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Quotes: Texans Wednesday Practice at Denver

Posted Aug 20, 2014

Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice with the Broncos.

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
ILB Brian Cushing
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
WR Andre Johnson
WR Travis Labhart
S D.J. Swearinger

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
(on what he took away from the chippiness at the end of practice) “It was competition. I don’t really even know what you’re talking about. I really don’t. It was just a lot of good competition and I felt like it helped our team a lot, and I’m not speaking for the Broncos, but I know that competition helps everybody, so it was good.”

(on what happened with Jadeveon Clowney) “I don’t know yet. Yeah, I’m not sure. I was in the middle of practice so we’ll find out here.”

(on how Jadeveon Clowney was doing before he went out) “He was, you know, just again I thought we were playing aggressively and I thought he was a part of that. He was playing aggressively. I thought yesterday’s practice the defense had some good moments and looked like today was more of the same.”

(on Chris Myers having a second day off) “Yeah, you know, here’s a guy that’s played a lot of football in this league and we’re making sure that he’s ready to go on Sept. 7.”

(on if Chris Myers is hurt) “No.”

(on if he can tell what is going on with Jadeveon Clowney) “No.”

(on what he saw when things got a little chippy out there) “Again, I’m not sure what you saw, but what I saw was good competition, good two-minute drill. Everything went according to plan.”

(on what he saw from Ryan Fitzpatrick’s execution) “It was better, it was better; again, I don’t think it’s where it needs to be yet. But it’s, you have to give these guys a lot of credit on both sides of the ball, on special teams, because I believe their coming out there every day whether it’s in Houston or here in Denver or when we’re going against Atlanta, and their really working hard to get better every day, which is a good thing.”

(on the refs throwing the flags in the secondary and what advantages it gives the team) “Well I think that is exactly right. I think we have a chance to say or the referee has a chance to say to us what exactly was the foul, and so they can explain to us what they’re looking for and we can see it on tape and continue to coach it. I know that all 32 teams are dealing with the same things and we’re trying to coach it the right. And I know the officials are trying to call it the right way. So we’ll just continue to coach it and I think the officials out here for the past two days have done a really good job of explaining it to us.”

(on Andre Johnson back making plays he’s accustomed to making) “Well, he’s a big part of what we do here. You know, I’ve said that from the beginning. He’s a guy that has been with this franchise for a very long time. In my opinion, he’ll be a Hall of Fame receiver, and anytime you have a guy like that, that caliber a player out here on the field, it does nothing but help you as a team and it helps the younger players and it’s great to have him back out here.”

(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick looked really good today) “I thought Fitz (Fitzpatrick), you know, I was on the other field. We split the fields a little bit differently. John Fox went with their defense, but from what I could see in the periods that we were together I thought that Fitzy came out here and worked very well today.”

(on what kind of respect he would have as an offensive coach looking at J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on defense) “A lot of respect. You know, and again, I think that has to do with a lot of guys on our defense. I believe when our defense goes out there, our front line defense is a good defense. They play well together. They communicate well together. We’ve got to really improve the depth of our defense, and that’s what we’re trying to do. But I believe that our top defenders went out there and have had a good couple days.”

(on how beneficial the combined practices are for working out kinks) “You can’t really simulate this when you go against each other. It’s just, the competition level rises, you see different schemes, you hear different communication on both sides of the ball, the coaches work together, we’re able to talk to Denver’s coaches and vice versa about some of the things their doing, what they’re looking for, what we’re looking for, and I thought that both teams worked very well together.”

(on the play of C.J. Fiedorowicz) “Yeah, he’s a guy that has improved daily. He’s a tough kid, he’s an instinctive player, he’s shown to have good hands, he’s a good young blocker and he’s going to get better and better because he works on it. You know, I can really say that about most of the rookies. That draft class, I believe, has come out here every day and worked hard to get better every day.”

(on if he said Chris Myers’s absence is not health related) “No, we’re just giving him a couple days off and making sure that he’s ready to go for future practices and games.”

(on if he anticipates Chris Myers playing in Saturday’s game) “I don’t know yet.”

(on if he picked the Broncos to practice with because they’ve been one of the league’s best teams) “When the preseason schedule came out, you know, it was something where we definitely wanted to do it with Atlanta and we saw that Denver was the third game, and I felt like here’s a team that was in the Super Bowl last year, here’s a good test for our team to come up here and see what a Super Bowl team looks like. And I think it’s really helped our team. Our guys have come out here and competed hard, and it’s been good for the Houston Texans.”

(on Jadeveon Clowney going against Ryan Clady and how he felt Clowney did) “Well, Clady is a great player and all that can do is help a young player when he goes up against a great offensive tackle like that. J.D. (Clowney) goes up against (Duane) Brown and (Derek) Newton every day in practice, and they’re two good tackles, too. Duane Brown is a Pro-Bowl tackle, and so that helps him too. Whenever you can go against guys like Sam Baker and then Clady and guys like that, it really helps a young player.”

(on if Jadeveon Clowney being in and out of practice the past few weeks make it harder for him in games) “No.”

(on what he’s seen from Max Bullough) “Here’s a guy that I think is a smart player. He’s a competitive kid. He’s a good communicator. He grew up in football family, so football, he sees things very well and for an undrafted guy he’s earned himself playing time here in training camp.”

(on where he thinks Louis Nix III is right now) “You know, I think Louis is progressing. It’s good to see him out here these last two days. That’s a good thing for our team. That’s a good thing for Louis, and so we’ll watch the film today and see how he did, but I think he’s progressing and we’re trying to ease him back into things.”

(on coordinating two teams at practice) “It’s kind of a fun challenge because we’re able to work together, John Fox and I, and talk on the phone and say, ‘OK, what do you want to do in this period? What do you want to do in that period?’ He’s a great guy to work with. He’s been in this league so long and I have a ton of respect for him, and it was a very good relationship as far as working together and working the practice plans well. I thought it went well."

ILB Brian Cushing
(on things getting competitive at the end of practice with the Broncos) “It’s football. Obviously these are two competitive teams just trying to get better. That’s the whole point of having the joint practices, coming out and competing against a very talented team, a very good team. That’s all we’re looking to do is just get better and compete.”

(on how he feels about the defense) “We feel good. We feel like we’re definitely growing and molding together. But at the same time, we still have some work to do and we have some time as well. What we are right now isn’t what we’re going to be September 7 but we definitely see ourselves on that path.”

(on how much work he expects to get on Saturday) “I’m not sure. For the most part, I’ve been practicing a good amount. I’m excited to be back out there. Any game-time situation obviously I want to play in and play a good amount but that’s not up to me. That’s up to the coaches.”

(on if he’ll be comfortable not playing leading up to the season opener) “Yeah. Football is football. But at the same time, you want to get out there, you want to get some game-time experience, especially against a very good football team. Whatever the situation is, I’m ready to play or what not.”

(on how much the joint practices with the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos are helping) “I think it’s very competitive. I think it’s a great opportunity to come out here and really practice against good teams and see some good stuff and go against Peyton (Manning) every day. It’s a challenge, but at the same time it’s going to make you better. If you want to be the best, you have to compete against the best. That’s just kind of the mindset we have. We’re not scared of competition. We want to go out and be the best team we can going into September 7.”

(on seeing what Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning does every day and how that helps the Texans) “It’s helping a lot. There’s a lot of different stuff he can do. He has a million checks and a million different looks and he’s an extremely smart football player so you have to try to match that as best as you can.”

(on how much he’s looking forward to making that first crushing hit) “I don’t know. I mean, I am. I’m just more excited to play, whatever the situation is, the hit or what not. I’m just excited to get into a game-time situation.”

(on if getting a big hit will help him mentally) “I had a couple today. I think it’s out of the way. I feel great. I’m excited about where I am physically and mentally, but we all know the game is stepped up just a little bit more. It’s a little faster, a little more intense. I’m excited but I’m excited but I’m excited for every day. I’m excited for every practice and for every game. I’m looking forward to all of it.”

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on talking with Broncos QB Peyton Manning) “I’ve played against him a few times. I actually did the Manning Passing Academy back in the day, when I was in college. I guess that was where I first met him, not even that he really remembers that. He’s obviously a great quarterback, but a great guy too.”

(on how special it is to be part of the Manning Passing Academy and now opposing Peyton Manning as a fellow quarterback) “I was a college counselor, but I didn’t think at that point that the NFL was in my future. Looking back on it, it was just a really neat experience for me to go against some of the other college guys and kind of size myself up and meet the Manning family.”

(on what it means to be able to talk and reminisce with Peyton Manning) “Again, the NFL in general, I think quarterbacks in the NFL, it’s a brotherhood. We’ve all got our bond and we all go through similar ups and downs and all the same things. Some of us more than others, obviously, but it’s a nice thing that we share.”

(on how he felt he has practiced the last couple of days) “This was so good for us. Again, just like the Atlanta week and we talked about it yesterday, but we came out here today and had a great day of work. Things weren’t always exactly what we wanted and execution wasn’t always what we wanted, but in terms of getting it on film and getting guys running around and competing and going against a different team, it was good work for us.”

(on Bill O’Brien stating that Fitzpatrick was very good in practice today and the process of syncing up with his wide receivers) “Yeah, it’s all about practice and getting it done and just understanding a guy’s body language and his feel for the game and them knowing what I’m expecting from them. We had some good connections today with some of that stuff.”

(on if things got a little chippy today between the teams) “Yeah, but it wasn’t anything too big.”

(on if he talks with his receivers about the illegal contact emphasis they’re putting on defensive backs this season) “I think we pay attention each week in terms of flags and things we need to do to get better on offense. Also, as a team, we talk about defense and special teams and all that. Obviously there is a lot of noise in the media about it, more about the amount of flags being thrown. For us, we go out there and play and you don’t know if they’re going to call it or not, so you have to go out there and run your best route every time.”

WR Andre Johnson
(on the intensity level of practice) “I think that comes with competition. You have two competitive teams that are working. With this game of football, sometimes tempers get to flaring a little bit. Everybody was able to settle down and realize what we needed to do and that was get this good work that we needed as a team. We came in wanting to get some good work in this week. We’ve got another day tomorrow. We’ll just keep moving forward.”

(on what happened between the two teams at the end of practice) “I don’t know, man. Like I said, tempers just flared a little bit. Words got exchanged. Nothing more than that.”

(on how different it is now with illegal contact calls being emphasized) “For me, just watching the game last week against Atlanta, it kind of makes the game longer. It actually makes you hate it a little bit because every time you look around, there’s a flag on the ground. I mean, it’s football. It’s a contact sport. Everything’s not going to be perfect. You’re going to get bumped around a little bit. This is just my personal opinion, I don’t think it will be called as much in the regular season as it’s called right now.”

(on Texans WR Mike Thomas saying he enjoys the emphasized calls on illegal contact by defensive backs) “Yeah, it’s a great advantage. You can’t complain about it. Whatever they’re doing to change the game, as players we just have to adjust to it.”

(on if it’s important for him to get snaps against the Broncos on Saturday) “Like I’ve said before, I always want to play but Coach O’Brien has the final say-so. We’ll see what happens. Like I’ve said, we’ve just been progressing every day since I’ve been back on the field. I did more today than I did yesterday. Hopefully tomorrow I come back and do more than I did today. We’ll just see what happens. All in all, I’m feeling fine. I know that if I had to, I can go out and play.”

WR Travis Labhart
(on if he is trying to learn all the various wide receiver positions or focusing on a particular one) “As a receiver, an offensive guy or whatever you may be, you want to learn the offense as a big picture. You don’t want to look solely at one spot. I think, for me, knowledge is power and so the more you know the more value you are to the team, etc. I just think, for me, it’s important to know all the positions and I think I do. I just want to continue to learn and get better and follow those veteran leads and do what you can.”

(on maximizing his opportunity with the Texans) “Coaches hopefully just are beginning to trust me and players alike. That begins with the quarterbacks as well, because you don’t want to trick the quarterback. Then they’re not going to look your way if they can’t count on you. I think, like you said, maximizing those opportunities and when coaches give you an opportunity, you have to be ready. You have to put in the extra time off the field to be sure you’re ready on the field.”

(on if he gets any kind of a boost from making those catches out in practice) “Yeah, sure. You gain confidence with your successes. You can’t always tell how good practice was until you go back and look at the film, but making a catch and knowing you’re open and doing your assignment is definitely something that gives you confidence and your ability to move in the right direction and get better.”

(on looking back at all the progress he’s made) “The coaching is just phenomenal. I’ve learned so much. Every single level, it feels like from peewee, middle school, high school, college and then now in the NFL, it’s a whole new ballgame. It has opened my eyes to a whole lot of new things. I’m just learning more about the game and I think the coaching has been outstanding. Also, the veteran leadership with Andre Johnson, Mike Thomas and all those guys have been really helpful to me gaining confidence and getting better as a player.”

D.J. Swearinger
(on intercepting Peyton Manning on the two-minute drill at the end of practice) “He ran an over route, I picked it off, end of the game.”

(on what happened at the end of practice where there was a little skirmish) “Well, you know, we had some choice words at the end. The offense going against their defense, you know, it got a little chippy. And you know, it’s all football. Everybody competing, everybody having a good fun, but I think at the end of the days it’s just some people being mad, and it’s all good, it’s football.”

(on both teams going at it as much as they could without full contact) “Most definitely. You know, we want to stay clean out here. We’re not out here to start nothing with nobody. We’re out here to get work. Both teams got good work. You know, It got a little chippy at the end, but it’s all football, man. It’s a part of the game and we’ll settle it on Saturday.”

(on if it’s good to have chippy play when practicing with another team after not having it with Atlanta) “Well, we actually did have that against the Falcons. I had a little altercation last week, but it’s all good. It’s something, like I said, it’s football. At the end of the day we’re competing. We’re all competitors and we want to get the best out of each other, and at the end of the day that is what it is. Getting the best out of each other and competing.”

(on what started the skirmish at the end of practice) “Well, I actually got a pick. I picked him off. I picked off Peyton (Manning) today, and I guess that got them a little chippy. We ran, the offense did great, ran the ball down their throat. I mean, I would get mad, but that’s all it is, man. Players making plays and people getting mad, and that’s part of the game.”

(on what it means to get an interception off Peyton Manning, even if it is practice) “It’s great, bro. It’s great. Practice or not, you practice how you play. I wanted to get it. You don’t get these opportunities to practice against the greats, and it was great for me to get a pick against him.”

(on if he saw what happened to Jadeveon Clowney) “No, I didn’t. I didn’t at all.”

(on Elbert Mack’s interception and the guys’ celebration the same as the flag they received in the game against Atlanta) “Yes, we did get flagged for that. I don’t know why, but I guess we can’t do it in the game no more. We’ve got to come up with something else.”

(on doing celebrations in practice) “We’re going to do it practice. We’ve got to have fun. This game is about having fun. If you love what you’re doing, you’re going to have fun, and that’s what we’re doing.”

(on if he watched Hard Knocks last night) “I didn’t, man, but people told me about it.”

(on if he feels he is getting in some of his opponents’ heads) “Already, man. Already. That’s something that if they don’t like that’s cool. I’m going to play my game and if you let me get into your head, that’s your problem.”

(on if he thinks the talking helps him) “It helps me tremendously, tremendously, and I’ve been talking since I was five year’s old on the field. All my older cousins talk to me and push me around, so when I got to this area, I wanted to talk to. That is just a part of me and it doesn’t change my game at all. I think it changes other player’s games because they let me get inside their heads.”

(on the importance of the defense having swagger and toughness and if Bill O’Brien wants that) “Yeah, man, he wants some swagger, he wants some hard nose guys coming in there and making some big hits and making some plays. A lot of playmakers, they have a little savvy about them, have a little swagger about them. Today we got a good bit of that, and I’m glad.”

 

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