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January 05, 2016

Houston Texans Transcripts (1/5): Conference Calls with the Kansas City Chiefs

Houston Texans Transcripts

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

(Transcribed by Ryan Cantrell)


Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid Conference Call

Chiefs QB Alex Smith Conference Call




What are your thoughts on this matchup?

“I think both teams have probably changed a little bit since that first week. We respect the heck out of them. They are a good football team. They shut us out in the second half, we are aware of that and we have to prepare like crazy to play against the Texans, well-coached and good players.”


Both teams started off the season slow. Do you see any similarities in the two teams to turn things around?

“It looks like probably both locker rooms stayed strong. That is probably what it looks like. I would say that would be the central thing and everybody stuck together.”


What was the first thing you did to help make the turnaround for your team?

“We just kept doing what we kind of do and it all worked out okay. We didn’t change a lot of things.”


What are your thoughts on T Chris Clark?

“He is a good football player, that I do know. (Duane) Brown, well he is a Pro Bowler, so he is a really good football player, but Clark I think is very good too, so he’ll be fine.”


What do you think about QB Brian Hoyer and how he has developed?

“I think Hoyer is a good quarterback. I said that before we played them last time. I think he does a heck of a job of playing the game and leading and all of those things you need to do to be a good NFL quarterback. I really like his game.”


What are your thoughts on DE J.J. Watt?

“J.J. is a great football player, we all know that. He is tremendous and he is surrounded by a lot of good football players too. They are well-coached. They have gelled and they play fast so they are doing a nice job.”


What do you think they did in the second half of the Week 1 matchup to shut down your offense?

“They did a nice job of defending us in a lot of different areas. They are very good.”


What are your thoughts on OLB Whitney Mercilus?

“I think he is playing real good football, both in the run and the pass game. He has a nice combination in the pass game, uses his hands well, has good quickness and speed, plays with good leverage.”


How long have you known Head Coach Bill O’Brien and what are your impressions of the job he’s done this year?

“He has done a phenomenal coaching job. I really haven’t known him, I know about him because of (ESPN Broadcaster) Chris Berman, that Brown connection, you know all of those guys are tight. I know (Patriots Head Coach) Bill Belichick real well and Bill sure speaks highly of him.”


What are your thoughts on CB Marcus Peters and S Eric Berry?

“Marcus, he has done well for us at corner. He loves playing the game. Very competitive guy and he is surrounded by some good players, the Eric Berrys and those guys he looks up to and respects and he has been a very good fit for us.”




What are your thoughts on how both teams turned around their season after slow starts?

“I think you realize that this isn’t that uncommon. These are long seasons, teams that start hot, fizzle out and it is the team that can get in and is peaking at the right time that is playing their best football at this time of year. Once you are in, it doesn’t matter what your record was. All those wins back in September and October don’t mean anything at this point. It is really about what kind of football you are playing at this moment and winning games now, so I think that has kind of been the nature of the NFL playoffs the last 10 years. I think it’s been that, it’s about teams that can get hot and go on a run.”


What do you see from QB Brian Hoyer and his NFL journey?

“Everybody’s situation is different. Certainly, we played him the first game, so you see that and he battled through that and some adversity there early in the season, but the little bit you see here and there, he’s played good and he has his team in a good situation right now.”


Obviously there were no panic buttons pushed when you guys went on a five-game losing streak. Can you talk Head Coach Andy Reid’s personality and your relationship with him?

“Yeah, yeah it was exactly that. I think he is experienced enough that there was no panic. We were on a mission to get better every week and you get things corrected and continue to improve, but there was no panic. That is tough. It is rare and it starts with guys up at the top and Andy is setting that environment for everyone. The guys in the locker room, same thing, no one is getting defensive and pointing fingers and us just keeping the focus on football and not letting those outside distractions tear us apart.”


What did you do personally to change things that led to this 10-game run?

“I think the hole that we put ourselves in, it really kind of put us in a week-to-week, we had to live week-to-week, we were almost in playoff mode at that point. We knew we had dug ourselves into a hole and it was like, ‘Let’s just go 1-0 this week. Let’s just have a good day of preparation, a good week of preparation and try to get a win and not think about anything else.’ I think to start the season we had a lot of expectations and not to say we didn’t play good football at times, but it was inconsistent and the main thing is you don’t want to do that, but it did refocus us a bit.”


Does it make it easier going into the postseason since you have had your back against the wall all season?

“Yeah, it is just more the same. Obviously, the stakes get higher and the stage gets bigger, but it is still a football game and the preparation is still the same. You have got to go out there and block and tackle and do all of those fundamental things even though the lights might get bigger and the stadium is bigger, so having been in that situation the second half of the season, it is nice just to keep that same kind of mindset going forward.”


What have you seen from the growth of the Texans secondary?

“If you just look at them, obviously, a real good defensive end, but they have been playing really, really well this last back half of this season, playing fast, they are doing some different things up front, presenting different fronts and moving around a little bit. On the back end, an experienced group that plays really fast, they know what they are doing. They are smart. They recognize well and then upfront they are disruptive. They are getting home and getting a lot of hits on quarterbacks, causing turnovers and things like that, so it will definitely be a challenge for us.”


How challenging is it for a quarterback to prepare for all of the different looks that Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel prepares?

“Yes, it is not just all of the looks, it is the guy that is doing it. It is a combination of them both and they present a lot of different things and then they get pressure. They get pressure when they are not bringing guys. They can rush four and stay at home and play coverage and that is hard, so it is a big, big challenge for us. As a quarterback back there, they wear you down. You get the ball every play, so you have to be good with it, make your decisions, be accurate, and get rid of the football, things like that.”


The Texans defense held you scoreless in the second half in Week 1. What were they able to do to shut you guys down?

“There was more pressure, certainly more pressure in the second half of that game. Looking at it, they threw a couple different looks at us and we weren’t able to handle it in a couple of key situations. We weren’t able to take advantage of anything and we were a little stagnant for sure there in the second half. It definitely was that though, a little more aggressive in the second half with some of their defensive play-calling.”


Can you talk about the development of TE Travis Kelcie?

“I think he has grown. Tight ends are definitely involved a lot in every aspect of the offense, whether it be running game, pass game, protections. Those guys have to know it all and we ask a lot of them. It takes a little bit of time to handle it all mentally and Travis is doing a good job of working hard at that. I think as he has become more and more a bigger target, he’s done a good job of studying how people defend him and different looks and different matchups he has, whether it be linebackers, safeties, corners, and all of those things to be able to handle all of that.”


Does Head Coach Andy Reid give you more of a green light to run with the ball than anybody else before?

“I think a little bit. It’s probably a combination of things – just getting older and getting better at it and when you do run, being smart and not taking big hits and things like that. It is a matter of playing fast – trying to get back there and play fast is something that I have always wanted to take advantage of, but I think now when they do try, you still remain a passer. You are dropping back as a passer and when some of those do present themselves that you are better at converting into a runner and trying to make a play.”


What have you seen from OLB Whitney Mercilus?

“He is playing really good as of late. They get a lot of one-on-ones up there and those guys are winning. They are getting a good push. Like I said, they are disruptive, they are getting home and getting a lot of good hits on the quarterback and tackles in the back field and things like that. They wear you down. I think that is part of the reason they have had a bunch of turnovers and have been able to win a bunch of these ballgames because of that.”


Can you reflect on your struggles early in your career and how it has helped make you the quarterback that you are today?

“I think you realize that it is not easy for anybody and everybody’s road is different. It is just a matter of staying out there and keep getting back up and continuing to get better and not let some of that stuff get to you and get you down and just kind of keep it about football and you will continue to try to progress. You control what you can control and don’t worry about the rest and try to just keep improving every game and help your team win. The more you play, all of that stuff just continues to register and you continue to bank all of that and it really helps down the line.”

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