Houston Texans Transcripts
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
OLB Connor Barwin
ILB Brian Cushing
FS Danieal Manning
ILB DeMeco Ryans
DE Antonio Smith
RB Ben Tate
Thursday, January 12, 2012
(Transcribed by Harriet Dao, Maddy Foxx and Brett Maikowski)
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on his thoughts on the progress of OLB Brooks Reed) "He's been exceptional. I go back to him coming out of college being a hand-down defensive end and moving to linebacker and then having to replace our top player, so you take all those things into account, how he's played. He's been absolutely exceptional, so he's got a great future ahead of him, prepares very well, and just very excited about how he's played."
(on what he sees in QB Joe Flacco) "I think he's dang good. He's won a lot of football games, and that's the bottom line in this League. Against us, the thing that stood out to me was how he was able to buy himself time. A lot of great quarterbacks in this league seem to buy themselves that extra second to make a play. We did a good job of getting some pressure, and he'd find a way to move around and slip a sack or something and get the ball down the field, so I've been very impressed with him as a player since he's been in this league. I was very impressed with him when I interviewed him in Indianapolis - very smart, young man. It's about winning, and he's been doing his job."
(on if he is worried about the deep ball) "Oh, yeah. Yeah, the young receiver can really fly, and then (Anquan) Boldin hurt us downfield, too. They're built around running the football and finding ways to take their shots kind of a lot like us from that standpoint, and they took them the first time we played, and they made the plays. We had about two or three really jump ball-type plays way down the field, and they went up and got the ball, so it's obviously something we got to do a good job against."
(on how much sympathy he feels for QB Matt Schaub being injured and not playing in the playoffs) "It really is. It's difficult. I actually saw Andre (Johnson)'s comments regarding that. Every game for me to go out on the field and be following there for about seven or eight weeks, us following him and Andre and Mario (Williams) out. They'd walk out. I'd walk out with them, so that was difficult. This past weekend, the high was tremendous after the game, but the first guy I saw coming up the tunnel was Matt. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for him, and our team knows that. He's done a tremendous job, and his unselfish work over the course of his injury with T.J. (Yates) has been exceptional. That just doesn't happen. He's with us. I know it's very difficult for him, but from all of us, we appreciate everything he's done, and I appreciate him continuing to work with us."
(on Matt Schaub helping QB T.J. Yates even before Schaub's injury) "Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's Matt. He's unselfish. A lot of guys don't give up the tricks of the trade, so to speak, to guys that may want their jobs someday, but he's very unselfish. He helps anybody who comes in here. He's been excellent."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph's response to the challenge of overcoming his performance in the regular season game against Baltimore) "Yeah, he really has. You go back in Cincinnati, (A.J.) Green made some plays on him. We come in here last week. They came after him again, and he steps up, has a great day. He's always on their best. That's how much confidence we have in him, so he's going to get tested at some point in the game. When he plays well, we play well because we give him such a big responsibility from a defensive standpoint, so he's done a hell of a job."
(on his strategy if the team can't establish the run) "Well, we're going to have to throw it. It's like I said the other day. I don't know if we'll throw it 15 times or 35. I don't know. We gotta see how the game goes, but I know that we need to stay committed to running the football. That's important to our team and has a lot to do with the flow of the game probably. What's going on? Are we in a one-score game? In a tie football game? Those are the type of things that are important to us, continuing to do what we need to do to be successful, so we'll see how it goes."
(on his concern over the large size of Baltimore's linemen) "Well, they're as good as you can be. (Haloti) Ngata's gotta be the best in the business. Then, they got the great edge players that keep the ball squeezed, so it makes it very difficult. They're tough to run the ball. They've been exceptional all year long, but at the same time, as I've said before, our commitment to it is the key. Hey, we're going to have to run the ball effectively to win this football game. We know that, so we're preparing to do that this week. We know it'll be a difficult task, but we're preparing to go do it, and it's been a good week of work, so we'll see what happens."
(on the improvement in QB T.J. Yates since the regular season game against Cincinnati where he led the team to a comeback victory) "We'll, he's just much better in what we're doing, running the two-minute drill, those type of things. He's comfortable. It is nice to know that we got one of those type of games, and he was able to bail us out. You're right and in a very tough place to play, so hopefully we're not in that position as a football team. He's found a way to do what he needs to do to keep his team in the game and give them a chance to win. Even through that stretch where we lost those three football games, he really rallied us against Carolina and got us back in position. He had us in position to win down in Indy, and he didn't play much against Tennessee, so he's kept his football team in position to win, and that's what we gotta be doing this weekend."
(on why his first few passes have been high ever since his first start) "Well, adrenaline flying. In warm-ups last week, we came in the locker room, us coaches, in warm-up, and I said, 'What did he have against Andre?' In warm-ups, he threw the heck out of the ball, but every time it went to Andre, it wasn't on target, so I don't know if Andre makes him nervous or what, but we just kind of laughed about it. Emotions were flying last week. Arian (Foster) struggled early in the game. T.J. struggled early in the game. We struggled a little bit defensively, a couple of the things we were doing, so that's this time of year. It's going to be that way, and hopefully you can keep that in check, and you don't so something to hurt you."
(on the importance of P Matt Turk) "Well, yeah, ever since we brought Matt back, he's done a heck of a job. He was our special teams player of the game last week. I'm sure y'all know that. The fact that Matt's been to a lot of football games and kicked in a lot of big games. He goes in there and has all that under control, and he's always done the same thing. They've got an excellent kicking game, too, so it's important we played well in the kicking game last week. We'll have to do it again this week, but I've been proud of Matt since he's come back. He's held up his end of the bargain."
(on any injuries he hasn't discussed) "No, we're good. Everybody worked today. Troy Nolan worked very good, and as I think I told y'all that yesterday, it's probably our toughest decision. Do we suit Troy? If we do, then somebody's gotta go down, but we're about as healthy as we can be."
(on if there is something different about playing in Baltimore as the Ravens are 8-0 at home) "Well, first off, the noise obviously is tough, but they get even better on that turf. To me, they get even quicker coming off the edges and setting the edges and what they do, so that makes them even more difficult. I think Ray (Rice), as great a player as he is, he even gets a step better on that turf running the ball, so I think that has a lot to do with it, but we understand that. We try to simulate that the best we can in practice like I'm letting our defensive guys line up offsides because that's about the way it's going to be and trying to get it as close to game speed as you can, so we understand those things, and we understand the challenge that's before us."
(on if he is impressed with how T.J. Yates has been able to keep consistent despite his young age) "Yeah, if I said anything other, I wouldn't be telling the truth. With what he's been in and the team that he inherited at - what were we at the time? 8-3? 7-3 when he inherited the football team - and the games he's had to play in. Even though he's made rookie mistakes, which we know were going to happen, he's always found a way to just kind of keep it under control and keep going. He's also played beat up, which is very impressive to me. For a young guy to be put in the position that he's been put in, he's handled his end of the bargain. I've been very impressed and hopefully there's some more to come.
(on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' status and if he will on the sidelines this week) " Y'all just saw him in here. How'd he look? He look good? Yeah, he's doing good. I think he's getting stronger every day. We take a chair out to practice, so he gets a break in between periods, but I think coach has gotten stronger. His day's gotten longer throughout the course of this week. Just excited to see him getting back to full health, and I know the players are great to have him back around throughout the course of the day, practice, and everything we're doing, so I think he's doing a lot better."
(on if he envisions the weather affecting the strategy on offense) "I don't think you know until you show up on game day. This was good today. We got to practice in some very windy conditions, cool conditions, so that was good for us from a noise standpoint and the conditions. I don't know. We'll see what happens. Whatever we gotta do, we gotta handle it. That's part of it."
(on why he thought the team was so prepared to play in a playoff environment last week despite relatively little playoff experience) "The best way I can answer that is when I came out the Tennessee game, the first half, and I think I've mentioned this to our local guys here over the course of the last two weeks, I thought we went back and found an edge as a team that we have had over the course of our seven game win streak. We went back, and we played clean football. We were explosive coming out early in the football game. We played a lot smarter. We got rid of the penalties, so I saw that comeback, and it just gave me a lot of confidence. I know it gave the players a lot of confidence, too, because that's what we're about. We know how we have to play to be successful, and we went and found that before the playoffs started, so that was very important."
(on practice today and yesterday) "It was good. We're practicing well. We're flying around, getting our hands on a lot of balls, getting turnovers in practice. Our guys are really locked in. I've made it very difficult on them this week and how we're practicing with the noise. I won't even let them huddle without it. That makes it very tough, but we're turned in. We're locked in. We understand the challenge ahead of us, but we're working to meet that challenge, so I've been very impressed."
(on how valuable players like NT Earl Mitchell, CB Brice McCain, and S Quintin Demps are to the team) "Oh, those guys are the…those guys become kind of the heart of your…those guys that play special teams and those guys that are specialty players, nickel players…those are the guys that are the difference makers when it's all said and done. We've had to pull from a lot of places because of our injuries this year, and we can go across the board. Like you said, you watch a guy like Earl play his best football last week, and if we're going to continue to play, that's what's going to have to happen."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on the weather) "Well we set the weather the same as it's going to be in Baltimore so we could work out in it. Like my dad used to say, you don't need to practice being miserable, but we got out there in the weather today and I thought we did a really good job. I liked our enthusiasm. You know the weather can't bother you. You've got to do what you do and you've got to do it well and our guys were focused and concentrating on that. It was an important practice for us and I thought, the big practice of the week and I thought we really did well."
(on if he has changed the game plan dramatically in the past due to weather) "Well sure we've changed the game plan because of weather before. You know we've had rain when we didn't know it was going to rain. Certain calls you make that you wouldn't make you know some situations you play a lot of zone, some situations you may play a lot of man considering the weather conditions. You can even blitz in certain situations more than you normally would depending on the weather so the weather is always a factor. The wind blowing, especially in the passing game is really the wind more than anything. Cold weather, you know, even snow, there've been a lot of big passing games and not much running so yea, it's different factors over the year, there's going to be different factors that decide kind of what you're going to do defensively against whatever offense, whatever weather there is that day."
(on some of the Texans secondary team saying their last meeting against Baltimore was one of their worst games as a unit) "Yea I thought it was bad in one way, but it was good in another in that after the game we made some changes. We realized we couldn't give up big plays, secondary-wise I'm talking about, and overall, but we flipped both outside linebackers changed positions after that game and I think it fit both of them better and then we made some mistakes in the running game. We weren't playing the run great early in the year. Everybody said we weren't going to be very good against the run, that kind of stuff and we didn't play great in that game against the run, but after that I think we played tremendously strong against the run. I think we ended out fourth in the League and we played a lot of good backs after that. So, you know I think we improved a lot even though we didn't play as well as we wanted to I think we improved a lot after that ballgame, because of the mistakes you make. You learn from your mistakes, too."
(on his interview for coaching position at Tampa Bay) "Well again, you know, my first priority is to be here. I like it here. I love it here. You know we've had such a magical year and we're going to keep it going so that's my first choice. You know I may not be their choice either, but I am gonna interview and you know take it from there. As far as distractions, they asked me two weeks ago, they asked permission to talk to me two weeks ago so we knew what was going on for two weeks, but we didn't let it be a distraction the week before so it won't be this week."
(on the value of being known as a physical defensive coordinator) "Well yea as long as you back it up. You know, they've been a top defense for 10 years now so you know, they had one of the greatest defenses that ever played that won a Super Bowl and they still have a lot of those players, or they have certainly the two star players from that team. So, they've got what we're trying to build. We're trying to build that type defense that, you know we've got a lot of young players right now that are on their way up that I think can be star players and we're second in the League this year and you know all those stats and all that stuff, but I think they mean something in that we're good on defense and we want to remain that way and I think we will for awhile too so that's what we're looking to be."
(on how to get to that point defensively) "You win. You just keep winning you know, like I said, they won it all with that defense. They've been in the playoffs the last four years. They've won in the playoffs the last four years, you know with that offense and defense so they've got a good football team and have had for awhile."
(on the development of the Texans defense and how much they have improved since their last meeting against Baltimore) "Our guys? Oh. Well, probably quite a bit more than we had you know I don't know about percentages, but probably about 30 percent more than what we had last time we played them, but I just think our fundamental play, like I say, against the run, against the deep ball, I think, I'm pretty sure we gave up the least number of 20-yard passes in the League and we gave up several in that game. So you know those things we improved on."
(on OLB Connor Barwin and OLB Brooks Reed's improvement since the teams last meeting against Baltimore) "Well, both of them have really come through for us. You know, neither we knew, one we didn't know he was going to play and the other one we didn't know how he was going to play. Both of them we didn't know for sure, but you know Connor's come through with you know, 11-and-a-half sacks and been a dominant, a Will linebacker, you need a Will linebacker that can rush the passer and that's what Connor's become for us and made it where they have to slide the line towards him and that give the other teams problems. So, you know with his 11-and-a-half and Mario's (Williams) five, that's 16-and-a-half from that position so we really got a great production from there, the kind that we got from DeMarcus Ware and people like that so. And then Brooks Reed has come in and really hasn't played like a rookie. He's played like a good player. I mean he's played well, he's relentless as far as the running game and the passing game and that's helped him get better and better and he's improved throughout the year. You know he got another sack last game in the playoffs and it's not too big for him. He's showed that from the first play on. He's ready to play and he's playing well."
(on quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Tony Romo getting heat for losing games) "I think the coach probably got more criticism than the quarterback but yea I'm surprised and again the guy, I mean they've won, what? Four years in a row in the playoffs on the road and he's, I mean the quarterback has to be a big part of that. You know, I told Romo when I went there, anytime when you're head coach, the only two guys that counts your record are the head coach and the quarterback. Well, if they count your record and you've won all those games well, it's hard to be critical. The guy's won 44 games I think. Something like that, so I think he's a top-notch quarterback that's going to be a challenge for us."
(on QB Joe Flacco having playoff games with turnovers or low scoring) "Yea we're looking for one of those. Why they come about, you know we've got to play well to make those things happen."
(on if he sees two different players in QB Joe Flacco) "No. I just see, I mean the guy's what? Four years in the League. It's not a guy that's played eight or 10 years so I think you see those things with a young quarterback as you go. I mean (John) Elway, what, you know they said he was never going to be a Hall-of-Famer even back when I was there and then at 38 and 39, he wins two Super Bowls, so you know, it takes maturity sometimes. It takes experience. Just like anybody."
(on feeling better besides being cold this week) "Yea I'm colder than I was last week, but I feel better. I feel a lot better today."
(on if he will coach from the press box Sunday) "You know I'm not sure. We haven't decided on that so this week was kind of a test as far as how we were doing."
(on SS Glover Quin's transition from cornerback to safety) "Well you know I hope for more interceptions because he was a corner, but as far as his play he's been part of a defense that you know I still go by if you're third in the league in pass defense, you've got a pretty strong secondary and he's part of that secondary that I think makes a difference. He's made a lot of plays for us, he's made a lot of coverage stuff, and he plays the dime in our third down defense, which is a key factor for us. So he plays inside there so I think he's had a good year, you know the great years come when you have a lot of interceptions, but I think you know going from corner to safety, you know, he's not a huge guy. He's tackled w