TEXANS HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
(on Matt Schaub’s play)
We’ve asked him to do a lot in those two games. We got caught in some situations where we got down or got in a couple of shootouts. We asked Matt (Schaub) to throw it 55 and 48 times back-to-back, and he responded. He’s very capable of doing that. That’s kind of not our first way we want to go about running our offense. We like to be very balanced and want to run the ball and hopefully keep our defense off the field. We had to do what we had to do the last two weeks to win. Obviously, he was leading the cause.
(on clock management)
I don’t know that you ever know how you’re going to have to win on a given Sunday. We’ve had some issues. Jacksonville threw the ball very well on us, and we got ourselves down in the game by what, 14? Last week we played a team very explosive offensively. We got down there. You never know what’s going to happen this week. We do show up every week wanting to run the football, wanting to control things from that standpoint, but you never know what you’re going to get into. We’ll see, but it is important that we run the ball.
(on if the team needed an extra break after the back-to-back overtime games)
In all my years in this league, I don’t know that I’ve ever been through that with a couple of games and as many snaps as we’ve played and as much football as we’ve played. We paid a price for it, but it has been good. We’ll have a 10-day period here before we play again. I was able to give the guys a big break over the weekend. We did come back and practice on Monday, and then we’re back in our routine today. We’re down in numbers, but everybody has those problems this time of year. You try to adjust and move forward and just make sure you have a fresh football team on the field come Sunday.
(on Dowell Loggains)
I know he’s a hell of a coach. That’s a great opportunity for him. I know (Mike Heimerdinger) thought the world of him, and obviously Mike (Munchak) does too to give him this opportunity. For us, it’s about stopping their weapons. They obviously have a good receiving corps and they’ve spread the field and made some big plays. Chris (Johnson) has always played well against us, he did earlier in the year. We understand, it gets back to stopping their offense. Right now, we have such a focus on us and settling our guys down and knowing who we’re going to have available on Sunday.
(on how difficult it would be for Dowell Loggains to make a lot of changes on offense)
We have to prepare for what we’ve seen. That’s all you can do as a staff, what they’ve been doing. Obviously, they have the young quarterback back, so he’s moving around and those types of things, so it’s a little bit different. Anytime you have somebody new calling the game or something, it’s probably going to look a little bit different. Our focus has to be on what they’ve done in the past. We have to get back to playing better defense, we’ve struggled the last two weeks.
(on why the defense has struggled)
I would start with we need to get more pressure on the quarterback. Guys are hanging onto the ball a little bit too long against us. J.J. (Watt) has been our source of pressure. We have to get that spread out more, more consistent across the group. I think getting Shaun Cody back will help us. We’ve been thin up front. Getting Shaun back helps us play Earl (Mitchell) at a couple different spots and give J.J. and Antonio (Smith) a break. You can always look for reasons, but there are no excuses. We’re going to have to play better than we have the last two weeks.
(on the play of
I really liked him coming out. I think he’s going to be a very successful player in this league. The biggest thing that jumps at you is his ability to make plays off schedule. We saw that last week from (Matthew) Stafford. He moved around and made some really big plays against us. Jake (Locker) gives them the element of the bootleg and those types of things that I know they like to do off of their run game with Chris (Johnson). I think his movement makes you be honest in your coverage and stay at home. Hopefully, you don’t get too aggressive and give up some big plays with his feet.
(on if he’s worrying about potentially losing an edge in the final games of the season)
I don’t worry about that. We work way too hard around here to get ourselves in position to play some more football in January. We’re excited about that opportunity, but there’s a lot of work to do for us to get there. All we control is how we play. Like I said, right now we’ve got some challenges as a team from a health standpoint, but our opportunities far outweigh our challenges. We have to continue to battle and step to the plate and find a way to win games. That’s what we’re going to try to stay focused on.
(on winning on the road)
I think we’ve learned to play on the road. We’ve gotten a lot better as far as handling hostile environments. I think that goes with our quarterback. He’s handled our football team great from that standpoint. We know winning on the road comes down to protecting the ball and those types of things. I just think we’ve improved and gotten better as a group. We’ve held our group together for the most part, so we have a lot of guys that have played some football together. Winning on the road is being consistent, so we’re trying to find a way to do that.
(on Connor Barwin’s play)
It’s hard for me to comment on what another guy is thinking. I’ll just say this, I think Connor (Barwin) has played well. I know that the numbers are not there like they were last year. His effort and his consistency as a player and the way he grades out every week, it’s been every bit as good as last year. We’re asking him to do something new. He played like 70-plus snaps at the Sam linebacker, switched positions right in the middle of the game last week. A lot of that is on us and what he’s had to do. Now he’ll play a new position. What we get from him every week has been consistent, and I think the other things will take care of themselves.
(on the rotation at linebacker)
We’re going to have a three-man rotation going there. The logical move is to ask Connor (Barwin) to move over because he has played there before.
(on Bryan Braman)
He can play either spot. He will take over Whitney (Mercilus’) role and what Whitney was doing when Brooks (Reed) and Connor (Barwin) were both in there. We’re at that point in the season where you start to look at snaps on certain guys, and we’ve got to take a few snaps off of Connor, we’ve got to take some snaps off of J.J. (Watt) and Antonio (Smith). We’ve got a rotation going at a few places on our football team.
(on if he sees the Titans having any of the same growing pains the Texans had in his first few years as coach)
It’s tough when you take over a program and you’re implementing your beliefs and what you do. They’ve lost some really tough games this year, some real close games, had quarterback injuries, those things. When you’re dealing with those things, it makes it very difficult. I have tremendous respect for Mike (Munchak) and the staff he has and what he’s doing there. There is no doubt in my mind that Mike is doing a hell of a job and they’re heading in the right direction. We always have some big battles with them, and I’m sure this won’t be any different.
(on if Andre Johnson has answered his critics with the way he’s played in the second half of the year so far)
I think there was some reason for what was going on. What Andre (Johnson) had been through the last couple of years and missing training camp, I think the process was slow. Now we’ve gotten into a rhythm here where his practice time has been consistent, his health has been consistent. I think we’re seeing the fruits of his work, so to speak. It’s kind of gotten back to where it was a few years ago. There were so many trials and tribulations for him working through some injuries and those types of things. Hopefully, he stays that way, and if he does, I think he will continue to contribute big-time for this team.
I think he’s a hell of a player. Anytime you play each other twice and you’re in the same division and guys beat on each other for a couple hundred plays a year, things are going to get testy. That’s just part of this league. I think he’s a fine player.
(on how big the rivalry is between Houston and Tennessee)
I just think it is division football. It’s just natural in your division to have big rivalries when you line up twice a year and play each other. That’s part of this league. Like I said, our get-togethers with you guys have always been physical and have always been very good football games.