Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(opening statement) "I'll just start off with a couple comments here. As it relates to the injuries yesterday, Ryan Griffin probably has the most significant injury and he'll miss some time with that. He'll probably be out for some significant time. I think everything else was basically bumps and bruises that guys will recover from and be able to play against Carolina. For instance, Duane Brown really fought tough with a hand injury, but I think he'll be alright. He may not practice a whole lot this week but he'll be ready for the game on Sunday.
Just on a couple other things, I told you last night that we need to do a better job of coaching, need to do a better job of playing in all three phases, special teams, offense and defense. Really when I watched the tape, that's really what came to light. Told the team today it's a very, very long season. It's one game. After tonight's game, half the league will be 0-1. That's the way it is. It's a league that's set up as a very evenly matched league and if we make the mistakes that we made yesterday in the game, we're not going to have a chance to win many games, but if we can correct things and get on the right path as far as taking care of the details of plays, I think we'll be in good shape. The issue yesterday was the turnovers and not putting our defense in a great position and playing better on special teams, we've got to do that. I think overall our guys fought, they fought hard. It was 27-9 at halftime. I know the fans don't want to hear that, none of us want to hear it, but we challenged them at halftime to go out and play tougher and play more competitively and that's what they did. Our defense really played well in the second half, only gave up 110 yards of offense. I think offensively we did some better things, still wasn't good enough, but thought we competed the whole game.
I'm not going to make a big quarterback announcement today. You'll have to wait until the first offensive play of the Carolina game to see who the quarterback will be. Every decision that I make, I really try to sit down with our staff organizationally and make decisions that are in the best interest of the team that give us the best chance to win. That's regardless of position. Any position on the field, whether it's a change that's made during the game, or a change that's made during the week, or whatever it is, every decision we make is in the best interest of the team as we see it. That doesn't matter really what position it is. That's the way we'll do that.
Really, I know you'll probably have a bunch of questions about Kansas City and I'll do the best I can to answer those, but we've just finished watching the tape on Kansas City. Give them credit, they did a great job, did a better job than us, but we're really moving forward towards Carolina now. With that, I'll open it up to questions."
(on if making a decision at quarterback is difficult because of the other factors that went into the quarterbacks performance) "Again I think it's a decision, whatever decision that is made and whoever starts the game against Carolina, it's always made in the best interest of the team. It's a big picture decision, it's not just one play or this or that, it's what we think is the best thing that we need to do to go out there and help us beat Carolina. We've got two quarterbacks here that we think are good players. Both of them have to play better. You guys will find out who that will be on Sunday."
(on if QB Brian Hoyer is to blame for Sunday's loss) "It's a team loss, no doubt about it. It's a team loss. The coaching has to be better, and I mean that. We've got to coach better. We've got to figure out how we can get these guys to be in better position to make plays. We've got to catch the ball. We've got to block better. We've got to tackle better. We have to tackle better on special teams. We've got to kick the ball better. We've got to make more plays on the ball on defense. It's a team loss, it's never, ever, ever, one guys fault. If it's anybody's fault when a team loses, it's the head coaches fault. Other than that, you never blame it on any single player. These guys worked their butts off and it just didn't go very well yesterday but again, it's a long season, it's one game."
(on how OLB Jadeveon Clowney played) "I thought he played pretty well. For where he came from to where he is now, I thought he went out there and played with really good effort. There's some things he needs to improve on, just like everybody, but I thought he played well. He played 30 plays which was exactly what we wanted to do."
(on the busted coverage touchdown Kansas City scored in the first half) "Great call by Kansas City. Our guys played it as good as they could and it was kind of a misdirection type route. Coach Reid made a great call there."
(on how he thought QB Brian Hoyer ran the offense) "Again I'll just answer that in a broad spectrum of the team. I think the team, we all need to improve on all the different operations that go into what it takes to win a football game. Special teams, the communication has to improve. Defensively, we've got to improve on our communication up front. Offensively, there are so many things we can improve upon whether it's the passing game, route running, throwing ball, decisions, run blocking, running the ball with the backs making sure that they get the yards that are there, sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't. So I think it all goes back again to all of us being in it together and coaching it better and trying to improve and going out there and putting a game plan together that can help us beat Carolina."
(on if G Xavier Su'a Filo will be back this week) "I would say right now that's day-to-day. I'd tell you that's day-to-day. I would not count on him for Carolina."
(on the team needing to start faster) "We work on it every day, so I guess it hasn't worked very well. We have to continue to work on it and try to start the game better than we did."
(on if he knows who the starting quarterback will be on Sunday vs. Carolina) "Yes."
(on how G/T Jeff Adams played) "I thought he played tough. He's a tough guy. There's some things all those guys need to improve upon, whether it's pad level or communication, whatever it is. I thought he battled hard the whole game."
(on the running game and how the running backs performed) "We rushed for, I think it was 98 yards. We averaged about 4.7 a carry, which when you look at the stats it's not too bad and that's a good defense we played against yesterday. I thought what we did though was we left a lot of yards out there. I think we can block better up front, but I also think our backs can – there's more to be gained there. We talked about that today and they're good guys. They're going to work really hard to do a better job. We've all got to do a better job in the running game, but I think there were times where it looked pretty good."
(on CB Kevin Johnson's first game and thigh bruise) "I think he's alright. I think he's fine. I think he has like a Charlie-horse or something, but he'll be fine. He played pretty good. He's a good rookie. He competed hard. He challenged the receivers. I don't know how much he was tested as far as how much they threw at him, things like that. But he'll get challenged here sooner or later and I think he'll be up to the challenge."
(on if he thought the referees missed a pass interference call in the end zone vs. Kansas City) "I think you guys saw how I felt about that on the field yesterday, but that had nothing to do with winning or losing. We've got to play better and coach better."
(on how Offensive Coordinator George Godsey did calling plays) "He did a good job. I mean, look, it didn't always look great obviously. The execution has to be better. I think we can do some things to help our players from an all-around tempo standpoint and things like that. But the plays got in quickly and we were able to get in and out of the huddle. We didn't have any issues with the headset or anything like that. I have a lot of confidence in George."
(on why he replaced QB Brian Hoyer vs. Kansas City) "Again, like I said, every decision- there were other guys that we substituted for- every decision is made in the best interest of the team, that we think we'll put us in the best – give us the best chance to win the game."
(on if he worries about confidence with his quarterbacks) "No. I don't worry about confidence at all. I'm not worried about their confidence."
(on how the wide receivers played vs. Kansas City) "I think that the three guys, (DeAndre) Hopkins, Nate (Washington) and Cecil (Shorts), are playmakers. I think they did a good job in the game. There were times that we can all do better, like I've said all along here today, but when the ball was thrown to them, for the most part, they made the play. I think that was good to see. We've got to keep working with some of these other guys. (Keith) Mumphery got in there and had a couple catches, did a nice job in there. Keshawn (Martin) and Jaelen (Strong) didn't play in the game. We've got to figure out what we're doing there to try to get them in the game more, whether it's on special teams or maybe offense. But I thought that Nate, Hopkins obviously, and Cecil had good games."
(on if changing quarterbacks is different than changing other positions) "I just, again, I try to make decisions that are in the best interest of the team, that point us in the direction of winning."
(on FB Jay Prosch playing only three plays vs. Kansas City) "Yeah, you know, it was kind of more the way the game was going. It was more of an 11-personnel type game, 12-personnel. I think he did some decent things on those three plays that he was in, but the way the game was going it became more of a passing game. We threw the ball 55 times which probably isn't a great formula for us. We've got to look at that, too."
(on QB Brian Hoyer's fumble vs. Kansas City) "I'm not going to get into specific plays. I would tell you that just overall as an offense we have to execute better, protection-wise, taking care of the ball, catching the ball, blocking, communication, all those things."
(on if he thought QB Brian Hoyer needed better protection vs. Kansas City) "I thought the protection was, for the most part, decent. I think there were times – again, we threw the ball 55 times. I think the Chiefs knew what was coming there after a while. I thought the guys upfront hung in there and did a decent job of battling. Yeah, did he get hit? Did he get pressured? Certainly, but that happens in every game. Again, 55 times throwing the ball is probably not a great formula for us."
(on if the team needs to add a tight end) "We're talking about that right now, but we haven't come to a decision on that yet."
(on DE J.J. Watt's performance vs. Kansas City) "J.J. is a great player. J.J. has, I've said this all along, he plays with great intensity and combine that with great athletic ability, his leadership, that play he made when he got his helmet ripped off, I mean, it's just an incredible play. Hands to the face was called and then he still sacked the quarterback. He had tackles for loss, he had two sacks, he batted the ball. He almost intercepted a screen pass. I mean, the guy's just a great, great football player, no doubt about it."
T Duane Brown
(on the team needing to start fast) "I think it's just something we've got to stay focused on throughout the week. I think it starts in practice. I think offensively that's something - kind of a lull we fall into during the week. It doesn't just happen on Sundays. We come out to practice a little slow, so we have to stay aware of that throughout the week and make sure it becomes a habit, you know what I mean? It doesn't just happen on Sunday, it's something you have to do repeatedly throughout the week in order for it to become a habit."
(on if he dreads that there is still some quarterback controversy) "That's not something I worry about. I'm just focused on doing my job, trying to be the best left tackle I can be for whoever is under center, and getting my group together, the offensive line. I don't think we came out the way that we know we could have. Obviously we had a big test against that front seven, but it doesn't matter who is under center. You have to give them time to operate. That's all we can really focus on and the rest of it will play itself out."
(on how long a game like yesterday sits with him) "I think about it quite a bit, because I know we had a lot of opportunities, a lot of opportunities to take that game over, and our defense came out in the second half and gave us plenty of opportunities to come out and play our game and get up on those guys. That's the part that hurts the most. Kansas City played a heck of a game, but I think we left a lot out there. Those are the kind of games that you kind of sit with for a while, knowing that you didn't play the kind of game that you're capable of."
CB Kareem Jackson
(on the two touchdowns that Chiefs TE Travis Kelce scored) "The one when I was there, he's just a big body, and it's kind of like basketball, boxing you out, just a smaller guy has no chance. I had to do something to put myself in a better position to kind of make a play on the ball. On the other one, we weren't on the same page there. I mean at the end of the day, we've got to correct it. First game, long season, make corrections and we'll come back next week and definitely have to put a better showing out there."
(on if stopping the run is something the defense needs to work on) "Definitely. In my opinion we have to continue to work at every aspect, stopping the run, pass, whatever's asked of us, the defense, to be better and to get a win. We definitely put a major emphasis on stopping the run."
(on what he attributes the positive change in the second half) "I mean, I think we just went out with a better mindset. We started fast in the second half and we were able to get off the field a little bit."
(on how long he thinks about a game like that) "Not long, we'll watch it today, make corrections and it's the first game. We have 15 more games, so for us, like I said we just have to make corrections and go back to work."
(on the Carolina Panthers' offense) "I haven't really watched them much, obviously with yesterday being the first game. I'll get a chance to see them here quite a bit today and the rest of the week. It all starts with Cam Newton. The guy can do it all, run, pass, we definitely have to contain him."
(on how he thought DE J.J. Watt and LB Brian Cushing played yesterday) "Those guys played good for us. Watt did what he normally does. I think he had, what, two sacks. Cushing definitely played well for us as well, so we've just got to build off of that, continue to go out there and fight as a defense, get better every week."
(on how they work on improving tackling, if it's positioning or being in the right spot) "A little bit of both. You've definitely got to put yourself in a position where you can tackle. Position-wise, you've just got to know where your help is. If you've got help inside, you can stay outside and kind of take away the outside and make the tackle a little bit easier. It's just something we have to work on in practice."
WR Nate Washington
(on the team needing to start fast) "Just got to do better in practice. The attention to detail in practice with Coach (Bill) O'Brien, he's been harping on it very much, both sides of the ball, have to start fast, have to do a better job of starting these games off with a positive note. We just didn't do it yesterday. First half was kind of tough for us yesterday, so we'll go back to the drawing board, the rooms where we watch the film at, and make sure we get everything right. I think a lot of the assignments that we had were understood but it just busted for us so we just have to tighten things up."
(on if the mistakes from Sunday's game are easily fixable) "Oh yeah, definitely, at the end of the day this is a hard-working team with a great coaching staff. I'm pretty sure they already have the corrections for us. These guys are coming here throughout this week and busting their tails to come out and do what is asked of us this week coming up. I think anything is pretty much very easily correctable with a team that's a hard-working team and we have a locker room of those type of guys."
(on what things they can do to get off to a better start) "I think at the end of the day, everything that you - the game performance starts in practice. Coach (Bill) O'Brien has situations in practice where we work on those type of things, early practice situations and those type of ordeals. We just have to do better in practice. Practice is the game for us. The way we come out and practice is how we're going to perform in games. We just have to have a better practice week this week."
(on if it was a surprise that they came out slow after a tough training camp) "Definitely, it definitely was a surprise for us. I think at the end of the day we worked our tails off to come out and perform a lot better than we did yesterday. I think in the future we'll do better with it, but right now we just have to go back and assess those things that were wrong, do better with them and become better with them throughout the future."
(on early thoughts about the Carolina Panthers' defense) "Carolina is a really good team. They've turned things around these past couple years and put a lot of great talent on the field. We'll have to be very sharp with those guys."
(on what QB Ryan Mallett said to them when he came into the game) "It really wasn't much to be said. I think it was already an understanding. Switch of a quarterback late in the game, you have to come out and do everything you can to try to put some points on the board. He was definitely positive in the huddle though, speaking positive notes, but I don't think it was one specific thing that he said that made us go out and perform the way we did when he got in the game. It was just kind of an understanding of us trying to do the things that we were already expected to do throughout the game."
(on if there is any good they can take from the first regular season game) "I think that at the end of the day this is a team that's going to continue to fight. You have guys in your locker room that no matter how many chips you stack against them, we continue to fight, we continue to do everything we can to try to put this team in a winning situation. Unfortunately it didn't work out for us but to come back from a situation that we were in, I think it was definitely gratifying to know that you have a lot of guys in this locker room that no matter where the chips may lay, until that clock hits zero they'll continue to fight."
(on how he keeps the quarterback situation from becoming a distraction) "Just worry about your job. I get paid to play receiver and that's all I can worry about. At the end of the day, we have a great coaching staff. Coach (Bill) O'Brien has been around for quite some time, so he's going to have an understanding of what must be done and that's all we can worry about at the end of the day. I don't make those decisions. I'm not really worried about those decisions. Like I've said before, I'm pretty comfortable with both of those guys so it really would be up to Coach O'Brien and his comfortability towards those guys. At the end of the day, I'm just here to my job and what's required of me and to be on the right assignments like I'm supposed to."
(on if QB Brian Hoyer conveyed to the team that he felt like he let them down) "I think it's kind of an understanding, especially when you're the quarterback. That's the one position on the field that can't hide. Anything that may happen on the field, anything that may occur when it's a negative situation - just being a receiver, me being a receiver and knowing that every ball might not come my way and some things may happen bad, I can feel bad so I can only imagine how a guy that touches the ball every single play, the whole fan base knows, the whole coaching staff knows, whole locker room relies on – to be in a situation like that where he feels things didn't work out for the best, I can only imagine how he feels. Definitely was kind of a feeling from him yesterday where he felt bad that he didn't play as well. We haven't assessed those things. We haven't seen the film together yet, so we really wouldn't know. We all felt bad. I think it was just a situation, we wanted to come out and get a win. We wanted to come out, and this was the first game of the season at our place. We've been emphasizing, harping on being good at home and winning our games at home. It just didn't happen for us yesterday, so I'm pretty sure him being the competitor that he is, he did feel pretty bad."