Head Coach Bill O’Brien
CB Johnathan Joseph
WR Will Fuller V
QB Deshaun Watson
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Going into the bye week, would you say the offense’s success is the most pleasing part of the first six games?
“I would just say that it’s good to go into the bye with a win. I don’t really look at it that way. I don’t think about what’s more pleasing. I always, look, I’m looking forward to the noon meeting with the team so we can get going on what we need to improve upon in all three phases. Whether it’s better punt coverage, better ways to run the football. We have to execute better in the running game. We have to keep quarterbacks in the pocket on defense. We’ve given up a lot of yards rushing to quarterbacks. That’s how I look at it. What can we do to get better?”
What are your thoughts on WR Braxton Miller and his flip into the end zone?
“Yeah, I didn’t like the flip. Did not like the flip. Just score and hand the ball to the official would be my advice to him. I think he can add some things to our offense. Just continue to work and improve in the classroom, continue to work and improve on special teams and he’ll get more reps on offense.”
Where do you think QB Deshaun Watson is in the operation of the offense?
“I’d say there’s always room for improvement. We have a lot to work on. I think the bye’s coming at a good time. I think it’s been decent but I think that it can be a lot better.”
Are you impressed with the progress QB Deshaun Watson has made from where he started?
“Oh, yeah. Look, for a guy that’s just coming into the league, to be able to play the way he’s played, with the poise that he’s played with, definitely pleased with that. I just know that there’s a lot of things relative to him and the way he thinks and the way I think that we can all get better at.”
Can you talk about what QB Deshaun Watson will work on?
“I think he’ll always try to enhance the things that he’s doing well and I think he’ll really work hard to change the things that he’s not doing well, if that makes sense. So, he’ll really work on different things. I’m not going to get into the details of what each category is, but I know that he’s going to work hard to get better at what he perceives and what we tell him he needs to get better at. He’s going to work real hard at that, and then he’s going to continue to enhance the things that I think he’s doing well. That’s a lot of what we’re going to talk about this afternoon.”
Is this the first time you’ve worn a Houston Astros hat in here?
“No. Well, I don’t know, maybe. I’m a big Astros fan. I mean, that game the other day – (Justin) Verlander on the mound, (José) Altuve racing around the bases with that winning run. That was a great baseball game. The crowd was into it. Big fan of (Astros Manager) A.J. Hinch, big fan of the Astros and even bigger fan now that they’re playing the Yankees.”
Have you recently texted Astros Manager A.J. Hinch?
“I haven’t texted him since after the Red Sox series, but I did send him a text there. And he’s a great guy, he texted me right back. He mentioned our team and good luck against Cleveland and things like that. So, he’s watching us and we’re appreciative of that, but we wish him the best of luck and his team.”
What are your thoughts on Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin and the progress the offensive line has made?
“I don’t even know where to begin with Mike Devlin. I think he’s one of the best line coaches I’ve ever been around. I’ve been around some great line coaches. I’ve been around Dante Scarnecchia, I’ve been around Doug Marrone, I’ve been around Ralph Friedgen, Pat Watson – I could go down the list – Mac McWhorter. The list of offensive line coaches that I’ve been around and Mike Devlin’s right there at the top. He’s a great teacher. He’s got a great demeanor. He really creates unity in his room. That’s a real brotherhood within that room. They believe in him. I believe in him. I just think he’s a very, very vital part of the staff.”
QB Deshaun Watson said that you trust his instincts. Is it sometimes tricky because there are some plays where he extends it and makes incredible plays and then there are others where you think he should maybe throw it away?
“No question, and he did that a few too many yesterday. We’re going to talk about that. He’s the type of guy that’ll correct those things. He had one scrambling over, when we were backed up, scrambled over to the Cleveland sideline – it really should have been intercepted. DeAndre Hopkins made a great play batting the ball down. We can’t do that. We’ve got to understand that the journey’s over sometimes and it’s OK to punt. We don’t really like punting but we have to understand that that’s part of managing the game – making good decisions. I’d tell you, 90 percent of the time he makes the right decision, but that 10 percent we have to improve on because that can get you beat, and I think that’s something that he’ll really work on.”
What do you think of the way OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney is playing and how he’s built on last year?
“I think JD (Jadeveon Clowney) always plays hard. I think he plays very, very hard on Sundays. We’re very appreciative of that, and I think he can play even better. I think he’d probably be the first one to tell you that. He’s made some really key plays for us. Yesterday, definitely getting pressure on the quarterback, setting the edge in the running game, but then there’s other things I know that he wishes he could play better on certain plays, and I think he’ll really work hard to do that. I think he realizes how important he is to our success moving forward on defense. The thing about JD is I really enjoy watching him play on Sundays because he plays very, very hard. He plays very hard, which is a great thing.”
Is it unfair to expect too much out of the defense, considering the losses of DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus?
“I don’t know if I look at it that way. I think it’s more about the standard we have to hold ourselves to in all three phases. You know what I mean? I think that – look, this is a contact sport. Injuries occur. Every team’s dealing with injuries. Look at Green Bay yesterday. The season’s not ending, and so everybody’s dealing with injuries and so now it’s just about, OK – you look at the guys that stepped in yesterday. Brennan Scarlett played a good football game. I though Ufomba (Kamalu) did some good things. D.J. Reader got a game ball along with Johnathan Joseph. Obviously, J-Jo got a game ball. D.J. Reader got one, too. D.J. Reader was sick as a dog and played the game really battling flu-like symptoms. Played a hell of a game. So, those type of guys are always going to step up and that’s what happens in these situations. That’s the nature of the deal in the NFL and that’s what has to continue.”
When you have guys that have to step up, especially when they’re undrafted free agents or they’re coming from other teams, what role do your position coaches play in their development?
“Big. I think our coaching staff, we – you look at what Rick (Smith) and Jimmy (Raye III) are doing, they’re bringing these guys in and some of these guys, whether it’s Lamarr Houston or guys that we’re signing, Marcus Williams. I thought Marcus did some good things. But, if you have the philosophy of churning the roster, then you better have a coaching staff that can get guys ready in three days to play a game on Sunday. And so, I think our coaching staff does a real good job of that. And then, when you talk about the Dylan Coles of the world, those type of players, the Kurtis Drummonds of the world that weren’t drafted, that is all about development. We have a number of guys on our staff that coached in college where, I think, in college, developing players is a huge thing, and I think we do a good job of developing players as a coaching staff.”
Can you talk about how well P Shane Lechler is punting and how K Ka’imi Fairbairn has missed more extra points than field goals?
“Lech has a strong leg. Lech has really tried to direct the punts for us. That’s something he needs to continue to do, but he’s a great punter. You guys know how I feel about Lech. He’s doing a heck of a job and when he can combine hang time with the direction, it really helps our coverage. I think Fairbairn’s done a decent job. What happened on that one yesterday was it was the operation. The clock was running down then they reset the clock, and we need to slow down and realize that they reset the clock and get the operation set. We were in too much of a rush there. So, the snap was a little off – everything kind combined for him to miss. We got to protect better. Certain parts of our protection have to be better on the PAT protection, the field goal protection. But I think he’s done a good job and kicking off’s been real good for us.”
Do you have an update on ILB Dylan Cole?
“I don’t have an update on Dylan Cole. He could miss a little time or he could miss a lot of time. I think that’s an MRI situation and they’ll get back to me later on that.”
Do you expect CB Kevin Johnson back after the bye?
“I do. I think that Kevin could start practicing for us after the bye, next week, and then should be good to go, I believe. Yep.”
What did you think of the play ILB Dylan Cole made before he got injured?
“It was a great play. He’s got good speed, he’s got really good instincts. He knew what was coming there basically, and he can run. He’s got good ball skills, so we weren’t surprised by the play that he made, but it was definitely a heck of a play down the field. Usually linebackers, the farther it gets down the field, they have a harder time adjusting to the ball, and he did a nice job on that. It’s just too bad he got injured on that play.”
What’s ILB Zach Cunningham’s impact on the defense?
“Zach’s done a good job. He’s a very athletic guy, he’s very instinctive, smart, very coachable and he’s played pretty physical for a rookie. Sometimes that inside linebacker position, it’s not easy to just step right in. You’re playing against grown men right away, which is different – even in the SEC – it’s different than college. I think that he’s done a good job of really helping us on special teams, helping us obviously on defense and playing physically, which is important.”
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
How much does coaching play into either guys coming in here from other teams or guys who are undrafted making an impact?
“I think it’s a combination of coaching, scouting, finding guys that are fitting what we want to do here, finding scheme-wise what’s going to fit into this locker room, and then getting them up to par throughout the week on a short week when some guys sign like Lamarr Houston, other guys coming in. But Dylan (Cole) came right in and jumped off the charts as a really smart rookie, and I think veterans like myself like other guys are getting those guys ready for game situations.”
How does a guy like CB Marcus Williams come in and get a lot of playing time so quickly?
“Marcus, just like I kind of said, he’s been here before actually, that first year, so he’s got some familiarity in this scheme. You look on film and see what he did when he was in New York, he’s a guy that can come in and play multiple positions, different techniques, different coverages. So, he fits right in with us in this locker room.”
What did you make of the coverage and interception by ILB Dylan Cole?
“You couldn’t draw it up any better. It was picture perfect. He’s in man-to-man coverage, he sat there and played the guy perfect, jammed the guy at the line of scrimmage. The guy ran a double-move on him and he kept his eyes on the guy and last but not least, he found the ball in the air, looked back and made a great catch. He’s been playing lights out for us. A really smart, instinctive young player. Hats off to Dylan.”
Do you think guys are motivated to replace losses on defense and fill the void?
“Absolutely. Just because the message is always spread across the locker room and any time you’re on the practice field when guys rotate and shuffle in and out, we don’t expect the level of play to drop off any at all, so they already have that mindset going in (that) they have to keep up with the rest of the guys in there.”
With your two picks to become the all-time interceptions leader in team history, did CB Kareem Jackson say he’s coming to get you?
“Yeah, man. It’s how it should be. I think in this league, a lot of times when turnovers come, it comes in bunches. It kinds of just rubs off. So Dre (Andre Hal), (Marcus) Gilchirst and those guys started it and hopefully we can keep this train going. I’m definitely up for this challenge and I think it will be a little fun thing going between us.”
It seems you get better as the season goes on. Is there a trick to that?
“I think the more repetitions you get, you start to fine tune things. You just get comfortable more and more. That’s the way it’s kind of been for me throughout my career. Hopefully this year’s no different.”
WR WILL FULLER V
With a couple games under your belt, how do you feel like you’re settling in?
“I feel like I’m setting in pretty good coming off the long injury. But like I said, I was working before I got back so it was just a matter time before I got back to my conditioning level and all that stuff.”
What did you see on your touchdown play?
“We were practicing it all week. I was just reading the safety, seeing what he was doing. He was overplaying to the middle of the field so I just broke it out and then Deshaun (Watson) threw a great pass.”
How has it felt to score five touchdowns in just three games?
“It feels great just scoring points (and) helping my team win. That’s the biggest thing. I just love winning, so whatever I have to do to help the team win is what I’m going to do.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed about yourself from this year to last year?
“Just playing smarter. I feel like I say that a lot. It’s my second year, so I know a lot more about defenses and how they’re going to try to play. I think that’s the biggest thing. Playing smarter so I can play faster.”
Are you stronger?
“I feel like I’m a little stronger, yeah.”
How much fun is it to be on the field with QB Deshaun Watson?
“It’s a lot of fun. Like I always say, he has his own swag to him. He just keeps everything fun. That’s the biggest thing with football, is just if you’re having fun I feel like you can play free. I feel like that’s what he does, too. He plays free and he makes plays.”
How much did returning to The Greenbrier after your surgery to watch practice and be in meetings help you since you’ve been back?
“It helped me a lot. Being away from it and just sitting there watching, seeing a different point of view, I guess, from the sideline and in the film room, watching other people and just watching coverages, just trying to focus on one thing to get better at, I feel like I got better at reading coverages and seeing how the defense does things.”
Why do you think QB Deshaun Watson’s swagger goes over so well with the other players?
“Like I said, just having fun. Deshaun brings that to the offense, I think. Everybody’s out there having fun, and like I said, if you’re having fun you’re playing free.”
How do you think you got yourself in a position to play smarter?
“Being on the sideline, being injured, watching a lot of film, meeting with the coaches and talking with them. Like I said, just seeing stuff from a different point of view.”
QB DESHAUN WATSON
How do you feel about things going into the bye?
“Things are pretty decent, I would say. There’s a lot more that we can learn from the film against the Browns and just kind of grow from there. I feel like we left a lot on the field, especially the second half, and we’re not where we want to be.”
How much do you think you’ve grown from when you first played to now?
“I’ve grown a lot. Each rep is another step for me to be able to grow as a player, as a person and as a leader. Getting more comfortable in this league is very, very hard to do, so each rep is real critical.”
Is there something you’re specifically focused on during the bye?
“Just getting back to the basics, getting back to the basic fundamentals and the operation of the offense. Those are the two things that I’m going to really focus on.”
What’s it like collaborating with Quarterbacks Coach Sean Ryan and what is your relationship like with him?
“It’s a good relationship. It’s all positive vibes in that whole quarterback room. We have a good time. We have fun with it and we know when to make sure we’re taking care of our business and then at the same time, we know how to sit back and relax and kind of just have fun and joke around.”
Do you feel like this team is better than the 3-3 record indicates?
“I guess so. I mean, it’s a long season. Each week is a different week and we just have to take it one week at a time.”
Has it sunk in that you’ve set some rookie records and sit near the top of NFL leaders statistically?
“I mean, it’s pretty cool, but me as a player, I’m never complacent. I’m always striving to be the best and striving to improve on my game. So, it’s no surprise. I’ve put in the work and I’m a confident player. I’m just trying to do what I do.”
Is the bye week coming at a good time or would you rather just keep going?
“The bye week is always good to kind of refresh mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and just kind of, like I said before, get back to the basics and evaluate yourself in the first six games and then get ready for 10 straight weeks.”
Do you have any specific plans for the bye week?
“I’m going to hang out and just kind of relax.”
Are you looking forward to continuing to work with WR Will Fuller V?
“Of course. Will’s been a guy that’s always trying to improve his game and get better each and every week. And not just him, but all the receivers. Everyone on offense, really. Everyone’s kind of striving to get better at their part and what they need to get better at for their position to help this football team.”
What do you like best about what the offense has done so far?
“I guess the energy and the vibe that we bring on the field and the fun that we have. I believe that it’s easy to kind of get in that place where it’s all about business and everyone’s kind of uptight and not having fun, but with this offense, we love to have fun and go out there and put up points and every time we step on the field, we try to get points on the board.”
Would the energy and vibe you try to bring to the offense explain WR Braxton Miller’s flip into the end zone?
“Yeah. I mean, that’s something that he wanted to do. His opportunity came and he took advantage of it and he did a flip and it was pretty dope.”
What happened on your pick-six and what do you learn from it?
“Just a rush. Fundamentals were bad and the ball just sailed on me and (Jason) McCourty made a great play and returned it for six. It’s a good learning lesson for myself and just got to grow from it and learn from it. Put it in the past and move on from it.”
Where do you stand in the operation of the offense and your knowledge of the system?
“I’m never going to be full throttle with the whole offense and operation. I’m always growing. I’m only a couple months into this offense, but each day, each week is a growing process for me. I’m pretty comfortable where I’m at and Coach OB (Bill O’Brien) is doing a good job of making sure that I’m comfortable with it.”
How do you determine whether to extend a play or give up on a play?
“It just comes down to the situation and my instincts at the time being. I trust my instincts. That’s what Coach (Sean) Ryan and Coach OB (Bill O’Brien) always tell me, is trust your instincts because I have a good feel of the game and when not to force a ball and when to force a ball. On the interception, it was just bad fundamentals and the ball sailed on me. So, it wasn’t really a play where I could have threw – I mean, I could have threw it away but I was trying to make a play and it just sailed on me and the guy made a great play. Outside of that, it’s been pretty good.”