Walker scored the first rushing touchdown of his career.
Members of the Texans and Jaguars spoke to the media after Houston's 42-28 victory over Jacksonville. The Texans (8-8) finished 2007 with the best record in franchise history.
Texans owner Bob McNair
(on the Texans season) "It's just wonderful for us and wonderful for the city. As I told the team, I just had to congratulate our coaching staff. We have gone through so many injuries, people have no idea what we've put up with, and you can't talk about it because it's making excuses and people don't want to hear excuses. So, we're not making excuses, I'm just stating the facts. We've had seven starters out for a good part of the year, and our coaching staff has just done a tremendous job in just getting these players ready to be able to go out and compete under those adverse circumstances, so I couldn't be more proud of them."
(on the Texans being 8-8 for the first time in franchise history) "It's just another threshold that we broke through, and we just have to keep going. And we've got to step it up. We won a couple more games this year, and we've got to win a couple more next year and be in the playoffs, because that's where we want to be."
(on Texans WR André Davis) "I had told him earlier in the year, I said, 'You know, André, I had forgotten about it, but when we played Cleveland back in 2002 or '03, I can't remember which, he ran one back against us.' I said, 'You owe me one for that. You did it to us, and it's time that you start doing something.' So he has now run three back, so I told him that now maybe I owe him one at this point."
(on whether he thinks the Texans have taken a step forward as a franchise) "There's no doubt about it. This team is markedly improved, and we (will) get people healthy, and you'll see an even bigger difference."
(on whether the Texans still have work to do) "We've got some holes, but a lot of those holes will be filled also when we get people healthy. We've been playing without seven starters for most of the year and hopefully we'll get most of them back. But, we still need to get some young players in here and fill a few more spots, but we're getting there, and I'm very excited about that."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on what it means to him to finish the season 8-8) "It was important that we finish the right way after the way we played last week. We've been through a lot this year. We've had numerous issues, injuries. It somebody would have told me that you were going to take (RB) Ahman (Green), (CB) Dunta Robinson and (WR) Andre Johnson and together they'd miss a total of 28 to 30 games, and that we would be where we're at today, I'd say that something good is going on. It's been a lot of hard work. It's a small step forward. The step from six wins to eight wins was very difficult, but like I told the players, the next step is even more difficult. We just have to be willing to do it. We have to be all in with what we're doing. I'm proud of the way we finished today, and we have to get better. It's going to be extremely difficult and we have to be willing to go chase some of those teams, and we will."
(on if, after starting off poorly, he was worried about picking up where they left off last week) "I was concerned. I didn't feel much energy out on the football field. That drive they had, I don't know how many plays it was but it felt like forever, about eight or nine minutes, so that concerned me. Then we got the turnover that kind of got the juices flowing. I pointed out a few people today to the players. I think our offensive line said we're going to win today. I think they played like, 'Hey, we're going to win this game. Coach, run the dang ball. We're going to win this game.' I pointed out a couple players. I look at guys like (T Ephraim) Salaam and (C Mike) Flanagan, guys that have been playing forever. They've been on three teams, they've been in Super Bowls. There wasn't a lot at stake for them today, but they knew it was important for us to win, and I asked those young guys to take a look at guys like them today because that's what this league is all about. At least that's what I think it's all about. And then a guy like (WR) André Davis took the team on his shoulders, too. Watching (special teams coordinator) Joe Marciano coach this week, I had no doubt our special teams would play well. He did a tremendous job getting his guys ready to play. Those are some guys that stood out making sure that things ended up the right way today."
(on if this is a benchmark in his coaching career) "I've got so far to go as a head coach. I've got good people around me, and that's the key in this business. You've got to have good guys around you and let them to the job. I've got to get so much better for our football team and then our football team has to get better. (General Manager) Rick (Smith) and I are going to do that. We're not going to rest. We're going to keep battling. We know that the next step we want to take is the toughest step, but we're willing to do the work, I promise you that. We'll make sure that our people around us are doing the same thing. It's going to be a grind. It's a good feeling today. I feel like we made some progress this year. We're a much better football team than we were last year. It's not even close. But that doesn't guarantee anything. You still have to go out there. It's a tough league to be in."
(on what assistant head coach / offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has meant to him and how much of a loss to the team he will be) "I don't have enough time. I talked to the players about him at length last night at our team meeting and I told them that they had been around somebody special for the last couple of years and they're going to realize that when he's gone. Coming off the situation he was in in Green Bay, he unselfishly came here and took on this big-time task that we had, and wanted to help us out. I think that says a lot about what he is as a person. We'll miss him big time. You don't replace guys like Mike Sherman, it's just not the way it is. I told the players that he's going to miss them and he's going to miss this place. Mike really liked what was going on here. He liked his place. He loved his players. Mike Sherman is going to miss those players a hell of a lot and we just wish him and his family all the best."
(on what the priorities are for the team) "That would be really difficult right now. I'll take the easy way out and I'll tell you that I think our whole football team has to get better. We've got to continue to just build our roster with strength all around. I'm sure there will definitely be priorities, and we'll list things one, two and three, but I think we just have to try to get better as a team. One of the good things is that there are players out there in the National Football League talking about our place right now, and talking about some of the things that are going on. I think we've got an excellent chance in free agency with some of these players, and some of our guys that are here are talking positive about what's going on around here, and that should help us as we move forward. I don't think we can isolate on one thing. If we do that we're going to make a mistake. I will say this. One thing for sure is that we definitely have to get a lot better. There's nobody walking out of here saying well, we're eight-and-eight, and it's the best record in franchise history and we're in good shape. Well, we're not okay. We've got a long, long way to go, and we're going to keep at it to get there."
(on the play of G Mike Brisiel and RB Darius Walker) "I'll start with Mike. Mike's a young player who's been on the practice squad just working and working and working. When I was bringing guys off the practice squad for various reasons, Mike was one of those kids who walked up to my office and said, 'When is it my turn? I can play.' That's what you want in this business. I knew Mike stood for all the right stuff. The biggest compliment I can give to him is when we first decided to start him against Tampa, we were going to rotate him, and after the first two series the linemen came off and said keep him in there. That's a big time compliment. So Mike is well on his way to becoming a very good pro. Darius still has a way to go. I think Darius has shown that he has the ability to play in this league, but with Darius it's really just about his growth. His work habits, his growth, his studying. I think a lot of things have come easy for Darius and this is hard, and Darius is learning what hard is all about. If he responds to the hard part I think you're going to see him just keep getting better. I really think you will."
(on the play of RB Ron Dayne, and the two kick returns by WR André Davis) "We ran the ball very well. Those two kids ran the ball well. (FB) Vonta Leach responded. I didn't think he played one of his better games last week, and I talked to him this past week and he responded, he had a lot to do with that. Usually in a game like this, the last game of the season, the mindset with both teams, usually the most physical team and the team that plays the hardest finds a way to win. That's what we did in running the football, so they did a heck of a job there. With André, I think there was 30 seconds left in the half, and they chose to kick him the ball deep so it gave us a chance to make a big play. One thing about him is his speed. If he ever gets free you're not going to catch him. When we walked out at half time, I told him hey, go ahead and do it again. Let's go. He's been close. When he was returning kicks for us, when he first started, (general manager) Rick (Smith) and I had a conversation about him, and the conversation was do we think he's a kick returner and we said that in all fairness we needed to give him a few more games to look at him, and it was that week that he took one to the house against Tampa, if I'm correct, and he's probably the top guy in the league at this point after today. I can't remember how our conversation ended, but there's no doubt that he's a kick returner."
(on which kick return for a touchdown by WR André Davis was more important) "I think they were both extremely important. They were the catalyst in the game as far as getting our football team juiced up and the crowd. To me, when you make plays like that, everyone feeds off of that, so I think they were both extremely important."
(on the play of the defense) "I don't think they played very well. That's pretty obvious. We didn't look like we got to the quarterback. I know it wasn't one of our better efforts. We'll go back and try to figure out why and evaluate that. I will say this, in their defense I'm going to say this. Their heart and soul, the guy that plays in the middle, probably had no business on the field the past month, but I couldn't get him off the field. The kid has a knee problem, and can barely walk out there, but that just tells you what he's made of. I couldn't get him off, and when we got him a couple times I'd look up and he's right back in. I think it's had a big, big effect on us, especially today. That's a big credit to him, for the kid to stay in there and play."
Texans assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sherman
(on if he has accomplished what he had hoped at Texas A&M since accepting the head coaching position there) "Yes. We've been able to pretty much keep our recruits, talk to other recruits and still been able to win some football games here, which is very important. Us getting to 8-8 today is huge. I feel great. I feel like we accomplished something this season. We've taken a step, and they'll just take more steps next year. This will be a playoff team next year, for sure."
(on if this is an emotional moment for him to be leaving the NFL) "It probably would be if I didn't have these microphones in my face and cameras, but yes, it is. It's very emotional. I feel very close with the men in this locker room, the players. I've been in the National Football League now for over a decade, and you become very close. (C) Mike Flanagan and I have been together for about 10, 11 years. I coached him in college, coached him in Green Bay twice and coached him here. (T) Ephraim Salaam, (TE Mark) Bruener. (FB) Vonta Leach was with me in Green Bay, and then the guys that I met here. Developed a special relationship with them that is life-lasting. It's not over once I walk out that door. I will continue to be friends and associates."
(on this possibly being his last day in the NFL) "Well, you're at the very top of your profession. You're dealing with players and coaches that when you're in this league and you play 16 regular season games, four preseason games and if you do get in the playoffs, you really find out a lot about each other. You've seen adversity. You've seen success. And really and truly, throughout the course of that walk together with the players and coaches you work with, you see their character and they see yours, and it really bonds you as a group."
(on if he watched Texas A&M's bowl game last night) "I was actually reviewing my game plan and had the sound down, but I was able to watch part of the game. I didn't see the whole game because we had some meetings, but I did see part of the game."
(on his thoughts on what he saw) "Well, I thought they really came out and played hard, which is encouraging. And it's disappointing that they weren't able to win the football game, and that's part of it. They played a very good team, but I thought the coaches at A&M did a heck of a job getting the team ready to play."
(on his number one priority now at Texas A&M) "Well, obviously getting the staff in place and then also recruiting. Both of those are equally important to get going in that direction. I feel like we've been able to do both things, work here with the Texans and be able to manage things up there. (Recruiting coordinator) Tim Cassidy's been a valuable asset up there in my absence, holding things together. He and I have talked probably 10 times a day and he's been able to pull things together for me, but the staff and recruiting is huge for us right now."
(on if he will name his staff tomorrow) "No. No."
(on how proud he is of the Texans' progress this season) "I'm extremely proud of the progress we've made as an offense this year compared to last year. I think the offensive line has really assumed a huge responsibility. We lose (RB) Ahman Green and we're still able to run the football. We lose (WR) Andre Johnson for a number of games this year, and other players blossom like (WR) André Davis and (WR) Kevin Walter as a number one guy, and (WR) Jacoby Jones. So I'm really excited that we have made some progress, and they'll just keep getting better. We were better this year than last year, and they'll be better next year than this year."
(on if he is comfortable handing over the offensive coordinator reigns) "Oh, yeah. I think that great days are ahead of this team offensively."
Texans LB Charlie Anderson
(on whether he wishes the team could play a few more games to get above .500) "I would love for us to have an over .500 type season, but we tried our best, and we ended up 8-8, and that was what we had to do today."
(on how important it is to get to 8-8) "For this organization, that was big. (We've) never won eight games in a season. That was one of our goals, to always be a winner. But, late in the season, when we got our playoff hopes knocked out, we just anted to finish strong, and finish up on a winning note."
(on how the recent change in the Texans defensive scheme has helped him in the past few weeks) "It was great for me, because as far as mentally I let myself know that I'm able to play in this league. Just getting over that hump, and just being able to play out there with those guys, it was a great season for me, I think I learned a lot, and hopefully I can keep on going with it."
Texans WR André Davis
(on his standout performances in the last two weeks) "I think it's been about making plays and getting opportunities to make plays. Once again, I couldn't have done it without the other guys on my team going out there and making everything work. (P) Matt Turk and the hang time he's had on his balls has been great. It's giving us time to go out there and really put some pressure on those guys and return it. I wouldn't be able to do it without those 10 guys on the team. We were able to do something special today, and hopefully we'll be able to do this again."
(on what it means to finish the season like he did) "It means a lot. It was one of those things where I went home and was a little bit worried about where I stood on the team. At the same time, I realized that this game is about getting opportunities and making the most of them. I just continue to keep my head down and work hard and realize that it is a long season. Even though I didn't play those first two weeks, I knew that at some point in the season I would get the opportunity to shine. When I did get the opportunity, I wanted to make sure I made the most of it."
(on what goes through his mind when he is returning kicks) "Don't cramp up. That is the first thing I thought of, because out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the guy had an edge on me. I was a track guy growing up, and a lot of times when you get under pressure, you start to tighten up. You start looking a little crazy out there trying to run away from those guys. I just tried to stay relaxed and just took it down the sidelines and realized he couldn't catch me. It's a great feeling when you're able to do that, especially against the number one coverage team in the NFL."
(on his two kick returns today) "The first one was pretty much just a bounce right play where you just run up the middle and suck them in, then you bounce it out to the outside. Everybody just made perfect blocks. We were able to get up on the safety and the kicker was caught inside, so I just took it to the sideline and outran everybody else. On the first one, the bounce play really helped us out a lot. We got them to be honest and play that. So we ran up the middle on the second play. Once again, the guys stayed on their blocks long enough for me to get by them and run in the open field."
(on his approach to free agency) "Right now I'm not even thinking about it. I have a baby that is going to be in the next two weeks. I'm just worried about my son and my wife right now. I'm going to enjoy my time with them. When the time comes to start talking contracts, then I'll think about it more seriously."
(on the reaction of his teammates to his kick returns) "They were saying, 'Good Job!' I think I have that type of sneaky speed where a lot of guys don't think I'm going to run that fast until I get by them. Everybody did a great job. It means a lot to me that we go out there and take it very seriously when we go out there and play. When we see other guys around the league making plays on special teams, we want to make sure we are one of those teams doing the same thing. I'm glad we were able to do that in our last game."
(on his 40-yard dash time) "I haven't run the 40 since college. That was about six years ago. The fastest I have ever run it in was a 4.29, and at the combine I ran it in 4.37."
(on getting to an 8-8 record) "I wasn't here in years past, but I've always kept in touch with guys around the league and I've paid attention to records. I think this means a lot for the Houston Texans organization. We're building something right now. With the season that we had and all of the distractions, to see us finish 8-8 is a big deal, but at the same time, this is not where we want to be. I think we'll get to take this and build on it. We'll look forward to next year and being able to take it to the next level."
(on the fumble recovery) "I was very surprised. Once again (P) Matt (Turk) made a great punt. It was a little short. Going into that end zone, the sun was really an issue. I don't know if the punt returner saw the ball or not, but I know he saw the ball bounce. (FS) Curome Cox and I were down there, and we were waiting for the ball to bounce. We were able to get great field position. I don't know what the returner's thought process was. I guess he was waiting for one of us to touch the ball and try and make a play. He went for it and it bounced off his chest. It was a live ball at that time, and we just fell on it."
Texans RB Ron Dayne
(on the win) "It feels good, just to be able to get a win and get out of here and not be losers. [It's about] Being on a good track and it gives you a good start for next season, winning the last game."
(on breaking his career single-season rushing mark this year) "Whatever it takes. I just want to do whatever it takes to win, and I don't even worry about that too much."
(on returning with a big game after injury) "It was important, just to get back, get out there and have some fun and help the team win. I practiced the whole week, so I felt like I could get in there and play."
(on helping the team finish the season on a high note) "I'm just happy that we won and that I was able to get in and help the team win. That's the only thing I want—I want to win. That's what most of the guys want to do around here, so if we take that attitude we can win."
(on the importance of finishing 8-8) "You might have to ask (G) Chester (Pitts) and them because they've been here since Day 1, but it's great. For me, it's not being a loser. But it probably means a lot more to Chester and the guys that have been here since the start."
(on the play of RB Darius Walker) "It's great, just to be able to have the young guy step up and play well, that was great. It really helped us."
Texans WR Andre Johnson
(on finishing the season at 8-8) "Like I said before, it's not where we want to be, but it is taking a step in the right direction. That's a good thing. We've never been 8-8 before, and we took a step in the right direction today. I'm happy about it, but its going to get even harder to take those other steps."
(on what Coach Kubiak told the team after the game) "The whole week had been about it being the first time we've been 8-8, just saying that when you're in a situation like this, knowing that you're not going to the playoffs, its hard for guys to come out and play because you feel like you've got nothing to play for. But we felt like we had something to play for, and that was pretty much the motto of the whole week—to go out and do what we had to do to be .500 for the first time."
(on André Davis and his emergence this season) "I've seen André play for a long time, ever since he was in college. We played against him in college. I think he's always been a guy with a lot of talent, and when we got him here I was very happy about it because I knew he could play. I just really felt like he never really had a shot, but when he came here my injury happened and the guy rose up to the plate. He was out there making crazy catches and everything, and a lot of people were saying, 'What did you think about it,' but I always knew that he has a lot of talent. He's very humble, and I'm just hoping we can have him back next year."
Texans FB Vonta Leach
(on if WR André Davis would not have been able to score his second touchdown without his block) "No. I wouldn't say if it wasn't because of me; I just went out there and did my job. It was all (WR) André (Davis) after that, so it wasn't me. I just went out there and did my job."
(on if WR André Davis owes him something for that block) "No, he doesn't owe me anything. I just hope we can get him to stay here this year. His contract is up, so I hope we can get him to be here next year."
Texans G Chester Pitts
(on what it means to him to be 8-8) "It's kind of bad that it feels this good, but I'll take it. It's been a long road. I've been through a lot with this team, and at the end of the day I appreciate every part of it; I enjoyed it all. But, we're headed in the right direction, and that's what's important. Coach K (Gary Kubiak) hinted about take note to how hard it was to go from six wins to eight wins. Then think about that jump from eight to ten, and that's even harder, but it's okay. I'm ready for the challenge, and whatever I can do to make that happen, I'm ready to do it."
(on whether this season gives the team momentum for next season) "All it does is just raise the bar even higher. In this business, raising the bar is how you become a winner, and someday become a champion."
(on what it means to him, as one of only seven players to have played for the team during it's entire history, for the team to be 8-8) "It's just a great time for me. We've had a lot of support from the fans over all the years, even with the coaching and staff changes, and players changing, all the new faces. I can't put it into words; I had a very good time today."
(on what he thought of the post-game meeting with Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "The best thing I can say to summarize it is, he took note that we are moving in the right direction, we're happy to get it done for Mr. McNair. Obviously we wanted to do it last year. We're a year late, but we'll take it. We know that it's the best we've done, but it's not where we want to be, and we have to continue to work."
Texans QB Sage Rosenfels
(on finishing 8-8 and winning a division game) "We've got to win a division game. That was pretty big for us. You never want to get shut out, and we know our division is probably the best division in the league. For this organization, winning eight games is a big step. You have to take small steps to get where you want to go. It's hard to go from a 2-14 team to a 14-2 team. You have to take steps. We won six last year and eight this year. We were in some very tight ball games and some playoff-type atmospheres. We'll learn from those this year, and they'll help us next year."
(on his worries about a repeat of last week) "It's a long game, and I knew we were going to grind it out. That was our motto. We were going to find a way to win this football game and grind one out. Whether it be throwing the ball for 300 yards or just grinding it out, which is the way we did it. We were going to win the game."
(on the running game) "It was huge for us—the running game and the way the offensive line played. Obviously what (WR) André Davis did was phenomenal. The defense made them earn it. When you win, it is a pretty good team effort, and that's what it was today."
(on his role next season) "I haven't really thought about it. I was just trying to get through this season and win as many games as possible. Over the next couple weeks and months, I'll probably start thinking about what's going to happen next season, but when you're involved in the season, that's all you're really thinking about. I was trying to win football games and help this team win."
(on the coverage sacks) "They were. We called a couple plays for coverage that we thought we were going to get, and they played pretty well. They had a big pass rush, and it was hard for me to see over the guys. They were coverage sacks."
(on the 4th down touchdown) "It was a good call for us. We really wanted a touchdown rather than a field goal. (TE) Owen Daniels made a great catch. He was the only guy I had possibly in that route. He made a great play. I just sort of threw it up to him and he made the catch."
(on his role change from backup to starter) "I take pride in the fact in the fact that I've never held a clipboard. I've never been a clipboard kind of guy. I never did that. I just take pride in trying to do a good job and finding a way to help the team win. You have to be prepared whether you are the starter or the number three guy. I've been a backup for a long time. It has been different starting these last few weeks. It's been enjoyable. It's obviously much more fun being out there. It makes the week go by much more quickly. You settle into a game plan. It also makes it easier to play when you're getting all those reps during the week."
(on Mike Sherman) "He's got consistency and a work ethic. He works so hard. There are some people in their jobs that put in a lot of hours, but they are not efficient hours. Mike puts in long hours and they are very efficient. He works extremely hard. He has so much passion for the game and for the people. He's a great communicator. Texas A&M is definitely going to get a good deal out of that."
Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on playing through his injuries) "It's one thing to be injured, but it's something you have to just push through. Put it on the back burner, just go out. Not just go out injured, but to be smart about it and just give it what you got if you can."
(on how he feels after the Texans 8-8 season) "8-8 means a lot. It's history for our organization, the first time we've won eight games. I'm just happy to be a part of that. It's a special special win for us, and it's a great way to end our season on that. We'll use it as a building block, a starting point to where we can't go back. From this point on, we expect to be better than we were this year."
Texans T Ephraim Salaam
(on how it feels to win eight games in season during which he played most of the offensive downs) "It's remarkable to just see the growth of everybody from the time I got here last year, 'til where we are now, especially offensive line wise. With the rash of injuries we had, just the guys stepping up, coming in, and doing a phenomenal job. I'm hard pressed to say anything negative about the effort. I remember when we came to camp the first day in that meeting when everybody was talking about the sacks and all that, and oh, we're down 20, can you guys get it down? Well, we did. We fought through everything you could possibly fight through in a year, and we came out even. And if you're not a loser, you've got to be a winner. That's how I feel right now, I feel like the team as a whole took huge steps from last year. And I definitely am proud to be a Texan, and I'm looking forward to what comes after this year."
(on what it means to the team to finish the season 8-8) "It's huge. The franchise has never been 8-8, and I think that's important. People don't really realize how tough it is to actually be a winner in the NFL. It's tough. It's hard work, and coming from the history and the past the Texans have had, it hasn't been all good. To put the pieces together that you need to put together to be a winning team, it's difficult, but we're doing it. We're taking steps, and as long as we can keep progressing every year, we'll be alright. We'll be where we want to be real soon."
(on what the loss of Texans offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who has accepted the job to become head coach of Texas A&M means to him) "We started off rocky, but we've come to respect and really enjoy each other. He's a heck of a coach and he's a good guy. They're getting a good coach over there at Texas A&M. I'm going to stop by and give him a hard time, maybe call him and put a little pressure on him and stuff like that, but we'll definitely miss him here."
Texans RB Darius Walker
(on his touchdown) "Everybody was like, 'Darius, you've got to get it. We're not leaving this field until you get it in.' So I had to do it for myself and my guys. I don't think they would have let me into the locker room unless I had scored a touchdown."
(on his emotions about the game) "It feels good. We really feel like we were able to get out there and do what we wanted to do. We wanted to run the ball, and we wanted to run it early and often, and we did that. Me and Ron, we had a great game, but we really have to give kudos to the offensive line. They opened up holes for us and protected Sage, so it was an all-around great game."
(on if Jacksonville sitting offensive starters lessened the significance of the win) "Not at all. We've been playing the whole year with a lot of injured guys out and things like that, so that's just a part of football. Guys are going to be out and guys are going to be in, but that's the thing about this league—it doesn't matter who's in. You're going to get some great play."
"It really was an enjoyable experience today. I love my guys—I really have to give kudos to the offensive line today. They played a great game, opening holes for me and Ronnie and protecting sage. It just feels really good."
"It just feels great. I'll tell ya. It's been a long time coming and I've worked so hard. It really feels good to just go in there and get into the end zone."
Texans DE Mario Williams
(on the Texans finishing with an 8-8 record) "It's really important. Coming in, at the beginning of the year, we came out with a good start and pretty much just tried to run with it, and it was tough. But, we finished off 8-8 for the first time. Having a winning season is good for us."
(on whether this season has helped build momentum for the future) "Yes, but every time out, it's different. No matter what the record is this year, next year is going to be a new year."
(on whether he is satisfied with this season's outcome) "It was a winning season. It's a lot different then going out with a losing season, so it's very big for not just myself, but for the whole team."
(on what he learned during a season that was filled with injuries) "Just not giving up. Pretty much just keep going at it and just keeping our heads up, and just trying to go out there and make plays."
(on the future of the franchise) "We've got a great young team, so we've just got to keep getting better together and making it happen."
(on the fact that if he had recorded one sack in the game against Jacksonville, he could have had the most sacks in the league this year) "I really wasn't worried about it. It is what it is."
Texans T Eric Winston
(on finishing the season at 8-8) "Winning feels good. .500, if you told us that at the beginning of the season, we probably wouldn't be happy with that, but the way the season has gone, and the things that have happened to us, there is a certain matter of satisfaction to it, but that's not our goal and that's not where we want to go. We want to go to bigger things, we want to be in the playoffs, we want to be where Jacksonville is. That's where we're going to keep working towards, and that what we're pushing towards."
(on the team taking a step forward this season) "Absolutely. It's kind of a tale of two seasons. You look at last year and say that it's a two game improvement, but last year it didn't seem like we were a 6-win team. But this year, it feels like we're better than an 8-win team. We really feel like that. When we're playing the kind of ball we like to play, we're tough to beat. We just have to keep that going and keep that consistent next year."
Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio
(on the outcome of today's game) "Alright, let's wrap this up so we can get home and get to work. Obviously, I feel very good about our football team and congratulated them on a strong regular season. We earned a place in the postseason tournament and we know that that tournament will determine the world champion. It won't be a poll, it won't be a height meter, it won't matter who can talk about it the most, it'll be whoever can go out and play well and earns it over the next month or so. We're looking forward to the challenges and we're not sure yet who our opponent will be. Both potential opponents are outstanding football teams and very talented. One won a Super Bowl a couple of years ago and the other had more wins than anyone in the league last year and more pro-bowlers than anyone in the league last year. They're both very talented teams and we're looking forward to the opportunity to compete. Obviously, today our special teams were weakened a little bit by our approach. We elected today to accept eight regulars and seriously reduce the exposure of another eight to ten guys. Anytime you take 16 to 18 guys out of the mix, you put a heavy burden on the guys who are normally covering kicks, and are playing offense, playing defense and covering kicks. Bottom line is our approach today was to be smart. We earned that right. We earned the ability to be able to do that. We hope to be as fresh as possible going forward next week. I thought the guys did a good job. (QB) Quinn (Gray) did a good job of stepping in and making plays. (WR) Matt Jones made some good plays. (FB/RB) Greg Jones ran hard. We got some great exposure with guys like (OT) Richard Collier and (G) Uche Nwaneri. It's great to see them perform well and the bottom line is well wrap up all this regular season stuff and we're excited to be in the tournament."
(on if he felt that special teams struggled today) "I'm not speaking specifically to any one particular phase. Obviously, it didn't go the way we needed it to go and there's a reason and we understood that."
(on his feelings being in this position today versus two years ago) "I'm not really big on comparisons. Bottom line is that we know we have an opportunity to go and compete and we're looking forward to preparing for it, bringing great, positive energy and going out and competing. That's what we've done all year and we're looking forward to it."
(on how far he thinks his team can go in the playoffs) "We're getting ready to find out. Does it matter what I think or what I feel or what I say right now in front of you? I think what is most important is how we prepare for the opportunity. We need to go in and make the most of this opportunity by playing. That's what I'm most concerned with. Making statements, making proclamations, really isn't worth any points. If it is, I'll make a few, but I don't think they'll give me any points, so let's go compete."
(on his thoughts on backup QB Quinn Gray) "Quinn did a nice job of operating the offense today. He made some throws, got us some good plays, got us out of some good plays and operating the way we want to operate our offense. It's good to see him step up and play, and play well. He did some good things."
(on if he feels like his team is improving) "We think our football team has improved over the course of this year individually and collectively. We feel like we've really been able to improve. We're going to need to continue to improve. We've got to be better next week than we were this week. Guys are working hard to be better week in and week out. We've spent a lot of time working on the details of being good as a unit, offense, defense, all three phases."
(on his preference of playoff opponent) "Like I said, I think both opponents are outstanding football teams. Both represent fierce challenges. We don't have any say in who that's going to be. We'll let that play out and plan on meeting them either Saturday or Sunday, whenever the league decides we'll play."
Jaguars QB David Garrard
(on how confident the Jaguars are going into the playoffs) "This team is very confident and everybody feels good about the situation that we are in. We know that it'll be a long road ahead, but we are ready for it. As long as we stick together as a team and prepare like we've been doing all year long, we can go as far as we want."
(on leading a record setting offense this season for the Jaguars) "Well the number one thing is that we won games and we did enough to get to the playoffs and the second thing is like you said – scoring points- that brings the fans into the seats and that's what they want to see. Most of the time when you score points you're going to win ball games. If we keep doing that, especially going into the playoffs, and try to muster up as many points as we can to outscore our opponents that's the number one thing."
Jaguars QB Quinn Gray
(on his performance) "It's not really satisfying. It's good to put up stats, but you always want to end your season with a 'W'. Stats are good for the books and the records, but when it comes to this team we always want to win."
(on keeping the offensive momentum all the way through the last game of the season) "That's basically what we wanted to do; come and play good football and we did that for the most part. We had a few mishaps on special teams, but you know things like that are going to happen. You just got to pick up the slack where ever it is and we had two costly returns on us and that was pretty much the game right there."
(on the performance of WR Matt Jones) "Matt Jones is a good athlete and a great football player. The last couple of weeks the fans tended to get down on him a little bit because I guess they think he's not giving a 100 percent. I can vouch for him that every time he goes out and plays football Matt is going 100 miles per hour whenever he can.
Jaguars DE Reggie Hayward
(on his overall play) "It was good. I made a few plays, I didn't have any sacks, but I was where I was supposed to be and made a couple of tackles."
(on if this game was used to shake the rust off before the playoffs) "Basically, we felt this was an opportunity to get prepared for the playoffs. It was good to play some competition other than my teammates and get the wheels turning and get back into the mold of football."
(on thoughts of the team going into postseason) "I feel like we have a lot of momentum heading into the postseason. We are hitting on all cylinders and everyone knows what is at stake. We are ready to go and all the guys in here are really positive. The chemistry is really good. It is a good thing to take into the playoffs. Some teams are going into the playoffs a little unsure of their ability to win, but we are really confident knowing what we need to do."
(on the play of the Texans) "I think that Gary Kubiak is doing a great job. I was with him in Denver. He came down here and ran the same philosophy and the same winning style that he had up in Denver and as you can see, the results are that they are getting better and better each year. They are in the AFC and they are going to play difficult teams and to come out and improve each year shows something about his coaching ability."
(on the play of Texans QB Sage Rosenfels) "I think Sage did a great job. I played with him in college (Iowa State). We were college teammates. He did everything he needed to do to win the game. He didn't turn the ball over that much and he made the passes and he coordinated a good game. So, my hat's off to Sage."
Jaguars WR Matt Jones
(on player time for non-starters) "There are a lot of guys out there that got to play day that didn't play a lot this year. So, when you have a coach that gives you the opportunity to play you are going to go out and perform."
(on today's performance being his best of his career) "I don't know about the stats or anything, but like I said, when a coach gives you a chance to go out there and play you want to go out there and do the best you can. You always want to win so it's never as good when you don't win."
(on the connection he had with QB Quinn Gray today) "Quinn threw a lot of good passes and I should've had a couple of other catches that I would like to have had. But, I was out there having a lot of fun and anytime coach gives you the opportunity to play a lot you want to go out there and produce."
Jaguars RB Fred Taylor
(on the playoffs and potentially facing the Patriots) "Well, we don't even know who we're going to play yet in the first round. The Patriots are a very good team. They're beatable – I said that a very long time ago. But they have a lot of very well-coached, good players. I don't know. I don't know what it's going to take [to beat the Patriots]."
(on getting rest today) "I think it works to our team's advantage considering pretty much everyone we're going to count upon in the playoffs, they're healthy. We're ready. People try to say, 'Should they rest them or should they stay hot?' I don't believe that. But I think it was a positive for us to get some rest."