Q: They seem to be exceptional with play-action. What have you seen from their play-action game and how do you defend it?
BB: They’re a very well balanced team. They can run it; they play action with the running game. If you’re stopping the run, you’re light on the play-action. If you’re stopping the play-action, you’re probably light on the run. They do a good job of tying those plays together, complementing each other and making you defend all of it. Gary [Kubiak], pretty much going back to [Mike] Shanahan when Gary was at Denver with Shanahan, but they’ve always done a good job of attacking defenses and putting a lot of pressure on defenses. He’s doing a great job at Houston. We saw that when we played them a couple years ago and we still see it. Everybody gets involved – the receivers, tight ends, the backs – they use all their players with good balance and they have a lot of them.
Q: Is it almost identical, can you just interchange Rod Smith or Terrell Davis with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster? Or has it been tweaked a little bit?
BB: Yeah. Well, of course it’s specialized for their individual players but conceptually it’s the same offense – zone runs and bootlegs and play-actions and a lot of formation, a lot of motion, that type of thing. Yeah, very similar; the type and style of play they used in Denver, yes.
Q: A strength for them seems to be third down conversions on defense. What makes them so good on third down and is some of that a result of being good on first and second down?
BB: Yeah, I think there’s some of that. They’re a good defense on every down. Third down, they rush well and they cover well. [Kareem] Jackson and [Johnathan] Joseph outside have done a good job for them all year but they’ve had other guys come in there like [Brice] McCain got hurt but he’s done a good job for them; [Glover] Quin comes down and plays in their dime defense and he’s done a good job in coverage as well. Then of course they can rush. They’ve created a lot of long yardage situations, they’ve been ahead and so that’s helped their pass rush. They’re a good third down defense – one of the best in the last nine, 10 years statistically – to be under 30 percent is pretty impressive. They do everything well: they rush, they cover, they blitz, they mix it up but you have to really work to convert on third down against them.
Q: Do they do a lot of situational substitutions?
BB: No, they don’t have a lot of groupings on offense or defense. They pretty much keep the same – they interchange some people, they’ll use all three of their tight ends but there are usually two tight ends on the field. Defensively they’re pretty much 3-4 or they go to their dime package, goal line but they don’t have a million different groupings.
Q: Is there anything that characterizes what Wade Phillips defenses are all about? Is there anything that stands out from his defenses in San Diego and Dallas and Houston?
BB: Yeah, I think he’s pretty much kept the same system through all those. Their 3-4 is really more of a one-gap 3-4 than a two-gap 3-4. They shade those guys and they play a pretty high amount of man coverage, which he’s done in the past. It varies a little bit but they play quite a bit of man coverage and then they go to their sub defense which is a dime defense in this case, where they bring in [Quentin] Demps at safety and whoever the third corner is, they’ve had a couple injuries but whoever that third corner is and move [Glover] Quin down. It’s not a myriad of formations and different personnel groupings and all that. They basically have the same guys on the field for a high percentage of the time. This isn’t the most complicated team we’ve ever seen but what they do, they do well. They’re well balanced, they do enough things to keep you off balance to complement what they’re doing so they’re not just setting one track. They have a lot of multiples and variables but it’s contained within the system. They do it every week; you have to deal with it every week. They’re not going to let you off the hook, they’re going to give you the variables every week, you’re going to have to decide how you’re going to handle them and sooner or later you’re going to see them.
Q: Players always say they want to play against the best. Is that the case here? You guys have a very good record, the Texans have a very good record.
BB: We’re not really too worried about our record, we’re just worried about Houston. We know Houston is a good team. Whatever their record is, if it was 12-0, 11-1, 9-3, whatever, we know they’re a good team. It doesn’t really matter what happened against some other team they might have played, whether they won or lost. It’s how we match up against them this week and how we do against them. We play good players, good coaches, good teams every week. These guys, they’ve had a great season. I can see why their record is what it is. They have a good football team. But we’re not too worried about records – we’re worried about our preparation and our performance.
Q: Are you going to be bringing out the racquets to simulate the Texans knocking down passes?
BB: Yeah, maybe brooms, get it a little longer. They knock down a lot of balls. It’s not just knocked down balls, it’s tipped balls for interceptions and everything else. They’re a very disruptive front, [Antonio] Smith and [J.J.] Watt especially. They’re tough to handle.
Q: Can you talk about J.J. Watt and what makes him such a challenge?
BB: He does everything well. He’s long, he’s quick, he’s instinctive, he has a high motor, plays hard, good balance, hard to knock off his feet. He does it all. He makes plays from behind, makes plays at the point of attack. He’s a good pass rusher; he has a variety of moves. They use him on different stunts and games. He’s quick and fast enough to rush out of his lane and still get to the quarterback. He’s got good instincts to tip balls, get his hands up in the throwing lane, that type of thing. He’s long. He’s a hard guy to get a solid hit on because of his length and his quickness. He’s a good player.
Q: How have the Texans adjusted to the injuries they’ve had?
BB: Just brought other guys in there and put them in there, plugged them in there. They’ve played different guys on the offensive line; they’ve used three tight ends. [They’ve] got some depth at running back, got some depth at receiver. They used guys up on the defensive line with [Brooks] Reed, [Brian] Cushing [out]; same thing in the secondary. They still play well.
Q: How has Matt Schaub progressed? Where is he now and how has he been able to progress?
BB: I’m sure being in the same system has helped him. He’s done a good job. He can make all the throws – I think we know that – he can throw deep, short, inside, outside. He spreads the ball around to all the receivers, he throws to his backs, his tight ends, slot receiver, the perimeter receiver. He can make all the throws and he gets the ball to everybody. Good play-action quarterback, fakes well, does a good job with the ball handling and all that, he’s tough on that. He manages the game well – they’ve been in a lot of close games through the years. They’ve won a lot of them, I think that’s a credit to him of doing the right thing at the right time in the right situation to help his team win which is what it’s all about. A lot of strong points with Matt, he’s been very consistent and he’s playing well this year.
Q: Were you able to glean anything from their loss to the Packers in your film study?
BB: Sure. When they only lose one game, you look at that game. I would say it was a good night for the Packers; not a good night for the Texans. I don’t know if you can replicate that. There are definitely some things that came up in that game that I’m sure we’ll try to do; I’m sure any team would try to do. Whether they play themselves out or not, I don’t know. It was a good night for the Packers. The Texans have had a lot more good ones than bad ones, that’s for sure. They came back the next week and beat the Ravens by four touchdowns so it didn’t last long. I think we can see a number of examples this year where things maybe haven’t gone perfectly for the Texans, whether it be the Detroit game, the Jacksonville game, when they were behind but came back and won those games. Even the opening game against Miami where they didn’t run the ball well, everybody was on them about the running game and they came back and ran for 220 yards against Jacksonville the next week. When things don’t go right, they seem to get them straightened out in a hurry. Whatever happened against Green Bay, it definitely didn’t happen the next week against Baltimore. They’re 6-0 on the road so they’ve certainly been able to deal with that in a positive way. That’s why they’re 11-1.
Q: What can Donte’ Stallworth provide and is it possible he can help out on special teams?
BB: I don’t know, we’ll see how it goes this week. We’ll see what his role ends up being this week. We haven’t seen him for three months. We’ll put him out there in practice, go through some things, see how it looks and what we think is best for the team for this week.
Q: How does playing on Monday night change things for the coaching staff?
BB: I don’t think it affects your preparation. You have a little bit more time, you just have to figure out how you’re going to use it – what’s the best thing for the team for that particular week for that game. Otherwise, what we usually try to do is we take whenever the game is, whether it’s Monday, Thursday, Sunday or whatever it is and try to back it up so that the time before the game is as consistent as we can be a day before the game, two days before the game. Whether you have extra time or less time, it has to be condensed or it’s expanded, you just have to figure out how you’re going to maximize the use of that time, whatever it is – one day, two days, three days, four days, whatever it is. But the couple days before the game, we try to make it as consistent as we can so that the final preparations are in a step that the players know where they are two days before the game, a day and a half before the game, a day before the game, a few hours before the game and so forth so that that routine is consistent. We have an extra day here, we’ll take advantage of that today and starting tomorrow we’ll have the same time we have for a normal Sunday game.
Q: What will you do with
BB: I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes this week. He just came back this week. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know.
Q: Matt Light is going to be honored at halftime. What has he meant to the organization?
BB: Matt really, I think as we talked about when he retired, great player for this organization at a key position. Brought a lot to the team in terms of personality and leadership, toughness, dependability, consistency. He had a great career starting from his rookie year and all the way through. He dealt with some personal things off the field with the Crohn’s disease and all that. I think in spite of those challenges, he found a way to perform at a very high level and that’s a great credit to him to on the adjustments and the things that he did on that level. He was great off the field with the team and in the locker room in terms of leadership and all that but also in terms of his contributions to the community and what he’s done with his foundation and so forth. I loved coaching Matt Light and I’m glad we had him on our team; he contributed a lot. He certainly knew how to needle and irritate people, sometimes in a good way. That was something that every team needs a little bit of, a little bit of a lighter side, a personality and that was another one of his strengths.