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Texans Coach Says Titans Are Playing "Really Hard" for Munchak

Posted Dec 26, 2013

TEXANS INTERIM HEAD COACH WADE PHILLIPS

(on preparing for the final game of the season)

I think the focus this time of year when you’re not in a playoff race (is) trying to get better the last ball game. I’m sure that’s what both teams will emphasize.

(on whether this has been a difficult stretch for the Texans)

It really is. When we went to New Orleans, they only won one game the previous year. We lost some games the next year obviously, but we didn’t have a lot of good players. It took a little time to get some players. It has been a different situation. We have good players. Some of them have been injured, certainly, key ones have been injured, but it’s been a tough stretch.

(on whether close games speak to the competitiveness of this league)

Certainly it is. That’s the difference in a lot of playoff teams or a lot of teams playing for the playoffs. I mean, I’m sure Tennessee could say the same thing. They could be playing for the playoffs right now.

(on how the Titans look now versus earlier in the season)

Obviously, both teams have changed a lot since that week. They’re a solid team. They’ve got a good offense, they’ve got a good defense, and they play good special teams.

(on what he sees out of Chris Johnson on film)

I think you see the same things that he’s always been able to do. He’s got great explosion. He’s one of the few players that can score on any play at any time from their own 10-yard line to the opponent’s 10-yard line. He still has that great explosion. There are not many players that can go 80 or 90 yards in one play for a touchdown, and he’s one of them.

(on whether the defense game plans around Chris Johnson)

Well, you game plan, certainly, for their best players, and he’s certainly one of those. You still have to be aware of the passing game and so forth and what tendencies teams have and all those other things, but pro football is a matchup game. You have to stop the other team’s best players if you’re playing defense.

(on Case Keenum’s status heading into Sunday’s game)

Case Keenum was hurt last week and is in a splint this week. We took him out of it in our walk through practice, but he really hasn’t practiced yet. We’ll find out more today.

(on whether he is optimistic that Case Keenum will start)

It just depends. It’s a ligament in his right hand thumb, so I don’t know how optimistic you can be. It just depends on how sore he is. He couldn’t grip the ball at all last week. He’s tried it, and he can grip the ball. We’ll just see what he can do.

(on Matt Schaub’s mindset this season)

I think there’s been ups and downs, but he’s ready to play any time. We always have him ready to go.

(on the challenges of signing a new running back and getting him up to speed)

Jonathan Grimes we signed last week and is now our starter. He is the fifth running back to start, so it’s a big challenge. He has some background with us in preseason. He knows some of the things, but we have to cut down on some of the things we do just because he’s only been here a week. The backup guys haven’t been here. We brought in Ray Graham who was with us earlier in the season as a practice squad guy. Now he’s on our team as a backup guy.

(on Jonathan Grimes’ running style)

He’s got pretty good speed. He’s a hard runner. He’s only played in preseason, so we’ll see.

(on chemistry between the offensive line and new running backs)

Well, that’s always a factor. That’s why you practice to get those things timed out. We have a scheme here certainly, the zone scheme, that we’ve run here for a long time. The running back knows where he has to fit in the scheme.

(on Chance Warmack’s rookie season)

I think he’s a great player. I saw him before the draft. I thought he was a good player. Certainly, we played him early in the year. After watching him lately, I think he’s a top-notch, Pro Bowl type player the way his play is concerned.

(on what stands out about Chance Warmack)

His athletic skills. He finishes plays well. Those two things I think stand out.

(on Jurrell Casey as a player)

He’s had a good year for them. He’s a very powerful guy, athletic guy. He plays really hard like their defense does. I like him, too. I don’t like playing against him, but I like him.

(on Andre Johnson’s season)

He’s a phenomenal player. He’s so consistently great. Some guys are consistent, but he’s consistently great.

(on whether he will get an opportunity to become the Texans’ full-time coach after this season)

We’ll see. The interim situation is not a good one any time you go in because it’s not your team that you’ve built. It’s maybe half a team that you’ve worked with. I’ve got a pretty good record as a head coach when I’ve had the team at the start of the season. I think they’ll consider that.

(on what he thinks of Mike Munchak as a head coach)

That’s up to the people there to decide those things. I know Mike (Munchak) is a good coach, and I think the team is playing really hard for him. I can say those two things.

(on the defense not forcing as many turnovers this season)

I think it’s not luck involved, certainly. I think year to year it’s going to be a little bit different with any team. It can change quite a bit sometimes. I do think it’s your overall team. The last two years we were ahead in a lot of games, and that’s when a lot of turnovers come because you’ve got them in a situation where they have to try to come back. That gives you an advantage defensively to get a lot of turnovers. We’ll just keep working on those things, and they’ll come for you. It’s the last game, but we’ll try to get some this game, too.

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