Postgame quotes: Texans at Titans

*Watch the live streaming video of coach Gary Kubiak’s weekly press conference Monday at 3:30 p.m. CT.

After the Texans’ 31-17 loss to the in Week 15, coaches and players from both teams answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.

Houston Texans
Head coach Gary Kubiak
CB
LB
RB
QB
DE
WR
T

Tennessee Titans
Head coach Jeff Fisher
DE Jason Babin
QB Kerry Collins
WR  Justin Gage
RB Chris Johnson
CB Cortland Finnegan
OT Michael Roos
WR Nate Washington 

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on RB Arian Foster’s injury at the end of the game) “His ankle is bothering him. He missed one day of practice last week. It’s a little sore, but he got his ankle in the game.”
 
(on this being the worst loss since the game against Indianapolis) “Yeah, we got it handed to us pretty good today. They beat us across the board physically up front, in my opinion. You dig yourself that kind of hole, which is something that has been going on with this team for a while here, it’s hard to dig your way out. They got after us in all three phases. They outcoached us, they outplayed us. They beat us up pretty good.”    

(on getting off the field on third downs in the first half) “We give up, the first drive was a fourth down play, actually. The big play was a fourth-and-seven, so you’re fixing to get the ball in good field position there if you make a play, but we don’t. Offensively, we had a great play to make on third-and-long but we just don’t make the play. Then we miss fourth-and-one and they get the ball back at back. I think we should have picked the next pass and it gets tipped. I can sit here and talk about those things all day, but the bottom line is it’s 21-0. We have been there before and found a way to dig our way out of it. From that point, it was a pretty good football game, but when you’re down by three touchdowns in the National Football League on a consistent basis it’s very, very difficult. The fact that we were getting beat up up front, we did not run the ball well at all to me.”

(on how big was Titans DT Jason Jones’ sack was) “I think it was huge because we had a chance to get the game cut down right there. We had actually called a double-move outside where we try to make a big play. We just got beat in protection. You’re still in a position, possibly, if something bad happens there maybe, to still kick a field goal and still be two scores down with a two-point conversion if I think that’s right situation right now. When you take that type of sack, you’re pretty dead. Give them credit. Their three-technique beat our guard and made a great play.” 

(on being able to come back in that situation) “I have got a lot of confidence in our ability to move the ball, but we have got to move it early. The first series of the game, we had third-and-a-yard-and-a-half and a play set up for Arian (Foster) kind of off what we had done the previous game and we got exactly what we wanted and we’re fixing to make a huge play and we don’t make the play. So, then fourth-and-one, we have a mental assignment on a play that we’ve probably run a couple of hundred times this season. So we as coaches, me, the coaches, we have got to look and say, ‘Why did we not make that play?’ I don’t think we are out there trying not to make the play. But obviously, right there it matters. Why do we not make that play? It’s a struggle.”

(on penalties in the first half) “I don’t know, concentration? We jumped offsides three times in the first half. To start the game you’re covering a kick. We got a penalty called on us that probably might get called twice a year in the National Football League. They say we went low on the coverage team, so I will have to go look at the call, but it gave them excellent field position to start the game. Nine penalties and playing poor on top of that, you are down a long way 24-3.”   

(on problems on special teams) “I have used the word surviving with special teams. Joe (Marciano) has got a lot of new faces week-to-week playing for him with some of the situations we have been through. Some of his regular guys that have been special team contributors now moved up and are starters on our football team that aren’t as available to him. So in fairness to him, he’s having to put a new crew together every week, but that’s not an excuse. You have got all week with them, you prepare them. You have got to play better.”

(on the running game) “Look at the first game we played them, we won the battle up front. We come here, there’s no doubt they won the battle up front. They rushed for 150, we rushed for 30 yards. We usually play physical games, whoever does the best job up front usually finds a way to win, so give them the credit. I thought we looked slow today. Guys looked slow moving around. It’s hard to understand because practice-wise, I think we did everything we could to get them fresh. We did not play as fast as the Tennessee Titans.”

Houston Texans CB Jason Allen
(on his interception) “I just got a good read to know what is going on. I had a tight split and the throw was outside. I got a good read on it and I jumped the route.”

(on not executing) “We were prepared. The coaches did a heck of a job preparing us for what we were going to get. We are there, we just have to execute and make the play. That ball was tipped up in the air and he (Kenny Britt) caught the ball. We are there; we just have to make the plays. That has kind of been the story since I have been here on how it is going. We are there to make the plays; we have just got to make it.”

(on the Kenny Britt tip and other bad breaks) “It is frustrating, but at the same time, you have got a feeling that the tables are going to turn soon so you can make more plays. I still have confidence in this team here and the guys that I go to work with. Each and every day, the guys bust their butt and work hard. It is not like the guys aren’t working hard. They are definitely working hard. Our coaches are doing a heck of a job preparing us. We are in position to make the plays; we just have to make the plays.”

Houston Texans LB Kevin Bentley
(on the slow start) “Good teams come out and play well from start to finish. Obviously, we are not doing that and that is why we are 5-9. You can’t get yourself in a hole, not in this league and especially against the explosive players like they have.”

(on questioning the effort) “In the beginning I didn’t, but as the first couple of series went on, you began to question it a little bit. Where was our energy and effort? Given what took place last time we played them, you knew they were going to come out revved up in their place. You knew they were going to give us their best. They had a little something extra. They were a little pissed off, frustrated from what happened last time we played them.”

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster
(on his health) “I was a little banged up coming into the game. I had a little muscle spasm on the glut, but I was healthy enough to play.”

(on the limited production) “They played the run very well. We didn’t run it a lot, but they played the run very well. We just didn’t get a lot of opportunities out of the backfield.”

Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on how he feels) “It was a physical game. It always is against these guys. They bring a variety of pressures and things, so you have to be ready to get the ball out and know that you are going to take some hits.”

(on if he is disappointed and the season) “I am extremely disappointed about how the season went. We had high hopes, and expectations were high. We still have expectation for this team and organization. We just need to find a way to play better football for 60 minutes for 16 weeks.”

Houston Texans DE Antonio Smith
(on his penalty) “I guess what you would say transpired is the guy tried to cut me after the play, probably like 15 yards from the ball. I jumped over it. He almost caught my knee. I went back to him and we collided and traded words. That was just it. Then Cush () came and tried to discipline me and it just got out of hand.”

(on his helmet coming off) “What happened is he came to me and I can’t remember what he said, but he grabbed me and head-butted me. It was in the heat of the moment type thing. I grabbed his facemask to pull him close to me so we can get eye to eye to say what I had to say, and as we are doing that teammates come in between and the helmet comes off and it looks like a big ordeal.”

(on if it is a big deal) “It is not a big deal to the point where something is wrong between me and (Brian) Cushing or anything like that. To me, it is a big deal to the mindset that we got to have, a mindset that obviously it looked like they came out here with. With the intention of playing a rough and tough game. That is what football is all about. They had each other’s back and they played like it today. To me, it just really felt like it is lacking.”

(on playing as a team) “I just know it is a beautiful thing when a team is together and not playing for stats, or for themselves or anything other than you playing for your brother. I have seen it happen. I have seen defenses do it.”

Houston Texans WR Kevin Walter
(on the early deficit) “We’ve been saying that all along, we want to start fast. We need to do a better job of it. If you dig yourself a 21-point hole and expect to get out of it, that is tough to do in this league.”

(on feeling like they can come back) “You always got to feel like you’re in the game. It is one of those things, we know if we can execute our game plan and do the things we’re supposed to do, we can go out there and score points and move the ball against anybody. It is a matter of starting and we didn’t do that today.  We didn’t do that as a team today and that is what hurt us.”

(on the Coach Kubiak saying they looked slow today) “When you are not executing, you can say a lot of things. I can probably say that is one of the things. They played faster than we did in the first half. They played at a different speed, it seemed like. You can’t really put a finger on it yet until you watch the film and see everything that happened. For right after the game, it is disappointing, and I think digging yourself a 21-point hole, you can’t do that.”

(on the running game struggling) “You’re not going to run the ball as much as you’d like to, especially when you are down by 21. You are going to have to get out there and throw the ball. We would like to have a lead, and that is when you can really be effective running the ball. We just have to do a better job. This is very frustrating with last Monday and now today. We have to come back and correct these mistakes and win these next two.”

Houston Texans T Eric Winston
(on the slow start) “We fought hard and kept playing, but you can’t keep digging yourself holes and expect that you are going to get out of it every week.”

(on how to fix it) “Maybe we need to come out and scrimmage before the game. It doesn’t make any sense. We have been doing the same thing for five years now. And I can remember us being too much of a slow starting team in the past. I don’t know what it is. It is a plague on everybody, and collectively we all have to fix it.”

Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher
(opening statements) “There were a lot of subtle storylines about this week. One, of course, for our guys and side was to come out and play well in front of our fans. And I know it was really important to the players and we really appreciate the great support that we had today from our fans. You know, our emphasis this week was clearly to rest, take advantage of the weekend off, but try to take up where we left off the second half Thursday night against the Colts. I think we did that offensively, at least, to get off to that early lead took a lot of pressure off our defense. It took pressure off the defense from the standpoint we anticipated them trying to throw to catch up, make them one dimensional.  When they are a balanced offense they are so very dangerous, they’re so talented. So the fourth down stops, the fourth down conversions, the points, you know the lead at halftime was just enough for what we needed. So, I was proud of the guys, (they) bounced back, played hard. We had a lot of guys make plays for us today.”

(on thinking of early fourth down conversion attempts) “It was field position and I really liked the plan. Kerry (Collins) felt good about what we were doing. Mike (Heimerdinger) felt good about it. I gave warning in advance on third down, I said you got two shots. You know, we just took advantage of it.”

(on if he felt relief to get back into win column) “Well, it is. I mean it’s great. The guys, (there was) a lot of external pressure, a lot of distractions. But, they just focused on the game plan. We had a great week of practice and I think we benefited from the week off and they had difficulty with the short week. It’s hard to play Monday night and then travel.”

(on the offense playing well) “Getting Kenny (Britt) back keeps drives alive. He had some key third down catches, some field position changes. Cookie (Jared Cook) made some big catches for us. And overall, that’s a talented team, a talented front, even without Mario (Williams). You know, we just hung in and found some creases and C.J. (Chris Johnson) got some yards.”

(on defensive performance) “They played pretty well. We are built to defense 53 passes as opposed to 53 rushes. So, we were able to rush the passer. I was disappointed in the defensive offsides, especially to take points off the board. But, they rose up and got the ball back.”

(on situation with Bo Scaife being inactive) “We talked about playing Cookie a little bit more. Craig (Stevens) is coming back off the injury. We absolutely had to come into this game with eight defensive linemen because of the injuries and that was the logical place to go. I don’t expect him to be happy with it at all. That’s kind of hard, the same thing with Vinny (Vincent Fuller). But, it just the way the roster has gone. We needed to keep the D-linemen up, we needed to keep the receivers up and keep the receivers in the rotation and get everybody playing. It will be week-to-week, we’ll see how we heal up this week.”

(on the defense versus Arian Foster) “I mean, you can see how talented he is out there when he gets the ball in his hands and we couldn’t get him on the ground. His swing passes, yes, he was productive in the pass game but you know, 11 carries and it’s hard to get started.  CJ (Chris Johnson) had seven against him last time we played them and people were saying ‘What’s wrong with your running back?’ Nothing. There’s nothing wrong with our running back. That’s just the way the game goes.” 

(on how he assessed Finnegan’s performance today) “I thought he did good. I mean, he lost it when he slipped. There was a little bit of contact on the touchdown pass but he battled, you know.  He was very clear about the professional approach he was going to take to this game and I think he handled it well.”

(on the defensive line having a similar rotation) “Yeah, it was just to try to keep the guys that have been here for a while as fresh as we possibly could in spot with the younger guys so Hall (Davis) got to play.  I think Shep (Malcolm Sheppard) got to play.  Wash (Jim Washburn) worked hard with them to get them ready to play this week.” 

(on finally discussing what went right on game day instead of what went wrong) “Well I mean, there’s still, believe me, I’m going to talk to them about some of the things that went wrong today.  But, you know, it’s good.  It’s a great feeling.  They worked hard through some disappointing and difficult times and it’s nice to go and finish up here at home with a win.”

(on the defensive offsides calls and discipline) “It’s the linemen.  It was the linemen. Yeah, they need to back up a little bit.  The center’s got a lot of movement, you know, with the silent count and we’ll look at it.  Kerry (Collins) did a nice job with our snap count too early in the first half.”

(on Vince Young on the sidelines during today’s game) “Yeah, I didn’t even know he was there.  It’s the first I’ve heard of it.  Glad he was with his teammates.” 

(on Young coming at halftime and leaving in the fourth quarter and that being unusual for an IR player) “You know, they’re pretty much on their own.  Most injured reserve players, not all of them but most of them, are here.  They come before the game starts, they stay until it’s over with.  I didn’t even know he was here.”

(on three wide receivers on the right and Britt on the left and its effectiveness) “Yeah, it did.  I think if we look at the tape, we probably could have used some balls on those plays because we had some people open but Kerry (Collins) made some good decisions.  We created some one-on-one opportunities and in one-on-one opportunities, usually Kenny’s (Britt) going to win.” 

Tennessee Titans DE Jason Babin
(on remote playoff possibility for Titans) “All we’re trying to do is take ‘em one game at a time.  Next week and right now, all we’ve got on our mind is Kansas City.  One game at a time.”

(on difference this week, compared to the game three weeks ago in Houston) “Last time, we had some injuries.  Everyone’s been really healthy going into this week and everything has really been clicking on both sides of the ball.  It was kind of one of those things where we knew we had a good chance of doing something special today.” 

Tennessee Titans QB Kerry Collins
(on being aggressive on offense going for it on fourth downs) “Yeah, it was great. We were down there and we had opportunities to keep drives alive and capitalize on drives with the two fourth downs. I love the aggressive play call. I thought the fourth-and-seven that I hit Damian [Williams] on I thought was just the perfect call at that time. Hats off to Damian for making a great call.”      

(on things going their way after the tip ball caught by Kenny Britt) “It was a break that went our way. Obviously, ball should have been batted down at best for us, should have been picked. Sometimes you’ve got to get lucky and we’ve been kind of unlikely here the last few weeks. Just a play that bounced our way and we were able to capitalize on it.” 

(on the touchdown pass to Justin Gage) “It was a great catch by Gage. I just tried to give him a chance and he did a great job with not only separating but going up and making a play, getting his feet in bounds obviously on a critical play. A lot of guys stepped up today. Gage was one. Nate [Washington], Kenny Britt had a big day. Jared Cook. Guys came out and made a lot of big plays.”

(on being able to talk about what went right instead of what went wrong) “Yeah, it’s been frustrating the past six weeks. Proud of our guys because easily, we could of laid it down and shut it down. Our guys stood up today and came out playing like we were leading the division. I’m proud of our guys. We’ve been through a lot but the guys are playing obviously, playing hard and playing well.”

(on watching other teams while they are still in the playoff hunt) “We’re aware of those things. We understand what our situation is, who needs to do what. Is it a long shot? Yeah, it is but that’s not going to change our MO. Want to come out, keep playing, crazier things have happened but we’ve got to take care of our business and we did that today.”

(on offense getting better after the scoring drought) “I think we’re executing a lot better. I think we’re playing faster. That was one of the things that stood out last week and stood out this week is that our tempo and our speed is better. Guys have always been playing hard. It hasn’t been a case of that. It’s funny sometimes you get out of sync a little bit and you keep playing, keep playing. All of a sudden, you’re in rhythm and things are happening. You’re capitalizing, you’re scoring touchdowns and it’s unfortunate that we went through the drought that we went through but it seems like we’re out of it.”

(on C Fernando Velasco’s play today) “I thought he did a great job. Fernando is a good player and we had a lot on the offense. We made a lot of checks at the line of scrimmage. A lot of the things that they [Texans] do, blitz wise, were critical for him to make the right calls and everything. I thought he did an outstanding job. I’m glad to see him play well with the opportunity he’s been given. He’s a guy that has helped us out a couple of times this year.”

(on TE Bo Scaife being inactive for the game) “It was different for us. We’re use to having Bo out there. Jeff [Fisher] made that decision and went along with it. I thought Jared Cook played very well. Craig Stevens has been solid for us all year long. Bo will come back from it and in the meantime, guys are going to have to step up and I feel like they are.”  

(on seeing Vince Young on the sidelines) “I did. I saw him Friday in the locker room and saw him again today on the sideline. That’s great, I think we all want him to be a part of it. Things happen sometimes. You just move on from them. He’s been a big part of what’s been going on around here the last five years and it was good to see him back out there.” 

Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson
(on offensive turnaround the last couple weeks) “I think basically third-down conversions, staying on the field.  Anytime we stay on the field and are able to consistently run the ball, and every time the receivers step up like they did and make plays and execute on third-downs and make the catches, that’s more plays we get to run and that’s more times we get to run the ball. Any time you’re winning…it was kind of flip-flop last game – last game we were down 10-0, we got to throw the ball to try and get back in the game. This game we (were) up so we continued to run the ball.”   

(on feelings after win) “It feels real good. It was kind of like we didn’t know what it meant to really win no more, losing six straight and then really coming in here and getting a win. But we knew coming out of halftime what kind of team Houston is, they are a second half team and they put up a lot of points. So we just had to keep our feet on the gas.”

(on staying in playoff chase) “Yeah, that’s a good feeling, but I feel like this team, we can’t go in here and keep thinking about the playoffs. We just got to think about one game at a time and handle our own situation and try to win-out.  If we win-out and we so happen to get in the playoffs then that’s a good thing. But I feel like at 6-8 right now, we really can’t be around here talking about playoffs.”

(on seeing Vince Young on the sidelines) “It feels good to see Vince back out there, having fun, talking to the guys, just keeping us up. No matter if he’s on IR (injured reserve) right now; he’s really not here right now, but he’s still our leader.”

(on not seeing TE Bo Scaife in the lineup) “It’s kind of unusual. I guess Coach (Fisher) wanted to put some younger guys and things in there and I’m not really sure with that situation but it’s football.”

Tennessee Titans CB Cortland Finnegan
(on Titans defensive effort today, versus three weeks ago) “I think we were playing with a lead.  You know, when your offense is putting points on the board, and making them one-dimensional, it helps us out on defense.  That’s give-and-take all throughout the year. When we get our offense off the field and come out and make plays, it’s a good thing.  So it’s one of those things. It was a good team effort today.” 

“It was personal.  It was real personal.  All week, guys rallied up and we realized that we could beat that team if we just execute.  We did that.  The defensive line rocked and rolled.  Our guys in the secondary made plays when we needed to.  You know you really can’t stop them (Houston) because they are such a good football team.  But we were able to contain them this time and win the football game.”

Tennessee Titans WR Justin Gage
(on the Titans victory) “That was a win we’ve been yearning for a few weeks now and we finally got it.  And against a good team  in Houston.    We played hard for four quarters and it showed … Just knowing our backs were against the wall and anytime our  season could be over, we just come out fighting.  With our backs against the wall, we put our faith in each other, and circle up and go out there and play.”

(on recovering onside kickoff in second half) “We knew they were going to have to do something.  We were expecting an onside recovery and had our ‘hands team’ out there.  So the guy kicked the onside kick and our front line did a good job of picking people up and gave me a chance to get the ball.”

(on scoring a Titans touchdown on a fade route) “Kerry did a great job seeing press coverage.  He threw it up and let me go to the pylon.  He put the ball exactly where it needed to be and so it was a chance to make a play.”

(on the Titans offensive prowess) “We’ve been struggling the past weeks and we knew what we had to do.  We just had to come out and put four quarters together, and we did that today.”

Tennessee Titans OT Michael Roos
(on being in winning Titans locker room this week) “It’s been awhile, and I think most guys had forgotten what it feels like.  It definitely puts a smile on your face to be able to end the skid and get a win under our belt.”   

“We just embarrassed ourselves the last time we played these guys, and to have this game our last home game, we definitely wanted to come out and put on a good show.   I think it’s a combination of coming out here focused, keeping things simple and executing our game plan.  And things were going our way.” 

Tennessee Titans WR Nate Washington 
(on the Titans victory) “This win was definitely needed for our home-field fans.  We haven’t played great at home so we wanted to end the season on a good note at home, so that’s we did. Came out and fought hard.”

(on Titans scoring drive to start the game) “It was very big to come out and put points on the board for us on our first drive.  We started a little of that at the beginning of the season, but it kind of fell off.   But we got it back here to end the season, so we’re going to keep plugging away.  We want to finish the season strong.  We’re not a team that is going to give up, and we’re not a team that’s just going to lay to the side.  We’re going to get up no matter how many times we get knocked down.  We’ve been knocked down a lot, had a lot of distractions, and the six-game losing streak was big.  So we wanted to bounce back and that’s what we did today.”

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