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Texans Transcripts: Bill O'Brien

Posted May 27, 2014

Texans head coach Bill O'Brien spoke to the media on Tuesday.

Houston Texans Transcripts
Head Coach Bill O’Brien
OTA #1 – Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
(on his thoughts on the first day of OTAs) “It’s exciting. It was an exciting day, a lot of good competition. Guys are really working hard. Not everything is perfect. They are still getting used to our practice tempo and things like that, but I thought the guys really competed hard and were being good teammates, were coachable, which is all you can ask for.”

(on the advantages and disadvantages of practicing inside due to the weather) “Yeah, I really want to stay outside. But in the offseason, and I talked about this this morning, you only have 13 opportunities. You have 10 and three with the mandatory one the third week of June. I don’t really want to miss any of those opportunities because we’re slipping out there and things like that. Obviously, there was also lightning in the distance I guess so we decided to come inside. Ideally, we would like to be outside. I thought it went pretty well for being inside.”

(on if teaching is what OTAs are for as a first-year head coach) “Yeah, I think that OTAs are for a few things. I think that as a staff, we can set the tone as far as our philosophy, as far as our practice tempo and then obviously to teach systems offensively, defensively and on special teams. I really believe that our guys are getting a lot out of that and we’ve been together now for seven weeks. We started April 7 and then had one week off in there but basically seven weeks, and we’ve gotten a lot accomplished. Everything is kind of ramping up towards training camp. We’ll get a little bit of a break between OTAs and training camp, but I think it’s about philosophy, teaching them our program football-wise the way we do things, our practice tempo and then obviously the systems offensively, defensively and on special teams.”

(on the importance of tempo) “I think it’s really important because a game is played at such a fast pace. The game is really played at a fast pace. I’m not talking about running a lot of plays. I’m talking about the pace of the game. In the National Football League, there are 70-75 plays per game and the games are run efficiently and they go fast. We’ve got to be ready for that tempo. You can’t get that exact tempo in a practice. You try to. I think there are a lot of things that you can do to ramp up the intensity in practice and we try to do those things and the guys have really fallen in line and done a good job with that.”

(on his philosophy on player injuries) “My main philosophy on that is I really don’t want to talk about the injury until I know what it is. A lot of times when I come off the field, people will ask me about the injury but I haven’t even spoken to Kap (head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan) or anybody about that injury. As we move forward, I’ll follow the rules of the National Football League and when the injury reports are supposed to come out, I’ll put them out. I think the thing about injuries, to me, it’s very personal to that player. To come in here and just start right away talking about injuries, without knowing too much about it, is probably the wrong thing to do as it relates to the players. I always try to do what’s best for the player.”

(on if his time at Penn State influence the way he used tempo in practice and in games) “I would say that our view of tempo has involved, especially those of us who were in New England. We were a huddle team in New England. We were always a huddle team in New England, but the last few years I was there, we incorporated more no-huddle and different tempos of no-huddle. When I left there and went to Penn State, I found that the tempo that we ran at Penn State, the kids loved it. It wasn’t that difficult to teach. Now, obviously in the National Football League, it’s a lot more expansive than college football. We’ll continue to change our tempo. We believe in doing that and I think it helps our defense too. It helps their communication and right now we’re not playing as fast as we’re going to play, but we’re going to continue to try and get better and better.”

(on if the rookies who spent last year on IR are like rookies again or if they have a little bit of an advantage having been here one season) “I think you’d have to ask them that and how they feel about that. I know that all these players, everyone on the team, whether they were second-year last year or first-year last year and going into their second year, or maybe they’re going into their 10th year, it’s new just because the systems are new. The way we do things are new. In that regard, everybody is new. The coaches are trying to get to know the players. The players are learning the systems. Like I said, we’ve been together for seven weeks. It’s gone pretty well to this point. I wouldn’t separate out who is new and who is not new. I think everybody is kind of new to each other and trying to get on the same page.”

(on if it holds the offense back not having Andre Johnson at OTAs) “Again like I said last week, I’ll let Andre speak for himself. I said last week that he and I have had positive conversations. I have a ton of respect for him. We’d love to him here right now, but that’s up to him. Again, we’re moving forward with the players that are here. These guys that are here are working extremely hard.”

(on how the rookies and veterans have retained what they’ve been taught thus far) “I think there is a definite separation. The rookies, it’s hard, because you’re going form college football to pro football and that’s a big jump, especially as far as systems go and learning X’s and O’s and the details of each play. That’s a different deal. As far as the veterans are concerned, I’ve been very pleased with the way that they’ve studied on their own and come back from one week to the next and you can tell over the weekend that they have studied and come back and been ready to go with the material that we had been teaching them. Then we can put new things in and I’ve been pleased with the veterans.”

(on what impresses him about Romeo Crennel) “His demeanor. His knowledge of the game. His ability to talk to his players and talk to his fellow coaches, his ability to communicate. His ability to listen. Personally, it’s been great to have him here because he’s been a head coach. He’s sat in the seat that I’m sitting in. That’s always good, in my opinion, to have a guy on the staff that has been there and gone through some things and you can’t bounce ideas off of him. It would be hard to bounce off somebody that hasn’t been in that situation. He’s a really bright guy and I’ve been able to get to know him over the last six months and I’ve really enjoyed coaching with him.”

(on how Ryan Fitzpatrick is learning the offense) “He’s doing a good job. I tell you, they’re all doing a good job. It’s not easy to learn a new offense, especially when you’ve been around awhile. When you’ve been around 10 years and you’ve been in systems at Buffalo and Tennessee and St. Louis and so on and so forth. So you’ve had to re-tool the way that you learn, and then including the guys that have been here T.J. (Yates) and Case (Keenum), those two guys have put a lot of time in. I’ve seen a lot of improvement every day with that whole group.”

(on how he makes sure to give the eventual starting quarterback enough reps to succeed during the season without having an incumbent quarterback on the roster) “I think initially, in this part of the year, you have to make sure that the reps are equal and you’ve also got to make sure that each guy gets a chance to rep with the starters or the guys that are running with the first team. I think that’s important, too. So we try to do that. We try to make sure that we have equal reps and that at some point, whether it’s two weeks from now, three weeks from now, two months from now when we get to training camp, we’ll make a determination on who gets the most reps to get them ready for the game. But we’re not there right now. We’ve got to continue to give these guys an equal amount of reps and give them a shot.”

(on if the quarterback competition is wide open right now) “Yeah, it’s wide open. These guys are good guys. They’ve been fun to coach. George Godsey has done a great job with them. I think they’ve enjoyed learning this offense and they’re competing. It looks like there’s good chemistry in the room, which is important the quarterback room. I’ve been impressed with these guys, the way they work at it. The positions on this team to me, that’s what the NFL is about. You’ve got to compete every day and you have to try to get better every single day no matter really what position you play because there is always somebody there to take your position. That’s the nature of the league. That’s the competitiveness of the league, so it doesn’t change from position to position.”

(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick has a lot on his plate trying to teach the younger players behind him while also learning the offense) “I don’t think he’s at the teaching stage yet. I think he’s learning it. But you know those Harvard guys. I’m a Brown guy, so. He’s doing a good job and he does do a good job, seriously, with Tom (Savage). I’d say Case (Keenum) and T.J. (Yates) do also, just kind of talking to Tom in the background and I think that’s going well. But I think they’re all learning. Their main job is to learn from day-to-day what we’re doing.”

(on the interaction between the rookies and veterans at OTAs and if the rookies are acting different with the veterans out there) “I’m sure for the rookies today there was a little bit of nervousness, no questions about it. You’re on the same field now in a practice-type setting with the veterans. We eased them into that process last week with involving them in the coaching sessions. We kept them separate as far as lifting weights went but we incorporated them into the coaching sessions and I think that’s gone well, kind of easing them into where they are now, where we’re all together. But again, you’d have to ask the rookies. I could sense there was a little bit of nervousness, excitement that they were out there with these guys. A lot of these guys have played a lot of football. To me, for us as coaches, it’s a very exciting time of the year because you get to see everybody out there together and running the different things that we’re going to ask them to run. It’s an exciting time of the year.”

(on how comfortable he is with Arian Foster) “He came in today and looked like he was in good health. I’m comfortable with where he’s at.”

(on if Arian Foster is able to do everything on the field needed of him and if his back is fine) “Yeah.”

(on how the transition from college to pro football has gone for Jadeveon Clowney) “I think for any rookie, it’s very difficult to make the jump from college to the pros. At this point in time, for all these guys, they’re all kind of in the same boat. It doesn’t really matter whether they were drafted number one or they were undrafted. They’re all in the same boat of trying to learn, keep up with the pace of the veterans and for JD, he’s learning a little bit of a new position right now. We’ll incorporate him back into some of the things he did in college but right now we’re teaching the 3-4 and he’s having to learn a whole new position. I think he’s doing a decent job. He’s working hard at it and that’s just what he needs to keep doing.”

(on how fluid positions like outside linebacker is and the changes some of the players will have to make) “I think every position, with the exception of quarterback, punter, place kicker, long snapper are fluid. They have to be able to play multiple roles. This is way in the future here, but when you can only have 46 guys on a game day roster, the phrase ‘The more you can do,’ is a really important phrase. A lot of these guys, no matter what position they play, they’re going to do multiple things. They’re going to be maybe the third corner and they’re going to be on all four special teams. Maybe they’re going to play outside linebacker to start but they’re backup inside linebacker also and then they’re going to be on all special teams. Everybody’s a part of a fluid situation at the position because we’re asking guys to learn multiple roles.”

(on how hard it is to weigh picking up talented players off waivers and teaching them his system versus having players who have already spent time at OTAs and mini-camps learning his system) “I think any decision that’s made, whether it’s along that line of thinking or in the draft, or free agency, or play-calling or play design, it’s always made in the best interest of the team. What is the best thing for the football team? What’s the best thing that puts us in the best position to win? When we can answer those questions, we try to make those decisions based on the answers to those questions. That’s way down the road but anything we do here decision-wise, will always be in the best interest of the team in our minds.”

(on when he hopes to see Brian Cushing out on the field) “Brian’s doing well. He’s working hard and I’m not sure. I’m not a doctor. I don’t know when he’ll be back. I’ve gotten to know Brian and he’s a hard-working guy and an important part of this football team and eventually he’ll be back for us.”

(on if it’s the same thing with Johnathan Joseph) “Yeah. Those guys will be back, I can tell you that. They’ll be back.”

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