JCF: What was the reaction in the locker room when you guys found out you’d have to face the Super Bowl champs without your best player? (Andre Johnson declared himself out for this Sunday’s game against Indianapolis, while he recovers from a knee sprain.)
BP: The team knows that everyone has to step up their game. Coach Kubiak is expecting the whole team to pick up the slack from Andre’s absence. There’s no one person who can do it alone, so coach is expecting the whole team to do it.
JCF: What is Andre’s mood like right now? Is he fairly optimistic that he’ll be able to return soon?
BP: Well, I haven’t talked to him personally, but from what I gather, it shouldn’t be a lengthy injury. Three weeks at the most, I think. But you never know. Everyone reacts differently when it comes to healing time.
JCF: Call me crazy, but I actually think Andre’s absence could benefit the club later on in the season. It’s no secret that you guys have been looking for someone to step up and claim the #2 wide receiver role. This seems like the perfect opportunity for someone to step forward, gain some confidence and make plays.
BP: It definitely gives those other guys like Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter an opportunity to catch more balls. Putting a positive spin on Andre being out, it’s good for them to be go-to guys. Also, Andre Davis is going to step up and be active this week and do what he can for the team as well.
JCF: And I guess it goes without saying that this puts even more emphasis on your running game and ability to control the clock against Indy, right?
BP: Absolutely. We’re expecting to use the ground game the same way we did last year when we beat them. It would be great if we could get Ahman Green and Ron Dayne to repeat that performance, or even add more yards, to our running game this week.
JCF: Speaking of the last time you faced the Colts, exactly how much does that victory mean to you guys heading into this Sunday’s showdown?
BP: I think it’s a big confidence boost. It was the first time we had ever beaten them and, even though it took place last year, it gives us confidence that, if we repeat our performance, we can defeat them again.
JCF: The Texans are 2-0 for the first time in franchise history and people around the country are starting to sit up and take notice of this team. How does it feel to be on the receiving end of some positive national coverage, for once?
BP: It definitely feels good to be respected around the country. But I really like that the local fans have come around and seen a change in this team and I think they’re going to expect more from us this year. And they should.
JCF: Earlier this week, I argued that the Texans win over Carolina was the biggest victory in franchise history. Where do you rank it?
BP: I would rank it number three. I wasn’t here for the Dallas game, but obviously it was a huge win with it being the first game in franchise history. And last year’s Indy game, you know, that was a nailbiter that came down to the final seconds. And with our field goal unit going out there and winning the game… that would be number one for me; kind of a tie with the Dallas win since I wasn’t here for that. So obviously the Carolina win would be in the third spot.
JCF: Nationally, the New England Patriots spy scandal is still getting stuffed down our throats. What’s your take on the crime and punishment?
BP: My view is that they broke the rules and they were punished for it. Now if it comes out later that they’d been doing it consistently, then there should be more punishment. But I really don’t think it [illegal spying] is that widespread around the league. If it were, I think more teams would be getting caught doing it. So I don’t think it’s as prevalent as people might speculate. But I think the punishment fit the crime and, unless something further becomes of it, it should be a dead issue.
JCF: Some players and media members are saying this taints everything the Pats stand for, as well as their three Super Bowl titles. Doesn’t that seem a bit excessive?
BP: I think they’re taking it way too far, since they have no evidence. Like I said, if anything else were to come out of those seasons in which they won the Super Bowl, then, yeah, I think there are some questions that need to be raised on the legitimacy of those wins. But until then, I don’t have a problem with them or have any doubts about what they did to win those championships.
JCF: Last week, FOX featured you in a story where you got to show off your long snapping skills. You even managed to swish a football from half-court at a local gym. So be honest, were you able to do everything on the first take?
BP: No, unfortunately it’s not an exact science snapping anything from pineapples to toilet paper. Most of that stuff was on the first or second take, but the basketball shot took a few more reps. I’d never tried it, I just thought of it and thought it would be relatively easy to snap the ball straight and get it to go in the hoop. But it was a little more difficult than that, so it took me about a dozen or so reps to finally get that to go.
JCF: What do you do on your days off? Any local hotspots or restaurants you frequent?
BP: I don’t really go out a lot as far as clubs are concerned, but when I do it’s usually something relaxed. I’ve been to Crōme a few times. Whiskey Creek. I’m more into restaurants and dining since I love to eat. I’m actually going to my favorite restaurant tonight which is Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse. And I’m a big sushi fan. Love that. My fiancée and I eat sushi at least once a week. My favorite place, just because it’s close to my house, is Japaniero down in Sugar Land.
JCF: What do you order?
BP: My fiancée likes the salmon sashimi and I like that as well, but I’m a big fatty tuna guy so I gotta have an order or two of the Toro. I also like spicy tuna, so I’ll have a couple spicy tuna rolls as well. So those are the usual staples when we go there.
JCF: Let me guess: You love wasabi, right?
BP: Oh yeah. Big wasabi guy. But you can’t overdo it. I like to taste the fish and the rolls and too much wasabi can kind of numb your taste buds.
JCF: Spoken like a true connoisseur. So what are some of your pet peeves?
BP: People who can’t drive.
JCF: Thank goodness you don’t run into any of those in Houston, right?
BP: (laughs) Unfortunately, yeah, I do. Also, I just hate ignorance. Just common ignorance; people who talk out of their ass, saying stuff that they have no real clue about or knowledge of the situation. But, of course, they act like they do or pretend that they know all about it.
JCF: For example?
BP: Well, with my position, I don’t know if I make it look so simple or if the TV makes it appear easy, but sometimes people come up to me and say “That’s all you do is long snap? It looks pretty easy.” And I’m like “Sure, you wanna try it? Here, let me line up right over you while you snap the ball fifteen yards with pinpoint accuracy while I drive you into the ground before you bring your head up. See how easy it is.”
JCF: So then they walk away enlightened, having seen the error of their ways, right?
BP: No, they’re probably just as clueless as before. I mean, I guess it is a good thing that we make it look so easy.
JCF: Well, something that’s not looking so good right now is your Super Bowl forecast which calls for a San Diego – New Orleans showdown. Both teams got hammered last weekend and the Saints look especially awful. Care to reprise your prediction?
BP: I’ll stick with San Diego, even though New England did smash them Sunday night. But I think I’ll change my NFC pick and go with the Redskins.
JCF: Really?!?! You obviously liked the way they looked Monday night.
BP: Yeah, they looked real good. They have real good running backs and a solid defense and they’ve been able to plug-in guys, thus far, for some of their injured starters. So they look impressive to me now.
JCF: So I take it you’re not sold on the Cowboys, despite their 2-0 start?
BP: No, I’m not sold on Dallas at all. Not impressed with their defense. Not real excited about their offense. Their special teams are average.
JCF: Their long snapper probably sucks, doesn’t he?
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BP: (laughs) No, their long snapper is actually pretty good.
JCF: Alright, let’s wrap things up. The Colts are coming to town for what is shaping up to be the Texans’ biggest home game since the franchise opener against Dallas in 2002. Give us your prediction.
BP: Well, I don’t think I’m ever going to give you a losing score, but I’ll say Texans 28 - Colts 24. It’s gonna be wild. There’s a lot of buzz around this one. And it’d be real nice to walk out of there 3 and 0.
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