HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
With the team being 5-3 heading into the bye week, do you believe there is some momentum that will carry over to the next game?
“I think that anytime you go into a bye week on a winning note, that can’t be anything but good for your team. It gives us time to do a lot of self-scout to figure out all the things we need to do to improve. But it also gives us time to reflect on some of the things that have been positive, being undefeated at home, playing the way we played against the run yesterday on defense was very good. I think offensively at times this year we’ve shown glimpses of what we can be. Special teams, same thing. Now there has to be more consistency in all three phases but there certainly is a lot to reflect on that’s good. When you go into the bye week on a winning note, I think everybody feels better about where they are at. With that being said, you’ve got a tough schedule ahead of you so we’re going to give our guys a nice break here. We’ll get back to work. After today, we’ll get back to work next Monday and we’ll go to work on Monday for Jacksonville.”
What have you seen from ILB Benardrick McKinney this season?
“Benardrick McKinney got a game ball yesterday for the way he played. I think he’s really improved a lot. I think he’s playing at a pretty high level. He tackles well. He understands our defense. He’s really good at understanding how our defensive call plays against the personnel and the formation that they come out in. I think that has come with experience but he’s a big guy. He can run. He loves football. Loves playing defense. He’s become a good blitzer. He’s having a good year for us.”
What do you think about the way the defense has played despite multiple injuries?
“We talked about that today. As a team, one of the things that has stood out to me is that we’ve been able to overcome – in some regard – a lot of different things. Number one is we’ve been able to overcome injuries. Injuries do happen but, look, we have lost the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Those are hard injuries to overcome for some teams but not for this team so far because we have a resilient locker room. We have a bunch of guys in there that play hard. They play well together. They love football and there’s a lot of other really good players. There’s a lot of number one draft picks on that defense and they play well together. Then you have a guy like A.J. Bouye, who wasn’t even drafted and he’s playing as one of the better corners right now in this league. I think there’s a lot to be said about that. The key is it’s the first half of the season. Things were decent, especially as far as the last game goes. But now we have to build on it and be more consistent.”
What did you think when you heard former Texans WR Andre Johnson retired?
“I just texted him. I just heard that about a half an hour ago. Just shot him a note. Look, he’ll go down as one of the best receivers to ever play the game. He had great size, great hands, very instinctive player, could run all the routes. Throughout his career, he did a lot of different things. When we had him for the year that we had him, he played at the No. 3 spot, the No. 2 spot, the No. 1 spot – I’m talking about formationally – we were able to do many different things with him. I’ve had the fortune of coaching some potential Hall of Fame receivers in him and Randy Moss. Been up close and personal with those guys coaching them and Andre will go down as one of the best to ever play.”
Obviously you weren’t here during the organization’s start, but as you learn more about the Texans and this city, what has former WR Andre Johnson meant to this city, this fan base and the Texans?
“Well, I think, obviously he’s meant a lot, obviously on the field. The numbers speak for themselves. I remember when I was in New England and we were getting ready to play Houston – this might be a little bit of a long answer, but I was thinking about it. We were getting ready to play Houston in 2009. We actually came here and lost the game – that was the game where (Wes) Welker hurt his knee and it was a tight game and it was just a tough game, and Houston beat us. I remember getting ready for that game when Bill (Belichick) stood up in front of the team and talked about Andre Johnson and just started reading off his numbers at that point in his career, which was 2009, and what we were going to have to do to try to stop this guy, or at least contain him. I was sitting there going, ‘Wow.’ You talk about the numbers that he had at that point, let alone the numbers that he has now. So, on the field it’s obvious what he did for the Houston Texans, but I think what I got to know here was – I knew about on the field and I watched it and obviously I had him later in his career, but what I saw off the field was all the things he did for the children of this city, the kids that maybe didn’t come from much and he was able to provide them with Christmas presents or things during Thanksgiving or clothes or things like that. I think people are really important to the guy. He’s a very quiet guy. When he spoke, everybody listened, kind of like E.F. Hutton. I think he meant a lot to this city and all the things that he did off the field.”
You mentioned that you guys have had a lot of injuries but have been able to overcome them. What does that say about your coaching staff?
“Look, I try to - and I probably need to do this more - I think these assistant coaches that we have here, from the coordinators all the way through, I think we have a strong staff. I think they overcome me a lot. They really do. They do a great job. As witnessed by yesterday. I did see that video afterward. I just couldn’t believe what I saw. I mean, that had to be an imposter, right? It’s Halloween. I’m sure there are going to be plenty of people in Houston dressed up as me tonight with a ‘Kick me’ sign on the back of it. No, but I think we have a strong staff. We’ve got a smart staff, we’ve got an experienced coordinator in Romeo Crennel. I think George Godsey did a great job yesterday. When we had the injuries, we had to kind of piece together how we were going to try to move the ball there at the end personnel-wise. Then, we’ve got some top assistant coaches. The key for us is to coach well week in and week out. I think that we work very hard but I think as a coaching staff we all have to be – just like our players – we just all have to be striving for more consistency and come up with good, solid game plans every week.”
What did happen in that video?
“Things happen on the sideline. We have an intense staff. We had a basketball court outside of the bubble (Houston Methodist Training Center) back there and we were playing for a while and things got intense out there. The next time we showed up out there, the basketball hoop was gone. So, we have an intense staff. I don’t know where they get it from. I mean, I’m not that intense. Things happen. Things happen, and look, I can tell you that it’s just the nature of the game. It’s a competitive game and we all want to win. We’re all pulling the same rope, just trying to win. We’ve moved on from that and it won’t happen again.”
It seems like ILB Brian Cushing is getting healthier. He never talks about injuries, he has those leadership qualities and now he’s coming along.
“He’s a very tough, tough guy. He played the game yesterday – I mean, you should see it – he’s got a thumb deal right now. Just a tough guy. I’ve said it all along, he’s the heart and soul of the defense, one of the top leaders of our team. I just really enjoy the way he plays football. He tackles well, he’s tough, competes, and loves gameday, practices every day. He’s a tough, tough, guy.”
What are your thoughts on NT D.J. Reader and how he’s stepping in?
“I thought D.J. – I just saw him out in the hallway earlier – I thought that he played a solid football game. I think he gives us a solid guy inside in the run, he’s hard to move, and I think that he adds some inside pass rush that really helped us yesterday. One of the keys yesterday was – that’s a very good offense with a great quarterback, and the pass rush was able to contain him. Maybe there weren’t a lot of sacks but they were very disciplined in their rush lanes. Give a lot of credit to Anthony Weaver and Mike Vrabel on that. Those guys do a great job of coaching that. And then obviously the guys up front, led by (Jadeveon) Clowney and (Whitney) Mercilus, and then those guys inside, they did a nice job of keeping their rush lanes.”
How would you evaluate how QB Brock Osweiler has played through eight games and what are you looking for from him going forward?
“I think he’s getting better and better. He and I talked for a while this morning. I have great respect for the guy. I think when you come into a new system that puts a lot on your plate at that position, I don’t think it’s easy. You’ve got a lot of guys playing out there that have not played together, so the only way you get better is with game experience, and that’s hard because a lot of these defenses are very multiple, excellent defenses. So, it’s hard. I think he’s improved every game and I thought yesterday, I thought he really made some big throws, took some hits – he’s a tough guy – and he did a nice job of controlling the game. Did a nice job. See, that’s one thing that people don’t always see. Not that they don’t understand. If you’re not a coach, I understand that you may not see everything. At the end of the game, he’s getting us into those plays, he’s directing that blocking scheme. Even though that’s a run, he’s the one who’s setting up those plays. Those are little things that he did in that game to help us control the game, especially at the end. So, I think he’s getting better and better.”
Can you talk about the developments of TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and how the tight ends have been used?
“Yeah. I think that C.J. is one of the most improved players on our team in the passing game. He’s always been a good blocker. When he came out of Iowa, we thought he was one of the best blocking tight ends in that draft, and he’s come in here and blocked well. What’s happened with him is he’s worked very hard, he’s taken a lot of pride in the passing game. John Perry’s done a nice job with him, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson. All three of those guys contributed yesterday in the passing game. C.J. has come a long way. Brock (Osweiler) has a lot of trust in him and it’s been good to see.”
Do you have any update on WR Jaelen Strong or WR Will Fuller V? Do you expect Will back after the bye and is Jaelen more of a long-term thing?
“I don’t know yet. Those things – I know we’re in a bye so the ‘day-to-day’ is probably not appropriate. Bye-to-bye? How would you say that? I think that you’re right, Jaelen might be a little bit longer. Hopefully not. Hopefully the bye helps him. I think Will may not be as long, if that answers your question.”
What about NT Vince Wilfork’s injury?
“I think Wilfork - I just saw him in there and I think he’ll be okay.”
How can you improve running the ball on offense earlier in games?
“It’s hard. Earlier in the game is hard because, if you look at the stats of most teams in the league, let’s just look at the running yards for even the best running teams – might be an interesting thing to look at – how they’re running the ball in the first quarter. I think it’s more about, as long as you’re not getting a bunch of TFLs, it’s more about sticking with it. When I see a three-yard gain in the first quarter, that may look boring to the fans and to the media, but to me that’s pretty good because I know that if that’s getting three in the first quarter consistently, three and maybe four here and there, I know that in the fourth quarter that might be five, six, seven, eight, nine. So, that’s what I look at. Now, in the first quarter if it’s a bunch of TFLs and we’re not blocking things right, now we have a problem. But if we’re moving the line of scrimmage, they’re revved up, we’re revved up, it’s force on force and we’re gaining yards, that’s kind of what I look at and that’s a little bit the way it was yesterday. Now, there were a couple TFLs where we missed a couple blocks but I thought, overall – and one thing I want to tell you about that, too, I give a lot of credit to Lamar (Miller) and Alfred (Blue). Those guys were banged up and they ran hard in the game. I just, I would tell you that those are two tough guys that ran hard in the game.”
CB A.J. BOUYE
How does it help the team going into the bye week after having some success on the field?
“It helps a lot, but at the end of the day, on my mind, we have one day to think about the win and then we have a bye week so we can relax, spend time with the family, but I already know that I’m going to be working out and then getting some film work in trying to stay on top of my technique so that I don’t lose anything over the week. Just got to take the same approach even though it’s a bye week.”
Opposing teams have been going after you a lot, but you seem to be up to the challenge. What is it like to be as active on the field as you have the last couple of weeks?
“It’s fun to me when they do it. I take it personal because it shows that they really don’t have respect for me, but at the same time, I remember last year my DB coach was telling me the same thing. When the quarterback sees you have number 25, number 24, then you have me, they’re going to come at you because I was undrafted. Then you have proven players like Kareem (Jackson) and J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph). If I was a quarterback on that side, I would go after me too and I’m loving every bit of it.”
Now teams are finding out that you are a force. Can you talk about that?
“At the end of the day, they’re still going to do it. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m just trying to compete and help out. If they throw it at me and I can help the team get off the field, I‘m just doing my job.”
How familiar are you with former Texans WR Andre Johnson and what are your thoughts on his retirement?
“To me, I felt like he was one of the best receivers over there. That’s no disrespect to the other receivers, I just like the way he always played because I was always a big fan. Maybe I’m being biased. I was with him here my rookie year. He had a great career. He’s a Hall of Famer in my book. I hate to see him retire in the middle of the season, but I’m sure he’s doing the right thing and I believe that he believes he’s doing the right thing. Congratulations on a great career. Room for you to get in the Hall of Fame because I believe it’s going to happen.”
What impressed you the most about former Texans WR Andre Johnson?
“What impressed me about it, and that’s the approach I try to take now, is he always stayed humble and he showed that you don’t have to be vocal and all that stuff to be a leader. That you just have to lead by example. He always worked hard. Just to be able to be in this league this long and take care of your body and still play at the top of your game. That’s amazing. That’s one thing that I pray I can do and just to see him do it, you know that’s possible.”
You guys have not had many takeaways this year. What can you do over the bye week to cause more turnovers the rest of the season?
“Just going to have to hope they come to us. At the end of the day, we’re not getting takeaways, but we’re playing great defense. We’re playing the run good now. We’re playing the pass good now. We’re playing to our help. We’re playing tight coverage. Usually in man, sometimes you have your back to the ball. You can’t look back. We’re always playing with good technique and that’s one thing about the DBs. Like our coach tells us, if you look back you’re going to see a catch. Playing man, you’re going to get different types of routes, back shoulders. You don’t know when the ball is coming. We’re going to have our opportunities and then when they touch our hands, we just got to catch them.”
In the end, the goal is to keep the other team from scoring, right?
“Definitely. Just play great defense. Get off the field and get the ball in our offenses’ hands. If we could get more takeaways, it’ll be even better.”
What are you going to do on the bye week?
“Going to Atlanta. Taking my daughter there. Corey Moore is going to stay at my house, so we’re going to work out, probably watch some film. I’m dead serious though. I’m going to take my daughter to the Coca-Cola Factory, spend time with all my friends and my family. I think my dad and my stepmom are looking more towards that than me, so I know that all I’m going to be hearing is ‘no’ from my daughter. I’m going to see her drinking soda because my dad gives a 1-year-old soda. I don’t know what grandpa does that. I’m getting ready for her not going to bed until 11. I just love to see my daughter spend all that time with my dad and her grandma too. That’s pretty much it. Just spend time with my daughter, stay on top of my film, working out and staying on top of my technique. Just hanging with one of my teammates.”
How much other football do you watch throughout the week?
“I watch a lot, really. I try to watch the teams that’s coming up that we’re playing. I don’t know who the Jaguars play. I know the Raiders are playing the Broncos, so I’m going to look into that game. I watch some film and then I might actually catch a high school game. One of my high school games in Tucker. I try to always stay on top of football because you see stuff from other teams, but they might run that against us and I also think that they might run that, so always just staying on top helps out a lot.”
ILB BRIAN CUSHING
How pleased are you with how things have gone the first half of the season?
“I’m pleased. I’m happy about where we are but we obviously have a lot of work left. Just really getting going. It’s a good point to be at though, at the halfway point. We just have to continue to build off the momentum.”
What did you think about former Texans WR Andre Johnson retiring today?
“Pretty shocked. Obviously, I don’t know exactly what the whole cause or reason is for that. But just a tremendous teammate. A guy that I have all the respect in the world for. I just wish him the best of luck. Incredible talent but even better teammate.”
What did former Texans WR Andre Johnson mean to you when he was here?
“A lot. Just a proven veteran, proven leader. Very quiet but led by example. Just an incredible guy. When you’re 21-years-old and you come into the locker room and see someone like that, someone you grew up watching so it’s kind of surreal to play with someone like that. My experience with him was just awesome.”
What do you think about the way the Texans defense has played since losing DE J.J. Watt?
“We expect the next guy to step up. That’s just the NFL. Guys get hurt all the time. We’ve lost a lot of guys over the years, including myself. It’s just one of those things. You have to step up. You can’t feel sorry for each other. You have to go out and do your job.”
What do you like best about the way the defense is playing?
“I think we’re playing very similar to last year. I think we’re having fun. I think we’re playing aggressive. I think it really came out yesterday. It was just pretty evident we were having fun, flying around and just playing good defense.”
What have you seen from ILB Benardrick McKinney as he continues to learn on the job?
“Just a ton of maturity. He’s made a huge step into his second year. He’s kind of just exploded with his tackles and really done a great job. When I went down, I watched him a lot and he kind of stepped into that third down role. He’s been playing great this year. He’s done a really good job.”
What will you do during the bye week to get ready for the second half of the season?
“Just rest. Obviously continue to work out, but get off your feet a little bit, review the film, see what we can do better. But just try to get as healthy as we possibly can for the second push.”
How are you feeling after playing a couple games since coming back from your knee injury earlier in the season?
“I feel good. I feel really good. These last two games, I really feel like myself. I feel like it’s just picking up. I’m really excited for the second half of the year considering I’ll be fully healthy.”
DE Jadeveon Clowney is having a nice season and a lot of that has to do with being healthy. He mentioned you’ve given him good guidance about that.
“Yeah, just try to tell him to continue to keep his head up. He’s had a good year. He’s played in every single game so obviously a step in the right direction. He’s feeling good and he’s playing great.”
You don’t like to talk about your injuries but it’s not easy coming back from what you were dealing with this season so soon.
“No it’s not. It’s not. People might have been giving me grief the first couple of games back but I was supposed to be out six weeks and I played after two. Not many people are going to be able to do that. It’s just a love and a passion I have for the game. I’m going to try to get out there as soon as I possibly can. At the same time, I’m really – probably this last game, I’m finally fully healthy.”
WR DeANDRE HOPKINS
What are your thoughts on the news that former Texans WR Andre Johnson is retiring?
“He had an awesome career, amazing career here with the Texans. Did a lot for this organization and for the city as well, and he does a lot for Miami. Hearing about him retiring, I think he’s accomplished a lot and what he wanted to accomplish.”
Have you reached out to former Texans WR Andre Johnson?
“I haven’t. Not yet.”
How big was it to have former Texans WR Andre Johnson here when you were first starting your career?
“Very big to have a guy of his status and who’s played a lot of football to teach me a lot of things about the game of football, about life in general. He basically groomed me my first couple years I was here.”
How do you feel about where the offense is right now as you take a break and look back at the bye?
“We did some good things yesterday, a lot of good things that we can build off of going into the bye week and when we get back out here. We’re not where we want to be, but I don’t think any team in the NFL is – nobody’s undefeated anymore. But we’re No. 1 in our division. So, building off that.”
What were your first impressions when you met former Texans WR Andre Johnson?
“He was quiet. He was quiet when I first met him but then after a while you get to know him, the guy talks. But that’s a side that a lot of people wouldn’t know about him. He comes off as a very, very humble guy, which he is, but once he gets to know you, he knows you.”
Is former Texans WR Andre Johnson a Hall of Famer in your mind?
“Oh, man, in everybody’s mind. Not just mine.”
Should they bring former Texans WR Andre Johnson back here for a one-day contract or something like that?
“Oh, man, that’s not my place to say. I would love to see him go out the way he came in.”
What are some things you really liked about what the offense did in the first eight games?
“Win. Found a way to win and go in the bye 5-3. Winning in the NFL isn’t as easy as it seems. There’s a lot that goes into it. Basically, the way that we ran the football yesterday and did what we wanted to do was good.”
How would you evaluate your young receivers and how they’ve played through the early part of the season?
“They have a lot of work to do for sure, and those guys would say the same, myself as well. I still feel like a young receiver.”
You still have things you’re looking to work on in the second half?
“Of course, of course. A lot of plays I left out on the field I could’ve made the first eight games. Just got to go out and make it right.”
How important is it for the team to be 5-3 heading into the bye despite some tough road games?
“That’s very big. Very big. Most importantly, we’re No. 1 in our division. Every goal we want to do is still in front of us. 5-3 is big, but No. 1 in our division is big also.”
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
The defense lost DE J.J. Watt due to injury but you still seem to be the strength of the team. Can you talk about that?
“I think there’s always room for improvement, but I think overall guys have stepped up their play across the board whether it’s the D-line, the linebackers, secondary. It’s hard to replace the production that he brings to the table, but I think we’re more than capable with the guys we have on defense. That just has to be our mentality.”
You pass defense has been among one of the best in the league. What do you attribute that to?
“A number of things. Players playing the right technique. Romeo (Crennel) making great calls in great situations. Guys challenging throws. The pass rush getting there and harassing the quarterback all day. I think it’s a combination of things.”
What are your thoughts on former Texans WR Andre Johnson retiring?
“Obviously you play this game long enough, your mind and your body is going to let you know when you no longer want to be in it and you have to make that decision. I think today, obviously whenever it was, that happened for him. He had a Hall of Fame career. Had a great run here in Houston. Was here from day one basically pretty much and did some great things here. I was blessed to play with him.”
DE Antonio Smith made a good point when he said that while former Texans WR Andre Johnson was here, he did a number of great things without having help on the field. Can you talk about that?
“Of course. That’s hard. A lot of guys would jump ship at times when things get hard, not looking in your favor. He stuck it out here and eventually it came around for him. He was able to go to his first playoff game here, win the playoff game here and do all those things. I think that just speaks about the type of character that he has.”
DE Antonio Smith thinks former Texans WR Andre Johnson will be a first ballot Hall of Famer. What do you think?
“Absolutely. Obviously I don’t have any say in that. I know it’s a long process that goes with that, but I think he’s had the type of career and the success in this league and the numbers to back it up.”
Why do you think former Texans WR Andre Johnson was so successful?
“Because he worked at it. Obviously he has a talent. 6’3, 230. Rare talent-speed combination. I think he brought it to practice each and every day. Never complained. He always tried to get better and was a great teammate.”
QB BROCK OSWEILER
What are your thoughts on what the offensive line has done for you this year?
“I think the offensive line has done a tremendous job. Regardless of who’s been in the game, because there’s been some injuries, those guys battle. I think they do a tremendous job. I think we have a very physical, tough offensive line, and all those guys work extremely hard every single week to be successful. So, I love playing behind those guys and I think they’re a hell of an offensive line.”
If you were to evaluate your work through the first eight games, what would you say?
“I think there’s been some good spots and I think there’s obviously been some bad spots. But I think the thing that’s encouraging is I feel like I’m getting better every single week and I feel like this football team is getting better every single week. So, there’s plenty of room for improvement but fortunately we still have eight more games.”
What’s been your highlight of the season so far?
“I think just the five wins. I think any time you’re able to win a football game in the National Football League, it’s a great deal. Fortunately, we’ve been able to win five – we’ve only played eight – and we’ve put ourselves in a good position going forward for the second half of the season.”
What are some things you’d like to focus on going forward?
“Specifically, I would like to find a way to get this offense into the end zone more often. I think our defense is playing great football, I think our special teams is doing a good job, and for the most part the offense is as well. We just need to find a way to get into the end zone more often, and it starts with me. I need to play better, especially in the red area, and that’s something that I’m going to put a great focus on moving forward.”
You’ve talked about ball security in the past. Do you have some thoughts there?
“No doubt. I think, playing quarterback, there’s a couple areas that you need to have great focus. One of those is what I just touched on: scoring touchdowns. So, that’s where a large part of my focus is going to be, getting this offense into the end zone more often. And then the second one is protecting the football. Obviously, the more turnovers you have, you’re going to put your football team in a bad position and you’re going to put your team in a tough position to win the football game. Down the second half of the season, these last eight games, I’m going to do everything I can to clean up the turnovers and get this offense into the end zone more often.”
How much more comfortable are you than when you took the field for the Texans in the opener?
“I think Week 1, I felt very comfortable, to be honest with you. Every single week I’ve felt comfortable. I think Coach (George) Godsey and the rest of the staff, they do a tremendous job of putting together great game plans for us to go out there and execute on Sunday. But, certainly there’s nothing that can replace game experience and game reps. To answer your question, yeah, I’m definitely more comfortable than I was Week 1 but I’ve been comfortable with what we’re trying to do offensively for the entire season.”
You said yesterday that you didn’t know what happened on the interception. Now that you’ve taken a look at it, what are your thoughts on that play?
“You know, still, even after seeing it, it’s hard to give you an exact answer. You know, it was one of those deals where the Lions were playing a man-to-man defense, I have (DeAndre) Hopkins out there one-on-one, he’s a tremendous talent. Whenever I have DeAndre one-on-one, I’m going to try to get him the football, especially in the position that we were in. I believe the score was 14-0 at the time, we’re trying to get another touchdown right before the half and then we get the ball back to start the third quarter. There was a big emphasis to get into the end zone, and I had DeAndre one-on-one. At the end of the day, I made a poor throw. Next time I’m in that situation maybe I just throw it away and live to play another down. At the same token, we had a field goal in our back pocket. So, that’s kind of that fine line, do you take a chance with a tremendous receiver like DeAndre one-on-one before the half or do you throw it away and just kick the field goal? And that’s something that I’ll talk to Coach (George) Godsey about today and we’ll hammer it out and in the future I’ll be better.”
As tough as some of those road games have been, what does it mean that you’ve been able to take care of business at home and enter the bye with a great record?
“It means a lot. I think it says a lot about this football team that regardless of what’s happened the previous week or what’s going on outside of this building, we’ve been able to come back home, rally, rally together and play a great game and get wins at home. Just to be 5-3 going into the bye, 2-0 in our division, which is really the most important thing, this football team is obviously very happy with that, but at the same time we’re not satisfied. We want to be better, we’re striving to be better, and when we come back from the bye week that’s what we’ll be working on.”
Is it easier said than done to not pay attention to outside talk? Like one report that said you lost your confidence?
“Yeah, I heard about that. Once again, I don’t know where those comments come from. To me, it really is actually pretty easy to block out the outside noise because I don’t look at social media, I don’t really turn on the TV. There’s no time for that during the week. You’re occupied with studying and things like that for the game. At the end of the day, I have great confidence in myself, I have great belief in myself. I’m my own biggest critic, if you will. When a game doesn’t go how maybe I wanted it to or how this team wanted it to, I examine that film very hard. I’m very hard on myself to improve, to learn, to get better. But as far as blocking out the outside noise, it’s really actually not too difficult.”
Are you going to allow yourself to take a little bit of a break during the bye week?
“Absolutely, absolutely. I think the bye week, it’s very important not only to rest your body physically, but you need to rest mentally. So, I’m going to get as far away from this game as I possibly can and then as we get closer to Monday, pick up the iPad again and get ready for Jacksonville.”
DE ANTONIO SMITH
How does someone like former Texans WR Andre Johnson set the tone for an entire organization?
“He sets the bar high. I liked him and Hop’s (DeAndre Hopkins) chemistry when they were here together when I was here. I couldn’t even put it in words. Like I said, I was always an Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald fan when I was in Arizona. When I first came here everybody was like, ‘Who you think is better? Larry or Dre?’ I hadn’t seen much of Dre. But then when I got here and got to see that boy play - I still can’t give the one up on any of them, but both of those guys in my book are probably going to be first ballot Hall of Famers when they get in there.”
You mentioned that former Texans WR Andre Johnson was able to get a lot done when there really wasn’t any other threat. What are your thoughts on that?
“That was hard. I remember him and Larry (Fitzgerald) talking together and Larry was asking him, ‘How did you do it so many years with it just being you?’ Larry had the tandem with him and Anquan (Boldin). When Anquan left, Larry was asking him, ‘Man, how did you do it so many years when it’s just you?’ I don’t know if he ever gave him the magic formula or not, but I don’t think there was a year I was ever here where he was consistently stopped. The only thing that ever stopped him maybe is just not getting the ball as much as he should.”
What sticks out the most about former Texans WR Andre Johnson? Is it his toughness or leadership?
“Kind of both. You need that. You need toughness and a team captain and a leader and even though he might not have always led vocally, he definitely led by his play and his play wasn’t - even though he was quiet at times, his play was never quiet. It was aggressive, tough, hard nose style of football. I remember times of him getting hit square in the mouth, get right back up and run another route. Never stayed down. Always was a fighter on the field. You tip your hat off to a guy like, I love players that. Original football players. They come in few. Few these days. Old school, hard nose. I can only remember maybe two games he missed my whole time here.”
NT VINCE WILFORK
Can you talk about the career former Texans WR Andre Johnson had here in Houston?
“It just goes to show you the grind that he has. He was always like that even when he was down at the University of Miami. We won a lot of games, we played a lot of games but he was just one of those big guys that could jump and run. You talk about an athlete, I mean, he is – if you paint a picture of a perfect athlete, you paint Dre. He’s just so physical, so big, smart. He knew the game inside and out. He was tough and durable. It’s hard to come by. But anytime you have a teammate and a brother leave the game, you kind of feel bad about it but at the same time you look back at his career. Hell of a career. One of the best to ever do it. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s always family, he knows that. We bleed orange and green no matter where we are at and who we are. I’m pretty sure that he’s pretty satisfied with his career. He should be.”
Do you think former Texans WR Andre Johnson belongs in the Hall of Fame?
“Absolutely. Absolutely. To do what he did for the number of years he did with the talent around him, it just goes to show you what type of athlete he was and what type of player he was. He was very dynamic. Stretch the field, can run all the routes, whatever you needed done at that position, he can do it. That’s one thing I always admired about his game. He wasn’t just a down the field type of guy, he would come across the middle. He was tough. He was physical. He was mean. He had the right attitude. He will be missed. He definitely will be missed. Congratulations for retiring buddy, but I know you got a lot more stuff up your sleeve other than football so enjoy.”