Members of the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys spoke to the media following Saturday's 28-16 Texans victory in Houston.
* HOUSTON TEXANS
*Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (on the Texans play in the first half, in particular, the second quarter) "I was excited about the way we came out. You want to see the energy of the regular season and in this third pre-season game I think the fact of who we were playing and in this stadium helped create a great atmosphere. Our guys were really juiced up and ready to play. That's a heck of a football team. For (WR) Jacoby (Jones) to start the game the way he did gave us a lot of juice. The defense was holding up and then we put together a drive. The overall picture of not turning the ball over and doing some better things defensively, getting after the quarterback. It's a good way to play in the third preseason game. It makes you feel pretty good about the direction you're heading. We've got a long, long way to go, but it was a good effort on the part of our team."
(on what impressed him most) "I think the preparation is what's starting to impress me more and more about this group. I tell you guys that I haven't been here long, but this league is about preparing to be good, and the work you have to put in to be successful, and this football team is learning how to do that. It's playing with a lot more composure, goes out and handles situations with a lot more composure than it did last year, on both sides of the ball, and then we've added some young players that have really added some juice to our football team. There's some good stuff going on, and as I told them, it's going to be a long season. When it's good, we've got to just keep our nose to the grindstone, and when we hit a bump in the road we've got to come back the next day and go back to work. I like the way this football team works."
(on the play of defensive end Mario Williams and the defensive line) "We moved some guys around a bit. We wanted to give (LB) Shantee (Orr) an opportunity to rush the passer a little bit. We think that's a strength of his. We slid Mario to the other side for a few snaps, so that people aren't always zeroed in on exactly where he's at. It looked like we did some better things. I'll have to go back and watch the film. It looks like we were more disruptive making their quarterback move around a little bit. I felt like we held up for the most part pretty dang good against their running game. They've got a heck of a running game with a big group up front. We'll go back and take a look. I think third downs continue to be the thing that we've got to get better at on the defensive side of the ball and get off the field."
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (on growth of the offense) "Well I think not to go beyond our offense, I think that as a football team you saw us grow in every phase. We took our special teams on a big return right off the bat, that helps us out tremendously to get a seven point lead right away. Defense started to create some turnovers in the pocket and offensively we were in the huddle we were clicking, we got in a rhythm- passing the ball and also running the ball some holes were opening up."
(on the discipline of the team) "I think that it starts from the coaching staff. They really instill a lot of discipline and a lot of accountability. You know that's a big part of football is being accountable. To your teammates, your coaches, do your responsibility and execute it to the best of your ability. You can see that definitely after three weeks of preseason take into effect."
(on the comfort level now) "I think we're very comfortable in what we are doing and as a team we are really comfortable with one another and really have a good feeling for each other and what we are going to do on the field every week."
* (on the comfort level on the field)* "Oh very, we are seeing things very comfortably and that's credited to the ten guys in the huddle. They make it easy for me because I have faith and confidence with the guys up front and backs behind me who protect and get a good pocket so I can get the ball to the runner. So they are doing a great job getting open and making a play with it after the catch. So for me to be feeling that way all of us in the huddle have to be feeling that way."
* (on the Cowboys being a good test)* "It was a great challenge for us being our their preseason game where we see the most action, and it is against a team that does a lot of movement and a lot of different things defensively and offensively as well. So it was a good test for us coming into tonight, we were just hoping to come out and match the enthusiasm and play sound football, and we were able to do that."
(on being impressed with wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "I certainly am. I think everyone on our football team has. It was great to see him do that in the first preseason game but then when he followed up last week and then this week again with great performances it just shows how maturity and his confidence level. It is great to see that we can count him every week
* (on going through the touchdown play to Jones)* "They had coverage to cover the initial play downfield so if it wasn't there initially I was just going to look for my back underneath and Ron (Dayne) got held up in the line of scrimmage by their defensive lineman. So I was able to get outside the pocket, and it was going to be one of those things where if Jacoby (Jones) was able to get open in the back of the end zone so that I could give him a chance. And if he couldn't, I was just going to throw it away, because it was a two-minute drill there trying, and I was trying to conserve time. Maybe would have run it, but once I got on the edge, that's what was going through my mind."
Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones (on what was going through his mind in the in zone) "What happened was, I had a go route, when I seen him (QB Matt Schaub) scrambling I tried to go back to him and the guy was on my back so when I got to the in zone Matt just put it up, in a good spot that way I could come down with it."
(on what's next for him and his role with the Texans) "Hopefully I can keep it up, keep playing my role they'll keep calling my number."
(on how much fun it is playing in the NFL)"I don't want to wake up. It's the kind of thing you have dreams of as a little boy, watching yourself playing on TV, and you're really doing it."
(on the comparison to Lane College) "Lane is small, if wasn't for Lane I wouldn't be here, but this is ten times bigger."
(on what it is like to have your mom here) "This time I heard her whistle, I made sure to get lower seats and I was looking for her, that's my mom, that's my ace duce right there."
(on the doubts and proving people wrong) "I think I am still being doubted, I've been doubted since I was a little kid. I am just going to keep showing up."
Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye (on what the defensive line's focus was going into the game)"We were out there doing pretty much all we could do. We went out there and our main focus was trying to stop the run, and we got that accomplished. We've got to keep on working on our pass game."
(on all the criticism the defensive line has been getting lately) "Sometimes, you've got to like that as a person because you want to come out there with a chip on your shoulder, (like) you've got something to prove. And I think collectively, the whole defensive line came out there as a unit and said, 'Let's go get it. Let's go out there and try to kill the noise.'"
**(on what motivated the defensive line to play so well Saturday)"The team we're playing, the Cowboys. This obviously means a lot to the state. We knew we just had to come out here and win for the state, for sure. So that was enough motivation to get us going."
(on how the win set the team up for the regular season) "It was a good win, a good preseason win. As far as me, it's different now. I'm ready to start (the season). I think it's probably the same way the rest of the d-linemen feel. This was probably our biggest challenge so far this season and we came up pretty good. So what? We've got to do it again and again and again."
(on if he feels like he belongs in the NFL) "I feel good. I feel good every game. I feel like I improve myself. It's something where I've just got to keep on going."
(on if he has grown much since entering the league)"I do feel a lot of growth as far as game-by-game getting better and just challenging yourself. I can't wait until K.C. comes in, the real deal. We've just got to get that win, basically."
(on if a change in technique helped him this week)"Yeah. It was that and just building my confidence, and my confidence gets better and better each game."
(on what it felt like to get in on the sack)"It was a sack and I'll take it for what it was. I felt like it was a freak sack, but at the same time, it's a sack. I can't wait until I really get that one."
(on if it made him feel like he was a senior at Louisville again) "Yeah. It was a good start. It was a really good start.
Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans (on the biggest difference in the defense this year compared to last year) "We're a lot more knowledgeable in what we're doing out there now. We understand what we're doing. Everybody's in the right place. Guys are being a lot more accountable. It's like night and day from last year to where we are now. The knowledge that everyone has is amazing."
(on if people will shrug off the win because it's a preseason game) "People don't blow this game off. I think every time Houston and Dallas come together, it's always going to be a big game, no matter preseason or regular season. It's always a big thing. A lot of people care about this game."
(on if people around the NFL will react positively to the Texans' win) "I really don't care what people have to say about us. It could be good or bad. We still just have to keep looking forward and getting ready for our regular season."
(on any other improvements in this year's defense) "It's a lot more confidence. Guys are playing with a lot more confidence. Our speed on defense also, but I think when you have confidence out there on the field, that's the most important thing to have."
(on what it means to give the fans this victory) "It's big to give your fans a big win – to give them bragging rights. A lot of people throughout the whole week were talking about how we've got to shut these Dallas fans up for them, because they've been getting crap all week. So now, we shut (the Dallas fans) up for them. So a lot of Houston fans are happy that Dallas fans can back down a little bit now."
Texans running back Ahman Green
(on how he feels the game went) "It felt good. Like I've been saying for previous preseason games, its just one step at a time. The first game I was in for a series, a quarter the second game, so it's just gradually building to what you want. From practicing in mini camp to practicing in training camp, we know it's not just going to happen right away, it's just a gradual build getting ready for the regular season."
(on how the offense looked) "Hats off to the coaches and the way they've got us practicing. The tempo is quick, everybody knows that; offensively and defensively. We know that from an offensive standpoint, we have a quick tempo. We get the ball down the fiend, then back on the line of scrimmage. That keeps the defense very honest and wondering 'this team is ready to go,' with that tempo that makes us very dangerous."
(on whether it is satisfying to have the mindset of a quick-tempo offense) "It is very satisfying; especially it's easy to do it at home. We want to do the same thing on the road. We know that this game is a big rivalry, preseason or not and (it has) a regular season atmosphere, we knew all of that coming into the game. So, preparing us for the regular season, this was our test getting ready for Kansas City because we know they're going to come in here ready to go. Now once they get here the games are going to count. So we've got to be ready for four quarters."
(on Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "It's preseason and this is for guys like Jacoby; for rookies, free agents players that need to make a name for themselves, need to get noticed, basically need a job. That's what he has done. All preseason, in practice, in games, returning punts, catching touchdown passes. I told him the first preseason game 'just go out here and make a play. Just come out here and have fun and make plays.' For every young guy out there, that's what they've got to do. Especially a guy that wasn't a first round overall (draft pick) or a second round, (but a) third-fourth round pick, they've got to go out there and make a name for themselves."
(on how the offensive line is performing) "I love it. I'm very very blessed with the big guys up front because they know they're hungry, I'm hungry. I know how they are, I'm getting to know their mindset on certain plays- how they want me to hit the hole, how I expect them to block and throw a guy or hit a guy. A lot of the plays I've been running not only since Green Bay, but pretty much since Nebraska. The inside running game, I've been running for about 12 years, so it's just back to basics- be patient, let your offensive line work and the holes will show up."
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (on how he feels after the game) "Coach Kubiak came in the meeting last night that we had, he told us when we leave the field, he wanted us to let them know that we are the most physical team out there. They're a great defense and we knew it would be a test for us. We went out and executed our offense and made plays."
(on how he felt after he caught his touchdown) "I was excited about it. When I was laying in my bed last night, I was saying to myself: 'hopefully I can at least get one touchdown before the preseason is over with.' It would be great just to get that over during the preseason rather than the regular season, but it was a play the coaches threw in and we just went out and executed."
(on Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "I don't know what else to say about the kid. He's awesome. Even though it's the preseason, like I said he has a lot of confidence in himself; he has a lot of confidence in his game. I just think he's going to get better and better. It's just his first year. Once he learns the ins and outs, the sky is the limit for him."
(on whether the Texans have gained confidence after defeating Dallas) "We've just been working hard. We're just trying to get to the point where we want to be. Every preseason game we say we want to just try to take steps forward, and that's what we did that tonight. Hopefully next week, we come out and do the same thing and get ready for Kansas City."
(on whether the game against the Cowboys was more than a preseason game) "The third preseason game, that's the time when the starters play most of the game. We knew that having the Cowboys come in town, we knew it would be a game type atmosphere. When we went out there, it felt like opening day. We just went out and we knew what to expect, and we just went out and make plays."
Texans linebacker Shantee Orr (on executing effectively from the beginning) "That was the theme of the week. (Coach) Kubiak just wanted us to come out and play hard through the week and we really wanted this game."
(on his impression of today's performance as a team) "To say impress that's like saying that we are just satisfied, but this is what we expect for us to go out there and win against the big teams. I'm happy to be playing the level of football that we want to play."
Texans guard Chester Pitts (on quarterback Matt Schaub) "I'm very impressed with #8 thus far. He let's that ball go out of his hands he making good choices. He's making us look good."
(on rating the offense performance) "I like the fire and intensity that we came out with. Everybody know about the Cowboys and their swagger about them. I felt like we matched that and you know we put it in our favor. That was the mindset and the focus we had going in to treat just like a real game and try to come out their and execute and play well.
(on expectations for this game) "This is most that I've ever been fired up for a preseason game by far, and it showed we were all like that. When Mr. (Jacoby) Jones sparked everything with that punt return and that's when things fell into place."
Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson (on the expectation of seeing the same performance every week) "I'll like to see this every week because this is the type of team we'll get if everybody come out and play like this week in and week out."
(on his battle with Terrell Owens) "It goes back to practice going at with a guy like Andre Johnson everyday he makes it a lot easier for me on days like this when you face other great receivers. It was a good battle and he caught a ball or two and I broke up a few. It was lot of fun going against a guy that is considered one of the best."
* DALLAS COWBOYS *
Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips (on the team's performance) "As a team I didn't see many good things on our part. I think we'll go back and look at the tape and see that some individuals did some good things. Obviously, special teams struggled with a 91-yard punt return to start off the game. Offense, defense, we just didn't play well."
(on what the team needs to improve on) "We've got a lot of work to do. I was worried about it coming in. It's the first time we've been in a hostile environment and we didn't react well. I did see some heart as far as fighting back, but we dug a big hole. It was disappointing, but we can learn from it and that's what we are going to do."
(on their cornerback position) "We had problems with corner tonight on matchups. We played a lot at corner to see who would do something and we didn't see anything. From on the field I didn't see anyone make any plays that we were looking for. It looked like all of them had a chance to make plays and we didn't get any from that position."
(on how he plans to balance the team before the season starts) "Going into this game, the first game on the road, I was worried we might react kind of how we did. We got in a lull there during the game. You have to overcome those things and I didn't think we did a good job of that."
(on his reaction to how the Texans played tonight) "I knew they would be playing really hard this game and they were up for it. It shows that if you're motivated to play you're going to play better."
(on missed opportunities by the Cowboys' defense) "We missed some tackles early. (RB) Ahman Green is a tough runner and we haven't played anyone who can run through tackles the way he did."
* Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens (on catching the touchdown pass, this year's offense and playing in the slot)* "That's what I'm accustomed to doing. It's pretty much what I've been doing throughout my career. Coach is going to move me around a little bit. We didn't particularly come out and play the way we wanted to the first half, but we came out the second half and got a drive going and put some points on the board."
(on how he feels about the offense and productivity after three preseason games) "Well, I can be very productive. As far as the offense, we're still need some work as you saw tonight. We came out flat, and obviously, the Texans came out with a little more intensity than we did. Other than that, I'm not really concerned. I know what we can do on the offense. We showed that tonight. We just came out a little flat."
(on importance of experiencing a hostile environment) "It was a good test for us. Obviously, being on the road, those are some of the things we are going to face throughout the course of the year. Once we start the regular season games, it's [the hostile environment] going to be there on the road. This was obviously a good experience for everyone."
(on if Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson was talking trash) "No, no. He was very competitive and I like the way he played."
(on his touchdown and breaking the tackles to score)"It was just a situation where you play catch. I ran my assignment and the play came open. Tony (Romo) delivered the ball, and he let me do the rest."
(on needing work after two wins and a loss in the preseason) "Like you said, we are good, and we know we have a good team and it's going to require a little more work. This one game doesn't make our season, nor should it make their season. At the end of the day, we're still 0-0. We still need some work. We'll work on that and get the kinks out. We just made too many mistakes."
(on if he played more than he thought he would) "I feel good. I could go out and play three more quarters if I needed to. I had a lot of snaps and he wanted me to play and that's what I was going to do. The starters were able to get more than a couple of series together. We played into the third quarter, so it was good."
(on if he anticipates more chances in the future) "I think the chances were there. We just had a lot of penalties. It's hard to get your offense together. We were jumping off-sides and it's hard to do that [get the offense together]."
(on if anything the Texans did surprised him) "No, not at all. They did exactly what we thought they were going to do. They played the same way as they played when we watched them on film."
(on his comfort level now compared to a year ago) "I'm very comfortable. It's always a work in progress. You saw that Tony (Romo) can do some things in the pocket and when he gets out of the pocket, he can be very dangerous. We just have to play our assignments sharply and eliminate a lot of our mistakes. Maybe the Texans had a little more intensity and got a little more fired up than we did, but overall I still have the same perception of this team that I did prior to the game. We still have an explosive offense, we still have a great defense. This was a good experience for us."
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (on a tough evening) "I thought Houston did a good job. I have to give them credit. They came out and got after us a little bit, and it was a good environment to be in. It was the first time we got put in a situation where we couldn't hear all the time. We made a few too many mistakes offensively, but I give them credit. They played really hard."
(on the loss keeping Dallas hungry to win future games) "The thing we realize is the longer you play this game is whether you're 4-0 or 0-4 in the preseason, you can still come out and turn it around and keep it going either way. It doesn't amount to much in wins and losses. Now the execution part of it does matter. Executing and not making mistakes and putting yourself in a position to be successful on drives. That part matters.
(on what happened on his pass that was intercepted) "I under threw it. We had a couple of different ones. There's a 40-yard route and 55 yard route. T.O. (Terrell Owens) did a great job on slipping his DB. I've been talking about how I wanted him to do that. I want him to slip inside on him [the DB] and let me just throw it out there and he'll run and get it. I kind of threw like the old one where he kind of gets outside and fade him. As soon as I let go, I knew it was under. It was a good experience because it won't happen again.
(on what Houston did well during the game) "They do a lot of everything. Every game we've seen so far, they throw every different coverage. It's great. It's a good test for us, because they caught us a few times. A couple times we missed a couple of assignments and that's to their credit because they did some different things. But I just think it was good for us to see. We needed to see that and we needed to see the hostile environment. The crowd was loud, it was tough to hear. We couldn't get all the calls. You still have to know your assignments and know what you're doing."
(on frustration after missed passes) "On the one to T.O. (Terrell Owens), that one I thought he won on, and I'm mad because I should have thrown the ball farther. I hit him on the other one. We're close. I wouldn't read too much into it tonight, but obviously you want to win the game."
(on his quarterback rating being over 100 and why you weren't hitting some throws) "The goal route is the one I'd say I wanted back today, but outside of that I thought I did a good job of getting us out of some bad plays tonight and trying to create some good ones. I wouldn't say I was missing. If you take back the last throw, I think I managed the game pretty well. I feel like from your perspective when stuff breaks down up front or when someone comes through the line and I have to move around, things happens quicker. You think things don't look as clean. That's a part of this game. Every week is not going to be a drop back the ball comes out at the goal line. If that were the case, there would be a lot more good quarterbacks in this league."
(on what you will take with you from this game to improve) "The best thing is that the mistakes we made are correctable mistakes. We kind of hurt ourselves in the end of the game with some mental errors on different things that we didn't do right. I think that at the same point it's a situation where—it's one thing to get beat, man-to-man, it's another if you're mentally making a mistake. As long as it's not a consistent mistake or if the team is not consistently messing up, you'll be okay, because you can fix those things. This is the time of year to do it. We don't want to be doing it next month. Like I said, you have to give them credit for some of the different things and the crowd noise presented us with a little bit of a challenge, because it was the first time we heard it this year. It was the first time we got up there and guys couldn't hear the calls at the line of scrimmage, we couldn't tell what play it was because we couldn't hear certain people. It was a good test for us at this point."
(on Cowboys being mentally into it or Texans wanting it more) "Anytime you step out on the field, if you're a competitor you want to win. You can always tell the difference in intensity. They did a phenomenal job at doing all the things you need to do in the NFL to stop the run, and they were doing that tonight. You have to give Houston credit for bringing that attitude for sure."
(on WR Sam Hurd's game) "I like our young guys. They are going to be all right. Sam's out there and I've got a lot of trust and faith in him. He's going to catch a lot of balls this year."
(on if next week's game will continue to help with competitive, hostile environments) "Definitely. At the end of the game, I was already thinking about next week. I thought the best thing that can happen to us is to put ourselves in another situation where you have to perform when not everything is hunky dory around you and not everything is easy. When you can hear everything, it's a lot easier to play."
(on adversity during the game) "It's the situation where you're trailing so you need to perform. You can't keep making mistakes. You have to stop them and you have to score. It's the first time our offense punted. So that may be what you mean in some ways."
(on penalties) "That was the killer. Realistically, we can overcome a lot of things. We overcame one or two of the penalties and still got first downs. We were not able to consistently do it. That really hurt us tonight."
(on if the ball snapped early on the fumble at the end of the first half) "That's another situation that we talked about—some of the mistakes that are easily correctable. It's good that it happens now and doesn't happen a month from now. It was a good snap—that one was on me. Once again, that's another situation where we couldn't hear. He didn't hear the call and I had to yell it again. It just throws off the timing a little bit. The one later, he snapped early, because he thought he heard another call. It's a combination—if I know that you can't hear that well, I have to know that the ball could come at any point. At the same point, we're probably going to get to another snap—signs and things of that nature that will help us in the future. But we needed to go through this tonight to know that could happen, and at the end of the day, that's good."
(on higher focus during the second half) "I think we were focused during the first half. Anytime you're trailing in any sport, I'm sure in some way, shape or form, your intensity level goes up. The reason you may be saying we were more focused is because we went down and scored. For me, I think it was just a matter of the fact that we had gotten accustomed to the surroundings and what the Texans were doing.
(on making adjustments) "I don't like the term 'adjustments.' You've got a game plan, you're going to stick to it. You have to understand how things are going to take place. You get a better understanding because you know what they're doing. For example, we're going to change up the snap count because we know what they're doing. That may be what you think when you say we've made adjustments. We are just getting an understanding of what they are doing."
(on if Cowboys came out flat) "I don't know. I would have to look at the tape to judge that, but we definitely let a lot of things hit us. In that aspect yes, they got after us."