Conference Call: Texans Coach Gary Kubiak




(on the difficulty of having a great second-half comeback against the Ravens just to lose in overtime)

Well, we have a little bit of practice with it, unfortunately.  It's just kind of part of this game.  We had a very physical game; it is probably wearing on us more physically probably more than emotionally right now.  We've got a quick turnaround here and a short week, but that's part of this business, you've got to grow up and move on and so we'll try and get going with that today.

(on the biggest challenges in having a short week between games)

Like I said, physically number one, we've got some guys beat up.  You get to this point in the season too where obviously it was a big letdown for us the other night because that was a big, big game for us.  You've got to get over that emotionally, but that is what we're paid to do.  All of those things are just something that we have to handle.  We have a few new faces coming on this roster today because of some injury issues, so we've got to get them settled, have a good week of practices and get ready to come play well.

(on how big of an advantage it is for the Titans to have a long week to prepare while the Texans have a short week)

Well we faced the same thing against Baltimore; we had played that Thursday Night game before we played Baltimore so we had that long stretch.  I don't know if there is an advantage.  It is obviously physical because you can get your guys a break and get them all freshened up, I think that's number one.  Other than that, I think at this time of year, especially when you're having some disappointment in losing some football games and some of the ways we've lost them hell I wish we could play about every other day and get this taste out of our mouth.  That's just part of something we all face, and playing different schedules late in the season is just something that everybody in this league has to adapt to.

(on what they did last time to frustrate the Titans and what does he think will be different about the Titans offense with Kerry Collins starting at quarterback instead of Rusty Smith)

Oh I think they'll be much different.  Obviously, they were playing with a very young quarterback and you see week in and week out in this league that it is tough to do.  It's a quarterback driven league and when you've got young-gun players being put in those tough situations it makes it difficult on a football team.  We've faced Kerry many times and he's a damn-good player and got it going last weekend against Indianapolis and played very well offensively throughout the course of that game and had a chance to win.  It will be a totally different game from the one that we played here; I think it will be totally different.

(on if he has or is going to say anything to Andre Johnson about keeping his composure against Cortland Finnegan)

I see that different, those two guys go at it every time we play.  They go at it as great players.  That situation got a little bit out of hand, but these two players respect each other, respect each other how they play, they're both Pro Bowl players and every time they line up they're going to get after each other and try and win the battle and try and win the game.  This game won't be any different.  As a coach you appreciate watching great players go at it and how important it is to them.

(on what was different last time Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan played that resulted in punches being thrown)

Yeah, I don't know.  I don't think you ever know personally exactly what's going on out there between two guys, but they always play hard and they're always getting after each other and they challenge each other and they both rise to the challenge.  That's what makes them both great players—that's why they are who they are and what they are as players because of their drive to be the best.

(on if he thinks that the officials will be paying more attention to Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan on Sunday)

I would imagine.  I would imagine, but I think these two guys will play tough and hard just like they always do every time they line up against each other.

(on Malcolm Sheppard)

I wish we wouldn't have lost him, I can tell you that.  Great kid, effort player, always playing hard, a little undersized, but you're going to get everything he's got, very strong.  Boy I love him to death.  I had a good conversation with him, what day was it—I guess it was maybe Saturday or Sunday morning when he came to you guys and I wish we wouldn't have lost him, but it's part of the business and I wish him all the best.  Jim's (Washburn) got a good one; Jeff's (Fisher) got a good one—a wonderful young man.

(on why the Texans didn't match the Titans offer for Malcolm Sheppard)

There are all kinds of reasons why you're unable to do that.  Most of our shuffling is fixing to happen this week, but those things happen in this business.  When kids are on practice squads they have options, so he felt like this was a great opportunity for him and I'm sure it is.  Time will tell, but you just wish guys the best and I think Malcolm enjoyed being here and we worked hard with him and that's just part of the business.  You just wish him the best.

(on if Malcolm Sheppard can give any tips or help the Titans in preparing to face the Texans this week)

He spent a lot of time with us, but once you line up hell it's time to go play.  I think most players would tell you that and coaches.  We play each other twice a year and we've been playing for a long time, so I think Malcolm probably has enough to worry about getting ready to play and learn their system and it'll be two good teams going at it.

(on where Arian Foster was listed on the depth chart at the start of training camp)

He was listed as a one the day we started.  He came out of the season last year as our one.  We listed him as a one going into the offseason, and obviously how he handled himself and how he went about his business would be whether or not he would keep it and he's definitely done that.  We gave him an opportunity, but he earned the opportunity and he's taken advantage of it.  He's been a very impressive young man after some of the things he's been through and some of the things people questioned about him.  He's handled himself pretty damn good.

(on how Arian Foster has gone from being undrafted to being one of the better running backs in the NFL)

First off it's just him growing up and being a pro.  I think you hear coaches talk about that all the time.  I don't think we all ever know how guys are going to respond to professional football, the demands, making a good living, how they handle themselves and he's become a pro from that standpoint.  He's got a lot of teammates to thank.  Guys up front have done some good things this year and our fullback has played well for him.  You can't be successful by yourself, but Arian has definitely done his part.

(on what the Texans' biggest questions were about Arian Foster when they signed him as a rookie)

The biggest questions were work habits, commitment to what he was doing, consistency in what he was doing—those were the questions coming out of Tennessee and that's why he didn't get drafted.  Nobody ever questioned his ability.  He got all of that under control and he realized this is a business, you work for yourself basically and he's handled his portion of the work the way you have to handle it to be successful.

(on if he empathizes with Jeff Fisher because both teams have had some tough luck and both he and Fisher have been criticized)

That's part of our job.  Jeff has been very successful throughout his career, one of the top coaches in the National Football League, I've got a lot of respect for him as a coach and a person.  I think when we sign up for this deal and we do this for a living we know that there is going to be some great times, there are going to be some tough times.  You just push through and you keep working, keep plugging and keep people heading in the right direction and I'm sure that's what we're both trying to do.  I can't speak for Jeff, but obviously that's what I'm trying to do here.

(on whether players rally around playing for their coach's job)

I think that gets brought up a lot.  Their job is to play good football.  Our players' job is to prepare to go play in Tennessee this week, not to worry about me.  We have a job to do in the classroom to prepare to try and play good enough football to try and win a game.  You just try to keep all of that in perspective.  You understand it's a business, but every day you wake up it's about effort, it's about preparation and that never changes.

(on if it's tough to keep a team motivated when their playoff chances are slim)

Obviously that's a difficult part.  As far as your motivation to play the game and be successful, I mean hell it shouldn't be.  That's what we're paid to do.  We're paid to lineup every week and do a job and put a product on the field and do something the right way and that's what I plan on doing.

(on if he's surprised that Randy Moss hasn't been more successful statistically since joining the Titans)

I think it's tough.  It's tough anywhere to pick up players and they go right away and become big factors in situations.  That's tough around this league, but their team is built around Chris (Johnson) and the job that he does and he's one of the great players in this league, one of the top players.  We know he's going to get his touches and them getting (Kenny) Britt back and stuff makes them even more dangerous from that standpoint.  Like I said, we'll be facing a different group than we did last time.

(on if he expects Chris Johnson to get just seven carries again on Sunday)

I would think not.

(on how important it is for the Texans to finish 8-8)

It's important to win the next game.  One of the things you get caught up in this business is too many people talk about what can happen over the course of the next month or five weeks or three weeks, and hell we need to worry about what's going to happen in Tennessee on Sunday.  We need to hang on to some of the good things that we're doing and we need to figure out a way to get rid of some of these things that are costing us games, especially late in games and find a way to win our sixth game.  That's all that we're concerned about right now. 

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