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October 04, 2017

Houston Texans Transcripts (10/4)

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Quarterbacks Coach Sean Ryan
CB Kareem Jackson
QB Deshaun Watson
DE J.J. Watt
Conference Call with Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid
How have you had to adjust the offense to QB Deshaun Watson?
“I think coaching’s about definitely trying to make sure you understand what the player’s skillset is, especially at that position. And then looking at your offense relative to that. It’s not the other way around. ‘Hey look, this is what we do. You’ve got to fit what we do.’ No, it’s more about like this is what this guy at this position, like I said, especially quarterback, can do. And then because of 25 years of coaching in all different types of systems, plus the offensive staff that we have, with all their experience, we all have experience in different things that we can go back and check a playbook or remember a game, look it up, ‘Hey this is what we did,’ wherever we were and try to implement it to suit the player’s skillset. I think that’s coaching. That’s being creative. Then it’s a matter of not doing too much and being able to teach it so you can get out there and practice it at a high level.”
What quarterbacks do you try to watch to help mold QB Deshaun Watson?
“That’s a great question. I really would rather not answer that question. First of all, Deshaun’s a very unique player. Very unique player. He’s his own player. He does things that you can’t equate to what other guys do, but there’s definitely certain things that we’ve looked at, whether it’s in the NFL or college, to try to implement with our offense.”
How does having a guy like QB Deshaun Watson impact the team? Does he make everyone else better?
“The goal of every offense is to score points on every drive. I mean look, at the end of the day, any offense, whenever they take the field at the beginning of a drive, unless it’s like a situation where you have a big lead and you’re trying to milk the clock or you have maybe a small lead and you’re trying to milk the clock, usually it’s about going down the field and getting points. When an offense can do that, I think it gives the team confidence and then when the team can play complementary football like we did last week, that’s really good, feeding off of each other. I think that’s what you try to do every single week. But every week’s different. Different challenge every week.”
Thoughts on RB Tyler Ervin suffering an unfortunate injury?
“Every time a guy goes down like that, it’s tough. Tyler’s a great kid. He worked very hard to do what we were asking him to do. A very conscientious guy. But I saw him in the training room right before he went in for surgery and he was in good spirits. He’s a very professional guy, very even-keeled guy. Very smart guy. He’ll be back. But it’s always tough to see a guy like that go down. That’s just the way I am as a coach, personally. It’s just tough to see that happen to a guy that works that hard.”
You guys had competition to sign ILB Dylan Cole after the draft. What did you see from him then and what do you see from him now?
“You’re right about that. A lot of that post-draft stuff is actually about recruiting. It’s very similar to college, although it involves money. I’ll just say that since the day that Dylan has arrived, he has a great energy about him. He’s willing to do anything for the team, whether it’s special teams or defense or maybe run fullback on the scout team or something like that for the offense. He’s getting better every week. I think the combination of Dylan and Zach Cunningham has really helped our team. The key for them is to keep going, is to keep getting better. Just like it is for Deshaun Watson or Julién Davenport or whoever the rookies are that are playing, just one day at a time, keep trying to get better.”
Was it nice to not have the defense on the field as much last game?
“I think we possessed the ball and that was a good thing. I don’t think time of possession is the be-all and end-all stat that maybe some people think it is. But if you have the ball for 40 minutes, unless the other team is scoring at a very quick rate, you’re probably going to win the game. The fact that it worked out the way it did was good but usually these games are pretty balanced and like I said, this is another whole challenge this week. This is a team that can score very quickly with their explosive plays. They do a lot of different things on defense we have to be prepared for. Kansas City’s a big, big challenge for us.”
Is it more of a challenge to coach a quarterback who can do so many different things and also, is it more fun?
“I don’t know. I mean, coaching’s fun. I think the thing about coaching is it’s also about the individual guy. When you have a great guy that really can’t wait to be coached and soaks up the information and has good questions and is just a great teammate, that’s what makes it fun. Relative to scheming and all those different things, it still comes down to execution and making sure that the player really understands what you want them to execute, especially at that position, and not doing too much. Especially with a young guy, just because he’s had some success doesn’t mean now all of a sudden we can go with 150 plays in this game plan instead of 90. That wouldn’t be a smart thing to do. I think it’s all about incremental progress.”
How is C Greg Mancz coming along, how will he figure back into the offensive line and what do you think about S Marcus Cromartie joining the team?
“Mancz looked decent today. I think he would have a shot to play. I’ll probably know better about that on Friday after Thursday’s practice. We’ll be in full pads tomorrow so I’ll know better about that. But he looked like he would have a shot to play. I thought Rick (Smith) and his crew, Jimmy Raye (III), they did a good job of bringing some guys in. They do it every week. We brought Marcus Cromartie in and he’s a really good special teams player and a safety and brings good speed and good toughness to our team. Looking forward to seeing what he can do to help us.”
Is there a reason why you’ve been practicing more in NRG Stadium this year?
“Not really. It’s actually the convenience. We can go from a meeting to a walkthrough, maybe grab something to eat instead of walking across. It’s just easier. That’s all it is. I wouldn’t read too much into that. Plus the guys do like the turf in there, they like practicing on that turf.”
Is the NRG Stadium turf better than it was before?
“Yes. That turf in there is awesome. Great turf.”
There was a story saying you wanted to start QB Deshaun Watson after the preseason game in Carolina and Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith persuaded you not to do it. Can you comment on that?
“I don’t know where – look, I think, like I’ve said for umpteenth time, we have an organization here that works very well together. I decide who plays, Rick is in charge of personnel. I’m in charge of the 46-man gameday roster. I feel like every decision that I make is in the best interest of the team. Rick and I talk every single day about the roster, we go over every player. We just met this morning on the roster, we met yesterday on the roster. We have a good relationship. I don’t know. I just can’t understand it. I just think the big thing for us is to be focused on Kansas City.”
What has WR Bruce Ellington brought to the offense and are surprised by his contribution since he’s been cut by two teams?
“I think the NFL’s all about a fit. I think the fact that he fit what we do maybe or maybe a little bit better than somebody else, that can be the case with a lot of different guys. Plus, he had been injured, knock on wood, and so I think the fact that he’s healthy and taking care of his body and doing a good job of that, and he can make plays. He can make plays down the field, he can make plays underneath, he’s good on special teams. So, he’s a good addition for us.”
Do you take time to recognize QB Deshaun Watson winning the AFC Offensive Player of the Week?
“No. I think it’s a great honor, but no. We’re definitely focused on Kansas City. I think at the end of the day, I think those awards are great. I really do. I think it’s a great honor for him to get that as a rookie, but I think the goal of every week is to make sure we’re focused on the task at hand.”
Chiefs QB Alex Smith had an unlikely path to the success he’s having now. What do you learn when you study huis career?
“I think one of the keys in this league, whether you’re a coach or a player, is resiliency. And being able to understand that sometimes, whether it’s a fit or it’s injury or maybe it’s your own mistakes, whatever it is, it’s all about – if you look through the history of this league, the most successful people have been through tough times. Players and coaches. Anybody that’s had true success in this league has been through tough times, and that’s kind of what this league’s all about. Can you pick yourself back up? And that’s what Alex has done. I think he’s found a great match in Andy Reid. He’s a very smart player, he’s a very efficient player. He can run. He’s a really hard guy to get ready for because of his combination of his intelligence, his passing ability and his ability to run. It’s a big challenge.”
Do you think Chiefs QB Alex Smith shows that dual-threat quarterbacks can succeed in the NFL and that you don’t need to have the biggest arm to succeed?
“I think arm strength is important, don’t get me wrong, but it’s down the list of importance relative to other characteristics for a starting quarterback. I think being a great quarterback in this league takes a lot of different things. Relative to throwing the ball, it takes anticipation, being able to anticipate what’s going to happen so that you can throw the ball before the receiver’s head is turned around for instance, and it’s not all about being able to throw the ball right through that wall right there 90 miles an hour. It’s about having touch, it’s about being able to get it into a tight window before that window closes. It’s about leadership, it’s about your ability to study and comprehend the information and put it together by Sunday. I think the arm strength thing is really kind of, in some ways, overrated. It’s important. I mean, you can’t come out and throw ducks, but I don’t think that’s the number one thing for a quarterback.”
Do you see any commonalties between rookie QB Deshaun Watson and Chiefs rookie RB Kareem Hunt in terms of elusiveness or confidence?
“I think that these guys nowadays, a lot of these guys have played in such big – look, it’s probably more related to Deshaun than it is Hunt, but they’ve played well in college, they’re coached well in college. (For) some of these guys, the stage isn’t too big for them. When you look at Hunt run, I mean, he’s built low to the ground. He’s a very, very physically tough guy to tackle. He’s fast, he’s a stretch-cut runner, he does a great job of pressing the line of scrimmage and has really good vision. He’s a very, very difficult back to tackle. If you let this guy get into the secondary, he’s got that Maurice Jones-Drew-type of quality where it’s hard to tackle him. He’s got a big lower body and he’s a strong, strong player. It’s a challenge and he’s done a great job.”
How do you contain speed?
“There’s a lot of different ways that you have to try to. In the end, you don’t really contain it, you just have to do a great job of trying to disrupt it and not let it get behind you, if that makes sense. You just have to keep the ball in front of you and you have to do things at the line of scrimmage to try to disrupt it sometimes. Sometimes, they get into the coverage and you’ve got to get them down on the ground, you’ve got to gang-tackle them and things like that. There’s different things you can do, but it’s very difficult to deal with.”
Your kicking game has been tremendous with P Shane Lechler and K Ka’imi Fairbairn. Can you talk about what those two are doing right now?
“To me, Lechler is, and he gets mad at me when I say this because he thinks I’m trying to get him to retire and I’m not, but I think he’s a Hall-of-Fame candidate. I think if you look at his stats, his gross punting, I mean it’s off the charts. I think that he’s got great leg strength and I think one thing about Lechler is later in his career here, he’s really tried hard to direct the football, which has been big for us, and then Fairbairn’s done a good job. Now, like I’ve said about Deshaun (Watson) and like I’ve said about Dylan Cole, Zach Cunningham, whoever, we’re not ready to enshrine Fairbairn in Canton, Ohio. But I think he’s been a consistent guy and he’s worked very hard. He’s got a talented leg.”  
How does QB Deshaun Watson make your whole team better?
“I think any time that you have a quarterback who performed like he did on Sunday at a pretty high level, it kind of gives everybody a shot in the arm, a little bit of juice, some confidence. I think that’s pretty standard with quarterback play but I would say that’s certainly one of the ways that he does that, that he changes the game and gets things moving. Certainly he did that Sunday and we have to build on that.”
What is it like to have a quarterback like QB Deshaun Watson that gets points like that, even considering it is just one game?
“Obviously, Sunday was a great day. It was exciting to be part of that. But that’s exactly right, it’s one game. I think that’s the biggest point that we’ve all talked about this week, that that was great on Sunday and Sunday night and onto the next now. There’s certain things – you’ll never play a perfect football game. That was not a perfect football game and there’s still plenty of room to improve. He’s a rookie quarterback and that’s the biggest thing to keep in mind. He’s good with that and he understands that. That’s what gives you the shot to move forward and keep progressing.”
After talking to QB Deshaun Watson about some things he did at Clemson, how much have you borrowed or picked up on since you’re trying to evolve the offense?
“I think every staff, to be honest with you, is kind of looking at different things that fit the skillset of their players, and we’re no different. We’re constantly researching, whether it’s other NFL teams and what’s been successful for different players that maybe have a similar skillset. That goes on constantly. That goes on all offseason and in the college ranks too, so when you get a guy who you feel has particular things that work or you think can work well with, that’s what you do. You find those teams and go after it and you try to work it into the system that you believe in, so you’re getting a combination of both and you’re not totally going away from what you’ve installed and worked on all spring and what you believe in philosophically.”
How much of a challenge is this week for QB Deshaun Watson against a defense led by Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton?
“It’s a big-time challenge. There’s going to be different fronts that he’s going to be looking at. Again, like I talk to you guys every week, to me, disguises and holding their looks and things like that are going to be a part of what every guy does to a rookie quarterback. I don’t care what he played like the week before, that’s going to be part of it, we know it. It’s kind of, in some ways, a little bit of that Rex Ryan tree that shows up a little bit where you’re getting some different types of pressures out of different personnel groupings. It’s a big challenge, like every week is in the NFL. Bob Sutton’s a very good coach and they’re a well-coached defense with a lot of talent over there. It’s going to take our best effort for sure.”
What are your thoughts on Chiefs DB Marcus Peters?
“He’s a very good corner. He’s got great ball skills and he’s a ball hawk, is what he is. He’s constantly got his eyes, even in man-coverage, he’s got a feel for where his man and his responsibility is, but his eyes are constantly on the quarterback, and if you’re not careful in knowing exactly where he is at all times, he can ruin a game. He’ll make plays on the ball. He’s a ball hawk for sure.”
How important was it to have WR Will Fuller V back in Sunday’s game in terms of opening up the playbook?
“Every single time that you’ve got a guy who’s got the vertical threat that Will (Fuller V) does with his speed, but also sometimes what gets lost a little bit, Will’s a good route runner. It’s not just go-routes all day long, it’s good routes as well. So, he wins a lot of one-one-one matchups and people know that, they see it on film. So, they’ve got to deal with that. That takes a little attention off of everybody else, the guy in the slot, the tight ends, it certainly can take some attention off of Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), which helps us there. So, having him as the balance, the counterpart to Hop on the other side and the other guys in the slot and the tight end spots is huge.”
It seems like you guys are using RB Lamar Miller more as a pass-catcher than in the past. Is there a particular reason for that or are there just more opportunities to do that now?
“I think it’s a combination of both. It’s no different than – I mean, some of the routes that we have has always had the same route combinations for the back and the back getting out. We just happened to have times where maybe because our stretching the field, coverage is sinking, backs coming open, quarterback’s seeing it. So, it’s a combination of both, and then obviously when you’re throwing the ball to the back and he’s doing a good job of catching it and getting some yards after the catch and moving the chains, quarterbacks notice that and they start throwing to the backs a little bit more.”
What has the maturation process been like with QB Deshaun Watson?
“I think, my opinion from day one when he came in here, he’s been very serious about what he’s done. He’s been a mature guy, kind of beyond his years in my mind. He never acted like a rookie in terms of how he approached his job. To me, he came in professional, serious and I think certainly that’s been a big part of his maturation and how he’s handled things. He’s made rookie mistakes on the field, don’t get me wrong, and we know he will and we’re working to get better with that every week, every day. But the way he approaches his job and the seriousness that he takes it with, it’s impressive.”
What are your thoughts on losing RB Tyler Ervin?
“I think any time that you lose somebody that has a skillset that you can move from the backfield to the slot, outside even, a guy that plays well on special teams, it’s a loss. It’s a loss. And you look to fulfill that with combinations of other players and finding guys that can do certain things that Tyler (Ervin) did. That’s the way we’ll approach it. But certainly, Erv (Tyler Ervin) was doing a good job for us and we’re going to miss him.”  
Can you believe how QB Deshaun Watson lifts everyone’s spirits with the way he plays?
“I can believe it. I watched him in college. Obviously he did the same thing there. We all know what type of talent he has. He’s a great leader. One thing about that (is) I don’t think you can teach someone to be a leader. You just have to naturally have that, and I think he naturally has that. He’s doing some great things right now. He’ll continue to lead us and we’ll continue to be behind him 100 percent.”
How do you try to neutralize a Kansas City offense with so many different weapons?
“They have a ton of different options, like you said. Alex Smith is playing at a high level right now. Kareem Hunt is doing some great things right now. For us, as a defense, we just have to get 11 guys to the ball. We have to know where their key guys are at all times, the personnel and formations, and like I said, get 11 hats to the ball.”
What do you see from Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt?
“He’s a strong runner. They’re doing some different stuff, getting him the ball out of the backfield. He’s a tough guy to tackle. Not one guy’s going to bring him down. Like I said, this week will be huge for us as far as getting everybody to the ball and everybody trying to tackle.”  
How much time have you spent one-on-one with Head Coach Bill O’Brien and what are some things he has taught you to help you play the way you have?
“We’ve spent a lot of time since I first got here after the draft. Building our relationship, building our trust with each other and just teaching me the real details of this offense – how to learn it, how to pick it up fast enough. That was pretty much it. Not so much else. Now that I’m playing, just making sure that I’m becoming the best quarterback I can be.”
Do you see Head Coach Bill O’Brien developing more confidence in your opinions now that he’s been around you a long time?
“Of course. Of course, I’m young to this league and I’m still learning as I go, but at the same time, he understands that us players are out there, we’re the ones that are playing, we’re the ones that are executing plays, so we’re seeing different things than he’s seeing. He’s a player’s coach and he loves to take advice and different tips from the players.”
I know that you’re focused on the here and now, the next game and all of that, but you are doing things that haven’t been done or have rarely been done in years. What does that mean to you?
“It’s all right, I guess. It’s cool. My mentality is always try to improve each and every way. I’m still a rookie that’s still trying to learn and experience some different things. So, I’m just taking it one play at a time and I’m looking forward to the next game. I can’t get caught up in what I did the previous week. I have to make sure that I am looking forward to the next week because it’s always a new week.”
You are doing some things that Gale Sayers did in 1965 and Fran Tarkenton in 1961. How crazy is that?
“It’s pretty big, but I always believed that history repeats itself, so it was a matter of time before somebody was doing it or was going to do it, so why not me?”
What are your thoughts on winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week?
“My thoughts on it, it’s a cool honor, but I can’t settle for it. Can’t settle for it. Always have to make sure that, like I said before, improving and trying to be the best player because you’re only as good as your next game. So, we have a big test this week with the Kansas City Chiefs and we have to do it over.”
Do you feel like you have grown from when you went into the Jaguars game until now and what is the biggest area in which you’ve grown?
“I’ve grown a lot. I guess the biggest area is operating with the offense, just trying to get on the same page with Coach OB (O’Brien) and all coaching staff and then being able to lead this team and lead the offensive guys when we have to step out there on the field and try to score points and win games.”
You’ve had remarkable success at every level you’ve been at – high school, college and, for a couple games now, the NFL. What do you do to try to make sure that you handle the success the way that you have?
“I just be me. It’s in my DNA. That’s how I was raised, so that’s all I know. Regardless of the success and the failure that you have, always stay levelheaded and just be the Deshaun Watson I’ve always been. I couldn’t tell you – I don’t do anything outside the lines to try to stay grounded. It’s just something in me.”
Clemson QB Kelly Bryant said that what you did this weekend wasn’t anything new, it’s what you’ve been doing on the practice fields since he’s known you. What is it like to know that your friends back at Clemson are rooting for you and are not surprised by what you’re doing?
“It’s all love. We put in the work together, we grinded together, so they know who I am, I know who they are. They’re doing the same thing back at Clemson, putting in the work. It’s the culture that’s there and that’s what Coach (Dabo) Swinney always preaches and that’s what he teaches. Whenever players move on to their next careers, it doesn’t stop. So, I put in the grind, I put in the work and then eventually it shows.”
Is there anything that you’re doing to try to stay ahead of some things that you think defensive coordinators might try to throw at you based on the film that you’ve put out already?
“Just continue to get better. Try to get one percent better each and every day. Build on my craft. Watch film as much as I can and try to study them. At the end of the day, the film’s going to be out there and you just try to build on your strengths and your weaknesses.  You just have to go out there and execute. At the end of the day, it’s a one-on-one matchup and who is going to win that matchup?”
How much did playing in big games at Clemson help you get ready for this one, New England and Cincinnati?
“I guess the lights and all the hype that comes with the game, the media part, and just trying to make sure you focus on your game plan and what you have to really focus on. Keep the main thing, the main thing. Don’t get caught up with outside noise. Focus on coming each and every day, trying to learn the game plan and get better. Then, whenever game time comes around, it just kind of comes naturally.”
Has anything you’ve done at this level surprised you about yourself?
“Not at all. Not really. This is what I’ve been dreaming for. I’m a confident player, I’m a confident person, so I feel like I can play at this level. I’m just going to continue to try to do that each and every week.”
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton gave you a shout out for your style. What does it mean that one of the best dressers in the NFL has already noticed your style as a rookie?
“Me and Cam (Newton) go way back from high school, so he kind of knows how I’ve grown as a player, but also as a person and just being able to have that. So, it’s all love between me and Cam. Like I said before, he’s like a big brother to me. I learned from the best and eventually I’ll be on his level. But at the end of the day, just try to show the world the type of person that I am, that I’m open, out and free to be able to show my personality and the style I have.”
With the success that you and the offense have had, presumably people are going to be gunning for you. Is that part of the fun and a challenge for you, knowing that people are going to try to stop you from having the success that you’re having?
“It’s always fun to have that. Each and every week the team is trying to stop you from scoring points or putting up yards. So, it goes back to winning the one-on-one matchups and if you do that and execute at a high level, then it’s harder to be stopped. So, we love the challenge and we’re going to be up for it.”  
What is the key to containing the speed of the Kansas City Chiefs and QB Alex Smith?
“You just have to play good defense. They have, obviously, multiple ways they can hurt you. Alex Smith is good with his legs. The way Kareem Hunt’s been playing this year is obviously phenomenal. So, we just have to be sound in our assignments, be sound in what we do and play full-team defense, everybody doing their job, rallying to the ball.”
What’s special about Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt?
“He does a great job. Obviously, he has that ability to make the big play in the run game, which is difficult to do, but he also is methodical throughout the game. He’s consistent throughout the entire game. He has a lot of yards in the second half which is impressive as well. So, any time you have the number one rushing attack in the National Football League, you’re doing something right, and it starts with having a great running back and he’s obviously done a great job so far.”
How are the Chiefs better now than when you guys played them last year?
“I mean, they’re 4-0, so I would say they’re doing pretty well.”
But are the Chiefs better than they were last year?
“I don’t know. I have no idea. You’re comparing two different years. I don’t know.”
QB Deshaun Watson and Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt are two of the better rookie players in the league. What do you think of both of these guys?
“I think they’re both doing a great job. Obviously, it’s a very difficult league to play in, so when you can come in early and have as much success as they’ve had so far, I think it’s a testament to how hard they work, how talented they are and also, obviously, bright things are coming for the future.”
When you go up against a guy like Chiefs QB Alex Smith, does it help at all going against QB Deshaun Watson in practice?
“A little bit, yeah. I think it’s, I mean, going up against a guy like (Marcus) Mariota last week. Like I said last week, there’s a few of those guys in the league, I mean, (Blake) Bortles, there’s guys that can run around and have the ability to get out of tough situations and you have to account for them. So, yeah, you always have to be prepared for that.”
When you watched the offense put up 90 points in the last two games, how does that change your perspective?
“It’s obviously extremely exciting. The key to the game is scoring more points than the other team and holding them to less than you score. So, the more that they score, the easier it is for us and you get some plays off and you get to take a break, have a sip of Gatorade on the sideline and just watch. It’s fun. It makes it fun (and) it’s exciting. Yeah, obviously, we hope we get to continue that and the defense does our part giving the ball back so they can score even more.”
Do you feel a little cheated sitting on the sideline so much?
“No, it’s nice. I got the best seats in the house.”
What have you seen from Chiefs QB Alex Smith?
“He’s done a good job. Any time you’re 4-0 in this league, you’re going to be doing a lot of things right. He’s obviously done that. He gets himself out of situations with his legs. He obviously gets the ball to their playmakers and they have a few of them. So, he’s done a good job. I think they only have one turnover on the year and I think it was the first play of the season for them, so they’ve done a really good job of protecting the ball. It’s really important for us to go out there and execute our game plan and try to do what we can to get them off early.”
What did you think of ILB Dylan Cole’s pick-six?
“That was impressive. Really impressive play. Obviously, for a young guy in a situation like that, he had a pick-six, he had a sack, he had a fumble recovery. The kid’s doing all right. So, it’s really, really good to see those young guys step in and do such great things.”
Having played the Chiefs so much in the past few years, how well do you know the Chiefs offense and how much do you think it matters given how many new players they have?
“Obviously we’ve played them each year here for the last couple of years, but this league is week-to-week and things can change and there’s going to be new plays and new players and obviously they have some new faces over there. But they have a good coaching staff, they have good players and they’re able to do different things from week to week, but it’s just up to us. At the end of the day, it comes down to we have to do our job. We can watch all the film we want, we can watch everything, but at the end of the day we have to do our job and we have to go out there and play our defense and say, ‘You have to beat us.’”
How do you manage being aggressive but not too aggressive?
“Yeah, it’s team defense. It’s understanding when to shoot your shot, I guess. When you have the ability to be overly aggressive and then when you have to understand what type of defense you’re in, who’s got your back, things like that. To understand, OK, now I need to really just play within the parameters of the defense. I think we’ve done a really good job this year so far of having a bunch of guys who all understand the overall concept of the defense, when to take the chances, when not to. We’re playing really good team defense.”
Is there a different buzz going into this game with the way you guys have been playing?
“I mean, we’re 2-2. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It’s not like we’re the ones that are 4-0, so we’ve got to be a little bit tempered with that. But we’re very excited. Obviously a big game coming up on Sunday against a team who is undefeated in our conference, so, yeah, it’s a really big game. Hopefully we can have the same type of performance we had last week and yeah, it’s exciting, but we also need to make sure that we stay on the ground here.”
How do you sort through all of the motions and fakes that the Chiefs use on offense?
“That’s what they pay us for. I mean, that’s part of what makes them so good, is their ability to mix things up and have guys going all different directions and doing different things. But like I said, that’s also our job to understand and to watch the film and to practice it and rep it every day and we have a great coaching staff who prepares us. So, it’s just a matter of every single day leading up to Sunday, making sure that we understand and have great knowledge of what they’re doing so we can handle it and knowing what means something for real and what’s just window dressing.”
Do you have thoughts about the Houston Astros now that the MLB playoffs are underway and the overall sports scene in Houston?
“Yeah, it’s an incredible time. Obviously you’ve got the ‘Stros in the playoffs and then you’ve got the Rockets starting up the season. It’s a really exciting time and we’re all rooting for the ‘Stros and I wish I could get out there to a game. I’m sure the atmosphere there is going to be phenomenal and then obviously here on Sunday night, the atmosphere is going to be great. It’s not too bad of a time to be a sports fan in this town, so hopefully we can all put on some great shows for them and come together and lift the city up.”  
What’s the biggest challenge for your team against the Texans?
“Well, we’ve played them here now here the last few years and we have a ton of respect for them and we know how good they are. I mean, that’s firsthand we know how good they are. Heck, they got after us the last time we were down there and knocked us out of the playoffs. So, we get it. We understand that they’ve got a talented  football team and we know that their quarterback, we studied him and sure liked him and knew that Coach (Bill O’Brien) was making a good pick there with him. It’s good to see him doing well. He’s a very good football player and doing a great job for them.”
Can you expand your evaluation on Texans QB Deshaun Watson leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft?
“We had a ton of respect for him and we had him in here and spent a lot of time with him and just thought he was going to be a really, really good football player. And he’s doing just what we figured. He’s a good one.”
What do you see from rookie RB Kareem Hunt and Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson that makes them two of the better rookies recently?
“It’s a tribute to both kids. They’re working their tails off, I’m sure. I’m not with Deshaun every day but I know how he’s wired. My kid here (Hunt), he works his tail off and is so diligent in all phases of the game, which is unique for a young guy. He’s got a great coach in Eric Bieniemy, who’s been there and done it. He’s played in the league. I appreciate Kareem’s attitude and diligence to learn the game. That’s what impresses me the most.”
How comfortable were you to keep giving RB Kareem Hunt the football after he fumbled his first career carry?
“He wasn’t a fumbler in college. That just wasn’t what he was. I’m not even sure he fumbled once in college. That just wasn’t his deal. I happened to see it firsthand. I was looking right at him at the time and it was kind of a freak deal in how it happened. But he’s also playing a team this week that’s pretty good at getting those fumbles, so he’s really got to hang on to that thing this week, too.”
What changed with QB Alex Smith that made him more consistent now than in years past?
“I think, first of all, there’s been a little consistency with it, which he didn’t have a ton of until Jim (Harbaugh) got there – to San Francisco, I’m saying. And then two, I just mentioned this to our media, is that he’s kind of raised these kids up. They’re kind of his guys and he trusts them and has been able to teach them from a player’s standpoint. So it’s kind of fun to watch that.”
Did you at all benefit from being let go by the Philadelphia Eagles?
“I wouldn’t have been able to eat all this good barbeque, that’s for dang sure. I don’t know. In this business, you learn every day. So, I don’t know if I (will) get philosophical. I didn’t do a good enough job there at the end, and so they let me go. I understand it, I get it. Jeffrey Lurie was phenomenal to me and to my family. I understood. I’m fortunate to have been hired by the Hunt family and Clark in particular has given me every opportunity to do my thing. And so I think you learn from all the experiences. Every day you learn something new. Heck, I learned something during that period, I’m sure. I’m not getting philosophical. To answer your question, yeah, I’m sure I did. I can’t tell you what it is right now.”
One of the criticisms in your career has been game-day management. Can you just speak to the difficulty in making these huge decisions with massive implications and you’ve literally got split seconds to make them?
“Yeah, it’s probably like a reporter that asks a dumb question.”
Can you speak to Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien and what he’s done in Houston during his career?
“I have a ton of respect for Bill and the job that he’s done. It’s tough to be a head coach in the National Football League and that whole deal. I mean, that’s a tough thing and he’s fortunate to be with a great organization and one that’s allowed him to build this thing. It’s paying off right now.”
How does your game plan change when you have to go against defenders like Texans OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney and DE J.J. Watt?
“Those guys are tough. That’s a great challenge for our offensive line and then there’s certain things you can do against them, there’s certain things you’re not going to try. I mean, it’s just by scheme and by talent that you’re just going to kind of stay away from. I can’t tell you those things but there’s just certain things that you’re just not going to do.”
Does RB Kareem Hunt remind you of RB Jamaal Charles?
“Different guys. Different body types, different styles. Jamaal was – I don’t know if linear is the word, but he wasn’t as heavy-built in that core, the thighs, that core area as Kareem, and then they’re speed’s different. Jamaal, I mean you’re talking about fast-fast. They’re different guys. Just different styles, different guys. Very good. Both of them good.”
How much does having a hybrid wide receiver-tight end like Travis Kelce change the game plan for you?
“As a coach, you want to try to play to your players’ strengths. That’s what you try to do. So, he has some strengths and one of which is he’s a good receiver. And so you try to play to that. Give him an opportunity to do his thing.”
Has TE Travis Kelce taught you any of his dance moves?
“No, wrong guy. I’m not very good. No rhythm.”  
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