whatever it was is awesome to me, so I can't wait to play in the weather."
(on the Bengals offense) "They're a good team. They have a good young receiver, a good young quarterback. Cedric Benson's a good running back. What we need to do is we need to get pressure on the quarterback and try to force him into some decisions that he doesn't want to make."
QB T.J. Yates
(on the Bengals defense) "They're a very stout defense. They've had success throughout the entire year against very good offenses. They do a little bit of everything, man, zone, they mix up their coverages a lot. So, we definitely got to be ready for everything they're throwing at us. They like to blitz a good bit. That's definitely going to be a challenge for us."
(on how much different he feels this week after his first full start) "I feel a little more comfortable, getting the routine down as far as being the guy getting all the reps in practice. I've been preparing the same off the field, but definitely getting on-field reps and being out there with the guys is definitely getting more comfortable."
(on if it's important for him to stay loose in the huddle) "Yeah, absolutely. Every once in a while, the guys need a little pumping up and that's definitely my job to get them going, but the majority of the time, I keep things nice and cool, not too much tension in there, nice and loose."
(on overcoming adversity in college and the NFL) "Yeah, we definitely had our share of adversity at North Carolina and we had to deal with tons of different things week in and week out. In that circumstance, it was guys being suspended week in and week out. This year, on this team, it's guys getting injured each week and this team has dealt with it great, guys stepping up each and every week and we're going to have to continue to do that."
(on what it means that he has the confidence of the locker room) "It gives me a lot of confidence going out there and playing, knowing that the guys have my back that they're not any bit worried or have any hesitation towards it. I definitely helps me go out there and have a lot of confidence running the offense."
(on how helpful it was to get his first start at home) "Yeah, it definitely was good. It helped the week before, getting into the game. If I had been going just into my first start, never having stepped on the field, it would've been a little different. Getting some time in Jacksonville and some pressure situations definitely helped it out."
(on if he was too amped up when he was missing receivers high early against the Falcons) "The first couple balls, I wasn't really following through and kind of just going through my mechanics as a thrower. (Quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp) Knapper got in my ear a little bit, told me just to calm down and just go out there like I'm going through practice and follow through and everything. It was definitely a little bit of butterflies in there that might have sailed a few pretty early."
(on his confidence building after every complete pass) "Yeah, absolutely. We did a good job during the week of practice. I got just about every throwing rep during the week, so I got all the throws in the game plan, which normally you don't get to do on a normal week of practice. But since it was my first start, they wanted me to get a lot of throwing in during the week and we covered just about everything in the week of practice, so going into the game, I was very confident."
(on how QBs Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia have helped him) "With the quarterbacks I have and the coaching staff I have, I've got about 150 ears of pro football to learn from. It's definitely cool. Like I said last week, the first five minutes I was in the film room with Jake, he was already telling me stuff about Atlanta that he learned when he played them while he was in Carolina. I just got so much information being thrown at me from all these guys and how much experience they have. It's a blessing."
(on if the veteran quarterbacks have talked to him about making a road start) "Yeah, it's definitely something that's going to be different than this previous week. The weather's going to be a little different. Thankfully, we're getting kind of a preview of what it's going to be like in Cincinnati outside right now. It's going to be different. We're working with some crowd noise stuff at practice, which I haven't really gone through in a week of preparation."
(on if he feels like it's been an information overload with all that's been thrown at him) "They do a good job of not throwing too much stuff at me or a lot of information that I don't really need to know going into the week. Sometimes, (quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp) Knapper will be very good about if I don't really need to know something and it doesn't matter too much, he'll make sure that it doesn't get in my brain and start rattling around up there because sometimes you can be kind of thinking a little too much. Last week, during my week of preparation, a couple guys told me, 'Don't over-think it. Don't over-study. Watch your amount of film, but don't do overkill because then you'll be thinking too much."
(on the feeling of throwing his first touchdown pass last week) "It felt pretty good. That was a play we've had in the game plan for a long time. It's kind of a route that you don't normally see thrown in that situation. It was kind of more excitement that the play worked in that way more than throwing my first touchdown. Once I sat back and realized, it was pretty cool."
(on the rapport he has with the other wide receivers besides WR Andre Johnson) "Yeah, absolutely. Those guys had to do it for the six or seven weeks that Andre wasn't there before. They had to step up. They had to make plays and they did. Kevin (Walter), Jacoby (Jones), OD (Owen Daniels), Derrick Mason, everybody was stepping up from week in and week out, making different plays and we're going to have to do some game planning to help those guys get the ball. They've done a great job for us all year."
(on Cincinnati's defense) "They have a lot of volume; different coverages, different blitzes, different looks they give you up front. They're very athletic throughout. They've had a lot of success throughout the season against the run and the pass. Just the amount of volume they have on their defense and all the different things they do, it will definitely make you think a little bit."
(on if CB Johnathan Joseph has talked to him about Cincinnati's defense) "Yeah. I was chatting up with him a little bit earlier and he was just giving me little tidbits. It was a little bit different when he was there. They do a little bit different, schematic-wise. But all the information I can get out of him will be helpful."
(on if he plays up to the adversity he's faced in his college and pro career) "Absolutely. Having all that stuff go on at (North) Carolina definitely prepared me kind of for the adversity we have with this football team and me having to jump into the starting role. Something going bad is really nothing new to me, especially when I was there, we had to deal with just about everything. You never usually see a quarterback situation like this, where you see a whole bunch of guys going down. In some senses, I was ready for it."
(on how valuable quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp has been to him) "He's been awesome. From the second I got here he's pushed me mentally to the extreme, especially during training camp. All day, every day through the first 10 weeks of the season when I was going to be inactive, wasn't going to be playing in the game; not a chance I'm going to be playing in the game, he was quizzing me just as much, if not more than the guys that are out there getting those reps."
(on why quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp was always quizzing him) "He knows in this offense, you can't kind of jump into it. You have to be trained mentally and be able to handle it, all the volume that we have. He knows, especially with no offseason like we had, we already kind of got a late jump on training camp. As soon as I got here we were full speed ahead."
(on the nature that quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp quizzes him) "To give you an example, if we're out of practice and we run a certain play out of a certain formation, he'll just lean over to me and, 'What other plays do we have out of this formation?' Or, 'What other plays do we have with this protection?' Just no matter what; if we're out on the field, in the film room, no matter what, he was always quizzing you, making sure you're on your game mentally."
(on if quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp quizzing him all the time is unique) "I had a little bit of a taste of it in college (with) Coach Shoop (University of North Carolina offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach John Shoop). The West Coast Offense is a very wordy, very complicated offense and you really got to know your stuff. So I got a little bit of taste of that in college. When I came here, it was amplified by a million almost. No matter what, all aspects of the offense, too, not just plays and formations. It's footwork, reads, defenses. No matter what, he's a high-energy guy, always on his stuff no matter when you're meeting with him, whether it's six in the morning or after practice, he's going to be on you."
(on what it says about him that people who knew him in college all said they knew he'd play well last week) "I don't know how they knew it, but it's kind of how I am. Whenever I played in college, whenever I'm walking around the locker room, that's just the type of guy I am: kind of laid-back; don't get too excited; don't get too up or too down. That's kind of just my personality."
(on him cracking jokes with veteran players during the player-organized workouts this summer) "No, the guys that were there in the summer, they're very cool. I didn't come off right off the bat cracking jokes. I waited til they chopped me down a few times, and they know if you can throw it right back that it doesn't bother you. It's more the atmosphere of the guys that I was with during the summer and the guys all around this locker room. It's very inviting."
(on if North Carolina Offensive Coordinator John Shoop gave him any advice that helped him prepare for the NFL) "Absolutely. He had, every offseason, every chance that we got, we were watching NFL film. That's where our offense in college came from, and anytime we could, we would be looking at pro film, either different quarterbacks or different offenses that took different parts from our schemes in college and we studied the heck out of those guys."
(on what it meant to have his parents in the stadium for his first NFL start) "It's been awesome. It was very fortunate that they drove down to Jacksonville. They just wanted to come see me suit up; they weren't expecting me to play, but just knowing that they were there when I got my first NFL action and they drove all the way from Atlanta to come see me in my first NFL start meant a lot."
Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis
(on the Texans defense) "They play extremely hard. It's 11 guys chasing after the football and they're applying pressure both to the run and the pass. They've done a nice job for the most part tackling. They're impressive what they're doing. They lose one of their better players, next guy steps up, they get Brooks (Reed) in there and he goes right to work. I think Connor's (Barwin) doing a fine job on the other side and they're really doing well. The interior guys, defensive line are really playing hard and doing a nice job. Obviously Johnathan's (Joseph) doing a nice job for them in the back end and making plays on the ball. They're really playing very well."
(on losing CB Johnathan Joseph over the offseason) "Johnathan was a good player here we kind of raised from the ground up. I'm happy he's doing well there."
(on QB Andy Dalton taking two steps forward and one step backward this season) "I don't remember the steps backwards. I'm trying to figure out. He continues to press forward and he's done good things for us. I don't know what steps backwards you're referring to."
(on QB Andy Dalton struggling against top defenses like Pittsburgh and Baltimore) "Well, I don't know that he struggled or balls went off our receivers' hands and a guy didn't run the right route. I think Andy continues to do a good job and did a nice job again with the football last week and continues to grow. As soon as everybody else plays up to his standard, things will keep doing just fine."
(on if QB Andy Dalton has surprised him) "No, he's not surprised us one bit actually. He's really played kind of what we expected and how we expected. We knew he was very mature. We felt like he would be able to handle this situation. We knew when we drafted him he would likely be the starting quarterback and he's not disappointed us in any way."
(on QB Andy Dalton wanting to learn on the fly) "Yeah, and he's taken full advantage of it. He's ahead of the other guys because of his maturity and how he's approached. His ability to become a fine leader has really born through."
(on QB Andy Dalton's makeup) "I think his experience there at TCU, he played a lot of football. He played in an offense where they saw, there's not much that he didn't see at TCU. There's nothing new. You only got 11 guys on defense, so there's no new defenses invented that he didn't see. The people's he's seeing them against here are probably a little better. They're a little faster, little bigger, little stronger. But his anticipation and the things that he does with the football are what's kept him being productive this season."
(on QB Andy Dalton being a winner at every level) "Yeah, he's been successful at every level that he's played at."
Bengals QB Andy Dalton
(on if he went to any Oilers or Texans games and if he has any feel for the history of the NFL in Houston) "I did. I do remember when the Oilers moved over to Tennessee and then when the Texans came about. I did go to some games growing up to watch the Texans. I have kind of been a part of that a little bit."
(on if "Love Ya, Blue" means anything to him) "The Oilers, they definitely had a lot of good things going. I know talking to my parents about it, they enjoyed going to those games."
(on if he remembers former Oilers QB Warren Moon) "Oh yeah, definitely a little bit."
(on if the NFL has been a bigger adjustment than expected) "I think it's about what I expected. There's a lot that goes on, but with talking to some people, you kind of realize what's expected of you. I feel like I've kind of had a good grasp and kind of a good feeling of what it was going to be like. I haven't really been surprised by too much that's gone on."
(on if it's frustrating to feel like every time he takes two steps forward, he takes one step back) "Yeah, it's part of it. It's tough to go undefeated in this game. It's really impressive to see what Green Bay's doing. You know, you just got to learn from the mistakes, go out and try to fix those things in practice and get better the next week."
(on if he's thought about how far he's come in such a short amount of time) "I feel like I've been blessed with a great opportunity here. It's been a really big year for me to start off with the Rose Bowl, then getting drafted, then getting married, then moving to Cincinnati, then being able to accomplish everything that we have so far. It's been a whole lot of fun and I just feel extremely blessed."
(on the differences with him between now and his time in college) "It's been a lot of fun. I think the biggest thing is I'm getting more and more comfortable out there each time I'm out there. I've kind of got a good understanding of what's going on, how to play the game and what the speed of the game is like and I'm just trying to get better."
(on if he's stayed in contact with his former coaches in Katy or at TCU) "I do. I've talked to coaches at Katy and TCU every now and then. I follow them, see what's going on and everything."
(on if he can lean on his former coaches when he needs support) "Yeah, I think I've had a lot of support and they're definitely two groups that have supported me well."
(on if this game against the Texans is more special than others) "I think it's just another game on the calendar. I obviously followed the Texans a lot when I was in college and growing up, but now since I've been here, it's been different. There's a lot of other teams and you focus one game at a time, so you try not to look too far ahead into things. I'm treating it just like it's another game."
(on if he thought it would be fun to be the quarterback for the Texans) "I think everybody when they're younger wants to be the quarterback for the home team, but I think just the opportunity to play in the NFL is what I was looking for."
(on what it's been like for his family this year) "They're enjoying it. I think it's been a fun process for everybody. I get to have my wife up here with me and get to go through all this together with her. That's been a lot of fun and it's good to go home to her every night."
(on if he met his wife in high school or college) "No, we met at TCU."
(on if he has any advice for QB T.J. Yates) "I think the biggest thing is don't try to do too much. Don't put everything on your shoulders. Trust the guys around you. I know he's got a lot of playmakers. He's got a great running game. I wouldn't try to do too much, just be you. You are going to make some mistakes, but do whatever you can to eliminate them. Just try to be consistent. Be efficient."
(on if he got to know QB T.J. Yates before the season) "I did. I met him before my senior year, before our senior years. We've talked every now and then, so I've got to know him a little bit."
(on the Texans defense) "They play really hard. They're physical and they do a lot of good things. It's going to be a tough test for us, but I feel like we've got a good plan going in. Have a good week of practice and we'll be ready to go."
(on what it's like to have a top receiver like A.J. Green miss a game) "Obviously, you'd love to have them, but it just means other guys have to step up. Those guys are special where they can do a lot of really good things. I think the biggest thing is you can't worry about that. You got to trust the guys you have around you."
(on what it's like playing for first-year offensive coordinator Jay Gruden) "It's been great. There's a lot of give and take. He's asking for my input and it's made it a lot of fun. We're just working together and he's asking what I like, what I don't like and all that kind of stuff, so he's made this whole transition for me a whole lot easier."
(on if he thought he would be starting this year when he was drafted) "I felt like coming to Cincinnati, I would have a good chance just because of the whole Carson (Palmer) situation, him saying he's not coming back. That was my goal. I was wanting to come in and start right away and I've been fortunate to do that."
(on if he'd rather be learning on the fly than sitting and watching someone else play) "Yeah, that's the way I feel like I did it at TCU being able to start as a freshman. I'm definitely doing what I wanted to do here."
(on if he sees similarities between this season and his freshman season at TCU) "I definitely feel a lot more comfortable now than I think I did my freshman year. I've got a little bit better understanding of football and everything that goes on. I mean, I guess there are some learning curves in all that stuff."
(on if he felt ahead of the curve coming out of playing at Katy) "Yeah, for sure. I think Katy prepares you well to play in college and I feel the same about TCU for coming to the NFL. I've been blessed with great teams, great coaches and had a lot of great people around me."
(on what the Texans do up front defensively that allows them to get pressure from multiple players) "They just never give up. You don't ever see them take a play off. They're a lot of high-motor guys that are running around and do whatever they can to disrupt and they do a really good job of that."
(on if he got to know DE J.J. Watt or OLB Brooks Reed before the draft) "I've met them. I obviously played J.J. in the Rose Bowl, so I got to know him a little bit there, but I think Brooks Reed, we played together in the Senior Bowl. I've met him and been around him just a little bit."
(on his memories of DE J.J. Watt from the Rose Bowl) "Going in, we had to know where he was at all times. He was a great player and we knew he got a lot of pressures. We knew that going in and I think he showed that in the game too."
(on if DE J.J. Watt got his hands on him in the Rose Bowl) "I don't know if he got me at all, but he was close."
(on what it's like playing in the AFC North) "We play a lot of really good teams. I think it is one of the toughest divisions in football, but I think it gives us a chance to show who we are. We've come close in some of these games. We weren't able to finish it at the end, but I think we've been able to do a lot of good things this year to show what we're capable of doing."
(on if playing in the AFC North as a rookie will give him an edge) "I think so. These teams, they do a lot. They show a lot of different looks, move around, are blitzing and dropping and doing all the different things that they do. I think it's great for me to be able to see that, especially as a rookie and get a really good understanding of what teams are doing."
(on if there are any Texans games that he attended that stand out in his memory) "I don't think there's one in particular."
(on if he went to a few Texans games) "Yeah, I went to several games growing up."