Houston Texans Transcripts
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Texans Open Locker Room
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
(Transcribed by Brett Maikowski, Charles Hampton, Zac Emmons and Evan Koch)
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
ILB Brian Cushing
TE Owen Daniels
TE Joel Dreessen
RB Arian Foster
WR Andre Johnson
WR Bryant Johnson
WR Jacoby Jones
QB Matt Leinart
WR Derrick Mason
ILB DeMeco Ryans
RB Ben Tate
WR Kevin Walter
T Eric Winston
QB T.J. Yates
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB Matt Leinart) "He's been working. He's been working extremely hard with our team. Obviously his role changes right now, but he's excited and I'm excited for him. It's a great opportunity for him. I know it also helps that Andre's (Johnson) fixing to come back with him. We'll get him going next week and get to work."
(on how much the first team reps QB Matt Leinart has been getting in practice will help him) "He's been doing it a lot. The last month, Matt (Schaub) had a hip bothering him, had a shoulder bothering him, so we changed his routine in practice for about the last four or five weeks so Leinart's been getting a lot of first team reps. That'll help him, but now it's time for him to get them all. We've also got to get T.J. (Yates) ready to play, too. That'll change, but his workload picks up and it needs to because we need him out there doing a hell of a job."
(on how he will know about QB Matt Leinart's decision making before he starts playing) "Well first off, he's got to get back into playing. He hasn't played a lot of football in the last couple years, so just getting back in the rhythm. I think it's our job to go back and see what he does best. That's kind of what I've been studying here the last two days. I've been going back in some of his career and what he's done and what he's done here with me. I got to do what he's comfortable with. It gives us the best chance to be successful, so between the coaches and him and everybody, we got to put the best possible product we can on the field offensively, so that will have a lot to do with how far he comes."
(on what kind of improvements QB Matt Leinart has made this season) "He's made great improvements, just his footwork. He understands our system. He studies real hard. He knows where the ball's supposed to go, but you got to get game reps. Until all those start flying, that's the hard part. I expect him to catch up real quick. Like I said, I'm excited for him."
(on QB Matt Schaub's injury) "Like I said before, everything I'm being told is we're still evaluating the injury. That's going to go on for probably about a week and then at some point next week, we'll know whether he has a chance to come back or he doesn't. That's where I'm at right now with him and we'll see what happens, so I'll have more for you next week."
(on how big of an opportunity this is for QB Matt Leinart) "I'll say this, a lot of guys that are big, high draft choices and all of a sudden things don't work out, it runs them out of football. Here's a guy who said, 'Okay, I'll start over and I'll fight the good fight. I'll start back at the bottom and work my way up.' I'm impressed with him as a person and I'm impressed with him as a player. This is a great opportunity for him. I'm here to help him. This team's here to help him and we want to see him succeed. But I'm impressed at how he's fought the fight to get back into position to have a chance to play."
(on if anything changes with QB Matt Leinart being left-handed) "Well, you don't change anything. You change the way you call games a little bit because of some of the things you do play action-wise and that stuff, but we got to go do what he does best. Left-handed, right-handed, it doesn't matter. It's just got to be good."
(on how much of a good fit QB Matt Leinart is in the bootleg system) "Yeah, he does do that well. He does that well in practice for us. Like I said, we'll just continue to work with him, watch what he's doing and go into the game to make sure he's good and comfortable with everything we're doing."
(on how much he can take from QB Matt Leinart's performance in the preseason this year) "I watched that a bunch. I watched it this morning again. But he did play well for us in the preseason and now it's been a 10-week span since he's been on the field, so that's the hard part when you're a backup, but we're all here to help him. Everybody else is going to have to do a good job."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on WR Andre Johnson saying that the Texans will be in games no matter what because of their defense) "It's special and it means a lot. I think, if you look at any real good team, who we've tried to become for a bunch of years now, they play good defense. And no matter what happens, as long as they play good defense, it means a lot and takes care of a lot of things."
(on how he felt after he learned that QB Matt Schaub would be out with injury) "It was a little bit of a shock, especially that he played the whole game and I talked to him after the game and I wasn't really sure about the whole situation. It was just one of this things, it's football. We understand that injuries obviously come with the game but it was a little bit of a shock."
(on if there is any more pressure on the defense to perform because the team's starting quarterback is out) "No. The team's haven't changed that we're playing. They're still on the schedule. We're going to play the same kind of defense and like I said, I think we're only going to get better as the season goes on."
(on how the team is handling the loss of QB Matt Schaub to injury) "The guys are confident. It's a 'next-guy-up' kind of attitude. We know we're going to step up and we know we're going to play better football. We lost a hell of a leader, a hell of a football player. But at the same time, new guys are going to have to play and everyone's play is going to rise."
(on what it means to go into the bye week having the best record in the AFC) "It's a good feeling, there's no question about that. To be on top like that is special. We know that we can only continue to grow, play better football. We feel the sky is the limit for us. We've got six games left. We're going to try and take care of it."
(on how he views how the team has played) "I feel good. We did the whole review today about playing and how we've developed. Just looking at my film from the first game to Tampa, I think I've grown a lot in the defense. I feel like I'm making a lot more plays. I just feel that for everyone, being such a new scheme with a new defensive coordinator, not having much time to work on it, I think we're getting rolling just about now."
(on if he played one season with QB Matt Leinart at USC) "I did, yeah."
(on if QB Matt Leinart has the mentality to come in and handle being Houston's starting quarterback) "No question. Even playing with Matt (Leinart) for that one year and just seeing the kind of pressure and things he dealt with; how smooth, calm and collected he was with everything was just astonishing. He's a great football player and I think we all have confidence in what he's going to do."
(on how QB Matt Leinart looks different skill-wise since his USC days) "I think, coming in last year and being in a completely new offense than he was in Arizona was kind of an adjustment period. But seeing him in preseason, seeing him in practice every day, I think he's done a great job, I really do. If any guy's ready for it, it'll be him."
(on if QB Matt Leinart has the "mystique leadership" ability quarterbacks have to have) "Yeah, definitely. Playing with him my freshman year of college and just seeing him as he's adapted to the locker room and guys have responded to him, I absolutely think so. If anyone is to step up, I wish it was him and it is."
(on if its fortuitous that QB Matt Schaub's injury came before a bye week) "It is unfortunate. It's going to be a time of adversity for this team. I think the teams that aren't going to do anything are teams that would pout about it and worry about it. But I think this team will come back from the bye week stronger and ready to go. We're not going to think too much about it. Like I said, it's the next man up. I Matt's (Leinart) our quarterback, and he is, we're excited for him and we're ready to go."
(on if it's good that the team has a week to absorb the change at quarterback) "I think that gives Matt (Leinart) a little bit more time to really adjust and work a little bit more. I definitely think it will benefit us physically and mentally. I just think the bye is coming up in time for kind of everything."
(on if it's amazing how much the defense has had to absorb this year) "No because I think it's been about Wade (Phillips) and how we'll he's taught us defensively and just everything. He's kept it simple. But I think how he's got us playing so fast and playing so well is completely because of his coaching."
(on how the team has had success despite suffering injuries this year) "That's what the good teams do. We understand that. It's football. It's a physical, hard-nosed game. Injuries are a part of it and we just have to accept it."
(on QB Matt Leinart stepping in for injured QB Matt Schaub) "It's a great opportunity for him, there's no question about it. He's going to come in and I think he's going to do a great job."
TE Owen Daniels
(on QB Matt Leinart as the new quarterback) "I mean we're excited. Matt's (Leinart) been preparing with us all season and has been doing a great job in practice. I know he's been waiting for this opportunity for a handful of years now and I think he's going to make the most of it."
(on how much everything changes with QB Matt Leinart) "I honestly don't think it's going to change a whole lot. We're going to run our system. We're going to do what we do and I don't think too much is going to change. We're going to keep running the ball and we get 'Dre (Andre Johnson) back, which is a huge thing. We're just going to keep doing what we've been doing."
(on if the mood in the locker room is business as usual) "Yeah, when you lose a big-time player for any amount of time, that hurts a little bit, but we've been having guys get injured all year long and we've been bouncing back and having guys step up. I don't think that's going to be any different. It is a really high-profile position, but Matt's (Leinart) done this before and he's got a lot of support around him. I think everyone's just going to have to step up and do a little bit more, but we'll be okay."
(on if the situation could be any better for QB Matt Leinart with as many targets as we has to throw to) "We're going to try to make it easy for him. We're not going to try to put him in too many positions where he's got to make any type of crazy plays. We're going to continue to run the ball. It's great that our defense is playing as well as they are right now. That helps out a lot. We'll try to make it as easy as possible for Matt (Leinart)."
(on if it makes a difference that QB Matt Leinart throws left-handed) "You know what, if it was a guy coming in and we had never seen a lefty all year, it might be different, but we've been catching passes from Matt (Leinart) all year, so it shouldn't be an issue at all."
TE Joel Dreessen
(on the mood of the team entering the bye) "We're 7-3, we're going into the bye week. It's tough to lose (Matt) Schaub, for however long it may be because he was playing so well. He's been such a great leader from the lockout until now, basically the whole time he's been here. You feel terrible for him because he was having such an amazing year. At the same time, we've been dealing with this all season. Whether it is Mario (Williams) or Danieal Manning or missing Andre (Johnson) or Dominique Barber, we've been dealing with it. This is no different."
(on how things will change with the transition to Matt Leinart) "I really don't know. That's what the NFL is all about. Your guys behind the starters cannot have that much of a drop-off in performance, talent and effort and anything. That's going to be no different for the quarterback position."
(on the team's confidence in Matt Leinart) "We've got all the confidence in the world in him. I'm not just saying that either. I'm very excited for him and his opportunity. He's a professional. He's started games in this league before. He's led a team. He's been on teams that have been in the playoffs and gone to the Super Bowl so I think we're in very good hands with Matt Leinart. I'm very excited for his opportunity."
(on if he feels this team can't seem to catch a break) "As far as the injury bug and guys getting hurt and going down with season-ending injuries, yeah, it's been unique from that standpoint. At the same time, we have the capability to make our own breaks going forward. We're in good position now and we've got to keep taking it one week at a time. This week is rest; next week is Jacksonville."
(on being the top seed in the AFC right now) "We're just having so much fun right now as a football team. I remember back to that Baltimore game, the last time we lost. We had a guest speaker yesterday, a Navy Seal, and he said, 'When you suffer, that's when you learn the most about each other and yourselves. That's when you become a team.' I remember coming in here Monday after that Baltimore game and we were suffering, everybody was hurting. We felt like that just wasn't us. I feel like we've gotten a lot closer. Every week since then, we've just played really, really good football and come out on top in big ways a lot of time."
RB Arian Foster
(on if the Texans have more depth which has allowed them to weather injuries better than in years past) "I don't know. I don't like to look in the rear-view mirror too much, so all we can do is look forward and whatever hurdles stand in front of us, we just have to continue to try and get past those."
(on how much he and the rest of the running backs need to step up after QB Matt Schaub was injured) "Not any more than we already have. We always expect big things out of us, and we're going to continue to try to play well. This is not any added or additional pressure. (WR) Andre (Johnson) has been missing for some weeks, and that definitely puts a hamper on your offense when you don't have the best player in the game in there, and now our quarterback is down. Matt's (Leinart) going to step in and I think he's going to do just as well for us."
(on the team's confidence in QB Matt Leinart's ability to step into the starting lineup smoothly) "Yeah. He knows what he's doing out there, and I have all the confidence in the world in him. I think one of the great things about this organization is they have a good eye for talent, and I think he's going to fit in just fine."
WR Andre Johnson
(on how he's feeling) "Yeah, I feel like I'm ready. Right now, I have no doubt that I'll be out on the field next Sunday. I plan on playing."
(on his reaction to QB Matt Schaub's injury) "I was very excited about me being able to get back out on the field with my teammates and to hear something like that was kind of devastating. It was just kind of like, 'Where did that come from?' During the game I saw him limping a little bit. I asked him was he okay. He told me, 'Yeah.' He kept playing, so you wouldn't have thought anything like this was going on. When I saw him yesterday, I looked at his foot and was like, 'Wow.' It's part of it, man. Matt Leinart's going to step in and like I said before, we have to keep Schaub positive throughout this situation and we just have to pick up the slack."