Texans Quotes: Monday media session


Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on still being in the playoff picture) "These guys have put a lot of work into this season, and certainly as we look back on the season there is obviously plays and play calls and things like that that we all wish we could have back, but right now we are in the hunt, like you said. But basically, the most important thing about this week is the Jacksonville Jaguars and that we are very, very focused on them. Our guys really should not look at their record at all. It's a very tough football team in all three phases, and so our guys need to be very, very focused this week on the task at hand, which is trying to win the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars."

(on what he is expecting with QB Case Keenum getting another week of practice with the team) "It's a whole different opponent. Obviously the Jaguars are a totally different team than the Ravens, so we have to do a good job of preparing together, myself, George (Godsey), Case (Keenum) and then the team on offense of making sure we put together a good game plan and making sure that he knows it. Again, he'll make improvement just from like you said, being here for a week and getting back into the routine of the way we do things here. Again, the most important thing is that this is a very different opponent than the Ravens. A very different team, different players, different schemes, and so we all have to be on top of it this week."

(on what stood out to him about QB Case Keenum yesterday) "He's a good leader. I mean, he is a good leader. He's a poised guy. I gave him a lot of credit all week and obviously after the game of, I don't think that's an easy thing to walk into a locker room, even though you've been in that locker room before, but you haven't been there for four months. It's a different team. A lot of things have happened during the year. And you have to walk in there and you're the starting quarterback and you have to earn back your teammates' respect, which I think he already had. But I think coming in there and having the recollection of our schemes that he did, was really good. When he got into the huddle, he did a good job. Now he's got to do it again this week. You're only as good as your next game. You know what I mean? He's got to do it again this week, but I give him a lot of credit for the way he carried himself last week."

(on what the key to run defense was and how can the team keep it up) "We did a good job of setting the edge, building the wall inside. The guys on defense, I mean you can't say enough about the way that they tackled and the job that they did. The whole defense got a game ball. The coaching staff, and then obviously, most importantly, the players went out there and did a really good job. This week's a different challenge, a different scheme. (Toby) Gerhart is a downhill runner, tough, tough runner. He's good out of the backfield in the passing game, so it's a whole different scheme. Their offensive line is playing well. They're coming off a win versus Tennessee. It's a big challenge for us defensively to be able to stop the run."

(on why he thinks the defense is playing so well at this point of the season) "I think there is a lot of factors. I think the players have really done a good job of communicating and learning the system and all the different packages that we use. I believe that the coaches have done a good job of teaching it. I think RAC's (Romeo Crennel) made good calls on game day. I think that these guys are playing very, very hard and they're playing together. They're playing good team defense. You know, when I break the film down, I have a column on the computer that's basically reserved for my comments. And I wrote over the last two weeks, especially yesterday, I wrote a lot of the comments, I said the said thing: good team defense, good team defense. Whether it was a pass rush-type coverage, those things equal each other. That means good defense or good job setting the edge like I said earlier in the running game. That led to good team defense and that's what they've been doing."

(on if the team is playing better on defense because they've been in the system almost a full year) "Again, I think part of it is the fact that this is the first year of a new type of defense. We do a lot on defense. We ask a lot of our players. A lot of extra meeting time, walk thrus, obviously practice time. A lot of communication goes into it on our defense. Being able to communicate out on the field, really with only seconds, not even seconds to be able to communicate, that takes a while to learn each other's vocabulary, so to speak, with the defense. These guys have done a good job of that over the last two weeks."

(on his pregame speech to the team) "I have a pregame meeting before every game and go over just reminders about the game and talk to them about maybe if the inactives are out for that team, guys that may be inactive for the opponents, things like that. It was just a pregame meeting."

(on if his pregame meeting was anything special) "No."

(on his thoughts of DE J.J. Watt deserving the MVP award) "Believe me, I understand the question, but I could care less about the MVP. I really could. I know that he could care less about it, too. I think it's about the team. I think that when you look at J.J. Watt, he is a great football player. He affects the game on every single play. Whether it's a run at him or run away from him, a quarterback sack, a batted ball, a quarterback pressure, that's what I'll say about J.J. Watt. As far as MVP and co-MVP and this MVP and that MVP, I think if you look at the history of MVPs in any professional sport, does that always equal the championship team? I'm not sure that that does. Meaning, does the championship team have the MVP of the league? I don't know. You'd have to check that out. I think it's all about the team and I think he would be the first to tell you that."

(on QB Case Keenum's talk to the team after the game) "I don't remember. What did he say? Did he give a talk to the team? I break the team down and I move on to Jacksonville."

(on how G Brandon Brooks is doing) "He's doing better. I think that's going to be day-to-day. I think that's going to be day-to-day. He's a tough guy. He was kind of bent in an awkward direction yesterday. He'll get treatment. He'll work hard to get back out on the field."

(on how T Derek Newton played after moving inside to right guard when Brandon Brooks went down and how T Tyson Clabo played at right guard) "I give Newt (Derek Newton) a lot of credit. To be able to go from right tackle and move into guard, that's a whole different position. That's a whole different world. Playing guard compared to playing tackle is just, we'd have to be here all day to describe the differences there. So I give him a lot of credit. He didn't really get a lot of reps at that during the week, but he went in there and did a very commendable job. And the Clabes (Tyson Clabo) came in and he fought hard and he did a decent job, too."

(on how the team prepares differently with something to play for versus preparing with nothing to play for) "Certainly you want to be in this position where the game means something. No question about it. I think the focus is going to be there. I realize it's Christmas week. I love Christmas just as much as the next guy. I'm actually more of a Thanksgiving (guy), really, my wife is going to kill me, but I always say I'm more of a Thanksgiving Day guy. I like the food and things like that more than exchanging presents. Don't call me Scrooge, but I'm more of the--, but anyways, I think the guys will be very focused even though it is Christmas. They'll be ready to go in the meetings, in the walk thrus and at practice because this is a very meaningful game. It's a very meaningful game. Certainly, other things have to happen for us to get in, but the number one thing is we have to win. We have to win. We're at home in front of our home crowd. Our guys, I believe that they'll be ready to go."

(on if he uses analytics in his game planning) "I get asked that a lot. I know I'm a Brown graduate, but I don't really know what that means. Do I use a computer?"

(on if he uses statistical analytics in game planning and play calling) "No question. No question. The thing is now with the way that the video is set up, everything is on computers. So really you can almost overthink yourself a lot because you can break the game down into so many different areas. Like I'm watching Jacksonville right now and if you just look at, for instance, Jacksonville's third down, you can look at it in about five or six different ways based on the personnel, the front, the coverage, the blitz. So you've got to be careful there, but we definitely in all three phases use, I guess the word be analytics, to figure out what the tendencies are, what our calls may be in those situations. But at the end of the day it's football and you just have to put your player in the best position to go make plays."

(on how much attention he pays attention to what percentage of time a certain play or play type works) "I think we look at that a lot. When we call the plays in all three phases, we usually side more with changing things up. We call it spinning the dial. But I also think that there are times when repeat calls are pretty good. Hey, this has worked. Let's go back to it. There is a fine line there, but I do repeat calls, no question about it."

(on what stood out to him on tape from QB Case Keenum's game) "One thing about Case that's impressed me really from when we had him, I know we released him and brought him back and all those things, just his huddle command: his knowledge, his intelligence, his command at the line of scrimmage. There are some things that we obviously need to improve on just like everybody, coaches and players, we've got to do some things better than we did yesterday. I thought with Case, his ability to, I just think it's hard unless you're in this business of coaching and playing, for a guy to be able to come in and just go in the huddle and function in the huddle and then get to the line of scrimmage and function at the line of scrimmage, then execute the play having not been here for a while, I think that says a hell of a lot about the guy. I think he did a really good job of all that."

(on if Sunday's game was the best game for the coaching staff) "I give the assistant coaches a lot of credit. They did a good job with the game plan in all three phases. We feel we're probably harshest on ourselves. We feel like there are things that we could've done better yesterday as a coaching staff, but I would say that the coaching staff, the assistant coaches just so this isn't the headline that Bill O'Brien says he did a hell of a job coaching. I'm saying that the assistant coaches, the assistant coaches did a great job yesterday of putting the guys in position. But most importantly the players, the players went out there and played really well. That's most important. Our players went out there and executed the game plan very well."

(on if it makes it harder to game plan each week with three different starting quarterbacks) "We have a game-plan offense, no doubt about it. But we have a kind of like a toolbox to choose from that's been taught in the offseason, in training camp, throughout the year. We take the tools that we think apply to that defense that we're playing. So we've had guys that have played football for us, whether it was Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick), who had been here from the start, or Case (Keenum) who's been here in OTAs and training camp, and then obviously (Ryan) Mallett who had been here in New England in the same system and then here. So they have a decent understanding of the toolbox. Now we can just pull those plays out and apply those if we think they're the ones that will work to the defense that we're playing. It's not like we're bringing new plays in every week. It's just part of, like I said, the toolbox.

(on if the game plan or tool box of plays expands this week with another week of practice with QB Case Keenum) "As far like expanding or having less plays or things like that, there is really basically the same amount of plays every week. We have a menu in our offensive staff room that really adds up to 90 plays. So you have first- and second-down plays, third-down plays, red area, goal line, two-minute, four-minute, short yardage, all the different areas, and we try to stay to that 90-play limit, so to speak. We feel like we can't get all those plays practiced if we go to 120. That was something that I thought in New England we did a good job of and we've tried to do a good job of that this year here. Sometimes it's less, but it's really never more. It's really just those plays. These are the plays we're going with and we've got to do a good job of practicing them and then executing them on game day."

DE Jared Crick
(on the win yesterday) "We were all happy to get the victory obviously against a good Baltimore team, but we know we've got one more to go. We've got to get back to work today and get ready for this week."

(on if he has looked at any of the playoff scenarios) "All I know is we've got to win this week and we'll see what happens. Other than that, I haven't really looked into it too much, but it will be interesting to see. Obviously, we've got to get our job done then hopefully things will fall our way, so we're excited."

(on how Bill O'Brien has kept the team focused) "It's just another week at work. We've got to go out and prepare hard and get ready for this week as we do all the other weeks. If we do that, we'll be in good shape. We've got to get ready to play Sunday."

(on if the team will prepare differently this week) "Not really. We take every week the same. Same mentality, same hard work in practice and everything like that. As far as we're concerned, just another week, but it's a victory that we need to have."

(on what has clicked defensively) "Just getting used to playing with each other. Guys know where everybody is and we're just on the same page now. We were always a good defense before, but we've had lulls throughout the season here and there, but I think at this point of the year guys are just used to playing with each other. We know where we're at and we're executing. That's the biggest thing."

(on why he has been more effective lately) "I've been in on more third downs. J-Mo (Tim Jamison), he was in third down situations before. Now that he's hurt, it's my role to come in on third down and rush. Just getting a little more reps on third down and just trying to do whatever I can to help the team."

CB Kareem Jackson
(on what it means to be in the playoff hunt) "It means a lot. You know, how far we came as a team this year. Just continuing the work and continuing to grind, so hopefully everything will work out in our favor and we'll be able to get in."

(on if he's looked at the playoff scenario yet) "Not really. Not really sure what the scenario is."

(on needing other teams to lose as part of a playoff scenario) "I'm sure that's the case, but the only thing we can focus on is going out and winning this next game. That's all we can do is do our part. We'll prepare this week and we'll go out and we'll play on Sunday and get a win."

(on if Sunday was the team's best defensive performance of the year) "I think it was one of the best. I think we did a good job of just translating the game plan to the game on Sunday. The things that we practice all week, we went out and we executed it. I think we did a great job of that."

(on the job Head Coach Bill O'Brien has done with the team) "(He's) doing a great job. There is definitely a lot of energy. We kind of a feed off of that. Coming from him, we go out and we practice hard every day. We'll continue to work and that's the thing we talk about all year. Just continue to work, continue to grind, and it will definitely pay off for us."

(on the job Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel has done with the team) "He's done a great job as well with the defense. He's put us in some great situations defensively to make some plays. We've been very fortunate in the back this year. He's definitely done a great job as well."

(on if it's hard to believe that with all the injuries at quarterback that the team is still mathematically alive in the playoff race) "I wouldn't say hard to believe. Like I said, it's just a testament to how hard this team works. We continue to fight. We continue to grind. To be where we are today, it just shows that. For us, the only thing we can do is we can do go out and win this next game."

(on the defense clicking when he returned from injury and the team being more comfortable in the defensive system) "I think it's a combination. Like you said, week in and week out, guys definitely get a lot more comfortable with the system. Just doing everything right. Everybody's doing their job, so I think anytime we go out and we do that and not worry about what could happen or what's going to happen, when we go out and execute and do our job, I think good things will happen for us."

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