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Texans Quotes: August 25


Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "First thing I'd just like to say is I just read and heard that Chris Myers announced his retirement today. I just want to say a few words about Chris Myers. Personally, I just really appreciate what Chris Myers meant to us in our first year here as a coaching staff. He brought great leadership. He was definitely one of the captains of our team, brought a great intelligence to the position, a great work ethic. Everything you want when you come in as a new head football coach in a veteran football player. Really did a good job in the locker room. He was also the player rep, so we communicated quite a bit. I consider Chris, not only a really good player for us, but also a friend. I just want to acknowledge that I think it's so difficult to play center in this league for five years, let alone 10 years. To play at such a high level for two good organizations in Denver and here in Houston, I just want to congratulate him on a great career. I would say that it looks like the Houston media has acquired a great teammate. I'm sure he'll do a good job on that side of it, too."

(on QB Ryan Mallett being upset about losing the quarterback competition) "Those are decisions that have to be made. You know that there's always going to be one guy that's not happy with the decision. He's a competitor. He came out to practice today ready to go. He came out to practice yesterday ready to go. He'll compete. He'll prepare every week like he's getting ready to play. If his opportunity comes, he'll be ready to play. That's what a competitor does."

(on if QB Brian Hoyer practiced different today) "No, no I think both guys really are competitive guys. I thought Brian went out there and did a good job in practice today. He was accurate. He was able to operate efficiently, get us into the right play. It was hot out there today. I talked to the team at the end of practice about, look, we have to use this heat to our advantage. We practice in hot weather. I thought our guys came out and it was a little slow early on, but they got going. That's a credit to our leadership."

(on CB Kevin Johnson) "Somebody asked me that the other day. I think the guy, for a rookie, has done a really well. Now, I'm not talking about this guy's headed for the Pro Bowl in his first year. I just think that, from his approach, his daily approach, consistent approach, his attitude, his competitiveness every day and then his skill set. He has really good transition. He's got good quickness. He's a very competitive player. He battles every day. There's no question that we made the right choice there to bring him in. I think he's helped our football team."

(on if CB Kevin Johnson continuing to push and compete with the other cornerbacks) "Sure. I also think that A.J. Bouye has improved also because of the competition. A.J. Bouye has competed very well throughout training camp, throughout OTAs, and he's become a better player. I think that's really helped our position at corner quite a bit. We really feel like we have some depth there. Because again, you mentioned J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), Kareem (Jackson), you mentioned Kevin, I mentioned A.J., don't forget about Darryl Morris. You've got Charles James. You've got Jumal Rolle. These guys are playmakers and they're competitive guys and it's a very competitive position."

(on CB Charles James' attitude and leadership) "I think that's a good point. I think he brings a great energy. He's got a good spirit about him every day. He comes to work every day. I don't think that's easy to do, you know, to bring that type of work ethic every day to the field. A very competitive guy. He's right in the mix of things. Like I said the other night, he made a lot of good plays for us on special teams where we didn't really take advantage of it good enough. He downed the ball a couple times inside the 10 yard line. We need to do a better job of taking advantage of that on both sides of the ball. But he's a guy that brings it every day."

(on if him and QB Ryan Mallett were on the same page about what he needed to do to earn the starting quarterback job) "I think it was explained to them pretty clearly what both guys needed to do. Again, we've communicated well over the years. We've communicated well here in Houston. Look, at the end of the day, this is professional football. When you name a starter and the other guy happens to be the number two guy, that guy's not going to be happy, especially if he is a competitor. That's what you want. You don't want a guy jumping around doing back springs when he gets named the backup. That's not what you want. You want a guy that understands that it's a free country. He disagrees but he's going to go to work. He's going to prepare every day like he's getting ready to play. That's what he's done the last two days, which is something that I was glad to see."

(on if seeing injuries occurring around the NFL makes him want to hold players out of games) "I don't think there's anything more important than the health of the football team. I think that the health of the football team is one of the most important things you can think about as a head coach. Because at the end of the day, I think it's like there's not gray area. These games they don't count in the standings. So, they have to be played. I think there are reasons for them being played. I'm not in disagreement with how many are played or how they're played or anything like that. I think it's evaluation. I think it's good to get out there in front of the crowd and all those different things. It's good for young players, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is the health of your football team. That's what I think about quite a bit."

(on players who are coming from college preparing for the NFL) "I would say that it's a little – you know, I think it's two different discussions. I think you have college guys that are 17, 18, and 19 years old and then you have professional players that, you know, some of them are younger, but then you have guys that are 25, 26, and 27. Some of them 30. We have a couple guys on our team that are over the age of 30. I think that times have changed. I do agree with you that times have changed and the fact is that these guys really understand their own bodies. The good ones, the good players, the good young players, and the good veteran players, they know how to get in shape on their own. They use our strength staff to get in shape, so when they come back for training camp, I was impressed with the level of conditioning that our team was in when they came back for training camp, about 98 percent of them. There were two percent, which I wasn't impressed with, but the rest of the guys. I mean, Vince Wilfork, 35 years old, 12th year in the league, passed the conditioning test. It's 20x40's (40-yard dashes) for a man that's clearly not under 300 pounds. He passed it and it was about 95 degrees on a morning, we ran it at 10 o'clock. These guys know how to get into shape. J.J. Watt, he could run our conditioning test probably with the intermediate skill guys and the skill guys, and have a chance to pass it. The guy's in incredible condition. These guys understand their bodies. They come in here, they pass the conditioning test, and we know that they're ready to play. I think that's a little bit different than college, if that makes sense."

(on joint practices compared to preseason games) "I am a big propent of joint practices. I think that I just have a lot of respect for the coaches in this league. It's kind of a fun thing. You call the other coach, you set up practice, whether it was Mike Smith last year or John Fox or Jay Gruden this year or hopefully next year maybe it's a couple other guys, who knows who it is. But then you go together for three days with the team. Look, in Washington, did it end well? No. I understand that. Things got competitive. Probably could have done a better job of controlling that as coaches, but we ended up having a good practice there on the last day. I just really think the competitiveness of joint practices, especially the away ones, where you can go away, you're teams in the same hotel, and it's the same routine. You get to know each other well. You're grinding through it with another team. I just think that's pretty cool. That's just my opinion."

(on if he would recommend cutting back on preseason games) "Again, I would never comment on that. That's more- that question is for somebody way above me."

(on the possibility NFL coaches will be polled about the preseason) "I'm not a politician. I'm not looking at polls. I'm not thinking about polls. I'm just thinking about the Houston Texans and that question is probably for somebody way above me."

(on OLB Kourtnei Brown and WR Keith Mumphery) "Keith Mumphery has been - kind of like in the same mold as to how I answered the Kevin Johnson question, really good daily approach, consistent player, hardworking player, not easy to pick up our offense, and I think he's come in here and done that. He's returned punts pretty decently. We looked at him when he came out of Michigan State as a receiver that could help us on special teams and we think that he's done a good job. He's got to continue to play well this week and really still battle to make the team, but we like what we see so far. Kourtnei Brown, look, what he's done, this is kind of what I was answering on the preseason games, there's a guy that's gone out and taken advantage of the preseason games. He makes an interception for a touchdown, he's had a couple tackles for loss, sacks in the San Francisco game. The guy has really improved in his time here, so he's made a name for himself. He's in the discussion to make the football team, no doubt about it. Both guys have really done a good job in training camp."

CB Kevin Johnson
(on if his performance Saturday gave him confidence that he can play in this league) "I think I've done pretty well. There's definitely a lot of things I need to improve on in all facets of the game. It's nice going against players like Demaryius Thomas and just guys on the Broncos in general, just to get that kind of look."

(on what it means to him that Head Coach Bill O'Brien says he's doing really well for a rookie) "It means a lot. I'm just trying to come in here and just work hard, and do my job, and get better, and do whatever it takes to help the team win. But it's definitely good to hear that and I'm going to continue to try to improve and be the best player I can be."

(on what the toughest adjustment in the pros has been for him) "I would probably say, in the NFL, you can't even touch guys after five yards, so I'd probably say that's the biggest adjustment. In college, you could plays guys and you don't have to grab them, but you could still put your hands on them and disrupt them a little bit after five yards. In the NFL, you can't even touch them or the flag could come out. I'd probably say that's the biggest adjustment, getting used to not using my hands at all after five."

(on if he really learned that rule in the last preseason game) "Yeah, I mean not from the game, but in the game I got called for holding on a play. Definitely goes to trying to work on that."

(on what he expected working with this cornerback group and how it's been) "I didn't really know what to expect, but coming in and working with guys like J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) and Kareem (Jackson) and everybody else, it's been real good having them help me along, just teaching me the game and the nuances of how to be a better player. Just trying to slow the game down for me. It's been good."

C Ben Jones
(on Chris Myers officially retiring today and what he meant to him and this team) "Heck of teammate, heck of a family man, this is a guy that you can't speak enough about. Since the first day I was here, he took me under his wing. He showed me how to be a pro. Just a wonderful guy. Anything on the field and off the field, you can always count on him. I swear he never sleeps, he's up at 4 in the morning, anytime you text him he's awake, and he's always there for you. I know if I could make a family just like him, I'd be the happiest guy alive. He's always there for his family, his family is first, and that's a guy I want to make my life just like."

(on if playing center feels natural for him now) "Right, that's what I played four years in college, I started four years at Georgia at center, and being here I started at guard the previous years, but I was the next guy up at center. So I had to prepare every week like I was going to play center in the game, because in this league, you never know with injuries and you only can dress so many guys. So I had to prepare like I could go in at center at any moment during the game. So my mindset was like 'hey, I'm starting at guard, but I better know the whole system to go in at center also.'"

(on making calls as an offensive lineman) "That's the thing, last year everybody was learning the system, so we really communicated well, me and Chris (Myers), so he would make the call and I would converse over here with Duane (Brown), and he would talk to Brandon (Brooks) on that side. So we kind of took dual part of it so we can get everything moving faster, because it was a new system, we both really dove into the playbook because we both had to learn it as a center, so we kind of took dual part of it last year."

(on the quarterback situation) "It's just the competitive nature. You always want to be that guy. Those guys came in and worked theirs tails off, both of them. You've got to tip your hat to them how hard they prepared and what they did this whole offseason. I swear they're in here every moment of the day, even in the offseason they were grinding when nobody else was here. So I tip my hat off to them and how hard they worked."

(on the job that T Jeff Adams has done so far) "Jeff is a tremendous player. He's a guy who was here all offseason getting his body right, getting his thing so he could play guard and tackle and he's definitely stepped up to the table. That's what we needed, we needed a guy to come in with a mindset like, 'hey, I want to take a job and go in here and earn a job.' That's what he's doing right now. He's coming out here and preparing himself every day, and that's what it takes to do in this league."

QB Ryan Mallett
(on how tough it was finding out he isn't the starter) "Obviously, I'm disappointed. I don't agree with it, but it's for the best of the team, so I'm just going to wait till my turn gets called, and I mean at some point it's going to happen this year. We played four quarterbacks last year, so I'll do what I have to do to better the team."

(on if going through a similar situation last year is helping him deal with this) "As much as it can, obviously I got hurt last year so I don't think I would of came back out if I didn't get hurt."

(on if he thinks he had a fair shot at being the starter) "It is what it is."

(on his role now and what all goes into it to make sure he's ready to play on a moment's notice) "I prepare like I'm starting every Sunday. I've got to do what's best for the team, and I'm not going to let my team down when my number is called."

(on how he feels like he did through the whole process) "I thought I had a pretty good camp. I thought I was consistent. My completion percentage every day, didn't turn the ball over a lot, had three incompletions so far in the preseason so I thought I was playing alright."

(on what he would have done better if he could) "I would have attacked it the same way. I guess make more plays, I don't know."

(on how much better off he is right now than he was at this time last year) "Being here for another year, it obviously helped me. Now I understand how the process works, how to the game day operation works here, you know you've got to be ready at the drop of a hat to get in there and lead your team to a win."

(on if he feels any better today than he did yesterday) "No. Obviously not, I wanted this job more than anything. But it is what it is."

(on what he thought Head Coach Bill O'Brien was going to say in the meeting) "I really didn't know what the meeting was about, and he told us."

(on QB Brian Hoyer saying the competition could have gone either way) "Yeah I definitely felt it could have went either way, yeah."

(on what he does going forward) "I mean, I don't know what else to do but work my ass off so that's what I'm going to keep doing."

(on if he sees this as just another setback and now it's time to move forward) "It's not a setback, I'm still part of a really good football team. I play football for a living, so I don't look at it as a setback. Disappointed, yeah. Angry, a little bit. I thought I did enough to deserve the job, but it was not seen that way so now I'll do what's best for the team."

(on the improvements he made during camp) "Yeah I just felt the longer the camp went on, the better I was playing. I felt good about every day of practice. I was getting in rhythm."

(on what he can do to help QB Brian Hoyer and the offense now) "Yeah, just help translate George's (Godsey) terminology to him, being around George a little bit longer now and doing whatever he asks me to do."

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