Texans head coach Bill O'Brien met with the media after Thursday's Organized Team Activities (OTA). The following is a transcript of his press conference.
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on the play of the quarterbacks) "The quarterbacks have worked very hard. All of them have put a lot of time into studying and knowing what their assignments are. Each guy has gone in there and had some good moments and each guy has had some moments that weren't so good. But it looks to me that position is being coached very well and is progressing right along like we expected it to."
(on whether Ryan Fitzpatrick is learning the system faster) "Quicker as relative to the rest of the guys? No, I don't think so. It's new to everybody so they're all progressing at the same rate as far as
their knowledge of the system."
(on what about Ryan Fitzpatrick stuck out when they were going through free agency with him) "It's a good question. We really liked his intelligence. We liked the fact that he had played a bunch of football. We liked the fact that he had played football in a similar system, relative to Chan Gailey's system in Buffalo. We liked the fact that he was a guy that we thought would be a good system fit, meaning he was an intelligent guy, a good leader and a guy that was an accurate passer. We felt like just with every position here, we felt what was best for the Houston Texans was to find a good fit at quarterback for our system. He was the guy that we thought fit that."
(on Ryan Fitzpatrick's past turnover rates) "We've talked about that. Ryan and I have talked about that. I know George (Godsey) has talked about it a lot with him. You know, it's about decision making, not forcing the ball and understanding that you have a really good back out of the backfield in (Arian) Foster that you can always check it down to or maybe a tight end underneath or a slot receiver. So, we believe in our system, but at the end of the day, Ryan, he needs to go out there and make good decisions and make sure he is doing what is best for the team."
(on the challenges of adding a QB in the offseason) "Not really because you could tell right away with Ryan (Fitzpatrick), because when he came in, when he started signing and he would say, 'Hey, this is what we're doing here in this protection,' for instance, 'Oh yeah, we did that in Buffalo and I can relate it.' There were a lot of things that he could relate to what he had done in the past. He was able to pick up some of the things that somebody else calls apples and we call oranges. He was able to pick that up. With (Tom) Savage, we put a lot of time into him, meeting with him, studying him and talking to him. He was a guy that came across to us as a hardworking guy and an intelligent guy. That seems to be the case up to this point here in the spring."
(on Duane Brown's offseason changes) "Well, you'd have to ask him about how he played last year. That is his evaluation and opinion. I believe that he is a leader. He is a guy that has really been here every day since I've been hired. He's put in a lot of time. I think he is a really good football player. Like I said, he is one of the leaders of this football team. Like I said, he's worked really hard this spring. It is a guy like a lot of these guys here that you look forward to seeing every day when you come to work. He is going to play well in 2014. He'll play good."
(on the complexity of a slot cornerback) "A slot corner has to have quickness, has to have strength, has to have awareness and has to be able to, relative to the strength, be able to tackle. Because they can be a force player verses certain formations. Middle runs that they see they have to be able to tackle. It is a position that is very tough to play. When you have a guy like Kareem (Jackson) that is doing that for us right now, who can play outside and inside, he's a guy that is playing inside for us to. Elbert Mack, these are guys that are very competitive guys. I think even (A.J.) Bouye could go in there maybe, and do some things for us in there. We have some guys that can do it and have progressed and improved every single day doing it here this spring."
(on the improvements in Ryan Griffin's game) "It was good for him to play last year, definitely. He obviously gained some experience doing that. He's come in and worked extremely hard. He's been here for most of the season, before April 7 when we started. He's a guy that is a very competitive guy and it is important to him. Football is really, really important to him. He takes to coaching well. He's had a good spring."
(on the tight end's game as a unit) "Those guys have done a really good job. We used to talk about this a lot, George (Godsey) and I. Second to quarterback, probably center and tight end are the two hardest positions to learn because at tight end you are involved in all parts of the game. You have to be knowledgeable in the passing game and the running game, and we use them in protections too.
The Texans practiced Thursday morning as part of their OTAs.
That is not an easy position to learn. Those two guys, along with the other tight ends, including C.J. (Fiedorowicz), have really come in here, learned well and done some really good things. Like everybody, they've had some not so good moments, but they've had a lot more good moments than poor."
(on his dependence on assistant coaches to teach and evaluate young players) "I think these guys do a really good job of teaching and evaluating. We talk about the roster every day, regardless if it is about a young player or a player that has been in the league for a while. We evaluate the roster every single night when we watch the tape. How is this guy fitting in with our system? How is he playing? How is he picking it up? How is he competing? How is he as a teammate? Is he coachable? Yeah, we talk about that all of the time. This is a staff of guys that all have good experience. I believe at this point, working well together. Just like any staff, it's not like it is a bed of roses every day. We all have strong personalities. We have good debates in the staff room. At the end of the day I have a lot of trust in the assistant coaches in what they see, how they teach and how they coach."
(on the depth of the secondary) "That is another good question. I think that with our secondary we've moved guys around quite a bit. We've moved, with Johnathan (Joseph) out for the spring, we've moved Kareem (Jackson) into the slot. We've brought (A.J.) Bouye in. We've brought Elbert Mack in. We've brought Josh Victorian in. All of those guys have done a really good job. To this point, we're always going to do what is best for the football team. I believe that we have a very competitive secondary. We're still evaluating where they all fit. A lot of those guys, for instance Elbert Mack, he does a really good job on special teams. He's a guy that is involved in a lot of different parts of the team. To this point, I've been happy with where we are at in the secondary."
(on the safety position) "In (Kendrick) Lewis and (Chris) Clemmons you've got two guys that have played a lot of football. They can play in the box. They can play in the deep part of the field. We've got a young guy back there that we drafted in Lonnie Ballentine that has done some decent things. We've got Eddie Pleasant and Shiloh Keo that have really competed hard in the offseason here. Again, our guys are competing hard on special teams. We've got a diverse group of safeties back there and they are all competing hard. Probably would be said about every position out here. Training camp will be the true test for all of these players."
(on if Kendrick Lewis has an advantage after playing in Kansas City with Romeo Crennel) "I don't think he has a leg up because of that. I think he has come in here and worked extremely hard. He's come into work every single day since we signed him. When we signed him, I think he went home for a couple days and then came right back and started working and studying. I don't think he takes anything for granted. I think he has come in here and done a nice job up to this point."