Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips** Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
T Duane Brown
CB Kareem Jackson
WR Andre Johnson
QB Case Keenum
ILB Joe Mays
RB Ben Tate
DE J.J. Watt
Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
(opening statement) "As far as practice participation, (Shiloh) Keo and (Jake) Byrne both missed practice with flu symptoms. Wade Smith and Greg Jones normally don't practice, so they didn't practice. And Garrett Graham still has a hamstring problem. He didn't practice. DeAndre Hopkins was limited in practice with an ankle sprain. So that's where we are there. We had officials out at the practice today. Obviously, it's something that we need to address, so we had Big 12 officials. But we had a whole group of officials that were calling penalties, throwing flags. We want to over-emphasize certainly that area so w that we can cut down on the number of penalties we have. The only way I know how to do it is attack the problem, so that's what we did there. Art Briles was out at practice today. I don't want to start any rumors (joking), but he's a friend of mine for one thing. As far as those rumors, he did not want to be my offensive coordinator (joking). He did a tremendous job at Baylor obviously and I was glad for him. His daughter worked with us at Dallas with the Cowboys. So I've known him for several years and congratulated him certainly for a tremendous year."
(on how the team responded to having officials at practice today) "Well, we told them what we expected. We know the problem. We know some of the problems. One of them is too many penalties, so we addressed the problem like I said. I think they were comfortable with that. We did have a few penalties in the practice and so we're addressing that in their meetings now. I think it's a logical thing to do."
(on who will call plays and if he came to a resolution) "Yeah, we did. Rick Dennison will still be in the booth. We're going to bring Dan Hammer (Hammerschmidt) down on the field and the play calling will go Rick through Karl (Dorrell). And then Karl will also have some input as far as more of the passing game than the running game. Of course, Karl's in constant communication with the quarterback when the quarterback's out of the game and obviously when he's in the game, really. We're going to proceed that way. Defensively, Vance Joseph will probably make the calls defensively with my help, obviously, overseeing him. Again, the running part of the defense, Reggie Herring will be involved in that. We're going to collaborate more."
(on who will make the final play calls for the offense) "Rick (Dennison) will make the call from the booth to start with. We still have time for Karl (Dorrell's) input or any of the other coaches. And then Hammer (Dan Hammerschmidt) helps on the sideline."
(on if Rick Dennison will still calls the offensive plays with Karl Dorrell having an influence in the passing game) "Yes, that's correct. I wish I would have said it that way."
(on how much influence he'll have on the offense) "Well, first of all, the head coach, you have to be aware of situations. I think there's a lot to game situations as far as making calls as far as whether you run or pass, whether you punt, whether you go for it on fourth down, whether you kick a field goal. All of those things come into, I think, helping to win or lose ball games, especially close games. I try to be on top of that. I do have experience being a head coach in that direction."
(on what's so difficult about playing in Indianapolis) "They've had good teams for a long, long time. That's probably the biggest factor. They've already won the division this year. They won the division or were on top of it for a long, long time."
(on if there is anything particular about playing in Indianapolis as opposed to playing them somewhere else) "No. I think it's 53-and-a-third by 100 (yards) there at their field."
(on if this is the first time he's ever let Vance Joseph call plays) "Yeah, well, he always has input. All of them have input, certainly. He's going to call the same things I'm going to call overall. Again, I can override anything. When the offense is on, I'll be connected with them. When the defense is on, I'll be connected with him and I'll be in constant communication with Lig (Bob Ligashesky) as far as special teams are concerned."
(on if he thinks Vance Joseph has potential to be a defensive coordinator) "Yeah, I do."
(on what he likes about Vance Joseph) "He's obviously a sharp guy. I think he communicates well with people. He understands the pass game really well. So I think that's certainly a key in our league with the way they throw the ball."
(on what stands out about Bob Ligashesky and his thoughts on the special teams overall this season) "Again, I wasn't involved special teams or offense during the season except for now. I could tell you Lig is a very detailed guy. I think the players have really, if you ask the players, they've liked what he's done so far. As far as teaching, I like the way he teaches. I thought he communicated really well today with the players. And his enthusiasm, that kind of thing I think will benefit us."
(on if Bob Ligashesky is active on the practice field) "Oh, yeah. He's loud and that's what you need with a special teams coach because they've got to coach a bunch of guys at one time and the other guys that are out still have to hear him. He does a good job of that. But he's very detailed—very, very detailed—and I think the players will know what they're supposed to do. That's the first thing."
(on how different practices are run now compared to when he was the interim head coach earlier in the season) "It's different in that, when I took over before, we did exactly the same things the same way. We've changed some of the periods, some of the things that we do. We've made it more of a game situation. I can go into all of the changes, but some of them are subtle. Some of them are more, a lot different than they've done before. We put the special teams in during practice rather than before practice or after practice. I wanted to make it a game-type situation where they go offense, then they go defense, then they go special teams, then they have to come back out and do those things again. That's part of what we did."
(on having a lot of penalties last game, but not having many in the two prior games) "Like I said, we had a lot. I don't want it to continue and so that's why we addressed it with the officials and with the team. It's something that you're going to hurt yourself if you overlook that. So that's what we're doing."
(on what changed with the penalties particularly for the game last week) "Well, winning wasn't a problem after the first two games, but it was a problem after that. I think you've just go to, whatever you perceive the problems as, you have to attack them and work on them."
(on how WR DeAndre Hopkins has developed) "Yeah, DeAndre's done a tremendous job as a young receiver. Everybody knew that going in, you just don't see a real productive year from a receiver the first year normally. I think he's been productive."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on his opinion of the play calling arrangements for this weekend with him still calling the plays and the other coaches having an opinion) "Well, that's the way it's always been. We work as a staff on game day. It's no different. Collect the staff view of what they think has got a chance; we talk on the headset the entire time. He'll be asking those guys because they're on the sideline, and I'll be up in the box."
(on if he will put his own stamp on the offense) "I'm unsure. I know this offense the way it is. I've tried to put plays in the entire year the way I think will help the team. We pair it down. We're pairing it down, and we get plays that we think gets our best players in the best position to win. If that's a wrinkle with me I think it's just the offense. It's just the way it is. That's how we do things."
(on if he thought having practice today with referees and more of a game situation worked) "Practice is practice for me. I enjoy going out there and trying to get all the wrinkles right. The order of practice, if he likes it that way, that's great. I'm fine whichever way. I think we practiced well today. Guys were on task. They were trying to get to where we needed to do, and they practiced fast and hard. It doesn't matter to me whichever way we do it. Whatever the head coach wants to do I'll do it 100 miles an hour."
(on how tough it was to see Gary Kubiak go) "The Colts are a great defense. (Robert) Mathis is a very good pass rusher. They play good defense. They've played some good teams. We'll say it that way."
(on some of the stuff the critics are saying about the offense being soft) "I think we're productive. We're getting our yards. We're not getting as many third downs, and we're not scoring points. Those are the two areas that certainly are big trouble spots. The scoring points, that's penalties involved; that's negative plays, dealing with the penalties and moving backwards, particularly in the red zone. It's things that we continue to address. I just addressed them today with the Jacksonville tape as much as I could today just in a short period of time. I feel like a broken record, but this is what we've got to get fixed. I still think there are plenty of yards out there for us, but we've still got to get our points. We've got to make those things happen."
(on how QB Case Keenum has improved in reading defenses, because he was always thought of a good reader of defenses in college) "He's certainly made some strides. I don't know much about college defenses. I have not worked in that, mostly studying college draftees as they come out on offense. I don't really deal too much with the defense. I know that things can be complex, and I think he's really made some strides. It's a big learning curve for a young guy, and he's working at it. He's getting there. He works very hard at it. I'll give him that."
(on how different it will be for him without Gary Kubiak moving forward) "Like I said the Colts are a really good defense. They've beaten some very good teams. Denver particularly there, they've played very well there."
(on if he has concerns about Case Keenum's confidence at times) "No, no, not with that kid. He's a very confident guy. If he makes a mistake he corrects it quickly by himself and goes out, and he's not really worried about making a bad play. He's always worried about making a good play."
(on if he has an update on QB T.J. Yates' status) "He was out at practice today throwing the ball. I didn't talk to Jeff about him per say, but I know he was at practice. I don't get the entire injury report until after practice. I just know we had a couple guys sick. One on our side of the ball, and then we had a couple that didn't practice. T.J. was out there, and he was throwing the ball."
(on if TE Owen Daniels will play) "I did not see him at practice. I don't know."
(on who the backup quarterback will be) "Like I said, there were three guys out there."
T Duane Brown
(on practice being run differently today and it feeling more like a game) "Yeah, something new, a different feel. Mixed up the periods a little bit, so special teams was incorporated into the practice and not a specific period. Also, had referees out there just to try to get guys more conscious of penalties and trying to play penalty-free. I thought it helped. Today was the first day, so it takes some getting used to, but I like the approach."
(on if there were a lot of penalties called at practice today by the officials) "No, guys were pretty clean for the most part. There were a couple, and you expect that. It's good to keep that in the back of your mind to know that they're out there and see on a flag on the ground. Just to process that and think about it on Sunday."
(on how much it can help to have officials at practice) "I think it can help. Everyone's trying to practice on technique and trying to be focused on not committing those penalties. I think having a ref out there, just the presence alone can kind of keep that in the back of your mind even a little bit more than normal."
(on what was different in practice other than periods and if there was a change in the mood) "We're just trying to get back to it. We had a few days off. It's been a long weekend. Guys are ready to get back to work. We're excited to get back to work. It was a pretty good energy level for the most part and just trying to be encouraging out there. Trying to keep the energy level up. Just be optimistic, be positive and I think we did that for the most part today."
CB Kareem Jackson
(on his thoughts about Vance Joseph's role expanding now and what he's meant to him) "Coach Vance has been a great help to me personally on and off the field. He's helped me progress my game tremendously, technique-wise, recognizing splits, formations, the whole nine. I'm excited about it. His role is expanding more. He's going to be calling it. I know everybody in the secondary, we're definitely excited about it. Hopefully, we'll definitely go out and make some plays for him."
(on if Vance Joseph does a good job of explaining things) "Yeah, definitely. Like I said, he does a great job at making us pay attention to the little details. He definitely instills that in us. He talks about it day-in and day-out. The way he explains things definitely makes it a lot easier for us to recognize things out on the field. It definitely helps out tremendously on Sundays."
(on if Vance Joseph is the kind of guy who has defensive coordinator or head coaching potential) "Definitely. Like I said, the way he explains things, he's a very technical about things as far as going in depth with it (and) making sure that come Sunday, we definitely know what we're going to see. The only thing we have to is just react and just play ball. He's definitely is one of those guys that can progress into a DC or a head coach."
WR Andre Johnson
(on why the team has never been able to win in Indianapolis) "I don't know. I have no answer for that other than we just haven't."
(on if playing in Indianapolis is tougher than playing in other places on the road) "I don't think it's tougher to play in the new stadium. I think it was tougher to play in the old RCA Dome. I don't think it's as loud as it used to be. That's just my opinion. I think it was tougher to play in the older place than the new stadium."
(on his thoughts about officials being at practice today to address the penalty issues) "I don't know. That's just something Wade (Phillips) felt was best for the team. I don't have a problem with it. You have to play with refs during the game. It really doesn't bother me."
(on what it was like in practice today with it being more like a game) "It felt like practice. It was a little different because we hadn't done it a lot. It was practice. Guys were upbeat. It wasn't any bad thing going on. Guys went into practice and tried to do what we need to do to win the game."
(on his charity and why he thinks it's important to give back the way he does every year) "The idea was brought to me a few years back. I tried it one year and I enjoyed it. It puts a lot of smiles on people's faces and I've just been doing it ever since. People who know me know who I am. I like to help people. I went through some situations as a kid growing up. I know what that situation there feels like and, if you can help them out, I just try to."
(on how much the extra couple of days of rest over the weekend help) "Any days off is big at this point in the season. You don't realize until you get them. I think it was good to have a few days off. It gets your body back feeling better. I think it helped out a lot."
(on how the cold weather could affect the Super Bowl) "I don't know. It just depends how cold it is and what's the weather. I think the weather was pretty awful last year during the Super Bowl at the time in New York. I don't know. We'll see what happens, but I always thought the Super Bowl should be in warm places. That's just my opinion. I don't control that
QB Case Keenum
(on what it meant to have Bob McNair come out and say that he would be the starting quarterback) "That's a tough question just because of obviously all the other things that came out, but obviously I want to play, and I'm excited to play. I'm seeing it as a heck of an opportunity for me and this team to go out and show what we can do the last part of the season. We've got nothing to lose, and I think that's pretty scary for other teams, because we're really talented and have nothing to lose. I think a lot of our guys are pissed off, so that's kind of a scary combination"
(on if that is his mindset going into Indianapolis, because of never having won up there and this is a big opportunity to turn things around) "Yeah, I mean, any time you go out it's an opportunity, and the next one is bigger than the last one and then the next one after that is bigger than that one. There's a lot of stuff up in the air, but we're still going out and we've still got 60 minutes of football on Sunday to go play against a really good football team. When it comes down to it that's how it is."
(on what he wants to accomplish over the next three weeks outside of getting his first win) "There's a lot of things. I want to not only get my craft as a quarterback, continue to grow that, but just decision making and just overall managing of a game. I think I can come a long way in just how you approach each series and taking care of the football especially. I think that's probably one of the things, but among many."
(on how Karl Dorrell has been helpful to his goals) "He's been great. I think Karl does a great job of getting us ready for each week for defenses. I think he's one of the best film studiers that I've had the privilege of being around a lot of time with. Getting to watch a lot of film with him has been really good. Just helped my general football knowledge, especially of defenses which is such a key thing to playing quarterback in the NFL."
(on how different the play calling will be without Gary Kubiak there and just Rick Dennison and Karl Dorrell playing a larger role) "I really don't know. For me it's coming through the headset from Karl anyway. That's how it's been."
(on if the offense had any interaction with Baylor head coach Art Briles today) "Coach Briles has been one of my really good friends for a long time. He was my college coach that recruited me; only guy that gave me a scholarship. I saw him out there, and I actually texted him last night. It was good seeing him. I haven't seen him in a while. I'm proud of those guys this year."
(on what it means to him that Art Briles was there) "That guy means a lot to me. Like I said he's one of the only ones that gave me a scholarship to play football in college. He's definitely my guy. I'm proud to know him and proud of him this year."
(on if Art Briles gave him any words of encouragement) "Yeah, I mean I didn't get to talk to him very long. We had to get to work, but yeah he's the type of guy you talk to for just a few minutes and you feel like you could run through a wall."
(on if there was a different mood because practice was structure to resemble more of a game) "It was a little different, but it was good to get out there and continue to work. I think just the format was a little bit different, but any time there's change there is a little bit of an adjustment period."
(on if the last three games are a chance to prove he can play in this league) "I view each game I go out to prove myself, so to say these last three games are any different from the last six or seven or however many before that I've played, it's just another game this week, and I'm going to go out and compete to the best of my abilities just like I have each week before."
(on if he has experienced something as chaotic as the situation he has been in the last few weeks with all the ups and downs) "A little bit my redshirt-freshman year. We went back and forth a little bit, but no this is all pretty different. There's not a whole lot of normalcy going around, but I think everybody's making the best of it. I'm really honestly ready to get out and go compete and go play. I think, like I said, when it all comes down to it there's a lot of outside factors that are going on, and the best thing for us is to go out and play football. That's what we do. That's what we're here to do."
(on if the team is pissed off because of the frustrations of going 2-11) "Yeah I mean I probably shouldn't say that. My mom's probably going to be mad that I used that word. There are a lot of things. Nobody likes not winning. We all feel like we're a really good football team, and we just need to finish."
(on what he thinks went well in the first matchup against Indianapolis) "I think we started really well, and I think Andre (Johnson) went off in the first half of that game. We took some shots, and obviously hit on a few of those. We got into a little bit of a groove, and I think that's going to be important this week; making sure that we get into a rhythm, and making sure that we don't let their really good pass rushers get up the field, and making sure I get the ball out to our guys and letting them make plays; making them make tackles. I think all of those things, just like we did last time are going to be very important."
(on if he felt like he had to look over his shoulder the last few games and now that the owner has said he was going to be the starting quarterback he does not have that anymore and can just go play) "I wouldn't say I've been looking over my shoulder any. That's just kind of how this job is. Whether you're producing or not, it's about productivity especially at quarterback. That's what I try to go out and do. It's my job. That's my job to do is to keep us on the field on third downs and score touchdowns. That's what I focus on. That's what I focus on every time."
ILB Joe Mays
(on if he's had interactions with Vance Joseph considering he will be calling the plays now) "Yeah, we talk every day, though. So it's nothing new to us. It's just a new feel for just not having Kub (Gary Kubiak) around, which it sucks. But at the same time, we have to go out and take care of business."
(on what it was like having refs at practice today) "Well, I'm kind of used it from being on other teams. It was a little different. I kind of made sure, just told them to look for the holding calls. We get held a lot in those trenches, so a lot of times they don't see it. So I have to make sure they knew what was going on."
(on if there was a different flow at practice today) "Yeah, it was a little different. It was a little different. We kind of implemented the special teams within the practice instead of doing it before. It was a little different, but at the same time, I think everybody felt like it was fresh, it was new and bought into it."
RB Ben Tate
(on how things are different with Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips) "Yeah, practice has changed up a little bit. Actually, I like it. We had fun today. We just were going. People seemed a little bit more less tense. Guys were a little bit more loose. So it was actually a pretty good day at practice."
(on if the main difference at practice today was that people were more loose or if the way practice was run was different) "We actually did change some things in practice."
(on his thoughts on officials being at practice today) "I think that's a good idea because, if you don't work on it all of the time, then how can you do it when it comes to the game if you're not working on the areas where if it's holding or you're jumping off sides like that. If you don't have to think about it during practice, you're not worried about getting a flag during practice, then how are you going to do it in games. So I think it was a good idea."
(on the Texans never winning in Indianapolis and how sweet a win would be there) "A W, if we can get it anywhere, if we play in a parking lot, just getting a win. The fact that it's in Indy and we've never done it, we've got two wins all season. So I don't think it really matters. I don't know how much coaches are really thinking or going to emphasize that. It's just getting a win period. I don't care if we play them at the Galleria mall. We just want to win."
(on the pacing of practice today and if there was more of a game feel to it) "Yeah, because offense, defense go and special teams, and you kind of get a break. You kind of get a break in between all of that, kind of just going on the sidelines and sitting down for a while and having to go back out there. It's different than we had done before. Kub (Gary Kubiak), we had it where we just did all runs one period and then the next one might be all passes and things like that. It's just a lot more mixed up. Everything's a lot more mixed up."
DE J.J. Watt
(on the how practice went today and if there were noticeable changes) "There were a few changes. It was a good practice. I think we had a good practice. I think that there was some good intensity and we got some good work done today."
(on if it was a good thing that officials were at practice today) "Yeah, it never hurts to have extra sets of eyes there making sure that you're doing the right things. They can tell you what they see. It definitely never hurts."
(on if he has any idea why the team had a lot of penalties the last game considering the team had four penalties combined in the previous two games) "Penalties, I think all year have been a bit of an issue. Obviously, we want to get those corrected. Penalties in big situations especially. Obviously, we just want to eliminate those and that's one of the keys to victory is you have to eliminate penalties."
(on how the team responded to the coaching change today) "I think we handled it. We're professionals. It's our job to come here and go to work. So that's what we're going to do. Like I said, I think we had a good practice today."
(on what makes playing at Indianapolis so difficult) "Playing on the road is always difficult. I can't tell you that there's one specific reason why this team has never won there. Obviously, we're looking to change that. That's never something that you want to have on your resume. So we're looking to go up there and hopefully get that done."
(on what he thinks of Vance Joseph as a potential coach now that he will be doing the play calling) "I think he'll do fine. Obviously, he's been under Wade (Phillips) now here for a couple of years. He knows the defense well. He'll just do fine."