Members of the Texans spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
RB Arian Foster
WR Andre Johnson
QB Matt Schaub
RT Derek Newton
WR Kevin Walter
DE J.J. Watt
Tennessee Head Coach Mike Munchak Conference Call
Tennessee QB Jake Locker Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) "As far as practice, (S Quintin) Demps did not practice. (CB) Johnathan Joseph did not practice today. (WR) Andre (Johnson) was a part-time practitioner. I'm missing somebody; (RB) Arian (Foster) was a part-time practice guy."
(on what was wrong with the guys that missed practice) "They're fine. It's that time of year where we have a lot of snaps under our belt with certain players. They were part of practice. They just weren't part of all of it. They took part in almost half of all of it."
(on if CB Johnathan Joseph practiced part-time) "He was totally out. His groin was bothering him a little bit. So we just gave him a day off. We expect him to be back tomorrow."
(on WR Lestar Jean) "I'm sorry. Yeah, (WR) Lestar (Jean) is totally out. They're telling us two weeks. He had the surgery and he was back in here. He's fine and looks good. He was in here for treatment an hour after surgery. He's up and around, doing good today. He's a 100 percent committed to treatment right now. He goes to the afternoon meetings and we're hoping that maybe we'll pull this off like we did with (FB James) Casey a few years ago. James had the same thing done and actually made it back in two weeks, so we'll see."
(on if he expects both RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson to play on Sunday) "Yeah, I do. I just think it's that time. A lot of guys have played a lot of snaps. You have to be smart with some of the guys out there from the standpoint of reps in practice, but I would expect them to be full go tomorrow and be ready to go."
(on the Titans struggles running the ball) "Somebody asked me that today on the conference call. I just think that's part of this league. They have played arguably as tough a schedule as anybody in football this early. They were at New England. They went to San Diego. Then they get Detroit. It's part of this league. Sometimes you're throwing it more, doing this more, whatever. Then you're struggling here or there but then all of a sudden over a period of time, things tend to even out and you bust out. We just want to make sure that it's not this week. We have tremendous respect for him (Chris Johnson) as a player and what he's capable of doing in the run game. They're making big plays in the passing game right now with a young quarterback who can run around a lot. I think from a weapon standpoint, this is probably as good of a group as we've played in the first month. They'll test us defensively."
(on how they approach playing with leads) "Ultimately, the goal is to win the game. Do what you've got to do. We've been fortunate to have some leads on some people. You don't want to leave your aggression in either form or fashion, but you also want to be smart with what you're doing. It's like the other day when we give up a turnover and they score in two plays. We come back and you don't want to do something right there crazy, but then we're forced into an aggression mode in the last series to try and get a first down. You can only grow from it and learn how to do it when you're put in those situations. I think we're understanding that. We handled that one the other day pretty good. Hopefully we can handle it a few more times."
(on how his team has been able to play with a lead) "We've been starting pretty fast as a team. The other day we got down 5-0, but after that, we started pretty darn fast with the rest of the first quarter. That's important in this league, but I'm sure there will be days when we have to do it the other way. That's part of this business. You better be able to come from two touchdowns down or be able to play good when you're up two touchdowns. You have to be able to handle both."
(on coaching his 100th regular season game on Sunday) "Are you sure it's not 1000? I thought I had already coached my 100th one, I thought? I think I can remember all 102 of them (including playoffs), how many ever there are. Hopefully there are a few more to come."
(on QB Matt Schaub) "He's off to a good start. Last week was as good as he's played this year. The thing about our team offensively, we're built a little bit different than some teams. There are times, when we go out there and we may not ask (QB) Matt (Schaub) to throw it 22, 23 times over the course of a game, but we may need him to throw it 45 times for us to win. I don't know when those days are going to be but he's handled himself very well. He's throwing for percentages when somebody played him a certain way. Then he made big plays when somebody played him a different way last week. Matt is on his way. He's practicing very well. He had a really good day today."
(on if QB Matt Schaub is feeling more comfortable than previous years) "Definitely. He's just more comfortable with everything we're doing. He has a lot of confidence working with Rico (Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison). He's had, how many coaches have I given (QB) Matt (Schaub)? Four? We've lost like three coaches or something along the way, but Rico has been a constant with him now for a few years. Now (Quarterbacks Coach) Karl (Dorrell) comes in and Matt does a heck of a job regardless of who has him. He's very comfortable in our offense right now."
(on SS Quintin Demps' injury) "He's got his thumb casted. We held him out today, but we expect him to practice tomorrow."
(on the replacement officials) "I can't get involved with that. I know that's not the answer you want, but I have so many other things that I have to worry about. I'm sure they'll get it worked out. Those guys do a great job, they always have. I'm sure they'll get it worked out and they'll be back. We've got to stay focused on playing right now. We can't get caught up in that. Today is, to me, a prime example as we practice really well today. Our guys really focused, so I really liked how they came off a long road trip and came back to work today."
(on his concerns over the offensive line) "I wouldn't say I'm concerned. I think I knew what our challenge was when the season started. I think it's going to continue as we bring (RT Derek) Newton along, from a growth standpoint as we continue to get (RG Antoine) Caldwell playing as good as he can play. All of a sudden, we stumble upon a very nice draft pick who is pushing for more and more playing time. I think the key, like I said all along, is we're going to be good up front. I believe in what we're doing. I believe in (Offensive Line Coach) John Benton. Right now, the best way we're doing it is if we play seven guys. I think we've been through this in terms of bringing (LT) Duane (Brown) along as a player and he was a first round pick. Now we're asking Newton, a young man who was a sixth, seventh round pick last year to be a full-time starter. I think we need to make sure we're doing this the right way. We're going to have everybody contribute. Right now that means (T) Ryan (Harris) and (C Ben) Jones will continue to contribute to the team."
(on what he told RB Ben Tate after the fourth quarter fumble in Denver) "I'm sure he could tell you what I said. First off, you can't do that, but he's hard on himself. He's standing there and watches them score in two plays. Nobody is feeling worse about it than them in knowing that we've got to go right back and play. Now he didn't get back in the game because we put (RB) Arian (Foster) in there, but we've got a lot of confidence in (RB) Ben (Tate). I think I told y'all this the other day, it's a great example in this league how everything can go right for you one week and the next week all it takes is one play. You have to stay focused week-in and week-out. He'll do that. He came back today and practiced good."
(on what they need to do to keep QB Matt Schaub clean and upright) "It's everything. I take a lot of pride in how I call a game, trying to protect a quarterback. I think we have two sacks in three games, so that looks really, really good. My point is, he's taken a lot of lumps. He deserves a lot of credit for us only having two. He's been getting rid of the ball in some tough situations. I have got to protect him better. The line has got to protect him better. Tight ends and backs, it's everybody. We can't have him coming out of the game, getting beat on 10, 11, 12 times a game. When we run the ball well, that usually doesn't happen."
(on the Titans only giving up two sacks and shutting down the Lions defensive line last week) "Well hopefully we can get them in situations where they are throwing the ball quite a bit. They've got a lot of confidence in their young quarterback. The biggest thing is (Offensive Line Coach) Bruce (Matthews) knows how to protect the quarterback. Bruce does a heck of a job up front from that standpoint in what they're doing. The fact that the quarterback is so athletic, he gets a lot of credit for getting rid of the ball too, just like I'm talking about (QB) Matt (Schaub). This group, they're explosive in a lot of different areas. Like I said, when you look at our first month defensively and who we've played, this might be the biggest test we've had."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "He's played better. He's made a couple more plays each week. We still want him to keep coming. He's played about 10 or 12 plays of defense each week. It's tough, when you're a first round pick, you're expected to do all that and it's hard to get on the field for us right now. He's doing his job and he's working hard. The time is coming and our depth will be tested, but he's coming along fine."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on the replacement officials) "I just get our players ready to play. Hopefully, they are, put them in the right spot to make plays. That's my job."
(on QB Matt Schaub's leadership last Sunday) "I think (QB) Matt's (Schaub) done an incredible job every year I've been here. I think the entire team has matured with him. I'll just leave it at that. I think it showed a lot of fortitude and certainly he continues to amaze how tough he is."
(on the offensive line ) "We've had our ups and downs just like we say every week. They keep working at it. Whatever we choose to do, the guys are stepping up and doing what we need to do. We just keep working with them and certainly they have some things that they need to fix and need to correct. That's a part of the process."
(on T Ryan Harris) "The system is relatively familiar to him, some of the calls, and some of the things we do are a little bit different, the adjustments that we have. He played well for me when I was in Denver. I just know him as a smart kid that plays hard and works hard at it. I think if we keep rotating him in right now. I think that helps them. They get to see on the sidelines. They get to work together. He's done a good job for the short time he's been here."
(on protecting QB Matt Schaub) "Well I think there's an emphasis on making sure we cover him in certain situations. We're not letting anybody free. But I think that's also on everybody in the building, he included. He needs to understand when he's hot, when he's not, which he does. He's really good at it. Hanging on to that thing a little bit too long at times, trying to make a play, but receivers get open a line gets a piece of everybody."
(on playing five guys on the offensive line) "Well certainly you'd love to have just five guys up there. I went through one season when just five guys played. That's great. However, we just feel that right now we need to keep moving them around and keep working with those adjustments and teaching each one of the guys and keeping our accountability, make sure everybody is up to task. At some point in time that may happen, and if it does, that'd be great."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak ) "Obviously, I said it last week, he's great to work for. He's been in each one of our roles as an assistant coach. He knows what it takes. He knows what it takes to win. There's so much work that you have to put in, but it doesn't have to be drudgery. He makes it fun to work around. He understands that. I tell you what it's all about winning too, but he takes care of you as a person, as an assistant coach, as a player. He understands. He's a human being. I think that's the best part about him, his personality. His people skills are incredible. Just looking around at other people that have been in those spots, maybe don't have that quality. I think he does a great job with that, understanding it's all about winning. We're all about the same thing, but his people skills and knowing how to handle certain situations, he's done an incredible job with that."
RB Arian Foster
(on the Titans) "I haven't watched them in depth yet, but they're always going to be a physical team. That's the nature of their organization. We always have to look forward to one of those types of fist fights when we, not literally. That's terrible actually. I meant a tough game."
(on the matchup against Tennessee) "It's a rivalry. We're in the same division. It's like that when we play Jacksonville or Indy. It's just one of those tough, physical games."
(on the team's momentum) "It's always nice to win your games that you're allowed to play ,but it doesn't mean anything. It's early in the season. We're focused on the next game. We're not worried about what we've done or what we're going to do. We're worried about this week."
(on being ranked No. 1 in the NFL in power rankings) "Rankings are about as useless as the piece of trash on the side of the street. Actually the piece of trash is probably a little more useful because you can recycle it, depending on its content."
(on if it's a relief to see that the referee situation might be resolved soon) "I can't really speculate on that. It's one of those things that's out of my hands, so if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. We still have to go out there and play."
(on how far this team has come maturity-wise) "It just kind of speaks to our character and our leadership on the team from our head coach on to the players on the field making plays, guys have been in the league for a long time, young guys stepping up, and we're all collectively coming together and playing good ball right now. So we're just looking to keep that going."
(on if he was impressed with QB Matt Schaub's ability to return to Sunday's game after his vicious hit) "I didn't see it as it happened, but I saw the replay. It's tough. He took a little lick right there. He got my respect."
(on the suspension and fine toward Denver LB Joe Mays) "Did he? That's what the punishment is."
(on if the punishment toward Denver LB Joe Mays fit the crime) "I don't get paid to make that decision."
(on if this year's team is more mature and capable of handling attention) "I guess in a sense yeah, but I think we just know as a team that you guys have a lot of good things to say when we're winning and a lot of bad things to say when we're losing. You have to take both of them with a grain of sand or salt whatever one it is. You just have to keep rolling because at the end of the day when you're playing good, everybody loves you. When you're playing bad, everybody hates you. You don't play for everybody else. You play for your teammates and your coaches and the ones that really care. You just have to keep on rolling and not worry about any those distractions and all these microphones in your face."
(on if he feels like there is more to come for this team) "I hope there is more to come. Like I said, we've had three games on our schedule so far and we've taken advantage of each opportunity. That's all you can ask for in the NFL is taking advantage of opportunity and we have another opportunity this week."
(on lessening his workload to keep him fresh) "I'm just a well-polished rook in his chess board, so I'll just move accordingly."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's ability to know when guys need a break) "He knows this league. He's been in it for like 20-some plus years, and he knows his players. He knows what it takes to win in this business. When you have a leader like that, you smile because you know he's going to take care of you as long as you're doing what you're supposed to."
(on how much fun it is as a running back trying to protect a lead) "It's just good to be a part of a franchise that has a winning mentality. If I play an integral part in that I do. Whatever I'm asked to do I'm going to do."
WR Andre Johnson
(on the offense's big plays against Denver) "Well, in the game we just had the perfect coverages for the plays that we called. As you can see during the game, the plays were wide open. We had two big ones. I had one and (WR) Kevin (Walter) had one. We just had the perfect coverage."
(on what it means to be ranked No. 1 in AP Power Rankings) "Nothing, just three games, 13 more to play. It just shows how far we've come as an organization. I remember when we used to be the laughing stock of the league. It just says a lot about how far we've come."
(on WR DeVier Posey) "I think he's ready. He's been doing well the past few weeks. He's been doing well on scout team, getting DBs ready. He looks like he's ready to go. He's pretty excited about the opportunity. As a young guy like that, you just tell them to just take advantage of every opportunity that he gets."
(on protecting late leads as an offense) "It's fun. It's a lot of fun when you can go out there. We feel like we have a good offense and we feel like when we're playing when we know how to play we can go out and score points and we can play with anybody. We have a good defense that gets teams off the field and gives us a chance to have the ball. It's a lot of fun. I think the biggest thing for us is just being consistent. At times, we'll go out and we may get the ball three times and go down and score three times. Then we'll come out at the half or something and start off, having two three and outs or something like that. I think the biggest thing for us is just being consistent and not having something that sets you back and just put it all together for a full 60 minutes."
(on how protecting leads is different from making a comeback) "It's definitely different because I've been on the other side for a while with trying to come back. It's a lot of fun, but at the same time you know you have to try to get your run game going. You try to keep the clock moving and things like that, guys staying in bounds when they catch balls. It takes everybody to get that done. Hopefully we can get a big lead on Sunday."
(on knowing Tennessee's defense is ranked poorly) "It doesn't really tell you anything. Like I said before, you can't overlook anybody in this league. All the teams have good players and any given Sunday anybody can be beat. Just like I'm pretty sure nobody thought Minnesota would beat the 49ers, but it happens. If you don't go out and play the way that you're supposed to play you can get beat. We will prepare just like we prepare for anybody else and go out there, same objective, just a different team."
(on why he was so upset with himself after Sunday's game at Denver) "I just felt like I left some plays out on the field. I take it very seriously and am hard on myself. That's just what it was. I felt like I left some plays out there."
(on if 10,000 career yards is special to him) "It's a long road, a lot of work put in. A lot of hard work just put into the game that I love. It'll be a big accomplishment."
(on facing the Titans) "They're very physical. Every time we play them, something about them and Jacksonville, I guess it's like little (rivalries). Every time we play them, they know us, we know them and it's just a game where you get after each other so it's a very physical game. They have a great font. They get after the quarterback real well. They have a good back end so what they do, they do it very well. We saw that on Sunday. We got a chance to watch a little bit of their game against Detroit. That was a pretty big shootout up there. It'll be a challenge for us and we're going to prepare just like we prepare for anybody else."
RT Derek Newton
(on coming into this home game) "We just got to keep working as an offense, keep getting better. Every week we're doing something big. With that, the sky is the limit for us. We're just going to continue to work."
(on how important the turnaround to this game is) "Last week, got a little bit frustrated but at the same time I couldn't let that affect me. I felt like I did. So this week I'm pretty much just trying to get over that hump and just keep getting better."
(on moving on from your first poor NFL performance ) "Yeah, I think it happens to everybody. It's just a fact of when that happens you can't let that continue next week. You just got to let that go and just continuing to get better."
(on the offensive lines rotation) "It's going good. Me and (T) Ryan (Harris), we're cool. We talk to each other every day. We're just going to roll with the punches."
QB Matt Schaub
(on the news that Denver LB Joe Mays was suspended for his hit on Schaub in last Sunday's game) "Well, it's a violent game that we play. Things happen. It's the nature of playing football. There's no hard feelings. The league does what the league needs to do. He definitely came up and apologized and felt bad about the hit, and I'm fine, but we're just looking to move on."
(on the attention that Denver LB Joe Mays' hit on him has received) "You know, I haven't really given much attention or thought to it, whether other people might; but me, I'm just excited that we won the other day and looking to move on to our fourth game."
(on how the team has approached having to defend large leads so far this season) "Nothing's different. WE go out with the mentality to attack and score points and go out and win a game. Whether we're up by 20 or down 14 or it's a three-point game back and forth, no matter what it is, we have the same mentality on offense or defense, and that's attack and keep attacking."
(on not getting too aggressive when protecting a lead) "Well, no. There's a lot of game situations that go into that – if it's in the fourth quarter with four minutes left, obviously we're not attacking, but we want to get a first down and end the ball game on the field. We don't want to give a team – like we did the other day when we fumbled the ball – we want to be able to go out there and execute and end the game on the field and not give them another opportunity."
(on what he's doing to help rookie WRs DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin prepare for increased workloads due to the injury to WR Lestar Jean) "I don't know if we're necessarily doing anything different. I think we're just going to go through our normal week of practice – get everyone to the game and get everyone ready to play. Those guys work extremely hard in the classroom and on the field, knowing what they're supposed to do and their assignments, so they'll be ready to play."
(on how his ear feels) "It's fine."
(on whether his teammates gave him a hard time about losing a piece of his ear in Sunday's game) "No. I mean, they're my teammates. In the locker room, anything goes, so yeah, it's been fun, but it's fine. Everything's good."
(on whether he had anything done to his ear) "No."
(on if they found the missing piece of his ear) "(laughing) Yeah, it's been recovered."
(on why it was important for him to get back in the game after having to leave the field following LB Joe Mays' hit last Sunday) "Yeah, I felt fine, I felt good. It was just a matter of having to come out because the trainers were out there, and with the helmet and with the blood, bit right when we got on the sideline and I could get my helmet, I wanted to be back out on the field with my guys. I didn't want to miss any time."
(on whether Denver LB Joe Mays' hit was the toughest he's ever taken) "There have been some tough ones. Definitely it was probably the worst looking, as far as watching it on film."
(on if he felt like he needed to show his teammates his toughness by returning to the game) "Well, it was more just wanting to be out there with my guys, not miss any time. I don't think in the heat of battle you think that much about it, and trying to make a statement. You just want to go out there and play, and every snap is important. It could be the difference between winning and losing."
(on playing for Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "It's been awesome, going on my sixth year here, now, just working with him and how much knowledge he has about the game of football and the work that he puts in. It's pretty remarkable what he's been able to accomplish in his career. As players, he has our utmost respect. He's always treated us like men and really told us how it is, doesn't sugarcoat anything, good or bad, and we respect that and he respects us. So it's a great relationship between the players and the coaches, and him in particular. The road that he's traveled since he's been here has been up and down, but at the same time as a team, it's been up and down. To finally see that through last year, making some strides as a team, and now the start of this year, we're on the right path."
(on if Head Coach Gary Kubiak is always the same guy) "Always the same guy every day – good, bad or indifferent. I think that just shows his perseverance through the job."
(on the impact that the replacement referees have had on the season thus far) "For me personally, I just try to get my team to Sunday and have a chance to win. I haven't really given much thought to it. Obviously, there's things going on in the league that have created an uproar about things, but right now all I can do is concentrate on how I can get myself ready to go win a game on Sunday."
(on what it means to him that the Texans are ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press power rankings this week) "Not much. It's a compliment, but at the same time, it's after three weeks. We want to be that team that's there in February. We're not satisfied with that. It's Week 3, we're going on Week 4, and our job is to go out and find our fourth win."
(on how the Texans' mindset has changed from years past) "I think just the makeup of this team. The face of adversity doesn't matter to us; we're not going to shy away from it. Things, good or bad, might happen to us, we just keep playing. We have confidence in our abilities on both sides of the football and on special teams to go out and make the plays necessary to win the game. Yeah, we put ourselves in a hole the other day, but the hole wasn't too great for us. And you know, at the end, we actually made it harder on ourselves to close the game out, but you know what? We found a way to end the game on both sides of the football, and that shows the determination and the mental toughness that our team has."
(on if he is more determined this year after missing the end of last season due to injury) "Yeah, I guess. Just based on how my season ended last year and not being able to finish that thing out through the offseason, yeah. But it's not any different than I've had in the past. I've attacked every season with the same determination, but this year, just with the start that we've had, the group of guys that we have and the team that we're made up of, the sky's the limit for what we can do."
(on whether it's a weight off his mind to have his contract situation resolved) "I don't know. I mean, it was great to get it out of the way and get it done. I'm very excited to continue and further my career here in Houston, but it wasn't going to affect my play or my preparation or how I am as a quarterback, whether it had gotten done or not."
(on WR Andre Johnson closing in on 10,000 career receiving yards) "It's the ultimate to have a receiver like Andre, who not only has all of the physical tools to be one of the best receivers to ever play, but the work ethic to go with it. The mentality that he brings every day to the stadium and to practice and in the meeting rooms, it's hard to find at that position. As a quarterback, to be able to distribute the ball to him, it's a great relief to have him on my side, but it's an incredible accomplishment for a guy that's really been the face of this team since Day One."
WR Kevin Walter
(on what it's like to try and protect a 20-point lead) "It's a good thing to have though, to play out in front, that's what we want to do. Keep our defense off the field and keep us on the field. We want to continue to do that."
(on not knowing if the deep pass is going to work week-to-week) "Yeah, you never know. We call that play a few times then defense doesn't give us the right coverage so we're not throwing it deep, we have to check it down. But they gave us an opportunity to make a play down field last week and they gave us the right coverage, so we just have to keep on executing."
(on Tennessee defense) "They're physical, they're solid, they fly around. We always have a battle with those guys and we know it's going to be a tough test. Looking at them, you know they're a physical team."
(on his thoughts about LB Joe Mays getting fined) "That's a vicious hit, one of the most vicious hits I've seen (QB) Matt (Schaub) take or anyone take back there. It's tough. I think he got fined the week before for hitting another quarterback. You can ask a defensive player, they'd say it's pretty harsh but you can ask (QB Matt) Schaub or myself and I think it's the right thing to do. Obviously, I don't think he's a dirty player by any means, he didn't mean to do it on purpose, but you got to play by the rules."
DE J.J. Watt(on what it means to him to be second in the NFL in sacks) "It means I'm one spot out of first. That's where I want to get to. It means that I have a great defense that I'm playing on. I have a lot of great players around me who've helped me make opportunities, and I have a great defensive coordinator who gives me chances."
(on the team's mentality) "I think it's all around. It's the whole squad. It's not just one guy. It's not just two guys. It's the whole team. The amount of focus and the attitude that our team brings week in and week out no matter who the opponent is why we have so much success."
(on Titans QB Jake Locker and his mobility) "He's very mobile. He's very good, great football player. He's fun to watch and it's going to be a good challenge for us so we're excited about that. He's a young quarterback so what we need to do is try to force him into mistakes."
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson) "He's a good running back. Obviously, he had an unbelievable year a couple years ago and you know what he's capable of so you always have to be worried about that."
(on how important it is to him to add more success against opposing quarterbacks) "I have a long list so hopefully we just keep marking them down."
(on Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' praise toward him) "It's unbelievable. It's an honor. It's a privilege and it's also a motivator. It makes me want to get there and it makes me want to prove (Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips right. It means so much coming from him because of who he is and what he's done in this league and who he's seen. I also want to be J.J. Watt. At some point, I hope that I don't get compared to anybody and I can just be me."
(on facing the Titans for the third time) "I think their quarterback has a great arm and he can also run a little bit so they're definitely throwing the ball a little bit. Their running stats, I think they would tell you they aren't where they want them to be. Our game plan, like I say every week is stop the run and then attack the passer once they start throwing the ball, so that's how we can hopefully put some pressure on the quarterback and make him make some throws he doesn't want to make."
Tennessee Head Coach Mike Munchak Conference Call
(on the Titans' running game struggles) "Obviously we want to do much better than we're doing. In general, most every team you ask will want to be known as a team that can run the ball when they need to run it and right now we're just not having the success that we'd like to have early in the season. That's something we have to keep working at. We haven't had a lot of opportunities. I think we've run the ball 40 times in three games. That's not a whole lot because of how some of the games have gone. Within those games, I thought last week we did have some good runs within the game. We had three or four good 10-yard runs that were good runs. We just need to get in a game where we get more opportunity to do it and really see where we're at."
(on the difference in RB Chris Johnson now and two years ago) "It's not just him. I think the team's different. I think the players are different. Obviously the Texans are different. We're in different places right now than we were back in some of those games that he did have. We'll see. If there's one thing you could point to, we would have fixed it by now if that's what we thought what it was. But we still have the potential to make some big plays in the run game, they're just not coming right now the way maybe we have in the pass. Sometimes it's making a guy miss one on one. Sometimes it's not checking to the right play and running into to a bad situation. Sometimes it's just not blocking well at the point of attack. It's like you get snake bit I think when one phase of the game is not working so right now that's the phase that's not working and luckily last week the passing game did work."
(on if he's worried QB Jake Locker will feel more pressure to run) "No, actually, I've been around a lot of running quarterbacks since I've been here and he's a guy that takes his stride. You don't have to tell him, 'Hey, remember you can run now.' He's just going to take what the defense gives him. He's obviously trying to make a play down the field on a play with his arm. He's only run there a couple times in each game. He's not like a Cam Newton where he's running the ball 10-12 times a game or that type of thing. He's not leaving the pocket unless he feels it's necessary. I think that's a good thing. He knows how to slide. He hasn't taken the big hits when he has been asked to run. I think that's a nice weapon that he presents to a defense to frustrate them, but it's not something that we're designing all these plays for him to run the football."
(on if he's noticed any patterns from Texans Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips against young quarterbacks) "Not really, I think he just does what they're good at. You have good football players, you have a good scheme, I don't think he gets caught up in making a lot of changes. Obviously how he's going to call coverage and maybe how much he's going to decide to blitz will change game to game or if you have a mobile quarterback. You adjust some things here and there for that, but for the most part, last year they're coming off a great year last year. They're picking up where they left off. They got young players that play hard and are physical. Even in the Miami game when they weren't playing well as an offense, all of a sudden three-four turnovers and that game changes. That's the kind of defense they are. I don't see him changing for anybody other than fine tuning for different things I think different packages for that team you're playing against. I'm sure we'll see something a little bit different here and there. For the most part, when you're good at what you do, you do it every week."
(on if DE J.J. Watt's sack production has been unusual for being a 3-4 defensive end) "It probably is for the position, but the fact that he stays on the field and plays all three downs gives him more opportunities to make plays. When you work, I liked him coming out of college. We thought he was going to be a really good, special player. If we didn't get him, we didn't want him to go in our division. Unfortunately we'll see him twice a year. He's just a fun player to watch. He got drafted to the perfect place where they're using him exactly how they need to and putting him in different spots where he can make plays. He's athletic. We all know he can jump up and bat a lot of balls and creates problems that way too when he's not harassing the quarterback. He's off to a great start and I thought he played well last year."
(on people comparing DE J.J. Watt to Ray Childress) "I think the work ethic is that way. I think he has the ability; he's unpredictable. I think Ray (Childress) was unpredictable as far as being always at the point of attack or playing the four - or playing on the five-technique on the defensive end. He can run around the block. He can back door you. He could beat you across your face. He changes it up so he's got the tackle guessing how he's playing his technique. I think they have some similarities there. I think Ray made a living being able to arm over, cut the corner quick and still make the tackle in the backfield for a loss. I think that's a skill you see him doing. Ray played more of the three technique that (DE J.J.) Watt is, but I think there are a lot of similarities."
(on how he would block DE J.J. Watt if he was playing against him) "Hopefully I was having help a lot. Well he'd probably play a little bit more over the tackle than the guard the way they're using him. He's just a guy that you know he'd be ready to play every snap. You could block the heck out of him for a quarter or for two quarters and he's still going hard and all of a sudden the third quarter you have a letdown or you use bad technique, he's going to expose you and that's where he makes plays. That's the life of an offensive lineman. You can block him well for a while, but all of a sudden he's been a guy, for a defensive lineman, he's been making a lot of big plays. Last year, I think he had the interception for a touchdown in the playoff game against Cincinnati. Things like that. He's doing things that a lot of defensive linemen don't do."
(on the Texans multi-faceted offense) "I think that's the thing with the weapons. Their top players are playing well and making plays just like you'd hope they would when you have your offense going. I think they've run the ball more than anybody in the NFL right now as far as repetitions. I think we're the least. That's where their game goes. Coach (Gary) Kubiak is obviously from Denver. He saw that work. He's been very successful, calls a great game, the way they do things, the way their formation things with the run game, the play action game. They frustrate people. They have success running it and moving it and making plays that way. People lose track of receivers and they make big plays. They do a great job of changing it up and taking what the defense will give them and being patient with what they do. As the last three games, 3-0, they're obviously doing things well. It's early in the season, but they'll just continue to get better. Running back, they got a couple running backs. (RB Arian) Foster and (RB Ben) Tate are both running very well. They do a great job of falling forward. You think you stopped them and it's second and five. They just got everything going the right way. They got a system they all believe in. If they can stay healthy, I know obviously last year the quarterback (Matt) Schaub getting hurt, hurt them quite a bit; I know it's all about staying healthy for every team. Right now, they're the team that's playing the best."
(on how involved he is with trying to fix the running game) "I'm involved with the offense. I'm involved with all three phases as far as meeting time and sitting when they put things together. You can't spend as much time as you'd like to. Yeah, I sit in some of those types of meetings, the protection meetings on offense and philosophy wise what we're trying to do. Yes, I'm going to give input and what my thinking is or I'll watch tape with them or do things like. For the most part, obviously (Tennessee Offensive Line Coach) Bruce (Matthews) and the rest of them are making the ultimate decision with everything that works best for their guys. Again, I just hope that we can make the decision to get right running the football because obviously this defense is playing very well especially against the run. Again, we just have to go out and do our thing. I know that the running game will come. You watch the tape; you can go crazy trying to figure out exactly why it's not better than it is. Heck, you guys know right there I think when Bruce was that one time with Houston, I think they were last in the league in rushing and then a year later they're first in the league rushing. It's just interesting how that happens. We just have got to not get frustrated, not abandon it and realize we still can make plays and we will and see what happens this weekend."
(on if it's frustrating for him and Tennessee Offensive Line Coach Bruce Matthews to not getting the type of production they want from the offensive line) "Yeah, but I think you realize we are who we have been as far as the protection. For example, I think we've given up two sacks in three games and we passed the ball 50 times against one of the best front fours in Detroit last week and they gave up a sack. They're doing a lot of good things. It's not like they forgot how to run block. They've been together as a group, the five of them, the tight end, the fullback, the running back, it's all the guys together calling the plays, there is a lot to calling the right play at the right time also. We're all in this thing together. It's not just the players in that phase of the game that's not working. Obviously as a lineman or an offensive lineman you'd rather do what the Texan's do. I'd rather hand it off a 117-120 times rather than drop back and pass it. There's no doubt you'd rather be in that philosophy in that part of the game than the one we're in right now. You do what you do best and if it's passing the ball right now, then we do that but we don't abandon the run. It'll come. The run game will help us win a football game."
(on the key to shutting down Detroit's Ndamukong Suh) "He was on Leroy (Harris). He plays predominantly outside. Leroy Harris did a great job I thought and the center obviously Fernando Velasco was on him quite a bit so that side of the ball was the right side because he's a left tackle. They did a nice job. They were a good, explosive front. They take pride in the pass rush and the quarterback. Like I said, there are things we're doing very well as an offense but we're not consistent right now enough as a group. Obviously we didn't play well the first two games of the year. You get opportunities like you do in all games to make plays early in games and we didn't and games got away from us. Last week, we made some big plays but we're still not having that consistent drive that we for and probably a lot of that is because of the run game. It's hard to piece plays together when you're not being able to hand it off and get four, five yards every time you run it. So we're a work in progress. This is a game we all know we're going to have to be at the top of our game if we're going to have a chance this weekend. We better fix a lot of our problems this week."
Tennessee QB Jake Locker Conference Call
(on having an NFL offseason under his belt) "It's made a huge difference just because you're so much more comfortable in what you're doing. Those OTAs make a big difference."
(on the biggest difference in him this year) "I think just having the opportunity to spend an offseason not only with the playbook, but with the guys to get a feeling for how certain guys run routes a little differently, building that chemistry with your receiving corps."
(on how much it helps having QB Matt Hasselbeck around) "A lot, he's a guy that I'm very thankful that I have the opportunity to work with every day and he's as willing to help me as he is. He makes a huge difference. I've learned so much from him that I otherwise don't think I would have learned to this point. He's great. He's very, very helpful to me and continues to be."
(on his strengths and what he needs to improve on) "Just continuing to work on consistency, I think that's what you're always striving for, just to be more consistent and maybe where you're going with the ball and how you're delivering it. Just building off what you do well, be able to create plays and get outside the pocket and put stress on the defense that way, make your strengths effective for you, but also recognize where you can improve and improve to really cause problems for differences."
(on if he follows the careers of Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck) "I'm a football fan. I always have been so I keep track of what everybody is doing. I like to watch and just enjoy the games so it's something that week-in and week-out, I'm trying to catch highlights or games if at all possible."
(on DE J.J. Watt) "He's been one of those headline guys. He's played so well, physical presence inside and a guy that's become a game-changer."
(on the biggest difference in DE J.J. Watt in his second season) "I don't know. I thought he was very effective last year when we played them the two times last year. He does a great job of playing with a lot of effort, a lot of energy and when he doesn't get to the quarterback he does a really, really good job of getting his hands up in the passing lane, and allowing balls to get tipped. The results of that a few times this year especially have been interceptions for that defense, so huge plays in the game because he just keeps playing."
(on what he's seen on film from this year's defense under Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) "They're a good defense. They were last year. It was a team that's very sound in what they do. They're very confident in what they do and it shows up on film. They don't make a lot of mental errors. They're in the right positions and their communication is really good on defense. It's no wonder they've had the success that they have."
(on if his mobility has forced him to develop patience to stay in the pocket) "It's something that I worked on a little bit when I was in college and stuff, but like I said earlier, I think it's one of my assets so it's not something I want to take away from my game. It's a weapon that can help our offense. I don't put too much focus on making sure I'm staying in the pocket because I think that it helps create plays at times when I'm able to get outside. I just kind of listen to my feet and if I feel like I've been in the pocket too long then try and create something."
(on why the Titans' running game and Chris Johnson have struggled) "When you look at the running game, he hasn't got a whole lot of carries, first of all. I think when he has, he's done well. He has ran hard. I think we played really well up front all year. For us, I think just going into the last three games we felt that throwing the ball gave us a good opportunity to win. We got down early in the San Diego; we kind of forced our hand on that. I think it's a combination of a few things, but I think if you really look at, we've been able to have some success on the ground."
(on Tennessee Head Coach Mike Munchak talking about the importance of establishing the run eventually) "We have our coaching staff full of guys that really understand the running game and how to make it work so I have no doubt that they'll get on track."
(on if rumors surrounding a possible referee solution has been floating around the locker room today) "It has been floating around the locker room, but again it's something that we can't control as players any more than you could control the penalties and things that get called on Sunday. I think for us it's more important to focus on our preparation for this week no matter who is out there referring the game."
(on if he could see drastic measures occurring from players if the officials issues continue ) "You never know. Again like I said, as far as I'm concerned I think that it's something that we can't control. It's outside of our control. That's up to each team individually to make a decision like that, but we're just going to go out and play to the best of our ability and try not to let that affect you."