Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, along with some players spoke with the media after Wednesday's practice at the Methodist Trainingi Center. Also, Titans head coach Mike Munchak and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck spoke with the Houston media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of all those respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordinator Rick DennisonDefensive Coordinator Wade PhillipsOLB Connor BarwinT Duane BrownILB Brian CushingRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonCB Johnathan JosephOLB Brooks ReedILB DeMeco Ryans
Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak Conference CallTitans QB Matt Hasselbeck Conference Call
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how it feels to see defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "Well, it's good. He's been back with us for a couple days. It's good to have him back. I know it's good with the players. We got to be smart with him out here and make sure we don't get him banged around, but it's good to have him back out here and see that he's feeling much better. Bum (Phillips) was out here today, so a good day at practice."
(on some players not getting selected to the Pro Bowl) "I think that whole group of what was it, nine guys, I think all those guys had some tremendous years and they're getting some respect from the League with being voted alternates, but there's always a few guys left out and I think we had a few. But that's part of the process and part of the work in this League and just makes you hungrier. I'm very proud of all them guys. They've done a hell of a job this year and this football team's helped them do a hell of a job. I told them this morning I'm very proud of them and those guys will find their way in there at some point."
(on if it's a relief to see defensive coordinator Wade Phillips up and around again) "Yeah, just for me after knowing what he went through. I went to the hospital the Saturday after the surgery, I think, and to see where he was then and where he's at right now, it's a great feeling, because it's one thing you can't take for granted in life's your health. It's good to see him back out here, and I know we all appreciate him and the players are glad to see him back."
(on if he's feeling better about WR Andre Johnson for Sunday) "You know, he looked pretty good. He got better as practice went on. I'm going to sit here and watch him and listen to him and listen to (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) Kap, but if today is any indication, we're well on our way to having him take some reps on Sunday. That is the goal."
(on DE J.J. Watt's season) "Oh, I tell you what, I don't know that I've ever been around a rookie who's played better. (Brian Cushing) Cush is part of that conversation, too, a few years ago. J.J.'s an effort player, great preparation to play. He's acted like a four-, five- or six-year guy around here since about the first month, so very proud of him. I'm sure he's going to have his share of Pro Bowls along the way, so congratulations to him and all the guys."
(on if he's surprised DE J.J. Watt has played so well) "The things he stood for coming out of the draft, he's a great kid, overachiever his whole life. Ya'll know his story and plays the game hard, studies the game. You know what you're fixing to get. Whether or not a guy approaches a possible Pro Bowl level that early, you don't know because it takes time, but this kid's going to be a great player for a long, long time and a wonderful young man, too."
(on what a win would do for the team going into the playoffs) "A win's what you're after every week. Don't get me wrong there, but my point is we've got to get back to the type of football that has made us successful and what I'm alluding to there is the turnover situation, the turnover battles, not hurting ourselves penalty-wise or mistakes. That's something that we have been very solid on as a football team and will have to be solid on starting next week if we're going to have our chances to win. We've proved to ourselves if we get sloppy, we're going to get beat, so that's a big concern of mine is cleaning up our football so that we have a chance to be successful."
(on if this week's practices have been good) "Yeah, we've had good practices. A long week, a lot to get done as we prepare for this team, but it's been good. It's a step in the right direction today."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on Tennessee's defense) "Well, obviously we played them before but it looks like their pressure package has gone up a little bit. They're playing really good. Obviously, they're going to be playing to get a chance to play in the playoffs. We're expecting the most. They're a talented group. They had a little bit of changeover with some injuries, so the Mike backer is new. They're still good up front, good corners."
(on how disappointing it was that no Houston offensive linemen were elected to the Pro Bowl) "You know what, it's hard for me to even look at it. We look at other team's defenses, and sometimes we get carried over or cross over on other team's offenses, but not in general what other people are doing. I thought they played good as a group. It's hard for me to say, 'He should have made it, he should have made it.' I'm kind of out of that thing. I'm disappointed that you know, obviously we'd like to think that we have some really good players and would be well-represented and the two guys we got in there are very good players for us."
(on what it says for RB Arian Foster to be an undrafted rookie who has made back-to-back Pro Bowls) "I wasn't here when he was an undrafted rookie. I was here last year and this year and he's played really well for us. For him to do what he's done after missing the first few games, he's done a great job for us. If somebody would have looked in a crystal ball and seen what he's done, he obviously would have drafted certainly a lot higher than being an undrafted free agent. But what we've had, he works hard. He does what we want to when we run it and when we throw it. When he's asked to block, he does everything that we ask him to do."
(on rookie QB T.J. Yates) "He's had some streaks. He's done well. But there are some things where experience would help and he's getting that on the fly, which right or wrong, that's what we have to do. We're still really confident that he can get the job done and do what we need him to do. He's just working through some things and we are as a group."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(opening statement) "It's good to be back. It's not as funny now as it was from before I was going in. I'm a little more sore than I thought it would be. It's taken a lot out of me but I'm working my back, doing what the doctors say, ready to keep building up and getting ready and probably will be in the press box this week and we'll just go from there. The recovery was great. Everything came through the way we wanted it to come through. Methodist Hospital, the doctors, all those people, the nurses, were just unbelievable. I was in the hospital for eight days, a little bit longer than I thought I would be."
(on his energy level) "You know, I'm starting to eat now, starting to feel better and better. I feel good and then all of the sudden my energy level does go down a little bit. But that will get better as it goes."
(on if being out at practice gives him a boost) "Yeah. Once you get in your routine, once you start eating and you start being with the players and with the team in the meetings and so forth, then everything gets easier."
(on if he was keeping tabs on the team while he was recovering from surgery) "Well, yeah, off and on as much as you can, certainly. A lot of it was in the hospital room when you can't do a whole lot. They take your temperature every five seconds. They look after you really well and I'm pleased that they did."
(on what type of adjustments he's had to make to his diet and daily routine) "Truly, I'm just starting out in that; solid foods now. Once that gets back to normal, which seems to be the case right now, it will get better and better."
(on ILB Brian Cushing not being elected to the Pro Bowl) "How (Brian) Cushing did not make the Pro Bowl is beyond me. I mean the guy's got at least 160, 180 tackles by our count, which is coaches' count, which is the correct count. It's not off the game where somebody sees…they don't see how many plays he makes that are unseen unless you go back and you put the camera on it and you slow it down, you go in slow motion, he's there. Boom, he's making plays. I know a lot of people are deserving, but that guy is a holy phenom, now. He's one of the best I've coached. I've been in it a long time. That's my say so."
OLB Connor Barwin
(on being selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl) "I'm just happy to be talked about being in the Pro Bowl. I'm an alternate. I'm happy about that. I mean, the outside linebacker position is a pretty crowded position in the AFC. I respect those guys that made it. Those are good players and hopefully one day I'll be there."
(on if he's just honored to be in the conversation for Pro Bowl selections) "Well, I don't know about just being in the conversation. I'm honored to be an alternate. I might be there if guys don't go. Like I said before, those are good players that made it. One day, hopefully I'll be there and hopefully I couldn't go this year if I did get the chance."
(on the Pro Bowl not being the most important game) "I'd love to play in the Pro Bowl, but obviously, I'd much rather be playing in the AFC Championship game for sure, no doubt about that."
(on if the team keeps playing well, the accolades will come) "Yeah, I think if we want to show people what this defense is about, I think the best way to do it is to go make a run in the playoffs, go make a run in the Super Bowl and play well on defense on national TV for a month. Then people will recognize the kind of players we have on this defense."
LT Duane Brown
(on if he's disappointed no one on the offensive line was selected to the Pro Bowl) "A little bit, but not too much. I'm more focused on the bigger picture. We got a lot of goals that we want to accomplish as a team, so that's mostly what I'm worried about now."
(on if the team keeps playing well, the accolades will come) "Yeah, that's how it usually goes. That's all I can focus on, just continue to do my job and help my team as much as possible going into the playoffs."
(on what it means that RB Arian Foster thought the offensive line should've been selected to the Pro Bowl) "It means a lot coming from him. He's a great player and I'm happy for him. He gets a chance to go back there after a great season last year and show people he can do it consecutive years. We've played well up front, there's no doubt about it. I thought that there were numerous guys who were deserving to go."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on what it means that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips thought he should've been selected to the Pro Bowl) "Well a coach that's so experienced as he is and has the past record and success that he does, you play for the respect of your peers and you play for the respect of your coaches and coming from him, that means the world for me. That's one of those guys, to get his approval and his praise, that's the reason you play the game."
(on if he's disappointed that he wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl) "Yeah, I am. I'd be lying to you if I said I wasn't. I play this game to be the best and I'm never going to hide that. It only means one thing, there's room for improvement. Obviously, they don't think I'm good enough yet and I'll continue to do it. As far as motivation and a driving force, this is going to be a big one."
(on what he's supposed to do since he's good enough in coaches' eyes) "I don't know, just keep working and that's all I can do. This is going to be a big week and a big next couple weeks for us. Most importantly, it's about going 1-0. It's about taking care of the team and helping us win as best as we can. I'll continue to improve. I'll continue to improve my individual game which will obviously help the team as well. But for coach to say that, come out and say that, not even being asked about it I guess you're saying, it means a lot, it really does. It really does mean a lot. He's a hell of a coach and a coach you always want to play for, so I respect him and I'm thankful for that comment."
(on what it meant to see defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "It's great. Even just seeing him out there and smiling and making calls, I know it means a lot for him as well. To be away from football like that, it really hurt him and it was tough for him. So, for him to be back out there today, I think it was just a general sense of all of us are happy to see him there."
RB Arian Foster
(on why someone on the offensive line should be in the Pro Bowl) "I don't have to say anything for them. Me lobbying for them doesn't do anything, but if you want to know about them, cut on the film and that'll speak more than my words can. Sometimes this League is about prestige and really just life, period. It's about prestige and other things like that, but that's just life. Sometimes it doesn't go your way."
(on how important it is that they don't go into the playoffs with a three-game losing streak) "It's extremely important. You don't want to have that bad taste in your mouth. We've lost two in a row. You don't want to lose three in a row in this League, period. Just to get that momentum going and that good taste back, but the good thing about the playoffs is it's zero-zero."
(on if he's had any time to reflect on what he's accomplished in his career) "No, not yet. You look in your rearview mirror, you're going to crash."
(on what the team needs to clean up before going into the playoffs) "Just execution, a lot of execution because as a team, we've had chances to finish as an offense on the field a couple games that would have put the game away and we just need to finish better. Just execution and just getting that killer instinct."
WR Andre Johnson
(on being able to play on Sunday) "I mean, that's the plan if things keep going the way they're going. That's pretty much it. That's the same thing I told ya'll the other day I talked to you. Things keep going the way they're going, then maybe I'll get a few reps on Sunday."
(on how excited he is to get back on the field on Sunday) "I'm excited. I feel like I haven't played football all year. It'll be fun to get back out there and run around a little bit."
(on knocking off some of the rust before the playoffs) "My main focus right now is just trying to win this game on Sunday. Like I said before, we haven't been playing very well for the past couple weeks, so we need to find our momentum, that fast start, the things we had when we went on that seven-game win streak. We need to find that on Sunday."
(on how surprised he is that only two Texans players were selected to the Pro Bowl) "I always tell the guys sometimes the Pro Bowl is, I wouldn't say overrated, but I think the there are always guys that go sometimes that shouldn't make it and there are a lot of guys every year that get cheated. I think it just has to get to a point to where they can figure a way out to put the guys that should be there in, the guys who really deserve it for their season. A lot of times, some guys go just off name. Once you've made it a few times, it's not hard to get back there as long as you put up some decent numbers. I tell all the guys that, but there were some guys that I felt on our team that should've went that didn't go."
(on how important it is to play better before the playoffs) "It's very important. You definitely want to have some momentum going in. It's like a new season, but the only thing about it, if you lose, you're out. We definitely don't want to go in playing bad. Like I said, we just need to get back to the things we were doing when we won seven games in a row."
(on if the excitement level is rising right now) "My teammates are pretty happy to see me out on the field. The whole season they've been just telling me 'We'll hold it down until you get back.' Things have been going good the past couple days and hopefully it keeps going in the same direction and things will keep going well for the rest of the week. Like I said, I can get back out there, get a few reps on Sunday and be ready for the playoffs. I'm just hoping that everything keeps heading in the right direction."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on what it means to be selected to the Pro Bowl) "It's an honor to be selected from your peers, coaches around the League and everyone else. It couldn't have accepted it by myself without the help of my coaches, teammates and everyone else, my supporting cast, family and friends. Just want to say thanks to everyone."
(on how disappointing it is that there aren't more Texans on the Pro Bowl roster) "To be honestly speaking, I was pretty hot because you got guys that I think are playing tremendous ball from special teams to offense and defense here on this club. To just see me and Arian (Foster) selected, those two guys, although we had alternates, I thought definitely for sure there was going to be seven, eight guys hearing their names selected for Pro Bowl."
(on if other players were selected to the Pro Bowl because of their name) "It's been that way for years. It's nothing that you can do about the way things go because some players are more popular than others or get more fan votes than others, however it may be. But for us, that's not our main goal. At the same time, we still have a playoff berth that we're going to fight and try to get all the way to the Super Bowl, so hopefully we're not even playing in the Pro Bowl."
OLB Brooks Reed
(on if he could have asked for a better rookie season) "It's been quite a run so far and I'm just looking to get better every week. I really value this experience as a rookie and I couldn't have asked for a better year to be playing with better guys."
(on what he's seen from Titans RB Chris Johnson since the first game) "We're fully aware that he can just break out any time and we just need to secure edges and just make sure he doesn't get out in too many open spaces because that's where he's dangerous."
(on what it means to have defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "It's awesome to have him back. He just has that personality where no matter what goes wrong, he's always calm and I think that is kind of contagious throughout."
ILB DeMeco Ryans
(on having defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back) "It's good to see him back out here. Everyone's wishing him well, wishing everything went well with him, so it's great to see him back out there, see him doing better."
(on if he's surprised only one defensive player made it to the Pro Bowl) "Yeah, it was surprising, but there's one thing as players, the only thing guys can do is just go out there, play ball, go out there and perform. Unfortunately, some of our guys didn't get picked on the Pro Bowl, but that's an end-all. We're not going to blow the building up just because guys didn't make the Pro Bowl. We know we have bigger goals in mind."
(on who should have been selected to the Pro Bowl) "I think (Brian) Cushing deserved it. I think he had a good year. Like I said, it's over, it's done with. We got a lot of guys who are alternates, but still congrats goes to Arian (Foster) and Johnathan (Joseph) for making it."
QB T.J. Yates
(on trying to get a win before the playoffs) "Yeah, definitely looking forward to it. We need to gain some momentum going into these playoffs, got to get back rolling on offense, defense, the whole team. We kind of got to get our swagger back a little bit and just ride a little momentum into the playoffs."
(on how important it is to go into the playoffs on a good note) "Yeah, it's huge. We got to get some momentum, get some life back, not only on this team, but in this city a little bit, get everybody back believing again that we can accomplish our goals in the playoffs. This week is very important to us. We're practicing hard. We're going to play hard and try to get a win and get some momentum."
(on if people's belief in the team has gone down from inside or outside the team) "Outside. In here, not at all. Everybody's got complete and total faith in ourselves in this locker room. We've got all the confidence in the world in each other going forward and we're excited to play."
(on the bandwagon effect on the team) "Yeah, that's the way it goes in this profession. You got to try not to pay attention to it because what really matters is the people in this locker room."
(on how much rests on him to get the offense going again) "Yeah, it's definitely on my shoulders. I got to get the guys rolling. I'm the leader on the offensive side of the ball and it all starts with me as far as every single play in practice and everything. You got to get some energy, keep it exciting in practice, keep everything rolling and we've been doing a good job so far."
(on what it will mean to have WR Andre Johnson back) "It'll mean a lot for that same aspect, kind of getting some life back to it. He's a huge part of this offense. Even when he's on the field, it's just a little more exciting and it definitely helps out as far as defensive standpoint. Teams play us differently when he's in the game and it opens up different things for us, so having him back is going to be huge."
(on how good the offensive line is) "They're awesome. Those guys don't get enough credit for what they do game-in and game-out. There should have been a lot more names on that list. Everybody's kind of disappointed about that because they know that's definitely something that could have happened and should have happened, but we're not trying to look too much into it."
(on the Titans now compared to last time they played) "They definitely have amped it up a little bit. They're a different team than we saw before. They're going to show us different things and probably try to come after us a little bit more. They got a lot riding on the line, so we're expecting their best."
Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak
(on if he or his agent has had any contact with Penn State about the head coach position) "No, I have not. I don't have an agent to answer the second question. So, no, I have not talked to anyone at Penn State as far as about working there."
(on if he would have any interest in coaching at Penn State) "I think I've said that obviously I love Penn State. I know that it's a tough situation everything that's gone on. I know that they'll end up having a great coach there, but I have a great job right here and we're shooting for the playoffs, so I plan on staying here coaching."
(on what's different about the Texans after playing them once this season) "Well, other than the couple of injuries they've had, I think they're still… When you're good at what you do, you keep doing it and I think that's what they do. They're a good running team. They've been a good running team. They're still second in the League, same as when we played them last time. They're still doing all the same things, obviously with a different quarterback, but still up front I think they're playing well. I think the back runs well. They tie things together well with their boots and their play action and all those things, which still make them very successful. It's a tough offense to stop. On defense, they're still number two. When we played them, I think they were number one or two in the League and that was back in the first quarter of the season, so they've only gotten better and stronger and consistent the whole year. It's a great challenge for us. We know how hard it's going to be to win this football game down there and it means a lot to us. I know they want to play well. It doesn't necessarily mean a lot to them as far as affecting their playoff situation, but it's still a game that I'm sure they want to win."
(on if he's noticed a difference in the defense without defensive coordinator Wade Phillips) "Not really, I know everyone has their personal touch. It's still his defense. It's still what he's put together. It's still his schemes. But obviously when you're calling it, every coordinator is going to be different and add their own little twist to it. Obviously, he's been the guy that's had all that success, put that together. He's the guy that the players have really rallied around. As far as watching it on tape, I wouldn't say there's anything drastically different. They play hard. You turn the film on, they play hard, they play physical. They're making plays. They've got a nice mix of young players with guys with a little bit of age, so it's worked well for them. No, you turn the tape on and they're playing at a high level."
(on if he's talked to his team about approaching this game as just another game) "Yeah, I think I talked more about the history of the teams the first time we played, just so they understood because a lot of guys in our room, a lot of them may not have even been sure that we started in Houston at one time, this franchise. You don't realize how many years ago that was for some of these young players. I always kind of do that, so they know the background of rivalries. I think that's important to understand that. As far as this game goes, all we're concerned about is how it affects us and we have to win. It doesn't matter who we're playing or when we're playing. It just matters for us. To have a chance at extending our season, we have to win the football game. So, I don't think it will be any more important than that for us."
(on QB T.J. Yates) "You know, again, for a rookie coming in, it's a tough situation for any young man to come into. But when you have an offense that's so successful running the football, it takes a lot of pressure off him. When you have an offense that's done a great job on first and second down as good as anybody in the League, they're having a lot of third-and-shorts or not even having as many third downs because they're running the ball so well and play action so well that it's taken a lot of pressure off him that he knows he doesn't have to win the game by himself. But I think he's done well. I think Kubs (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) is using him the right way, not putting too much on him and he's obviously going to build confidence the more he plays and I'm sure for that reason, this game with us is a big game for him too, as a young quarterback trying to get more experience and get some more wins and build that confidence going into the playoffs for them."
(on if he's surprised that none of the Texans offensive linemen were selected to the Pro Bowl) "Yeah, you know what, I didn't know that. Yeah, I would be. I think they've played very well. I think they play well within the system. I think unfortunately, sometimes then they treat them as a group and individually they don't get as much credit as they deserve. I've had offensive lines that that's happened to. They play well together and so the attention comes to when you talk about them, a lot of times unfortunately they'll say 'Hey, the Texans' offensive line is playing very well' and they don't say 'Hey, it's (Eric) Winston, it's (Chris) Myers, it's (Wade) Smith, it's (Duane) Brown' that we notice. I notice that as a line coach and a head coach individually how some of them are playing, but I think that happens sometimes. It's unfortunate because there's no doubt when you lead the League last year in rushing, lead the League this year or you're second, there should be some big-time recognition for some of those guys. So, I think it's unfortunate. Again, I don't know who they picked over them, but all I can say is that I think those guys have played very well this year. I think it's nice for linemen to get that recognition because we don't get a whole lot of recognition. I know they take a lot of pride in having the top runner last year and the second running game and protecting the quarterback well, so I think they take pride in that and winning the division. I'm sure all that stuff means a lot, but I think in the end, it's nice if a couple of them had made it."
(on if he's surprised only one Texans defensive player was selected to the Pro Bowl) "Yeah and they lost their defensive end at the beginning of the year, but they've rallied. I think they have as many sacks as they've had in a long time. Yeah, I am. I just think that, again, I don't know where some of the voting goes, maybe because this is their first year on the scene playing so well as a group in the last couple years, so maybe it takes a year to get some of the recognition. Yeah, I think it's hard when they've played as well as they have. I think people have recognized it. I know we have. I know the rest of the League has when you post the second or third best defense, but unfortunately, individually again, I think some of these guys aren't getting the credit they deserve of which they'll get, especially when they go to the playoffs. Once you make the playoffs, you win your division, I think a lot more attention's going to come to a lot of these guys, especially if they make any noise in the playoffs, win a game or two. I think it'll make a huge difference for a lot of them individually and again, the most important thing to all these guys is winning football games and all that, but ultimately, you'd still like some of your guys to get recognition. I think it's something that unfortunately may take an extra year for a lot of them."
(on possibly playing the Texans two weeks in a row and what he remembers about playing the Browns two weeks in a row when he was with the Oilers) "I think in that one, I think we lost the first one and came back and won the second one. I think that's how it went. It'd be interesting. I hope we have the opportunity. They're guaranteed the game, we're not, so I'm hoping we can earn that right because I think it would be to play a team back-to-back and a team you know well and have played already once and obviously we didn't play well the first time around, so we have a lot to change from the last time we faced off. It'd be awesome. I hope we have that option, but we'd love the opportunity to come back and play twice."
(on if he's going to let offensive line coach Bruce Matthews fly to Houston early to watch his son play for Texas A&M on Saturday) "Well if he has a good week practicing and he puts a good game plan in and he promises me that it's going to work then he can definitely go a couple days early. I think he's definitely planning on coming down and see his son play and it's been a big sacrifice for him all year missing his son that's a senior in high school there, his games and his other son's at A&M because it was a much better situation when he was in Houston for him. Yeah, I think he's excited about the opportunity. This works out well where he's able to do that. Yeah, he'll get a chance because the game is right there at the stadium."
Titans QB Matt Hasselbeck
(on what's different about the Texans after playing them once this season) "Well, I know the last two weeks haven't gone the way they wanted, but they still look really good. We felt good about that game going into it. I think we had had the bye week right before. We were playing them at home. Schematically, they don't necessarily do anything to really fool you, but they're really, really good at what they do. I think we probably underestimated how good they were physically. They're one of the premier teams in the NFL this year and it just hasn't been the case sometimes in the past. Sometimes you think 'Oh yeah, we've played these guys. We've played these guys and they're good. They're good.' They came out and they were great. They were fantastic that game we played against them here. They were making plays all over the field in all phases and they really took it to us. I think that's probably the toughest game we've played this year in terms of just we were feeling one thing and they really disrupted what our thoughts were and took it to us. It's not at all surprising that they've had the success they've had after that. They've gone on, they've won this division which is a nice thing for them and they've really battled through a lot of adversity losing key players, losing Matt Schaub, not having their top receiver, not having different guys, the pass rusher, not having different guys all season. They've just battled through all that adversity and they've done a great job."
(on if there's any added emphasis for this game) "Yeah, I'm not exactly sure of the scenarios. You're saying that we could play in Houston two weeks in a row? Is that what you're saying? Yeah, well that probably won't be exciting for the fans. We could do something to change it up, maybe wear our throwbacks. That might confuse everybody though. I don't know. For us, we'll be happy if we get a chance to play another game. We're not promised anything because of the mistakes we made earlier in the season, so we're just going to try to win this game. I think more than anything, most of the guys in our locker room are saying, 'Any time you step out there, you want to compete.' I know that's kind of a cliché, but this is an opportunity for us to play against a really good football team and do better than we did the first time."
(on if he's surprised that only one Texans defensive player was selected to the Pro Bowl) "I am, I'm very surprised. But again, I shouldn't be because that whole system is a little bit, it's not an exact science. You got to play well the game before everybody votes. That's one thing. You've got to get a lot of national TV games. That helps. There's a lot of things that go into it. Sometimes it's just a name. It's hard to get rid of a guy at a certain position who's gone just year after year, after year. That's just part of it. It's an honor when you get to go, but it's also not the end of the world if you don't."
(on if the team has talked about how loud it is at Reliant Stadium) "No, we haven't talked about it, but those of us that have played there, we know that it's a great atmosphere and they've got good fans."
(on the Titans injuries this year) "We've actually been pretty healthy this year. I think we've been pretty fortunate. We lost Kenny Britt, who's a big-time player for us and he was going to be a big part of our passing game this year, so that hurt. But other than that, we really went pretty much the whole year without putting guys on IR. We've had to add some guys to the injured reserve in the last week or two, but that's more of a just end of the year type thing. I've been pretty pleased with the continuity that we've had. It's been a nice thing because I don't know that I've ever been a part of it where you pretty much have been with the same guys all season."
(on what a win does for a team after losing a few in a row) "Well, winning just makes Mondays a lot more fun. In this case, for Houston, I don't know. I don't know if it really matters to them. It may, it may not. I don't know what their mindset is. It doesn't really matter to me. They may care or they may care about what's really important down the line for their long-term goals. I'm not sure. Either way, we've got to be ready to go because if they decide to come out and play it like normal, then we got to be ready to go and if they don't, we still got to be ready to go. I don't know. That might have been a really confusing answer there. They've got a decision to make, I guess, on how they want to handle it."
(on if he's noticed a difference in the defense without defensive coordinator Wade Phillips) "To my knowledge, that's not going to matter because I think he's back. I think he'll be back in the press box. Football aside, competing aside, you always hope and root for someone's health to be good. In that regard, we hope the best for him and his family and all that. If he's back, which I think we're expecting that he's back, that's fine. Again, I'd say one of the best things about this defense is that they don't necessarily trick you. They don't try to trick you necessarily. They're just better than you physically and they just fly around. It's almost like, when you watch on film, it just looks like they want it more than the other team. They're hungrier for it or something and I think that's something you can say about the great defenses that you've gone against over the years. There's some people that try to just kind of just disguise and fool you and they're up one week and they're down the next. I just see a great level of consistency from their playmakers and they're getting good play all around. To me, teams I respect play that kind of defense and this is certainly one of those teams."
(on QB T.J. Yates) "You know, I haven't really got a chance to watch him at all. I really haven't, but it hasn't seemed to disrupt the ship, so to speak. It seems like they're still sailing in the right direction."
(on what he remembers from his time with quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp in Seattle) "He was great. I really enjoyed working with him. It was just one year. We had had tons and tons of injuries. I think we started five left tackles that year and most of them, they got there on a Tuesday, started on a Wednesday kind of deal. It was a rough deal and that's always hard for any offense. I learned a lot of football from him. I really enjoyed watching, in the offseason, I really enjoyed watching the cut-ups that he had had of guys that he coached previously, guys like Steve Young or even Jeff Garcia, who I think is there now. It was a lot of fun. Those are guys that I really enjoyed watching their game and it was exciting to watch. It made for a really fun offseason and learned a lot of football from him. I actually ran into him down at the airport in Houston or Dallas, one of those airports. Last year, he gave me a ride to my hotel. He's a good dude."