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August 16, 2015

Houston Texans Transcripts (8/16): Head Coach Bill O’Brien

Houston Texans Transcripts
Sunday, August 16, 2015
(Transcribed by Charles Hampton, Katie Karsh, Omar Majzoub, Ellie Pardee and Ted Parrish)
Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Head Coach Bill O’Brien
(on how he would evaluate each of the three quarterbacks) “I thought all three of those guys operated the offense efficiently. I think as units—offensive, defensively and special teams-wise—we still have a lot of improving to do. When I looked at that position, I thought that those guys went out there and played consistently, reacted to different things that came up during the game that they hadn’t seen in training camp and reacted pretty well. They played with some poise. Did they make some mistakes? Yeah, each one of them made some mistakes. Those are things that are definitely correctable. Those guys are hardworking guys and they’ll be back in here tomorrow and they’ll start correcting those mistakes.”
(on his impressions of CB Kevin Johnson in his first game) “He was one of the rookies that went in there and did some decent things consistently. I think there is always things that he can improve upon, but I’ve always—right from the day he walked in here—I’ve been impressed with his maturity, his routine. He has a consistent daily approach and I think that’s going to help him and it helped him last night. Was it perfect? No, it wasn’t perfect, but there were some times out there where he made some plays and that was good to see.”
(on if anything jumped out on film with the red zone offense on the second possession) “That wasn’t even red zone. That was from the 1-yard line. What jumped out was that we have to do a much better job down there, coaches and players. We have to go down there and execute. Give San Francisco a lot of credit. They played really well down there in that series of plays, but we really need to work on that this week.”
(on his thoughts on the performance of NT Louis Nix III) “The defensive line as a whole, they played hard. There are some technique things that we all need to work on there. All those guys will come back to work tomorrow and really work on their technique—their hands, their footwork, their keys, all those things. Louis falls into that category. He was out there and he played hard and there are a lot of things that he can improve upon, just like everybody else out there.”
(on the one thing that jumped out that the team did really well) “I wouldn’t say there was anything that jumped out that I would say we did really well. There wasn’t one thing.”
(on what one thing he saw the team didn’t do well other than the goal line offense) “When I watch the tape, I see really good effort. I see guys that are out there playing hard, playing with good effort. What I would like to see more of is attention to details. I think that comes from us as coaches communicating that better to the players and then the players going out there and really paying attention to whatever their landmarks are supposed to be on a certain play, whatever their alignments are supposed to be in a certain formation, whatever their form of communication is and different adjustments they have to make on defense. I just want us to really, really hone in on the details of the play and not be in a rush to go to the next stage of training camp. Let’s get this stuff corrected and really hone in on the details.”
(on T Duane Brown saying he was a little shocked that they went for the two-point conversion) “Yeah, I don’t know why Duane would be shocked by that. We’ve worked on two-point plays in practice just about every day over the last couple of weeks. Maybe he was kidding. We alerted them to not come running right off the field when we score because we may want to go for two. Those guys were prepared for that.”
(on going for it on fourth down several times throughout the game) “I think it’s the time of the year where you can do things like that, where you can, number one, get more plays for the guys that are out there on offense—get them that extra rep that maybe they need to get better. That’s one reason. Another thing is to see what the fourth down defense looks like, so you can go out there and get it on film and say, ‘They did this on fourth-and-2. They did this on fourth-and-1. We did this. Was that the right call?’ and really prepare yourself for whatever fourth down calls may come up during the season. I think it’s the time of the year where you can do things like that because at the end of the day, the game doesn’t count in the standings, but it’s good to work on things like that.”
(on NT Louis Nix III getting through the game and overcoming his injuries from last season) “That’s obviously a better question for him. He had a long rookie year. He had a knee issue, wrist issue, and it is good that he’s back out there. He’s a good kid. We know that these rookies, sometimes they go through tough times their rookie year because they’re injured through no fault of their own. So it’s good for him to be back out there. As far as him having a big grin on his face and all that, that’s good for him but I’m sure when he watches the tape, just like everybody else, he’s going to know that there’s a lot of things we need to improve upon.”
(on if he thinks special teams has improved from last season) “Sometimes. I think we really need to be better on special teams. I think our coverage units last night were decent. Our kickoff return was not very good as a unit. Our punt return showed flashes at times of being okay, but we have a long way to go on that department too. We really need to work hard and we do work hard on special teams. We spend a lot of time on special teams. We have high expectations for our special teams. We need to really improve upon there.”
(on if he is frustrated that the team couldn’t convert on the goal line even though they worked on two-point conversions so hard) “Yeah, the way that we attacked it- it’s two different conversations. I would say that our two-point philosophy when we went for two was a little bit different than what we ended up doing. That was more of a goal line situation where we didn’t execute properly and San Francisco executed better than us. But we had like, it’s kind of what I was saying before about attention to detail, we had little things that were wrong. We were too deep in the backfield. We were off a little bit on our snap count. Our landmarks up front weren’t exactly what they need to be. These guys will come back to work on Monday and we’ll start to fix that. We’ll work the goal line this week, no doubt about it.”
(on his expectations of OLB Jadeveon Clowney this week and getting his feet wet) “Yeah, I would say that’s kind of a good way to put it. You know, we’re going to get him back out there and he’ll be in the walkthroughs, he’ll be, you know obviously, we call it dynamic stretch, he’ll be in that period and then he’ll be in individual period and we’ll take it from there and we’ll talk to him every single day, add a little bit more every single day, try to ramp him up as we move through the week to see where he’s at by the end of the week and then evaluate it at the end of the week for the following week. So, you know, he’s come a long way, he’s worked really hard to get back to where he is right now and we’re all looking forward to seeing him back out there on the field because we know he can help us and, so, it will be a good day Monday for him to just put the gear on and get back out there.”
(on if what the coaching staff takes away from the first preseason game is something the media can’t see and won’t show up on the stats sheet) “That’s a good, I mean there’s no doubt about that. I mean I think there’s so many things, you know we just actually, there were 144 plays run in the game. Special teams, offense, defense and we just sat upstairs as a staff and we watched every single play and you know, fast forward, rewind, back and forth, back and forth to make sure as a staff that we understand what we’re trying to do in this particular game, what our players need to do better, what we can communicate to our players in order for them to play better, how we can teach it better. I think one of the things we need to do as a coaching staff is we need to continue to ask more questions. It’s not just about what we know. It’s about what they know when they’re out on the field and how aware they are of the different situations and things like that. So, yeah, there’s so many different combinations of players that play in a game like that, that it’s hard to make a determination right there on what type of team you are. The identity of our team is yet to be determined, but I know that we have a bunch of hardworking guys that are going to come back to work on Monday and really try to improve and correct the mistakes that they made.”
(on the importance of individual guys improving game-to-game) “Absolutely. We talked to them last night about this is a progress league, this is a league of improvement and so, if we can watch the tape tomorrow. They’re off today, so they’ll come in tomorrow. We’ll practice in the morning and then we’ll watch the tape in the afternoon. A little bit backwards, just because I want to get their legs moving in the morning, get going, but we’ll watch tape. We’ll do some corrections on the field, we’ll watch the tape after practice and what we’re looking for these guys to do is to just really have that routine of ‘Okay, here’s what I was corrected on. I’m going to go out now to the practice field or watch film on my own, or whenever I’m able to perform again, I’m going to try to be better at these things that they asked me to be better at.’ And I think, there’s different groups of players too. You have these rookies who are playing in their first NFL game, so a lot of those guys, it’s not even about being wide-eyed, it’s about a lot of adrenaline and how do they calm themselves down early in the game and not think too much and just go play versus the veteran player whose been through these things before just making sure that he’s up to speed with what we’re teaching him and what we need that player to do, so I think there’s a lot of good film watching that will be going on this week and then good practicing too.”
(on if they talk to the rookies when they get overwhelmed in their first few games or if they let them get through it themselves) “I mean we certainly talk to them about it, you know, you try to talk to them about how the game is faster in the pros than it is in college. You definitely guide them and tell them what to expect, but at the end of the day, there’s no substitute for experience, so those guys going through it. I was riding home and I was listening to (Benardrick) McKinney get interviewed and McKinney talked about, I heard him say that he was out there thinking too much and running around a little bit and McKinney is a good football player and he made some good plays in the game, but next game he’s going to go out there, Denver, hopefully be a little more calm in the beginning of the game and just play. Line up and play and I think that’s a good example of the rookies and what we’re trying to see with them as far as improvement to the next game.”
(on Alfred Blue letting the coaches know he can handle his new role) “Yeah, Alfred, we have always thought that Alfred was a good football player, a solid player, smart guy, good running back, good special teams guy, really good teammate. We have always thought highly of Alfred. Look, he made some nice runs. He had a couple of runs that were 14 yards, one was 30 yards with good vision, but there are also things that he needs to work on. He knows that. He knows there are things schematically, technique-wise that he can work on to get better and he is a very hardworking kid and that is exactly what he will do.”
(on any of the backup offensive line giving the coaches confidence in them) “Yeah, I think we have some guys that played on that second and third unit that are coming on. I will mention one name and he is going to work to improve every day. He is a hardworking guy, comes from a good football background, James Ferentz. I thought he went in there and played tough, played low, played with good technique. Hasn’t been an easy road for him and it is not going to be an easy road for him moving forward, but he knows. He is a very hardworking guy and I thought he went out there and, look, he had some things like him and his unit mates there on the goal line they all need to get better at, but there are other things that he did very well. So he is a guy that I know is going to really work to improve that is on that backup team.”
(on DT Christian Covington saying after the game that he was hyperventilating at the start and also what the coaches saw from him) “No, I didn’t see anybody hyperventilating on film, I missed that. But, Christian, same thing I was saying with (Benardrick) McKinney, Kevin Johnson, it is their first NFL game. You can only imagine how excited they are to play in a game. It is a preseason game, but look, they are going out there for the first time. It is like I said to a couple of those guys, I think I said to Kevin Johnson, ‘This isn’t Duke you are playing against. This is the San Francisco 49ers.’ So I am sure he was revved up and ready to go. I think it is about now they have been through this experience how do they handle it the next time. They understand the routine of the warmups and kind of how we ease into the pregame and then obviously kickoff. So I think having gone through it once they will be better at dealing with it the next time.”
(on how he thought DT Christian Covington adjusted to seeing an NFL offensive line for the first time) “I thought that Christian, just like I have been saying about everybody out there, there were some plays that they wish they could have back, but Christian plays hard. He has got a lot of technique that he needs to improve upon, but he plays hard, he is on his feet, he is not on the ground a lot, which is a good thing for a rookie defensive lineman. He has got some instincts in there and is a smart kid. I think just because of his work ethic he will improve.”
(on C James Ferentz being able to play guard if needed) “Yeah, he has, we’ve done that in practice with him. And yes, the versatility of those guys is important. (Jeff) Adams last night, Adams played left guard, then he moved out to right tackle. Derek Newton, when we took Duane (Brown) out, he moved over to left tackle. (Greg) Mancz, the kid that, the undrafted kid that we have in here, he played center and left guard. So yeah, the versatility is important, as much as those guys can do for our team up front, it helps.” 
(on if C James Ferentz growing up around the game is an advantage) “Yeah, I think it makes a big difference. I think that you’re around the game your whole life, you kind of have a sense for the game, how things work. His dad was an offensive line coach, his brother played offensive line. His brother’s a great friend of ours, that we worked together at New England with, played offensive line for Iowa then here came James, so he’s been around that offensive line position. He understands how it works, and he’s a hardworking guy and he knows it’s not going to be the easiest thing in the world to make this team. But he’s making a case for himself.” 
(on if Offensive Coordinator George Godsey will call plays from the sideline for the rest of the season or if that was just for the preseason game) “No, that’s the plan.” 
(on what the advantage is of having your offensive coordinator call plays from the sideline) “I have a strong belief that the guy that calls the plays and coaches the quarterbacks needs to look at that guy eyeball-to-eyeball in between series. So I think that’s a big part of it. Also, I believe that the play caller gets a much better feel for the game, the push on the line of scrimmage, the speed of the game, how things are working tempo-wise from the field. Other guys believe in whatever their belief is as far as being upstairs. That’s just something that I’ve always believed in and I think that’s important for the play caller and quarterback coach to be on the sideline.” 
(on if he has an update on G Xavier Su’a-Filo) “Really to be honest with you, not really. I don’t know, look he’s dealing with, it’s more of a soft tissue deal than anything. He’s working very hard to be back. I don’t think he’ll be back this week though. But he’s very, he’s working extremely hard to get back. He’s been in there for treatment twice a day, three times a day.” 
(on if Broncos QB Peyton Manning playing next week will be a good test for the Texans defense) “I think so, yeah. I think anytime you get a chance to face a guy that’s one of the best to ever play the game at that position, that’s good for your defense. That tests your defense. I think it’s good for everybody, gets you geared up to play these games. Denver’s got a good football team and if he plays, that’s good, whoever plays is good, but we know if he’s the guy under center, that’ll be a good test for our defense no doubt about it.”
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