Conference call: Texans head coach Gary Kubiak


(On trying to see where they stand as a football team after having only played one game)

Probably the most difficult part is we've been away for four days dealing with our situation kind of not knowing if we were going to play last week. Then [the hurricane] happening and being cancelled, I think it was Saturday evening sometime. That was hard to deal with but we were back to work yesterday. We got an extra day of practice in. Obviously, we're a game behind the rest of the league but we just feel very fortunate that we are back to work and get a chance to play and compete.

(On trying to get their minds back on football)

First off, our problems here are minute compared to some of the problems that are going on around the state of Texas right now. But we had to evaluate our players, our organization, their families, their issues. Make sure we're doing everything we can to help them with their problems so we can get them back in position to come in here and do their job and get ready to play. I think the organization has done a great job with the players and they've been very resilient. The families continue to be a big concern for us but we're going to figure out a way to make it work. I think everybody really put their best foot forward and the players were awesome yesterday. Really, to me, I see them ready to get back to work and try to get refocused on what we have to do. I mean that's their job and that's what we're committed to doing.

(On if he stayed in Houston during the hurricane)

I was here. I won't be here again though I can promise you that.

(On why not)

It was no fun. I'm a Texas resident, I've been here all my life. Well, I haven't been here all my life, I was in Denver for a long time but I've never really been through one. I don't know that you can explain it. It was scary. It was a very, very difficult time and [we] feel very, very fortunate to know that everybody is okay. I know that we can't say that for everyone in the state of Texas but a lot of people are very, very fortunate including this guy right here.

(On where he was during the hurricane)

I was at my house. I had my family, mom and dad, all those people trying to be in one spot and trying to work our way through it and we did. But like I said, it was about six or seven hours, a very frightening ordeal.

(On how crucial it is for players to focus on football after getting their families taken care of)

Well, I think that's probably the most difficult thing. You're here, we have a job to do, to get ready to come play this football game and probably the good majority, I don't know I'd say over half our football team is still without electricity. When you're at work and you have power and you're doing your job, I guess life goes on as normal. But the difficult thing is we have many, many families sitting home during the day without power and with problems and we have to be very sensitive to that and do everything we can to help these players and their families as they move forward. As you know, if you're going to work and you have problems at home it makes your job more difficult. So we're trying to do everything we can to minimize those problems and help them with those problems so that they can do their job.

(On if it was difficult for players to return to football)

I can't speak for all of them but just watching them bounce around, I think this city has been couped up for a few days, I think they were glad to get out and just do something. We met, had a long meeting regarding everyone's issues and wanted to make sure we were sensitive to everyone's issues and at the same time we understand that it's our job to get ready to go. The players have been good at both ends. Rick [Smith] has done a great job with the organization taking their problems into account and trying to do everything from that standpoint. But they were focused yesterday and practiced very well yesterday.

(On what jumps out when he watches the Titans on tape)

I think they're one of the better teams in football. They're off to a great start. They beat a hell of a team at home opening day in Jacksonville and then to go on the road in some extremely tough conditions and handle those conditions, to me, very easily, they've been excellent. Special teams-wise they give you a lot of problems, they do a lot of things. Defensively, to me they play as hard as anyone in football. Up front they present many, many problems to you. They have for us. Offensively, of course I know [Mike Heimer] Dinger and have worked with Dinger and I think he's doing a tremendous job. I think he does a great job with them and the young running back has added a punch to them for big-play ability that's obvious when you watch him. It'll take our best effort. They're a hell of a football team and we understand that.

(On establishing the run after making it a point of emphasis during training camp)

Well those are things you can talk about but you got to understand they are difficult to do. That's been a point of emphasis for our team. I think it's a key for our team getting better. We went down to Pittsburgh opening week, they're a hell of a football team. We got off schedule, got behind, which is something you definitely don't want to do. You're in big-time trouble with a football team like that. I can't speak for every team in this league but if you are dropping back too much in this league, throwing it too many times, you're probably going to be in trouble. Definitely going to be in trouble against good football teams and we're facing a damn good one this weekend.

(On if the Titans are easier to prepare for with Kerry Collins at quarterback)

First off, I have tremendous respect for him. I've played against him many times in my career as a coach. This guy has been very successful. He can sit there and make every throw you possibly can make in the book. He's very tough, a heck of a leader. I think they played extremely well last week with him and the time he came in the game against Jacksonville, they went right down the field. I have a lot of respect for this guy and what he brings to this team and what he's done in this league.

(On Ahman Green's status and how important it is to get him healthy)

He's day-to-day right now. He did not practice yesterday, I don't think he'll practice today. I think there could still be some time with him. You never know with an ankle, sometimes they can turn around real quick so we keep our fingers crossed. Is he important? Yeah, he's very important to the football team. But we're preparing to go with these young backs, to go with [Steve] Slaton, go with [Chris] Taylor, [Darius] Walker. We've been preparing them to play. We were in that mode last week before the situation occurred so we'll approach it the same way this week.

(On why a rookie running back can have such immediate success)

I don't know I think it all depends on what you do with them. It's what you're asking a player to do. You look at the job [Mike Heimer] Dinger has done there with his young guy and puts him in great position and plays to his strengths. I think you can limit those guys from that standpoint. Unfortunately, right now our guy has to step up and play like a starter. He can't be a part-time guy, he's going to have to play in every phase of the game so the quicker ours grows up right now will be a big key to our progress here.

(On playing three consecutive road games)

Well, I mean it's in front of you, you understand it. It's not like it's a surprise. We see that. I don't have to tell our players the challenge they have, they understand that. Right now it's just about playing better football, rallying through our situation and getting ready to go up there and have a great effort. We just stay focused on one day at a time, one game at a time. It's what this league's about, hell, it's about challenges and trying to work through adversity and that's what we're committed to doing.

(On if he's talked to anyone from New Orleans)

Yeah, Rick [Smith] and I have had many conversations with Mickey [Loomis]. I think Rick's even talked to Jim Haslett a couple times. Just trying to ask them how they handled certain situations, how they went about it. We've got to handle ours here. Like I said, there's difficult decisions everyday and all the decisions start immediately with these players and their families and then we work from there.

(On Mario Williams' solid start to the season)

He's just much more comfortable scheme-wise. Mario's at the point now where he just goes out there and plays and cuts it loose. He's studying opponents much better, all those things that mean you're more comfortable in the defense. You're not having to sit up all night making sure you know where to line up. Mario knows what's going on so it's about reacting and playing now. [He's] a very confident kid, had a really good training camp. Coming out of training camp I think we could all see that he's got the opportunity to have a big year. He was one of the bright spots down in Pittsburgh.

(On keeping Matt Schaub upright after being knocked out in both of last year's contests with the Titans)

Well, I think you all hitting him pretty hard sure helped. It's tough, he lost both of those football games and took some pretty good shots and if you play this team you're going to take some. I haven't seen many films where they're not hitting the quarterback pretty good, I mean they're very aggressive. That's part of the game. You have to stick in there and battle and that's the type of football game it's going to be. But you have to give Tennessee credit, they got after us pretty good.

(On trying to make a statement with the next three games coming against division opponents)

Well, I'm not looking past the one we have this week. We've got enough to deal with this week and a tremendous opponent on the road at their place that's off to a great start. So, like I said, we're taking it one day at a time and one game at a time.

(On if their facility is fully functional from a day-to-day standpoint)

It's getting close. We had some meeting room problems which we worked through yesterday and that are better today. But I think we're about as good as we can be with what took place. I can't imagine that things are as functional as they are. We're okay.

(On if players got back to work with no issues)

We've had our issues. Gas and those types of things are a big issue right now as the city tries to get going again. We're doing everything we can with our players. If they have a problem, we're taking over their problems and trying to get them fixed so that we can get them here and get them focused on their job.

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