WR DEANDRE HOPKINS**Is there anything new on your contract?
"Not that I know of. I'm out here focusing on making this team better. I'm still under contract. So, I don't know."
Can you compartmentalize your contract situation and not think about it?
"Of course. When you grow up how I grew up – with nothing – anything that you have is a lot. So, I'm blessed to even be here and I'm fortunate to be in this situation – to have what I have right now."
Can you talk about QB Tom Savage and what you like about him both on and off the field?
"What I don't like is how I went to his house last week and he didn't have Blue Moon in his refrigerator. But besides that, we're pretty tight."
You've had limited playing time with QB Tom Savage, but what have you seen in practice?
"The kid is a go-getter. He doesn't quit. Even out there today he was trying to be first. He was hustling. He was out there being a leader even though he hasn't played many snaps in this league. Even on the sideline last year at games he was out there helping the quarterbacks, helping us, helping the tight ends. Just being active throughout even though he wasn't starting."
Former Texans WR Andre Johnson taught you a lot. What is it like to do the same for WR Will Fuller V?
"Oh man. It's great to see guys develop in this league. Braxton (Miller) and Will – they had a good offseason. I can tell the way they came out here today and worked. They want to learn. They're not guys that are just going to sit back and let you tell them things. They're going to ask you questions. Kind of like how I did (with) Andre."
When Head Coach Bill O'Brien was asked at the NFL Scouting Combine about you having a down season he shut it down right away. How did it feel to have a coach defend you like that?
"It's great when you have a coach like this that's always on your side. A down season, you know, it's a team sport. It's not one player out there playing. So, I did my job to get our team last year to where we got. Even though we didn't get the success we wanted, we still had a pretty good season. Won the division, and it's not easy to win the division in this league. So, to have a coach like that on your side all the time, it spreads throughout the locker room."
Can you talk about QB Tom Savage as a quarterback and the rapport you both are developing?
"We haven't had much time to do much this offseason. He has a family. He's married. We definitely have been getting after it since we've been back in town. Just doing extra things. He throws a good ball. He knows this offense better than any quarterback that can be in this system. He's been here since he's been in the NFL and under this system, so he knows how to put the ball where it needs to be."
QB Tom Savage said one of the things he's focused on is building communication. Is that something you've seen improve as you hang out and get more reps?
"Yeah. But, we were building that chemistry even when he was on the sideline when he wasn't playing. Just him always being into the game and knowing what's going on and knowing what he could do if he was in the game. Even in practice, even in the film room, he was always into it. There was never a time that he didn't know where the ball was supposed to go or how it should be thrown. So, I feel like since he's been here for four years we've been building that chemistry. Not just now."
Do you respect QB Tom Savage for what he has done despite not being the starting quarterback in the past?
"Of course. That's something everybody in this locker room respects about him. How he always stayed into it. How he never got down or never doubted himself."
Physically, how do you feel with where you're at right now and is there anything in particular you worked on this offseason?
"Well, I haven't missed a game since I've been in the NFL so I don't want to fine tune too much. But definitely sticking to my routines. Running hills. I try to follow the Jerry Rice routine. Hills. Don't do too much. Don't kill yourself. I'm a receiver. I'm not a bodybuilder. So, just maintaining and getting better at things that I need to get better at, and I know that. But, as a player I'm not going to sit here and tell you and let the other guys watching this try to get up on me. But, definitely. There's always room for improvement in my game."
How hard is it to deal with the fact that you've had a different quarterback throwing you the ball every year?
"That doesn't bother me at all. As long as they can get me the ball, you know I don't care what name is on the back of the jersey, honestly. As long as we win the games that's all that matters to me. Everybody that plays quarterback in this league, they made it here for a reason. They can play at this level. So, I don't doubt anybody who steps behind that center and that comes to work every day and dresses just like I do. It's not an easy position at all. They get a lot of crap because they're the leaders of the offense and everything is on their shoulders. But, it's up to guys like me to put that behind and go to work no matter who is throwing the ball."
What do you hope for WR Braxton Miller and WR Will Fuller V this year in terms of their development?
"They have a lot they can work on. I don't want to sit up here and speak for those guys because I'm not in their shoes, but they have a lot of room for improvement in their game. I'm sure Will knows he dropped some key balls last year but as a rookie you're not going to be perfect. But, you want that to be in the back of your head so when that time comes again you can take advantage of the situation."
What are your thoughts on the upcoming NFL Draft?
"I asked Andre (Johnson) a while back if he follows the draft and he said no, so I don't follow the draft either."
What did you think when you found out QB Brock Osweiler was traded?
"I wish him luck. I know he has lots to prove in this league. I know he has a lot to still prove to himself. He's a good guy. I know he's going to do well wherever he ends up."
Have you talked to QB Deshaun Watson at all and have you thought about what it would be like to have him in the quarterback room?
"You know, I'm a Clemson guy so I'm a little biased. As an organization, they know who we need more so than my biased opinion would say who I want. Wherever he goes, I know he'll do fine. You win Quarterback of the Year back-to-back, you get snubbed of the Heisman. In my eyes, he's a Heisman quarterback. We haven't talked, but we have mutual friends. I still have cousins that play at Clemson. So, I'm pretty sure he would like to throw me the football."
G DAVID QUESSENBERRYCan you reflect on that feeling of ringing that bell the other day and all you've been through?
"It was a long fight. I think, as you can tell from the video, I was pretty excited to ring that bell. It was just a special moment for me and my family and really everybody that helped me out through the whole thing."
How does it feel to be focusing on football now?
"It feels amazing. This is kind of what we had always dreamed about getting to throughout my fight. Now that we're not talking about the next treatment, we're just talking about the next phase of the spring, it's exciting."
From a physical standpoint, what type of a timetable have the doctors put on for you?
"That's what they're working on right now. We're in uncharted territory, I guess. Nobody's ever gone (through) what I've gone through specifically, so they're working as we go. But I feel great and it will be very soon where I can play."
Do you realize how many non-football fans in this city are pulling for you?
"I have. That's something that has helped me throughout the whole fight. This is a special city, this is a special place. I'll never forget that."
What do you feel like gave you the courage to fight through this? Was it family, faith or something else?
"I think all of those things. It's hard to just put one. I definitely think my family, my faith – just a belief that there's a bigger picture here and there's more to it than just me getting diagnosed with cancer. There's more to the story."
As an athlete, is there anything specific the doctors did to try to preserve your future physical shape?
"No. I'm not really familiar with that. They kind of just said, 'Hey, this is what we have to do to fight it.' That's what we did."
Do you have any residual feeling from some of the treatments they gave you that changes things for you?
"I'm definitely not the same person, probably physically and mentally. But I think I came out of this stronger, both physically and mentally."
What has this organization meant to you throughout this fight?
"This organization has had my back since day one. That alone is something that's rare to find and it's something that's very special. That's what makes this such an awesome place to come into and work every day, knowing that they care about me as a football player and as a person."
Did you ever question or wonder whether you were going to be able to play again?
"There were a lot of times. When I finished my intensive treatment I felt like the furthest thing from a football player – no hair, skinny – but your body is an amazing thing. We just took it slowly. We just did one workout at a time, one treatment at a time and eventually here we are."
How close are you to your playing weight from before?
"I'm a little lighter but I feel good at this weight. We'll continue to crush these workouts and see what happens."
What do you think it's going to feel like to throw that first block?
"I don't know what it's going to feel like. It's something I've thought about for however many days – 1,050 days – since I got diagnosed. I can't wait. It's going to feel beautiful."
How meaningful is the relationship you've built with Head Coach Bill O'Brien and everything he has done to have your back?
"In the team meeting today he called me out and he showed the team the video of me ringing the bell. He has had my back through this whole thing. We've gotten close. He has his own struggles in his family and I have mine. He has had a lot of wisdom on the way to approach things when it's your body and you're going through your own fights. That's something that I've always kind of cherished and been fortunate to have with him since he got here and before I got diagnosed. He's just been great."
Did you have any interesting logistical situations with your size relative to most patients?
"Yeah. It's hard to fit in the bed and those things that you wear – the gowns. Those things never fit so we kind of made our own as we went on. But they worked with me."
Do you expect to compete for the right tackle job?
"I really like the offensive line position in general – tackle, guard, center. I think I take pride in being able to play them all. Wherever I can help the team."
Do you still have that nasty streak the coaches talked about when you first got here?
"Yeah, it's still there."
QB TOM SAVAGEConsidering the trials and tribulations you have had going back to college, now you are in position to make millions and millions of dollars. How do you feel about the opportunity you have right now?
"First of all, I don't really ever think about the money. I've played two games so far. I have a lot to go out there and prove and this is going to be a heck of an opportunity."
What has your focus been this offseason in getting better for next year?
"I think just consistency. Obviously, we need to get the ball in the end zone. That's pretty apparent to anyone who watched us. That's just one thing that we are really working on."
How excited are you about this opportunity?
"I'm pumped. It's going to be fun. I'm going to enjoy it. Just go out there and play fast and have some fun."
What are your thoughts on the questions about your ability to stay healthy and buzz about the Texans drafting a quarterback?
"I think both of those things are things I can't control, so I'm not really worried about it. With the naysayers and all that stuff, that's – it's funny, people always ask me about that stuff like the doubters and naysayers. I'm going out there to play for everybody in that locker room and everybody who believes in me. Anybody else, I just kind of shake off. They can draft whoever they want."
Would your mindset have changed any if they would have brought in another veteran or would it have been the same?
"Nope. Luckily for me through the process that I have been through the last three years with this team, it's been the same thing. Just keep going out and keep doing what you control and that's how it is."
What are you doing with the different receiving targets that you have during the offseason above and beyond what is required by the offseason program?
"It's funny, I was talking to (DeAndre Hopkins) Hop a little bit about it. I just think communication is going to be key this year. I had a couple of guys over and just hanging out and talking. At the end of the day we have to be boys. We have to go out there, we have to have some fun. We have to be able to communicate with each other. If they want to get after me on the field, that's fine. Let's communicate. Let's be on the same page and at the end of the day let's have some fun."
With everything you've been through in your college and pro careers, do you feel like your time has come and you're ready for this moment?
"Absolutely. This is a tremendous opportunity. I can't wait to get out there and get cracking."
What has Head Coach Bill O'Brien said to you just in terms of preparing to you for this?
"A lot of things. Obviously, we can't be on the field right now and stuff. I think a lot of it's just in terms of leadership and like I said, communication with the guys and making sure we're all on the same page heading into OTAs and then even training camp."
Is there anything within your game that you feel like you can control and work on to make sure you are on the field as much as possible?
"Hopefully this is the last time we talk about the injuries, but I went through and I watched all of my injuries from the past and I think a lot of them can be avoided just with experience. Let's just be real. Rookie year was rookie year. That's whatever. The second year with the shoulder, it's the fourth preseason game, throw the ball away. I'm not Michael Vick. I shouldn't be rolling around trying to make a play. And then last year, I need to get a yard and get down. I don't need to be Mike Alstott and run through there and get four yards on a quarterback sneak. Those are all things that you will learn and adapt. I'm very confident in myself coming into this year that I will be available. I'm excited."
What was your immediate reaction when you found out QB Brock Osweiler had been traded and also that QB Tony Romo would not be coming here?
"To be honest, those are two guys that aren't here right now so I can't really comment on them. That's just the way this is. This is a business and this is a job, but it's a heck of a job."
How soon did you come back and start working out and getting ready?
"I've been back here for quite a bit. I had to kind of be a dad for a little bit and learn how that works. Other than that, just get back and I didn't want to be away from the wife too much."
A few of the players have talked about how they liked how upset you were when you didn't get to go back in the Titans game. Can you talk about your reaction when you found out you weren't going back?
"It's tough because as a competitor you want to be out there and you want to play and then over such a play like that. Going down and getting dinged up. I think the refs did a really good job of doing their job and all that stuff in the concussion protocol, but obviously you want to be out there and be playing with your guys."
Do you feel like being in this system for so long gives you the ability to play faster?
"Just being in this system for – shoot, this is going on my fourth year now – obviously this is the longest offense I have ever been in in my life. It's going to be fun. I think just going forward and stuff, we have to be able to play fast, and ultimately we have to be able to protect the ball because with the defense and the team that we have, that's going to be the key to this deal."
Do you expect any competition come training camp or are you kind of expecting to be thrust into the starter's role initially?
"I'll never expect to be the starter. I'm always going to play like I'm the third-string guy and trying to make the team and that's how I'm going to play regardless of if I'm a fifth-year starter or whatever. I'm going to go out there and I'm going to play hard. Nothing in this league is going to be handed to you, so you have to go out and you have to earn it every day."
When you look back on film last season, other than communication, what is something that you took away from your film?
"I thought it was good to go out there and play. That's one thing that I haven't been able to do is go out there in a real life, regular season game and go out there and play and move the ball a little bit. Obviously, the no touchdowns deal, that is what it is and that's something that we are going to improve on. I'm going to give the ball to those playmakers and let them go make a play."
What is your relationship with Head Coach Bill O'Brien and what is it like to be a quarterback in his system?
"I love the guy. That's what I look forward to, is going to practice every day. He's going to be hard on me. That's what you want as a quarterback. He's the type of guy that is always talking shop with you and that's the type of guy you want to go out there and you want to brawl for."
This offseason it looks like you are going to get most of the reps. What does that mean to you since that really hasn't been your position in the past?
"It's going to be awesome. I've never gotten that opportunity, but the past three years, every rep you get, you have to take advantage of it. Obviously, I'll be getting some more this year and I'm really looking forward to it."
What do you have to tell Texans fans on what to expect for this upcoming year and changes that you would be seeing?
"We are going to go out there. I have a funny feeling we are going to go out there and we're going to have some fun out there and we are going to play fast, and that's really I can say right now. Obviously, not being out there and taking the reps and stuff, we have to see, but there's one thing I can say to Texans fans, it's don't doubt those guys in that locker room because they are going to go out there and play hard. It's going to be fun to see."
Do you think that given your history and how much inconsistency there has been, there's almost an experience that comes with that and you can step in what would be the starting spot if you were to win that positon?
"I bounced around quite a bit in college and I think a lot of that journey kind of made me who I am today and just going forward. This is a heck of an opportunity and I'm really pumped for it. Like I said, I have to go out there every day and learn it. That's kind of the mindset that was instilled in me throughout this whole process."
The fact that DE J.J. Watt is coming back, what does that mean to your side of the ball?
"Just protect the ball because he's going to get it back for you. He's one of the greatest defensive players of all time. He's a heck of a teammate and he's a good dude."
You have a new quarterbacks coach in Sean Ryan who of course was here last year. What do you think about him and what does he bring to the table as far as being the quarterbacks coach?
"He's a very personable person. You can go up to him and ask questions. I really bonded with him a lot last season. I know me and Brandon (Weeden) were really, really excited to go to work with him. It's going to be a fun room. It's going to be a peaceful room. We will go out there and we will have some fun."
DE J.J. WATTWhat was it like to be back out there with the team today?
"It felt really good. It's just great to be back in the building with the guys and to be back around the team. Obviously in the situation that I was in the last season, for me, it's just so nice to be back in meetings, back in the swing of things with the guys and around the team. It's just fun. That's really – when you're away from the game for a long time – that's probably the biggest thing you miss, IS the teammates, the comradery, the chemistry. We have a really good group of guys. We have a great team. Just really looking forward to continuing to grow and strive with these guys to be the best we can be."
How are you feeling health-wise?
"I feel very good. Obviously it's a long offseason and there's plenty of time to continue to improve and grow. But I think that everybody has done a great job and I'm very fortunate to have good people around me obviously. But my body feels really good. I'm really looking forward to this whole offseason process and the OTAs and getting back to just playing football. I think that's the biggest thing. I just want to play football. I can't wait to get back out there and play some ball."
What was it like to watch the emergence of DE Jadeveon Clowney last season?
"It was good. It was good. It was a lot of fun to watch. Obviously played very well. I think our whole defense played really well. Those guys, it was a lot of fun to watch play and see them grow throughout the year and overcome a lot of adversity. It's exciting. I think that's exciting to come back into that swing and know that there's areas where I can help and improve. It's going to be a lot of fun, like I said. We have a good group of guys. Really good chemistry and a really good core group of guys so it's going to be a great year."
What do you think about what the Houston Rockets and Patrick Beverly were able to do last night?
"Pat's the man. I love that guy. I mean, the guys played awesome obviously. A big, big win for those guys. It's a lot of fun. I think there's a ton of excitement around Houston. I mean the way James (Harden) played all year long. The way those guys have really played all year. It's really a blast to watch. It's great to be part of it and to be able to have that to root for in your city. But Pat last night, I mean, I think he had like 21 points and 11 rebounds. The guy was just absolutely killing it. His intensity is the best. I'm sitting there on the sidelines and I'm getting fired up wanting to get in the game. That dude knocks him out, I was like, 'OK, we may have a problem here. You're messing with my guy Pat.' It was a lot of fun. He's just so intense. Then that one time he came over to me and was just staring at me in the face for like 15 seconds. I was like, 'Pat, I don't know what you want me to do here man. I can't really do anything.' He was just staring me down. My girlfriend looked at me and was like, 'That was kind of cool and it was kind of awkward all at the same time.' I was like, "Yeah it was. I didn't know what to do.' But he just has a way of getting you fired up. He is, he's like the wolverine out there. He is fearless. I just love the way that guy plays. It was a lot of fun to watch him put on a show."
What are your initial thoughts on Mike Vrabel becoming the defensive coordinator but still having Associate Head Coach/Defense Romeo Crennel around?
"I think Mike is obviously very, very qualified. He's an extremely smart football mind. He's a guy who loves the game and who obviously had a great career as a player and who's a brilliant coach who knows what he is doing. But I think the big bonus in all that is the fact we still have Romeo Crennel on our staff. He's such a good coach. He's such a good man. Just a guy to have around the program with so much knowledge. He can pick the right spots and say the right things. I think for us to be able to have two minds like that when most teams would kill to have one defensive coordinator with those type of skills, I think we're very fortunate and we're all really excited about it to see what happens and where it goes from here."
Is this the most motivated or eager you have been to get back on the field?
"I'm very, very excited. There's no question about that. I think you're away from the game for a year. Like I said many times before, it just reaffirms how much you love it, how passionate you are about it, how badly you want to get out there and play with your teammates and just enjoy the game. I can't wait. Every game is so exciting and every practice is so exciting. But I think yeah, there is definitely a little bit of something there just being away for so long and knowing that I've had all this time to continue to build up. I've had time for the passion to grow and for the fire to keep burning bigger and bigger. It's going to be a lot of fun. But I've also learned a lot over that time where I need to make sure that I balance myself and not get overly crazy in the offseason and things like that. So I think it's been a really good time for me but it's definitely time for me to start playing some football again. That's for sure."
Are you giving your brother T.J. Watt any advice on the NFL Draft process since you have been through it?
"It's been great. Obviously with Derek (Watt) going through it a couple years ago and now T.J. I've been working out with T.J. for the last couple months back home since the combine. Derek was back home working out with us. It's such a unique and special bond that we get to have in that we're all going through something that most kids kill to go through. (A) family would kill to have one kid go through and we're so fortunate to get three people to go through it. He's so similar to me but he's farther along than I was at that point in the process. He's a lot better player than I was at that time. He has a lot more to grow even than I had. I think he's a really special player and it's been a lot of fun to watch him go through the process. He's so hungry. He's just itching to learn and grow as a person and as a player so he is always asking questions, he's always wanting to compete in the workouts. Same with Derek. It's a lot of fun in those workouts because it's three NFL athletes in the same family. Every single day we're competing in the workouts. Whether it's the sprints or the jumps or the lifts. Everything is a competition. I think that's what makes you better, that's what makes you grow. Ultimately, that's probably part of the reason that we are where we are today because it's been like that our whole life. Whether it was just playing in the backyard and punting the ball and trying to down it on the one-yard line, we always wanted to be the best. I think that's really what has led us to the point we are today and that's what's going to lead us to wherever we go in the future. Whether it's T.J., me or Derek, we're always just trying to be the best we can be to help our teams win."
How difficult was it to host the Super Bowl in Houston but not be playing in it?
"It was very bittersweet, obviously. But I think the City of Houston did a fantastic job. Obviously that's the game we want to play in. That's the game every team wants to play in, but I think the City of Houston did a great job hosting it. I think it gave the world the chance to see what Houston is all about. I think they did a great job. It's such a special city. The people here are so great. Obviously that's our goal, is to go out there and to bring one of those back home here."
How difficult was it to change and adjust your offseason workouts?
"I think that's something that I went through a little bit more last year because obviously you go through all that stuff I went through last offseason then part of you wants to hold on to what you did in the past and be like, 'This is what I did to get here. I want to continue doing that.' But as you get through it and you grow and you learn, you really – I mean, I had a lot of time so I dove into the research behind everything and understanding how you can do certain things without putting yourself at risk. So I've grown as a person. I've learned a lot. I've really talked with so many people and we've kind of created a program and a plan where I can get the results I want without necessarily putting myself at risk in those situations. It's been good. I've had a lot of help from a lot of great people. Basically, what it comes down to is you have to build confidence both in yourself and in your team, obviously. The only way that you can do that is by putting in the work and putting in the time. You can never fake confidence. You can't bullshit yourself into thinking that you're good enough when you know for a fact you didn't put in the work and didn't put in the time. For me, that's where it all comes down to, is making sure that I put in that time and making sure that I put in that effort so that when I step on that field, I know for a fact that I can step out there confident and strong and I can go out there and dominate because I put in the work. There's nothing to be worried about when you put in the work. The only time you have to be nervous or anxious for a game is when you didn't put in the work and you're just hoping you're good enough. That's not a situation I ever want to be in."
Comparing to previous offseasons, do you have any physical limitations as far as practice and going forward for this season?
"I think that will all be up to the coaches and trainers. I think we will probably put some sort of plan into place just to limit overall reps throughout the season. Obviously, there are a ton of reps throughout the season, the game reps being the most important ones, the ones that affect the result. It mostly comes down to my workouts and just making sure that I'm very smart in my workouts and, like we talked about before, creating a plan where I don't put myself at risk. When you really think about it, football is a game of uncertainties. You go out there, you don't know how you're going to have to twist and run and turn. You can't really control what happens on the field. What I can control is my workouts. I can control what I am doing in the weight room, what I am doing on the practice field to make sure that I limit all those risks. That's what we control. We control the things we can control and then we go out there and play. We just let it fly. Obviously, you hope for the best."
We know you are motivated. We know you are going to work coming back from these back injuries which can be difficult. There are questioners out there saying 'Can J.J. be as good as or better than he was?' Do you have those questions?
"No. I see them all. I know them all. I've heard them all. You hear doubters. You hear everything. I've heard everything from you get constantly injured and things like that. This is the first games I've ever missed this last season. It's not like I've been hurt every single year. It's not like it's been some over and over and over again thing. It was a very serious last year for me. It was a very tough year for me, but the way – the only way I can ever be as good as I want to be is if I'm confident in it. Like I was trying to explain before, the only way I'll ever be truly the player that I want to get back out there and be for my teammates and for these fans is to go out there and be confident and to work my ass off every single day and to just be who I know I can be. If something happens, it happens. All I can do is go out there and be as smart and play as hard as I possibly can and try and be the best teammate I can be for these guys. That's all I'm going to do is because that's the only way I know how to play. If I'm out there trying to second guess myself while I'm out there wondering if I'm good enough, then I'm not going to be good anyway, so there's no point in going out there and playing. All I can do is give it everything I have every single day whether it's practice, the meetings, film. I'm going to give it everything I have and I'm going to go out there and have fun, I'm going to play the game I know how to play it: with energy, with enthusiasm, with excitement, rally around my teammates, have a lot of fun and just enjoy football again because once something is taken away from you like it was from me, all you want to do is get back out there, have fun, enjoy yourself and play with your teammates. So, I'm going to do that. I'm going to give it everything I have. I feel great and I'm very much looking forward to it."
Head Coach Bill O'Brien recognized G David Quessenberry and his comeback from cancer. What are your thoughts on David and what he has meant to you as a teammate?
"It's incredible. To have such an inspirational story right in your own building, it's really special. I think to see everything that David has gone through, to see how hard he fought and the battles that he has gone through. It's hard enough just to beat cancer, but to want to come back and play in the National Football League and to want to have that drive, to have that desire, to put in all the work that it takes. He's an absolute inspiration to myself, he's an inspiration to our entire locker room, I'm sure to the entire city and people all over. DQ, he's a hell of a guy. I think he's a guy you want to go to battle with. He's a guy who you run through a wall for because you know he'd do the exact same thing for you. I think he's a special player, he's a special guy. We are very lucky to have him and I'm fortunate to know him and have him as a friend, much less a teammate. He's a special guy."
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)