The Texans took part in organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. After, head coach Bill O'Brien spoke with the media inside NRG Stadium. The following is a transcript of his press conference.
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on Arian Foster catching passes out of the backfield) "He's got really good hand-eye coordination. He's got good hands. He's an instinctive player. He has a good idea about how to get open. He enjoys being involved in the passing game, both in protection bases and obviously on routes. He's had a good OTA period for us."
(on the importance of running backs catching the ball) "The most important thing to do is to make sure that you look at the player's skill set and figure out how they fit your system or our system. What we do is if we have a back for instance that is a three-down back like Arian (Foster) is, a guy
that can play on first, second and third down, then your finding ways to incorporate him into the passing game and the running game and it really works out well for your offense. In the past we've had guys like Kevin Faulk and Danny Woodhead in this offense that have filled those types of roles. Now it looks like definitely Arian will be able to do that and more."
(on the running back depth) "You have Andre Brown, who's had a good offseason for us. He's a first and second down back, a big back, conscientious guy and a hard worker. You've got Alfred Blue, that we drafted out of LSU, that looks like a guy who is a good learner. We'll have to evaluate him more come training camp to see how he fits in our offense. You've got J.J. (Jonathan) Grimes, who has come in here and had a good offseason. Dennis Johnson has done some good things lately in practice. We've got a good, competitive position there."
(on what he has seen out of the special team return candidates) "I've seen a lot of guys out there competing, which is good. I've seen guys with different skill sets as far as how they catch the ball and judge the ball and things like that. What we're all looking for there is a guy that can field the kick first of all, and then make a play with the ball. That is basically what we are looking for at that position."
(on what traits he would like to see out of the punt returner ) "Just a consistent guy overall. Just a guy that makes good decisions of fielding the ball, when to fair catch and a productive guy. That is what we are looking for at that position."
Check out these snapshots from Tuesday's Organized Team Activity (OTA).
(on the nutritional changes within the organization) "We're really evaluating all parts of our organization, myself and Rick Smith. Nutrition is really a big part of what we do here and what we talk to our players about. Just like everything, when Rick and I sit down with Mr. McNair, he is open to changes and open to listening. We're not at that stage where we are ready to report to him what we see there, but we're definitely observing all different aspects of the organization, with nutrition being one of them. Nutrition is so important for the players because, basically, their bodies are their business. It's important for those guys to understand what they are putting into their body, both from a hydration and nutrition standpoint. We're always looking to try to do what is best for our players in that area."
(on if it's more important for receivers who line up inside to be able to read defenses) "It is a totally different position. You're exactly right. On the outside it is important to have the ability to get open, catch the ball and have some size, speed and strong hands. On the inside I would say it is very important to be quicker than fast sometimes. It's important to have good hands. It's important to be a very tough guy, a guy that can block, run for us. Obviously, like you said, a very smart and instinctive player because it moves a lot faster on the inside with different bracket coverages, one-on-one coverages and different leverages that they see, things that they see at the snap of the ball that maybe they didn't see when they broke the huddle. It is a different position than it is from the outside."
(on the running back protection learning curve) "I think most young running backs when they come to us from college, they've been used primarily as a running back. Hand the ball to him, throw the ball to him in their offense. In college, because usually they are one of the top two or three players on their team, they're not out there blocking too much. They're out into the route; the ball is being handed to them and things like that. When they come to our league, it is very, very important that they learn protections. It is very important for us to evaluate whether they can protect or not. All these guys have done a good job of coming in and learning. We have a pretty, I would say, sophisticated protection system. We have a lot of different protections. These guys seem to be learning all of them. Young, veteran players alike seem to be learning them pretty well."
(on players adding or losing weight in the offseason and if that is something they have done individually) "I would say at this point that is them individually. I would say that that's more them individually and hopefully in time, it becomes more of our ability to teach them about nutrition. We talk to them about nutrition quite a bit here on a day-to-day basis. I would say right now it's more about the individual player finding the right way to eat and hydrating, things like that. We do educate the younger players as much as we can on those things. Again, we're still evaluating all of that. Just like everything within the organization, we can always try to improve."