Did you send President Elect Donald Trump a letter or anything?
“No. I’m very focused on the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
What worries you most about the Jaguars?
“Very athletic. Fast football team in all three phases. Offensively, they ran the ball for 205 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re running the ball really well. Blake Bortles - when he’s on, he’s tough. He’s tough to stop. Defensively, they run to the football really well. They’re very good at what they do. They kind of they do what they do, if that makes sense, and they’re very good at it. Then on special teams, I think they have some dynamic returners. They’ve got Marqise Lee back there at times and Rashad Greene. They pose a lot of problems in all three phases.”
Is there anything you and Offensive Coordinator George Godsey can do during the extra time off to help QB Brock Osweiler reduce his interceptions?
“We’ve worked hard. The quarterback always gets blamed for interceptions. That’s always going to be the case in football. That’s just the way it is. We know as coaches when we study the tape it’s not all on Brock. Surely there’s been times when Brock could have made a better decision, but there’s also times where we could run a better route, we could protect better, somebody hit him, the ball was coming out, you know, things like that. We’ve worked very hard the past two days and with the players. Also during the bye week as a staff on trying to improve the passing game and hopefully we’ll see that on Sunday.”
Is RB Lamar Miller feeling better after having the week off and do you expect him to be back to full strength this weekend?
“I think he’ll be able to play. I’m not sure. You’d have to ask him how he’s feeling. I think it’s halfway through the season. He’s had a lot of carries. He’s done a good job for us. I don’t think anybody is feeling 100 percent is kind of what I’m driving at, but I do believe that he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.”
How difficult is it for young receivers to play a lot early and to adjust to the NFL?
“Great question. I would say that there’s been very few rookie receivers or tight ends that I’ve ever coached that have played a ton other than these guys that I’m coaching right now. Now you can go back to New England. Obviously Rob Gronkowski played a ton. But there weren’t many rookies, skill players that played for us a lot like that in New England when I was there. These guys have been counted on to play quite a bit whether it’s (Will) Fuller of Braxton (Miller) or Stephen Anderson. It’s not easy and I think that you’ll see improvement as we go along here. I think they’re getting better and better. I think Stephen Anderson is a good example of that. I think Will Fuller is dealing with some injury deals and he’s trying to get back to full strength. I think Braxton is playing a totally new position and every day is a new learning experience for him and he’s getting better and better. But it’s definitely a challenge for rookie receivers to play as rookies.”
Can you tell us how WR Will Fuller V is doing?
“I think he’s doing OK. I think he’s day-to-day. That’ll be more probably a decision that we’ll make towards the end of the week. Maybe not until gameday.”
Wide Receivers Coach Sean Ryan said that he would like WR Braxton Miller to play faster. How do you do that when a guy has such little experience and is going to be thinking so much?
“Well, that’s the thing. There’s no substitute for the repetitions whether it’s in practice with the quarterback or obviously in the games. There’s really no substitute for experience, so what we try to do is supplement the experience or lack thereof with film-watching, individual sessions like I’m going to meet with Braxton tomorrow. We’re going to watch some tape tomorrow. He meets obviously with Sean and George (Godsey) every single day. He meets with Brock (Osweiler). I think the more experience with all of those guys, the more experience they get the better they’re going to get.”
How is NT Vince Wilfork doing and how much confidence to you have in NT D.J. Reader going into the game on Sunday?
“I think Vince is feeling better and better. That’s kind of in the Will Fuller category of day-to-day. I have a lot of confidence in D.J. Reader. I think D.J. Reader is a very good, young football player. Has done a nice job as a rookie defensive lineman for us. Hard to move in the running game and he’s actually given us a little bit of inside pass rush on third down and things like that, so we have a lot of confidence in D.J. Reader.”
What did you see on tape or from talking to WR Braxton Miller during the draft that made you have an extra investment in him?
“Well, I think that kind of speaks for itself. You could watch a TV game and see the things that he was able to do in college, you know, out in space. Even when they moved him to receiver, the catches that he made. One-handed catches, catches across the middle, catches down the field, slip screen-type catches that he did. Then when we went and worked him out, we felt like he was a very good learner, which he is. Very smart guy and a very hard worker. We felt like he had the skill to do what we’re going to ask him to do and he does. He does and it just takes a while. It takes a while and I think he’s getting better and better. I know it doesn’t show maybe in the statistics, but we see it and we think that he’s going to be a really good player for us.”
You talked a lot about T Duane Brown and how much he has done for the offensive line. As a group, how do you think they’ve functioned as the season has gone on and did you change anything knowing that backups have had to take over?
“I think as a group, I’ve always taken a lot of pride in those guys because I think they’re a great group of guys and they work very hard. They’ve had to deal with some injuries this year or some guys not being in there in the beginning of the year like Duane. Now Newt (Derek Newton) being out. Lost Nick Martin. No excuses, but this is just facts. These are things that have happened during the year so these guys have been called upon to play different positions. Play guard, play tackle, you know, Greg Mancz jump in there and play center. I think they’re jelling. I think they’re getting better. I thought you saw that in the fourth quarter of the Detroit game and in order for us to win the way we need to win and improve on offense, we’re going to have to run the football and I think they’re getting better and better.”
What are your thoughts on the rushing defense and can you talk about your concerns regarding RB Chris Ivory and RB T.J. Yeldon?
“Every team is going to have either one or two backs that are going to be really difficult to stop. That’s just the way it is. This team is no different. You just named them. They’re very good. I think our rush defense showed a lot of improvement against Detroit, against what I consider a very good offense. (Theo) Riddick and those guys and the offensive line. I think that was good for us to have held them to 58 yards rushing and go into the bye week with that feeling, but we’ve got to do it every week. If we allow 150 yards rushing, things like that, we’re going to be behind the eight ball in these games. We’ve got to really do a good job of stopping the run.”
How has RB Alfred Blue developed throughout the year so that you’re comfortable using him?
“I think he’s done a good job. I think that he’s had a little bit of a decreased role from last year obviously with the addition of Lamar (Miller). He’s handled that well. He’s played decently for us on special teams and I think when he’s gotten his chances to run the football it’s been good. It’s been very good. I thought it was good against Detroit. In the Denver game, I thought he ran in there. He ran hard. We have a lot of confidence in Alfred. He’s done it for us in the past. That’s kind of the way it is in this league with backs. They get banged up midway through the season and you’ve got to go to a more rotational type deal just based on keeping guys fresh, keeping them healthy and Alfred has done a good job.”
What is the one thing that QB Brock Osweiler does well that makes you believe he can become more consistent over the second half?
“He does a lot of things well, but the one thing I would point to is he himself as a guy that prepares, works very hard, is in here morning, noon and night trying to communicate with the coaches. Prepare on his own. Communicate with his teammates. He works very hard at practice. He’s got a very good routine. I see a lot of things that he does well, but I know my faith in him is based on who he is and what he’s shown us from a work ethic standpoint since he’s been here.”
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR GEORGE GODSEY
Can you talk about how tough it is for rookie wide receivers in the NFL and the transition they have to make?
“There’s a lot of new faces really with the unit. When you’re a first year player, there’s a lot to learn. There’s a lot to learn from filling in substitution-wise. I think what we found out last week is – let’s just say for Braxton (Miller), we had a couple injuries happen at the receiver position so he now is in a position where he ran a couple plays and blocked a couple players in the running game that really never practiced just based on the nature of the reps that you get throughout a game week. There’s a lot in the meeting room that has to be digested. We’re counting on those guys and they know that’s part of the rule as an NFL player.”
What have you seen from defenses as they try to stop WR DeAndre Hopkins?
“There’s a lot of different ways defensively. Certainly, guys underneath and guys over the top. Guys in position to make plays and breaking out (in the open field). There’s also some one-on-one opportunities that when his number is called, he does a good job of coming through for us. Got to do a good job of finding him and then, like I said, play that game with defensively and offensively mixing and matching the calls.”
Is this part of the adjustment for WR DeAndre Hopkins after breaking out last season and becoming one of the top players at his position?
“Yeah and whether he’s matched by a certain defender the whole game, zoned off or whether it’s a blitz tactic to maybe get the ball out quicker, there’s a bunch of things defensively. And then from our standpoint, we have to be able to react and anticipate that.”
What are your thoughts on the leadership of T Duane Brown and his role in the offense? How good is it to have him back in the mix?
“It’s really good. His familiarity with, not only the personnel in the league, but also just the different schemes that you can see. You don’t have to spend a lot of time teaching him certain things, it’s kind of the complete opposite of the discussion we just had. Very good leader with that room, physical, works at it every day. He’s a pleasure to coach.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien said he believes QB Brock Osweiler will be successful because of how hard he works. What else can you tell us about Brock and why you believe in him?
“With the work ethic comes production and then obviously being able to learn from your mistakes. I think every game that he’s come in, whether it’s something that maybe didn’t look or be executed the way that maybe we wanted it in the game, he’s looked at it honestly and said, ‘Hey, this is what I can do better and this is how I’m going to improve and this is how, as a unit, we can do it.’ Whether it’s something on our end, another player, being on the same page, making sure the whole unit is cohesively working together. I mean, that’s the main thing about that position. The trust, whether it’s protection, route-running and where you’re going to be when the ball is thrown, then putting it there accurately.”
RB Alfred Blue has the best yards per carry in his career right now. What do you see is the difference in him?
“I know that one of the things that (Running Backs Coach) Charles London and as an offensive unit we had talked to him about is when you get a chance to hit the hole, get behind your pads. He’s physically an impressive young man that can generate some extra yardage on contact. He’s been able to do that and he’s been able to break those tackles. To be able to give Lamar (Miller) basically a break throughout the series or maybe for a series, it’s benefited us just overall offensively.”
Do you need to manage RB Lamar Miller’s touches and usage and does it help to have RB Alfred Blue behind him?
“It’s really a benefit that we have to be able to use both of those and kind of go back and forth by series, maybe within a series. Alfred’s been consistent and able to get through the line of scrimmage, like we said. It’s more of a credit to him really doing what we had asked in the offseason. Both those two guys together, they’ve been part of the reason for the success in the running game.”
RB ALFRED BLUE
Head Coach Bill O’Brien and Offensive Coordinator George Godsey talked about the success you’ve had. What has happened for you this year that has worked so well?
“Just getting in there – me and O’Brien talked at the beginning – just being that guy that when you’re called upon, go out there and make things happen on special teams and offense. That’s just the mindset I go out there with, when my number’s called, to go out there and make a play for the team.”
How much confidence can you take from and how much can you build on how well you ran the ball late in the game against Detroit?
“When people know you’re going to run it, you just have to have that in you, that determination to go down the O-line, the O-line knows we’re about to line up and play backyard football, just get in there and slash it downhill and keep on pounding.”
That seems like LSU football and everything we’re ever seen you do.
“Yeah. Back at LSU, we rotated a lot of backs in there and just ran the ball, ran down defenses’ throats. I think that’s the mindset. I get in there, I tell the O-line, ‘Man, it’s time to go. Make it happen. I’ll make you all right.’ When I get in there, that’s the mindset I have to go in there, just run the ball down hill.”
Are you used to rotating running backs since you did it at LSU?
“I think it’s helpful for everybody. It’s not that wear and tear on one back. For you to rotate like that, everybody’s fresh. When one person gets in the game, it just makes everybody on the team, in the backfield want to go out there and make another play. If one guy – Lamar (Miller) – gets in there and breaks 70 yards, I’m thinking when I get in there I have to break 70 yards, 75 yards. It’s just that friendly competition in the backfield that makes us go.”
When RB Lamar Miller started running the ball a little bit better, you kind of did as well. Is there a little bit of the good competition?
“Yeah. It’s that competition like, man, you get in there, do what you do, when I get in there, I’m going to do what I’m going to do, and we’re just going to keep pounding down their throats. The coaches rotate us in and out, and that’s how the O-line - they get a feel with a different guy in there. It’s hard for the defense to account for different people that come in the game.”
What are some of the keys to getting off to better starts on the road?
“Penalty-free, man. Turnovers and penalty-free. You can’t beat yourselves. You can’t turn the ball over and you can’t have the simple penalties – offsides and stuff like that, personal fouls. If we can clean that up and do that, I think we’ll be good.”
T DUANE BROWN
Can you talk about the importance of this road game?
“We’re confident. We’re confident. We know it’s going to be a challenge. Jacksonville always plays us pretty tough. They got a lot of talent over there, but we’re looking to get our first road win. That’s all we’re focused on.”
Can you share your thoughts on the election?
“Congratulations to (Donald) Trump and his campaign. Interested to see how everything goes in the country moving forward. That’s about it.”
What do you think is the key to being better on the road?
“I think starting fast. Bring a lot of energy. I think that’s been our kind of Achilles heel this season. I think having energy and starting fast, everything else will fall into place. I think the execution will fall into place and just keeping it going, you know, for four quarters.”
How important is it for the team to start winning on the road with so many road games coming up?
“Very important. Very important to get on track. Get our first win on the road. Big division opponent. All those things factor in.”
Do you think it will just take one road win to get you guys going for the remainder of the season?
“I mean I don’t think you can concern yourself too much with what’s happened before or what’s going to happen after this week. I think we’re just more so focused on winning a divisional game against a competent opponent. That’s all we’re really worried about.”
What have you seen from the offensive line as you move forward with the season?
“Guys have been playing hard, man. We’ve been battling with injuries and things like that, but it’s good to see the guys fight hard. We’ve been running the ball pretty well. Last week we did a good job in pass protection. Just trying to keep that going. Proud of the way guys have been fighting up front. I’m excited to be out there with them contributing.”
When you look at Jacksonville, can you recognize them as a team that has made some big strides this season?
“Yeah you never can just base a team off of their record. Jacksonville is a tough team to play. You look at their losses. Besides a couple, they’ve lost by three to five points and have been in the games for the most part. We definitely respect them. We know the kind of talent they have over there. We know it’s going to take a full team effort in four quarters to win.”
Were you glued to your TV set during the election last night?
“For a little while. Then I went to sleep. I knew it was going to drag out a while. About 10:30, 11 o’clock I was asleep.”
DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
How much do you feel like the Jaguars liked you coming out of the draft and were you close to ending up with them if the Texans hadn’t picked you?
“I think they liked me a lot. I do. Gus Bradley was a good guy when I met him and talked to him. He was saying all good things to me and it sounded good, so I felt a connection with Gus just talking to him when I was first coming out.”
DE Antonio Smith talked about how much a game-changer you are. How does it make you feel to know he has that much confidence in you?
“It’s great. Antonio came in and became a big part of what we’re trying to put together. He came in and took control from day one. He was a leader from day one, just talking to the young guys and telling us what we want to hear and what he’s been through. Listening to him just makes you try to come just as great. What he’s been through and how he got there, he wanted you to be better so I just come to work every day.”
How much confidence does that give you knowing DE Antonio Smith believes in you?
“It’s great confidence. He’s been through it a lot of years in the league. Just hearing it from him and Vince (Wilfork) and all the guys on the team, it builds my confidence up a lot. Knowing the guys around you trust in me and believe in me, so I got out there and play for them guys.”
What do you think it will take to become a good road team?
“We’ve got to pack our defense on the road. Bring our own energy. We need to bring energy on the road as a team and not worry about nothing else going on or how we got there or anything. Just come out there with who we came with and just play as a team and bring our own energy.”
Is it difficult to do that on the road?
“I think so. I think it’s all on us when we go on the road. I think it’s all on us. We talk about it a lot, just packing our defense and coming out and getting big stops to put our offense in a good situation. We need to start picking up on the turnovers. We need to get the ball on the other half of the field and get some turnovers for our offense and put them in good field position. I think it’s going to be on the defense, we have to just bring it, bring our A game coming off a bye week. We need to play good this week.”
Is it all about the team getting off to a faster start on the road?
“Yeah, we have to get off the field. Get a three-and-out, make some turnovers, get off the field and give the ball to our offense to go down and score. Keep playing complimentary football. We will come out with a victory if we can get that done.”
Would winning the first road game of the season help to get it off your chest?
“Yeah, the start of something nice. We need to win on the road. We’re going to be on the road over the next half of our season a lot. It’s going to start with this game right here. We need to go in, play well and come out of there with a victory.”
What have you seen from Jaguars QB Blake Bortles?
“I think he looks to run the ball. We need to stop him and make him pass the ball on us. Make him beat us with his arm, not let him beat us with his leg. We’re going to try to coral him, stop the run and make him beat us with his arm.”
What have you seen from CB A.J. Bouye this season?
“He’s been locking down guys. A.J. has been playing good ball. He came in playing good ball in OTAs. We could see the big improvement, everybody on the team saw the improvement. A.J. is doing his thing, playing well and everybody is loving it. He’s picking it up and helping our defense. That’s what we need, players to pick it up and help the defense.”
WR DeANDRE HOPKINS
What stands out to you when you look at the Jaguars on film?
“Their speed. They’re a very fast defense. They move around. A lot of guys attack the ball.”
What will be the key to getting your first road win?
“Just going out, playing as a team. All phases – special teams, offense and defense – just putting a complete game together on the road. I think that would be key for us to get a victory.”
T Duane Brown talked about the importance of starting fast. Is that something everyone is focused on?
“Yeah. I mean, every time we start fast it usually turns out in our favor, so that’s certainly something that we also focus on the road. It’s something we haven’t done yet.”
Are there any intangibles that you need to do better on the road?
“Starting fast. Starting fast, like Duane (Brown) said. Usually when we start fast, we get things rolling after we get that first first down, things start going in our favor.”
How nice was it to get that break during the bye?
“It’s great. It’s much needed, much needed. That’s the reason why they give it to all the teams. You know, just getting away from football, relax and focus on something else that you love or are passionate about. Hanging out with your family.”
What’s so important about taking a mental break?
“It’s big because a lot of this game is mental. When you play 16 games, you have a lot to think about, a lot of different things going on, not just football but outside of football also. So, just getting that break is big.”
What are you focusing on most for yourself in the back half of the season?
“Just being a complete player. Not being one-dimensional, not just being known as a guy who lines up on the outside and only catches jump balls, but moving around and just being an expert at all parts of this offense, not just the outside position.”
What’s important for getting these young receivers going?
“Just keeping their bodies fresh. They’re good football players, they go out there and make plays. But just keeping them fresh, just telling them to do little things, get in the training room and focus on things they might not think are as big but later on could be.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
Do you and RB Alfred Blue feed off of each other on the football field?
“Yes. Of course. We compete every day in practice. Once he gets his opportunity to make plays, they give me that motivation to make plays too. So it’s just a friendly competition right there. We just try to help this team win any way that’s possible.”
You’re on pace for a career high on carries. Can you talk about how you’re doing?
“I’m doing pretty good. Just taking care of my body. Just trying to get right for this upcoming Sunday.”
Running Backs Coach Charles London was saying that you don’t have much tread off the tire because your workload with the Dolphins was relatively small. Is that helping you?
“Yes. I think it helps me. I think that just factors in just taking care of your body, you know, getting massages, staying in the training room, just doing all the little things. I think that helped a lot.”
Did you do much today at practice or was this a light day for you?
“In between. Just getting a couple plays in. The most important part right now is just making sure I’m healthy for the game. Just taking reps with the team and just try to get comfortable.”
How much better do you feel after the bye week?
“It felt good. I got away. I was getting treatment here and in Miami and just spending time with my family. That’s pretty much it. I think it’s good to get away from football for a little bit. That’s the most important part. Just spending that time with your family.”
Do you feel like you’ll be back to full strength on Sunday?
“Hopefully. I’m just getting a lot of treatment right now. Just trying to get better. Hopefully this Sunday I’ll be good.”
Do you feel a lot better than you did a week ago?
“Yes. Last week helped me out a lot, you know, just resting and just taking care of my body, getting treatment and stuff like that. That week helped me out a lot.”
What have you seen from the Jaguars linebackers as far as speed and pursuit?
“They’re fast. They’re a fast, fluent linebacker group. We just got to do a great job at just being decisive, getting four to five yards, tough yards. Eventually the big runs will come, but they’re a fast, fluent defense, so we just got to do a good job at just making the offensive lineman right.”
What do you think will be the key to winning on the road?
“I just think we just got to be consistent. We got to communicate. Make sure everybody is on the same page. I think we should be good.”
QB BROCK OSWEILER
You got to spend time around T Duane Brown before he came back. Can you talk about what he means to the offense, and have you spent time with him away from football?
“Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think I have enough time to really fully explain what having Duane back in the lineup means to this football team, and just to have him in the locker room, period. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to spend time with Duane at a few charity events. I’ve been able to spend time with him every Thursday night. The offensive line and quarterbacks, we all go and do a group dinner. Like I said, I’ve been very fortunate to get to know him over the few months that I’ve been here. He’s a tremendous person and a hell of a football player. Just to have him back in there, have him on that left side, I don’t worry about what’s going on back there because I know Duane not only is doing his job but he’s doing it at an extremely high level. So, just having him healthy, back in the huddle, back in the locker room, words can’t really describe how much it means to this football team.”
The Texans have made a commitment to go with a lot of young receivers this year. Do you ever talk to them behind the scenes or on the sideline to keep their spirits up when they’re not producing the way they want to?
“I think the communication between myself and the entire receivers – and skill positions, for that matter – is great. I know in games I sit right next to the receivers on the bench. We’re constantly talking. In practice, if the defense is on the field, we’re on the sidelines, we’re talking. When we’re doing drills, we’re talking. In the meeting room, all the receivers sit directly behind me. So, there’s really not a point in time during the day or a game when we’re not communicating. I think, as you guys are seeing, it’s been a long process to develop chemistry and I think just the way this offense is ran and how we game plan week-to-week, it is going to take time. But I think the very exciting thing is all those receivers, all the tight ends, all the running backs, everybody comes to practice every single day and works extremely hard to get better and to build that chemistry. So, I can’t wait to see what we do in the future, and it’s all because of those guys and their hard work.”
Can you talk about RB Alfred Blue’s role, and do you see him continuing the same role the second half of the season?
“Absolutely. I expect Alfred to continue to play at a very high level, and I think the production that he has isn’t a surprise to anybody in this building, and it goes back to his work ethic and his attention to detail. Does he get the majority of the reps in practice? Usually not. But when he steps into the game, he knows exactly what he’s supposed to do, he does his assignment and he does it at a very high level. Alfred is a very physical runner. He hits the hole hard and he keeps his legs pumping. Like I said, it comes to no surprise that he’s having the success that he is, because we see it every single day in this building.”
No quarterback wants to throw interceptions. How do you stay focused and keep your confidence when things like that happen during the course of a game, especially when a throw could impact the entire complexion of a game?
“Of course. I think it’s all about playing the next play. It’s a mentality that I’ve heard since I was in college. Good or bad, regardless of what happened on the previous play, learn from it and then throw it behind you and move forward. So, that’s really how I work. At the end of the day, when I’ve thrown an interception in a game, it’s something that obviously I don’t want to have take place, but sometimes those mistake happen. I think at the point in time it’s all about realizing you can’t go back on that mistake, you can’t fix it right there in the present time, so let it go and play the next play. Then, come Monday, step into the film room, dissect the play and learn from it so you don’t make that mistake twice.”
Have you done some self-study as a team and thought about what things have gone wrong on the road? What can you change to get a win on the road this week?
“I think it boils down to just a few things. The old saying is this game is a game of inches, and it really is. Just a couple fine little tweaks can change your whole season, so when we went back over the bye week and did a little self-scout, obviously I think there’s two things that really jump out – three things, for that matter. No. 1, ball security. I need to clean that up, limit the interceptions, and that is something I will do. The second thing would be just convert more third downs. That comes down to the entire group. That’s me throwing accurate passes, finding the right matchup, throwing it on time, it’s the line, it’s the receivers, it’s everybody working as a whole to convert more third downs, to keep us on the field, to allow us to score more points. Then, when we get into the red area, there’s been a few times where we get down there and then we have either a penalty or maybe I take a sack, or some kind of negative play that sets us off schedule just a little bit. It seems like we end up settling for field goals when we do that, so if we can just hone in a little bit more, have some laser focus in the red area and on third down, hopefully that will lead to some more points, and then ultimately that will lead to more wins.”
You promised you would get away from football for a few days during the bye. Did you follow through on that? How does that help you with your enthusiasm and optimism for what this team can do in the second half?
“I did. I got completely away from football, and I think that’s very important. Not only during the bye week do you need to rest your body physically, but I think you need to rest mentally. We put in so much time and effort to studying game plans, studying opponent film, practice – it’s just mental, mental, mental. I think physically and mentally it’s very important to get away during the bye week. I was very fortunate to be able to do that. We had a little team Halloween deal on Monday night, which was a lot of fun. Then everybody got out of town. It was a really good week. I think everybody hit the reset button. We came back Monday, we had a tremendous practice. Everybody seemed very fresh. It was kind of like the first day of school again, first day of training camp, if you will. Everyone’s flying around, smiles and making plays. That was able to carry over to today as well. I’d say this team got away from it all and came back very fresh and ready to make a second half push.”
What does it say about you as a quarterback that you’re 10-5 as a starter and you’re 3-0 in overtime games?
“I think, really at the end of the day, it just means I’ve been surrounded by tremendous coaches and teammates. I believe that good or bad, football is the ultimate team sport, and no matter how good one player is offensively or defensively, they can’t win or lose a ballgame by themselves. So, I think, to be honest I didn’t even know that stat, but I think that just means I’ve been very fortunate to be around great coaches and great, great teammates.”
Who taught you to take the blame when things go bad but pass the credit when they go well? You always do that.
“You know, I think at the end of the day, it’s probably my parents. My dad, John, and my mom, Kathy. I was very fortunate at a young age to have my dad coach all my little guy football teams and baseball teams. He didn’t know much about basketball but he would coach those teams as well. They instilled some great values in me, and at the end of the day, all the credit has to go to my parents.”
DE ANTONIO SMITH
QB Brock Osweiler said everything is in place for this team to make a push in the second half. Do you sense that?
“Definitely. We’re in a perfect position. Me, myself, I’m a big underdog dude. So you’re right there in a good schedule, right under everybody’s radar where you can just be knocking down wins and nobody ever recognizes you, and all of a sudden, bam, you’re right where you need to be. These are the months you need to do that. You have to knock the wins down early on, but every coach, everybody knows what’s most important is winning in these months, these later months, December and November – the late months in the year where your team can get on a good roll and just plow through the playoffs. I think that’s what the race is to, is who can create the best team coming into those last weeks of December.”
Do you feel like one road win can be the wakeup call and get things rolling?
“I think so. I think we just need a road win. It’s a feat we haven’t conquered yet here lately. So, I definitely feel like we need one just to kind of get that ball rolling, get that confidence going and playing on the road, learning how to go into places and pull wins out and be confident in it going into the next one.”
How big of an impact can DE Jadeveon Clowney have for this team and how much do you need him to have that impact defensively?
“I love watching him, so I need him to dominate and to have that impact every game. That’s what I tell him. I told him, ‘You’re a game-changer. You’re a guy who coaches have to account for when they’re going into their game plan during the week. That means, actually, you can change the outcome of games. If you turn that switch on in these last games of the season, if you dominate and be the best guy at your position for the rest of this year, that would be paramount in helping us get to our goal, to the playoffs and toward the Super Bowl.’”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH JAGUARS HEAD COACH GUS BRADLEY
What do you remember about Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney from the draft process? He said he enjoyed talking to you.
“Yeah, I do remember. He was great in our visit. Obviously a guy that caliber, you have him in to your place, too. We just got a chance to spend a lot of time with him. I did, I really did enjoy him. Very talented player. It’s really cool to see him now, I mean, as far as playing the run, the pass, his effort, and he’s really coming into his own.”
What have you seen from Texans CB A.J. Bouye and his development? He had an interception in the game at your place last year.
“He’s a guy that we talked a lot about in our meetings, just how he’s developed. I mean, he’s playing at a high level, plays tight coverage. They play a lot of quarters and do some different looks on the back end, and I think he fits into their scheme really well. It’s a challenging coverage and he stands up to it and is playing with a great deal of confidence.”
What do you think it’s going to take for QB Blake Bortles to get to the level you both want him to be?
“I think, for Blake, he’s really hard on himself. He’ll take the criticism and deflect the praise. That’s, I think, why teammates love him. But I think the interceptions are a big part of it. That’s the part that we need to clean up from our team. We had four turnovers in the Kansas City game, which ended up being a big part of it. When you do that, you’re not going to win many games. I know, for him, having the interceptions, it takes a big part out of him and he wants to clean that part up out of his game. Until he gets to where he doesn’t turn the ball over and he makes good decisions and his completion percentage is high – but he has a real high standard as well.”
What’s missing from your club right now that is keeping it from getting to the level that you want to be at?
“We do feel that we are much more talented than any year that we’ve been here, through our draft and free agency. We got a great locker room. It’s just frustrating that we haven’t been able to put it all together. I think there’s been times where we’ve played very good defensive football and then the offense was sporadic. Last week was a good sign for us offensively, but we just haven’t scored many points in the first half, especially in the first quarter. I think that part, we always tried to emphasize starting fast and it just hasn’t come to fruition for us. Hopefully, you know, I think we’re trying to have more of a commitment to the run game to be more balanced, and that can help us put more points on the board. But I think last week, other than the turnovers, it felt like all three units played together. I think that’s what we’re striving for, but that’s one game. I think this is an important week for us to come out and to do that again and play a cleaner style of football.”
The Texans have really struggled on the road with slow starts. Is that something you guys think you can take advantage of if you can score early?
“We don’t look too much at that. I know they’ve had some tough opponents, some teams that are pretty talented they played on the road. We’ve got a lot of respect for them. They play a very aggressive style of football and defense. Their offense, they’re talented. They’ve got the wideouts, obviously, the running back was a great pickup for them. (Lamar) Miller is doing a good job, and the offensive line. I think they’re probably waiting, too. They feel like they’ve got the pieces. It’s just putting it all together. We just want to make sure that doesn’t happen in Jacksonville because at any time it can click for a team. So, I think for us, we have enough things to worry about with ourselves to take care of, too. I think that, you know, our focus is on that.”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH JAGUARS QB BLAKE BORTLES
What do you remember about CB A.J. Bouye from your college days at UCF together?
“I remember it was a challenge throwing against – I mean, we had him and Josh Robinson, who got drafted by Minnesota. They were the two corners for a couple years there, so it was a pretty good defensive backfield. It was good to go against those guys. A.J. has always been a good player. I think what’s special about A.J. is how hard he works at it. He was always a guy that spent a ton of extra time working on his craft. I think he’d be the first to tell you it’s part of the reason he is where he is today. He’s been fun to watch. It’s been fun to watch him continue to get better year after year and week after week. I look forward to seeing him and playing against him.”
Do you think being more consistent could help turn your season around?
“Yeah, I think so. I think there’s a lot of different things you could point at to say why we aren’t where we want to be. I think when it comes down to it, we have all the right people in this building now. I think Nathaniel (Hackett) is doing an unbelievable job as offensive coordinator. I think he did a good job last week. I think we have the right players in position. I think it just comes down to going out and making plays. Execution and consistency. We have to find a way to do it on a consistent basis. I think the biggest thing for us right now is figuring out how to not turn the ball over.”
How do you feel like you are generally playing?
“I would say below average. I would say personally I’m not far away from playing well. I don’t think I’ve played good yet. I don’t think our offense has played anywhere near it’s potential of who we can be. But I don’t think we’re far from it. I think it’s that consistency of execution that we talked about, to kind of find that. I think that’s for me personally as well.”
How is your receiving tandem an asset for you?
“They’re awesome. They do a good job. Both Allen’s (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) and then having Marqise (Lee) healthy this year has been a huge help. He’s done a great job, so those three have really done a really good job. They definitely make my job a lot easier.”
What do you think about DE Jadeveon Clowney and what he’s done this year?
“It’s exciting. I look forward to playing against him. We were talking about, earlier today, I don’t think we’ve ever had the chance to play against him in the three years that we’ve been here. It’s exciting. We’re looking forward to it. He’s a guy that a lot of us know. Came out in the same class with him three years ago. Had a chance to play him in college. Obviously, an unbelievable player and has been playing extremely well this year. We look forward to playing him and are going to have to be on it and able to take care of him.”
What do you think about the Texans defense this season without DE J.J. Watt?
“I think anytime you lose a guy like J.J., it’s going to hurt. A guy that’s year in and year out an MVP candidate and Defensive Player of the Year candidate, obviously a special player, so that’s going to hurt. But I think upfront you still got, with Whitney Mercilus and (Jadeveon) Clowney and (Benardrick) McKinney, obviously (Vince) Wilfork in the middle and (John) Simon. There are some guys up front that are still some unbelievable football players. I think in the secondary, it’s a group of guys that know and have been around a lot of football. I mean, between (Kareem) Jackson, (Johnathan) Joseph, (A.J.) Bouye, it’s some experienced guys that have seen some ball.”
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN’S CONFERNCE CALL WITH JACKSONVILLE MEDIA (Transcribed by Jaguars PR)
(On his assessment of QB Brock Osweiler) “I think there has been improvement with the whole offense and I think that includes Brock. I think that we have shown flashes of being the type of offense that we want to be, but it clearly is not enough and none of us are happy where we are offensively. I think that Brock has done a really good job of coming in here and really pouring himself into learning our offense and I think that hopefully over the second half of the season you’ll see our offense get better.”
(On struggling to win on the road) “It’s tough. We would say we played New England, played Minnesota, played Denver – tough environments and they got ahead of us early, 10-0, 14-0. And I think when that happens, especially Minnesota and New England, when that happens to you on the road that is very difficult to come back from. I thought we played better against Denver. Obviously not good enough, but I thought it was better. I know this one is going to be very tough for us in Jacksonville.”
(On Allen Robinson and receivers having to fight through double teams and the difficulty of facing double teams for the first time) “It’s tough. It’s a show of respect for him. I think he’s an excellent football player. Obviously I’m very biased because he meant a lot to me at Penn State and to us at Penn State. I’m not surprised by how he’s playing. I think he’s the type of player that even if you have him doubled he can still make a play and that’s what is dangerous about Allen. It doesn’t matter how you cover him or who you cover him, he’s going to get his share of plays and make his share of plays. You have to try to limit those.”
(On if it is advantageous to be the second team to face a team after making a change at coordinator) “I think it’s a tough deal because I know Nathaniel and I’m a close friend of Doug Marrone and I have a ton of respect for those guys as coaches. I think it’s tough because you really don’t know what you’re going to see based on just one game. I thought that they ran the ball excellently against Kansas City. They very easily could have won that game at Kansas City, which is a very, very difficult environment to play in. I think this is going to be a very tough game. I think we’re going to have to show up ready to go right from the start. It’s going to be very challenging.”
(On if the Jaguars ran different run plays last week as compared to in the past) “I don’t know if it was different. They were pounding it and they were doing a good job. It was a couple different schemes and formations and different personnel groups. It is a challenge and it’s something – we were good against Detroit stopping the run, but the week before that not as good. We have been inconsistent stopping the run, so we have to do a great job of coming in there ready to stop the run.”
(On Todd Wash’s defense) “I really think Jacksonville – when we played them and when we prepared for them I have always had a lot of respect for what they do because they do what they do. I know that sounds cliché. They really believe in what they do and they do it well. They break on the ball in the passing game. They do a great job of reading the quarterback. They have a good third down package. They are very stout up front, even without Roy Miller. They are still stout up front. They are not easy to run the ball on. It’s a defense that is really good in the red area. They don’t give you a lot of room in the red area. It’s a big challenge.”
(On the importance of getting a turnover early in the game) “The past two years we’ve been pretty good. The first year we were real good at it. Last year, the second half of the year, it picked up for us, the takeaway-turnover ratio. This year we are obviously behind the eight-ball. We are probably last in the league in that category. That really is a stat that points right towards winning or losing. We have to do a better job of taking care of it on offense. It starts with that. I think if you don’t turn the ball over on offense you give yourself a real good chance to win. Then if you can take it away a couple times on defense you’re definitely giving yourself a chance to win, and on special teams. We have to try to do a better job of that.”
(On the play of DE Jadeveon Clowney) “He’s been good. I think he’s had a good year. He’ been disruptive, he’s having a lot of fun out there. We’ve done a lot of different things with him. I think he’s had an impact on every game that he has played in. It doesn’t always look that way on the stat sheet, but when you put the tape on you can see where he is really impacting the game. That’s good. That’s really good.”
(On the matchup of Jalen Ramsey and DeAndre Hopkins) “Ramsey, we all studied him in the draft. He has great length, great athleticism, good ball skills, very instinctive player and he can play at a lot of different positions. Corner, he can probably play safety. He can do a lot of different things. It’s a big challenge for us. Hop(kins) and him, those are the matchups that make the NFL. Those type of guys going against each other, that’s what the NFL is all about.”
(On RB Lamar Miller) ”I would say first of all, him as a person. He’s a pro. He’s the same guy every day. He’s very professional in his work ethic, he has done a great job in our locker room. He’s a quiet guy who leads by example, but he is a very hard working guy. Then I think running the ball he’s done an excellent job for us. He’s one of the main reasons why we’re 5-3. He’s been able to get us some tough running yards in the games that we have won.”
WR DeANDRE HOPKINS’ CONFERENCE CALL WITH JACKSONVILLE MEDIA (Transcribed by Jaguars PR)
(On how the Texans can fix their road record) “I’m out there trying to get a win, man. The NFL is a long season. You got to put the bad games behind you and move on.”
(On 5-3 record) “I like that we’re number one in our division. That’s the most thing I like about the team right now.”
(On what he looks forward to matching up with Jalen Ramsey) “My mindset is I don’t really look at the name on the back of a jersey. I focus on what I got to do and not the person across from me. So first round draft pick, that really doesn’t mean anything when you go out there on the field and you’re battling. He’s been having a good year so looking forward to it.”
(On how much of a challenge is it to have one person shadow him the entire game) “I love that. I love that. That means that guy thinks he can do a better job and help his team win than I can. So I take that personal honestly when a guy follows me around, but I love it.”
(On his chemistry with Brock Osweiler) “My numbers aren’t where they need to be, the statistics, but if you look at the film you’ll see that I’m helping my team out in a major way by drawing double teams, by drawing extra coverage from the secondary, leaving other NFL players one-on-one to win their matchup.”
(On if it’s been harder to develop the chemistry with Osweiler) “No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t at all. It’s just the game of football. You’re not going be able to complete every pass and I’m not going to be able to catch every catch even though I want to and that’s our mindset is to be great as an NFL football player. This is a new offense for him so I don’t expect the guy to come in and master this offense through the first eight games and I hope others don’t either.”
(On how much patience has he had to show with his numbers not where he wants) “Our team is number one in our division so whatever I’m doing, whatever my presence is in the football field, it’s better than having numbers and my team not being number one in our division if you ask me. So right now I’m in a good place. It’s not really a numbers game for me, it’s more my team winning the ultimate goal.”
(On Lamar Miller’s contribution to offense) “He’s done a lot. He’s done a lot. Just the way he’s been running the ball, those big games are everything. What he’s been doing has been helping us a lot to be where we are right now.”
(On how much has he tried to mentor Will Fuller and Braxton Miller) “Those are two guys that are very football, they have a great football IQ. They come from two good colleges; you can tell, they pick up on things fast so I haven’t had to do a lot of coaching I would say, because those guys pick up on things fast. They watch and they learn.”