Head Coach Bill O'Brien
LB Brian Cushing
WR DeAndre Hopkins
WR Jaelen Strong
DE J.J. Watt
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
How much more comfortable are you with the team now then you have been the last two years?
“I mean, every year is different. I think where I’m comfortable is that the players that have been here the last couple years, they know our tempo of practice. They know how we operate, how we meet, how we strength and condition and how we practice and hopefully that trickles down to the guys that have joined our team over the last few months. I don’t think you’re ever comfortable in this league. Every day you’ve got to try to get better. I do have a good feeling about where we are right now as a team. It’s a teaching camp, it’s a passing camp, it’s a situational camp. So, really the determination of what type of team you have really comes in training camp when you have the pads on, but I know that we have a good locker room of guys that work very hard.”
What kind of progress have you seen from WR Will Fuller V and can you give us an update on OLB Jadeveon Clowney?
“Clowney was sick today. He came in with the flu, so I sent him home. As far as the progress of Fuller and really all of the rookie receivers, I think have made progress. Look, it’s not always perfect, but it’s not perfect for any position. Those guys have made a ton of progress because for the most part, let’s say Fuller and (WR) Braxton Miller for example. Those guys have been out there every day, so they get a ton of reps. They’re able to learn and get better every day. That has been a really good sign. They’ve all made progress every day.”
What have you thought about ILB Brian Cushing’s offseason?
“He has had a good offseason. He has worked very hard. He hasn’t missed a day. He’s one of our leaders and he has practiced well. He plays the game the right way. He plays very hard. He’s a smart player and I think if you ask him, I think he feels good. He’s healthy. He has had a really good offseason.”
Is QB Brock Osweiler’s understanding of the offense where you want it to be right now?
“Yes. Yeah, he has been in here every single day of the offseason program. He shows up early, stays late. He has been able to understand the operation of the offense. He has been able to function very well in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage. Just like everybody else, nothing is perfect in practice. You’re not game planning. He sees something new every day. Something new defensively. We put in new plays every day. I think with all that has been thrown at him, he has made a lot of progress.”
Any thoughts on your latest acquisition CB Terrance Mitchell?
“Terrance Mitchell is a guy we claimed off of waivers. He was at Dallas and we felt like with our personnel department, (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick (Smith) and myself, we felt like he would help the competition on our team, help the competition at corner. Versatile player. We’ll see how it goes.”
Can you explain a little bit about the Catapult system?
“I feel to this point, it has been a good addition. I think that we decided to buy the catapult system to really help our player’s peak performance. The catapult system looks at player workload relative to the different positions. A receiver’s player workload is a whole lot different than a defensive tackle. We’ve looked at that, we’ve monitored that. I think it’ll help us as far as planning practice. We hired (Director of Sports Science) Erik Korem to help us run the catapult system. I think he brings a lot to the table in addition to the player workload stuff. He can monitor sleep. He can help (Sports Performance Coordinator and Nutritionist) Steve Smith with nutrition. He can help (Head Strength and Conditioning) Craig Fitzgerald in the weight room. We’re taking it slowly. I’m certainly not an expert at it. We don’t want to just dive in and give the players too much. We want to make sure that the players are getting out of it what they need to and in the end it’s all about winning. It’s all about trying to get your players to be able to perform at their peak level in the fall.”
Has the catapult system data had an effect on practice at all?
“I would say no because during the spring you don’t practice every day. The most we practiced was four times last week, but other than that it’s three times a week. This week it will probably be three times this week. It’s kind of every other day practice. There’s a break. I think the players at this point, we’re monitoring it. We’re definitely looking at the data, but I think it’ll really come into play during training camp and during the fall.”
How do you monitor DE J.J. Watt’s improvement and does him playing basketball worry you at all?
“I trust J.J. I know that J.J. knows what he’s doing. I think we all in this organization have a tremendous amount of trust in all of our veteran players that they know what they’re doing. So as far as J.J. getting better, I think we’ve taken the tact this year as far as players go and the team and the coaching staff of two words: enhance and change. Most of it involves the word ‘enhancement’. What can each player do to enhance their skillset? Maybe J.J. develops a new pass rush move. Maybe we develop different ways to use him in addition to other players. You look at all the players up front, (NT) Vince Wilfork, (DE) Devon Still. How can those guys enhance their already great skillset? I think we’ve looked at each player that way. We’ve looked at ourselves that way. We’ve changed some things. I’m not going to get into all the details of what we’ve changed, but I think we look hard at ourselves as a coaching staff and try to be better every single year.”
How about CB A.J. Bouye’s performance?
“He has had a lot of opportunities this spring. With J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph) out for the spring and (CB) Charles James out and (CB) Kevin Johnson out, A.J. has gotten a ton of reps. He’s taking advantage of them. He’s a guy that’s playing with a lot of confidence and I think he’s really taking advantage of his reps. He has gotten better in man-to-man coverage. He has gotten better at his overall technique. He has helped us on special teams. He has worked very hard. He has definitely improved.”
Can ILB Brian Cushing be better this season and how can he help the defense get better?
“Everybody can be better. The way that Brian approaches that game. He approaches it as every year is different. I think with Brian what you’ve seen, and I think he would be better to ask this question, but he has changed his workout routine. He does different things than maybe what he did when he was 22 years old. He realizes what he needs to be a consistent player during the year. He was very, very good for us last year. He’s the first guy that will tell you that there are several things he can work to be better at, but this guy plays the game the right way. He’s a heart and soul type of player. I have said that time and time again with our football team. He plays hard, he’s a leader out there, he’s a tough guy and he’s always looking to improve.”
How has the coaching staff been able to reach WR Jaelen Strong and has his attitude changed?
“Probably one of the most improved players on our football team, Jaelen Strong. From this point where he was last year compared to where he is now, he has turned it around 180 degrees. He’s in good shape, he has made a lot of plays this spring. The last couple weeks he has made a lot of plays on first and second down off of third down, in the red area and two-minute. He is really working hard to get better every day. He has a better understanding of our offense and he’s a guy that I think we’re all proud of. He has really made a change and really improved and had a good offseason.”
Does WR Jaelen Strong have a chance of starting at receiver?
“When you talk about starters at the receiver position, there’s a lot of competition, there’s a lot of versatility, a lot of diversity at that position right now. Different personnel groups will start different games, but he is certainly in the hunt to be a productive player for us next year.”
How much has G Xavier Su’a-Filo improved and what else does he need to do to stay on track?
“He has definitely improved. He’s in better shape. He understands our system better. Just like I was saying about other guys, he has received a ton of reps with the ones. I’ve seen a lot of improvement with him. The key for the lineman on both sides of the ball is when the pads go on, especially for the young lineman. That’s really where you make a determination on how much they’ve improved and how good they can be, but to this point, in the unpadded practices, he has made a lot of improvement.”
What would you say is the biggest improvement QB Brock Osweiler has made so far?
“I think the thing that I’m impressed with Brock probably most of all is his ability to learn our system, our operation. It’s not easy to come in here and learn just basically how we operate as an offense, how we meet, how we call plays, how we call plays at the line of scrimmage, how we teach defense. I’ve seen him, just like every player out there, he has had his share of mistakes, but at the same time he has made very few mistakes with the operation of our offense. You know, how to run the huddle, how to command the huddle. I’ve seen some good leadership out of him on the sideline, in the huddle, in the weight room, in the meeting room. Just like I said last week, we’re really happy with his progress.”
What made WR Jaelen Strong change his performance?
“I think the big thing is he’s in better shape than he was a year ago. He understands the type of conditioning that he has to be in to play receiver at this level. He has lost weight. You can see the player that we drafted. A guy that can run different routes. Big player, but also a guy that can run all day. He’s in very good shape right now, so I think that’s probably one of the biggest changes that he has made. He lost weight and he’s in much, much better condition.”
What do you tell the players to do in the time between now and training camp and do you get a chance to get away from the game for a little bit?
“That’s a big period of time. That’s a big, big period of time, especially for the players because you really don’t want to have to start over again in training camp with conditioning and things like that and knowledge of the system. They certainly need to get away from the everyday aspect of what we’re doing here. They need to rest, but they also need to continue to work to stay in condition. If they’re a receiver, they need to continue to catch footballs and a quarterback throw balls. A defensive lineman continue to work on pass rush and taking on the run or however they decide to do that. But most of all is to stay in great condition and make sure that they’re acclimated when they come back to the heat here in Houston because that’s a big difference for us. That can be something we use to our advantage if everybody shows up here and hammers that conditioning test on the first day. For the coaches, we all need a break. We all need a little bit of a vacation, so we take a vacation but I think it lasts about a week before we all start turning to our wives and saying ‘we’ve got to get back to work’. So maybe we’ll take about a week or so but then we look forward to getting back and getting ready for training camp.”
LB BRIAN CUSHING
Considering how well the defense played last year and the changes made on offense this year, should this be the best team you’ve played on?
“We hope so but it really only matters what we do on the field. We’ve got to continue to build from that, take the things we did right, take the things that we did wrong and try to learn from it and really just try to continue the momentum into this year and get after it. What’s on paper really doesn’t matter. We’ve got to put it forward and see what we can do with it.”
What do you have to do to pick up where you left off last season as a defense? Did you learn any lessons about the start of last season?
“Yeah, I think so. I think we obviously didn’t play how we wanted to at the start of the year. So continue to build upon what we did right, change what we did wrong. Continue with the process of getting better. Change what we did at the beginning of last year and continue to build upon it.”
With all you’ve seen in your career, do you think you can help with recognition of any of those things and moving more quickly towards solutions?
“Yeah, I think so and I think we’ve talked about it a good amount, trying to start off hot from the beginning. I think if we do that, we can help this team greatly.”
You’ve had many productive seasons here. Do you think at your age that better football can still be ahead of you?
“No question. There’s a lot of ball left for me, both physically and mentally. When you get to this part of your career, you only get better or you get worse. I’m just trying to get better every day.”
It seems like you’re moving even better this year than last. Did you change something in your training?
“I think I’ve trained hard in the offseason but at the same time, the further I get away from my injuries, the better I’m going to get. I’m going to continue to heal and get back to where I was, not worrying about rehab or injuries or trying to figure out what’s wrong with my body. But instead, training like I was able to, training like I’m used to and continuing to build momentum. Get to where I need to be again and if I can, I think I can help this team greatly.”
How has your training changed from your rookie year and in what ways do you work to preserve your body?
“I’m doing extra every single day. There’s really no days off for me. I think that’s for anyone at 29 years old and eighth year in the league. Especially as a middle linebacker, you have to work at it every single day. Like I said, you’re either getting better or getting worse. I’m trying to get better every day. I think if you can classify my training now as opposed to my rookie year or second or third year in the league, it’s a lot more athletic now, athletic training. I’m running a great deal more and I know it’s harder to stay in shape, harder to get better at this age but if I continue to work at it every day, I will.”
Have you seen value in the continuity in the coaching staff and players this offseason?
“Yeah, absolutely. I think just the familiarity of having everyone together in a similar system and being able to build upon that only helps. There hasn’t been really any change in the past couple years. It’s helped the guys. Like I said, everyone’s more familiar with each other and the system. It’s easier going into every year.”
Were you excited when you heard Linebackers Coach Mike Vrabel was staying with the Texans this offseason?
“Yeah, absolutely. You know, him and I can butt heads sometimes but I wouldn’t want anyone else in that room leading us and being our coach. He’s a great coach to play for. He’s extremely smart, tough, he’s got grit and it just rubs off on us. I know we all appreciate him in that room.”
Have you ever used any of the GPS tracking in your own personal training?
“Yes and no. I’ve tracked my heartrate while I’ve been training and trying not to exceed a certain level certain times of the year. Just being real conscious about where I am in my recovery and all those kinds of things. As technology advances, I only see it helping us more and more and more and more teams using it. I think it’s only going to benefit us.”
Can Director of Sports Science Erik Korem help you or is that mainly for other players?
“I think so. We’ve talked a great deal. Sports science covers a variety of different things, from training to sleep to food to recovery. It’s incorporating everything together. Any little bit of knowledge that we can talk about or he can share with me only helps myself and other teammates. You can never learn enough, especially when it comes to football, the human body and the recovery process because we know it’s a race to be as healthy as you possibly can to get to the next Sunday again, sometimes Thursday. Anything we can do to help each other and bounce back as quickly as possible is only going to help this team more.”
The things that former Texans LB DeMeco Ryans taught you as a young player, do you use those same tactics on LB Benardrick McKinney?
“Yeah, he is a special guy. He taught me a lot. He was a very wise veteran about the way he approached the game. I think the number one thing with him was the game was never too big for him. He could handle any moment. I kind of admired that from a young age. In the heat of battle, things would be crazy and he would have the same exact look and same exact expression on his face. I try to continue that and pass that along to the younger players and always keep my cool.”
Do you think you and ILB Benardrick McKinney are bonding in the same way going into year two?
“Yeah, it’s a similar bond that we’re starting to form. It’s fun playing with him. I like watching him develop. Like I said, anything I can help with him, I’m obviously going to.”
What advice have you given OLB Jadeveon Clowney as far as recovering from an injury and improving?
“We’ve talked a lot over the two or three years he’s been here. It’s just the small things. I think the number one thing about being injured is to stop feeling bad for yourself. Once you get that mindset and once you get all the pity out of your head about you, knowing that every day that goes by is another day closer to being back out there with your teammates, being out there playing the game that you love. I think changing your mindset and changing the way you view things is the most important thing for him. I think he’s done a great job so far and I think he’s only going upward towards being the player that he wants to be and we all expect him to be.”
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS
Head Coach Bill O’Brien said WR Jaelen Strong is one of the most improved players on the team. What have you seen from him this offseason?
“I totally agree with that. He came out with a motive, even in the offseason during the voluntary stuff. He was out there working his butt off, trying to get better. Even through his incident, the next day he called me working on the field, working on his craft. So I agree with that statement.”
What have you seen from CB A.J. Bouye?
“A.J. is doing an excellent job out there. He is going against myself, Jaelen (Strong) and Will (Fueller V). He’s out there proving himself that he’s worth being out there with the ones. He asks questions. If I beat him on something, he’ll come back and ask me what he can do. He’s a guy that wants to be great, for sure.”
How much progress have you seen from WR Will Fueller V?
“He came in working. He kept his head down, asked a lot of questions. He did everything that you expect a rookie to come in that was drafted at his position to do. He didn’t come in like he knew everything. He came in willing to do anything at every position.”
Are you trying to be a mentor for WR Jaelen Strong like you had when you came into the league with Andre Johnson?
“Yeah, but unlike Andre, I’ve only made one Pro Bowl. He made like 100, so I can’t – I can only do so much. I’m not Andre Johnson. I’ve got a lot of things to do before I can consider myself like that. But yeah, definielty being a leader in that room and helping guys out with anything they need. Even if it’s ‘what restaurant do I go to?’ I’m just there for advice.”
Does it take a year or two for players to understand the NFL lifestyle and what it takes to be successful?
“Yeah it does. It’s hard, but we do a great job here as an organization on getting guys ready and prepared for this, for being in the NFL and being away from home. In college, they take care of you. Your meal is prepared and you go to class, but we do a great job as an organization of getting guys ready.”
What has excited you about QB Brock Osweiler as you continue to work with him?
“He’s leadership, coming out there wanting to be great, and holding everyone accountable, himself and us.”
Have you paid much attention to the data they are collecting with the Catapult guys?
“No, not really. I mean, I think it helps for sure. But I’m from the country, just go out there and play football.”
Has it been any different for you working with QB Brock Osweiler?
“No, going through multiple quarterbacks, you kind of learn what to do to be successful. I put in overtime with those guys, do things off the field. But more importantly, just putting in overtime outside of what’s mandatory for us to be successful.”
How did you enhance and change for 2016?
“My knowledge of football. Going out there and not just worrying about what I’m doing, but worrying about the whole aspect and the bigger picture of the offense and what the defense is doing. Just gaining knowledge of being a football player and going out there and not thinking so much, but knowing what’s going on beforehand.”
What did you think of the Mexico vs. Venezuela soccer match last night at NRG Stadium?
“That was a good game. A lot of upsets have been happening lately. Right now, I’m rooting for the underdogs.”
WR JAELEN STRONG
Head Coach Bill O’Brien called you one of the most improved players on the team. What do you think about that?
“Coming from Coach O’Brien, it means a lot. But I don’t really try to live off of stuff like that. I have to come out here and work every day.”
He said you are here in better shape and you’ve lost weight. How much has that helped you?
“A lot, actually. This is probably the best shape I have been in since I’ve been in Houston right now. It’s all about the work, just coming in every day, putting in the work on the field.”
At what moment did it click that something went off to push yourself to what we have seen this year at practice?
“It went off last year, actually. He told me that I better get myself together. That’s really when it started for me, the dieting and everything I do to get right.”
Are you feeling more comfortable with playing different positions at the wide receiver spot?
“Yes, in our offense you have to know the whole playbook, pretty much, to be successful. I am doing what I can do to help my team be in the best position possible.”
Do you feel like you are playing faster because you know it better or do you feel in your comfort level?
“Yes, definitely. When you get used to something, you get comfortable with something, you are better out there – moving faster, you know what to do, quicker decisions. So, yes.”
You mentioned diet. Can you compare what you used to do to what you are doing now that has helped you so much?
“During the process, it was different. Sometimes instead of eating three times a day, I would eat twice a day. Instead of eating twice a day, I might eat one time a day and just drink fluids. Whatever it took to get down to this weight and then staying in shape – constantly running, constantly working out even on off days.”
Was there a time during last year where you said that wasn’t yourself and this was the way you needed to go?
“Yes, there was definitely a time. There were times I questioned myself. I had to look in the mirror and really say to myself ‘it’s time to go.’ You can’t come this far and then just give it all up. It’s time to go. I took the coaching and the criticism, I took everything and just got right. It didn’t really matter. It wasn’t really about me at that point.”
What helped it get to that point in the first place before you looked in the mirror and corrected it? What was it that got you to where you were in the first place?
“That’s the biggest thing. When you are making this jump, everybody’s telling you the good stuff about you. Everybody’s telling you what you’re doing well. No one really has your best interests. At that point, you have to dig deep. When I came here, I know the organization really cared about me. They really showed that they really wanted me here. To repay them, I have to go out there and work every day like it’s my last day.”
When you talk about people not having your best interest at heart, did you get some bad advice during that early time?
“I didn’t get bad advice, but I was going down a wrong road. People were just telling me good things. Nobody really was telling me what I should have heard. I came here and it was what I should have heard.”
How different was the offense you ran at Arizona State to what you did here and how much time did it take to learn it?
“Arizona State wasn’t really as hard as this offense. Now that I am here, my main focus is learn every day here and be the best that I can be on the field for the Houston Texans.”
DE J.J. WATT
Do you ever think about the great defensive lineman who have played in this state in the Hall of Fame, like Randy White, Bob Lilly, Elvin Bethea, Curly Culp just to name a few? Have you ever thought those guys and have you ever thought about the greatness that you can achieve, or have and can continue to achieve?
“I think there’s been an unbelievable amount of players that have played at such a phenomenal level in the state. You just named a ton of them. There’s been so many guys that have come through here. I’m very fortunate to have an opportunity to go out there and try to create my own whatever you want to call it. But that’s what the beauty of it is. You never know when it’s going to end. One thing about all those players is they played for a long time. You sustain success for a long period of time. For me, all I can do is what I have with the time that I’ve had so far. I’ve had five years in this league and I’ve just tried to do as much as I can with those five years, and I’m going to try to continue to do what I can do. We were just talking about this today a little bit, if you want to be the best version of yourself you can be, you can’t compare yourself to other people. I can’t go out here and say ‘I want to be better than this guy, I want to be better than that guy, I want to be on top of this list or that list.’ I want to go out there and create the best player I can create to be the best for my team and help my team win games. All that I can do is create the best possible player, the best possible J.J., to go out there and play. That’s all I can do. I can’t try to be this guy or that guy. I just have to be the best me and go out there and help my team win.”
What have you seen from DE Devon Still on the field? What has it been like getting to know him, and also his daughter and the kind of relationship you guys are building?
“Devon’s great. He’s a hard worker. I’ve said it before, he asks a lot of questions, he’s very inquisitive, he wants to learn. He’s a good guy. Obviously, the first chance I got to meet his daughter was out in San Francisco. She is special. She is very cute. We sat together on the bus on the way back from the awards show, so we got to spend some time together. She’s very cute and a special little girl, so we’re excited to have her here in Houston as well. I know the Houston community is going to welcome her with open arms, that’s for sure.”
Who has more fun with interception returns, you or Linebackers Coach Mike Vrabel?
“Vrabel, no question. He relishes in that opportunity, which is great. But they’re fun for everybody. They’re the absolute best. A.J.’s (Bouye) been getting a few of them, so it’s been a lot of fun out there for us. It’s a great ride, but I was also tired.”
What are your thoughts about CB A.J. Bouye?
“He has played very, very well. He’s had an unbelievable spring so far. He’s a guy that’s always trying to learn, he’s always trying to get better. I think his confidence right now is through the roof, as it should be with the way he’s playing. I think the more he can build on that confidence the better he’s going to be. But I think he’s played really, really well, and he’s doing some tough duties. He’s covering some great receivers.”
Have you had a chance to look at any of the data that comes from Catapult? Are you interested in what they’re collecting and what information they have?
“Yeah, I do get a chance to look at the information. For that you kind of need a bigger body of work to really get a solid cluster of data before you can really analyze and assess how you can make it better. I am looking forward to using that. I think the one thing I would say is a lot of us have been doing that on our own without necessarily hard data our whole lives. As an elite athlete that’s kind of your job, is to assess your body, assess your performance on a daily basis and figure out how you can improve it. That’s just another thing we’re adding that can help us in that category, but that’s kind of something we’ve already been doing.”
In your own personal workout time, have you ever used any sort of technological help to analyze your own performance and your own body?
“A little bit here and there, but I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve relied on it too much. I think there’s a definite use for technology and training and everything. I think it’s important, there’s no question, but I also there’s a very big component where an athlete just knows their body. Listen to your body, train your body how you know to train it. That’s the one thing about athletes, everyone’s different. There’s no set way for every single athlete to train. We’re all very different, so I think it comes down to what each guy needs, and if you feel like you can use it, use it.”
Did you have fun at the soccer game last night and hanging out with your new friend, Chicharito, a little bit?
“Yeah, I saw something I have never seen before in my life. When the Mexico team scored a goal, people just showered the field with beer and popcorn. I have never seen that in my life. I was standing in the tunnel watching the game and the security just came and stood next to me. No one was doing anything about it. I’ve never seen anything in my life. I don’t encourage our fans to do that, but it was wild. Whoever was there, if any of you saw it. I mean, people were throwing it from the top deck, and you know that’s not hitting the field so you know it’s definitely hitting somebody. But the atmosphere was electric. I know there’s a chance the USA could play here in a few days, so I think that would be incredible. It was a lot of fun, and I hope, obviously, that the USA makes it pretty far.”
After this week you’ll have about five or six weeks off. How will you spend that time? Head Coach Bill O’Brien talked about staying conditioned but trying to get away from football. Is that possible for you?
“Yeah, I just hope I can stay conditioned during that period of time. No, I’m going to be training, I’m going to be doing a few things here and there. This break is always a good chance to reconnect with family and friends, also take care of some business things to get stuff out of the way. I don’t like to do much during the season, so we knock out a lot of stuff right now. But mainly it’s a lot of training. It’s training and getting back to hanging out with family and friends, because once the season starts it’s go time for the next six or seven months.”
You’ll be up in Wisconsin?
“Yes, Wisconsin will be my home base for the most part.”
You’ve been to the playoffs three of your five years and you’ve won Defensive Player of the Year a bunch. Is there anything else you can do to make this team better?
“Yeah, I think there’s always more you can do. I assess myself every day. If you’re asking specifically about me, I think there’s plenty of things I can do. Like I’ve said before, when I watch the film I don’t watch the good plays. The good plays are there. They’re great. Everybody sees the highlights. I click over those. I watch the bad plays. I see how I can improve on the things that I’ve struggled with. Why did I lose my gap on this play? Why didn’t I get a sack on this play? You try to watch those plays and learn how you can improve as a player. Then you’re always trying to evolve your game. There’s so many great players in this league, and you want to learn and grow as much as you can and gain as much information as you can so that you can improve your own game. Trust me, any great athlete will tell you that if you don’t keep trying to improve your own game, that’s when you begin your decline, that’s when you’re on the backside of your career. I’m always trying to find ways to make myself better.”
When you go back to Wisconsin and start training, do you up the competiveness with San Diego Chargers FB Derek Watt, your younger brother, to prepare him for taking on NFL defensive linemen? I’m sure you took it a little easier when he was in college, but do you ramp it up a little bit now?
“I have never taken it easy on him a day in his life. That’s the best part about my brothers and I – the competitive atmosphere and the spirit that we have between each other. At the end of the day it’s all love and everything, but when we’re in the middle of a workout there’s no fiercer competition than between us three. It doesn’t matter if it’s a med ball toss, a box jump, a bench. We’re competing as hard as we can every single time. I think that’s part of the reason we’ve had success, is because of that atmosphere we’ve breeded and the culture we built in that family of trying to just every single day trying to be the best you can. I mean, somebody has to win. I won’t say who generally wins, but he likes black hats with the letter ‘H’ on them.”
You’re coming off making the playoffs for the third time. Considering the moves you guys have made during the offseason and that you were third on defense last year with maybe only one new starter this year, should this be the Texans’ best team since you’ve been here?
“That’s for people like you to write about. All I can control is what I can control, and go out there every single day and try to be the best teammate I can be, help lead as much as I can and try to do the best we can as a team. We’ve learned a lot from the last couple years. I think we learned a lot from last year with the way we started to the way we finished, and that transition. I’ve been fortunate. My first two years here were really good years, some of the teams we had then. It’s just a matter of going out there and performing and raising the level of expectation. I think our expectation level is high, as it should be, because of the guys that we have, because of the moves that we’ve made. We want to create a culture where that expectation is extremely high. That’s how you gain success, is by creating a level and then living up to that. That’s our job now. We have no excuses. It’s our job to live up to that expectation that we’ve created for ourselves, and we’re looking forward to doing that. We have great fans, we have a great city that loves the game of football. We want to deliver that city what they are looking for. It’s our job to go out there and do it. I think we’ve done a great job so far this spring, but it comes down to training camp, it comes down to the games and our execution. We put that on our shoulders and we look forward to that challenge.”