Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "Just on yesterday's performance, we understand that once again it wasn't a very acceptable performance. It's not acceptable at all. Nobody is more frustrated than we are in this building, coaches and players alike. I really do believe that there are many things we have to coach better. The players know that they have to play better. We're going to work very hard to put together a better game plan for the Tennessee game, and we're counting on our fans. We're back home here, divisional opponent. We have great fans here in Houston and we're looking forward to playing in front of those fans on Sunday. As I talked about yesterday after the game, we're dealing with Ryan Mallett and that situation internally, (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick Smith and I. So I won't have any comments regarding that at this point. Arian Foster will undergo an MRI I believe today, might be at it right now. I know he's hurt. He worked hard to come back for the season, had the groin injury, and now this injury. He's a guy that's proven he can come back from injury and I'm sure once he's able to rehab it, he'll rehab it very diligently and try to come back. We're all supportive of him in that rehab. With that, I'll open it to questions."
(on the slow starts this season) "Yesterday, I would say it was a combination of a lot of missed tackles, not being able to run the ball effectively at all, had some drops, had some protection issues here and there. I thought one of the bright spots, which is not a very bright spot when you think about it as it relates to offense, but I thought we did punt the ball well, we played well on special teams, but again that's not really something you're looking for in the beginning of these games. Defensively, we have to tackle better, we have to communicate better and then offensively, we have to try to run the ball better and we have to catch passes. All of that has to come under the umbrella of coaching. We've got to coach all those things better."
(on what it means when he says he and Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith are handling the QB Ryan Mallett situation) "We're talking about."
(on what their options are in dealing with QB Ryan Mallett) "We're talking about all those options."
(on still not having decided what to do with QB Ryan Mallett) "Right."
(on if the team isn't as smart as he'd like it to be or if they're just trying to do too much) "No, I think we have a smart team. We have smart players. I think they're some things we definitely have to get communicated quicker and faster into the game. I think sometimes from the sideline, whether it's me to (Offensive Coordinator) George (Godsey) or defensively RAC (Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel) into the defense, I think sometimes we're a little late in getting the call in and that causes some of what you're talking about. We have smart players. We have guys that are intelligent guys that have played a lot of football in this league and we have to do a better job of coaching and communicating with them."
(on if he expects RB Arian Foster to be out the rest of the season) "Yes."
(on how difficult it is to simulate tackling in practice) "Yeah, it's not easy, especially with the rules the way they are. You're only allowed one padded practice per week right now, but we'll work it. We've got to work especially the open-field tackling. Obviously that was an issue yesterday, but we'll definitely work to try to get that improved."
(on if he has changed anything about the way he coaches or game plans this season) "Well we're week-to-week on those things depending on who we're playing. Last week we approached the Miami game a little bit differently than we had the week before in the Jacksonville game just because of the opponent. I think we change quite a bit. I think we look at our opponent and we try to determine what's important to win the game for our players, the keys to victory in all three phases. That's what we'll do for Tennessee. As far as that approach, that approach hasn't changed. It's a game plan approach. Every opponent is different. Every week is different. I don't believe I've changed the way I approach – I believe in this team. I know it doesn't look good right now, believe me, I get it, but I believe in these guys. We're in it together. We realize that not many people believe in us, but all that matters is that we get this thing turned around with good practices this week and go out there and win the game against Tennessee."
(on the running back situation without RB Arian Foster) "I'd say that's something that we're talking about too, (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick (Smith) and I is how to address that. Right now, we've got Alfred Blue, Chris Polk and JL (Jonathan) Grimes, and then Jay Prosch at the fullback position. There's other guys on our roster that have played running back before. We may even do some of that. Right now we're still talking about that as we sit here on Monday."
(on how the three running backs have performed so far) "I think it's been decent. I don't think anybody in the game yesterday or when you're 2-5, I don't think anybody has performed great. Obviously as I always say, starting with me, but I think that those guys have shown some flashes. Alfred's (Blue) had one game where he rushed for over 120 yards and I think he ran better in practice last week. He was a little bit banged up coming off the previous game and I think he's back to being healthy. (Jonathan) Grimes is a solid player for us. (Chris) Polk I think has done some good things for us this year. Those guys will be used in different roles, but I'm sure they'll all step up and do their best."
(on what his conversations with Founder, Chairman, and CEO Bob McNair are like) "I'm not going to really get into the discussions that I have with Mr. McNair. Nobody is happy with where we're at. He's the owner. He's the boss. He's not happy and that's the way it is. That's life in the NFL. But I'm not going to get into the details of what he and I talk about."
(on the players saying they are responsible for the performance, not just the coaches) "Well I think – look, we've got good guys. I think that when you go out there and you play like that, I think that you feel like you approach these games and you have a good game plan and you feel like you've coached it up during the week well and you've had good practices, then you go out there and it doesn't end up turning out that way at all. You've got to look in the mirror and any coach worth his salt is not a finger pointer. To me, you're pointing that finger at that guy in the mirror and you've got to figure out what you can do to improve the football team, because that's your job, that's coaching. Coaching is getting guys to improve, getting guys to play the game the way that you see the game should be played in all three phases. I think if we can do that and keep coming together on that, then there's a lot of season left. I understand what the record is, but I also know we've only played two games in the division, and there's a lot of season left. We've got to all work to get better."
(on what looking in the mirror means as a coach) "Not very good, a guy that's overweight and got a big hole in his chin, but other than that, I would say a guy that needs to work very hard to get better, to figure out what we can do to improve. We can't keep doing the same things. We have to change up some things. Maybe we change up some things in practice. Maybe we change up some players in the lineup, move them to different spots and things like that. Maybe we try to use players in different positions than what they're playing right now. Maybe we change some of the plays that we're calling. Maybe we try to do some things that are different than what we've been doing. Whatever it is, we've got to figure it out, because we can't keep traveling down this road of up and down and up and down and mostly down. That's what we've been. It's 2-5. We've got to figure it out."
(on if there's a fine line between needing to change and staying consistent) "Yeah, sure, you've got to stay with what your foundation is. Our foundation here is to make sure that we stop the run on defense, and that we try to establish the run on offense, and that we play field-position football on special teams. We haven't been able to do that consistently enough. That foundation hasn't changed. We've got to try to stop the run better. We've got to try to run the ball better, and we've got to also do a better job on special teams, although yesterday I thought our special teams actually played pretty well. Kickoff return had a good return, punt return had a 10-yard average which is okay for us, and then our punt game was pretty good. Overall, the whole team has to be better in those areas."
(on what happened with QB Brian Hoyer getting off to a slow start and then turning it around) "I guess you'd probably have to ask him that. I know that we came in at halftime and obviously everybody was embarrassed by the first half and nobody felt good about it. I just brought him up and said, 'Look, we've got to approach this second half like it's basically zero-zero.' We can't look at the scoreboard, obviously the game is in hand, basically, but we've got to go out there and win the second half and that's the approach he took and we were able to go out there and do that. Obviously, we didn't win the game. That's not what I am saying but we were able to play a little bit better in the second half."
(on previously making the procedural change to let Offensive Coordinator George Godsey call the offensive plays and the possibility of changing that decision) "No, George called a lot of the plays last year. He did, he was involved in a lot of that last year. Really the procedure hasn't changed that much. Like all of us, George can do better, I can do better, RAC (Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel) can do better, we can all do better, but we've all got to be in it together. I don't think it's time for those types of changes. I think it's about sticking with what we're doing as far as that procedure, who calls the plays, how the plays are communicated into the players and then it's time for us to really look at what we're doing. What are we doing and try to figure out how we can do it better or do it differently, that's what we have to do over the next 48 hours."
(on if it's harder to look at yourself when your game plan changes week to week so much) "Yeah, in some ways we spend a lot of time studying the opponent, because of that philosophy and I think right now we have got to spend a lot of time over the next 36 to 48 hours, spend a lot of time on us and seeing what we're doing. We have to self-scout what we're doing. Obviously, the things that we're doing, especially yesterday, are not working and so why aren't they working? Is it because they know what play's coming? Is it because we've had a tendency of running it out of this formation this many times or what is it? Are we not executing it properly? So I think we've got to spend a lot of time studying us."
(on the defense giving up four big plays in the first half) "Well, the slant route on the first touchdown, we're in press coverage, the guy ran a good route and we've got to make the tackle. We didn't take very good angles and the guy ended up out-running us there and we've got to make the tackle. I think there was another play similar to that, where the ball was caught on the sideline on a sail route and we just didn't get the guy down. We didn't take great angles. So I think open-field tackling in the running game, our run fits on the long runs were not very good, the screen that they ran in for the touchdown, they ran a fake reverse, faked an inside zone and then threw the screen and we were out of position on that, but then we couldn't make the tackle out in the open field. So I think a lot of it has to do with open-field tackling and making sure we're taking better angles."
(on injuries to CB Kareem Jackson and ILB Benardrick McKinney) "I would say that Kareem will be out for a while and I would say that Benardrick will be checked out at some point this week to see if he can play against Tennessee, so I would say that's a day-to-day thing."
(on the injury to G Brandon Brooks) "Brooks felt like yesterday that he had a significant injury to his foot and that he couldn't go, so I would say that he should be able to go by Wednesday so I think that he'll be in the game this week."
(on if he is seeing any trends schematically that are not working defensively) "I don't know if I'm going to get into all of the schemes with you. I would say that no, I don't really see where there are certain schemes that aren't working. I think it's more about making sure that you're doing your job and making sure that you're in the right position, making sure that you're fitting the right gap in the running game, making sure that you're keeping proper leverage in coverage and making sure you tackle, making sure that you break down and tackle in the open field. I think it's those things more than it is the scheme."T Duane Brown
(on the team's mindset today) "We're one day removed from a pretty bad loss, so we'll come in, make corrections, and move on. We have a big divisional game this week. That's what we're switching our focus to."
(on the running backs who will need to step up with RB Arian Foster out) "I think they're very capable backs. Unfortunately, Arian – we've been without him a few games this year, so we're kind of familiar with what (Alfred) Blue, (Jonathan) Grimes and (Chris) Polk can bring to the table. Blue had a really big game one game this year, so hopefully we can get more production like that. Not just from him, but from others. Running game will be a very crucial thing for the rest of the year. Looking forward to seeing what they can do."
(on how much he feels for RB Arian Foster) "It's devastating. Just because I know how much he puts into this thing, how much work he puts in to be great, to be healthy, and to stay on the field. I know how hard he worked to come back from his groin injury. To have this happen, I'm really hurting for him. I know it's pretty frustrating."
(on only being one game out of first place) "Yeah, you got to keep things in perspective. But we can't even focus on that. We have to just take it literally one day at a time. Each of us become individually better every day and become better as a team every day, you know, and take it one week at a time. We can't look at a divisional picture or playoff picture, we have to take in one game at a time. We're focused on the Titans and winning this game. We'll move on from there."
(on if the loss to Miami makes the team angry) "I don't know. I don't know if angry is the word. I think we just have to really evaluate ourselves, man. I think that's something that I did yesterday. We all just have to see what we can do better. We all have to see what we can do better as individuals and make it a collective effort. I think we just have to really play together more than anything this week. We know we're a better team than that. We just have to focus more, execute better. I don't think anger is the word. We just have to execute better and be more conscious of the kind of team we have."
(on if the team is more determined than angry) "Yeah, determined is a better word. We have to be more determined and come out stronger, come out with more energy this week. Like I said, execute the game plan. We had a great game plan going into it. We just have to execute it."
(on how surprised he is the team is 2-5) "I'm very surprised. I mean, we've been working at this thing since April, OTAs and everything and knowing the kind of team we have, you never expect to come out and have those kind of efforts. With that being said, this is the NFL. There are a lot of teams that work, a lot of talented teams. If you're not on your A-game and you give them anything, they'll take it and capitalize off it. That's what teams have been doing against us. We have to not hurt ourselves more than anything. Teams are going to be hard enough to beat. We just have to continue to play cleaner football and go from there."
(on what he expects to see on film today) "I'm not sure, man. I'm not sure. I know we left a lot out there, especially in that first half. I don't know, we'll see."
(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien saying he needs to coach better) "No, he's not the one out there making those plays or not making those plays. It's not on him. Like I said, we had a great game plan. He does a great job of preparing us and telling us what to expect. We have to go out there and get the job done as players. We're the ones that win and lose games, so I think we have to take ownership of that and each individually look at what we can do better and have a better outing on Sunday."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on putting yesterday's loss to Miami behind them) "Yeah, you do. We got a divisional opponent coming up and a big game, so that's what we've got to take care of."
(on why the Texans have struggled in the first half of games) "I don't know. I don't know. It kind of just seems like it's a snow ball effect and it gets out of hand really quick. Obviously, we've got to start faster. The second half was just completely different. How we started playing in the second half is how we have to start from the get go because this is the NFL and teams are just way too good and people are just way too talented to get down like that and even think you have a chance to come back."
(on the Texans giving up big plays) "We'll look at it some more. It was a bunch yesterday, some broken tackles, some wide open guys. Miami had a good game plan, there's no question about that. They played a good game, so lot of credit goes to them, but we definitely could have played a whole lot better."
(on the team missing tackles) "We've tackled a bunch. We've had games where we tackled well. Last game, I don't think we missed a tackle. Then going into this game, it was just – it just seemed like it wasn't our best game."
(on what he expects to see on film) "You'll see more stuff come up. You'll see more stuff come up, whether it's your technique, your form, or overall just effort. Sometimes effort can make up for a lot of things. Like I said, we haven't watched the film yet. We'll break it down and then from there, move on to Tennessee."
(on RB Arian Foster's injury) "I don't know. It's not even been 24 hours since he got hurt. You feel terrible for the guy. He works hard. He works real hard. He loves the game. You hurt for him. I just had no words for him yesterday except that I'm there for him, anything he needs. But I can't even imagine what he's going through mentally. I've been there, but just the back-to-back like that with him and in the same season. Finally getting back and looking good and loves playing the game, and then that happens. You hurt for him."
(on the hardest part of coming back from an injury like RB Arian Foster's) "It's the mental. It's the mental and coming back and having the doubts your whole offseason of whether you can be the same again. You have good days, you have bad days. You just try to find a mental balance of keeping yourself sane, you know, and just knowing that hopefully there will be better days and you'll be back out there soon."
(on being one game out of first place and the division being up for grabs) "Yeah, as crazy as that sounds, yeah it is. We know that. We've got to take care of business. Everyone else can do what they got to do, but we got to win. That's just the bottom line."
RB Jonathan Grimes
(on if there was anything in particular that they could do to help them get off to a stronger start) "No, nothing I can put my finger on. I am sure if we could figure it out, we would have taken care of it, but we are all just going to come to work and get better."
(on RB Arian Foster's mindset after the injury) "He's definitely disappointed, but he's a very strong person. I am sure that he'll be fine."
(on if he saw RB Arian Foster go down) "Yeah, I saw him go down and I was like, 'Man, what happened?' and when he wasn't getting up fast, I knew it was probably something serious."
(on the backfield dynamic changing for the rest of the season) "A little bit, but we all prepare as if we are going to start, so everyone is just going to step up."
(on the team still being in good shape to contend in the division) "It's good. That's an optimistic way of looking at it and we are just going to take it one game at a time and see if we can get the season going on the right foot."
(on if it's more difficult to bounce back from a lopsided loss) "No, a loss is a loss in my book. It doesn't count as two losses, it's only one loss. There's just a lot of things we have to correct and learn from to get better."
(on getting to moving on to this week's matchup) "Definitely. We are excited about the Titans now."
*WR DeAndre Hopkins *
(on still contending in the division despite their current record) "We are just taking it game for game. We still have a lot of games to play. We don't want to depend on someone else losing, so we just have to go out and handle business ourselves."
(on picking up the pieces from a blowout loss) "We come back in and see what we need to work on and try to fix our corrections."
(on if Miami did anything defensively that was different than expected) "They played good football. They jumped on us early. There was a lot of things that they did."
(on what he expects to see from the game film and what they are looking to correct) "Complementary football. If the defense gets a stop, we didn't go out and help them. And if we had a drive, defense didn't help us. Complementary football, it's a 53-man team so we all have to help each other out."
(on keys to having a stronger start to the beginning of the game) "I don't know if that is something I can answer because I am not the one making those calls. All I can do is go out there and do my job."
(on how bad he feels for RB Arian Foster and his injury) "I feel for him. He's worked hard to come back and be part of this team. You have to feel for a guy that has put a lot of work in the offseason to try to come out and help this team out."
(on other guys stepping in for RB Arian Foster this season) "Yeah, I believe in those guys. They work hard every day so I have no doubt that they will be able to help us out."
(on what went through his mind when he saw RB Arian Foster go down) "I saw him go down. He's not the type of guy to stay down if he's not hurt. He'll get up even if it's something that he can play with so I knew it was serious."
(on why it was hard to get into a rhythm early in the game) "We just didn't play good football."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on the team's tackling yesterday) "Just missed tackles. Over-pursuit sometimes, probably just wasn't locked in. It was a number of things, but at the end of the day, it's just tackling. That's the first thing you learn about football, guys running to the ball and tackling. We just missed too many tackles overall yesterday."
(on if it's hard to practice and improve tackling) "It's kind of hard to simulate actual game situations in practice and things like that, but I just think, gang tackling helps out. It's not just one guy bringing a guy down. The more guys you get around the ball, the more hats, it makes everyone else's job easier and I think that's the main thing."
(on the thought process of gang tackling and not assuming that your teammate is going to bring him down) "You never can assume in football. You just have to play until the end of the whistle."
(on what he expects to see when looking at the game film today) "Just exactly what is was yesterday. Missed tackles and things like that. Just really wasn't out-schemed to play or anything, just missed tackles from a defensive standpoint overall."
(on not previously struggling on giving up the big play this season until yesterday) "Like I said, it all leads back to missed tackles. I don't think any of those passes or screen plays the ball went over 10 or 15 yards in the air. Just little quick passes and just missed tackles and guys off to the races. I think we had four plays over 50 yards yesterday, so there's no excuse for that."
(on QB Ryan Tannehill only having one incompletion in the game) "He got the ball out of his hands really quick, made some quick throws. That's still no excuse. You can't let a guy get on a streak like that. You have to find a way to make a play and yesterday, we just didn't make enough plays."
(on looking at their divisional record at 1-1 with hopes for contending still) "Of course. Somebody has to win the division. You have to look forward to that and it's still a long season so you just have to take it one game at a time. Yesterday was an unfortunate situation. We wish we could have gotten that win, but we didn't so we have to move on from it."
(on after being 9-7 last year how surprised he is to start 2-5) "Surprised I would say, but at the end of the day, I can just look back on it all at the end of the season and see where we are at. For right now you can't look too far down the road. You just have to take it one game at a time."
(on if he can pinpoint on why they have been down so much at halftime against Miami and Atlanta) "Slow starts. For whatever reason, for some of these games we come out and we have a slow start and put ourselves behind the eight ball. It's the NFL. It's always going to be hard to crawl out of a hole like that, especially when you are down 30 or 40 points. It's almost impossible to come back and win some of those games."
(on his thoughts on the injury to RB Arian Foster) "It's very unfortunate anytime you see anybody go down as a teammate. Arian came back, fought from his previous injury earlier in the year and he was getting back into great form. Just to have a guy like that go down, a guy that you know what he means to the team, the type of player that he is, I just feel for him."
(on what encouragement can he give to RB Arian Foster) "I just told him about my injury history. Previously in the past, some of the times that I had to fight back through it and you know it's a long grind, but I told him to keep his head up and he will be alright."