Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Yesterday was a good team win. It's good to go into the bye week with a win. We'll work here today, we're working right now, we'll work tomorrow, we'll work on Wednesday and then players will have off until the following Monday. It'll give them an opportunity to rest and get some guys healthy. Coaching staff will spend a lot of time analyzing what we've done, try to improve, self-scout, look at some things that we can change and I think the bye week comes at a good time for all of us. Got a lot of work to do in preparation for a really good Cincinnati team, got a lot of work to do in that regard. As far as injuries, Kareem Jackson, Benardrick McKinney and Cecil Shorts, those guys are still being treated for their various injuries and won't know too much about them until the following week obviously when they get back from the break. Duane Brown is in the concussion protocol, seems to be feeling better today. Jadeveon Clowney, I would say he's day-to-day, and Kurtis Drummond is also in the concussion protocol, think he seems to be feeling better today, but we'll know more about those injuries next week. With that, I'll open it to questions."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney's injury was muscular and not structural) "Yeah, there was no structural damage. That's right."
(on S Rahim Moore saying to ask Coach O'Brien why he was inactive on Sunday) "I would say that I try to make decisions in the best interest of the team, and the 46-man roster yesterday was I felt the 46 best to beat the Tennessee Titans."
(on if S Rahim Moore will be given the opportunity in the future) "Everybody is given an opportunity every day."
(on what he would like to see from S Rahim Moore) "Again, I'm not going to get into individual player critiques or anything like that. I think that everybody has things they can improve upon. Each player has things they can improve upon. Each coach, we all can improve in different ways. I'm not going to get into each individual player and what they need to do to improve."
(on if it presents a challenge to Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel with OLB Whitney Mercilus' success yesterday at the same position as OLB Jadeveon Clowney) "I think you guys asked me that yesterday about him being on the right. I don't know about that. I think Whitney on the left side, I can remember exactly one play backed up down here when Tennessee was in their own end, he really made an unbelievable play. He lit up the tight end and tackled the back for about a three-yard loss and he was on the left side on that play. I'm not so sure about left and right, I do know, like I said in the beginning here, we're going to really self-scout some of the things we're doing on both sides of the ball and continue to try to get the best 11 players on the field as much as we can. A lot of that has to do with injuries and things like that, how guys are doing, but yeah, we're going to continue to try to do that."
(on if there are any moves in the works before the trade deadline coming up) "The trading deadline is around the corner here and I know that, and I think that as an organization there are always discussions, roster discussions, every single day. Our intention is to try to always improve the roster in any way, shape or form, but I'm not going to get into exactly how that would be done and right now there's nothing really out there to be reported anyways."
(on having to shift to more of a passing offense this year as opposed to a predominantly run offense last year) "We have to go back and really, that's part of what I was saying again in the beginning, we have to really look at what we're doing in the running game, the runs that we're trying to get going here and they haven't been very good, so we have to really look at that because we're going to have to run the ball. We have to work to improve that. The challenges that you talk about there, again it's week-to-week. We look at the defense we're playing, we try to put the best game plan together, how we're going to attack this defense. I think offensively there's a lot of things to improve upon from yesterday, but when the plays were there, we made the plays. We did enough to win the game on offense, but there's certainly some improvements that need to be made."
(on having the opportunity to be tied for the division lead if Indianapolis loses tonight) "We feel great about it. We feel that the bye is coming at a good time, get some guys healthy. We feel like it's a new season for us, and we need to approach it that way. We'll see what happens tonight in the Indianapolis game, but one of the things that we're really focused on is how we can get better ourselves over the next couple days. What are some things we can do to be improved over the next two days and then really start honing in on Cincinnati when the guys get back from their break. We feel good about our opportunity in the second half. We certainly don't feel good about our record or anything like that, but that's water under the bridge. Now it's time to look forward and try to improve on the things we can improve upon and really take advantage of the opportunities that we have."
(on how he's feeling about the rookie class at the midway point of the season) "I think that a lot of these guys, we've had some rookie injuries. We've had some guys that have been injured, but I think when they haven't been injured, they've been in there and making a lot of plays. I think when you look at our game yesterday, you look at Kevin Johnson. Kevin Johnson really played a good football game yesterday. He tackled well, we intercepted a pass, he was in the right coverage, he was in proper leverage, he did the things that we ask him to do and I think he's a good example of a guy that's getting better and better, and I think that's what you could say about our rookie class, but there has been some injures, some guys that have been injured through no fault of their own, so hopefully those guys can get healthy. Like a Benardrick McKinney, and get back in there, because I think he was really playing pretty well when he got injured. It'd be nice to get a lot of those guys back in there."
(on what he's seen from T Derek Newton) "He's a tough guy. We just talked about that in our staff meeting. He's dealing with some different issues, whether it's a knee or a foot issue or whatever it is, but he plays every snap and he played right tackle and when Duane (Brown) went down, he played left tackle. He's played guard for us, he's a very tough guy, competitive guy, the team's important to him, he wants to do whatever it takes to help the team, and that's what you're looking for in an offensive lineman. That's what you're looking for in a player. He's done a good job in that regard."
(on what he's seen from NT Vince Wilfork) "He played well yesterday. He's done his job. I think he's done what we've asked him to do coming in here. He played a good game yesterday. We held them to 86 yards rushing. 28 of those came on one play where we missed a bunch of tackles, but other than that, I thought we really played the run very well and he has a lot to do with that because he's in the middle taking up a lot of space, taking up a lot of blocks and freeing guys up, and I think he's done his job to this point."
(on if QB Brian Hoyer has performed the way the coaches envisioned) "Yes, he's playing the way we envisioned him playing. He made some really nice throws yesterday. That was a great touchdown throw to Nate Washington, great throw to (DeAndre) Hopkins for his touchdown. Made some good underneath throws, there's some things he can improve upon. Some of the things that we're doing at the line of scrimmage, we can all coaching-wise and playing-wise, we can get better at. He's part of that, but yes, he's played the way we asked him to play. When he doesn't turn the ball over, like you just mentioned, that's a good thing for our football team. That's good for any team. When the quarterback doesn't turn it over, that usually means that you've got a real good chance to win and that's what he's done. He's taking care of the ball and that's a good thing."
(on if he has any plans for the bye week) "Is that a trick question? No. No plans. I'll be right up there trying to figure out how to beat the Bengals. When you're 3-5, you ain't taking many vacations, I can tell you that."
(on if he recommends players before the trade deadline to Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith) "No, I'm concentrated on coaching the football team. I don't, no, I'm trying to get with our coaches and our football team and see if we can get ourselves ready to play the Cincinnati Bengals."
(on how difficult it is to get a player up to speed if they do make a trade) "Again, I don't really see that coming, so for me to even answer that question probably doesn't even make sense."G Brandon Brooks
(on how Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin has made the transitions on the line easier) "Just keeping us with the next man up mentality. You never want a guy to go down, but if he does, you got to be ready. Also, getting guys in the mismatched pairs, different reps at different positions during the week."
(on pass blocking being more successful for them in the first half of the season) "We're just trying to go out there and do what they ask us to do, whether it's pass blocking or run blocking. We just have to kind of do our job."
(on if he sees anything they can improve on) "Yeah, there's always improvements whether it's landmarks or our steps in the run game."
(on if this has been the most challenging year for the offensive line) "I'd probably say since I've been here, just with the different injuries that've been going on and guys going to different spots. I never thought I'd play left guard, but duty calls. You've got to do it."
(on if he 'expects whatever' throughout the week and on game day) "I wouldn't say 'expect whatever' but you always got to be ready possibly to move around."
(on how difficult it is to move from right guard to left guard) "You've got to flip our code words around because as long as I've been here I've learned it at right guard, flip it over to left, and then different responsibilities as far as going to left and stuff like that. Never really did that before until that week of practice."
(on how he feels physically) "Yeah, it feels good to go."
(on how he feels about the team going into the bye) "It's always good to go into a break with a win. We have a couple extra days to prepare for Cincinnati, but feel good, feel good with the win. We've got a lot of steps moving forward. We've got a tough team we're going to play on Monday night."
(on if it's strange to think they could be in playoff contention) "I wouldn't say strange. I'd say we're trying to put ourselves in the best position to win it all. I'm happy with the way things currently are."
CB Kevin Johnson
(on what worked well for them yesterday) "I just think we executed the game plan. Really I just think we're playing with high energy, and like you said, just working hand in hand with the front seven getting home and us playing tight coverage in the back end."
(on what they think they can do over the final eight games) "I think everybody believes. We're a tight-knit group. I think everybody apart of this organization knows what we can do and we just have to, we just have to do what we've got to do every week."
(on if they look at their record) "We just look at next week. We just look at next week. The past is the past. We can't control that. We've just got to build on next week and get better."
(on if he has exceeded his expectations through the first eight games) "No, I mean me as a player, I want to do better than just what I'm doing. I've just got to get better and improve and continue to learn from guys like J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), Kareem (Jackson) and the coaching staff and just learn and get better."
(on what's the biggest thing he's learned this season) "Just the detail of the NFL, just the preparation you've got to put in."
(on what he specifically thinks he can improve on) "Just continuing to learn, just continuing to learn. I can get better at everything so it's not one thing specific that's glaring, but just paying attention to the details and getting better at everything I'm doing."
(on if he's more eager to get another interception now than he was to get his first one) "For sure, I'm always trying to get my hands on the ball. The most important thing, I'm just trying to win. I'm just trying to go out there and help do what I can do to help the team win the football game."
C Ben Jones
(on constantly rotating people in and out on the offensive line) "That's part of it. We rotate around. That's part of the offensive line, playing with different guys in practice and stuff like that. It definitely has its ups and downs, but it's fun getting to play with different guys and getting to learn how people act in the games."
(on how it's been for him since it's always changing around him) "It's fun, I guess you could say, but it's definitely a task you got to go about and stuff like that, so it's part of the business and you just got to go out there and make the best of it."
(on finishing the first half of the season on a high note and if that's encouraging for the next half) "Yeah, definitely. We definitely ended on a high note before the bye week. You always want to end like that. Our defense really showed out yesterday and we were glad they were there, because they definitely took care of business."
(on grabbing energy from the play of the defense) "J.J. (Watt), Whitney (Mercilus), they had a heck of a game. Our DBs were flying around and just seeing the energy they bring to the stands and fans and all that, it just makes the game all that more exciting."
(on how crazy football is that the team could be tied for first in the division after tonight) "That's just what the thing is. You have to take it one game at a time. You are never out of it in this league. We just have to keep our foot on the gas pedal and keep moving on."
(on how a lot can happen with eight games left in the season) "That's what is great about this league, you play 16 games and it usually comes down to the last two weeks. You just want to be in the hunt so when it comes down to that, you are right there in it."
(on controlling their own destiny in the second half of the season) "You just want to get a shot in the playoffs. If you win the division, then you're in and that's your goal. You are going out there to win every game, but when it comes down to it, if you win your division, you're in the playoffs."
(on how they stack up in the division) "Anybody can lose on any given day, so you got to go out there and be your best on any day, because anybody can beat anybody in this league."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on controlling their fate in the second half of the season) "Absolutely, you can just look back at last year to when we finished really strong, but we weren't in a position to where we controlled it, we needed people to help us out. So I think, right now, sitting where we are at, we are in a position where we can control what we do at the end of the year and I think we have to keep that in mind and just take it one game at a time."
(on getting to play everyone in the division again) "Of course, it's always tough playing anyone in the division, because you play them twice a year and things like that and you're very familiar with them. At the same time, we just have to take care of what we can take care of and do our job as best as we can, let the chips fall where they may. At the end of the day, we just want to be sitting at where we are now, and that was our goal now, was to be 2-1 in the division."
(on it never seemed like the team's confidence was shaken) "I really wouldn't say that it's just, sometimes when you are down so far in some games, it wears on you, because you know what type of team you are and things like that and then you go to where we were yesterday, when you are playing with a lead and everyone is all excited and playing with confidence, that just kind of shows how football is at times. I think we are a complete team here. The offense has the defense's back and vice versa. I think anytime you have that, you have a chance to win."
(on the possibility of being in first place in the division after tonight) "Yeah, but we still just can't hang our hats and say that we are in first place. We still have to go out there and finish the season and work extremely hard, because it's not going to be easy for us. At the end of the day, we are just blessed to be sitting at where we are at right now and have a chance to go out and finish the season and do something special."
S Rahim Moore
(on when he found out he wasn't going to play vs. the Titans) "It was actually, I believe it was on Wednesday morning. Yeah, Wednesday morning."
(on how being inactive for the game was explained to him) "It's shocking. It's never a good feeling because I love football. Sometimes things in life, man, you just can't understand. That's just how it is."
(on if he was caught off guard by the news he wasn't going to play) "I mean, I wouldn't say caught off guard. It's just a shocking moment. But I'm happy that we won. That's a great thing. Winning is always a great thing. That kind of makes you feel a little better, it's like 'okay.'"
(on how difficult it was not playing vs. the Titans) "It was mortifying. Crying and all kinds of stuff. But that's because I love football a lot. You want to be out there. The good feeling about it is that we won yesterday. That's a great thing."
(on what he needs to do to earn back playing time) "Just keep working. Just keep working and never get worse. Always keep working and stay focused because you never know what will happen. You got to keep working and be positive about the situation."
(on why he was inactive) "Ask (Head Coach) Bill O'Brien. Let them tell you because I don't want to – I really don't know. Let them tell you. He's going to give you the most honest answer. He's our head guy and he has all the answers you want to ask."
(on what he would like to improve) "Everything. Everything. One thing about football is nobody's perfect. Nobody's perfect. We all come short. You don't want to always create bad problems in your head. You want to keep positive things in your head. I know I can play this game. The film doesn't lie. But at the same time, you've got to keep working at all costs, no matter if you're a starter or Pro Bowler or whatever. You always want to keep working and never let it get you down. Some guys in this situation, they fade and you never hear about them ever again."
(on if the bye week comes at a good time for him) "I feel like my game has never fell off really. I've had bad plays and I've had bad games throughout my whole career, but that's life. We've all had it. In the Bible, the Lord says, 'Trouble will come.' I've had some trouble before in my life and in football. Like I said, I'm happy that my boys went out there and they won. That was a big win for us. It was very much needed. I don't know the statistics but I feel like we really dominated last night. Our d-line played extraordinary. It was a great team win."