HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Can you update us on the status of NT Vince Wilfork?
“Vince is definitely day-to-day. I think with Vince and (Brian) Peters – I would say the only guy that I would say is probably out right now would be (Jaelen) Strong. So hopefully that can put an ixnay on a bunch of questions about injuries.”
Do you practice forcing turnovers extra when it’s not happening a lot?
“I don’t know if you do it extra. I think it’s more about continuing to practice it and emphasize it. Emphasize it. When it does happen in practice, show it to them on tape to explain to them why it happened. It was a batted ball, it was keeping good leverage in coverage, it was a chance to strip sack the quarterback or maybe it was a special team’s play. It’s about emphasizing it on film. We’re out there now, you’re into the ninth week or ninth game of the season and you just can’t be out there forever. You’re still going to drill it but you’re not going to add anything or any amount of time to it.”
When you look at the Jaguars’ speed on defense, what do you see from their linebackers especially?
“(Telvin) Smith can fly. Very productive player, very productive player. I think that (Paul) Posluszny is playing really well. I think he’s a tackling machine. I mean, he was playing in Buffalo when I was in New England, the guy’s been around a long time. Obviously a Penn State guy so I’m fairly biased towards him but he’s a heck of a linebacker. Smith is making a lot of plays, like I said. Myles Jack has been a good addition to what they do. (Johnathan) Cyprien plays down there in a linebacker type of position quite a bit. (Aaron) Colvin plays nickel. They all can run. They all are around the ball.”
Are you going to need more from WR Braxton Miller with WR Jaelen Strong out?
“Whether Strong was in there or not, I think that Braxton has taken steps to improve. I think he’s had a really good week of practice, so regardless of who’s in there or who’s not in there, I think Braxton will have an opportunity to take that step, if that makes sense.”
Has C Greg Mancz gotten better each week?
“I think he’s done a good job. It’s not an easy position to be in when you’ve been injured and then you’re called upon to be a starter and play as many snaps as he’s played. We say all the time that we’re thankful that we have him. When we lost Nick (Martin) – we really feel like Nick is going to be a heck of a player for us – but we lost him in training camp to a pretty significant injury and had to put him on IR. Greg stepped in and, look, just like everybody he probably wishes there were some plays he could have back, but overall he’s played solidly for us.”
How much does having TE Stephen Anderson back and having all three tight ends at your disposal?
“I think that the tight ends have been very productive this year. Stephen, when he’s been healthy and been in there, he’s helped us in his own way, his own role. I think he’s getting better and better. You can do different things with him. You wouldn’t qualify him as an inline blocker. He’s more of a receiving tight end, so he does some different things for us. But we think he’s improving every week.”
Do you think DE Antonio Smith has meant more to the team in the locker room and interacting with players?
“I think so. I think the guy has really done a good job in the locker room. He’s a very positive guy. He’s got a great attitude every day. You can hear him talking to different guys in the locker room. Very positive, a pro’s pro. I’m glad we have him. I think he’s worked his way back into football shape, where he can help us on the field even more. I think he’s been a really good addition to the locker room.”
What type of things do you need to worry about when playing on the road compared to at home?
“It is a different routine. When you’re at home, you have the ability to go home on Saturdays after the morning meetings and walkthrough, things like that. You have your hotel that you’re staying in every year and every week. On the road, it’s just a little bit different routine. It’s the travel. It’s the different hotel or whatever. But at the end of the day, I think the great thing about going on the road, and obviously we haven’t shown it on the field yet this year, is that you’re with your team and you have those 53 or 46 players on the active gameday roster, the coaching staff, the training staff, the video staff, the equipment staff, that’s all you need. That’s the mentality to go out on the road against a very tough team and have that kind of group mentality that, ‘Hey look, this is all we need and we’re going to go out there and play a good football game.’ I think there’s a lot to be said for that. Now, we really need to improve on the road and take that mentality to heart.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
What have you seen from the Jaguars’ receiving corps and the trio of guys they have?
“They’ve got nice-sized receivers, they work hard during the course of the game, they had some opportunities. I think that they are dangerous guys. We’re going to have to do a good job. They have three of them that line up that we have to do, because they are basically an 11 personnel team, so all three of them are on the field at the same time.”
What do you think of Jaguars RB Chris Ivory as a back?
“I like him a lot. I think he’s a hard runner, downhill-style guy, breaks tackles. We’re going to have to do a good job of squaring him up and wrapping him up.”
What do you see from Jaguars QB Blake Bortles and his ability to escape the pocket and use his legs?
“Yeah, he can escape and it’s hard to catch him when he decides to run. We have to do a good job of rush lane discipline and not give him those scramble lanes, because if the ball is not open down the field, then he’ll tuck it and take off, and he’s hard to tackle, hard to catch. Usually when he does that he runs for a first down.”
What do you think is the key to getting on the right track on the road this week?
“Just playing good, solid football. If we do that, stop the run, rush the passer, try to get some turnovers, I think those things can help us win.”
How much will having a healthy ILB Brian Cushing help you in the second half of the season?
“I think Brian brings a lot to the table. Brings some leadership, brings some toughness, brings some physicality, his experience. So, I think that him being pretty much full speed, I think that helps everybody around him and helps the unit quite a bit.”
Why do you think you’re not getting those turnovers?
“Well, they’re just not quite happening. We are impacting the quarterback. We’re not having the opportunity to strip the ball as much, didn’t have as many opportunities on interceptions. We’ve had our hands on a couple this year but not as many as a couple of years ago. You have to make your own luck as far as that goes, and we’re not making enough of it.”
CB A.J. BOUYE
Has Jaguars QB Blake Bortles carried his dangerous ability in college to the next level?
“I can agree with that. He’s an athlete. I’ve known that since he got to UCF and he shows it on the field. He’s a great competitor. He’s strong. He’s big. On top of that if you can run and you can throw, you know you’re a threat in this league and he’s shown that.”
What’s the key to you guys winning on the road?
“At the end of the day, it’s just us out there, so we got to stick together, play great complimentary ball. When we’re not on the field as a defense, cheering on special teams, offense, vice versa, which is what we’ve really been doing. Just playing and taking advantage of the turnovers when we get them and just getting more turnovers to put our offense in a better position.”
Is there anything that is more difficult when you go on the road?
“I mean at the end of the day, it’s 11 guys on the field on each side, so you try not to look at it that way, you know, the crowd is going to be the crowd. You got to tune out all the noise and distractions. Just stay locked in and that’s the main thing. Just staying locked in.”
When you say you know Jaguars QB Blake Bortles is going to come at you what do you mean?
“Yeah I mean it’s happened for the last two years. I’ve already expected that and it’s going to happen again because that’s what’s going to happen. He’s going to try each DB that’s out there. That’s him. That’s his mindset. He’s going to want you to show him that you’re going to be able to play or that you’re ready to play. I’m going in with that mindset. Everybody else is going in with that mindset, so we’ll be ready.”
When you say Jaguars QB Blake Bortles is going to come after you, is it because of who you are?
“No. No. Just because I’m a DB and I know Blake is a competitor. That’s basically the same thing I’m saying.”
When you self-scout during the bye week, did you identify anything specific you can do to cause more turnovers?
“As far as self-scout, one thing I just did I just studied myself really. I wasn’t really looking at any other players because at the end of the day I know that they were studying themselves. There’s certain things that I know I could work on. Certain plays and stuff that I expect and then just putting myself in a better opportunity to make those plays when they come.”
What have you seen from Jaguars WR Allen Hurns and WR Allen Robinson on film?
“They got great catch radius. Strong guys. They’re competitors just like us. They’re playing until the end of the whistle. They’re very crafty so you got him, the other Allen, then you have Marqise Lee who is a really good athlete. Just got to play with good technique and stay focused and locked in the whole time.”
With as well as you’ve been playing, is it weird that teams have been picking on you?
“No. I don’t look at it that way. I take it as a challenge. I never try to focus on what people say about me as far as from a positive or a negative point anymore. I just know I got to play the next game, the next play at a time and just focus on anything because at the end of the day even if I am playing good I always expect that they’re going to throw my way just like any other corner in the league. You got to stay ready. You just can’t get complacent.”
T CHRIS CLARK
Isn’t it baffling how quickly things can go bad in a game in the NFL? Like in Denver, you guys had a chance to win that game.
“Not just on the road, that’s at home as well. It doesn’t matter where you play or who you’re playing, you just have to be on one accord at all times, and if you’re not, then you know what the outcome is. I think just being more attentive to what needs to be done when we’re on the road needs to happen.”
How do you get off to a fast start?
“You just, like I said, you take it one play at a time. Don’t look forward in advance, don’t look at the scoreboard, how much time is left. Don’t look at any of those things. Just take it one play at a time, listen to the play call, hear the play call, and go one play at a time.”
Is there that much mind wandering going on?
“It is, man. It’s just being on the road, you have all the crowd noise, you have all these different distractions that you have to tune out. Players may tune out a snap count or players may tune out a certain route. You just never know. Defensively, same thing. We just have to be more attentive to what we’re doing. Attention to detail.”
You’re saying that’s not coaching. That’s on you guys as individuals.
“I mean, it’s on everybody. I think we can just do what needs to be done. Coach (Bill) O’Brien, he’ll tell you it’s his fault. He always will tell you that, but we stick together. As a team at the Texans, we’re all included in this thing. We have to figure out a way, and I think we have good preparations this week at practice and we should be good.”
What are some of Jacksonville’s strengths on defense?
“Their whole defense, they’re playing well. They play as a unit, they’re fast. We just know it’s always going to be a tough divisional game. Records don’t reflect anything. We just know what we have to do as a team. We can’t worry about who we’re playing or things like that. We just know what we need to do as an offense.”
Was it good to step back and have that week off? Are you guys as healthy as possible right now?
“That’s the good thing, man. Whenever that bye week comes, we love it. As players, that’s always a time to get your body healed, get your body back going. O-line, we talk about that all the time – getting fresh. Just being able to get back, being healthy and everybody can get into their proper places is always a beautiful thing.”
How do you think QB Brock Osweiler is going to react to this second half of the season?
“Everybody knows football is not won in the first two quarters. It’s always won in November, December, January. You know how it goes. Just pulling together, it’s never too late. As an offense, we’re working on all cylinders, pulling this thing together, doing what we have to do to play complementary football with our defense and special teams. Brock is going to be amazing. He’s doing a great job, looking really good at practice. I’m glad he’s our leader.”
TE C.J. FIEDOROWICZ
How do you guys get over all of the road losses and win a road game?
“We go into every week like we’re preparing for - it’s not like a home game we prepare any different from an away game. We turn the music up a little louder, but at the end of the day you just got to come in, know the playbook, know the game plan and go out there and execute and start fast.”
Is there anything that is more difficult on the road?
“I mean obviously crowd noise, but at the end of the day, guys got to make plays and just go out and do their job. Like I said, it starts with those first two drives. They’re huge. If we get stuff moving, get a good rhythm going, get everybody up and going, then I feel like that’s going to determine the game. When you go two or three three-and-outs to start the game every away game that hurts.”
How do you get to the point where you are scoring on the first two drives of every game?
“Just try to be consistent and everyone on the same page, doing your job. If I had the answer, we’d score every time but I don’t. As the game goes, you got to kind of feel things out.”
Did you take anything away from the Denver game because even though you lost there were a lot of positives?
“We were in that game all the way up until the fourth quarter there. We let it slip and we were moving the ball. We just couldn’t get it in the end zone. We were kicking field goals and we stalled a couple times on the 30-40 yard line. We got to finish that drive.”
How do you do that now?
“Just guys stepping up and making a play. You’re obviously getting a little tired towards the end of the drive, but guys have to step up and make plays and know your assignment. Just execute what Coach (Bill) O’Brien and Coach (George) Godsey call.”
The Jaguars don’t have a great record but they have a lot of talent, especially on defense.
“Yeah, they’ve got a lot of speed on the defense. They have good safeties and linebackers, a couple interior d-lineman, corners even. They have a good defense. We’ve got our job cut out for us this week. We know that every week. It’s the NFL. No one is way above the others. It’s just who can finish games and pull off those close games. That will really change your record. It’s a conference game, you know they’re going to bring it.”
ILB BENARDRICK McKINNEY
What are your thoughts on Jacksonville’s running backs?
“I mean, both of them are great backs. We’re just going to do our job, just fly to the ball. Coach has a great game plan for us. Linebackers-wise, we’re going to do our job, fill up the run, D-linemen will do their job. We should be good.”
It looks like ILB Brian Cushing is getting healthier. How much of a boost is that for your defense?
“I mean, it’s always great to have Cush on the defense. He’s a great player, flies to ball, great leader of the defense. Like I said, as a whole we’re just going to do our job, fly to the ball and have fun.”
How do you get over the hump and win a road game?
“Just try to block out the noise, just try to play every play at a time, just try to have fun, try to bring our own juice to the game. Just block out everything and just do what the coaches ask of us and just have fun.”
Isn’t that easier said than done?
“It is, but most of us have been playing football all our lives. Everybody has played a game like this or whatever. So, we’re just going to do our job.”
Why do you think you guys have struggled on the road?
“Like I said, we’re just going to do our job this game. We didn’t play good on the road last game and we just want to put that behind us and focus on this game.”
WR BRAXTON MILLER
Head Coach Bill O’Brien was talking about how tough the transition is from college to the NFL as a rookie wide receiver. How tough is it?
“You know, it’s a different playbook and stuff like that. So, just coming in as a rookie, learning all the positions, it gets tough at times but I’m striving to be the best that I can be. That’s it.”
Do you think it’s more difficult for you since you didn’t play receiver for most of your college career?
“No, I don’t think it’s difficult at all. Just some reps I don’t get. Just striving for the best and just take the coaching and just learn from my mistakes.”
Now that you have a few games under your belt, are you eager to see what else you can do in the second half of the season?
“Absolutely. Just make plays and have fun with my teammates and enjoy the victories.”
Did you feel like the Detroit game was a step in the right direction for you?
“You know, if I get the opportunity, I’m going to make the best of it. When the ball comes my way, just attack it and just make the best of it.”
What’s been difficult so far? Route running? Understanding the plays?
“No, it’s just, you know, whenever I get a chance to get the ball in my hands I know exactly what to do. You just have to work. Whenever you get the opportunity, you just have to take advantage of it.”
Do you see the eight games ahead as just waiting for your opportunity?
“Yeah. You know, it’s just being patient and whenever my time comes, whenever the ball comes my way, just make the best of it.”
What did you try to do during the bye to help yourself?
“Just rejuvenate my whole body and my legs. Just taking care of my hamstrings and staying in the playbook and stuff like that.”
How tough is it to find some chemistry with QB Brock Osweiler just because you’ve been slowed a little bit by injuries?
“We get it in practice, but games are different. We just have to keep working and working, and eventually things will pop open.”
Have you talked to former NFL WR Keyshawn Johnson and has he given you any advice?
“Yeah, I talked to him.”
What sort of advice does he give you?
“It’s a rookie season. There are ups and downs. Just make the best of the opportunity that you get. Catch the ball when it comes your way.”
Is he a pretty important mentor to you?
“Yeah, for sure. Definitely.”