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Texans Quotes: May 6

Posted May 6, 2014

Head Coach Bill O'Brien and players spoke to the media following Day 1 of voluntary veteran minicamp.

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
T Duane Brown
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
DE J.J. Watt

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
(on his impressions of the first day of voluntary mini-camp) “It was a decent start but we’ve had (the players) for a little bit. I thought the ability to take it from Phase I in the weight room to Phase II to the coaching sessions and now to a practice, so we kind of built up to this. It was a typical first practice but they handled things pretty well.”

(on if there was anything he was specifically looking for today) “No.”

(on what he likes about his team and what stands out to him about it through his interactions thus far) “I do enjoy the group of guys, I really do. I think right now we have about 63 guys in here and the guys come to work every day. There’s some good camaraderie in the building and to this point they’ve done what we’ve asked them to do. So, yeah, I enjoy—I think we all do, all the coaches enjoy being around these guys.”

(on how Arian Foster is doing) “We have to go watch the tape but he’s just like everybody else: first day, learning the systems and I think everybody without singling anybody out, I thought everybody had a decent start to the first day.”

(on Arian Foster being cleared after surgery) “Yeah, he’s cleared and he looked good. He looked fine.”

(on how his first day went) “This isn’t my first day, so to speak. We’ve been out here for a week in the coaching sessions and every time we come out here on the field it’s like a practice to us. As a coaching staff, we go back in there, we’ll meet and we’ll iron some things out every day and try to get better every day.”

(on why Andre Johnson wasn’t at mini-camp) “It’s voluntary. Again, we just coach who shows up.”

(on if things ran as smoothly as he anticipated today) “I thought it was. From drill-to-drill and the guys understanding the tempo of things, for a first day, I thought we got off to a good start.”

(on how he pleased he is at the way the players have adapted to what he wants in his system) “Again, these guys are professional football players. I think from the first day, we told them every year is different. Every year in the NFL there’s change. There’s different players, there’s different coaches and part of being an NFL football player and an NFL coach is being able to adapt to change and I think these guys have adapted well to this point.”

(on how important it was to get this work in before the rookie class comes in after the draft) “We want the vets to be able to take a leadership role when the rookies get here and understand how we do practice, the tempo of practice, where the drills are, what’s the offensive field? The defensive field? How we do special teams. So I think it’s definitely important to have these practices with these guys that have played in the pros for a little bit and then when the rookies get here, they just get in line, keep their mouths shut and follow the lead.”

(on his first impressions of the team’s quarterbacks) “We’ve really enjoyed working with these guys to this point. These guys are smart. They show up every day. They get extra work, all three of them. We’ve enjoyed working with them.”

(on if he has a timetable for Brian Cushing) “No.”

(on if there is anything behind the team not having decals on their helmets today) “You send the helmets out for conditioning, you send the jerseys out for conditioning. Everything is about conditioning the equipment. I wouldn’t read too much into that.”

(on if this is a fun week for him) “It’s a good week. It’s really a great week for us. Players and coaches, we’re very privileged to be in this league and to take part in this thing. We love coaching. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the draft process with (General Manager) Rick (Smith) and his crew. So yeah, it’s a great week for this organization, a great opportunity for us, especially as it relates to the draft and we’ve really enjoyed being out here coaching these guys.”

(on how he is splitting his time between the field and getting ready for the draft) “Again, we really enjoy being on the field. We’re coaches, that’s number one and we really enjoy coming out here and coaching the guys. We get in, just like every coach in America, we get in early and stay late and try to organize our time and try to get the tasks accomplished that we need to get accomplished for that day.”

(on if it’s good to get away from the draft for a few hours out on the field) “No, I just think it’s all part of the day. Just like I said, every coach in America gets up early, comes in, budgets his time properly and there are a lot of new coaches in this league that are all doing the same thing and we’re just out here trying to get better every day just like our players are.”

(on if he’s doing any lobbying at what position he’d like to see addressed this close to the draft) “No.”

(on if there is anything he can see out at a three-day mini-camp that could influence the draft) “I think you do come out here and you definitely evaluate every position. You evaluate, obviously, the individual player and then you evaluate the depth at that position. The majority of our 2014 team is more than likely, based on the draft and how many rookies are going to make the team, the majority of the team is here on the field, so you’re evaluating as it relates to the draft but also as it relates to next year’s team and the depth at each position and all those things.”

(on how much he talks about what happened last season) “We don’t talk about it that much as it relates to the whole season. We show tape. There were plays that Houston ran last year that are similar to the plays we run. So we’ll show them, ‘Hey, here’s how we did it at this place and here’s how you guys did it last year,’ so they can see themselves on tape. They called it apples, we called it oranges. But as far as addressing all the things that whatever—I wasn’t here. I was not here last year so I have really no idea. So I would be very remiss in addressing anything that happened last year having not been here.”

(on having inherited a 2-14 team) “I just said before, every year is different. That was last year. This is a new year.”

(on if he senses that the players sense that this year is a new year) “Ask them. I don’t sense what they sense and sense this and sense that. I think that’s something you need to ask them.”

(on what is different about this draft process from past draft processes for him now that he is working with Texans General Manager Rick Smith) “It’s very different. The last draft I was involved in, I was an assistant, so I was in charge of working out 10 guys, eight guys and reporting back to Bill (Belichick) and telling him what I thought. This one, I’m the head football coach and Rick is the general manager in charge of the draft and we evaluate, we talk about basically the descriptions of the positions in our systems and then we go out and evaluate the prospects that we think fit those systems and then we grade them along with the scouts. We all work together on that. It’s a very different role for me.”

(on ESPN announcer Chris Berman saying he would never tell a Brown University man what player to draft but he trusts that a Brown man would make the correct decision) “He’s a good guy. He’s class of ’77 from Brown and I’m class of ’92. I probably shouldn’t have said that. He’s a little bit older than me and the football teams at Brown when he was there were a hell of a lot better than when I was there. He’s a good guy.”

T Duane Brown
(on if today’s practice felt different) “Yeah, it’s a little different feel out here. It’s a very intense staff. They really focus on attention to detail, working on little things that hurt us a lot as a team before. I think it’s going to make us better. Today everybody was pretty locked in and we’re all working hard and looking forward to the future.”

(on adjusting to the new coaches and new personalities) “It wasn’t too difficult. We’re all grown men. We’re all professionals. We all have a common goal in mind and that’s to win. I think everyone has a respect for each other and that’s where it starts. We all respect each other. We all treat each other as men and come out here and we’re ready to work.”

(on if it’s easier to forget about last season with everything that’s new right now) “You have to keep in mind the struggle we went through and not to repeat that. At the same time, we know that it’s a new group, new team, new system, everything is different. We’re moving forward on a clean slate, but keeping in mind the mishaps we had last year to make us better this year.”

(on how the system fits with his particular skills) “I think this fits me perfect. We have some different things, but at the end of the day, I’m a left tackle. My job is to protect the quarterback and to create holes for the running back. Nothing has changed. I haven’t had to change too much about my game. I’m just trying to improve my technique and everything as an individual player. It fits me well.”

(on what his weight is and how he feels so far in the offseason) “I’m about 320 (pounds) right now. I feel great, strong, fast. I’ve been working hard this offseason, trying to bulk up a little bit, enough to where I feel comfortable but without sacrificing my athleticism, so I feel pretty good right now.”

(on how the offense will be different under Coach O’Brien) “I don’t want to get too much into detail. You’ll see when we get going. It’s a very exciting offense. I love it. It is different. It is different than what we’ve been doing before. It’s a very intricate offense. For me personally, as an offensive lineman, you just have certain things you know and you don’t have to change too much of it.”

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on his first practice with the team) “I thought it was great. It’s fun to bet back out here with the guys. Everybody’s heads are spinning a little bit, just in terms of being in a new offense and getting out here and translating it from what we’ve been learning in a book to doing it full-speed on the field. I thought it was a good day today. We just needed to continue to get better and grow as a team. I think we’ll continue to do that as we have time here.”

(on if there is a mindset change with the team to get back to winning ways) “Yeah, I think so. It’s a lot of new faces from last year and obviously some of the same but I think we’ve all put that behind us and there’s definitely a great mentality here, something that Coach O’Brien has brought in. I can’t speak about last year but everything that he’s done this year has been very impressive and really the whole goal is to get us playing as one, as a team and we’ll expect good results if that happens.”

(on Case Keenum and T.J. Yates) “Case and T.J. are both good guys. I came in right away, it was nice to have a little bit of time just to know them whether it was through the weight room sessions or playing golf with T.J., or whatever it was. Getting to know those guys on a personal level helps out a little bit. The quarterback room throughout the course of the year is so important just because you’ve got so much on your plate. You want to make sure you’ve got guys in your corner in that room.”

(on adapting to the terminology and the new offensive system) “I think that’s exactly it, adapting to a new language. The great thing is that pace that we’ve gone at so far. They’ve been very, very detailed. We’ve been able to take our time a little bit and really focus on the little things and I think it showed out here today. It’s still very early obviously but the attention to detail and just the expectations of perfection are a couple things that really stuck out to me today that I think are really going to make us a better team.”

(on what he’s tried to show early on about himself) “For me, it’s about being myself. There’s a certain demeanor I carry myself with, there’s a certain way I attack the game from a mental side, just in terms of being the one that wants to kind of know it all and being the one that everybody can come to me with questions. It’s important as a quarterback to have that. It’s not easy learning a new offense and I’ve got a lot of questions I’ve got to ask either Coach (Bill) O’Brien or Coach (George) Godsey and I’m not there yet, obviously, in terms of knowing even half of it. We’re a work in progress right now.”

(on how much he worked with the receivers in the offseason) “I came in new and it was kind of slow at first not knowing exactly the way we wanted the routes run. So once we got some stuff installed, being able to get out on the field with them, especially the mini-camp and as OTAs start, I think we’ll really be able to see those relationships grow a little bit in terms of chemistry on the field.”

(on if he’s had a chance to talk with some of the other receivers like Andre Johnson) “Yeah, I saw Andre at the softball game we played, whenever that was last weekend and just the guys that are around here. It’s a nice blend of guys but like I said, we’ve got to be able to find a chemistry and a lot of that’s going to be on the field and talking through it in meetings.”

(on if he’s had a chance to watch RB Arian Foster on the field) “No, I haven’t and he can probably tell you a lot more about himself than I can. I know he’s a great player, somebody that I’ve loved watching over the years and I’m excited to be on his team.”

(on if he has been keeping track of the speculation that the Texans will take a quarterback in the draft) “No. There’s nothing I can do to control anything that happens in that draft. I’m as clueless as you guys, maybe even more so because I think some of you guys think you might have some knowledge there. With all the draft stuff, you take it for what it is and just get excited once our team starts to come together and form to get everybody on the same page.”

(on if the team is ignoring the draft talk this week) “Yeah, I think there is so much going on with us as players in this mini-camp right now, in terms of the mental strain and I think there’s a lot of excitement, too, being able to take everything that we’ve learned so far and compete against each other a little bit and put it on the field.”

(on what he hopes to bring to his teammates) “I think for me experience is the big thing that I bring. I played in a lot of games and a lot of different systems. So I’ve been through a lot in my career and seen a lot of different circumstances and experiences and things. So I hope just that everything I’ve experienced in the past that I’ve learned from a lot of that and am able to pass it on to some of these younger guys because I do feel a little bit old in the locker room now.”

(on if he’s noticed that James Harden’s beard is longer than his) “Yeah, it’s definitely more impressive than mine but there’s still time.”

(on if he’s competitive about his beard length) “No, not at all.”

(on how he fits into this system now that he’s seen it up close) “I’m really excited about it. We’ve just scratched the surface in terms of what this system really is. Our knowledge of it is very basic right now. I think they brought me in for a reason in terms of fitting into their scheme and I’m really excited. A lot of my excitement stems from the guys that I’m going to be out there on the field with and Coach O’Brien and what he brings to a team.”

(on what he gets out of this three-day mini-camp) “I think for the coaches, obviously evaluation and looking at different guys. For these guys, getting their first glimpse of us on the field and how we look, how we carry ourselves, all that. I think as players, it’s exciting just to get back on the field and do something football-oriented because there is only so much you can do throwing routes on air and lifting weights. To get out here, to be able to compete a little bit and to be able to see guys think at full speed rather than writing in a classroom and answering those questions, to be able to see them do it on the field and get your brain churning again out here, I think that’s the biggest thing.”

(on the learning curve in a new offense) “It’s a steep learning curve. I’ve been in a lot of different offenses. I’ve never been in this offense. Just like my rookie year, I’ve had to come in and learn something new. That being said, just in terms of conceptually different things we’re trying to do, there’s only so many ways you can do it. So there’s stuff I’ve done over my career that I can pull from those experiences and apply it to this. There’s going to be learning every day and trying to get a grasp of this system.”

(on what it was like having Head Coach Bill O’Brien out there) “Coach O’Brien, I think what you see right away is his expectations are high. His expectations are high of everybody that’s on the field, whether you’re a starter, whether you’re a guy at the bottom trying to learn a job. What we learn in the meeting rooms you’re expected to know when we step on the field for walk-throughs and everything that we’ve gone over for the day. Mistakes, the mental mistakes aren’t really acceptable and I think that demand of perfection is going to be a nice thing around here.”

(on how he would characterize this offense) “Multiple. It’s a multiple offense and I think they’re going to attack the defense. So it’s something that will constantly be changing every week because it’s so multiple in what we can do.”

DE J.J. Watt
(on how things were out there today) “It was good. It was good to get back on the football field. It was nice to put the helmet on and be around teammates and get to work.”

(on his impressions of Coach O’Brien out on the field) “It was good. It was a good day of work. I think everybody was working hard. That’s all you can ask for out of the first day.”

(on how different practice was with Coach O’Brien) “Football is football. My jersey has a red number on it. That’s a little bit different. Other than that, football is football. Guys are working hard. It’s too early to really say a whole lot about anything that’s real different, but we’re working hard out here.”

(on if he’s paying attention to all of the talk around the Draft) “No.”

(on if he plans to watch the draft) “No.”

(on if being at voluntary workouts means he is happy with his contract situation) “I’m here to work. The rest of the stuff, I don’t really talk about that very much publicly. I’m here to work. I’m a worker. I come every single day and try to do the best I can, be a good teammate and do my job.”

(on if it’s exciting to be back on the field) “Yeah. Trust me, it’s very nice to be back out here and being around the guys and play actual football. It feels really good. This is what we do. This is what we love to do. That’s why we’re in this profession, because we love it. So to be out here on the field feels really, really good.”

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