HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN (Transcribed by Chloe Delclos)
For the fourth consecutive game, your offense has been able to get it going, keep it going and really open things up with QB Deshaun Watson. How well are things working with him?
“I give these players a lot of credit. These guys are practicing hard, they’re putting the time in the meeting room. I think we can play better, to be honest with you. I thought the second half wasn’t as good, but I think they’re really doing what we’re asking them to do and I think it’s just a matter of really just trying to get better every single day. We’ll have some time off here during the bye week, but when we come in here early this week, let’s try to correct the mistakes and really think about improvement, how we can get better.”
QB Deshaun Watson has 17 total touchdowns in five starts in six games. As each week goes by, are you seeing him become more confident, being able to open up the offense more and more with him each week?
“Yeah, I mean, that’s an interesting way to look at it. I will tell you that he’s a very confident guy. He’s got a quiet confidence about himself. He’s just the same guy every day. He really believes in himself. He’s a very intelligent guy. He’s really never satisfied, I’m not even sure how happy he is right now. I know he’s happy the team won, but interception, those types of things. I know he’ll be in here tomorrow early trying to get better, that’s the type of mentality he has. He’s a great guy to coach. Just a really special kid and I think he’ll only get better and better.”
Given the losses you suffered last week on defense, how pleased were you with how opportunistic you were on that side of the ball today?
“I think that’s a big thing in this league. I think if you can take the ball away and you can limit your own turnovers, obviously you’d like to come out of the game with zero turnovers, but if you can take the ball away like we did then you’re really playing complementary football. And I thought that our defense was very opportunistic today and I think that a lot of guys stepped up and played really hard. I was really happy with how the defense played.”
This was the first game without DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus, who are guys you can’t replace but have to figure out a way to compensate for them. Can you talk about how you did that today?
“There’s no way that you can replace those guys. You’re talking about Defensive Player of the Year, you’re talking about a guy, Whitney Mercilus, who has had a bunch of big plays for us over the last three years. J.J. (Watt), like I said, the best defensive player in football. So, I think it’s a matter of scheme, it’s a matter of moving guys around, it’s really trying to stay ahead of the offense with multiple schemes, multiple things that we do. And I thought Mike (Vrabel) and the staff did a real good job. Give all the credit to the players. They went out there and executed and played very hard.”
How confident are you in this team and being able to find this identity with QB Deshaun Watson and your own path in these final 10 games of the year after the bye week?
“Look, I think this is the time of the year where we really have to start playing well. We have to play more consistently. I really like this team. I think this is a very fun team to coach. They work very hard. They care about each other. We’ve got a really good young quarterback that’s playing pretty well, that has to continue. We have to continue to coach as good as we can. We have to always look to improve as a coaching staff and I think as long as the players show up to work every single day and try to get better every day, I think we’ll be OK. The Seattle game is ways off now, but obviously that’s going to be a very, very tough game. I’ve been there before, that’s a very difficult place to play and it’s very loud and they have a great team, great head coach. But, let’s correct the mistakes in this game and begin to put something together for Seattle as the week goes on.”
The saying in the NFL is “You are what your record says you are,” but with the way QB Deshaun Watson is playing, does 3-3 feel different than maybe 4-5 in 2014 and 3-5 in 2015 and 5-3 last year when you had the bye?
“I think I know what you’re driving at. I would tell you that I adhere to the ‘You are what your record says you are.’ You’re a .500 team and I think, again, it comes down it, it’s really a race to see who can improve the fastest. I’m telling you. I just think this league is all about who can get better and put together the most consistent games over the last half of the season. I know we’re not halfway through, but we’re close to halfway. Who can be the most consistent team? Who can play the most consistent complementary football? Who can get better? Who continues to work? I think that’s what this league’s all about and I think that’s what we have to do.”
Are you able to open the offense up more with QB Deshaun Watson?
“Yeah, he’s a really good ball handler. I think that’s one of the things we noticed about his skillset right away coming out of college was how good he was at simple little things that really add up to a successful play. Just the ability to hand the ball off and make it look like you’re handing off to somebody else or carrying out a fake or whatever he does. He really tries to perfect every single play. That’s the mentality he has, which is almost impossible to do. He’s a very, very good ball handler and I think that’s something that we’ve tried to take advantage of and we have to continue to change that up.”
OLB/DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY (Transcribed by Evan Dunbar)
What was it like when as you guys took the field knowing it was on the rest of the 11 with the absences of DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus?
“We knew going into the week that we were going to miss some guys for the rest of the season. We just went out there and do what we had to do to execute the game plan and come out with a win.”
So, what’s it like for you on the sidelines when you see QB Deshaun Watson in total control?
“Oh man, it’s great. You never know what you’re going to get. You just always like to lock into the game, even on the sideline I like to watch (the offense) go, because (Deshaun Watson) is always making exciting plays and you know today he did it again. He’s always making good plays down the field. The receivers are running past guys and that’s great for the defense.”
What does it mean to have Will Fuller V back?
“Oh, it’s great. He can fly. He can fly and get behind the defense and be our deep threat man. We need him.”
What did you think about Jonathan Joseph’s two interceptions today?
“I don’t know why the guy kept throwing it. I don’t think he knew no better. (Johnathan Joseph) has been in the league like 12, 13 years and not many people throw at him, but the guy felt like he had to try him today and he made him pay, twice.”
Always good to get a win like this going into the bye week.
“Oh yeah, you always want to win before the bye week. You want to win every game, but the one before the bye is big. Hopefully the Coach takes something off of you going into that next week for the bye, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
RB D’ONTA FOREMAN (Transcribed by Evan Dunbar)
Can you talk about that big run you had where you almost found the end zone?
“I feel like I left my touchdown out there. But I mean we still scored on the drive, so it’s good. We always want to get points out of a drive. I feel like I left points out on the field for myself.”
What do you think you could have done to score?
“I could have lowered my shoulder. Probably could have just jumped over him. I feel like I probably could have probably pressed him more and got up on his toes and then made a move once I got closer to him instead of letting him bait me to the sideline.”
What’s it like being in the huddle with QB Deshaun Watson?
“I mean, he’s great. He knows how to organize the huddle. He’s a great leader and he he runs the offense very well.”
What is it about this team that the number of points scored keeps going up?
“That’s what we practice for. We got great guys in this locker room. We got great coaches. We go out there and compete each and every day, and we just try to lay it all out on the field.”
Do you have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder that you weren’t a first round pick?
“I mean definitely, but it’s over with now. I mean, I’ve moved on. I’m glad to be a Houston Texan and we just go from there.”
WR DEANDRE HOPKINS (Transcribed by Cole Thompson)
Can you start with your overall thoughts on another good win for this team?
“Good win. A win is a win. Cleveland put up a good fight. They’re a good team even though their record says they haven’t won a game. They’re a tough team still.”
QB Deshaun Watson is doing things no rookie quarterback has ever done with the amount of touchdown passes he’s thrown. What do you think about his development?
“I expected that honestly. From training camp when he came in, the way he handled himself in the film room. Even in training camp when he wasn’t getting reps with the ones, he was still earning. He was still going over things, talking about it to us when he got the opportunity. It’s presented itself so, nobody in this locker room was honestly surprised with the way he’s developed so far.”
QB Deshaun Watson is taking this offense to new heights, scoring 30 points in four straight games for the first time ever for this team. What do you think about how this offense is performing?
“His enthusiasm, it spreads throughout the locker room. Even at practice the things that he does, you know, the way everybody handles themselves, it’s not just on the field, but off the field. We’re a team, we’re a group. We bond together, not just in this locker room, but outside the locker room, and it shows on the field.”
What does it do for your mentality as an offensive player, knowing you could go out there and get 30 points every week?
“That’s the mentality that we have. Every time we step on the field, we want to score. If we don’t, then we’re disappointed. We don’t settle for three. It’s just that mentality we have going into practice and the way we go out there and handle ourselves at practice and the mentality we have in this locker room, to go out there and score, because we know with the ball in No. 4’s (Deshaun Watson) hands, anything is possible.”
CB KAREEM JACKSON (Transcribed by Sarah Hoffman)
Is CB Johnathan Joseph ageless?
“That’s Joe, man. He’s running around like he’s 21 still. It definitely lit a spark for us today as a team. He’s always made some huge plays throughout his career. That’s just what he does. He’s a high energy guy and definitely a leader in this locker room and on the field. He goes out and gives his all every time. That’s him. (He) always makes great plays like that.”
Can you talk about the overall play of the defense and stepping up?
“As far as the defense, we know what we have to do week-in and week-out. That’s go out and have great practices throughout the week and be ready to go on Sundays. With two of our main guys out, we know we just have to come together. We see what’s being said, but at the same time we know we are a very capable defense regardless of who is in there. Lamarr (Houston) came in and definitely gave us a boost. He was replaced by J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) today and a bunch of other guys also played some great ball today as well. It was a total group effort today.”
With a bye week coming up, how do you view the second half of the year?
“We just want to continue to build on today. I think that’s what it’s about. Take games like this and make corrections on some of the things you might have messed up on or just got to get better in every aspect. For us to heal up and take next week to continue to progress and build off this game. That’s definitely what we need to do.”
Can you talk about the determination this defense showed today?
“We are a very capable defense regardless of who is in there. We went through the same thing last year. We lost J.J. (Watt) last year. We still have to play. It’s not like they’re going to cancel the season. We brought some guys in today who gave us a boost. But, like I said, regardless of who is in there, we’re capable as a defense if we’re all on the same page, and I think we showed that today.”
How nice is it to know the offense has scored 33 or more points in four straight games?
“That’s what type of offense those guys are. We’ve got some big-time guys over there. Starting with Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), that’s what he does. Deshaun (Watson) and Lamar (Miller) and those guys are playing some great ball. That’s just what they’re capable of and it’s great when we go out and weput a complete game together like we did today.”
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH (Transcribed by Christiana Johns and Sarah Hoffman)
Nice run for an old man.
“No question. I tried to engage myself a little bit. I knew we had to come right back and go out on defense. The fans going crazy, the teammates going crazy and there’s the anxiety and everything, it wore me down a little bit.”
That feeling never gets tiresome, does it?
“Not at all. It was a big play in the game. I think the score was like, 10-3 right then and there. The offense was going down early to put some points on the board, and defense, we were just trying to do our part. I just came off and made a play on the ball. The linebacker did a good job of forcing it out and making it tough to throw, and I just caught it and had a good convoy lead me in for a touchdown.”
When was the last time you had a two-interception game, and how does this fit in your history?
“It’s been awhile. Since 2010. Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick. So, it’s been a while.”
Do you know what set was on the clock in 2010?
“Not at all. I just remember that game. I was just thinking about it. The last time I had a two-interception game, I didn’t even finish the game. I had a high-ankle sprain scoring a touchdown on the interception and never came back into the game.”
Were you guys surprised the Browns were going away from QB DeShone Kizer?
“Going into the week, we knew watching film that they may put both guys in. Coming into this week – I think it was Wednesday or Thursday – (Browns Head Coach) Hue (Jackson) named (Kevin) Hogan the starter. Coming into this game we knew it was a possibility that Kizer may go back in. But I think for us, we just wanted to prepare. They’re both similar guys. They can make plays with their legs, have a big arm. But for us we just wanted to treat him like a rookie quarterback and show him multiple looks and harass him all day.”
On your interception, were you surprised the Browns starting throwing?
“I think on that particular play, on the interception, I think it was third down, so I think it was a situation where they pretty much had no choice but to throw the ball. I think anytime you get into the red zone from a defensive standpoint, you know the offense wants to put points up and not field goals. So sometimes you get in the lower red zone, they want to run the ball in because most teams play pass from a defensive standpoint. But I think when you’re in the high red they want to take shots, because you’re trying to push them back and get them out of field goal range, so that’s the situation.”
How do you feel about your defensive unit playing without DE J.J. Watt or OLB Whitney Mercilus, and how do you feel they did today stepping up without them?
“The thing it’s always about the next guy up. When you say it, I think a lot of times people just laugh. Well, you know it’s a cliché thing to say, but in this league when guys go down, you have no choice but to still go out and play the game so we prepare the same way. Obviously, they’re not J.J. (Watt) and Whitney (Mercilus), but I think we have enough guys on the team to pick up the slack, whether that includes myself doing more, other guys around just keeping the young guys up and get them up to speed with everybody else. But definitely when those guys go in the game we expect them to play at the same level as the guys they replaced.”
You didn’t have a touchdown dance ready for the celebration?
“Not at all. Actually, it’s funny though. I talked about on Friday doing a touchdown celebration and it wasn’t going to be a dance anyway. It was just going to be a (Houston Rockets) James Harden step back with the 3-pointer in, a little quick thing. That was all. It definitely wasn’t going to be a dance. I’m not a dancer.”
The offense has put up at least 33 points in the last four games. What has that been like from your perspective as someone who has been here so long to watch QB Deshaun Watson, Head Coach Bill O’Brien and this offense really find a consistent rhythm to know they’re going to have the defense’s back every single game?
“I’ve seen them kind of build the thing up slowly, adding pieces year by year. Will Fuller V, adding tight ends (Ryan) Griffen, (Stephen) Anderson, (C.J.) Fiedorowicz and the running backs Lamar (Miller), (D’Onta) Foreman, (Alfred) Blue and all of those guys fitting in with guys with the offensive line, Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), Will Fuller V, Braxton (Miller) and all of those guys, bringing a guy like Bruce (Ellington) in and the final component was Deshaun Watson. You put all of those guys together and it’s a lot of young talent with (Bill) O’Brien calling the plays. Any time you have guys in all three positions: tight end, wide receiver and running backs and the playmaking quarterback, your chances of scoring points is really in your favor. Those guys are doing it week-in and week-out. It’s big for us because over the years we’ve been in situations where the game is so tight and we haven’t had any chance to kind of relax. Not that you want to relax, but there’s no room for errors. Now we can just go out and play.”
You had high expectations of QB Deshaun Watson when he showed up to play, his reputation preceded itself, but are you not a little bit surprised that he’s playing at this level?
“I watched him closely throughout his college career, and I paid attention to him most in the big games, some of the throws he made in the big games and stuff like that, so I’ve seen what kind of player he is and his mentality. Then you bring him in as a rookie and you see in the preseason where he’s throwing interceptions and chasing guys down trying to make a tackle that just shows you his competitive spirit. He’s a natural-born leader, and I think we have a lot of veteran guys on this team on offense and defensive sides giving him the support that he needs.”
Were you surprised that Browns QB Kevin Hogan was throwing at you as much as he was?
“I really didn’t. I think a lot of times, even if you’re avoiding a guy in football, when you have a play that’s being called, you look at the defense and scan it and it pretty much tells you where the ball should go. Whether you want to take it there or not is the right throw to make. In a third down, everybody is up and nobody is off limits. If the defense puts you in a situation where you’re on a single side, nine times out of 10 the ball is coming your way because it’s one-on-one and it’s a fifty-fifty, win-lose situation.”
ILB BENARDRICK MCKINNEY (Transcribed by Carrington Gilbert)
How did you feel today?
“I feel pretty good. Flying around, had fun, getting the defense lined up. I feel good today.”
What are your thoughts on where you guys are at in the bye?
“We are just going to continue to get better day-by-day, take one step at a time, play-by-play. Just get back in the workshop and watch film and correct all the mistakes we did today. “
Did QB Kevin Hogan give away a few things? Were you able to read his eyes and things like that?
“We just took the coaching. Coach did a great job just putting the game plan together and every player did their assignment. We just followed the game plan and just tried to fly to the ball.”
How do you think it went, this was the first game with OLB Whitney Mercilus and DE J.J. Watt?
“I think it went pretty well. The next guy up, everybody stepped up – OLB Ufomba Kamalu and OLB Brennan Scarlett – everybody stepped up. We just came together and had a great game.”
How impressed were you with what CB Johnathan Joseph was able to do today?
“He was flying around. Like I said, we all had fun. (Johnathan Joseph) had a lot of fun. Me and him laughed on the two picks he got and I’ve very proud of him for making those plays.”
Where do you guys feel you’re at with the bye week, 3-3 heading into the bye week. Still feel good position?
“Sky’s the limit. Take it day-by-day, not trying to look too far ahead and just prepare every day.”
QB DESHAUN WATSON (Transcribed by Hannah Pietsch, Taylor Turner, Stefan Nolet and Cole Thompson)
For the fourth straight week, you all have scored at least 33 points, 57 points a few games ago. Seems like you talk about this every game, but what is working so well with you and Head Coach Bill O’Brien with the play calling? It seems like as every week goes by, it continues to open up more and more and to play more to your strengths.
“It just starts with the preparation. Coming in on Mondays, correcting mistakes from the previous game, and then coming in on our off day on Tuesday and getting on the same page about what the opposing team is trying to do and what we think they are going to try to do. Then come in Wednesday and Thursday, the big heavy days, and practicing like it’s game day. If we do that and get on the same page and have a great week of preparation, then Sundays, it makes it easier for us to execute.”
Initially, you were missing some weapons and just working with WR DeAndre Hopkins. Now we are seeing WR Will Fuller V, WR Braxton Miller, RB D’Onta Foreman, RB Lamar Miller, on and on. Are the pieces starting to fill in around you, and they are obviously playing off your athletic talents to get this offense putting up 33-plus points in four straight games?
“Yeah, we are all on the same page. We all support each other. We’re all rooting for each other, and it’s no selfishness. Like I said last week, we all just want to win and score points. So whoever gets open, depending on the scheme, what the defense is doing, and the play call, we’re all supporting each other. Those guys are making me better and making me look good, so I appreciate them for getting open and catching the ball.”
What is it like having a deep threat like WR Will Fuller V down the field, just how quickly things can happen with him?
“He just takes the top off. You have to respect that as a defense, so you’re either going to have a safety to play deep or he’s going to take two guys with him and that’s going to create an opening in the defense. Being able to have a guy like that who can stretch the defense out and open up the underneath routes is big.”
What is it like having this kind of game against Cleveland? You had mentioned in the production meeting that you had a conversation or text with Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson the day of the draft that had maybe indicated they were considering drafting you.
“Correct. Me and Hue (Jackson), during the draft process, kind of communicated. They were a team that was big on me, brought me in, worked me out, met with me, phone calls throughout the weeks and just kind of building a relationship, building a friendship. I didn’t know where I was going to go, but at the end of the day God put me here with Houston. Hue texted me that morning and just said, ‘Be ready. Anything can happen.’ They took the picks they wanted to take, and I belong in this situation and this organization. But the relationship and the friendship will always continue.”
Did you think that morning when you woke up and getting that text from Hue Jackson that I might be going to Cleveland?
“That was a possibility. I know they had two first round picks and that anything can happen. I just kept an open mind. Didn’t want to get my hopes up too big. Just have to enjoy it and have fun with it. It’s a lifetime dream and it ended up being a great night.”
Athletes often say they have a chip on their shoulder when teams pass them up. Was this a game you had circled and wanted to show people? Maybe Cleveland?
“Not really. I go into every game trying to earn my respect. Show the NFL what I can do at this level and try to produce and get better. If I focus on the other teams and teams who passed me up, then I lose track of my job and what I’m supposed to do and my responsibilities. I just focus on myself. Making sure that I’m operating on offense and leading this team and securing the game plan.”
You’ve played so well since you got a starting role. Head Coach Bill O’Brien was asked about you and he said knowing him he’s probably in the locker room upset because he threw that pick. Does it stick with you that long or do you dwell more on your touchdown passes?
“No. I’m really upset about that pick-six. I was talking to a couple people. That’s only my second pick-six ever in my lifetime of football. Threw one last year against NC State and then today. I was pissed off. I hate turning the ball over, so it’s going to stick with me. But I’m going to go into the bye week, correct my mistake, get better with my fundamentals and the operation of offense and come back the week after and get ready for Seattle.”
Can I get a comment on the homage you’re paying to Warren Moon with your outfit?
“It’s all love and respect for Warren Moon. Had a privilege to meet him this summer at The Cam Newton Foundation. It was me, Cam (Newton) and Warren. Just having a great conversations and a great night. We’ve been communicating throughout camp and throughout the season. He’s a great guy that I can look up to and ask for advice because he’s been in my shoes before. I just texted him and he said he’ll send me a jersey, so I pulled it out for this outfit. ”
Going back to the relationship that you were building with Head Coach Hue Jackson, did he talk to you at all after the game today?
“He came up to me before the game, pregame. Said best of luck, he was proud of me and just keep it going. After the game, he pretty much said great job, keep leading this team and best of luck. Like I said before, our relationship, we text here and there, checking up on each other, but we are both busy and he’s a great guy. I respect him and all the things he does.”
What are some things for you that make it feel like the Texans are a great fit?
“I’m just comfortable and having fun with it. Whenever I stop having fun with it, then I know it’s not the right fit. But once I stepped here the day after the draft and got to meet the players and the coaches and just being in this facility, I knew it was right, and I’ve been having fun ever since. I’m just enjoying this process, I’m enjoying the journey, taking it one step at a time, and until I stop having fun with it, I know this is the right fit.”
You have the most touchdowns by a rookie through six games, and you’re the first rookie to throw three touchdown passes in three straight games. What do you think about the fact that you’re doing things that no rookie quarterback has ever done before?
“It’s pretty cool. It’s straight. I should’ve had more. I missed some opportunities out, but if you look at the big picture and kind of see the things I’m doing, it goes all to the support cast I have around me and the people that push me, starting with the draft process with Jordan Palmer and Quincy Avery, all the way up to OTAs and training camp with Sean Ryan and Coach (Bill O’Brien), and then having the o-lineman to protect me, the running backs to get open, the receivers to get open and just the whole offense and team coming together. So, this is bigger than me, and the support cast that’s helping me do the things I’m doing, it’s an honor and I appreciate all them.”
How much do you know about Houston Oilers QB Warren Moon?
“I’ve seen highlights, but I just know that he’s a big part of this city and this organization whenever the Houston Oilers were here, and just how the fan base is still in love with him. What he’s done for this city and this organization was huge, and I’m trying to do that – do the same things for the Houston Texans and continue to have success and build on it.”
Can you take us through the first touchdown pass, three of three, I believe it was a play action, what you saw on that throw to Fuller?
“Just seeing the safety. He was cheating too far inside. I guess he assumed that Will (Fuller) was going to cross his face. Will broke out, and the safety trapped down. It was really a cover 2, and we just had the angle. I got the ball off, and he made a great catch and got in the end zone. Whatever we worked on this week, it worked out perfectly.”
You guys will now enter the bye week and have a week off before you go to Seattle. What’s the mindset with these last 10 games? Obviously, you’ve played in six and started in five, but this team is trying to get back to the playoffs. How important is it to try and get this team directed towards making the playoffs this year as the starting quarterback, now having a bye week to really settle in as the starter and the leader?
“This win was huge. Every win is big in the NFL, but especially this one going into the bye week, we have something positive to look at and some things to correct. But at the same time, it evened out the record, 3 and 3. With the season being so long, you kind of get lost in the record and the things you really have to focus on, but you know just take it one week at a time. Get back to the basics and the fundamentals this off week and the week after. Everyone get healed up, get rested, recover. It’s a spring board from here. It’s going to be a grind, and it’s going to be a marathon. We just have to take it one step at a time and just keep grinding and pushing forward.”
HEAD COACH HUE JACKSON (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver)
It seemed like QB Kevin Hogan was throwing high and wide. Can you account for that?
“No, I can’t account for it. I mean he missed some throws. I’m being very honest with you. I think he’ll tell you that. He missed some throws. Missed some opportunities and that’s what happens. Because it led to turnovers then things start falling down hill, and you can’t get the momentum back so it’s tough.”
Where do you go from here at quarterback?
“Go back and watch the tape. Again, as I told you guys, this was going to be week to week. You guys asked me last week, and I never said that Kevin (Hogan) was going to be the starter for the rest of season. We’ll go back, watch the tape, go from there and make a decision next week.”
Will the quarterback decision be between QB DeShone Kizer and QB Kevin Hogan or would you consider QB Cody Kessler?
“No, if I change quarterback, I’m going back to DeShone (Kizer). That was never a different type of thought that way. I told you guys I wanted to him to see the game from a different lens. I know you guys all watch the game very closely, but probably in between almost every series, I had conversations with DeShone. I wanted to make sure he was learning and growing in what he saw. We went back and forth on things. He was really into it. I thought he saw some things that he can grow from. I heard growth out of him. I think that’s what matters.”
Did you consider a quarterback change at halftime?
“No. I made a decision I was playing Kevin for this game. I didn’t think that’d be fair to put DeShone (Kizer) into the game. I made a commitment to doing this for the week. That’s what I did, whether good or bad.”
You were looking to stabilize timing and rhythm for the game, but that didn’t happen. Can you talk about that?
“I thought the start of it was pretty good. Then after we missed one and then it started to, like I say, steamroll the other way, and we couldn’t get it back. That was a tough environment for Kevin (Hogan) too with his first start. Again, I’m sure he’s disappointed. I’m sure he wanted to show better. Again, those things happen, and we’ve got to move on from it.”
How is Kevin health-wise? It looked like he was having his ribs checked.
“Yeah, he did and those X-rays came back negative. He’ll be fine. He got banged up a little bit, but again, he hung it there. It was a tough day.”
During a CBS production meeting, they talked to Texans QB Deshaun Watson, and he said he received a text from you on Draft Day telling him to be ready.
“I don’t know anything about that. I mean that’s so long ago. I met with that crew and nobody asked me that. I met with the same crew, that question never came up to me. I did text Deshaun (Watson) before. I was in conversation with him, but I don’t recall on Draft Day at all. I don’t think I would have done that.”
You don’t recall if you sent the text?
“I know I did not send that text on Draft Day. You said on Draft Day, so no. I knew who we were taking with the first pick. We took the guy we wanted. I don’t remember making that call.”
Do you think Texans QB Deshaun Watson meant something different?
“Again, I don’t remember making any text to him on Draft Day other than later on telling him congratulations of him being drafted to where he went, to Houston. I don’t remember telling him to be ready for us to draft him or anything like that. I wouldn’t have done that.”
Do you wonder when it is going to be rock bottom?
“I’m not going to let it get rock bottom. Just like I told the team, it’s not fun. It doesn’t feel good. It’s horrible. We don’t like it. But, this is the hand we’re playing with. So, we’ve got to fill in the guys. I’m going to say it again every week. The only guys that can fix it are the guys in the room – the coaches in the room, the players in the room. It’s not going to change. What we’ve got to do is stick together. We’ve got to hold each other up, hold each other accountable and we’ve got to keep playing. That’s what we’re going to do. This team is not going to quit and Hue Jackson’s not quitting. I’ve told you guys that before. I understand the narrative that is going to get said, everything that’s going to be written. I really don’t care. I care about the men in that room, those coaches and those players. We’re going to find a way to win. We’ve got ten more games. We’re going to find a way to win. I am not swimming in that lake. So, you guys can believe that. So ,we’re going to find a way. It’s just that simple.”
What happed on defense during the long touchdown pass to Texans WR Will Fuller V?
“Again, they did a good job high balling the corner. We didn’t sink and get enough depth. We didn’t get the reroute and they fly. There were little cracks all around the football team today. We played against a team that’s been winning and they’re hot. We’ve got to find a way to get this tide turned. That’s my job and I’m not running from that. We’ll get in here with these players. We’re just going to keep working at it. We’ve got to find a way.”
Did today show you that no one can do better than what has previously been done?
“I know what you’re getting at. We’re going to do better. I have to get this team doing better. I’ve got to find a way. Whatever way it’s going to take. We’ve got to find a way. That’s what I told our coaches. Nothing’s going to change. We’re going to find a way. That’s what we’re going to do. We’ll keep working at this. We’ll work harder at it. I will coach better. It’s just what we have to do. There is no other solution to this.”
Can you take any bright spots from DL Myles Garrett getting another sack, DB Jason McCourty getting a pick-six? Do you have something?
“I mean we’ll find those small things, those small wins to get excited about, but please. Everybody understands this is about winning and losing. I mean, it’s not about anything else. Those small things, you know, Myles (Garrett) did what he’s supposed to do, Jason (McCourty) did what he’s supposed to do. That’s what we’re supposed to do. We have got to do more of that throughout our football team, play in and play out. That’s what we have to do. I thought we ran the ball better. That’s what I’m saying. I see signs of things, but it’s not enough. Yeah, as a coach, when we look at something we can build on and keep doing on, yes we will. We’ve got to find a way. I’ve got to find a solution for the men in that room and our coaches to find a way to win. And that’s all we’re chasing, that’s all we have to do. That’s what we have to do.”
How good is it to be back in Texas playing football?
“It’s nice to be back in the home state, no matter where it is. This is my home, and it’s just a pleasure coming back to play and do my thing for the home crowd.”
How do you feel your transition to the NFL has been so far?
“It’s been fun. I know the competition is going to be better, and the talent is going to be much better, so you just have to be prepared every week to go against the league’s best.”
It looked like you had more of your game back. Is that accurate?
“Yes. I feel like I could’ve taken a couple more reps. My ankle was going to hold up and I could just play fluidly as I wanted to.”
How much better did you feel physically?
“A lot better. There were some plays where I felt a couple tweaks, and I couldn’t bend the way I wanted to, couldn’t get as low, couldn’t turn. For the most part, I feel pretty good.”
What are your impressions of Deshaun Watson?
“He’s talented. He’s not only a good passer, but he can extend plays and scramble, and you have to account for that. So, you just have to make sure you’re on your toes and contain him. We had a couple of problems with that, and we just have to make sure next time we face him in the future that we account for that.”
Were the Texans preventing you from getting on the field by using the hurry-up offense?
“A little bit. Once they’re on the far side, you can’t really switch out personnel, because you don’t want to get a penalty, so you just have to wait until they slowed it down or we had our opportunity to get me back in, and just tried to make a difference.”
How do you grade today’s game?
“It didn’t go well at all. Definitely not the way we wanted to have today go. Felt like there’s a lot of things we could have done better. Felt like I could have done a lot of things better, especially early in the game. Just getting completions and stuff, and not letting balls get away or whatnot. I felt like we did a lot of good things too. I thought the running game was strong. I thought Duke (Johnson Jr.) and (Isaiah) Crowell played really well, and the line blocked pretty well. Definitely something to learn from and come back and keep working.”
How disappointed would you be if you did not have the opportunity to come back next game and do better the next time?
“All I can do it learn from this tape and get back to work on Monday, tomorrow. I’m not shaken from this at all. I felt like I was seeing a lot of things out there and they made a lot of great plays. Felt like they had a gameplan for us, at the end of the day it’s just about making plays, regardless of what they’re doing. So for me it’s about learning, and that’s in my control and I’m going to come back this week and continue to get better. This was a tough first experience but definitely something to learn from and grow from, and I think that there’s some positives to take from it.”
Why was there an emphasis on throwing the ball deep?
“No, I actually felt like we were dinking and dunking and taking what the defense was giving us early, and later in the game we had to try to get some chunk plays. They had some good coverages downfield and they were dropping guys out, so if the shot was there, than I felt like we had the opportunity to take it. If not, I was going to find my checkdown.”
How do you account for a lot of your throws that were high or wide?
“A couple of those high balls are definitely my fault. I think the one to Duke (Johnson Jr.), I was trying to get over one of the linemen and it just kind of got away, and that’s all on me. That’s definitely something that I can fix and I will. As far as some of the wider ones, I’m just trying to pull my guys away from the defenders. They had a lot of tight coverage. Their defensive backs played very well and I was trying to put the ball where either my guys could get it or no one could get it on some of those plays. Unfortunately, they still made some plays.”
Were there any nerves early on?
“No, I felt very comfortable out there. I felt like I was seeing everything and felt like we moving the ball right up and down the field early. Then, unfortunately, the interception happened and I felt like that kind of changed the way they were playing and they were going to be a little bit more soft back there. We just have to find a way to keep going and continue to move the chains and get first down after first down.”
Do you feel like you should get another opportunity to go out there and start against the Titans?
“I really trust in my talent and I trust in my ability to lead this team. I know that the guys trust me and I know that I can make plays out there. These games come down to a few plays here and there and unfortunately they didn’t go our way today. It’s definitely what I can learn from, but I know and I trust in myself that I can lead this team and I know we’re going to get back to work and come back ready to fight against Tennessee (Titans) next week at home. But for me, I have so much confidence in myself, so I definitely feel like I’m going to be ready to go.”
What can you take away from a game like this?
“Like I said, I feel like we did a lot of positive things in the run game and the O-line did very well up front. I think for us it’s just about when we get in these situations where defenses are trying to play us a certain way, we have to still continue to take what they give us. We saw them kind of getting softer later in the game, and that’s when we need to find a way to get the ball underneath and try to run with the ball. But we’re going to come back and game plan Tennessee (Titans) and get back to work.”
What did you see on the interception that was intended for WR Sammie Coates?
“Their DB was kind of sitting on it. I wanted to work Sammie (Coates) on that route and I definitely could’ve put that ball a little bit more outside, but the guy made a good play. He was kind of sitting at the top and jumped up in front and made a good play, so hats off to him. But, it’s definitely something for me to learn from. Seeing that guy backpedaling and then slowing his back pedal close to the chains, that’s something I haven’t really have a feel for, but I see that now and something I can learn from and adjust in the future.”
What was QB DeShone Kizer helping you with on the sideline?
“He was just letting me know what he saw. He was very encouraging. It’s definitely nice when – because he hears the play too, so he kind know what the read should be or where we should throw the ball. So I would come off and he would let me know what he saw, and we were on the same page. But it was definitely nice for both he and Cody (Kessler) to kind of be extra eyes on the sideline there.”
Does it give you an appreciation of what QB DeShone Kizer has gone through the first five weeks of the season?
“Absolutely. This is a hard game and it’s tough to find success. We just have to figure out how to come by that success and continue to build on it. But, no one said this was easy and all we can it get back and take our coaching and do what they tell us to do.”
What did you think of QB Deshaun Watson today?
“The same thing that I thought of him on film. I actually got a chance to talk to (DeAndre) Hopkins at one point during the course of the game. I told him after playing his team, obviously being in the division when I was in Tennessee so many years, (Deshaun) Watson has made a huge difference in that offense. They look like a totally different offense with him. He has a lot of ability. His ability to extend plays, he can throw the ball from the pocket. You can tell he’s a really good young quarterback. He doesn’t look like a rookie. There was probably a few throws I know he would like that have back, but he has that offense rolling. I just give them the credit, they played really well today.”
Has QB Deshaun Watson transformed the team?
“They have the defense, obviously losing a guy like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus makes tough. It’s going to take a little time to transition, but they’re more balanced than they have been in the past. They have the ability to attack and hold up on defense. They’re a good football team, and they got the best of us today.”
Does QB Deshaun Watson remind you of anybody you’ve seen before?
“Not that I can think of, I’ll probably have to put some thought into it. He’s just a good young player, he has a lot of ability. They’ve been able to mix in some of the option-read type stuff that he ran at Clemson, he looks comfortable. That’s the toughest thing, usually you get a rookie quarterback, you try to confuse him and give him different looks. I guess you can say he has that ‘It’ factor. Being in his division playing against Andrew Luck, having a chance to play alongside Marcus Mariota, young quarterbacks that look like their poised for that position as soon as they come in, he has that ability.”
How difficult was it to prep for this team with the read-option?
“It just adds different elements. Every week there’s something different about each offense that you go against. That was obviously something with them, they bring something totally different opposing your typical NFL offense. It adds another aspect that you have to plan for. I don’t want to say difficult, but I’ll just say different. It’s just something else that we had to look at on film, and really pay attention to.”