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Quotes: Friday practice


Head Coach Bill O'Brien** Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel

Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on if TE C.J. Fiedorowicz will be playing Sunday) "It's still day-to-day. We're going to have to file our injury report today and then tomorrow we'll make a final determination on who we're bringing to the game."

(on how he liked the way the team responded after the win to get focused for Week 2) "I would say that Wednesday was not our best practice and then it got better on Thursday. I felt like today there was good tempo and good assignments, and that's what we have to do. We have to get better every day. We have to understand that practice is very, very important to the success of this football team. We have to come out there every single day with the mindset that we're going to get better and that we're going to practice in a crisp sharp manner every day."

(on using pressure to get to a rookie quarterback) "There is always a gameplan. Whatever the gameplan is, that's what we're trying to do. Whenever a quarterback drops back to pass, whether he's a rookie or a 16-year veteran, you're always trying to rush the passer and put pressure on him. We've got to look at what they do. That's what we're trying to do. We've got to make sure we understand what they're doing. It's like a first game though in the fact that they haven't played a lot of games. There's the unknown just like there was in Washington, and we've got to be ready for that. There is no way to know exactly what they're going to do. That's something that we have to be very much ready for."

(on when the team is on the road it is an us versus them rally) "Well, when you go on the road, all you have there is your coaching staff, your trainers, your equipment guys, support staff and your players, most importantly. That's the mentality that you have to have because when you're on the road that is all you have. You make sure that everybody understands that's all you need. That you go out there and you've got everybody on board that you need to win the game. Winning on the road is very, very difficult in this league. This will be our first experience as a team together on the road. Like you said, preseason, but our first experience in a regular season game. We'll see how it goes."

(on if using loud music in practice will pay off on the road) "The reason why we do music is so that we can have really good communication. One of the parts of communication is not only the talking, but how you see a guy's different body language. Maybe eye contact, maybe it's a hand signal, maybe it's some other type of signal; that's the main reason for it so that the coaches aren't always out there telling the player what to do. And then obviously, with the road and the noise of the crowd, that's another example of why you would play music. So hopefully, we've played music a lot like you said and it's been loud, so hopefully we're able to deal with the crowd noise because of that."

(on the Texans fans that travel) "First of all, Houston is such a great football city. It's just awesome. The fans last week in the Washington Redskins game, it was loud. When Blue blocked that punt, I felt like the roof was going to come off this place. That is just great for our players and that is what our fans are all about and that's why we're working so hard to give them a winner. And then obviously, if they travel well to the road games, that means so much to our team. Any time you win on the road and your fans are the ones left in the stadium cheering for you, that's a great feeling for your football team. Hopefully we get a lot of Houston Texans fans there."

(on convincing defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to join him on his staff) "I don't think it was a matter of convincing him. I think it was more we spoke a few times and then he came to Houston and we sat down and had a long conversation about my coaching style, what I believed in and the other side of it, what he believed in, his coaching style. We believe in a lot of the same things. We believe in the 34 defense. We believe in mixing it up on third down and in the red area. We believe in how to practice. We believe in situational football, and so it was apparent as we began talking over the phone and in person, that this had a chance to be a good match. He's been great on this staff. Obviously, a guy that I have a tremendous amount of respect for because of what he's done in this league. He's been in this league for a very long time and he's been in every role in this league. He's been a position coach, he's been a coordinator, he's been a head football coach, he's won championships. To me, he's obviously a very integral part of this staff."

(on if he finds himself asking Romeo Crennel for first time head coach advice) "I usually, he's got a lot on his plate trying to run the defense, so I don't usually do that. If there's something that I want to run by him that maybe it has to do defensively with something that we're doing from a head coach perspective, maybe I would ask him something like that, but overall I kind of let him do his job and try to worry about being the head coach all by myself."

(on what jumps out to him about Romeo Crennel) "He's a very poised guy and a very smart guy. He's seen it all, so in the game he's very poised and calm and he's able to make adjustments during the game. I think that has a lot to do with his intelligence and it has a lot to do with his experience. He's just been there, done that. It's hard to surprise a guy like that because he's seen so many different things. That's really a great quality to have on your coaching staff. And I think too, one of the things about Romeo, I believe he's great for young coaches. He's a good mentor for young coaches, guys that are coming up in the business to see how he does it. He's been a part of a lot of winning organizations in New York and New England and hopefully now here in Houston. I think that's good for young coaches to see how he works."

(on quarterbacks coach George Godsey talking about WR Andre Johnson's ability to see things on the field and make adjustments with the coaches) "There are three receivers that I've been around—Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Andre Johnson—that are all hugely talented guys, but most importantly really bright guys. Andre is such a special player. Not only because of his talent, but also because of his intelligence and his ability to go out on the practice field and refine his routes and work on his craft, and then go to the game and say, 'Hey, look, this is how they played me on that route. I think I can do this,' or, 'Hey, 10 years ago I did this against this corner. This might be something that would work against this guy.' These guys that are, in my opinion, the best in the best business and Andre Johnson is a fantastic player. I've said that over and over again. These guys are not just there because of their talent. They're there because of their ability to understand what they see and be able to attack it. He brings a lot to our football team."

Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
(on if he was retired last year or just waiting for his next opportunity) "Well, I was waiting for the next opportunity, as it turns out. I didn't retire; I just didn't have a job."

(on why he chose to work for the Texans, assuming that he had other opportunities) "Really, this was the opportunity that came along and after looking at the situation, I thought it would be a good situation. At this stage of my career, I felt like the people that I would be working with would be key. Knowing some of the guys on the staff; (Bill O'Brien) had hired (Mike) Vrabel before he had hired me and I know Mike. I had a chance to meet with Coach O'Brien and talk with him to get a feel for him. So I just felt good. I had known Rick (Smith) for a while and like I mentioned one other time, that when Mr. McNair, he took time to come and just be here in the office. He didn't have to do that but he did. I just had a good feeling about the people, good feeling about the situation and hopefully, if we can keep heading in the right direction, we'll be able to build the type of program that we want."

(on where his Super Bowl rings are) "A safe deposit box."

(on if he ever wears his Super Bowl rings) "Every once in a while. Every once in a while you wear them but they are pretty large and attention-getting. Sometimes you don't want all the attention they bring to you. Every once in a while I'll pull one out and wear it."

(on if he could every bring his Super Bowl rings to the facility for media to get a picture of them) "Well, all of them are not in town. So I've got a couple in town and maybe I'll bring one by sometime."

(on if he's showed the players his Super Bowl rings since he's been in Houston) "No."

(on if he's thought about showing the players his Super Bowl rings) "The thought passed through my mind but you know how this business is. What you did yesterday doesn't really count. It counts to a degree but how it impacts what you're doing today—I mean these kids today, it doesn't make any difference (to them) that I've got rings. They don't have one. So the thing that they're working is to try to get one and that's the thing you try to do with them, is you try to impact them and let them know what it takes: how they need to work, how they need to prepare to give themselves a chance because there are a lot of good players who played in the NFL who don't have a ring. I've been fortunate to have a couple of them. Like Roman Phifer, when he came to us, he had been in the league like 14 or 15 years and didn't have a ring and he was able to help us win a Super Bowl. That just made his career, the fact that he was able to get a ring."

(on how he thought J.J. Watt played in Week 1 against Washington) "Kind of what I anticipated and what I had seen on tape. J.J., the way he approaches the game, the way he plays defense, his attitude, very positive."

(on how the defense has responded with a 'next-man-up' mentality with the injury to OLB Jadeveon Clowney) "Well, it's the next man up. But Clowney is a rookie and he had missed some time so it's not like he was entrenched. So you have to have that mentality because you know injuries are going to happen in the NFL. When the injury occurs, then the next guy has to step up. We preach that to them from Day 1 that they have to be ready to go and when they're in the game, they're a starter."

(on what he saw from ILB Brian Cushing in his first game and what he expects from him) "It looks like he enjoyed being out there, which is always positive. I think he brings a physical presence to his game and to the team, which is encouraging. That's what we want and need because we talk about being a physical team. Having him inside in the middle, where you have to be good in the middle in this defense, it was good to see."

(on how OLB Whitney Mercilus has improved since he first started working with him) "Whitney has always been a studious guy. He has been studying our system and trying to get on board with it. I think he's made progress in that. But the thing about Whitney, I think he played many plays last year and he was out there all the time. So when he went in last week to play, it was no big deal for him. He did what he had to do to help us win. It will be the same this week. He's going to do his best and he'll do what he has to do to help us win."

(on how the talent on this defense compares to some of the defenses he's coached on) "Everybody has talent in the NFL. I don't care where you go, everybody has talent. Everybody might not have the same amount of talent and all the talent might not play the same, but everybody has talent. When you talk about comparing this group with another group, I think it's early still because we're new at this and they are new to our system. I think that you have to let them get their feet on the ground in the system and see how it goes before you start making comparisons with other groups."

(on if this defense has the potential to be greater than any of the other defenses he's coached) "I don't know. That's hard to say. One guy I used to work with said, 'You have to have some pelts on the wall.' We don't have many pelts on the wall. After we start putting some pelts on the wall, then we'll see how we can compare."

(on if you do anything different defensively when facing a rookie quarterback) "Sometimes you do. It depends on what you think you need to do to win the game. That's the big key. If he is struggling with a particular area, then you try to emphasize that. If he's pretty good at an area, then you try to stay away from that. But that's the same approach you would take normally. The deal is that a veteran quarterback has seen it all. He has the answers for everything, where the rookie quarterback hasn't seen much, so he doesn't have his answers yet. He has to gain experience to get his answers. That would be an advantage initially."

(on if specifically tries to do things that the rookie quarterback has not seen before) "That would be helpful."

(on OLB Brooks Reed and what he did to enable him to make big plays vs. Washington) "I thought Brooks had a really good game as you mentioned. Brooks is another player that played most of the plays on defense last year. He was out there all the time. You saw that he was a good hustle guy. It looked like he was in position where he was supposed to be. He didn't seem to make as many plays last year for whatever reason, but we didn't do anything special with him. He has his assignment and he did his assignment at a high level, which allowed him to make some plays. Hopefully that will continue and we'll still be talking about him next week and the week after that and as we go down the road."

(on Bill O'Brien talking about Crennel's ability to mentor young coaches and if that's something he likes to do) "I think my style is to get involvement from young coaches and let them coach. I think that if they're going to become good coaches, you have to let the guy coach. We try to let guys be responsible for their areas, have input into the gameplan, input and suggestions on the sideline, then I decide if those suggestions will work or won't work and how much we'll do and how much we won't do. That way, everybody buys in. I think that's part of the team mentality that we're fostering around here. It's a team. Everybody is a part of it. Everybody has a role and everybody's role is important. When you get guys to buy in to that and they know that they're entitled within the system, then they put more into it and it means more to them."

(on if young coaches are ever able to talk him out of a gameplan) "If they have quality points that they can make, yeah they can talk me out of something. They have to have done the research and be able to make the points why this may be better than what I'm thinking."

(on how his role is different now than it was when he was in New England) "It doesn't. I'm the defensive coordinator. I put the plan together. I call the game on Sunday. That's what I did in New England."

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