Texans Quotes: September 28

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Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on why offensive linemen have to be more versatile than other players on the roster) "Well I don't think that's necessarily true. I would say that if you go position by position, for instance if you look at our defensive line position, even though we don't have a number of players there, we do have guys that are versatile, we line up guys at defensive end and nose. I think if you look at our secondary we've lined guys up, not necessarily in these first three games, but we've lined guys up in the past at corner, at safety. I think we look for versatility at a lot of positions, not every single one, but I think on the offensive line, because there is a similar skill set to all five of those positions, that the more versatility you have player-wise, the better you're going to be able to help fill some holes when there are some injuries. On game day, if you decide to bring seven or you decide to bring eight, clearly you can't bring 10, so those guys that you bring, the next two after the five that start the game, they have to be versatile because if somebody goes down, they have to be able to fill in at a number of different positions. I think that's the biggest reason why."

(on what he saw from ILB Benardrick McKinney in his first start) "I think he played 20-plus snaps and I thought he played well. I thought he understood the game plan, and I think he's a guy that will continue to get better and better. He's got a really good work ethic, got a good nose for the ball, and I thought overall he played a good game."

(on CB Kevin Johnson talking about the challenge of facing Atlanta WR Julio Jones)  "With all due respect to Kevin Johnson, I don't think he understands quite the problems that Julio Jones presents having only played three games in this league. Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in our league. He's big, he's fast, he's got great hands, good route runner, he's just a great player. It's a big, big challenge for us. Combine that with an excellent quarterback in Matt Ryan, you've got a big challenge there. We understand the challenge and we're going to put together as good a game plan as we can and have a good week of practice and get ready to go play."

(on how good Atlanta looks on film this season) "They're a good team. They're well-coached. Coach (Dan) Quinn's done a really good job there. He's an excellent football coach, known about him for a long time. Got a lot of respect for him. They've got good players on both sides of the ball, they're playing fast on defense. They're doing a good job on special teams. Obviously offensively they've got a lot of weapons combined with a great quarterback. Like I said, we've got a big challenge. Our guys were very attentive in the meetings this morning, looking to correct the mistakes from yesterday and move on to the game plan here on Wednesday and get going to Atlanta."

(on if RB Arian Foster has progressed enough to be able to play this week) "I think we're close. I don't know that answer today, but he's been out there the past couple of weeks of practice and it's looked pretty good. Again, anytime we have a veteran player like that that we're dealing with that type of injury, I think we listen a lot to that player. Basically how do you feel? We'll go on that a little bit and we'll go on what our doctors say and we'll go from there."

(on if the following game being a short week, Thursday night against the Colts, will have anything to do with whether or not RB Arian Foster plays this week) "I think that's a fair question but I don't think it can factor in. I think we've got to do whatever we've got to do to win this game. We're not thinking about the following game, we're thinking about this game. Actually we're thinking about the things we need to correct from yesterday and then we're moving on to Atlanta. I think as a head coach I have a bigger picture kind of in my mind as far as how we're going to get ready for that next game. I understand that, but as far as the players and the coaching staff are concerned, it's all about Atlanta."

(on if he expects T Duane Brown back this week and how worried he is about G Brandon Brooks) "I think Brooks will be fine. I think that Duane in a similar conversation to like the Arian (Foster) thought there, I think Duane is very close to being back to being able to play."

(on what QB Ryan Mallett did better in his second start of the season) "I think that there are certainly things to improve on, but I thought he managed the game better. I think he got us into the right play better. I thought his mechanics were better. He was tighter in the pocket. He was a bit more accurate. He completed more balls. I think we were more balanced and I think that helped him. We were able to run the football. I thought he did a good job on third down. We were 44 percent on third down, which is pretty good considering that our defense did a great job against their offense on third down.  I think they were eight percent. They had one third down conversion. We had eight third down conversions. I think a lot of that had to do with our receivers and our line, but Mallett delivering the ball on time and accurately. There's things we need to improve on. He's really only played four games in this league. I think he said it after the game. I heard him say, 'Whether it was high school or college, the more I play, the more comfortable I get. The more confidence, the better I get.' That's usually the case with most of us. The more you do things, the better you get at it. Hopefully, we'll see that."

(on the play of G Oday Aboushi and if he's the starter at left guard) "I think that job will always be competitive, that left guard job. I really do. I think that will be a competitive situation every week. But I do think that you have to give Oday a lot of credit. He was signed I think eight days ago and had to come in there and block - with his linemates there - had to block that front with Gerald McCoy and company. Gerald McCoy made his share of plays, but at the end of the day we were able to run the ball pretty well. I thought we protected pretty well. Oday's got a lot of things to improve upon, like we all do, but I thought for that situation, he played well."

(on RB Alfred Blue getting the bulk of the carries vs. Tampa Bay) "As the game went on, we felt like Blue was in a pretty good rhythm. We felt like Chris Polk had a couple nice runs for us there. He was doing his job. (Johnathan) Grimes went in there and had a couple things, especially in the passing game, where he protected well and he had his role in the game, caught a pass, and did some things in the passing game. In this particular game, it was Blue's running game, if that makes sense, and I thought he, along with the line – I gave him the game ball offensively this morning but I told him to turn around because he sits right near the linemen to make sure he thanks those guys and the tight ends and the fullback because those guys blocked well for him."

(on giving FB Jay Prosch three carries against Tampa Bay) "Give credit to Jay. I thought, especially that one run he had where he really moved the pile, I thought that was a really good run for our team to see that physicality and everybody kind of moving the pile with him turning his legs. He's got some things to improve on, but he did a good job running the ball there on those two plays. Those are the types of things we need him to do. We need him to continue to lead block, help us on special teams. But he played 21 plays on offense, which is good. That's good."

(on the team struggling in the second quarter) "I don't know, but we got to fix that. I don't know what that is. I've seen that, too. I think we need to fix that. We need to start these games better overall, especially on offense. We have to start better. I think yesterday was the first time that we had really kind of played with a lead, which is good. Our defense played really well yesterday overall. We need to start better, but that second quarter, there's a lull there that we got to figure that out. You're right. We'll continue to try to figure what that is."

(on Falcons QB Matt Ryan) "He's an elite quarterback. He's smart. He's accurate. He's big, so he can see the coverage. He's got a nice, high release. He's got a quick release. He's an excellent player. I've been following him for a long time. I actually – he won't even remember this, but I went to his high school when he was coming out and I was at Georgia Tech and tried to get him to come from Philadelphia to Georgia Tech. Obviously, he went to Boston College and the rest is history, but I've known about him for a long, long time. He's a really good player. He was here last year during training camp, great guy. Good with his teammates, so he's a good player. We got a lot of respect for him."

(on deciding to go for one instead of the two-point conversion when up 16-9) "There was a thought. It was definitely a thought. I felt like at that time that the defense was playing well. There was a conversation that we had and I made the decision to go for one right there because I think that was the way the game was going, even though maybe the card said go for two. I felt like, let's kick the extra point and let our defense go keep playing well. That's kind of what happened."

G Brandon Brooks
(on the offensive line performing well despite injuries and having to rotate positions) "It's extremely positive, kind of a next-man-up mentality. Derek Newton went in there and did a hell of a job as he always does. That's why he got the big deal in the offseason. It's great to see him go in there and do positive things."

(on what he attributes T Chris Clark and G Oday Aboushi learning the system quickly to) "Both of them are really talented guys, both of them are really good football players, have experience starting, took the extra time to understand the system. Chris maybe got here three or four weeks ago and Oday maybe a week ago. So putting in extra time, getting with the center, Ben Jones, on all the calls, things like that."

(on Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin) "Devlin has been incredible, on the field, off the field, in the classroom, things of that nature. Whether it's technique or maybe some things that he saw when he played and how he handled it, things of that nature, it's been incredible."

T Duane Brown
(on Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin) "Coach Devlin has done an incredible job. Just his knowledge of the game, the way that he kind of talks to us and really giving guys confidence to go out and play well, no matter if you're a rookie, an eight-year vet, whether you've been here a couple years or a week in Oday's (Aboushi) case. He's a great coach and a great leader for us in that room. You've got guys playing out of position, (Derek) Newton playing at guard. It's a lot of things going on in there, but he still finds a way to make it all gel. The guys themselves going out there and making it all come together and work out, it's great to see."

(on if it was fun to watch the way the team played yesterday) "Oh yeah, I lost my voice on the sidelines, I was the biggest cheerleader out there yesterday. Just did an incredible job running the ball. As offensive linemen, that's all you really want to go out and get accomplished. When you have to pass, you want to protect the quarterback, and I thought they did a great job of that. But being able to impose your will on a defense, with five minutes left in the game, and just going down and consistently running the ball, it was a thing of beauty. I congratulated all of those guys, chest bumping, all of that when they came to the sidelines. I was excited."

(on what he needs to be able to do physically to come back) "Block."

(on being able to block well in Week 1 when he was playing hurt) "Yeah, I mean, but you've just got to know, that was Week 1. In my mind, we have 15 weeks-plus left in the season. It's something you have to be smart about. I feel like these last two weeks I've really given myself a chance to go out and perform without keeping it in the back of my mind, 'It might get worse, it might get worse.' It's always a risk going out there, but I feel like right now, I'll be able to practice this week and go from there."

(on what separates Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin from other position coaches he's had) "I think it's a combination of things. For one, he played for a while in this league. As a coach, when you played, there's just things that you see out there, it's not just x's and o's. You can go up there on the board and draw things out, but when you've been out there in the battle, there's just things that you can relate to more as well as us. Just our personalities, he has the same personality that we have, and that's always good. He's humorous, but also about his business. He does a great job of coaching us, the scheme, the technique of how to get your job accomplished evenly, 50-50, not over-coaching one and kind of leaving the other one out, and I think it's his demeanor. On game day he's very even-keeled, doesn't get too high, doesn't get too low, just the same guy every day."

(on the running game coming together on the fly) "It's incredible, but I'm not surprised. We've worked our tails off, man. Like I said, you've got guys that've been here, (Kendall) Lamm's a rookie going in there, Derek's (Newton) been working hard, Brandon (Brooks) went down and Oday (Aboushi) came in. There's just a lot that goes on, but everyone is working so hard. Chris (Clark) coming in, everyone's working so hard to really go out there and get the job done. I think (Alfred) Blue, a lot of people don't give Blue enough credit. He's a hard runner. Arian (Foster) is a very special back, but the guys that we have in that backfield, they all can bring a lot to the table. We're all working hard, so yesterday was no surprise to me."

(on when he thinks he'll know if he's playing) "Sunday. I'll practice this week and I'll have a good gauge for what I feel like for Sunday."

CB Kevin Johnson
(on facing the Atlanta Falcons this weekend) "It's going to be a challenge. We haven't really dove into the gameplan and stuff like that yet, but we all know they have a very, very talented receiving core and just a high-powered offense, so it's going to be a challenge."

(on Falcons WR Julio Jones starting the season playing well) "Oh yeah. Everybody knows what Julio can do. It's definitely going to be a challenge. Us as a whole on defense, we want to try and do our best to try and contain him."

(on facing a player like Falcons WR Julio Jones who he's watched for years) "It's cool, man. It's kind of like a dream come true, watching those guys for a long time and having a chance to compete against them is a dream come true."

(on the keys to slowing down Falcons WR Julio Jones) "We'll see. We'll dive into the film tomorrow, so I haven't really studied him yet so I don't know what type of stuff they do. But I mean, he's a force. I don't know what they're going to be doing with him, but it will be intriguing to see."

(on what it means to him that the coaches trusted him to guard Buccaneers WR Mike Evans one-on-one) "It means a lot, just to know that the coaching staff and my teammates have that kind of confidence in me to go out there, compete, and do my job."

(on if facing two physical wide receivers against Tampa Bay helps prepare them for Atlanta) "Yeah, I think so. If their games are similar, I think it will be good for us to kind of go up against two big body groups of receivers and getting used to them this week. Hopefully, it carries over into next week a little bit."

(on if he lets himself enjoy the win before focusing on Atlanta) "Yeah, for sure. You definitely got to enjoy it and remember what it feels like so you can go out there and try to get another W."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on facing Falcons WR Julio Jones) "Julio is a big target, explosive guy. A run after the catch guy, a really talented guy. Matt Ryan is a great quarterback. Roddy White has been doing it for years same way, so we definitely have a big challenge this week."

(on how he feels today) "I'm fine. Your typical soreness the day after playing a game and things like that. I'm just looking forward to the next game."

(on the keys to slowing down Falcons WR Julio Jones) "I think it takes a team effort. Everyone on defense doing their job, rushing the passer. Guys doing their job back in coverage assignments and things like that. Obviously, you know it's going to be a full day's task, but you just have to prepare throughout the week and then go out and play the game."

(on if he's paid attention to the numbers Falcons WR Julio Jones is putting up) "I've seen glimpses of it, you know, a few highlights here and there. But I know the talent he is, so it speaks for itself. Whether he's putting up those numbers or not, he's capable of beating you any Sunday by himself."

(on the locker room being more fun after a win) "No question. It's good to get a win under your belt. See some of these guys get a great smile on their face and see the hard work that we put in throughout the week. We can't be complacent and things like that. We have to move on from it and look towards Atlanta."

(on how much he gets to enjoy the win) "You get just Monday. When you come back in Wednesday, it's all over. You get Monday, watch Monday Night Football and things like that, but you have to move on to the next week quickly. You can't hang your hat on that because it's a long season and we got business to take care of. We just have to enjoy Sunday and Monday then move on."

T Kendall Lamm
(on the offensive line dealing with multiple injuries) "It seems that no matter what group is in there together, I mean, we seem to mesh well. I feel like that's a tribute to the coaching. I mean, (Offensive Line) Coach (Mike) Devlin does a lot for us. This is my first coach, of course, being in the NFL. Just the little things that he makes us do, it really and truly shows up on Sundays, which is wonderful. I really and truly think he's part of the main reason. Don't get me wrong, they're great players as well, but when you have a coach that really and truly prepares you for a game like that, anybody can go in together and you'll mesh because we're prepared."

(on how much the offensive line needs to be on the same page to perform well) "Oh, it's the main battle. You're not going in there blind. You're prepared, even if they throw something new to you. You can go on the sideline, you can talk about it. We have open communication and we're always just trying to figure the defense out because I mean there's going to be a new wrinkle in there every week that we may not have seen, but for the most part, we've seen everything. Like I said, when I get in there, it's pretty comfortable."

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