Head Coach Bill O'Brien
WR DeAndre Hopkins
QB Brock Osweiler
DE J.J. Watt
HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
What do you think about QB Brock Osweiler’s decision to attend OTAs over the White House visit with the Denver Broncos?
“It’s obviously a decision that he made. It’s a voluntary camp, so those decisions are up to the players. I didn’t really have a thought one way or the other. I just know that the approach that we take during this period of time when it’s voluntary is we are ready to coach the guys that are here, do you know what I mean? We don’t try to lose any sleep over somebody that won’t be here because it’s voluntary. That’s the way we approach it with any player.”
What did you see out of DE J.J. Watt today in his first practice back? It looked like he was back to his old ways.
“We’re in no pads in the middle of – yeah, I’m not sure he’s back to his old ways when we’re not in full pads yet. It was good to have him back out there, just like everybody else. Everybody is working hard. It was good. It was a good, competitive spirited day.”
How important was it to keep Linebackers Coach Mike Vrabel this offseason?
“We have a strong staff. Other people probably look at our staff and they look at these coaches and sometimes they want them on their staff. But we do the best we can to keep our staff together. I think continuity with the staff is important. I know that we did make some changes this year. But overall, the staff has been a continuous staff. He’s been here, (Secondary Coach) John Butler, RAC (Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel), those guys all working together, (Assistant Secondary Coach) Anthony Midget. I think we have a strong staff. We enjoy working with each other and it’s a good staff.”
How are you seeing the relationship between QB Brock Osweiler and WR DeAndre Hopkins progress?
“Good. It is early. It’s tough. You just don’t have a lot of time with these guys. It’s the same rule for 31 other teams, but they’re going to – and they’ve already done this – they have to work on their own, not just Hop and Brock, but the other receivers, the other tight ends, running backs, they all have to figure out a way to do things on their own, especially during that break after next week when we’re done and we have like five weeks before training camp. That’s a big period of time. But I’ve seen a lot of progress. These guys are working extremely hard. I’ve definitely seen progress.”
Have you seen the benefits from QB Brock Osweiler and WR DeAndre Hopkins working together outside of practices?
“Yeah, I definitely did because I think that we were ahead communication-wise. Because I think when those receivers went out there, they talked to Brock about route names, signals and all kinds of different things. I think we were ahead, so it was really good that they did that.”
Can you talk about QB Tom Savage and his improvement since last year?
“He’s way ahead of where he was. He’s got really good command out there. His process is a lot quicker. Sometimes it takes a while. Also, a guy like that, he needs an opportunity. Whenever that opportunity comes again for him, he’s got to be ready for it. But I would say he’s made a lot of strides during the offseason and in the two years that he’s been here. Heading into his third season, I think he’s made a lot of strides.”
How much more comfortable is the offensive line group with Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin going into his second year and how much is his work cut out for him?
“Look, every year is a little bit different. It’s great to have Mike Devlin back. He’s a really, really good offensive line coach, one of the best I’ve been around. That’s saying a lot because I’ve been around some great line coaches. He’s a really good teacher. As far as the work cut out, we all have work. We’ve got work to do on the overall roster, work at different positions, and work on different personnel groups on offense, so that’s just the nature of the business. Every year is a little bit different. We want to come up with a consistent lineup on the offensive line, but we are a ways away from that. We haven’t even started training camp. This time period is tough for linemen. That’s what I meant when I was talking about J.J. (Watt). Those guys are in no pads. This is more of a passing, receivers, DBs, tight ends, backs, linebackers passing camp. You don’t really make a lot of judgments on offensive and defensive line during this time of the year. That’s really training camp. We definitely have a lot of work to do there.”
Much was said about the limited access you had to QB Brock Osweiler before signing him. What can you tell fans now about your observations working with him?
“First of all, on the limited access, that’s just the rules. Those are the rules, so you have to find ways to research any free agent, whether it’s a quarterback or any other position. I think that’s been the way it’s been for a while now. We did our due diligence on Brock. Thus far, he’s been exactly what we’ve expected. He’s come in here, he works extremely hard. He’s a very, very bright guy. He’s a really good communicator with his teammates. He’s very hard on himself. He has a lot of great questions. Every day he comes in, he has a sheet filled with questions as to maybe something that he’s looking ahead at whether it’s red zone, two-minute, or something he knows is coming on the horizon. ‘How are we going to handle this? How are we going to handle that?’ He’s a fun guy to be around, fun guy to coach, very competitive on the field, so he’s been exactly what we expected to this point. We all know the nature of the deal. We all have to go out and coach well and play well when the season starts. That’s the key. That’s what we’re building towards right now.”
Talk about S Quintin Demps being back with the team and how he can build off last year?
“We were glad to get Quintin back. When we brought him in last year, he really made a big difference for us. He made a lot of plays back there. He’s a pro. He’s a really good communicator. He understands our defense very well. He’s one of the leaders back there and he helps us on special teams. So it was good to get him back and it’ll be good to get him back in there competing in training camp.”
WR DeANDRE HOPKINS
How has it been working with QB Brock Osweiler this spring?
“I feel like it’s going well. We put in a lot of time before we had to be here, which helped out a lot with all the receivers, not just myself. But it’s going well so far.”
What are some ways you’ve seen that extra time together help you and QB Brock Osweiler?
“It’s just the timing and him knowing how we run our routes. Him knowing our strengths and weaknesses from each player, not just the top receivers out there, but everybody out there who threw with us in Arizona. We do extra stuff, stay and watch a little extra film. Do things when we’re not supposed to be up here to help.”
How much does having WR Cecil Shorts back healthy help this offense?
“Cecil is a guy that’s going to go out there and give you his all. Even if he’s hurt, he’s going to go out there. You’ll have to tell him to go on the sideline and get checked out. He’s a hard worker. He definitely makes me go out there and work harder every day. He doesn’t complain about anything, even if he’s not getting the ball. He goes out there and he does his role to the best he can.”
Is this offense difficult for receivers to learn and what do you do to help the young receivers?
“This offense is not an offense that you can just come off the street and learn. You have to put in a lot of work. I have to give credit to the offensive staff and the staff in general for drafting guys that have high football IQs that can come in and learn this offense at such a fast paced. Just basically stay after it. Those guys know once they go out there the first weekend and make mistakes that it’s embarrassing. They don’t want that to happen again. They take self-ownership to put in extra time themselves.”
What have you observed in WR Jaelen Strong from last year to this year?
“Just his sense of urgency. He knows what it takes now to go out there and to be counted on and to be able to make a full practice, full speed. Just his sense of urgency and kind of knowing what to do now and what to do off the field also.”
What do you think about QB Brock Osweiler saying you can catch any ball that stays inbounds?
“I mean, I’m only human so I don’t want to hype – no, but put the ball in my facility, hopefully I’m going to come down with it. Nine times out of 10, I’ve done that. It’s on Brock to trust me to come down with the ball and him not having any worries and not thinking. Just giving me a chance.”
How much does the team emphasize safety off the field and not putting yourself in bad situations?
“Honestly, we don’t talk to each other because everybody on this team has good character. There’s not too many guys on this team that I know about that likes to party every night or that’s out there on the scene. We’re probably last in the league on off the field troubles, if I’m not mistaken. So that’s a credit to this organization on drafting guys like that.”
Why is it so important for you and QB Brock Osweiler to trust each other?
“That’s very important. A lot of Super Bowl teams and a lot of teams that had success, they’re main receiver and their quarterback have been best friends. Might not be off the field, but on the field you can tell. That’s very important for this team.”
What’s QB Brock Osweiler like in meetings?
“He’s a leader. He’s talkative. If he sees something that he knows he can help us out with, then he’ll speak out. He’s not the QB that’s going to hold his opinion. If he sees something he can do better or we can do better, he’s a true leader in the offensive room.”
Has WR Wendall Williams made an impression with his speed and ability to learn quickly?
“Yeah, he has. I’m not sure what the guy ran, a 4.1 or 4.2, but it definitely relays over to the football field.”
What kind of relationship do you and QB Brock Osweiler have?
“We text outside of here. We don’t go out to lunch and hold hands, but we’re good friends.”
If you were doing your own analysis of the fastest players, how would you list it?
“Top three because that’s 90-something guys right now. Wendall Williams is one. Number two, I would have to go with Robert Nelson. Then number three, Will Fuller V. Akeem Hunt is probably number four. Him or Will are number three.”
QB BROCK OSWEILER
If you didn’t have OTAs, would you have gone to the White House with the Denver Broncos?
“If there was no OTA today, I would have gone to the White House. I think it would have been a tremendous experience to meet the President and to celebrate that championship with those players that are going today.”
Was it more important for you to stay here and learn with this team right now?
“Absolutely. That’s what my answer was last week. I stand by that answer. My answer hasn’t changed. I believe that every single practice, every single rep, every single meeting that I can get in this new offense is the most important thing for myself and my teammates right now. So yes, I stand by what I said last week.”
Talk about QB Tom Savage. What have you seen from him and what do you like about him?
“Well, with Tom, what’s not to like? Tom, first of all, is a tremendous person. He’s a tremendous teammate. He works his tail off in the meeting room and in the weight room, on the practice field. He’s a guy that you want in your corner. I really can’t say enough. Tom is a tremendous teammate. As far as Tom helping myself make the jump and the transition into this offense, he’s been great. Starting in Arizona, we had lots of conversations out there about the language of our offense, the verbage of the offense. Then even out here, continuing today, Tom and Brandon (Weeden) for that matter. We’re all pushing for each other to do great. We’re all in each other’s corner. On the practice field, if the other guy is going and the other two are out, we sit there and we have conversations about football. We pick each other’s brain. At the end of the day, we really just support each other and want to see the other guy do great.”
Did having DE J.J. Watt out there today change anything for you?
“It didn’t change anything for me, but you definitely felt his presence. J.J. is a tremendous football player and it was good to have him back out there.”
Why is it so important to have trust between the quarterback and wide receivers?
“I think the trust between quarterback and receiver is so important because decisions need to be made in milliseconds out there on the field. You need to almost know what the other guy is thinking and exactly what he is going to do. There’s not a lot of time to have conversations on the field during the game, so that’s where the trust and the practice comes into play. I think through practice, through off field and offsite throwing sessions and things like that, that’s where you build that trust. That’s where you build that cohesion and you can get on the same page with the wide receivers.”
How would you describe your relationship with WR DeAndre Hopkins right now?
“Hop and I have a tremendous relationship. It’s one of those deals where I just respect his work ethic. I respect that he comes to work every day and he works to be great. He wants to get better every single day. That’s not just Hop, that’s all those wide receivers. All those skill guys are in the building every day. They’re working hard. They’re working at their craft, trying to get better. We’re all working towards the same goal. That’s really what’s important.”
How would you rate your knowledge of the offense now?
“It’s better than day one, but I still have a long ways to go. There’s a lot I still have to learn. There’s a lot that I still need to rep on the practice field and things we need to talk through. It’s better than day one, but I still have a very, very long ways to go.”
What is WR DeAndre Hopkins’ catch radius and how much space do you have to throw to with him?
“Hop is a very unique wide receiver. He’s a wide receiver that you love to have on your side. With him, I don’t know if there is anything that’s really not catchable as long as you put it in bounds. That’s very comforting as a quarterback. He’s always saying ‘just throw it up, I’ll go get it.’ As a quarterback, you love hearing that.”
DE J.J. WATT
How did it feel to get back out there and practice for the first time today?
“It felt good. It feels great to be back on the field with my teammates, to be back and feel like you’re part of the squad again when you’re back out there. Body felt great and performed really well. It feels really good to play football again. It’s been too long.”
Looks like you had a fun weekend at the Jimmy Buffett Concert.
“It was pretty sweet. It was great. It’s kind of a bucket list item to have a margarita on stage with Jimmy Buffett while singing Margaritaville. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that. It was pretty awesome, I can’t lie. Then to go over to Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz – that’s just a weird sentence to say – but it was an awesome night. It was kind of cool to get an experience at both. Very different atmospheres, very different. But very exciting. Over here, it was at NRG, it was an incredible atmosphere. The energy was so high. It was really exciting. Really incredible night. It was one of those nights where I just appreciate the situation that I’m in and the fact that I get to meet these people and experience these things. It’s not every day you get to do something like that. I was really fortunate. They are awesome people. Jimmy was unbelievably hospitable, so nice, and so welcoming. It was just a great night all around.”
What’s it like working with new Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver?
“It’s been great. We really enjoy playing with him every day. He’s a coach that makes you want to come to work every day. He makes it fun. He’s got a lot of knowledge. You enjoy the meetings, you enjoy practice. It’s a lot of fun out there. We’re really having a great time with Weav. Obviously today being my first day out there, just getting a taste of it but it’s a lot of fun.”
Does having three different defensive line coaches over the past three years change anything for you?
“You just try and gain as much knowledge as you can. We got guys who have had all different sorts of experiences, so you try and gain as much knowledge as possible from each guy. It’s fun. I’ve had three coaches who have been great. (Bill) Kollar, everybody who has been here knows Kollar is Kollar. He’s fiery, feisty, he got a lot out of me. He’s a great coach. Paul (Pasqualoni) last year was a very good coach. He’s been around for a very long time. Now, (Anthony) Weaver who has obviously played in the league and has a lot of experience, so it’s great.”