HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Will you be calling the offensive plays on Sunday?
“I know you guys have been giddy about waiting to ask me this question. I’m going to answer it this way. As the head football coach, I’m in charge of every play that goes into the game. You’d be amazed at how many defensive calls I’ve made, how many special teams calls I’ve made and how many offensive calls I’ve made in the years that I’ve been here. Let me put it to you that way. It doesn’t matter who calls the plays. It’s about the execution and it’s about going out there and playing good football.”
How is DE J.J. Watt doing after his surgery?
“I mean, I haven’t seen him. I’m sure he’s doing well. I haven’t seen him, but I’m sure he’s doing OK.”
In terms of the play calling, can you talk more about it?
“It doesn’t matter, so I’d really like the next question. I’ve made more play calls here than you would even imagine. Defensive calls, special teams calls, offensive calls. As a head football coach, that’s what you’re paid to do, is to be making sure that the calls that go into the game are basically approved by you as the head football coach. So, none of that matters. I don’t even know why that’s a story. It’s not a story. Nothing has changed.”
How have T Duane Brown and ILB Brian Cushing looked in practice?
Do you know if ILB Brian Cushing will play on Sunday and what T Duane Brown’s status is?
“Don’t know yet. Don’t know yet. You’ll have to see that injury report when it comes out. I’m not sure yet.”
Can you say definitively that DE J.J. Watt is out for the year?
You said it doesn’t matter who calls the plays. What is your hope for the offense going forward?
Do you expect to have to make changes to some of the inactives with some of the injuries to RB Jonathan Grimes, TE Stephen Anderson and WR Braxton Miller?
In terms of flexibility with your third tight end, how much can T Kendall Lamm help you?
“I’m not sure. I don’t know.”
Can you comment on your running back situation?
“Good. Good. All those guys practiced good this week. (Jonathan) Grimes will be out, obviously, with his injury. But the rest of those guys practiced well this week.”
LS Jon Weeks will play in his 100th consecutive game this Sunday, which is the fourth-longest streak in club history. What do you think about that?
“I think it’s great. He’s a heck of a guy. He works very hard. He deserves those types of accolades. Good guy to have on the team.”
ILB BRIAN CUSHING
Do you feel good about what you were able to do this week?
“I feel good. Yeah, I feel good. I mean, obviously, we’re still talking and trying everything. There’s no definite decision yet but I feel good – three days of practice. Just mostly excited to be back out there.”
Has it responded to a point where you would feel comfortable if that is the call?
“Yeah. It’s also not my decision. I can give as much input as I want and tell Coach (O’Brien) exactly how I feel, but the final, obviously, decision and word is up to him.”
Are you surprised at how quick you were able to come back?
“(No). I kind of put it in my mind and put the work toward it. I wanted to get back as soon as I could and I had kind of an estimate of a time frame of what the earliest I could do was, and I’m right around there. Just, you know, a lot of hard work and trying to get back. Obviously a lot of credit to the trainers as well.”
Have you determined if you’re going to be able to go on Sunday?
“There’s no, I guess, official decision yet. Coach and I will still talk and obviously, like I said, he’ll have the final decision, final word.”
Are you leaning that way?
“I’d love to play. I’d love to play. Obviously, like I said, it’s really not my decision.”
Do you feel like you’re ready to go if they’re ready for you to go?
“Yeah. I feel good. I feel good. But like I said, it’s really not up to me. I’ll give as much input and feedback as I have and tell Coach (O’Brien) basically how the week went. We’ll sit down and make a decision.”
Have you had a chance to talk to DE J.J. Watt since his surgery?
“No, not since his surgery. I talked to him a good amount since the injury and basically what was going on and how he felt and all that, but not since the actual surgery.”
You’ve been through this before. What is that like for him to know he’s done for the year?
“It’s tough. It’s tough. As a competitor and a person that loves playing, it’s extremely tough. But just know that’s not it. There’s a lot more football to be played, and knowing that you will be back one day. I know it seems quite a ways away but every day that passes is one more day closer to playing again. I offered my support and everything I can to him, just knowing I’ve been through there back-to-back years and two years total. It’s never easy. As a football player, that’s what you love doing. He can’t do it right now but he’ll be back.”