Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Yesterday we made some roster moves. Released Chandler Worthy, released Edawn Coughman and signed Brandon Dunn to the 53 and Josh Lenz to the practice squad. With that, I'll open it up for questions."
(on if he's seen progress from OLB Jadeveon Clowney and DE Jared Crick and if they'll play this week) "I would say they definitely have a chance but it's day-to-day."
(on the defense not living up to expectations) "We have to, we all have to do better. We have to coach better. We have to get the players to understand what we need them to do better. It starts with me and we all have to do a better job."
(on if WR Cecil Shorts is good to go this week) "Think so, looks like, he practiced today."
(on WR Cecil Shorts' injury being extremely painful and if the timeliness of his return speaks to his toughness) "Very tough guy, tough guy, strong player, and he was out there today practicing. We were in pads today, so he was out there full go."
(on WR DeAndre Hopkins leading the NFL in multiple stats so far this season) "He's had an excellent start. He's worked very hard. He and I spoke today before practice. There are a lot of things he can even do better. He's always working to try to improve. He came back early for early training camp and it's really paid off for him. He's having a good year and we need him. This team needs him."
(on what WR DeAndre Hopkins has done specifically that has helped him catch so many passes) "Well he can do a lot of different things. He's obviously a good deep route runner. He makes contested catches. He can also run intermediate to short routes. He's really improved his route running, his knowledge of our offense, got very, very strong hands, very strong hands. He's done a good job."
(on his impression of WR Allen Robinson based on what he saw from him at Penn State and in the NFL the last two years) "Well he didn't really play last year. I think he was injured. This year he's having a really good year. He's a guy that can make the contested catch. He's a competitive guy. He's a really good route runner. He's tough. At Penn State he was, I think in two years at Penn State, don't quote me on this, but I think he probably had 160, 170 catches in two years there. Just did a great job for us there, and he's having a real good year for Jacksonville. It's a big challenge for our defense."
(on what he's seen teams do to attempt to contain DE J.J. Watt) "There's just a lot of different things. J.J. is a great player. He's made his fair share of plays. He still is in the top 10 I think in sacks in the league, still has tackles for loss. I'm not going to get into the details of how teams are blocking each and every play. I think J.J. is a great player and I think he's having a good year."
(on if RB Arian Foster went back into the game last week without properly being evaluated for a concussion) "No, he was evaluated. That doesn't happen. We checked him on the field and then took him off the field. I believe he was properly evaluated. I know we wouldn't ever put a guy back in the game that we doubted whether he was injured or not, whatever the injury was. I think our guys did a good evaluation of him for that play that he was out and he was able to go back in the game."
(on what he expects from WR Jaelen Strong now with his first game under his belt) "Hopefully he gained some confidence from that game. He did a good job in the game. He came up with two big catches for us, two scoring catches. He's a big guy. He's really a good kid. He's really learned how to pay attention to detail a little bit more each and every week. I can see him playing more and more in our offense."
(on what he's seen from CB Kevin Johnson) "Kevin is an excellent rookie player. He's a very instinctive player, he's quick, he's got really good transition, he's got a knack for the ball, he studies the game. As far as rookies go, his approach to the game is second to none. This guy is a quiet guy that watches the veterans, has great respect for the veterans, tries to do what he's being coached to do. I think he's got a great future."
(on what it says about the offense that they've run the fourth-most plays in history) "It says that we've been down and we've had to get going and run more plays so we can catch up."
(on RB Arian Foster's situation from last game and what the exact protocol is) "No, I think that he came out after that play. I mean I went out on the field and they took him off the field on that play, and he was evaluated. Then based on the evaluation between the doctors and him, he felt like he could keep playing. Then the half came up right after that I think, and he went in at halftime. They checked him again which would be normal protocol for anybody who was injured no matter what the injury was. They determined that he was able to go out and play. He's been out at practice all week this week, so I think they evaluated it properly and I think he felt like he could still play."
(on WR Cecil Shorts playing more in the slot) "Cecil has done a really good job. Cecil has inside, outside flexibility so that's what makes him a valuable part of our offense. When he's not in there, we miss that guy. He's a very good receiver both in the slot and on the outside. He's strong, he's smart, he has really good understanding of coverages in this league, he knows how to get open, it's a lot different in the slot than it is on the outside and he's able to learn that in addition to learning our offense. He's done a good job and it's good to have him back in there."
(on if he knew about CB Kevin Johnson's approach to the game from scouting reports) "I would say my experience before he got here was basically just watching him on film. I'm not sure, because I wouldn't want to say something that's not true. I don't think I met him before the draft. I watched him a lot on tape, so we relied on our scouts to basically tell us what he was like as a person and all that. Yeah, I'm seeing a guy that's a very mature guy, smart guy, has a great daily approach and really serious about the game. Like I said, he's got a real good future."
Offensive Coordinator George Godsey
(on if getting the run game going on offense is as important as stopping it on defense) "Yeah, I mean I think that's the goal. We go into the game looking to run the football, looking to play action, looking to pass the football, try to keep balanced, try to be equally effective in all the modes, and that'll be our goal this week."
(on how G Oday Aboushi has played and if G Xavier Su'a-Filo is a consideration) "I think week-to-week we're going to put the best guys out there that can help us out offensively. The line is no different. The good thing about that group is the flexibility. They've all kind of mixed and matched at certain positions so it helps us each week."
(on what WR Cecil Shorts brings to the team) "He did a good job for us in the games that he was available. Some crucial third down plays, getting open versus man to man. I know he'll be going back home, but for him, it's just like another week as far as playing and game planning preparation. When he is out there, it's good to have him."
(on WR Jaelen Strong and working him into the game plan) "Each week with Jaelen it's another step. We always say, 'Just keep putting the bricks on the house.' He laid the foundation, so to say, for the first game, and he's got to continue to do that each week. Today was another good day for him, and we'll see how tomorrow is."
(on QB Brian Hoyer's second chance to be the starter) "For every player, it's a week-to-week league, and this is a new week for Brian. It's a new defense. Today was normal downs in our play action, and he approached it professionally like all the players do. Did a good job of understanding the game plan and what we want to do. Today was a good day at practice for him."
(on Jacksonville's defense) "I mean, they've been a productive defense always. They come out, play their best football right off the bat too. That's something that we're going to have to come out the game really and play and match their intensity. It'll be at their place and they've always done a good job stopping the run, stopping the pass, and I think that we're going to have to match that intensity."
(on the offensive line only giving up one sack in each of the last four games and how important that is to the offense) "When we're throwing the football and we're protecting, I think in order to have that balance, you can't take any sacks. That's been an emphasis at the quarterback position and with the offensive line working together. We've been coordinated on the same page on what we're trying to do as far as points, and IDs, and protections. We're going to have to do the same thing this week. It's a good front. It's an effective front. They have some schemes for us to make sure that we're sound inside out, and protecting the quarterback and getting rid of the football."
(on WR Cecil Shorts playing more inside and what players have to learn when playing inside) "It's a different ball game inside. You have some linebackers, bigger bodies to deal with, understanding the zone, defenses where to sit down and man coverage, who the free player is whether it's a safety or a linebacker. He's done a good job of that. He has some experience playing inside. He has some experience playing outside. That's why he's a big part of our offense. His health will determine his availability and then we'll use him as such."
(on WR Cecil Shorts' toughness) "That's exactly it. He's worked hard, he's one of the first guys in here as far as putting extra time in. When you're injured, that's as much of the issue as anything is just getting in here, putting the time in, you may not be able to play on Sunday but you have to treat it like a game week as far as your rehab and he did that. Just to even be thought of as available possibly this week, that's a credit to him and our training room."
T Duane Brown
(on why the offense has been inconsistent) "I don't know what to attribute it to. I think us as a group in our offensive line room, we take the responsibility of having our run game going, no matter who's under center, no matter who's in the backfield, no matter who's playing where up front. We understand that's a point of emphasis going into this week and for the rest of the season. We have to have a consistent running game and I think we got to a great start this week in practice."
(on what concerns him about the Jaguars' defense) "They're very stout in the run game. I think they're in like the top five in the run game, run defense. So it's going to be a challenge for us, but we have to press forward and not abandon the run game. Not become one-dimensional. They have fast linebackers, very good linebacker play. Third-and-long, they have great blitz packages. They have some pretty good pass rushers. I think they've traditionally been a pretty good defense. They always play us tough, so the good thing is we're familiar with them. We know who's going to do what, what to expect over there from a personnel standpoint. We just have to go out there and get it done."
(on if the Jaguars continue to add the same types of players) "Yeah, they have a couple new faces over there, but for the most part, it's the same defense we played last year. That doesn't make it any easier. Just like we know them, they know us pretty well. We know how they're going to try and attack us. We have to be able to counter that. "
(on the team finding a rhythm with QB Brian Hoyer playing) "I thought we played well as a unit. He's done some pretty good things when he's come in. Operating the offense, getting some big plays going, we've had a lot of 10-plus play drives. I think that's something that we as an offense kind of pride ourselves on, being able to string together some pretty long drives and getting defenses tired and get a fast pace going. We were able to do that the last couple weeks. We have to keep it going."
OLB Jadeveon Clowney
(on how he's feeling) "I'm feeling pretty good."
(on the progress he has made) "Great."
(on if he expects to play Sunday vs. Jacksonville) "I hope so."
(on how he feels like he's played this season) "I don't know, you tell me."
(on making progress this season) "That's how I feel too. I feel like I'm making progress."
(on if he wants to get to opposing quarterbacks more) "Yes, that's number one. Get to the quarterback and make sacks."
(on what he's made the most progress on this year) "Just being out there on the field, probably. Just being out there on the field. I missed most of the season last year. I've played more games this year than I did last year, so that's progress to me right there."
(on if he is getting more comfortable the more he plays) "Yeah, always. I tell the guys, I feel like a rookie all over again. They say, 'Man, it's like your rookie season.' They always come and tell me that, 'Just have fun and enjoy being out there with your teammates.' That's what I'm doing out there."
(on having an extra year to learn the playbook) "Oh yeah, I learned a lot. I learned a lot about this defense, about the guys around me, my teammates, about myself. I think I'm doing good. I'm doing better now."
(on what he enjoys about playing inside) "I don't really care where I line up at. Wherever they ask me to line up, I just go and line up and do what I got to do. Rush or play the run, whatever comes my way. Wherever they ask me to line up, I just line up and go."
(on his status for Sunday vs. Jacksonville) "I'm feeling good. It's day-to-day right now. I'm just working to try and get back for Sunday."
(on how much putting on 15 pounds of muscle has helped him) "It's helped me in the running game a lot. Somehow I might get cut off guard, might be trying to pass rush, might be a run. I just sit down easy and just lock guys out and get off blocks a lot easier than I did last year."
(on playing through his injury on Thursday night and how different it was than last year's injury) "That was two different things, two different injuries, two different pains. I just told the guys I was going to try and finish this game. I was hurting real bad, but I was just like 'I'm going to finish this game and see what I can do the rest of the game.' I continued to play. Knee pain and ankle pain, I think I'll take the ankle pain over knee pain. It's a little different, different injury, different pain. When it was bothering me in my knee, I was just like, 'I can't go.' I'll do what I can do."
(on his reaction to Steve Spurrier stepping down at South Carolina) "I play for the Texans. I did three years there, my years went past. We had an 11-2 season. It was great. I had a great time there. I play for the Texans now, so I don't know what's going on. He was a great coach when I was there."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on what needs to be done on defense to get back to last year's level) "We've just got to keep playing together, keep playing fast, get turnovers, sacks. I mean there's a lot of different categories we can obviously improve on. And at the end of the day, win."
(on if he thinks the defense is getting closer to where they want to be) "Yeah, I do. I do. It's only going to take one game to really turn it around. Hopefully it'll be this Sunday, and that's what we're aiming for."
(on what he's seen from the way other teams are trying to block them) "You see some kind of repeating plays from week to week, even some plays that some offenses don't have that they put in and they think it'll work against us. Sometimes it has, sometimes it hasn't. We've just got to be more consistent in that and then stop it as best as we can."
(on if the losses have some to do with the defense too) "I mean it's a team game and obviously we can get off the field and get the ball back for the offense better, get more turnovers, limit the big plays and just get it back for them as many times as we can and then score on defense. That's another possibility too. We haven't played as best as we possibly could."
(on if he feels good physically) "Yeah, I feel good. I feel good. I've got no complaints. Definitely have had way rougher years, so just where I am right now, I'm very thankful and looking just to improve every week."
QB Brian Hoyer
(on the status of WR Cecil Shorts III) "We'll see where he's at. I know this is the one game that for sure he's trying to get back for, obviously, having played in Jacksonville. Cecil's done a great job, even going back to when he first got here. Learning the system, a guy who can play multiple positions. Obviously, a key component of our offense, so I know he's working hard to get back. That's something that will be coach's decision. Like I said, Cecil is working hard."
(on seeing WR DeAndre Hopkins for the first time) "Yeah, I mean, I knew coming here it would be fun to work with him. Then obviously, I didn't get a chance really until training camp. Then to see him go out there and make the plays that he has made has been fun, especially when you're the quarterback throwing the ball to him. I'll say this about DeAndre, for as good as he is, he comes to work every day. He works hard. He wants to get better. He's constantly communicating with the quarterbacks, whether it be me or Ryan (Mallett), how he feels about certain things. I think he's done a great job this year and will hopefully continue to be on that pace."
(on how important it is to get the running game going) "I think in this league, you know, when you get the running game going, it opens up a lot of things. Obviously, I think our o-line has done a great job. Now we're just getting Arian (Foster) back, along with the other guys who've really done a good job so far. That'd be great to be in a situation where you continue to stick with the run and you're not playing from behind and get that going."
(on how much the veteran wide receivers have communicated and helped the team) "Yeah, for sure. They have a great feel for that. I think those three veteran guys have done a great job of being leaders in that room too. So when Keith (Mumphery) or Jaelen (Strong) have to step up and play the other night, you see Jaelen catches two touchdown passes. I think he sees those guys, how they work, how they communicate, and their professionalism. That's a great example for the young guys."
(on if he gets excited seeing rookie WR Jaelen Strong catch two touchdown passes) "Yeah, for sure. I think, to me, it's just validating what we've started to see in practice with Jaelen. He's practiced really hard, whether it be scout team with the offense or whatever it might be. You really see him coming along. For him to go out and contribute, I think that just boosts his confidence even more and he continues to practice better."
(on RB Arian Foster's receiving skills) "I think Arian is a very versatile player, whether it's out of the backfield or lining him up as a receiver or as an outside receiver. When you think Arian Foster, you think running back, Pro Bowl, rushed for over 1,000 yards. For me, I've seen more of it now being on the inside, what he's capable of doing in the passing game."
(on what he's seen from the Jaguars on film) "When I talked to the media on Monday, this is a team that I played against last year with Cleveland and I remember walking away from that game thinking what a great defense they had. They have a good scheme and they have the players to play that scheme. They kind of let them out there and let them loose and let them play fast. It's going to be a great challenge for us and we have to be on top of our game plan and know that they're going to line up and come after us on every play."
(on what it means to know he's starting and if it's easier) "I think for me, having been through multiple different situations, I think I've always tried to prepare like I'm the starter. I think when you know you're the starter, the only difference is you know you're going out there on the first series of the game. I really believe that's kind of the difference there. Obviously, getting more reps in practice, so get a few more reps in practice. Other than that, I try to take the same mentality week to week."
(on the difference for him the last two games) "I don't know. I really don't know. I think you come in a situation and you just try to get some completions and get it going. I think the situations that I've come into the past couple weeks, you just want to kind of get a rhythm going. I can't really look back to the first game and really get a feel for why it's different. I think sometimes you go out there and things happen. Then you get a flow and it kind of picks up. For me, I think just take that mentality and go out there and execute the plays that are called. If it's not there, play for the next down and continue to play the game for four quarters."
(on how comfortable he feels behind a healthy offensive line) "Those guys have done a great job in pass protection. I feel really comfortable back there now. Like I said, a team like Jacksonville, who has a great front seven, will definitely challenge us. It will be a great challenge for our line and for us as quarterbacks to make sure we don't take any sacks."
WR Cecil Shorts III
(on what he thinks his status will be come Sunday) "I think I've got a good shot. We'll see how the week progresses and then we'll go from there."
(on how it felt to be back out at practice today) "It feels good just to be able to be back out there with the guys. It's tough. Watching Thursday night was pretty tough. Just not being able to help the team and be out there and do what you're capable of doing, just glad to be back there with my guys."
(on how much this week's game made him want to come back quicker maybe) "This game is important just like every other game is important. I had some good years in Jacksonville so it'll be fun to go back there and play against those guys."
(on what it'll be like to walk into that stadium) "It'll be exciting. I'm pretty sure I'll be heart going a little bit. To see old faces you played with the last four years, you know what I mean. I've still got some good relationships with those guys. It'll be a little bit of emotion, but we've got to go out there and do our job."
(on if he has an edge on some of the other wide receivers since he knows Jacksonville's defense well) "I tell the guys everything I know. It's just how it is when you play with another team. That's just how it is. I might give little tips here, when you practice against somebody you might know little things like that. But guys get better, guys progress. You still need to study and watch film and see how they play this year as of previous years."
WR Jaelen Strong
(on how he hopes to build on his performance from last week) "Same thing every week. It's a new team, new game plan, so just do what I'm coached to do."
(on if his confidence is high) "Yes."
(on why his confidence is high) "When you go out there and get reps and start learning more and more, you become more confident."
(on what the difference is with him now compared to the first couple weeks) "The difference is just how I'm handling everything. Just being patient."
(on how it felt to make plays) "It felt good, of course. Anytime you can do something to help your team, it feels good."
(on if he learns faster by playing) "Oh yeah, most definitely. Repetition always helps you become more experienced."
DE J.J. Watt
(on the difference in the way the defense has played this year versus the last five games last year) "I mean we need to get more takeaways on defense. That's one thing we did great. We just need to focus on what we're doing and make sure that we do our assignments, we play our roles and we got out there and we play to the best of our abilities. I think we've had a great week of practice so far. I think we have a few more days here to hone things up. I think it's been a very encouraging week."
(on if they are getting closer to where they want to be as a defense) "Yeah, we just need to put it all together. We need to go out there. We need to play our game. We need to play well. We need to not hurt ourselves both with penalties and mental errors, and we just need to put a full complete game together."
(on what he's seen this year in teams blocking him that's been different from last year) "There's been some new things. That's part of the game. Everybody is always evolving, trying to find new ways, people getting the ball out quick. We just need to try to put people in long passing situations so we get a chance to get after the quarterback."
(on what he's seen change in Jaguars QB Blake Bortles from last year to this year) "I think he looks a little bit more comfortable this year. I think he's obviously had a year under his belt. He gets to know his teammates and things like that and gets used to the game. I think he's going to continue to do that. As his career goes on, he's going to get better and better."
(on if it's easier to correct mental or physical mistakes) "That's a good question. You can fix them both but I mean a physical mistake, it depends on what kind. If you got beat, or if you just took the wrong step or something like that. Those are the types of things you can fix. A mental error, as long as you get the communication corrected and you make sure you're in the right situations, you can get that corrected. Communication is so key. You need to make sure everybody's on the same page and doing the right thing."
(on if they're getting penalties because everyone is trying to do a lot) "No, we just, we just need to be smart. We need to go out there and understand situations. We need to be smart about what we're doing, and we need to be very cognizant of what's going on. Like I said, I think we've had a really good two days of practice this week. I think we're in a good place mentally and I think we're looking forward to going on the road against a divisional opponent to get things back on the right track."
(on if he's been impressed with the way OLB Jadeveon Clowney has played considering he had major surgery in the offseason) "I think he's coming back, and he's definitely getting more comfortable as it goes. I don't have a whole lot chance to look at the outside linebacker film, mainly the d-line. From what I've seen so far, I think he's playing pretty well, I couldn't tell you for sure."
(on what he's seen from rookie CB Kevin Johnson) "Yeah, I think he's like any rookie, he's getting more and more comfortable as the season goes on. He's confident in his ability, he's confident in what he's doing out there, so he's going to continue to get better and better and he's done some things on special teams as well, which is always big. I think he's a smart kid, he's a hard worker, and he wants to contribute and he wants to be good. It's a lot of fun to see him go to work every day."
(on if having players who were on the team last year has helped keep the defense motivated that they can get back to that) "Yeah, because you know what we're capable of, and you know we haven't shown what we're capable of yet. You know what it feels like when it is going right. You just need to make sure that you get that message across to your team. You need to make sure everybody believes in that message. We're going out there and like I've said a couple times already, our week of practice this week has felt really good. We put the pads on, you go out there, you hit, you get back to some fundamentals. I think it's been really beneficial."
(on if he's staying on the left side more than he did last year) "I don't know. I'd have to go back and look."
(on if they keep track of where he lines up at each snap) "I'm sure somebody does. We do different things in different sets. Everything changes every week. You'll see me all over the place."
(on if the coaches purposefully split him and OLB Jadeveon Clowney on the line) "Even if I was going to tell you the answer to that, I wouldn't tell you the answer to that. But nice try, good effort though."
(on the two players leading in sacks in the NCAA being walk-ons, one of them at Wisconsin, if he likes to see that) "Yeah, it's awesome. I think (Wisconsin OLB Joe) Schobert has been playing unbelievable for Wisconsin. It's really cool to see walk-ons doing so well, especially knowing what that's like. I mean, you go through a lot and I've always said I think a walk-on carries a chip on his shoulder for the rest of his career, even if he gets a scholarship, even if he's drafted in the first round, whatever it may be. You carry that walk-on chip on your shoulder. I think especially in a case like Schobert for Wisconsin, I mean the kid's playing out of his mind right now. He's leading the nation in TFLs. He's leading the nation in sacks. Both my brothers are on that team so I obviously whenever I get a chance to watch, I watch. It's a lot of fun. My youngest brother now is getting snaps on the d-line with Schobert and those guys and (Wisconsin OLB Vince) Biegel. It's a lot of fun to watch every single week, and especially for me, it's super special because I have a brother on offense and a brother on defense and so I get to watch them both play. I mean, it's hard to explain how proud that makes me. It's really cool."
(on if he's interacted with Wisconsin OLB Joe Schobert) "No, I have not. I really haven't. I obviously see my brothers, I talk to my brothers a lot, but I really haven't interacted a whole lot with him. My brother told me he was a fan, so I just texted him after the last game and told him to tell Schobert that I thought he's a heck of a player. I'm sure we'll speak at some point. I just haven't had a chance to yet. Just watching them play, it's a whole lot of fun. That kid's flying around and he's a walk-on. There's plenty of good stories out there like that, kids you can do it, it's just a matter of how hard you're willing to work."