HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN**
"We're still in the process of making some roster moves here. We have until tomorrow, I believe, some point tomorrow to make it all official. So, there are still some moving parts here. You know, it's a tough day for those guys that we're releasing today and tomorrow, but that's part of the process. We have to get down to 53 and start preparing for the Chicago Bears. I know there's a big game here tomorrow (AdvoCare Texas Kickoff), just want to wish Coach (Tom) Herman and the University of Houston good luck. I know both staffs and they're both great coaching staffs and great teams. It'll be a good football game here. With that, I'll open it up to questions."
What has QB Brock Osweiler done better than you anticipated and what does he need to improve?
"I mean, that's a tough question because I had very high expectations for him coming in, just based on what I'd seen on tape and what I knew about him from people that had coached him and played with him and things like that. As far as what he has done better, I would say he's come in here and done exactly what we've asked him to do. He's worked extremely hard. I'm telling you now, this guy has put in 12-hour days. He's spent a lot of time. In order to understand our offense basically like a coach does, you have to put in a lot of time. He has certainly done that. He's got a good command of our offense and how to call a play, how to change a play at the line of scrimmage, how to communicate with his teammates. Now as far as what he needs to continue to improve on as we move into the season now, to me, the big thing is now we move into a game plan mode. He's got to continue to trust the process of how we get a team prepared, maybe not quite the same as what Coach (John) Fox did in Denver or Coach (Gary) Kubiak in Denver. Now, it's just a matter of 'hey Brock, let's trust the process and make sure that you understand the game plan and see how we do things.'"
Do you feel confident you will activate DE J.J. Watt for Week 1 and have him on the active roster?
"I think the arrow is pointing towards that. I would say that we are headed in the right direction with him. He certainly feels much better obviously than he did, let's just say, two weeks ago. I don't think we're at the point right now today where we're going to activate him right now, but I know that it looks decent for him to be able to play in the first game."
What would you say is the biggest strength of the team?
"That's an interesting question. I would tell you that – and maybe this doesn't really get down to the X's and O's of it – I think that this team has good chemistry. I think this team cares about winning. I think they compete very hard. They do what we ask them to do, meaning they come to work every single day. It's a very hard working team. It's a team that really doesn't complain much. They just say 'hey, what do we need to do today?' and I think that's something that I've noticed about this team that I really like."
What would you like to do better now that the regular season is starting?
"There's a number of things. I think we have to be better on both sides of the ball on third down. I think our return game needs to be better, punt return and kickoff return. I think we need to run the ball better. I think based on the Arizona game, we better be ready to stop the run better than we've done. There's a number of things we're going to really work on this week to get better at. There's some things that we're doing well. We're taking the ball away on defense very well. I think for the most part, other than a couple here and there like last night, we're taking care of the ball better on offense. We're playing really good on our coverage units. We need to keep that going on special teams. We've got to improve the things that I just said in the beginning of the answer and then keep doing those other things well."
Is there an update on T Duane Brown?
"I don't really have an update. I know that he is doing better. I'll be able to give you a better answer on him relative to the Chicago game later in the week."
It looked like T Derek Newton was in full pads yesterday even though he didn't play. How much of a boost will it be to get him back?
"It's important to have everybody back. All the guys that have played so much football for us in the past, starters, whatever position they play, it's important to have as healthy of a roster as you can have. Derek should be ready to go to practice this week and ready to play in the game."
How much better did T Kendall Lamm get with all the reps he's taken this preseason?
"We have confidence in him. He's a tough guy, he works very hard, he's smart. He really has become a better pass protector. He always was a decent run blocker – he would come off the ball and strike you. Pass protection, with guys that are rookies, younger players, it's always a little bit different. You're having to pass protect against guys that are really, really top-shelf athletes. But I think he's improved in that area. He's a guy that is a swing tackle for us. You may even see him on the inside sometimes at guard. He does a lot of different things for us and we've been happy with him."
Do you guys have anyone else in the concussion protocol besides ILB Akeem Dent?
Is ILB Akeem Dent the only player in concussion protocol?
"That I know of, yeah."
What did you think of QB Brandon Weeden last night?
"I thought he did some nice things. He's got a really good poise about him. Even when he threw the pick-six, which was really a very good play by that DB (defensive back), he threw it a little bit late but he threw it in a pretty good spot and that guy made a great play on it. Even when he did that, he came over to the sideline and he didn't get too down about it. He was able to go back out there and still execute the offense. I thought he played well. I think he has come a long way in our offense and he's been a good guy to have around."
You've complimented T Chris Clark in the past. How has he progressed?
"We have a lot of respect for Chris Clark. He's a guy that I think is one of the leaders in that room and on our team. He's been around a long time, he does whatever's asked of him. Last week we put him in there at guard and he said, 'yeah, whatever you guys think, whatever you need.' Played a little left guard for us, played a little right guard for us. He's done that in the past. He's just a good pro. He's a very good pro. I have a lot of respect for the guy and I'm glad he's on our team."
Considering how long T Derek Newton has been out, what would you expect from him in the first game?
"I don't think he can play the whole game. We'll have to see how many snaps as we go through the week, how he does in practice, and then be ready to rotate him a little bit during the game. But the last couple weeks, even though he wasn't out there practicing, he was able to condition, he was able to run, so hopefully he's in pretty good condition and he's ready to go from that standpoint."
How do you feel about the development of your young receivers, particularly WR Will Fuller V and WR Braxton Miller?
"I feel good about those guys, relative to where they are right now. I think the fact that they've been out there every day – they really have not missed practice. I think Braxton might have missed one or two practices with a sore hamstring, but he's been basically out there every day. Will's been out there every single day, and as long as you're out there every day and you have their work ethic, you're going to get better, you're going to develop. You're going to make your share of mistakes but you're going to learn from them and get better. Both of those guys have done that. We need them to have a good week of practice, and obviously they'll see a lot of playing time against Chicago."
Are you giving the players this weekend off?
And then come back Monday for a normal week?
"Yeah. We're going to go Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday."