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Quotes: Day 6 of Training Camp


Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on an update regarding Arian Foster) "You know, he's doing OK. It's kind of a day-to-day thing. It's nothing serious. I would assume—I guess you can't assume anything, but I would assume he would be back pretty soon."

(on any thoughts or reactions to how Arian Foster dealt with the press on Wednesday) "No. I'm not, yeah, no."

(on if Matt Feiler stood out to him today) "No."

(on the discussions with Joe Adams when they brought him in) "We felt like we just wanted to add a receiver at that position based on the camp numbers. He was a guy that was out there that we thought had a shot to come in here and make a contribution. I thought his first day here came in there was running around, so it is going to be good to watch him and see how we can keep improving on the field."

(on bringing in Joe Adams and the punt return spot still up for grabs) "Sure, yeah."

(on any history with Joe Adams) "No. Having coached a couple of guys that played at Arkansas and knowing Bobby Petrino, I've always heard good things about Joe (Adams), so it was good to be able to bring him in."

(on where the team is in terms of evaluating the kick and punt return battles) "Yeah, I don't know. I think it is wide open. I think it will be interesting to see how it goes in a game. We'll give all these guys a shot. We've got to do a good job of that as coaches of tracking that and making sure the guys get a fair opportunity. Obviously, Keshawn Martin did it last year. He'll do it again in the preseason. Mike Thomas will be back there. Obviously, this new guy, Joe Adams, we'll give him a shot. You may even see Kareem Jackson back there returning punts. You never know. DeVier Posey, I mean we've got a lot of candidates back there. We'll have to let that shake out and make sure that we're doing a good job of like I said, tracking it so that they get somewhat of an equal amount of opportunities."

(on Jonathan Grimes's first day back at practice) "He's fresh. You know, he came back through no fault of his own. He's a hardworking kid. He hurt his hamstring at the end of the summer. It's good to have him back in there. He's smart and it is good to have him back in the competition at running back."

(on how Alfred Blue has picked up the other aspects of being a running back) "Good. Yeah, I've been impressed with his football knowledge. It hasn't always been perfect, but he's a big guy. Football is very, very important to him. He's good on special teams. I think he's done a decent job of running the football. He's been out there every day, which is big. Been out there every single day. That helps him. He's just got to keep improving every single day."

(on an update regarding Andre Johnson) "I think he's doing better. I think that is something he and I talk about every day. I don't think there is a need to rush him back. I think he needs to come back when he feels ready to be back. Again, that is not a serious injury, but it is not something that you need to rush him back. The thing that I've noticed right away about Andre, which I knew this from our offseason conversations, is he is a very bright guy. He's already got a lot of the things down. In the afternoon walkthrough, we walk through a lot of things with him, routes and adjustments and signals and things like that. It's been my experience with guys of that caliber, being one of the top receivers in this league; they get there for a reason. They have talent, they have great ability, they're really great teammates and they're smart. You can see that right away with him."

(on the real referees attending practice today) "Yeah, I told them to come in here and throw the flags if they saw it. There was illegal contact, there were false starts, there were push-offs on offense, I mean and I think that is good and bad. I think it is good to be able to go in there tonight and show the team, 'Hey look, these things are going to hurt us. Unless we get our hands off of people on offensive players. Putting their hands and pushing off on defensive players and defensive players clutching and grabbing down the field on offensive players. We've got to stop doing that.' I think that is good. I think we had a couple of illegal formations. That is not good. We can't tolerate line of scrimmage penalties. It's good to have the real guys here calling that. It's one thing to have a coach call it. It's a whole other thing to have an official call it, so that will be good to show them tonight."

(on Xavier Su'a-Filo and how he has caught up in camp) "I would say it has been OK. You know, I think he's improving every day. He wants to be further ahead than he is right now. He's a great kid. He's a very hard worker. Playing guard in this league as a rookie is a very difficult thing. It's very difficult to jump right into the heat of battle like that and go from blocking somebody in the Pac 12 to now you're blocking J.J. Watt or Jerrell Powe or one of those guys, Tim Jamison, that's a different deal. These guys are grown men. They're really good football players, and so I think he's show definite flashes of being what we know he is going to be, a good football player, but it is inconsistent, just like most rookies. We're just trying to get him to play more consistent."

(on when he drafted Alfred Blue saying he was a first and second down back) "I don't know, maybe go back and check the record on that. I think I said he that he was a third down back, a three-down back, excuse me. Maybe I said that he had to grow into a three-down back, but I believe he is a three-down back. I think he coached, catches the ball very well. I think he is getting better at pass protection. I think he is going to have a chance to contribute on fourth down on special teams. I believe that he is a three-down back and I think that is a very competitive position."

(on how he would grade Jonathan Grimes) "You know, I see Johnathan as a three-down back. I do. I see him as able to play on third down, catch the ball out of the backfield, protect. He's a smart, dependable guy when he is in there. So yeah, I see him as a three down back."

(on if he is doing the same thing with Brian Cushing as far as listening to his veterans when determining a player returns from injury) "I think with guys that have been around a long time, I believe that first and foremost that we listen to our medical people, Geoff Kaplan and our doctors. We take the necessary precautions as far as MRIs and what they think. Obviously, that is the number one opinion and then obviously, in consultation with the player, 'Hey, how do you feel?' These guys are honest with you. They tell you. They (say), 'Look, I think there is still a twinge there so give me another day,' or whatever it may be. It's a long season and I'm not a doctor, so I follow the lead of the of the medical people here and then try and stay in communication with the player."

(on the red zone work and the priorities in the red zone) "Well, how long do we have? We have worked a lot on the red zone. Our red zone package just like pretty much everybody's in this league, we feel a very strong package. We put personnel in there and we try and see what the defense is going to do to match that. Then we have different things that we do by that personnel, by formation, to try and help our players out. Then at the end of the day, it comes down to execution. We have a strong belief in our red area package. I believe our players are beginning to see that. It really comes down to being able to execute it. The red area is totally different than out in the field. The windows are tighter, they close faster, they open fast and they close fast, there is less are to defend, so the DBs are able to take more chances, there is more specialized coverage down there so you are able to see, 'Hey look, they're doing this that they don't do out in the field, but they're doing this in the red area.' We've got to be ready for that type of coverage. Teams change. Some teams that are coverage teams out in the field become blitz teams in the red area. It takes a lot of studying and a lot of work to try and get our players to understand what we're doing. I think they're progressing pretty good on that."

Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
(on the progress of the defense) "They're learning a new system. They're putting in the time. They're working hard to try to understand it and grasp it and I think that they're making progress doing that. They've got great attitudes and they've been working really hard, so if we can keep that up, I think that we'll make enough progress to be competitive."

(on his defensive staff coming together) "It's a good staff. I like the guys on the staff. We can communicate, talk to each other, agree to disagree and then come out on the same page and that's a good sign about that."

(on Jadeveon Clowney) "Well you can tell that he has talent but he hasn't been out here that much. He's recovering from that little minor surgery he had, so we're still working with him through that but he's beginning to be in on more plays and do more things and I think that as soon as we can get him out there more, he will improve more."

(on Trevardo Williams' status) "I think he's been released, from what I understand."

(on the nose tackle battle) "Well, we've got some young guys there, that they are all working to try to understand the system here again and to try to make some things happen. But we still have a ways to go yet and I think that they know that."

(on if it's hard to evaluate the defense when its going against an offense that is also learning a new system) "True. Generally, defense comes along a little bit faster than offense. Offense, they have a tendency to do a lot of things, more things than we're doing. Defense, if you can react and you run and chase the ball and tackle, then you can make plays. Even if you do screw up, you can make a play and you still look halfway decent. Offensively, there's more precision on that side of the ball, so generally it takes them longer to jell and show up."

(on Kendrick Lewis) "He understands the system. He knows what we're looking for and he can help the other players as far as technique goes and as far as my personality goes. It's beneficial that way."

(on what the other middle linebackers look like with Brian Cushing out) "I think (Justin) Tuggle has done a good job, (Max) Bullough has done a good job as Mike linebackers and the guys who are calling the signals are in there. (Jeff) Tarpinian and (Mike) Mohamed, both of those guys have done well. I'm encouraged by the group overall and I'm encouraged that they're going to be able to get some things done in this system."

(on if Brian Cushing is closer to coming back and being able to play) "He's working with the trainer and the trainer will let us know. The trainer tells us he's making progress, so hopefully he'll be able to get out on the field soon."

(on how having Brian Cushing back will change the complexion of the defense) "Any time you come back from an injury, you have to see how you do. If he can do ok and do what we expect him to do and what he's done in the past, I think that will help the defense improve."

(on Brooks Reed) "I like his versatility. He can play inside. He can play outside. That's why we worked him inside some in the offseason. Now we're working him outside. So he provides us that flexibility. Then on game day, when you start counting numbers and things like that, having a guy that can play two positions is a value to you."

(on Kareem Jackson playing the nickel cornerback position) "Well I think he enjoys that position. I think he likes playing it and I think he'll do a good job at it because he can cover a little bit. You've got to have a guy who can cover there."

(on if anyone has surprised him on defense with effort and standing out) "There's great effort by everybody. You cannot help but see J.J. (Watt). He just shows up with his effort and the way he goes about his job and working at it."

(on players knowing the assignment of the other players around them on defense) "That's the way this system works. You have to work together in the system and I have to do my job so the guy next to me can do his job. If we all do our job, then the defense looks better."

(on D.J. Swearinger) "D.J. has good ability. D.J. enjoys playing football. That's the best thing about D.J. and I think that you'll see it when game time comes, particularly. We've got him playing a couple different positions and he enjoys it and he's sticking to it and he'll be a valuable guy for this team."

(on the nickel cornerback position being potentially tougher than the outside corner positions) "It's learning. That's the thing about that position because (D.J. Swearinger) is a safety but being at that nickel position, he comes down. D.J. comes down (and) becomes a linebacker. Just like Kareem (Jackson) is a corner, and then he goes inside and basically he becomes a linebacker. You have double-learning and you've got to be sharp enough to pick up on it and get all those keys for all those positions. But those guys are doing very well at it and they're working at it. We're encouraged by what we see."

(on the free safety position) "What we've done is we've taught the safeties left and right. As we start game planning, then we might make a guy our down safety and a guy a deep safety. But they're both left and right safeties and both have to learn strong and free."

WR Joe Adams
(on his first day of camp as a Texan) "The first day went great for me; I didn't put any balls on the ground. I made sure that I knew what I was doing when I was out there. I'm learning on the fly."

(on if receiving punts is more mentally or physically challenging) "It's kind of both; you just have to let it go, get in every day and do drills, which you do to get better, and whatever coach is teaching me right now. It's a new team for me, so I'm learning."

(on believing it was a possibility to get invited to camp so late) "I didn't know for sure; I was just practicing at home and training like it was. God blessed me to be able to come here and play so, I'm here. "

(on how important special teams is in the scheme of making the team) "Special teams is a big key for me. I love playing special teams. It's a one play change for a game, so whatever I can do on special teams to help the team, that's what I'm here for."

(on playing special teams in college and NFL) "It feels great; it's kind of like having the weight of the world on your shoulders and I love having that."

(on the few amount of opportunities in the NFL) "Second chances don't really come to a lot of people, and God blessed me with a second chance, so I have to come out here businesslike and take it one day at a time."

(on experiences from Arkansas, Canadian League, and NFL helping reach the Texans camp) "It made me mature real quick. I actually needed that time of sitting out, so I could go back to look over things that I did, train how I used to train, and prepare how I used to prepare , so it was a good thing for me."

(on what changed over that time) "I go home and study defenses, study the special teams, and I study myself to see what I can change about myself."

(on relationship with Dennis Johnson before camp) "Man, the Dennis Johnson relationship goes all of the way back to high school. We were two of the top players in the state and that was kind of the reason I stayed at home to play at Arkansas because he stayed there too. He's like a brother to me and that's how we treat each other."

(on transition from being an Edmonton Eskimo to a Texan)  "I love playing in the NFL, there is no greater feeling playing for a team in the NFL. I love Texas; it's not that far from home for me, so I have a lot of people that will come here to watch me play."

(on facing adversity when training for the NFL) "I didn't veer away, I just didn't have the same kind of equipment  and stuff that I did in college, so now I can get back to that and I can go back to Arkansas and train how I used to train."

T Duane Brown
(on building team chemistry in the hotel) "It's cool, it's cool. It just gets you totally focused on football and focused on training camp. You only have a few hours there, so you get out of here, you go back to the room, probably study some, and then you're hitting the bed and getting up and doing it all over again the next day. You don't really have time for anything, any outside distractions or anything not involving football, and it also keeps us together. You go back, you might to talk to one of your teammates about something that happened in practice or something coming up in the next day, so it just builds that comradery and gets that bond stronger."

(on the hours of training camp) "I'm up about 5:45 (am), get in the building by 6 (am), get out by 9 (pm), I'm asleep by 10:15 (pm), so it's a grind, but it's beautiful man and you really have to embrace it and enjoy it."

(on the timing of the day off) "Perfect, perfect timing, I think we've really been grinding out here. Everybody's been putting in a lot of work, working out hard. Being able to get the day off, getting off of your feet, still taking a mental approach to the game, but physically being able to get a break and then coming back out here and getting back to it, I think everyone appreciated it and it made us work a little bit harder there."

(on having a sense of the guard next to him) "Everyone is working hard at their position and everyone has been in the playbook, been getting some quality reps, so no matter who's in there, it's all about communication and everyone being on the same page no matter who is playing beside me. I'm making sure we're communicating and we're all in sync. It's important and it's been pretty good so far."

(on Jadeveon Clowney's limited action and his opinion of him) "He's a special talent man. He is one of those guys that is really hungry and really wants to work hard. We got some good work in today; we are battling and I'm trying to make him as best as I can and he's making me work too to get me better, so it's a great competition over there."

OLB Jadeveon Clowney
(on if going up against Duane Brown in practice every day makes him better) "That's good work for me.  Pro Bowler.  A guy who comes out here and works hard every day.  It's good competition for me going against him every day.  Just getting better every day."

(on what specifically he's learning going against Duane Brown) "I'm learning a lot. He's helped put me on moves to do on against certain guys.  You just have to watch offensive linemen and know where to attack them at. I ask him every day, 'how was my pass rush today?' and he says to just keep working, you're pretty good, you're just getting better. Just keep doing what you're doing."

(on if he's doing a better job learning the defense) "I'm learning the defense a lot better than I was.  Just coming out here every day and working."

(on if he's feeling stronger in his recovery from his surgery) "Oh yeah.  I'm getting back healthy, hopefully.  Just taking it one day at a time and coming out here to work. I'm just trying to come out here do everything they are asking me and just go hard every rep."

(on if he's talked to J.J. Watt or other linebackers about how he's progressing) "I talk to the guys.  We all talk about tips and reminders and things to look for when we are out there – just certain personnel, just about everything."

(on what it's like playing for Romeo Crennel) "It's great.  I'm learning a lot from this staff.  It's making my game a lot better than it was."

(on learning Romeo Crennel's temperament) "He just wants you to be the best you can be out here every day. He feels like knows the guys potential and he wants you to come out here and show him and not take plays off or no practices off."

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on the main focus in camp) "It's just one of many things we're trying to get accomplished right now but I think the main thing in camp with all the noise and all the different things that we're doing is communication. You know, just another great exercise for us to come out and get on the same page, you know, and the more we do it the better we're going to get at it."

(on being on the right page when there's noise in practice) "There's definitely still some mix-ups and things but we've gotten a lot better and we'll continue to get better at it. Me, Chris Myers, that's a big one just in terms of communication there and then getting everything communicated to the tight ends, receivers, running backs. But Chris is a big asset for me in that stuff in terms of getting the play to him and him getting it right up front."

(on how badly he wants to be in the position of having the ball in his hands with the clock winding down) "It's a great situation. As a quarterback growing up that's kind of what you dream of and it's fun to come out here in practice and practice those types of situations."

(on Travis Labhart picking up the playbook quickly) "Yeah I think all the receivers are doing a great job. I think Labhart has come in and done what he's asked and really taken to the book and it shows out here on the field. It shows that he's put in a lot of time off the field to learn it. He's just one of the many guys out here that—the young guys—that have been impressive."

RB Jonathan Grimes
(on importance of returning from injury) "Very important; Practice is everything. You can't really get better unless you're practicing, so I was excited to get out here."

(on still being bothered by injury) "Oh no, I feel great."

(on getting  put into action after returning from injury) "Yeah, it was awesome to get back in there, get my legs back and everything, and be able to work."

(on feeling comfortable with jumping into action) "Yes, I felt good. I'm excited to get back out here and got a chance to get better."

P Shane Lechler
(on his outrageous goals for this season) "I would love to be the first guy to net average 45. 42, I think, is the mark—42 something, and some change. But I want to be the first to do 45. I'd love to average—gross average of 52, and I'd like to have zero touchbacks."

(on what he thinks he won't achieve) "The 45. I mean, that's tough. When I got into the league a 38 net average was the best and now it's gone to 42 and anything under 40 is terrible and it's just working like that. This whole game is changing, the guys have gotten faster and the schemes are getting better."

Tom Savage
(on some of his impressions of being a NFL quarterback in his first camp) "We've got a lot of great guys. Right now, I'm just focusing on learning as much as I can. That's all I can really do right now."

(on the biggest challenge for him right now) "I guess for any rookie, it's just a whole new language for you and just going out there and doing it. Right now, I'm just working on learning it and being the best teammate I can be."

(on if he sees improvement on a daily basis) "Personally, I feel it, but like I said, I have a lot to learn. I'm just doing whatever I can to help the team."

(on if there is a certain percentage to how much of the offense he has learned) "As a competitor, I think any quarterback wants to say they can play a game and that's how I'm always going to be. I can't put a percentage on it; I'm just trying to learn it and put in all the work I can."

(on if he feels he has passed the point of 'swimming' with all that has been thrown at the rookies) "I just try and take it day by day. I don't really try to get too overwhelmed with it and think about if my head is spinning or not. I'm just going out there and trying to learn whatever I can that day."

(on if it is easier to learn now that he has settled in a little bit) "Yeah, OTAs and all of that definitely helped out building a nice little foundation. Now, it's just going out there and competing and doing what you're coached to do."

(on what goes through his mind when he connects on passes with his receivers) "It's just putting the ball in these guys' hands. They're all phenomenal athletes. That's my job, put it in their hands and let them go to work."

(on what Bill O'Brien is like as a coach) "He's awesome. He's the kind of coach you want to play for. He'll let you know when you mess up and that's how you want to be. I'm excited to play for him."

(on if Bill O'Brien has made him run any laps around the field) "Knock on wood. That's the goal right now, not to run any laps."

(on if he gets a similar vibe from George Godsey as he does Bill O'Brien) "Yeah, he does a great job. He definitely helps me out a lot. Especially as a rookie, you're just a sponge. You want to go out there and learn as much as you can, so I'm going to ask him—I'm going to annoy him ask as many questions I can and that's how it's going to be."

(on Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum helping him) "Both of them are awesome. They're great guys. They are the same way. They want to do whatever they can to help the team out and they're going to help me out as well."

(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick has helped him learn the playbook) "Absolutely. He's been like a big brother to me, a little bit. He's just taken me under his wing, him and Case (Keenum). They're just great guys. They don't need to do that, but they do it. It's fun to be around them."

(on if there is a quarterback that he modeled his game after when he was growing up) "My big brother. That's him. He's a tough guy, loves the game. That's pretty much it."

(on his brother's name) "Bryan."

(on if his brother Bryan played in college) "Yeah, he played in college. He played at Hofstra."

ILB Justin Tuggle
(on if he thinks about when he was a quarterback in college) "Oh no, never. It doesn't come up in my mind at all. I miss scoring touchdowns but I'm trying to get some on defense so that's my mindset now, trying to get them the other way. I'm having fun playing linebacker. I have so much fun. I really don't miss playing quarterback at all. It doesn't cross my mind any day. I'm just focusing on my position now and just trying to be the best linebacker I can be."

(on if his progression at linebacker has made his decision to change positions worthwhile) "I feel like it was a great decision. At first it was a little tough getting situated, doing everything. But I feel like I'm growing each and every day and I'm working hard and the sky's the limit so I'm just going to keep trying to reach it."

(on if being on offense made him want to hit guys) "I feel like I was physical when I was on the offensive side of the ball and I have to be more physical now. So with each and every day I'm just trying to grab onto everything, and just keep climbing to see where I can take myself."

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