Head Coach Gary Kubiak** T Duane Brown
RB Arian Foster
WR Andre Johnson
QB Case Keenum
QB Matt Schaub
DE Antonio Smith
RB Ben Tate
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) "The guys that did not practice today were Arian (Foster), Ben Tate and Wade Smith. Other than that, everybody was back to work. Obviously, (Brian) Cushing (is on injured reserve)."
(on the quarterback situation) "Case (Keenum) will start this week. Actually, I talked to Case and Matt (Schaub), I think, Tuesday before I gave them their break and talked to the team this morning. But Case will start and hopefully we'll grow from last week. I thought he did some really good things. I thought we played some clean football and we're going to have to do that here down the road to improve. That's the way we started working today."
(on if QB Case Keenum is the starting quarterback for the rest of the season) "No, there's no decisions made for this season. We'll keep going. It's the decision I made for this week. Matt (Schaub) will back up Case. Matt's back to work today, first time on the practice field really doing any football stuff since his injury. We'll get him prepared to play."
(on if starting QB Case Keenum is based on QB Matt Schaub's health) "No, Matt's fine. Matt's fine and it's just the decision I made based on what I saw take place last week with Case and him taking advantage of an opportunity and I want to see him move forward. He's got to improve. He's definitely got to go and improve. With this football team we're playing, our football team's got to improve around him. Like I said, a decision for this week."
(on how worried he is about the running back situation) "On a scale of what? One to? The highest number, whatever that is. I'm very concerned. We understand Ben (Tate's) situation. I think they're both going to give us everything they can to try and play this week. I don't think we're going to know anything until later in the week, which is probably a good thing. I know it's a good thing we had the bye. Neither did anything today. I shouldn't say neither. Arian (Foster) actually went over there and moved around today with the trainers. What we have to do is we have to prepare these three young guys to play. We've got to get Ray (Graham), Deji (Karim) and DJ (Dennis Johnson) ready to play. Ray's had some good practice. You can tell DJ's been working and been on a team, just because of the way he came back and worked. We'll see, but we've got to get those guys ready to play."
(on how QB Matt Schaub was when he found out QB Case Keenum would be starting this week) "Obviously, disappointed, which I wouldn't expect anything else. We talked for a long time. He's a competitor. He wants to be the guy in there. I understand that. I know it's very difficult on him. It's very difficult on me too to be honest with you. But I've got to make decisions that are best for the football team right now. We talked through it. We move forward. His attitude's good. He's back to work today trying to get himself ready to play."
(on if the quarterback decision was one of the toughest he's had to make as a head coach) "I've had a lot of tough decisions in my football life. That's part of the deal. That's part of my job. We've been struggling as a team and battling to get back on the right side. I thought we went out and played better football. That's why we had an excellent chance to win last week in Kansas City. We didn't close the deal or make the play to close the deal, but I thought we played cleaner. We played some good football, so I want to see us grow from that. That's why I made my decision."
(on the new signings today) "Deji Karim. DJ (Dennis Johnson) from Arkansas, the kid we had in camp. Obviously, we elevated Ray Graham to the active squad. (Tavares) Gooden, the linebacker that had been in San Francisco and Baltimore at one point, from University of Miami. And then (Jeff) Tarpinian, a kid from Iowa, a linebacker who I think was last with Carolina. We've got five new faces on the team today going to work."
(on why having five running backs on the roster) "Well, two of them couldn't play right now, so somebody's got to play. We better start getting these young guys ready and we're concerned about special teams health really. We're talking about three guys that should help us on special teams."
(on if RB Deji Karim will return) "He can. Yeah, he'll work that way, yes. I think Keshawn (Martin) looked better today to me than he has the last couple of weeks. He's coming off the shoulder, so I'm hoping he's back to full-speed. But yes, Deji can do that."
(on if the team came back with a positive attitude from the bye) "Yeah, I thought our work today was really good. This makes for a long week because I gave them some time off, which I thought we needed to get away. They came back and worked really good today, but now, we've got a really long week because we don't play until Sunday night. We need the week from a health standpoint. We probably need to play real fast from a mental standpoint, but that's just part of dealing with the schedule. But I thought they came back today ready to work. I think they feel like, if we continue to play some of the football we played a couple of weeks ago, we're going to give ourselves an excellent chance here in these last nine weeks. So that's what we're focused on."
(on how important this week's game is) "I think everyone is extremely important. First off, we've got to battle our way back into this thing. That's the key. This is a crazy league. Crazy things happen. We've played what, one division football game? So we're going to start playing each other here. I really want our focus to be on us playing better and I thought it was two weeks ago. That's what I'm trying to keep them focused on right now and not so much who we're playing, how much does this game mean. But if we play better, we'll like what happens. So that's what we're trying to stay focused on."
T Duane Brown
(on QB Case Keenum being named the starting quarterback for this week) "It's a great opportunity. I think he proved that he's very capable of playing in this league and making some big plays, and leading us. We're sticking with him. We have all of the confidence in the world in him. I think he's only going to get better. Like I said, he made some big plays for us and gave us a chance to win at Kansas City. He was very passionate about the mistakes that he made and he was very vocal to us about how he would improve. As a young player, to see that was very encouraging. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do."
(on the importance of not making the same mistake twice and if that's an asset QB Case Keenum has) "I think so. In this league, that's what it's all about. You're going to make mistakes and it's just about correcting them and not making it an issue going forward. I think he definitely has that ability and that right frame of mind to so."
(on QB Case Keenum being a natural born leader) "I think that's correct. He's a natural born leader. Some guys just have that aura about them; just have that swagger when they go out there. They rally guys together. People just naturally have a certain level of respect for them. He works hard. He goes out and he works. Like I said, he's very vocal. He tries to get the energy level up in practice. That's good to see. I'm excited for him. I'm excited what he can do for us."
(on if QB Case Keenum has gradually earned the team's respect) "Definitely. Last year, everyone knew about his collegiate level accomplishments and everything he had done, but he came and walked through the doors and he didn't have any kind of ego about him. He just came in and worked and put his head down and kept at it. He saw his opportunity and he's been working his tail off ever since. I definitely think he's gained everyone's respect on the team."
RB Arian Foster
(on his hamstring and if it has made progress) "Yeah, opened up pretty good today. I expect to practice this week and push towards playing."
(on if a decision about him playing this week will be made later in the week) "Yeah, it's a decision that will be made later in the week."
(on the attitude of the team right now) "Everybody's optimistic. Anything can happen in this league. You don't want to bank on that. Of course, you want to set your own fate. We just have to continue to work on us. Anything can happen. We're just going to continue to work."
(on QB Case Keenum being named the starting quarterback this week) "That's the direction that Coach (Gary Kubiak) wanted to go to. As a chess piece, I have no say so in the matter. Obviously, it's a great opportunity for him and so hopefully he does well with it. I'm a big fan of his game."
(on the way QB Case Keenum has evolved into the starter for this game) "Yeah, this is a huge game. I think the biggest thing I've seen from him is just his confidence level. When he first got here as a rookie, undrafted p-squad (practice squad), I went through the exact same thing. Me and him have had a talk before any of this had happened about dreams, goals, aspirations, all of that stuff. You like to see guys like that get an opportunity. He's been working for it. Obviously, it's a double-edge sword because I've built such a rapport with Matt (Schaub). It's just the business side of this game that you have to take in stride. I'm confident Matt's going to take it the right way and go to work."
(on QB Case Keenum's energy level and if it's contagious) "I think the most important thing quarterbacks do is to stay calm and have fun out there. I think that's what you look for in a leader is just to stay calm and have fun. We're all grown men. We don't need a rah-rah speech. We like to look at comrades and know that they're confident about what they're doing and having fun. They're going to be there."
WR Andre Johnson
(on QB Case Keenum being named the starting quarterback for this week) "Like I said before, it's not my decision. That's out of my control. Coach (Gary Kubiak) decided that was going to be the starting quarterback. That's just the decision you have to roll with. Like I said before, I feel comfortable with every quarterback we have. The coaches have to make the best decision for the team. He chose Case and we're going to get ready to go out and play against Indy."
(on if QB Case Keenum gave the team a lift against Kansas City) "He went out and played well. I said that before. I said that after the game. I think he went out and played well for his first start. I guess he caught the coach's eye and did enough to earn him another start. Hopefully, we go out Sunday and have a different turnout by getting a victory."
(on if the team has come back from the bye rejuvenated) "Even though we've lost five-straight games, I don't think the attitude around here has been negative at all. I think everybody's been positive because we know that we can get it turned around if we go out and play the way that we know how to play. I think that's just the biggest thing is nobody getting down, nobody getting negative, everybody staying positive. But at the same time, I think we all, as a team, have to take our game to another level.
QB Case Keenum
(on being named the starter again this week) "I'm excited. I get to go out and play football again. I'm obviously very excited, ready to go. I'm ready to have a good week of preparation. I'm ready to go out on a big stage against a divisional opponent. I couldn't be more excited."
(on if he thought he would get the chance to start this week) "I wasn't sure. Like I told you guys, I'm trying to keep the same mind set no matter what. At least I know I pretty early. So I get a week to prepare and get ready to go Sunday."
(on what it means to him that he's the starter even though QB Matt Schaub is healthy) "I wouldn't say I feel any different this week than last week. I know I'm going to go out there and start the game and play this week. I knew the same thing last week. Nothing changes for me. Obviously, I need to improve and get better in a lot of things. I think my film study can get better. I think there's ways I can learn and be more effective watching film and getting prepared. With all that being said, I'm going to go out and give my best every day this week and be ready to go on Sunday."
(on how much it helped to know that he would be the starter going into the bye week) "It was good. It was good to be able to rest and re-load a little bit. Still having the mind set of being ready to go. Really, rest my body, but keeping my mind sharp. I continued to watch film. It was good. It was good to have a bye week kind of let everybody re-load and get ready to go again, kind of re-charge, fill up and get ready to go."
(on what it's going to be like to play at home this week) "I imagine I'll have a few more goose bumps than I did last week. Obviously, it was a very cool atmosphere last week, but, to play in Houston, to play in Reliant, I know this atmosphere, I know what it's like and I know Sunday night it's going to be very special. I'm really excited to play in Houston."
(on how QB Matt Schaub has been since he was named starter since he took his starting spot) "I feel like we've got the best quarterback room in the country. Those guys have been nothing but supportive. We all have for each other. I think we're all rooting for each other. We're all trying to make each other better. Both of those guys, Matt especially, since I got here, since I got the call from the Texans after the draft, one of the next phone calls I got was from Matt. From the very get go, he's been an incredible guy on and off the field to me. I owe him a lot of what I've learned over the last few years."
(on what he's taken most from QB Matt Schaub) "I don't know if I can just put it on one thing. I watch a lot that he does. So maybe not stuff that he explains or tells or shares with the room as far as what he's thinking on certain plays or certain defenses, what he takes away, more so how he interacts with teammates on and off the field, the type of leader he is. I've learned a lot from not even really him telling me."
(on what it means that teammates got fired up on the field when he started against the Chiefs) "It means a lot. I think everybody should have everybody's back. To have guys like that, especially guys that have been in this locker room a long time, be there for me and just some of the blocks. I don't know if you saw, but there was a block by Duane (Brown), a little play-pass that we ran, and he blocked his guy actually, usually the tackle blocks past the quarterback, but he actually went all of the way around back to in front of me on the other side. Pretty incredible block. Just to see guys like that that have my back play-in and play-out is pretty cool."
(on RB Ben Tate saying he's a natural born leader) "Yeah, I try to lead by example. Naturally, everybody's going to look to the quarterback. I try to do the right thing on and off the field. I try to be the same person all of the time, be very consistent. I try to be what the team needs me to be, whatever that is. I want to fill that role and do whatever I can to make this team the best possible team it can be."
(on if he's had a lot of requests for tickets this week) "It has begun, yeah."
(on how many tickets he's been asked for so far) "More than I can get."
(on how he handled telling people he would start this week) "I had to swear some people to secrecy and maybe not tell some people that maybe I knew weren't going to be able to keep it a secret. No, I told most of my family."
(on saying he made mistakes in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs and if he's gone over that since) "Yeah, I've gone over it a couple of times. It's something that, in the heat of the moment when the bullets are flying, it happens really fast. It's something that I took some time, a couple of days actually just to review protections, especially those protections and just kind of make sure that things slow down on the field, that I follow the process of when I come to the line of seeing protections and knowing where my hots are, knowing where my hot receivers are and then going through my reads."
(on facing duress again) "Yeah, I imagine we're going to see it again. Obviously, they were successful in what they did. So correcting mistakes is a big thing, especially in this league. If you put it on film, people see it. Being ready for that next time is going to be big time."
QB Matt Schaub
(on his reaction to receiving the news that he will not be starting this week) "Yeah, it's obviously very disappointing for me after all we've been through here and all we've accomplished and done. But I'm part of the reason we're in this situation as a football team. It's his decision. He's the head coach. As a player and a competitor, I don't like it. I want to be out there."
(on if he understands where the decision is coming from to make QB Case Keenum the starter) "I understand that I'm part of the reason that we're in this position in the season at 2-5. It's his decision."
(on how his health is) "Good."
(on when Head Coach Gary Kubiak told him he wouldn't be starting this week) "Well, he told the team this morning. He talked to us last week before we broke for the bye week."
(on if it the tough part is to now have to help QB Case Keenum out since he took his spot) "Well, we're all in this together. We're a football team. It's a long season. We've just got to go prepare to play the next one."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying the decision to start QB Case Keenum is just for this week and we'll see after that) "We're just taking them one at a time. We're focused on what we've got to do to beat Indianapolis this week and that's all we can worry about individually and as a team."
(on if he feels like QB Case Keenum starting this week is a result of his injury) "No, I don't know. I think it's obviously I haven't played up to my standards. That's more of where it stems from."
(on if he was able to get away for the bye week) "Yeah, I got away and enjoyed some family time. I got away from football away a little bit. It was a chance for me to re-charge and re-load for the stretch run of the season. It was good to get some down time."
(on if this team can still get back on track) "Absolutely. We've got the type of guys and type of players and talent in this locker room and, if we play our type of football, we'll win our football games. You have to have the thing bounce your way every now and then. I think if we play up to our level and standard, we're right there and we can get on a run."
DE Antonio Smith
(on the importance of getting a win this week to get things going) "That's the age old saying, 'Winning kind of takes care of everything.' Winning kind of covers everything. I think the same way. I think we need that confidence. You need that mojo back. You'd be surprised just how much playing with confidence can do for you and how far it can take you, especially when you're fighting and battling and get into a losing mind frame. You're just thinking everything that can go wrong will go wrong and it'll get you down and discouraged. We need a win."
(on QB Case Keenum being named the starting quarterback and the energy and confidence he brings) "He's got that spunk. I like him. He's on the sidelines getting everybody amped up. He's got the energy and you can see it. You saw it out there on the field. There's a couple of little things that he's got to hone in on in his game, just like all of us do. But I think he's going to be good and I think that breath fresh of air, that energy that he brings. I think he can keep that going and we can get this thing going on the right track. His confidence and other players' confidence can get contagious and start just this locomotive running."
RB Ben Tate
(on how he's dealing with his cracked ribs) "I'm dealing with them pretty well right now. Every day, they get better and better. I think by Sunday, I'll be fine and good to go."
(on how he plays with cracked ribs) "It hurts a lot, but you're trying to show your teammates that you're putting it all on the line for them. That game was important to us and it was important to me. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team win. If I wasn't out there, I felt like I would have put the team in a worse situation than it already was. When I'm out there, like I told Coach (Gary) Kubiak, when I'm out there, I still wanted the ball. I wanted to run the ball. I went and said something to him. But I think, at the time, he was maybe a little scared of my ribs, but I told him, if I'm out there, don't hold back from giving me the ball."
(on if he's going to go out there and do whatever he can this week) "Definitely. I think I'll be in a lot better shape than I was this Sunday compared to last Sunday. I was in a lot more pain because it had just happened. I could barely move once it happened. So I definitely think I'll be better off this Sunday than last week."
(on if he's limited in any way) "Not really. It's just the pain, the physical pain right now of maybe getting hit or the impact from the ground right now when I try to run. Other than that, once I take something to take the edge off, nothing is limiting."