Head Coach Gary Kubiak**
FS Shiloh Keo
CB Kareem Jackson
CB Johnathan JosephHead Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the NFL upholding DE Antonio Smith's suspension) "Well, disappointed. I thought we had an excellent chance to get him back the first week, but, like I said, I think our league's fair. They look at everything and they looked at this one and gave us our opportunity to present our case and they made their ruling. It's a challenge number one obviously, so we'll be missing at least one guy, but I'm sure there will be many more throughout the course of the season. We understand it. We accept it. As a team, we've got to get ready to meet the challenge."
(on if he was surprised by the NFL's ruling on DE Antonio Smith) "I don't know, just I don't know enough about what took place, the hearings and stuff because I wasn't a part of that. I'm busy with the team."
(on who will start for DE Antonio Smith this week) "Timmy (DE Tim Jamison). We're going to rotate guys, but Timmy's the guy right now. We'll play a lot of people."
(on who will come in at quarterback after QB Matt Schaub) "(QB) T.J. (Yates) will go second in this game. What I hope to do is, when Matt does leave the game, whatever is left, I hope to split the time. But T.J. will be the second guy to go."
(on if there is anything new on the health-front today) "Let's see, no. Everything's been going on all week long with the guys that are out, like (RB) Arian (Foster) today, you guys are probably going to ask about him, he took all the scout team, he took the whole practice, every rep. He had a really good workout and we'll work him again out on Sunday. Other than that, nothing's change."
(on if WR DeVier Posey will play) "No. No, we're going to do the same thing. We're going to work him out with (RB) Arian (Foster) on Sunday and he did the same thing today. He took all the scout team reps. They've just been on the field three days and we're not going to put them out there, but they're both doing well and we've got plenty of time to contribute in San Diego, so we've just got to keep heading that way."
(on the number of wide receivers he would keep and if that decision is tougher this year) "I hope it is. We've got two more weeks. We hope they're all standings and everyone's there. We have to make real tough decisions, but obviously it's a good young group and (WR) DeVier (Posey) coming back has been a big plus. Obviously, (WR DeAndre) Hopkins has done a good job. (WR) Lestar (Jean's) had a good camp. (WR) Keshawn (Martin), I think, has become a really good player, good solid player, and (WR Alan) Bonner, we haven't been able to see what's going on with him, but (WR Alec) Lemon has done some good stuff, and (WR Andy) Cruse has done some good stuff on special teams and (WR) EZ (Nwachukwu), guess I'm forgetting another one. You can only keep so many. I hope we've got that tough decision here in two weeks, but I think they all have got the opportunity to play in this league. If they keep going, they will."
(on WR Andre Johnson saying he's relieved to have more weapons around him) "I think there was a point with Andre and us, Andre wouldn't come off the field. He knew we just weren't as solid when we kept going. There was times probably when Andre played through and he probably should have come off the field for a few snaps or something. But right now, Andre has confidence (WR) Keshawn (Martin) can play both spots and he'll come off the field when he's gassed and knows we can keep doing what we do. For him to say that, that tells you how far those young guys have come."
(on if WR Andre Johnson may come off the field more this year) "Yeah, I think he can. Andre's a guy that you're going to let him call the shots. You want him out there all you possibly can. He's smart enough to know when he's gassed in a situation and he needs a snap or two off. I just think him having that confidence keeps him fresh all the time."
(on if RB Arian Foster will play Sunday) "No, he will not play."
(on if there has been any progress with WR DeAndre Hopkins) "He is still in phase one. He is feeling a lot better. In meetings today, doing a lot of stuff he wasn't doing yesterday. I think we're making progress and, like I said, I think you can go through phase two and three in one given day, so I think we can see some quick progress here over the weekend, but there was never any plan for him to play."
(on the decision about how to determine whether QBs T.J. Yates and Case Keenum would come in second) "No, really just kind of went back and forth. T.J. did it the first week and then Case will probably start the game next Thursday depending on how we come out of this. I just think it's important that we look at equal reps and that's what we're doing. They've almost got equal throws. They've almost got equal plays. That's what we want to be able to do."
(on the concussion protocol) "I wish I could tell you. I don't know phase one from, I know phase five is good. That's all I know. When they tell me they're in phase five, that means they're fixing to play again."
(on the status of P Shane Lechler) "We're going to talk about that. He is okay. We were hoping today. The thought process was to have him kick a couple. Do we want it this week or next week? We've been cautious with him as you all well know, but then having him hold. (P Andrew) Shapiro's done a good job, but there's a chance he could punt a couple of times in this game."
(on if there is any reason to be concerned about P Shane Lechler) "No, he's fine. It was just a kind of freak situation there in Minnesota. No reason for having a guy like him to make him push through something like that. And plus it's really helped the other young man. The other young man (P Andrew Shapiro) has done a great job and that's how you find jobs in this league. We're fine where Shane's at and we'll see Sunday when we line up."
(on if he's happy with the kicking game in general) "I think we continue to improve kickoff coverage and kickoff return. I told (K) Randy (Bullock), Randy's a big part of how good we're going to be as far as average drive start. We've got to get the ball to the end zone 50 percent of the time. That's the way this league is nowadays. We lost that battle the first week. We were better the second week, but in our season last year, we lost that battle continuously. It's something we're really putting a lot of emphasis on."
(on if there's anything he wants to specifically this week in the third preseason game) "I don't know specifically. You just want to keep moving forward with what you're doing, but I still do want to play a lot of people. That's important because of all these questions y'all just got through asking me about these tough decisions I've got to make. So we'll do a lot of things on both sides of the ball so we can get a good look at our guys. At the same time, there are a few players we're still trying to protect. We don't want (ILB Brian) Cushing to play 35-40 plays. How much will (DE) J.J. (Watt) play? Those type of things. So there are some questions still for those guys as far as reps goes that we've got to handle."
(on if P Shane Lechler punting is more of an offensive weapon or defensive weapon) "It's an offensive play you don't want, but you're right, it is an offensive play. If you've got to punt, you've got to punt. He's excellent pinning the ball down there. The thing that's great about Shane is, if you're backed up, he can flip the field position in a game, incredible with one of his bombs. He's done it against me for many, many years. It's good to have him on our side. He brings a lot of confidence to the special teams room. I think he's just been good for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). They know who he is. All these kids know who he is. He's got a good voice in the room getting guys to do the right thing."
(on if any of his close friends give him a hard time about having two players form Texas A&M in the kicking game in K Randy Bullock and P Shane Lechler) "No, but I've reminded those two Aggies that they better kick well or I'm in a little trouble."
FS Shiloh Keo
(on how comfortable he is being ready to start Week 1) "I'm real comfortable. It's my job to be a starter. I feel like every player that comes into this league, it's their job to grow to the point where they can become a starter, where the coaches and other players out on the field can trust putting you out there. Yeah, I'm young, but I'm not a rookie any more. I feel like I'm a veteran. I feel like the coaches put me in those shoes to be a veteran, to be a leader out there and I'm going to hold myself accountable for that. For the most part, I feel like I'm really comfortable out there."
(on if there's more pressure filling in for a guy like FS Ed Reed) "You know, I try not to think about that. Right now, I'm the starting guy right now. I know there's a couple of guys that you can toss a coin and be like, 'We'll go with this guy this week,' and it's our job to be ready. I feel like I'm ready out there. I feel like the coaches agree with that. I'm just going to do my job to the best of my ability and worry about my assignment and do whatever it takes to help the team out there."
(on if he's going to return at all this week) "I'm not sure. There's a chance I might, a chance I might not. We'll see. It might be a game-time decision, but I'm not sure."
CB Kareem Jackson
(on where Saints QB Drew Brees ranks among quarterbacks he's gone up against) "Definitely in the maybe top three in my opinion. The guy's unbelievable. He has a quick trigger. He sees it all out there. You think he might not be coming your way. He'll pump it and come your way. He's definitely unbelievable with the ball. He makes some great reads and he puts the ball where only his guys can get it. Any time you play against a guy like that, you have to have some great coverage."
(on if this year's group of wide receivers are the most talented group he's seen here) "Yeah, I would say. It's definitely a lot younger, but, physically, it's definitely one of the better groups. With (WR DeAndre) Hopkins on the other side of (WR) Andre (Johnson), the guy has great physical ability, big hands, a big physical specimen. It's definitely, like you said, one of the better groups that's been here."
(on how WR DeVier Posey has looked) "Him coming back off of that Achilles, once he gets into tip-top shape and can really be 100 percent, he'll definitely help us. The past couple of days, he's kind of looked like he's kind of just getting back into the swing of things, kind of looking a little hesitant, but I'm sure anybody would coming off of a major injury like that. I'm happy for him as a player that he's back out there. I know it was eating him up to watch his team and not be able to be out there. Definitely happy for him to be back out there."
(on what makes WR DeAndre Hopkins so impressive) "His ability to catch the ball in traffic and to go up and get it. A guy like that has a huge catch radius. Put it anywhere in his vicinity and, nine times out of 10, he's going to come down with it. He showed that in the Minnesota game and sometimes in practice throughout camp. A guy like that, if you put it anywhere close, he's going to get it. That's definitely what impresses me about him."
(on if it helps the corners going up against the wide receivers in practice like WRs Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins) "Yeah, to go against two guys like that on a daily basis, it'll definitely help you prepare for Sundays. Regardless of whoever you're going to see or what type of guy it is, you know Andre still has his speed and can do it all and Hopkins can go up and get the ball. Just whatever it is, those two guys have a combination of it all."
(on missing FS Ed Reed and if he's missing an opportunity to learn to play with him) "I think mentally yeah and in the film room. With him being the type of guy that he is, the student of the game that he is, definitely mentally. Physically just out there on the field, I know he's a great player, but from our standpoint, we haven't been able to take any snaps with him. We're not really sure what we're going to miss or I don't know how to say it. He hasn't been out there, so we're not sure what he's going to do. We know what type of player he is, but how he's going to fit in our defense, I can't really say that we really miss it right now because we have guys that are there and that are doing a great job. Once we get him back and once he's healthy, we're definitely going to love him to be there with us."
(on the way FS Ed Reed plays and if that will change the defense) "Physically, the way that he plays, it will change some things, our mentality as a defense. As far as call-wise, with (defensive coordinator) Coach Wade (Phillips), I don't think it will change."
(on FS Shiloh Keo playing in place of FS Ed Reed and if there's any concern) "No, we don't have any worries. Like you said, Keo's a vet here. He's done some great things throughout camp and his time here. We definitely can count on him. He's definitely an accountable player. We know he'll go out there and give it his all and 110 percent every play. If Ed's not ready to go Week 1, we definitely can count on Keo to get his job done."
(on if he's playing at 10 pounds lighter than when he came into the NFL) "Yeah. I think my rookie year, I might have been 195-196. I actually play about 187."
(on losing 10 pounds and DBs Coach Vance Joseph saying that it has helped him cover the deep ball and how they decided about that) "I don't know. It's something we just kind of agreed on. Just kind of thinking, I really didn't need to be that big. As far as taking a physical pounding, I'm not really playing that position where I have to go do a whole lot of hitting or tackling. Playing the corner spot, you have to be able to run. Me, getting lighter and changing my body, definitely helped me a lot. Actually, last year or might have been the first time, but this year, I think I play about 187, 186 something like that."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on going up against a quarterback like Saints QB Drew Brees) "If you want to tune up, if you want to check your back end out, your linebackers and everything else, your pass rush, you can't ask for a better guy other than Drew Brees because he's not a guy who's going to run for 100-yards rushing, but he keeps plays alive with his legs. He gets the ball out quickly. I think it'll be a challenge for us defensively."
(on the team's wide receivers and if it's different than past years) "I think I would probably say this year, it's probably the most talented it's been because we have most of the same guys here, but we've added a couple of guys in. Obviously, with (WR) DeVier Posey coming back from the injury last year, it's good to see him back out there. I think he's going to even bolster the position. I just think going forward, it's just good to have five or six guys able to step in at any given time other than having one or two in previous years."
(on DE Antonio Smith's suspension) "We stand behind Antonio 100 percent. He's a guy that makes this defense go from a leader's standpoint. Everybody rises behind him. He's a guy that gets up and talks in team meetings and things and gives us a speech before games. So you're going to miss that part, but, at the same time, we have a job to do come Week 1 and Antonio understands that. He'll learn from it I'm sure, but at the same time, he has our support as well as we have the support from him going forward. It's just a situation that is unfortunate, but we have to move on from it."
(on how blurred the lines are of legal and illegal tackles) "I don't think anyone really knows the line. We just have to go out and play and hopefully next week you don't get a letter coming from the league saying that you're fined. It's nothing that you can go into the game thinking about in your head because I think it'll only slow you down form making plays. It's something you kind of have to block out and tune out and just play 100 percent each and every play."
(on the growth of CB Kareem Jackson and if he's like 1A right now) "I don't know who does that ranking. We just have a job to do and that job is to keep whoever the guy is across from you not catching the ball. I talk about it pretty much every time I talk about Kareem, his growth is what I've seen from when I first got here, a younger player. Myself, (Cincinnati Bengals CB) Leon Hall was with me in Cincinnati. It just takes time at the position because we were thrown into the fire a lot playing so much cover-one and it's a lot of pressure. I think he's kind of adjusted to it and took it on and he's mastered it."