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  • Mon., Dec. 22, 2014 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM CST 12 Days of Christmas Sale: Day 10

    Shop the 12 Days of Christmas at the Go Texan Store at NRG Stadium, December 12-24! Each day will feature a new daily deal or discount, and there will be appearances by a Texans player, Ambassadors, Cheerleaders, and Santa TORO!

    Dec. 22: Only $20, Nike cotton tees & Only $25, Nike Dri Fit tees.

    Complete info at http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html.

  • Tue., Dec. 23, 2014 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM CST Verizon Texans Players Show

    Meet Texans offensive linemen Duane Brown and David Quessenberry at the Verizon BLVD Place Store, 1700 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX 77056.

    Lots of Texans prizes & giveaways!

    Player(s) subject to change.

    Autograph info: http://www.verizonwireless.com/mobile-living/event/verizontexansplayersshow/

  • Tue., Dec. 23, 2014 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM CST 12 Days of Christmas Sale: Day 11

    Shop the 12 Days of Christmas at the Go Texan Store at NRG Stadium, December 12-24! Each day will feature a new daily deal or discount, and there will be appearances by a Texans player, Ambassadors, Cheerleaders, and Santa TORO!

    Dec. 23: Fill our clear bag and get 25% off all goods in your bag.

    Complete info at http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html.

  • Wed., Dec. 24, 2014 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM CST 12 Days of Christmas Sale: Day 12

    Shop the 12 Days of Christmas at the Go Texan Store at NRG Stadium, December 12-24! Each day will feature a new daily deal or discount, and there will be appearances by a Texans player, Ambassadors, Cheerleaders, and Santa TORO!

    Dec. 24: Spend $100, get a $20 gift card free. Appearances by Houston Texans Cheerleaders (11-1pm) & Texans Ambassador Fred Weary (12-1pm).

    Complete info at http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html.

  • Fri., Dec. 26, 2014 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM CST Fan Appreciation Sale at Go Texan Store

    As a big thank you to the best fans in the NFL, we have a Fan Appreciation Sale just for you!

    From December 26-28, stop by the Go Texan Store to get 20 percent off all purchases, excluding sale and value items.  On December 28 gameday, sale is also valid at any Go Texan Store location throughout NRG Stadium.

    For store hours and more details, visit http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html.

  • Fri., Dec. 26, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CST Texans Friday: McDonald's

    Friday, December 26
    Noon-1pm – McDonald’s, 6000 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77057
    Proudly wear your Texans gear to get a FREE 4 piece Chicken McNuggets (1/person) for this hour at this location.
    Houston Texans Cheerleaders signing autographs and taking pictures.

  • Sat., Dec. 27, 2014 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM CST Fan Appreciation Sale at Go Texan Store

    As a big thank you to the best fans in the NFL, we have a Fan Appreciation Sale just for you!

    From December 26-28, stop by the Go Texan Store to get 20 percent off all purchases, excluding sale and value items.  On December 28 gameday, sale is also valid at any Go Texan Store location throughout NRG Stadium.

    For store hours and more details, visit http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html.

  • Sun., Dec. 28, 2014 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM CST Fan Appreciation Sale at Go Texan Store

    As a big thank you to the best fans in the NFL, we have a Fan Appreciation Sale just for you!

    From December 26-28, stop by the Go Texan Store to get 20 percent off all purchases, excluding sale and value items.  On December 28 gameday, sale is also valid at any Go Texan Store location throughout NRG Stadium.

    For store hours and more details, visit http://www.houstontexans.com/gotexanstore.html.

  • Sun., Dec. 28, 2014 12:00 PM CST Jaguars at Texans The Texans host the Jaguars at NRG Stadium.

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Quotes: Head Coach Bill O'Brien

Posted Mar 25, 2014

Head coach Bill O'Brien spoke to the media from the NFL Owner's meetings in Orlando, Fla.

(on the ability to set the draft board for three straight days in what some are saying is the best draft in 30 years) “I wouldn’t’ be able to speak on the draft of the last 30 years, but in my experience with the draft, I do think it’s a deep draft. I think it has a lot to do with all of those young guys coming out, over 100 juniors or whatever it is. It’s great. Yesterday we found out that we got three more picks; we have 11 picks, so you can really set your team up well for the future by doing your due diligence in this draft, which is what we’re doing. We have a good team of guys. Rick Smith has been doing this a long time. He’s a great guy to work with. We communicate all the time. He has a really good scouting staff, so we’re working at it. I think we’re going to have a really good draft.”
(on the format ) “As we sit here right now, we have the number one pick in every round. The number one pick in the second round is another first round pick. The number one pick in the third round is a second round pick. You don’t want to be in that position every year, but if you do a good job then it works out. The draft is an interesting deal because you have to make a science out of it by how you study it and how you grade the players, but at the end of the day, you really don’t know until that guy actually starts playing. How does he play in games? What type of teammate is he? What kind of guy is he in your building on a daily basis? You try to make those picks as best as you can with how you study them.”
(on four of last year’s draft picks coming off of injured reserve and how much that will help the team) “Yeah, it’s a good point. A guy like (David) Quessenberry, our staff doesn’t know too much about him. (Offensive line coach) Paul Dunn does, because Paul studied him when he was coming out when Paul was in Atlanta. That’s a good example of a guy that we’re really looking forward to working with in minicamp because we hear a lot of good things about him. We’re looking forward to seeing how he performs doing some of the things we’re asking him to do. So I think it’s a good position. It’s a position of unknown, when you have guys that you really haven’t been able to really study. There are preseason games and college tape, but until you see him doing your things, you don’t really know. So we’re looking forward to working with those guys.”
(on if this draft is more raw because of the number of underclassmen) “No, I wouldn’t say that. I believe that these guys are talented guys at all of the positions. I was watching, on the way here, I’ve got this pretty cool thing, this Surface tablet they gave me, where I can plug the film in so I have it by all of the college teams on four different disk drives. I was watching the offensive line and the guard position specifically, and I see five or six guys that could play guard, could play tackle. That’s an example, you can use that at every position. You see that there are guys that are instinctive and talented and how they translate to this league, but you don’t really know until you see them play. You’re trying to do a good job of studying their strengths and their power and their instinctiveness. Then you want to meet them and see what type of people they are and try and make the best pick.”
(on if a quarterback like Blake Bortles is too raw to start right away) “He certainly hasn’t played a lot of football, relative to other guys because he’s been the starter there for two years. He’s a guy, I think a lot like a lot of these guys, who has worked extremely hard to improve every year. Even in this short period of time since the bowl game, and I could say this about all the guys, they’ve really worked hard on improving. Whether they’ve hired a quarterback coach like Blake has Jordan Palmer, who has obviously done a good job with him to improve some of his skillset. That’s what you look at. Does this guy get better and is he trying to get better? Is he working at getting better? Blake, like all of these guys, is trying to get better.”
(on if he saw improvement in Blake Bortles workout last week) “Yeah, I did. I saw it in his workout the other day, again, that’s an on-air workout. Really, if you’re throwing to guys that you’re used to throwing to, which I think he was, he had (Jeff) Godfrey there and a couple of receivers and a couple of backs, the ball really never hit the ground. I think it only hit the ground like twice. You could see better footwork. You could see a more compact delivery. I’ll say this about Teddy (Bridgewater)—I was at Teddy’s too—people made a big deal about Teddy’s day, but I thought Teddy had a decent day. He threw some incompletions but Teddy has obviously worked extremely hard to improve his footwork, his throwing mechanics and he’s working with Chris Weinke. So you’ve got Chris Weinke and Jordan Palmer, I mean those guys know what they’re talking about. I’ve seen improvement there and I’m sure we’ll see improvement with Johnny (Manziel) when we show up there on Thursday, because he’s working with George Whitfield. He’s doing some unique things. I saw an article where he’s dropping back in the beach and the ocean and stuff like that. I think these guys, like I said yesterday on NFL Network, there are other quarterbacks in the draft. I think it’s just being a quarterback coach, I think it’s important to know that there are a lot of quarterbacks that are winners, that have played well. I probably shouldn’t mention names because I’ll forget somebody but you’ve got (A.J.) McCarron and (Zach) Mettenberger and (Jimmy) Garoppolo, you can go right down the line. (Tom) Savage is a guy, we were at his pro day. There are a lot of guys that can play quarterback.”
(on if there is a separation between the perceived top three quarterbacks and everyone else) “I don’t, but that’s just my opinion. Somebody else might have a different opinion. Just my opinion is that I see strengths and weaknesses with every one of these guys. I don’t see where there are one or two guys, or three guys, that are just light years ahead of the rest of them. Some of these guys, if you look at A.J. McCarron and Zach Mettenberger, those guys played in the SEC, and so did Johnny (Manziel). That’s a tough conference. Zach and A.J., they won a lot of games in the SEC so they must’ve been doing something right.”
(on what will give them a better idea of who they want to draft) “Face-to-face interviews, my notes from that, my thoughts about that, the football discussions that I’ve had with these guys. Rick Smith, he and I will guide each other with our thoughts on all these guys, any draft pick. We’re going to bring some of these guys to our facility in Houston and you can spend a day with them there too. I think it’s like playing quarterback. When you break the huddle, you have to have a process, a progression of how you think about running a play. It’s the same thing with the draft. You have to have a process, a progression of how you put together, ‘OK, here is what we believe this kid is and here is what we think he can do for us. OK, let’s go pick him.’ That’s kind of how you do it, but it takes a long time.”
(on his role with the draft while he was with New England) “I would say the last two years I was involved, I mean I was involved every year, but the last two years I was involved on offense with all of the positions. I would go out and workout quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen. I wasn’t that involved on defense. I was the offensive coordinator. Coming back and just reported to Bill (Belichick) about what we saw. That was basically my involvement. This is my first involvement in the draft as far as the whole picture.”
(on what kind of role did Bill Belichick play in his career) “We played a big role. He hired me to be a coaching assistant in 2007. I’m the first coach in the history of football to go from 0-12 at Duke University to being 18-0 before we lost the last game, 18-1. He gave me that opportunity and then promoted me up through the ranks there. I owe him a great deal. I learned a lot from him. I think that’s well-documented. I’ve said that a number of times. He’s been a great friend and mentor to me in this profession.”
(on if he’s trying to remind people that you don’t have to take a quarterback in the first round for them to be successful) “No question. I don’t think we’re ready to really sit down as a staff and say what we’re going to do, but the more I study these guys, I see a lot of guys with a lot of experience and production in college, good games, and games that they brought their teams back with under two minutes to go, tough conferences, guys that have been through some stuff personally, on the field and off the field, that have overcome. Like I said, I probably shouldn’t start mentioning names but I know there are a lot of quarterbacks that I’ve watched that are decent players.”
(on if he would agree with the assessment that there is not a quarterback ready to start on day one) “I think that it’s very, very difficult to play quarterback as a rookie right away. I think to expect a guy to go in there and play right away against a, for instance, Rex Ryan defense is very difficult. At the same time, you better be ready to do it, because you never know what might happen. I think what we’re trying to do in Houston is set up, at every position, a very competitive roster so that through the spring and into training camp at every position—quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, secondary—we want a very competitive roster and let these guys win their positions on the field. That’s what we’re trying to do and if that means a guy has to play as a rookie, then that’s what a guy has got to do.”
(on how T.J. Yates and Case Keenum fit into the team picture now that Matt Schaub has been traded) “Compete. They’ve all been told basically the same thing. They’re going to be given a chance to compete. We brought Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in the other day and had a good talk with him. I told him, ‘Look, nothing is guaranteed. You’re coming in here to compete and try to get better every day and to try to be the starting quarterback.’ That’s the same thing I told Case. Case played I think eight games last year. T.J. has been the quarterback of this team when they went to a playoff game, so they all have experience. The deal is competition.”
(on if he will carry both T.J. Yates and Case Keenum to training camp) “Yeah, you’re allowed to have 90 guys, so yeah as we sit here right now, yep.”
(on the importance of seeing guys do their personal workouts as well as traveling to pro days) “We’ll do a similar deal. We show up there and try and get there the night before and sit down with a guy and talk to him about his own background and then talk about football. We’ll watch a tape with them of a couple games or maybe put them up on the board, whether he’s a quarterback, a DB, a defensive end, it doesn’t really matter what position. We want to know if we were going to draft this kid, where would we be starting as far as having to teach him what we do. With all these kids, it’s a pretty low baseline where you’re starting. Watching pro days, I like to, if I can and I know Rick (Smith) likes to do the same, try to work these guys out on their own a little bit, if you can. Sometime their agents tell them we’re only doing this pro day and there are no private workouts. Sometimes you can’t do that. If you can try to get them on your own and do some drills that are similar to what they’ve have to do in Houston. For a 3-4 outside backer who was defensive end in college, can he drop into coverage? Can he play form a stand up technique? Can he take a reach block on from the nine-technique? Some things that you might not see in the pro day. That’s kind of how we do it. A lot of these guys, you’re allowed a certain number of visits to Houston, so we’ll bring them to Houston. What we do and I think it’s pretty interesting, Rick is good about this, he’ll tell the kid, ‘Hey look, we want you to improve maybe in the meeting room deal between now and when you get to Houston. Let’s see if you can improve on knowing what cover-two is or what this package is. See if the kid kind of takes it to heart and studies it. So yeah, it’s definitely something where you try to go there with any position. You get to know them as good as you can.”
(on what he wants to see most from a player when he looks at the quarterback position) “I want to study more games. Again, maybe go back and watch more games. I want to study different situations in different games. I’m looking forward to bringing some of these guys to Houston and talking to them more. Kind of how I said earlier, ‘Hey look, we talked about this when we were at Louisville. What do you think now? Do you have a better understanding of what this is?’ I’m looking for improvement.”
(on if he wants to see if they’ve taken some of his feedback to heart) “Some of that, yeah. I still want to study more tape. One of the things I love to do, as we all do, we love to watch film. I look forward to getting on the plane tomorrow, not a quarterback but I’ve got to watch these offensive linemen and when I get back to Houston and watching more of these quarterbacks and all of the positions.”
(on what his type of quarterback looks like or are there attributes that make a player more successful in his scheme) “It’s funny, people ask me that all the time. Maybe that is because I coached (Tom) Brady, but we don’t have a certain type. We want a guy that is accountable, good character guy, pocket passer, good decision maker, good teammate, coachable, smart, tough physically and mentally. Whether he’s 6-foot-5 or 5-foot-10, does he have these things and like I said, smart? Is he going to be able to process what we do? In this league, you have to be able to throw the ball accurately, so that’s a big, big deal.”
(on if the Texans are considering all options at the No. 1 pick despite it being a quarterback-driven league) “Yes. All options are open, no question. It’s the end of March. You still have a lot of time. You go back and you do what we call re-checks, cross-checks. We’ve all watched all the games but ‘Hey, why don’t you take a good look at these four games on any position?’ ‘Okay, I’ll go back and watch these four games.’ We have different meetings about what we saw on the different games. So there’s a lot of time left. What fun would it be if you already knew who you were going to pick? What fun would that be? You should go on vacation then if you already knew.”
(on if QB Johnny Manziel’s style sustainable in the NFL) “Yeah. If you watch some of his games, obviously, he is a very exciting player when breaks the pocket and runs but if you watch the Ole Miss game—I think something happened to him in the Ole Miss game where he got injured. I think he might have hurt his ankle or something. He came back. He threw from the pocket in that game. I think if you watch him, he’s going to be able to do a lot of different things. So, I think it’s sustainable.”
(on if Jadeveon Clowney’s performance in the bench press testing is cause for hesitation) “I wouldn’t say that with a guy like (Jadeveon) Clowney—I don’t think you base a large percentage of your decision on like what he benched. I think a large percentage is based on what type of guy he is. We had him at the combine for 15 minutes and now we’ll go to South Carolina, I think it’s April 2, to his pro day, we’ll go to that and get to know him a little bit better. You base a lot of it on that but also on what you see on tape.”
(on how he gets to the motor and work-ethic question with Jadeveon Clowney) “It’s a deal where I’ve studied him pretty closely. One of things and this is not to make and excuse for anyone, in college there’s like 85 to 90 plays per game. He plays all the time. I think if you looked at any player in college, especially at the defensive line spot, playing in a league where most of the teams are shotgun and throwing the ball and rushing the passer, I dare you to find me a guy that plays 90 snaps like his life’s on the line every game. But when the game’s on the line, Jadeveon plays hard. He’s an explosive player, he’s a productive player, he’s an instinctive player. So I think that’s kind of been blown out of proportion but at the same time we’ve got to make sure we get to know him and then keep getting to know him when we get there.”
(on people saying “Can you imagine him being lined up right next to or across from J.J. Watt?” at the thought of the Texans drafting a defensive player in the first round) “People do say that. They say if you draft, say (Jadeveon) Clowney, you’re going to line him up right next to Watt. I think we could at times. But I think one of the things in this league is on defense, you’ve got to be really multiple. Forget about the draft pick, J.J. Watt, you’ve got to be able to move this guy around, do different things with him to really take advantage of his skill set. People ask me about Johnny (Manziel) all the time because we’re in the draft and all these quarterbacks. The guy I really enjoy watching is J.J. Watt. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually watched coaching film on J.J. Watt, but it is, this guy is a great football player. So with a guy like that, you’ve got to move him around and then if you can add a guy or two to that defensive front, certainly that will make a big difference. So I don’t know how much they’ll actually be lined up next to each other. It might be more some next to each other, some opposite end, some somewhere in between.”
(on if a player like Johnny Manziel can address issues like whether or not he’s a pocket passer against air) “Again, it’s on air. There’s no defense rushing him but you can look at the mechanics and how the ball is delivered and where the ball is placed for a receiver. So if the guy is running a comeback, you want it on his outside number. If the guy is running an in-cut, you want it two feet in front of the numbers because he’s on a moving route. You can gauge some of that but you can’t make a final decision on throwing on air with no pass rush, scripted workout. But you can see what they’ve done mechanically to try to improve: footwork, throwing motion, all that.”
(on if Russell Wilson’s success has helped Johnny Manziel) “I think everybody’s different. I think you can say that. I’ve thought about that a lot. I think every individual is different. I think you’ve got to judge the guy based on what you see. We do definitely make comparisons, like we’ll say, ‘Okay, in some ways, he’s like this guy,’ at any position. We look at Greg Robinson, the tackle from Auburn. So who is he like? Is he like this guy that played in the pros that we’re familiar with? Yeah, we do make comparisons. As far as that guy helped this guy, at the end of the day, you judge the guy based on his own skill set, his own production in games, his own improvement during the draft process. All those things.”
(on if he goes back and looks at prospects’ social media postings) “I don’t do that but I know that we do do that. I don’t have time to do that. I think as an organization, I think Rick’s staff, I think we all kind of have an idea. I don’t think we study it. I think in this day and age of social media, all these guys, it’s a part of their lives. I always say about social media a couple things: let’s tweet positive things and before we hit the send button, I don’t tweet, so I’m not sure how it works, but I think there’s a send button, just count to three before you hit that send button. I don’t really look at Facebook and Twitter and all that.”
(on what kind of improvement he is looking for from Johnny Manziel at his pro day after saying Blake Bortles had improved at certain things at his) “Similar things. Has he improved footwork-wise, throwing motion, knowledge of coverages? All those things. You kind of try to look for similar things even though each player is different so that when you go back at any position and you judge what you’re going to do and you decide what you’re going to do, you at least have a progression of these eight to 10 categories.”
(on if a private workout is more important than a pro day) “You can see a lot in a pro day but in a private, you’re one-on-one and the prospect is taking your instruction right from what you say. ‘This is how to run the drill. Go run the drill.’ And he’s doing things that you’re going to have him do in your system, whether it’s offense, defense or anything.”
(on if he’s having a private workout with Johnny Manziel) “I don’t think so. I think his day is—he’s got his Johnny Day.”
(on what it says about WR Tiquan Underwood, the way he handled being released right before the Super Bowl with New England on Feb. 4, 2012) “He’s awesome. He’s a great guy. He’s a great guy. Team guy. Played at Rutgers. He was on and off our roster in New England I think that last year, a few times. Every time he came in, he was smart. He picked right up where he left off. He was filling somewhat of a backup role but he ended up making some big catches in games for us and I know Tom (Brady) really respected him. We all did. He’s a high-character guy.”       
(more on WR Tiquan Underwood’s reaction at being released from the Patriots prior to the Super Bowl in 2012) “Yeah, I don’t really remember that too much. I know he tweeted something out that was very positive and wished the team luck, or something like that. He’s a class act.”
(on if Johnny Manziel requires a different commitment from his team due his playing style) “You certainly can. With a guy like Johnny, you can’t box him into a certain way of playing. He’s been successful since he was probably four or five years old, playing the way he plays. I think all of our systems, I guess I’ll just speak for ours, we have a system that is very adaptable to many different types of quarterbacks. We have ‘move the pocket’ type plays. We have drop back plays. We have option plays. Nobody has ever seen them because we haven’t had those types of quarterbacks. We did when we coached in college and things like that. You can’t force a guy to be something that he isn’t.”
(on if Johnny Manziel’s style can be successful in the NFL despite the vulnerability of that style) “That’s a great way to ask that question. Yes, the answer is yes. That player, whoever it is, Johnny or whoever, they have to learn how to play when they get out of the pocket. There is a technique to sliding. There is phrase: you have to know when the journey is over. The journey is over if you think you’re going to keep struggling for yards in this league like you did against Montana State, you’ve got another thing coming. These guys are going to wail on you. The answer is yes, but there is some teaching that goes on too.”
(on if he likes Johnny Manziel’s charisma) “I enjoy watching him play. I definitely enjoy watching him play. He’s an exciting player. Again, I would say this about all those guys: I just really enjoy watching these guys play. Johnny is an exciting guy to watch play.”
(on if it will be difficult to choose one player at the top of the draft with so many choices) “I don’t think it’s an easy decision. Rick (Smith) and I will sit down and we’ll make a very, very thoughtful, well thought out decision, no question about it. We’re putting all our information together. Rick is a really bright guy. He’s been a great guy to work with. He’s been through this before, not with the number one pick, but he’s been through so many drafts. He’s got a really good idea of how it all works. We’ll make a good pick.”
(on if talent-wise are the Texans are more the team from the playoff years or the team that finished with the worst record) “I think we have a good core group of players. We’re just really excited to get started working with these guys. With the new CBA now, the last time I was in the league it was under the old rules, so now we only have nine weeks to work with these guys. We believe that we have a really good core group of talented players that have played a lot of good football in this league. We’ve got to do a great job of coaching them and then it’s all got to come together. We’re really excited about our team where it stands right now.”
(on his thoughts on the other AFC South teams) “I’ve been studying so much in the draft, I really haven’t gotten around to the division too much, but I think it’s a very balanced division. I’ve enjoyed really getting to know the coaches in the division here. I already knew a couple of them like Chuck Pagano and Whiz (Ken Whisenhunt). I knew those guys and Gus Bradley is just a fantastic guy. They’re good coaches. They have got good teams. They all beat us last year. I think it’s a pretty balanced division.”
(on people saying “Can you imagine him being lined up right next to or across from J.J. Watt?” at the thought of the Texans drafting a defensive player in the first round) “People do say that. They say if you draft, say (Jadeveon) Clowney, you’re going to line him up right next to Watt. I think we could at times. But I think one of the things in this league is on defense, you’ve got to be really multiple. Forget about the draft pick, J.J. Watt, you’ve got to be able to move this guy around, do different things with him to really take advantage of his skill set. People ask me about Johnny (Manziel) all the time because we’re in the draft and all these quarterbacks. The guy I really enjoy watching is J.J. Watt. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually watched coaching film on J.J. Watt, but it is, this guy is a great football player. So with a guy like that, you’ve got to move him around and then if you can add a guy or two to that defensive front, certainly that will make a big difference. So I don’t know how much they’ll actually be lined up next to each other. It might be more some next to each other, some opposite end, some somewhere in between.”
(on when he talks about the possibility of Jadeveon Clowney playing next to J.J. Watt, it’s almost like a “Dream Team” concept) “There’s no such thing as a dream team.”
(on if there is a timetable in his mind on when he’ll decide who the Texans will pick with so many draft options available) “You know, we’ve talked about that a little bit. I think you’ve got to have something in your mind before the day. I don’t think you can make the decision that day. So I’m sure we’ll have something in mind maybe a week or two in advance. But it’ll be awhile.”
(on if he agrees that this is not the kind of draft where a consensus No. 1 pick is going to line up) “I agree with that. I don’t think you’re in a draft where—we’re not. We don’t believe we’re in a draft where we know where we’re going and there is the guy, no, for this draft.”
(on what he thinks about Khalil Mack) “Instinctive. Explosive. Play-maker. Good guy. Good kid. Smart. Can play different positions. He can rush the passer as a defensive end. He can play outside backer. He can probably play inside backer. So, a versatile guy.”
(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick gives him a lot of flexibility going into the draft with his starting experience) “We’re excited to be able to add Fitzy to the roster and like you said, he’s played a lot of football and he’s had success. He’s had production. He’s a really good guy, good teammate, smart. So, yeah, for what we do, we think he’s a really good fit for us.”
(on the Houston Texans as an organization) “I think patience—that’s not the word. The word is it’s a smart organization with a great owner, Bob McNair, who understands football. Rick Smith, who does a really good job and has proven to do a good job of putting together a really good football team that understands football. I think it’s an organization that is professional and smart and we have a good process in place and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
(on when he starts to project who will be available with the first pick of the second round) “Like we were saying earlier, we have the first pick in every round. When you have the first pick in the second round, that’s really like a first-round pick. So you do have to formulate your plan I would say at least a week or two in advance of the draft so that you have an idea of where these guys may fall and then be ready when that goes in a different direction. We won’t be putting that draft board together the night before the draft. I think we’ve got to give ourselves time to put it together maybe once, go back, look at it, ‘Okay. Nah. It’s probably going to be this.’ Because you’re looking at all the other teams and what they need and what they’re doing and what their draft history has been. We’ll have to say probably about the third week of April, we should start getting down to the nitty-gritty.”
(on how intrigued he is with the next wave of quarterbacks who have a low first- or high second-round grade) “Very intrigued. I was saying that earlier. I think it’s a good quarterback class in the fact that there are a lot of guys that have had success in college. There are a lot of guys that have won championships, that have won a lot of games in tough conferences, that have brought their teams back with under two minutes to go. A lot of guys that have been through tough times, you know, have had to win the position, lost the position. Maybe some tough times off the field they’ve overcome. So yeah, as far as that position goes, it’s a very intriguing position. It’s fun to study all those guys. I like it too because I see all the different offenses in college and what different guys are doing.”
(on what his assessment is of the wide receiver position in this draft class) “There are a lot of good receivers and they’re different types of receivers. There are big, strong, outside receivers. There are receivers that can play outside and in the slot. There are receivers that can play in the slot and in the return game. So there’s a lot of different types of receivers that makes it like you would say, a really deep receiver draft. That’s what I like because for our offense, we like versatile guys, guys that can play X and then go in and play Z, like what we had in New England, like Julian Edelman. That guy could play outside and he could play in the slot and he could return punts. I mean, that guy was doing everything. That’s what intrigues us about this receiver class.”
(on former Penn State WR Allen Robinson) “Number one, he’s a great guy. Smart. We moved him around a lot this year. We played him outside. We played him at all three wide receiver positions. He’s big, strong. The 50-50 ball, he’s going to make the play on it. He’s faster than you think and very competitive, loves to practice. He’s a good player.”
(on the gap between the college and pro game for quarterbacks) “There’s a big gap, and I’m just speaking for what we do offensively. We ask the quarterback to do a lot of different things pre-snap; direct the protection, direct the running game, get us from a pass to a run or a run to a pass all within the play clock parameters. We ask our quarterback to understand defensive alignments, almost like a coach on the field. I think a lot of the college quarterbacks, just because of the time limits, it’s not because of the coaching, the coaching is great in college, you can only get the guys for 15 to 20—they say the 20-hour rule but you really don’t even have them for 20 hours because, at least at Penn State, those guys went to class all the time. So you can’t really teach them everything they need to know about the position.”
(on to what degree the time constraints in college is a contributing factor to what offenses are run) “I think college is about recruiting and making sure that you get really good players and then it’s about making sure that when your guys go out on the field in college, they know what to do with your offense. Like, we know our plays for this game. These are our whatever, 40 plays that we are going to run against Michigan. Just different. In the pros, it’s 7 a.m. ‘til 7 p.m. It’s a job and you’re in there learning about football. A lot more time with the quarterbacks in the pros.”
(on if that time constraint complicates the evaluation process of college quarterbacks) “It doesn’t complicate it. I think what helps is when you go talk to the guy and you ask him to maybe explain his offense to you. And you can tell, you sit there and go ‘Man, I can really have a good football conversation with this guy and he can learn.’ Sometimes we’ll teach him something and then we’ll leave the room and say ‘Okay, we’re coming back in 10 minutes. Teach it back to me.’ There are so many different things you can do to kind of gauge how this guy would learn. I actually love the process. It’s pretty cool getting to know these guys, it’s pretty interesting.”
(on if he talked to Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly before he took the job with the Houston Texans) “No. Chip and I have known each other for a long time. I think he’s a great coach, did a great job last year in Philly but we haven’t talked a lot. And when we do, it’s always about family and common friends that we have. Our tight ends coach at Houston, John Perry, played at New Hampshire for Chip. So we’ll talk about, ‘Hey, how’s Johnny?’ It’s more of a friendship than it is professional development when we talk.”
(on how difficult it was to leave Penn State) “That was hard. That was hard. I love the kids there. I really enjoyed coaching those kids. The student body was awesome. But at the end of the day, like when I sat with my wife and we weighed a lot of different factors. Number one is our family. Houston is a fantastic place for my oldest son and my youngest son. And then just the opportunity to coach in this league. When you come to something like this, it’s a pretty neat deal. You’re coaching in pro football and it’s just the pinnacle of your profession. You’re able to work for an owner like Bob McNair and work with a general manager like Rick Smith. It’s an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Penn State is a great place. Penn State will win and the kids there, they’re just great kids.”
(on if it was harder to leave Penn State because of the circumstances surrounding the school and football program) “Yeah. One thing that I did there, was I always tried to be very honest with them. Last year, when I interviewed with a couple pro teams, I came back to Penn State and I told the them, to the kids there, I said, ‘I love pro football but I really enjoy coaching you guys and I’m staying.’ So I think the kids there, they really respected our staff, our honest and the night that I took the Houston job, I called every kid from like 11:30 at night until 4 in the morning. It was tough. That was a tough deal because we were very attached for the reasons—everybody stuck together, it was a tough time, we won some games. We won some games that no one could believe we won, beating someone with 40 scholarship kids. So we owe a lot to those kids. But those kids, kids are resilient and they’ve got a good coach there now, James Franklin. I think they’ll be fine.”
(on what motivated him to not leave Penn State without talking to his players) “It was during Christmas break and because of the bowl ban, which was ridiculous, the fact that there is a bowl ban at Penn State, is ridiculous, but because of the bowl ban, we were on Christmas break. We weren’t going to a bowl. I wish I could have had a team meeting because what I would have done, I would have explained it to them face-to-face. But we couldn’t, so I called them. I didn’t ever want to be somebody that just rode off in the middle night and never said a word. I mean, I love those kids and had a great relationship with all those guys. I don’t know if I reached every one of them but I at least left a message for all of them.”
(on how high durability and prototypical size is on his list when looking at quarterbacks) “I think you look at number one with the durability, at every position one of the most important parts about the combine is the medical part of it, the injury history. There’s a lot of money involved here. So durability, medical history, that’s a big deal. And it’s also a big deal in the fact that maybe a guy hasn’t had any major injuries but he’s had to fight through some--he played with a separated shoulder or he played with some type of knee problem. Toughness, that’s part of it, too. But as far as like a prototypical size, I wouldn’t say that we’re looking for this guys that’s this size and this weight. It’s more about how smart is he? How tough is he? Is he a good guy? Can he articulate the plays? Can he throw the ball accurately? Is he our type of guy? Can he run our offense? That’s more what it’s about.”
(on Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo) “First of all, really class-act of a kid. Really good kid. Smart. He went through some tough times at Eastern there where they were like 2-9 I think two years in a row and then they kind of turned it around. He was a big part of that. He’s got a quick release. He’s athletic. Just really enjoyed talking football with him. He’s a great kid.”
(on if anything surprised him about Jimmy Garoppolo in his meeting with him) “Nope.”
(on how big a part of being the face of the franchise is put into the equation in evaluating a quarterback) “That’s a part of it. That’s a definite part of it. I mean, when you’re the quarterback of an NFL team--you’ve got the owner, you’ve got the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback is usually the guy that has his own press conference and things like that during the week, usually. That’s definitely a factor. Is this a guy that will be able to handle that? How’s he going to handle that? Are we going to be help him, teach him how to handle those type of things? Yeah, that’s definitely a part of it.”
(on if it’s a deal-breaker if he doesn’t get that feel from a quarterback prospect) “I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker but I don’t think it’s overblown. I think it’s a part of what we’re looking at with the whole package of the kid. I don’t think if at the end we look at a guy and say, ‘Well, we’ll have to really help him with this type of environment; well, we’re not drafting him.’ That wouldn’t be the reason to pass on a guy. It’s just a part of what we’re studying with a guy and if he can handle it.”
(on New England QB Tom Brady setting a high bar) “It’s true. He does a great job with the media and if you listen to Tom, he’s such a great team guy. It’s always about the team. He’s just a very humble guy, competitive. He hates to lose. You get him after some of those losses, he still does a great job. They don’t lose very often. Yeah, that is a high bar. But that is the bar, though. That’s the bar because it’s a very high-profile league. It’s a great league. It’s a league of integrity and honesty. That’s what Commissioner Goodell talked to us about yesterday, respect. And so the guy that is out in front of  your team as a player is usually the quarterback. That guy’s got to be able to fill that role pretty well.”
(on RB Arian Foster) “He’s good. He’s going to participate in the spring. I’ve had like three conversations with Arian, good conversations. Good guy. Really good player. Really excited about working with him and I believe he’ll be ready to go in the mini-camps.”
(on if he’ll lean on RB Arian Foster a majority of the time or if there will be a 60/40 or 70/30 split of playing time) “A lot of that will be up to Arian when he comes back for training camp and how he feels and type of shape he’s in and all that and I’m sure he’ll be in great shape. He’ll be ready to go. He’s shown to be one of the better backs in this league and he’s carried the load in the past. Our philosophy is we have three-down backs, which is Arian. Arian is a three-down back because he can catch the football. He’s a talented guy. Then you have a first- and second-down back. We don’t really have that guy right now in Houston. Kind of like LeGarrette Blount in New England, first- and second-down guy. And then a third-down guy is kind of how we divide up our backs. So we have three types of backs. Sometimes we’ve had all three of those types of backs on our team, sometimes we haven’t. But Arian’s going to be the guy that we’re looking to lean on, no question about it.”
(on Houston fans possibly worrying about having Derek Carr as the face of the franchise) “Believe me, when we’re thinking about who we’re drafting, we’re thinking about that individual person, not who his brother was or who his cousin is or who his mother was. The fans in Houston are awesome and they’re a big part of what we’re doing but if we started asking the fans about who we should draft, I’ll be sitting next to you at the next game. We try to look at who the individual guy is and Derek Carr is another guy on that list of quarterbacks that I was saying that’s a good football player. He’s a had a productive college career.”
(on Derek Carr overcoming a lot off the field and if he’s had a chance to talk with him) “I haven’t. I haven’t had a chance. I know our scouting staff has spoken with him extensively. Personally, I watched him at the combine, I’ve watched him on tape but I haven’t really had a chance to talk to him.”
(on what stands out about Derek Carr’s game) “I like his size. I like his accuracy. I like the way he manages the game. He’s a smart kid. You can tell.”
(on if he has to guard against the “Brady Syndrome” and you think you can get someone like Tom Brady in the sixth round) “The one thing for us in Houston, especially like myself and George Godsey, we have to guard against looking for the next Tom Brady. Those guys are few and far between. You think about how many Hall of Fame quarterbacks there are, and he’s going to be one, there just aren’t that many of them in the whole spectrum of quarterbacks in the history of this league, as you know. I think what we’re looking for is a guy that has some of Tom’s qualities: like a great teammate, an accountable guy, a hard-working guy, a competitive guy, a good leader. But to go out there and say, ‘This guy is going to be like Tom Brady.’ I mean, that’s ridiculous. That’s such a high standard. We have tremendous respect for him and his career and coaching him was awesome. I look forward to seeing him again at some point.”
(on if knowing who the Texans will take with the No. 1 pick will come to him in a “moment”) “I don’t think it will come to me in a dream. It may come to me in a nightmare (laughs). Rick Smith does a great job of setting up the process of how we do it. It’s a very well-thought out process. I was saying earlier, you’re trying to make a science out of something it’s been prove over time to be somewhat of an inexact science. But we’re definitely trying to put a lot of time and effort and study into it and make the best pick for the Houston Texans at every pick. We have 11 picks now with the three compensatory picks.”
(on if the extra two weeks help or hurt in draft preparation) “I don’t know. I haven’t been involved with the draft long enough to be able to—it’s always seemed like a long period of time to me. So I don’t know.”
(on the NCAA 10-second rule and if he’s seen any correlation with his experience with tempo and injuries) “No. To me, offenses have to be able to change tempo, go fast, slow it down. That’s what the game’s all about. That’s the play clock. We start messing with the play clock and the rules of the game, that’s a very slippery slope. I don’t see where that has a direct correlation to injuries and I have great respect for the guys that are talking about that, that are on the other side of the argument on that. As it relates to college football, I would hope that they don’t mess with that.”
(on the first thing that he looks for in a quarterback to play in the NFL) “To me, it’s really like two things. The guy has to be able to throw the ball accurately and the guy has to have intelligence. When I say that, he has to have a quick mind. He’s got to be able to process things in two or three seconds because it happens so fast. The defenses are so multiple that a lot of times, you’ve got to change the play. I can remember times the quarterbacks, not just Tom, but the good quarterbacks that we’ve had, even the freshman that I had at Penn State last year, where he had like 10 seconds left on the play clock and he had to make two or three changes to the play. That’s hard to do. One of things we’re doing right now, we’re going out there as coaches and we’re kind of practicing the practice so that when the players show up in April, we’re not running around like chickens with our head cutoff. We know where we’re going so they know where they’re going. So what we do is we kind of run plays against each other. Godsey and I, we trade off playing quarterback, we’ve done it two or three times, we always walk from the field back to the locker room together and we’re like, ‘Man, it’s hard to play quarterback. We just call the plays.’ So that guy has to have a really quick mind, good brain.”
(on if he has an opinion on expanding the playoffs) “I do. I’m a rookie head coach in the NFL, so my opinion doesn’t matter on that. But I think the more teams you can have in a tournament, the better. I think it’s a good idea.”
(on if he ever thinks about how far he’s come in his coaching career) “I do. My wife and I think about that a lot. I was having dinner with Doug Marrone last night. He’s a good friend of mine. We were sitting there. We were roommates at Georgia Tech when we were coaching for George O’Leary and driving to work together in like a Toyota Tercel. He was the director of operations at Georgia Tech and I was a GA (graduate assistant). We were laughing about, ‘Can you believe this?’ Yeah, I think about that all the time. A lot of it’s hard work, so there’s some luck involved. You’ve been able to be associated with some of the greatest guys in the game: Bill (Belichick) and Tom Brady, Dante Scarnecchia and all the great players we coached at New England. A lot of it is just being associated with some great people and you learned a lot from them and you try to be yourself. Just go out there and be yourself and do the best you can. My family, as you know, gives me great perspective. My oldest son gives me great perspective on these things.”
(on if his parents ever said, “Are you kidding me?” when said he was going to pursue a career in coaching when a lot of his classmates from Brown were going off to manage hedge funds and become lawyers after school) “My mom did. My mom is awesome. She was like, ‘Really? This is what you’re going to do?’ My dad was like, ‘I want you to do whatever makes you happy.’ My two older brothers are lawyers, good guys. I remember my mom, she was like, ‘You want to be a what? A coach?’ So at that time, I told her, I said, ‘Now, Ma,’ I graduated from Brown, so I was like, Joe Paterno had graduated from Brown. You had Ron Brown, who coaches at Nebraska and Whip (Marc Whipple). So I started naming all these guys that went to Brown and so she felt better about it, that were coaches.”
(on his plans of where to play J.J. Watt) “The thing about J.J. is as it relates to Romeo (Crennel’s) packages is it’s a very multiple package. We run a base 3-4 defense, so the first day of mini-camp we’ll line up in this 3-4 and that’s what we run. After that, it goes to some three-down looks, some four-down looks, some odd looks where he’ll be moving around. It’s just a very multiple defense. 70 percent of the game now is played in nickel. When we went through our snaps, I think against last year’s Texans offense, I think 75 percent of the snaps were played in nickel or dime because a lot times, Houston was in 11 personnel. He’s going to fit in very well with what we do.”     
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on the ability to set the draft board for three straight days in what some are saying is the best draft in 30 years) “I wouldn’t’ be able to speak on the draft of the last 30 years, but in my experience with the draft, I do think it’s a deep draft. I think it has a lot to do with all of those young guys coming out, over 100 juniors or whatever it is. It’s great. Yesterday we found out that we got three more picks; we have 11 picks, so you can really set your team up well for the future by doing your due diligence in this draft, which is what we’re doing. We have a good team of guys. Rick Smith has been doing this a long time. He’s a great guy to work with. We communicate all the time. He has a really good scouting staff, so we’re working at it. I think we’re going to have a really good draft.”
(on the format ) “As we sit here right now, we have the number one pick in every round. The number one pick in the second round is another first round pick. The number one pick in the third round is a second round pick. You don’t want to be in that position every year, but if you do a good job then it works out. The draft is an interesting deal because you have to make a science out of it by how you study it and how you grade the players, but at the end of the day, you really don’t know until that guy actually starts playing. How does he play in games? What type of teammate is he? What kind of guy is he in your building on a daily basis? You try to make those picks as best as you can with how you study them.”
(on four of last year’s draft picks coming off of injured reserve and how much that will help the team) “Yeah, it’s a good point. A guy like (David) Quessenberry, our staff doesn’t know too much about him. (Offensive line coach) Paul Dunn does, because Paul studied him when he was coming out when Paul was in Atlanta. That’s a good example of a guy that we’re really looking forward to working with in minicamp because we hear a lot of good things about him. We’re looking forward to seeing how he performs doing some of the things we’re asking him to do. So I think it’s a good position. It’s a position of unknown, when you have guys that you really haven’t been able to really study. There are preseason games and college tape, but until you see him doing your things, you don’t really know. So we’re looking forward to working with those guys.”
(on if this draft is more raw because of the number of underclassmen) “No, I wouldn’t say that. I believe that these guys are talented guys at all of the positions. I was watching, on the way here, I’ve got this pretty cool thing, this Surface tablet they gave me, where I can plug the film in so I have it by all of the college teams on four different disk drives. I was watching the offensive line and the guard position specifically, and I see five or six guys that could play guard, could play tackle. That’s an example, you can use that at every position. You see that there are guys that are instinctive and talented and how they translate to this league, but you don’t really know until you see them play. You’re trying to do a good job of studying their strengths and their power and their instinctiveness. Then you want to meet them and see what type of people they are and try and make the best pick.”
(on if a quarterback like Blake Bortles is too raw to start right away) “He certainly hasn’t played a lot of football, relative to other guys because he’s been the starter there for two years. He’s a guy, I think a lot like a lot of these guys, who has worked extremely hard to improve every year. Even in this short period of time since the bowl game, and I could say this about all the guys, they’ve really worked hard on improving. Whether they’ve hired a quarterback coach like Blake has Jordan Palmer, who has obviously done a good job with him to improve some of his skillset. That’s what you look at. Does this guy get better and is he trying to get better? Is he working at getting better? Blake, like all of these guys, is trying to get better.”
(on if he saw improvement in Blake Bortles workout last week) “Yeah, I did. I saw it in his workout the other day, again, that’s an on-air workout. Really, if you’re throwing to guys that you’re used to throwing to, which I think he was, he had (Jeff) Godfrey there and a couple of receivers and a couple of backs, the ball really never hit the ground. I think it only hit the ground like twice. You could see better footwork. You could see a more compact delivery. I’ll say this about Teddy (Bridgewater)—I was at Teddy’s too—people made a big deal about Teddy’s day, but I thought Teddy had a decent day. He threw some incompletions but Teddy has obviously worked extremely hard to improve his footwork, his throwing mechanics and he’s working with Chris Weinke. So you’ve got Chris Weinke and Jordan Palmer, I mean those guys know what they’re talking about. I’ve seen improvement there and I’m sure we’ll see improvement with Johnny (Manziel) when we show up there on Thursday, because he’s working with George Whitfield. He’s doing some unique things. I saw an article where he’s dropping back in the beach and the ocean and stuff like that. I think these guys, like I said yesterday on NFL Network, there are other quarterbacks in the draft. I think it’s just being a quarterback coach, I think it’s important to know that there are a lot of quarterbacks that are winners, that have played well. I probably shouldn’t mention names because I’ll forget somebody but you’ve got (A.J.) McCarron and (Zach) Mettenberger and (Jimmy) Garoppolo, you can go right down the line. (Tom) Savage is a guy, we were at his pro day. There are a lot of guys that can play quarterback.”
(on if there is a separation between the perceived top three quarterbacks and everyone else) “I don’t, but that’s just my opinion. Somebody else might have a different opinion. Just my opinion is that I see strengths and weaknesses with every one of these guys. I don’t see where there are one or two guys, or three guys, that are just light years ahead of the rest of them. Some of these guys, if you look at A.J. McCarron and Zach Mettenberger, those guys played in the SEC, and so did Johnny (Manziel). That’s a tough conference. Zach and A.J., they won a lot of games in the SEC so they must’ve been doing something right.”
(on what will give them a better idea of who they want to draft) “Face-to-face interviews, my notes from that, my thoughts about that, the football discussions that I’ve had with these guys. Rick Smith, he and I will guide each other with our thoughts on all these guys, any draft pick. We’re going to bring some of these guys to our facility in Houston and you can spend a day with them there too. I think it’s like playing quarterback. When you break the huddle, you have to have a process, a progression of how you think about running a play. It’s the same thing with the draft. You have to have a process, a progression of how you put together, ‘OK, here is what we believe this kid is and here is what we think he can do for us. OK, let’s go pick him.’ That’s kind of how you do it, but it takes a long time.”
(on his role with the draft while he was with New England) “I would say the last two years I was involved, I mean I was involved every year, but the last two years I was involved on offense with all of the positions. I would go out and workout quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive linemen. I wasn’t that involved on defense. I was the offensive coordinator. Coming back and just reported to Bill (Belichick) about what we saw. That was basically my involvement. This is my first involvement in the draft as far as the whole picture.”
(on what kind of role did Bill Belichick play in his career) “We played a big role. He hired me to be a coaching assistant in 2007. I’m the first coach in the history of football to go from 0-12 at Duke University to being 18-0 before we lost the last game, 18-1. He gave me that opportunity and then promoted me up through the ranks there. I owe him a great deal. I learned a lot from him. I think that’s well-documented. I’ve said that a number of times. He’s been a great friend and mentor to me in this profession.”
(on if he’s trying to remind people that you don’t have to take a quarterback in the first round for them to be successful) “No question. I don’t think we’re ready to really sit down as a staff and say what we’re going to do, but the more I study these guys, I see a lot of guys with a lot of experience and production in college, good games, and games that they brought their teams back with under two minutes to go, tough conferences, guys that have been through some stuff personally, on the field and off the field, that have overcome. Like I said, I probably shouldn’t start mentioning names but I know there are a lot of quarterbacks that I’ve watched that are decent players.”
(on if he would agree with the assessment that there is not a quarterback ready to start on day one) “I think that it’s very, very difficult to play quarterback as a rookie right away. I think to expect a guy to go in there and play right away against a, for instance, Rex Ryan defense is very difficult. At the same time, you better be ready to do it, because you never know what might happen. I think what we’re trying to do in Houston is set up, at every position, a very competitive roster so that through the spring and into training camp at every position—quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, secondary—we want a very competitive roster and let these guys win their positions on the field. That’s what we’re trying to do and if that means a guy has to play as a rookie, then that’s what a guy has got to do.”
(on how T.J. Yates and Case Keenum fit into the team picture now that Matt Schaub has been traded) “Compete. They’ve all been told basically the same thing. They’re going to be given a chance to compete. We brought Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in the other day and had a good talk with him. I told him, ‘Look, nothing is guaranteed. You’re coming in here to compete and try to get better every day and to try to be the starting quarterback.’ That’s the same thing I told Case. Case played I think eight games last year. T.J. has been the quarterback of this team when they went to a playoff game, so they all have experience. The deal is competition.”
(on if he will carry both T.J. Yates and Case Keenum to training camp) “Yeah, you’re allowed to have 90 guys, so yeah as we sit here right now, yep.”
(on the importance of seeing guys do their personal workouts as well as traveling to pro days) “We’ll do a similar deal. We show up there and try and get there the night before and sit down with a guy and talk to him about his own background and then talk about football. We’ll watch a tape with them of a couple games or maybe put them up on the board, whether he’s a quarterback, a DB, a defensive end, it doesn’t really matter what position. We want to know if we were going to draft this kid, where would we be starting as far as having to teach him what we do. With all these kids, it’s a pretty low baseline where you’re starting. Watching pro days, I like to, if I can and I know Rick (Smith) likes to do the same, try to work these guys out on their own a little bit, if you can. Sometime their agents tell them we’re only doing this pro day and there are no private workouts. Sometimes you can’t do that. If you can try to get them on your own and do some drills that are similar to what they’ve have to do in Houston. For a 3-4 outside backer who was defensive end in college, can he drop into coverage? Can he play form a stand up technique? Can he take a reach block on from the nine-technique? Some things that you might not see in the pro day. That’s kind of how we do it. A lot of these guys, you’re allowed a certain number of visits to Houston, so we’ll bring them to Houston. What we do and I think it’s pretty interesting, Rick is good about this, he’ll tell the kid, ‘Hey look, we want you to improve maybe in the meeting room deal between now and when you get to Houston. Let’s see if you can improve on knowing what cover-two is or what this package is. See if the kid kind of takes it to heart and studies it. So yeah, it’s definitely something where you try to go there with any position. You get to know them as good as you can.”
(on what he wants to see most from a player when he looks at the quarterback position) “I want to study more games. Again, maybe go back and watch more games. I want to study different situations in different games. I’m looking forward to bringing some of these guys to Houston and talking to them more. Kind of how I said earlier, ‘Hey look, we talked about this when we were at Louisville. What do you think now? Do you have a better understanding of what this is?’ I’m looking for improvement.”
(on if he wants to see if they’ve taken some of his feedback to heart) “Some of that, yeah. I still want to study more tape. One of the things I love to do, as we all do, we love to watch film. I look forward to getting on the plane tomorrow, not a quarterback but I’ve got to watch these offensive linemen and when I get back to Houston and watching more of these quarterbacks and all of the positions.”
(on what his type of quarterback looks like or are there attributes that make a player more successful in his scheme) “It’s funny, people ask me that all the time. Maybe that is because I coached (Tom) Brady, but we don’t have a certain type. We want a guy that is accountable, good character guy, pocket passer, good decision maker, good teammate, coachable, smart, tough physically and mentally. Whether he’s 6-foot-5 or 5-foot-10, does he have these things and like I said, smart? Is he going to be able to process what we do? In this league, you have to be able to throw the ball accurately, so that’s a big, big deal.”
(on if the Texans are considering all options at the No. 1 pick despite it being a quarterback-driven league) “Yes. All options are open, no question. It’s the end of March. You still have a lot of time. You go back and you do what we call re-checks, cross-checks. We’ve all watched all the games but ‘Hey, why don’t you take a good look at these four games on any position?’ ‘Okay, I’ll go back and watch these four games.’ We have different meetings about what we saw on the different games. So there’s a lot of time left. What fun would it be if you already knew who you were going to pick? What fun would that be? You should go on vacation then if you already knew.”
(on if QB Johnny Manziel’s style sustainable in the NFL) “Yeah. If you watch some of his games, obviously, he is a very exciting player when breaks the pocket and runs but if you watch the Ole Miss game—I think something happened to him in the Ole Miss game where he got injured. I think he might have hurt his ankle or something. He came back. He threw from the pocket in that game. I think if you watch him, he’s going to be able to do a lot of different things. So, I think it’s sustainable.”
(on if Jadeveon Clowney’s performance in the bench press testing is cause for hesitation) “I wouldn’t say that with a guy like (Jadeveon) Clowney—I don’t think you base a large percentage of your decision on like what he benched. I think a large percentage is based on what type of guy he is. We had him at the combine for 15 minutes and now we’ll go to South Carolina, I think it’s April 2, to his pro day, we’ll go to that and get to know him a little bit better. You base a lot of it on that but also on what you see on tape.”
(on how he gets to the motor and work-ethic question with Jadeveon Clowney) “It’s a deal where I’ve studied him pretty closely. One of things and this is not to make and excuse for anyone, in college there’s like 85 to 90 plays per game. He plays all the time. I think if you looked at any player in college, especially at the defensive line spot, playing in a league where most of the teams are shotgun and throwing the ball and rushing the passer, I dare you to find me a guy that plays 90 snaps like his life’s on the line every game. But when the game’s on the line, Jadeveon plays hard. He’s an explosive player, he’s a productive player, he’s an instinctive player. So I think that’s kind of been blown out of proportion but at the same time we’ve got to make sure we get to know him and then keep getting to know him when we get there.”
(on people saying “Can you imagine him being lined up right next to or across from J.J. Watt?” at the thought of the Texans drafting a defensive player in the first round) “People do say that. They say if you draft, say (Jadeveon) Clowney, you’re going to line him up right next to Watt. I think we could at times. But I think one of the things in this league is on defense, you’ve got to be really multiple. Forget about the draft pick, J.J. Watt, you’ve got to be able to move this guy around, do different things with him to really take advantage of his skill set. People ask me about Johnny (Manziel) all the time because we’re in the draft and all these quarterbacks. The guy I really enjoy watching is J.J. Watt. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually watched coaching film on J.J. Watt, but it is, this guy is a great football player. So with a guy like that, you’ve got to move him around and then if you can add a guy or two to that defensive front, certainly that will make a big difference. So I don’t know how much they’ll actually be lined up next to each other. It might be more some next to each other, some opposite end, some somewhere in between.”
(on if a player like Johnny Manziel can address issues like whether or not he’s a pocket passer against air) “Again, it’s on air. There’s no defense rushing him but you can look at the mechanics and how the ball is delivered and where the ball is placed for a receiver. So if the guy is running a comeback, you want it on his outside number. If the guy is running an in-cut, you want it two feet in front of the numbers because he’s on a moving route. You can gauge some of that but you can’t make a final decision on throwing on air with no pass rush, scripted workout. But you can see what they’ve done mechanically to try to improve: footwork, throwing motion, all that.”
(on if Russell Wilson’s success has helped Johnny Manziel) “I think everybody’s different. I think you can say that. I’ve thought about that a lot. I think every individual is different. I think you’ve got to judge the guy based on what you see. We do definitely make comparisons, like we’ll say, ‘Okay, in some ways, he’s like this guy,’ at any position. We look at Greg Robinson, the tackle from Auburn. So who is he like? Is he like this guy that played in the pros that we’re familiar with? Yeah, we do make comparisons. As far as that guy helped this guy, at the end of the day, you judge the guy based on his own skill set, his own production in games, his own improvement during the draft process. All those things.”
(on if he goes back and looks at prospects’ social media postings) “I don’t do that but I know that we do do that. I don’t have time to do that. I think as an organization, I think Rick’s staff, I think we all kind of have an idea. I don’t think we study it. I think in this day and age of social media, all these guys, it’s a part of their lives. I always say about social media a couple things: let’s tweet positive things and before we hit the send button, I don’t tweet, so I’m not sure how it works, but I think there’s a send button, just count to three before you hit that send button. I don’t really look at Facebook and Twitter and all that.”
(on what kind of improvement he is looking for from Johnny Manziel at his pro day after saying Blake Bortles had improved at certain things at his) “Similar things. Has he improved footwork-wise, throwing motion, knowledge of coverages? All those things. You kind of try to look for similar things even though each player is different so that when you go back at any position and you judge what you’re going to do and you decide what you’re going to do, you at least have a progression of these eight to 10 categories.”
(on if a private workout is more important than a pro day) “You can see a lot in a pro day but in a private, you’re one-on-one and the prospect is taking your instruction right from what you say. ‘This is how to run the drill. Go run the drill.’ And he’s doing things that you’re going to have him do in your system, whether it’s offense, defense or anything.”
(on if he’s having a private workout with Johnny Manziel) “I don’t think so. I think his day is—he’s got his Johnny Day.”
(on what it says about WR Tiquan Underwood, the way he handled being released right before the Super Bowl with New England on Feb. 4, 2012) “He’s awesome. He’s a great guy. He’s a great guy. Team guy. Played at Rutgers. He was on and off our roster in New England I think that last year, a few times. Every time he came in, he was smart. He picked right up where he left off. He was filling somewhat of a backup role but he ended up making some big catches in games for us and I know Tom (Brady) really respected him. We all did. He’s a high-character guy.”       
(more on WR Tiquan Underwood’s reaction at being released from the Patriots prior to the Super Bowl in 2012) “Yeah, I don’t really remember that too much. I know he tweeted something out that was very positive and wished the team luck, or something like that. He’s a class act.”
(on if Johnny Manziel requires a different commitment from his team due his playing style) “You certainly can. With a guy like Johnny, you can’t box him into a certain way of playing. He’s been successful since he was probably four or five years old, playing the way he plays. I think all of our systems, I guess I’ll just speak for ours, we have a system that is very adaptable to many different types of quarterbacks. We have ‘move the pocket’ type plays. We have drop back plays. We have option plays. Nobody has ever seen them because we haven’t had those types of quarterbacks. We did when we coached in college and things like that. You can’t force a guy to be something that he isn’t.”
(on if Johnny Manziel’s style can be successful in the NFL despite the vulnerability of that style) “That’s a great way to ask that question. Yes, the answer is yes. That player, whoever it is, Johnny or whoever, they have to learn how to play when they get out of the pocket. There is a technique to sliding. There is phrase: you have to know when the journey is over. The journey is over if you think you’re going to keep struggling for yards in this league like you did against Montana State, you’ve got another thing coming. These guys are going to wail on you. The answer is yes, but there is some teaching that goes on too.”
(on if he likes Johnny Manziel’s charisma) “I enjoy watching him play. I definitely enjoy watching him play. He’s an exciting player. Again, I would say this about all those guys: I just really enjoy watching these guys play. Johnny is an exciting guy to watch play.”
(on if it will be difficult to choose one player at the top of the draft with so many choices) “I don’t think it’s an easy decision. Rick (Smith) and I will sit down and we’ll make a very, very thoughtful, well thought out decision, no question about it. We’re putting all our information together. Rick is a really bright guy. He’s been a great guy to work with. He’s been through this before, not with the number one pick, but he’s been through so many drafts. He’s got a really good idea of how it all works. We’ll make a good pick.”
(on if talent-wise are the Texans are more the team from the playoff years or the team that finished with the worst record) “I think we have a good core group of players. We’re just really excited to get started working with these guys. With the new CBA now, the last time I was in the league it was under the old rules, so now we only have nine weeks to work with these guys. We believe that we have a really good core group of talented players that have played a lot of good football in this league. We’ve got to do a great job of coaching them and then it’s all got to come together. We’re really excited about our team where it stands right now.”
(on his thoughts on the other AFC South teams) “I’ve been studying so much in the draft, I really haven’t gotten around to the division too much, but I think it’s a very balanced division. I’ve enjoyed really getting to know the coaches in the division here. I already knew a couple of them like Chuck Pagano and Whiz (Ken Whisenhunt). I knew those guys and Gus Bradley is just a fantastic guy. They’re good coaches. They have got good teams. They all beat us last year. I think it’s a pretty balanced division.”
(on people saying “Can you imagine him being lined up right next to or across from J.J. Watt?” at the thought of the Texans drafting a defensive player in the first round) “People do say that. They say if you draft, say (Jadeveon) Clowney, you’re going to line him up right next to Watt. I think we could at times. But I think one of the things in this league is on defense, you’ve got to be really multiple. Forget about the draft pick, J.J. Watt, you’ve got to be able to move this guy around, do different things with him to really take advantage of his skill set. People ask me about Johnny (Manziel) all the time because we’re in the draft and all these quarterbacks. The guy I really enjoy watching is J.J. Watt. I don’t know if you’ve ever actually watched coaching film on J.J. Watt, but it is, this guy is a great football player. So with a guy like that, you’ve got to move him around and then if you can add a guy or two to that defensive front, certainly that will make a big difference. So I don’t know how much they’ll actually be lined up next to each other. It might be more some next to each other, some opposite end, some somewhere in between.”
(on when he talks about the possibility of Jadeveon Clowney playing next to J.J. Watt, it’s almost like a “Dream Team” concept) “There’s no such thing as a dream team.”
(on if there is a timetable in his mind on when he’ll decide who the Texans will pick with so many draft options available) “You know, we’ve talked about that a little bit. I think you’ve got to have something in your mind before the day. I don’t think you can make the decision that day. So I’m sure we’ll have something in mind maybe a week or two in advance. But it’ll be awhile.”
(on if he agrees that this is not the kind of draft where a consensus No. 1 pick is going to line up) “I agree with that. I don’t think you’re in a draft where—we’re not. We don’t believe we’re in a draft where we know where we’re going and there is the guy, no, for this draft.”
(on what he thinks about Khalil Mack) “Instinctive. Explosive. Play-maker. Good guy. Good kid. Smart. Can play different positions. He can rush the passer as a defensive end. He can play outside backer. He can probably play inside backer. So, a versatile guy.”
(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick gives him a lot of flexibility going into the draft with his starting experience) “We’re excited to be able to add Fitzy to the roster and like you said, he’s played a lot of football and he’s had success. He’s had production. He’s a really good guy, good teammate, smart. So, yeah, for what we do, we think he’s a really good fit for us.”
(on the Houston Texans as an organization) “I think patience—that’s not the word. The word is it’s a smart organization with a great owner, Bob McNair, who understands football. Rick Smith, who does a really good job and has proven to do a good job of putting together a really good football team that understands football. I think it’s an organization that is professional and smart and we have a good process in place and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
(on when he starts to project who will be available with the first pick of the second round) “Like we were saying earlier, we have the first pick in every round. When you have the first pick in the second round, that’s really like a first-round pick. So you do have to formulate your plan I would say at least a week or two in advance of the draft so that you have an idea of where these guys may fall and then be ready when that goes in a different direction. We won’t be putting that draft board together the night before the draft. I think we’ve got to give ourselves time to put it together maybe once, go back, look at it, ‘Okay. Nah. It’s probably going to be this.’ Because you’re looking at all the other teams and what they need and what they’re doing and what their draft history has been. We’ll have to say probably about the third week of April, we should start getting down to the nitty-gritty.”
(on how intrigued he is with the next wave of quarterbacks who have a low first- or high second-round grade) “Very intrigued. I was saying that earlier. I think it’s a good quarterback class in the fact that there are a lot of guys that have had success in college. There are a lot of guys that have won championships, that have won a lot of games in tough conferences, that have brought their teams back with under two minutes to go. A lot of guys that have been through tough times, you know, have had to win the position, lost the position. Maybe some tough times off the field they’ve overcome. So yeah, as far as that position goes, it’s a very intriguing position. It’s fun to study all those guys. I like it too because I see all the different offenses in college and what different guys are doing.”
(on what his assessment is of the wide receiver position in this draft class) “There are a lot of good receivers and they’re different types of receivers. There are big, strong, outside receivers. There are receivers that can play outside and in the slot. There are receivers that can play in the slot and in the return game. So there’s a lot of different types of receivers that makes it like you would say, a really deep receiver draft. That’s what I like because for our offense, we like versatile guys, guys that can play X and then go in and play Z, like what we had in New England, like Julian Edelman. That guy could play outside and he could play in the slot and he could return punts. I mean, that guy was doing everything. That’s what intrigues us about this receiver class.”
(on former Penn State WR Allen Robinson) “Number one, he’s a great guy. Smart. We moved him around a lot this year. We played him outside. We played him at all three wide receiver positions. He’s big, strong. The 50-50 ball, he’s going to make the play on it. He’s faster than you think and very competitive, loves to practice. He’s a good player.”
(on the gap between the college and pro game for quarterbacks) “There’s a big gap, and I’m just speaking for what we do offensively. We ask the quarterback to do a lot of different things pre-snap; direct the protection, direct the running game, get us from a pass to a run or a run to a pass all within the play clock parameters. We ask our quarterback to understand defensive alignments, almost like a coach on the field. I think a lot of the college quarterbacks, just because of the time limits, it’s not because of the coaching, the coaching is great in college, you can only get the guys for 15 to 20—they say the 20-hour rule but you really don’t even have them for 20 hours because, at least at Penn State, those guys went to class all the time. So you can’t really teach them everything they need to know about the position.”
(on to what degree the time constraints in college is a contributing factor to what offenses are run) “I think college is about recruiting and making sure that you get really good players and then it’s about making sure that when your guys go out on the field in college, they know what to do with your offense. Like, we know our plays for this game. These are our whatever, 40 plays that we are going to run against Michigan. Just different. In the pros, it’s 7 a.m. ‘til 7 p.m. It’s a job and you’re in there learning about football. A lot more time with the quarterbacks in the pros.”
(on if that time constraint complicates the evaluation process of college quarterbacks) “It doesn’t complicate it. I think what helps is when you go talk to the guy and you ask him to maybe explain his offense to you. And you can tell, you sit there and go ‘Man, I can really have a good football conversation with this guy and he can learn.’ Sometimes we’ll teach him something and then we’ll leave the room and say ‘Okay, we’re coming back in 10 minutes. Teach it back to me.’ There are so many different things you can do to kind of gauge how this guy would learn. I actually love the process. It’s pretty cool getting to know these guys, it’s pretty interesting.”
(on if he talked to Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly before he took the job with the Houston Texans) “No. Chip and I have known each other for a long time. I think he’s a great coach, did a great job last year in Philly but we haven’t talked a lot. And when we do, it’s always about family and common friends that we have. Our tight ends coach at Houston, John Perry, played at New Hampshire for Chip. So we’ll talk about, ‘Hey, how’s Johnny?’ It’s more of a friendship than it is professional development when we talk.”
(on how difficult it was to leave Penn State) “That was hard. That was hard. I love the kids there. I really enjoyed coaching those kids. The student body was awesome. But at the end of the day, like when I sat with my wife and we weighed a lot of different factors. Number one is our family. Houston is a fantastic place for my oldest son and my youngest son. And then just the opportunity to coach in this league. When you come to something like this, it’s a pretty neat deal. You’re coaching in pro football and it’s just the pinnacle of your profession. You’re able to work for an owner like Bob McNair and work with a general manager like Rick Smith. It’s an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Penn State is a great place. Penn State will win and the kids there, they’re just great kids.”
(on if it was harder to leave Penn State because of the circumstances surrounding the school and football program) “Yeah. One thing that I did there, was I always tried to be very honest with them. Last year, when I interviewed with a couple pro teams, I came back to Penn State and I told the them, to the kids there, I said, ‘I love pro football but I really enjoy coaching you guys and I’m staying.’ So I think the kids there, they really respected our staff, our honest and the night that I took the Houston job, I called every kid from like 11:30 at night until 4 in the morning. It was tough. That was a tough deal because we were very attached for the reasons—everybody stuck together, it was a tough time, we won some games. We won some games that no one could believe we won, beating someone with 40 scholarship kids. So we owe a lot to those kids. But those kids, kids are resilient and they’ve got a good coach there now, James Franklin. I think they’ll be fine.”
(on what motivated him to not leave Penn State without talking to his players) “It was during Christmas break and because of the bowl ban, which was ridiculous, the fact that there is a bowl ban at Penn State, is ridiculous, but because of the bowl ban, we were on Christmas break. We weren’t going to a bowl. I wish I could have had a team meeting because what I would have done, I would have explained it to them face-to-face. But we couldn’t, so I called them. I didn’t ever want to be somebody that just rode off in the middle night and never said a word. I mean, I love those kids and had a great relationship with all those guys. I don’t know if I reached every one of them but I at least left a message for all of them.”
(on how high durability and prototypical size is on his list when looking at quarterbacks) “I think you look at number one with the durability, at every position one of the most important parts about the combine is the medical part of it, the injury history. There’s a lot of money involved here. So durability, medical history, that’s a big deal. And it’s also a big deal in the fact that maybe a guy hasn’t had any major injuries but he’s had to fight through some--he played with a separated shoulder or he played with some type of knee problem. Toughness, that’s part of it, too. But as far as like a prototypical size, I wouldn’t say that we’re looking for this guys that’s this size and this weight. It’s more about how smart is he? How tough is he? Is he a good guy? Can he articulate the plays? Can he throw the ball accurately? Is he our type of guy? Can he run our offense? That’s more what it’s about.”
(on Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo) “First of all, really class-act of a kid. Really good kid. Smart. He went through some tough times at Eastern there where they were like 2-9 I think two years in a row and then they kind of turned it around. He was a big part of that. He’s got a quick release. He’s athletic. Just really enjoyed talking football with him. He’s a great kid.”
(on if anything surprised him about Jimmy Garoppolo in his meeting with him) “Nope.”
(on how big a part of being the face of the franchise is put into the equation in evaluating a quarterback) “That’s a part of it. That’s a definite part of it. I mean, when you’re the quarterback of an NFL team--you’ve got the owner, you’ve got the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback is usually the guy that has his own press conference and things like that during the week, usually. That’s definitely a factor. Is this a guy that will be able to handle that? How’s he going to handle that? Are we going to be help him, teach him how to handle those type of things? Yeah, that’s definitely a part of it.”
(on if it’s a deal-breaker if he doesn’t get that feel from a quarterback prospect) “I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker but I don’t think it’s overblown. I think it’s a part of what we’re looking at with the whole package of the kid. I don’t think if at the end we look at a guy and say, ‘Well, we’ll have to really help him with this type of environment; well, we’re not drafting him.’ That wouldn’t be the reason to pass on a guy. It’s just a part of what we’re studying with a guy and if he can handle it.”
(on New England QB Tom Brady setting a high bar) “It’s true. He does a great job with the media and if you listen to Tom, he’s such a great team guy. It’s always about the team. He’s just a very humble guy, competitive. He hates to lose. You get him after some of those losses, he still does a great job. They don’t lose very often. Yeah, that is a high bar. But that is the bar, though. That’s the bar because it’s a very high-profile league. It’s a great league. It’s a league of integrity and honesty. That’s what Commissioner Goodell talked to us about yesterday, respect. And so the guy that is out in front of  your team as a player is usually the quarterback. That guy’s got to be able to fill that role pretty well.”
(on RB Arian Foster) “He’s good. He’s going to participate in the spring. I’ve had like three conversations with Arian, good conversations. Good guy. Really good player. Really excited about working with him and I believe he’ll be ready to go in the mini-camps.”
(on if he’ll lean on RB Arian Foster a majority of the time or if there will be a 60/40 or 70/30 split of playing time) “A lot of that will be up to Arian when he comes back for training camp and how he feels and type of shape he’s in and all that and I’m sure he’ll be in great shape. He’ll be ready to go. He’s shown to be one of the better backs in this league and he’s carried the load in the past. Our philosophy is we have three-down backs, which is Arian. Arian is a three-down back because he can catch the football. He’s a talented guy. Then you have a first- and second-down back. We don’t really have that guy right now in Houston. Kind of like LeGarrette Blount in New England, first- and second-down guy. And then a third-down guy is kind of how we divide up our backs. So we have three types of backs. Sometimes we’ve had all three of those types of backs on our team, sometimes we haven’t. But Arian’s going to be the guy that we’re looking to lean on, no question about it.”
(on Houston fans possibly worrying about having Derek Carr as the face of the franchise) “Believe me, when we’re thinking about who we’re drafting, we’re thinking about that individual person, not who his brother was or who his cousin is or who his mother was. The fans in Houston are awesome and they’re a big part of what we’re doing but if we started asking the fans about who we should draft, I’ll be sitting next to you at the next game. We try to look at who the individual guy is and Derek Carr is another guy on that list of quarterbacks that I was saying that’s a good football player. He’s a had a productive college career.”
(on Derek Carr overcoming a lot off the field and if he’s had a chance to talk with him) “I haven’t. I haven’t had a chance. I know our scouting staff has spoken with him extensively. Personally, I watched him at the combine, I’ve watched him on tape but I haven’t really had a chance to talk to him.”
(on what stands out about Derek Carr’s game) “I like his size. I like his accuracy. I like the way he manages the game. He’s a smart kid. You can tell.”
(on if he has to guard against the “Brady Syndrome” and you think you can get someone like Tom Brady in the sixth round) “The one thing for us in Houston, especially like myself and George Godsey, we have to guard against looking for the next Tom Brady. Those guys are few and far between. You think about how many Hall of Fame quarterbacks there are, and he’s going to be one, there just aren’t that many of them in the whole spectrum of quarterbacks in the history of this league, as you know. I think what we’re looking for is a guy that has some of Tom’s qualities: like a great teammate, an accountable guy, a hard-working guy, a competitive guy, a good leader. But to go out there and say, ‘This guy is going to be like Tom Brady.’ I mean, that’s ridiculous. That’s such a high standard. We have tremendous respect for him and his career and coaching him was awesome. I look forward to seeing him again at some point.”
(on if knowing who the Texans will take with the No. 1 pick will come to him in a “moment”) “I don’t think it will come to me in a dream. It may come to me in a nightmare (laughs). Rick Smith does a great job of setting up the process of how we do it. It’s a very well-thought out process. I was saying earlier, you’re trying to make a science out of something it’s been prove over time to be somewhat of an inexact science. But we’re definitely trying to put a lot of time and effort and study into it and make the best pick for the Houston Texans at every pick. We have 11 picks now with the three compensatory picks.”
(on if the extra two weeks help or hurt in draft preparation) “I don’t know. I haven’t been involved with the draft long enough to be able to—it’s always seemed like a long period of time to me. So I don’t know.”
(on the NCAA 10-second rule and if he’s seen any correlation with his experience with tempo and injuries) “No. To me, offenses have to be able to change tempo, go fast, slow it down. That’s what the game’s all about. That’s the play clock. We start messing with the play clock and the rules of the game, that’s a very slippery slope. I don’t see where that has a direct correlation to injuries and I have great respect for the guys that are talking about that, that are on the other side of the argument on that. As it relates to college football, I would hope that they don’t mess with that.”
(on the first thing that he looks for in a quarterback to play in the NFL) “To me, it’s really like two things. The guy has to be able to throw the ball accurately and the guy has to have intelligence. When I say that, he has to have a quick mind. He’s got to be able to process things in two or three seconds because it happens so fast. The defenses are so multiple that a lot of times, you’ve got to change the play. I can remember times the quarterbacks, not just Tom, but the good quarterbacks that we’ve had, even the freshman that I had at Penn State last year, where he had like 10 seconds left on the play clock and he had to make two or three changes to the play. That’s hard to do. One of things we’re doing right now, we’re going out there as coaches and we’re kind of practicing the practice so that when the players show up in April, we’re not running around like chickens with our head cutoff. We know where we’re going so they know where they’re going. So what we do is we kind of run plays against each other. Godsey and I, we trade off playing quarterback, we’ve done it two or three times, we always walk from the field back to the locker room together and we’re like, ‘Man, it’s hard to play quarterback. We just call the plays.’ So that guy has to have a really quick mind, good brain.”
(on if he has an opinion on expanding the playoffs) “I do. I’m a rookie head coach in the NFL, so my opinion doesn’t matter on that. But I think the more teams you can have in a tournament, the better. I think it’s a good idea.”
(on if he ever thinks about how far he’s come in his coaching career) “I do. My wife and I think about that a lot. I was having dinner with Doug Marrone last night. He’s a good friend of mine. We were sitting there. We were roommates at Georgia Tech when we were coaching for George O’Leary and driving to work together in like a Toyota Tercel. He was the director of operations at Georgia Tech and I was a GA (graduate assistant). We were laughing about, ‘Can you believe this?’ Yeah, I think about that all the time. A lot of it’s hard work, so there’s some luck involved. You’ve been able to be associated with some of the greatest guys in the game: Bill (Belichick) and Tom Brady, Dante Scarnecchia and all the great players we coached at New England. A lot of it is just being associated with some great people and you learned a lot from them and you try to be yourself. Just go out there and be yourself and do the best you can. My family, as you know, gives me great perspective. My oldest son gives me great perspective on these things.”
(on if his parents ever said, “Are you kidding me?” when said he was going to pursue a career in coaching when a lot of his classmates from Brown were going off to manage hedge funds and become lawyers after school) “My mom did. My mom is awesome. She was like, ‘Really? This is what you’re going to do?’ My dad was like, ‘I want you to do whatever makes you happy.’ My two older brothers are lawyers, good guys. I remember my mom, she was like, ‘You want to be a what? A coach?’ So at that time, I told her, I said, ‘Now, Ma,’ I graduated from Brown, so I was like, Joe Paterno had graduated from Brown. You had Ron Brown, who coaches at Nebraska and Whip (Marc Whipple). So I started naming all these guys that went to Brown and so she felt better about it, that were coaches.”
(on his plans of where to play J.J. Watt) “The thing about J.J. is as it relates to Romeo (Crennel’s) packages is it’s a very multiple package. We run a base 3-4 defense, so the first day of mini-camp we’ll line up in this 3-4 and that’s what we run. After that, it goes to some three-down looks, some four-down looks, some odd looks where he’ll be moving around. It’s just a very multiple defense. 70 percent of the game now is played in nickel. When we went through our snaps, I think against last year’s Texans offense, I think 75 percent of the snaps were played in nickel or dime because a lot times, Houston was in 11 personnel. He’s going to fit in very well with what we do.”     

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