In the team's second preseason game of 2008, members of the Texans and Saints spoke to the media after Houston's 31-27 victory over New Orleans in the Superdome.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on the starting lineup) "We had planned on playing them at least a quarter and a half and I was hoping from somewhere around 25 to 30 snaps. I think we were at 26, so we need to work. We have to go close to three quarters next week. We are still a very young football that's growing every time we go out. We need the reps."
(on WR Jacoby Jones' fumbles) "It's a problem right now. We are trying to push the kid through it. We tried to get him another ball there to end the game on a reverse - from a confidence standpoint, try to get him a chance to make a play. But he's struggling right now. He's got a lot of ability. He can help us win, but we've got to get the issues fixed. I don't think it's a lack of effort on anybody's part. We've got to regain this kid's confidence somehow, and we'll keep working through that."
(on the quarterbacks) "They were exceptional, all three of them. I was just looking at these numbers and I think they were 21 of 25 - played extremely well. Even the young kid handled himself good at the end of the game, picked up a good third down. But I think Kyle (Shanahan) is doing a good job with them, and they played extremely well today."
(on injuries) "I think we are OK. I was just briefly talking to Kevin (Bastin) before I came in here. I know Vonta (Leach) has a little bruised shoulder. (Xavier) Adibi came out of the game early with an Achilles that's been bothering him. Chaun Thompson did play, so hopefully he came out OK. But I don't think there's anything serious."
(on RB Chris Taylor's health) "Chris had cramps, and that's something he's been fighting. He fought it the year before when he played for us some and he gets a little gassed and he gets some cramps, so that's something he's got to improve upon."
(on RB Steve Slaton) "First off, I can feel the speed on the field. When he's out there, you can feel his speed and the chance to make big plays and the kick off return. He's growing in what we are doing run-game wise. He makes some bad cuts, but then he makes some great cuts. It's obvious that this kid's going to be a big part of it, if he keeps heading the way he's heading. I wanted to see him a bunch tonight. I am sorry I didn't get Darius (Walker) in there. I'll get him caught up, but I think Slaton is making a lot of progress."
(on the run game) "The first half I don't think we ran the ball real, real well in the first half, but we threw it exceptionally well. The thing we're doing – I like the way we are staying committed to it. We just keep pushing, keep pounding. And Chris (Brown), that was his first time out really in the scheme that we are doing. He did a couple of big things, had a big run called back, which would have made us look like we ran the ball better than we did in the first half. But we've just got to stay committed to it. We've got a long, long way to go, but we've just got to stay committed to it."
(on the red zone defense) "Well, I think - what were they? They were three for five down there. I will say this one thing is that they had two stops early in the game that ended up being the difference in the game. It's like I told our defense, I think we're going to look at the big picture and probably not like a lot of things that happened. But early in the game on the road when you go and turn the ball over and have things like that happen to you, they kept us in the game. So I thought they held up well early and then found a way late to hold up. But you've got to be able to win all kind ways in this league, John (McClain). If you go out and you've got to win 31-30, you've got to find a way to do it. The next week, it might be 6-3. You've got to have confidence as a team that you can win all kind of ways, no just one way."
(on if he is concerned about the pass rush) "Yeah, I'm concerned. Adding Rosy (Rosevelt Colvin) and doing some of the things that we are doing, I would like to see it be better. I'll have to go back. I hate to harp on it too much right now, but it's obvious that we aren't getting there enough. If the only way we can get there is to pressure, then you are putting your corners on an island. So it's a continuous battle and we'll continue to work on it."
(on CB Jacques Reeves getting beat in coverage) "He was in great position on the plays; he just didn't find the ball. It's just a matter of when you are sitting there running with the guy and the quarterback makes an absolutely perfect throw, it's just having that confidence to get your head around and make that play on the ball. I like him. He's a pro. He plays hard. He plays hard in the run game; he'll come and tackle. He's in the right spot and that's a problem we don't have. We just need to make those plays on the ball."
(on CB Fred Bennett playing well) "He's playing really well. He's going inside and playing the nickel and is excelling inside. I like his attitude on the field. He's really grown up a lot from year one to two, becoming a young leader on the defense."
Texans TE Owen Daniels
(on QB Matt Schaub's performance) "Obviously, he played a pretty good game. We moved the ball really well in the first two quarters when he was in there, mixed it up with the run and the pass. He was going through his reads, and I think guys were getting open and he was making good throws, so that's what we expect out of him and I think that's what he expects out of himself."
(on picking up where he left off) "Absolutely. That's definitely good to see; that's definitely encouraging. He played well when he was in last week, -but to play m ore this week and to be as consistent, I think that's definitely a good sign and hopefully he can continue that next week."
Texans WR Jacoby Jones
(on how well the offense moved during the game) "Well like I said, in OTA's I saw that everyone had gelled together and worked together. It was like clockwork out there. Everybody was moving the ball, blocking and catching the ball."
(on if he thinks the fumbles are mental mistakes) "It probably is mental. More of it is mental, I don't think it's physical. I've just got to know and know I know."
Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on if the defensive line is getting it done)
"It's hard to tell right now. I think we had a couple of times where we really needed some pressure that we didn't. We let the quarterback hold on to the ball a little bit too long. We have to find a way to get guys get on there. When we are bringing pressure we have to find a way to get there."
(on if this game was a good step for the team) "Yeah this was a good step. It was a good week for us coming down here practicing against these guys, giving us some different looks, a lot of unconventional type of things that you usually don't see. I was good going against these guys. "
(on some big hits during the game) "That's our motto. Be Physical. We have to be more physical than we were last year and the guys are going out there doing that."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on his performance) "You know, we played well. Guys were really wired in to what we were trying to do and what we were trying to get done tonight. Everyone was on the same page. It takes all 11 guys out there on the field to make things happen and make things work, and we were doing that. We were running the ball effectively and we were throwing it well. Guys were getting open and making the plays. It was just one of those nights where everything clicked."
(on if his performance felt as perfect as it looked) "Obviously, any time you go out there, there's always things that we can clean up. There were some negative plays in there that we want to try and do better, and we're going to go back and look at those things, but things worked out well and guys were open when they were supposed to be and we were connecting and the running game was clicking. But there's always areas to improve on."
(on the absence of RB Ahman Green and WR Andre Johnson not affecting their performance) "It didn't. And we had been faced with that last year with injuries and guys stepping up and filling in those roles, and we knew what we were capable of and we knew we would come out here and play well and execute and score some points and we were just happy to be able to go out there and do that.
(on if practicing against the Saints helped during the game) "Well, I think you get to know your opponent a little bit as far as what they do individually, but I don't know if they quite showed us everything in practice, just like we didn't show them everything. We didn't want to give away our game plan, what we were trying to do, but you get a feel for the team and you get a feel for what they do. So, I think it helps a little bit, but you've still got to go out there and make the plays and do it on the field."
(on WR Kevin Walter's performance) "I thought he played great. We were talking about coming into this year that we want to get a lot more yards after the catch, and he was able to do that tonight, break a couple of tackles and get downfield and get some extra yards, so I thought he played fantastic."
(on what it does for him to have this kind of game this early in the preseason) "I think it was great for our offense. If I play well, our team's going to move the ball and we're going to do well; we're going to score some points. So, as long as I'm wired in to what I've got to do and what the defense is going to try and counter with, we're going to be fine. Guys were all executing and out having fun out there."
(on if anything surprised him about his performance) "No, I don't think anything surprised me. I think everything that was supposed to happen, happened, and we played well. There's nothing that I can say surprised me, because I know what all these guys are capable of in this room."
(on RB Steve Slaton moving the ball well) "He sure did. He has such a good burst, and I was excited to see him get out there and make some of those runs, make those cuts and get downhill, because I remember watching him in college a lot and you see that burst. When he sees something, he hits that hole hard. You watch him, and it's hard for the first guy to bring him down. He was always breaking that tackle and getting those extra yards. Always falling forward, and that's something we always talk about with running backs. You want to be seen falling forward, not backwards, so I think that was a real positive."
(on if Slaton is making a case to be more than just a third-down back) "I think it does. It definitely seems to be working for him. And we're all really encouraged with how he was running the ball when he was returning it on kickoffs, so it was really exciting to see. And so if we match that with his pass-catching ability and bring along his blocking a little bit and his pass protections, but he's been playing really well."
(on how it felt to play for so long) "Well, I only took one hit. I only got knocked down one time, and it was barely even a hit, so it felt great out there. It was great to get out there and compete against somebody else and playing again and move the ball and do well."
(on having any hesitancy about getting hit) "Oh, no. not at all. You can't play with that in your mind, be timid or anything like that. You've just got to play the game and take the hits."
(on how he feels physically) "I feel great. I feel 100 percent and ready to go. I feel real good."
(on if he can play this well every game) "Well, in order for me to be doing that, there's 10 other guys that have to be doing the same thing, and that's what we had. It was one of those games where 11 guys were on the same page, clicking, doing the right thing, their assignments perfect and really wired into the game plan and what we were trying to get done. So, that's what it took."
(on if he had good practices that carried over into the game) "Yeah, we had a good week of work here against the Saints leading up to the game. And it was just a matter of everyone being wired in, focused on what we had to do to be a good road team and come out on the road in a tough environment and play well, and that's what we were able to do."
(on WR Kevin Walter) "I think he did fantastic. He's always going to be in the right spot and make the catches, a very dependable guy and a hard worker. We talked at the beginning of training camp that we wanted to get more yards after the catch and (about) making some of those tacklers miss and getting downfield. He did very well in that."
(on not getting hit very much) "No, just another game where I didn't get hit. So, if we can keep that rolling, that'd be awesome."
Texans RB Steve Slaton
(on how confident he is) "I'm getting a lot more confident each game. It's getting a little bit easier and with practice, I'm understanding a lot more."
(on what his teammates are saying to him) "They just say, 'keep running and keep following me.' That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to follow my big boys."
(on if he hopes to get in with the first team next week) "Yeah, I'm here for the team. Whenever coach (Kubiak) calls my name I'm going to be ready."
(on scoring his first touchdown) "It was wonderful. I mean it's like a game in and hopefully it's every game after this one too."
(on any end zone dances) "No, not yet. I plan on being there a long time."
(on if he kept the football) "Yeah, it's in my locker right now. I'm going to keep that one. That first one is going to be for me."
(on the running game being stuck in neutral until he got in there) "We came out and made our adjustments. We saw what there scheme was and had a better scheme for it."
(on how it feels to get the win) "It feels good. Being a rookie and coming in and winning is definitely a feeling you want to have."
Texans RB Chris Taylor
(on how he felt after the game) "I'm feeling fine, I just cramped up. I'm alright."
(his cramped leg) "Yeah, we just went and got some IV, just taking precautions. Everything is fine though."
(on his performance before his cramping) "I feel like I did pretty well. I didn't break the long one like I wanted to but I just tried to get some touchdowns and I got in the end zone at the end."
(on what he thinks is the missing ingredient to the run game) "I really don't know. We just still need to get better and better every day. We are just going to watch the film and try to come back next week and try to improve and try to bring it against Dallas."
(on if Alex Gibbs coming in shakes any of the confidence of the running back unit) "No, not really. We come out and work hard everyday. Hopefully we try to take what we do in practice and try to convert it to the game. I didn't get to see the second half because I was getting the IV. We hope to try to better it for the next game."
(on if he is worried about his cramping) "I thought I had been drinking a lot of fluids but I guess not. I came in and got some IV and I'm fine now."
(on his thoughts on the running game top to bottom) "We just need to get better all around; blocking, running, the running back needs to press a little bit more before they make their cut. We actually have to see the film to really evaluate it."
Texans WR Kevin Walter
(on moving the ball) "Yeah, that is what we wanted to do. We need to stay on the field and keep the defense off of the field. We moved the ball extremely well, so we've got to keep doing that."
(on if practicing against the Saints all week was helpful in the game) "Yeah, you go against them, you kind of know what they're going to do, but it's fun to go against something new, but obviously game time is different than practice and you've got to come out there and execute at game time."
(on how quarterback Matt Schaub and himself have something clicking) "Yeah, I think so. I think so. It's all about going out there and making plays, not only the receivers or quarterback but everyone. The offensive line did a great job. We're clicking pretty good on offense."
(on what this kind of game does for him) "I think just brings confidence to us. It brings confidence individually. We have a good test going to Dallas next week, and it's going to be a lot of fun. We had a great week of practice and looking forward to next week."
(on if the joint practices helped him find seams in the defense) "Well, we just felt good. We knew who we were going to go against; obviously this past week we had three practices against them. We knew what they were going to do, and it was all about execution. I think we executed pretty well."
(on if this game opens his eyes about where the Texans offense stands) "No doubt about it, I think this offense could be the top in the league. There's no doubt about it. We've got to run the ball well. We've got explosive players that can make plays downfield. We're going to score a lot of points this year."
(on the things he can make happen when he gets some touches) "I just think each year I'm trying to get better. Each practice I'm just trying to get better. If I get the opportunity to make more plays, I know I'm going to do a better job and continue to do a good job."
(on running back Steve Slaton) "Oh there's no doubt about it. Steve's doing a heck of a job at running back and special teams. He's got great balance as a running back, and he's not going to go down with the first contact. One thing about him, he hits the hole hard and he bounces off guys. He does a great job."
Saints head coach Sean Payton
(opening statement) "Just a couple of notes first off from the game injury-wise, Usama Young left the game with a hamstring (injury). We will see where he is at tomorrow. Randall Gay had a triceps injury. The x-rays were negative. He will get treatment and we will evaluate him in the morning. Brian Young left the game with a sore foot. That is what I have for you now.
In regards to the game, the thing I struggle with is when a team punts twice the whole night, we can say its preseason we'll be okay, but I thought defensively we were poor. I thought on third down we were poor. We have to do a better job. We, collectively, starting with the coaches, myself and our people on that side of the ball need improvement. We played a good offense tonight but we didn't really play very well in much of any phase defensively. I thought on offense we did some things and played with some energy, but I didn't think we played with much energy at all on defense. That is the frustrating thing. That is the disappointing thing. It is a game where you want to see some steps from week one to week two and in some ways I feel like we stepped backwards. If we want to become a playoff team and a team that competes for a championship, we are going to have to play a lot better defense. There are some things offensively we have to do better. The penalties for us at this stage are inexcusable. We had eight tonight. It was disappointing for me. We have a lot of work to do at this point. "
(on the defensive struggles) "You are not going to be able to point to one thing when you see an effort like that. That is going to be spread around the room. When we look at the tape we will have a chance to see it. It's not just one individual. There are a lot of things that we did not do well. We didn't get pressure on the quarterback, we gave up big plays again in the passing game and we had a lot of missed assignments. We have to look at how much we have in right now and evaluate it closely because that is one half of football and it is what it is. It is what it is, you can say what you want and I know it is a preseason game, but it was disappointing."
(on considering lineup changes) "All of these guys are competing for spots. That is a good question; they are competing. I said at the beginning of camp, none of these spots are etched in stone. As we evaluate the film, that is certainly something we will look strongly at, but the thing that is troubling is that I think we are going to find it goes around the room. Tonight, there weren't a lot of things we did well on defense so we have to get that corrected. We are going to end up in these games 30-something to 30-something all year long so that is not a good thing."
(on RB Deuce McAllister) "It was good to see him back in and getting some contact in his first game. I thought he ran the ball pretty well in the carries he had. "
(on the offense) "When you play a game like that, it is a game about field position and it is about playing good defense and I just think that our expectation level has got to be high on that side of the ball so that is why it was frustrating when the game ends like that. I don't want to chalk it off to a preseason game. The first team was out there for a half, their first team was out there for a half, guys are playing full speed and that is the only thing I can go by. There are some things offensively to look at. The penalties bothered me a lot. It was sloppy I thought. When we look at the tape, there are some things we will want to improve on I'm sure. We had some minus runs early. We had two field goals in the red zone early instead of touchdowns. It was just frustrating to watch. It was painful to watch that game tonight. It was just painful."
(on LB Jonathan Vilma's first start) "When you have a performance like that it is not just going to be one person. You are going to put the tape on and you are going to be disappointed in this player and that player, you are going to be disappointed in group effort and speed and coverage. You are going to be disappointed in rush and tackling. We will look at the tape when we are in there Monday and we will make the corrections. Obviously, we are not good enough right now."
(on if there was any indication from practice that the defense would play like they did) "No, when you go through the week of practice you see some things that you do well and you see some things that you don't do as well so to say that I am surprised right now would be correct. I expected us to play better.
Saints QB Drew Brees
(on the adjustments made after the first red zone possession) "The first two trips we were inside the 10 and just scored a pair of field goals. We just didn't give ourselves that good of a chance. Our first and second down efficiency was not good. We were left with third and goal from the seven and third and goal from the 10. Those are tough downs to score on, so obviously we would like to get it closer."
(on the pressure he feels when the defense isn't stopping the opposing offense) "I just worry about offense. I just worry about scoring more points than they do whether it is 13-10 or 41-40. We feel like we have an opportunity to score every time we touch the ball. We did come away with points on four out of five possessions in the first half, so that's encouraging."
Saints RB Deuce McAllister
(on how he felt tonight) "It went well tonight. There are still some things I have to work on, but it's a good start. It was a start for us. I was just trying to stay loose and warm during the game."
(on if he took any good shots) "The first play they made a pretty good tackle on me. If I made a hard cut sooner, then I probably wold have gotten to the safety. They had a pretty good tackle, but nothing that scared me. I was probably a little tentative at times because I had to make sudden moves. It was my first live action, but it was a starting point that I can build on."