HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Why do you think QB Brock Osweiler has been a lot better in the fourth quarter?
“I don’t know. I don’t know. He’s just done a good job in the fourth quarter.”
Regarding the Lions receiving core, especially WR Golden Tate and WR Anquan Boldin, what do you see from those guys?
“Good players. They have Golden Tate. They’ve got Anquan Boldin, Marvin Jones (Jr.), Andre Roberts, (Eric) Ebron when he’s been healthy. They’ve got a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things. Lot of different skill sets. Good core, skill players.”
It’s good to see RB Lamar Miller out at practice. How did he look and are you encouraged by his performance?
“Yeah. I think that’ll be day-to-day, but I was definitely encouraged today.”
Can you talk about the difference in CB A.J. Bouye this year compared to last year?
“I think he’s always been a good player. Ever since we’ve been here, he’s done a lot of good things for us. He’s made big plays in big games. He’s been good on special teams. I think he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. He’s a good football player. He’s got good size. A lot of that’s experience. The more experience you get. You’re in the big games and you make plays and you get a lot of confidence and I think the guy is playing at a very high level right now.”
What would it mean to win this game against Detroit and be 5-3 going into the bye week?
“I think it’s important. Every game is important like you said, but to go into your bye with a win, that’d be good. To be 5-3, obviously the three losses aren’t great, but to be 5-0 at home, that’d be good. Be good to finish the first half of the season with a winning record.”
Can you tell us your thoughts on T Chris Clark and what he means to your roster?
“Chris Clark has brought leadership. He’s brought toughness. Just a very professional guy. Day-to-day, he’s a very professional guy and I really enjoy coaching him. Can’t say enough about the guy and what he’s done to help our team.”
Everyone on offense is looking for consistency. In your mind, what are the things that will lead to that?
“Touchdowns, first downs, better red area percentage, better third down percentage, like everything better. Running game has been good. Running game has been pretty good, so hopefully we can keep that going. Pass game needs to improve. Everybody. Coaching, playing.”
Is there anything that you think has led to more success in the running game in the past two weeks?
“I think the line has done a good job. I think that Brock (Osweiler) has done a good job of getting us into the right play at times. I think the tight ends have blocked well. I think C.J. Fiedorowicz is having a really good year. I think (Ryan) Griffin, having him back in there has helped us because he was injured, banged up a little bit. I think the backs are running well. Obviously Lamar (Miller) is running well and I think Alfred Blue when he’s had his chances, other than the turnover, I think he’s really running well.”
We talked to you the other day about the run defense and it seems to have taken a step back in the past two games. Do you see anything on film that indicates whether it’s the opponent or you guys causing this to happen?
“Well I think you have to always give the opponent credit. I think that you always have to give the opponent credit. I think that the teams that we’ve played have done a good job. Good backs, good blocking. We have to do a lot of things better. We have to be more consistent in our gap control. We have to get off blocks and make tackles. We have to coach it better. There were a couple runs against Denver where we were misaligned. That’s coaching. Everything has got to be a little bit more consistent, a little bit better in all the phases that are involved there. Coaching, playing, tackling, getting off blocks, all those things.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
Pro Football Focus has CB A.J. Bouye rated as the best cornerback in football this year. What do you think about the year he has had?
“I think he’s improved a lot since we’ve gotten here. Each year, he’s gotten better. It started probably last year in practice when he was going against Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) every day. He would just matchup with Hop and basically he was taking show team reps. He and Hop would compete on every route. I think he got better as a result of it. Now, that’s also carrying over to the football field on game day. He’s competing and he’s covering guys and doing a really good job.”
How much confidence do you have now in CB A.J. Bouye?
“I have great confidence, you know? It’s just like in the game the other night. They tried to throw a go route, a deep ball, and he was right on it. I really thought he was going to intercept it because I was standing there on the sideline and I said, ‘A.J.’s got this. A.J.’s got this.’ But the receiver knocked it down. His progress has been like that. You’ve got the kind of confidence in him that you feel like he’s going to be able to cover whatever route they run against him.”
Is it strange to see the Lions offense and not see WR Calvin Johnson?
“Yes. It is. Because he’s been a mainstay. I’m going to say I’m not disappointed but it is a little strange to see him not being there.”
Lions QB Matt Stafford is having a great year. Is he just distributing the ball more?
“Well, he’s got a great arm, first of all. He’s got a pretty well command of the offense as far as changing plays and maybe trying to get them into a good play. Then he can make all the throws. He knows he’s got several different weapons that he can throw to. He’s using them all. That allows him to be pretty decent, I think.”
What do you think about the Lions wide receivers who have stepped up with Calvin Johnson retired?
“They have stepped up. They’re doing a really good job. They’ll go get the football. They’ve got three good ones that you have to defend, which makes it difficult. Then if the tight end, if he’s healthy and he can go, and then same thing with the running back. So now you’ve got five of them that you have to defend and you can’t double everybody so that makes it tough.”
What’s going on with the run defense and what can you change to help fix it?
“First of all, I put all the pressure on myself. I didn’t coach them well enough and then prepare them well enough for the scheme that we were going to see. Now, they need to play better. I need to coach better and we started today trying to do a better job against the run. Now, it won’t show up until gameday because most of the time the running game is one of those physical parts of the game and a lot of times you don’t get to practice it in pads. Not that that’s an excuse because I don’t make excuses. We just didn’t do good enough and we need to do better and we’re going to work to try to do better.”
Do you buy into the theory that tackling is worse around the league because the new CBA doesn’t allow for as many full contact practices?
“Tackling sometimes is a matter of effort and number of guys you can get to the ball. I think open field tackles, when guys are one-on-one and a good receiver or a good runner has space, that’s a difficult tackle to make. Not everybody can make those kind of tackles. But when you have a unit who is playing and you can funnel the ball and now there’s more than one guy that can help make the tackle. Then it’s not quite as difficult. It’s the open field tackle when there’s space with good ability that’s the most difficult. That is hard to replicate on the practice field sometimes.”
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR GEORGE GODSEY
Why do you think QB Brock Osweiler has been a lot better in the fourth quarter than the other three quarters?
“That’s a good question. We’d like to start a lot faster, I know that. That’s something we’ve been talking a lot about. I think by the time the game starts to get going, you see maybe some reoccurrences of some coverages that maybe have shown up that are new, unique, maybe a different way of playing (DeAndre) Hopkins. Boil that down. It’s probably a complicated answer more than anything.”
How much does it hurt him on second down when you guys are one of the worst teams in the league on first down?
“Well, this past week we were fairly efficient getting into a decent down and distance on second down and getting to third-and-manageable and just not converting the third downs. We were able to run for quite a few third downs. He understands that part of the game is converting some of those third downs on longer distances as it is on the manageable distances, but certainly first down can help that.”
How much better do you feel about the running game after the last two games, specifically the offensive line?
“I feel really good. I told you guys, really, from the beginning that’s part of our offensive mode. We’re going to run the football. So, it helps with play-action, takes a load off everybody’s shoulders in the passing game. Certainly we have to be more productive in the passing game. It’s a unit that has to be more precise in the passing game. The running game, we feel good about right now. Obviously, it’s a new week, new equation, new bodies we’re blocking, a couple moving parts up front with Derek (Newton) now.”
You spend more time with QB Brock Osweiler than anybody. How do you make sure he stays confident and doesn’t get down?
“There’s a lot to cover each week. The minute that starts to creep into his weekly preparation, it’ll affect basically just normal downs, it’ll affect decisions that are made in the running game. He’s on point on the running game decisions, some of the alerts and the checks that we have, whether we don’t have them each week. But he’s doing his due diligence. Today is a heavy load because of the day off of practice. So, mentally today is a big day and he’s back at it. It’s a new week. That’s the way we approach it in our room.”
Do you feel like QB Brock Osweiler has stayed the same throughout the season? Do you think he’s pressing at all?
“Again, it’s a first day of the week for us. I mean, we met some yesterday, too. We look at it as a new challenge, new week. No week is dependent on the previous week, so that’s the way we look at it. Each week is different.”
What are the strengths of Detroit’s defense?
“Well, up front, I mean, it starts with the defensive line. They have some stout, bigger bodies. They’re up the field, they’re moving, they’ve got fast linebackers. For some of the injury issues that they’ve had, defensive line and in the linebacker corps, they have some moving parts this week, too, like it is every week. They’ve stopped some pretty good runners, too, running the football, so that’s a challenge from the running game standpoint. And then it’s always an issue getting rid of the football and making an accurate throw to a guy getting open, too, with tight coverage.”
CB A.J. BOUYE
Individually, what do you see from the Lions’ wide receivers individually?
“They have very good receivers. They’re all good, they’ve all proven themselves in the league. Boldin, I was watching even when I was in college. He was one of my favorite receivers growing up because of the way he competes and stuff. Jones, he was with A.J. Green in Cincy (Cincinnati) but he’s showing how good he is with Detroit. When you have a quarterback like that with good receivers and stuff like that, you have to be on top of your game.”
Where do you feel like you’ve improved?
“I mean, just technique-wise, taking the coaching. The coaches put me in the best position to make plays, and just mindset, really. That’s pretty much the main thing, just knowing I can play and not worrying about when I’m getting beat or stuff like that. Just learn from it, just keep playing and helping the team whenever I can.”
Is confidence a factor?
“I mean, I just try to stay humble the whole time, really, and just keep working. Everybody gives up plays. I give up plays. You never want to get too high, you never want to get too low, you just want to stay the same and keep working.”
How hungry are you for some interceptions?
“I don’t think about it like that. If they come, they come. At the end of the day, just find ways to make plays and get off the field. That’s one thing that the DBs, we’re all trying to do. Even J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) telling me interceptions aren’t everything as long as you have tight coverage and you’re making plays. But you want to create turnovers, and that’s what we’re trying to do. So, like I said, we play with good technique, play to the defense and just keep doing our job.”
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS
What’s the key to fixing some of the problems on offense this week?
“Just going out and practicing and perfecting it at practice. You do everything right at practice and it’s going to relay over to the game. Our focus right now is coming out and practicing perfect.”
Players have said practices are going well this season. What is not translating from practice to the games?
“It’s the NFL. You’re not going to win every game. You’re going to go against good defenses like the Broncos where you have to do things on the fly. It’s the game of football. Can’t win every one.”
Why do you think QB Brock Osweiler has been better at home this season?
“We as a team – definitely this crowd helps a lot being here. Guys get a little bit more pumped when they’re here at our stadium and know the field a little better. It’s definitely a mind thing being at home. This crowd is definitely rocking all the time.”
What would it mean to get a win and enter the bye week at 5-3?
“That would be big. Going into our bye at 5-3 and number one in our division. That’s a lot of moment to build off of in the second half.”
What adjustments need to be made to help give the offense a boost?
“Just guys making plays, myself also. Going out there and making plays when my number is called. Everybody being accountable, all 11 guys, including me.”
The focus has been on QB Brock Osweiler but do you think everyone needs to do more on offense?
“Of course. Anytime we lose a game, you can’t point the fingers at the guy that everybody wants to point the finger at because it’s not just him. It’s 10 other guys on the football field that need to help him out, including myself.”
Do you take it personal that you need to help QB Brock Osweiler after everything people are saying about him?
“One thing I can say about him, he doesn’t let that get to him, what goes on outside of this locker room or the field. He’s the same guy every day. I couldn’t tell that people were talking bad about him the way he carries himself. But definitely, we lost three big games. It’s definitely something where everybody knows that they can do better to help us win.”
Is it good that QB Brock Osweiler is even-tempered all the time or do you want him to get more fired up?
“He definitely gets fired up. He definitely gets fired up. But he’s an even-keeled guy. That’s how it is this early in the season. You don’t want him to get too rattled or get down on himself or all the guys in this locker room as well.”
Does it help that QB Brock Osweiler has the same personality during games?
“That helps a lot. It helps a lot. Being composed. Standing out there thinking, even when it’s the fourth quarter and we’re down by double digit points, that we can still be in this game. That affects us, not just him.”
Does it help when you’re coming off a series that doesn’t go well that you and QB Brock Osweiler communicate the same way?
“Of course because it’s a long season. If we see something that we can work on, not just during that game but maybe the next game, to help us out. That communication is key.”
Although fans are panicking, it seems like the team has remained even-keeled. Can you speak to that?
“A lot of guys have played a lot of football. I’ve been in a season where we were 2-14. I know it’s a long season. I know we have a good team. The games that we did lose were games that we beat ourselves. Give credit to the other teams, but we know we’re a good team and we know we have a long season ahead of us. Nobody is hanging their head. We are No. 1 in our division.”
Did you get a chance to spend some time with the military people that were here today?
“Yeah, I did. They were all nice. They were all getting on me about fantasy football. Luckily, I don’t play fantasy football or know too much about it. I play real football.”
Does that show you that our military is filled with people who think and talk like everybody else?
“Yeah, I have family members that are in the military. They are normal people. They just do a great service for our country.”
How cool was it to put a smile on the military’s faces?
“Oh man, that’s key. Making other people happy, especially people that don’t think they would ever have the chance to meet us or get our autographs, that’s big to everybody on this team.”
OLB WHITNEY MERCILUS
How cool was it to interact with members of the military today?
“Yeah, it was cool, definitely. I mean, it’s always a pleasure to have those guys out there, especially for what they do for our country and everything. So, much respect to them. Glad to have them out there. It was a great experience for them of course, especially for those who are definitely fans for us.”
Was it interesting to have them look up to you but at the same time you guys are thanking them for their service?
“Yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s interesting. We look up to them for everything that they do, putting their lives on the line on a daily basis, what they do for our country. For them to come out to practice and see us in action and everything, it’s pretty cool.”
QB BROCK OSWEILER
In the fourth quarter your stats are really good. Why do you think that is?
“First of all, I guess I didn’t even know those stats. You know, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. You know, there’s been a couple times in the fourth quarter where we’ve jumped into our two-minute offense, and maybe it has something to do with that. I know our two-minute offense was something we installed very early in the spring. We repped it a lot in the spring, we repped our two-minute offense a lot in training camp, so maybe that has some correlation. But, you know, I can’t really put my thumb on that answer for you.”
Are you glad you got the whole Denver experience behind you and you can move on?
“Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think there was just too much talk about myself versus Denver or John Elway versus myself, and that’s not what that game was. That game was the Houston Texans versus the Denver Broncos. I’m just glad all that outside noise is done and we can just really focus on just playing a football game. We have another great challenge this week. The Detroit Lions are a hot team right now, they’re playing really good football. But we’re back at home, we play really good at home and I couldn’t be more excited to get this game started on Sunday and have another opportunity.”
Considering you haven’t played the way you wanted to play, what would it mean for you guys to win and be 5-3 at the break?
“Oh, it would be huge. One thing that I’ve learned over the course of my career as a backup watching and learning and then, obviously, now playing, rarely does a football game ever go exactly how you envision it, rarely is a football game ever perfect. But, ultimately, if you can win football games, that’s really what matters. So, if we can get a win on Sunday, put ourselves 5-3, 2-0 in the division, first place in the division going into the bye week, everything else is irrelevant as long as we continue to get better and we continue to win.”
When you go back and watch the tape of the three road games, why is it that you’ve been so good at home and so bad on the road?
“You know, once again I can’t answer that. There’s so many things that have gone wrong on the road so it’s hard to really just say, ‘This is why.’ But, bottom line, we need to get better. We understand that as an offensive unit and as a team, that we need to play better on the road and we need to find a way to do it and we need to find a way to do it now. We need to find that answer. But, I also think you need to give credit where credit is due, and we played three tremendous teams on the road, tough environments. That’s no excuse whatsoever – once again, we need to find a way to play better, we need to find a way to win on the road – but also, you need to tip your cap to those teams. They’re coached very well, they have great players. But at the end of the day, we know we need to be better on the road, we need to find consistency, and I think at the end of the day, that starts in practice. I know I’ve said this to you guys before but we had a great day of practice today. The focus was great, the energy was really good, guys were making plays, the mental focus was there, they were really on their assignments. To fix game errors, it starts in practice and we had a great day today.”
If you could do personally do one thing better the rest of the season, what would it be?
“I would get this offense into the red zone more often and I would protect the football better.”
What’s the key to scoring more?
“I think for us to score more touchdowns and to do that on a consistent basis, it just comes down to executing on a consistent basis, every single play. 1st-and-10, finding positive yards, on second down, getting a first down, don’t even get to third down, and then when you do get to third down you have to find a way to make plays and keep the chains moving. I think when we can be more consistent overall and keep drives going, that’s going to result in points, and ultimately it starts with me. It starts with me making better decisions, it starts with me making better throws, maybe better MIKE (linebacker) points in pass protection, maybe throwing a more accurate ball on a hot throw. I believe it starts with me and it starts in practice. So, if I could fix one thing moving forward or do one thing better, to answer your question, it’s going to be, be more consistent so we can score more touchdowns.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien always talks about how prepared you are and how hard you work. Could you be overdoing it?
“Boy, I don’t think so. I know exactly what you’re saying. I’ve heard that people sometimes overthink the game and at the end of the day it’s just football.”
Physically, too. Sometimes when you’re not doing what you want, you try to do more. Should you back off?
“You know, I wouldn’t say so. I think I have a really good process to how I go about my week. It’s something that’s been fine-tuned over the course of now four and a half seasons. I’m constantly changing things for the better. I’m not sitting here and saying, ‘Hey, this is how I go about my week and I’m not going to change anything,’ because I believe you need to change to continually improve, so that’s something that I’m doing. But No, you know, I think at the end of the day, we’re slowly but surely getting better. I know at times it’s hard to see but there’s a lot going on in this offense and there’s some new pieces to it. But I tell you what, we’re working every single day to be more consistent. We’re getting better every single day. And like I said, ultimately I cannot wait to get back out on that football field on Sunday and just have another opportunity to do great things.”
As you’re getting close to the halfway point in the season, what have you learned the most about this team and this group that you’re with? What does the group have to do better moving forward?
“Well, I think the group, ultimately moving forward, we just have to be more consistent. I think we’ve proven that we can play at a very high level and we can do great things as a football team. We’ve shown that this year but we’ve had some ups and downs with that. We need to eliminate those downs, and we just need to be more consistent. We just need to stay right in the middle, if you will. Not down here, just right in the middle. And we have a great football team. We have a defense who plays extremely hard every single Sunday. They’re a very physical unit. We have great special teams. We have playmakers all over the offensive unit. We have a great offensive line. We are a good football team. We just need to find a way to be more consistent, and we will. It’s a very long season. We’re going into Week 8. At the end of the day, we’re 2-0 in our division. We’ve done some really good things this year and we’re consistently striving to be better every single day.”
Is it close to what you thought coming to Houston?
“You know, I guess that’s tough to answer. I didn’t really know what to expect. I just knew that I was joining a great organization, a first-class organization, an organization that’s coached by phenomenal football coaches, and there’s a lot of great players in that locker room. Like I said, at the end of the day, we’re 4-3, we’re 2-0 in our decision, which is the most important thing, and every single day we’re getting better. We had a great practice today and I can promise you that locker room is very hungry to get back out there on Sunday and get a good taste in our mouth.”
What has to happen to get some more chunk plays and drive the ball down the field?
“I hate to be boring you guys with that word, but it is, it’s consistency. We’ve proven at times that we can hit chunk plays, we can make big plays down the field, we can hit runs for huge gains. We just need to do it more often and we need to eliminate some mistakes along the way. I think you’ve seen, at times, where maybe not everybody is on the same page, and that’s something that – in this offense there’s a lot of different options on every single play, so that’s something that we’re working to improve upon every single day in practice, get everybody on the same page, keep building chemistry and just being more consistent. Like I said, on 1st-and-10, find positive yards, make it 2nd-and-manageable. Not every second down has to result in a third down. Let’s go first down, second down, first down. Then, like I said, when we do hit third downs we just need to find a way to win and convert that third down and get a new set of downs. But the one thing that’s just so great about this football team is no one is blinking an eye or anything after what happened last week. We all came in Tuesday (and) Wednesday, we learned from that experience, we got better because of that experience, we’re a better football team because of what happened. And then we went out there today on Thursday and we had a phenomenal practice with great energy. I think the chemistry is growing every single day. Like I said, everybody is very, very excited to get back out there on Sunday in front of our great home crowd and just start playing another football game.”
NT VINCE WILFORK
How important is getting a win this week?
“Big. Being 5-3 would be big. We just got to continue to practice well and just take it one game at a time. I think right now with this game coming up and then going into a bye. A bye couldn’t come at a more perfect time for us. In the middle of the season. Kind of regroup. Doing things a little differently. Work on a few things. We got to play well against Detroit though. It’s a team that’s very hot. Got weapons. Got a quarterback that can sling the ball. Their run game. I mean it’s a very explosive offense that we have to face, so got to figure out a way to win. Definitely do.”
Is the bye week both a mental and a physical break and do you think this team is ready for the break?
“I mean if you ask any team, they would want their bye in the middle of the season. So, I think this just worked out perfect for us. But we’ll deal with it when it comes. We got one more game to play and try to nail everything we possibly can nail down right now before Sunday. We play a Detroit team that’s fire hot so got all the eggs in one basket right now and just focused on one task and that’s winning, playing at home and winning at home against a good quality football team. That’s our goal for now and then after that, we’ll just go from there.”
It’s obvious that you’re a different team at home than you are on the road. Can you talk about that?
“Well, you want to win all your games. I think to be a good football team you have to be able to go on the road and win some ball games. We still have a lot of football left. We still have road games. We have to win on the road. You have to always take care of home. I think when you win games at home then you go on the road and then you’re able to win games on the road, it makes it even better. It’s always tough to go on the road and play, especially when you’re playing good football teams. We take it as it comes. Right now, Detroit at home, go on the bye then come back from that. Whatever we have after that, we have. Let’s try to get this one under our belt and worry about everything else afterwards.”
Are you doing something better when you play at home?
“I mean just results. We got to figure out a way to play good football every week.”
Can you talk about CB A.J. Bouye’s performance?
“I mean he’s worked his tail off all offseason. Early on in camp, he made a bunch of plays for us and it’s showing up on Sundays for us. We need all hands on deck. I always say that we have a secondary that, you know, guys that are coming off the bench can start other places. Couple guys going down here and there, getting nicked up. He’s stepped right in and Charles (James), they came in and with Kevin (Johnson) hurt now. He was another one that came in for us. We didn’t lose a beat, so that’s one of the strengths of this football team to have multiple guys back there that can cover and you feel good about them being on the field. It’s a good plus for this team.”
Do you think that the defense has been doing things that would normally create turnovers?
“We haven’t done it enough. We haven’t done it enough. That’s something that we’ve been pretty good with over the course of a couple years - turnovers. I think we need to just kind of get that back going. We practice it. It’ll come. When it comes it’ll come in bundles, so can’t get frustrated. Got to stay poised and keep our head on straight. When it comes, it’ll come. Like I said, we have a lot of football left. I want to peak at the right time, so it’s good to know that we still have good football left to play. I’m waiting to see that.”
Did you have a chance to spend time with some of the military personnel that were here today?
“Yes we did. That was awesome for those guys to come out. They always say that they want to thank us for allowing them to come. No. We want to thank you guys for what you do to keep us safe in this country. If it wasn’t for those guys, we would be in a lot of trouble as Americans. It was an honor and it was a pleasure to have those guys come out and watch us practice and take pictures and sign autographs and just talk with them for a little bit. At the end of the day, football is priceless. When you look at guys like that, men and women that support this country and do what they do for this country, that’s special. That’s special. So we all can take a step back and just really think about life because they make us safe and without them, we wouldn’t be where we are.”
I noticed your wife and daughter were serving food at the Salute to Service Barbecue. What does that mean to you to have them there?
“I think family is always an important part of anything in the community. Brothers, cousins, wife, aunts, daughters. Whatever it may be, I think the more people that can help in the community the better. I just think as a team and a lot of families coming out and helping us support the troops that was good. That was awesome and it starts from the top with the McNairs. They lead us the right way. They show us the way. Today was a good day. I think just for the troops and also for us to kind of take our mind away from football for a little bit and just be happy to be an American. I think that was a special moment for us today on the practice field.”
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN CONFERENCE CALL WITH DETROIT MEDIA (Transcribed by Lions PR)
On how his team will bounce back from a loss against the Broncos on Monday night: “Every game is different, it’s a long season. It’s 16 one-game seasons and we had a good practice today, so we’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
On the type of player CB A.J. Bouye is: “Very good player, he’s played a lot for us in the past. He’s been good on special teams in the past. He’s been good when we’ve asked him to play on defense and I think with experience he’s become better and better. He’s had a bunch of experience now. He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s got length. He’s got good ball skills, good speed, so he’s playing pretty well right now.”
On if the Texans use Bouye inside and outside on defense: “We use him everywhere.”
On what he has seen from the Lions improving to 4-3 after a 1-3 start: “Well I think they’ve had some very close games whether it was in the beginning or here lately and they’ve been very opportunistic in these close games. They’ve played very well in the fourth quarter. I think they have a great quarterback in Matthew Stafford. I think the guy is on fire right now. He’s completing 70 percent of his passes, 14 touchdowns, four interceptions, you know that’s good. It’s really, really high level quarterback play and then I think defensively they’ve done a really good job of creating turnovers at the right time and really playing good team defense in the fourth quarter and they’ve ended up winning these games. We have a very, very big challenge ahead of us with them coming in here.”
On how he would describe the offensive play of QB Brock Osweiler: “I look overall we just all have to do a better job here. We have to be more consistent. At times it has looked OK, but most of the time it hasn’t been very good. I think our running game has been decent, but our passing game needs a lot of improvement, so we’re working hard to improve it.”
On his time spent with Lions DE Anthony Zettel at Penn State: “I love Anthony Zettel. I think he meant a lot to us at Penn State, very tough, relentless type player. Worked extremely hard in the offseason in the weight room, just a very, very tough guy. He almost left Penn State when the sanctions came out and he decided to stay and I think that was a big decision for us when we were at Penn State and just have a lot of respect for Zettel. I loved coaching him.”
On if he senses any disappointment from WR DeAndre Hopkins due to his 2016 production compared to 2015: “He’s a patient guy, but you know he wants the ball. He wants the ball and overall can he do things better? Sure, he can do some things better. But overall we need to do a better job of getting him the ball. He’s the type of guy that wants the ball, but he’s a great teammate and all he cares about is winning, and so he’s going to make sure that that’s the mindset that he has, but he definitely wants the football.”
On the reason behind the Texans being undefeated at home: “I think our crowd. We have a very passionate fan base here. We love our fans. They probably don’t love us right now, but we love them and we’re looking forward to playing in front of them and I think they give us a good home crowd advantage.”
On what he attributes to the success of the Texans’ pass defense: “I think the big thing is the combination of rush, pass rush and coverage. If you can hold your leverage, hold your coverage for as long as you can, we have the type of pass rush that can get home. So I think when we’ve done that, when we’ve worked together, when those two phases have really been on top of their games, pass rush and coverage, then we’ve been pretty good against the pass.”
On the way his team has responded to the loss of DE J.J. Watt: “Look, we have a bunch of number one draft picks on defense. We’ve got (Jadeveon) Clowney, and (Whitney) Mercilus and Johnathan Joseph and (Vince) Wilfork and Brian Cushing, so you know these guys. Injuries occur. Nobody wanted to see that happen, obviously J.J. is a great football player, but they’re not going to cancel the season. You have to keep playing and that’s what these guys are doing.”
On how DE Jadeveon Clowney has played up to this point in his career: “Been a very good player this year, he’s been very disruptive. He’s done a really good job of tackles-for-loss. He’s pressured the quarterback quite a bit and we’ve moved him around and he’s a very smart player. He’s having a very good year for us.”
On how Clowney performs in run defense: “He’s done a good job against the run. I think he’s been disruptive in there. It’s different for him when we play him inside, so a lot more traffic in there and I think he’s getting better and better with that. Like I said, he’s explosive, so he can make plays in the backfield and I think he’s done a good job of that for us this year.”
WR DeANDRE HOPKINS’ CONFERENCE CALL WITH DETROIT MEDIA (Transcribed by Lions PR)
On what the Lions defense is missing if CB Darius Slay were to not play in Week 8: “They’re a good defense, this is the NFL. Next man up, I’m pretty sure that’s the same mindset they would have if they didn’t have, hypothetically, the question that you asked me, without Darius Slay. Please state that in my answer.”
On if he looks at opponent statistics and realizes he could have a big game: “That’s part of the scouting report, look at what they average and what they do. But, this is the NFL. Every week a team is going to battle, so you can’t go off what they’ve done in the past. Hope to capitalize every week, my mindset is to have a big game.”
On what Texans CB A.J. Bouye does that makes him effective: “He makes plays, he’s very instinctive. He’s bigger than most corners as far as height-wise and arm length. He’s very active and very instinctive.”
On what the Texans are doing to bounce back from a Monday loss at Denver: “Just come out and practice. It’s a long season, they were a good team and we got beat fair and square. But, all our goals are still in front of us. For us to put our head down or dwell on that, that wouldn’t be good. Nobody in this locker room is doing that.”
On how he would gauge his personal performance this season: “I honestly don’t judge myself personally. I judge everything based off of my team, what my team is doing. We’re number one in our division right now, so I think if I would judge this I would have to say we’re number one in our division right now.”
On if he noticed that he was on pace to break former Lions WR Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving record last year: “Yeah, you notice that. You know, I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t look at the media, but I definitely don’t sit there and search stuff like that. But you know, when I see it or somebody sends me something like that, you know, it’s motivating. Once you’re getting close to those records it’s definitely getting noticed from everywhere, so you kind of have no choice but to notice it. For guys that are doing that it’s motivation to beat that record.”
On being undefeated at home this year and what makes NRG Stadium such a tough place to play: “Oh man, it’s very loud from the get go. From first down to the fourth quarter. It’s a tough place to play and I can say that not just being biased and being here, but it’s a tough place.”
On what gives him confidence in the passing game moving forward: “The way we practice. We had a good day at practice today, so we’re going to go out and relay that over to the game.”
On what gives him confidence that QB Brock Osweiler can return to form: “I definitely wouldn’t, you know, I’m not going to sit here and say he hasn’t been in form, so you know, I don’t even know how to answer that question. You know, we’re 4-3 right now, so nobody’s hanging their head or thinking negative in this locker room, to answer that question.”
On who’s faster between him and Texans WR Will Fuller: “Oh man, look at the Combine 40. That’ll answer everything. Definitely Will.”