Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
LT Duane Brown
FB James Casey
NT Shaun Cody
WR Andre Johnson
FS Glover Quin
QB Matt Schaub
DE Antonio Smith
DE J.J. Watt
Denver Head Coach John Fox Conference Call
Denver QB Peyton Manning Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on today's practice) "(ILB Tim) Dobbins did not practice. He's got a little hamstring from the game. (OLB Bryan) Braman was back to work today. Everybody else was fine so Dobbins will probably be a game-time decision."
(on if he's hopeful that OLB Bryan Braman could finally play this week) "He practiced pretty good Wednesday last week, got about halfway through Thursday and had some problems, so he's been bouncing back and forth trying to come off a hamstring. Hopefully we get him to Sunday this week. He needs a game under his belt. He's missed a lot of time and he's very important to what we do special teams-wise so hopefully we have a clean week with him."
(on Denver TE Joel Dreessen) "He's playing very well. The thing about Joel (Dreessen) he can play in both phases of the game. He blocks as well as catches balls. He's very smart doing a lot of things with him. He was a fine player for us. He's just one of those pros, Joel that you got to have week-in and week-out. Special teams-wise, he does a lot things and it looks like he's doing the same for them."
(on returning to Denver) "I guess the biggest thing, like I said, I spent a lot of time there so there will be a lot of familiar faces and I know where the stadium is. I know the streets and all that good stuff, but it's a game and we got to get ready to play. The biggest challenge, they were asking me that today, I said, 'I'm worried about who we're playing not where we're playing.' We're going to have to play really, really good. I think they've got a fine football team. Like I said last week, it's big evidence to me when you turn the ball over four times and you still got a chance to win on the road. That tells you what this team is capable of. We got off to a good start today. We had a very good focus today."
(on Denver QB Peyton Manning) "He's doing all the things he's always done. You watch him, like I said, our biggest views of him have been San Francisco preseason and then Pittsburgh and last week. He's getting them in the right play, getting them in the right thing to do. He's got a new group that he's doing it with. That's what's impressive, for him to get all that done in such a short period of time. So when you got him, you're always in the ballgame. The situation they went through early in the game last week, he's got them in position to win if they can get another possession back. We see the same stuff."
(on if he saw something that he learned from in the first quarter of Monday's game between Denver and Atlanta) "You watch everything. Atlanta did a lot of things defensively. They did a lot of disguising. Those type of things. That is advantageous when you're at home. For us, it makes it even tougher because we're at their place. It's probably pretty quiet when they're on offense. That gets a little bit harder from that standpoint. He's going to make plays. There is no doubt about that. You just got to keep grinding. You got to let things go whenever you don't make a play or he makes one and go to the next one. I think it's about persistence this week, playing four quarters, staying in the game and being able to make one more play. That's usually what it takes when you're playing a team like this."
(on if it's better that Denver QB Peyton Manning struggled on Monday) "I think he's hacked off all the time when I watch him play. Nobody plays the game harder or prepares harder than him. We know we're going to get their best shot as a team. You're always going to get his best shot. Like I said, the most impressive thing when you looked at last week is to see a team go through what they went through but yet have a chance to win. We talk about that all the time as a team. We're going to show up sometimes on Sunday and it's not going to be perfect, but can we find a way to win a game? If we get down, can we come back and win a game? You're going to face those things all the time, and the character of your teams got to show up."
(on Denver's John Elway) "First off , I'm happy for him and proud of him. We talk quite a bit, and I could tell back a few years ago when we talked he was fixing a comeback to football. I could just sense it. John is so driven. Anything John does, whether he's playing gin or on the golf course or football, he's going to win. He's going to find a way to win. It's just the way he's built. To look at the roster he's put together in such a short period of time and he's chasing a championship and put together a roster to do that, so that's the John I know. I think it's good for the league, good to have him back in football."
(on if it was good for him to get his Denver homecoming out of the way two years ago) "I don't know. I don't think of them any different. I really don't."
(on if the was aware of his fan support in Denver) "Obviously, I think all of us that are in this business, and I've been in it for a long, long time, we've got history some place. Coaches, players, it's just the way it works, and obviously the biggest part of my history in football was there. I got a lot of great friends there, had a lot of great memories. I think I'm right that Rod Smith, one of my players, is going into the Broncos Hall of Fame this weekend so I'm very proud of him. But, hey, it's time to go play, and if anything, I know how tough it is to win there."
(on if he's scripting what they do with running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "It's a feel. It really is. First off I trust (Running Backs Coach) Chick (Harris) a great deal. Chick has such a feel for them. We want them fresh when they're playing, but at the same time, there's something to do with backs that the more they carry it the better they get. I think last week was a little different because it was so darn hot so we're trying to keep a fresh guy out there. I think we're going to go into the game with a set way how we're going to start. How we're going to finish, I don't know. I think it all depends on the flow of the game. It could vary from week to week."
(on dividing the series and reps between running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "It's really 'Hey (RB) Arian (Foster), you're going." He usually goes never more than four plays in a row, and (RB) Ben (Tate) will go get him for two, that type of thing, same way with (WR) Andre (Johnson). But you don't know how it's going to end up at the end because if you play a game and you get 55 snaps, you know we played an 85-snap game the other day so everybody's happy and there is plenty to go around. You never know how that's going to pan out. They kind of get a feel during the game."
(on Denver's crowd) "It'll be noise-wise probably as tough a place we play this year. We do play some really tough places. That's a challenge. We worked with noise all day today, even in the huddle. I won't let them get in the huddle today without the noise on. It's something we got to handle. For us, it's handling it on the offensive side of the ball because defensively now it's probably pretty quiet when we're playing this week. That's always a factor. It'll be a real big factor this week."
(on DE J.J. Watt winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week) "I was teasing him. I said, 'You couldn't even get on our wall by the cafeteria, but you were the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.' No, we knew he played every bit as well as he did the first week, if not better. We had a lot of guys play good, and something tells me there's going to be a lot of awards that go around for him. He's off to a special start as a player. It's important to him, just watching him practice. I think sometimes when guys go through what we went through in camp, what'd he miss three weeks? It lights the fire. The appreciation for what they do, not that he needed motivation but you can just see every day is very important to him. It's showing on the field."
(on if Denver is the most balanced team he's seen this year) "I would say so, no doubt up to this point. That's a thing about them; throwing the ball with Peyton (Manning), obviously you know what that can do to you, but they're running the ball very well, too. To me, that's what got them going in Atlanta. He got them in some really good runs. He checked to a trap on a fourth down play on the goal line for a touchdown. Peyton's going to get them in the best play run or pass. That makes it difficult on us."
(on the Texans' defense facing Denver QB Peyton Manning) "Every year is a new start. We got a lot of players that have played against him from that group. We still got a bunch of those guys, but everything's different this time around, different place, same guy, different uniforms, different game. You never know what it's going to take week to week. We just got to find a way to get it done."
(on the sugar huddle) "We can use it a lot. It's something we're going to always have in our arsenal whether we use it week to week, I don't know, depends on what we think situation-wise. Our guys have confidence in it. Last week was a great start with it so we'll see how we progress from there, but we always got the ability to do it."
(on if losing to Denver after building a 17-point halftime lead was the low point for him as a coach) "I couldn't answer that. I don't know. Anytime you get beat in this league, those are low points. I can't pinpoint the lowest. I'm sure there has been quite a few through my however many years it's been. I'm glad I'm still here. I'm glad I got the opportunity to go coach this team this weekend so I'm looking forward to that."
(on the differences in difficulties presented to a defense with the sugar huddle and no huddle) "Really they're the same; one might be a little faster. They have the same purpose. You're trying to get a defense not to substitute, to make quick calls. One may be a little faster than the other if you stay in the formation. We teach them all."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on the offenses' health ) "They're good, a little sore, a little tired but practiced well today, had some good urgency, people move around fast."
(on if they could have 48 rushes every Sunday) "It'd be great. I'll take every win we can get however we get it. It was nice to be able to do that in a hot place and get a few plays and hold the ball for a while."
(on who decides which running back is out there) "We kind of roll that. (Head Coach) Gary (Kubiak) is really involved. We try to rotate them every two or three just depends on how it's rolling. Certainly if someone is doing quite well, we'll try to leave them out there for a while. There is a little bit of input from everybody."
(on returning to Denver) "I love the state of Colorado. It'll be good to be back there. Certainly know a few people, not as many as I used to with the organization but we're there to win a game. We're there with the Houston Texans. I love what I do here. I love where I live. I love the organization, who I work for, with, players on the team. We're going back there, it just happens to be where I spent some time. It'll be familiar if nothing else."
(on Denver's challenges defensively) "The two guys outside went to the Pro Bowl. We had them when we were over there. We got to coach them. I obviously know Elvis (Dumervil) from my time there. He's a very good player and (Von Miller) is a very good player. That's a challenge. Their team speed is great. The outside guys Champ (Bailey) and (Tracy) Porter are good corners and they can cover. They offer a lot of different things with their team speed and how they do in their aggressive bunch. We'll have our work cut out for us."
(on Denver DE Elvis Dumervil and LB Von Miller) "They're different rushers. They got speed. They're not as big, but they have great speed. They play with great effort too. It's not all about just getting off the ball. You have to block them for the entire play. It's a different matchup and it's there so the noise will be an issue. It always is when you're away. I know well that they can be loud in that stadium. But I think our tackles are up to the challenge and hopefully we'll keep them off balance for what we're doing."
(on RT Derek Newton's progress) "He's improved. From week one to week two it was great, it was vast improvement. We're hoping he takes steps all along the way. We'll just try to get it balanced run and pass and see if we can do things we need to do to keep moving the ball, hang on to it, and score our points. That's all about I can really get into."
(on the team's sugar huddle) "There are a lot of different approaches we could take to the game based on what we think is our strength or is our best matchup to them. At that time and that was last game so I got to move that on, but it was just something that we thought we could do in that environment and help us out. It may not be what we do next week or the week after or maybe something we put on the shelf for a while. As we work through the week, it's similar to plays, our procedure at the line will be what do we like as we go? As we progress through the week based on what we think we're going to get so we just keep working on the different operations that we can get just like the different plays we can get run and pass."
(on if it's called sugar or muddle huddle) "We called it muddle huddle, but if (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) wants to call it sugar huddle I'm alright with that."
(on where the term sugar huddle may have come from) "I have no idea where that came from, no."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's popularity in Denver) "You go back we played together, every time he was in the game he did a great job. He's a quality guy. He treats everybody very well, around the building, around the state, the city. He always did a good job when we went there to coach. He always did a great job. People know him and you know him, he presents himself and rightly so as a quality person that does good work and hard work and works hard for whatever organization, whatever he's trying to do. You can't help but like that kind of guy. I love working for him."
(on what's going with WR Keshawn Martin) "Nothing, we're just rotating him in and nothing's going on. He showed some great things. We were in the run mode instead of pass mode at the point in time and balls didn't go his way. He ran some great routes. We'll just keep playing him. He plays with great speed, great urgency so the balls will come."
(on Denver's secondary) "Both corners are very good. I know Champ (Bailey) from being there. He hasn't lost much if anything. (Tracy) Porter just watching him on film, he's a great cover guy. The safeties are very aggressive. I don't know either one of those, but they're very aggressive players. They could play man. They could play zone. It's a quality group and a very good group in the back obviously."
(on why scoring is up across the league) "I don't know. I'm worried about us. I look at the scores just like you, but the only tape I watch is what the next defense is. I can't tell you watch schemes are happening. I just know what we're trying to focus on. I don't know. I don't think offenses caught up with defenses, just look at our defense. They're playing very well."
LT Duane Brown
(on LB Von Miller and DE Elvis Dumervil) "Denver has a great tandem with the outside linebacker position with Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller. Two guys very relentless, very talented, really like to get after the quarterback. It's going to be a big challenge for me and (RT) Derek Newton this week."
(on the differences in LB Von Miller and DE Elvis Dumervil's game) "Well, (Elvis) Dumervil is more of a power guy, he likes to get up the field but then try to use his power to press pocket. Whereas Von Miller is I think more athletic and really shifty and has a pretty good bag of moves that he likes to use. Both very talented, and they switch sides so you have to prepare for both of them."
(on if he's looking forward to playing LB Von Miller and DE Elvis Dumervil) "Absolutely. Going on the road, playing in a hostile environment with a lot of pressure coming off the edge, it's a great day. The last two games haven't been easy, but this will definitely be a step above and I'm really looking forward to it."
(on how he combats crowd noise as an offense) "They're very different. Watching the game against Pittsburgh, you can tell that they got a key on a snap and were able to get off the ball, whereas Atlanta when they were on the road, still got a pretty good get-off, but wasn't the same. The way that you can stop that is run the ball first and foremost and kind of negate the pass-rush. But you get in pass down situations, we have to be on the same page where I won't have to look as much to try and get a key on when (C) Chris (Myers) is going to snap so I can get a rhythm."
(on the Denver game in 2010) "Yeah, that was a tough game. Got out pretty good at half time, came out the second half and didn't end the way you want to. You think about it, but it's far in the history books now. We got a new challenge ahead, we got a new team, they have a new team as well so, can't really think about it too much."
(on what it's like having RB Ben Tate and RB Arian Foster back there together) "The best duo in the league, in my opinion. I'm a bit biased. Both are extremely talented and both run extremely hard and when (RB) Arian (Foster) needs a breather, you put (RB Ben) Tate back in there and you're not missing a beat. If you watch some of the runs he made last week, it was very impressive to watch."
(on where he is on the altitude issue) "I don't know how you can prepare for that. Playing there a couple years ago, you notice a little difference. I don't know if it was enough that it really got us that gassed. You know it's going to happen and it's going to come, but there's not much you can do to prepare for it, I don't think."
(on if the altitude makes it that much harder to pull of 14-, 15-play drives) "Well, we'll see. I don't think so. You keep their defense out there, even though they play in it week-in and week-out, they'll get just as tired as any other defense. So if we can get those 15-play drives like we did last week, that'll be great."
FB James Casey
(on if playing Denver will require the team to step it up a notch) "Oh yeah. They're never easy and going on the road in Denver this week is going to be a tough challenge. They've got a really good team. We've been watching a lot of film today. They've got really good players and it's going to be a tough challenge. We've got to give it our best shot and that's what we plan on doing."
(on what impresses him the most about Denver's defense) "Just watching their edge players, (Elivs) Dumervil and Von Miller are really good rushers. They rush the passer really well and they're good against the run. They've got two great cornerbacks in Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter. Their inside linebackers, (Joe) Mays and (Keith) Brooking are really great players, too, and they're veteran players that have been around. They've got a lot of really good players, but we feel like we've got some good players, too, and we feel like we've got a good team. We feel like we've got a good team. They've got a lot to worry about, we've got a lot to worry about, so it should be a great game."
(on if he watched much of Monday night's game between Denver and Atlanta) "I tried to watch as much as I can."
(on if it helps him prepare watching Denver and Atlanta play on Monday Night Football) "I mean, it's great. How cool is it that I get to watch Monday Night Football and scout at the same time? It helps but it's not that helpful because you can't see the film that we watch from behind the center, where you see everything and where they line up. The TV copy, you can't necessarily tell where they line up and what they're doing."
(on getting some offensive touches against Jacksonville last week) "It felt great. Felt great to get the ball in my hands a couple times and just trying to make plays when I get the chance. I know we've got a lot of weapons and when teams are probably thinking about players and stopping our offense, I'm the last person on their minds, so that's fine with me. So maybe I can sneak out on some people."
(on playing at Denver's altitude) "I'm not even thinking about it. You don't want to psychologically psych yourself out going into it. We feel like we have one of the toughest places to have training camp, in Houston with the heat and humidity we deal with. So hopefully it won't be that big of an issue."
(on what it's like to be a part of an offense with so many weapons) "It's great when you know you've got so many different guys that can make plays. We're not just relying on one person. We have some good receivers, great running backs, tight ends, fullbacks that can make plays. It's great when you go out there and you know anybody can make a play at any given time and not just have four- and five-yard dink-and-dunks. We can have big plays, too. We didn't have a lot of big plays last week and we need to hopefully have some of those. It's always great when you have those big, explosive plays to get yourself down the field faster."
NT Shaun Cody
(on Denver QB Peyton Manning's no huddles) "He can get you up there quick, and then you think 'Oh he's going to snap it.' Then he backs off and then you're like, 'Oh, okay wait a second.' He's just been doing it forever. He knows exactly what the defense is trying to do."
(on if it's easy to tone out Denver QB Peyton Manning's barking at the line) "As a defensive lineman, we're not worried about any of that stuff. It's kind of more for the corners I think and back end and what they're doing. For us, it's just waiting for that ball to snap and go at it like wild animals."
(on knowing how hard it is to get to Denver QB Peyton Manning) "I mean, just got to stay after it. You know he's going to get rid of that ball. He knows where he's going with it and he has a plan before the snap. Our job is to stay after it. We're going to be able to hopefully beat their offensive linemen and get back there. You just got to not get frustrated when you know the ball is getting out of there."
WR Andre Johnson
(on Denver CB Champ Bailey) "He's a great player, a future hall of famer in my book. It will be a great challenge for me to go up against arguably the best cornerback in the game and one of the best to ever do it. It will be a great challenge for me."
(on Denver CB Champ Bailey's combination of size and speed) "You don't see that very often. Like I said, it's definitely a big challenge for me. I'll be up to the test."
(on if he thinks wide receivers Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean are poised to break out at some point) "Yeah, I think it's just about opportunities. When you're playing a game, it's about getting into a rhythm and things like that. A lot of times, when you see receivers have big games, it normally comes from getting in a rhythm and you see their game take off with more and more opportunities. For a receiver to have a big game, it just takes opportunities and you have to try and make the best of it."
(on having two great running backs in Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "It's great. It's great to have two backs that can go out and run the ball. When one goes out, you don't miss a beat. Some people laughed at me after the game, but I said we had a three-headed monster with (Justin) Forsett, when you see the way he got in there and he ran the ball real well. He's a little guy, but he runs the ball very hard. I think we have three great backs."
(on the limited passes when they are running the ball well) "When you're playing like that and running the ball like that, it normally means you're very successful. If we can go out and run the ball like that and win, that's a great thing. I came in there at halftime and Coach (Gary) Kubiak told me, 'Hey man, don't get frustrated. Just keep playing.' I was like, 'Coach, just run it down their throat. If they're going to keep letting us run it, keep running it.' That's the thing about it. Everyone knows I'm not a selfish guy. I don't really care about stats. When you're a young player in this league, you tend to worry about that. Going through all the injuries and things I've been through over the last year, my big thing is just winning. That's all I'm worried about. Whatever we have to do to win, that's pretty much all that matters."
(on what it would mean to come out of Denver with a win and be 3-0) "It would mean a lot. I guess people see this as our first real test of the season. Every team is good in this league. You can be beaten any week. Every week, our objective never changes. Our objective is to go out and get a win. The only thing that changes is preparing for somebody different. They're a very good football team. To have four turnovers and only lose by six points, it says a lot. I think everybody on our team was glued to the TV. I know I was because I knew that was our next opponent. It just shows what type of team they have. Most teams, when you have something bad like that happen early in a game, you kind of fall apart, but they had three early turnovers and kept battling. They almost had a chance to win it."
(on if there is a different mindset going against CB Champ Bailey) "I wouldn't say a different mindset. I think you just know what you're going up against. You're talking about a guy who is very athletic; a guy that has played wide receiver in college, so he kind of knows both sides of the ball. Like I said, in my book, I think he's a future hall of famer. He's a great talent and arguably the best in the game."
(on if CB Champ Bailey has lost much at his age) "I don't think so. I don't think he's really lost anything. I'm not sure exactly what year it is, I think it's like 13 or 14, somewhere around in there. He still plays at a high level, so it just shows that he's taken care of his body and doing the right things to make sure he goes out and plays well. Like I said, it will be a big test for me."
(on being one of six teams that are 2-0 and managing the hype) "That's something we don't get caught up in. Our objective is to go 1-0 every week. That's pretty much it in a nutshell. We don't really worry about what people say or what people have to say about us. We just kind of worry about ourselves and make sure that we're ready to go when it's game day on Sunday. That's the biggest thing, that everyone is locked in and knows what they have to do and all the communication is definitely towards Sunday so we can go out and get a 'W'."
(on if it is difficult to keep the 1-0 mentality) "I don't think it's hard. It's been working so far. Hopefully, we'll keep it going, but I feel that getting a victory or losing, you have to move on. You can't dwell on what happened last week. You just have to move on from it."
(on how the locker room has changed over the years up until now) "Just the camaraderie—it's fun. It's a lot more fun. You have a lot of guys that are cracking jokes. Everybody is just yelling. I think in the past, you had a group here or a group there. Now, everybody is just one. You have offensive guys on the defensive side of the locker room hanging with the defensive guys. Defensive guys hanging with the offensive guys. I think that's just the biggest difference from the past years, especially from when I first got here. It's fun. It can be game day, but you can count on J.J. (Watt) or Shaun (Cody) to do something, when you're supposed to be serious, somebody doing something that just makes you laugh. At the same time, its business time, but you have to enjoy it. You have to make it fun so that everybody can be relaxed."
(on Denver QB Peyton Manning) "He is definitely somebody you get up and like to see him work. Even when you look at the game from the other night, as soon as he comes off the field, he's studying those pictures to see what he could've done better and getting defensive looks and things like that. I've been over to the Pro Bowl with him a few times and he's a hard worker. Even at the Pro Bowl, guys are not really playing hard, but Peyton runs in the huddle and wants to get after these guys like we're about to play a real game. He's a competitor man. He's a great competitor. What he's done since he's been in this league, it pretty much speaks for itself."
FS Glover Quin
(on the stadium atmosphere in Denver) "We play in a loud stadium every week when we're at home because as a defense when the other team is out here our crowd is going crazy. At home it's great for the offense because it's quiet, they get to talk and this and that but for us it's loud. We're having a hard time trying to communicate to own teammates so going out there Peyton Manning is going to be on the field it's going to be as quiet as this locker room when we're out there. It'll be tough for our offense, but we're working with the noise and things like that."
(on having a full year to be in Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' system) "I think guys are a lot more comfortable and understanding they can and can't do in the defense. I just think having the same group from last year, guys have more chemistry with the same guys. Very rarely do you keep the same secondary, same d-line, basically the same linebackers for the most part so the continuity is there so that makes guys more comfortable obviously understanding and knowing how you're teammates are going to play."
(on playing against QB Peyton Manning) "I think the fooling him, it really only just slows him down half a tick. At the end of the day, he's going to read middle field open, middle field closed, he's going to know where he wants to throw the ball at. In Peyton's (Manning) mind, even if you have the guy covered he feels like there's a spot he can throw the ball that his guy can catch it. At the end of the day it's going to come down to us against their wide receivers. Can we make more plays on the ball than their receivers make? Obviously Peyton is going to make some good throws, and they're probably going to make some good catches but from the first quarter to the fourth quarter, can we make more than they make? It's not going to be about confusing, he's been in the league 15 years. He's seen it all. He's going to make his read. He's going to know where to go. He feels like he can put it wherever he needs to, to get a completion."
QB Matt Schaub
(on the challenge of playing on the road in Denver this weekend) "Well, we're going into a tough place to play against a very good football team, and we're going to have to have a great week of preparation in practice and in our meetings so we can go play a mistake-free, turnover-free, penalty-free football game and play good road football, but we're excited for the challenge."
(on the challenge presented by Denver DE Elvis Dumervil and SLB Von Miller) "Yeah, two very good edge rushers – very quick, very dangerous guys coming off the edge, so we've just got to be aware of where they're at and know what things they present, being able to step up in the pocket and get the ball going."
(on Denver's cornerback tandem of Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter) "Very veteran guys. You look at what Champ Bailey has done in his career, and Porter coming over, and what they're doing for their team and really playing well, at a high level. We've just got to be aware of that, but worry about our side of the football and execute our plays."
(on if he's noticed an effect when playing at high altitude) "I've never noticed it, no."
(on whether he watched Denver's game at Atlanta on Monday night) "Yep."
(on what he thought about the referees in that game) "I don't have any thoughts on that. I just worry about getting our football team and our offense ready to play on Sunday and play good football. If we just play to our level and to our standard, then it won't be a problem. I don't even think about that."
(on having a running back tandem of Arian Foster and Ben Tate behind him) "Yeah, we really don't (miss a beat). We don't notice if one is in the huddle or not. They come in and spell each other, and when they're in there, they execute and play at a high level, whether it's Arian or Ben, whether it's the run game or the pass game. They're going to do their protection responsibilities; if they're in the pass route, I know it's good for me because if nothing is open down field, such as last week, I check it down to them and they're going to make plays. They're guys that you get the ball in their hand (and) very rarely does the first guy bring them down, and that's a good luxury to have."
(on how the 'muddle huddle' worked last weekend) "I think it was successful for us, especially last week against their (Jacksonville's) defense and how they're built and how we wanted to speed up the game and everything like that. I think it was good for us. Our guys were well-prepared for it and handled it as good as we could have."
(on the development of the team's young wide receivers) "They've done very well. I think they're handling some tough game plans. We ask our guys to know a lot and be able to adjust to a lot of different things, and Lestar (Jean) and Keshawn (Martin), they're really picking things up well. Obviously their numbers haven't been called a whole lot, as far as the pass game goes, but you really don't know week-to-week how it's going to play out and you've just got to be ready and they're definitely preparing themselves to really break out."
(on if he thinks WRs Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin are ready to have a breakout game) "I know they're ready."
(on whether the 'muddle huddle' was specific to the Jacksonville game plan or a part of the regular offense) "It's something that we always have. It's something that's always there at our disposal, and it's just a matter of the game, the opponent, how things are flowing if it's something we want to get to."
(on if it helps being familiar with Denver Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio, who was formerly Jacksonville's head coach) "Well, you look at the film. Having played against him (in Jacksonville) – obviously he was the head coach, he has some influence on what the defenses were doing there in Jacksonville, you see some similarities, but as far as their personnel goes, it's a little bit different personnel than what they had in Jacksonville. Obviously, when you're planning and putting your plan together, you've got to play to the strengths of the players that you have, whether it's offensively or defensively, so you see signs of that. You also see signs of stuff that they used to do."
(on whether the team thinks about being able to change the national perception of the Texans by winning at Denver) "No. We don't really think about that much as far as how we're perceived out there. We just want to go out and win a football game. We want to get to 3-0 this week, and the only way to do that is to get ourselves prepared to go win on the road in a tough place to play. We're just putting our head down and just charging forward and just finding a way to get our next win."
(on the Texans being 1-9 in Week 3 in franchise history) "That's news to me. I hadn't even thought about that, so it is what it is, but this is a new year. We're not thinking about the past; we're just in the present and looking ahead."
(on former Texans and current Broncos TE Joel Dreessen) "I think we talked a few weeks ago, but it's been a little while because obviously you get in the regular season, and knowing Joel, he's fully immersed in what they're doing and his routine, as am I and anyone in our locker room, so it's been a little while since we've talked."
(on getting to see Broncos TE Joel Dreessen before the game on Sunday) "Yeah, it'll be good to catch up with him before or after the game and just say hello, but obviously we're there to win a football game. I wish him the best, wish him well, but we want to go out there and win the game."
(on how TE Garrett Graham has played this season) "Garrett's done a great job. He's really stepped up in the run and in the pass. You can see that he's really worked hard on his game and really has been ready for this, to step in and fill in that role. You can see it on the edge in run blocking or in pass protection, and then when he's out there in the routes, he's done a great job of being where he's supposed to be and when the ball comes, catching it."
(on how Sports Authority Field at Mile High ranks among the loudest stadiums in the NFL) "Like any of them, they can be loud. It just depends on the game. It's always packed there, and third downs or in the red zone or whatever, it's loud, but it's something that you just have to deal with."
DE Antonio Smith
(on what he thought of the Atlanta vs. Denver game) "I just thought, like I keep saying to everyone, I just think Atlanta was playing good. I wouldn't put it all on (QB) Peyton (Manning) not being on his game and things like that. They were flying around the field and making plays. They were pumped up and people were making plays in positions they shouldn't be. You had safeties coming from across the field to catch interceptions. When that's going on, you know somebody's amped up for that Monday night game."
(on the challenges of going against Denver QB Peyton Manning) "He likes to frustrate you a little bit by getting the ball off so fast to where it's kind of hard to get there. You can't get that many hits and sacks on him."
(on if Denver QB Peyton Manning's fake hand signals and audibles distract him) "It's not that distracting to me. Maybe the linebackers pay attention to all of that. My man's gonna take me where I need to go. As a defensive lineman it's simple; you can make it hard by trying to guess and anticipating where he's gonna go all the time. You listen to them calls and you gonna get yourself right out your game. I just go. Wherever his block shows me, that's what I react off of."
(on predictions for the game) "(OLB) Connor (Barwin) will have two sacks this week."
(on Denver QB Peyton Manning's chemistry with the Broncos) "You can't really tell. They got a new team, he's getting into a groove in the system and, like I said, they (Atlanta) just played some good defense. They did their thing against Pittsburgh but Atlanta came and fired up from the first snap. You can't blame it all on Peyton (Manning)."
DE J.J. Watt
(on winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week) "It's an honor but it's a team award. It's not just me, it's all my teammates and my coaches. But it's definitely an honor and I hope it's not the last time."
(on Denver QB Peyton Manning telling the Houston media he will be a big challenge) "It's nice. It's nice to have the respect of a guy like Peyton Manning. He's such a great quarterback, he's been doing it so long, that it's honor to hear those words from him. Obviously, he's one of the best in the game. There's not enough good things you can say about him."
(on if he's excited about the opportunity to play against Denver QB Peyton Manning for the first time) "Yeah, I'm really excited about this opportunity. When I was drafted here, I was told that I'd be playing him twice a year and that it'd be my goal to stop him. I'm glad he's only on the schedule once this year."
(on what it's going to be like playing against Denver QB Peyton Manning after watching him on TV growing up) "I'm excited about it. It's a great challenge. You always want to play the best, so it's exciting. My first NFL sack was on Drew Brees and that's a big deal to me. Obviously, he set the passing record last year. So I'm excited to go against another great quarterback."
(on Houston beating Denver would change the national perception of the team) "I think that's good. All we can do is go out there and play against who we're playing against. We invite the opportunity. We understand what's at stake. We're just trying to go out there and go 1-0. Whatever the media and the national attention happens to come from, that's what happens. But all we can do is focus on the game and we're really excited about the opportunity to play a great football team."
(on preparing for Denver QB Peyton Manning's hand signals and changes at the line of scrimmage) "I'll watch the film; watch the film a lot. But it's Peyton Manning and the guys have told me he goes quickly, he makes a lot of checks, messes around with the snap count. There's a lot of different challenges he may present that other quarterbacks don't. But I'm excited about that. I've always said you want the best. You don't earn your stripes playing against inferior competition. You want to play against the best every single time and that's a chance to prove yourself, so I'm really excited about this opportunity."
(on if Jacksonville was trying to hit him in the stomach to keep him from batting balls down and if that deters him from doing so) "I work hard on my abs in the offseason so I feel like I've been able to take the punches well. But actually, in that game I never really got punched in the gut. I know they were trying to do it, that's something they were focused on. But I never let that happen and it didn't happen. There were a couple times in the game where they were grabbing jerseys to hold guys down so they couldn't jump up but I was fortunate it didn't happen to me."
(on how he can avoid being punched in the gut) "I use my hands to get guys off of me. When I'm going to bat a ball, there's a couple different situations; one is when I'm going forward and I know I can't. But some of the time is me backing away and then jumping for that exact reason, so they can't hold me down."
(on if he grasps what it means that he was the best defensive player in the AFC last week) "I mean, it's crazy. I was delivering pizzas four or five years ago and now I get awards like this. It's unbelievable to me. I'm honored to have the award but it's a lot cooler for everyone else who helped me get here. To me, it's very cool for my high school coach, for my mom and my dad and for everybody who helped me and who was there for the times I wasn't the AFC Defensive Player of the Week; everybody who was there when I wasn't on scholarship at Wisconsin, when I wasn't anyone. So that's why this is cool to me. That's why stuff like this is so special to me and why it will never not be special. That's why stuff like this will always be cool to me because I always remember the times when I wasn't J.J. Watt, the defensive player of the week."
(on how much his ability to bat down passes can come into play when facing a quarterback like Denver's Peyton Manning) "That's one thing about Peyton (Manning); he so seldom sacked, so I think that's where my batting passes could come in handy. He gets the ball out so quickly that you need to get your hands up. You're not going to sack him every play, so you need to get your hands up in the passing lanes, hopefully frustrate him. But he is a veteran quarterback. He's seen that before. He knows people are going to try and bat his passes down. So that's another challenge. I'm excited about it but I want to sack him, too. I want to have No. 18 on my sack list. That's my goal."
(on if it was disappointing that he didn't get to face Denver QB Peyton Manning as a rookie) "We won the division and went to the playoffs; I was happy. It doesn't matter how you get there. As long as we have that banner hanging up, it's all well and good."
Denver Head Coach John Fox Conference Call
(on the Texans running game controlling time of possession) "They have an excellent offense. They have a great scheme. They do a good job of running the ball and a lot of their passing is off of that and it's outstanding. The both work hand-in-hand. They're doing a good job of not turning it over and possessing it and that's what a good offense does."
(on what jumps out to him on film with the Texans defense) "They play feisty. I've known Wade (Phillips) for a long time. He's an outstanding coach. He's got good players that play very hard. When you've got good players and you're well coached, from the two games so far, I think they're number one in the League in defense. They're doing an outstanding job."
(on J.J. Watt and the challenges he presents) "He's big and has a lot of length. He plays snap to whistle. He's got the right temperament. Usually guys like that are very successful and he is."
(on all of the playmakers on the Texans defense in addition to J.J. Watt) "Like I mentioned earlier, you've got guys that are talented football players. They're smart and tough and they do what they're asked to do. They all do it snap to whistle, so I don't know if you can single one guy out. They play excellent team defense."
(on Peyton Manning's demeanor after the loss on Monday night) "He was great after the first quarter. We were probably pressing a little much, but once we settled in, him included, I thought he did very well."
(on if Peyton Manning has put Monday's game behind him) "We've got a real good bunch of guys, a good locker room and good leadership. They responded well today in practice and I thought we had a good workout."
(on how challenging it is to defend against Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "A lot of teams in this league have a 1-2 punch now. Obviously, Houston is one of them. They are both outstanding players. They have an outstanding scheme and they keep them fresh doing it."
(on the adjustment for Peyton Manning becoming the Broncos quarterback) "He's a great player. In my opinion, he's a pretty much a slam dunk to be a first ballot hall of famer. I don't think we're a finished product yet, by any stretch, when you consider this is the first year that he's played in this offense and with these teammates. There are going to be some growing pains and it doesn't happen overnight. We looked at the tape, we learned, and now we try to eliminate the same mistakes. I don't have any doubt that he's going to comeback pretty good after last week."
(on Peyton Manning's arm strength and if he could throw a Hail Mary at the end of a game) "I think his arm looked way better in the second half than it did in the first half, if that's what's being questioned. I don't think there is any question about it. Had we had to throw a 60-yard Hail Mary, we might go with a 20-year old arm versus a 36-year old arm."
(on the progress of Demaryius Thomas) "I think the offense is completely different from a year ago. Last year was my first year here and he missed part of that season due to injury, so I've seen great growth in his game."
(on the difference Jack Del Rio has brought to the defense) "Jack and I have been together before. He was with me in Carolina, my first year. He did a great job and he's doing a great job this year."
(on what they've seen out of Joel Dreessen) "He's starting for us at tight end. He's the same kind of guy that you guys know. He works hard and he's a professional about how he prepares himself. He's an outstanding individual as well as a football player. We're very pleased to have him."
Denver QB Peyton Manning Conference Call
(on whether he feels like the familiarity between himself and the Texans gives either side an advantage or disadvantage) "I can't speak for them, but certainly they have a different defensive coordinator since the last time I played them – I didn't play last year since Coach (Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade) Phillips has gotten there – and they have some new players. They sure are playing well, that certainly jumps out on film, and guys flying around and really doing a lot of good things on defense, so it'll be a tough challenge."
(on what he sees when he watches Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' defense on tape) "A very well-coached defense, very disciplined. You have to have certain types of players to make that defense work and he has those guys at certain spots, and you can see how it's all working together with the scheme and with the players, so that's why they're playing really well right now, in my opinion."
(on his impressions of Texans DE J.J. Watt) "He's an excellent player, a high-motor guy; made a lot of plays with sacks, tipped balls, and it's definitely a challenge for our guys up front."
(on Texans DE J.J. Watt) "He's making good plays there. Like I said, he's an active guy, he's athletic. You can tell he's more than just a pass rusher; he's good against the run, and like I said, I think it shows he's got good athletic ability."
(on the biggest difference in the play of Texans ILB Brian Cushing from 2009 to now) "I think all players are going to get better with experience. He's been playing in the NFL for four years and he's had some different coaching changes, which is always a challenge for all players, but when you have the rare kind of athletic ability that he has, you can make up for different coaches. He's got great speed, and he's a physical player as well."
(on how the altitude in Denver has affected him physically and how it has affected his passing) "Oh, I don't know. I probably haven't been here long enough. I could probably give you a better answer a longer period of time. I don't have a great answer for you when it comes to that at this point in the season."
(on whether it feels different playing and practicing at altitude) "It's hard to say. Like I said, I haven't been here long enough."
(on Broncos TE Joel Dreessen) "Joel and I got here at about the same time and we've spent as much time as we possibly could together, throwing routes and talking offense; it's still part of the process. Joel's got an incredible work ethic, a tough guy. As a veteran player, you appreciate his intensity, his attention to detail, and he really plays a pivotal role in our offense. All of us are just trying to get comfortable and get on the same page, and when you have a guy with his kind of work ethic, that sure does help things."
(on what he is most excited about being able to do, physically, after missing the 2011 season) "It's hard to say. It's hard to get too reflective when you're in the middle of the season. I was asked to do a good amount of reflecting during the offseason, and I was kind of relieved when the season got here and we could just kind of talk football, talk X's and O's and talk about the opponent, so I don't have a great thought for you when it comes to that. But we've got a tough opponent coming in, coming off a disappointing loss. I think it's a good test for our team to see how we respond, how we bounce back, especially playing against a quality opponent like Houston, so this is going to be an important week of practice this week for us."
(on Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "He's certainly an outstanding coach. He's very well thought-of out here in this building. Some of the trainers and the staff who have been here for a number of years all talk about how they always thought he'd be an excellent coach. I obviously can't speak, not having played for him; I know (Broncos TE) Joel (Dreessen) had great respect for him. Like I said, I think the main thing is he's got his team playing really well this year, just like they did last year as well, so I think that speaks a lot about who the head coach is."
(on whether he's noticed any changes in Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "I'm probably the wrong guy to ask. I'm sure his own players could tell you that. Like I've said, he recruited me (at Texas A&M). Actually, he didn't recruit me; he was on the staff there, so I met him there. I haven't had a chance to spend a ton of time with him aside from the handshake after the game occasionally, but just from afar, I know he's got that team playing really well. That's one thing that stands out."
(on how long it will take him to become fully comfortable with his new receivers in Denver) "It's hard to give you that answer here in Week 3. There's a lot of things that I'll know a lot more later on in the season. Even in the offseason, I can probably go back and tell you what happened when. Right now, we are in the middle of the process. We are working real hard; I know all our receivers have an outstanding work ethic – (Broncos WRs Brandon) Stokley, (Eric) Decker and (Demaryius) Thomas. I certainly appreciate that, guys willing to put the time and effort and the work in to getting on the same page. I think you have to go through playing against different types of defenses. Those guys will have a tremendous challenge this week going against (Texans CBs Kareem) Jackson and (Johnathan) Joseph, who are playing really well. That's all part of the process."
(on how long it takes him to get over a game like Monday night's 27-21 loss at Atlanta) "Yeah, usually Tuesday's your off day to game-plan, and Wednesday you're over it, no time to think about it, you're on to the next opponent. It's important to learn from it, which I think we will."
(on whether he talks to Broncos Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway about playing quarterback) "I certainly have various conversations with John. He's got an open-door policy, he and (Broncos Head) Coach (John) Fox both do, and I think for all of the quarterbacks, he's certainly there as a resource. At the same time, he's hired good coaches to coach the quarterbacks, but he's always there as a resource."
(on whether Texans CB Johnathan Joseph is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL) "He's playing really well right now. I played against him in Cincinnati, and he's got great physical tools – great speed, good size, the ability to change direction. He along with all of their defensive players are playing at a high level."