General Manager and Executive VP of Football Operations Rick Smith **
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
RB Arian Foster
WR DeVier Posey
DE J.J. Watt
General Manager and Executive VP of Football Operations Rick Smith
(on winning his race with CB Johnathan Joseph but after cheating) "I cheated big time. I'm smart enough to stack the odds in my favor. We had established the rules before we started. He's just getting a little bit of extra conditioning in. I've been looking forward to him getting back to full strength and full speed, as well as the rest of the guys and getting ready to start the season."
(on how this week has gone practicing with the Denver Broncos) "I think it's been really good for us. I think last week with Atlanta, any time you can have opportunities to put your players in more competitive environments and keep them somewhat safe, I think those are always good opportunities. To be able to do it last week as well as this week with another quality football team has been really productive for us."
(on if he would consider moving training camp out of town to capitalize on the comradery of having all the players in the hotel together) "I don't know if those two are related. What we try to do and we'll try to continue to do this as much as possible, again player development is something that is very important for us. You get limited shots in the preseason, so anytime you can get additional opportunities to go against other opponents in competitive situations, it's just good for us. That's really what we're trying to get accomplished."
(on the comradery of all the players getting to know each other away from home) "I think we get that in our environment now because we sequester them in the hotel. All of our guys stayed in the hotel this year. The schedule is pretty intense for them, so there is not a lot of room for them to do anything other than to be with each other. I think we still get that. I do understand that whole idea of going away and how that fosters a little bit more of that, but I think we get enough of that in the situation we're in now."
(on opposing offensive linemen getting 'aggressive' with DE J.J. Watt on a daily basis in this environment) "I think when you're playing against a guy as good as he is, he probably will have the tendency to get the best of you. People don't like that. It's been good. The work has been really good on both sides of the ball for all of our guys. It even ended today with some situational special teams work as well, so we've gotten some really good work with two good football teams. It has helped us."
(on his thoughts on the intensity of practice and the ensuing chippiness) "That's one of the things that you want to try to guard against. You want to be as competitive and intense as possible without any of the other kind of stuff. It's hard in the sunshine like this. After three days of going against each other it's not necessarily a surprise, but you still want to be able to keep your composure."
(on the report that the Texans have ramped up their contract talks with DE J.J. Watt) "You know I don't comment at all about any kind of negotiations, so I'll stay away from that."
(on if he would like to see DE J.J. Watt's contract extended before the season starts) "I will tell you this without talking about anything publicly, we have made it a practice to take care of all of our players that we consider to be core players. At the appropriate time, when we can do that as we've done before, we'll do that with J.J. as well."
(on how important it is to see some of the veterans who have missed time see the playing field on Saturday) "It will be really important, but obviously the focus is to line up in September when it counts. I think Geoff Kaplan, I've talked about him at numerous times because I think those guys do an outstanding job. The more guys can get quality reps and competitive reps, the better they'll be and better prepared that they'll be. We'll make sure that we do everything that we can do to make sure that we're at full strength when it comes to opening day."
(on what has stood out to him from the start of camp until now) "I see a good group of rookies, both drafted and free agent wise. I think that they all understand that they've got a tremendous opportunity. They also understand that if they continue to work and continue to be focused and disciplined and listen and try to do what the coaches are asking them. We've got a really good group of teachers. This coaching staff, I've been very impressed with their ability to be demanding as well as teaching what they're asking these guys to do. I think our rookie class is benefitting from that."
(on how active he expects to be on the final waiver wire) "We've always looked at that as an opportunity, so I think you'll see us do what we have traditionally done. Obviously we're in a really good situation because we have the first priority, so effectively anybody that we decide that we want to claim, we'll be awarded that contract. That's a good position to be in, but we've always looked at that as an opportunity. Any time that we can augment and improve our roster, whether that is via waiver wire, via trade, via free agents that are on the street right now, we'll continue to do that. We are trying to promote and develop the most competitive roster possible and that's certainly a mechanism for us to do that."
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on an update to Jadeveon Clowney) "Yeah, he's doing fine. He just, we just held him out today. He'll be fine."
(on if Jadeveon Clowney will be able to play Saturday) "Not sure yet. Not sure yet."
(on how he felt the practices against Denver went) "I thought it was good. I really do. I just was telling Mr. McNair. You know, the competition, the ability to be in the hotel together, the meals together, the meetings, you know, it's a true training camp atmosphere and I think it's been a really productive three days."
(on some highlights that stood out to him this week) "Sure. You know, I felt offensively that, especially yesterday, I thought we came out and did some decent things in the passing game and in the running game. I feel like we have to be more consistent in the passing game with both of the quarterbacks, the receivers, the tight ends and the backs and the line with the protection. I think defensively they came out and competed well. Defensively, it really comes down to a lot of details. If you're supposed to have inside leverage, keep inside leverage. If you're supposed to have this gap, take that gap, and I think when we did that we showed that we could be a good defense. When we don't, people exploit it, so we've got to get more consistent there. I think special teams out here today at the end, we did 18 situations: punt, punt return, kickoff, kickoff return, all the things, last second field goal, all the things that go into being a good special teams unit, and I thought that was good today."
(on whether he has decided if Brian Cushing, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Johnathan Joseph would play Saturday) "I really haven't. We're going to go back to the hotel, we're going to meet and watch this tape, and then we'll talk a lot about that and see kind of where we are. I like to get some opinions on that from our trainers and also from our coaching staff. We've gotten a lot of work out here in the three days. That's what's different then in the past. In the past, when you didn't work against a team, you would certainly want to probably have your first teams go in the third game of the preseason. But when you come out here, yesterday we ran 60 team plays against each other, the day before the same thing, today about probably 40 team plays against each other. That's a lot of work. So you're able to get a lot of work done on the field in these situations, so we'll determine how much those guys need to play when we sit down tonight."
(on when asking advice about whether guys should play if he asks the veterans) "I certainly do. I talk to all these guys. I try to touch base with all those guys that are banged up a little bit on a daily basis. I follow the lead of Geoff Kaplan and our doctors, but I definitely talk to the vets. Those guys, what I've found in pro football is these guys they really know their own bodies very well, especially these guys that have played a lot of football and played at such a high level, like Andre Johnson. So you know, we have a lot of conversation about where he's at and then we determine, that's part of the determination of how much to play him."
(on how the kicking battle is shaping up) "I'd say Randy (Bullock) is in the lead. Randy has made some good kicks. He kicked decently in the game last week and made a game winner out here today, so I'd say he's in the lead right now."
(on if Shane Lechler is excited to punt in Denver) "Yeah, in the altitude? Yeah. I don't think it matters where Shane Lechler punts. He's a fantastic punter, great team leader, just a really good guy on our team. I've really enjoyed getting to know him. He's more than just a punter on this team."
(on if a punter having leadership is rare) "I would say that on the teams I've been involved with it's very rare to have a punter who's definitely one of the leaders of the team."
(on if he would consider moving training camp out of Houston) "You know, again, I think those are organizational decisions. I do think that this has been a good, for this 2014 team, this has been really good to get out here, get on our own. The hotel has been great. Our support staff, our equipment guys, our trainers, our operations people, strength staff have been really good out here. So I think year to year we make a decision on that. But again, that is a decision that is made amongst myself, Rick Smith and obviously, the McNairs."
(on how impressed he is with Arian Foster's pass catching ability out of the backfield) "Very impressive. He's a smart player, he's an instinctive player, he's a good runner, good pass protector and obviously, when we put him out there, he's a matchup problem for people because he can run routes and he can run all different kinds of routes. I think what Arian and I talk about all the time is just making sure he's healthy and ready to go every week. And he's come out here this week and performed very well."
(on if James Ferentz will start this week) "I don't know that yet. It looks like that will probably be the case, but I'm not sure yet."
(on what the deal is with Chris Myers) "He's doing alright. Again, a guy that's played a lot of football. We're just trying to manage him and make sure that he's ready to go for the regular season."
(on if Chris Myers is dealing with something serious) "No, no, definitely nothing serious."
(on if he feels comfortable not having Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Brian Cushing not playing in the preseason at all) "I'm comfortable with knowing that those guys have come out here the last two weeks, Cushing this week, a little bit last week, and practiced well. I'm comfortable with talking to them and finding out how they feel, and I like the way those guys are practicing right now. I'm comfortable doing what's every best to help us win."
(on he has thought the intensity of the practices this week) "You know, I'm from Boston, so when chippy was used that was with like the old big bad Bruins in the 80s. Chippy was a hockey term, not a football term. It was competitive. Two teams going at it, two teams that I felt took care of each other, two good teams working against each other as far as being good sportsman and things like that. I thought it was a good three days."
(on J.J. Watt being involved in a couple of scuffles and if he gets a target on his back) "I'm sure anytime you go against, in my opinion, probably the best defensive player in the league, you know, you're probably excited to go against that guy. So there's a little extra rev. But J.J.'s got great poise. He had a good week here this week and we're expecting really good things from him this year."
RB Arian Foster
(on how he has felt the last three days of practice) "I'm feeling good."
(on if his hamstring or back is bothering him) "I'm feeling good, man."
(on if he would like to play on Saturday) "I'm just going to keep on working, man, and however the chips fall, they will."
(on how beneficial the practices against the Broncos have been for the team) "Extremely beneficial; in all the ways it can be beneficial."
(on what would be at the top of his list of the three practices) "On it being beneficial to the team."
(on practice getting chippy) "That's just part of the game."
WR DeVier Posey
(on how he felt about practice) "I think it was pretty positive for us as a group, just trying to work on some things and some situational football and going against a good team. We came in here pretty focused. We know who that team is and where they've been last season. We just wanted to come and have some productive days."
(on how he's improved this week) "Just trying to make plays. We have so many guys and so many good players. Any time the five (wide receivers) were on the field, anybody can make a play. I mean, you've got to see that. Anytime the ball comes (my) way, just trying to do what I can."
(on if he has gotten any sleep after becoming a dad last week) "Barely. I've been enjoying this week. I've been sleeping good."
(on if he saw anything of the skirmish at practice) "No. I was actually in the huddle. I have no idea. I know it's been chippy but hey, it's football. They're a good team, we're a good team. We're just going at it."
(on how important Saturday's game is in taking the next step in the preseason) "Exactly. You know the answer to that. I mean, you took the words out of my mouth. It's important. Each game, each week, each challenge is for anybody who is on the field who gets an opportunity."
(on the acrobatic catch he made in the end zone in practice) "Case (Keenum) put the ball in a spot where only I could go get it or it was going to go out of bounds. I don't know. I was just like 'We'll see what happens,' and just try to tap my feet in (inbounds) and learn some stuff from 80 (Andre Johnson). I'm just trying to make sure I put it into play a little bit."
(on if he knew his feet were inbounds on the acrobatic catch he made) "I thought I got them in but I knew it would be a close call."
DE J.J. Watt
(on the scuffle at practice yesterday) "You guys saw what happened yesterday. You win on the field. You don't have to fight when you win on the field. When you win the rep, then people tend to get chippy, so that's fine."
(on if someone getting chippy with him is a compliment) "Yeah, I'll take it any chance I can get because normally, you don't normally fight when you win the rep. I have no interest in fighting someone when I beat you. So when I go out there, that's why I don't really get into in to fights. That's why when somebody hits me, I don't feel the need to hit back because you can turn on the film, see what happened."
(on what caused the skirmish at the end of practice yesterday) "On this end? I'm not sure. I didn't see that at all. They took me out from the play before."
(on if the opposing players were talking to him and trying to get into his head) "No, I mean I wouldn't. No. The only time they talk is after a play when I won, so I don't really have anything to say to that. That's fine. If you want to fight, that's fine. It's just funny to me when people want to fight after you get beat on a play, but that's fine. That's football. Boys will be boys. You know how that goes. Handle it like a man. I don't think there was a real major scuffle, so that's always a good thing. It's football. There's testosterone going around here. People get excited. It's football. Practicing against each other for three days, we're professional athletes, guys get a little excited, get a little antsy, so that's fine."
(on if he's been on the other side and wanted to fight after getting beat) "Like I said, I just don't really feel the need to do it, you know. I think it's one of those things where it's too much to lose. There is no reason for me to fight anybody because I'll go out there and I'll talk with my play on the field. That's the way I've always done it, that's the way I feel like you should do it, so let your play on the field do the talking, unless it gets to some extreme crazy point where I need to, but it hasn't reached that point yet, so I'm OK."
(on if the team is coming together on this trip) "Absolutely. I think it's been a great trip for us. I think it's one of those things where you get away. It's kind of like an old school training camp where you go somewhere else, you're in a hotel with just your brothers on the team and you're going to play against another team, and for a whole week straight it's just you around your brothers and you get a lot closer. That's a lot of fun and really enjoyed it so far this week."