Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on the roster cuts and if the defensive line will eventually need one more player) "I would say that anytime you have to release guys that've put a lot of work into it and given you everything they've had, you could go down the list of names that we released, every guy really put time into this thing. These things are tough, but the rule says you have to get down to 53 and a 10 man practice squad and that's what we did. Every decision is made in the best interest of the team. Every position is evaluated on a week to week basis including the practice squad. It's always evaluated. This'll be probably the 53 that we go into the first week with here, but those things can change. But this is the best 53 that we feel like we have right now."
(on putting QB Tom Savage on IR) "That's a tough decision. We felt like the length of the injury, he got driven into the turf pretty good so his shoulder, even though it didn't require surgery, it's his throwing shoulder. It was going to be a six week or longer injury, so based on first of all the player, what's in the best interest of the player, that's what we think about first and then what's in the best interest of the team, that's the decision we made."
(on if G Xavier Su'a-Filo is back this week) "He's practicing. He was out there today."
(on how G Xavier Su'a-Filo looked) "You know like I always tell you, I've got to watch the practice tape but so far it looked like he was playing left guard and moving okay."
(on if he feels okay about T Duane Brown going into week one) "I do. I do."
(on if there will be any limitations with T Duane Brown) "Nope."
(on if T Duane Brown will play with a cast on his hand) "That'll be something we have to determine as the week goes on."
(on what his mindset is right now and his expectations for the season) "The Chiefs. The Kansas City Chiefs."
(on saying 'almost is not good enough' on Hard Knocks) "The Kansas City Chiefs."
(on the three undrafted players who made the 53-man roster and what he liked about them) "Well, I'm not going to get into an evaluation of all three of them but I will say that they all improved at their own positions. They play tough football. They learned every day, they came to practice every day, they fought through things, and you know, at the end of the day like I said, at this point in time we feel like this is the best 53, but it's constantly under evaluation but right now we felt like those guys were part of our 53."
(on LS Jon Weeks receiving a contract extension) "Very valuable guy on the team. Long snappers that are really good like him are hard to find, and I think one of the things that people probably don't know about him is how hard he works. He's in here very early in the morning, 5:30, quarter to six in the morning, working out in the weight room, trying to perfect his snapping, his craft, in the weight room, early on the practice field, always watching tape. He's kind of the captain of that line, that punt protection line as far as directing it and making calls along with the personal protectors. He's a very valuable guy and we're happy to have him."
(on if the mindset of a team changes from preseason to regular season) "Definitely. The schedule changes, that's the first thing that changes. You go from practicing in the morning to now you're in a regular season routine where guys are in the building by 7 (a.m.), we're meeting at 7:30, squad meeting at 8, walk thru, practice at a different time, 12:45. Everything's a little bit different and you're getting ready for an opponent. Now everything is detailed to that opponent. It's a game plan offense, game plan defense, game plan special teams, so everything we're doing is game plan for Kansas City and they're a very, very good football team, got players across the board, great coaching staff, so it's a very, very big challenge for our team."
(on what it's like first day of Hard Knocks cameras not being in the building) "Probably in my 45 years, probably one of the best days of my life, next to the birth of my children and my wedding, I guess. No offense to Hard Knocks though."
(on what he expects out of WR DeAndre Hopkins) "We have high expectations for DeAndre. He has high expectations for himself. He's a guy that came back for early training camp because of the injury that he had, the surgery that he had over the offseason. So we brought him back to make sure he's okay and he took off from there. He's had a really good preseason out on the practice field. He hasn't played a whole lot in the preseason for obvious reasons to me, that's in the best interest of the team, but in the New Orleans game I thought he made some big plays. He's a guy that we're really counting on to have a really good year and we believe that he will."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney is ahead of schedule) "I don't know if he's ahead, I'll say this, I like where Clowney's at. I like where Clowney's at. I think coming back from that injury, I do think there's a certain day to day concept to him. I think that he's got to go out there and he's done that. He's strung days together, got to go out there again on Wednesday, tomorrow they're off, and continue to practice and get ready for the Chiefs. I like where he's at right now."
(on if how much OLB Jadeveon Clowney plays will be determined on how much he can handle and how he does) "Yeah I think so. I think we've got to be smart about that. I think if it's 75 play game, 80 play game, I don't think that's the amount of snaps he can play in the game. He hasn't played football in a long time. Just by the nature of coming back from being out for a while, I think we've got to put a little pitch count on him. I'm not sure what that is yet, but we'll figure that out."
(on RB Arian Foster's progress) "You know, Arian is doing well. Relative to the injury that he has and the prognosis early on, I would say he's ahead of that. Again like I always say to people, I reserve the right to change my mind. As it stands today, I believe that he's really working hard to get back. He's a very hard working guy right now in that training room and I think he'll be back sooner rather than later relative to what the early prognosis was."
(on if he has a timetable for RB Arian Foster's return) "No."
(on how he feels about OLB Jadeveon Clowney from a mental standpoint and his understanding of the playbook) "Yeah, that's a great question. I've always felt good about him mentally. You know, as far as the X's and O's. He's a very bright football player. If you sit in, I kind of go around to the different position meetings and when I sit in the linebacker meeting, Mike (Vrabel), like the other coaches do, they fire questions at these guys. When he fires questions at Jadeveon, the guy knows the answers. Our defense, it's not always the easiest thing to pick that thing up, especially when you're not practicing. Clearly, he has good football intelligence. The game will be fast, we understand that. He hasn't played in a while. I think where he is X's and O's-wise is in a good place."
(on keeping S Lonnie Ballentine on the 53 man roster) "Well, it was a tough decision. Lonnie's a good guy. He's worked hard. He's had some unfortunate injuries. He's been hurt. He's had muscle pulls. He's had a couple of knee issues, nothing major. Nothing that required surgery, but just, you know, he's been hurt. We wanted to give him some more time. That's what we decided to do. When he's been in there, he's done a good job. That's what we saw, so we want to give him some more time. Eventually with all these guys, with everybody, not just Lonnie, but eventually every guy, eventually, I don't know what the timetable is on each individual guy, they got to do it on the field. They've got to do it on the field eventually. Hopefully, all these guys will do it sooner rather than later."
(on how much he has shaped the roster with his type of players) "I'll say this, I like our locker room. I think we've got a bunch of hardworking guys in there, competitive guys. We work very hard at practice. I know everybody does, I'm not saying we have the market cornered on hard work. I'm just saying that we demand a lot of these guys. They put the time in. They compete. They've done everything we've asked them to do, these 53 - these 63 guys. We've added a couple of guys over the last couple of days. Primarily, the 53 to 60 guys that have been here, they've really worked hard. I do like the chemistry of the locker room, but it's kind of like the answer I just gave over here. Eventually, you got to do it on the field. Until you do it on the field and win consistently, then it is what it is. But I do like where our team is right now."
(on some of the prospects on Texas A&M playing at NRG Stadium this past weekend) "I don't know if I'm allowed to comment on those guys. I would love to. I'll say this, what a great, great crowd. I'll say this, I think I'm allowed to say this, it was a great win for Texas A&M. You know what I noticed, too, is what a great home crowd that is. I told our team this morning, like 'we have to really take advantage of our home crowd.' We've got a great home crowd. You could see that with the A&M people here. Now with the Texans fans on Sunday, that's a great place to play football."
(on the main difference between RB Jonathan Grimes and RB Chris Polk) "Well, I think you got to take into account a lot of different things there. It's not only their skillset in the backfield, its special teams. Both these guys have really shown to us on special teams, whether it was coverage teams or return units, that they could help us. Grimes did it last year. Polk's done it since he's arrived here. Same with (Alfred) Blue. So we have some guys there that maybe have different skill sets in the backfield, Grimes being predominately a third down back. I think Polk can do three down things. I think Grimes in certain personnel groupings can play on first and second down, but they give us a lot on special teams and that was a big part of the decision, too."
(on the Chiefs moving Eric Fisher to right tackle and other changes on the offensive line) "You're going to have to go back and try to watch some games, watch some times when they've done that. You know, it'll be hard to find because it hasn't happened a whole lot, but you're going to have to go back and try to find that. I will say this, this is a very potent offense that we're facing. You've got guys like Jamaal Charles, Jeremy Maclin, (Travis) Kelce, the tight end, (Jason) Avant, returners in the return game, Knile Davis and De'Anthony Thomas. These guys have speed, obviously. I'm not even mentioning Alex Smith. Alex Smith is a really good quarterback, a mobile quarterback, a guy that can run. We've got a big challenge ahead of us. They've got big, athletic offensive lineman. We've got to study where they're at and try to do the best we can to combat that on Sunday."
(on having to block Chiefs OLB Justin Houston and OLB Tamba Hali this weekend) "Very difficult. As it relates to Tamba Hali, I've called plays against him in the past and it's not easy. It's not easy. We had a – I think it was a Monday night or a Sunday night game in New England where it was a tough night. I think we won the game, but it wasn't because Hali didn't pressure the quarterback. He was in there and he's a very difficult assignment to block. The same can be said about Justin Houston. I mean, these guys are electric off the edge. They're athletic. They're tough. They're 3-4 outside linebackers that can play (defensive) ends in sub-packages, so a big, big challenge for our tackles, for our tight ends, for our backs, everybody. It's going to be a big challenge for our guys."
(on if practices are enough for the guys like DE J.J. Watt, NT Vince Wilfork, and CB Johnathan Joseph who didn't play in preseason) "I think our practices have been very intense, very competitive. These guys know how to practice. You're talking about guys that have played 12 years, 10 years, five years, whatever it is. They know how to play the game. They practice very hard. They take quality reps out there. It's not a matter of ramping them up, they'll be ready to play on Sunday."
(on what the team needs to do to fix their running game after struggling in the preseason) "I think that we have to do a better job of everybody understanding the run. That goes from the quarterback, to the line, to the tight end, and then obviously to the back. Everybody is seeing the front through the same set of eyes. Quarterback getting us into the right play. Lineman going to the right people. Back taking the proper steps, making the right reads. I think it's a real team effort there. When I said in the preseason that I wasn't thrilled, I don't if I'm ever - you know, you're never satisfied with anything. I think in the regular season, it's a whole different ballgame. There's a lot of different things that we're going to do. A lot of different things the Chiefs are going to do that no one's even seen in the preseason. So, it's a matter of having a great week of practice. We have an extra day here today, so hopefully we'll take advantage of that and have a good week."
(on if QB Brian Hoyer is where he wants him to be to start the season) "Brian has progressed every day. He's had a good – his last two or three weeks of camp have been very good. He's been accurate. He's been smart with the ball. He knows our offense. He's got leadership qualities that we like. A very, very hard working guy. He's in here all the time. It's very important to him. That's who we're going with."
T Duane Brown
(on how he feels about playing this weekend vs. the Chiefs) "I'm doing pretty good. Still taking it a day at a time. That's about it."
(on if he is confident he will play this weekend vs. the Chiefs) "Yeah, I am. Like I said, it's been progressing pretty well. We'll just see. One day at a time. That's about all I'm doing."
(on if he will wear a cast) "Not sure yet. I'm not sure what steps we're going to take in that matter."
(on not sounding confident he will play this weekend vs. the Chiefs) "I'm confident."
(on what he would have to do to protect his thumb during games) "I'll get the job done. I wouldn't go out there if I couldn't get the job done. That's the bottom line."
(on starting the season going against good pass rushers) "They have a challenging defense, some very good pass rushers. But I've faced a lot of good pass rushers. I've faced both of them before. We have a great game plan going into it on how to battle them."
(on Chiefs OLB Justin Houston) "He's a very instinctive guy, very crafty, strong, plays with great leverage, really good with his hands. Tamba Hali has a great motor. He rushes until the end of the whistle, the echo of the whistle, and a very physical player. Both of them are pretty different in their styles of play, but very effective and very productive. You really have to take care of those two guys in order to be efficient on offense."
(on if he is concerned about the injury being long-term) "I'm not worried about that. I'm doing everything I can to play this week. This week is important to me. That's all I'm thinking about."
(on the regular season starting) "It feels great. To come in here and have a regular season schedule, you know, a game plan, know it's counting this week. This is what we've been working for, the regular season, accumulating as many wins as possible and it starts this week. It's a very tough test for us as a team. I'm really excited to be able to play in front of our home crowd. I'm excited about it."
(on how he views this team) "I think we have a lot of ability. We have great leadership. Guys have a great sense of their role on the team. We just have to go out and get the job done. We've all been working extremely hard, back from OTAs and through training camp. Just have to put it all together. It starts Sunday."
WR DeAndre Hopkins
(on what he sees himself doing this season) "The team comes first so that's the first thing I can think about right now. I can't really think about accolades for myself besides winning. Those accolades for me will come after that."
(on what goals he's set for himself this season) "Zero drops. That's my goal. Small goals, no yards, no touchdowns or anything like that. That'll happen. Just go out there and play hard."
(on how much better he can be than last season) "A lot better. This is my second year in the offense so I feel like I'm only improving."
(on what ways he feels like he can do better) "Just knowledge of this offense, defensive coverages, being where I'm supposed to be, when the quarterback wants to be there or not, just little things like my depth and running the right route."
(on if it helps the receivers to know who the starting quarterback is) "Yeah, it does. The chemistry helps out a lot. We were going through two quarterbacks, it wasn't really messing with the timing but those guys do different things so you were kind of on edge on how you should run your route. Now we have a starter, it helps out a lot."
(on being three years in and knowing more about opposing teams) "I know most of the guys that I'm going to be going against because I've seen them in the past. The only thing that might be different is the defensive coverages that they're running. I kind of have their tendencies down and I'm still studying them so I don't feel like I've got a grasp on them all the way."
(on if it feels good to finally be in game week) "Oh yeah, man. This is what we've been practicing for. OTAs, training camp, all that for this one game coming up."
(on if he feels pressure now that they're counting on him so much) "No, I don't really feel the pressure at all. I've never really been the number one wide receiver, but I don't really feel any pressure. This is what I play for. This is what I come to work every day to be, the guy that they can go to every play. I don't feel any pressure at all."
(on if he feels responsibility now that he's the number one receiver) "Yeah, oh yeah. Without a doubt."
(on if he takes a lot of pride in that) "Oh yeah, for sure. Being with a guy like Andre (Johnson) who was the number one receiver here for years, kind of seeing the things that he did and how he handled that position, it helped."
(on what it means for him to be the number one guy now) "It depends what you say 'the guy' is. I feel like I've got receivers here to help me out. They've been 'that guy' with teams they've been on. I don't really consider myself 'the guy' quite yet."
(on what it's like to get attached to some of the guys who didn't make the 53-man roster) "We probably had the deepest group I would say. Probably it was the hardest cuts for them to make because we had guys like EZ (Nwachukwu) who were making plays here and it was a toss-up. You didn't really know who was going to go. It's hard seeing guys that you've been here with. I've been here with guys since last year and seeing them get cut and hopefully they make a team. It's hard because you build relationships and friendships with these people off the field and then they're gone. It's hard but I think we've got a great 53-man roster right now and I don't think it's easy for them and that's credit to the guys that were here working, not making that job easy for them."
(on what he learned from former Texans WR Andre Johnson that's going to serve him well this season) "Just his leadership and his mentality. He really wasn't a guy that's going to go out there and talk a lot, but he was going to go out there and prove with his actions and play hard and practice hard every day."
CB Kareem Jackson
(on the Chiefs offense) "Very explosive. They've got some guys that are very explosive, Jamaal Charles, signed (Jeremy) Maclin over the offseason. Got a couple other guys very explosive as well. For us, we just have to limit the big plays, stay on top in coverage. We have to be great tacklers in this game as well."
(on how critical it is that the Texans defense doesn't let Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles have big plays) "Very critical. He's a major part of their offense. Offense definitely runs through him. They'll give him the ball any kind of way they can, handing the ball off, he'll split out, be a receiver, screens, however they need to get him the ball to get the job done. For us we definitely have to limit him. Any chance we get we have to hit him. Like you said, we have to be great tacklers."
(on what kind of problem Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles creates in space) "He's a big problem. He can make you miss and he definitely has the speed to take it the distance. For us we definitely have to tackle well as a group. We have to fly to the ball. Once we get there, we have to make him pay."
(on how excited he is to see this defense more than just on paper) "Very interested, excited, like you said, it looks pretty good on paper for us but we just have to go out and we have to do it. I mean anybody could look good on paper, but it's one thing to go out and compete, go out and do the things you're supposed to do as a defense. For us it's all about communicating and us being on the same page. I think we can go out there and we can be as good as any group out there."
(on what his biggest takeaway was from what he did see in the preseason from the guys who didn't make the cut) "I mean definitely had some guys who are capable of playing in this league. It's just how it happens sometimes. Unfortunately you can't keep everybody. You have to get down to the 53. That's the name of the game. Every year it happens. Every year you see some guys that go that could have still been here in that locker room, but at the end of the day the coaches did the best job they could of getting us down to the 53. Every guy in this locker room definitely deserves to be here. We're going to move forward with that, go out there and prepare for Kansas City. That's behind us and like I said that's just how it is."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on the first regular season game) "Obviously we're looking forward to Kansas City, great team. So we're just ready to get to practicing and get started."
(on how he assesses the readiness of this team) "You know obviously with a new roster set each and every year is a new team, I think guys just have to stay focused and just take it one day at a time and don't look too far ahead. Obviously today is our first day of preparation, just kind of get acclimated to the way the season rolls for the young guys, and the veteran guys we've just got to lead the young guys and show them the ropes."
(on if the dynamic changes going into regular season mode) "I don't really think so. I just think guys definitely have to be more focused because in training camp it's more of a training camp mode and a grind mode. Now we're more into preparation, putting more emphasis into certain situations and certain things. I think that changes in itself."
(on WR DeAndre Hopkins) "I think he's a big time playmaker, works extremely hard in practice, challenges me and the rest of the defensive backs in practice. I think it's been well for him and I think he's had a great preseason. I think overall it's not just really about one guy, it's just about the system and the plays that are being called. I really can't speak so much for those guys over there but I know the challenge he brings for me each and every day in practice. I try to make him better as well, the same that he does for me."
(on if WR DeAndre Hopkins has made the cornerbacks better) "No question. I think since I've been here, he's a young guy with a lot of springs in his legs, a lot of juice. He can run all day and doesn't really get tired. That's a challenge in itself. He has really strong hands and doesn't really drop many passes. Anytime in practice when we're facing against him, we're always trying to get the ball out or fight for the ball just because he's a dynamic receiver and it's a challenge for us each and every day."
(on WR DeAndre Hopkins' goal this season being no drops) "I think obviously because he knows he's going to get the ball thrown his way probably. Overall a big goal in this league is to take care of the simple things and I think dropping the ball sometimes tends to be forgotten about, everyone overlooks that. I think he's done a great job just from my time going against him here in training camp."
(on if this week feels different or special even after all his years in the league) "Always. Anytime you're on an NFL roster and you have another chance to put the jersey on, you have to be excited. Obviously with the season opener being at home, you're in your own place and own field, you have to have your juices flowing a little bit. But I think you can't get too overly excited or it'll overwhelm you a little bit, you just have to take it in stride."
(on if he's excited to finally play after sitting the preseason out) "No question. Obviously to get out there with your teammates and go through training camp and things like that, and not playing some of the preseason games, to finally suit up for your opener at home, I think it's big."
(on if he's excited to see what this defense can do since he, J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork didn't play in the preseason) "I have no idea. We look good on paper. Obviously you have to go out there and get it done in the games. I think the veteran guys like I said earlier have to go out and lead the way and show the young guys we have to take it from the classroom to the practice field and obviously you go out there on Sunday and let the chips fall where they may."
(on the process of getting down to the 53-man roster) "That's the way the league operates. I think the more and more you're around this league, you tend to see stranger things happen. You have to put the business side aside because at the end of the day, some of the guys that were shown the door still are your friends outside of football, so you can't get caught up in it that way. I think anytime you have competition at positions to where you lose good guys, guys that are capable of making other teams, I think overall it helps your team out."
P Shane Lechler
(on LS Jon Weeks receiving a four-year extension) "I was excited for him, man. He deserved every bit of it. It's good, he's set. He knows where he's going to be for the next four years, which is very comforting for a player. You still got to earn it every year, but with him having a new contract extension, it's good. I'm happy for him."
(on what sets LS Jon Weeks apart from other long snappers) "Just his work ethic. I mean, his work ethic and nobody is going to be harder on himself than Jon is. He critiques every snap that he has and he's good with it. He works hard. He's ready to go. He knows the playbook, knows what we need to do on any given time. I'm proud of him. He's a good teammate and a good player."
(on LS Jon Weeks' accuracy) "His accuracy is very good. Whenever we're talking about him missing his spot, we're talking about four to five inches. We're not talking feet. Anybody that can zone it in like that is a high talent."
(on how LS Jon Weeks' consistency helps him) "It makes it easy for me. It lets me kind of – not relax, but it lets me know that Weeks is going to put it right there, don't worry about that part. It kind of takes one step of the process out for me. I know where the ball is going to be and I trust him with that."
(on the team getting ready to start the season) "We're excited. We're going to find out a whole lot about ourselves on Sunday. We're excited about it. We got a good Chiefs team coming in here for sure. I know I've watched a lot of their preseason stuff. I know what (Chiefs Head Coach) Andy (Reid) has done in the past with this teams. They're going to be good. They're going to be ready to go, so we'll find out."
(on if the dynamic changes heading into the regular season) "No. I mean, I've been playing a long time. I always look forward to the first regular season game because preseason can kind of get old after a while, to be honest with you. You know, (Head Coach) Bill (O'Brien) is probably not done with the – I guess you'd say the lineup, but that's him. We're working towards something Sunday and we're looking forward to it."
QB Tom Savage
(on learning his season was over) "It was tough. I really worked hard this offseason to be out there, but it's a decision that coach had to make."
(on if he will be able to throw in a couple months) "I don't know. You'll have to talk to coach about that. I don't know what their plan is yet."
(on when he will be able to practice) "Yeah, they haven't told me anything yet."
(on one play ending his season) "That's just the name of the game. Things happen like that. I think there's a lot bigger problems in the world than that, but at the same time, it's unfortunate. I'll just recover and get back."
(on the progress he made this preseason) "Yeah, I think this year has been, obviously, a huge jump for me, but I got to just keep growing and get better each year."
(on how much he will use this season to build on his progress) "Nothing from a preparation standpoint is going to change. I'm going to keep preparing like I'm starting. I'll just keep going out there and doing whatever I can to help out Brian (Hoyer), and (Ryan) Mallett, and Zac (Dysert). We'll see where it goes."
(on not being able to play) "Obviously, I'd rather be out there as anybody would. But I'm just going to try and take advantage of it."
(on if he thought that play would end his season) "No, no. I mean, it hurt."
(on if he will rest and rehab) "Yeah, yeah. We're kind of developing a plan now, so we'll see what happens."
(on if it is a concern long-term) "No, I think I'm going to be ready to go."
OLB Carlos Thompson
(on what he was doing Friday and Saturday on cut down day) "Really, Friday and Saturday I was just staying by my phone, just waiting and praying. Just hoping for the best outcome, just being patient and God answered our prayers."
(on what he feels like he showed the coaches that helped him make the team) "Well I know one thing I can say is just giving effort, 100 percent effort every play. Whether you mess up or whether you know what to do, just going hard regardless. Sometimes 100 percent can correct a play or mistakes. So just giving my all."
(on if he likes special teams) "I love special teams."
(on if he can do kickoff team, punt team, etc.) "All of it. My goal is to try to do all of it, help out any way I can. Any way they feel like I can fit, I want to perfect my craft at that position. Just go at it."
LS Jon Weeks
(on how it feels to receive a four-year extension with the Texans) "Amazing. It feels fantastic. I worked really hard to get where I've gotten today and for them to offer me that was a blessing."
(on if he feels like he can be an inspiration for people) "I think each one of us has a unique story on how we've gotten here. Everyone's journey is different, whether it's through the draft or, in my situation, I was out of football for a couple years. I don't think I'm an inspiration. I just – if I can give any kind of advice, it's just to keep working hard. I knew I was capable of playing at this level and I just put in the work and the work has paid off."
(on if he was concerned going into the last year of his contract) "No, I was never worried. The contract was the farthest thing from my mind. I was just focusing on the season. I was excited to get out there this weekend with those guys and get ready to play. The rest of that stuff I don't worry about. That's stuff I don't even pretend to understand. I just enjoy playing football, so that's all I was here to do."
(on P Shane Lechler) "Shane's just – there's just so many good things to say about him. I'll try to keep it quiet since he's right behind me. He's just a true professional. He shows you how to handle yourself every day in the locker room. He's a great locker room guy and a fantastic specialist. He's going to be one of the best punters ever. He's been a true help and a blessing for me."