Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Just want to start off by saying that the Houston Texans, and I'm obviously speaking on behalf of the Houston Texans, just want to let the family of Cam'ron Matthews and all the students, teachers, and administrators at Alto High School know that as an organization we're really thinking about them right now. Cam'ron tragically died of an aneurism during their game last weekend. It's a very tough situation for them, and we just want to make sure that they know that our thoughts and prayers are with first and foremost the family, and then the school of Alto. With that, I'll open it to questions."
(on OLB Jadeveon Clowney) "He practiced today."
(on how OLB Jadeveon Clowney looks for Sunday) "He looked okay."
(on what he's seen from Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry) "Go-to guy, really good playing strength, they use him in a lot of different ways, use him in the slot, use him in the backfield, use him on reverses. I think he's second in the league in punt return average, 20 yards per return. I mean this guy is a tough player. We studied him when he came out of LSU. This guy is a good football player. It's going to be a big challenge for us."
(on hoping to settle with a starting five offensive linemen and if G Brandon Brooks will be out there) "Yeah, I think so, I think he's got a chance to play. I think he'll try to go tomorrow in practice. We'll see how that looks. Obviously he's an important part of what we're trying to do. If he can't go, it'll be the next man up, but we've used a lot of guys up there, a lot of different combinations. I'll tell you, I think the line has played well this year, I really do. I think that all of us can do better at times, but I think that offensive line with their versatility has done a good job. A bunch of tough guys that really care about their teammates. I think it shows every Sunday."
(on why T Derek Newton has been able to find success on the interior line) "He's athletic, he's smart, he's very tough, he's got a skill set, a body type, that allows him to anchor on the inside. He's got a big lower body, very strong guy. When you look at him from a distance, you don't really realize how big he is. You get up close to him, the guy is a large human being. He's thick, and he's a very bright guy. He's learned our system well and we can use him at all the different spots."
(on if NT Vince Wilfork has given any more input this week with the amount of times he has played the Dolphins) "I would say probably in his own defensive line room there with J.J. (Watt), they've probably talked a lot about the matchups, his experience of going up against (Mike) Pouncey, for instance, who's a great player. Other than that, this Houston Texans versus Miami Dolphins, it's a totally different team that he's playing for now and things like that. There's a lot of differences but just from his one-on-one matchups, I'm sure he's giving some tips."
(on if OLB Whitney Mercilus' niceness hurts him on the field) "No, no, I don't see that at all. I think he's a very competitive guy. I think he's a really hard worker. He's coached really hard and really well by (Linebackers Coach) Mike (Vrabel), and I think he's a guy that he's playing through some bumps and bruises and I think you saw a guy that was healthy last week. He had a very significant thigh bruise for a few weeks there and he played through it. He's a tough guy. This guy is a tough guy. Good teammate, and I thought he had his best game last week and hopefully he can continue that."
(on what it means to him as a football coach and a parent to hear the news about Cam'ron Matthews) "It's horrible, it's horrible. To a much lesser extent, but just thinking about that question, when Lonnie (Ballentine) got injured last week, I really felt for that guy. I see a young player there that really has a pretty significant injury. I believe he's going to come back from it but obviously when guys are in the game and high school players and young players and young people and they lose their life on a football field, I mean that's horrible. It's just a terrible thing. Life does go on but I definitely feel for those parents especially, brothers, sisters, being a parent myself and then obviously the school, Alto High School going through a tough time right now."
(on RB Arian Foster's catching ability) "The thing that always stood out to me about Arian right from day one is he's a very instinctive player, very smart player. He understands what's going on out there on the field. He's got a very quick mind. Then he's got the skillset. He can catch the ball, he can catch balls that are behind him, over his head, low. He can run routes. He's got good route-running ability. I think that he's a guy that has the combination of football smarts and then the ability to go run routes and catch the ball. That helps him as a receiver."
Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
(on how OLB Jadeveon Clowney looked today in practice) "Oh, just so-so. He was out there and that was good, but we didn't let him do a whole lot. He was just trying to test it out to see what it felt like."
(on OLB Jadeveon Clowney's playing status for Sunday) "We will have to see if he can goose up the next couple of days and what the trainers say and that all goes into it."
(on the play of OLB Whitney Mercilus) "Whitney has always been a pretty solid guy. He does his job. Every once in a while he'll take a chance but generally, he's pretty steady. I thought that showed up last year and even the year before. He's a steady guy we can depend on and count on."
(on overall the group of strong rookie corners around the NFL) "Well, yeah, overall since they were several in the draft. We took a look at them and tried to figure out who could do what. We feel good about the guy we have, not only is he a good football player, but I think he's a good teammate as well. I think he will only get better and grow."
(on the play of FS Rahim Moore) "Yeah, he's beginning to feel more comfortable as you said, he's beginning to learn how we operate, because he's coming from a different system and learning how we operate, our terminology, what our expectations are and I think he is fitting in. He's doing a good job on the back end communicating, helping getting guys lined up. I told him I expect him to continue to get better."
(on how the secondary will adjust without CB Kareem Jackson) "We don't have a choice. We have to adjust. Kevin (Johnson) and A.J. (Bouye), they have to step up and be able to perform and play. That's the way the NFL is, it's the next man up. Kevin has shown that he can play at this level. A.J. has experience and he can play at this level, so hopefully there will not be a drop off."
(on some of the challenges that the Dolphins offense might bring on Sunday) "I think the running game is the biggest challenge because they have a new attitude. They've changed their attitude about how they want to run offense. The head coach has talked about being a physical group and winning the line of scrimmage. Last week, they ran it like what 32 times for 180 yards. That was successful for them so I anticipate that they are going to try to come in and do it again. Their running game becomes important. They have a big tight end. He runs well. He has a good catching radius and if you don't take care of him, he makes plays. They have a speed receiver, (Kenny) Stills, that he can fly. They're like most NFL teams, they've got ability and they've got a quarterback who poses a threat as a runner. With the read option and his scrambles, we are going to have to be disciplined in our rush lanes, disciplined at the line of scrimmage on the option and all of those things. Those are some of the problems that we will encounter."
OLB Jadeveon Clowney
(on his status) "Day-to-day. Getting better and getting ready for the game."
(on how meaningful it was to practice today) "It was good. I need to be out there with my teammates. I don't want to be in the training room, I hate it in there. But you know, injuries happen. You just got to get over them and get back out there on the field."
(on his ankle) "It's doing good. I'm doing fine. It's where I expect it's going to feel. I just got to go through some pain."
(on the severity of his ankle sprain) "Just like I said, injuries happen. I'm just really trying to get over that and get back out there with my teammates."
(on if he is extra cautious with his injuries) "No, whenever I can go, I'll go. Regardless of how I feel, if I can go, I'll go."
(on how frustrated he is with injures) "It's very frustrating, but injuries happen every day in the league. Every Sunday somebody gets hurt. What you do to get back is the key. How fast can you get back and how well you get in the training room and take care of your injuries is the big deal."
(on if he hates the training room) "Hate it. But got to use it."
(on if today felt like a step towards a return) "Yeah, just being out there with my teammates, putting on the pads again. Running around and getting back into that groove again. It was a big part of what I wanted to do today. I did that."
(on if he paid attention to how OLB Whitney Mercilus and John Simon played last week) "I really didn't pay any attention. That game is behind us. All I was doing was starting to watch Miami when that game was in the second half. I started watching Miami, so getting ready to play against them guys."
(on the Dolphins) "They ran the ball more than they ever did last game in the previous game. We just really got to go in the game like we always do, stop the run and try to make the quarterback beat us again."
(on facing another mobile quarterback) "Contain him. It's the NFL. Some guys surprise you, some guys don't. You just do what you do. Rush the passer and try to keep him in the pocket and make him throw the ball, get sacks and cause turnovers."
(on how CB Kevin Johnson has done as a rookie) "I told Kevin he is doing good. Just take learning from all the other guys, like I did. I just learned from the older guys, come in, put your head down day to day and work. Just do what they tell you to do."
(on if CB Kevin Johnson asks a lot of questions) "Oh yeah, he does. To the DB's but he's learning. He's learning from them guys, just like I learned from the guys around me. It's a work in progress every day."
(on how important it is to get back out there and play) "It's very important to be a part of the team, be out there with my teammates. Just get back out there playing. I don't want to be out too long. Nobody wants to be out at all, but it happens. Just getting back out there, running around is helping me, period."
CB Kevin Johnson
(on getting the opportunity for more playing time) "It is definitely a good opportunity to go out there and when my number is called, I am going to be ready. Just going out there, executing my assignments and playing hard."
(on his mindset knowing that he is going to play more) "My mindset hasn't changed. It's the same thing going into every week. I am going to go out there and I am going to be ready and I am going to give my best effort."
(on if he feels that he is getting better every week) "Yeah, I definitely feel that I am getting better every week. Just getting comfortable with the NFL game and getting adjusted to the level of competition and the mental complexities and things like that."
(on if there is something he has to do to help him with the mental aspect of it) "It's definitely film study and getting with guys like Joe (Johnathan Joseph) and K-Jack (Kareem Jackson), learning from their experiences, going out there and getting reps for myself and all that type stuff. Just going out there and really doing it is helping me out a lot."
(on him making an adjustment on the way they call holding in the NFL) "Yeah, for sure. I am definitely aware of it. I know that when a guy goes past five yards, you can't really touch him at all. Just being aware of that and going out there, but still playing physical at the same time."
(on the Dolphins running the ball 30 times last week and the fact they could try to do that again on Sunday) "My mindset is the same every game. It don't matter."
(on if there was any nervousness knowing that he needs to step up) "No. Like I said, just going out there and preparing like I do every week and going out there when my number is called."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on what he sees as some of the biggest challenges they will face against the Dolphins) "They have a spread attack. (Ryan) Tannehill can spread the ball around to several guys, the receivers out there, they got playmakers at the tight end position and they got a really good running game with (Lamar) Miller back there."
(on if he thinks the Dolphins are a different team with a new head coach) "They definitely run the ball really well. Like I said, spread the ball out to different guys on offense. It's not like they are just keying in on one guy. That creates a problem within itself because you have to account for all guys at all times."
(on the defense filling in for CB Kareem Jackson this week) "It's always the next man up. You really can't think about it more than that, because you still have a job to do. It's an unfortunate situation, but at the same time, you still have to go down to Miami and the next guy has to fill in and do the same job that Kareem do when he is out there."
(on S Andre Hal making the transition from corner to safety) "It's been a smooth transition for him. He's still getting better I think. It takes a while to get adjusted. It's a different type of way to look at the game from the safety and the corner position. It's definitely more physical in there being a safety, but I think he is the type of player that is smart enough and has the skill set to go in there and make that adjustment and I think he has done that now."
(on CB A.J. Bouye and CB Kevin Johnson getting more playing time out there) "A.J. is an experienced player, he has been here for a while now. Anytime his number is called, he has always filled in and played nicely. Kevin Johnson has been doing really well as a rookie. He's only getting better week by week, but anytime you have those guys filling in for other guys everyone has to communicate a lot more and everyone has to be on the same page. I think we have done that so far in practice, we just have to translate it into the game this week."
(on the confidence of CB Kevin Johnson and how frustrated he gets when he doesn't make a play that he thinks he should make) "That's the way the league operates. Us as corners, we like to make each and every play, but we have a little sense in the back of our head knowing that we can't. A lot of times its tough plays to make, but that's what we get paid for and that's a job that we have to do. You really just can't beat yourself up on it so much, you just have to understand that those guys on the other side get paid to do the same job as well, but us as defenders we cannot give up big plays and when it's our chance to capitalize and make big plays, you have to make big plays, but other than that, it's just football."
(on what he has liked about CB Kevin Johnson as a rookie) "On the field his tenacity, he's always competing. He's really knowledgeable about the game. He's really smart, communicates well. He doesn't think he knows it all. He is willing to learn each and every day and he just fits right in this locker room."
(on if winning on the road last week helps going back on the road this week) "Yes and no. It's good for the team morale going on the road and to come out from a tough environment like that last week, but it's two separate teams, two separate ball clubs, different stadium and all that so we just have to put all of our attention to Miami. Just go down there and just get used to it whenever we get down there on Saturday and Sunday and just go out there and play our type of ball."
OLB Whitney Mercilus
(on if he has had to learn to be mean to play in the NFL) "It was back in high school. That's something I had to learn, not playing too nice on the field. My coach in high school taught me that, and it's just progressed on throughout college and all that. It's funny."
(on seizing the opportunity in the last game) "Yeah, that's something that everybody says and the coaches and all that, make sure that you take advantage of your opportunities. That's what I felt like I did, went out there, took advantage of my opportunities for every play and every snap that I was in there for."
(on his role diminishing when everyone is healthy) "Man, well, no, I have to go out there and make plays as well if they're going to throw me out there. I have to be able to be consistent in doing that whether I'm dropping into coverage and all that."
(on if he plays differently when OLB Jadeveon Clowney isn't out there) "No, they expect me to set the edge, things like that, and rush the passer when I can, when I'm out there and have the opportunity to do it, especially if I'm in there on sub packages if JD's not in there and I'm in there. Go out there and rush the passer as best as I can."
NT Vince Wilfork
(on the shooting of his close friend Corey Jones in Florida, who was shot by an officer) "It's a tough situation to be in, especially for the immediate family. But at the same time, everything has consequences. We're working now hard to figure things out. We're going to continue to get justice and that's how it is right now. I think sometimes we have a platform we can use for a certain purpose. This week, this is my purpose. To have the platform I have to speak about it, that's what it's all about. I'm going to go down there and see them, visit his family. He is family to me, but he has immediate family down there. At this point, it means a lot for them, for everybody to come together and just be with one another and pray about the whole situation. That's where we're at right now, so hopefully we can get it situated and justice can be served."
(on what he can do to help bring justice to the situation) "Well, when we can do this, I think that's the main thing. I think so far everything is nationwide, it's been across the world this story. The crazy thing is it's not the first time this has happened. We've seen a lot of this going on in society, but especially when it affects you personally, when it's your own family, that's for me to be in the spot that I'm in, it just gives me an opportunity to speak about it. I'm not bashful about speaking about it. I have tons of respect for law enforcement. I have friends that are police officers and cops, so I have nothing against them. But at the same time, we're dealing with somebody that was shot dead. We have to figure it out as a society. Not just this case, but the cases that have been going on for a while now. We have to try and figure out a solution. I think everybody needs to be held accountable, plain and simple."
(on if he is dedicating this weekend's game at Miami to his memory) "It's crazy because here I am coming from a place that I played the Dolphins twice a year. Here I am in Houston now and I'm going down to Miami, my home state. Being able to get a chance to see them is special, so I'm just grateful that I'm able to see them because who knows? If I wouldn't be playing the Dolphins or heading down there, so it kind of worked out that I can be down there with them for a little bit and refocus my mind on football afterwards. It's going to be going through my mind until justice is served, so my main job is to make sure the family knows that I'm with them. We're all sticking together on this. We're going to do what we can to get this justice served."
(on if he feels like any progress is being made socially with this issue) "I don't know yet. Right now, there's still stuff coming out in the media about what's going on. We just got to let it play out. But like I said, at the end of the day, you have somebody's child, you have somebody's family member that's dead. We have to deal with it. It's that simple. Like I said, everything has consequences in life. Anything you chose to do in life, it has consequences. You have to be able to deal with those consequences. Right now, we're going to deal with these consequences and hopefully the right thing will happen. That's what we're praying for, that's what we're pushing for and we're not going to stop pushing either. Like I said, there's a lot of it that's been going on in the world, but it's different when it affects you personally. That affects me personally."
(on what he teaches his kids about law enforcement) "You know what, I tell my kids to treat everyone with respect no matter if you're wrong or right, especially when you're dealing with law enforcement. But stories that you hear, you never can get the true answer and that's what we search for. That's what we're going to search for. The only person that knows what happened is that cop and Corey. He's deceased now, so are we going to get the true answer? We don't know. We're going to search and we're going to dig until we get the true answer, what's going on? This is what it's all about for me, especially this week. Like I said, the platform that we have and the crazy thing is the family has tons and tons of athletes in their family. Anquan Boldin, he's one. I'm pretty sure he'll come out and talk about it. But we can use this platform, especially for the immediate family, to let them know that we're behind them and we're supporting them 100 percent. I never want to take anything away from what I do for a living, play football. I'm going down to play a football game, but at the same time, this is family. You've got to be able to deal with it. Everybody deals with things a certain way. I'm going to make sure I deal with it the way I think I need to deal with it. I've been playing the game for a long time, so when it comes Sunday to play, I'll be ready to play. But for right now, we're going to do everything in our will power to make sure justice is served."
(on if it's difficult to focus on the game during a time like this) "You kind of put it away and go to work. When I strap on my helmet, no matter if it's in practice or in the game, when I put my uniform on, it's time to go to work. It'll be no different this week. It'll be with a heavy heart, of course. But my job is to play football and I will play football. I'll deal with it when I take off the helmet and take off my body armor, my shoulder pads and everything. I'll deal with it some more afterwards. That's how I'm approaching it. I never want to disrespect the game or my teammates or this organization or the Miami Dolphins. Don't show them any kind of disrespect from not acknowledging that we're going down there to play a game and it's a business trip for us. But at the same time, I think it is important for me to stand up and talk about this issue just because of that's a family member of mine and that's something that we need to be dealing with. But I never want anyone to think that I'm disrespecting anyone in this locker room or the game by not showing the respect to both organizations. I've been in the game for a long time, I have tremendous respect for football. It's going to continue, but right now it's something that I have to deal with. My family, we're going to deal with it. I'm going to use this platform to deal with it."
(on going back home to play in Florida) "Oh yeah, yeah. Every time I play there, it's special. Being a Florida boy, playing at the University of Miami, it's tons of fans, it's tons of friends, tons of family members. I think that I have more family and friends at this game then I have ever had because I don't know when the next time I'm going to actually be down there playing in that stadium. I just don't know. Before this, I knew every year I played them at least twice and once in Miami, being in New England. Now in Houston, they're not in our division so it's not a team that we play all the time. So I want to give people the opportunity that haven't seen me play or want to come see me play, their kids, family, friends, the guys that I grew up with, went to school with, for them to get a chance to see me play in that stadium. So hopefully, it's not the last time but if it is, I want to leave them with a memory."
(on what WR DeAndre Hopkins is doing this season) "Special. I mean, he's a special player. I mean, the things he does in a game, it starts on the practice field. He's the biggest advocate, when it comes to that, he is balls to the wall. He's catching them in practice. He gets mad when he drops some. He's a true professional. It's just amazing to see guys come to work, especially that guy, come to work every day with his hard hat, put his head down and just work. It's paying off for him, so hopefully he continues this success and hopefully he'll have a big, big season. Right now, he started off well. We got to keep that rolling though. Hopefully, the rest of us can get on his, whatever he's doing, get on his bandwagon and get some juice from him. But he's doing well for us and that's going to win a lot of ballgames for us, him playing the way he's playing and hopefully we can step our game up around him and help him. It's not a lot of pressure, but we always have to chase perfection and right now we're chasing to try be him out of whatever we do. It starts with competing. We compete every day in practice. He's having a hell of a season right now."