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Quotes: Bill O'Brien on Sunday

Head Coach Bill O'Brien

(on the progression of the 2014 rookie class and playing well) "Those guys, from the time they've arrived here (have progressed), for the most part, I don't know if it's 100 percent. I think we've got some guys in that class that need to pick it up. When you're talking about Xavier Su'a-Filo and C.J. Fiedorowicz and (Jadeveon) Clowney, Dre Hal, you're talking about some guys that have come in here and worked very hard and have been very coachable. They've got a long way to go, they're rookies, but to this point we're pleased with their progress."

The Texans face the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Preseason Game 2.

(on G/T Xavier Su'a-Filo's progression individually) "He has played more consistent than he had coming into this game. We moved him around a lot. This game, I think we played him exclusively at the guard spots and I feel like he competed. He's got a few things, just like everybody, just a few things he needs to clean up. He's working extremely hard and I think he's going to continue to get better."

(on undrafted rookies ILB Max Bullough and TE Anthony Denham) "Max has come in here and really picked up the system well for a rookie. You've got to be able to come in here and communicate the way he does. He's put himself in a position to earn playing time and get on film and that's a good thing for him. Denham, on the play that he made last night, it's a heck of a play. He blocked the punt, and then he peeled back and made the key block to score the touchdown for Jonathan Grimes. Jonathan Grimes was very alert in picking that ball up and running it back for a touchdown. Denham has a long way to go. Denham is a guy that is an extremely hard working kid. I think everybody is familiar with his background and what he's overcome in his life. He comes to work every day and he's out there every day, which is a good thing."

(on C James Ferentz) "Yeah, I've known his dad (Kirk Ferentz) for a long time, especially when I was in the Big Ten, but I definitely knew him before just because I had worked with other son, Brian, who was the tight ends coach at New England and now is the o-line coach at Iowa. I've known James for a while. James is a guy that we brought in during the spring and when you look at him, he's not the biggest guy in the world, but he's strong. He's tough. He's very, very smart. He's obviously a coach's son. He's a guy, much in the mold as a Max Bullough, that has earned himself some playing time and earned himself the opportunity to get on film and be evaluated and that's a good thing for him."

(on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's performance against Atlanta coming back from the Arizona game) "He did a good job. I feel like that's how he has to play for us. I felt like he played smart; he was comfortable. We had three timeouts on that last drive. When you have three timeouts and over a minute to go in a drive, you can check the ball down the field. They may play a prevent type of coverage and if the back is open, just check it down and let the back gain 10 yards and keep going because you have timeouts. That is a good example of him understanding the situation and being comfortable with our offense. We've all got improvements to make, myself, him, (George) Godsey, everyone. I felt like he took a big step, especially relative to how he had played the week before, he took a step in the right direction yesterday."

(on if he has planned out the practice schedule in Denver with John Fox) "It will be similar to Atlanta. I have to call him, to be honest with you. I have got to get on the phone with this afternoon to shore up some things, but I would see that it is similar to Atlanta. We've got the practice schedules pretty much worked out. We're going to go against them Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Just for you guys' knowledge, we're going to meet tomorrow. We're not going to be practicing tomorrow. We'll get on the plane tomorrow, get up there, get acclimated to the hotel and it will be three tough days. I told the team that last night, it's good to come out with a win. A lot of guys played well. We've got a lot of improvement to make and it will be good to go against a team that was obviously a Super Bowl team last year with a hall of fame quarterback and excellent players on both sides of the ball. It will be a challenge for us."

(on the illegal contact penalties called on the game and those point-of-emphasis this season) "I think those were penalties. I felt like those were calls. But when they say 'We're putting an emphasis on something,' isn't it a rule? Are we emphasizing one rule over another rule or this rule gets emphasized? I think it's a rule, so they call it. I'm with you, just sometimes I don't understand 'We're emphasizing this.' Well, it's a rule, so if you break the rule, they're going to call it. I think our guys throughout the game tried to play it the right way and we've got to show it to them on tape and show them ways that they can improve their technique. Some of them were double-move type routes that we've got to do a better job playing. Other routes were ones where they were after 5 yards and we contacted them; that's the rule. You cannot do that. We show it to them on tape and we try to get it better this week."

(on S D.J. Swearinger's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in second quarter against Atlanta and if the thought it was a fair call) "Well, you don't want guys to be penalized in ways that obviously hurt the team. Our guys last night were juiced up. They were excited. They couldn't wait to play. It was a home crowd and they were excited. I think football is an emotional game. That one call there that you're referring to, I think (Swearinger and teammates) were talking to each other. The official there made the call. That was the call. We've got to do a better job of understanding the rule there and understanding how we need to deal with that when we're out on the field. I thought our guys played with a lot of energy and that was good to see."

(on Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning) "I've been fortunate because I coached Tom Brady and I actually had (Peyton Manning) in the Pro Bowl, so I was around him for five, six days in the Pro Bowl. That's where I got to know him, in that setting. Just a really bright guy. A guy that just absolutely loves football, loves to talk about football, loves to ask you questions about what you do in your system. Our systems are similar because (Denver Broncos offensive coordinator) Adam Gase is up there. He worked for Josh (McDaniels) when Josh was there. So the systems are similar. The respect that you have for these guys; to play that position at that level for that many years, for those of us in coaching, we know that that is a very, very difficult position to play at such a high level for 16, 17 years. I just have great respect for Peyton."

(on rookie TE C.J. Fiedorowicz) "He's a big, strong, physical player. Intelligent player for a rookie.

He's come in here and learned the system well. He's a good blocker. He did a good job in the passing game. We've got to change his hands a little bit on how he catches a couple of those balls. But we'll work on that a little bit more with him. He caught the ball. He knew the depth of the route. He knew whether it was man or zone. So he made a big improvement off of the Arizona game. He made a big improvement and now he's just got to keep improving. But we like what we see with him." 

(on if NT Louis Nix III is on track to play next week) "Yes, yes and he's got a lot to do to catch up."

(on if G Brandon Brooks is expected to play next week) "We're working toward that, and he's got a lot to do to catch up."

(on if NT Louis Nix III needing to get into football shape is the main thing for him) "Football shape, football knowledge, NFL knowledge, what it takes in this league day in and day out, yeah."

(on the decision to not play DE J.J. Watt, T Duane Brown and C Chris Myers) "Yeah, that's a good question. We felt like, I'm glad you asked it because we felt like we got a lot of good work against

these guys in the practice week we had. When you looked at the reps, it was basically a game and a half for a lot of those guys. Chris and Duane and J.J. and a couple of other guys there that didn't play as much last night. Those three guys didn't play at all. Ben Jones got a ton of reps. He played two series last night. Guys like that. So, we felt like they got so much work during the week that it was a little bit different. OK, they got their competitive work against (Jonathan) Babineaux, (Paul) Soliai and those guys, so let's go ahead and not play them in the game. That was a staff decision and I thought it was the right thing to do."

(on if the practice structure with Denver will be similar to Atlanta and if there is a possibility the veterans will sit out the game) "Yes. I do. We'll see how it goes this week, but it will be the first two practices are full pads as its planned right now, Tuesday and Wednesday, so we'll get a ton of reps with our first group. So we'll look at it. We just talked about it our meeting. We'll look at it towards the end of the week and decide at that point like we did this week. I see it going in a similar way."

(on the play of T Derek Newton) "You know, he had a couple penalties like you guys saw. But I really have enjoyed coaching him and being around him. He's a very coachable guy. He's played both tackle spots, primarily right tackle. I think it's important to understand when you go from really playing mostly right tackle and then you've to go put your left hand down on the ground or get in a left-handed stance, most people don't even think that is anything. That that is just easy to do. That is very difficult to do. Other than the three penalties, I thought the guy played pretty well for us. I've been pretty pleased with his progress and his ability to do different things for us. I've just been pleased with the way he's played."

(on Falcons RB Antone Smith saying Jadeveon Clowney 'is just another guy') "You'd have to ask

Antone about his opinion, but I think that Clowney has come in here and worked hard, he's a very instinctive player for a rookie. He's a hard working guy. He's a guy that when he's played in these games, he's played well. He's been able to show his pass rushing abilities. He's been able to show his defense against the run ability. He's dropped into coverage, so he's done a lot of different things for us and he just needs to keep improving and that's what he's going to do."

(on QB Tom Savage not throwing a lot in this game and if that was part of the plan with him coming into the game) "We go into the game with a plan. He didn't know that he was going to go into the game at that point and I wanted to see how he would handle that. Those are hard things, when you're a rookie and you go in there and it's a home crowd, It doesn't matter that it's preseason or not, to be thrown in there like that. I thought he did for the most part a decent job of just managing that part of it, being able to communicate the play, point out the protection blocking or the run blocking. I thought he did a good job of that, but he's got a long way to go, just like most rookie quarterbacks have a long to go. In the preseason, for any rookie quarterback, you're not seeing anywhere near what you're going to see if you're going to play in the regular season. You're not seeing anywhere near what you're going to see from a defensive schematic standpoint, so he understands that. He's got to get better at the basics of it and he's a hard working kid, he comes in here early, he stays late. If he continues to work like that, he'll get better and better."

(on RBs Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue) "I thought both of those guys, for the most part, ran the ball well. Both guys made runs where they had to make people miss. They had to break tackles, things like that. I think both guys are still a work in progress as it relates to protections. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good, so we have to get them better at that. I thought overall, they played well in the running game and they both played well on special teams."

(on the importance of getting a win as a new coach) "Any time you win, it's important. Any time you go out on the field and beat a quality opponent, which everybody in the NFL is a quality opponent, you go out there and you win, that's important for everybody in the organization especially the players. To know that all the work they've put in in 17 practices, and it's been a tough camp, they've worked extremely hard to go out and finally reap the rewards of a win, that's important. That's a good thing. Whether it counts or it doesn't count in the standings, to me, it doesn't matter. When you go out there and represent the city of Houston and represent the Houston Texans you're going out there every time to win and that's what we're going to try to do."

(on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's mobility when in trouble in the pocket) "I thought it was good. I thought those were good decisions. He was decisive about it. It was kind of like a parting of the Red Sea and it opened up and he took it. I think on both of those he gained over 10 yards and I thought that was good for our football team."

(on the communication in the secondary) "I thought it was better. I think that Kendrick Lewis does a really good job back there of getting everybody on the same page. I believe D.J. (Swearinger) played better in this game. He played his assignments better in this game and I think a lot of that had to do with the improved communication. I thought the communication on the sideline was better between player and coach and I think it still needs to improve."

(on the backup quarterback situation on the team) "I think that Case (Keenum) went in there last night and did a good job for the most part. Sometimes he's got to learn to get rid of the ball a little bit quicker, things like that. I felt like he moved the team and that was good to see and then Tom (Savage) is still a little bit behind Case. Tom has just got to keep working at it but I think that both guys, they're fun to coach now. They work hard, they're smart, they ask good questions, they love to compete, so really at the end of the day that's what you're looking for and then you just want them to be able to go out there and execute the offense and help the team win, so they're both trying to do that."

(on getting WR Keshawn Martin in open space) "He's one of the most improved players on our team from the time we arrived here until now. He's a guy that we've, obviously he's a special teams kick returner, punt returner, and then we've played him at all the spots offensively in the receiver position. We've played him on the outside, we've played him on the inside, and he's improved a great deal and last night I thought he played a good football game and he just needs to keep getting better and better because he can help us."

(on if he went to mass this morning) "I didn't. You got me again. It's one of those things. I went to my kid's baseball game. He played over there at the (Emery/) Weiner School over there, so that's my excuse."

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