Questioning The Enemy: Texans Not Feeling Sorry For Themselves

Head Coach Gary Kubiak and running back Arian Foster talk about Houston’s injuries.

Posted by Billy Jones on Thursday, October 13th, 2011 at 10:57 am | Categories: Billy Jones, Questioning The Enemy

The Houston Texans come to Baltimore on Sunday having suffered injuries to key players in recent weeks.

In the last two weeks, Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring) and Pro Bowl linebacker Mario Williams (pectoral) have left with injuries and are expected to be unavailable for the showdown with the Ravens.

The Baltimore media had the chance to ask Head Coach Gary Kubiak and running back Arian Foster about dealing with the injuries this week, their relationship with former Texans fullback Vonta Leach, as well as more topics. Here are the highlights:

Head Coach Gary Kubiak

Has it been hard to overcome all the injuries, especially the latest one being OLB Mario Williams?
“Well, they’re blows. It’s one thing to overcome injuries – that’s part of this business – but you’re talking about two leaders on the football team with Andre [Johnson] and Mario. So, that’s kind of a blow to the guys from a mental standpoint. But, you’ve got to get over it, you’ve got to move on, got to have guys step up – it’s a long season in this league – and you’ve just got to stay positive and keep everybody working for the long haul. And we’ve got some adjustments we’ve got to make, so we will do that, but we’re going to have to have some young guys step up and play very big the rest of the way for us.”

What is the condition of WR Andre Johnson?
“He’s day-to-day, guys. He’s coming off that procedure that he had. He’s doing very well – could possibly start some running this week. I don’t know, we’ll see. But, it’s still going to take a little bit of time, and we list him day-to-day until he starts to recover from this thing. But, we’re expecting him back pretty quickly.”

What can you take away from the game versus the Ravens last season?
“We just got so down in the game. You guys got after us pretty darn good. We got down, and we had to change our mode, what we were doing, and try to get ourselves back in the ballgame. So, it was kind of a tale of two halves, so to speak. It was a great football game, but heck, you guys made the play at the end. So, we’ve got to give you guys credit. You all did a hell of a job that evening.”

Is facing the Ravens’ run defense one of the NFL’s ultimate challenges?
“There is no doubt. Hell, they are the ultimate challenge across the board as a football team. I think they are playing as good as anybody I have seen on film in a while in this league. They are playing with a lot of confidence, and they have had a great defense for many, many years. Offensively, I think Joe [Flacco] is becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the League. They are running the ball extremely well, and they always play special teams well, so [it's] a big, big challenge for us as a team.”

What’s your favorite memory of Ravens FB Vonta Leach from when he was with the Texans?
“Yeah, ask him if he brought his Santa Claus suit with him. Every year around Christmas, he would come out to the walk-through with a Santa Claus suit on that kind of brought a smile to everybody’s face. Vonta is a joy to be around. Like I said, he is one of those guys that loves to play. He has a great, positive influence on all his teammates. He is a great family man. I miss him. He is a hell of a football player and a good man.”

RB Arian Foster

How much are the injuries that the Texans have gathered going to matter on Sunday?
“Yeah, it matters, but the thing about the NFL is that injuries are going to happen and they are part of the game. That’s how the Raiders team scored on us, because you have to have guys step up and contribute when guys go down.”

Does the team feel “snake bitten” by all the injuries this year?
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself in this league. Everybody has injuries, and it’s all about who rebounds. Adversity comes, and it’s all about how you deal with it. Adversity is going to come.”

Will it be weird seeing former Texans and current Ravens FB Vonta Leach in a Ravens uniform?
“Yeah, it’s going to be a little weird. He was one of the guys that took me under his wing when I first got here, but like I said, the NFL is a crazy business, and that’s part of it. Guys move on throughout their careers, and they go to better situations for them and their family, and I am happy for him.”

What is your relationship with Ravens LB Ray Lewis like?
“We exchanged information after the game [last season] and we kept in touch throughout the season, and I met up with him at the Pro Bowl. He is just a genuine guy. He has become kind of my mentor. I look at him like a big brother. He shows a lot of love, a lot of respect for how I play the game, and it’s mutual. To have a future first-ballot Hall of Famer [reach out to you], it’s just an honor. Anytime you have that, you try to keep that up and try to play the game the way it is supposed to be played.”

How important is the team’s play-action pass to the offense?
“This offense, [head coach] Gary Kubiak’s offense, has been a staple here for years. I think it is very imperative in order for it to blossom, the way it needs to blossom, because the play-action pass, everything is predicated off us being a good running team, and if we’re having a good run, it’s hard to stop us because we have a lot of threats as tight ends, receivers and [running] backs out of the backfield. Play-action is imperative.”

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