Head coach Gary Kubiak was pleased with his team's performance in the 33-20 win over the Cardinals.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak shared his thoughts with the media on Sunday, a day after his team's 33-20 preseason road win over the Arizona Cardinals.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (opening statement) "(Texans fullback) Jon Abbate, positive news. There was no structural damage or anything, so just a badly sprained ankle. We hope that he'll be back for this week, so that was some very good news. He did some good things in the game. (Defensive end) N.D. (Kalu) has the hip pointer. He'll be day-to-day but he should be back, we hope very quickly. (Fullback) Patrick Pass, the hamstring, he'll be day to day. (Guard) Fred (Weary) re-sprained that ankle, but we expect him to work either Tuesday or Wednesday. (Center) Chris White, a little bit more of a severe ankle sprain than we thought. He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow, so he'll be touch-and-go this week. The one to add to the list that I did not mention after the game is (offensive tackle) Kevin Barry. He played about the last 10 plays of the game and he has a tear in his bicep. We're going to evaluate his situation today and try to decide what's best, but I can let you know more about that tomorrow. It could possibly require surgery, but we'll have to wait and see."
(on the team's offensive performance Saturday) "I thought we took a step forward in where we're heading, toward Kansas City. Offensively, I thought our two quarterbacks were very sharp. We protected the ball well. We did not have a lot of mistakes. We ran the ball better. I don't think we ran it good enough, but we ran the ball better. Our wide receivers played very well in the run game. They were part of the run game and getting them involved with the reverses and those types of things. We didn't turn the ball over, we only punted one time. We had some good things going on. Of course, the two negatives were finishing those couple of drives. We had two nice plays we should have made right there, and our guys expect to make those. I'd also like to see us finish on the field at the end of the game and not put our defense back out there, and that comes down to running the ball better. I think the biggest improvement on offense, when I look at it, was that our second offensive line played a lot better; every guy up front. I could go through all of them, but they played a lot better. (Offensive tackle) Scott Jackson came in, played right tackle in the game and did some good things. They all have a ways to go, but it was obvious that their second week together, they played much better."
(on the team's defensive performance Saturday)"Defensively, I though we did some things better. We did some things maybe in the other direction. We were even better against the run on defense than we were the first week, just looking at it from a scheme standpoint and how we handled things. I thought we were much better. We got turnovers at the end of the game, so that was very, very positive. I thought our back end continues to get better coverage-wise, and just some of the things we're doing. Of course, one of the things we've got to continue to improve on is pressure. That's a big focus on our football team, of finding players and finding ways to put more pressure on the quarterback. I thought that we had some assignment issues, especially in the second half. From a linebacker standpoint, some of our coverages, some different issues that we had going on that we've got to get fixed, but I thought we still did some things better, but we've got a ways to go."
(on the team's special teams performance Saturday) "Once again, we can make the big play. Number 12 (wide receiver Jacoby Jones) stepped up and did that and got some great help on that play. Great run on his part. We eliminated penalties. (Kicker) Kris (Brown) continues to be excellent. With our punting situation, they did not get to compete due to the fact that we moved the ball pretty good last night, so we'll find a way to catch up on that this week."
(on his general feelings about Saturday's game)"I thought we got better as a football team, and we did a couple of things we didn't do last week. We protected the ball and we found a way to finish the game better in the second half. So, just continue to work forward. We've got a tremendous challenge on our hands this week. (Dallas) is playing as good as I've seen any team play in the preseason, and I mean that. These first two weeks they've been exceptional, they've been dominant, and they'll be a great test for us."
(on evaluating the secondary without having a full picture of how the Texans' pass rush is progressing)"You might even evaluate it more, because they're having to hold up a little longer. We had the changes at safety. That was obvious that some of those young kids moved up and played more, just because we had some alignment issues and some of those types of things. I just think we're getting better back there. We've got some guys that can make some plays on the ball. You start with (cornerbacks) Dunta (Robinson) and Petey (Demarcus Faggins), but you've got Dexter (Wynn) making plays on the ball. You've got Ty Poole; you've got (Jamar) Fletcher. When the ball is in their area, they're going to catch it. And the difference between a good corner and a great corner is one that can cover, and not only cover but can also make the interception. There are some guys that are there, but they don't play the ball very well, and we've got some ball hawks back there that give us a chance to make some plays if the quarterback makes a mistake."
(on quarterback Matt Schaub stepping up on Saturday) "It was very important, just for the focus and direction of our football team, but we've been seeing that in practice. He's just very confidant in what he's doing. I remember (former Broncos quarterback and Kubiak teammate John) Elway telling me for years, 'I'm paid to make third downs.' That's what (Schaub) did. He made a great couple of third down plays in the second drive to keep us on the field. The big throw to (tight end) Owen (Daniels), Owen made a nice play. But the kid does a good job. He has a great feel for what's going on, getting rid of the football, the tings we talk about all the time, and I just think we're going to see him getting better and better, but it was definitely important. (Quarterback) Sage (Rosenfels) was excellent, also."
(on evaluating defensive end Mario Williams' performance after viewing film) "I think that he played good enough for us to win in the run game. And not just Mario, but up front we played good enough for us in the passing game from a standpoint of pressure. We had a couple of guys that did stand out. (Defensive tackle) Travis Johnson did some good stuff, (defensive end) Victor DeGrate. One thing that we're going to have to look at very closely as coaches is getting (linebackers) Charlie Anderson and Shantee Orr involved in some pass rush situations in nickel, and those type of things, so we can find some more pressure. Mario needs to continue to grow as a pass rusher, and he is going to have to refine his game in one-on-one situations. He's going to play their best every week, and he's going to have to find a way to get there. We're going to free him up, do everything we can and work with him so that he's comfortable in what we're doing defensively, so we've got to look at ourselves as coaches first and get the guys in the right position. Then they've got to go make the plays. He's got a lot of work to do to become a great one-on-one pass rusher. Are the tools there? Yeah, I think they're there, and we just have to continue to take steps forward."
(on what can be done to help Williams refine his game) "Well, you're better having more than one (move). Some guys get noted for bull rushing, some are edge rushers, but when you play that position, when you're playing on the right side playing against, well of course this team had a left-handed quarterback so you look at that a little differently, but normally you're going to play against the best player they got offensively. Their left tackle is usually the best player they have. He's got to change things up. It can't be the bull all day; it's going to have to be a change-up. It's going to be for us as coaches to find scheme-wise stunts and ways to free him up, so a lot of that starts with us. It's really just about his process and growth as a player, because what works one Sunday is probably not going to work the next Sunday, so it's going to be about him continuing to be a pro and get better."
(on how Williams can make an impact this year) "I just think overall, just his disruption of what's going on for offenses. You know, like in the run game the other night. There were a couple of plays coming his way, the fourth down play, where he's not going anywhere. He's very disruptive on that side of the ball. Now he's got to, I think one of the things that can help Mario tremendously is understanding down and distance better and just the overall picture of the game – 'Hey, they're going to throw the ball here, I need to pin my ears back and go.' And that's (the Texans coaching staff) really getting him comfortable from that standpoint. But I think everybody looks at sacks. I don't worry as much about sacks as much as I worry about his disruption and his pressure and his presence on the football field, down in and down out. You know, Dwight Freeney is one of the best I've ever went against as a coach, and I think he had what last year, five or five-and-a-half sacks, but I can promise you he was there a bunch all day long and people had to double him and account for him. So that's the kind of player I want (Williams) to become. I want him to become a disruptive player. If we don't get a lot of sacks, then I want him to sure as heck make them get rid of the football. And that's all of (the Texans' defensive linemen). Big focus on him, but we've got to as a group get better up there."
(on if the constant pressure on Williams is unfair) "I don't think it's unfair. That's life. When you have great expectations, those have been placed on him by his draft status and what was expected of him coming out of school. And that's okay, because if you want to be a great player, you've got to understand that's something you're going to have to put up with. That's something that's got to drive you to be a better player, so I think that's just part of the game."
(on if Williams needs to be more fired up) "Yeah, well, that's a good question. I don't know. I mean, we should all be fired up and ready to go. That shouldn't be an issue. But getting your motor going as a player, every player's different. Some guys are running and screaming and hollering when they play, some guys don't say a word and they've got the same motor. So regardless of how you handle your personality, I think it's about just being accountable down in and down out with your effort and what you're doing."
(on if Williams' motivation has been an issue) "I don't think so. I think the kid's playing hard. I think he gets frustrated. He wants to walk in here today and have three sacks and everybody saying great things. But frustration should fuel you to become a better player, a better coach, whatever it is, that's part of the National Football League. You're going to have good days, you're going to have bad days, but all of them have to be hard-playing days. And if you'll do that, everything will work out just fine."
(on something that he would like to see from his team before the regular season opener) "I can't put a finger on any one thing. We've got some really tough decisions to make in some spots. We're going to play this game pretty close to a regular season game as far as the time that our starters play. So we're going to have to really plan as coaches about who we look at next, you know the third quarter and fourth quarter of this week, and we've got to make those decisions that are hard to make without putting those guys on the field. That'll probably be our most difficult task as we wind down the preseason."
(on if this coming game is a big test for the running game) "We've got to go out there and compete and do what we have to win a football game. I think we can run the ball better than we're running it. Like I said, we improved it the other night, but I don't think it's where it needs to be. I would've liked to have seen (running back) Ahman (Green) carry the ball a little bit more. I don't know if y'all know it, but he got dinged like the third play of the game. Guy came up and put a pretty good lick on him. He was a little woozy and so hopefully he's fresh when we up his tempo this week."
(on what the strategy was to protect the quarterback going into the Cardinals game) "Our concentration going into the game was to run the ball and play-action pass. That was our big concentration, our big sell to our team. We are protecting the quarterback better. Our quarterback's helping us protect him better by the way he gets rid of the ball and some of the things he does, but we're definitely doing it a little better."
(on what has led to the improved offensive pass protection) "I just think it's an overall confidence, maybe, in what we're doing. An overall confidence of (the offensive line) knowing that they don't have to hold up long, that (Schaub)'s going to get it going. I think scheme-wise, they know we're trying to do some things to help them. I just think that the overall picture and then guys playing together. They have not been shuffled like have in the past and that makes them more secure in what they're doing."
(on if there will be a game plan for the game against the Dallas Cowboys) "We'll approach the game like it's a regular season game. We'll do everything this week just like we're playing a regular season game, except of course those guys will play maybe two-and-a-half to three quarters, so what you want to do is get a normal work week out of them because we turn around and play, what, Thursday of the next week, so we've got a very short time to turn around and play that last game and make those decisions and all those cuts. So there's a lot going on this next two weeks. Very hectic. We want to get them as close to a normal week as we can."
(on the status of injured guard Chester Pitts) "He should be on the field Tuesday, unless something changes up."
(on if Williams had any tackles) "I think he had three assists or something like that. I don't have it in front of me. Yeah, he had a few assists. He was there on the fourth-down play. I can think of another counter that he blew up. I think he played the run extremely well. It was on our sheet."
(on if defensive tackles Travis Johnson and Amobi Okoye might see the field at the same time this season) "Travis is earning his way on the field. Travis can play the three technique. I think Travis can play the nose. He did some good things in the game, he was right there a couple of times. And I'd like to see Travis get in there and play against some of Dallas' ones, too, because that's hard for a coach, too, when you're watching the second half and you've got to evaluate who this player's playing against and all those types of things, too. But he definitely played better. And like I told you, Shantee (Orr) and Charlie (Anderson) came in and did some things getting to the quarterback a little bit, so we'll get them involved."
(on the play of linebacker Danny Clark) "You know, Danny, he flashed. He did some good things. He struggled in some of our schemes. But there are just a couple of mental mistakes and stuff that we can get corrected. But he continues to flash as a physical player. You know, I think that's a very tough call between him and Charlie. As I told y'all before, Charlie has done nothing wrong. I think we'll probably split them right down the middle this week and see what happens. (Clark) did some good things, but he had some things he's got to correct."
(on linebacker Zac Diles' performance) "I'll tell you, he's a football player. He made more mistakes this week then he did last week. He's getting a ton of reps. He shows up on special teams again this week. Even when he's out of position the other night, a few mistakes in coverage calls and things, he still has just an unbelievable effort to the ball. We've even talked to the coaches about getting him involved in nickel. He's a football player. He's going to only get better. He's a fine football player."
(on if there is a number two receiver) "Yes, Kevin (Walter) is our two. I think number 12 (Jacoby Jones) is two-and-a-half. He's been playing pretty dang good. We're going to get him on the field somehow, some way. When we play three wides, he's the first one going out there. Those three guys, I think, are rock solid right now and then we'll continue to work those other ones and see what happens."
(on if free safety C.C. Brown is solidified at that position) "C.C. played pretty good except for that first play. He got a little fooled by what was going on. I think he would be the first to tell you that he should have made that play. He's played solid. He's working with a new guy back there, so I think communication-wise, they had a few issues, which you would expect their first time together back there. But I think he's playing well."
(on whether wide receiver Jacoby Jones can take everything in at this point) "Yes, I think he can. He's handled the mental part of what we're doing very fine. There are more plays out there for him to make. We had that third down on the seven-yard line and we had him one-on-one on a little route there that, I guarantee, he'll make that play next week. When he makes a mistake, he fixes it, and he'll come back to make the next one. He's just so confident in what he's doing and boy, he has fun playing and that was a heck of a return."
(on the mistake Jones made on the third down play) "Basically, he didn't leave the quarterback enough room to make a play. He got funneled to the sideline as he was trying to hold the defensive back on the red line, that's what we call it, which is about four yards from the sideline, so we have room to throw the ball. He got funneled wide. When you look at making a call down there or trying to have a play, you catch him one-on-one, you feel like you should make that play. I think that's why you see him upset. He does it and he expects to make them all. That's why he's making the progress he's making."
(on if the center job is still wide open) "Yes it is. We will make that decision at the end of next week. Steve (McKinney) will start at center this week. I think Mike (Flanagan) played very well for us last night. He played the whole half. Steve came out when the ones came out. Steve played well. Steve will go back to center this week. He'll play the first half. We still have plenty of information from training camp and all that's gone on for us to sit there and make a good decision, so, we'll do it that way this week."
(on if guard Kasey Studdard had a good game) "He did. They were all much better. (Offensive tackle) Jordan Black's much better. Kasey was much better. They communicated much better. They didn't have the MA's and stuff that they had last week. Chris (White) continues to get better. (Guard Mike) Brisiel missed a lot of practice last week, came in and played well. And as I said, Scott (Jackson) got a big opportunity to step in and do some good things. They just grew a little bit from one week to the next. They had not played a lot of football together and it was evident the first time out and it was much better this week."
(on if he is interested in wide receiver Robert Ferguson) "I know that we've talked to him. I know he's talking to a lot of people and I know that (general manager) Rick (Smith) has talked to him today. We'll see what happens. He's a talented football player and I'm sure there are a lot of people interested in him."
(on how many wide receivers he is going to keep) "It either will be five or six. If it's six, they are going to have to be big special teams contributors to our team. That's a tough call. It will be five or six."
(on if he is any closer on finding the third running back) "No, I think we need to see this week. I think we need to continue to watch them work and see what happens over the course these last two weeks. As you well know, that last preseason game, those guys are gong to play a ton. I think that will work itself out."
(on wide receiver Keenan McCardell's situation) "I don't think he's 100 percent. I wasn't going to throw him out there and have him play 30 plays. We told him we would play him in a sub situation, about 10 or 12 plays. That's basically what he got. Hopefully, he's feeling a little better this week and we up his reps. But he played exactly what we expected him to play."