Quotes: Texans on Monday

**

Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on what he can do during the second half of the season to make the team better) "We have to understand who we are. I think we have a better understanding of that right now than we did eight weeks ago. Meaning, offensively we have to understand how important it is to be in manageable third down situations because once we get that first first down we get into a pretty good rhythm. Special teams wise, I believe we need to cover kicks better. We have guys on there that have really shown flashes of really doing a good job of that. They just need to do that more consistent. Defensively, we have to continue to stop the run. Stopping the run and getting teams in longer second down and third down situations has been a recipe for success for our defense because it allows us to generate a pass rush, things like that. We're kicking the ball pretty well. Randy Bullock, the other day, was three-for-three field goals, three-for-three extra points, four out of seven kickoffs for touchbacks, and obviously Shane Lechler has punted the ball very well. We need to continue to do those things. And we have to, I know you hear me say this all the time, but we have to continue to strive to play complementary football. When we get a turnover, we've got to turn that into points offensively. When we are able to get on a short field because our defense has stopped them three-and-out, we have to turn that into points offensively. Things like that, we have to continue to strive to do that."

(on what he is most satisfied with after the first half of the season) "I really like this team. I like the way they practice. I've enjoyed working with these guys. I think they play hard. I'm very proud to be the head coach of this team. I'm proud of the way they play in every game, meaning how they fight to the bitter end. I've enjoyed getting to know these guys. I really respect the way they practice and how they handle themselves. Hopefully it continues, but I really enjoyed being around these guys."

(on how the defense played without ILB Brian Cushing) "I thought those guys stepped and played well. I think Akeem Dent played a good football game. Mike Mohamed played a good football game. Tug (Justin Tuggle) played a good football game. I mean those guys, and Dent and Mohamed did some good things on special teams. You know, Mohamed was the one that tracked down that long punt return and then Dent made a few plays on the kickoff. I thought those guys really did a good job stepping up and playing well."

(on if he felt RB Arian Foster would have this much success coming off back surgery) "I think it shows about what he did in the offseason to get ready to come in here and get ready to play. The thing that's kind of interesting about that is he's missed a game and then the other game, the Buffalo game, I think he rushed for less than 20 yards, so think about that. He's done this really in six games, you know, what he's been able to rush for. Like I said yesterday, he's got really good vision, he's a smart player, he knows how to set his blocks up. He's been real good on third down and the receiving category. He's done a really good job in that deal. He's a good pass protector. Nothing about him surprises me. I knew the talent that he had just from knowledge of him before I even came here. He's been fun to coach."

(on how much more he expects OLB Jadeveon Clowney to play this week) "I think he'll be in there a little bit more. We'll see how he feels throughout the week. I think it's still a process of not being out there for whatever it was, seven weeks, and now coming back. I don't think he's ready to play 80 plays in a game, but I think we can keep working him in there more."

(on what he thinks of the play of the offensive line so far) "I thought those guys they did a good job run blocking yesterday. They seem to be in sync with the different fronts that they had to block. I thought they did a good job communicating in the run game. I think where those guys need to be better along with the tight ends, the backs and the quarterback is in pass protection. We've got to do a better job picking up the blitz. I think when people rush four we've been pretty good there. When people rush five and six at times that is when we have to be better. We're going to work hard on that this week."

(on if anything sticks out different regarding OLB Jadeveon Clowney now that he's watched the film) "Again, I thought he played with good effort. Even at the end of the game when he had played a good amount of plays he was chasing plays down from behind. He made a tackle on a pass play down the field. I thought he got off the on the ball well. He had good explosion off the ball. He had good assignments; he was good on his assignments. I think it's going to be a work in progress as far as him getting back into shape. I think there is a difference between running around the track on field one out there and having to play in a football game. He'll continue to work on that after practice, in the mornings trying to get his conditioning back to where it needs to be. I thought overall, for the situation that he was in coming back from a long time off, he played pretty decent."

(on if he has a better idea of his linebacker rotation now that OLB Jadeveon Clowney is back) "I think you do it by package. We have four or five different defensive packages, a couple of base defense packages, a couple of nickel passages, a dime passage. That way you can kind of plug him in and understand how they're going to be used throughout the game and that's where the different guys, 'OK, you're not in on this package but you are in on that package', and hopefully we can distribute the snaps that way. The thing that's been good about that position, the linebacker position, is that when guys have been injured that the next guys have stepped up and played pretty decent, and so hopefully that continues."

(on the chances ILB Brian Cushing plays this week) "That'll be day-to-day. It's definitely day-to-day. He said he felt better today. We'll see how it is on Wednesday. Tomorrow is their day off. He'll come in for treatment tomorrow. He's going to do everything he can to try to play on Sunday. I can tell you that. He will do everything he can to be there on Sunday."

(on the advantages of playing OLB Jadeveon Clowney and OLB Whitney Mercilus together) "I think it's an advantage. You have two talented guys there that have good awareness, good explosiveness off the ball, hopefully they can get in some one-on-one situations. Whitney is a very improved player. (He) did some really good things yesterday. I think any time you have those guys on the field at the same time with (J.J.) Watt on the inside, you know, I thought J-Mo (Tim Jamison) did some decent things inside yesterday. I thought those guys in their rotation—the way that Bill (Kollar) rotates those guys is pretty good, so they're all pretty fresh and ready to go. I thought they played pretty well yesterday."

(on how he addresses the tipped passes from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) "That's something that we have to work on in practice. We have to put him in those situations in practice where we're making him find a throwing lane and figure out how to maybe not telegraph the throw as much, not stare it down, keep his eyes down centerfield, things like that. We work on that a lot with him. We just need to continue to work on it. Then when the game starts, he's got to do it. He's got to be better at trying to not get those passes blocked."

(on how much freedom QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has at the line of scrimmage) "That's our offense. Our offense is basically, with most play calls they have a few choices. Usually it's two, sometimes it's three. We've got to get in and out of the huddle faster so he can make those good decisions at the line of scrimmage. As we continue down the road here, we want to do a little bit of both. We want to be able to give him the freedom to make some decisions, but also play faster. Sometimes playing faster means we've got to go with the play that's called. We'll just continue to mix and match that, but he does have freedom at the line of scrimmage quite a bit to make a change in the play call."

(on how much he pays attention to what the Indianapolis Colts or other AFC teams are doing) "I'll be honest with you, I don't pay attention. We have enough to concern ourselves right here, in this stadium, in this building and we have a huge challenge this week with a really, really good football team in Philadelphia, a really well coached team. Chip (Kelly) does a great job. This team is playing well. They played a great football game yesterday against Arizona. Arizona won it in the end, but that is what we concern ourselves with is the next opponent."

(on what it would say about the Texans if the team pulls an upset this Sunday) "They're a good team. They're a good football team. They do a lot of things well. They play fast on offense; they're very productive on offensive. They've got really, really top flight players at every position. They've got a great left tackle, great running backs, good big wide receivers, a heck of a quarterback, good tight ends. Defensively, they've got a really strong front seven. They've got a really tough, fast secondary. It's a challenging game and we go out there to play to the best of our ability, and if we're able to win the game, it will be a big win for us. No doubt about it."

(on the two third-and-long conversions on the 98-yard drive) "I tell you, you give the players credit. We can't get delay of games. That's on me. That's not good at all. We've got to avoid those penalties. That's a bad penalty. But like you just said, it was third-and-13 and we converted. Damaris Johnson did a really good job. DJ came up big on some big third downs for us yesterday with some big catches. Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) had a scramble. We hit Andre (Johnson), DeAndre (Hopkins) on one. Guys are coming up and making plays yesterday. That's a big deal. On those ones, I think we were 45 percent on third down. When we convert on third down, it usually means everybody is working well together. The lines picking up the blitzes, the receivers are running good routes and Fitzy is delivering the ball. If we can continue to do that, we'll get better and better on third down. We have to stay out of the long yardage situations though. We have to do a better job on first and second down to stay out of those long yardage situations."

(on the defense's recent success on third down) "I think that that's a part of that complementary football. We've got to understand offensively that our defense is a doing a good job getting off the field. They've done a good job on third down for most of the year. When the team goes three-and-out or our defense is able to get off the field, maybe it's a four or five-play drive, and our guys are back out on the field, we've got to turn that into points and convert third down. To me, when you look at the two most important stats really in the league, it's really turnovers, so yesterday we created two turnovers. We didn't turn the ball over on offense; and then third down conversions. We won the third down battle, and I think those are two of the most important stats that point to winning."

(on shutting down opponents' running games recently) "I think these guys are having a better understanding of the call and how they're able to fit the gap. Sometimes it's a two-gap scheme. Sometimes it's a one-gap scheme. Our coaching staff led by RAC (Romeo Crennel), you know, those guys have done a really good job of helping the players understand, hey, 'It's one gap here. It's two gap here. It's blitz here. It's this, that.' So they players are very in tuned to what we're trying to do and you've got to give the players credit. When they go out on the field, they really have done a good job for the most part of executing the run defense."

(on improving the return game) "I think we have to kind of do a few things there. We have to look at what we're doing schematically. We have to look at who's doing it for us and what we can do to help them do it better. I think in practice we have to practice more full field returns. So instead of practicing just a part of the return, we need to practice the whole return and make sure we do a good job of the timing of the return and how that all works together. I think you'll see us improve there if we can get it done in practice that way. That's a part of our game that we have to get better at."

(on if WR Damaris Johnson has been used in the return game) "We haven't used him in the game. We've been using D-Man (Danieal Manning) on kickoffs and Keshawn (Martin) on punts. We'll continue to probably do that, but DJ (Damaris Johnson) has been in there in practice as a backup."

(on how much better he thinks the team can be in the second half of the season) "Hopefully like I said to you a few weeks ago, the league is about improving. It's a progress league. I think it says a lot about our team that we came out there yesterday and won that game on the road, in the AFC South, a division opponent. It says a lot about our team after losing three in a row. We were able to come out and win that game, play good complementary football. It was a great team win for us. Hopefully you'll see that lead to better and better play. We have to play more on a more consistent basis. We have to understand what type of team we are and go out there and play that way. I think if we do that, then we'll have a chance to be where we want to be at the end of the year. If we continue to kind of win close, lose close, then I think we won't be where we want to be at the end of the year."

(on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick saying some of the sacks were on him) "I would say that everybody is involved in that. I think what he means is on that one where we had a play action fake and he ducked the safety and then the safety came back and made the play on him, that's a play where he probably needs to get rid of the ball. But there are other times where there is protection breakdowns and it's not his fault. It's about, and the thing that I think is important with me is it's not about whose fault it is, it's about getting it right and making sure everybody sees the blitz through the same set of eyes and gets it picked up. It's about getting it right. It's not about pointing whose fault it was. What do we have to do to get this right?"

(on how he feels about the secondary) "Those guys I thought played a good game on Sunday. I did. I thought that all those guys stepped up and made plays. Kendrick Lewis made some plays at the line of scrimmage early in the game to help stop the run. I thought J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph) came up with some big plays when he was doing some things in zone coverage. I thought that Kareem (Jackson) played a good football game. D.J. (Swearinger) came up big with an interception and D.J. did a good job of doing his job yesterday. He did a really good job of playing disciplined football, and I think that always ties in to help our pass rush. So you saw our pass rush being able to generate some plays. I think the secondary has done a good job."

(on the teams' league-leading 17 takeaways through eight games) "I think that this defense, sure there are certain things that we can do better. Like I think at the end of the game we missed some tackles. We can tackle better overall. I think we need to do a better job of tackling. I think we need to be more aware of third down of the yardage needed and the coverage adjustments based on the different formations that we see, so maybe a little bit better communication overall. I think at the end of the day when you look at our defense, they've really done a good job of creating turnovers, which has really helped our football team. They've really done a good job of stopping the run, especially lately, especially yesterday. They've done a good job overall on third down. I think they're getting better and better within the scheme of the defense of understanding what we're trying to do. Hopefully that will continue to get better and better all year."

(on an update on G Xavier Su'a-Filo's progress) "I think he's getting better. I think it is very difficult for a rookie to play on the inside. I think you see some rookies being able to do that. Other guys, it's kind of some good, some not so good. I think Xavier falls into that category. He is a great kid. He's a hard worker. He's got a really good future in this league. He just needs to learn a little bit more about the tricks of the trade. We'll continue to play him, give him a shot in there, but hopefully he learns from some of his mistakes, and he will. He is a very hard working kid. We love having him on our team and he just needs to do a few things better."

T Duane Brown
(on limiting the number of sacks moving forward) "A couple of communication errors rather than just guys getting individually beat. It's just something we've got to work on up front during the week. Extra film study, we're prepared to get different pressure looks from Philadelphia, so it's something that we're just going to have to look at in the film room and get panned out."

(on if he feels the number of sacks allowed is a fixable problem) "I don't think it was a lack of effort or a lack of technique or anything like that. Just some communication stuff that we have to get fixed. Not an easy problem, but something that we can fix."

(on how nice it is to be building on a win) "It's always nice to be able to come in and fix your errors after winning convincingly. I think we had a very good game as a team. Defense played their tails off as usual. I think we did a great job of running the ball consistently and getting touchdowns and not settling for field goals as much as we had. It's a great team win. Still left some yards and some points out there that we'd like to get."

(on what it's like from his perspective when RB Arian Foster is having the type of game he is having) "We know special things can happen. We know if we can get him to the second level it's unlimited potential and the things that can happen play in and play out. He's a special player and we're very glad to have him. Like I said, getting him to the second level, to the linebackers, to the secondary, we know more times than not that first guy is going to miss and we can get five to 50 extra yards. It's a great thing to see."

(on how nice it is to see RB Arian Foster playing consistently) "It's great. I know how hard he's worked to get healthy, to get back to his old form. He broke that run where he got passed two or three guys to get to the end zone and that's the first I told him. I saw him and I said, 'that's the 2-3 I'm used to seeing.' Making plays like that, cutting it to the backside. I had no idea where he was and next thing you know, touchdown. That's the type of stuff we're used to seeing from him. It's great to see it again."

(on playing a number of former teammates this week) "It'll be fun being able to face Connor (Barwin) and DeMeco (Ryans). Haven't  been able to play them since those guys have been over there, so it'll be different. I've gotten a chance to see them quite a bit on television. It'll be tough. Those guys have been playing well, but I'm looking forward to it."

(on how important it is to control the clock offensively knowing how fast Philadelphia plays) "Very important. They run an extremely fast paced offense, very explosive offense. They have a lot of talented players over there. It will be best for us to stay on the field as much as possible. Give our defense a blow whenever we can, and that's basically all you can do. Those guys get up to the line of scrimmage very quickly and run a lot of plays and can really get defenses gassed. We have to do as much as we can to stay on the field, convert third downs and put up points."

(on if he would like to play in  a system like the Eagles' offensive system) "I like the system I'm in. I think we do a great job of running a fast tempo offense as long as we can continue to get first downs. I think you saw a bit of that yesterday. We get first downs, we get defenses on their heels, get them tired. We have a lot of that in our system. I like where I'm in."

(on the offense's success in getting first downs against Tennessee) "Definitely. That's the thing. That's what it comes down to for us; just staying on the field, getting that first first down. Once we do that, we can open up our playbook, we can go fast tempo and move the ball fast."

ILB Brian Cushing
(on his mindset moving forward as he's trying to get back on the field) "Just progress. I'm going to take stuff day-by-day and try to get back. I'm going to work with the trainers, be in every meeting and my plan is to play."

(on how close he was to playing on Sunday) "I'm not sure. I probably obviously could have. Like I said, it just came down to a decision what was best for the team and longevity of the season."

(on how he felt the inside linebackers played) "I felt great. I mean, they went in there and did a great job. They tackled well. I thought the assignments they were sound on. They played good technical football. From Akeem (Dent), Mike (Mohamed) to (Justin) Tuggle, just the guys that were in there, all did a good job when they were playing."

(on the difficulties of going against Philadelphia's offense knowing that they play fast) "They're a good football team. They play a very fast up tempo pace, but you know you have to get ready for a new challenge every week. It's the National Football League and there is going to be a good team every week and they're going to have a different type of scheme, different type of approach to the way they play and attack you. We've just got to be ready every week. This is just a little bit different."

(on going against a number of former teammates) "A lot of former players on that team. It will be good to see those guys."

(on it easier sitting out one game and getting extra rest during the season knowing the injuries he's had the past two seasons) "No. It's never really easy. Unfortunately it's a situation that's come up. I want to play and it hurts every time I don't. But you get a little bit older and you have to be a little bit more patient, you have to be a little bit smarter about how you approach the game and what level you're playing the level at. You want to be as close to 100 percent as you can."

(on if the pain he is having is when he makes cuts) "Well, yeah. There is a lot of cutting and planting. It's not really a straight ahead game. It's all over the place, especially form the linebacker position. Like I said, feel as good as I possibly can is the main objective."

(on if his pain has started from the beginning of the season and progressed as the season has gone on) "I'm not sure exactly when the last time I felt 100 percent was, maybe before the NFL. I don't know to be completely honest with you. As far as the knee and everything, I felt real good the first couple of games. The first four games I felt like I was progressing. Then there has obviously been a little bit of an issue. Like I said, trying to get as close as I can when I felt that way and then hope to build it again, and then go from there

(on if the medical staff believes resting now will help his knee as the season goes on) "Yeah, pretty much. That's the plan right now. You've got to kind of listen, especially when you've been through two significant injuries. I've got to get this thing right and get feeling as good as I can."

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on how it feels to be back on the winning track) "Coming in on a Monday is a lot easier after a win. That lift feels a little bit better. You're less sore then you would be after a loss. We've just got to continue to figure out ways to have this feeling on Mondays."

(on what the team needs to do to build on yesterday's win) "It's just finding consistency. Yesterday was a good example of our defense playing well. Offensively, you know, some big plays by Arian (Foster) in the second half there. Being a little more efficient; it's just a good day all around in terms of the way that we complimented each other. With that being said, we'll watch the film together pretty quickly and there is a lot of things that we can improve on still. Just making sure we're still focused and still spending a lot of time each week getting prepared each week for the next opponent."

(on what area he thinks needs more improvement) "We can improve on everything. There is a lot of things. Some of the runs Arian (Foster) made, we could probably even block those better or I can get guys into better, I can get us into better runs at times. Certainly in the passing game, whether it is me consistently delivering an accurate ball or throwing it to the right guy. There are a lot of things. Everybody needs to continue to look at themselves and figure out what they can do. I've got a long list of things every week that I know I can get better at."

(on the potential of this team to have a big second half of the season) "If you look back, I said this yesterday, if you look back at Week 1, sitting 4-4 now, I think we expected to be a little bit better than that. Sitting at 3-4 last week and losing a few games in a row, you know, 4-4 right now, we've got to be happy with that, happy with winning this last game. We've got to turn all our focus to the second half of the season here and really to the Eagles and try to go into the bye with another win."

(on how much he pays attention to other teams in the league, especially division games) "I think everybody in here; we're football fans in general. I think you pay attention to all that stuff, especially within your division. In general, especially for me because I have friends on every team pretty much because I played on every team, you pay attention to all that stuff."

(on what the offense and offensive line on if can do to cut down on the number of sacks) "I think a lot of that is me just being smarter and getting rid of the ball when I need to. I held on to it a little bit too long. Those guys have been working their tails off up front. So there were some situations yesterday where I could have been a little bit smarter."

(on if sliding head first was a smart play) "That's what I've always done. You pick and choose your battles."

(on what he saw from the film that he wants to build on that he liked) "There is lots of stuff each week and each week it's something different. It boils down to getting everybody on the same page every play, the communication and just making sure that throughout the week we do everything we can to make it easy on Sunday, and we've just got to continue to get better at that. And then there is some physical stuff whether it's better throws, better footwork, getting rid of the ball, a lot of different things like that."

(on the positives that he took from the offense's play) "There were plenty. The long drive, you always love that. Being backed up and having it being noisy and you're in there in the huddle with the guys. We converted a long third down there. There were some good things that happened on that drive. That's one of the positives coming out of the game is a drive like that you think you can build on."

(on what it looks like from his perspective when RB Arian Foster is having a game like he had) "You never know. You never know what's going to happen. I said it yesterday, it's fun to hand it off and to watch him kind of figure it out where the best hole is going to be, make one cut and make a couple guys miss. It's fun as a quarterback to be able to hand it off and watch that."

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