HOUSTON TEXANS vs. TENNESSEE TITANS (10/1/17)
What do you think about today’s game?
“It’s just unbelievable. The performance of our quarterback – he just keeps getting better each game. The whole team played so well. We had four interceptions on defense. It was just a great effort. I think we’ve got a little offense now.”
It was the largest margin of victory in franchise history. Are you a little shocked?
“Yeah. (Deshaun) Watson keeps the chains moving. He just has a great ability to do that and to get away as the pressure builds. He has a sense that they are closing in on him and that’s when he spins out. He made some of those throws running to his left and throwing down the field. Very accurate. It was just a terrific performance.”
Do you feel like QB Deshaun Watson brings a different energy to the team?
“I don’t think there’s any question. He is so calm, cool and collected. The team has so much confidence in him that it really picks them up. They feel like it doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. We can get it going, and we can go down there and score.”
You got to see QB Deshaun Watson and RB Lamar Miller today.
“And we got two really good running backs who run the ball hard. Really three, with (Alfred) Blue back. Our receiving corps now is getting back to full complement. They’re young, and they’re going to do nothing but get better. And our offensive line has a lot of young players. I think they are playing well.”
How fired up are you now?
“Tennessee has a good ball club. You just don’t expect to beat a good ball club by that kind of margin. It’s just kind of shocking.”
Is there any wish that QB Deshaun Watson had been the starter coming out of training camp?
“No, I think (Head) Coach (Bill O’Brien) did the right thing. In preseason, they both played well, and (Tom) Savage deserved a shot and he got it. And (Deshaun) Watson was patient and waited, and he got his opportunity, and he took advantage of it and showed what he can do. It’s great. We’re in a good position, and we can go forward from here.”
Is this the best you’ve ever felt about your team?
“Well, we’ve never had this kind of offense before. We’ve had some offenses that were pretty good, but I mean – what was the final? 57 points? We’ve never scored 57 points before. That’s sounding more like a basketball game. I just think that was remarkable. I think he threw for five touchdowns. That ain’t bad.”
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN (Transcribed by Chloe Delclos)
Can you start off by giving us your overall impression of your game and QB Deshaun Watson?
“I don’t know. We just came off the field. I thought that was good complementary football. It was a good win. We have a long way to go, but it was good.”
What are you going to say to the team?
“Good job guys. Let’s go get ready for Kansas City.”
This is a record number of points you had here. You did everything right. How did it go so well?
“These guys practice well. They really do. We talked all week, just about trying to finish, start fast, start the game off fast. We didn’t start fast against New England, and we certainly didn’t finish well, and if we could finish well and get off to a good start, we’d have a good shot. That’s what we really honed in on this week.”
Can you talk about the maturation process of QB Deshaun Watson right before our eyes, growing up as an NFL quarterback?
“Yeah, I mean, he’s a good player. He’s a very smart guy. These guys, they believe in him. He works very hard. He’s got a fantastic way about him. He’s a humble kid, was raised the right way and he works very hard. He’s got great questions. He’s got great suggestions. He’s got a good mind for a lot of different things, not just football. He’s an excellent kid and he’s fun to coach.”
Ever since QB Deshaun Watson was drafted, you’ve talked about his poise and his command, but what have you seen from him actually running this offense and getting what you want out of the offense?
“Yeah, he sees the game pretty well. There’s a lot of things that he sees. I know he does a good job offensively, but overall, he’s seeing a lot of different things – third-down blitzes for the first time, red area things for the first time. I think he’s making smart decisions. That interception, that’s on me. I got a little greedy there at the end. I think he’s made some really good decisions. That’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a very calm guy. He’s a very thoughtful guy. So, he’s always going to try to make the best decisions for the team.”
Out of college there was so much talk about QB Deshaun Watson because he was a dual-threat quarterback, but it seems like especially in the New England game and this game, the pass is setting up the run – he’s making the throw, he’s making the reach – you’re able to run your full offense with him. He’s not a run first type of quarterback.
“No, no. He really can throw the football. He’s a very accurate passer. He’s got big hands. He can really sling it and he’s a very smart runner. Running is not all about speed. It’s about instincts and understanding how plays are being blocked and understanding the defense that you’re seeing to kind of weave your way through. And so far, so good with that. But, again, next week’s another huge challenge. I’m just telling you. I’m not trying to be – I’m just saying, ‘Watch this tape, great game guys, get all the pats on the back, great, but then we have Kansas City.’ Kansas City is one of the best teams in football. So, we have a big week ahead of us here. We can’t wait. We have to get to work against those guys on Wednesday.”
From a strategic standpoint, you had some more choices on offense, like having WR Will Fuller V back. What did you see from what you have now?
“Any time you have pretty much a full complement – we had some healthy scratches today, which is tough because we only had really, coming into the game, two guys that were injured. That was Kevin Johnson and Greg Mancz and three, Marcus Burley was a little banged up. So, we had to make some tough decisions, but that means you have a full complement of guys on your roster and you’re trying to use all those guys in the best way possible.”
As far as the read option, things like that and things QB Deshaun Watson was doing at Clemson, how much fun is it to incorporate some of those things?
“Yeah, he’s a fun guy to coach. He knows how to operate within that realm of what we’re doing. In fact, we’ve learned a lot from him about it, to be honest with you. He’s very smart. Somebody, whether it’s next week against Kansas City, somebody’s going to give us some different – we just have to kind of do the best we can to not stay the same. We have to keep trying to change it up, be creative and make sure that we’re doing a good job for him, schematically, but it was pretty good today.”
What did you see from the defense, particularly S Andre Hal?
“I thought that those guys competed. They’ve got some really good players led by Marcus (Mariota) over there. They’ve got a good offensive line. I thought our guys really stepped it up. I thought our crowd was great. I think our fans were really loud and I think when our fans are into it. When we play well and our fans are appreciative of that, it makes it hard on the opposing team because it’s hard to hear, especially offensively. So, I thought our defense – like I said, all three phases really complemented each other.”
I know you haven’t seen the film yet, but can you talk about, just from watching on the sidelines, things you thought you guys did well and better as you get into the season?
“Yeah, I thought we had a pretty good rhythm. I think that we were able to control the game right from the outset. We played, like I always talk about, complementary football. We turned turnovers into points, we got a big lead right away. If you could have a blueprint for how you want to play a game, that would be the way. You want to get off to a big lead and I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, for the most part. I give a lot of guys credit. I give all of our players, they work very, very hard. We demand a lot of our players. Our players work very hard and I feel great for them that they were able to go out and play like that. But, again, we have a long way to go here.”
What does it say to you to see S Andre Hal with those two interceptions? You need to get takeaways in this league and he made two really incredible catches off those.
“He did. He’s done that. This year he’s worked hard on his hands. He’s a very smart player. He’s an unsung player. He’s a guy that people don’t talk about a lot, because you have a lot of stars on that defense. And he’s a guy that gets people lined up, he’s very smart, he’s a tough guy, he takes a lot of pride in being a Texan and so it was really good to see him have those plays today.”
What did you think of WR Chris Thompson? Both as a gunner and a returner, he showed a lot of speed out there.
“Yeah, he’s got good speed, he’s a tough guy. I mean, he only weighs about 160 pounds soaking wet, but he can run and he’s tough and he disrupts. He’s got a good knack for getting to the ball. He loves his role. He understands his role. For a young player, that’s pretty cool. He’ll just keep getting better and better.”
When you talk about this being an improvement league, is this the kind of game that you’re talking about, going from last week to this?
“Yeah, I mean, look, every week is a different challenge. Some weeks, you have to figure out different ways to move the football and overall as a team you want to be improving constantly. That’s really what it is. It’s a race to see who can improve the fastest and, like I said, our guys work very hard. I thought that in all three phases we were out there for three straight days practicing two-and-a-half hours a day, guys really working to try to get the game plan down and I thought our scout teams did a great job of getting us ready. Hopefully we can continue to play at that type of level, but it’s another challenge next week. It’s a totally different team, different players, different schemes, different coaches, so it’s another big challenge.”
To start the second half, when you guys had the ball, you were aggressive in the fourth-and-1 spot with QB Deshaun Watson and WR DeAndre Hopkins, can you discuss the confidence in Watson giving the ball in that spot in that specific play?
“I think he’s a smart player and we had talked about that during the week. We had a specific play that we wanted to run. If they were in a certain personnel group, we ran it. He knows what to do with the ball. He knows how to get us into the right play and that’s what he did.”
Can you talk about the offensive line and also, how much time do you spend by yourself coaching QB Deshaun Watson?
“I think the offensive line’s really improved. I think the more they play together, the more you’ll see better play out of them. I think that five guys that haven’t really played together, that’s a big deal, and I think the more they play together, the more they communicate, you know. And as relative to Deshaun (Watson) and I, I would just tell you that’s between Deshaun and I. We meet a lot with a lot of different people. We meet in here as a unit a lot, to be honest with you. That’s the most – the biggest bulk of meeting time is in here.”
OLB/DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY (Transcribed by Carrington Gilbert)
What’s it like to play in a game like that?
“Man, it was kind of crazy. We usually play in a lot of snaps on defense, but this game we didn’t get to play too many snaps. I think I was on the sidelines like hollering at the coach one time like, ‘Man I’m not on the field enough.’ He was like ‘J.D., nobody’s on the field right now.’ Just to see the guys walk out there and put up a lot of points and win. In my fourth season this is the most points since I’ve been here. It’s great to see the offense moving and going. We’ve been watching them all week, improving since last game and adding on another step to that and building on last game. They came out this game on fire. It’s great to see that. “
Did you see anything from QB Deshaun Watson today that you may not have seen during training camp or OTAs?
“No, since he’s come to OTAs and training camp, I said J. Jo. (Johnathan Joseph), I said ‘J, I remember watching him, and he can make just about every throw on the field.’ And just the way he extends plays with his legs, no play is ever over with that guy. That’s just great. He moves around, and he creates first downs all the time. Just as long as the ball is in his hands, I think we’ll be alright. We just have to keep it in his hands as much as we can.”
You seem to have a knack for creating fumbles, can you share what is the key for having some much success in that area?
“Practice. We practice it at practice. Coach preaches on us going after the ball. So, every chance you get you try to punch the ball, especially on quarterbacks when they aren’t looking on the backside you get a chance for a strip sack and always go for it.
How good are you feeling now? Is this some of the best football you’ve played since you’ve been here.
“Man, I don’t know. I do feel good, but best football, I don’t know. I just keep playing week by week. We’ve got a lot of season left, and we’ve got a long way to go. So, we have to get ready for Kansas City now.”
How much did that effort last week, help give you confidence for this week?
“It was great. Like I said, that was our first time watching the offense put up a lot of points that game. We played from the beginning. We just didn’t finish like we needed to, but just to watch those guys go up and down the field like that was big for the defense. We were like we just have to go and do our job and not worry about the other side of the ball. Guys are putting together to drive every time they get the ball, so just play complementary football. They are putting that together to score points. We’re just going to get them a stop, and do it again. That’s just what we try to do every week. “
What was it like turning around a couple times and seeing S Andre Hal make a couple of catches like he was wide receiver?
“Man, he do it every practice. So, I say it, everybody says it, you practice the way you play. In practice, he does the same thing, and he read the route at practice a couple of times this week. He figured out the over route and came back and did it. He got the same route twice and picked it off for us twice. I was like yeah man, you play the way you practice. But he’s a good player, he’s one of the hardest workers on our team.”
Can you talk more about that, the takeaways? Also with ILB Dylan Cole having someone else step up and having a takeaway like that.
“Since Dylan came in, he’s just an explosive guy. He’s played hard, he plays all our special teams. He comes in when guys go down and step up and take that role since (ILB Brian Cushing) has been out. He’s just stepped up and played. He’s been real big and nobody suspected that out of him this year. But the guy can run, he’s got good vision. He knows what’s going on out there and he just plays nonstop. Him and (ILB) Zach (Cunningham), them two rookies out there that are playing like that. It’s great for the defense.”
What are the defenses going to do to adapt to QB Deshaun Watson now that they are getting more tape from him?
“I can’t tell you about that side of the ball. They better get somebody out there that can contain him, that’s all I can tell you. Because he can run, and he can throw. He can beat you and he can throw it too. So, there will be a lot of stress on the offense all season long. They have to come up with their game plan, we have to concentrate on stopping them. “
ILB DYLAN COLE (Transcribed by Nicholas Williamson)
What is the feeling like after you put up 57 points against a good opponent?
“This is just our expectation. The offense has to get going and they absolutely did. The defense has to do our part by stopping the run and playing great, sound defense, and give the ball back to the offense. I think we did a great job at complimenting each other today. That’s how it’s supposed to be. That was Houston Texans football right there.”
What do you think about Deshaun Watson putting up five total touchdowns?
“That’s a dude who’s just getting better. This is just the beginning for him, and I’m very excited to see where he goes.”
WR WILL FULLER V (Transcribed by Nicholas Williamson)
How do you feel after your first game back?
“I feel good. It just felt good to be out there with the guys, especially after the win.”
What can you say about the growth of the offense?
“It’s just how we are practicing. We are trying to execute as much as we can in practice and transition it to the game.”
What about your personal growth?
“I’m trying to play fast like always, just a little smarter because it’s my second year. I know more things about defenses and how they’ll play me. I’m just out there trying to help the team win.”
How much easier does that make the game now that you have that knowledge?
“Not that much easier, we’re playing against some great opponents. It’s just enough to give me an advantage.”
What does it feel like to be on the team that scored the most points in franchise history?
“I didn’t know that. We were trying to score as much as we could. I know we put up a lot of points, but we were out there having fun and that’s the way to do it.”
Do you feel like it was easy to develop chemistry with Deshaun Watson and is it exciting?
“That was just our first time playing together. It’s only going to get better, and I’m looking forward to that.”
S ANDRE HAL (Transcribed by Nicholas Williamson)
How did you play the ball on his two interceptions?
“It was a great disguise, and a great play call by Coach (Mike) Vrabel. I just went over there and made the play.”
You had to leap for that one.
“I’ve been practicing and that’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here. Everyday in practice I’m catching balls after practice. Last year, I dropped a lot, so this year I’m not dropping any interceptions.”
How did this game feel after last week’s loss?
“It was just a bounce-back game. It was a tough loss last week, but we came in and grinded all throughout practice this week and it paid off.”
How much fun was today’s game?
“It was great. When you play like that and beat a team like that, it’s super fun. We’re going to celebrate today, and get back to work tomorrow.”
How did the 57 points scored energize the defense?
“It’s complimented football, we go out there and make a play then Deshaun (Watson) goes out there and scores the football. It makes you want to play. It’s fun when the offense is scoring and the defense is playing well, it’s great.”
How good is Deshaun Watson for a rookie QB?
“They drafted him first round, so they wanted him to play. We’re all happy for him.”
How would you grade Dylan Cole’s interception?
“Oh man, Dylan Cole, one of the greatest liked, personable guys on the team, great guy. I’m happy for him, he did his thing.”
How does it feel to be apart of the largest margin of victory in franchise history?
“I don’t look at it like that. I just go out there and do my job. I make the plays that come to me.”
What does it mean to beat a team like that, and are you surprised in the fashion that you did it?
“No, I’m not surprised at all. The way we worked in practice, the game plan that (Head Coach Bill) O’Brien called, the way we worked in general just at practice we knew that we could take advantage of some things. We knew if the defense started to run and took care of business that we were going to put up points.”
What is that communication like (between you and DeshaunWatson) especially on a day like today?
“If we went out and didn’t score in the red zone, we would go over things that we saw and that we could take advantage of to put seven on the board instead of three. But it was constant communication throughout the game. Even when we were up in the fourth quarter we were going over things that could help us in the Chiefs game.”
What’s it like to have that relationship with your quarterback?
“It’s not just him, it’s Deshaun (Watson), it’s (Bill) O’Brien, it’s all of us coming together. And our receivers coach went over things that we can take advantage of because they have iPads and they can see things faster than we can when we come on the sideline and they go over stuff. So it’s just the whole team, you know, communicating and doing the things that we want to do.”
How has the mentality of this offense changed?
“The way we practice man, honestly. The way we go out in practice and we start off with drives like that, driving the ball down the field. The way we condition in the offseason. Guys aren’t thinking ‘All right, we’ve got to have good field position to score.’ They think, ‘Let’s go 90 yards. Let’s go 80 yards.’ Every time we touch the ball we’re trying to score it. We’re not happy with three; we need seven. So just that mentality that we have, and obviously it helped having a quarterback in the backfield that can keep the plays alive, even when it’s supposed to be done.”
What’s it like when you’re in such sync with the quarterback, you can keep doing the same thing over and over and it’s successful?
“It is like good. Very good.”
Were you able to identify what type of influence Will Fuller V had on the offense today?
“Of course, of course. I said it before earlier in the week: ‘Will’s (Fuller) going to open up the field.’ He’s a big part of this offense scoring 50-something points the way we did. You can’t just key in on me. You have to, obviously, watch Will down the field every play, because he has the speed that you can’t coach.”
How big was the performance for you guys getting five turnovers?
“It was good for the defense. We came out ready to play and had guys flying around. Unbelievable job by Andre Hal getting two interceptions. Dylan Cole did a great job as well getting the pick-six. We just came ready to play and had fun doing it.”
You guys came in the game with a solid rushing attack. What was the key up front today?
“Have fun. Go out there and no matter what the score is just have fun, communicate and execute every play.”
What is next for you guys?
“Get back in the workshop. We get back to work and focus on the next game and try to do the same thing as today’s game.”
RB LAMAR MILLER (Transcribed by Tomorrow Huff)
How do you think your team played today?
“I think everybody just did their assignment. The offensive line I think they did a great job, of just opening up the holes, and I think Deshaun (Watson) he did a great job of just making sure everybody was doing their assignment and just moving us down the field.”
What is it about the kid QB Deshaun Watson that does not act like a rookie?
“He just has swag. He keeps everybody going, you know, he leads the offense, he commands the huddle and he just makes sure everybody is playing fast and doing their assignment. He’s just moving the ball with them.”
Can you describe you two touchdowns?
“I mean, I think that on the second one Deshaun (Watson), I think he did a great job at, you know, just finding me and I think Coach (Bill) O’Brien, I think he did a great job of just calling the play. And he knew they were going to be in man and I just tried to find a way to get out, so Deshaun (Watson) could find me.”
Do you think there was any confidence gained from last week’s loss to this week’s win?
“Yes, I think that carried over to this game. You know, the offense more obviously. I think last week was a test of what we can do, and I think today everybody did a great job of just doing their assignment, and just moving the ball down the field.”
How do you carry today over moving forward?
“We just have to keep growing. You know, come back to work, make some adjustments, do some corrections, and just keep it going.”
What are your thoughts on what you’re able to do now as an offense?
“Our idea is to try to get positive yards on every plan. Try to get the ball in the playmakers’ hands. Everyone who’s out there on the field that touches the ball has a chance to make a play. Coach OB (Bill O’Brien) does a great job of play calling and making sure that we do the right thing.”
Earlier in the season when you came in against Jacksonville, the game was fast at times. Did it start to slow down for you today? Were you able to really make the reads and see the field like you wanted to?
“I wouldn’t say it slowed down, because each team that I play against, it’s my first time playing against that team. It’s a new look against new personnel that I see. A new strategy, new defensive coordinator, so the game is still fast, but I just have to make sure that I’m playing fast and doing the keys that I need to do to make a smart decision to get the ball where the ball needs to go.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien said some of the zone reads and options you are teaching to them because of your college background. How much does that collaboration between the zone and the option work?
“It’s just an open mind on the offense. Coach OB (Bill O’Brien) does a great job of making sure that everyone is buying in. He’s not one of those guys who is going to go by his rules only. He makes sure that he spreads the wealth and makes sure that if a coach has to say something or if a player has to say something, if it’s going to work and be positive, then he’s up for it. It’s a great job of all of us being on the same page and executing.”
You’ve made the past few games look easy. What’s tougher – facing Tennessee’s defense or Alabama’s defense?
“I’ll say Tennessee, just because it’s an NFL team. I think so. We just had the opportunities, and people made plays. It’s hard to win at this level, and today was just our day.”
You’re not overwhelmed at all obviously. Why is that?
“I just keep it simple. I make sure I take it one play at a time, one step at time, and learn as much as I can from the coaches and the veteran guys.”
What does it feel like to be involved in a game where everything seems to be going right for the offense?
“It’s cool to have it on our side. It’s not a good feeling to be on the other side. For the time being, try to execute and keep it going. You’ve just got to learn from the opportunities that you had that you didn’t accomplish, and then just move on it from it. You’re only as good as your next game, and we have a big test next week.”
What does it mean to you to help the Texans score more points than they ever have in their history? And how fun is it to have so many weapons at your disposal?
“It’s always fun to score points. That’s why we play offense. Every time we take the field, we want to go down and score points and score touchdowns. Made sure we did that. Being able to have all of the weapons on the field, it just makes my job easier. As long as I get the balls to those guys and they go make a play, then just keep it going from there.”
Being able to work with Head Coach Bill O’Brien one-on-one, whether it’s film room or after everything is done, how much has that helped your transition in to being the starter and really start to get a command of this offense?
“Just a lot of one-on-one time with Coach OB (Bill O’Brien) has been great, just building our relationship. I’m understanding how he thinks, he’s understanding how I think and how I operate on the field and what my strengths and weaknesses are. The relationship is just continuing to grow. If you can have that, then the sky’s the limit.”
The season is young, but can you talk about where you are? Where you’ve grown as a quarterback in the short period of time you’ve been starting?
“Just grown with my confidence, being able to operate and run this offense, making sure we’re in the right place, and just bringing the energy and leadership to this team. I try to do that each and every play, make sure we’re in the right play and just continue to grow from there. I have a long way to go, and it’s still early in my career and just hope to build on it.”
What did you make of the way WR Will Fuller played today? He was injured for the past few weeks, but he goes in there and you all just seem to sync together.
“He’s been a great factor. Even when he was not playing with us and he was out recovering, he was always around. He never took a day off. While we’re at practice, he’s right there beside Coach OB (Bill O’Brien) and Coach (John) Perry and just helping all the young guys out. Will does a great job. He’s smart. Very, very talented. And he’s a great teammate, and he’s been doing a good job.”
What is it like to see this offense put up points in back-to-back games?
“It makes life a lot easier. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. It’s nice to be able to sit back on the bench and just watch the offense move the ball down the field. When you have, I think it was like 30-plus first downs. It was incredible. Obviously, to watch what Deshaun [Watson] is able to do and watch what our offense is able to do, it’s incredible how fast they’ve been able to make it all work. I’m very excited to see where it goes in the future, and I’m very excited to obviously be able to put up a performance like that. If they want to score 57 every week, that’s fine by me. I’ll take it.”
How much did the game against New England boost your confidence?
“There were glimpses of things last week that could have been – coulda, woulda, shoulda – but I think today was a good overall performance from us. I think that against an in-division rival here at home, we wanted to put on a good show. I think that obviously as a team, we did that very well.”
How pleased were you with how physical you were defensively at the point of attack and not allow them to get a run game going?
“We knew that was one of their goals. We know that’s a strength of their football team. We wanted to make sure we got ahead of it early. Obviously, it helps when you score points the way we scored points today, but I think we put our mind to stopping the run, and obviously we did a good job. When you hold a team to under 200 yards of total offense, you’re going to have quite a bit of success. So it was a good day.”
Given how good the Titans are, are you shocked at the way the Texans dismantled this team?
“You go out there, you execute, you do your job, you catch a break here or there – games like this in the National Football League are few and far between, but we’re very excited to have one. They are, they’re a good football team. We just had a good day today.”
What did you think about the two interceptions by S Andre Hal in traffic?
“Incredible. Dre is a guy who always knows where to be, always knows what to do. He’s a leader back there for us. He’s a playmaker. You see him. He’s always near the ball. He’s always making plays. He’s always making tackles. He’s an incredible player. I’m very glad he’s in my defensive backfield.”
After two tough losses, what does this game say about the team’s ability to bounce back?
“Starting the season, we didn’t start nearly the way we wanted to, then you build and you grow. It’s a progress league. You have to find ways to improve. You have to find ways to get better week to week, and it’s whoever improves the fastest that’s going to have success. And it’s every single week. We have to find a way to improve from this week. You can’t just sit back on your laurels and assume that we’re going to be good enough next week. We have to go out there and have a good week of practice and learn from the mistakes we’ve made, and also from the great things – obviously, many – that happened today. But it’s a progress league, and we have to make progress again this week.”
Have you ever felt better about this franchise and where it’s going?
“It’s a very, very exciting time. There’s no question about it. We have to continue to improve and we have to continue to grow. There’s definitely some exciting times ahead, I believe.”
It looks like you’re attacking on both sides of the ball. Is that a mindset you can take forward through the season with?
“Yeah, you always want to be on the attack. You never want to be on the defensive. You never want to be catching and reacting. So we’re always looking to try and jump out early, and I think today the way played very complimentary football early in the game with getting the stop, our offense going down and scoring quick. When you play football like that and every unit compliments each other so well, that’s when you have success. The more we can do that, the longer we can continue that, the better we’re going to be. And today was just a glimpse of what’s possible.”
HEAD COACH MIKE MULARKEY (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver and Carrington Gilbert)
“I’ll open it up, I guess, saying that was a total team loss all the way around including coaching. They obviously played a better football game than we did in all three phases and again include coaching on that. So, tough lesson learned for us. It may be a part of the process we need to have something like that happen for us. It happens every week. Just look at what happened to Jacksonville against us and what they did the following week. Came back strong. I see that as a good example.”
What in particular are you blaming on coaching?
“Well, they scored 50-some points, and we scored 14. We turned it over five times, and they turned it over once.”
Was there some communication problems with the secondary in the first half?
“There was. Again, it looks like that because when you’re in no huddle, they’ve got a lot of guys talking at the same time. It’s not like a huddle break. They’re out there on the field. They’ve got to talk to each other. It was, but not to the extent you would think it was, but there was some.”
How is QB Marcus Mariota?
“He’s got a hamstring. We’ll do an MRI, and we’ll know more tomorrow.”
When did the injury happen?
“On the run. On the touchdown run. The second run.”
What transpired between the first and second half for QB Marcus Mariota?
“Wanted to see if he could play. He came out and warmed up. I said to him, ‘I’d like to be smart about it. There’s a lot of football still to go.’ We’ve got 12 games to go, let’s be smart about it. I’ll know more about the extent of it in the morning.”
It looks like Mariota’s interceptions are coming off of high passes. What are your thoughts there?
“The second one, he had already done his hamstring, so he really had nothing to step into. That was one of the concerns of playing him in the second half. First one, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about it.”
How did the slow start contribute to how things unraveled in today’s game?
“It hasn’t unraveled like that on the other slow starts. Thought it was going to be a back and forth just like it’s been. Talking about another one of these teams. We felt like this was very similar to the first three games and thought it would be close. We didn’t do a very good job of stopping them defensively. I thought their quarterback played extremely well. Did a lot of good things. Made a lot of really good throws. Really some throws that only they could catch. I was very impressed with him.”
Why didn’t you match up CB Logan Ryan and CB Adori Jackson against WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Will Fuller V?
“We did eventually. We did go that direction at the second half. We did. I felt comfortable with what we were doing, confident in what we were doing. We’ve been pretty good with what we’ve been doing for three games. Felt like don’t start moving parts if you don’t have to move them. Well, we did. We moved them in the second half.”
How much credit would you give to QB Deshaun Watson?
“It’s very impressive what he did for a rookie. Again, we had him on the run a number of times. He escaped, made some great throws. It’s not demoralizing. It’s part of the game. It’s going to happen. We’ve got to do a better job of covering and got to do a better job trying to get him. That’s what the intent is.”
What is the message moving forward after the first quarter of the year?
“We’re a good team. We can compete. I’ll say this about our team, that was never in question today. We competed four quarters. They were the better team today. Again, you see that a lot every week. Unfortunately, we were on the bad end of it this week.”
What were your thoughts on the pass interference call after you had gotten back into the game at 24-14?
“I thought it was a good call. Unnecessary to do that. Just need better coverage.”
Did CB Adoree’ Jackson have a tough day?
“Yeah, I’m thinking of some instances, but again, I’ll need to look at the whole film before I start grading positions and grading everybody.”
What can you expect of QB Matt Castle if you need him moving forward?
“He’ll have a week to prepare. He’ll get all the reps with the ones. Hopefully it’s not into a two-minute mode when he has to go into play. Hopefully we’re not down 10 when he has to go in the game. If that’s the case, and again I can’t tell you that right now.”
How tough is it to go into a game cold off the bench?
“It’s hard for any position to go in like that. I’m telling you from a six-year backup. It’s hard to go in and expect to play at a high level. It’s better when you start a game. It is, but that’s your role, that’s your job, that’s what you have to do, that’s part of it. That’s always the case, not just the quarterback position.”
You may need a third quarterback this week?
“We’ll talk about it. We talk about every position roster-wise on Monday mornings. We’ll talk about that again tomorrow.”
Is there anything weird about the constant hamstring injuries?
“If there is anything frustrating, that is the one thing that we’re trying to put a finger on. We just had a discussion about it before I came in here. There is nothing you can put a finger on. We’re not doing anything different than we did last year, and we didn’t have this issue to the extent that we have had it this year.”
Are there any thoughts being thrown out about what is leading to the hamstring injuries?
“I don’t know. We’re hydrating. That’s a big part of it. I talk about it every day. I don’t know. I can’t tell you. If we knew, we would’ve done something about it before today.”
Are any of the hamstring injuries of a similar nature?
“It’s a hamstring. I don’t know the muscle like Todd Toriscelli does, so it’s a hamstring.”
Should a game like this tick some guys off?
“Oh, I would think it. I would think they’d take it personal. I would definitely think that.”
Did you discuss with WR Rishard Matthews what he was going to do for the anthem?
“Yes, and I support him fully. “
Was that a suggestion to stay inside?
“Not from me. No. That was just what he wanted to do. Can we talk about what we did? We did stand shoulder-to-shoulder like we’ve done every game I’ve been the head coach here. Side-by-side, feet at 10-and-two, respecting the flag, respecting the country, respecting everything. Can we talk about what we’ve been doing? Can we talk about that one time? How hard is that? How hard is that?”
With all due respect, that’s not what you did last week.
“No, it’s not what we did last week. It had nothing to do with the flag, and the anthem and everything else. I said it again last week. It was about a comment from Washington. Talk about something good about these guys. Take a picture. Interview somebody that likes what we do. Why that never comes out is beyond me. Why every single game, these guys have stood with respect and not one of you have ever reported on it. It ain’t that hard to be positive once in a while. “
What happened out there today?
“It was probably the most embarrassing loss I’ve took in my career, in my football life. Everything that could have went wrong went wrong today. You know from the pass defense to the offense to the special teams, everything was bad. We just didn’t execute the defense like we’ve done all year. We’ve got to get to film room and see what we did wrong. But I know for a fact we didn’t execute the defense at all today.”
What made Texans QB Deshaun Watson so hard to defend today?
“I mean to be honest he made some good plays, but I think for the most part we had a couple bust coverages. We were giving them a lot of pass, especially early in the game. But like I said, he’s a great competitor. Got to give hats off to him, he played a great game, but, for the most part, we gave him a lot of plays.”
Did you know coming out of the locker room after halftime that you would be playing?
“It was still a question mark at that point. From what we had discussed, (Marcus Mariota) was going to try and go and see what happens, and I think (the coaches) made the decision once they got out on the field.”
What’s your mindset going in as the backup?
“At that point in the game, you’re just trying to go back, get back on track, get some first downs and go score like every time you get out on the field. Obviously, it was a performance that none of us are proud about, obviously. I would love to go out there and start a comeback and do all that, but today, obviously, it didn’t go well.”
Is today the kind of day that it feels like you’re in quicksand?
“It was just a bad day at the office. That’s what it was. I’ve got to play better, obviously. I thought I prepared well throughout the course of the week. I’ve been doing this for a long time, and this was one of those days, like you said, where it slowly but steadily went downhill pretty quickly.”
How difficult is it coming in cold off the bench in the middle of the game?
“It’s always difficult, but at the same time, there’s no excuses. You’ve got to try to be ready. That’s my job description, is you’ve got to be ready at any point in the season to go in, and like I said, play and perform and be accountable to the team.”
How much does a game like this sting?
“Hopefully it stings a lot. It was a wakeup call. We’ve been playing good football, and we came out here today and you’ve got to give your hats off to the Houston Texans. They came out here in dominated in every aspect of the game.”
What is your plan moving forward for this week?
“Get ready to play.”
How did you guys come out like that after the way you played the last two weeks?
“Offensively, we weren’t clicking fast enough. Once we got going it was a little too late. The first three possessions we went three-and-out and you can’t do that against a good team. They capitalized and we weren’t able to.”
What do you guys have to do to get things going in the right direction?
“You know, I don’t know. We’ve just got to figure it out. Whatever it takes. I slipped on a third down play that could have kept the chains going. We’ve just got to do a better job of going out there and making the plays that are out there for us.”
What’s the message moving forward?
“Forget as quickly as you can about this one, but at the same time, remember. I mean that’s it.”
Why didn’t things go the way you hoped for today?
“It was just a tough game.”
Did the Texans defense do anything different that you hadn’t prepared for?
“They just played better than us, basically.”
This was a chance for Tennessee to set itself apart in the AFC South. Where do go from here?
“This loss doesn’t define us. We just have to get ready for next week, basically. That’s just where it’s at the moment.”
Was it anything the Texans did or was it just not the Titan’s day today?
“They just played better than us. That’s it.”
What did you think of the crowd today?
“They were awesome.”