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Gameday Media Center: Houst...


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November 19, 2017

Gameday Media Center: Houston Texans vs. Arizona Cardinals (11/19/17)



HOUSTON TEXANS vs. ARIZONA CARDINALS (11/19/17)
All gameday press items for the Week 11 matchup between the Houston Texans (3-6) and Arizona Cardinals (4-5), including pregame information, end-of-quarter statistics and postgame notes and quotes can be found below. The links will be become clickable as the items are posted. Please see a member of the Houston Texans Communications Department if you have any questions.

PREGAME INFORMATION


END-OF-QUARTER STATISTICS






TEXANS QUOTES

 

HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN (Transcribed by Chloe Delclos)
 
Can you start off by giving us your feelings on winning this game and breaking the losing streak?
“It was a good team win. I feel good for the players. They worked hard. Over the last three weeks we’ve had some tough games. It was good to be back home and it was good to see a lot of guys come up big and play good for us. It’s a good win any time you win in the NFL, that’s a big deal. That’s a good win for our team.”
 
What did you see QB Tom Savage do better today?
“I thought, I’ll be honest with you, I thought he played a very mentally tough game. I thought he turned it over there, the one I don’t think was totally his fault, the ball got batted in the air on the one interception, but the pocket fumble, I thought he really didn’t give in to that mentally and I thought he came in back to the sideline and recovered and went on to play a good game. Got us into a big touchdown there to D’Onta (Foreman), not the last one but the one, it was kind of an interesting play-call and he was able to get us to the right play based on a front that we really hadn’t seen. I thought he did a great job in that regard, too, of getting us into the right plays. Very happy for him.”
 
QB Tom Savage made a couple throws on the run, across the body, into the corner. Are those the throws you know he can make and that you’ve seen him make that he completed today?
“Yeah, he has confidence in those plays, he loves those plays. Those particular plays where he did that, we’ve been running those since he was a rookie. Those are plays that he kind of knows where everybody’s going to be, and even if it breaks down a little bit, he’s going to throw it to a spot and they’re going to get it. So, I thought that was a great job done by him on those plays.”
 
The Cardinals have a lot of good players on their defense. What was the plan and did you carry out the plan you wanted?
“I think so, without the turnovers. We got to stop turning it over. I think if we don’t turn it over, we’ll have a chance in every game, but when you turn it over, you’re in trouble. But, I wanted to run it, stay balanced and mix the passing game in. And sometimes it was decent, the way we did that. I thought we possessed the ball well today. I thought we had a bunch of first downs. I think we were better on third down, maybe than we had been. I thought the players really came to play today and did a good job.”
 
What does this mean to get the monkey off your back by getting a win today?
“I don’t even know what that means.”
 
Is there less pressure after winning today?
“I don’t really know what that means. I just know that this is a team that’s – look, this team’s been through a lot. I’m sure there are a lot of teams that could say the same thing, but I don’t know. I think our team’s been through a lot. I told them this morning if there was a team in this league that can overcome the adversity that they’ve been through, starting with the hurricane to the injuries we’ve had, to all the different things that we’ve had to deal with throughout the year, I think if there’s any group of guys that can overcome that and play well, it’s this group. We have a group of really high character guys, and I think that’s what it says. It’s one game at a time. We’ve got Thanksgiving this week, we have to understand that we have a Monday night game against Baltimore, it’s going to be very tough. So, you’re only as good as your next game. That’s how we got to view it.”
 
The offense found their rhythm many different times throughout the game and finished strong. You mentioned QB Tom Savage’s mental toughness earlier, is that something you attribute them finding it to?
“Yeah, I think they – look, not every drive was obviously pretty. I mean, we were backed up a lot. We had the ball inside our own five-yard line probably three or four times in the game, which is tough. That’s something that we’ve got to do a better job when we’re backed up getting out of there. But, I thought these guys fought, really stayed in it on the sideline. Chris Clark, Breno Giacomini – those guys are great leaders. I thought Tom (Savage) stayed into it. No game in this league is perfect and I thought he overcame some adversity during the game and it was good to see.”
 
You got a lot out of both RB Lamar Miller and RB D’Onta Foreman. Can you talk about their performances and if you have any update on Foreman?
“I don’t know anything about D’Onta (Foreman) yet. I don’t know, I guess it’s been reported already what’s wrong with him. I don’t know. I’m always the last one to know that stuff. But, I think that they both ran hard. I wanted to get the run count up to – I don’t know how many times we ran it but probably not where I wanted it. We got to continue to try to run the ball. But I thought we rushed for maybe 130 yards or something, so that’s pretty good. We need to keep doing that. We need to be able to run the football.”
 
You had six drives starting inside your 20 and then two in the three. How does being backed up like that change what you want to call?
“Yeah, it’s tough. It totally changes it. It’s hard to – you would be up here all day explaining how it changes it. If you line up in a running formation, they’re going to load it up on you. So, you got a choice there. You can either throw it downtown where it’s second-and-10 or if it’s incomplete or you make a big play, or you decide to spread them out and just do something else. So, we were basically spreading them out. I thought a couple of times we did punch it out of there but we couldn’t finish the drive. We have to work on that. We have to work on when we’re backed up. We always do, but we have to do a better job that. Starting with me, just try to game plan a little better when we’re backed up. I thought the players, like I said, overcame and played a decent game today.”
 
What did you make of WR DeAndre Hopkins’ performance today?
“Great player. He’s our go-to guy. That’s obvious, and I thought a couple of those catches that were not catches were close. People really focus on him. They really do. Not only defenses, but – I’m not going to go down the road of everyone that focuses on him, but he’s really focused upon, whether it’s for penalties or defenses putting coverage toward him. He overcomes a lot. He’s a great player. I thought Bruce (Ellington) came up big today. I thought Braxton (Miller) had good catch today. I thought those guys played a good football game.”
 
You have an injury to CB Kevin Johnson. You have an injury to RB D’Onta Foreman. Does it feel frustrating that this season there seems to be more injuries that keep happening like this?
“Nothing you can do about it. If you waste time being frustrated, you just have to figure out what the next move is. You have a to do a really good job of figuring out who you have, how you are going to use their skillset, where you’re going to put them. Basically, each week’s a little bit different. That’s for every team in the NFL, but especially those that are dealing with a bunch of injuries like we are.”
 
Were you able to game plan things to give QB Tom Savage a little bit more time?
“Last week when we were under center in the passing game, it wasn’t very good. So, I thought going with the gun helped us, but now next week it might be different. It’s just something that, it’s a week-to-week thing, but against the Cardinals, we felt like maybe being in the gun would be a little bit more better suited for all of us, not just Tom (Savage), but everybody. It seemed to work out OK.”
 
You’ve been saying that you have to coach better. Did you coach better? What role did you play in the win today?
“The players made great plays and did a great job.”

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OLB/DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY (Transcribed by Nicholas Williamson)
 
Were you surprised when they went for it on fourth-and-1?
“No, I wasn’t surprised. It was a decision they needed to make that first down. The play itself, they got me early in the game. On the first play of the game, I peeked my head inside and (Adrian Peterson) bounce outside on me. I said I wasn’t going to do that anymore in the game. I kind of set it up where I peeked inside, and hurried up and got back out, and I wanted him to bounce to me so I had I could have a chance to make that play, so they don’t push up inside, and that’s what happened.”
 
Do you think that play gave you the momentum?
“There was a couple of plays in the game that gave us momentum. That was one big one, though. We needed that momentum. It kind of helped us finish the rest of the game out.”
 
Can you talk about what they were trying to do to you today?
“They were trying, but I was just trying to get off the rock, and Coach was putting us in situations where they really couldn’t, because they’d have other guys show up on the ball, so they’d have to honor that guy off the ball. It had us in good situation and just making plays.”
 
What does it mean to win a game and break the losing streak?
“It means a lot. We work extremely hard as a team, and we come in every week saying the same thing: we just need to find a way to get one and they’ll start adding up. It feels good to get a win and get back on the winning side. I’m happy about it.”
 
How big was it to get those two turnovers in the second to close the game out?
“It was very big. It put our offense in a good situation. They came back and executed complimentary football, they went down and put up scores. In this league that’s big when you can get turnovers and scores off turnovers. Most of the time, that adds up to winning games.”
 
How was it different for the defense playing with a lead this week and do you feed off of it?
“All the time. Any time your offense can go down, move the ball down the field and score points, it’s big. Momentum shifts, and the defense gets fired up because knowing they have to pass the ball: get ready to rush the passer. That’s a big positive of when the offense goes down the field and puts up points.”
 
Do you ever get tired when you are chasing plays around the field?
“Yes, of course, but I just keep going. Just play nonstop.”
 
What do you think this win will do for the team next week?
“I think it gives us a spark. We needed a win. We can pretty much try to get ready for Baltimore, and try to get another win. This game gave us a spark as a confidence builder for so many guys. We needed this win, especially at home.”
 
How did the team not allow a second half like previous games?
“We didn’t want what happened to us last game happen this game. We came into halftime saying, ‘We’re not letting this go, we’re not letting this game get away from us like we did the previous game in the second half. So we’re going to stick together, come out and be physical like it was a 0-0 game,’ and we came out and did that to finish the game.”
 
How hard is it to do that when you have short touchdown drives against you?
“It’s kind of hard, but we have to trust the process. We know that our offense is going to get going eventually. We just have to go in there and try to hold them to three, or create another turnover or anything, whatever’s possible. We just try not to let them get a touchdown in that situation. Three points is like giving them nothing when your offense turns the ball over on the 17 (yard line) going in.”
 
Do you feed off disruptive plays or do you play the same the whole game?
“Of course. If feel like that if any of our players make plays, that’s just the type of game it is. It was a great day. We honored Andre (Johnson), so we had to go out there and have a good day for him since he’s back. He talked to us yesterday, he’s been on a team where other guys have been injured and other guys stepped up around him. I think guys listened to him yesterday at practice. We came out today, and guys stepped up and made a lot of plays, and today we came out and made a lot of plays.”
 
What was the key to shutting down RB Adrian Peterson?
“Just being more physical than they were up front, being sound defense, everybody doing their jobs, staying in their gaps, gap-sound defense, and just playing on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage, I think we did that today.”

-back to top-
 

WR BRUCE ELLINGTON (Transcribed by Stefan Nolet)

 

How do you feel after the win?

“It’s a great feeling to come in here and just be happy, you know, instead of being mad. It’s a great feeling.”

 

Can you talk about the job QB Tom Savage did and what does this mean for him?

“It was a great job Tom (Savage) did. He’s getting better every week. We’re getting the chemistry better every week. It’s a big win, so we just have to build on it.”

 

With WR Will Fuller V out, your role expanded. How do you think you did?

“I think I did a pretty good job. There was a ball I that needed to catch that I dropped, but overall I think I did what I needed to do.”

 

What was the decision process for fielding the ball on the punt near the goal line?

“A lot of people don’t know, but if the other team touches the ball, I can pick it up and run, and wherever the ball goes to, it gets to that spot. I just was trying to make a play, knowing we’d get the ball back.”

 

How much better does it feel to walk into the locker room after a win like that?

“A lot better. The coaches aren’t mad, the fans aren’t mad, when people go home, their family isn’t mad. So, it’s a lot better to have a good vibe around the stadium.”

 

Were you able to catch any of Andre Johnson’s Ring of Honor ceremony and were there any different feelings after the ceremony?

“Andre’s (Johnson) a great guy. Ever since I came here – as you know, we had the same injury – and he gave me all the tools to keep me on the field, and I’m thankful for that. The things he does on the field are amazing, and off the field, so he’s a great guy.”

-back to top-


WR DEANDRE HOPKINS (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver & Carrington Gilbert)
 
Were you inspired by everything going on to honor former WR Andre Johnson?
“Andre (Johnson) is always inspiring, you know just his presence, being out there before the game, not just today, but earlier games. For him to have this day, it definitely brought a spark to some people.”
 
What can this win mean to you after losing three games in a row?
“You know, it’s the NFL man.  You don’t get an easy win.  There’s no such thing as an easy win.  Got to come out and keep fighting.  Got six games left, if I’m not mistaken, six or seven games.  We feel like we know we’ve got a good team.  We know things we can do even with the losses that we’ve had so far, but this win can definitely help us.”
 
What does it do to QB Tom Savage’s confidence to put a pretty good game together?
“It’s big.  He’s the starting quarterback for this team.  Anything that I can do, anything that the running backs can do, the defense, special teams, it helps out not just Tom (Savage), but everybody in the process.”
 
Can you talk about your touchdown?
“We saw some things we can work on during the game, some things we can take advantage of.  Tom (Savage) put the ball on the money and gave me the chance to go make the play.  That’s all I ask.”
 
What did you think of the job that RB D’Onta Foreman did today?
“Two touchdowns.  You can’t ask anything else from a rookie running back that doesn’t get a lot of carries.  For him to go in there and get two touchdowns, to make the best of his opportunities, is good.  For what happened to him, that sucks.”
 
What does it mean to you for QB Tom Savage to call you the best wide receiver in the NFL?
“I know I’m the best, so it doesn’t really mean anything to me but to keep working hard.”
 
Does QB Tom Savage give you a hard time when you don’t get two feet in?
“You know, I thought about going to ballerina school before this year. But no, it’s not easy going out there and elevating, catching the ball, looking down where you are at the same time.  But I definitely think I’m the best toe-tap guy in the NFL.”
 
Can you share what words you exchanged with Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald after the game?
“Lot of respect.  Lot of respect.  Last year, when I held out however long that was, for a day or two, 48 or 47 hours, he called me during that process, and he was just like, ‘Your time is going to come.  You’re one of the best receivers I’ve seen play this game.’ Even in college, he watched me, that’s what he told me last year or the year before.  He’s always respected my game.  Of course everybody in the league respects his game.  He’s been like a mentor to me since I’ve been in the NFL.  I didn’t know that he watched me while I was at Clemson.  The words after the game were just keep going, keep striving to be the best.”
 
How’d you get by the bad field position and the two turnovers in the first half, how did you all not let that snowball?
“Being in this position before, in earlier games and critical situations like that, knowing the plays we need to call, knowing what we can take advantage of on the other team and going out there and executing. Some games we might have a good play call and one person might mess up. So, everybody was just on their P’s and Q’s at critical times like that.
 
Can you talk about your matchup with Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson?
“Man, it was a great match up. I think he’s one of the best defensive backs in the game. If I could play against him every Sunday, I would.”
 
Why do you think you and the offense were able to overcome some of the first half adversity and continue to make drives and put points on the board in the second half?
“Being in positions like that before in earlier games where we didn’t get the job done. Third down, third and shorts, critical situations where we didn’t get what we wanted. So, just going out and practicing over and over, situations like that. If a hurdle happens, overcome it. And everybody has to play their best. And that’s what we did today, even though it wasn’t perfect.”
 
OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney mentioned earlier that former WR Andre Johnson had talked to the team yesterday. Did any of his words have any impact on you or the team?
“I think the main thing that I recollected from that talk was, I really can’t say exactly what he said, but just block out everybody around us. Even though everybody counted us out to win this division or to do what we want. So, just basically block out the noise and focus on the goal ahead.”
 
Head Coach Bill O’Brien said that after the game that there’s a lot of extra attention going your way whether it’s from the actual defense or referees. Do you feel the added attention from both the referees and these players?
“Of course. Of course. I definitely feel the attention. I don’t think like three-fourths of the calls on me are offensive P.I.s (pass interferences). I think they look for it. So, it kind of sucks when they look for it. You know, when it’s not a penalty it’s like they are over forcing it. Like I got a call on this guy. I remember one play a couple games ago, I got a call on me and the guy wasn’t even looking at me. The ref wasn’t even looking at me. After I watched film, it was after the play and he saw this guy like five yards away from me and was like, ‘Oh, let me call it because of separation’. So, it’s definitely a lot of stuff that I don’t agree on, but it’s football man.”
 
Seems like you have a lot of confidence right now or even this season. Is that because of the numbers you put up this year?
“No, I always had confidence if you’ve been here for four or five years.”

-back to top-
 

CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH (Transcribed by Evan Dunbar)

 

What was your mindset to get through this and get this victory today?

“Just be aggressive. You know, I’m always going to be aggressive first and foremost to try to make a play. They made a couple calls – pass interference here and there. That’s what football is about. It’s about competing. If they make a play, just bounce back the next play and erase it out your mind. I think that’s what today was all about – whether it was defense, offense or special teams. We continued to play all four quarters.”

 

Having faced Andre Johnson and then having him as teammate, and now facing WR Larry Fitzgerald, what is that like for you as a corner?

“It’s a challenge. Those guys are a couple of years before me in this league. I’ve faced those guys and was a teammate of Andre Johnson, and their just dynamic receivers. You know, I think they’re both first-class guys on and off the field and handle their business the right way and they are right in the echelon you know, when it comes to being a receiver in this league. And I think being a teammate of Andre made me better over the course of my career you know, just going against him every day.”

 

Can you talk about the pressure you were getting up front and how that helped you back there?

“Oh it’s a deal. (Jadeveon Clowney) is playing lights out. (Brandon) Scarlett, (Brandon) Dunn (D.J.) Reader, (Joel Heath) all across the board. All of the linebackers are playing lights out. Even the guys stepping in, you know, playing expanded roles in the secondary. I think it’s a team effort. It’s not just one guy that we’re leaning on. Everybody has an assignment and a job and I think we’re doing a great job of executing it.”

-back to top-
 

NT/DE D.J. READER (Transcribed by Evan Dunbar)

 

How inspiring is it when OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney is making plays?

“It’s fun. We’re doing our job inside; he’s doing his job outside and he’s making his plays. It’s always fun to watch him make plays. He has fun with it.”

 

You figured out Cardinals QB Blaine Gabbert late, but he had some success early.

“Yeah, I mean he’s a quarterback in the NFL trying to find his way, and he made some good plays and he made some competitive plays. They made some great plays and things are going to happen. But we bounced back, got to him a little bit, and made some great plays at the end.”

 

Is it a more fun locker room after a win out there?

“Definitely more fun. Everything is better when you win.”

 

How big was that sequence where you stopped Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson there on fourth down?

“It was exciting, man. You know, we just wanted to get a stop. We felt like it was a challenge on fourth-and-one with him, so we came out there and got a stop. It was big.”

 

Can you talk about the challenge Cardinals RB Adrian Peterson provided?

“You know, they had a lot of downhill plays, because he is a downhill back and bounces it (outside). When he bounces it he still somehow – and I don’t know what year this is (for him in the NFL) – but he’s still got so much speed and so much strength. So I mean it’s always tough playing against him. And then (Peterson and Arizona) fit good, so it’s a challenge. We were able to step up to it today, bottle him up a little bit. But he was still almost got out of there a couple of times. ”

 

Are you surprised at how much he still has left in the tank?

“It’s crazy. It’s insane. Just watching his workouts – because you know he was down in New Orleans with one of my best friends for a while – and just hearing the stories about how he’s the first one in every workout drill. It’s just nuts. It just blows my mind and it’s a testament to him and how well he trains and how well he takes care of his body.”

 

How big of a boost is this win?

“It’s huge. You know, you can’t worry about what the outside says. We know what we’ve got in this locker room and we know where we want to go and where we still can go. So, this was big for us, and we needed a win to get on track.”

-back to top-
 

QB TOM SAVAGE (Transcribed by Alison Chastain)
 
What felt better to you today?
“I think it was just all week just blocking out the noise and the guys just rallied around me. A lot of the guys came up and made some huge plays for me. That’s what it’s about. It’s a team game. Those guys really stepped up and they made some plays for me.”
 
How did it affect the team having such poor field position?
“That’s just part of the game. That falls on us too sometimes. That’s what we have to do. We’ve got to get the ball out of there whether we are punting or going to score, we have to see if we can flip the field. Like I said, it’s a team game. I can’t say anything, because I gave the Arizona Cardinals 14 points there with the two turnovers. The defense played lights out and we won.”
 
How does it feel to pull off this win and play a key role in it?
“It feels awesome. It’s hard to win in this league. You’re looking out there and you’re going against Patrick Peterson and Tyrann (Mathieu) out there, but at the same time, you take a step back and you look at us from a fan’s perspective and you’re like this is awesome. It feels great when you win. Like I said it’s tough to do it, but we found a way to make it happen.”
 
What was the key to giving you the time to throw?
“I don’t think it was just giving me the time to throw. I think Coach (O’Brien) did a great job coming up with a game plan to get the ball out of my hands. The backs were getting out, which was huge for me to get the ball out of my hands and to those guys. Our offensive line just played their tails off. I’m super pumped.”
 
How did you feel about the big completion down the field?
“It was different. It was a whole different environment for me out there outside of the pocket.”
 
Could you feel your confidence building in the pocket as the offense made plays?
“Yes, absolutely. You start getting into a little rhythm out there and the whole team feeds off of it. The defense feeds off of it and the special teams. That’s why coach always preaches complimentary football. Defense played well and it kind of gets everybody in a rhythm. When we start moving the ball and score points, we know we can do that. It’s good to go out there and show everyone.”
 
What was the key to you overcoming the 14 points given to the Cardinals?
“I think the past couple of weeks have helped me out a lot. I really have to block out all the noise. This game is tough and they’re going to make some plays out there. You’re not going to get anywhere by sulking or holding your head down. As a quarterback, your team needs you out there to be the leader so I am going to just go out there and keep slinging it and play confident. That’s really all I can do. I am confident in myself. I know I can do it. I think the team feeds off of that.”
 
Why do you think today was different for the offense to find a rhythm and overcome the turnovers? 
“I think it’s just the leaders we have out there. (Quarterbacks Coach) Sean (Ryan) gave me a speech last night before the game that was just incredible. I will let him tell you. It’s all about mental toughness out there and just blocking it out. I think the team kind of rallies around that. I am super proud to be apart of this squad because we have some leaders out there. This team never points the finger. We are always in it together. I think that’s why we came out victorious.”
 
Is there any element of what you watched this offense do that you’re finally able to see you’re capable of this win?
“Absolutely. I know injuries happen in this league and no one wants to see that happen with D’Onta (Foreman), but at the same time, it is what it is and we have too find a way to do it. I think we are finally hopefully going to get on a little rhythm here and let this thing snowball a little bit. It was good to show everyone we can do that.”
 
How important was establishing the run and having both backs be apart of the offensive plan?
“It’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. They are great runners. I can’t speak enough about the guys back there. It’s tough to hear about D’Onta (Foreman), but to be honest with you, their playing their tails off.”
 
Do you ever find yourself amazed by some of the catches DeAndre (Hopkins) makes?
“At this point, I almost give him crap when he doesn’t, when two feet are out. I’m like what are you doing? You have to catch that. He is incredible. He is the best receiver in the league.”
 
What did Quarterbacks Coach Sean (Ryan) say to you? Was it a pump-up speech?
“It was a little bit of both, but he kind of kept everything in perspective for me. He said to go out there and have fun. You guys missed out.”

 -back to top-
 

FORMER WR ANDRE JOHNSON (Transcribed by Cole Thompson & Stefan Nolet)

 

Has this all kind of hit you now that from here on out, your name is going to be here at NRG Stadium in the Ring of Honor and that you will always be the first one?

“Yeah. When we were doing the rehearsal yesterday, we were going through the things, they told me at the point I would turn around and see my name hung up. I actually saw there was like a black tarp or something over it yesterday. I turned around and I looked up and she told me where I would be looking and I saw the black thing up there and it just kind of hit me, I was like, ‘Wow, my name will be up there forever’. So I’m just kind of taking it all in.”

 

What has it been like for you to see this whole week what you mean to so many people in this town?

“Well, I didn’t realize it until this week. I just did an interview outside and I was just telling them I didn’t realize what my play on the field, how much it affected so many people and just the things I did off the field. This week I’m really getting to see it, see how many people I was able to touch.”

 

Is this a day that when you started your career with the Texans, could you imagine that this day would come? Did you ever think it would be possible?

“To be honest I never really thought about it. I just wanted to come here and play. Just do things the right way. I just wanted to be a good football player. I never said I wanted to go up in the Ring of Honor, never thought about it. I just wanted to come here and just do things the right way and just be a good football player.”

 

What does it mean to you to be the face of this franchise as an expansion team coming in and making that mark and also, can you talk about a couple of your favorite memories in your time here?

“You know coming here I knew it was going to be tough, coming to an expansion team. I always tell people the story of I remember watching the commercial they used to have with David Carr lining up with no offensive line and I said, ‘I don’t want to go to that team, I wouldn’t want to play there’. I got my wish. I ended up coming. But when I got here, I was up for it. I got here and got around the team and I just was like, ‘This is an expansion team, they’re in their second year and I want to be the guy that helps this team you know, get over the hump and win its first championship.’ So, I took that and that’s why I came to work every day and did what I did. I wanted to be the first to help this team do that. As far as memories, I always say my favorite memory was when we won our first playoff game against Cincinnati. It’s probably the most energy I’ve ever seen in this stadium. It was just a great feeling to finally get that hump off our backs. As far as other memories, just plays here and there. Just being around the guys. There’s probably more memories from other guys making plays more than me.”

 

How exciting is it to see your former teammates, and are there any of them you hadn’t seen in a while that sticks out in your mind?

“Definitely. There were a lot of guys I hadn’t seen in a while. The past few days have been very fun, even last night. It’s been so much fun just to be back around those guys and get to catch up, talk about their families and see some of their wives. It’s just been so many years since you’ve seen them. Just to get the chance to catch up, hang out a little bit, have some fun, it’s been a great few days.”

 

When you have been reminiscing with former teammates, what are some of the memories they have of you?

“Everybody normally talks about the way I came to work every day and just what I did and the way I led by example. One guy brought up a story, and he was talking about Chris Myers was saying how people would say, ‘Andre doesn’t talk much. He does this, he does that.’ They said if you really know me, the three words you always hear: ‘That’s just ‘Dre.’ I thought that was actually pretty funny because I hear it all the time. But it was, like I said, it’s been a great few days.”

 

What are your thoughts on the possibility of being inducted into the Hall of Fame?

“Everyone talks about it, but I don’t really think about it. I always say I’ll deal with it when it comes. I have a few more years to wait and if it happens, it will be a tremendous honor.”

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CARDINALS QUOTES


HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS (Transcribed by Christiana Johns)
 
Opening Statement
“It’s very simple. I cost our team the game. Trust is a funny thing sometimes when you can’t get it to fit. You deserve to lose, especially when you make the decision I made and the play I called. So there’s your headline you can write it. And again, we dropped too many passes, had too many negative runs offensively. I thought we had pretty good control of the game coming out of the third quarter. When you don’t get a stop defensively and you allow them to take the lead, we come back and take the lead, and again, it comes down to that call. At that point in the game, in retrospect, we should have punted.”
 
Why did you decide to make that call?
“It’s obvious; I thought we’d make it. I don’t call it if I don’t think it’s going to make it.”
 
Was there hesitation on your part with about 6 minutes left in the game?
“No. I felt really good about it. Obviously, we didn’t block it very well. That’s a moot point.”
 
You didn’t have many yards up the middle throughout the game. Why did you decide on that play?
“(Inaudible). To see the quarterback sneak or the (running back) dive, I trusted Adrian (Peterson), and we just turned too many guys loose up the middle.”
 
What did you think of QB Blaine Gabbert’s play today?
“I thought Blaine (Gabbert) played his ass off. He probably had over a hundred quarterback rating until the end of the game. We didn’t make any plays for him. We dropped balls, we let a guy take the ball away from us on an interception that should have been a completion. That last completion was probably his only bad throw of the day.”
 
In the past two weeks, there have been a high number of dropped passes. What do you think about that?
“We’ll be looking at some different receivers next week.”
 
Did SS Budda Baker impress you today?
“Budda (Baker) played his tail off. Just from the sideline, making the plays he made, he’s going to be a heck of a player. As did Ricky Seals-Jones. I thought he played very good for his first time out.”
 
Was it your plan to get TE Ricky Seals-Jones more involved in the offense?
“Yeah. It wouldn’t hurt. Ricky (Seals-Jones) has really been impressive in practice against our defense, and we just put some plays in for him and he responded really well.”
 
What went into the struggles again on third down?
“Throwing the ball. Negative runs. Penalties. We’re overkilling the run. Some of them are amazing to me. You just can’t play on the road and not be able to run the ball and then play 8 to 12-third, 8 to 12. The shorter runs we converted easily. John Brown runs the route about a yard short of the sticks and almost gets it. That was a fourth down call, but we dropped the ball right before that for an easy first down two weeks in a row.”
 
How big of a factor is it when you did score, you let the Texans go down and score each time?
“Yeah, that’s bad defense. When you get your foot back on the pedal and you take the lead, your defense has to go out and get a three-and-out, and especially not give up points.”
 
What do you attribute to the dropped passes?
“I don’t know – you’d have to ask them because the balls hit them right in the face, and then they drop them. Like I said, it’s time to look somewhere else.”
 
Are you not changing your play calling?
“No. No, you have what you dress on Sunday, and then they’ve got to play. We didn’t show up two weeks in a row.”
 
Why do you think there were struggles around the ball today?
“I’d have to look at the film, but we turned a lot of linebackers loose up the middle on two-base runs, not real complicated on the running game. It’s just man-on-man, and we got whipped man-on-man.”

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S BUDDA BAKER (Transcribed by Cole Thompson)
 
How do you think you played today?
“I mean I played OK but then again, as a team and me, I feel like I didn’t make enough plays to win the game.”
 
Did you feel you could have made more because it seems like you made quite a bit?
“I mean of course. You always feel like you can help the team out with making more plays, so yeah.”
 
How comfortable did you feel? It seemed like you stepped in and pretty seamlessly took over?
“I felt very comfortable. Like I said, I’ve been watching the vets for a while at camp. Nothing really changed so I felt really comfortable.”
 
How much were you thinking and how much were you just able to play out there?
“I mean I was just able to play. You know throughout the week I got all the ones reps and all that type of stuff, so that helped a lot. Once it’s game time, you just get to play.”
 
When they had success on offense, was there anything in particular you guys found problematic?
“No. Playing a man tech they just did a great job going away from our leverage a lot of times and we feel like the jet sweeps kind of got us as well.”
 
How did you feel playing special teams and defense? You get tired at all at any point?
“No. You know you have so much adrenaline and the coaches help me a lot you know giving other guys reps in special teams, so I can get a breather and all that type of stuff so I really didn’t feel tired.”

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WR LARRY FITZGERALD (Transcribed by Raj Sheth)

 

What were some of the biggest problems today on third down and why you guys couldn’t convert and sustain things?

“I don’t know how many yards we ran for. But, obviously you have to be balanced when you get in third down and teams know you are going to throw the ball, you know you are going to get coverages that are pretty capable getting stopped at, getting pretty manageable down and distances on third down we would be able to have run-pass options, which would drastically improve our percentages in that position. But, we definitely have to do a better job on first down and second down to get us some manageable down and distances.”

 

Was it special being around here for Andre Johnson Day?

“Absolutely. I love Dre (Andre Johnson). He’s been a wonderful friend over the years. To be able to see him, to have a Hall-of-Fame career, watching him play throughout his career, got to play against him when he was at the University of Miami. And, seeing him being honored today was a really special moment. To be the first in his franchise’s history too is awesome. Dre is a special guy and I’m really happy for him.”

 

What is Andre Johnson’s legacy in your mind?

“I believe he’s a Hall-of-Famer. He was the most dominant receiver in the game for a large part of his career. I just remember the big time catches he would make week in and week out. And, he was just a workhorse always out there every Sunday giving his team a chance to win. So, it was really a lot of fun to watch him do his thing.”

 

What were the words you gave to WR DeAndre Hopkins at the end of the game?

“It was a tribute to Andre (Johnson). He did a great job of mentoring (DeAndre) Hopkins and now you see how he’s one of the top guys in the game. He’s a special, special talent, he’s got a knack for making those tough catches week in and week out. And, I really enjoy watching him, I have followed him since he was at Clemson. And, to see him continue to get better is great. Our league is in a wonderful position with the young talent we have at that position.”

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QB BLAINE GABBERT (Transcribed by Tomorrow Huff)
 
How would you assess the how the game first started?
“I think it was a terrible two halves. Showed up strong, capitalized on smaller teams when the defense gives the ball on a short field and put up some points in the first half. Second half, we just did not finish. That starts with me at the quarterback position. Left too many opportunities out on the field, shot ourselves in the foot a few times and then turned the ball over there at the end of the game, which that can’t happen. We’re driving to tie it up and make it interesting.”
 
What would you say the problem was on the third down?
“You know, we’ll have to watch the film to really see what happened. We were close there a couple times, a yard or two, and I went for a fourth down (after) fourth down, and we got to find a way to get that. I’m going to watch the film to really see what we’re doing on third down and why we weren’t executing.”
 
How comfortable were you today?
“You know, I just tried to execute each and every play, take it one play at a time and really that was my mind set the entire game, don’t get ahead of yourself. Just like I said, take it one play at a time and do your best.”
 
What have you seen from Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones in practice and did you two work together?
“Yeah, Ricky (Seals-Jones), he’s tremendous. We’ve had the chance to put a lot of work in since the rookies got here this summer, going with the threes and then throughout training camp and the preseason games. Just getting reps in practices and then the first eight, nine weeks this year, going on scout team. I think the way we treated those reps on the scout team translated to this game. I trust him, he’s a heck of a player, he’s extremely athletic, he’s smart, he works hard, makes the tough catch, he wants to do well and it showed today. I’m extremely happy for him, I’m proud of him, because it really translated to the game.”
 
What did you see on the fourth down call?
“I don’t know, we called a bread and butter play, and I mean that’s football. Everybody’s good in the National Football League, and when it’s fourth and six inches, everyone knows we’re handing it to A.D. (Adrian Peterson) because he’s one of the best in the game at getting those and that play. But at the end of the day, that wasn’t the deciding factor of the game. Like I said, we’ll just watch the film and learn from our mistakes, correct those mistakes and get better next week.”

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TE RICKY SEALS-JONES (Transcribed by Cole Thompson)
 
You knew you were going to be a part of the game plan going in didn’t you going into this one?
“Little bit. I had a few plays that we worked on during the week. Whenever I got my name called I just went out there and tried to make the best of it. Just help the team move the sticks and luckily I got in the end zone a couple of times so not a bad way to start.”
 
What’s it like to do it in Houston, a place where you obviously grew up right around here? A lot of family and friends here?
“Yeah, it was memorable. Very special honestly with mixed emotions flying and just going out there and just being home. You know I had my mom and dad here and my brother in the stadium watching me, so it’s very good to make the last name on my back proud.”
 
Does it seem kind of surreal to be on a NFL field after all those years in Sealy? Was it surreal?
“Yeah. Just getting an opportunity going from undrafted and just beating the odds and grinding it out. It was a dream come true you know. I just got to keep building on it.”
 
Did you have some nerves that you had to fight a little bit today?
“Yeah. Pregame I was a little nervous but once they blow the whistle and its kickoff, it kind of went away. It was nervous excitement but once we got going it kind of went away and I’m just like, ‘OK, I’ve been here before so let’s play football.’”

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