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DeMeco Drops: "I love to see our guys swarming"


Head Coach DeMeco Ryans

On what has impressed him the most about QB C.J. Stroud since he first arrived

"C.J. [Stroud] – the thing that has impressed me the most is his dedication to being as best as he can possibly be. He puts the work in – not only when he's here, of course, everybody does that – that's given. But what you see about C.J. – the work and the preparation that he does when he's not here. He's a true football junkie – loves football, always watching football, always asking for extra cutups from our coaches. So, I'm just impressed with the mental part of him and just how much he loves the game of football. When your guy has that much love for the game of football, he has no chance but to continue to get better and improve. That's what I've seen with him from OTAs until now, each day he's done what we've asked, and he's gotten better each and every day. He's just continuing to keep his head down and just grind. He's not worried about what reps he gets, who he's out there with. He's just worried about maximizing his rep and that's what I ask for from everyone."

On how TE Dalton Schultz is doing after getting shaken up

"Just a bang-bang play, he'll be fine."

On what areas he's seen QB C.J. Stroud get better in

"With C.J. [Stroud], I've seen – just from the command of the huddle – and that's the start of it all. With college players now, a lot of it is looking to the sideline and they see a signal or a picture and that's their play. But here, we're asking them to operate from a huddle – which is new. Get in and make play calls – play calls can be long or lengthy sometimes and there's a lot of different terminology there that you have to learn. So that, you just have to start off right. So, get in the command of the play call, command of the huddle. Seeing him grow in that area has been really good."

On if he has seen his imprint on this defense swarming to the ball

"That's what we want from this defense – the swarm. I love to see our guys swarming. That's what it's all about. With our defense, it's really not about me. It's about the players out there who are doing the work and when you see guys like Jimmie Ward, Jalen Pitre, Christian Harris, 'Sting' [Derek Stingley Jr.] making plays and guys are focused and intent on being deliberate, of attacking the ball – that's what Houston Texans defense will look like."

On how he's feeling about the linebacker competition right now

"Competition is tight at the linebacker spot. A lot of good players there and guys are really – they're starting to gel as a group. They're playing well together. They're making plays each and every day. I'm excited to where that group can take off and be. So, all those guys, they're doing a really good job. Coach Kiffin is doing a great job coaching them."

On how QB C.J. Stroud has managed the offensive playbook

"With the playbook, it hasn't been an issue. He knows the reads, knows the progressions, where he should go. He's making the proper decisions with the ball, so the playbook is not an issue at all."

On if there's anyone who has stood out to him these last few days

"No real surprises. One thing I can see in camp, it always reverts back to OTAs, and one thing I've seen from OTAs and from camp is those same guys who showed up at OTAs, they're continuing to show up in camp. If you're going to be a really good team in the NFL, you have to be consistent. So, for me to see that consistency from guys like Noah Brown, Dalton Schultz, Tank Dell. To see their consistency – Dameon Pierce – that's what I love to see. So, there's no surprises to me who's making plays out here because those same guys made plays when we were here in spring."

On if he is comfortable with the progressions of all three quarterbacks

"We can definitely get better there. Of course, for our offense, we want to protect the ball. So, it's hand in hand. Defensively, yeah, they did a great job of attacking the ball today. But we know [offensively], first things first, [we've] got to protect the ball, protect the team. So, we have to be much better with our decision making there – knowing alright, when can we fit the ball in and when it's time to move on to the next play."

On his expectations of DT Sheldon Rankins on his first day back

"Sheldon [Rankins] has done an awesome job. Just the leader that Sheldon is off the field, what he'll bring to our defense. We're working him back in, he's progressing well. I'm happy to see him out practicing with us."

On what he's seen from rookie WR Xavier Hutchinson

"Yeah, 'Hutch' [Xavier Hutchinson] has shown up – a lot. You've seen 'Hutch' has shown up on some big plays down the field. Big, physical receiver. He's shown up in camp making a few plays. So, [I'm] excited to see him continue to work and improve what he's doing, but [I'm] happy to have him here."

On what he would like to see from QB C.J. Stroud

"It's just taking it one day at a time. And it's the small things. The way you talk about – it's footwork, it's progression – his eyes – all of those little things. And that's C.J. [Stroud] figuring those things out with his coach, getting with him and working on just one thing a day. We're not trying to give him eight or 10 things to work on, we just want to be dialed in and very deliberate on working on just one thing and getting better each day."

On rookie WR Tank Dell

"Tank [Dell] has made some exciting plays out here at camp. He's made some explosive plays – seems like a guy that's very quarterback friendly. He knows how to get open. I really like his route-running ability. I was joking with him in a meeting yesterday – it seems like he's always open. Even when the ball isn't going to him, he's still running his routes violently like we like him to and he's consistently getting open."

On DE Jerry Hughes

"Jerry [Hughes], another veteran guy that we have. Jerry's been working each and every day. Jerry hasn't missed a day since we started OTAs. What Jerry brings is an element to our defense to where you talk about a guy who can rush the passer – he's done it consistently throughout his career. That's going to be something we need. We need multiple guys who can rush the passer and Jerry adds that element to our defense."

On if he's surprised by what WR John Metchie III has been able to do thus far

"Not surprised by what John Metchie's doing at all. I've seen Metchie play a lot of football at Alabama – seen him make a lot of plays and that's who he is. So, he's not surprising me. I'm just fired up that he's back out here. He's an inspiration to me. To see John Metchie and what he's been through and to see his attitude each and every day, he's uplifting everyone's spirit around here. I just love that kid and he's doing an excellent job for us."

On if he got to enjoy his birthday and day off

"Well, birthday we were working and yesterday on our day off, we were working too. The work never stops. I did get to enjoy a little time just hanging with my family – hanging out with the kids, playing games at the house, just got a couple of hours to step away from it all and just take that breath of fresh air just to think, regroup and get ready to go for the next day."

On if he's comfortable with who's in the return game

"We'll see how that progresses – if [John] Metchie can be that guy for us back there. There's a lot of competition for the return spots, so we'll continue to evaluate everyone. Anyone that can return, we'll evaluate how they can help us win games."

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