Texans coach Gary Kubiak: Patriots ‘priming to make a run for a championship’
|11.27.13 at 12:26 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Gary Kubiak is impressed, but not all that surprised.
The Texans coach has been around the league for 30 years — as a backup quarterback with the Broncos, an assistant coach and coordinator in Denver, and now as a head coach with Houston. And he’s seen this from the Patriots before.
“I just see them playing better and better each week,” Kubiak said of New England, who will travel to Houston for a date with the Texans on Sunday. “They’ve obviously got some guys back and [are] getting back to full strength. What they did in the second half last week is, you know, just phenomenal. Their leadership with Bill [Belichick] and Tom [Brady] has been consistent for so many years.
“I see a team priming itself to make a run for a championship. They have a lot of great players and their coaches on that staff are absolutely tremendous and I see them getting in position to go make that run that they usually make. So, I am very impressed.”
To Kubiak’s point, the Patriots offense is only now starting to come together, as tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Shane Vereen and wide receiver Danny Amendola have been on the field at the same time for two games (Carolina and Denver). As a result, New England has averaged 34 points per game in its last four contests, three of them wins. Add their presence to the already impressive group of offensive options in Stevan Ridley and Julian Edelman — all led by Brady — and you have a lot to deal with if you’re the Texans.
“There are just so many things that they are good at,” Kubiak said. “I mean, they throw the ball as well as anybody in the game. They can line up and run it extremely well too. As they work through some guys being out, it was impressive to watch them work through that.
“One week to prepare for that group is very tough, because the coaches do such a great job of coaching and getting so many things done. I mean, like I said, you guys know how impressed I am with their organization and what they have been able to accomplish and continue to accomplish.”
Even on a normal week, it would be a challenge for Kubiak and the Texans coaching staff to prepare for the Patriots. But Houston is dealing with a delicate situation in that the head coach is starting to work his way back to full strength after suffering a stroke earlier this month. With defensive coordinator Wade Phillips stepping in and serving as an interim head coach, Kubiak said Wednesday that he’s “doing good,” and continues to try and work his way back to a “full schedule.”
“I’m not totally there yet, but I’m feeling better each and every week,” said Kubiak. “I’m trying to get myself back to where I was before and I feel like I’m heading that way. I’m so very lucky and I hope to be back in full force here pretty quick and doing all the things I normally do. I think I’m getting there.”
Here are a few more of the highlights from Kubiak’s conference call with the New England media on Wednesday:
Obviously J.J. Watt is a great physical talent, but beyond his physical skill set, what makes him such a special player?
“Well, he is just a worker, guys. He loves to play, he loves to work. You go down there on the player’s day off and [he’s] the one guy that you are going to see down there every week working out, going on the field. That’s just what he stands for. You know, we’re going through a tough time right now as a team, but everything he stands for and everything he does, nothing has changed. You can see how he’s played, so I mean he’s a guy that expects greatness out of himself week-in and week-out and puts in the work to get it.”
You drafted a guy from up around here [North Easton, Mass.] in Brennan Williams, but he is out for the year with an injury. How is his rehab going?
“He is doing good. He came in and I think he had a couple days in OTAs and all the sudden we had a knee swell up on us. He really missed all the offseason. We tried to get him going again in training camp and get him back to health, but then we had this other problem. So, it’s kind of been one thing after another, but he is working well. All indications are that when you get into the offseason and OTAs, he is a full-strength participant, but it has basically been a redshirt year for him. He’s got a lot of ability. We’ve got to find a way to keep him healthy and get him contributing.”
The last time the Patriots played in Houston, Wes Welker tore his ACL on the field, and I noticed a patch in the middle of the field. What is going on with the field there?
“I think it has been pretty good. I think to the general public and people ‘ you know our field is different than most fields that are in this league. It is pieced together like a puzzle. On a weekly basis I think we rotate two or three different fields that come from outside and come in. I know there is a college game here this Friday night, so there is a lot of football played out there, but I think it has been pretty good this year. I know they work extremely hard at it, but it’s a little bit different than what you see on a weekly basis.”
Chandler Jones was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month this morning. What do you see from him and how does he challenge you?
“He is extremely talented and long. He can rush the passer, we all know that, but the thing that impressed me is he is playing the run extremely well. They’ve had some new faces inside and those type of things, but continue to play extremely well. I mean, we are very impressed with him. They are tough to deal with from a protection standpoint with the many schemes and stuff, so we’ve got our work cut out for us.”