Head Coach Bill O’Brien
T Chris Clark
RB D’Onta Foreman
QB Tom Savage
QB T.J. Yates
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Can you start off talking about QB Deshaun Watson and what happened and your message to the team this morning?
“We were at practice and we were in the first team period. Just a non-contact injury. Non-contact, which you’ve seen a lot of those. He felt something, and that was about it. What I tell the team is really between me and the team. It’s a very resilient bunch of guys, great veteran leadership in there, and we’ll battle. We’re not going to give in to what’s out there that the demise of the Houston Texans is upon us. I mean, that’s ridiculous. We’re going to show up and fight and play and (Tom) Savage will be the quarterback and (T.J.) Yates will be the backup and we’ll go from there.”
So QB Deshaun Watson tore his ACL and needs surgery?
“I don’t even know that yet. I’m not privy to that information to be honest with you. If anybody knows about my role here, I coach the team. So, I don’t know that info. I don’t have that info. I’m not privy to it.”
You’ve had to give a lot of these speeches now because of distractions.
“I don’t give speeches, I just coach. I’m not a speech giver. I’m a coach.”
You’re having to talk to the players a lot because of distractions.
“I coach the team. Today we talked about the Indianapolis red area. We talked about the Indianapolis special teams. We talked about the league’s special teams. We talked about avoiding penalties and trying to be better on third down. That’s what I do. I coach.”
How much of an adjustment is it to change offensive styles based on the quarterback change?
“I’m not going to get into that. I understand the question, but why would I ever get into that? We’re going to do the same exact things we were doing with Deshaun (Watson). How’s that?”
Can you talk about the difference between QB Tom Savage and QB Deshaun Watson?
“Yeah, clearly there’s differences. Every quarterback’s different. There’s a lot of differences. I mean, that’s obvious. I think anybody could watch a game and see the differences between every quarterback in the league.”
Is QB Matt McGloin still joining the club today?
“Yeah. We signed (T.J.) Yates and we’re in the process with Matt McGloin.”
Do you expect QB Tom Savage to be better now or just pick up where he left off in the preseason?
“I think he’s had a really good stretch of practices here. He had a great practice today. He’s a very accurate passer. He’s got a very talented arm. Got a good bunch of guys around him. Every game’s different. This is the halfway point of the season, so he’s had a lot more reps. He’s improved from the last time he’s played.”
Can you talk about the opportunity QB Tom Savage has here?
“I think any time a guy has an opportunity like this, it’s really incumbent upon them to seize it and take advantage of it because it can mean a lot, especially at that position, it can mean a lot for your career. No doubt about it. He knows that.”
How does the offensive line protection change with the quarterback change?
“Yeah, there’s differences. Again, I hate to tell you, I’m not getting into the X’s and O’s. That would be crazy for me to do that, but there’s going to be some things that we adjust and some things we don’t. That’s just going to be the way it is. It’s still an offense that has to drive the football, score touchdowns. Whether it’ll look different or not, I guess we’ll all find out on Sunday.”
How challenging is it to only have a couple of days to make the adjustments on offense?
“Again, it’s not like we’re making 50 adjustments. I’m telling you, I just think every day’s challenging. Every day you’re getting ready for a game and you’re thinking about the situations, the scheme of the team that you’re playing, the players, the matchups, the coaching matchups, the player matchups. So, I think every day’s challenging. It’s no different than any other day relative to that.”
Do you and Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith collaborative more when you have such a short period of time to sign a quarterback?
“Again, Rick and I are partners and we talk to each other every day, multiple times a day. In this situation, with just a couple days to get ready, it was important to have a couple guys in the immediate future that had an idea of what you were doing. That was probably the number one thing. At least they have an idea of how a formation’s called in case they have to play. Or how a protection’s called or a run’s called, they have background in that, if that makes sense. We’ll have two (quarterbacks) active on gameday and it’ll be (Tom) Savage and (T.J.) Yates.”
What does it mean to QB Tom Savage to know that he’s respected and everybody’s behind him?
“Tom’s a very hardworking guy. He’s a very smart guy, he’s been through a lot. He’s the same guy every day. He’s on our leadership council. I mean, Tom’s definitely a very well-respected guy in that locker room. He never changes. He’s the same guy. He’s had his ups and downs, especially to injuries, but obviously with Deshaun (Watson) coming in, it was a little bit different for him but he’s been the same guy and he’s got a lot of great qualities about him.”
Was QB Tom Savage helping QB Deshaun Watson a lot?
“No question. I mean, there’s no doubt about that, that he did a great job. They’re great friends. He did an unbelievable job in the meeting room and probably outside the meeting room that I wouldn’t even know about, just texting or talking and things like that. He’s that type of guy. He wants to win, he wants the team to win, so I think he had a lot to do with Deshaun’s ability to learn the offense.”
What are your thoughts on what QB Deshaun Watson was able to do for you this season?
“He’s a very special player. He’s a special kid. He’s got a great future. These things happen. They’re tough when they happen, but they happen. They’ve happened to us. I mean, I’ve been involved with a lot of them. I was in New England in 2008 when we lost Tom (Brady), I think it was about the 12th play of the game of the first game of the season, coming off of an 18-1 season. Then I was there in 2009 when we lost Wes (Welker), right out here, going into the playoffs, the last regular season game. I can probably name – it would go back to college. These things happen. That’s football. Football is a contact sport, even though this was a non-contact injury, but it’s a sport that requires a lot of different movements and a lot of different, obviously, angles and things like that. And they happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. But in the short time that he played for us, it’s obvious that, and also the type of guy that he is, that he will be one of the top quarterbacks in this league for a long time to come.”
How much can you help QB Tom Savage with your playcalling?
“I think it’s big. I think there’s a lot to be said for that. I have to do a great job on Sunday. Tom (Savage) and I, we talk multiple times a day – email, text, you know. So, he’s used to how I do it. I’m used to what he likes. But the communication between us on gameday will be huge. I think we’re ahead in that game because we’ve communicated a lot because he’s been here for a while. So, I would anticipate that that goes pretty well, just as far as getting the play in and making sure he knows what we’re trying to do.”
How impressed were you with the way that QB Tom Savage handled getting benched?
“He’s a pro. He’s a professional. He knows that at that time it was time to make a change. Obviously we needed a spark and we were able to get that spark on offense. Tom (Savage) handled it well and he’s a pro. He was disappointed for a little bit, but like I said before, he really helped Deshaun (Watson) and he’s a great teammate. Tom is a great teammate.”
Do you think the way that the offense is playing now and all of the pieces being there will help QB Tom Savage pick up right where QB Deshaun Watson left off?
“Absolutely. I mean, absolutely. I think it’s important that we have all of our weapons there and we basically do with the exception of C.J. (Fiedorowicz). We won’t have C.J. this week but he’ll be back next week. But, we have a lot of good players there, guys that are playing on the outside that are playing very well, Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) and Will (Fuller V). I feel like we’re running the ball pretty well. Obviously, Deshaun (Watson) gave us a lot with his running, which obviously we won’t get from Tom (Savage). That’s not something that’s part of his skillset, but we still have guys – Lamar (Miller), D’Onta (Foreman), Alfred Blue ran hard against Seattle. We can still run the football and there’s a lot of things that we’re doing that’s a lot different than the last time Tom played. So, it’ll be a challenge but Tom and I and the rest of the offense, we’re up for it.”
What message would you tell the fans that are concerned about QB Deshaun Watson?
“Look, he’s injured right now, but he’s going to be fine. I talked to him two or three times last night. He went to the MRI, got diagnosed, came back here. He’s a very spiritual young man. He’s just a great guy. He’s been through it before. You probably heard his college coach talk about that. He’s been through it before. He’s been through the rehab. I think once you’ve been through the rehab, it’s, not that it’s great, but it’s easier going through it the second time because you know what’s coming and you know what’s expected of you. I know that he’ll attack it and he’ll be ready next year.”
What would you tell the fans that feel like the air went out of the balloon when they heard about QB Deshaun Watson’s injury?
“I’d put the air back into the balloon. Our guys will be there on Sunday. Our guys are ready to go. We had a really good practice today, one of our better Friday practices. Injuries occur in the NFL. It’s just the way it is. It’s not unlike any other sport. It’s a contact sport. Things happen and our guys will be ready to go on Sunday. It’s a big game. The Colts are a big rivalry, this organization knows that. We don’t have a great history with the Colts relative to our record, so it’s a big rivalry and we need our fans. We need our fans there loud and give us a great home field advantage.”
T CHRIS CLARK
Can you talk about adjusting to QB Tom Savage?
“We had Tom (Savage) early on. We had Deshaun (Watson) later on. But, they’re of course different styles. But, as an O-line, we just need to do what we do.”
Last time QB Tom Savage played was against Jacksonville. What will you guys do differently in this game than that one?
“We just have to see things faster. Let it register quickly and get the ball off. Block longer in our assignments. It’s just tiny adjustments that need to be made each week.”
What was QB Deshaun Watson doing at practice when he got hurt?
“Just like a rollout, like normal, and then it just gave out on him. So, I mean, praying for a speedy recovery. Hope all is well. Next man up.”
How do you guys deal with all that you’ve had to deal with this season?
“With football comes adversity. We understand that. It’s always one of those things you just have to endure. If you look at this like ‘Oh, this and that,’ – no. We understand for this. We practice for this. This is what we do. This is what we get paid to do. So, next guy up, just step in there and we keep the wheels moving.”
So, basically, there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself?
“No. No time to feel sorry for yourself. Everybody feels good about what we have, the game plan we have going in. It’s going to be a great game.”
Where were you when QB Deshaun Watson got hurt?
“Right there. It was just a freakish looking deal. It almost looked like he was playing around. (It) just gave out on him.”
Did you expect this kind of injury to come out of that for QB Deshaun Watson?
“No. You never expect something like this. But we’ve had some knee injuries in the past, but it’s just one of those things. Certain players deal with certain things and it’s a little adversity he has to overcome, and I think he’ll do a great job with it.”
RB D’ONTA FOREMAN
How do you feel about QB Tom Savage stepping in as the starter?
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in Tom and everything that he brings to the table. Like I said, we’ve just got to keep going forward. It’s very sad, but like I said, you’ve just got to keep moving forward and try to win games.”
How does the team avoid being discouraged amongst all of the adversity this season?
“I mean, I guess you come in here every day and just see the hard work that these guys put in each and every day and just us wanting to win. We’re in this league for a reason and we do everything possible to try to win games. I think that’s the biggest thing that keeps us together, just the work that we put in each and every day and us trying to win.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien said you practiced well this week and will play more on Sunday. How do you feel this week went?
“I think it went good. I got back out there and tried to put the past behind me and just tried to look forward to the future and do what I can to get some plays and be productive.”
What is it like as a developing rookie to try to take the opportunities as they come?
“I mean, it’s really whenever they call me number, whenever they tell me to go in and I just try to be as productive as possible. Just try to continue to get those carries and try to continue to play. I think that’s pretty much it.”
Have you spoken to QB Deshaun Watson since his injury?
“No. Well I, shook his hand earlier when I saw him. That’s pretty much it. I didn’t want to text him. I didn’t want to be overwhelming him and stuff like that. I knew I’d get my opportunity to talk to him. Whenever I get a chance to really talk to him, I will, but everybody was coming at him left and right, so I didn’t really want to bother him.”
Do you and RB Lamar Miller feel you can shoulder more of the load with QB Deshaun Watson out?
“I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily just say that. We’ve got a lot of great guys in this room. So I wouldn’t say that, but definitely I know it’s going to be very big for us to run the ball well and try to get it going on the ground. Yeah, I definitely feel that way.”
QB TOM SAVAGE
What is the feeling like knowing that you’re the starter and does it change anything for you?
“No, it doesn’t change anything. Obviously it’s not the circumstances you want to come in (to). You don’t want to see someone like that go down, but I’m super excited about this opportunity and just going to go out there and play my game.”
Do you feel like, as the quarterback, it’s up to you to rally the troops?
“Yeah, always being the quarterback, it’s all eyes on you. I think we’ve got a good group of guys in there, a good group of leaders that are going to really rally this whole thing together and let’s go get some wins.”
Have you been able to talk to QB Deshaun Watson since his injury?
“Yeah, I talked to him. I texted him last night and I obviously saw him after in the training room and stuff. I just told him, ‘Listen, I got your back no matter what and I’m going to do whatever I can to help out.’ You can’t really replace Deshaun Watson, you know what I mean? The kid’s been playing absolutely lights out, but that’s not my job. My job’s to go out there and help this team win and do whatever I can to help.”
Does it make things easier at all that you’ve been in a similar situation before with playing and not playing?
“Yeah, and I’m really comfortable with the system, I’m really comfortable with OB (Bill O’Brien) and Sean (Ryan) and all the guys up front. Obviously I’ve been working with the receivers all through OTAs and training camp, so it’s ideal in that situation, but obviously you don’t want to come in for someone who’s hurt. It’s a shame. It’s unfortunate. He’ll be back ready to go.”
What parts of this offense do you like and what works best for you?
“I just like what we’re doing now. Just even seeing Deshaun (Watson) (and) what he does. Like I said, there’s obviously – just going to state the obvious – that there’s some things that he can do that I can’t do. But he’s doing a really good job of throwing the ball down the field. So, really, that’s kind of what you want to keep doing. You want to keep letting these guys make some big plays for you, and that’s what they’re doing.”
What did you learn from being the starter initially and what were some of the lessons you took away?
“I just think it’s take one play at a time. That’s kind of what this whole deal’s about, is just one play at a time and just keep going. Listen, there’s going to be some bad plays, there’s going to be some good plays, but you have to just kind of keep an even keel out there and really just do it for the guys. That’s the most important thing, is the 62 guys in there.”
What have you learned over the past few years that have prepared you for this rollercoaster NFL career?
“I think it’s just you always have to be ready. I mean, that’s the name of the game. I was ready the past six weeks. You’ve got to prepare like you’re the starter and like I said, you don’t want to come in in these circumstances but I’ll be ready to go.”
With all of the adversity your team has faced this season, what has Head Coach Bill O’Brien done this season to keep the team focused?
“Ultimately he’s communicated with us. That’s the one thing. He didn’t act like none of this stuff was going on. I think it would be easy to just kind of (say), ‘Hey, we got practice at 9 a.m., we’ll see you out there.’ He communicated with us. He’s one of the guys and he truly is a players’ coach. That’s what we’ve all appreciated and that’s why everyone on this team’s got his back 100 percent. We’ve got a lot of good leaders in there and I can’t tell you how tight this group is.”
Though you don’t like the circumstances, are you excited for another opportunity to prove yourself?
“Yeah, absolutely. You get another shot at this thing and not too many guys get a second chance like that. Just going to take it and have fun with it. Like I said, I’ve had it before and I’ll just go back out there and do what I can to help out this team because at the end of the day, that’s the only thing that people care about, really, is winning.”
Have you had a chance to talk to QB Deshaun Watson yet?
“Yeah, I was just saying I talked to Deshaun yesterday and I told him I’ve got his back. I mean, I said it to him, I was like, ‘Listen, no one can replace you.’ It’s going to set him up for success in the future. The guy, on and off the field, I just can’t say enough about the kid. He’s a tremendous player, he’s a tremendous guy and to be honest with you, I was heartbroken as a friend with all this stuff. It was fun watching him. But as a backup quarterback, you’ve got to be ready to go and these guys need me in this locker room.”
Do you think the way the offense is playing now can allow you to play better than in Week 1?
“Yeah, I do. I think we’re all playing well. And like I just said, sometimes you can’t do what Deshaun (Watson) did, but I’m going to go out there and help this team win. That’s ultimately the final goal here. I’m super confident about it and I just can’t wait to go.”
QB T.J. YATES
What were you doing when you got the call?
“I was actually sitting by my son’s hospital bed in Atlanta. My son’s in the NICU. He was born three weeks ago. So, it was actually funny. My wife made me come. I wasn’t going to come at first but she made me come up here. She’s doing good now. And sad to leave him, sad to leave my family, but happy to be here.”
It seems like you always come when the team needs a bit of a boost. What is it like to be back?
“It’s crazy to come back again. Obviously, if I were to pick anywhere to come back, it would be here. I love Houston. I’ve been here so many times, been here for a long time. It’s kind of a second home to me. So, as far as the situation goes with familiarity of the building, the players, the coaches and all the staff that’s still here, it makes it as about as smooth a transition as it could be.”
How easy is it to come back here and pick up where you left off?
“Easy. I know where to go everywhere in the building. I know where to drive. Everything’s just so easy for me because I’ve been here for four years or so total, combined. I’m really happy to be here. Obviously an unfortunate situation with Deshaun (Watson). I hate it for him. (I’ve) been there. He was playing at such a high level. Unfortunate circumstances but hopefully I can come in and help any way I can.”
Did you work with QB Deshaun Watson in the offseason?
“Yeah, we’ve worked with the same QB coach in Atlanta. We worked together a couple times. Just getting him on the board. It was after he was drafted but sometime before minicamp or something like that. We got down in a room together and talked ball a little bit. He’s a bright kid and he loves the game, so I’m excited for his comeback.”
What do you think about coming back here to a team that’s lost quarterback after quarterback?
“Whatever way I can help, I’m here. Unfortunately, a lot of quarterbacks get hurt around here. That’s the league and it happens all the time. But, any way I can do to contribute, that helps Tom (Savage) as much as possible. He’s a pro in this system now. He’s been here for so long, so hopefully he can help me out kind of catching back up, because he was the guy that did it before when I got here the time before when he was on IR. He was the guy that helped me along last time. But, I’m excited for him to play and do well.”
What’s your relationship with QB Tom Savage like?
“We’ve been together here three separate times, all the times I’ve been here. At the end when I was here before I got traded the first time and then when I came back last time, Tom (Savage) was here every single time. We’ve known each other for a really long time. It’s cool to see him grow as a player and get in the position he has. I’m really excited for him.”
What kind of confidence do you have in QB Tom Savage stepping in on Sunday?
“A ton of confidence. He knows this offense better than anybody. He can spin it. He can throw the ball. So, I’m excited to see him play and I’m confident in his abilities.”
What does it mean to you to have been called upon again by this team?
“It means a lot. Rick Smith, I’ve known him for a long time and he’s had a lot of trust in me over the years. I’m happy that he’s still trusting me to come in here and do the job.”