Head Coach Bill O'Brien
FS Kendrick Lewis
C Chris Myers
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
DE J.J. Watt
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on the qualities that he demands from his quarterbacks) "Hard worker, leadership, intelligence, being able to throw the ball accurately in critical situations, having his best moments when the game is one the line. I think when you look at the guys that we had in there this year, obviously we had four guys in there, at different points during the year we had four different guys in there, and I thought all of
those guys showed those qualities at times. Again, it's the day after the season. We'll take a little time off here and then we'll begin to evaluate and see where we're at. Those are the qualities that I look for."
(on one or two things he learned as a first-time NFL head coach) "No question. I just told the team. I think the improvement starts with me. Thinking about things that I could do better, whether it's changing up the practice schedule, changing up the way we do things during the offseason, being a better evaluator to help in the draft, being a better evaluator to help in free agency. I mean, I guess that's the way I was brought up. Obviously, I just give my parents a lot of credit there, to never be satisfied and to always understand that there is more out there. I told our team: there is a lot more out there and it starts with the head coach."
(on his thoughts on what the team has at the quarterback position) "Really have come in here and bought into what we're teaching, have worked very hard at it, have shown leadership skills. Fun guys to coach. Really can't say anything negative about any of them. All of us can coach better. All of us can play better. We all understand that, but as far as guys and the type of work that they put in, they were hard working guys, competitive guys."
(on what he was most pleased with in the team and where he wants to see improvement) "I think the best thing that I can say about this team, which maybe some people would say that you should take that for granted in the National Football League, but this team played very hard every snap. It wasn't always pretty, but this team competed every single snap. I think a great illustration of that is Blake Bortles has an unbelievable scramble down to the 5-yard line yesterday, or whatever inside the 10-yard line. Our guys stopped those guys four downs straight. That's a sign of good coaching, but most importantly good playing, playing hard and playing to the last whistle. I think that's a good example of the way that this team played this year. Again, we've got to learn how to win close games. We have to be situationally smarter. We have to know our systems better. We have to coach better. Our players need to individually improve their own skill sets, things they can work on to improve to get better. This team played very hard this year."
(on guys on both sides of the ball that surprised him after reviewing the film before starting this season) "I think that's a good question. I never use the word surprised. I will tell you though; I'll give you an example and there are a lot of them. I'll miss guys and I'm not going to give you too many individual names. But I will tell you on offense, when I got here, first day I got here, all I heard about was Derek Newton and the way that Derek Newton played and all this. When you look at the tape, Derek Newton put a lot of work into this season and he played well. He played consistent. Was it always perfect? No. But there is a guy that we just, that's a guy that we would look forward to working with in the future. Defensively, I think you've got to point to a number of guys. There are just a lot of guys over there on defense. If you look at in the secondary, Kendrick Lewis came in here and did a good job for us. John Simon and Jared Crick- Jared Crick, nobody ever talks about Jared Crick because he plays next to (J.J.) Watt, but Jared Crick does a really good job. Special teams wise, I thought yesterday the player of the game on special teams was Shane Lechler. I thought he did a great job punting. He was consistent all year. Randy Bullock was a player of note on special teams. He had a better year. Those weren't surprises. It was just good to see those types of players go out there and have good years."
(on the biggest difference between coaching in college and in the NFL) "There is a big difference. I really enjoy both. I've said this time and time again. My experience at Penn State was a great experience. I really enjoyed coaching there. I love that school and those kids that are in that program. Coaching on Sundays is very different. You're coaching during the week, it's 7 a.m. to six o'clock at night for these players. It's a full-time job. A lot of these guys are paid a lot of money. They're grown men. They have families. Everything here in Houston and in the National Football League is about winning. It's what I just talked to the team about. Nine and seven is progress, but it's not the mission. I think we all know what the mission is. Nine and seven is progress, but progress isn't good enough. The mission here is to win. To win. I think our players understand that and they know there is a lot more out there for us as we head into the future."
(on what goes into year two for him) "I think one of the things I was thinking about just now walking out of our final team meeting with this 2014 team, is that there is no more quote on quote dipping your toe into the water and trying to figure each other out. I mean, what you see is what you get with me. The players know what to expect with the coaching staff. They know our program. We'll make adjustments. Like I said, there are some things that we need to improve upon with how we schedule things and how we do certain things in the offseason program, training camp, regular season. The guys, there is a foundation that we can definitely build on. The guys know the expectations. Like I just said, the expectation is to win and everything that we do is pointed towards winning in this organization. I think the guys understand that and that will be a big, I believe, a big help to us in year two."
(on if the team has adapted to the culture that he wanted to instill) "I really have a lot of respect for
the group in that locker room and the group in that team meeting room. Those guys, they really did put a lot of work into it. They bought into it. I don't always like that phrase, buying into it. I've always tried to think of a different phrase there, but they did. They really took our lead and said, 'OK. These are the things that we need to do to have a competitive football team.' And I give those guys a lot of credit. I have a lot of respect for this team and the way that they played. I talked about how hard they played every snap. It was an enjoyable year from that point of view that the guys bought in and we were able to come out with a winning record."
(on how he would rate DE J.J. Watt's season to other defenders in the NFL) "What can you say? It's got to be one of the best of all time. Again, I haven't been in this league as long as a lot of other coaches, but just being around Coach (Bill) Belichick in New England and how he would teach us about the history of the game. I know about the history of the game in many respects. J.J. had a year for the ages, no question about it. But the thing that's great about J.J. just in talking to him this morning, and I'll keep most of the conversation between J.J. and I. But he knows there is a lot more out there for this team and for him, and people may look at that and say, 'how much better?' Well, this guy, he's going to be out there, I best he takes two or three days off and he's back to work by the end of this week. I'm serious. This guy, that's what makes him who he is and I think he's a great example for young players."
(on if he thinks DE J.J. Watt is the MVP of the league) "I don't think I'm the right person to ask about the MVP because, I think it's an important award and I think if you look back at the history of the MVP award and who's won it, obviously I have great respect for those players. I coached an MVP player in this league in Tom Brady. I understand all that, but I don't want to get into, I just know what that guy means to our football team and how he affects the play on every single play. In the coaching world, I think if you asked other coaches when you throw the film on and you watch this guy play, it's rare to see a player at that position affect the game on every play that he's out on the field. I think that's what he does."
(on if the team met his expectations) "I don't think we came close. Our expectations are to win. That's the only expectation you can have in this league is to win. In order to win, you've got to get into the playoffs. With that being said, like I said earlier, I think that this team did a really good job of really following the process of what we put in place and playing competitively and very hard every week. But there is a lot more out there. Expectation wise, the expectation here in Houston will always be--always, always be to win."
(on what the team is missing to become a Super Bowl contending team) "I think every team is different. I think the 2015 team will be different than the 2014 team. I think that's the one thing about the NFL. There will be different schemes that we run. There will be different players just because of the nature of the business, whether its free agency or the draft or whatever. Every team is different and I think we have to do a really good job of understanding what we need at different positions. I'm not going to get into all that with you here today, but making sure that we do a great job of evaluating our own roster and put together a very, very strong team for 2015. We have a good core here and we've got a lot to build on, so that's what we're going to be looking to do all offseason."
(on if he will remain the offensive coordinator or if an offensive coordinator will be named) "I think George Godsey did a really good job this year of coaching the quarterbacks and handling a lot of the offensive responsibilities from a meetings standpoint and all those different things. It's a collaborative effort and I think, as we move on, that's all part of the evaluation. I'll evaluate the staff and sit down. Every year is different. You'll sit down with each staff member and you'll come to a decision on what needs to be changed there responsibility-wise and things like that. I haven't done that yet. I've been preparing this morning for our meeting with the team and for this, but that'll come in due time."
(on if a defensive player can have an impact on the game the way a quarterback can) "I think when you look at the way that the game is played, you know, one thing that I always talk about is trying to put a team off schedule. So, a team that is first-and-10, now its second-and12, and now its third-and-15 because there's a defensive player or defensive team out there that has really disrupted the rhythm of that offense. Here you have a guy, along with his teammates, that have really done a good job of disrupting offenses for most of the year, especially late in the year here. I mean, we played Baltimore and some decent offenses here and J.J. (Watt), along with his teammates, did a good job of disrupting and keeping them off schedule. I don't know. I'm not into all those MVP conversations. I'm really not. I'm just more into coaching the team and trying to put together a good team with Rick (Smith). MVP is for somebody else to really talk about."
The Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17.
(on his relationship with general manager Rick Smith) "We have a great relationship. We talk every day, multiple times a day. His office is basically right next to mine. His door is always open. My door is always open. Good working relationship. We feel good about basically where we are right now and building something here, but we know that there's a lot more out there and we've got to work hard together to put together a better team, a more winning team basically. We understand that. As far as working with him, he's a great guy to work with, a great communicator, and I'm looking forward to heading into the offseason and helping him."
(on his timeline over the few weeks) "We'll work here this week most of the week and then we'll take some time off there next week. We'll get back to work, I don't know. I don't even know what the date is, but well be back to work in a couple weeks. I'm not a big beach guy, so I don't know if I'll be heading to a beach anywhere. I might head to the Cape even though it's like 20 degrees there I heard today. But then we'll come back and we'll really start working on free agency, the draft, our own roster evaluations, our own playbook and things like that. We've got a lot of work ahead of us."
(on how satisfied he is with his in-game management) "I felt like situationally, we had a pretty good year. I think there are always things that we can improve on. I think one of the interesting things about that is that everybody's got an opinion on situational football, but you have to know your own team. Maybe it's a situation where do you want to take timeouts at the end of the half to help your team get the ball back? Well, yeah maybe you do, but like how is your offense playing in that half? Do you really want to do that or vice-versa? Do you want to try and run the clock out and take the 14-10 lead in at halftime and things like that. I thought, especially with Jim Bernhardt and myself, we communicated very well on that. There are always things that we can improve because there's always situation out there that don't occur during the year that you've got to think about in the offseason. We'll always look to improve, but I thought overall our communication, the way we handled challenges and things like that. You know, yesterday I challenged that one early. Usually I look at the player, J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) who is a veteran player, and he felt like the guy bobbled it. I looked up on the screen. You don't have a lot of time to make that decision. I felt like it was early in the game and we had three timeouts, so if we lose a timeout, we'll still be okay there, so I challenged it. Obviously, I was wrong there and we lost a timeout, but I think I would do that again just based on the early apart of the game and how that game was going to be played."
(on the evolution of the defense) "The whole staff on defense really did a good job, led by Romeo (Crennel), of communicating with the players. I don't think that's a very easy system to install and learn right away. There are a lot of decisions that have to be made by the players on the field through communication based on what they see and the different packages that we put out there. You really started to see the defense come into its own here late in the season and play really well. They really did. There were some plays that they gave up, but overall played really well. I thought Romeo did a good job on game day of putting those players in positions to make plays, attack, and be aggressive. Overall, obviously, the defense tripled the takeaway stat from last year. I think it was 34 or whatever it was. It was 11 the year before. I think there's a lot to say about that. We practiced that a lot and they accomplished a really big goal there. I thought the defensive staff did a really good job there."
(on what OLB Brooks Reed and other guys who don't get enough credit meant to the defense) "There
Texans fans show up loud and proud to NRG Stadium for the Week 17 Fan Appreciation Day game.
are a number of guys. Brooks Reed is a tough guy, he's a really good teammate, he's a very hard working guy, he plays hurt, and he's a disciplined player. I thought he made more plays this year. He was more productive this year at times than he was in years past, so I really think that he had a solid year for us. There are a lot of other guys on defense that I felt, you know, Akeem Dent is a guy that came in and did some good things for us this year. I talked about Kendrick Lewis. J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) and Kareem (Jackson) did some good things obviously this year. Jared Crick, I talked about him, so there are a number of guys. Whitney Mercilus, I've talked about him throughout the year as a much improved player. A lot of guys really contributed on defense."
(on the job Pro Personnel Director Brian Gaine did) "Rick (Smith) hired Brian Gaine as our Pro Personnel Director last year sometime I think it was in February. I knew of Brian Gaine, but I didn't know Brian personally. I know guys like Doug Marrone and Coach (Bill) Parcells that he had work with and things like that, but Brian has come in here and really filed his role, I believe, very well. Rick is probably the best guy to ask about that because he works a lot with Rick, but from my perspective, when I have conversations with Brian, he's very knowledgeable about players in the league. He's very knowledgeable about the styles of the different teams and what types of players fit those teams. I'd say he's done a nice job this year."
(on if he enjoys his job and does his family enjoy being here) "I love my job. I mean, I can't wait to get up and get to work every day. I really do. I love what I do. I think you have to, whatever your job is, in order to do a good job at it or at least attempt to do a good job at it, you have to have a passion for it and you have to love it. I really enjoy the guys I work with here. My family really enjoys Houston. My wife, she loves it and that's the most important thing, right? Happy wife, happy life. I think that's the way it goes. My kids love it. My oldest, Jack, is in a good spot here. My son Michael is playing all the Little League sports and going to a good school, so they really enjoy Houston."
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on what having a serious injury was like for him) "Not pleasant. I haven't really dealt with any major
injuries before, so having the surgery and my wife having to take care of four kids and me and being pregnant. I felt bad the last few weeks, but I'm starting to become a little more independent in what I can do and I'm moving around a little better."
(on his timeframe to start football activities) "I think maybe two more months or so before I'll be able to go at it 100 percent, so it's just the bones got to heal and then I've kind of got to regain the strength that I lost in my leg."
(on getting hurt when the team was playing well) "I mean, there was a lot of disappointment. I was down about it, but it's just part of the game. I think I was headed in the right direction in terms of some of the stuff that I was doing and the way I was playing, but it was great to see the guys respond and kind of rally the last few games for Case (Keenum), who was here in the offseason. To come in and do what he did was a lot of fun to watch. To see everybody pick their games up, rally, and the way the defense played, it was weird watching it on the couch at home, but it was also a lot of fun just to see the way guys were flying around."
FS Kendrick Lewis
(on missing out on the playoffs the way the team did) "It didn't sit well with me, but we did as much as we could. We did our part. It's hard when you put your face in some else's hand. Just where our chips feel and this is what we have to deal with."
(on what it says about this team to overcome adversity, but still finish with a chance to make the playoffs) "We just finish up where we left off. We have something to build on. We knew that towards the end of the season, you know, nobody could tell me that we didn't hit the ball as far as clicking and clashing at the same time at a much better time. Tough that we didn't get into the playoffs, but I believe if we would've gotten in there we would have done some things that would've helped this team and helped this ball club."
(on the strides the defense made under Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel) "We just got better every day, every week. As weeks went on, we just continued to get better and continued to work hard to put our self in the top tier in this league as far as defense. That's what we pride ourselves on. Every day we went out to practice, every day we competed to try to be the best defense every Sunday on the field."
(on working with Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel) "I played with Crennel. Crennel drafted me in Kansas City, but after this season it just brought back all the old memories. All the times that we shared back when I was playing with him a couple years ago. I look forward to it. Hopefully, everything works out in my favor as far as playing with him again."
(on the culture change for the defense under Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel) "He's brought his way of coaching, his style of coaching, how he wants to the defense to be run and how he wants a defense to be played. That's what he did a great job of coming into Houston and showing everybody. I believe that us as defenders, us as players, we bought into his scheme and his way of doing things and was able to have success in the end."
C Chris Myers
(on if he is proud the team made a seven game improvement) "I'm proud of the fact that we were able to get this season rolling from the get go. Being able to kind of buy in to the system on all phases of the ball and being able to kind of all come together and really come to fruition throughout the second half of the season, I thought that was a big step in the right direction. Obviously, it didn't work out how we wanted it to record-wise or playoff-wise, but I think it's a step in the right direction for next year."
(on if he can envision what the team can do in the future) "I think us being able to kind of end on a high note was key for that and crucial. I think being able to build confidence heading into the end of the season and hoping for the playoffs. Being able to kind of roll on all cylinders, especially defensive side of the ball. I mean, hats off to them. That second half of the season, they just played unreal. Offensively speaking, we had our woes, especially at certain positons and injuries. But being able to rally around each other was the biggest key."
(on what he thinks about the offensive line group) "I think us being able to get the comradery amongst each other, it was a new scheme, us being able to understand certain things, and everything going on with the quarterback position behind us. Hats off to every single one of them, too. We never really lost a step when it came to the transition of quarterbacks. Whichever one was in there, we were able to kind of roll on all cylinders. That's just a testament to the coaches, the quarterbacks, the o-line, and everybody meeting extra and putting in that time."
(on the growth of Derek Newton) "Unbelievable. I think the adversity, not adversity, but the media and the fans kind of last couple season were on him. He maybe used it for motivation in himself, but I always knew it. He's a tremendous athlete. It was just a matter of time before he came into his own. It was especially big this season."
(on if he would like to finish his career in Houston) "I would love to finish my career here. I call Houston home. I got engaged, married, and on the way to four kids here, so Houston is my home. We're here very offseason. You understand the business of the thing, but I would definitely love to be here my whole career."
(on his career growth and if he ever thinks about his journey) "Amazing how many people you can decisive in the NFL. That's how I would describe my career. I think it's just a testament to being able to be in the right situation at the right time. When it (getting traded) happened back in '08, it was perfecting timing for that. I'm very luck y on that end. You just put your nose to the grindstone, keep your head down, and keep working. I feel very lucky in that sense. I still view myself as a little kid from Miami who was never big enough to play college football and I still made it. Being able to play 10 years is unbelievable and I'm still kind of pinching myself.
(on how tough it is to think about the season being over) "I mean, it's tough. It's kind of mix feeling after the game because you won, you finished with a winning record, you put yourself in a position where you didn't think you'd be. You wanted to be, but you had a hard time getting there. On the other end, it didn't work out. There were certain scenarios. I think at one point in the day yesterday, we were that sixth seed and then the teams kind of fell off at the end. All you can do is win your game and put yourselves in that position."
(on Bill O'Brien's job keeping the team focused through injuries) "I think it goes back to putting your nose to the grind stone and work. Next man up and rallying around each other no matter who is in that position. Unfortunately, it was at the quarterback position this year where we had some transition, but being able to kind of be behind each other 100 percent, putting in that extra time in the meetings, and it showed on the field, especially the last few weeks."
(on what he expects out the quarterback situation next year) "You've got to ask Coach (Bill) O'Brien that. That's above my pay grade, so we'll see how that works out. I'm snapping to whoever he calls quarterback."
(on if staying at hotel during training camp helped the team) "I don't think any team enjoys staying at a, whatever it is, dorm that they go to for certain colleges or hotel right here, the Holiday Inn. It's something new that we hadn't done around here. I think it was a necessity, an evil necessity at that. I think because you're so used to your own kind of thing. I think being uncomfortable during training camp is the main goal because it makes practices look more feisty and just makes everyone uncomfortable and on edge. I think that's what you need in the NFL."
(on if Bill O'Brien deserves consideration for Coach of the Year) "I think he'll be the first one to say he doesn't, but I really think that he deserves a lot more attention and a lot more gratitude for what he's done around here. Being able to turn the program around and get back to a winning season, we had a chance to do a lot more earlier in the year. I just think being able to install his schemes and everyone buying in speaks volumes for the type of man and coach he is and all the coaches on the staff. I think he deserves a lot more attention."
DE J.J. Watt
(on if it was tough to come in this morning) "You never want the season to end without hoisting a trophy. That's the way with everybody. Every single team except for one is going to have this experience. You're disappointed, so hopefully, I'm excited to get back to work and in the future look forward to success."
(on if he felt there was a point the league clicked five or six weeks ago) "I think just as the season goes a long you get more and more comfortable in the system, especially with a new coaching staff. Everybody starts to understand their roles better, coaches start to understand the players, the players understand the coaches. As you move forward, you get more and more comfortable, and then you have more and more success."
(on if he gives himself a little bit of a break now) "When I first came into the league, the veterans tried to tell me how much time they take and how much time you should take. My first year I tried to give myself a full month and I ended up back to work after about a week and a half. Last year I tried to give myself a couple weeks. I took my brothers to Europe for two weeks. Even over there, we found ourselves working out a few times. I'm going to try and give myself some times and relax a little bit. I'm going to try for two weeks, but I can almost guarantee you there will be a few workouts there just because I'll feel like a bum."
(on if he enjoys training even during the offseason) "You know, it's one of those things where the farther you get off, the harder it is to get back on the path. Why get off the path? I love working out. I have the best job in the world. I get to work out and practice football for a living. That's pretty cool."
(on WR Andre Johnson saying that if he is not given the MVP that the league is out of its mind) "Those are the opinions that matter the most to me- my teammates, my coaches and my family. That to me is special, especially coming from a guy like Andre Johnson who's been around and seen a lot of football. You guys know how I feel about the awards. It is what it is, but to have those guys kind of go to bat for you is pretty cool."
(on if he will sit back and think about what he accomplished the season after doing things no other defensive players have ever done) "That's pretty cool. There have been a lot of great football players in this league and there have been a whole lot of great defenders in this league, and to be able to do something that none of them have ever done, is pretty unbelievable and it's special. To be able to share it with my teammates and my coaches and my family, is so cool, but I mean it's hard to wrap your head around it. It's pretty special. Someday I'll think I'll probably grasp the full magnitude of it, but right now it's just one day at a time now."
(on setting the 20-plus sacks in two separate seasons record on a safety) "A safety is the one stat I never really recorded in college and in the pros. Now I've scored touchdowns, sacks, batted balls, fumble recoveries, but I never had gotten a sack (safety). To be able to check that off, and especially the way it happened to become the first player to ever do that, that was a special play and one of the most fun plays I've ever had on the football field."
(on if he watches the playoffs or tunes out) "I won't watch too much of it. I'll sure I'll tune in every now and then and see what's going on. I'm not going to be locked in on it."
(on if his dance moves have improved and if he's been working on them) "I definitely haven't been working on them. When they play that song and the stadium erupts, that's one of the most fun things ever. It's so cool, and that song, I get so excited just to see how our fans react. Sunday's are fun. Going out there and playing out there in front of so many people and having a blast, that's what it's all about. You get a chance to do that so many times in your life and I'm trying to enjoy them all."
(on if Sunday was WR Andre Johnson's last game as a Texan, what would he remember about him) "I'm not ready to talk about that. I don't know how that will all shake out."
(on S Kendrick Lewis saying the way he carries himself made Lewis a better player) "That's very humbling. That's very special because I have so much respect for him and so much respect for everybody in this league. So for guys to say something like that and coming from him, I know he truly means it. That's really special. He's a great guy in his own right. He's a lot of fun to be around. He's a lot of fun to play with. That's pretty cool."
(on possibly joining Alan Page and Lawrence Taylor as defensive players to win MVP) "All I care about is the opinions of my teammates, coaches and family. Like I said before, people who vote on the awards, people who write about the awards, people who decide those things, I can't control what they think. I left it all out on the field. I left everything I had out there on that field trying to help my team win, doing whatever I could to be the best football player that I could be. However they want to vote, whatever they want to write, they can write whatever they want, but I know that I left it all out there."