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Quotes: Day 1 of Training Camp

Posted Jul 26, 2014

Read what head coach Bill O'Brien and the Texans said to the media after Saturday's training camp practice.

Head Coach Bill O’Brien

T Duane Brown

OLB Jadeveon Clowney

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

WR Andre Johnson

WR Keshawn Martin

OLB Whitney Mercilus

 

Head Coach Bill O’Brien

(on how the first practice was for everybody) “You know it was the first practice. There was some good and some bad. These guys, first thing is, the guys that ran the conditioning test, every one of them, the guys that ran it, passed it, which that is a good start. So I feel like we got off on the right foot there. We still, we’ve got a long way to go as far as getting used to our practice tempo and how we do things. But so far, I think we started off ok.”

 

(on if the conditioning test given to the players is the norm) “Pretty standard. I mean, I know there are different ones. You’re either in condition or you’re not. You can do shuttle runs, you can do forty-yard dashes, you could do gassers. No matter what you do it will be a test of their stamina, their conditioning level, and I felt like our guys, the guys that ran it, did a nice job.”

 

(on the atmosphere of having the fans there) “I always think that is good. You know, I think the fans of Houston are awesome. It’s a football town. It’s a football state. You know, I think one of our, I believe one of the things we talk about a lot is making sure we represent our organization well because we have great fans that take a lot of pride in our football team. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that we field a very competitive football team and give our fans something to really cheer for.”

 

(on the sharpness and the intensity being where he would like it to be) “I felt like the intensity and the competitiveness was good. I felt like the sharpness was something we’ve got to continually work on.”

 

(on Jadeveon Clowney’s health) “He’s practicing and he’s rehabbing. We’re staying with the rehab protocol, which allows him to practice a little bit. We just stick with that and he’ll be fine.”

 

(on allowing Jadeveon Clowney to participate when the pads go on) “We’ll see where we’re at when we get to that day.”

 

(on Jadeveon Clowney being on some sort of restrictions) “Sure. Just like every guy that is coming off a surgery that is out there. Everybody has a different level of restriction, like you said, which is a good way to put it. What they can and can’t do and we as a coaching staff follow the protocol of (head athletic trainer) Geoff Kaplan and the doctors. We’ve got the best when it comes to that. We do that and these guys are edgy, they want to get going, but it’s a long season. So we bring them back at their pace. When they’re ready to go, they’ll go.”

 

(on having Andre Johnson back at practice) “It’s good to have everybody out there. It’s good to have everybody out there. It’s good to have 90 guys out there. Of course, like I’ve said many times in the past, when you have a player like Andre Johnson, what he means to this organization and what he means to this football team, the type of player he has been over the years, I’ve had the chance to watch him quite a bit on film, and he’s a fantastic player and we’re glad to have him out there and we’re glad to have everyone out there.”

 

(on Andre Johnson not doing the offseason work with the offense) “I think in the first year of a new program, football-wise, scheme-wise, it’s important for everybody to do extra work. Every single position, everything is new, everything is different, so I think it is important for everybody to get in extra work. Not just this guy, that guy, this guy with that guy. Everybody needs to make sure that they do something extra after practice, in between practices, watching an extra piece of film, maybe getting extra treatment, maybe run an extra sprint, because somebody on some other team is certainly doing that. We’ve got to try and do our best to stay up with the other 31 teams.”

 

(on Andre Johnson discussing the change of culture within the building and players ‘buying in’) “I don’t really know what that means. I know you guys asked me a lot about that in the spring. I’m not sure what like buying in and not buying in. We have a strong belief in how to win. Our coaching staff and our players, it’s not our coaching staff has a strong belief and the players don’t. That’s not what it is. We all do. We’ve all got to try and get better each and every day. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to compete better, we’re trying to coach better, we’re trying to play better, we’re trying to work on our technique, improve every single day, and that’s what is great about coaching is to see the improvement. Every single day you go out there and see a guy or a unit get better and a team gets better. That is what it’s all about. So that’s what we are doing.”

 

(on the closeness of the first game against the Washington Redskins and how that affects training camp practices) “I think the point you are making with that question is a good one, meaning we have an installation process that leads up to our first game, and I’m talking about our first regular season game. Right now what we’re trying to do is make sure that we get everybody enough reps to make sure that we not only teach them our schemes, but we give them a fair evaluation, a fair chance to make the team. That is why you’ll see a lot of different drills go on at once. You didn’t see it as much today. You did a little bit in the beginning. You’ll see it more as we move on. We’ll do more two-spot drills to get a bunch of guys reps at once instead of just everyone standing around watching 22 guys go and 70 guys are standing there, 68 guys are standing there. We’re getting a bunch of guys reps. And then as we work through that process and then we get closer to the 75 cut and then we’ve got to make some tough decisions. Then we get closer to the 53 cut, then hopefully we’re in a position there where we’re ready to practice and game plan for our first game. We are light years away from that right now.”

 

(on if the work put in during the voluntary portions of the offseason showed up today) “I definitely am a strong believer in the offseason program. I believe that we are in better condition than we were on April 7, much better. I believe we are more in tune with our schemes. I think now we’ve got to get in tuned with how we do things in training camp. Nothing is easy in this league. Everything is difficult. Everything that anybody gets on this team, coach or player, will be earned. Everything will be earned. That is the process that we are in now. That is the beauty of training camp. You’ve got 90 guys plus the coaches and the rest of the organization coming together to chip in and field a winning football team. Yesterday in our team meeting, first team meeting, we had probably just about 200 people right in that auditorium and that was good. I had everyone involved with the organization on the football side of things in there. The scouting department, the trainers, the equipment, the video, the security, obviously the owner, Mr. (Bob) McNair and Cal (McNair) was in there and Rick Smith, our general manager, and we all got off on the right foot, the same foot. And now we’ve got to try and work on that every single day. That is the beauty of training camp.”

 

(on Johnathan Joseph and other players hampered by injuries) “I think you guys were racing in from the field when I answered that before. Everybody has a got a different plan of rehab, and what we do as coaches, we stick with the plan. Some guys can do this amount of practice, some guys can do a little bit more, some guys can do a little bit less. And we try to ramp them up where they can through a full practice. We just stick to it because it is a long season. Johnathan Joseph has had a ton of success in this league and we just want to make sure that he is ready to go when he feels like he is ready to go and the doctors and the trainers feel like he is ready to go. And that is where we are at right now.”

 

(on Brandon Brooks not being on the active list to start training camp) “That is between myself and Brandon Brooks. He’s working hard to get back on the field, but he’s dealing with something.”

 

(on when the tackle portion of training camp will begin) “So the first two practices, you have a three day acclimation period. So the first day is conditioning and team meetings and things like that. And then the next two days are helmets and shells. The third day, which is Monday, will be full pads. We’ll be in full pads quite a bit.”

 

(on the install portion of practice and what you find out about the guys in that process) “No question. First thing we did was the conditioning test and I thought that was a good sign because all the guys that ran the conditioning test passed it. I think we’re a team right now in no pads that is in pretty good position. Now when the pads go on, that is a little bit different. We’ll see where we are there. We’re working through making sure that these guys understand what it takes to grind through a training camp practice. I would say we were intense today and we were competitive, but we weren’t as sharp as we need to be. We’re going to continue to work on that as a football team. But yes, it is a process of getting them in condition. They’re already in condition, but getting them in contact condition, playing condition and being able to play with full pads on, and then it is a process of making sure that they grind through and that they are sharp all the way through a practice. That is what we are working towards right now.”

 

(on having a player like Andre Johnson and pushing him in training camp and the preseason) “We’re a long ways away from that. That is a great question. Andre and I had a lot of discussions during the time that he was away. We got to know each other. We talked a lot about the offense. I wouldn’t say that we got so much into scheme, but we talked a lot about concepts. When a guy has played that many years in this league at such a high level, they get it. They’ve played in some really good systems. They understand, ‘Hey, this means that.’ They can associate, ‘Hey, that is something similar to what we did in the past. Oh, that might be different. I’ve got to learn that.’ He’s a bright guy. He’s an extremely talented football player. We’re glad he’s back. When he’s ready to go, he’ll be going.”

 

(on Andre Johnson saying that O’Brien doesn’t just tell players what they want to hear but what they need to hear) “I don’t know. You’d have to ask them.”

 

(on his philosophy with hitting in practice with pads) “You know, there are a lot of things that you think about when the pads go on. Whether it is live, when to go live, meaning tackle to the ground like a game, when it’s thud, when it’s what we call tag off, where we’re not in contact, so we have that all planned out, but we also gauge that on a day-to-day basis based on the injury report or as our staff sees it. Hey look, this is what we’ve got to do with this guy. Different guys have different things that they need to get done on a day-to-day basis. We’ve got it mapped out right now, certainly not for public disclosure. But, those that come to practice will see. They’ll see the plan. It will be a competitive training camp.”

 

(on if the addition of Akeem Dent shifts Brooks Reed to only outside and not inside) “We talk about with our guys quite a bit. We talk about the phrase ‘the more you can do’. So we played Brooks on the inside in the spring. Right now we’re playing him in both places. Today we played him on the outside quite a bit. He’s a multiple player. He can do those things. With the addition of (Akeem) Dent, who is an inside backer and also a very good special teams player, we’ll work him in there and see how he does. I think all of our guys needs to, it’s something I talked to the team about yesterday about understanding the whole concept of the offense and the defense and the special teams. How everything works together. Then if you need to fill in at another position, you can do that because you’ve understood it, you’ve done it, you’ve learned it, you’ve put the time in. All of the guys understand that.”

 

(on what young players can learn from a veteran like Tyson Clabo) “Again, he’s played a bunch of years. Anybody that has played, I have a strong belief in this, guys that have played six years, seven years, eight years, nine years and 10 years, those guys have seen a lot of snaps, played a lot of football and I always tell the rookies to listen to the coaches, make sure you understand your assignments and watch the vets. Watch how they do things. The successful veterans, which anybody that has lasted that long in this league has been successful, and I think you can learn from all of the vets.”

 

(on how close the competition between Brandon Harris and A.J. Bouye is shaping up) “I think all of the competitions are close. I really do. I think we have a competitive roster. We’ve tried very hard to put a competitive roster together. You have when we call for ones, there is a first team, we have a lot of different personnel groupings though. So there is a first in this personnel grouping and a first team in that personnel grouping. But I think competition everywhere is important to the team and I think there is competition at every position. I could go down and we’d be here forever. That is one of them, certainly, but there is many, many others.”

 

(on bringing in Tyson Clabo and the comfort at the offensive tackle position) “You know, I don’t think in this league, in my opinion, especially my first year as a head coach, I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable. But I do believe that we have a good bunch of guys there that are competitive and they are working hard and I like the way they communicate. I like the way they work and we just have to become sharper in our assignments, in our techniques and things like that. We feel good for right now, for day one of training camp, for where we are at.”

 

T Duane Brown

(on how day one of training camp was for him) “It was good. It was good. Knocking the dust off, learning some new terminology, getting some good work against our defense. I think it was a good start.

 

(on the bad taste in his mouth from last season) “We’re not focusing on it too much. It’s a new year, it’s a new start, and it’s a new team. We’re not forgetting about it but we’re not worried about it too much. We’re all about this year and how we can improve the team this year.”

 

(on Arian Foster) “He looked good. He looked good. He got some quality reps but he looked good.”

 

(on if it is difficult adjusting to the heat without playing in it) “Not really. You know, being in Houston it is part of the deal, but it only makes it tougher. Being out here with everybody, everybody is grinding here together. It really brings us together and builds that chemistry and that bond. It’s not easy but that’s the beauty of it.”

 

(on Coach O’Brien imposing discipline on the team) “It’s accountability; holding everyone accountable. He holds all of us to high expectations and we’re professionals so you gotta come out here about your business and know your cues or he’s gonna make you pay for it.”

 

(on the amount of breaks players get) “Yeah, there are fewer breaks. We’re always going. But it’s good. That’s the beauty of the grind.”

 

(on how being bigger in size helps him) “Just being able to anchor it better. I’ve been bless with athleticism, I really work on my quickness, but I really have to work a lot to keep my weight on. And it helps me to anchor a bit. A lot of those guys that I’m going against on the edge, they’re quick but they’re strong as well so I always feel like I’m able to mirror them pretty well. But being able to anchor and create that pocket is always good and it also helps in the run game getting the extra drive and pushing off the ball.”

 

OLB Jadeveon Clowney

(on how he’s progressing after his surgery) “I’m getting better, taking it one day at a time, learning the plays, running around, getting back to it.”

 

(on how he feels health-wise) “Like I said, I’m just taking it one day at a time, letting the trainers take it one day at a time.  I’m just trying to come back, get back for the first game.”

 

(on if he thinks he’s 100 percent) “No. I’m not going to give it a percentage, but I know I’m not 100 percent.”

 

(on if he is limited) “Yes sir, limited.”

 

(on what it was like to be out here for the first time with his teammates) “It felt good to get everybody back out here, back learning the playbook. Just looking forward to getting back in to the mix and I’m looking forward to the season.”

 

(on the biggest challenge for him at practice today) “No big challenge, it was just running around, learning the playbook still, being alert.”

 

(on if he’ll be ready to practice in full pads) “I don’t know.  I hope so, but I’ll let the trainers make that call.”

 

(on how he feels now compared to OTAs) “I’m a lot better than where I was. I learned a lot of the playbook already, so we have to keep pushing and keep getting better every day.”

 

(on his goals during training camp) “Being the best teammate I can be.  Like the guys tell me every day, just try to be the best teammate, a better teammate each day, get better, listen, learn what to do.”

 

(on his comfort level with his new position) “I’m feeling very comfortable.  I still have a lot of work to do.  Just keep getting better and better each day.”

 

(on who he leans on to help him with the transition) “My coach (Mike Vrabel). I think I have one of the best coaches in the game, in this business.  I’m just listening to him and talking to him.  I’m listening to him more than anybody.”

 

(on when he started working out after surgery) “I started running during the second or third week.”

 

(on if he feels a little better each day) “Yes, ma’am. Every day. One day at a time, rehabbing and see where it goes.”

 

(on what he did over the past four weeks) “I studied the playbook, worked out, treatment, did just about everything to try to better myself so I could get back with the team.”

 

(on if he stayed in Houston) “Yes, I stayed here.”

 

(on if it is more exciting now that camp started that he’s in the NFL) “It’s very exciting.  It was exciting the first time I got out here with the guys I looked up to coming in to the NFL – J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph, D.J. (Swearinger), guys like that on my team, I just I looked up to before I got here so now that I’m here with them, it’s even better.”

 

(on if it’s exciting to see Andre Johnson out here) “Very exciting.  I talked to him when he got here and I said, ‘I’m glad you’re back’ and he started smiling. I’m glad he’s back.”

 

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

(on working in this kind of heat) “I grew up in Arizona, the dry heat. 115 is hot, too. It’s a different deal but we’re out here practicing and working hard, just like everybody else is. There are plenty of other teams that are working in the same heat.”

 

(on the heat not being a culture shock to him) “Today wasn’t too bad, in terms of the weather.”

 

(on his first impressions of WR Andre Johnson and developing a relationship with him) “He’s a true pro. I think everybody here knows that and I’ve always admired him from afar. I’ve heard a lot about his work ethic and the way that he attacks everything. It was nice to sit back and throw to him a little bit today. There’s a lot of work, not only with him, but with everybody, in terms of getting everybody on the same page. We’ve got to get that going here during camp.”

 

(on if it was hard to not take it personally when WR Andre Johnson wasn’t with the team during the offseason) “No, not at all. I came in, I didn’t put a lot of thought into that, hoping that eventually stuff was going to work itself out. I’m glad to see him here.”

 

(on if he was pleased with the way everything went the first day of training camp) “We had too many assignment errors. We had too many mistakes. It showed up in the early training camp, too, just guys kind of getting back into it. I think tomorrow will be a big day and the next day, just in terms of we’ve got our base level now but we’ve got to continue to get better every day.”

 

(on if he’s been in practices that have had live contact in the past and if he thinks it’s better to practice that way) “It’s the NFL and it’s a very physical game, so those guys have to get ready for (it). And it’s good for us too as quarterbacks to kind of have that chaos going on around you and not allowing it to bother you.”

 

(on if he likes it when his coach pumps up the music at practice) “I might have to bring some earplugs. It was pretty loud but it’s great for us as an offense; being able to communicate whether it’s with facial expressions and looks or hand signals and being able to get everybody on the same page in the most difficult environment.”

 

(on if music or noise is new for him at practice) “Maybe haven’t done as much noise but everywhere pretty much does noise.”

 

(on if he likes Bill O’Brien’s play list at practice) “I’m too focused. I have no idea what it is.”

 

WR Andre Johnson

(on how his first practice back with the team went) “I felt it went fine. I was studying my plays and the stuff for me to do and stuff like that. They didn’t want to just throw me out there with this being my first day and stuff. Things continued to get better as the day went on. So far, the first day install I picked up pretty well. I went out there and wasn’t really thinking a lot. I got with Fitz (Ryan Fitzgerald) after everything last night and me and him went over some stuff. Everybody has been very helpful with me picking up everything. It’s just fun to be back out here and be with my teammates and getting back to football.”

 

(on if he’s staying away from anything due to time missed in the offseason) “Coaches, when they go up and have their meetings, they have certain things they want you to do. It’s not just with me, it’s with everybody, and if they’re coming off injuries or things like that. A lot of times they try to just work you back slowly. I’m pretty sure that as every day progresses, I’ll be doing more and more stuff. It’s just the first day.”

 

(on his first impressions of Ryan Fitzpatrick) “I like him. My first time ever meeting him was at J.J (Watt)’s softball game. He’s great. He’s been very helpful. He has been communicating a lot.”

 

(on how important it is to develop a good relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick) “Yeah it is. He’s the quarterback. We have to be on the same page, especially in this offense. There is a lot of communication and a lot of stuff that goes on. Just being on the same page as him, we’ll just keep working every day and trying to get better as a group.”

 

(on how much his offseason regimen helped him for today) “I was able to go out and still run the conditioning test with the team and stuff like that. I think normally, when you have stuff like that with guys coming in, they usually don’t pass it. I was able to do it. I wouldn’t’ say that I’m in tip-top football shape right now. I think that just comes with time and doing stuff out here on the field, things like you’re normally doing in games. Like I said, every day it will get better and better. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

(on what it means to him that he was able to pass the conditioning test despite not being here for workouts) “It doesn’t really matter. I’m just here to play ball, man. That’s it. All that other stuff, it is what it is. Like I said, I’m going to continue to come in here and work the way I’ve been working for the past 11 years and try to help this organization to where it wants to be.”

 

(on how steep of a learning curve it is to learn this new offense) “It’s a little different. There’s a lot more information and a lot more formations and stuff like that. The first time I looked at the playbook, I was like, ‘Wow.’ There are definitely some differences. It’s a challenge, not just for me, but for everybody. A lot of the guys that were here last year, when they first saw it, they thought the same thing. They’ve been in it longer than I have, but like I said, I’ll catch up. I look forward to this upcoming season.”

 

(on his thoughts on Bill O’Brien’s demeanor on the field) “I love it. It’s great. The one thing that I like about him and I think that’s the thing when I first met him, he’s straight up with you. He will let you know what needs to be heard. He’s not just going to tell you what you want to hear. I love his demeanor, it’s fun. I think just his whole attitude and everything he brings is a lot of fun.”

 

(on if he likes how loud Bill O’Brien is) “I love it. It’s great. I think it’s something that was needed around this place. I’m excited about it.”

 

(on if it is weird having to lean on the younger receivers to help learn the playbook) “No, it’s not weird. Guys still ask questions with certain routes and things like that. The thing about it and I tell the young guys, ‘If you see me do something wrong, don’t hesitate to tell me.’ I don’t really worry about a young guy telling me something. I think that’s how you make the whole group better, when you can all critique each other.”

 

(on his first-day chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick) “I think it was fine. I’m pretty sure it will get better as time goes on. It was our first day out here, so things will continue to get better for us.”

 

WR Keshawn Martin

(on young receivers who have stood out to him) “Well everybody has been making good plays. We’re young, so young guys get to step up and for the most part, everybody’s been doing it.”

 

(on what the playbook has been like for him) “It’s tough. But that’s how this business is. You’ve got to learn new stuff. You get a new staff and you’ve got to learn to stuff and you’ve got to be ready for it.”

 

(on if the new offense plays to some of his strengths) “I like the offense a lot. We’ll see about that.”

 

(on how much bulk he’s put on in the offseason) “I put on a little muscle. Not as much weight but just a little muscle.”

 

(on how he feels) “I feel good. I feel nice and light.”

 

(on if there is something he has to do better to make himself a more complete player) “With me, I just want to get out there, be more physical at the top of my routes. Just get better every day, learning the playbook, learning all the spots.”

 

OLB Whitney Mercilus

(on the pressure on him to play well in increased role) “I’m not really worried about the pressure. I’m just focusing on the here and now right now and I’m just going at it each and every day. I’m out here to perfect my craft each and every day.”

 

(on if he’s had time in offseason to adjust to new defense) “We’ve already had time in OTAs and minicamp so now it’s just forming the team and the 53 guys during this time. Pretty much that and we’ve got to be ready to go right now because it’s full speed.”

 

(on the defense’s potential) “We’ve got playmakers all over the place and becoming just one unit and having our leaders step up and bringing up the guys who are young and things like that, we’re going to be a pretty good team.”

 

(on the differences under Coach O’Brien) “We already went through in OTAs and minicamps. Right now going into it we already know what’s expected of camp. Pretty much it’s just we know exactly is expected of Bill O’Brien and what he expects of us and right now we have to come out here and just do it.”

 

(on if open practices brings more out of the team) “Of course, yeah some guys probably want to show off a little bit, do some good plays. Just don’t be that guy who actually messes up, but other than that you just have to be focused on your assignment on the practice field and make sure you’re doing your technique right.”

 

(on Jadeveon Clowney’s first practice back from surgery) “I can’t really touch on that. The guy has to speak for himself on that. If you’re injured the motto is just work your butt off to get back on the field. That’s it.”

 

(on if Jadeveon Clowney has communicated with him) “No. I wouldn’t assume that everybody would call him if they had their own ways or if Clowney was sitting here and doing rehab.”

 

(on differences between camp last year and this year) “The setup is different, how we go through practice and the practice we go through. But that’s about it. But everything else is pretty much the same. Fast tempo, building our conditioning up and trying to find the right 53 guys to get on the field.”

 

(on if the players staying in hotels is a good idea) “I think so. It definitely builds a lot of chemistry. Everybody goes back to the hotel. You get some downtime. You’re able to chat with some guys and that’s where you feel you learn to make those bonds between each other.”

 

(on if he’s had a coach run sprints with him like Coach Mike Vrabel did) “No, but I bet you Mike Vrabel would do that.”

 

(on Mike Vrabel running sprints with the linebackers) “Oh yeah? I didn’t even see that. I was way over on the other end. He’s definitely an energetic guy.”

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