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Quotes: Bill O'Brien on Sunday

Posted Aug 24, 2014

Read what Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said to the media on Sunday at NRG Stadium.

Head Coach Bill O’Brien

(on if the Texans have made their 75-man roster cuts) “I don’t really know that. We’re still in the process of looking at tape and evaluating and having conversations. I believe we have until Tuesday, sometime Tuesday, so we’re in the process right now.”

 

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) ‘Watching the tape, there were some decent things. He had a sack. It looked like he did some things out there that were positive. Just like everybody else, coaches and players alike, there are always things we need to improve upon, but it looks like he did some positive things.”

 

(on if there was supposed to be safety help over top on the two touchdowns given up right before the half) “Those were coverages where basically the corner is the primary cover player there. I think it all starts, let’s rewind here a little bit and make sure we’re all clear with how I view that: I thought that was a terrible example of situational football by us. We couldn’t get a first down. We got the ball—I think it was (with) about two minutes and five seconds left in the half. We went three-and-out. We ran one play and didn’t even get it to the two-minute warning, incompletion. Then we ran a second play and didn’t gain anything. Third down, didn’t get it. Punt. With about 1:51, the Broncos get the ball and drive the ball and score. We get the ball back and we try to get something going again. We got three-and-out again. We give it right back to them again, so we’ve got to do a better job of playing situation football. We’ve got to get a first down on that drive. We’ve got to be able to start our two-minute drive. We’ve got to understand how important it is to not give the ball back to the (Broncos) offense. I think other than that, I think we played a very competitive, tough football game. That’s one area where over the next two weeks we really have to get better.”

 

(on if his play-calling in the two-minute drills before the half was similar to how he would’ve called it during the regular season) “We were calling it—preseason, regular season, playoff—when we’re on the field, we’re calling our plays and trying to do our best to move the ball. Guys are out there trying to execute. We just have to get better at realizing what the situation is and how we need to take advantage of it.”

 

(on the two-minute drill not being an area of concern after it was run so well vs. Atlanta) “Yeah and I wouldn’t even call it an area of concern. I would just call it, again, a situation where we have to practice that where we have the lead at the end of the half and we have a chance to add to the lead and not give it back to the other team. We did that the week before against Atlanta. I felt like our two-minute drive at the end of the game last night by Tom Savage was a really good drive to win the game. For the most part, our two-minute drives have been well executed. We just have to work on those end of the half situations, which can really turn a game.”

 

(on if he thought the personal foul penalty on D.J. Swearinger was a fair call) “I thought all the calls the guys made last night were fair calls.”

 

(on if it is safe to assume the team is not showing the entire offense during the preseason and if the quarterbacks will improve and be better once Arian Foster is back) “We definitely go into these games—and I think everybody would tell you similar and would answer this in a similar way—we go into these games with a somewhat of a vanilla gameplan. There are things that we’re going to run during the regular season that we certainly wouldn’t run during the preseason. I believe that the quarterbacks have really improved with our system. Maybe the numbers aren’t these high great numbers statistically, but they’ve all played in different parts of the game, so none of them have been out there the whole game to get those types of numbers. I think there has been improvement every week with all three of those guys. We haven’t shown a whole lot and hopefully we’ll be able to execute the things we haven’t shown when the season starts. Any time you get a back in there with the talent of Arian Foster, that helps your whole offense.”


(on if it is possible that we may see Arian Foster with the first team offense against the 49ers since he has yet to see game action) “It’s possible. We really haven’t sat down and talked about that one yet. We’re still in the process of evaluating, getting ready for Tuesday with the cuts that we have to make. We’ll talk about the game on Thursday here over the next couple of hours and figure out what we want to do there. Yeah, it’s possible.”

 

(on if it is necessary for Arian Foster to play in the preseason for him to be ready to play) “Arian has practiced. He practiced against Denver. He had some good practices against Denver. I feel like he had a productive week there and regardless of what we do Thursday night, he’ll be ready to play.”

 

(on Brandon Brooks and Brian Cushing’s performances in first game back) “Brooks did some decent things. There’s some things we need to clean up but he did some decent things. He looked like he was fresh and in good condition and he played a decent game. Some plays, like all of us, he would want back but a lot of positive plays out there. Cush (Brian Cushing), I thought ran around, made a couple of plays. It’s good to have him out there. He means a lot to our defense and I thought he played well for the time that he was in there.”

 

(on Andre Johnson’s performance) “Yeah, again, same thing: really good to have him out there. I thought he played really well, ran good routes. I know he enjoyed being back out there with the guys. Probably played a little more than we thought we were going to play him because he wanted to play. He wanted to play more. But it was good to have him out there, great player, really important part of our offense, and it’ll be good to have him out there going forward.”

 

(on Alfred Blue) “I thought he did some good things in the game. He ran well; he ran with a good pad level. He did a nice job on fourth down. He did a good job on some of the zone plays we were running, so I think he had a good football game.”

 

(on if he thinks D.J. Swearinger can play his game within the rules) “Yes.”

 

(on Travis Labhart’s performance thus far) “He’s a young guy that’s come in here and learned the system well. He’s instinctive, he’s got good hands. He’s tough, a smart player, works hard—works really hard at it. Even last night on that two point play, we put him in a position where the original play call we were going to have him in a different spot and at the last second we kind of changed him to where he ended up catching the pass and he had to think quick there and get lined up and know what to do and that’s the type of kid he is. So he’s earned himself playing time and it’s been fun to watch him improve every week.”

 

(on the backup quarterback competition between Tom Savage and Case Keenum) “I would say it’s pretty close. I think it’s pretty close. We’re discussing that right now. Both guys had good moments last night but I think that Tom Savage definitely closed the gap and it’s pretty close.”

 

(on keeping the team’s confidence up after a second straight win) “I think any time you go out and win, no matter when you win, winning is important and any time you step on the field to represent this organization and this city and each other it’s important to go out and win. So I think it gives everybody a good feeling when you fly back from Denver after a win regardless of whether it’s preseason, regular season or not. So I think it was a good night, it was a good way to end the game and there are a lot of things we can improve on but it’s always good to think about those things when you come back with a win.”

 

(on how impressed he was with Tom Savage’s performance at the end of the game) “I think what happened was we broke the huddle and as a young quarterback when the referee leans into the huddle and he winds the clock you’ve got to get going so he probably could have called the play before the referee wound the clock. So he ended up calling the play and then having to break the huddle and it involved some motion and shifting and things like that. So you’re right, it wasn’t confusion as much as it was he had to get going and I thought that he kept his poise there really well. He was able to motion, I believe it was Labhart, and then make the correct protection point, and then make the right read, and then make the throw which is a good thing to see for us for a rookie quarterback to be able to do that so I thought he handled that situation well.”

 

(on quarterbacks coach George Godsey’s ability to teach Tom Savage) “George is an excellent football coach. He’s a very, very bright guy. He’s a quick-minded guy. He’s a competitive guy and he loves to coach quarterbacks. So he’s with these guys all the time and I meet with them sometimes but he meets with them most of the time and he does a really good job of understanding that each one of those guys is at a different stage in their career. One guy is a rookie, one guy is in his second year, one guy is in his tenth year. So he’s able to reach all three of them in different ways and I think they’ve enjoyed being coached by him and they like our system. So George and I really love our offensive system so we enjoy coaching that and teaching that and George has done a really good job with all of those guys.”

 

(on his history with George Godsey) “Well, I coached him and when I coached him he was a really bright guy. He was the type of guy that you could signal in a play to him and half way through the signal he already knew the play, he knew the rest of the play because he had memorized the gameplan. He knew what was so he could turn into the huddle and call the play. He was just a really bright guy and then when he was done he played in the arena league for, I think a couple seasons, and then he played in the Arena D-League or B-League or some other Arena League and he called me one time and said, ‘What do you think?’ And I said, ‘Well, I think you need to run from the Arena League and decide what you want to do,’ and he wanted to coach and eventually he got hooked up with George O’Leary at Central Florida who he had played for and I had worked for at Georgia Tech and I was able to recommend him to Bill Belichick in New England in 2011. You know, going into that season he came up and was a quality control guy for us there, did a really good job for us the year we went to the Super Bowl and I tried to get him to Penn State but we couldn’t get him to Penn State but that’s a story for another time and then I was able to get him here to Houston, so it was good.”

 

(on his opinion of George Godsey when he played at Georgia Tech under O’Brien) “You could tell the way he played, the way he thought the game, the way he loved the game, you could tell that he would eventually end up coaching, no doubt about it.”

 

(on Tom Savage’s performance under time pressure in the game) “I think that he was able to go out there in that drive, even before we got the ball down there to where we completed it to (Ryan) Griffin and then the two point play, he got us into the right play. There’s a lot to this system. It’s hard to stand up here and tell you in a twenty minute press-conference. You have to approach the line of scrimmage. The first thing you have to do is call the play. The play call is not always the easiest thing in the world. Then you have to get to the line of scrimmage, make sure everybody is aligned properly before you shift somebody, if there’s a shift involved. Then there’s a Mike point that we have to make that sets the protection or the running game, or something like that. Then, there’s the snap count, we have about fifty different ways to snap the ball. Then there’s the knowledge of what the coverage is or what the front is to determine what play you’re going to run. There are so many different things that go into it and I think that he, along with Case (Keenum) and Ryan (Fitzpatrick) have really improved on that on week-to-week, day-to-day basis.”

 

(on QB Tom Savage’s ability to grasp the playbook and scheme) “It doesn’t surprise me because in the pre-draft process, when we met with him, we talked to him a lot. We would say, ‘okay, let’s watch the Pitt offense and let’s have you describe what you were doing here at Pitt against Virginia Tech and he could call the play, he could remember the route, he could remember the situation of the game, and then we would test him, ‘OK, here is something that we do’, maybe we’d leave the room for a little bit, come back and ask him about that play and he was able to tell us that play again, so we knew that there was a good chance there that he was going to be able to come in here and learn because he was a bright guy. But again now, let’s be real clear here now, he’s got a long way to go. We’re not headed for Hawaii and the Pro Bowl now. We’re talking about battling for the number two job. I would say that (Case) Keenum is still two, but Tom, it’s a really tight race between two really good guys, competitive guys.”

 

(on Whitney Mercilus’ performance in the Denver game) “Last night, he played better. I think he was just more active, he was more instinctive. I felt like he went to the ball better. I think that he just let it loose a little bit more last night then he had been doing and that was good to see and that’s what he needs to do. He’s such a good athlete and a great guy, good teammate, but he just needs to let it loose and go play. I felt like watching the tape, he had some plays that he would probably want back, but he had a lot more positive plays then negative plays.”

 

(on if he feels he needs to reel in D.J. Swearinger due to his playing style) “The way he plays the game, he’s an emotional guy. He’s a guy that loves football and that’s what I love about him. From the day we arrived here, he was one of the first guys in the building, worked hard in our weight room, worked hard out on the practice field in OTAs, has worked extremely hard to get better in training camp, and he’s an emotional guy. That’s something that I think every team needs, some emotion. Just like all of us, I could point to myself last night, something I was barking at the referee that I probably shouldn’t have been doing. We all need to understand how to reign in our emotions during a game and we all try to do that, but again, I think D.J. is playing hard, playing with good effort, and I’m enjoying having him on this team.”

 

(on teaching the players how to avoid hits like D.J. Swearinger’s on Wes Welker) “That particular play was a tough play. He did go in there with his shoulder, but the way that Welk (Welker) ended up trying to catch that ball, he went down and the angle changed at the last second so that D.J.’s shoulder and the V of the neck hit Welker at the same time in the head. D.J. was not trying to do any harm; he was trying to make the play and make the tackle. I think that the call was correct, but it changed at the last second on him and it was a tough play for him. What you have to do is you have to continually show these guys on tape what a proper tackle is. These guys know what a proper tackle is. It’s not leading with the head, it’s hitting with your shoulder and hitting between basically the shoulders and the waist and not above the neck area. We just continually show that to them, but I think last night’s play was a tough one to really say, ‘Hey, boy you were at fault there’. I think it was a good call, we’ll move on from there and D.J., he’ll continue to tackle the proper way.”

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