Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Quarterbacks Coach Sean Ryan
WR Will Fuller V
QB Deshaun Watson
Conference Call with Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Could you talk about what you instructed QB Deshaun Watson to do during the bye week?
“I just think we talked about going back and watching all of his plays from the past games that he’s played, obviously, and really focusing not just on his own play but also defensively. Just really continuing to evolve and learn about NFL defenses. I think that’s some of the biggest strides he can make in his rookie year, I think, is to continue to learn about how these guys play defense. It’s so much different than what he was used to seeing at Clemson. It’s just the way it is. And then I wanted him to get ahead and start looking at Seattle.”
Did you communicate with QB Deshaun Watson during the bye week?
“I think I might have texted him once in a while, but not too much, no.”
Did you talk football with QB Deshaun Watson during the bye week?
“Maybe a couple ideas that I had for the game. But nothing – I wouldn’t write a story about that. It wasn’t too much, I can tell you that.”
Can you see TE C.J. Fiedorowicz coming off of injured reserve and playing in two weeks?
“I don’t know. He was out there today and it looked pretty good. I’d love to have him back. He means a lot to our offense. Great guy, tough guy. It looked like it was trending toward that, yes.”
What specifically makes the Seahawks secondary so good?
“They are very, very smart. Very well coached. Very athletic. They have length. They do a great job of communicating. I mean, where do you begin? You start with the two safeties. Earl Thomas is probably, in my opinion, one of the best safeties to ever play the game. He’s got great range, great tackler, great ball skills. He reminds you so much of the guys that I’ve had the unfortunate deal of calling plays against, being Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. Those guys who just had that type of skillset. Then you have Kam Chancellor, who’s just got great length, athletic ability, tough, good tackler. And then you go to the outside and you’ve got Richard Sherman. You just put the film on and he’s a guy that’s very, very difficult to get open against. He’s very smart, he studies tape, he knows what’s going on and you better keep him guessing because if you don’t, it’s going to be a long day. They’ve got a lot. They’re very, very good in the secondary.”
It seems like this is a very interesting matchup with the tandem of WR Will Fuller V and WR DeAndre Hopkins against the Seattle secondary.
“We have a lot of confidence in our guys. We love our guys. We have some guys that can really make plays, obviously Hop and Will, they’re the one and two. And then Bruce (Ellington) is the three and then guys, Lamar (Miller), D’Onta (Foreman) out of the backfield and Ryan Griffin and Stephen (Anderson) at tight end, and then obviously Deshaun (Watson). We feel good about our playmakers but we also know that it’s a huge challenge and that our guys need to be at the top of their game on Sunday.”
Did you learn anything about Chiefs QB Alex Smith on the move that will help you against Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“It’s been a common theme for us that we have to get better at, with all the guys. It’s been Blake Bortles, it’s been Alex Smith, it’s been a lot of the guys. So, we have to do a better job of that. When you look at Russell Wilson, obviously he can throw from the pocket but when you let him escape and extend plays, it’s going to be a long day. The other thing about him is he’s the highest-rated fourth quarter quarterback in the league right now. I mean, he plays great in the fourth quarter, which shows you what a winner he is. We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us and one of the things we have to try to do is to try to limit the times that he scrambles.”
Do you see any similarities from Seahawks QB Russell Wilson coming in and playing as a rookie and Texans QB Deshaun Watson?
“Yeah, there’s definitely similarities, especially, like, both guys are really smart. Obviously really good guys. It’s funny, I’ve known Russell Wilson for a long time. He’s just a guy that we recruited where I was at when he was coming out of high school in Richmond, Virginia. Just fortunate to meet him and be around him and now, obviously being around Deshaun, they’re different guys but they have some things that are similar and their intelligence and their leadership qualities and their competitiveness and all of those things. But yeah, there’s definitely similarities.”
You have shown QB Deshaun Watson film of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Is Seahawks QB Russell Wilson another quarterback you can show Watson to learn from?
“Yeah. I think what I want to do is I want to be clear with you guys. I think it’s a great question. On Saturday mornings, we show a big quarterback tape. I show a tape that myself, Sean (Ryan) and Pat O’Hara put together for Tom (Savage) and Deshaun, obviously, and a lot of times it involves quarterbacks from around the league doing really good things, whether it’s Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson or Alex Smith or Ben Roethlisberger or whoever it is, because we have great respect for great quarterback play. It’s actually a lot of fun to put the tape together and a lot of things that you’re looking at, you try to equate to what we’re doing or what the skillset of Deshaun is. Obviously we’re not trying to compare him – I don’t want to go down the road of like he’s like ‘this’ he’s like – he’s a very unique player. Deshaun’s a very unique player. He’s got his own way of playing, but there are certain things that he does that I think it’s good to study those guys and Aaron Rodgers being one of them. He’s a great player, he’s been doing it for a long time and he plays the game in a very calm way. He’s never in a panic mode. No matter what the situation of the game is, he’s in a calm demeanor and that’s the way he plays. He’s got great athletic ability and I think some of the things he does is good to show a young quarterback.”
Is T Duane Brown trending toward playing Sunday?
“Yes. I would say he would have a real good shot to play on Sunday.”
After the injury to Cowboys K Dan Bailey, do you have an emergency placekicker that’s not P Shane Lechler?
“Yeah, we do, but that’s a difficult situation but it is something – it’s like the backup long snapper. It’s not an easy situation to be in with a 53-man roster. But we do. Brian Peters has kicked for us in the past. We have a couple other guys. I’m sure Bruce Ellington can do it. We could probably throw a uniform on (Wes) Welker, put an 83 on him and let him do it. Soccer style, I think. But no, we do have a plan but we hope we don’t have to enact that plan.”
QUARTERBACKS COACH SEAN RYAN
What are some of the similarities that you see between QB Deshaun Watson and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“Their mobility and athleticism obviously stand out. They’re two guys that obviously move around well. They both have the ability to extend plays. I think that while they extend plays, they’re able to keep their eyes down the field and make throws down the field as well. Both have good arms, strong arms, can push the ball vertically down the field. So, I think those are probably the main things.”
How do you prepare QB Deshaun Watson for an environment such as Seattle?
“You just emphasize within the huddle that, you always have to make sure – it’s simple things like your eyes have got to be up, your lips have got to be up so those guys can hear everything that you’re saying. So, there’s some really small things that seem very matter of fact, but you just have to kind of harp on them, keep reminding him all week long. He’s pretty good with it. He understands the situation but those little things usually help.”
Do you think QB Deshaun Watson’s experience playing big games in college will help him this week at Seattle?
“Yes, I think it will help. I do think this is a unique environment. It’s probably the loudest, one of the loudest, places in the National Football League. So, it’s still going to be a challenge, but I certainly think his background with playing at the Florida States, some of the night games in the ACC will help him.”
What’s been the key to helping QB Deshaun Watson adjust and feel comfortable to the point where he can make some changes and other decisions on the fly which is difficult for a rookie quarterback?
“I think just constant repetition, whether it be at practice, whether it be mental reps that you’re getting while watching film. Talking about, not only what goes on in the film room during plays but also kind of like, ‘Well, what if they did this?’ and ‘What would you do?,’ ‘What could be an answer for us?,’ ‘What have we given you in the past is an answer to something like this?’ So, it’s just constantly talking scenarios and situations and going through them with him, and I think every week Pat O’Hara and we make a quarterback tape, he makes a quarterback tape of different guys throughout the league and the situations that come up within the league from the previous week, and we go through them and talk about them. Coach (Bill) O’Brien runs that meeting and goes through situations. I just think they do a pretty good job of – we do a good job of kind of just over and over again, repeating those things.”
Is the noise difference in Seattle significant enough that you have to prepare differently or consider a different way of communicating than other road games?
“It’s loud. Most road games – you prepare your team to go on the road, you prepare them for the noise, and I don’t think this is different in how we’re preparing them or how we’re talking to them. We try to let them know the challenges of it, just being honest with them and upfront, this is very loud, but also, here’s all we have to do in our communication and make sure that we’re clear on it and everybody’s on the same page. So, you coach it, teach it, emphasize it the same way wherever you go on the road.”
Would you say it’s better or worse than a place like Kansas City?
“I think Kansas City’s a loud place as well. So, you get those guys ready in terms of there’s going to be some times where we’re going to have to make sure our huddle’s tighter than normal. It’s things like that. We’ve got to tighten things up. We’ve got to make sure, you may have to check your formations twice and make sure that guys heard you correctly in the huddle. It’s things like that, that come into play when you play in a loud place like Seattle.”
With TE C.J. Fiedorowicz back at practice, how helpful will it be to possibly have him playing soon?
“He’s been, in the last couple years, a huge asset. Obviously was a very productive guy last year. He’s done a real good job, so it would be great offensively to get him back, another weapon.”
WR WILL FULLER V
How pleased are you with how things have gone with QB Deshaun Watson?
“Good. Whatever it takes to help the team win. If we’re clicking, that means maybe the offense is rolling. So, whatever it takes to win.”
What do you see from the Seahawks’ secondary?
“They’re a great secondary. I’ve been watching them since I was in high school. They’re all vets. I’ve been watching them for a long time so it’s going to be cool to go up against some of those guys.”
What’s been the key for QB Deshaun Watson, who’s stepped into the leadership role?
“I can’t really say too much, only knowing Deshaun, he’s a great leader. Like I always say, it’s fun to play with him. I’m sure he had that leadership his whole life. That’s all I can say about it.”
What is QB Deshaun Watson like in the huddle?
“He’s calm and collected. He’s cool. Like I said, it’s fun to play with him. Just in the huddle, it’s just fun being there with him.”
Can you talk about how you’ve worked on becoming a complete receiver and not just a speed guy?
“Just working hard in the offseason at things I got to get better at. One of those things was playing strength. I feel comfortable how I’m playing right now, so it just helps with going up for the jump balls and just becoming a complete receiver.”
How excited are you to go against a secondary regarded as one of the league’s elite?
“It’s going to be a good matchup. Like I said, I’ve been watching these guys since I was in high school. Guys like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor. Like I said, it’s going to be a fun game to play against people who I’ve watched for a long time.”
What is it about the Seahawks secondary that makes them so good?
“They’ve been producing for a long time. They’ve been some of the best cornerbacks and safeties in the game, like I’ve said, since I’ve been watching them. They’re still producing and doing a great job out there.”
QB DESHAUN WATSON
What did you do with your time off during the bye week?
“The first couple of days was football. So, I would say if you cut it in half, three days football, three days just kind of relaxing.”
What did you do football-wise?
“Just worked out, recovered the body, did some conditioning. I watched a lot of film on myself. So, self-evaluation, trying to correct the mistakes I made the first previous weeks and just try to build on that.”
During that self-evaluation, what were you looking at specifically to get better at?
“Just continue to make better decisions, ball placement, make quicker reads, my pocket awareness. Just try to operate the offense as best as I can.”
What are your thoughts on going up against Seahawks CB Richard Sherman and CB Shaquill Griffin?
“Veteran guys. I know (Shaquill) Griffin is a rookie but he’s around a lot of veteran guys that are going to teach him (and) make sure he’s prepared. It’s going to be a fun task. These are guys that I’ve looked up to, that I’ve watched over the previous years and actually got to know. So, it’s going to be fun going against those guys and competing with them.”
What do you think about Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“He’s a Super Bowl winner. He’s a guy that does a lot of things I can do – run the ball, make the right throws, make good decisions. Very composed and a guy that leads his team.”
Have you met Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“I’ve talked to him a couple times, but not too much.”
What is the loudest place you’ve ever played and how does that noise affect you?
“The loudest stadium probably, I guess I’ll say Florida State. The two night games I played, my freshman year and then this past year, were pretty loud. But, as far as playing on the road against a great environment like Seattle, the operation is big. You have to be able to communicate the plays. You have to be able to make sure that everyone’s on the same page at all times, and if you can’t hear, you have to be able to find ways to communicate that and make sure that everyone’s on the same page so you can go out there and execute.”
What’s the experience of playing in a loud environment like?
“You just deal with it. You’re so locked in and focused on the task at hand, you just make sure and you just block it out. Once you get going, you don’t really notice it, but if you really focus on the environment around you, then that’s when you get caught up in it and lose track of things.”
How do you prepare for a loud environment like Seattle?
“You play music and try to create noise, but you really can’t prep yourself for it. You just have to wait until you get there Sunday and experience it. You can blast the music all you want but that’s not going to help you on Sunday. It’s going to be way louder.”
And the songs will get stuck in your head.
A couple weeks ago, quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan said that he shows you a lot of mobile quarterbacks, one being Packers QB Aaron Rodgers. Seeing what happened to him, does that make you more careful when you’re out of the pocket?
“Not at all. I mean, you just always have to protect yourself. Try not to take any unnecessary hits. Whenever you’re falling or getting tackled, try to protect yourself. But, that’s part of the game, that’s part of football. There’s only so much that you can control, especially when the game speed is super, super fast and guys are flying at you and you’re trying to make a play and get rid of the ball. So, you really can’t focus on that. You just have to go play.”
How did you come to take on a leadership role even though you’re a rookie?
“Just be myself. Just come in, do what I do, go to work, don’t say anything, don’t do too much. Just be Deshaun Watson. That’s what I’ve done ever since I walked in the day after I got drafted. Everything else takes care of itself.”
Was there a lesson early on that groomed you as a leader?
“Not really. I guess the biggest thing was I was blessed to start my freshman year in high school and start my freshman year in college. So, just kind of walking into different environments and different situations at a young age on each level. I guess you could say that’s the biggest piece in helping me out.”
Is there a special satisfaction in trying to quiet the crowd at loud stadiums?
“Of course. That’s every offense’s goal, is to go on the road and try to shut the crowd out and quiet them. But, it’s going to be a tough task. We understand that and respect the Seattle environment and their defense, and we just have to go up there and focus on our job and try to do that.”
T Breno Giacomini played for the Seahawks and WR Bruce Ellington played a couple games in Seattle. Have you talked to them about what it’s like?
“They said the same thing, everything Coach OB (O’Brien) has been telling the team, that it’s going to be loud and we have to communicate. But, at the same time, if you go out there and execute and try to make plays and get points on the board, then it takes the crowd out. That’s at every environment.”
In terms of self-scouting, what do you think that you’ve done best and where does the redzone fit in there?
“I think the best thing I’ve done is just being able to execute at a high level and operate this difficult offense as well as I’ve done and make sure that everyone is on the same page. When we get in the redzone, we just have that mentality, once we get down there we need points, and we’re not satisfied with three points. We try to get touchdowns each time we get in there. So, each guy, each player that’s on the field understands that, and everyone’s trying to get open and make a play, and they know that the ball can be anywhere.”
What do you see from Seattle’s secondary?
“Those guys are very, very smart. They make plays. And like I said before, they’re just veteran guys that know football. They understand what they’re doing on the defensive side and they understand what the offense is trying to do to them. So, you just have to go out there and win your one-on-one matchup.”
Can you talk about your relationship with C Nick Martin, how you guys have grown and what you’ve learned from each other from camp to now?
“Our relationship is always continuing to grow, but it’s been good. We actually at camp roomed together at The Greenbrier. So, that was a cool experience to be able to get to know him on a personal level, not just on the football field. We just communicate, we have fun together. He knows that I have his back, he has mine, and we just continue to go from there.”
What part of being on the same page with your offense has helped you most?
“Biggest thing is protections. Making sure we’re on the same page, who’s the MIKE, where to slide, where we’re hot at and just try to communicating from there.”
What have your coaches done to help ease the transition into executing this complicated offense?
“Just teach me right away. Teach me the details and the little things behind each and every play and each running game or passing concept and making sure that I’m understanding it. Not just trying to remember the play but understanding the whole concept and what everyone is doing.”
Do the coaches teach you this visually or verbally?
“It’s all of it. Verbal, visual, actually doing it. So, they’ve been doing a great job and I really appreciate them.”
Was looking at film during the bye week different than previous weeks because you had extra time and you weren’t so focused on doing that and looking at your opponent in such a short period of time?
“I guess you could say we have more time, so we have more time to look at the guy and kind of study what each player is doing. And that’s the biggest thing, being able to not just study what the defense is doing as a whole, but study each player and what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are and how to try and attack it.”
Coming up, you are going to see some teams for the second time this year and you’re going to be building up so much information. Do you start looking forward to what’s coming in the future?
“Of course. You always try to improve and try to store it in the memory bank. If you continue to do that and grow from it and if you made a mistake, if you play the team a second time like we’re going to do this year in our conference, our division, if I made this mistake, I know not to do it the next time, and if this play worked, then probably that team is going to work on correcting that mistake, so we have to do something different. So, it goes hand in hand.”
What impresses you the most about Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“Probably, of course his leadership, but his decision making. The way he operates and takes control of that offense. You saw it as a rookie whenever he was there where he came in and just knew where everyone was at. He’s demanding greatness out of every player and that causes the whole offense to execute at a high level and be successful. So, just looking at that and going back to his older days and even now, it’s even better. It’s special.”
Warren Moon says that you guys text a lot. What are some of the biggest lessons that he’s taught you within the relationship that you guys have built?
“Be myself. Continue to try to improve each and every week. Correct the mistakes, but at the same time, put it in the past, in the memory bank, and just continue going forward and take care of your body.”
Have you talked to Warren Moon leading up to this game against the Seahawks, for whom he now works as a broadcaster?
“He hasn’t said anything. I’m pretty sure he’s supporting the Houston Texans, though.”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH PETE CARROLL
What comparisons do you see between Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson?
“Well, they’re both tremendous athletes that can scramble and extend plays and they both have big arms. Really good all-around players that can make things happen and stuff. So, there’s a lot of similarities.”
What does a coach have to do to get a young quarterback ready for the NFL out of college?
“It depends on the player. You got to get them out there. They can’t learn not playing. There’s stuff that they can learn, but in the case of guys that have the physical ability, you got to get them out there and get them going so that they can start stacking up information and start to build kind of a background and a reservoir of experiences they can draw from.”
Is there anything you did specifically with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson that you think Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien is doing with Texans QB Deshaun Watson?
“I don’t know that. I don’t know how he’s doing it. I can’t tell you.”
What challenges do you see from the Texans on both sides of the football?
“They’re scoring points like crazy on offense. They’re very explosive. The last four weeks they’ve been just ripping. Defensively, it’s a very aggressive scheme. They’re going to make it hard on you and mix their coverages and mix their pressures. Mike Vrabel’s doing a good job. It’s just all around, all across the board, special teams too, they’re a tough and physical group.”
What do you think of the importance of scrambling quarterbacks to protect themselves?
“I think they have to protect themselves and they got to make really good choices or their run will be short lived. They need a conscience about them.”
What are your expectations for DE Dwight Freeney and do you see him playing on Sunday?
“Well, my expectation is that I see him playing on Sunday. Yeah, he’s ready to go. I hope that he can add to it. We got a nice team and we’re always looking to get better and keep it competitive in every way that we can. Hopefully he can make it a little more competitive for our guys and (we’ll) see if he can help us.”