After Wednesday's practice, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and some players answered questions from the media at Reliant Stadium. Also, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and linebacker Ray Lewis answered questions from the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of all those respective intrerviews. * *
Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordiantor Rick DennisonT Duane Brown
RB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonCB Brice McCainOLB Brooks ReedG Wade SmithFB Lawrence VickersQB T.J. Yates
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh Conference CallRavens LB Ray Lewis Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how the team's workout was today) "It was good. We're bouncing around really good. Workout was good. They're a very difficult team to prepare for. They do a lot of things and we've got our work cut out for us from a mental approach, but I liked our attention today. I liked the way we were moving around and what we were doing."
(on the weather conditions in Baltimore and playing on turf instead of grass) "Yeah, but the field's still going to be the same. Same yardage, same everything. We know that. It still comes down to how we play, but obviously it's a turf game for us and that makes everybody a lot quicker. You know, to me, Ray Rice is exceptional on the turf, you know with his cuts and stuff, but I think also Arian (Foster) and Ben (Tate) also, I think it helps them, you know those types of things, but you know, I'm not worried about what type of field we're playing on or how cold it's going to be. I'm just kind of worried about how we're going to play."
(on if he has ever changed the game plan specifically due to cold weather) "No, I mean I think you put your plan together to go win a game and attack a team. Now you may show up on game day and face some conditions that dictate how you call a game or how you go about doing things, but as far as your preparation and stuff I think everything stays the same. So, I like the fact, usually we have cool weather around here, have a good cool week, it brings some light back in our legs as we worked it into the week so you know, I think it's a good thing really."
(on preparing for the Ravens since they are undefeated at home) "You know, I'm trying, but it's hard. We obviously got our noise on all day long today as we practiced, especially offensively and trying to create as tough an environment as we possibly can, but there's no way you can match what's fixing to happen. The best way to handle the hostile environment is to play good football so we've got to stay focused on that, but we'll do our best to get crowd noise and we do that all the time anyways."
(on the challenge it will be for the Texans running game against the Baltimore defense) "Well, to me they're as good out there at stopping the run and they get even better when they play at home so they set the edges really well. They're a lot like our defense from our standpoint of what we work against in training camp and those types of things. I think the key is to stay committed. I mean it's going to be tough. It's going to be difficult to run the ball on them, but it's still part of what we do and something that we're going to have to stay committed to. So, it's the type of football game we need to be in, but you know, what we do offensively always starts with the run and this week will be no different."
(on being 0-9 on third downs in the second half of the Baltimore game last meeting) "In the second half we were? Yeah, I knew we were excellent in the first half on third downs. I liked our plan of what we were doing. In the second half I think we scored on our first drive so after that it must have got really bad if we were 0-9. I don't have those stats in front of me, but if that's happening, you're not staying on the field, but third downs control the game defensively and offensively. Just like last week, we were poor in the first half and losing the time of possession, the second half we were excellent and winning the time of possession so that's big every week that you play."
(on if he is telling the team to keep their routines normal this week) "Yeah, I mean I was with them that way last week. I told them you shouldn't change anything you do. Everything should stay the same. Players get pulled in a lot of directions right now. There's four football games, a lot of attention going on and a lot of things happening from that standpoint, but they've got to stay as true as they possibly can and we'll do that as a team too. You know, we'll go through our normal routine Saturday before we head to Baltimore."
(on how he's seen the team mature over the last week) "Well, their attention's been excellent. To me, they'll mature out of this period they're going through now next year. I think right now it's a blur. We're going. We're focused on what we're trying to get done, but they handled themselves exceptionally well last week. I think they all learned a little bit of something. I think early in the game our emotions were so high. We were playing, I don't want to say poorly, but we were losing some focus in some areas so hopefully we'll do that a little better this week and with us having to go on the road it'll be even more important."
(on how TE Owen Daniels looked at practice today) "He's fine. I mean like I said, his hand. it's bothering him, but that didn't keep him from playing the other day, it won't keep him from playing. He took everything he could take in practice today so he's ok."
(on the status of the team's injuries) "We're ok. Troy Nolan's back to full strength today, Mike Brisiel's back on the field so you know, we've got a nice problem to have. We've got some questions to answer as far as who suits in the secondary so everybody's good."
(on not having WR Andre Johnson the first time around and having QB T.J. Yates this time around) "Well, anytime we miss Andre y'all know how that is. I mean it's just a big blow to our football team and that was going on what, over a nine-, ten-week time? So getting him back has been huge for our team. It was huge the other day, just his presence with the team. We've been adjusting with T.J. now what, seven or eight weeks? So it's been an adjustment period for us throughout our football team, especially offensively but you know, we go back this week off of last week with our full group and Andre came out of the game good. T.J.'s one game better and that's important as we move forward, because we'll have to be as good as we can be."
(on how QB T.J. Yates is handling the pressure) "You know, he's been good. He's a tough kid. I mean, he handles things very well. He handles game plans very well. Emotionally he's very confident and players see that. He's been in here with us as a third quarterback, but to go in there and start a playoff game, that's another big step. He's got a lot of confidence in himself and he knows that the key is that his team plays well so we'll just keep him focused on his job."
(on if the team's confidence will have an effect on the game Sunday) "Well, I think the biggest thing is that they know if they play the type of football we played last week then we'll have a very good chance. That's what we're trying to give ourselves, the best chance to win in that stadium so we're going to have to play clean. We did that last week so we've got some confidence coming out of that game. We have been here before. We also know and respect this opponent very much so. We know what it will take so you put all those things together, it's going to take a great team effort for us to get it done, but that's what we're preparing to do. So I liked the way they came out the other day if that's what you're asking me and I liked the way they worked today."
(on how much the team has grown since their last meeting with Baltimore) "I think both teams are still very much the same when you watch us on film and what we try to do to win. As far as the defense, you've got to give them credit, you know, when the game was on the line late in the third, fourth quarter, boy they made big plays in the pass game. (Joe) Flacco and those guys made some big plays and offensively we had a couple possessions where we had our opportunity we didn't do it. So you know if we go back to that game, and that was a long time ago, bottom line is the credit goes to them and the job they did and we've got to do a lot better."
(on if he thinks Baltimore's defense has set the standard for defenses over the last 10 years) "Yeah I think,, Baltimore's media reminded me today that I was there, what, 12 years ago or 11 years ago in a Wild Card game? But they've been consistent and you know, ever since 52 9LB Ray Lewis) lined up with the Mike linebacker position, this defensive football team has been one of the great defensive teams in history. They've been through a few coordinators, but they've got the same guys lining up and playing and they've been very successful. So, it is the ultimate challenge from an offensive standpoint and our players know that. So, we've got to have a dang good week here and be on top of what we're doing."
(on if the Texans young legs could give them an advantage over the Ravens older players this late in the season) "Well their legs were moving pretty darn good when I watched the film, so it's big-time football. It's playoff football, there's eight teams left. You're going to have to play great to win and we understand that."
(on the Texans overall record being 0-5 against Baltimore) "It is what it is so hopefully we'll be better this time around. You know, guys hear a lot of things as they play in these games, but the one thing my football team knows is everything's predicated on how they play. Not what they hear, not what say, it's predicated on how they play as a team so we'll stay focused on that."
(on if he believes in the law of averages) "The law of averages? I don't know. We've got to go play again here, so looking forward to it."
(on the Ravens offense) "Yeah, I mean they've moved the ball as well as anybody moved it on us all year long and I mean it starts with Ray (Rice) and Vonta (Leach) and the way they're running the ball. They're exceptional. Joe (Flacco) has a big arm. He's capable of making big plays on you. He did that to us and then you've got a back who is very dangerous out of the back field you know. So I mean that's as dangerous as it gets and like I said, they gave us fits last time and we'll have to play a lot better. So, they beat us. It was a group effort on their part. They beat us across the board and we'll have to play a lot better."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on ILB Ray Lewis) "Well, obviously he's a great player. He's been a great player for a long time. He understands what each team is trying to do. He diagnoses really well. He studies film. He's been the center of their defense for many, many years. We've played against him and really had a hard time blocking him. He's still doing all the same things, and he's obviously the emotional leader, too. He gets them fired up and gets them going to the ball."
(on the impact of having WR Andre Johnson back this time against Baltimore) "Well, clearly Andre helps us in so many ways. It puts the defense in somebody else to concern themselves with his talent. We're hoping he'll go out there and make some plays like he did last weekend for us and keep us moving because we'll need them all. It's a great group we're going against, so we'll need all the help we can get."
(on what makes DT Haloti Ngata so good) "Well, besides being big, square, fast, and strong, he's really strong. He's hard to keep. One guy can't be in the middle, so you got to try and work towards him with more than one, and he gets off blocks tremendously. It's just hard to move a big guy that's that strong, and they do a good job around him, too. I'm not saying that anyone around him is not very good either because (Terrell) Suggs is good. They've all played very well up front, but he certainly is a tough one."
(on what he can do to compensate for the crowd noise) "No, we just keep working on it in practice. Certainly our fans were great, were tremendous, and I know theirs will be. They were pretty loud when we were there earlier in the year, so one can only imagine it will be just as loud if not louder. Our guys just have to focus on the snap count. We can't have any pre-snap penalties. We need to keep on schedule with this group. We can't be backing up, so we'll continue to work on it in practice and make sure we're all on the same page with our cadence and timing of everything we need to do with motions and whatnot."
(on what Baltimore changed that affected the team's success on third downs in the regular season game) "Well, we did a good job. We came up with a little bit different package, so we just got to keep moving things around. We got to protect T.J. (Yates), and the timing of the routes I think was the one thing that kind of disrupted our routes a little bit. We got to keep them off the quarterback and keep moving around. It'll help to have, like we said, Andre (Johnson) out there. That'll put another bit of pressure on them. Just keep giving the guys the ball and keep them off balance as much as we can."
(on his comfort level with QB T.J. Yates and their relationship) "Well, I think the three of – between (Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) and (quarterbacks coach Greg) Knapp and I, we kind of mull it over during the week and with T.J.'s input. I think he's pretty comfortable doing almost everything we put in. Him on Saturday nights is tremendous to listen to him go through the reads and each of the formations where everybody is, what he needs to be aware of. He learned from the two Matt's (Schaub and Leinart) before that because just watching them study, he put in the same amount of work. I think T.J.'s kind of progressing himself into dealing with more of a little bit of everything. I think he's expanded in his mind and what he wants to work with or what he can work with, so I don't think there's really any drawback. I know Knapp has really worked very hard in and out of the classroom with him, and so I think we're getting everything we need done out of him. We just got to make the plays."
(on how much more relaxed he is calling plays for QB T.J. Yates) "I don't know that you're ever relaxed when we're calling those things. Each one's a crapshoot. Obviously, it's educated guess on everything we're trying to do. See what looks good and what doesn't and keep working on them."
(on concern over the experienced Baltimore defense) "Well, certainly with 20 (FS Ed Reed) in the back end, he's as good as you get as far as diagnosing what you're trying to do. We're going to try and pretty much stay on our side of the ball, do what we do best, try not to read too much into the defense, take what we get, try and find creases whether it be run or pass, do what we can to keep moving, and do our part to get a team win."
(on how RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate have complemented each other) "Well, I think the biggest complement that they have for each other is each one comes in there fresh and wanting to almost outdo the other one. They get great bursts through the hole. When you get a guy rested for a little bit and they see the other guy do well, it's been great to have a pair of them to keep bursting through. When Derrick (Ward) gets in there, shoot, he's a different guy altogether. He's a bigger load. I think they just take whatever they do. They both read it just a little bit different. They both have different styles of how they get through the line, but they've been productive, so we just keep working the two of them. Hopefully we can keep getting some yards."
(on how RB Arian Foster is a quick learner) "Well, to say Arian's a quick study is a little bit of an understatement. The guy's very, very bright. He understands what was wrong and what was not wrong. He'd do that after the game watching the film. I think Arian had a great game last week. There is no doubt, and he's progressing, and he looked great out there today, so we don't have any doubt that he'll give us everything he's got. I think we'll be…we'll do everything we can."
(on how critical the performance of the offensive line will be as Baltimore led the AFC in sacks) "Well, obviously, they're a formidable group, and it's not that they do a lot of pressure-wise. They can do that. They have that in their package, but each one of them individually can put pressure on you. In the noise, they get you on the snap count, so I think that's part of the critical part. We have to handle our snap count. We have to deal with that and get in front of them and then have a sense of urgency delivering the ball with T.J. (Yates)."
(on how big a factor QB T.J. Yates' mobility will be due to the pressure Baltimore's defense brings) "Well, you never know. Hopefully not much if we're doing the job up front, but certainly at some point in time, you're going to have to move a little bit. T.J.'s a good athlete. He's proven that he can move around and can get out of trouble and get out of harm's way. Hopefully we won't have him doing it too much."
(on what RB Arian Foster does that makes him a good fit for his coaching scheme) "I think he understands what's in front of him. He reads the blocks pretty well, and then he has a good burst downhill, and that's basically what we always try to study for guys that once they made the decision, they didn't hesitate at all. They went down. Ben (Tate) has a burst also, so I think the two of them, they find that hole, and they see what's in front of them, make a quick read, and try to run through the arms or run through guys because there are a bunch of right Ls trying to catch them, so they go downhill, then keeps them out of harm's way."
(on comparisons of RB Arian Foster to RB Terrell Davis) "Well, I think each one is a little bit different. Obviously, they've both been very, very productive in what they do. Both…I mean, you can go attributes: they're good without the ball, they're good catching the ball. There's a lot of similarities, but they're just a little bit different. Arian's a little bit bigger. T.D. was…anytime you gain 2,000 yards, that's pretty special."
(on if he's been around many guys who have approached the game the way RB Arian Foster does) "Yeah, most of the good ones do. He's very serious in the meetings. He studies. He listens. He absorbs everything. From the minute we walked in here or I walked in here last spring, just watching him in meetings, he was like a sponge. Anything you wanted to tell him about, what you wanted to do, he was picking it up, and most of the good ones are like that. They want to know. They want to understand what you're trying to get done, and he does that, and it's not just running the ball. It's his routes, his protection. He does a good job studying."
T Duane Brown
(on the Raven's defense) "Great defense and been good for a long time. Lot of individual great players, but also play well as a unit. Facing them on the road is a very tall order, very big challenge for us, but we're up for it. It's the playoffs and nothing is going to come easy."
(on the toughest thing about blocking OLB Terrell Suggs) "He's very athletic. If you try to focus on his athleticism so much you forget about his power and he can use that on you. You just have to stay patient with him and just stay true to your technique. If you try to get too aggressive he can make you miss. If you try to get too light on your feet he can push you back. So, it's a big challenge for me but I'm up for it."
(on the biggest challenge playing on the road in the atmosphere in Baltimore) "The crowd really gets behind them. We played them in the regular season and I'm sure it's going to be multiplied times 10, 20 now that it's the playoffs. We just have to stay poised, communicate as much as possible and be on the same page up front. And just stay on track and stay ahead of the chains. Once you get into those third and long situations that's when they can pin their ears back and really try to get after you."
(on if it helps that he has faced OLB Terrell Suggs before) "It helps me a lot. This will be my third time going against him in my career. I'm up for it and I know what to expect. It's not going to be easy. Just because you know what he's going to do you still have to go out there and execute. I'm ready for it."
(on getting a chance to face the Ravens again) "It's good. Looking at the film from last time, we did some good things against them. We moved the ball well, we just couldn't finish on our drives. That's encouraging watching the film and knowing that we were one of the only teams to really go out there and move the ball the way we did on them. I think we're a better team now then we were then. Just about, like I said, staying strong and playing for a full four quarters. With this kind of team you have to get stronger as the game goes on because they are ready to play for the full 60 minutes. Knowing that we did some good things the first game we can use some of that going into this week."
(on RB Arian Foster and how he gets better as the game goes on) "Just a strong back, very special player. Once he puts his foot on the gas, he never lets up and if he finds any kind of weakness in a defense he exploits it. He does a great job of trusting us up front, trusting his reads, trusting where the team is going to be and he gets to the second level it's really hard to tackle him."
(on the Ravens having many sacks and the importance of protection) "Extremely important. I think the stat is like 48 sacks, and 35 at home or something like that. We know what kind of challenge it's going to be trying to protect T.J. (Yates). It's been a big point of emphasis for us for the last few weeks, definitely against this group more than ever. They try to get pressure on you, and if they don't get there they try to get up a bad throw and create a turnover. We have a good game plan for their blitz package and we're up for it."
(on what makes them so good at bringing pressure) "Once again, they have some great individual pass rushers with (Terrell) Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Ray Lewis blitzing from the middle. But they are very disciplined as well, I take that back, they're not really disciplined in their gap responsibilities because they don't really have a certain gap that they try to rush like most teams. When you're expecting them to be somewhere. they go somewhere else and kind of throw you off balance. So, you know, you just have to make them pay when they do decide to blitz and if you pick them up you can get some big plays down the field."
(on if they are as familiar with the Ravens like they are with division opponents) "Yeah, we're very familiar with them and we have had some pretty good games against them. Playing them last year on that Monday night game, that was one of the greatest games I have ever been a part of and this year we are ahead in the third quarter until the fourth quarter when they kind of pulled away from us. So we have a pretty good idea of what they want to do, pretty good idea of their personnel and what it takes to be successful against them. But like I said, you still have to go out there and do it."
(on the playoffs and the level intensifying) "Before last weekend all the older guys were telling me there are three speeds to a season: preseason, regular season and postseason. We got a taste of that last week. The intensity is definitely turned up and it means that much more knowing that if you lose, you're done. And being that we won the first round, going out and having to do it on the road, the same kind of energy and enthusiasm that we have with the crowd behind us, they're going to have that with them. So, we have to match that and even outdo it more because we are kind of the underdogs being on the road. It's definitely a faster pace, definitely more intensity, more physical, but it's fun though."
(on still being one of eight teams playing and if they talk about how special it is) "Oh yeah, this is my first time still working this time of the year. We realize what kind of position we're in and how great it is and we're definitely not taking it for granted by any means. We are cherishing every day that we get to come to work and playing our tails off to be here again next week."
(on the underdog talk and if the team is relishing that) "It is what it is. We are used to it by now, but we have a quiet confidence about us. We know what we can do. We really took this team to the limit the last couple times we played them. We know we're the underdogs. Everyone is going to expect them to stop us from running the ball or put up X amount of yards with their offense. So, we are used to the talks but we have to go out there and play our game."
(on the comments by ILB Ray Lewis about the chemistry on the offensive line) "Chemistry is everything and we've all been together with the exception of Wade (Smith) who just got here last year. This is definitely by far the best we have played as a group. I think this is the most physical we have been since I've been here. Putting the offense on our back and knowing that once we run the ball well we can do anything after that. In our scheme chemistry is everything, communication is everything, just knowing what the guy beside you is going to be doing. We have really gelled a lot in the past couple of years and it has paid off for us."
(on QB T.J. Yates and his demeanor and how he has matured in the last several games) "He has really come along. Like I said, his demeanor was everything from the first time he got in there. As a player, you could see him evolve more, not just passing the ball, but checking us into the right runs, facing certain defensive looks, things like that and making big plays on third downs. Making the big play when we needed it to Andre (Johnson) last week. For his first playoff game you can't ask for anything more from a rookie quarterback. This is going to be a big challenge for him as well this week, but it's up to us up front, it's up to our backs, it's up to our defense, everyone, to make his job that much easier."
(on the 'next man up' mentality from the season and if that makes them stronger in the playoffs) "Yeah. Story of our season, having key players go down, people just getting significant injuries, but the philosophy that coach (Gary) Kubiak has taught us is for everyone to be accountable, even the guys that are not starting, to prepare like you are, has really helped us out. You have guys come in and we haven't missed a beat. It has definitely made us stronger, all the trials we had to face throughout the season has made us that much stronger and made us the team that we are."
(on WR Andre Johnson being in the game and the comfort it gives the team) "He's one of the greatest guys doing it, if not the greatest and I think just his presence out there alone makes the defense change up a little bit what they want to do. You have to respect his ability, respect him being out there. And the fact that he is starting to get healthy and get back into his groove definitely makes him more confident. You saw what he did last week. He's there to make the big plays for us and we're looking for him to do it again this week."
(on WR Andre Johnson being on the field and if it changes the alignment for defenses) "Yeah, you can't really stack eight or nine in the box. They have some pretty good DBs, but I don't think they want to stick too many people out there one-on-one with him in certain situations."
RB Arian Foster
(on if he thinks he will be facing a similar team as they did earlier in the year)"No, I think that it's a different team than we faced and we're a different team and I think every team has a different identity from the beginning of the season to the end. You know, we played them mid-season but I think that we're both different teams now. We've both grown and that's what I see."
(on ILB Ray Lewis speaking highly of him as a football player and what that means to him) "That's like more than any accolade you can get from you know, the media or anything, because that's like, as a man who's played in this League, who's respected by everybody who plays this game and who's ever played this game and so for him to say that it just, I don't know. It's kind of like, vindicating for everything that I've worked for just to be respected by your peers and not only your peers, but one of the greatest defensive players to ever play the game."
(on ILB Ray Lewis walking up to him last season and telling him he loved the way he plays) "I remember he did that last year. We played them at home and he kind of just walked up to me, grabbed me, and said that. It was in the second quarter and I was kind of just like, 'You know, that's Ray Lewis' because I was still, you know, it was still my first year playing in the NFL and I was having a little success, but you know he didn't have to do that but he did it and it was kind of surreal. The whole game I was kind of just like, 'Ray Lewis just said…'"
(on ILB Ray Lewis and his relationship) "I mean yeah we both have a job to do, but I think we both respect each other's game. We both admire each other as people and what we try to do off the field and how we handle ourselves off the field and I think it really stemmed during the offseason. We met up during a couple of occasions here and there and we just bonded. We clicked. You know we sat outside, at the ESPY's, it was at nighttime and you know after everything we kind of just bonded. Just sat outside relaxing and just chopped it up for a good, you know good couple hours and it's just, those kind of moments are just priceless to me, because he's just a great human spirit and anytime that you can be around people like that that inspire you, that's what life's about is being inspired."
(on ILB Ray Lewis saying it's remarkable that he's here considering his story and what that means coming from him) "Well it just kind of reiterates what I said is just the fact that he just respects what I've been through and he respects my game and he respects my work ethic. He respects what I stand for as a person and I think that that kind of thing, the mutual respect transcends our sport and what we do for the game."
(on if they've communicated recently and what that was like) "Yeah, we did. I texted him I think yesterday."
(on if he can share what they talked about) "Nah man. I can't give you all that stuff. "
(on what kind of a building block the first playoff game was for him) "Well I don't think I was jittery. I think I was just excited. You know, I just had a lot of pent up emotion and energy and I think I'm still not sold on the whole playoff experience thing. Just for the mere fact that I think after the first series it gets back to being football, you know everybody's really amped up, everybody's really excited, but after awhile it's football again. You know, you don't forget it's a playoff game, but you forget the circumstances, you forget a lot of the hype that went into the game and you just start playing football again. It goes back to blocking, attacking, and doing your assignments."
(on how special it is to be one of eight teams playing still) "It's super special. I mean this organization's never done it before and to be part of it is a special thing. To be a stepping-stone for the future of this organization, the future of this city it's just a special thing to be a part of it. You know, they built it from ground up here and personally I don't take it for granted and I know this team doesn't either. You know, we enjoy practicing. We go out and today we had a great practice, great tempo, guys are flying around, guys are excited and it's just, when you get to play this game at this high level with this much on the line, it's just fun."
(on the uniqueness of the challenge of facing a defense like the Ravens) "I think they're physical, they're talented, they have multiple Hall of Famers on their defense and I think on top of all that, if they just lined up normal and played you, they'd be one of the best defenses in the NFL, but they try to confuse you with their looks. So, they're great football players, they're smart football players and they're physical football players and they're talented football players so that's why people have such a tough time with this defense is they have all these traits combined."
(on how Baltimore's defense held him to 41 yards in the regular season game) "Well, I think it was a combination of all those things, and also, I don't think that we did the best job that we could. I think anytime that we get stopped as an offense is, for the most part, our mistakes. I believe that."
(on if it felt different having WR Andre Johnson back on the field at full strength for the first time in a long time) "Absolutely. I think just his presence in the huddle on the field, it makes an extreme difference. They have to respect him, and if they don't, he goes and does what he does best, and just seeing him in the huddle, I think it just gives you that extra bit of confidence. He's just one of the greatest players to play this game."
(on if WR Andre Johnson's presence will change things this week in comparison to the first game against Baltimore in the regular season) "Oh, I know it will change things. Yeah, absolutely."
(on changes he's seen in QB T.J. Yates as the week progress) "What changes have I seen in T.J.? I think he's remained pretty even-keeled for the most part. He doesn't seem to be worried about making mistakes. He's very poised. He's calm. He doesn't seem to get rattled. He does his job very well, and I think that as long as he does that, we'll be fine. I think as long as everybody does that, we'll be fine. If each man worries about his own position and his own responsibilities, we'll be fine."
(on paying attention to what the media says about the team) "Nah, I don't. The game ain't played in the cameras and on paper. It's played on grass, so it doesn't really matter."
(on the team's preparedness for the crowd noise) "It's just football. I really don't hear the crowd sometimes when I'm out there. I know a lot of guys feel the same way. After a while, there are just situations where the crowd gets kind of loud, but for the most part, you don't really hear the crowd. It's kind of just, you're just used to it. We've been playing football for years, so it's kind of just, you kind of just block it out."
(on how to block out the crowd noise at the line of scrimmage) "I don't ever really hear the quarterback anyway. Except in practice."
(on balancing keeping things light and playing professional football) "Well, I think there's a difference between being worry-free and being goal-oriented, so like I enjoy setting goals for myself and challenging myself as a human, but as far as things you can't control like the weather, there's no reason getting mad because it's raining because it's going to rain. You can use that literally or metaphorically. There's nothing you can do about things that you can't control, so there's no reason to worry about it. Don't worry; be happy."
(on his thoughts about playing against former teammate FB Vonta Leach) "We did it this year already, but Vonta's still one of my good friends in the NFL. He's one of the first guys to take to me in the League and take me under his wing, kind of show me the ropes of this League, and I'm forever indebted to him for that. It's always a fun rivalry. It's going to be, and I wish him success except when he plays us."
(on the impact of Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "Kub taught me how to be a professional. When I first came into the NFL, I was young. You think you know a lot, but you really don't. I think he was the first one to kind of show me what it means to be a professional, how to take your game to the next level, how to practice, doing little things off the field that garnishes your teammates' respect, things like that that you don't really look at, just the whole package of being a professional athlete, and I think that he pushes me. He has high expectations for me, and I want to meet those expectations because he's been in this League for a long time. He's seen great running backs. He's seen great players. He's seen great coaches. He's been around great things in this League, and the fact that he has high expectations for me, it means something to me, so I don't want to disappoint him because I think he's a great coach. I've said that since I got here. Anytime you have somebody that kind of goes to bat for you in that sense and says those things about you, you want to show up for them."
(on if his relatively poor performance in the regular season game against Baltimore will motivate him for this week's game) "Well, I think I took it from that game on, and I don't think it had anything to do with, like I didn't say, 'The Ravens will never stop me again.' I heard that a couple of times. That's not what I meant by that. I meant I did some things in the game that weren't very good, and I vowed to fix those things. I'm always a work in progress, so I think just the strive for perfection always motivates me."
WR Andre Johnson
(on if he's completely back from injury) "I feel like, at times, that I've gained some explosiveness back—at times, I don't. I think it's just going to come back over time, but like I said after the game, I haven't been feeling anything as far as my hamstring so that's a good thing. Hopefully everything can keep going the way it's going."
(on the chemistry between him and QB T.J. Yates) "T.J. was the guy who was throwing me the ball during the time I was injured. When I was out running routes and stuff like that, he was the guy I had to throw the ball to me. I don't know. Maybe it was something that worked out. I didn't know that I was going to be playing with him this season, but it has worked out that way. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, I don't know."
(on establishing himself downfield as a deep play threat) "You definitely want to show that you can throw the ball down the field. Typically, when you don't throw the ball down the field, the DB's tend to sit on your routes and things like that. I think that's something you definitely want to show teams, that you can throw the ball downfield."
(on being healthy for the right time of the year playing in the postseason) "Yeah, I'm definitely happy about that. When I look back on it, of course I would've liked to play this season, but I'm happy that I'm healthy now. I have no regrets about what happened as far as the injuries or anything like that. I'm in a great situation. We have a great opportunity as a team. It's a big platform, you know? Everybody's watching and you get a chance to go out and show what type of team you are. You get to show people what type of player you are. I'm very, very thankful that I'm healthy now and I can go out and show people what type of player I am."
(on if he feels like he's measuring himself against the best when he plays the Ravens) "Since I was a little kid, when their organization first started, that was one thing you knew about them. They had a great defense. When you talk about their defense, they probably have arguably the two best players at the linebacker position and safety position to ever play the game. When you look at them on film, the way they fly around to the ball, when you speak of the Ravens the only thing you think about is defense. It's definitely going to be a challenge for us. We're willing to step up to that challenge. In order for us to get to where we want to go, we have to go out and win this game on Sunday."
(on if he enjoys the challenge of playing the best) "In order to be the best, you've got to beat the best. Like I said, it's going to be a big challenge for us. We know it's not going to be easy, but we're looking forward to the challenge."
(on RB Arian Foster saying this game will be different than the last time they played the Ravens) "I don't think games are the same. To play a team twice is tough. You definitely have to go out with great focus and go out and execute your game plan. Yeah, I think the game is going to be different. It's a different opportunity. It's a different game; it's not a regular season game. It's a playoff game. Now we know that if we don't go out and get the job done then we have to pack our bags and go home. That's not something we want to do. We're not planning on packing."
(on what OLB Mario Williams and QB Matt Schaub must be going through not being able to contribute on the field) "I know they hurt. I talk to Matt a lot and he wants to be out there so bad. That's the thing, I feel bad, myself, to see him out there sitting and watching. Before the game, I went out and I told him, 'Man, I love you,' because I can understand what he's going through even though, now, I'm playing. It's tough watching. That's the thing you don't want to do when you're sitting there and you know your team has something at stake and you could be out there making a difference on the field. Even after I scored the touchdown, I went over and gave him a hug. You try and do everything you can to try and keep their spirits up."
(on RB Arian Foster bowing to him after he scored his touchdown and the personality of Foster) "Arian is a great player. I'm glad he's on my team. Some people say he's different, he's a cocky guy, but I don't think he's cocky in a bad way. I think he has a chip on his shoulder because he wants to show people that he's a great player. I think he's doing that. I think some people would take that the wrong way, but he loves the game of football and he wants to be the best at what he does. If that's the way he goes about his business, then I'm all for it. It's not a distraction to our team because we all know deep down inside what kind of guy Arian is. Like I said, I'm glad he's on my team."
(on Foster's quirks and personality) "Oh definitely. When he did that (bowing to him after the touchdown) to me during the game, I was just like, 'Man, get out of my face.' He's always bothering me for some reason. He's texted me pictures of him feeding ducks and all kinds of stuff. You get a text message from your teammate and you're thinking it's something important, something they have to say and it's a picture of him feeding ducks. I don't know what that was all about but he does stuff like that. It keeps you laughing."
(on how you answer a text message of him feeding ducks) "I just don't respond (laughs)."
(on the experts picking the Ravens because of QB T.J. Yates being inexperienced) "Who did they pick last week? It really doesn't matter. Each day, you've got to go out and play the game. Like I told y'all before, T.J. has a lot of confidence. He has a lot of confidence in what he can do. The kid doesn't get rattled. He just goes out and plays the game. If he is rattled, he does a great job of hiding it. We definitely don't see it as his teammates when we're out there in the huddle with him. We have a lot of confidence in him and he has a lot of confidence in us. We don't care about being the underdog. I've been the underdog for nine seasons. It really doesn't matter."
(on what's the most important thing they'll have to do offensively to combat the Ravens defense) "You've got to be willing to be physical. You have got to be willing to go in there and fight until the clock says '0:00'. That's what kind of team they are. They are a very physical football team. You have to be willing to go in there and do whatever it takes to come out with this victory. We all know that and we know that we are going to have to give it everything we've got. At the same time, we can't lose focus executing our offense and doing the right things when we're out there on the field and not having the mistakes, jumping offsides and things like that. I'm pretty sure it'll be loud there. Their fans will try and pay a part with it with the loud noise and stuff like that. We just have to stay focused one play at a time and just take it that way."
(on if there is any message he has passed on to his team about this game) "No, I haven't said anything. I don't sit and plan speeches or anything like that. If I have something to say, I'll just come out and say it. If it's something that on my heart or on my mind or something I've been thinking about since the night before, that's when I speak to my team. Other than that, I'm not going to sit down and plan a ra-ra speech or anything like that."
(on if he thinks back to old practices at Miami when he sees S Ed Reed out on the field) "Definitely. Reed is a good friend of mine, great friend of mine. Sometimes I hate playing against him because he cracks jokes and stuff like that when he's out on the field. Like I said before, he's arguably one of the best players to ever play the safety position. You have to know where he's at on the field at all times because he is definitely a guy that can pick one off and take it the distance and change the momentum of the game. You definitely have to know where he is at all times."
(on S Ed Reed's idea of a joke) "I don't know man. There ain't no telling what Reed says. He's just messing with me because he knows I don't talk very much. He'll just say something to me to try and get me to respond to him or something. Normally, when I play, I don't really speak to anybody when I'm playing. He'll just say my name in a funny way or something. We had two guys we went to school with and every time they called my name, they had these squeaky little voices. Ed Reed, every time he calls, he always mocks those guys when he calls my name. He'll call my name a few times on Sunday. It's all business. We both are out there trying to help our team win."
(on ILB Ray Lewis saying that the Texans are a bunch of good men and that leads to having a great team) "It means a lot. Just knowing what type of guy he is, having a chance to, being at the Pro Bowl over the years, and sitting down to getting a chance to sit down and pick his brain and stuff like that. He's told me before that, just sitting down talking to him, that we were heading the right direction and not to get discouraged and keep working and things will work out. That's great to hear that, coming from him. I'm pretty sure he's not going to be thinking about that on Sunday. We're just going to go out and like I said, try and come out with a victory."
CB Brice McCain
(on the Ravens' tight ends and the rest of the offense) "Yeah, they've got two good tight ends, really. They've got two pretty good tight ends, got a good running back they use a lot in the pass game. They got explosive receivers. (Anquan) Boldin, he's still explosive. They got a lot of weapons on offense."
(on the Ravens' offense being similar to the Texans' offense) "Yeah, always Ray Rice, it starts with Ray Rice. He comes with the back to make plays, he runs the ball, makes plays and then they open it up for the pass game."
OLB Brooks Reed
(on looking at the Ravens as a defense he want to be) "Yeah, just to be able to play with those guys on the same field is pretty cool."
(on how much he pays attention to guys like LB Jarret Johnson and OLB Terrell Suggs) "Well, playing other teams, we see film on them all the time and I have a lot of respect for those guys. Those guys play very hard."
(on his memories of his first start against Baltimore) "I remember lining up and seeing (Bryant) McKinnie being like 6-10 or whatever tall he is. I was like 'Wow, the guy's a lot bigger now than in college.'"
(on how far the defense has come since the first game against Baltimore) "Yeah, we were just trying to find our identity. I think we have a lot of guys that like to play for each other and they're willing to put it on the line."
G Wade Smith
(on if Baltimore has the standard for defenses across the League) "I don't know about that. I know they have a really good defense. I know they have some Hall of Famers on their roster and we're going to have our work cut out for us."
(on playing a good defense being a good motivator) "Yeah, that, and if we don't, we'll be done for the year and I think that's the biggest thing. We don't want this to end. We're enjoying the ride and so we're going to do what we can to keep it going."
FB Lawrence Vickers
(on OLB Terrell Suggs saying the Texans are a physical team) "That is a compliment. That just goes with some of the things the coaches are telling us to do and some of the things we're going out there doing. We want to be known as a physical offense, at the same time, still be able to be finesse at the same time, you know, more balance. So, I would say that's a compliment. I would take it as a compliment."
(on how much better the Texans are now compared to the last game against Baltimore) "I think some of the lessons that we learned after that game, we had some up times and we had some down times after that game. I just think the lessons we learned from winning and what we need to do to win and some of the things we were doing wrong that make us lose, I think that's some of the things that we learned. But as far as that, we just want to play physical football, like I said before, and just keep going. We want to keep going, keep this thing going."
(on if he looks forward to playing one of the most physical teams in the NFL) "Absolutely, absolutely. I think if you want to call yourself one of the best people in the game at doing something, if you want to call yourself even in an elite class of guys, you got to go against the best. Baltimore's been the best for numbers of years that I can remember. Even when I was back in Cleveland, I could remember them being the best, not just right now, but even at right now, they're still good. Yeah, I'm up for the challenge. Our offense is up for the challenge, O-line, D, tight ends, wide receivers, everybody. We're up for the challenge. We know it's going to be a tough, physical game in the element, in the elements, not at home. It's a big challenge for us, but we're up for it."
QB T.J. Yates
(on playing his second playoff game) "Definitely feel more comfortable. You know, definitely there were some nerves at the beginning of that first game, just with how big the game was and all the energy in the stadium. Definitely had to deal with some butterflies so going into this next game I should be good to go at kickoff and I'm excited about going up to Baltimore and it's a big challenge for us."
(on how much input he is able to give in terms of what plays he wants to run) "Yeah, Coach (Gary) Kubiak and (quarterbacks coach Greg) Knapp and (offensive coordinator Rick) Dennison are very good about getting my opinion on a lot of the playbook. You know, we go through our calls on Saturday night and then talk about what we like and what I like and you know we come to a happy medium and they're very good about implementing a lot of stuff I like into the game play."
(on how he is preparing for a defense like the Ravens) "You know it's definitely a defense where you've got to know where certain guys are at all times. You definitely have to know where (Ed) Reed is at all times, Ray Lewis, you know, (Terrell) Suggs. You know they're guys that they definitely give you problems as far as game planning wise and going into the game you've just got to watch as much film as possible, learn from what Matt (Schaub) did the last time we played up there and just try to get as ready as possible for them."
(on how helpful QB Matt Schaub has been preparing for the Ravens) "He's been huge. You know, all season long, even when he was playing, just helping me out and helping the other guys out in the quarterback room he was always quick to teach others whenever he had a situation that he learned from and especially this game, you know talking to him and what he was seeing and how the game went up there in Baltimore the first time has been very big for me."
(on if there is one particular player on the Ravens the Texans need to watch out for) "You know not really. They're all extremely experienced, have so many years under their belt and they can do so many things because of that so you kind of have to know where all the guys are and what the entire defense is doing at all times."
(on how he doesn't let going into Baltimore's game against such an experienced team affect his confidence) "You know they do so much on defense as far as volume. We've been trying to keep it on our side of the ball as far as just pay attention, obviously to what they're doing, and certain checks that we have to be aware of, but you know just kind of keep it on our side of the ball, stay into our checks and our progressions and our reads and you have to think about their defense at certain points, but try not to think about it too much, because they have such a high volume. You know it's kind of hard to predict what they're going to be doing."
(on how he can use being fresh and people underestimating him to his advantage in the playoffs) "Yeah, it's definitely been a different season for me. You know those first ten weeks I didn't even put on a jersey so I'm definitely a lot more fresh than the rest of the guys on the offense, but in this big of a game, this time of the year, you don't have to worry about that kind of stuff. Everybody's going to be up for the game and everybody's going to be ready."
(on FB Lawrence Vickers saying he knew he would do something because of how he practices and studies) "Yeah, we've been next to each other for a long time so we got to know each other pretty well. He sees a lot of the stuff I do throughout the week as far as preparing, but this coaching staff demands a lot out of the back-up quarterbacks. No matter where you are in the depth chart you're going to be quizzed and coached just the same as the starter so that has helped me tremendously throughout the year to be able to develop and get ready for this transition."
(on watching the Ravens in college and noticing their defense) "Yeah absolutely. Growing up, you see those guys playing for years. It's funny, by the time I actually go to this position that they're still there and still playing at an extremely high level so it's going to be a challenge for us, but I'm excited."
(on how confident he is going from a home crowd to an away crowd) "It's definitely a challenge. We know we're going into a hostile environment. They're going to be very loud, very disruptive. We're doing a good job at practice with the crowd noise trying to make it as hard on us as possible as we can so that we can be prepared for anything that may happen on Sunday."
(on cadences in Sunday's game) "Yeah, you definitely have to change up cadence and do stuff a little different when you're on the road to give yourself the best advantage as possible."
(on how different it has been preparing for this game as compared to the last meeting when he was third string quarterback) "Yeah, it's definitely different. I was watching from the sidelines with some gear on during the game, but I tried my best throughout the season to try to prepare every week as if I was going to play, but it's definitely a lot different when you're actually going through the reps at practice so I'm trying my best to be as prepared as possible going into it."
(on if it felt different having WR Andre Johnson in Saturday's game) "Yeah, absolutely. He changes how we roll offensively. He adds a different element to our game and it opens up other aspects of our game for the running game, because a defensive play is different when he's on the field. So you know, having him back is going to be huge for us going forward."
(on if having WR Andre Johnson as a target adds to his confidence) "Oh, absolutely. Being able to throw to that guy on a daily basis now just gives you a lot more confidence knowing that if you happen to not put it on point as much as you want, he's going to go get it no matter what, and he's one of those guys that if there's kind of a 50-50 ball, he's going to go up and get it for you, and that's very comforting."
(on QB Matt Schaub's contribution to his preparation this week specifically, since Schaub played Baltimore in the regular season) "Yeah, he played up there last time we were there, so he knows what it's like and how loud it can get. It's kind of hard to say how much he's helped because it's every day something little that can turn into something big if he hadn't had said it or suggested something. He's always helping me and helping the guys on our offense because he's been in this offense. He's been on this team for so long. He's got so much invaluable information that you can't really put a value on it because he knows so much."
(on if there was anything specific that QB Matt Schaub pointed out in the playoff game against Cincinnati that helped him) "Nothing really specific. He's always got something to help me out whether it's coming off a bad play or a bad series or coming off a good series going into the next one. He's always got something positive to say that it kind of keeps me going."
(on changes in his status in the huddle) "It's kind of always been the same. I've tried my best to be on my stuff, so in the huddle, I sound as confident as possible, so when you go in the huddle, those guys are confident in you. In turn, they have confidence going out for that play, so the dynamic hasn't really changed much. I definitely got more confident getting in there with the plays, getting in and out of the huddle, and talking to the guys before and after, so we're definitely moving forward and growing."
(on if the offense needs to take extra steps to be able to hike the ball and call audibles) "Yeah, absolutely. This is a defense that has so many years of experience under their belt. They've seen it all. They've been through it all. We know that they're going to do things to try to trick us and kind of catch us off-guard, so we have to do things to counteract that, and we've been doing different things all week long to give us the best chance against an experienced defense like that."
(on how Baltimore's defense gets their pressure) "They have an extremely good front four. Even when they drop back into coverage, they get pressure on the quarterback, so that's one of the biggest challenges is even when they don't blitz, they're still putting pressure on the quarterback."
(on how good it would be to win against Baltimore after going 0-5 all-time against them) "Yeah, there's a lot of things that this team and organization hasn't done ever, and this is just another goal that we're trying to reach. Never beat the Ravens, never won a playoff game before, we're just trying to take that next step every week."
(on how it feels to him to be a part of all these "firsts" for the organization) "It feels really special, but it's a credit to the guys that have been here for so many years and all the time before me that have put in the hard work, so when I step in, it's not as hard."
(on where he saw himself when he first got to the organization) "Coming in so late because no offseason, the one thing I wanted to do was to come in and compete, try to learn as much as I can, as fast as possible because all the guys this year kind of got a late start with no offseason, so I was trying to come in, compete as much as possible because there was a period in there where it was just two quarterbacks for the first couple days because of free agency, so I was trying to come in and show as much as I could in the limited time."
(on the value of the experience he gained from his workouts during the lockout) "Very valuable. Those guys were so helpful as soon as I came in. The first day I get there, they treated me like one of the guys and were helping me out as much as I wanted to learn, which was a lot. They were never hesitant to help me out."
(on if he feels sympathy for QB Matt Schaub for being hurt and not playing in the playoffs) "Yeah, you got to feel for him if you put yourself in his shoes. I know he wants to be out there just as much as anybody, but he's one of the guys that got us here, got this organization in the position that it is right now, so you got to give him a lot of credit."
(on if it has sunk in that he is the starter now as a rookie as opposed to six months ago) "Yeah, I haven't really had too much time to kind of sit back and let it all sink in. This run and these past couple weeks have been going so fast, I've been trying to just take it one day at a time and take it slow."
Ravens ILB Ray Lewis
(on if he has had a chance to watch ILB Brian Cushing) "Actually I haven't, I haven't at all. Of course you do watch other players play football and I just think he plays with a very, very, very high motor. It's one special thing that every linebacker, a good linebacker, has to have. And that is one thing that I appreciate about the way he plays football."
(on RB Arian Foster and if stopping the running game is the key to stopping the Texans offense) "Yeah, but I think that when you look at their offense, their offense has a lot of different players at different skill positions. It's hard to look past an Owen Daniels. It's hard to look past an Andre Johnson and things like that. I think the biggest key is their offensive line, those guys play very, very well together, and then when you put talent like an Arian Foster or a (Ben) Tate behind them, it really gives you what you get now and that's why they're having so much success."
(on what makes RB Arian Foster such a special running back) "I just think he has all of the tools. He catches out of the backfield, he reads coverages, blocks in the back field, and then one-on-one it makes him a very hard tackle, it makes him a very hard man to man to match up one-on-one. And then he's driven by a different burner inside. He was an undrafted guy with a lot of talent, so he is fueled by something different. Anytime you add that type of fuel with talent you get Arian Foster."
(on any advice he gave to ILB Brian Cushing on how to sustain his play through his career) "I think the thing with any young guy is to make sure you stay as consistent as you can. Make sure every offseason is better than your last offseason. It's nothing else, it's nothing else. His skill level and talent wise he has the ability to be whatever he wants to be. If I was to credit him with anything I would tell him to definitely study as more as you think you don't need to study. Stay in that book. Stay in that film room and keep enjoying the game, the way he does. I'm not telling him to do nothing the way he doesn't do it, but there are just a lot of small things that he can really set himself apart compared to other linebackers."
(on if ILB Brian Cushing should have been a Pro Bowl player this year) "I don't know. You get all into that, if this, and if that. It's hard to say that because I didn't watch even watch two games of their defense play. So it's kind of hard to say that this person had a Pro Bowl year or anything like that. I just think he's doing what he needs to do for his ball club and that's the most important thing."
(on what impresses him about the Texans offensive line) "I think the way the play together. You're dealing with that zone scheme and any time you're dealing with that zone scheme you're always on one string, you're always on one string; you see the way everybody is always going one way. Everybody is always picking up this or picking up that. And that is the one thing that you see when you see about their offense, you see togetherness when it comes to their unit. And I think that's what makes their run offense so successful."
(on RB Ben Tate) "You can't even really say he's a number two back, you got to say that he's a 1A and 1B, because he comes in and he gives a different kind of slash than Arian (Foster) does. Arian is a sleek cruiser, and Ben is more of a downhill, you know quick burst, really get downhill and fight for some tough yards. I just think they've got two good, good, good backs."
(on how you handle a team that has two good running backs) "It's one thing about having two weapons, it's another thing about having one football. It's not like you're tackling both of them at the same time, so you just deal with it like that. Definitely from a defense, you can only probably get one of them in the backfield, even if you get two of them in the back, only one can carry it. But it's just doing what you do, it's just doing what you do: tackling at the line of scrimmage, making those one-on-one tackles in the field, making sure they're not falling for four and five yards, making sure they don't start getting that momentum."
(on what impresses him about RB Arian Foster off the field) "I probably think it's just his humbleness. When I first met him, I met him before that, because we played them in Houston. Win, lose or draw with games, I always appreciate people's efforts. And I walked up to him and said "I love the way you play this game. You have a very, very bright future.' And then after that we hooked up and now we call each other whenever. We just talked a couple days ago. That's one of my next young ones, that whatever I can do for him I'm going to do for him. And that's the thing that I kind of got caught with, was his humility and who he is as a young man and the thing that drives him. And when you get into his story and really listen to his story, it's almost remarkable to listen to a young man go through all the things he's been through and still be here today."
(on WR Andre Johnson playing in this game and throwing out the game film from the last game when he didn't play) "I don't think you can ever throw out anything, because like I said, they're built, they won the majority of their games without Andre Johnson, so that would be slap in the face to the rest of the ball club if you were to talk about throwing away film. I think what you have to do is account for Andre. But at the same time, Andre don't run the ball, Andre don't block, other people do their dirty work inside. But Andre is one of those guys that you better find out where he is because if not he's a game breaker, he's a game changer. He's just one of those guys that you have to find out where he is on the field."
(on the tight ends) "Very, very, very, very, very talented group. I mean, very talented group. Owen Daniels, 86 (James Casey), 85 (Joel Dreessen), they do so much with them. They are so interchangeable. They line them up at so many different positions and they play them at so many different things and ask them to do so much and they just get so much from them. You know it kind of reminds me kind of how we have our tight ends here. Lot of use, and lots of running around and really getting a lot of work out of them."
(on how the Raven's defense shut down the Texans offense last time they played) "I just think we know that they're going to run the ball. We know they're very good at running the ball. And just like us, we're very good at stopping the run. And it just comes down to man-on-man and making plays and trying to create negative plays and getting them in the back field and change the math on them and do different things to really not let them sit up there and zone scheme. Zone scheme, you know you can get in trouble with a zone scheme offensively; people penetrate it and change the math on you. So that's the thing, when we get that man to man, we know it's a man to man game, it's not trickery, nobody is going to say 'oh lets draw up this, lets draw up that,' you have to beat your man in front of you. For us, that's what we tried, to slow them down and limit the yards after catch, or the yards after carry, or the yards after contact is probably the most important against a team like this."
(on the change in mindset with Texans rookie QB TJ Yates) "I don't think it changes our mindset at all, I mean seriously. You're in the division round of the playoffs, you know that they are built, they are the number two rush team in football. If you trick yourself to believe that they are going to come let that kid throw 40 or 50 times that is your fault. We know that they are going to come in here and run the ball so that is where our focus is."
(on his thoughts on QB TJ Yates) "I think he is a young talent. Like I said I haven't watched that much on him prior to this week, but I just think that he is doing all the right things that he needs to do to keep his team in a position to keep on winning. And I think that is the thing with a young rookie, limit your mistakes and play the game with the same passion, that he probably played with in college. But just make sure he doesn't come in and think he has to win the game himself."
(on GM Ozzie Newsome and the role he plays in the Ravens being in the playoffs each year) "I think he has, and don't get me wrong, I know there are a lot of other people that have hands in, but when you're talking about a person who knows personnel, a person who does the things the right way, Ozzie Newsome is that guy. He's that guy that is going to talk to you. I've been around Ozzie now for 16 years, so for me to be around Ozzie for that long I know the ins and outs of what about this person, what about that person, call this person, call that person. And that is what I think makes him such a great GM, is that he is able to have a conversation with his players and really relate to them and discuss all the things that he is trying to discuss and figure out what is best for our ball club. That's what I think makes him so good."
(on his playoff experience and his respect for WR Andre Johnson finally reaching the post season) "I'm probably the biggest fan of most of these guys than anybody. Anytime I see these guys have success it's just overwhelming to me because I love to see them go out and let their talents go farther and farther, and let them feel how it feels to be back in the playoffs year after year, and contend for a Super Bowl. That's what I'm trying to tell my team the same thing. But when you see these young kids, like Arian (Foster) or Andre and all these kids, you're like 'man, there is another step, there is another level. Your offseason has to be different and all these different things.' So I just really try to just help them out to savor the moments, to never go past the moments too soon. Savor the moments and enjoy the steps that you're making."
(on if he thinks the Texans are set up to have long-term success) "Yeah, I definitely think so. And you always have to be careful with that, because years down the road you're going to start getting into these contract disputes, one or two of the tight ends might leave, one offensive lineman might leave and somebody else might leave. That's the thing, that you try to keep a team. Back in the day the teams used to stay together way more. But now, with free agency and things, guys go in and go out. And that's the thing about an NFL team, one NFL team one year will never be the same NFL team the next year. And that's the only way your success is actually kept up with, is how long can you be consistent enough to keep a core group of men around? And they have a good core now, and it's up to them and they're front office on how well they keep that core together."
(on what has been the key for the Ravens with their sustained success) "I just think it's a combination of a lot of things. Like you said, we spoke about Ozzie and the different people that he brought in, but then it's a certain mentality and a certain level of leaders that we have always had around here. That once they bring them in, we do the rest. Coaches don't have to coach all the time. Coaches can come and enjoy being a part of a team that is ran pretty much by leaders who have been in the League and been to Pro Bowls and won championships and all these different things. That's the model, that when you see young kids come in they get it, they get it. They say 'ok, this is what I want to do and this is how I want to be a professional.' And that's why I think we have been so successful."
(on if he sees that building success and model in Houston) "Oh yeah, absolutely. Piece by piece, piece by piece they have been piecing it, piecing it, piecing it, piecing it, and now I think they are at that place. You lose a Mario Williams that you can't replace, but they have been putting those pieces together and now I think they are at that place to where they are comfortable enough to say now we can compete."
(on being undefeated at home and the edge they have) "I think not just us, but if you look around the whole wildcard weekend and period, its hard going on the road, we know that, we know that better than anybody. We are a very tough team playing at home and everything is going to be definitely in our favor, but that doesn't win the game for you. Now what wins the game for you is you going out and doing what you're supposed to do as a ball club and we're definitely focused and ready to do that."
(on the impact of FB Vonta Leach and S Bernard Pollard and their excitement to face their former team) "True professionals, true professionals both of them. I just told Bernard today, I love the way you approach practice. I love the way he approaches detail and just the game. True, true professionals. I'm talking about diamonds in the rough. Where one team doesn't appreciate them, another team will. And trust me, we appreciate both of those guys because having them here has been a big difference in what we've been able to do."
(on RB Ray Rice and what he means to the team) "I think everything. From day one, watching that young kid, he gets better and better every year. He's a mismatch no matter who you're lining him up against. He's just that type of guy. He's one of those spark plugs that, if you don't slow Ray Rice down you're going to have a long day because he's just that person."
(on what he makes of Mike Preston's column questioning him and Ed Reed and if they still have it) "Do you know how long I have listened to people say what I can't do? You don't get into it, you don't get into it. I don't disrespect anybody. I don't disrespect anybody's craft. But you're talking about somebody who has never played on this level. How can you ever? You can't, you can't. It's impossible to get into that type of jibber, jabber. And then, the saddest thing is that, you're making a comment and you make comments like that, but this is the same team that won the Super Bowl. This is the same team that we're back in the playoffs. This is the same team that we are sitting here with the number three defense in football. This is the same team with the same players. So when you speak like that you have to be very careful. I always tell people; even a fool is kind of wise until he opens his mouth. Make sure your facts are in place before you speak like that. But like I said, you hear so many people trying to speak about what they think they know and they don't have a clue, they really don't have a clue. So, I don't even get into it. I will never get into it. Whatever he wants to say, hey, it's a free world, it's just a thing. It doesn't stop what we're doing around here and it definitely doesn't stop what I have done or what Ed has done in his career. It won't stop any of that. Nobody else has done none of our work for us, we have done our own work and our resume speaks for itself."
(on if he is amazed by the adversity the Texans have overcome to be where they are now) "Yeah, I think you have to look at the cast, look at the cast of people. You have a lot of great personalities over there. And because of Pro Bowls I have got a chance to share time with a lot of those guys, DeMeco Ryans and a lot of those guys. You really appreciate those guys, who they are, as men. Anytime you find good men, then nine times out of ten you can find a good team. And that is what I think Houston has accumulated, a bunch of good men."
(on lots of ex-Miami Hurricanes playing in the game and any back and forth with those guys) "There are a lot of Hurricanes playing every week."
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh
(on what's different about the Texans running attack since the first time they met) "Same system, same scheme, same running backs, pretty much the same offensive line so, it's pretty much the same running attack."
(on what's different this game from the last time the Ravens and Texans met) "Well, it's 12 games later. Andre Johnson will be playing this time. Both teams have evolved between then and now, you know, both teams have improved, probably expanded some of the things they're able to do."
(on how much the Texans defense has improved since their first meeting) "I don't know. It was pretty good back then so, you know, they've been remarkably steady and consistent all year. They've been ranked in the top tier statistically all year, you know, they haven't wavered from that. So, obviously, I'm sure they're more and more comfortable with the system and everything and they're playing at a really high level."
(on if he is impressed with how the Texans have played considering the injuries this season) "I think everybody feels for them for the most part. I think they've done a great job with it and you know, that's a measuring stick in the National Football League. You know, from one year to the next you have various amounts of injuries and stuff and obviously they've done a great job with it."
(on if he is impressed with Head Coach Gary Kubiak being able to make a playoff run despite injuries) "Yeah, I'm impressed with them as a football team. I think they earned their division title and you know, they're very deserving of where they're at right now."
(on saying earlier in the season that they were trying to mimic the Texans zone scheme and the progress he feels his team has made with that) "Well, yeah, I think we've had some success running it, you know and we've had games where we haven't run it well so, I'd say we're continuing to be a work in progress. We try to improve every week and that's where we're at."
(on how important FB Vonta Leach has been for the team's running game) "He's been really important, you know, he's done a great job. Obviously you guys know him really well, you know exactly what he is and how he plays and that's become kind of a staple of what we're doing here. We're basically built around him in a lot of ways in the run game."
(on looking at the success the Ravens have had at home and how important that is going into the weekend) "Well, you know, it's important no doubt, but I think the bye week was important, it was valuable for us, it was a goal for us to accomplish that this year you know, it was something we were able to do. Over the last three years we've been pretty consistent. We've played at a high level consistently for three years and we've made the playoffs but we haven't been able to get past that first round game on the road so, you know, that's a good thing, but how much does it mean if you look at the numbers. Statistically if you look at the last five, six, seven years, it's pretty much even as far as winning at home and on the road in the early rounds of the playoffs so, it's really whoever plays the best on Sunday that will win the game."
(on how important the Ravens bye week was) "Yeah, we were pretty banged up there the last couple of weeks coming in to even the last two, three, four games, so it helped us to get a chance to get some guys healthy and of course Anquan's (Boldin) one of them."
(on the Texans and if coaches viewed them as a team that would develop in a matter of time) "Well, it's not like we were really watching that close to be honest with you. I mean, you watch them like you do all the teams throughout the League, but I would say that we've played them. You know, so we've played them in '08, we've played them in '10, we played them again in '11, so I think that's how we've watched them in terms of playing them and we thought they were very formidable every time we played them, you know, very talented, very well coached and it's been a tough road every time you play them. So, since '08, since we've been here as a staff, we've always respected them and we've always thought they were very good."
(on if it feels like the Texans have become a division opponent) "Yeah, yeah. Having played them twice this year and once last year at the end, it seems like…and like you say, we got to go back down there again next year…seems like we're down there a lot. We have a lot of respect for them, and we know it's always really hard-fought type of a game."
(on the key to limiting RB Arian Foster in the regular season game against Houston) "I think we just played good run defense, and we were fortunate that he didn't break out and get one on us. I mean he's so capable of doing that, so that's pretty much it."
(on his thoughts about QB T.J. Yates' poise and demeanor) "Yeah, I think that's a big part of it. You can see he doesn't look like he gets rattled or anything like that. I think they've done a great job coaching him. Coach Kubiak's a quarterback coach and has great understanding of that part of it, so you can see that's really reflected in development of all their quarterbacks. They all play in kind of a similar way. I'm sure he's learned a lot from Matt (Schaub), so he's carried that very well."
(on if he was surprised that Houston did not receive more Pro Bowl selections) "Yeah, I haven't really thought about that. It's not something we've really dwelled on too much."
(on how well Baltimore's offensive tackles will perform against Houston pass rush) "Well, I'm hoping they'll fare well. We're planning on faring well, but that's easier said than done. They got great edge pass rushers, some of the best in the League obviously, young guys. We liked both of those guys in the draft, and then Antonio Smith inside there is about as good of a pass rusher as you're going to find in the core. That with the pressure scheme that they put together causes a lot of problems."
(on his thought about DE J.J. Watt) "We loved him in the draft, and I think he's as advertised. He batted a bunch of balls down I know in college, and he was doing it again this year. Then he just decided to go ahead and quit batting them down, just catch them. I've never seen a play like that before. I always wondered why guys couldn't catch those, but now he showed us that it can be done. It's a great play. I think he's playing great. I think he's gotten better every week, and I'm very impressed with him."
(on if he's surprised about the chemistry between OLBs Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed on the run) "Not really. With both guys, that's what they did well in college, and they were both we thought guys who we thought were risers in college. We thought they were going to get better at this level when we looked at them in the draft, thought they were really good picks by (General Manager) Rick Smith, and no, not surprised at all."
(on handling winning and success as a coach in the postseason) "I wish there was a most important thing. I think my brother said there's probably 26 keys, and I think he kind of just threw out I think an offhand number, but there's just a whole variety of factors that go into it in winning any football game, and postseason games are football games. You just got to play better than the team you're playing against, and find a way to score more points. That's kind of the key."