Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
T Duane Brown
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB Arian Foster
C Chris Myers
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(opening statement) "I just want to start off with a message to our fans. Yesterday was an unbelievable turnout of Houston fans in Dallas. As we all wish the outcome was better, we just can't thank the fans enough for that turnout. For Dallas to have to go to a silent count because of the Houston fans just says a lot about this city. We're going to continue to work extremely hard to put a winning football team on the field, but we really appreciate our fans and we really need our fans Thursday night here at home against Indy. Our first division game, first division game for this staff with this team; we're just looking forward to the game. With that, I'll take questions."
(on how difficult the quick turnaround is) "Everybody has to go through it, so it's not like we're the only team having to do it. Obviously, Indy is coming off of a physical football game against Baltimore. We just have to do a good job of making use of our time in the right way. Meaning: extra meeting time, extra walk-through, extra film study, but also finding that fine line of making sure we get our players enough rest. We've got to do that. We have a good schedule this week for our players we feel. We'll meet here at two o'clock with our team and get going on Indianapolis right away."
(on Arian Foster saying he doesn't know a player in the league that likes playing on Thursday night and the health concerns) "I think again, you have to do a good job of making sure they get the proper amount of rest. You really can't have a very physical week as far as the practice field is concerned. It's much more of a mental type of (preparation); trying to get ready for the game, it's much more mental. It's walk-throughs, it's film, it's making sure all your bases are covered in the meeting room and on the walk-through field, and then hopefully your team is as fresh as it can be Thursday night."
(on needing to improve on slow starts and third downs on offense) "At times this year we've played good complementary football where special steams has fed off of offense or defense or offense has fed off of the defense. Yesterday we saw a really good example of that when we went down and tied the game. But there wasn't enough of it yesterday. In order to win these games, we have to do a much better job of converting on third down on offense. We have to be in more manageable third-down situations. Defensively, look, our defense has played pretty well all year. But at critical situations, if they need to get off the field, on a key third-down stop, that's what they need to do and continue to do that. I think special teams has been decent all year. We just have to learn how to offensively sustain drives and do it consistently."
(on how to get in more of a rhythm on offense) "This is something that we're working extremely hard on. We're thinking of different ways to improve the tempo of our offense, whether it's shortening the play call or getting the play call in faster or the players getting to the line of scrimmage faster; maybe going right to the ball. Maybe huddling and getting to the ball faster from the huddle. We're definitely thinking of ways; we're working extremely hard, coaches and players, to pick up the tempo of our offense and hopefully, in this short week, we'll be able to continue to improve on that. I think one of the things that I look at in this league is that this is a league to me that's an improvement league, a progress league. What teams can improve the most between now and the end of the season. What teams can make the most progress between now and the end of the season. To me, that's the key thing here. We're not even a third of the way through the season and we have a long way to go. Like, ok, let's make sure our next game is our best game. Let's make sure we're trying to improve every single day and every single game. I think if we take that and we continue to have that
type of theme, hopefully you'll see our team get better and better every game."
(on how difficult it is to plan for QB Andrew Luck and his tandem of tight ends) "Everything that they do offensively, to me, is impressive. It all goes through Andrew Luck. He's a very bright guy. He's a guy that is leading the league in a lot of different categories or he's in the top five at least—a very accurate passer. The thing that is really impressive about him is—aside from his intelligence and all that—is his playing strength. He's a very strong player. He's very difficult to sack. He's a guy that stands in the pocket. He's a very tough guy. Like you said, they have really good weapons around him, the tight ends. They have an array of tight ends. They have guys that can do different things at tight end. They can play 'Y', they can play 'F', some of them, like (Jack) Doyle plays in the backfield like a fullback. They have, obviously, the guys like (T.Y.) Hilton, Reggie Wayne on the outside that are very, very good receivers and two backs that can run the football. They're a dangerous offense and again, it's a big challenge, just like it is every week for our defense."
(on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick meeting with O'Brien this morning and what he's seeing from Fitzpatrick leading the offense) "I think it has a lot to do with a lot of different areas. I think when we've done well, everybody has been on the same page—the 11 guys out on the field, the coaching staff—we've communicated with each other. I think our communication is really good in the meeting room. I think it's really good on the practice field. I think it's good in walkthrough's. Where it has been too inconsistent is the most important part and that's on the game field. Basically, Fitzy and I just went through the game film today and we talked about things that he can do better and things that we have to do better around him, both coaches and players. That's the things about this sport—obviously in the National Football League, the quarterback position, the head coach position, we understand what comes with those positions. The thing that is important for everybody to understand that it is 11 guys being on the same page on every play. We're working very hard to get that done and it has to be more consistent for us to be successful, but we believe it can be."
(on if he's able to break down film as much this week due to the short week) "I think, with the way the game went yesterday, I think we have to make sure that we correct the mistakes that would affect us for the rest of the season. Maybe it was a way to pick up a blitz or maybe it was a way to stop a certain route combination on defense or whatever it might be. We can't just move to the next game without making sure that these mistakes are corrected. That's the way we're looking at it. We're making sure that these are the five to 10 things that we have to get corrected. We'll get those corrected here at two o'clock and then we'll move on to Indy."
(on how much he would say the Texans have improved since Week 1) "That's probably more for you guys to decide. I know we've gotten better. I think it's still, especially offensively, it's still too inconsistent, but I think we are a better team than we were in Week 1. That is the key. That's what I was saying earlier. How much better can we get, every week, so that your next game is your best game? How much better can we get to the point where we're playing more consistently, we're playing better complementary football, when our defense makes a stop, our offense is able to turn that into points—too many times yesterday that happened and we didn't turn it into anything. We ended up having to punt, so we have to do a better job there. Defensively, it's not like we've been perfect as a team. There are things that they need to do to improve. I think our team understands that. We've got a bunch of great guys, like I've said from day one. They are going to continue to work hard to get better."
(on G Xavier Su'a-Filo getting more playing time on the offensive line vs. Dallas) "I thought that he did some decent things. He played about 13 snaps in the game. Just like all of us, he probably wishes he had a couple plays back, but there were some good things. I thought he had a couple nice run blocks on some lead plays and I thought he pass protected pretty well. We're playing quite a few rookies between him, (Alfred) Blue, C.J. (Fiedorowicz), Jay Prosch, Dre Hal on defense, other guys, (Jeoffrey) Pagan on defense, and I think that the more experience they gain, the better they're going to be and I think that's what we'll see over time."
(on if G Xavier Su'a-Filo's increased playing time was more due to G Ben Jones' health or a football decision) "It was more of a football decision. We felt like he's at the game, he's on the 46-man roster and it was more, 'Hey, let's get this guy into the game. He's been practicing pretty well. Let's see what he can do in the game.'"
T Duane Brown
(on playing Indianapolis Thursday night) "We've got to turn around real quick. We suffered a difficult loss yesterday but it's in the past now. We have a very, very important game against a very good team coming up Thursday night. We've all switched our attention to that."
(on whether or not he's concerned about the offense not scoring enough) "Not concerned because we know we have the ability to. It's just a sense of urgency, I think, coming out of the gate that we have to have, especially this week. Indianapolis has a very good offense, a very good quarterback and we don't want to have to leave it up to our defense to keep us in the game. We have to get points quickly and I think that's a point of emphasis that everyone is going to have and try to discuss this week."
(on what he has to do to get out of the gate faster and run the ball to start the game) "Just by in sync. From a blocking standpoint, we just have to be very physical at the beginning of the game. It can take guys kind of a few plays to get their rhythm, take the running backs some time to get their rhythm. It's a total team effort. We all have to continue to be more physical up front to get it started quicker."
(on if there is more emphasis on this game because it is a division game) "It's very important. Divisional games are always important in the grand scheme of things. When it comes to the playoff picture, they count more. Playing the Colts, a team that won our division last year, it's a huge game for us. Having our first game here at home against them, it means a lot to us. Coming off of a loss, we want to get back on track. It means a lot to us. This game holds great value to us."
(on how he feels physically) "I can't speak for anyone else; I feel fine. It was a very, very hard-fought game, a very physical battle but you have to do what you have to do to get right for the next game: cold tub, massage, things like that. I feel alright."
(on what Bill O'Brien's demeanor was with the team following the Dallas game and how he balances getting on the team and not being too harsh) "I don't know how he does it. He was pretty upset, as were the rest of us. The disappointing thing, and I think that's come with both of our losses now, is that we've had so many self-inflicted things that happened to us throughout the game: penalties, mental errors, things like that that you really can't afford when you go against good teams. Not to take anything away from Dallas, they played a good game, but we don't want to hurt ourselves. That's something we did a few times throughout the game yesterday. I think that was probably what frustrates him the most and that's something we're going to have to address and fix going into this week."
(on if the turnaround with a Thursday night game gets any easier or is it still tough) "It doesn't get easy. As a veteran, I've been in a few of them now; I know what it takes, as far as to get your body ready. Mentally, getting film study. The good thing for a lot of guys that played the Colts is that we're very familiar with them. Of course, we have a different game plan than we had in years passed, but as far as the personnel and things like that, we kind of know what to expect. That makes it a little bit easier. But it's never easy, especially when you're traveling one of the two games it's always a little difficult but we're professionals."
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on if they need to do more up-tempo to get the offense going) "The up-tempo is great. It's something that I really enjoy. I think all the guys really enjoy it, but you also have to get first downs. If you're going three-and-out, it's hard to get into the up-tempo. I think that's part of it, being able to get the first downs. Whether it's converting on third down or being successful on first and second down, I think that's been one of our issues, not being able to get to the up-tempo stuff because of the struggles early on."
(on what he's doing to improve his game) "It's one of those things, in order to get better as a team and in order for this offense to get better, I have to play better. I met with Coach O'Brien this morning and went over some stuff and talked through some things. I'm just constantly evaluating myself as a player, evaluating what I'm doing, plays that we're getting in and all that stuff with the tools that we have on offense. A lot of it is not necessarily the physical part of it; it's the mental part of it. It's the confidence. It's the swaggers, whatever it is, I just have to continue to, especially early in the game, play better, maybe play with more confidence. Maybe some of that is up-tempo, but some of that, for me, is just finding a better way to get going early."
(on how you fix the mental part of playing quarterback) "I just have to continue to prepare the way that I prepare and continue to get everybody on the same page with the communication and everything. I've been in a lot of different situations, up and down situations, before so drawing on past experiences and really the simple fix is going out there and playing better."
(on how much more difficult it is with the quick turnaround playing on Thursday) "It's tough because we don't have a lot of time to prepare. I think the hardest part is the physical part of it, just with both sides—whether it's us or Indianapolis—being banged up from the game before. With such a physical game, it's hard for guys to have their bodies recover, but on the plus side, then you get a couple of extra days off for the next game. I think it's going to simplify what we do. It's going to simplify what they do just in terms of the very short week that we have to prepare. We'll go out there and hopefully play fast."
(on if they are any more or less beat up due to playing an overtime game) "You'll have to ask around, but it's just one of those things that with short rest, no matter how healthy or beat up you are, playing a game Sunday and then turning around and playing one on Thursday, I think it's difficult for everybody."
(on if the quick turnaround makes the games on Thursday less competitive) "No, not at all. I think I do play a different positon, maybe a less physical position than some of those other guys, but I think the Thursday night game, when you look at it, it's hard to prepare for, it's hard to get ready, but then it's almost like a mini-bye week. If you can pull out a win on a Thursday night game and then really be able to let your body recover for the next Sunday with a couple of extra days off, I think everybody enjoys that extra rest."
(on if there are any safety concerns with playing on Thursday nights) "I don't think so."
(on QB Tony Romo saying he had to go to a silent count and it feeling like an away game) "I thought our fans were great. It was noisy the whole game, whether we were out there or our defense was out there. All the red in the stands and all that, it was something that I've never seen before, but it was pretty cool for us."
(on why they've had a harder time converting third downs) "I think part of it is that is—it's hard to sit there because there are so many examples and things that go into each third down, but a lot of it is just better communication on my part with the group and then just making the throws."
(on playing Indianapolis in a division game and the importance of it) "The division games are huge. I think everybody that has played in the league knows that and really understand how much they mean. There is an added emphasis on that this week for sure, especially with it being Indianapolis and they've kind of, the last few years, been on top of the division. It's a real important one for us and I think everybody understands that in the locker room."
(on why there have been so many blowouts on Thursday night and it being against first-year coaching staffs) "Yeah, I knew the blowouts, but I didn't know about that theory there. I don't know. To be honest, I think it's a fluke more than anything, so hopefully we can change that up a little bit."
RB Arian Foster
(on what players have to do to prepare for a game on a short week) "You've just got to take care of your body, so you get in the ice tub every day, like immediately after the game. You get massages, stuff like that."
(on what kind of things he does differently to prepare for short week) "Everything. You don't really have the time to prepare for another team, so you have to kind of cram everything in. It's longer days meeting-wise and just preparation. You don't really get to go out and practice. You kind of do walkthroughs and stuff like that to keep everybody's body fresh."
(on if he thinks the quality of game is compromised playing on Thursday's) "Yes. Thursday Night Football is pretty annoying for players. I don't know one player that likes it; I really don't know a fan that likes it either. I think it's just the League's way to try to generate more revenue, but that's what they are here for."
(on if it is hypocritical that the league emphasizes safety and then has games on Thursday's) "Oh yeah, definitely. They emphasize concussions when they start getting hit with lawsuits and then they care about the player safety, but Thursday Night Football is putting every player on the football field in danger. Nobody is ready to play physically after a Sunday game, but you have to go out there and do it."
(on if the union needs to talk to the league about the safety of playing on Thursday's) "The Union and the League is kind of the same thing, man."
(on if the majority of players in the NFL feel the same way he does about playing on Thursday's) "Yes. Nobody likes it. It's hard for that turnaround. It's just hard on your body; you wake up in the morning, especially if you play a physical position, like if you are in the trenches like the interior linemen or running backs. I'm pretty sure kickers don't mind, but if you are actually in the physical midst of the game it's hard for your body to turn around."
(on how hard it is for him personally to turn around and play in just a couple of days) "It's very tough, but it's part of the game. It's what we signed up for, so I'm not complaining. It just is what it is."
(on if he thinks players are thinking about their health during games) "I don't think that has anything to do with Thursday night. I just think it is the nature of playing professional football. Guys, as Deion Sanders made so famous, 'Guys make business decisions daily out there on the football field.' You want to go out there and play 100 percent as much as you want, but some guys have contract years coming up and there's a lot of different factors involved it's part of the business."
(on if it would be better if teams had a bye week prior to Thursday games) "Yeah, that would be a little bit better."
(on how he feels health-wise) "Good."
(on if it is even harder to play a division rival on a Thursday night) "That's an irrelevant fact. You have to play what is on your schedule. That's what we signed up for."
(on if he's happy with the state of his hamstring in Sunday's game in Dallas) "Very."
(on why the offense can't get off to a good start) "I think we just have to execute. We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot. We have a lot of self-inflicted wounds. That's kind of redundant. We have penalties to start out drives and start out games. We can't start out first-and-15 or second-and-long. You have to stay on schedule as an offense. That's part of what being a good third down team is and part of what being a good, efficient offense is. We have to stay in manageable situations and that's on us."
C Chris Myers
(on how important this first division game is on Thursday night game with Indianapolis is) "First one of the season, they always mean double and this one being on primetime coming off yesterday's loss, it's going to be a big game."
(on the difficult of playing on a short week) "That's the biggest thing about having these short weeks—it's getting your body back right. I think Coach O'Brien is a veteran coach who knows how to handle those situations. Then again, on the other hand, you have to take it as being a professional and come in early and whenever you have free time and get extra treatment, live in the cold tub and be able to get your body ready for Thursday."
(on some issues that the Colts defense causes) "A ton—they've got a talented group. One that we're familiar with obviously, but just as evidence from yesterday's game—watching that Baltimore game yesterday—they cause a lot of havoc on the quarterback. They put you in spots. You have to establish the run early and we'll work off that."
(on G Xavier Su'a-Filo) "I think Xavier has been able to get a leg up, getting some playing time early in the season. I think he did a lot throughout training camp, running with the ones every day in practice. He's a real cerebral, smart guy. Obviously the physical tools are there. On the other hand, every rookie has a curve, so you only learn that from experience, so getting in the games is going to be able to help him out tremendously."
(on getting off to a faster start offensively Thursday against the Colts) "No matter who you're playing, you want to be able to get out early; you want to be able to come out that first drive and establish yourself as an offense and get points. We haven't been able to do that too many times this season and that's something that we're working on, week in and week out. I think we've only been able to do it one or two times this season, so it's a big focus. Overall, it's just getting that 'W', coming through on clutch situations is what we need to do."