Texans Quotes: September 15

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Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on the offensive line not allowing a sack and having a 100-yard rusher in the first two games) "They played a good game yesterday. They were much improved over the first game. We actually just gave our starting offensive linemen the offensive game ball along with Arian Foster. He got a game ball, too. I think those guys have improved. They really work hard. They're smart, so there is not one thing that I look at that they say that I would say that they are doing better than another thing. I think they've really worked hard to learn our scheme, learn our system and they're getting better every day, which is good to see."

(on if there is any concern that RB Arian Foster has had 55 carries in the first two weeks of the season) "We look at it as week-to-week, you know? We look at what we need to do to win the game. If we need to run the ball 25 times in a game or we need to run the ball 15 times in a game, maybe it's 35 times in a game, that's what we're going to do to win the game. Each we it's a little bit different as to how we look at it."

(on if he fears Arian Foster will wear out as the season progresses) "I think at the end of the day, like I said, we've got to look at what we need to do to win the game. Certainly when you look at one player getting a ton of carries, that's something that you have to pay attention to as a staff. We do that, but we also do what's necessary to win the game on both sides of the ball and on special teams. At the end of the day though, we will probably as we move forward spread the carries around a little bit more than we have. But right now, we're doing what we think is necessary to win the football game."

(on S D.J. Swearinger forcing two turnovers inside the 10-yard line and what he means to the defense) "The one play yesterday that really stood out to me from the defensive side of the ball was the play where J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph), they hit the back shoulder throw on the sideline, and J-Joe and K-Lew (Kendrick Lewis) popped it out, and then Swearinger—after the guy recovered his own football—Swearinger chased him down to the goal line. The thing about D.J. on both of those types of plays, including the one he made against the Redskins, is that he never quits on a play. I think you could say that about everybody on our defense right now. Those guys are playing hard. Not everything is perfect, but they're playing very hard and it's an opportunistic defense right now. It needs to continue to be that way in order for us to be successful throughout the rest of the year. But D.J. means a lot to our defense, along with the rest of those guys because of that characteristic of never quitting on a play."

(on if RB Alfred Blue is the backup running back now) "It depends on what personnel grouping we're in. Certain personnel groupings, certainly Alfred is the backup. Other personnel groupings it might be Jonathan Grimes. Other personnel groupings, it might be Ronnie Brown. It just kind of depends on what we're doing in each different personnel grouping that determines who the backup running back is."

(on CB Johnathan Joseph leaving the Oakland game early and an update on his condition) "He's fine. He's fine. He'll be out there this week practicing."

(on what it means to an offense that has an offensive line than can run 16 running plays in a row) "That's been a key to these last two wins. To be able to, in the fourth quarter of both games, possess the ball for that amount of time, when you can possess the ball with the lead that means you're running the football. Most if not all of the credit goes to the offensive line because they do a fantastic job of being on the right landmark, understand the scheme that we're running, having to deal with the different fronts that Oakland or Washington was giving them, so we give a lot of credit to the offensive line. Like I told (a reporter), we gave the game ball to the offensive line yesterday."

(on what CB Johnathan Joseph means to the secondary) "We feel very strongly about his role on our team and his role in the locker room. Since the day we've arrived here, he's been here every day. He's a guy that has worked hard in the offseason program, he's a good mentor for the younger players and he's played well for us this year. He went into last week's game, Washington, without really having played in a long time and went out there and really played a good football game, and then yesterday played another good football game. He means a lot to our team. He's a really good veteran and an even better person. He means a lot in the locker room, too."

(on the interceptions in the Oakland game) "Those are big plays. Those are game changing plays, especially the one with (Kareem) Jackson. Not to take anything away from Brooks' (Reed), but at that time though with Brooks we had a pretty good lead, but with Jackson's, that was early in the game. They were driving the ball a little bit. Kareem, we gave him a game ball on defense yesterday. We thought he played a whale of a game. That interception that he had and then I think he returned it 58 yards to set up what should be a touchdown in that situation. We should offensively be able to capitalize with a touchdown, but we only got a field goal. What a great play and that means a lot to our team. Those are game changing plays."

(on what he pinpoints for the success in forcing turnovers) "There's a little bit of luck involved sometimes in it, but I think overall it's a very aggressive gameplan and aggressive defense. Guys are trying to make plays on the ball. I think our secondary has done a really good job to this point of trying to play receivers in man-to-man coverage without using their hands and then play the ball when the ball is thrown. I think that's really been good the last two weeks, and hopefully that continues. It has to continue. As far as the fumbles go, we've just tried to preach creating turnovers, taking care of the ball on offense and trying to create turnovers on defense. It seems to be working out pretty well so far."

(on how pleased he is so far with Romeo Crennel coaching the defense) "One of the things, I've said this before about our staff, is just like any really strong staff that I've been around, we really enjoy the strategy of the game. We enjoy, like today, reviewing the game from yesterday and then moving on to the Giants and trying to put together a good plan between today and tomorrow so that Wednesday morning when the guys show up we have the ability to stand up there and say, 'Hey, look. These are the things we need to do to win this game on both sides of the ball and on special teams.' I believe Romeo loves doing that. He loves looking at the strategy of the game and what the defense needs to do to win the game and he does a great job of communicating that to the players along with the other defensive coaches. So far, it's been working out pretty well."

(on S D.J. Swearinger saying he hyperextended his elbow and his status going into the week) "He'll be fine. Right now; I would say that any time you come out of these games, I mean yesterday I think in the NFL there were like over 50 injuries of guys that were starters on teams or big-time contributors, so injuries occur. I think with D.J. and with anybody else that was hurt in the game it will be day-to-day. We'll just follow the injury report as it goes. Could that change from today to tomorrow? It certainly could. Just like the weather changes, injuries changes, things like that. It will always be a day-to-day report that we'll give out to you guys."

(on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick saying tight ends coach John Perry wanted a mention for coaching up DE J.J. Watt as a tight end) "You know the whole connection there right? So John Perry's older brother was a quarterback at Harvard long before Ryan Fitzpatrick. There's a little bit of a Harvard thing there. I mean you have to ask Ryan Fitzpatrick about that."

(on coaching up DE J.J. Watt as a tight end) "There's a lot of coaching that goes into telling a six-foot-seven, 290-pound guy with a fantastic reach how to catch the ball, how to jump up and catch it. I think we should just thank J.J.'s parents is what we should do."

(on the importance of having a high football IQ) "We try to, every single day, teach these guys how it all works together. Yesterday, I thought there was a good example of that right in the beginning of the game. When we scored, the defense went out and held, then we came back and scored again. When you can build a lead like that and you could do that on offense and defense working off of each other, and then we had some good special teams plays. Some good kickoff coverage by Jonathan Grimes and Mike Mohamed; they made tackles on kickoff to pin the offense down in there and then we held and got good field position for our offense. Any time that we can continue to preach and be able show how each unit complements each other, that is going to be big for our team going forward. The trick now is that we have to keep doing it. It's two games, two really good wins. We're all very happy about the wins, but to be honest with you, we've moved on to the New York Giants because it only gets harder from here. We've got to go on the road again against a great football team with a head coach that's won two Super Bowls. We've got our work cut out for us."

(on the possibility of going against 0-2 Giants being a trap game) "A trap game? For the Houston Texans? I certainly hope not. I appreciate the question, but I certainly hope that we don't think about any traps or back doors or I don't even know. I mean, I understand what you're saying. One thing that's always stood out to me about this league is that every week is a challenge. Like, every week there is a great coaching staff on the other side line and really, really top level, the best players in the world at what they do. And so if you fall into any type of trap thinking, 'OK, we beat the Oakland Raiders, so naturally we're going to go out there and beat the New York Giants.' That's crazy. That's absolutely crazy. I don't believe that's the case with our guys. Our guys were very attentive in the meeting here this afternoon. I think they'll practice hard and we'll put together a good game plan, but it will be a big time challenge for us. I think that's the one thing when I started in this league whatever six or seven years ago, whatever it was, 2007, every week was such a huge challenge. That was always something that stood out to me."

(on the play of T Derek Newton and his play considering Washington's Ryan Kerrigan had four sacks against Jacksonville and none against Houston) "He has worked extremely hard since I've been here. He had a very good offseason. He was here the whole time. He became stronger, he came back in better condition, he's athletic. He's the guy that if we wanted him over to left tackle, he would really be the left tackle and right now we'd put somebody else at right tackle like (Tyson) Clabo or somebody like that because we feel strongly that Derek would be able to do that, too. I watched the tape last year. Certainly, all of those guys struggled at times last year. But again, that's why last year is over. This is a new year. On April 7 we started a new year here and Derek's been a guy that's worked extremely hard and so far he's played well. He's played very, very well in the first two games and hopefully he can continue to do that."

(on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick being 10-of-15 on third down with nine first down or touchdown completions) "I think that's something that goes into it is being able to be prepared for it and having knowledge of what may happen on third down going into the game. I think he would be the first one to tell you that yesterday Andre Johnson made two huge catches for him on third down. I mean, Andre made a catch on a tipped ball over on the Oakland sideline where he had to kind of stay with it, fight of the DB and jump up and catch it. Andre made another catch on a ram route later in the game that was a huge third down catch going into score when we scored on that drive. That's part of it, too, that the receivers are doing a really good job. Third and eight, Garrett Graham made an unbelievable catch down the middle of the field. It was a great throw by Fitz (Fitzpatrick), but a lot of the credit goes to those guys. You know, Andre and Garrett and Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) and then Ryan for being prepared. No doubt about it."

(on RB Arian Foster's patience as a runner compared to other backs that he has seen) "He's different from any back that I've ever coached. No doubt about it. Every back I've coached has been very unique in his own skill set and what Arian brings to the table is he's got size, he's got really good vision and he's got the ability to make one cut and get north and south quickly, and then make  second cut and get north and south again. The thing that really makes him a good back is that he can catch the ball. He's a good receiver out of the backfield. All of those things are what make him a good back. You see that over the last two games, his ability to do that."

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
(on being 2-0 to start the season) "I'm glad that we're 2-0. I think we expected to be 2-0. I think that's important, but we've got to continue to work and I think that's the mindset we're taking right now. 2-0 can mean a lot of different things. A lot of things can happen from here on out in the season, so we're taking it a week at a time, but continuing to try and get better each week."

(on having a great gameplan in both games and players buying in) "Yeah, when the coaches came here, one of the things that I think everybody was excited about was kind of the experience they had and the success they've had at other places. Everybody has bought in to what they're saying and we'll continue to do that and hopefully be on the same page."

(on his offensive line) "I think if you look at the fact that I've been kept clean and that we've put up some good numbers in the running game, that's kind of how you measure an offensive line. So they've done a great job the first few games."

(on if having not been sacked is because of the protection or getting rid of the ball quickly) "It's a lot of different things. I think the main thing is those guys up front and the way they're working."

(on the synergy between the offensive line and quarterback and how big of a deal it is) "It's nice. It's nice to come in and not have all the bumps and bruises and things. At the same time, those things are going to happen. I'm going to get hit and I'm going to get sacked during the year. We're going to have to overcome adversity, all that stuff. It's been nice the last few games the way that they've gone, but like I said, we'll continue to work and get better and hopefully that keeps up."

(on how much the familiarity of the offensive line with each other helps in their protection) "I think with a new offense, some of that stuff goes out the window a little bit in terms of having to start all of the communications over again, but to have a guy like Chris Myers up front to really get everybody in the right spots, get everybody directed and then the guys that have played together like you mentioned, it's a nice luxury to have."

(on the success of the Texans on third downs and what they attribute that to) "I think third down and the red zone are two things that are really gameplan specific, in terms of looking at a defense and what they're going to do and really trying to install some things that you think you have an advantage with and if they don't give it to you, then reacting on the field. I think the experience of seeing a lot of that and the way that we've been calling plays where the players and the talent that we have out there, I think that helps out."

(on the 9 minute drive they had in the fourth quarter to close the game and if he feels like they want to be a 'grind it out' kind of team) "You've got to be able to have drives like that to win football games and it was great. For them, they went and scored a touchdown and we knew we needed to respond with a drive that chewed up some clock and we put it on those guys up front. They knew we were going to run the ball. We knew we were running it and we were able to chew up all that clock."

(on opening up 5-for-5 on third downs and how much that helps momentum) "Our first two drives, I thought were big, just in terms of them only having three plays or so on offense. For us to really chew up most of that first quarter and possess the ball and score touchdowns and not get field goals, it was big for us. It was a nice little confidence boost to get us going for the game."

(on if time of possession has been a point of emphasis) "I think it's more of a product of running the ball. I think you always want to possess the ball more than the opponent, but you want to get into the end zone. I think that's what we're all trying to do, get into the end zone. It just so happened that last week and yesterday especially, we had a lot of possession."

(on if it's nice to have WRs Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins to throw the ball up to) "Yeah, especially on the play that DeAndre made, it was a great catch, great hands, nice range. It's a confidence builder to be able to throw him a ball like that and see him come down with it with such ease."

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