HEAD COACH AND GENERAL MANAGER BILL O'BRIEN
"First and foremost I just want to reach out to all of you and just hope that everybody is healthy and safe. This is a very unusual time in our country, and I think before we dive into football, I just think it's really important from my family, to everybody that's on this call, to everybody out there to just wish everybody the best. It's really a tough time. I think everybody in Houston is doing a great job of social distancing and all of those things, but I think the biggest thing I want to do – especially as it relates to my family – is to thank the doctors, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, the first responders, the researchers throughout Houston and actually throughout our entire country who are caring for people with the virus and working tirelessly to try to develop a vaccine, develop testing, treatments. It just hits home to our family, especially with our experience here with the great medical institutions in Houston – Texas Children's, (Houston) Methodist – that we're so fond of and that we deal with quite a bit related to my oldest son. I just want to really say that first of all. Zoom is a hard way to communicate, but I think it's the best way we can do it right now. I think face-to-face communication is still the best, but through Zoom hopefully everybody can hear me and understand what I'm trying to say in that regard.
Relative to football, I can just tell you our organization, our coaching staff, our scouting staff, everybody, our PR staff on this call, everybody that's involved with the Houston Texans is very, very excited about where we're at right now. We have a team effort. Our focus has always been and will always be about doing what's best for the team, and in order to do what's best for the team you have to take into account many, many things. Hopefully you'll give me a second here and then I'll open it up to questions. The key to having the best team is not just having the best player. We have a lot of really good players. Obviously we've got players that are Pro Bowl players, we've got players that are tremendous role players, but really the key to having the best team is to have a room full of productive players – layers and layers of productive players relative to what their roles are on the football team. I'd say contracts, injuries and the salary cap are a part of the game as we know it, and those have to come in to play in every decision we make relative to the personnel on our team. And really after researching teams that really win in January – we've won the Wild Card game, but we have not gotten past that. Everybody understands that in Houston. We're working tirelessly to get past that to get to the ultimate goal of the Super Bowl, but after studying teams that win in January, win in February, our staff is more convicted than ever that we must be prepared to have layers upon layers of productive players who can build on the tradition that we have established here of winning the AFC South four out of the last five years and to try to get beyond that. We know that the goal is to get beyond that, but we've studied, we've researched. I think this time has given myself and our staff a lot of time to reflect, and obviously I know we want to be better, but I think if you look back to – let's just call it August, the end of last July, August – I don't think either myself or anybody involved with the Texans or even our fans would have thought that some of the moves that we made would have worked out the way they worked out. We brought Carlos Hyde in, he rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. We brought Jacob Martin in, he had three sacks including a huge sack in the Wild Card Game that helped us win the game. Barkevious Mingo blocked a huge punt in the playoff game. Keion Crossen I would say is one of the better special teams players in the NFL. Gareon Conley, making plays on the ball, really graded highly in his games with us this year. Duke Johnson converting a 3rd-and-20 in the Wild Card Game to help us win the game. I think if we all reflect back, I think it's important that we see what was accomplished last year and where we need to go, where we need to go and what we're trying to do. I would say in conclusion of these remarks and then I'll open it up to questions, I would say I'm really excited about our current team. We've added players upon players. In no specific order, we were able to sign back some really key free agents that we had on our own team, like Darren Fells and Ka'imi Fairbairn and Dylan Cole and AJ McCarron and more – Phillip Gaines, role players, Vernon Hargreaves (III), Bradley Roby. I think we've done a really good job. Yes, we did lose D.J. Reader. We tried very hard to keep D.J. Reader. D.J. Reader is an excellent player and an even better person, and we wish him the best in Cincinnati, but it's hard to keep everybody. I would say free agent wise, we were able to add Eric Murray and Jaylen Watkins and Randall Cobb, and then most recently we made a trade for Brandin Cooks. We have two receivers there at that position now that have played in January and in February. So, like I said, we're so excited about where we are. It's very incomplete, though. It's incomplete relative to being before the draft. We have a long way to go here in building our team. We want to win the postseason and we understand that. We understand what it takes to get there, and we understand, in our minds, what it takes to move beyond where we've been. I'd say this year we moved the furthest that we've been in the Deshaun Watson era, and we have more Pro Bowls on our team, we have more guys that have played in Super Bowls on our team. We're in a good position relative to where we're at during this time of the year. I know a lot of people are going to ask me about, probably, the transaction that made the most news, DeAndre Hopkins. First and foremost, I will tell you that DeAndre Hopkins was a great player in Houston. He made a ton of plays for us and just did a great job. Obviously, the production is there, and everybody knows what that production is. I'd say with three years left on his contract, his representatives, himself, myself and our team of people, we spoke and we felt like relative to what I said earlier – salary cap, future, our team, being able to provide our team with more and more role players, layers of players – it was in the best interest of our team to move DeAndre to Arizona. We feel like we made a really good deal with Arizona. We're so excited about having David Johnson on board here. We've got the 40th pick next week in the draft. We're really excited about that. We wish DeAndre the best. DeAndre is a great football player and he'll do well in Arizona. We wish him the best in Arizona."
How is your team and your offense better without WR DeAndre Hopkins and how are you going to replace him?
"I don't think you replace Hopkins. I think that every year is different. I think that this year's offense will be totally different than last year's offense or the year before's offense. I think that Timmy Kelly and myself are doing a lot of Zoom meetings with our offensive staff. We're thinking about who we have on our team right now. We feel really good about where we are offensively right now with our personnel and what we're going to be able to do. I feel like our offensive line at the tackle position, at the center position, at the guard position is in good shape. Our tight end position is very strong. Our wide receiver position – we have four, five, six wide receivers that are going to be battling whenever we're able to get back to practice. We feel good about our offense. We feel good about where it's at. Again, we've got to go out there and produce, but we've got a lot of players on offense."
As someone who has traded for several running backs, do you think something gets lost in the discussion that running backs are all replaceable or that it isn't worth investing in the position?
"I think it's a good question. I think that one thing, when you look at the trade with Arizona and when you're involving a guy like DeAndre (Hopkins) who is a great player, who they're going to have to adjust his contract in Arizona. I think you'll see that whenever that ends up happening. You're going to buy the 40th pick also. I think at the end of the day, there's going to be some player on their roster that you really like that is due some money in 2020 that you're going to take on to your team in addition to the 40th pick, and I think when you look at David Johnson, he's a three-down back who's had some really productive years. Plus the type of guy he is, just been on the phone with him a few times, having met him face to face when he was coming out in the draft, I just am so excited about having him, Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks in this locker room. Three pros, three guys that really understand what it takes to win day in and day out, and we're excited about those guys."
Is there a reason you've focused on making trades and made so many in the last year as opposed to other ways of building the roster?
"I think it's a great question. I think there's many ways to build a team. I think you have really, to me you have four ways to build a team or four periods of the year to build a team. You have free agency, you have offseason trades, which obviously we've done both. You have the draft which is coming up in a week. You have training camp, maybe there's joint practices where you see guys from other teams or you get to that 53 cut, now 55 cut, and you see what's out there and maybe you've had experience with a guy and you can you can improve your roster that way. I think that you have the pre-trade deadline, which we've taken advantage of over the years here in Houston, whether it was the Demaryius Thomas or other people in the past. I think there's a lot of different ways to build your team. I'm giving you four of them right there, but there's also other ways. I got a text yesterday from one of our special teams coaches talking to me about a guy – I don't want to mention his name, but a free agent that's out there that they've had experience coaching in the past and that they think could really fit our team. Well again, it comes down to contracts, injury history, salary cap for not just this year but two years, three years, four years down the road. Those decisions have to be made, but that's another way. Coaches that have had experience with players in the past, that's another way to build your team. One thing on this, I do want to make this point. In my opinion – again, it's just my opinion – but I think that this year with the unique position that we're in, I truly believe that this is a veteran type of year. I think it's going to be really difficult for rookies without offseason practicing on the field and being able to do all the things that you do during that five-week stretch after the draft and then training camp. Who knows when all that will start – I'm not trying to predict that, but I think this year being different than any other year is that's part of our building of the team also."
With the acquisition of WR Brandin Cooks, what do you feel like specifically he'll bring to the table and how do you see the wide receiver room meshing together?
"I think that Brandin brings a lot to the table. He's a tremendous route runner, he's got great speed, really good deep ball player. If you look at his yards per catch over the years, it's really high. You're talking about in the 14 to 15 range. I've been asked about concussions. Yes, he's had concussions, but he's only missed two games since 2015. All of that was taken into account when we worked with Sean McVay on the trade. I think what we have at that receiver position right now is a very diverse group of receivers. You have Will Fuller (V), who has produced in great ways when he's been healthy, he's produced a lot. You have Kenny Stills who came in here last year and did a really good job. Now you add Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb, you've got Keke Coutee. You've got some guys there – DeAndre Carter, who we were able to bring back. You've got some guys there that I think will show the fans and really everybody that we have a very diverse group of wide receivers that we're really excited about being able to get to work with."
What do you think is your biggest need entering the 2020 NFL Draft?
"I think there's a lot of things we have to look at. I feel good about our defensive line, but when you lose a player like D.J. Reader, you've got to think about – you're not going to be able to replace D.J. Reader because he was such an excellent player for what his skillset was and what he brought to the table. I'm not saying that you're going to be able to replace that player in the draft. That's really not what I'm saying either. I just think that overall when you look at that position, we feel good about that position. Obviously, J.J. (Watt) there, Angelo Blackson, we signed Timmy Jernigan. That was a big get for us to be able to bring Timmy Jernigan onto our roster, which is somebody I didn't mention earlier but I should have. I still think we've got to add depth there. I think past that, when you look at the draft specifically, you're not going to draft based on need. You're going to draft based on who is the best player for your team when you're picking at that pick. Again, if there's a bunch of players there that you think can fit your team, maybe you think about doing some other things within the draft. But I would say defensive line – we're looking at all the positions. Safety is another position I think we can add to. We've added Eric Murray, we've added Jaylen Watkins but we can continue to add depth there. I'd say there's not one specific need but there's several."
Can you talk about your relationship with QB Deshaun Watson and how you are planning on continuing to coach and teach him virtually during this time? Will this virtual offseason affect your offensive plan this upcoming season?
"I think it goes back to what I was saying a couple questions ago about this being a veteran year. I think that you're going to have to have guys in your system that have an understanding of how to work, what it takes, have been in similar systems. (Brandin) Cooks has been in a similar system, obviously. Even (Randall) Cobb has been in a similar system. Obviously, Deshaun Watson going into his fourth year, has been in our system and knows what to expect. He's been in contact with these guys that are new to our team. We will begin our offseason program on April 27. The NFL gave us a memo this week about either starting April 20 or April 27 and using some weeks there up until May 15, so we're going to use April 27 through May 15 and we're going to have Zoom meetings and Discord meetings. Discord, we can show film. Zoom, we wouldn't be able to show film but on Discord we can show film. We're having a staff meeting about that early next week, about how we're going to do that. I feel good about those guys learning and seeing because you can see and you can teach, you can show film. If you want to get up on the board and draw something or if Deshaun (Watson) has a question, we'll send him a chalkboard. He can draw it up on the board, whatever it takes until we can get back together. That's really the approach we'll take relative to what the rules are. We'll do what's best for everybody and obey the rules but we've got all that mapped out. It's going to be different but we're looking forward to seeing everybody in a little bit here."
During this time, how were you able check on RB David Johnson's injury history and how were you assured that you were comfortable moving forward?
"Number one, I would say I've known Steve Keim for a lot of years. Steve is a Pennsylvania guy. When I was at Penn State, he and I got to know each other and obviously being in the NFL. He was very emphatic about the fact that David passed his exit physical at the end of the year. Obviously, with us, we wanted our own doctor or a doctor that was close with Dr. (Walter) Lowe to be able to examine David and that's what ended up happening. But in the beginning, these are good faith negotiations that take a lot of time. I didn't mention this earlier but when you go back to the Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills trade, that was about a 150-200 phone calls between Chris Grier and myself. With Steve Keim, you're talking about another 100 calls where you're talking about a lot of different things, including the health of DeAndre (Hopkins) and not just David. This is a league that is a very competitive league but yesterday David passed his physical with flying colors and he's ready to go, he's excited, and we're just excited for the day that we can get back out there."
How has the way the organization evaluates and values players changed over the years, especially since Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby was hired?
"I would say what pops into my mind when I hear that question, which is a great question, is I think about our analytics department, and I haven't mentioned them yet. Jack and myself, we use Russell Joyner and his group quite a bit relative to everything from the prediction of an injury to the value of a trade to the value of a contract relative to the player, relative to the market. I would also mention Kevin Krajcovic, who has been tremendous for us in charge of the salary cap. He does a great job for us. We've also, if this makes sense, we've taken Tim Brog, our director of video production, he's a very bright guy, so you're talking about a lot of brain power here with Russell, Timmy Brog and Kevin Krajcovic. We've kind of merged those departments in some way, shape or form, especially Tim and Russell. Before we do anything, there's layers of research that really they do and they produce that research, they give it to us. Actually for the last three weeks, Jack and I have been on the back patio here at my house in Houston. We made the (Brandin) Cooks trade back here through email upon email, Zoom calls with Russell and Kevin Krajcovic. I guess my point is, it's a longwinded answer, but we're really taking advantage of our tremendous analytics department and making as good of decisions as we can for the team. Sometimes for the fans, that's hard because – I get it. You see a guy like DeAndre Hopkins who's not here anymore. I understand that. DeAndre is a great football player. But that decision, relative to our team, we felt was in the best interest of our team. Not just for next year but moving into the future, which is what I was saying earlier. But I have to give those guys a ton of credit and that's the one thing I do want to make clear to everybody, especially in Houston, is that we have a great team of people. I've said that before. Jack and I are running the football side of things and Jamey Rootes runs the business side and Cal McNair runs the whole show. But on the football side, we have just a tremendous team of people. Here's your public relations department right here, Amy Palcic, I see Allie (LeClair) on there, Omar (Majzoub). Also Mike Parson in equipment, Tim Brog in video, Ladd Harris, Mike Eubanks, Geoff Kaplan, Roland Ramirez, Kevin Krajcovic, Russell Joyner, Brent Naccara. I mean, you're talking about a great team of people with a lot of brain power that are helping us make really good decisions for the team. Hopefully, you guys can write a lot about them."
As far as strength and conditioning goes, are you sending players workouts or is it up to them to stay in shape during this time?
"I think that it's a very unique time. I think one thing that we do is that Mike Eubanks stays in great touch with these guys. They FaceTime. I think as far as directing them and doing things like that, it's hard, especially for the guys that don't live in Houston. But for the guys that do stay in Houston, Nick Martin, he's got a garage weight room. They're obeying social distancing during this time right now but he's got some equipment over there, he's lifting over there. You talked about Justin Reid having to do some things. Will Fuller (V), these are some of the guys that are in Houston. I think the big thing is Mike Eubanks is doing a great job of directing them, Ladd Harris on nutrition and all those different things. I think that our people in those programs are doing a really good job of communicating with those guys on a daily basis. But it is hard because they don't have the field and they don't have the weight room. Again, it goes back to my point about this being a veteran year. A majority of your guys are going to have really understand what it's going to take to be in shape when they do tell us we can play."
What are you overall thoughts on the cornerback position and how much attention are you paying to the other AFC South teams this offseason?
"I would say that I'm really excited about the secondary. I think that we a very diverse secondary. So, one of the things about Bradley Roby is the versatility he brings, the ability to play outside, play inside, to play a lot different positions, play man-to-man, play zone. Obviously, last year traded for Gareon Conley. Really excited about him next year. Lonnie Johnson (Jr.), he's another guy when you ask about off-field workouts and things, he's doing a good job of working out and staying in touch with Mike Eubanks, expecting big things out of him. Keion Crossen, talked about him earlier. Vernon Hargreaves (III) we were able to get back in free agency. Phillip Gaines, we were able to get back. All of these guys are very versatile players, then if you look at the safety position, Justin Reid, Eric Murray, Jaylen Watkins, A.J. Moore, just a real diverse group of guys that can – Eric Murray played corner, Jaylen Watkins has played nickel. They're not just safeties. Relative to the AFC South, we definitely pay attention. We have to. The division is very important. We've got great teams in the division, obviously Tennessee, Indianapolis and Jacksonville are all doing things to try to improve their team. Obviously, very tough division. Great coaches, great players and we try to keep track as best as we can."
What are the challenges of scouting potential draft picks virtually?
"We've done a lot of FaceTime. It's a lot more FaceTime than in the past. We have FaceTimed a lot of guys, we've called a lot of different players. We've studied a lot of film, obviously separately, but then we've been able to come together on Zoom calls and be able to communicate about what we see with players on film. I think we've done a good job. I've got to say this again. When you have our Tim Brog and Russell Joyner, these guys are setting us up with these Zoom meetings and Discord meetings and all those things, that's a valuable resource for us in our organization. So, look, there's been challenges, but we've been able to do a lot of good things to be ready for the draft. I would say on the back patio here, we practice social distancing. Matt Bazirgan, Jack Easterby, they come over a lot, we stay 10-feet apart but we're able to have some meetings there about the draft. We feel very good about our preparation for the draft."
What are you seeking from your new coordinator and playcallers this season and how are you balancing your roles as the head coach and general manager?
"The coordinators, Tim Kelly and Anthony Weaver and then Brad Seely, they've done a great job. Just yesterday, they all sent me their rankings by position for the draft. They've had their own Discord and Zoom meetings with their staff, especially offense and defense. They've done a really good job of staying in touch with their staff. I'm just excited about those guys. Especially Tim and Anthony being new. They have adapted to this unique time, they're working hard, and they've had a lot of good input into the draft. You have a lot of different ways to communicate, obviously with email and obviously Zoom and all the things that we've mentioned, but I feel really good. Relative to my role – again, I have to really be as clear as I can about this. We have a great team, myself and Jack Easterby do a lot together. We meet every day, we talk every day. Obviously (Matt) Bazirgan, James Liipfert, our college scouting director, Rob Kisiel, our pro scouting director, and then all the other people that I mentioned earlier in this call. I mean, we just have a great team of people with a lot of brainpower around the so-called table and they do a lot of work to help us make as good of decisions as we can for the team."
Did you have a conversation with QB Deshaun Watson before you decided to trade WR DeAndre Hopkins?
"I would say that any conversation like that, with all due respect, I'd keep between myself and the player. I will say that we communicated a lot with Deshaun during this time. He's doing a great job of working out, staying in shape. He's been in touch with his new teammates. Any conversation that I would have with a player relative to those types of things, I just like to keep that in house. But yeah, we've communicated quite a bit with Deshaun and all the other players."
How does QB Deshaun Watson view the new offense?
"He's excited. I don't want to speak for him, but he's excited about No. 1, Timmy Kelly. He has a great relationship with Tim. T.J. Yates will be the assistant quarterbacks coach. That's a good room. Another guy I didn't mention earlier but AJ McCarron, we were able to bring him back. So, really good quarterback room there with a lot of experience and those guys really enjoy working with Tim Kelly. Relative to the new teammates – obviously with Will (Fuller V) and Kenny (Stills), and Keke (Coutee) and those guys, I'm sure he's had a lot of conversations with them. I know he's had conversations with Randall (Cobb) and with Brandin, but they haven't been around each other. So, to me it's just all about when we get back together and try to hit the ground running and be a productive offense. I feel really good about where we are offensively."
Why was it necessary to bring up Aaron Hernandez in a conversation with DeAndre Hopkins?
"I have no comment on that."
What do you think TE Kahale Warring got out of his rookie year and is it still reasonable to expect him to produce for your team this year?
"I do. Look, I don't think it was ideal for him to not play football last year. He was injured in the Green Bay scrimmage. We felt like, as time wore on, it was best for us to work with him in the classroom and do some things that we were able to do out on the field relative – observe a lot. I know he's working really hard right now. He's in between Houston and the West Coast and I'm excited about Kahale's future. I really like Kahale. I think he's a hardworking guy and I think he's got a lot of talent, and I think he's going to be a good really good player for us."
What has been the most challenging part of not being able to work at the stadium?
"I would say that for me, the stadium is kind of my home away from home. So, it's been hard for me to be adjusted to working at home. I enjoy going into the stadium, I enjoy the face-to-face interaction with the players and the coaches and the scouts and all of the other people that work in in the Texans organization, and you don't really have that. So, that's been an adjustment for me, but we've adjusted, we've adapted and it is what it is. There's nothing you can do about it. You've got to adapt, you've got to adjust and that's what we've done. We've stayed in communication. This technology is huge for us to be able to Zoom and like I said, use Discord. Coordinators can show film to their staff, and then the players on April 27, I think we're, we've adapted really well.
Is there anyone you know among the Texans family that has been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19?
"Not that I know of. Relative to even my family, and I don't want to get too personal here, but there have been people tested and things like that, but nobody's – somebody may have had the flu, but not the coronavirus. Extended family, I don't know of anybody right now with the Texans that has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, so thank god for that. No, not relative to the Texans, no. Then relative to the outside, my family and things like that, nope not so far."
What are your thoughts on the possibility of playing games in stadiums without fans?
"We've thought a lot about that, just from – we've sat here and talked. I knew I would be asked this question. I think it's a good question. I want to be sensitive to my answer to this question. I think that the big thing is like – when I walk off the back patio and I go back in and I'm with my family and especially my oldest son and things like that, I think more about life and saving lives and not really as much about football. I'm not trying to pontificate. I'm not trying to do that. I just think that it's important that before we – in my opinion, just my opinion, before we let people back into stadium and things like that, we better have the testing down, we better be on our way to a vaccine. I don't think you're going to be able to move forward until we have a better grasp of the whole thing. In some areas, it's peaked, in other areas it hasn't peaked. People talk about it coming back in the fall. I mean, I think we just have to – we can't be in a rush. I think life as we know it is going to change and we can't be in a rush. We'll play football at some point. We will definitely play football. When that is, who knows, but we'll just keep doing what we have to do to stay up with the competition and when they tell us to get ready to play, we'll try to get ready to play."
How is WR Will Fuller V doing based on the level you're able to communicate with him right now and how are contract negotiations going with T Laremy Tunsil?
"I would say with Will Fuller, before we left the stadium and those guys were in the stadium a lot, Will Fuller is doing great. Then, since we've left I've been in touch with him a couple times. He's working out, he looks good. We're excited about Will. We're excited about the 2020 Will. We feel like he's really working, and like I've said a lot, when he's played for us he's made huge plays and I think he's looking to have a really good 2020. The second question was about Laremy. Laremy and I have been in touch quite a bit. Laremy is a great guy, a great part of our team. We've been in a lot of contact. I don't want to get into the details of that but we're working hard to try to get a deal done."
Could you talk about the valuation of the components of the trade with Arizona?
"Any time you make a trade, each trade is unique unto itself. So, when you're trading a player like DeAndre Hopkins who has three years left on his deal and you're trying to find a trade partner, you're not talking to 31 other teams. I'm not going to get into all the details of this, but you're finding a trade partner, No. 1, that's going to be able to pay DeAndre Hopkins. That was a big part of it. Once we found that team that could afford DeAndre Hopkins in the future, now we then began to negotiate what the value of the trade was. We feel very, very good about being able to get the 40th pick, being able to get David Johnson. We feel really good about, when we looked at the analytics of it based on the production that was leaving our team and the production that we were bringing in and then what we were able to do – again, it's very incomplete and we have several roster moves left to go, including a draft and all the other things I mentioned earlier. We feel very good about the value that we got for the trade and I think the best thing I can tell the fans is to please – I know the media's job is to evaluate right away. I get that. I have a lot of respect for the media, I've always said that. But I think we have to let it all play out. Let it play out. Let the whole thing play out, whether it's that trade or anything else that we've done. I would say let's review it a year from now, two years from now, three years from now. Let's let it all play out."
Is there any sort of special plan to make sure some of the wide receivers with injury histories can be healthy this season?
"We do. Each year the plan changes relative to what the injuries on your team are. This year we have a few guys, whether it's Will Fuller (V) or Tytus Howard or Dylan Cole. We have been in great communication with them. Roland Ramirez, our trainer, Dr. (Walter) Lowe, our team doctor, a lot of FaceTime, a lot of Zoom, being able to watch their rehab, being able to watch what they do and being able to coach them up on what they're doing. I think we're doing a really good job of that. I think we've adapted really well to make sure that when we are able to come back and play football, those guys will be ready to go."
Without being able to have your doctors examine WR Brandin Cooks, how were you able to assess his medical history and what do you think of adding his speed to the wide receiver group?
"Without getting into who did the physical on Brandin, it was a doctor that we felt really good about, that Dr. (Walter) Lowe had a personal friendship with. That's kind of how it goes during this unique time when there's no traveling and no things like that. That physical had to take place in L.A. and we were able to have a doctor out there that did a great job. We also spoke with other doctors relative to Brandin and his injuries, not to get into the details. We feel really good about where Brandin's at relative to his health. We really can't wait to start coaching him. Again, like I said to Stephanie, these things all have to play out. They do. We understand that. We've put a lot of research into these things. We've put a lot of work into them, a lot of layers of research. They all have to play out. Hopefully they play out well. We believe they will."
WR DeAndre Hopkins was not the first player to ever ask for a raise. What was different about the situation with him that you felt compelled to trade him?
"I would say, again, going back to what I talked about originally relative to contracts, injuries, the salary cap as a part of the game as we know it right now relative to the future of our team, next year, two years, three years down the road. It was going to be very, very difficult to have an elite quarterback, an elite defensive end, an elite left tackle and other players and be able to do that. So, we felt like, again, after research and layers of research, that the best decision for our team was to move him to Arizona. That's what we decided to do. Again, each deal that comes up like that, like you said, is very unique. He's not the first player to ask for a raise and he won't be the last, and that's not anything that has to do with why we moved him. We moved him because we felt like that was the best deal for our team relative to this year, next year, two years, three years down the road."
What is your biggest concern about operating the draft virtually?
"I don't know if I would call it a concern, I would say just making sure that your cell phone works. If a team is trying to call you or you're trying to call a team, making sure you have the ability to contact another team or they have the ability to contact you. I'm not concerned about the NFL, the technology. They're putting a lot of work into that. We're going to have a mock draft early next week, so each team will be able to kind of walk through it, rehearse it. I'm not concerned about that. I would just say if anything it's being able to – we all have to be separate, so just making sure that we can all get in touch. Sometimes cell phones don't work all the time in certain areas."
What do you think of the quality of the wide receiver class and some of the different abilities these guys have?
"I would agree that there's a good amount of diverse wide receivers. You've got guys that can play on the outside, guys that can play on the inside, guys that return kicks, guys that can run, guys that are really good route runners. There's some good receivers. But I think it's very, very difficult – again, we've evaluated all these receivers and we may draft a receiver, who knows. Whatever we think at that pick is best for our team, that's what we're going to do. I do think it's very difficult for a receiver to come in as a rookie and play right away, especially in a unique time like this. That's my experience. Even with a full rookie minicamp, training camp, the whole thing, it's very difficult for rookie wide receivers to play. It's a whole different ballgame. Press coverage, different coverages, different types of corners that you have to learn to play against. There are a lot of good receivers that have been productive in college and we'll see how it goes."