Quotes from Jim Schwartz's Tuesday media session.
On what his ironman streak means to T Jeff Backus: "Any athlete takes pride in their performance, their abilities. Their availability is extremely important. To be able to not only have that long of games but of all those games since he's been in the League I think certainly means a lot. But every athlete also has what's in the best interest of the team ahead of themselves and Jeff is that kind of guy also."
On what that availability means to a coach: "Just having that consistency as a coach when you're game-planning. We were literally, before I came over here, we were talking about some of injury situations and what it look like-who's going to be able to be active and stuff like that. And for his whole career Jeff was taking that off the table also. The O-line coach, the offensive coordinator, head coach, the fans, nobody had to worry about whether he would be out there."
On if you have ruled him out or in for Thanksgiving: "No, nothing's been ruled yet."
On Delmas returning giving stability to the safety position: "Throughout the year they guys that have played safety have done a really good job of communicating. They've done a nice job of working within the scheme. We haven't always been at full-strength back there. We've had different players go in and things like that and be able to handle it. But there's nothing like having the leader or your defense, a guy who is literally the heart and soul of our defense, and a guy that's been experienced and played well in our defense. It'd be nothing like having a guy like that back."
On the challenge of facing a team that is so conscious of possession: "You have to make the most of your opportunities, particularly on offense. If they shorten the game, it gives you less opportunities and puts more of an emphasis on execution. They do control the ball because they run the ball."
"You can take teams out of ball control and running by being ahead in the game. So as much as our defense needs to stop (RB) Arian Foster and their offense and (WR) Andre Johnson and (QB Matt) Schaub and all those guys, our offense can help us out immensely by getting the lead or being able to play with a lead."
On Texans DE J.J. Watt: "Yeah, I mean, this year he's really been phenomenal. Already has 11.5 sacks. He fits their scheme very well. He's a hybrid guy. You know, we always talk about hybrid corner safeties and the multi-dimensional players. He truly is. He plays defensive end in the 3-4, he plays defensive tackle in their even front. They move him around a little bit. He was injured in training camp, still playing with that brace on his arm, but he's been able to be effective in a lot of different ways. He's had consistent sacks with 11.5 sacks, lot of quarterback hurries and also knocked down a lot of passes. So, I think all those have made him that, also with a lot of tackles for losses. They force a lot of third down and long situations. A lot of that is J.J. Watt."
On how hard it is for a defensive lineman to apply pressure and also drop back to defend a pass: "There's a lot of guys that knock down passes and generally they're big slugs that stay at the line of scrimmage and don't pass rush. That's generally the profile. They can't get a good pass rush, so they just stand there and knock the passes down. But, you know, he just does it on his to the quarterback. He's trying to rush the passer. He's got just a good vision with being able to get his hands up and knock those balls down."
On the recent struggles with field position: "Well, some of those, you know, some of that's just the luck of the ball and how the ball bounces and things like that. Other ones come from, you know, decisions where some of those that you can be real aggressive to try to catch and have to make a diving catch to try to save some of that hidden yardage and, you know, turn the ball over. We've seen that happen throughout the League. We didn't do a good job of punting-field position and those kinds of things. They just need to execute in making their decisions. You can't try to press the issue when it comes to. Either the ball bounces your way or it doesn't."
On why he thinks the team is 4-6: "We're not thinking about playoffs or anything else. We're thinking about the Houston Texans and that's plenty for us to think about right now. They're coming in with the best record in the NFL and a defense that plays good, an offense that plays good and good players on both sides of the ball. So that's enough of a challenge for us. I think that as a 4-6 team like that, we've been inconsistent. We've had very good stretches where we've played really well. But we've also had stretches where we've given up plays or haven't made plays and things like that and that's what leads to a record like that."
On if the defense has overachieved and the offense has underachieved: "Each week is different. I think that we didn't get the job done and whether, it's a little like I talked before about Houston, whether they won a close game like they did against Chicago, in a driving rainstorm 13-7 or whatever it was, or they go and win a shootout, they all count the same. So there are not style points when it comes to that. We've had games like the Tennessee game where we didn't play real well defensively and the offense was playing really well. We've had other games where the defense was keeping us in the game and the offense was turning it over. The times where we've won we've played good team football. We've been consistent in all those areas. We haven't really had that game where one side of the ball has completely carried us. We haven't had a 6-3 victory or a 50-48 victory or something like that. Where we are as a team, we have to play good, consistent team football and the times we've done that this year we've been able to get a win but it's a challenge for everybody in the NFL to do that."
On if with six losses the team has burned it's margin for error: "The only margin of error we're really concerned about that is the Houston Texans. So, coming into this game, honestly it doesn't matter if we have four wins or six wins or nine wins like they do. That doesn't change the dynamic of this game. That's the only margin of error we need to be concerned about with right now."