Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on how WR DeAndre Hopkins is doing) "He came in the day after the game, and he had symptoms of a concussion. So he's going through the protocol. I was told today that he looked pretty good. We'll see how it is tomorrow, but again, he has to pass the concussion test in order to play. But I was told he feels and looks pretty good today."
(on if WR DeAndre Hopkins was inside during practice) "No, he was out there."
(on it being a good sign that WR DeAndre Hopkins was outside for practice) "Yes, I would think so, not being a doctor or anything, but it sounds good to me."
(on RB Jonathan Grimes) "Grimes is getting better. He's definitely getting better, and that'll be more of a end-of-the-week, game-time decision."
(on playing high-drafted quarterbacks every week in the first half of the schedule) "I don't think I think about that. I try to evaluate the player for what I see them as on tape. When you look at Jameis Winston, you see a very, very good young quarterback that's got a quick release. He's an accurate passer. You can tell he's learning the game very fast, played much better in Week 2 than he did in Week 1. You can tell he's working very hard. We knew that he was a hard worker just from studying him during the draft, but I don't really think as we go from opponent to opponent where they were drafted."
(on what Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston did better in the second game of the season) "First of all they ran the ball, they ran the ball better. I think that's a big part of what they're doing. They have a very good running back in Doug Martin. He was able to be in manageable situations and he made good decisions with the ball. You can tell that he understands coverage a little bit better. He understands fronts a little bit better. He played better."
(on what QB Ryan Mallett has been doing to improve) "Mallett, I would point right away to a couple things. I would say the first drive of the second half last week. Not to rehash last week, I really don't want to do that, but I would say that first drive of the second half was a very, very good drive. He was accurate, he was in command, he just got into a rhythm and that's what we need to see more consistently from him. I think this week's been a good week of practice for him. I thought today he went out there and had a really good day. Those are the things I'm seeing right now. Last game just thinking about this is, it's only the third game he's really played in the NFL, with the two last year and then last week's game. With his work ethic and continued practice reps and things like that, you're hoping that you're seeing the guy get better and better."
(on getting the tight ends involved on offense) "I wouldn't label anything necessarily as a priority. I would tell you that the play is called, then the read is made, and if they're in the read, which a lot of times they are and they're open, then they're going to get the ball. Garrett Graham made an unbelievable touchdown catch last week. C.J. (Fiedorowicz) caught a seam pass. Do we look at every play like how are we getting the tight ends involved? No, we call the play based on what we think the defense is going to be, and then we throw to the open guy."
(on how he views the offense if WR DeAndre Hopkins can't play) "Again, it'll be that whole philosophy which is the philosophy of really the whole league, it's the next guy up. I would say in that position there you've obviously got Nate (Washington), Cecil (Shorts III), then you have Keith Mumphrey, Chandler Worthy will be up for the game and possibly Jaelen Strong. The next guy is up. All of those guys have had a good couple days of practice this year. Like I said, Hops feeling better today so hopefully he'll be ready to go, but we won't know that until probably later in the week, and we just go with the next guys."
(on if he would bring up RB Daryl Richardson if RB Jonathan Grimes can't play) "I would say no."
(on if he would be comfortable with two running backs for the game) "There's other guys we could use back there, let me put it to you that way."
(on if they would use FB Jay Prosch at running back) "No. I mean at fullback. I mean I love Jay Prosch but."
(on if they would use DE J.J. Watt at running back) "Never know. I think I'd have to check with (Founder, Chairman and CEO) Mr. (Bob) McNair on that one."
(on how hard it is to run the ball when changes are being made to the offensive line) "I mean, those guys with the addition of (Oday) Aboushi and (Kendall) Lamm being a rookie, it's not like those combinations have all played together a long time. That's not an excuse. We do a lot of things in practice to move guys around. I really feel good about where they are after two days of practice with the different moving parts and Duane (Brown) not being in there. I think these guys are working really hard. I would tell you that obviously we did not run the ball well against Carolina. We ran it okay versus Kansas City, and we need to run it better. We need to it better. That's the bottom line. Everything goes into that. I guess that I'm saying is I wouldn't put all on the onus and the blame, so to speak, on the offensive line. I think that they're playing pretty well with all the moving parts that have gone on there. Take a lot of pride in those guys and who they are and their versatility. I think it's everybody. It's the quarterback getting us to the right blocking scheme, it's the backs running the ball, all those different things, tight ends blocking, everybody's involved in the running game."
(on how frustrating it is to not have T Duane Brown and WR DeAndre Hopkins) "You can't waste time being
frustrated. That's the nature of the business. You have a 53-man roster, and a 10-man practice squad, and it's a very violent game. Guys get injured and so you have to be ready. If you wasted all your time thinking about how frustrated you were that some of your better players were hurt, then you're really not doing justice to your team. The thing that's important for our guys to know is 'Hey look, one guy goes down, the next guy's got to step up and is expected to do the job.' They get a paycheck too. It's important for our guys to understand that, and I believe they do. The guys that have filled in for Duane, they've done a decent job and go on down the road, if Hop can't play and somebody else has to fill in for him, they'll do a good job. That's just the way it is."
(on if the defense needs to play a lot better for them to win) "I think that everybody, look, everybody's got to play better, we've all got to coach better, we all have to do our jobs better. It starts with me. You're going to get the same answer every time. I've got to do a better job. The coaches have to do a better job. It starts with those two groups of people, or that guy, me and then the coaches, and then it goes to the players. The players have to go out there and do their jobs a little bit better. If everybody takes that approach, we'll be in good shape."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney's stance impacts his power) "Yeah, we look at that. I would say that there are certain stances that for him right now are probably more comfortable than others, but he can play on either side. He's a very athletic guy. It's probably a better question for him actually, but I see him being able to play on either side. We're moving him around a lot this week. He'll be in different spots. I haven't seen any spot where he hasn't been moving well."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus' role going forward now that OLB Jadeveon Clowney is playing more and how OLB John Simon is doing) "I think you got those three guys, I would say that it's somewhat of a three-man rotation. Sometimes it's Whitney and John in there together, sometimes it's JD and Whitney, sometimes it's JD and John. I think that all of those guys have really played solidly. I think everybody's got to play better. I think we've all, like I said, we've all got to coach better, we've all got to do our jobs better. But I see that as still being a three-man rotation."
Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel
(on going against a rookie quarterback and the Tampa Bay offense) "Well anytime you're playing against a rookie, as I always say, rookies will make rookie mistakes, because they haven't seen as much as a veteran has seen. The veteran has the experience, he's seen a lot of different coverages, seen a lot of different players. He's more well-versed in his offense that's he's running, so that poses a particular set of problems. Usually what happens with rookie quarterbacks is coordinators try to limit what they are able to do until they can get caught up. The supporting cast that a rookie has, I think it impacts how he does his rookie year. (Jameis) Winston has a good talent, he's a good talent, got good size, and they're bringing him along. I think they went down to New Orleans, and to win a game on the road in front of that crowd and a good team, I think that says a lot about what he brings to the table and what their offense is capable of doing. I think that they're going to be fired up. We better be fired up to give ourselves a chance."
(on what he's seen from the secondary in the touchdown passes thrown on them) "We've been inconsistent a little bit on certain plays. Some of them are good scheme plays, some of them are poor technique plays, and so we have to improve in both areas."
(on matchups and Tampa Bay having big receivers) "Definitely if you've got the safety there to help over the top, it's good. A lot of times when you're playing man-to-man, the safety is not able to help unless you declare him to a particular receiver. Once you put him to one guy, if the quarterback can read it, he's not going to that guy, he goes to the other guy. I think that's one of the beauties they have in having two big, tall receivers that can go get the ball. It does pose matchup problems from a size standpoint. You just have to kind of be diligent in your technique, and stay close to them and not let them run free, because when they're able to run free, then that's when they have the most range and can do the most damage."
(on what he would like to see his defense do better) "I would like to see us play better and do our responsibilities better. Sometimes we forget to remember what our job is in the heat of the battle, and when you do that, you end up giving up plays and letting things happen. If you look at the stats, the run defense, we need to improve the run defense. Third down, we're decent on third down, the red zone scoring, we're decent in the red zone to this point. I think one of the challenges this week is to stop the run."
(on the takeaway balls not bouncing their way) "We've gotten our hands on some balls this year but we haven't come up with them. We intercepted one last week, so hopefully we can get closer and intercept more and cause more fumbles and be able to get our hands on more balls, because that's the way that you have an opportunity to get the takeaways if you get hands on the balls."
(on what he thinks about NT Vince Wilfork saying that the defense not playing well is getting old) "Well hey, we're all frustrated. Anytime you lose, if you're not frustrated, something is wrong. What we have to do is we have to go back to the drawing board, we have to fix it and get better the next time we go out to play. That involves coaches, players and everybody."
(on CB Kevin Johnson being able to handle more after what he showed last game) "Well I think as Kevin continues to play, he will continue to get better and then we'll make a judgment as we go down the road in how much he plays."
(on if playing the young inside linebackers last Sunday was because of the heat or getting them playing time) "Well we wanted to get them a little bit of playing time, give them a limited amount of time and sometimes if you wait until late in the game to put them in, you don't get them in, because you don't know how the game is going to go. We decided that we wanted to put them in earlier to see if they can get a couple plays and particularly if they don't hurt us while they're in there, then you might let them stay a little bit longer. That's what we're trying to do."
(on how he thought the young linebackers played last game) "They did okay. I mean I don't think that any of them gave up any glaring plays. I don't think anybody goes through a game and plays a perfect game, you know there are always mistakes, there are always corrections that you make. Hopefully the mistakes are not big mistakes where you give up touchdowns or you give up big plays. Then if you make a mistake, somebody's in position to cover up for you, so they didn't make major mistakes."
(on OLB Jadeveon Clowney playing more snaps going forward and how he played last weekend) "I think he played pretty decently. I'm going to say decently because there are some things that – he's still a rookie basically. He's learning also and he gives good effort, he's got range, he can run the ball down on the sideline, and he's been one of those guys. He caused two fumbles in each game, but each one was on the sideline and rolled out of bounds and we didn't have a chance to get it. I think the more he plays, the better that he will become because he'll have a better understanding of the defense and have a better understanding of the game and the opponent and all of those things."
(on how S Rahim Moore has been playing) "I think he's learning the system and learning the defense. He was in a position to make a play on that tipped ball. The only thing I didn't like was that he gave it up. Fortunately for us we were able to recover it but he also had one that was taken away because we had a penalty. If we had not had the penalty and that ended up being a touchdown drive, we would have been off the field and all the what ifs. You can't do anything about it and you can't change what happened, so we've got to eliminate the penalties and get off the field when we can."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney's stance impacts his power) "Well I think, no difference in his stance, I think Jadeveon has been lifting weights for a year because he hasn't been on the field, he couldn't do much, so I think he's gotten stronger as a result of that. I think that shows up on the field."
OLB Jadeveon Clowney
(on Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel saying he considers him a rookie and how he thinks he's playing) "Just getting back into the feel of things. Back out there, like I said. Trying to help the team. I think I did pretty good, doing my job. He wants me to be a playmaker and make more plays. I was doing my job, but it's not making plays. Do a little bit more, just go out there and try to make plays."
(on if he's referring to sacks and turnovers when he says 'making plays') "All of that, everything. Making sacks, stripping the ball, getting turnovers, getting the ball back to our offense in good field position."
(on how close he thinks he is to making plays) "Very close. Hopefully, this week coming up will be a game changer. At practice, I'm making plays and stuff, so it leads into the game."
(on what he's seen on tape from Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston) "First year, you can tell he can't really read the defense that good, but you know he's still a good player. He got picked first for a reason. They see something in him that's pretty good. We just have to get after him, hold them guys, and stop the run."
(on what the defense can do against a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston) "I think we have to disguise it and try to mix him up. Get him mixed up and hopefully he holds the ball longer so the rush can get there and we will be able to make plays."
(on if facing another number one pick adds anything to the game) "No, all of them are the same to me. I just want to get to the quarterback, make plays, and help the team win the game. We're trying to win games right here. That's what we're working towards."
(on if he's seen the last two Buccaneers games where QB Jameis Winston got hit a lot) "We're smiling. We're hoping we can get there and hit him too. That's the goal. Go in there and make plays. Make him turn the ball over and get the ball back to our offense."
(on playing on turf) "I'm going to try to take it like it's grass. I'm not going to pay attention, just go out there and play. Not a big deal."
RB Arian Foster
(on how he feels) "I feel wonderful."
(on if he feels good in every way) "In every way."
(on what he's been able to do in practice) "I've been pretty much able to do everything. I don't feel like it's 100 yet, but it feels really good."
(on the team not easing him back when he returns from his injury and giving him a lot of touches) "Yeah, that's because whenever I come back, I make sure I'm able to carry the load. If I'm out there, I'm out there to be of use as usual."
(on if he has a timetable for when he will be back playing) "No, there's no timetable. I'm going to make sure that it's 100, so I'm not jeopardizing my teammates or myself."
(on if it's difficult to be patient with his injury) "Injuries are a part of this game, it happens. You have to just be patient. My feelings on being patient don't really matter."
(on how hard it's been watching the team go 0-2) "I mean, it's tough because you feel like you're an integral part of what this organization has in store for the season and you can't give your best. It's just part of it though. It's a long season. You just have to take it week-by-week."
(on if he needs to remind himself it's a long season often) "No, you just stay off social media and don't watch TV. You just live your life, pretty easy."
(on how involved he is with the other running backs and helping fix the running game) "The run game is a team effort. It's not just the running backs. It's the line. It's the receivers. It's the quarterbacks. It's the coaches. It's everybody involved. We're all taking personal accountability, but I'm always open. I guess I'm the savvy vet now, so guys always ask me questions. Any way I can help, I do. I try to be as supportive as I can."
(on his event on Monday) "Yeah, we sold out. That's crazy to show the support that the city gives. We're extremely excited about it because it's not for me. It's to help people who need the help. We're extremely grateful and excited. It's going to be a fun event."
(on if the media coverage helped sell his event out) "Yeah, man. It could be that. It could be anything. But I appreciate you guys, for the most part."
(on which one of his teammates will be the best waiter at his event) "Me, for sure. I just deliver the plates well. I always have."
(on if he's ever worked in a restaurant) "No, my mother was a waitress though. I always try to tip extra, which she reads my timeline. I don't even read it anymore. But she like goes - she's so nosey, she reads people that tweet me. There were people saying that I don't tip or something like that. She was like 'What is this?' I was like 'Mom, you know I tip.' I make sure. Yeah, she worked in a restaurant. I always used to have to do the dishes when I was young. I'm the little brother, so they made me do it."
(on having a group of teammates willing to come support him) "I'm extremely grateful for my teammates that agreed to be a part of this. Because it doesn't work without them. If they said no, then it would just be me serving a whole bunch - I would be on roller skates. I'm extremely grateful. I tell them that I got a lot of love for them. They show so much love. We got nothing but love for them."
P Shane Lechler
(on returning to East Bernard High School to honor them in the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll) "I'm excited about it. Get to go back to my hometown and just be a part of something that I really enjoy, the small town atmosphere, a lot of support from that group for me, especially getting to be back here in Houston and play in front of a lot of them that come to the games on Sunday. It is going to be a special evening."
(on how far he has come since high school) "I had a lot of doubters coming from a small 2A high school, graduating class of 52 people. People didn't think that you had a chance to get out of there. But got a chance to go to Texas A&M, then got drafted by Oakland in the fifth round. Now, here I am in Houston 16 years later, so it's worked out."
(on how far his high school is from Houston) "Probably 45 minutes, maybe 50. It's straight down (Highway) 90."
(on his dreams and aspirations when he was in high school) "I just wanted to be a part of the A&M tradition, play ball for R.C. (Slocum) and just do that. I wasn't thinking about the NFL. I was thinking about trying to get through my freshman year. It was a lot of fun. I went in there, still trying to play quarterback for two, two and a half years until R.C. and I decided that punting would be the best option. It was kind of hard for me to do, to make that adjustment because I came from Friday night football where I played every snap of every game on both sides of the ball the whole time. To just punting, I felt like I wasn't helping out enough. I don't think I got that message to R.C. quite clear enough."
(on his fondest memory from high school) "I had a lot of great memories. With all the sports I played there, I played every sport that was there. We won two state championships in baseball, which was a lot of fun. Got beat here by Schulenburg in the Astrodome in a semifinal game. I got a lot of friends that I still stay in good, close touch with. I got a lot of memories."
(on if he thought he was going to win more Super Bowls after winning one early in his career) "That's exactly what I thought. I took it for granted like no other. Now, right now, I'm sitting here. Last year, believe it or not, I've been in the league 16 years, last year was my first winning record since the 2002 Super Bowl run. I try to tell these guys all the time, 'Don't take this stuff for granted.' Every Sunday is special. You have to go out there and try to win and do what we can because time flies by. That feels like it wasn't that long ago, but here it is, 16 years."
(on losing to Schulenburg when he was in high school) "Yeah, it was. Always painful, but I know East Bernard beat them 46-0 last Friday."
WR Cecil Shorts III
(on if it helps that the Colts are 0-2 as well) "We're focused on us. We're not worried about other teams or what they are or not. We're just focused on us and what we got to do."
(on what the wide receivers can do to help QB Ryan Mallett) "We had a good practice today, so it's continuing to work with him, get our timing down, get on the same page, be where he wants us to be in certain routes, certain situations, and certain coverages. (Offensive Coordinator) Coach (George) Godsey says it all the time, just seeing everything through the same pair of glasses. Understanding where we got to be and I think we'll be alright."
(on how it would affect the wide receivers if WR DeAndre Hopkins can't play) "God willing, he can go, first of all. But if he is limited or can't go, next man up. It's part of the NFL. Guys get hurt. Guys get injured. We have a good core group here. We have some guys that played a long time, played a lot of games. We got some younger guys. We got to go in and play the game and get the job done."
(on how the team has responded to a slow start) "Our last two days have been pretty good. Today was probably our best day thus far. We were really clicking on all sides of the ball and that's a good thing. You need that. I think we're all on the right page and understanding what we need to do."
WR Nate Washington
(on communicating on the sidelines during games with players and coaches) "Definitely, the communication on the sideline between us has been tremendous thus far. I think we've been able to really get on the same page when things haven't been corrected in the game and try to continue the same page when things happen and don't go well. It's just the communication standpoint. We sit by each other on the bench, we sit right next to the quarterbacks, (Offensive Coordinator) George Godsey gives us the opportunity as receivers to mix some things we've seen throughout the game. It gives us the opportunity to make plays. I've been saying that from day one since I've been in this offense. This offense does a tremendous job of creating matchups and making plays."
(on it feeling like this offense is a great fit for him) "Definitely, definitely, it's not a systematic thing where they put you in situations that you're not comfortable with. Whatever you're comfortable with, whatever you do best, that's what they allow you to do. Of course, I think any receiver would have a wonderful time in this offense. Allowing him to create and be himself at the same time. It's a task, learning it, but at the same time, once you get it, it's a tremendous offense to be in."
(on if WR DeAndre Hopkins possibly not being able to play, how the offense will adjust without him) "The show must go on. I'm very confident in his toughness, I'm very confident in him preparing himself to try to give everything that he can for Sunday, but if anything does happen, the show must go on. We have to carry him. We'll treat it like a hostage situation. If he's hostage right now, we're going in to get him. That's the way we'll look at it and the show must go on. We'll go out there and continue to make plays."
NT Vince Wilfork
(on feeling frustrated about being 0-2) "I mean, missed opportunities. I think at the end of the day we have to be more consistent. One thing that frustrates me the most is this is a good football team we have and we have yet to show it. So that's why I think the frustration is setting in and just realizing we're so much better than what we've shown so far. Anybody who likes to lose, there's something wrong with them. I wasn't the only one feeling like that and disappointed at that loss, especially the one on the road. The only thing you can do is just look forward and make the corrections and just be more consistent. I think if we'll be more consistent, then we'll get rolling. Until we do that, we won't always be behind the eight ball. I think we've had a great week of practice so far, I think guys' focus level has been the highest, I think everybody is ready to play. We've been practicing well, so we just have to continue that for the rest of the week and hopefully Sunday we can get over this hump."
(on his frustrations carrying weight because of where he's been and his career) "I mean, I didn't look at it like that. My frustration was a football team in the Houston Texans going out there and playing not Houston Texans football. That was my frustration. My frustration was all about how we didn't come to play, how we just missed opportunities, how inconsistent we were. That doesn't define this team, and there's a reason I came here, because we're a lot better than what we've been showing. I know that, the rest of my teammates know that, the organization, the coaches know that. Maybe I wear my attitude on my sleeve, or whatever that may be, but that's who I am. When I'm frustrated, I'm frustrated. One thing I will try to do is find out how we need to fix it. But like I said, guys responded well. I didn't say anything, didn't have to say anything because a lot of guys feel the same way, and we understand that if we could just play more consistent, it'll look a lot different. That's how it goes, be more consistent and hopefully we can get over that hump this week."
(on if penalties are one of the most frustrating things) "It's just bad football. Billy O. (Head Coach Bill O'Brien) says that he wants to eliminate that. We said that from day one. Bad football, being able to eliminate bad football and be smart and play tough. That's one of the areas we have to clean up also. Like I said, what's done is done. The only thing we could do is learn from it and become a better team. I think right now we're on the right track. That's the only thing we can ask for right now."
(on how to combat DE J.J. Watt being double or triple teamed) "We have to step up everybody else that's around him, I have to step up. We've got a lot of great guys on this team, especially defensively-wise, we've got guys that have been playing the game for a while, guys who have made a lot of plays and so everybody's just going to have to step up now. That's the one good thing about football is it's a team sport, it's not just one-man wrecking crew, but we have somebody like that on our side and it's good to play with somebody like that. It makes it a lot harder for our opponents. With the same token, we have a lot of guys that have a lot of experience and can play a lot of good football, so we just have to take advantage and stop shooting ourselves in the foot. I keep saying this, be more consistent, because we show when we play well and when we do the right things, we're tough to stop, but we're too inconsistent now. I think as a team we just have to come back down to earth, settle down, keep our poise and get back to work, and just take it one play at a time. That's one thing we focus on this week. Like I said, so far so good in practice, we practice well, we've made some accomplishments in practice. Now it's time to put it on the football field."
(on what he thinks he can capitalize on with rookie Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston) "Well just getting after him. I think the more we can mix up what we're doing, show him different stuff and make him figure out what we're doing, the better it is for us, and that's just any quarterback. He's a rookie but at the same time, he's number one for a reason. He's a great athlete, he's a great leader as I hear, and he commands that offense. We've got to do – it's really not about what they're doing. It's how well we're doing and what we need to do. It's about how well we can execute because if we execute, we'll be tough. That's how we look at it. I don't care who we face. Our execution level has to be at an all-time high this week."
(on how close he thinks OLB Jadeveon Clowney is to making impact plays) "We're all very close. When you have a guy like that and J.J. (Watt) on the other side, let me tell you. Once we execute and once we get it going, it's going to be fun. I'll tell you that. Sometimes it takes longer to get there. Expectation is so high with different looks and different guys coming. This guy coming off of this. This guy coming from this place. I think expectations are very, very high so when you don't meet it, at a certain point, people start pointing fingers. When we get there, it's going to be something special. We're just going to patiently wait, but at the same time, we've got to start playing football the way we know how to play. When it happens and once we understand who we are and how we need to play and the confidence level we will get, I'm telling you, we're going to be a very special unit. I can't wait for that. Hopefully, that happens this week. That's our goal. Every week is a big week for us, no matter who you play. It doesn't matter how many you've won and no matter how many you've lost. This week is another big week for us. I'm pretty sure all of us can't wait to get it going."
(on dealing with losing when he is not used to it) "Every situation is different. I mean, I've been blown out. I might not have been 0-2, but I've been blown out. I have been counted out. I have lost some games we weren't supposed to lose. Trust me, I've been through hell and back playing football. This doesn't surprise me. This is nothing I can't handle. Everybody has their purpose. Everything has its purpose. There's a reason we're doing what we're doing. I just try to stay humble and try to continue to lead by example, no matter how you slice it. That's why I love football, because it's a team sport. It's not just one guy. It's a team sport. We all got to be on the same page at this team sport. That's what we're looking to do this week."