Following are quotes from the Texans-Bears preseason game on Aug. 11, 2007 at Reliant Stadium.
HOUSTON TEXANS QUOTES Halftime:
Texans owner Robert C. McNair (on the running back position) "We think Ahman (Green) offers both power and speed that we didn't have before. We had power but we didn't have enough speed. We've got Ron Dayne, and then we've got these young guys coming along behind. I want to see what (Samkon) Gado does, and we've got (Wali) Lundy back there. It's an exciting group of young players."
(on veteran leadership) "We really brought in some veteran leadership, guys like Ahman and N.D. Kalu who was with us. (Ephraim) Salaam is doing a great job. We've got our quarterback, Matt (Schaub), on offense who has added a lot, so now we've got a new mix of people to provide leadership."
(on the defensive secondary) "We've got a lot of competition in the secondary that we didn't have before. I think that's one reason you're going to see a lot more turnovers produced this year. The guys have better hands, better speed, and there's a lot of competition, so we've got some depth."
Texans running back Ahman Green (on the performance of the first team offense) "I didn't see many mistakes. Watching the film on Monday we'll see what we did wrong. From the standpoint of the running game, everything executed pretty well. I could feel that everyone was a little nervous, a little jittery, excited, which is good. If you're not nervous, you're not ready to play."
(on his comfort with the offense) "I've got a big comfort zone. I'd say that's where just going with the flow out there and reacting to the box and the way I ran out there came from because I'm used to the play calling. I know how coach is, he likes to run the ball, and I'm learning how Coach Kubiak is. They both like to run the ball. With that I have to remember that it's going to be run first, pass second."
(on backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels) "When you have guys that can come in when someone comes out of the game and keep up the slack like Sage is doing tonight, that's what you want. Whether it's quarterback, running back, wide receiver, or guys on the offensive line, when the next guy comes in there's no drop off."
Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (on his NFL debut)"It was fun coming out here and finally getting that first game under my belt. That first series was a lot of excitement, a lot of emotion. It felt good to go in and get that all."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (on the injuries from tonight's game) "(SS) Glenn Earl has a foot injury. It doesn't look real good. I'm not going to go into that. The initial prognosis is not very good. I'll let you guys know tomorrow. It could possibly be the lis-franc injury, same injury that Petey (CB DeMarcus Faggins) had last year, but I'm not quite sure yet. (LB) (Shawn) Barber has a shoulder strain. I think he'll be fine. And (CB) (Jason) Horton has a fracture. It's in the arm, in the elbow area, and that does not look very good. Other than that I think we're ok. Right now Glenn Earl and Jason Horton are our two major concerns."
(on the play of quarterback Matt Schaub) "I thought he did some good things. He had a chance for a lay-up touchdown there at the end and he misses (WR) Kevin (Walter) in the corner of the endzone. He made a great play on the first third down that Kevin has to hang on to it and make that play. That's what he is. He's got a great field presence out there, he knows what's going on and he's going to make good decisions for our team. I thought that what little time I gave him, I think he only played 11 or 12 plays, he did a real good job. I wish he would have hit (WR) Kevin (Walter) in the endzone and walked off the field with a touchdown."
(on whether or not settling for field goals in the first half was disappointing) "Oh, yeah. You know, when you're one-for-four in the red zone in this league you're going to get beat. That's what we were. One-for-four, and then the turnover turned into a touchdown for them, and then at the end of the game we get the punter in a situation that's inexcusable. We talk about finding ways to win, and we're finding ways to get beat out there tonight, and we can't do that."
(on the play of wide receiver Jerome Mathis) "It's exciting to see. He came in and had a couple of catches, he looked like his old self returning the kicks, and I think he's only going to get better. He hasn't played much at wide receiver in the game. We've got to put him in the right spots, but it was good to see him hold up tonight and do some of the things that he did."
(on the play of defensive end Jason Babin) "I've told you guys all through training camp that he has been a different player. He's very committed to what he's doing, he's had a great off season. Jason and I battled each other last year along the way, but one thing about Jason, he plays hard. I think he's kind of recommitted himself, he understands our defense, he knows his role, and I would not be very surprised at all if we're talking about (DT) Travis (Johnson) and we're talking about Jerome (Mathis) and we could very easily be talking about the corner that Babin has turned. I think he's doing much better in how he's going about his business right now."
(on defensive tackle Amobi Okoye playing against Bears G Ruben Brown) "That's a big group. One thing we talked about, Amobi is a 300 pound guy that stature-wise is not real tall and he's got to get used to holding his point in there. People are going to run the ball at him, and that was a big, physical group to go against tonight. I'm sure he found out what it's going to be like to play in the NFL."
(on the positives of the Texans red zone play tonight) "I've got to look at the tape. Typically you're worried about all the negative things that happen and you'd like to be making some of these corrections with winning. One of the things we're trying to do, that we talk about all the time, is learning how to win. Some of the things that showed up out there, you think they're gone, or you think you've gotten over some of those things, and a couple mistakes we made late in the game are eating at me right now. There were some young receivers that did some good things. There's no doubt about that. We did not run the ball well, so we've got to go back and take a look at that. Our special teams did some very good stuff, except for the mistake there at the end, so I think we've got the ability for some big plays in our special teams because of our returners. I think (WR) Jacoby (Jones) looked very comfortable as a punt returner and almost took the first one to the house."
Texans special teams coordinator Joe Marciano (on the competition between Jacoby Jones and Jerome Mathis) "Well, they're two different positions. Jerome is strictly a kick returner that we're trying to develop into a punt returner. Jacoby is a natural punt returner that I'm trying to develop into a kick returner. If one guy can do both, that's a bonus."
(on the most exciting thing going into practice) "I'm excited to see my boy right now. I'll worry about it tomorrow when I wake up."
Texans running back Ahman Green (on how it felt to be out there in a Texans uniform) "It felt good. You know, it's something I have been anticipating for a long time. It's been about four or five months now and today was the day. It felt good. You know, going out there running, it felt a lot better than the practices because it wasn't hot. It was nice and cool out there. As long as we practice in the heat and get us ready for this, I'm going to feel good out there."
(on how his legs felt tonight) "Felt great. I could have played a lot longer than they let me play. You know, but that's the way we do it in preseason and you've got to bite your tongue. You know, I'm the kind of player that likes to go bang around a lot. So, you'll see that during the year. But I've got to get ready for the regular season, not the preseason."
(on how excited he is about the season) "This is just waiting a long time for everything to get going. You know, I know that it's three weeks away to kickoff with the (Kansas City) Chiefs. All these other games are pretty much a glorified practice. So, it's just honing the skills; get everybody, offense and defense, on the same page. That's what preseason is for. You're not in there a whole lot of time to get in the groove. Probably second or third game we will; we might play the whole first half. Then after that, we will get in some kind of groove, but when K.C. gets here that's when we'll know where we are at."
Texans kicker Kris Brown (on getting started in the preseason) "It's good to get out there and get some early work in. I was pretty excited to get the opportunity early on. That's one of the things I'm going to focus on the first time we touch the ball. When we got a chance to put points on the board I've got to come through. It was good work today."
(on getting more attempts in the preseason) "I just think the more work you could get in now once the regular season starts you can just transition on what you've been doing."
(on his performance tonight) "It feels great. We've kicked quite a bit in camp, which I like to do, but overall I just need to come back on Monday and get better."
Texans wide receiver Jerome Mathis (on how he thought he played) "Like Coach (Gary Kubiak) said, we had a goal coming into this game and we didn't achieve it, so we have to go back in on Monday and fix everything that we did wrong and just get better."
(on how it felt to be out there healthy again) "It was fun. It was kind of like being a rookie all over again. You know, adrenaline flowing. You get tired, real quick. But once you get that first series and the first touch out of your way, you kind of calmed down."
(on if he thought he was going to take the kickoff back all the way) "I thought I did. I knew when the ball was kicked that I had a long way to go. You know, I knew what kind of return we had set up but we got a big return off it and we scored some points."
Texans tight end Jeb Putzier (on having a connection with quarterback Sage Rosenfels) "We've both been playing for a while now and you've got a feel for the game with Sage. Obviously, he proved that tonight because he threw really well, felt their zone and he did a good job."
(on how he felt about his performance) "Personally, I felt great. I made some plays and I blocked well, that's part of my game I've been working on for a long time. They have some big boys on that d-line and it came out good that way."
Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels (on what he got out of this game) "Well, it was good to get back in there. You know, there's some rust definitely I need to knock off. I think what preseason games do is give you motivation for practice. It does get old out there practicing, but you play a game and you see things you need to work on and you see things you're doing well. So, I thought we did some good things on offense and there's some things we need to improve on."
(on it being not a big deal to lose a preseason game) "Well, you know, Coach Kubiak is a very competitive guy and I think he wants his players to be as competitive as he is. I think we have a lot of guys that are as competitive as he is and whether it's tidily-winks or the NFL, I think you want to win whatever you're playing. Even though it was a preseason game, winning is contagious."
(on him having a good rapport with wide receiver Jacoby Jones tonight) "He's a playmaker. He's a young guy and excited to go out there and make plays and I was fortunate enough to give him the ball a few times. He made some key plays; we obviously made some key mistakes that we need to improve on. He's got some talent and we've got to find a way to harness it."
Texans cornerback Von Hutchins (on his versatility to play cornerback or free safety) "I could play corner and convert back to free safety like I did in college. I was just able to make some plays early in the game to gain some confidence, which is a good thing."
(on feeling comfortable at free safety) "I'm really feeling more comfortable getting more adjusted on just getting back deeper and not being too close to the actions. But with games and a lot more reps it'll come through."
(on causing turnovers in the first quarter) "Anytime you get a turnover you give the ball back to our offense we can put some points on the board as a whole. As a team we just have to finish. When we put ourselves in a position to win a game we just have to finish."
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (on his overall feelings for the game) "Anything you do, you hate to lose. Things looked positive out on the field. First series we went three and out, but then we came back and moved the ball down the field. We just need to score touchdowns instead of kicking field goals."
(on quarterback Matt Schaub) "He's leading our ship and he's making the decisions. I think a lot of the decisions he made tonight were pretty smart decisions. I think when the first group was in there we were pretty clean. Probably the cleanest we've been since I've been here."
(on Schaub's play during the game) "He'll stand in the pocket and throw the ball. That's something you have to love about your quarterback."
Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones (on his first NFL performance) "I think I did pretty good. The offensive line did a pretty good blocking the quarterback placed the ball well. Everybody did their job."
(on the NFL Crowd) "A lot more crowd than Lane College. (Here it's) 70,000. (At Lane) we hold about 1,300."
(on his punt return) " I wish I could have that back. I should have kept running straight instead of cutting back."
(on playing against NFL competition) "The guys are a lot faster and lot bigger than you what you see in college."
(on what his position on the team is now after his performance) "No, I feel like I got a lot of work to do. Like I said I can get better everyday."
Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (on his first NFL experience) "The most important thing was getting out there and competing with a different opponent other than training camp. It felt good to get one game under my belt. I was a little winded my first series because of the emotion and excitement, but it felt good."
(on the NFL game situation) "It felt just like practice in the case of size and speed, but I could tell it's different. I really felt the difference in OTAs."
(on what he felt he did well tonight) "I think as far as doing my job and doing what I had to do. I had just one missed assignment and that was my part of me just being greedy and being part of the tackle because as an interior player you're limited to so much."
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (on being out there for the first time) "I felt really comfortable right from the start seeing our assignments, but one thing we have to concentrate this week is hitting for four quarters."
(on talking about the red zone and what does the team did and need to do) "Our defense set us up with some great field position much of the first half and our return game as well. We got to take advantage of that field position and turn it into touchdowns rather than settling for three."
(on what made it difficult today in the game) "One was that I missed a touchdown to Kevin (Walter), you know I put it out there a little to far instead of just putting on him and giving him a chance, that's all me. And will correct that and get it straightened out."
(on how much you can not get frustrated) "Well, it's hard not to get frustrated because you know the plays are there and we make them all the time in practice and in the past, so we just have to make sure that when the lights are on. We will have to go out and make those plays because that's the difference between winning and losing."
(on how he was pleased with today with the team) "I thought we played physical, I thought our team…I wasn't surprised by that. I knew going into the game that we would play physical and at a high level, enthusiasm, so I was proud of the guys for that. Our special teams played, we had some great returns and made some big plays in the kicking game, so I was pleased all around with how our team came out and how they were focused on there job and what they how to get done. There was just a few plays that swung the game in the other team's favor."
(on the last play) "Well the last play that I was in there definitely left a bad taste in my mouth and I would have loved to get back out there and had another chance to take us down for a scoring drive, it was coaches decision to take us out."
(on wide receiver Jacoby Jones'play today) "I thought Jacoby came out and played really well, I was pleased to see him in live game action, what he was able to do and make some of those tough catches in traffic and especially those returns. He had a couple good plays there, so that was very encouraging to see him transfer what he does on the practice field into game action."
(on the difference of being a starter) "I think the only difference is that you are out there on the first snap. My mentality when I was backing up in Atlanta was that you had to prepare yourself to play start to finish, that's your mind set, so that's how I prepared and that's how I just carry that with me now."
(on Chicago's defense) "They didn't do anything more difficult then what we had seen on film, we knew what they would do and we were prepared for it. There is a lot of guys who relaxed and just played football rather than have to play mental gymnastics with new looks or new defenses that we were seeing:"
Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter
(on his incompletion in the endzone) "I beat the guy. It's something that we just need to work on and get better. It's a preseason game, that's why we're out there. We've got to go out there and complete those during the season."
** "I beat the guy. It's something that we just need to work on and get better. It's a preseason game, that's why we're out there. We've got to go out there and complete those during the season."
(on the red zone troubles) "We got field goals out of it, but we need to score points, we need to score touchdowns. That's what coach stresses a lot, we need to score touchdowns. The main thing is to get points, but we're looking for touchdowns not field goals."
(on quarterback Matt Schaub) "I'm so glad we have him on our team. He's a leader, he works hard, he knows what's going on, and I'm definitely excited to have him on our team. He's going to do some good things this year for sure."
Texans defensive end Mario Williams (on his role in the first game) "It was basically just going out there and running around and trying to get a feel for it and making adjustments. I probably should have made some adjustments earlier."
CHICAGO BEARS QUOTES
Bears head coach Lovie Smith (on tonight's win) "Anytime you keep score you want to win the football game so we feel good about that. When you go into a game you want to be able to get out of tough situations and we were able to get that, needing to score at the end of the football game to win it."
(on the performance of the quarterbacks) "I'm really pleased with how all three quarterbacks played. Rex (Grossman) I think had a stretch of about seven or eight [completions] in a row, which of course is a good start for him. Brian Griese threw the interception, but came back and went four for four on the touchdown drive. Kyle Orton had a stretch where he completed twelve passes. You have to feel good about the first time out for our quarterbacks."
(on the rest of the teams' performance) "I thought (RB) Cedric Benson ran the ball really well. He had three catches, which is good to get him back in the flow. Defensively, I thought our starters came out strong and played well. We were missing a couple of our key players. Our takeaways gave us an opportunity to win the game late."
(on tight end Greg Olsen) "We of course wanted to get him involved quickly and we were able to do that. I have a feeling he will make a lot of those catches over the course of the year. It's good to get him in his first game, get it out of the way and go from there."
(on special teams) "We had a lot of players on there that normally don't play on special teams. Once we get our core together we'll be okay."
(on any potential injuries) "No injuries. That's a big plus. Of course you want to get some good work in, and leave with a healthy team and we were able to do that."
Bears running back Cedric Benson (on how he felt during tonight's game) "It felt good to get out there. I thought we looked good as an offense; we moved the ball up the field in both series we had. We had some good runs and some good passes from Rex (Grossman). We didn't want to throw too many bullets at him. We stayed a little quiet on offense, but it felt good. I thought we got some things accomplished. It's just starting a process. It was good to get started and get some hits going; get real comfortable out there. For the most part, everybody looked good."
(on playing back home in Texas) "It was good to come back home. Especially getting a lot of love from the fans, but it's always good to come home."
(on seeing Texans tackle Eric Winston) "It was good; it was real good to see him. I'm just proud of him that he got in there and got the starting job. Things are going good for him. It was real good to see him. Get a little reunited there. Kasey Studdard, too – I played college with him it was good to see him, as well."
Bears tight end Greg Olsen
(on the fact that he caught the first pass of the game) "That felt good, just to get settled in a little bit. After that, you just kind of get into a rhythm."
** "That felt good, just to get settled in a little bit. After that, you just kind of get into a rhythm."
(on whether he feels he has to live up to the history of great tight ends in Chicago Bears history) "I'm used to it. When you go to Miami and play tight end, that's the pressure that comes with it there, too. You always want to live up to your expectations."
(on Bears quarterback Rex Grossman) "He did a great job with the offense. The first drive, we moved the ball well down the field. I think the offense did pretty well throughout the game."
(on whether the Bears changed their game plan from last year) "We did a little bit. We didn't do it quite as much as we had in camp. We were pretty basic, just trying to get into a rhythm with our base offense, trying to put our players against theirs, and not so much executing."
Bears quarterback Kyle Orton (on his play tonight during the game-winning drive) "It was a lot of fun out there. I hadn't been on the field for that type of situation for a long time. Everybody kept their poise out there, and we seriously mentally wanted to come back and win the game, so it was a lot of fun."
(on the fortuitous events that occurred in the Bears favor during the last drive) "Hey, that's football. You want to win the game and win it however you can, so we'll certainly take it."
(on wanting to continue playing as well as he has during training camp) "That's my main goal. I want to carry it over and play well in these preseason games. It's a four-game season. Whether it shows or not, I know what I need to do to play well, so I just want to play within myself and do the things I need to do to execute the offense. Going into year three, I feel like I've really mastered it and gotten a good handle on it so things are coming a little bit easier for me."
(on whether he made the most of his opportunity tonight) "I kind of got off to a slow start. I had a lot of balls batted down. I didn't get off to a fast start like I wanted to, but we really hung in there as a unit, and we've got some young guys that we can throw to and that can make some plays; drive some games. Brandon (Rideau) and Mike (Hass) are good receivers. They're going to make plays, so we kind of just settled down, got into a groove, and really started to throw the ball well."
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (on the fact that he was playing with several players from Texas)"It's always good to play with guys from Texas."
(on the fact that there are so many players in the NFL and college football from Texas)"Texas is a football state. It says a lot about the NFL, too."
Bears defensive end Mark AndersonEARS DEFENSIVE END MARK ANDERSON (on Chicago building on last year's trip to the Super Bowl) "Last year, we came up short unfortunately and this we're trying to go out there with a bang. We're trying to get to the Super Bowl and this time we want to win instead of just getting there."
(on the Chicago's team mentality) "We've got guys committed to doing all the little things right just so we can get back to that same spot, the Super Bowl, so we can try to win it this year."
Bears quarterback Brian Griese (on his play tonight) "I wanted to come out and get a bit of the rust off. I put the ball in the endzone. Take away that first throw and I think I played pretty good."
(on what happened in his first possession) "It was one of those classic things were it is not how you start but how you finish. I took my eyes off the coverage for a second. I tried to put it in but it is a ball I probably shouldn't have thrown. I came back the next series and put some things together and some guys made some plays."
(on how it feels to play a game against someone else) "It is a long training camp. It is good to get out there and let some of the younger guys show what they can do. Offensively you always get guys in practice that are touching you with two hands and saying 'I've got you down,' but then you get in the game and it is not so easy."
Bears quarterback Rex Grossman (on how important getting a win in the first preseason game) "It is really not that important, but it is always nice to win."
(on the positives of this first game) "It was my first opportunity as the quarterback and as a team to go live with full contact and see where you stack up against other competition, other than your own team every single day. We got to see some different looks and see how that relates to our offense."
(on his play tonight) "It was solid, but we wish we would have scored on that first drive. But, for two series, it was fine."
Bears kick returner Devin Hester (on the offense being basic) "Most definitely. We still have a few more games to go. We are still getting used to each other and getting everything clicking. Hopefully in a few more preseason games we will be clicking where we need to be going into the regular season."
(on all three quarterbacks being productive) "It lets you know that if anyone goes down you have another guy who can step in and take over the game as well."
Bears offensive tackle John Tait (on the running game tonight) "We've got to be able to run the ball. It served us well last year and it's going to be a big part of our identity and who we are this year. You've got to be able to run the ball in the National Football League and hopefully we'll be able to do that this year."