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Houston Texans

Texans Quotes: September 25


Head Coach Gary Kubiak** Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
T Duane Brown
ILB Brian Cushing
CB Johnathan Joseph
DE Sam Montgomery
QB Matt Schaub
G Wade Smith
DE J.J. Watt
Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on T Duane Brown's status) "He worked with the trainers today so that was a good thing. Moving around, did a little individual. He did not do any team stuff. I don't know where we'll be tomorrow. I think it's going to be a game-time decision. It's very sore, but he's doing a lot better than he was last week at this time. We'll just sit here and hope for the best and continue to prepare Ryan (Harris) to play."

(on if T Duane Brown did not do anything beyond working with the trainers today) "He did individual and worked with the trainers. That's all he did."

(on any injuries) "Let me just go through all of these guys. Kareem (Jackson) did not practice. He has been sick, has an illness. Andre (Johnson) did not practice. Obviously, he's got the sore leg. We'll see where we're at tomorrow. He did work with the trainers some. J. Jo (Johnathan Joseph) has a sore toe. He did not practice. Owen Daniels was rest. Wade Smith was rest. Darryl Sharpton's foot, he was out with a sore foot. Garrett Graham was limited, I think, is the way he's listed in practice. He did very little, but did do some things. I think that's about it. I think I'm right."

(on how the team has responded since Sunday) "I really liked our practice. I just told them I thought it was our best practice of the year. I thought we had a really good sense of urgency and speed. We were missing a lot of players and I think the reason we practiced really good is because I think our young guys are starting to practice better, the practice squad guys and those types of guys. We understand what type of team we're fixin' to play and we've got to play a lot better than we have played and so I liked our sense of urgency today."

(on the biggest challenge the Seahawks defense presents) "Speed, really. They really rally to the ball. We all know about the two great corners they have and the way they can lock you down and cover, but they are excellent getting to the quarterback. They don't give up big plays and just rally to the ball. They play with a lot of speed. We'll have to match that intensity above and beyond. Their ranking is very well deserved."

(on if the pick-six is an especially debilitating turnover) "Well, any time you give up points some place other than your defense, it just makes it very difficult on your team. We should have been leading at halftime. We give up 14 points. That's tough, but things happen, people make mistakes, quarterbacks throw interceptions, sometimes they go the other way, and you have to be tough enough as a team and good enough as a team to overcome things like that. We did that against Tennessee. We didn't do that last week. Obviously, we need to get them eliminated, but it doesn't mean you can't win that day. It doesn't mean you can't find a way to win that game. So we've got to stay committed to the cause."

(on if the team practices against defending the pick-six) "Yeah, we tell them, 'Don't throw the dang thing.' That's about the best practice."

(on if the team practices scenarios for when a pick-six occurs) "Yeah, if it happens, you go make the tackle. That's what we say. No, you hope go through a season with it never happening. I try to stay focused on the year. Obviously, we've got four turnovers as an offense right now. Am I right? We'll see where we're at at the end of the year. Right now, it's not good enough. We've got to get into much better mode protecting the ball and we've got to find a way to take it away to get on the positive side. There are a lot of things we're focusing on this week other than just our practice."

(on if WR Andre Johnson is considered a game-time decision) "I would think so. We'll see where we're at tomorrow. He did some today. I think Andre's going to do everything he can to be there. He is very sore today. We'll let it run its course and see how he's feeling. Get these young guys ready to go."

(on having trouble protecting the quarterback and playing a team with a great pass rush) "Well, that's part of this league. There's no soft spot to land in this league. You've got to play good every week. We're fixing to line up against a great defensive early in the season, number one defense in football. We understand that, but the focus has always got to be on yourself, what you're doing. I spend half my day yesterday studying us instead of our opponent in a lot of ways because I got a look at what we're doing well and what we're not doing well, that we can get rid of. A lot of time spent that way as a coach. You do that offensively and defensively over the course of the season. But the focus right now is cleaning up our own act."

(on if it concerns him that the team has not run the ball 30 times yet) "Well, we definitely would like to get our running game going more. We've actually run the ball pretty decent, but we just have not stayed on the field to run it and have been in in two games that we've been behind. Last week, if you look at third downs, we're not very good at all in that game. You're eliminating plays every time you miss one. But no, we'd like to get back to the way we've played football and that's hanging onto the football, playing great defense and not helping somebody beat us. So we have not done that yet."

(on if CB Johnathan Joseph hurt his toe in the game on Sunday) "Yeah, he's got a sore toe just coming out of the game. So we just kept him out today."

(on CB Johnathan Joseph's outlook) "I don't know. It's a day-to-day situation. He just didn't practice today."

(on how similar the Texans and Seahawks are philosophically) "I see a lot of things offensively. I know some of the coaches there, from a boot standpoint, a zone standpoint. (Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line) Tommy Cable, I've known Tom for a long time. He does a great job. There are some similarities there. Defensively, they're a four-man front. But their team is just built on speed and the young quarterback playing the way he's played here, for early in his career, has been a huge boost. Dang good football team like I said. 3-0, they've definitely earned that."

(on how FS Ed Reed is looking since Sunday) "I thought he looked pretty good today. I really did. He did took his reps with the defense, took a lot of scout team too. I think getting through last week was huge for him. I liked the way he moved around today."

(on the most alarming thing he's seen through three games on tape) "I don't know. I don't know if there is one alarming thing. There is the fact that we haven't been able to play in the type of games we want to play in, but also we've found a way to win two of those. I think the biggest thing still, no matter what, is the turnover battle and the way it's hurting our football team and the way it's putting us in a bad situation. It's something we have to get back on track. That's not what we have been and we have to get back to doing it the right way."

(on what they can correct defensively to force more turnovers) "You just hope they come in bunches. We got our hands on a bunch today in practice, made some today. Ed (Reed) had one today. I think A.J. (Bouye) had one today, so there are some good things going on on the field. Usually, when it's going on over there, it transfers across the street so let's hope they come in bunches and we find a way to get some this week."

(on him impressive of a job Pete Carroll has done in turning the Seahawks organization around) "Pete does a good job. They've got their program going, very committed to what they're doing. He's got a very good coaching staff, an excellent coaching staff there. They've got a tremendous homefield advantage, a very, very difficult place to play. They've been really tough to beat there. I see consistency. I see the same team every week and how they play. They do not hurt themselves. Like I said, it's well deserved with where they're at. They work really hard."

(on DE Sam Montgomery) "What we did with Sam is we moved him to the defensive line. It's funny, sometimes when you get players that are 260-guys and they come to the NFL and they're sitting here eating good food three times a day and lifting weights twice a day, they can get bigger real quick. We watched him work as a linebacker and we had him working as a down lineman on the scout team. He was starting to get a little bigger. It was hard for him to keep the weight off so we decided to move in the other direction. We're letting him put a little weight on. He's working with Bill and he's doing a really good job. Hopefully, before too long, he'll be in position to help us out."

(on Seattle's defensive backs that have good size and if he's seen three that big) "Reminds me of when I was around (Steve) Atwater in Denver, that size. You watch their safeties come down in the box or their corners getting down around the line of scrimmage, they look like linebackers down there. It will be the biggest corners we've played and the biggest set of safeties. Pete (Carroll) is a big secondary guy and boy has he put one together. They're a big force for their football team and a big challenge for us.

(on what Seattle's secondary does so well) "They do everything. They can run, physical, they're all long. Even if you get a step on them or so, they find a way to make plays with their length. They've just been exceptional."

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on what they say to QB Matt Schaub when he doesn't play well) "Like any other position, we all have to get better and for Matt, just like you said, it's a focal point. He's got to get better. He's got to be very sound with the ball. That's the thing that we keep pressing. We give him as many looks as we can and tell him, 'You've got to take care of the ball for us because you're going to handle it every snap.'"

(on what has led to the interceptions through the first three games) "I don't know. We keep working on it. He's made bad decisions. That's about as far as I can tell you. He made a bad decision with the ball and he's learning from them. We can't make those bad decisions."

(on if it is double debilitating when an interception is returned for a touchdown) "I don't know about doubly; it's bad when they get the ball. We want us to make plays."

(on if they practice with the offense how to stop a pick-six after an interception) "Yeah, oh yeah. You always cover, but it's just the situation. As I said, everybody has a certain thing that they've got to work on and get better as a group and better as a team and that's one of the few things that we need to work on."

(on the Seattle secondary being big, fast and long) "It's kind of hard to add to that. It's all the superlatives that you can have in one sentence. They're very, very long. It's hard to make plays on them, especially down the field because of their length, but we've got to go out there and get our wideouts to battle if they're up there in press and move guys around. We have to make sure the safeties are involved. We have to make plays in the run game to get them committed to that point and do what we need to do to make plays and move down the field."

(on if he would like to run the ball more and towards that 30-carry mark) "Certainly, any time we're doing that, and a lot of those are the fact of who's ahead and who's not. We get a lot of runs, generally speaking, in the fourth quarter when we're grinding the clock out. With two guys that are getting better every time they run, they ran the ball pretty hard the other day. With two guys, we could split it and we would do very well if we could get those carries, sure."

(on how QB Matt Schaub corrects those bad decisions given he's not an inexperienced young quarterback) "We just keep telling him. We'll ask him why he made that decision and why that's wrong. He made the wrong decision based on what he sees in coverage. I can't go any further than that. He made the wrong decision. He understands why after watching the film and he'll make the corrections."

(on the Seattle defense) "I think their team speed is tremendous. There is always somebody in front of the ball. It's hard to find the creases because they run very, very well. They fill the gaps well. They're very sound with what they do. I think that is what makes them physical. There is always somebody there and extra guys coming, because they all run very, very well."

(on how he feels about the running backs through three weeks of the season) "I think they're working their tails off. They're running the ball hard. We'll keep working with that and I think situation-wise, whatever happens, happens. I think we're progressing to a point, I'm kind of talking around in circles, but I'm not displeased at all."

(on if it's difficult balancing two backs with getting them in rhythm and looking long term) "That's definitely it. It's not like they're coached differently. They're coached the same way. They certainly have different styles and they attack a play just a little bit different, but they are similar in fact. They know what their read is and know where the ball should hit. The guys up front are consistent, trying to keep consistent, and get in the right spots—getting a hat on a hat, finding a hole."

T Duane Brown
(on watching last week's game at home) "It was pretty tough. It was pretty tough having to sit at home watching it and not be able to be on the sidelines with the guys. It was very tough to watch."

(on if he's worried that the toe injury could longer for a while) "The plan, the thing about is to not rush it back too much because, if I do, then it could be something could last a while. It's recovering pretty rapidly right now. I think a little bit ahead of schedule than we previously though. I'm not too worried about it. I think I'll be fine."

(on putting the loss in perspective) "It's a very long season. I think it's a good thing that we've built up those expectations now, that people expect us to win every game we go out there. We expect the same thing, but it's the NFL. We had a lot of mistakes out there that I think caught up to us against a good Baltimore team. But it's one game and we have a very tough team we're facing this week. I think the sense of urgency around here is at an all-time high. We know the position we're in. We still have a very good football team and I think people need to realize that."

ILB Brian Cushing
(on what Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll meant to him when he coached him at Southern California) "He's my old college coach. I talk to him every once in a while, but I'm going against him this weekend."

(on what Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll meant to him in college and how important he was to him) "He was my head coach and a very influential person to me at a critical stage in my career and in my life. A guy that's helped me tremendously grow up as a person and a football player."

(on the keys to getting turnovers) "You just keep working at it and you keep stressing it, and continuing to do it in practice. Hopefully, it just transfers over to the games."

(on how the team has responded since Sunday) "I think good. I think the guys are excited and want to get back out there and play football again. Obviously, we've played nowhere near our capabilities. We know that and everybody knows that. Just to get back out there and play against a very good football team is going to be a great test for us."

(on addressing the team's penalties from Sunday) "Just play smarter. Obviously, some issues were being more aggressive. Some issues were coverage. I'm just talking just from a defensive standpoint. Just play cleaner. Play within the rules and work on technique and do the things that you can do."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on Coach Kubiak saying this was the best practice they've had) "Guys were kind of, you know, without anybody having to say anything or have a meeting or anything like that.  Guys hit the field today and they ran around well – guys competing offensively and defensively more so than other days or other Wednesdays that I can obviously say from the standpoint that guys are pushing guys on the look team and things like that."

(on QB Russell Wilson being a threat) "He's one of those dual threats that the league is moving to now. He can throw the ball down the field obviously he can extend plays with his legs and kind of create a different mismatch with the option read at the quarterback position. He's one of those dual threat quarterbacks."

(on how you prepare for Russell Wilson) "We can only do as much as we can because obviously we don't have a guy with his skill set on the roster that can go and create plays and just run around all day, but I think TJ (Yates) and Case (Keenum) have been doing great in practice this week, starting today giving us the option read and things like that – just running around and just trying to extend and buy time back there in the pocket to give the receivers more time to create time in their routes."

(on why he didn't practice today) "I'm just taking it easy.  Coach has been doing this since training camp and I think it has been working for us and we want to continue to stay on this schedule. I just do what the coach tells me to do." 

(on where his eyes are as Wilson extends plays with his legs) "Pretty much you just have to stay on your guy up until the whistle blows.  Obviously there will be some point in time where you have to have the awareness that you have to turn around or realize that he's running the ball, but for the most part a play only lasts for five or six seconds max so you have to have that clock in your head."

(on if Wilson is tougher to take down than) "Absolutely, I think it is really hard for those guys to see him back there because he's so short, but it's one of those things where everyone has an assignment on the defense  and obviously the guys up front it's the pass rush, the linebackers have semi-pass rush and semi-pass coverage so it's our job on the backend is completely just pass coverage.  So we have to take care of our part and let everyone else do their job up front.  I think if everyone does their job we can try to ease him down and slow him down a little bit." 

DE Sam Montgomery
(on how much of a challenge will it be to switch positions) "Well, it's definitely coming accustomed to. Being a pro isn't so much about hard work or anything like that, it's just dedication and staying extra. Once you do it so much, it becomes a custom."

(on when the team started playing him at DE on the scout team) "It's been since the beginning. I've been giving the team a lot of good looks, been playing in a lot of different scenarios that's giving our offense a really good look."

(on when the team tried him at defensive at first and if it happened during training camp or the season) "When the season started."

(on if it gives him more confidence as a player being back at defensive end since he thought it was his true position) "Yes, it does give me a lot of confidence, but it's definitely one of the things that I said before I came up here that I'll do anything that a team asks me to do."

(on how much help he's gotten from DE Antonio Smith) "The linebacker thing, as I learned, the linebackers stand up. It definitely helped me when I put my hands down times 10. Just after practice, now that I'm with the D-line (defensive line) group, it's really everybody now. Everybody stays after practice. Everybody gets a little bit extra. So I feel a little better when it's a group activity."

(on if he thinks playing OLB for a few months has helped his ability to play end) "Not only has it helped me to play end, but I also know what all of the four linemen are doing now because I've learned the linebacker position as well as what the D-ends (defensive ends) have to do, the D-tackles (defensive tackles) on the inside. So I'm learning the whole concept of the defense."

QB Matt Schaub
(on what he took away from Sunday) "Yeah, we have a lot of things we can improve on, clean up and be better as a football team, but we're on to Seattle and what it's going to take to be successful this week and beat a good football team."

(on why the turnovers have happened over the first three weeks) "Just making mistakes with the ball. I've got to be better as a quarterback for this team and put ourselves in better situations."

(on the increase in pick-sixes in the NFL and why it's happening and if it's related to the spread offense) "You know it could be. You're putting guys in positions and you spread the field out and there's no room for them to return to it. Any number of reasons. But we're focused on how to fix those things and going out and beating the Seahawks this week."

(on what are some keys to be sharper) "Just that, just move on to the next game. You can't dwell on things that have happened. You can't change the past. Just go look to the next play to be better and put yourself and your team in a better position. That's where my focus is, is to be better for my team this week. They depend on me and need me to be that. That's what I'm going to be."

(on if Seattle's secondary is one of the toughest he's seen) "They're very good. They're good across the board. They're fast, big, physical, especially in the secondary, which is unusual. They cover a lot of ground. They challenge you, so we've got to be up to that task."

(on how you go about cleaning up penalties) "When you look at that, we had a lot of penalties, especially in the last ball game where we got a lot of procedural penalties and things where that's not us. And you put yourself in difficult down and distance situations. It really makes it hard on yourself when you're playing a good defense home or away. So we've got to clean those things up and not hurt ourselves and put ourselves in bad positions."

(on why he shoulders the blame and never blames anyone else when things go wrong) "That's just how I view this position. Ultimately as the quarterback, the ball's in your hands and it leaves your hands last. You've got to take ownership and responsibility in everything that goes on. That's just how I am."

(on if a quarterback gets used to taking the blame and criticism from fans and media) "I hate to say you ever have to get used to something like that but it comes with the territory. The better you understand that as a quarterback in this League at this level, I guess the better you can handle adversity and handle the good with the bad and move forward and show your team that you're not affected by things. You're just going to keep working. You're just going to go right back to the drawing board and keep working. That's how I am. It's just something I've learned over time."

(on if there is a sense of urgency) "No doubt about it. No doubt about it. The sense of urgency in this building, in this locker room is incredible and we had a great practice today. Guy were really into what we were doing, in-tune with the game plan and flying around,  making plays and just getting back to work. The sense of urgency is there, as it always with us but more so today, going into this week as we move forward."

(on if he noticed the sense of urgency today) "No question."

(on how to reconcile making mistakes with the ball) "Not make mistakes with the ball."

(on if he worries about over-thinking to reconcile making mistakes) "No. You go out and play. You cut it loose. If you think about something, then you're going to miss something."

LG Wade Smith
(on Seattle's defense) "Very fast defense. They get to the ball well, penetrate. A lot of good players over there, so we have our work cut out for us."

(on how the offensive line did last week and what they want to do better this time around) "Well anytime you don't come out with a 'W' it's not good enough. Matt (Schaub) got hit too much. We definitely want to get it back on track and get us doing what we do around here, running the ball, controlling the clock and dictating to defenses."

(on what he thinks about QB Matt Schaub never pointing the finger at anyone else) "Well, the rest of the team reflects leadership. He's the leader of our team. You won't see any other position groups pointing the finger at any other position groups either. It starts from up top. Like you said, he won't point the finger and we'll never do that either."

(on his health) "I'm fine."

(on if it's odd that QB Matt Schaub led the team in come-from-behind wins the first two weeks of the season and then doesn't do it in the third game and people jump all over him) "No, I don't think that's odd at all. That's just the nature of the beast. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type atmosphere. Best of the best. Like you said, the first two games when we got behind he came back and led us to great wins and everybody was happy. This time it didn't work out that way and you're getting backlash. At the same time, we don't need to be putting ourselves in a position to where we're having to come back in games. That's not what we do. So we need to back on track of doing what we do."

DE J.J. Watt
(on Seattle QB Russell Wilson saying that Wisconsin would have won the national title if J.J. Watt had stayed for his senior year) "It would have been fun. It sure would have been fun. I wish I would have known he was coming. But we definitely go back, obviously, the ties to Wisconsin. He's a good guy, has done a lot of great stuff in the community and he's a guy I respect greatly. He has a great work ethic and he's a very good football player."

(on Seattle QB Russell Wilson saying there will be some communication between him and J.J. Watt during the week) "During the week? I don't know. I don't know if there will be much during the week but definitely after the game. We respect each other and we're friends. Obviously, I respect the type of guy he is on and off the field."

(on the type of challenges Seattle QB Russell Wilson offers) "He's quick. He's very quick. He's a smart guy. He's a very good quarterback and he can run. You can't let him outside. You can't let him scramble all over on you. You just have to make sure you do your best to keep him contained."

(on Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and the Seahawks) "He's a good football coach. They're doing really, really good things up there in Seattle and it's going to be a really good challenge for us this week. They have a great football team all around. They're one of those teams that plays well in all three phases of the game, so you have to be on top of your game in every single aspect of the game."

(on Seattle head coach Pete Carroll saying J.J. Watt can go by his first name only) "I appreciate that. I work very, very hard to make my family name proud and to make my teammates and the city proud, so it's an honor and I'm very humbled to hear comments like that."

(on Texans head coach Gary Kubiak saying this is the best practice the team has had this season) "I would definitely agree with that. We were flying around out there. Guys were very locked in. Everybody was energetic, flying around, having a good time and a really solid practice. Obviously, very pleased with the way things went today."

(on Texans QB Matt Schaub saying the team's sense of urgency was incredible) "Yeah. I'm sick of losing, man. I'm sick of losing. So we're doing everything we can to not have that happen anymore."

(on how the defense can become more disciplined) "Obviously, on the defensive side of the ball we can't jump offsides as many times as we did so that's something we're focusing on this week and making sure we get that corrected. It sure helps being in our home building with our crowd. It shouldn't be an issue. I know our crowd is going to make it very difficult on them to have any communication. That will definitely help us out."

(on being aware of the read option while not getting carried away with planning for it) "Oh, yeah. Any time you have a quarterback like Russ (Russell Wilson) who can run all over the place, you're aware of it. And you know that they have it in their back pocket if they need to use it and you know he can run, so you're definitely ready for it."

(on forcing turnovers) "It's a huge point of emphasis for us. We know that we need to get those takeaways because that's a huge momentum-changer. I mean, it's just one of those things that it gives everybody energy. We need to do it. We need to give our offense the ball on a short field. We need to make sure that we provide that spark. It's always a spark when you get a takeaway. We know we haven't got nearly as many as we want to get and it's a huge point of emphasis for us out there at practice."

(on the team still being able to improve and not being where they want to be) "Absolutely. There's tons of room for improvement. We definitely have a lot of things that we can improve upon and that's what we're focused on."

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll
(on relying heavily on the read option last year and not using as much this year) "Well, we didn't even run anything resembling that the first seven or eight games of the year. We just picked up on it some as time went on. We just used it when it fit and we're still doing the exact same thing this year."

(on what ILB Brian Cushing was like as an 18-19 year old at Southern California) "Well, he was a real character, as he is now. He's a very unique person. He's a tremendously competitive, aggressive kid. Incredible all-around athlete. Really one of the best players we ever recruited. He had such a great all-around ability that he could do a ton of things. The fact that he's continuing to do it is no surprise to me. He's a great team member. As a young guy, he was just a real classic Jersey, feisty, tough and had a lot of confidence in the moment he stepped on our campus."

(on how intense ILB Brian Cushing is and if there are any stories of seeing that in him when he was younger)  "None that I want to repeat at this time (joking). No, you're right. He's exactly that. Because he was so competitive and he was so competent, he really could stand up to any challenge. That's just kind of the way he's taken to his life and his world, and the fact that you guys can see that doesn't surprise me at all."

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak referring to him as a 'secondary guy' as a result of his past and what he's done with the secondary in Seattle) "I really was a defensive back coach my whole upbringing and all that, and have been championing the way we played now forever, as a long as I can go back almost to my early days coaching. I always look for guys that can play in this fashion. I used to say at SC, 'We would like it to be Corner U,' as opposed to Linebacker U or something else, Running Back U or whatever, because of the factor that it gives you as a defensive coach if you've got guys that can play out there and hang up play after play after play with any receiver you throw out to them. It allows you to do things defensively scheme-wise that really is an asset. Whatever that means, I've been a defensive back guy forever."

(on if he's surprised by how well the defense has done given its youth, especially in the secondary) "I don't know that I'm surprised by it, but just really thrilled by the fact they came together the way they did at the right time with a bunch of young guys. I think probably most impressed with the camaraderie that they have. They work together throughout the year to be connected and to play with a really similar mindset and all of that. I think that's really allowed us to bring these guys together in quick fashion. It kind of showed itself real early that we we're going to be talented. You could tell that. It was just a matter of would they come together in a special fashion and they have. There's four leaders there. You can't say any one guy. They kind of take turns, from Earl (Thomas) and Kam (Chancelor) and the corners. They all have something to bring to the table and it's really worked out well."

(on what attracted him to S Earl Thomas initially) "Unbelievable tenacity. He's as good as a competitor as you can ever find. You put that together with how tough he is and how fast he is, you have a special player. He really did look to me a lot like Troy Polamulu in their makeup and stature and style of play, and so aggressive, so assertive in their style of play that I saw similarities. When he ran 4.3's, we knew had something special."

(on what he thinks when he watches DE J.J. Watt on tape) "Just a phenomenal player. Yeah, he can go by just his first name (joking). He's a phenomenal player. He's the kind of player that every team wishes they had because of all that he brings. His leadership I'm sure is obvious based on the style of play that he brings that you can count on every snap. He plays so hard and he's so aggressive, and he's so playmaker oriented. And he's a great kid too and all of the rest of the things that he brings. He's just a phenomenal player and he causes a ton of problems because of his style and his ability."

(on causing 10 turnovers this year and what the key is to that) "Being ahead really helps. I like to think that it is the number one thing we emphasize in our program. It's the first thing that we talk about every year, every camp, about getting the football and taking care of it. I'm trying to emphasize it better than every coach that's ever coached. For years at SC, when we really had the big run, our numbers were phenomenal year after year after year in getting the football. It's a winning formula in itself. We do it because it's the single-most important factor to winning for us. Our numbers have kind of proven that out."

(on not having a pick-six this year and the league trending to interceptions returned for touchdowns and why he thinks this is happening) "Well, I don't know that it's that easy to nail something like that. We'll have to watch the numbers as we go through the season. Sometimes, it just goes in bunches and all that. I think the volume of passes that are thrown and the confidence that offenses have to throw the ball more than ever would lead to just more opportunities I would think. The more opportunities, the chances are going to elevate that you're going to get some and run them in, but I couldn't tell you that there's any trend other than the fact that everybody is constantly throwing the football so much more that there's more opportunities and chances."

(on how he thinks his team is handling the high expectations) "Well, we're trying to handle it really well. There was enough conversation coming out of last year and going into the offseason that it was topical for us to deal with it. We want nothing more than the highest level of expectations. There's nothing wrong with that. We're certainly not shucking that one at all. So it's a conversation about being disciplined and knowing the truth and not getting caught up in the hype and maintaining a humility about you that that stuff doesn't get in the way. I think of all of the years, I go back to SC again, we had those number one rankings year after year after year. You become comfortable with that and that's where you want to be. You want to get to the point where you understand why people talk about you as they do and then you want to constantly remember that you live up to that and you have to always prepare to do that. I think it's a real mindset and something we've worked on. If you want to win for a long time, you've got to get squared away with that or it's going to screw you up."

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
(on the exceptional play of the defense and how that impacts their offense) "Well, it's played a huge role. Obviously, our defense is one of the top defenses in the National Football League. For me to be able to go against them every day is a challenge and helps me get better, helps me improve. Obviously, we have some of the top corners and defensive backs in terms of safeties in the league. It's pretty impressive just to watch them. They bring so much energy every day and it helps our offense improve. It gives us a challenge on daily basis and it helps us get better for sure, especially me."

(on what it's like watching DE J.J. Watt on tape) "Man, being a Badger and going to University of Wisconsin, obviously know so much about him. He's so talented. He's so physical. He's quick in terms of getting to the quarterback and he's just so intelligent. You can just tell that he's a smart player and he understands the game. Obviously, I know J.J. and he's a great individual off the field as well. You've got to love what he does on the film. He's definitely a factor and so he's going to have his good plays obviously. He's going to make a lot of plays. He's been doing great things out there, but we've just got to try to find a way to control him as much as we can and make the plays when we need to."

(on if he can say anything interesting or funny about his relationship with DE J.J. Watt) "All I know is me and him, because I came to University of Wisconsin a year after he left, so he left his junior year and, after my year at University of Wisconsin, we were at the Pro Bowl and all that. Me and him were just joking that if he had stayed his senior year, we probably would have won the national championship. I missed playing with him. It's going to be an honor to play against him, but we're going to have to step up and play our best football against a very, very good Houston Texans defense."

(on not running the read option as much this year) "We didn't really run it, man. It's kind of one of those things, we kind of make it look like we run it and it makes the defense all week kind of think about it and try to figure out what they're going to do to prepare for it. So I think the biggest thing is we try to disguise it and make it look like it is. Obviously, I want to hand the ball off to one of the best running backs in the game in Marshawn Lynch. I want to hand the ball to two-four and let him be who he is."

(on if the team has decreased the read option) "Yeah, I think one of the biggest things is obviously I have the ability to run the ball and all that, but I'm not trying to run. I'm trying to drop back in the pocket and, every once in a while, get outside of the pocket and make the throws too as well. I'm not trying to take any unnecessary hits. When I do run, I always try to get down and always try to slide and get out of bounds. Just play the game the right way. Marshawn Lynch is the guy who we want to hand the ball off to."

(on how the team has been handling high expectations) "Well, we don't shy away from the challenge. I believe that we have such great competitors in our locker room and just our coaching staff believes in us. We believe in them. The way they prepare us, like I always said to the guys, I always say, 'The separation is in the preparation.' And we have to prepare the right way. Every week, we go into it, it's a championship mentality. Our goal is to go 1-0 every week and just prepare for that week like it's a championship game. This game's going to be a huge game. It's one of the teams that obviously a quote-un-quote Super Bowl contender and is a team that's got a lot of talent and everything. There are a lot of great teams in the National Football League, so you look forward to these games, going on the road in a very, very tough environment. You have a lot of respect for that. Against a very, very good football team who's coached extremely well. So we've got to play our A-plus game."

(on if he'll attempt to communicate at all with DE J.J. Watt this week, even in a humorous way) "Yeah, I'm sure there will be some kind words shared every once in a while, some back and forth. He'll be trying to chase me down and hopefully he doesn't get me too often. It's one of those things that I love watching him play, I love playing against him. Obviously, I got to play against him in the Pro Bowl too. He's a great player."

(on if he's surprised about how quickly the defense has excelled) "Well, I'm not surprised at all. Our defensive guys have worked extremely hard every day. Every day, we go 100 percent and just compete at the highest level. That's what Coach (Pete) Carroll always talks about. So the guys just love the game. Earl Thomas, every day, it seems like it's the Super Bowl for him. That's the way it is for me too on the quarterback side. It's the same thing for Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner, and obviously Kam Chancellor too. Them, you have the other guys that can fill in. The depth that we have at the defensive back position is just off the charts. We have legitimately seven-eight guys who can start on almost any football team. It's just impressive to watch and go against these guys every day."

(on people doubting him last year by saying that the team is carrying him and proving people wrong) "I never doubted myself. God's given me a lot of talent and it's such a blessing to be able to play the game of football. To be a 5-11 quarterback, I'm playing for a lot of kids in the future and it's one of those things that my height never defined my skillset. I believed that I could make all of the throws and I was smart enough, I was intelligent enough to play the game of football, and I just had that drive to be great one day. I'm not there yet. It's a long journey. You just take one day at a time and enjoy it for what it is and continue to grow. You respect the process too at the same time. You respect the process of a weekly basis, what I need to do of the career journey that I'm on right now. I'm beginning year two and just continuing to learn as much as I can and be on that constant quest for knowledge."

(on the Texans secondary and what challenges they present) "A lot of experience. A lot of ball skills. A lot of just grit. You can tell that they can make a lot of plays. I'm going to have to play my best game. It's one of those things that you're going to have to be tuned into every play and just focus on what I can control. And we're going to have to make some plays. That's what it comes down to, who can make more plays than the other team and who can make the smart decisions, and just capitalize on opportunities."

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