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Texans Quotes: June 17


Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Let's start off today by sharing with you what I talked with the team about this morning. When I came in to 8 a.m. team meeting this morning, I told the team that Ryan Fitzpatrick is our starter at quarterback. He is a guy that has earned the job. The other three guys are working hard and battling it out for number two. All four of them have put in a lot of good work, but at the end of the day Ryan Fitzpatrick is our starter. He's had a good offseason. I'll open it up for questions."

(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick had the edge to get the job when he came in or did he earn it) "He earned it. He definitely earned it. He earned it with his preparation. He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command of the line of scrimmage, you know, to this point where we are, he's got to, obviously like everybody on the team--, I think that is important relative to last week when I talked about Derek Newton. Everybody on our team every single day has to go out there and earn it. Earn their spot on the team, earn their starting spot, and earn their starting spot on special teams. Quarterback is no different. We have confidence in his ability to lead our football team. He's done a really good job in the offseason of picking up our system. He's executed well on the field. Again, just like everybody on the team, he's got to go out there and earn his spot on the field."

(on where Case Keenum and T.J. Yates stand) "They are both battling it out for number two with (Tom) Savage. I think with all three of those guys, we just need a little bit more consistency. It has nothing to do with effort or work ethic. Those guys have all worked extremely hard. They've all done what they've been asked to do. They're really good teammates. They're fun guys to coach. I think at the end of the day it just comes down to going out there and executing to the best of your ability every day."

(on reps for the quarterbacks going forward) "Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) will get the bulk of the reps."

(on coming to the quarterback decision now) "Well, I felt like it was important to go into this part of the offseason, the mandatory camp, and make sure the team knew that before we broke for the summer who our starting quarterback is."

(on how many quarterbacks he plans to keep on  the roster heading into the season) "I don't know. I don't know."

(on relationship with Ryan Fitzpatrick and the wide receiver group in regards to timing with routes) "Yeah, and they've all had reps with the guys that have been here and the rookies. Everybody has had reps with the different groups of receivers and I think the timing has improved. It's not where it needs to be overall, but I think we've thrown a lot at these guys. First and second down, drop back, empty, play action, red area, two-minute, four-minute, backed up—There has been a lot of things thrown at these players, including obviously the quarterbacks and the receivers that they work with: the tight ends, the backs and the receivers. That is still a work in progress, but I do see improvement."

(on if he will publicly declare the rest of the quarterback group before the end of minicamp) "Yeah, I don't know. I don't know."

(on if he has continued talks between himself and Andre Johnson) "Yeah, I've spoken to him and I've text messaged with him. Yes."

(on if Andre Johnson not attending mandatory minicamp is a distraction) "Again, it is all about the guys that are here. The guys that are here seem to be really focused. I felt like we went out there today and had a good practice. I think it was an improvement to where we were last week. Again, we've got a really good bunch of guys that work extremely hard, so it is really about the guys that are here and they are working extremely hard. They don't seem to be too distracted."

(on how Xavier Su'a-Filo is looking and catching up) "Yeah, that is hard because through no fault of his own he has had to miss some time because of the quarter system there at UCLA. But he is, like I said a couple week ago, he's a guy that in the draft, in the preparation for the draft, we were impressed with his intelligence, his work ethic and his team-first attitude. I think just watching him today you could tell that he had done some studying on his own while away. I think that is a good sign, and he's got to continue to do that."

(on how much Xavier Su'a-Filo was able to learn on his own) "I think you'd have to ask him that. You'd have to ask him that."

(on if he has any concerns about Jadeveon Clowney missing training camp) "No."

(on complexity of offense and if there is concern about Andre Johnson catching up) "No. Nope."

(on the left and right guard position battles) "I would say that Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks have the upper hand right now because they've been here and they've played football in this organization. They've played football in the NFL, so they have the upper hand based on those things. But again, just like I said earlier about the other positions, they've got to go out there and earn it every day. Those guys are working extremely hard and Xavier has got to come in and he's got a lot of catching up to do. So we're looking forward to watching all of those types of competitions throughout the next two days and into training camp."

(on whether DeVier Posey has benefited the most because of Andre Johnson's absence) "You'd have to ask him. I don't know."

(on what he has seen from DeVier Posey a year removed from injury) "He's been in there a lot. I've seen a lot of improvement. I really enjoy coaching him. Him and (DeAndre) Hopkins, and (Mike) Thomas, and (Alan) Bonner, (Alec) Lemon and (Keyshawn) Martin, I think all of those guys have improved in the time that we have been here together with them. We've thrown a lot at them. It's not easy to play receiver in this system and those guys seem to be getting better every day."

(on why he has no concern about Andre Johnson missing OTAs and minicamps) "Well, I think that he has played a lot of football. I think he is a guy that has been in different systems, like I've said earlier and I'm not sure if you were here, but like I said a few weeks ago, I said I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he has done in this league. So  I believe that based on the different systems that he has been in that he would be able to pick up on our system. He's a bright guy, a very bright guy and a guy that has done a lot in this league. So, I think he'd be able to figure it out."

(on J.J. Watt showing any effects from missing practice the previous week) "Not that I could see. He looked like he was moving around pretty good today."

(on young guys that are standing out) "I don't know. You know, a lot of guys that were here last year, like let's say the second year guys, the (D.J. Swearingers, the (DeAndre) Hopkinses, the (Alan) Bonners, you know, that group of guys have seemed to really improve in my opinion. They know all of their different positions that they play. So, I think that would answer that question for you. I think the guys who were rookies last year, whether they were injured or not, those guys seem to have really improved. Like we all do, coaches and players alike, we've got a long way to go. A long way to try and get better, you know, a lot better than we are right now between now and the Washington Redskins game. But those guys seem to be improving."

(on if he has comfort with competition in the secondary) "I do. Like I told you guys, especially the Houston writers that have been here since day one with me, we're always looking to do what is best for the football team. Everything that we do here points to that, doing what is best for the team. When I look at our secondary, I see a lot of competitive guys and a lot of great camaraderie back there. Guys that really care about each other at that position group and they are fun to coach. They're fun to be around. Whether it is (Elbert) Mack, (A.J.) Bouye or (Josh) Victorian, you know, those guys are in the roles that they are in right now. They seem to be competing well."

(on if Ryan Fitzpatrick has met his expectations as far as intelligence) "Yes."

(on whether Andre Johnson had done any studying on his own) "Anything that as it relates to that, I appreciate the question, I really do, but that is between Andre and myself."

(on the biggest challenges of being a first-time NFL head coach) "We have a really good staff here. We really do. We have guys that are experienced guys, guys that have coached together, and so that has helped a lot because  to me, being a head coach is about making sure the team understands the philosophy of what you want to get done: hard work, being a good teammate, team first and all of those things that we talk about every day. Then you have a staff of guys, like we have here, that are really good teachers and understand those things. I think the people around here have done a really good job. All of us are working together. I think we are in a good spot right now, but like I said, I think that we've got a long way to go. We've got to have a great two days here, Wednesday and Thursday, and then have a really productive training camp."

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on what it means to be named starter) "I am excited about it. I don't think it changes much in terms of the way that I've got to continue to attack the playbook and learn. We've got to continue to grow as an offense. We've still got a very long way to go before we step on the field and play Washington. You know, it is one of those things that, now for me, it is really time to grab ahold of it and take command. We've just go to continue to get better."

(on learning the new system) "I think this is going to be a really fun system to play in. I think the guys in the locker room have really bought in to what we are trying to do. And so, as long as we continue to do that and continue to try to reach that level of perfection, which we are very far from right now, and strive for that every day, I think we'll be in good shape."

(on not having worked with Andre Johnson up to this point) "It is kind of different situation right now. I don't know Andre all that well, but the guys that have been here, I think it has been a pretty productive offseason. Getting to know Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), (DeVier) Posey and Mike Thomas and all the tight ends, just getting to throw to all of the different guys, when I first got here I hadn't thrown to any of them, so it has been a really good experience for me in terms of getting to learn a lot of different guys."

(on if he is anxious to work with Andre Johnson) "I mean, he is obviously a great receiver. His play certainly speaks for itself in terms of what he has done consistently."

(on what it means to his career to be named starter) "Personally, for me, this is kind of where I wanted to be. I wanted another shot at it. I wanted another chance to be the guy. This is about so much more than me in terms of all of the different things we are trying to do. All of the great players that we have on our side of the ball that make my job a lot easier in terms of getting us in the right player protection and watching our playmakers make plays. I think that the main part about this system is really letting our playmakers make plays. I've kind of got the easy job if I can get into the right play."

(on when Coach O'Brien informed him he would start) "We talked about it before he talked about it with the team. He sat me down and let me know what he was going to do and how he was going to talk to the team, so it was just one of those things. We've had a very kind of open relationship in terms of the communication, and I think he has been like that with all of the players on the whole team."

(on if he was surprised at the timing of the announcement) "No."

(on importance of getting reps in practice) "I think as a quarterback, whether you are first team, second, third or fourth, it is easier to learn it on paper, but then when you get out there,  you've got to have those reps. You've got through the fire with all of the different guys in that huddle going against an actual defense. That is the best way to learn. Every rep that I can get and every rep that all of the quarterbacks and everyone on offense can get is a big rep for us."

(on how far along he is with the new system) "It is hard to say right now. We've done a lot of different things. We've put a lot of different things in, and so I think they've done a really good job of challenging us as players to make sure that football is important to us and make sure that this offseason we're willing to put the time and the work in. It's been a challenge for everybody in terms of learning this new system and being challenged every single day with new stuff. So, you know, there is still a long way to go like I said, but training camp will be a great time for us to continue that upward trend and get better."

(on maturing as a quarterback in terms of understanding the need to get the ball to playmakers) "I think that is the job of the quarterback. I learned quickly that my 4.95, or whatever my 40 is, doesn't really work as well here as it did at Harvard. The athletes are a little bit better. I think a lot of it, you know, is how do we get in a play to put us at an advantage? That is a lot of what we will do. Things change every week with this offense, but we've got some good options and I think that is a real positive thing for us."

View photos of the Texans taking part in Day 1 of Mandatory Minicamp on Tuesday.

(on time needed to get on the same page with wider receivers) "I mean he (Andre Johnson) is a true professional in terms of everything I've heard about him, everything I've seen from afar and the tape that I've watched. So obviously you guys know and have seen him play over the years and be very consistent and play at a high level. For me, it is going out there with the guys that are here and trying to perform."

(on if he knows how quickly he can get in sync with a wide receiver) "I wouldn't, really; it is kind of an individual thing, so I wouldn't really know that unless I was throwing to him."

(on how he sees the distribution of snaps) "I've been getting to work with the one's. It is a big thing to be able to communicate all of the different things with the guys up front, signals with receivers and discussions with the tight ends and running backs. There is a lot of stuff that you have to carry over from the meeting room to the film and then do it within a play clock. And so, it is important to get every rep that I can right now with the one's just so that we can go over all of those situations in a true live setting."

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