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Texans Quotes: September 3

Posted Sep 3, 2014

Quotes from Texans players and coaches following Wednesday's practice.


Head Coach Bill O’Brien
(on the first practices of week one heading into the season opener) “The practices have been decent. They really have. These guys have worked hard. They’ve been attentive in the meetings and they’ve gone out to practice and tried to really pay attention to the details. It hasn’t always been perfect, but I believe we’ve had good practice sessions.”

(on how Jadeveon Clowney is doing) “Good.”

(on expecting Jadeveon Clowney to play against the Redskins) “Yes.”

(on what went into the decision to trade for Ryan Mallett) “Any time we make decisions whether it is to release a player or trade a pick for a player or trade for another player for player, it’s always made with the best interest of the team. What is best for the team? What’s best for the team, one of the things that is best for the team is to have the most competitive roster you can possibly have on a week-to-week basis, on a month-to-month basis, on a year-to-year basis. So any decision that’s made as it relates to the roster is always made with the best interest of the team in mind.”

(on if Ryan Mallett is the backup quarterback) “Yes.”

(on how Ryan Mallett is picking things up) “The foundation of what he knows is very similar to what we had in the three years in New England. He was drafted in 11’ when I was there. We spent the rookie year together, and then I went to Penn State. 12’ and 13’ he stayed and was attentive in meetings. It’s obvious since he’s been here. Just the transition of Ryan coming in to this offense, certainly we do things, some things a little bit differently than what they do based on our personnel based on what their personnel is, but the foundation of it is very similar, so he’s been able to pick right up.”

(on what is different now about Ryan Mallett compared to the season they spent together) “Three years older. I believe he’s a guy that’s worked hard. He understands the pro game better than he did obviously, when he was a rookie. I think he’s worked extremely hard. You can tell on things like being in the weight room, he’s worked on his accuracy and he’s definitely improved in his knowledge of our offense. That’s obvious. He’s a guy that just has to keep working, keep improving and like I said, he’s our number two quarterback and it’s good to have him here.”

(on when the team decided to trade for Ryan Mallett) “I’m not sure. I’m not sure. Just when the discussions started we decided that was the best thing for the team.”

(on if Ryan Mallett’s understanding of the offense allowed the team to trade for him this close to the season) “It makes it easier. Obviously, when you have a guy that knows the basis of your offense, how to call a play, the cadence, the formations, the motions, the shifts, the different personnel groupings, how we call defense, it makes it a lot easier when you have a guy that you think can help you as a backup quarterback. That’s good.”

(on if captains have been named) “No. We haven’t named captains.”

(on brining Danieal Manning back to Houston) “It’s good to have him back. Again, it would be the same answer that I said about Ryan Mallett. Anytime we have a chance to improve the team, we’re going to try to do that. And Danieal Manning was guy that we felt could definitely improve our team both from a safety position and from special teams and like you just said from a leadership standpoint. He’s been here. He’s played a lot of good football here in Houston. He’s played a lot of good football in this league. I remember him obviously, when he was in Chicago and I was in New England. Got to know him a little bit here before he headed off to Cincinnati and it’s good to have him back.”

(on if Johnathan Joseph will start Sunday) “Yes.”

(on if Darryl Morris and Damaris Johnson will see action on special teams) “Yes.”

(on if Danieal Manning will be the third safety week 1) “It could be. It could be, but I guess that’s one you’ll have to wait and see.”

(on what he has seen from Damaris Johnson) “So far having been here for I believe basically three practices, he’s a very instinctive player. He picks things up quickly. He’s quick, he’s fast, serious guy, practices hard, you know, this is just after three practices, but we’re glad to have him on our team.”

(on some players saying they’ve been managed differently during training camp health-wise then in the past) “I’m not sure what their experiences were in the past. I have the experience of making sure that I communicate with the player one-on-one. How are you feeling today? What do you think you can do? I’m not a doctor, so obviously I consult with Kap (Geoff Kaplan) and our doctors all the time too, along with Rick Smith. Those are all the different communications that take place and then we decide. Every guy is different. Every guy is different. There are some rookies that need to push through things. There are guys that have played 12 years in this league that are great players, Pro Bowl players, future Hall of Fame players that know their own bodies and know when they can go and give us full effort, and those are guys that you listen to. And then there are all kinds of guys in between that. That is what we try to do. The ultimate goal is to make sure that we have our healthiest team on Sunday, and so hopefully that is what we have.”

(on if he knows who the set four linebackers are) “I would say that it is still being determined. Brian Cushing will start. That’s for sure. Brooks Reed will be in there. (Jadeveon) Clowney will be in there. You know, (Jeff) Tarpinian, Mike Mohamed, Akeem Dent, Whitney Mercilus, they all have a chance to be in there. And you know, we move those guys around quite a bit. Some guys will play inside, some guys will play outside; it’s not like a set four. It’s more like OK, what is this package? What is that package? What is the best thing for us versus what the Washington Redskins are going to do? The Redskins are a really, really talented, good football team with a great coaching staff and it’s a big challenge for us. We’re still in the process of putting that game plan together.”

(on how the defense prepares for Washington) “We watch the Bengals. No question about it. We watch the preseason. We watch all of the places that Coach Gruden has called plays.”

(on coming up with the 46-roster for game day) “It’s definitely based on the opponent. It’s based on our injury situation, which we feel like now we’re pretty healthy. It’s based on those things. It’s based on the day of the game. Maybe there is a guy that has been in and out of practice during the week and we’re going to work him out during the morning of the game and see how he does. Knows the game plan, has been in practice and maybe he’s ready to play the game, and we won’t know until Sunday morning. It’s based on those things, too. But part of it is definitely who we’re playing, the opponent.”

(on if consistency is the biggest thing for Randy Bullock) “Yes. No question. Here’s a guy that has a good leg, is a good teammate, I believe the competition helped him. I think he’s a better kicker now than he was on April 7 when we started with these guys. I think with any good kicker in this league that is what you’re looking for is consistency. Consistency obviously, with PATs, consistency with what your range is as a field goal kicker and consistency in clutch moments. That’s what you’re looking for. Randy has been in all kinds of situations here over the last few months, including OTAs and things, and I believe he’s ready to kick for us this year.”

(on if he can feel a difference in the way the players are practicing now that it is game week) “You definitely feel that the game is closer. It’s a great feeling. I just told the team. These guys, all the work that they’ve put in, all the changes that have been made, especially for the guys that have been in Houston for a long time, it’s a different way of doing things. There is a whole lot of different ways to skin a cat. They’ve done a really good job of communicating with us and going out and practicing hard and working hard and learning our systems. Really you’re here for one reason, and that’s to go play on Sunday and put your best out there and go out there and tries to win a football game against every week a great opponent, starting here with the Washington Redskins. That’s the beauty of the national football league that every single week it’s a tough challenge and our guys are sensing that it is a few days away, and they’ll be ready to go.”

(on who will be the starting inside linebacker next to Brian Cushing) “When we put the 34 (defense) out there we’ll probably go with Cushing on the inside, (Jadeveon) Clowney and (Brooks) Reed on the outside and we’ll see how it goes at the other inside spot.”

(on how tough it is to name the other inside linebacker next to Brian Cushing) “It could be (Justin) Tuggle, it could be (Mike) Mohammed, could be (Jeff) Tarpinian), could be (Akeem) Dent. It’s something you’ll have to wait until game day. And 34 isn’t the only personnel that we play. So it depends what the first play of the game is, too. You with me? OK.”

Quarterbacks Coach George Godsey
“We’re on really our third day of preparation for Washington, and I think as a group obviously, everybody is out there working hard, especially, the quarterbacks trying to get the game plan. I think it’s important that the whole unit sees the game plan through the same set of eyes and I think that’s what we’re trying for here, and again we’re on our third day with that process.”

(on how his past relationship with Ryan Mallett makes it easier for Ryan) “Anytime with any position there is familiarity, but it’s not only the personality but how you can relate what one system is apples and the other system is oranges and try to put that together into one common language. I think it makes the process a little bit easier.”

(on how Ryan Mallett is different now than he was a few years ago) “We’ve talked about this for a first year quarterback or a second year quarterback, which is where Ryan was when I was in New England until now, I think that through the reps, through constantly studying personnel, I think you improve. From where he’s at now from when I was first with him, I think there is an improvement.”
(on worrying whether Ryan Mallett would have a grasp of the offense by Week 1) “I think anybody that comes into a system within a week before the game there is always that concern. I think that’s why we have the ‘C’ on our chest to coach and try to make it a little bit easier for them.”

(on how involved he was in bringing in Ryan Mallett) “I mean, my job is the quarterback coach, to basically coach the quarterbacks that are here and to improve them.”

(on Ryan Fitzpatrick saying that he is excited to work with all the offensive starters) “When we’re out there practicing and we can all work together as a unit and then we can go out on the field and execute what we worked at, it makes that a little bit rewarding because you’re practicing what exactly you’re going to go ahead and play with. Anytime there are some moving parts, like there is from every week with injuries and constant roster movement, it becomes a little bit difficult, but obviously, that’s part of the professional football player and professional football coach aspect of it.”

(on his impressions from the offense) “Again, grasping from every player. To be able to grasp the information, to grasp basically what we’re trying to put in by situation, you know, we’re asking a lot to come in here and really improve from day to day, but also to make sure that we not only hone into what we’re anticipating, but what we’re also playing them for.”

(on picking up Ryan Mallett and not pushing too much on Tom Savage) “I think it’s back to the whole rookie quarterback conversation. It’s not easy to get underneath the center right there and grasp our offense and really any offense within the amount of time that rookie quarterback is asked to do. I think that played a big part in it.”

(on the relationships he is building with the quarterbacks) “Within the relationship between a coach and a player, I think it has to extend more than just the meeting time. That is one thing that I can say with all three quarterbacks. That a lot of my time isn’t just spent in the meeting room with them. It’s on the phone, it’s conversations back and forth that occur throughout the day and not just the time that we’re actually together.”

(on Ryan Mallett’s maturation from his rookie season) “The first thing is you have to be willing to put the time in. Ryan was able to do that than, and obviously that was three years ago. It’s about putting the time in now with our system and really trying to catch up almost in a faster format because there is a little bit more you have to teach a rookie quarterback as opposed to a quarterback that maybe has been in the league a little bit.”

(on the difficulties for a rookie quarterback) “Yeah, I think that is an understatement just as far as, and I think Tom (Savage) can really comment to that, how much of it is really on a rookie quarterback, regardless of whatever system. You’re not only dealing with your own system, but you’re dealing with the recognition of personnel defensively and then you’re dealing with the recognition of the scheme defensively, which there is a lot of schemes and there is a lot of good coaches. Especially, the coaches we’re going against this week that have a lot of good defensive schemes that not only fit their personnel, but challenge the offense.”

(on a snapshot of some of the work he has been doing with Ryan Mallett compared to the other two quarterbacks) “Each quarterback is different. Again, with the coaching of each one of them I think we try to play to each one of their strengths. As much of we can get the reps at a full speed with the personnel that we anticipate being in there, I think we can kind of simplify some things. For example, Ryan being here for only a few short days, I think by game time that’s where we’ll have certain, for him his game plan may just be a little shorter than maybe Ryan’s (Fitzpatrick), but we’re still not to that point to make that decision.”

(on Jay Gruden saying Ryan Fitzpatrick plays the position different than other people do) “When you try to compare the traits of both of the quarterbacks, I don’t think they’re similar, at least on our team. Like, even quarterback is a little bit different. Ryan’s had some ability to negotiate with some plays with his feet and I think that is part of it. It’s not only a mental position, but it’s being able to buy yourself time and he’s been able to use that as a pretty beneficial trait for him.”

(on what Ryan Fitzpatrick has done to limit his turnovers) “I think it’s a new year for Ryan and it’s a new system for Ryan. From being out there at practice, I think that’s some of the things that we try not to put him into those situations that maybe he’s not comfortable with. I mean it’s a working relationship just like any relationship is, but also on the football field with the quarterback to the quarterback coach to the head coach. Those are the things that as a first year working together that we’re using this time to finalize.”

G Brandon Brooks
(on the confidence of the team going into the season opener) “We’re always confident in our abilities. I always say confidence goes a long way. Right now it’s growing. We’re very confident in ourselves and what we’re trying to do.”

(on what he did to get back into football shape) “Just after practice, any chance I got. I may do some half gassers or I may do some extra drills and different things like that as well as trying to eat right when I was out, keep my weight down and when I got back, helping my body burn clean fuel.”

(on if he’s back to the same football shape he was in last season) “Yeah. I feel good. I feel like I’m back where I needed to be and this year I’m just trying to keep going forward and keep pushing at it.”

T Duane Brown
(on getting the season started) “To get through to the real game plan, to get back into a real routine and get some live action. To go out and put our best effort forward, put our best forward and try to get this season started off on the right note.”

(on what he’s seen from Ryan Mallett) “He’s a good player, man. He’s caught on pretty fast. He has a really big arm. He has a lot of confidence in his arm and not afraid to make any throws. It seems like a pretty good leader and takes leadership in the huddle and everything. That’s what I’ve seen so far.”

(on if he is excited to debut the game plan) “Absolutely. Our coaching staff has done a great job of researching their (Washington’s) defense and trying to get what to expect out to us and just a lot of details. This offense is very detailed oriented and we put a lot of time and effort into learning everything to go out and be successful. I’m looking forward to going out there and showing what we have.”

(on how excited he is to have Arian Foster back out there) “I’m very excited. I think when Arian’s out there with us it really gives us a chance to be successful, a chance to be more flexible with our offense and we’ve always had a lot of success when he’s out there and he’s healthy. I think getting our running game in the way we have a couple years ago. Getting back to that form is huge for us and also he’s a very versatile back and able to do a lot of things. We’ll try to take advantage of that as well.”

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on his thoughts on Ryan Mallett) “Obviously, with Case (Keenum) being gone and Ryan coming in, it changes a little bit. I’m now definitely the shortest guy in the room. That’s a big difference. It’s just been a few days with Ryan in there, but it’s been good so far just in terms of kind of getting to know him a little bit and talking a little bit of X’s and O’s, but also just kind of getting to know him as a person. It’s always an important thing to have a good room and it’s early, but I think it’s going to be a good relationship for us.”

(on how he blocks out criticism and if it ever bothers him) “I think it always bothers you to a certain extent, but you know, part of it for me, I’ve had a lot of different critics and a lot of different things throughout my career wherever I was, and for it is all about the respect of the guys in the locker room and how that is going. How they perceive me as a player, as a leader, whatever it is. Those are the guys that are really important to me. That has always been my thing. Is making sure that if I’m coming off a bad game or if my confidence is down a little bit, really looking at the guys in the locker room and maybe regaining that focus or that confidence. It’s something I’ve always been able to block out for the most part and a lot of it is just self-belief and knowing that I’m going to be one of the hardest guys in this building and I’m going to put everything I have into each week.”

(on if the team acquiring Ryan Mallett is causing additional pressure) “I mean, even aside from them bringing somebody else in our switching things up, as an NFL quarterback there is pressure every week. And for me, it’s not the pressure of what everybody outside of the building thinks, again, it’s the pressure of doing the best I can for the guys that are working so hard every day in that locker room and for the coaching staff. That is a big part of kind of what drives and fuels me, but there is plenty of pressure as a quarterback. But it’s something I’m always welcome to.”

(on Jay Gruden saying he doesn’t always play pretty, but that he is capable of leading teams to victories) “That sounds about right. Definitely, the not always pretty part. Definitely, have my own unique style that they’re not teaching all the young kids coming up. For me it is. Bottom line is you have to win football games. I’ve got to do the best job I can to get the ball to our playmakers. That’s my job as a quarterback, and I think we’ve got a lot of them on offense. So, hopefully, that makes my job easier.”

(on doing the dirty work to get extra yards) “I think the main thing that Coach (Bill) O’Brien has stressed since he’s been here is we’re all about winning. We’re all about team and not necessarily about a certain individual, not necessarily about all the highlights and things. It’s whatever it takes to win a football team. Maybe that is what he was pointing to. I’ve got no problem doing whatever it is, putting my body on the line, whatever.”

(on getting all of his weapons back) “Yeah, we’ve got a lot of talent on offense. A lot of that, like I said earlier, makes my job a little bit easier in terms of guys getting open and getting the ball in space. With that being said, I’ve got to be able to get us in proper protections, plays, whatever it is and make sure I’m throwing it to the right guy.”

(on his early impressions of Ryan Mallett the past few days) “He comes in with a decent knowledge of this system, just from being in one that is similar. There are a lot of different things that we do here that he hasn’t done. And so you know, for me, it’s similar in my third year I got traded pretty much the same day that he did from the Rams to the Bengals and became the two right away and had to learn the system, the snap count and all that difference stuff. There are a lot of differences that he has to get caught up on, but he seems to be the guy that is going to be able to put the work in and willing to put the work in to do.”

(on imagining trying to learn this offense in one week) “I think it’s hard. I just again, I talked to Ryan (Mallett) a little bit about it. But my situation is the only thing that I can kind of point to, but having to go through the same thing my third year, you kind of just get thrown in there and it just takes a lot of extra work outside of the meetings.”

(on how anxious he is to open up the playbook in week one) “There is a lot of excitement. Just getting out there and playing a full game to and going through all of the different situations and having all those guys at my disposal for a full game. I think we’re excited about that. There’s always added excitement and jitters, whatever it is the first game of the year. But we’ll get over that quickly and get into the game. We’re really looking forward to it.”

(on his backups being young players and if that creates a challenge for him) “I don’t think so. We do do a lot of film study kind of together after practice or whenever it is. For me, it is taking some input from those guys but also relying on a lot of my experiences and just through Coach (Bill) O’Brien and Coach (George) Godsey, you know, really hammering out the game plan and some of the details about why were are doing certain things. I think we’re ok there.”

(on his goals going into the season opener) “Obviously, our first goal is to win. In wanting to win I think we look at no turnovers at being a big thing. Not putting our defense in bad spots. Not hurting the team with bad decisions. After that, I mean communication is going to be a big thing for us. Just getting out there on the field as a unit together with all of the different parts and pieces and making sure we’ve got great communication out there and everybody is on the same page. I think those are two of the real keys we’re looking going into this game.”

(on what jumps out about the Washington defense) “I was with Coach (Jim) Haslett in St. Louis. It was 2006, and he has obviously been a defensive coordinator and a head coach in this league, and a good one for a long time. They’ve got a lot of different things that they do that really make you as a quarterback and really as an offense kind of pay attention to what is going on back there. They’re not going to sit and play one coverage all game. Obviously, a fast, physical team. They’ve got some experience on the back end with Ryan Clark and DeAngelo Hall and some young guys they’re going to sprinkle in to. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.”

WR DeAndre Hopkins
(on opening the offense to start the season) “You know, it’s still a long process ahead. I don’t want to say too much about what we can, but we’ve definitely made progression.”

(on if it feels like they are going to unleash an offense on Sunday) “You could say that just from looking at it. I don’t think any team in the NFL shows too much in the preseason. So you know, you don’t want to give your opponent and upper edge by going out and showing everything you have. We’re going to come out and try and play a complete game on offense, defense and special teams.”

(on how excited he is to get the season started) “I’ve been waiting on this since the last game, since Tennessee game. It’s going to be good to just to go out here and get our feet wet, and we’ve been working hard so I think everybody is ready.”

(on what Ryan Mallett is like on the practice field) “He wouldn’t be in the NFL if he wasn’t a good quarterback. He’s like everybody in the NFL; I don’t think he thinks he’s where he wants to be at. If you ask him, I can’t really speak for Ryan too much.”

(on if it is easy to spot where the ball is coming from because of Ryan Mallett’s height) “When you’ve got defenders on you that doesn’t really matter. You’re trying to shake your defender no matter what.”

(on if it is exciting to unveil with the team has been working on) “Yeah, of course. We’ve been out there working hard. We just want to come out and put a complete four quarters together as an offense.”

QB Ryan Mallett
(opening statement) “First, I’m thankful for the opportunity Mr. (Robert) Kraft and Coach (Bill) Belichick to be a part of that organization, Class A. Now I’m a Texan and ready to keep moving.”

(on his first few days with the Houston Texans) “It’s been a whirlwind. You know, just getting to know everybody, the schedule, the area. It’s been fun. I’m ready to get settled down.”

(on how his relationship with Head Coach Bill O’Brien is making his transition easier) “Knowing him definitely made it easier. Doesn’t change anything as far as professional atmosphere, but it made it easier knowing him before I came here.”

(on the challenges he is facing) “There is a bunch. There is a bunch of different ones. So I’ve just got to take it in stride and try to get better every day. Become a better player and a better teammate.”

(on what he took away from working with Tom Brady) “There are countless things. We’d be here all day if I tried to explain them all. He’s a great person, great teacher, great teammate. That is some of the things that I’ve taken from him.”

(on how did knowing Head Coach Bill O’Brien make his transition to Houston easier) “I knew what he expected coming out of his team. He wants to be good. He wants to be great, so that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s why we go to work every day, pay attention to details and we try to get better every day as a team and keep moving forward.”

(on if there are any similarities to New England’s offense) “There is a few. Just similarities with the playbook, but there is also some differences. I’m just trying to get accompanied to it, just trying to study, keep my head down and keep moving.”

(on if he feels overwhelmed at all) “Not overwhelmed. It’s different. I’ve never done this before. It’s been an interesting event, but it’s fun.”

(on if he feels that he is coming in to compete for a starting spot right now) “I don’t know. I’m out here just trying to get better as a player, as a football player, as a teammate. That is my goal every day.”

(on his experiences with Bill Belichick) “Same thing. Just learning the game from a different aspect. It was a unique perspective to see it and I took a lot of things from that.”

(on dealing with possible trade rumors the past few months) “I didn’t really worry about it. I didn’t have any control over it so I just wanted to become a better player and get better. That is what this game is all about, is getting better. If you get complacent, that is when you see your downfall.”

(on what he thinks he can bring into the quarterback room) “Hopefully leadership. Trying to be a good teammate. Just helping anybody I can with something that I might know.”

(on his previous seasons in the league preparing him for this situation) “I’m glad I’m not a rookie doing this because that would definitely be tough. So being my fourth year, I kind of understand the ins and outs of the league and how it works. It’s definitely helped me in that aspect.”

(on Quarterbacks Coach George Godsey) “Godsey coached me since my rookie year until last year. He was in the same room. Well, he coached the tight ends last year but I mean I knew him. He kind of taught me this offense my first two years, so I know him pretty well.”

(on if being back with George Godsey has helped him transition) “It definitely helped me transition as far as I know what he’s thinking for the most part. When I don’t, I have to ask him.”

(on what he saw from the Washington Redskins after playing and practicing against them in preseason) “You know, I got to practice against them for a week also. So I got to see some different things. Any little things that I’ve got from my notes that I kept in there is stuff that I try to pass around with the guys.”

(on how excited he is to play in this offense) “It’s very exciting to have all of these playmakers. We’ve got a great offensive line. It’s going to be fun to see what happens. Me and Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) are going to try and get them the ball.”

(on how much attention he paid to the Houston Texans the past few seasons) “Not really at all. Not at all. You know, being in that program up there it is about the Patriots and the process of getting better rand the process of improvement.”

(on if he was surprised when he saw the talent in the Texans’ locker room) “I knew they had talent, but I didn’t know how much.”

(on what he learned about being a pro in the past three years) “That is changes every day. There is something that you can get better at every day. Complacency will kill you.”

S D.J. Swearinger
(on Robert Griffin III) “He’s a good guy, great guy, great quarterback. He’s got a strong arm. He throws the deep ball very accurate, so we’ve got to be good on that. They’ve got a lot of speed at receiver, so we’ve got to be on our point.”

(on how important it will be to get the taste of losing out in the regular season) “It’s going to feel great. We prepare like we’re supposed to prepare and get the W on Sunday, it’s going to feel great. It’s just going to be a starting point thought. Do what we’ve got to do on Sunday and move on to the next opponent.”

(on how motivated he is by the people doubting the team) “If nobody wasn’t doubting you, you wouldn’t be doing something right. The doubters are going to be the doubters, the haters are going to be the haters, you know what I mean? You’ve got to take that with a grain of salt and just do your job. It really doesn’t matter what other people think. It only matters what you come into work and do. We’ll put that on display on Sunday.”

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