HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
How was practice today?
"Lighter practice today. We have four this week, so we went pretty heavy yesterday. Just wanted to work some situations, some different things from the offensive and defensive side that we haven't seen because our offense doesn't do it or our defense doesn't do it. So, we got a lot of good work today. These guys know how to practice, they know how to work in OTAs and take care of each other. That's the big thing. We have to stay healthy. You see some of the injuries around the league, that's a big thing. We have to really come out of this thing healthy."
DE Jadeveon Clowney was out there but didn't practice. Is there an update on his situation?
"He's fine. We just give him a day off here and there."
What was the purpose of today's practice? It looked like a lot of team work.
"Some more things like that, some more situation. That was the first time we had worked two-minute (offense). I thought that was pretty good for the first two groups. The young guys have no clue about two-minute, the sense of urgency, you're driving to win the game. So, that was good to get that in. We need to work that probably pretty much every day the rest of the time, and then just keep working on different situations so that when they come up in training camp they're not brand new. You're not going to get everything covered because some of them, like four-minute, require pads – when you're trying to seal the game at the end of the game – or goal line. Goal-line offense, goal-line defense – that requires pads. Some of it you won't get covered but you try to get a lot covered so when it comes up in training camp it's not the first time they've heard it."
What are some of the key things you're working on for special teams?
"Yeah, we need to make big improvements. Like I've said about offense, we need to be more consistent on special teams. When it's been good it's been decent. Our return game has been decent, our coverage units have been OK. But when it's been bad, when we've been out of our lanes on coverage units or we haven't known who to block on return game and things like that, it has not been very good. To me, it's simplifying, making sure that they can play fast and they know what to do. It's not about 10,000 different schemes, it's about simplification and making sure they can play fast."
How do you think QB Deshaun Watson has progressed?
"He's doing good, yeah. For a rookie coming in here, he's spent a lot of time – he's studying hard, he has great questions, he has good answers to the questions when we kind of quiz him every morning, all those guys. So, I've been impressed. I've been impressed with all three guys. It's a good room. It's a good room and he's working hard."
What are your thoughts on the tight end group and how they're performing?
"It's a good group. I like this group. They all have different skillsets. Some of them, like C.J. (Fiedorowicz), we've kept him out for most of this OTA here. We kept (Ryan) Griffin out today. We got (Stephen) Anderson a lot of work today. He does a lot of different things. He has grown a lot in a year. I'm not going to get into the details of what they bring to the table but I like how they all bring different things to the table, and I think all three of them in their own right are good in the passing game with the different matchups that we can get with them. So, I've been very pleased with them. They're being coached real well by Timmy (Tim) Kelly and it's been a good spring for those guys."
How is G Xavier Su'a-Filo?
"He's all right. It's OTAs. We just give him a day off here and there, you know what I mean? It's not anything catastrophic, I can tell you that."
What have you thought about the running backs?
"Good. Good group. But, for all those guys – I think we have a real good idea of what Lamar (Miller) can do, we know what (Alfred) Blue can do, but some of those guys it's going to take training camp and the running game in training camp with the pads on, their vision, their ability to break tackles. That's kind of the thing it is with backs. Right now they're getting a lot of work in the passing game but the true test will be in training camp."
Do you send the rookies home with the iPads over the break so they can continue learning the things you've been teaching them the past few weeks?
"I'll tell you, that's the biggest concern I have, is the five weeks they have off when we're not around them. Especially the younger guys. With our rookie development program we really try to guide them as to what they should be doing. One of those things is having their iPads and being able to watch the tape, their playbooks and being able to read their notes and not just head to the beach for five weeks and try to get a good tan. I mean, that's not what it's all about. You're trying to make the team, you're trying to make the team better. I think that's a big time period for them so that when they come back for training camp it's not like we're starting over again, it's more of a refresher course and they're ready to go."
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
How would you describe these workouts and what you all are accomplishing?
"I think we're out here actually working smart as a team, trying to service one another. Obviously you want to keep guys healthy. You don't want much contact with the way the rules are now. But I think all in all, we're out here competing and trying to make each other better."
How do you think QB Deshaun Watson is doing out there?
"I think any time you come in as a rookie at this level, it's going to be hard on you. Obviously the spotlight is going to be on you, but I think overall he's come in, been quiet, all ears, been learning, paying attention and I think this is a great veteran team so guys are definitely trying to help him out as much as we can."
After veteran minicamp next week, there will be a long break for the players. How do you tell young guys they should spend that time?
"That's probably the most important time because it's easy to kind of take care of your business right now while you're being monitored and while you're here with the coaches and being around your peers. But I think the next month, month and a half while you're off and while you're alone to yourself, that's the hardest time because you have so much free time and being prepared for training camp is the biggest thing you have to do for yourself to make the team and try to be as good as you can be as a player in this league. I think that's my message to the guys."
How do you feel right now compared to the way you felt at this time last year coming off an injury?
"I feel great. I think obviously getting that taken care of last year got me where I'm at today. I don't have any problems out of that so that's kind of a blessing in disguise. I think overall physically, I'm feeling really good. They've been taking care of me but I think I work really hard in the weight room with (Craig) Fitzgerald and his staff and the guys. I think I'm feeling even better than I was last year at this time."
What's the key to staying healthy?
"Just taking care of your body. Learning each and every year. There's different things that you can do, whether it's stretching, getting extra work in with the guys, working on your small muscles and just trying to keep the overall strength up in your legs. I think that's the biggest thing for me."
What is it that keeps driving you after playing so many years?
"Just the game itself. Just being out here and being competitive. Being around the guys in the locker room. I think what drives everyone on this team, including myself, is trying to get a championship. The ultimate goal is to get to the top and win a ring."
What have you seen from the young cornerbacks?
"I think they've all kind of followed suit. I think we got great leaders in the room: me, Kareem (Jackson), Dre (Andre) Hal, all those guys who played a lot of football for us. I think they see us do it and the way the coaches are teaching the techniques and explaining everything, I think that gives them the comfort level to go out here and just compete. We got talented guys over there on offense also, so any time you hit the practice field you have to be prepared and ready for a challenge. I think any time you have guys stepping up to the challenge, it's going to bring the best out of you."
RB LAMAR MILLER
Going into your second year here, do you feel more comfortable?
"Yes, I'm very comfortable now going into my second year. Just coming in my first year, (I) didn't know the concepts but now, going into my second year, I'm comfortable. I know the blocking schemes and stuff. I think it will be a good year."
Physically, how do you feel after the heaviest workload of your career?
"I feel good. I had time to heal so I'm looking forward to the season. Just got to continue taking care of my body, eating right and just be ready when the season comes."
What do you think about the running back group right now?
"I think everybody's looking good so far. We're not really doing much as running backs but just catching the ball out of the backfield and just knowing the assignments. I think everybody's out there competing, having fun and making sure everybody's doing their job."
What's your first impression of RB D'Onta Foreman?
"I think he's doing a great job. Coming in as a rookie in this type of offense, it's kind of hard but I think he's doing a great job coming along with the formations and all the plays. I think he's doing good."
What kind of tandem do you think you could have with RB D'Onta Foreman or one of the other guys?
"I'm not really sure who it's going to be but all of those guys are out there competing. (Alfred) Blue, (D'Onta) Foreman, Akeem (Hunt), Tyler (Ervin), all those guys. They're out there competing and just working hard."
How important is it to give your body a little bit of a rest with the workload you had last year?
"It's very important, this offseason. You've got to take care of your body because us as running backs, we get hit a lot so just to take care of your body, take a couple weeks off and let your body heal, then just get back into it, it's always good."
Did you change your offseason workout at all?
"No, I keep it the same. In the summer I change it up a little bit because we're going into training camp, but after the season, I didn't really do anything different."
You had a large workload in your first season here. How much do you enjoy that?
"I love it. I'm pretty sure everybody loves the ball in their hands, and me as a running back, I always want to put the team on my back and just try to keep the chains moving and just try to win games."
A couple of teammates have said there's a different feeling in the offense. Do you see it?
"Yes, it's different from last year. I think a lot of guys – they're buying into what (Bill) O'Brien's been telling us throughout the whole course of the OTAs. The guys are excited and we're just out there competing against the defense every day."
Head Coach Bill O'Brien is a lot more active on the offense this year, taking over the play-calling. How is that important to you as a running back, knowing that he's right there giving input?
"I think it's good overall as an offense. He's being more hands on, so he's making sure everybody's doing their job, just out there having fun and just playing fast."
It looks like you guys are trying to improve in the red zone area.
"I just think in the red zone, everybody's just got to be on the same page. Once we get down there, it's a shorter field, so we've got to hold each other accountable for the most part and just making sure guys are doing their assignment and just trying to find a way to get into the end zone."
What do you see from Running Backs Coach Charles London when he's coaching?
"I think he does a great job. He holds all of us accountable. It really doesn't matter if you're (at) the bottom of the depth chart or the top. He holds everybody accountable, making sure everybody's doing their job because at the end of the day, he's our coach so you've got to make him look good. He's a great coach. When I first came here he taught me a lot. He's a great coach."
ILB SIO MOORE
What's it like for you to be here and end the long wait from when you were with the Arizona Cardinals to being with a new team?
"It was definitely a good relief to finally have a team and have coaches and an organization believe in me and being able to see what I can do and give me the opportunity to show that. So, it was really a good relief and exciting to get back around, just, grass and football and cleats and everybody making noise."
For Texans fans who are wondering, what will you bring to the table? On a day to day basis, what are you going to show them and what are you going to do here?
"All of me. Everything I got. Hardworking professional, aggressive play, good energy, always great energy, and just everything that I got. I'm excited to be here, and I don't know how to put it into a lot of words."
How much do you love football and why do you love football?
"It teaches me how to be a great man, it teaches me one day how to be a great father, it teaches me how to one day be a great husband. All those things in one by being a good teammate, by showing up and working on how to be accountable, how to be responsible to other people, how to hold yourself accountable, how to help people around you, how to be selfless – all the things that you need in your own personal life to gain any type of relevance to you, at least I believe. So I think that football, for me, has been a tool that's carried me and taught me a lot about my life because football correlates to life to me. If you want to be a responsible, dependable person on the field, you got to do that off the field. You want to be consistent on the field, you got to do that off the field."
At the end of last season you played well with the Arizona Cardinals. How did you think you finished the season?
"I tried to go out there and make some plays. I tried to go out there and contribute. I tried to go out there and be a good teammate. I tried to leave it all out there. It was a frustrating year a little bit. A lot of things you can't control, but when you get on the field you try to control your controllables and have fun doing it. I just try to leave everything out there. If it was good, it was good."
Can you walk us through the feeling of waiting for a phone call to come and someone to believe in your abilities again?
"The beginning of it, it's really about having a lot of faith in yourself. In order for somebody to believe in you, you got to have that belief in yourself. Whatever I'm going through, I'm going to get better through it, I'm going to be better for it, and I'm going to show that and prove that. When you continue to start putting those eggs in those baskets, more people will start to see the things that they need to see to allow you to be a part of whatever they're doing, and then it's just an exciting time to be able to put that forth and let that shine."
What are your impressions of Houston?
"I love Houston. I mean, it's been raining a couple of days, it's hot and it's muggy and whatever, but I love Houston. My sister's down here with my three nieces and nephews down in Katy, so I get to see all my babies. I get to play football down in Texas. Where else do you want to play football at? I got to watch out for all the good food, so I don't gain too much weight, because I like eating. I love playing here. I love it down here. I'm excited to be down here. I can't wait to continue to just keep pouring more and more in from myself to the team."
CB ROBERT NELSON
How much progress do you think you've made?
"That's not up to me. You can ask Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) and them. I mean, I just play the game. That's up to the coaches. You ask the coaches and stuff like that. I just try to give my best every day and let them decide."
How do you feel about the way you've played?
"(The) focus is helping the team, that's all that matters. As long as the front seven feel good with it, my safeties feel good with it, that's all I really care about."
What do you learn going up against a receiver like WR DeAndre Hopkins and how does that help you become a better player?
"I'm going against a Pro Bowler every day. What else could you ask for? He's one of the best receivers in the league, so he's making me better and I'm learning from him. He talks to me while we're going through it after the play. If we get a little too physical, he tells me certain things to watch out for. So, he's teaching me and we're both getting better at the same time."
Is that pretty exciting?
"Yeah. I mean, he's a Pro Bowler. I've been dreaming of this since I was little."
With CB A.J. Bouye leaving in the offseason, there's a natural opportunity for you. How different is your preparation when you know there's a job to be won?
"I haven't made the team yet, so I'm just focused on being the best and helping the team and making this team. I'm an undrafted guy so there's nothing guaranteed for me. I just got to go out here and give it everything I got every day."
Did having that first interception give you confidence?
"I think it gave the team confidence in me. Since I started playing this game I've had confidence in myself but it's just about having everybody else comfortable with you knowing the scheme (and) competing at this level. So, that's the most important thing."
What is it that you want to work on the most?
"Like I said, just helping this team and making the team. Nothing else really matters to me besides helping my team and making the team because it doesn't matter what I do out here. If you get cut, nothing really matters at the end of the day. That's my focus; helping my team and making the team as well."
Why did you switch to No. 21?
"Deion Sanders has always been my favorite player, so that's somebody I've admired since I was four years old. That's why I changed my number."
Check out some of the best shots from the third week of Texans OTAs.