Questioning the Enemy: Texans Focused on QB Protection


With the Ravens traveling to Houston this week, Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak and running back Arian Foster sat in on a conference call with Baltimore media.

Topics discussed were Kubiak's offensive game plan, the continued excellence of injured wideout Andre Johnson (ankle) and how Foster, the NFL's leading rusher, is getting the job done.

Here are some highlights:

Head Coach Gary Kubiak

  • Are you looking to attack the Baltimore secondary?

GK: "They've had a couple of games here where they gave up some yards throwing the ball in some pressure situations. With this team, it always starts with protecting your quarterback. You better find a way to keep him upright. You better find a way to keep your offense on schedule. Like I said, I don't think any of us know what it's going to take week to week, or what the attack is ultimately going to be until we get out there and play and see what's going on. But, we better start with protecting our quarterback."

  • Could you envision the Ravens having a let-down after an emotional game against the Steelers?

GK: "No. The way this league is set up nowadays, it's nothing for you to play Sunday, play Thursday, turn around and play Saturday this late in the year. I don't think it matters. That football team is… Heck, they've been doing it for a long, long time, and they've adjusted and [have] always been very, very successful. We know we'll get their best shot. We know how big the game is to them, and obviously, it's huge for us. It'll be a hell of a football game."

  • What stood out to you in last weekend's Ravens-Steelers game?

GK: "Oh, you know what you're going to see. It doesn't matter what time of year they play, where they play, you're going to see a physical, slug-fest that usually comes down to a field goal here or there, or a turnover here or there. They're very physical football teams and that game was no different. [I'm] just very impressed with the football team you guys have and [they're] very consistent; what you all have been doing for a long time. [The Ravens] have been very consistent for the last 10 [or] 11 years. You know, what they're all about, how they play, and how they go about their business; so a very impressive football team."

  • How has Andre Johnson been able to perform despite being held out of practice with an ankle injury?

GK:"Yeah, it's been amazing. It happened Week 2 of our season, he missed a game and a half, probably played about a month [at] about 80-percent and has been battling through it all year long. [He] doesn't really practice for one day a week and has had to take some shots during the course of games to play, but just keeps giving up for his team. It's been pretty amazing to me, but that's him. Hell, Andre is a warrior, doing whatever he can do for his football team to win."

  • What are your impressions of Terrell Suggs?
    b"I think he's a Hall of Fame player. I think they're built right down the middle with three Hall of Fame players, from Ed [Reed] to Ray [Lewis] and then Terrell. It's just amazing when you look at those three guys and what they do and the problems they present for you as an offensive football team. I think he is playing at the highest level I've ever seen him play at, and damn, he's played at a high level for a long, long time. So, I've got a lot of respect for him. We've got a big, big challenge for us, but that's anybody who plays him. They've got that same challenge."

RB Arian Foster

  • What do you think when facing Ray Lewis?

AF: "I'm excited, man. I've been watching him since I was a kid, even in his days at Miami. He kind of embodies the spirit of what football is, and I've got a lot of respect for that man. I'm privileged that I get a chance to play [against him]. It's all love off the field, but I've got a responsibility to do. I've got to try to be as physical as I can with him. I'm excited."

  • Do you prefer to run the ball or catch the ball out of the backfield?

AF:"I like both, man. I think I'd prefer to run it. But, I think I really enjoy catching it, especially when they get me out wide on routes and they try to isolate me on linebackers. I think I could be very effective that way."

  • What do you attribute your success to this year?

AF: "I think it's just a lot of hard work, man, honestly. I don't know if anybody remembers last year, but last year we were one of the worst run offenses in the league. And as running backs we heard that all through the offseason, and how this offense would be way more potent than it is if it wasn't for the running game. And so, a lot of us took it personal, some of the linemen took it personal, so we worked real hard in the offseason and tried to correct those things."

  • Was receiving a facet of your game that you had to work on or did it come easily?

AF: "I don't want to say it came easy because everything you have to work for in this league. But when I was younger, my father was a receiver, so I always used to run routes and catch balls with him at a park or something like that. So, I've always had hands. That's always been a big asset of my game. And I've always been able to route-run, so I've taken pride in that."

  • Some Ravens defenders said you remind them of Ray Rice. Thoughts?

AF: "It's definitely a compliment. Ray Rice, I consider him one of the top backs in the NFL, easily. The fact that they even put me in the same category with him, it's humbling. And especially coming from the Baltimore defense – the fact that they look at me in that light – that's a good compliment."

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