Conference Call: Texans Coach Gary Kubiak



(on if this game is a chance to make a move early)

Well yeah, it's still very early in the season, I think this is six for you guys and seven for us so we are getting close to the midway point. It's always a big game when we play you guys, a very physical game, a divisional game which makes it even more important. It's something we are looking forward to coming off of two tough losses, trying to regroup over here.

(on when Derrick Mason may be comfortable in the offense and how much he may help the rest of this year)

He practiced two days last week and he went in and made three pretty significant plays in the game. I was pleased with how much progress and how his coaches were able to catch him up to speed. It's something we have been battling with the loss of Andre (Johnson) and James Casey last week so we have some adjustments to make. Of course, Derrick (Mason) will be with us all week this week so we ought to be able to make even more progress and hopefully he continues to be a factor in what we are doing.

(on if Andre Johnson will be out again this Sunday)

I think it would be a reach to say he is going to be ready this weekend, there is a possibility that he could return to the practice field later this week with the progress he has been making. We are going to do everything right by him to make sure that he is available to this team on the back half of this season. He is coming off of a procedure that takes a little time. I think it's been two weeks now, so we are listening to him trying to do the right thing. 

(on if not having Andre Johnson makes it more challenging to run the ball)

Well yeah, when Andre (Johnson) is on the field it gets a lot of attention from a coverage standpoint. Things have been a little different from that standpoint. I really think us running the ball better is on us, I think we can finish things better, be better up front, be better in the backfield. We have to go out and play better. We faced a team, last week that was excellent against the run and we needed to go in there and pound away, and we were doing that for the most part, but we weren't able to do that for the second half. Running the ball successfully in this league usually mean success for a lot of teams, not just ours, we have struggled the last couple of weeks.

(on Arian Foster's health)

He is fine guys, I think any player, when you don't go through training camp, when you miss all of that time, you don't just jump right back out there and everything goes right back to normal. Arian (Foster) is three weeks into his football season so to speak. He is kind of coming out of training camp right now so I have to be smart with him and make sure I give him his break during the course of the game. I think Arian is on his way, he is going to have a hell of a year, he is about three or four weeks behind every player on the team when it comes to how much football he has played and how much time he has been on the field, because he did miss the preseason basically.

(on other wide receivers stepping up with Andre Johnson being out)

I think the guys have done pretty good, a couple weeks ago against Oakland we moved the ball very well. (Kevin) Walter had a big day, Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen made big plays. We come back last week in Baltimore and Jacoby (Jones) plays well for us. You never know where the ball is going to go but I think they are working hard and we have had some guys make some plays just obviously haven't made enough when you don't get it done on Sunday. We just have to keep plugging and we are looking for other guys to step up in his absence and that usually means the team has to step up, not one guy…just trying to stay focused on the group.

(on what changes have been made since the loss of Mario Williams)

Losing him is just like losing Andre (Johnson) on the other side of the ball. You lose a leader, you lose a great player, but that's part of this league, you have to adjust, you have got to keep going, you have got to find answers and find ways to make things work. Brooks Reed came in last week and we thought he played well for a rookie and hopefully he continues to improve. It's not going to change what we are doing, it's just that we have to have some younger guys step up and do it. Last week against Baltimore, we gave up too many big plays and weren't able to get off the field enough. We played hard and got a couple turnovers that kept us in the ball game there late. Hopefully we continue to improve and Brooks continues to improve.

(on what led to the difficulties on defense last year and Frank Bush as a coach)

I think it was decisions we made as an organization. Frank (Bush) is a hell of a football coach, I know that and you guys know that. Last year we went very young as a secondary, we put a first-rounder on the field day one and played with a very young secondary and it showed up through the course of the season. Frank coached his ass off, he worked hard, and it was a tough position he was put in as a coordinator. We all understand that as coaches in this league and you try to work through them. I'm glad to see he is doing well. I saw him last week at (Mike) Heimerdinger's funeral and it's good to see him doing well and playing well.

(on staying in touch with coaches that he has had to let go)

Oh yeah, we are very good friends. It's part of the business that we work in, it's a tough part of the business but Frank (Bush) is a good friend of mine, Bruce (Matthews) is over there, tell Bruce I said hello. It's part of coaching, guys bounce around. I have a lot of respect for them and like I said, they are obviously doing a great job right there and they are off to a great start. I have a lot of respect for them, tell them I say hey.

(on his relationship with the late Mike Heimerdinger)

Mike (Heimerdinger) meant a great deal, Mike and I worked together in Denver. We were friends before we ever ended up in Denver together. In this business you meet a lot of great people, a lot of tough people because it is a tough business from the standpoint of the ups and downs of football. It's just hard, a very young man and a great person and a great family guy. We as coaches lost a hell of a man, and the business lost a hell of a coach. I'm just here to support his family, support Kathy (Heimerdinger) and his children. It was good to see all of the coaches come in last weekend, I know it meant a lot to me. Rick Dennison and Brian Pariani, we were able to get down there on behalf of the Texans. I just wish Kathy all the best and want her to know that everybody is here for her.

(on how the play-action game is affecting both sides of the football)

Offensively, it's always a big part of what we do. It usually goes hand-in-hand on how we run the ball, so from that standpoint we need to run the ball a little bit better. Defensively, you are going to get it. Of course you guys have one of the top backs in the game and when you've got that you are going to get play pass. If you are struggling on first down that's usually where it's coming so that's something we have to do a good job defensively and it's always going to be we are going to do offensively and hopefully we handle that.

(on the Titans being last in the league in rushing offense and the concern that this is the week it gets on track)

You are exactly right, that's what I just told our guys. I think statistics get a little skewed in this business, I look at them and you guys have played some dang good defensive football teams, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore and we have played those two teams too. It's way too early in the season to sit there and look at numbers and those type of things, I think you just have to keep plugging. We know they have a great back there, the big strength of their team there is their front and how well they play up front. He can have a bust out day any day and we understand that so we will have to play well against the run.

(on how the Titans defense looks different under Jerry Gray than in previous years)

Well I see the same type of scheme, very well coached, they play extremely hard and don't give up big plays. They really do a good job of pressuring the pocket with what they do. It's a switch for us going back, we have kind of been bouncing back between 3-4 and 4-3 teams early in the season this year so it's another switch for us. It's always a physical game when we play you guys, we understand that.  

(on Akeem Ayers)

He is a hell of a player, we really liked him coming out in the draft. We kind of had him and Brooks (Reed) right there together when we were studying those guys. He is a very active player, he is going to be a hell of a player. Two good young players, him and Brooks get an opportunity to make some plays and should only get better as the season goes on.

(on if it's strange that the Texans and Titans are fighting for the division and the Colts are so far back)

Well this league is ever changing and of course they have lost one of the premiere players in the game and you can see what that can do to teams how you overcome that stuff and how you overcome that stuff has a lot to do with how your season ends up. We are battling that now losing Andre (Johnson) so we have to step to the plate. Obviously, Indianapolis had that situation with Peyton (Manning) and trying to battle that. It's part of the game, it's part of what we do week in and week out.

(on if this year is a good year to win the division)

I don't get caught up in that, I just try to get ready to play each week. Like I said, our last two haven't been very damn good, so we are just trying to regroup here.

(on Matt Hasselbeck)

He has been a great addition to their team, he is a veteran player that knows where to go with the ball and can lead a football team. To me it showed up with the way he has done his job their early in a very short amount of time. I think Mike (Munchak) and those guys knew what they were getting and he has done a hell of a job for them.

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