Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Just on the injury front, I'd say (Jadeveon) Clowney is day-to-day, (Benardrick) McKinney probably will be out for the game. (Kareem) Jackson will be out for the game. (Cecil) Shorts will be out for the game, and (Brandon) Brooks is day-to-day. Yesterday we sign Charles James, good to have Charles back, put Lonnie Ballentine on injured reserve, and we signed Steven Means to the practice squad. We released Daryl Richardson. With that, I'll take questions."
(on if when OLB Jadeveon Clowney is playing it has anything to do with DE J.J. Watt staying home more) "No, no I don't think so, no. Every week is a different game plan. No, it doesn't have anything to do with that."
(on S Andre Hal) "He's a hardworking guy, very smart. He's here all the time. Very football-savvy guy, studies a lot of tape, and it's paid off. He's able to do things on special teams for us. He's able to play safety. In a pinch, he can play corner. He's a versatile guy. We like those types of guys."
(on the improvement that WR DeAndre Hopkins has made since last year) "When we got here, it was difficult just because it was a brand new system. I think the first thing that I saw right off the bat was a very hardworking guy off the field. He put a lot of time into learning the offense so that he could ask good questions and learn not only just his position, which in the beginning was just an X receiver, he tried to learn the whole concept of the play so that he could line up and be involved in all parts of the play. That was big, and then I think just his worth ethic on the field and his ability to take care of his body and stay healthy has really helped him because he's got a great work ethic. He's got strong hands. He's out there all the time. He's out there right now working after practice. He's got a great work ethic, and there's really no substitute for that, and I think that has a lot to do with where he is right now."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "Whitney probably played his best game last week, and just needs to be consistent with that. Whitney did a good job last year, at times this year has done a good job, at other times not so good. I think last week's game was a good game for him and now hopefully that gives him a little bit of a springboard here to keep playing well."
(on what they saw in DT Brandon Dunn to sign him and then put him in the game last week) "(Defensive Line Coach) Paul Pasqualoni was familiar with him, tough guy, hardworking guy, great teammate, willing to do whatever it takes. He can play nose, he can play end, smart guy, has got some explosion on the inside so he can help us obviously versus the run but he can also do some things in the pass rush game too. Hopefully he continues. I thought he did some good things in the game. That's not easy to come in there and play right away like that. I think he's continuing to get better, so hopefully he'll continue to help us."
(on the development of S Andre Hal and improving on his mistakes last season) "I think your rookie year is always hard. I think it's not easy to make that jump and we were moving him around. He played corner, he played safety, just like every player in the National Football League, you have your good plays and your not so good plays, but I think he learned from a lot of those and he really worked hard in the offseason. He was here during the offseason I would say just about every day. He was really here all the time. He'd be here on the weekends, he'd be in there working out. I mean the guy really works hard and it's paying off for him and hopefully it continues to pay off for him."
(on if WR Cecil Shorts tweaked his shoulder again) "I think it's more hamstring."
(on how close QB Brian Hoyer is to where he thought he could be) "He is what we thought he was. He's a hardworking guy, an accurate passer, very, very smart, really good guy in the locker room, great with his teammates. Over the last three games where he's gotten his opportunity to play, he's played pretty well. That's what has to continue for our team. That's an important part of our team, that position obviously, and he's working hard right now after practice to continue that. That's what he is. He's a hardworking guy who's a really good teammate and a good leader, and just needs to continue to play consistent for us."
(on what QB Brian Hoyer still needs to continue to work on) "There are always things for everybody to still work on. Let's start with me. Every day I wake up, I've got to figure out something to do better, because every day we all need to continue to work on something. For him, footwork, accuracy, just what every quarterback in the league probably works on every single day. We all have to work to get better."
(on ILB Brian Cushing's development this season) "He had a bunch of tackles, very intense player, and Brian means a lot to our team. He's a leader out there. He calls the defensive signals and I thought he had one of his better games. He made a lot of plays and it was good to see. He's out there today running around again. It seems like he feels good which is a big part of his deal, just being healthy and hopefully that helps him."
(on if ILB Justin Tuggle will continue to take ILB Benardrick McKinney's place) "I think you'll see Tugg in there, I think you'll see (Akeem) Dent in there. I think you'll see Max Bullough in there. Brian Peters will be back. We've got a number of different ways. Again, it's a game-plan type deal, so it's whatever we need to do, whatever we think we need to do to go against Miami. Miami is a very different team, very, very different than the other teams that we've played. They're different on offense, they're different on defense. That's how we kind of judge who plays what, what role do they have in the game. That's kind of how we do it."
(on stopping the run game) "We need to stop the run. There's no question about it, we have to stop the run, we have to stop the quarterback scrambles, the quarterback run, that's a big part of it. I think takeaways and turnovers, I'll give you a better stat than the running stat you just gave. I think that since 2006, when teams don't turn the ball over in the game, they win basically 75 percent of the time. So I think we start with that. Let's take care of the ball. Let's try to get some takeaways and see if we can do that. Definitely we have to work on stopping the run with the Miami Dolphins."
(on the Dolphins defensive front changing last week against Tennessee) "Yeah, it's the same guys. Those guys are good, let's just face it. The strength of their, one of the strengths of their team is their defensive line. You've got (Ndamukong) Suh on the inside, you've got obviously (Cameron) Wake, you've got (Olivier) Vernon, guys that I'm very familiar with, had to go against these guys quite a bit when I was in New England, very difficult front, big challenge for our offensive line. I didn't see things that they were doing too much differently schematically. I just saw a bunch of guys that really played hard and made a lot of plays. They played a great game against Tennessee."
Offensive Coordinator George Godsey
(on the progress from RB Arian Foster) "I mean each day he's getting better, including practice, game to game, day to day, that's what we're looking for. The more reps he gets, the more time he gets with the quarterbacks, with the blocking, with the line, what group's in there, I think he'll be better each day, each week."
(on the success this season and different role of WR DeAndre Hopkins) "Another year in the offense might have helped. Each week's been the same to me. He works his behind off, and he works to get the time with the quarterback and he plays like it on Sunday."
(on targeting WR DeAndre Hopkins so many times) "I mean, we'll see how the defense defends him each week. I think that's kind of our mentality. If he's open, which he's open quite a bit, then we'll throw him the ball. Both he, the other receivers, running backs, tight ends, do a good job in the passing game. It's one big process of everybody working together."
(on their in-game adjustments to what the defenses are giving them) "Yeah, and I think again, it just goes back to another year in the offense for DeAndre (Hopkins) himself, a lot of experience when Nate (Washington) was here and Cecil (Shorts), quarterbacks that have played in quite a few games. The communication on the sidelines definitely important to confirm if it's something we prepare for or adjust if it's not."
(on what he does to counteract the Dolphins defense) "I think today was about really understanding one, the configuration of the defense, two, understanding our responsibilities and then applying their strengths defensively to those. I think that'll be what this whole week's about. As far as being on the road too, I think a lot of those factors factor into certain plays, certain schemes, but also just the ability to execute. The better the player, the more exact you have to be as far as your execution."
(on what specifically they can do to stop the Dolphins defense and DT Ndamukong Suh) "I think from the course of his career, he's proven to be an effective pass rusher. Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, everybody on their defensive front, (Earl) Mitchell, as far as penetration, I think last week was a good example of what they're capable of, whether they bring an extra rusher or not. I think it's a concern from our perspective."
(on the catch WR DeAndre Hopkins made last game where he pinned the ball against his helmet) "Well we've talked to him about it because there's a lot of catches from him on the sideline. One of his goals was to be better on the sideline. That was just concentration to bring the ball in, have the forethought to keep the other hand off the ball. I think DeAndre's ability to adjust in the air, catch a ball, secure it when he comes down, because of some of the acrobatic ways that he's coming down is just phenomenal. It was a big play in the drive and a big play for the game."
(on if he's happy with the pass protection only allowing five sacks in five games) "Yeah, I mean it's a credit to the whole offense, receivers getting open, not just the offense line, but the backs and the tight ends doing a good job with their responsibilities, quarterback getting the ball out. If receivers aren't open, that causes the quarterback to hold the ball. I think it's everybody working together."
(on the combination of the offensive line in the last game) "The big thing was we won the football game. I think just working, everybody being cohesive, everybody understanding what the intent is each week and if their role changes from a lineman playing guard, guard playing tackle. I think they're willing and they accepted the challenge too. They did a good job."
(on if he's seen progress from RB Arian Foster) "Yeah, we talked about just day-to-day getting better and I think we've all seen it. He's a productive player and I think it's just a matter of time. He's got to do a good job understanding the game plan, do a good job of working with the offensive line, regardless of who's in there. That's what he's done each day."
(on what led to QB Brian Hoyer's success passing on third downs in the last game) "Well, it's his preparation. The thing about this week is it's a new week. Unfortunately in the NFL, it doesn't really carry over from week to week, but the study habits do, the preparation and then you can apply it to what Miami specifically does to help him. I think that's what we're asking for him. Today's a big day to watch more tape and get ahead on third down."
WR DeAndre Hopkins
(on what his family members said when they found out he had been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "You know, 'Congrats. You worked hard for this. You deserve it. Everything came to you.'"
(on if he's impressed by his own numbers he's putting up) "No, not really. Our record is 2-4, so there's nothing really to be too amazed about."
(on if it's okay if everybody else is amazed by his numbers) "Oh yeah, why not? I guess I'm doing historical stuff right now. I guess you guys should be amazed."
(on how proud he is of his game right now) "I worked real hard in the offseason. I'm very proud of where I am from an individual standpoint. I put the work in in the offseason to do all that."
(on if defenses are doing anything different against him right now) "That's the NFL. They're doing their best to win a game just like we are."
(on Offensive Coordinator George Godsey saying one of his goals is to get better on the sideline) "I had some plays earlier in the season taken away from me just from not being aware of where I was on the sideline. That's one of my focuses and one of the things I want to work on. It showed this past week."
(on being named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week) "There's a lot of great players in the AFC. To be named the best this week, that's an honor."
(on the catch where he pinned the ball against his helmet, if it was instinctive) "That was instinctive. Probably instinctive from having a lot of catches taken away from me. The rule in the NFL is you have to have control of the ball, but I feel like every catch that I've had, I had control of but it got taken away from me. I kind of wanted to make sure and show the refs I guess that I had control of the ball by not switching, putting my other hand on it, whatever that means."
(on saying the offensive line should be the o-line of the week) "The offensive line should get all the credit. Those guys don't get enough credit. I get offensive player of the week, but if they don't give the quarterback time to get me the ball, then none of that is possible. Those guys work hard. They're in the trenches. They should get a lot of credit."
(on having to rehab through the offseason as well) "The whole offseason I worked hard, including when I was rehabbing. It was only my wrist, it wasn't my whole body. I could work other things besides that."
(on what people have been saying to him about the catch) "My little sister, she called it the 'hotline bling' because it was like I was using a cell, like when you use a cellphone, called you on my face. That was pretty funny I thought. I always joke with my little sister. She's my best friend."
(on if that's one of his favorite catches) "No, definitely not my favorite catch of all-time. I'd probably say high school, seven-on-seven, I had a pretty amazing one-handed catch."
(on what his favorite catch ever was like) "It was on two guys, one-handed catch, right-handed."
QB Brian Hoyer
(on the uniqueness of the Dolphins defensive front having DT Ndamukong Suh and DE Cameron Wake) "Yeah, obviously you name those two guys right off the bat. That catches your name especially as an offense. Cameron Wake has four sacks last week. Obviously that catches your eye. I think Ndamukong Suh is obviously a great interior player. That was a big deal for them in the offseason. We knew coming into this game he's a big part of what they're doing over there."
(on what things he's working on with his game) "I think everyone's always trying to get better. You're never good enough. Really it varies week to week, we're going against this defense this week, it's a little different than Jacksonville. You try to work on certain things going against them. I think everyone is always trying to get better. You want to come out and play the perfect game. You're never going to, but you have to set your sights there and work towards it."
(on if starting back-to-back games feels like he's finally getting into a rhythm that he didn't have before) "Not at all, like I've always told you guys, I always prepare like I'm going to be playing. The only difference is I get the practice reps and know you're going to be playing out there on Sunday when the first series goes. I've done it before. It's nothing new to me."
(on if he's comfortable behind this offensive line) "Yeah for sure, I think obviously that group as a whole, whether who's playing right guard, who's playing tackle, who's shifting to where, they're a pretty cohesive unit. They've done a good job of adapting and playing together. For me, that's never a question in my mind that I have to worry about."
(on if it's hard to not completely target WR DeAndre Hopkins with the way he's been playing) "Not necessarily, I think a lot of the time, the defense determines where you're going to go with the ball. I look back at the film, there's not a lot of balls I feel like I'm trying to force to him. Sometimes you get in that mode where you have a great receiver and you're trying to get them the ball all the time. I think we try to bring it about organically and naturally. Like I said, a lot of the time the defense determines where you're going to go with the ball. For instance on the touchdown to Arian (Foster), they had two guys over Hop, so you're obviously not going to throw the ball there and it opens up other guys. That's the other thing about having a great receiver is eventually when people start paying attention to him, it opens up things for other guys too."
(on if the 99-yard drive against Jacksonville set the tone for the rest of the game) "It was a long drive. There were penalties by both sides. I think it was 19 plays or something like that, so I think you know when you go down there and you're capable of doing that, that it's just about going out and executing and doing your job. Taking what the defense gives you and going out there and executing on every play. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. You kind of just stay in that mode and be ready to go and just keep trying to convert the third downs and get big chunks. It was kind of a unique drive where I guess we had a penalty, they had a penalty, we had a big play, we had a negative play, we overcame it, so when you're capable of doing that, I think you feel pretty comfortable the rest of the game."
(on if they have to self-scout their targets to WR DeAndre Hopkins to make sure they avoid tendencies) "Kind of what I was saying before, a lot of the times the defense determines where the ball is going to go. It's just up to me to get it to the right place, and talking about self-scout, when you sit back and you watch the tape, there's not a lot of balls where I think, 'Gosh, I shouldn't have tried to throw it to him there.' For the most part, I feel like he's doing a good job of getting open, and really not trying to force him the ball. Like I said, the other thing is too, when they do try to cover him with more than one guy, he opens up a bunch of other people in the route."
(on if he ever gets a chance to really take in some of WR DeAndre Hopkins' catches) "Yeah, it's usually later. The one that he pinned on his head, I didn't see until they were reviewing it and I was watching it on the scoreboard, and even then you're in the heat of the moment of the game and you're like, 'Okay, wow, that was pretty good.' Then we were sitting in there watching it the other day reviewing it and Arian (Foster) just starts clapping and he's like, 'You're going to pretend like that wasn't just like the most amazing catch you've seen?' I mean it really is when you think about it. Kind of going back to the Super Bowl David Tyree catch, to be able to control that and not let it bobble at all and take it to the ground was pretty amazing."
(on if the offense feels more comfortable now like they are all on the same page) "Yeah, I think it's always a work in progress because the way this offense is, we may run a play last week and we might not run it again until we play Jacksonville in the last week of the season. You never know what play is going to get called and how you see it. I just look at football in general, there's so many variables that are involved and what's the play that's called, what's the defense that's called, how does the guy play it? It's constant, constant conversation, watching film together, talking it over to make sure you're on the same page."
(on if their communication also happens during the game on the sideline) "There's part of it, but I think a lot of it is in the week, the preparation, you can watch on film, you can see how a defense plays, then when you get out there you kind of just confirm it or say, 'No, I think he's going to try to do this to me today.' You've just got to go along as the game goes along."
CB Charles James
(on his return to Houston) "God is good man. I am blessed. I am excited. When (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick (Smith) called me and told me it was time for me to come home, I just laughed man, but it was a joyful feeling. I have been thanking God all day."
(on putting on the Texans uniform today) "It was great. I just went out there and basically had to get a feel for my teammates again. Just being around those guys, they gave me a big greeting when I came back into the locker room and to be back on the field and they made me laugh and said some different things, they just made me feel at home again."
(on why Houston feels like home) "Just because the love Houston shows. The fans, the team, out of all of the three places I've been, this feels at home to me. For me home is not really, I know some people go by where they grew up, but where they show the most love, and this is home."
P Shane Lechler
(on his punt against Texas Tech) "We don't need to talk about that punt. It was like eight yards, out of bounds."
(on why would Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell bring that up) "Why wouldn't he? That's what friends are for, right?"
(on Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell saying he wouldn't talk crap to him because it only makes him better) "Yeah, that's kind of how I react. I appreciate doubt. It gives a little bit of a mental challenge for me and I like it."
(on Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell saying that when he retired he belonged in the Hall of Fame) "That's a great compliment from a friend of mine. That's a long ways down the road, I hope, but it's a great compliment from him. I appreciate that a lot."
(on if that quote surprised him) "I mean he's a good guy. I would hope he would say some good things about me and not just the Texas Tech punt."
(on how he ended up having dinner with Metallica member James Hetfield and not taking Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell) "I was with Robert Gallery, the lineman from Iowa who was with us in Oakland, he has a house in Tahoe and so does Hetfield and he came over for dinner and got to meet him and hang out with him and his family. Dan still won't talk to me too much about that. That's funny."
(on seeing Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell before the game on the other sideline on Sunday) "I know how much he respected the game. I knew this was a step that he wanted to take. I am sure it probably came a little bit earlier than he probably thought, but I think he is handling it well. He's a true pro. He loves the game. He takes the attitude of that this game doesn't owe him anything and that's the way he approaches it and that's why I respect him so much."
(on Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell saying he could have easily started for Texas A&M at quarterback) "I mean I had my chances for a little while, but I think I made the right decision there."
WR Nate Washington
(on the best thing about playing with WR DeAndre Hopkins) "I think the best thing about it is that it doesn't only happen on Sundays. He takes pride in every single practice, making sure he gives everything he can on every single play so he is prepared for Sundays. I think that's been the best thing about watching him throughout the process of his growth and his playmaking ability on Sunday, just being able to watch him in practice. He gives everything he has and does everything he can in practice."
(on his health) "I am doing pretty good. I am feeling a lot better. Things are coming along progressively. Just in constant communication with the coaching staff and the training staff, trying to make sure I am doing everything I can to be 100 percent for Sunday."
(on his status for Sunday) "I am feeling pretty good. At the end of the day that'll be a call for (Head) Coach (Bill) O'Brien and (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) Kap, the head trainer, to make. I feel really good. I've been out there running a little bit and getting some things back active to prepare for Sunday."
DE J.J. Watt
(on Dolphins Interim Head Coach Dan Campbell joking that all five linemen will block him) "That sure doesn't seem to leave a lot for everybody else. That'd be perfectly fine by me. I look forward to the challenge. I'll see if Bill (O'Brien) can put that on the scout team cards this week."
(on moving around a lot last game vs. Jacksonville) "Every week it changes. Every week there's different things that we do. Moving around does give me some, there's different opportunities, different things so you'll see it again and again. It just depends. Some games I'll move around a whole lot. Some games I really won't move around. You really never know. Moving around, I enjoy it and I think that it does give our defense a little bit of a different look. It gives the offense something different to handle. I think you'll definitely see it moving forward."
(on if he isn't playing tight end because it got so much attention last year that it's no longer a surprise) "No, I think we've really, the offense in the last game, I mean, the offense scored from outside the red zone, so it's kind of been one of those goal line package type things and there just hasn't been a lot of opportunities. If my number is ever called, I'll be prepared."
(on the key containing Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill and his mobility) "Maintaining your rush lanes. Making sure everybody knows their job, their assignment. Try and keep him in the pocket. With a guy like that, you want to keep him in the pocket because they are very comfortable running around and scrambling. So you want to make sure that you try and keep them inside the pocket, which can be difficult to do. But you have to do your best to try and do that and keep them contained."
(on if Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is one of the more mobile quarterbacks) "I think there's a lot of guys that do it pretty well. Quarterbacks back there move around, feel comfortable in it. Obviously, (Blake) Bortles moved around a bit last week. You just have to do a really good job with it. Try and keep him in the pocket and make him beat you from the pocket. It's going to be a good opportunity, good challenge."
(on if it's a 'sign of the times' that big players can run so well) "I definitely think that there's, I mean, athletes continue to get better and better as time goes on. Whether it's training techniques, whether it's growing up as kids and being involved in sports from an early age or whatever it is, I do think that athletes continue to get more and more advanced. But I don't know. It's just also a changing game. I mean, 20, 30, 40 years ago, quarterbacks didn't move as much as they do now. Now there's all different schemes and things like that. It's just a different game."
(on if they forced Jacksonville's mistakes) "I think we did a good job. 'Dre's (Hal) pick down there in the red zone, he did a great job playing his job and kind of jumping the right route. We did a good job of doing our assignments, guys pressuring the quarterback, making the ball come out and the DB's making the plays. Yeah, you just need more of that. I think that's obviously a massive key to our game, anybody's game. In this league, turnovers are such a big thing, turnovers and takeaways, you need to get those. You need to be on the plus side of that battle every single time. That's what we're focusing on. That's what we're trying to do."
(on his documentary that ran on ESPN E:60) "Yeah, I did. I got to watch it. That was my first time seeing it. It was really well done and I think it's – I texted the producers after and just said thank you. It's one of those things that I'll be able to hand to my kids someday. It's just one of those things that you can never – going through such a crazy time in my life and going through everything that I get to go through right now, there's no way for me to document it all. For them to be able to go through and do it in such a special way, especially the thing at the end being able to honor my grandpa in such a special way, it really meant a whole lot to me. It was really neat for me to see my family on there. I mean, I lived through everything and it still brought some tears to my eyes last night. It was truly incredible and it's something that I'll definitely cherish for the rest of my life."
(on CB Charles James II coming back) "He's a guy that can come in here and obviously hopefully help us on special teams and do some things on the defensive side of the ball, so as long as he can come in here and help us, that's what matters."
(on if he has to remind the team about the importance of this game) "No, I think we know. I think we're of the mindset that it's every single game is a one-game season. We know that we need to take that mindset. We know where we put ourselves with the way we started. But I think that the approach that we've taken last week, this week. I think the mentality that we have. I think the way that we practice. The way that we attack meetings. The way that we're handling ourselves is the right way to go about things. I think we've been doing a great job. I think everybody understands what we need to do, go on the road against a football team that's playing well right now. It's going to be a fun game."
(on stopping the run) "I think last week we did a better job then we have been. I think that stopping the run is always a key. You need to make sure you go out there and do that. Last game, I think we did that for the most part. I mean, we gave up a couple quarterback runs, but for the most part, the running game was stopped. We need to do that again, force them into long situations on third down. Don't let them get those three-step passes off, so that we get a chance on third-and-long to get after the passer. Make them try and beat us with their arm. Go out there and do our best to put the quarterback in uncomfortable situations and see if he can throw us a couple."
(on if ever learned to throw a screen pass after not being able to in the documentary) "No. I can throw the deep ball and that's about it. Andy Bernwerger stole the job from me. That was all. I still can't throw short passes. I can throw a 70-yard ball all day long. But I can't throw a bubble screen to save my life. I was very sad that day. I'm very happy today. It's okay."