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Wade Phillips press conference (8/23/07)

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Well, well. Coach was very talkative today, and was pretty specific, and dumped some bad news on us. Please add anything I missed in the comments. Wade was speaking much faster today than he usually does, and I got lost in some parts when the reporters would jump in, or Wade would just go too fast.

It’s good to go on the road, a different environment. This is a road game, you go through the whole gamut of playing on the road. It’s a late game too, I want to see how they react. The Houston home crowd will be big, I know because my family will be there, my family fills one section, Bob McNair can thank me, I had to pay for the tickets.

How many family members?

25 tickets I already paid for, I don’t know who else will show up.

Practices this week?
Attitude has been good, they’re running around good, focused, you try to motivate in practice. Team-wise, their enjoying practices. The attitude’s good, some is leadership, guys stepping up and hustle, hustle, hustle, it catches on. (Which players?) Lots of different guys. I ask them to hustle from drill to drill, they can take it easy at breaks, the other times they’re on the move. JJ sprinted to every drill today, it perked up practice. You can hear them saying "let’s go," some more vocal than others. Also executing well and not having penalties.

How much will the starters play?
Most of them into the second half, certain guys may not go as far. (Flo, Colombo into the second half?) Probably. (T.O.?) Maybe.

Starters or reserves on special teams?
Going with starters on offense and defense, give the other guys an opportunity. Still looking at everybody over the next two games.

Why not T.O. into the second half?
Just managing him. LaDainian hasn’t played a snap in preseason for two years, I thought he did all right last year. You give a certain amount of work for certain vets, if they know what to do, you don’t overplay him. Each guy is an individual case. Flo and Colombo haven’t played much lately, so I want to get them in the flow.

Worried about the timing with limited snaps between T.O. and Tony?
Timing is so much of it, and you can simulate the timing in practice. It helps if guys run full speed like we do. They can get the timing down.

Hatcher?
He will play, he’s practiced well. Get him in there because he’s a guy who will play quite a bit in the season and the guys playing a lot, I want to get them in the game, work on the rotations, see how it fits.

Same with Ratliff and Carpenter?
Yes. Guys who will be subbing in regular season games, we’ll use, we’ll see how it works.

You made some jokes about going back to Houston but...?
Those were jokes? (sarcastically, laughter)

But was it a special time with the Oilers and your Dad?
It was with the Oilers, they have a new team now, the Texans, and then you have Tennessee, but the Oilers are out there, separate. We were a part of that group, the Luv ya Blue, those years were amazing. Going back into the dome after losing the AFC championship, 50,000 waited 4-hours for us to arrive. We got beat 34-6, we knew the city and the team had a love affair then.

Any regrets about not kickin’ down the darn door, as it was?
We did knock it down against Pittsburgh, the last season, we beat them 6-0 in Houston (regular season) but lost to Oakland in the wild-card. In the playoffs we lost to Pitt twice who went on to win the Super Bowl, lost to Oakland once, they won the Super Bowl. We might have had the second best team for three years, then New Year’s Eve we’re fired.

Do you wish you had replay with the Renfro catch?

Replay doesn’t always help you, the Music City Miracle, replay sometimes doesn’t help. (laughter)

Gary Kubiak as a ball-boy for you guys back in the day?
He was in high school, he was over there at practice one day throwing it better than our 3rd and 4th string guys. We said who is that kid, they said "Oh that’s the kid from St. Pius High School." He actually did throw it well.

With your coaching history, do you empathize with the players when you have to cut them?
I just want them to know it’s not the end of the world, just because you’re not a pro football player. I knew I couldn’t play, some people agonize so much about it, and a lot who are cut have gone on to do well in pro football. It’s not the end of their lives; people have great lives outside of football, too.

Did you have an idea that it would be hard for late-round and free agent rookies to make the team back then?
I didn’t have a feel overall feel for the depth back then. But on most teams it’s always hard at the end to decide on a 6th or 7th-round player. You have to come in and beat someone out, that’s hard to do in any business. Even the higher draft choices have to work to beat someone out. It’s tough for a rookie.

When would you like to decide on a kicker?

When we have to, the last cut. There’s a possibility we keep two, we started out saying that, but we’ll do what’s best for team.

Do you remember when you were at Denver when Aaron Glenn came out of college?
I remember him coming out, that was a long time ago. (laughter) I knew about him before I came here because Brian Stewart had him at Houston. We talked about him in conversation, he told me great things about Aaron, how professional he was, how much it meant to him. Now being around him, it’s true.

Newman injury?
He will be held out of the next two games. It’s a strain in his foot, he needs another week or so, it’s worse than we thought. We’ll hold him out of practice, at least into next week. He tried to go a little bit, but we took him out, it’s best to keep him out. (So it’s not a bruise, what is it?) I don’t know exactly, something strained on the foot, it’s not a bruise. Not injury-threatening, but it’s best to stay off it. (Any danger he misses the Giants game?) No danger in my mind, at least that’s what they are telling me.

Would he be able to return punts in the Giants game?

I won’t tell them (the Giants). Obviously we’ll get other people ready. I don’t know, if he’s healthy he can. He hasn’t done it in preseason yet, but he could do it.

Will this affect the 53-man roster choices?
It gives guys a chance to play, see who we can count on if wee need to due to injury. We have some competition there, it’s really close at CB. We get to play those other guys, it works good that it’s in the preseason.

How would you rate the guys behind Newman and Henry?
Of course Aaron has experience, he’s ahead of the other guys. Throw a net on the rest of them, they’re all clumped together for the 4th and 5th corner spot. We’ll be looking at them on special teams and we will play them these last 2 games. Let them cut themselves.

What’s you overall feel of that group, is it good or bad?
I hope its good, when you can’t tell which guy is better, maybe none of them are. I like some things they’re doing, but not a great feeling about number 4 and 5. I hope one of them will step up. Aaron will start for Newman and we’ll play the others. We’ll play Joey Thomas and Nate Jones, Jacques Reeves will stay on the right side and come in on the dime. Butler will play more on special teams, next week we’ll look at him.

Who will play the slot inside on the nickel?
Well, Aaron can do anything, and Nate has played inside, those are the guys inside right now.

Will the new running back play?

Maybe special teams, don’t know much about him yet. With Battle out we thought with two games left we might need him. We’ll look at him in the second game.

Newman, Ellis, Glenn, Battle, Rector, are they the only guys out?

Hoyte will be out, Fasano probably won’t play. Free won’t play.

Hoyte?

He’s practiced some, he has a stinger, they want to be careful, keep him out another game.

Fasano?
Fasano has been practicing, he may or may not play, but I’d rather see Curtis and those other guys get a look. He should be ready for the next game.