WR RANDALL COBB
What was the primary reason you chose the Texans, and what do you think about playing with QB Deshaun Watson?
"The reason I picked the Texans is, obviously, I think that you look at what they've been able to do over the past few years – went to the playoffs four of the past five times. At this point in my career, I still don't have a ring, so I want to be in a situation where I have that possibility. I think when you look at Deshaun (Watson) and what he's been able to do since he's been in the league, I've been really impressed from afar watching him. He has tremendous ability, he's a winner. He's won at every level, from high school to college. I think he has that ability to take us to a Super Bowl and I want to be a part of something special with him."
What was free agency like having to sign with a new team without being able to go visit them?
"That's probably been the weirdest part. This is my second or third time going through free agency, and normally during the tampering period you can't really do anything anyway, but once the league year starts and you're able to go down and meet with the team and meet with the coaches and sit down and watch some film with the coaches and get a good feel for what you're getting into. I didn't get that opportunity this year, so really that's the only thing I've been doing is kind of watching some of the highlights that I could find on the internet on YouTube, and trying to get an idea. I talked to Coach (Bill) O'Brien and kind of felt the way that they're going to use me and how I can fit into the offense, but it was definitely a little weird this year. I still haven't had my physical yet, so I actually haven't signed. I live out in L.A. in the offseason right now. Everything is shut down out here, and I haven't had the opportunity to a doctor's office and get my physical yet."
Are you able to work out and stay active right now?
"Well, luckily I have a gym at the house, so I've been able to work out. I've got a turf field in the backyard. I've got about 15 or 20 yards in the backyard where I can run around and do some movement, do some of the basic stuff that I need to do just to make sure I'm in shape and ready to go when we do get to hit the ground running."
Did you talk about what you hope to bring to the Texans?
"It was pretty much Coach (Bill) O'Brien, he told me how he saw that I would fit in the offense and obviously some veteran presence that I could bring to the team. This is going into my 10th year. I've been on some winning football teams and I've been on some teams that haven't quite made it. I went to the playoffs my first six years and then these past three, unfortunately, I haven't been able to get back to them. I think over the course of my career, I've seen a lot of different things. I've seen how to win, I've seen how to lead, and I think just being able to come in and be another voice – I know there's some tremendous leaders on this team, but I want to come in and be another voice for some of the young guys on offensive side of the ball."
What do you think of the Texans receiver group with guys like WR Kenny Stills and WR Will Fuller V?
"I'm a big fan of them. I think you look at Fuller whenever he's healthy and he's able to be on the field, he's an amazing athlete, he's got a lot of speed, he can take the top off the coverages, he makes some big plays downfield, and Kenny is a playmaker. Get the ball in his hands and let him do what he do. I look forward to coming in and being a piece of that. I think obviously with DeAndre (Hopkins) leaving, it's going to be a lot of eyes on all three of us to step up and make some plays, and typically me because a lot of people are looking at me and coming in and being a replacement, even though me and DeAndre are two totally different types of receivers. I look forward to the challenge and coming in and showing what I can do."
As a slot receiver, what do you think are your specialties and things that you'll add to the offense?
"I think the biggest thing is the chemistry with the quarterback. That's one thing that I'm excited to come in and build and be able to learn what he likes and show him what I'm good at and just being able to communicate and be on the same page. When I watch his highlights, a lot of the routes that were ran by the slot receivers are a lot of the stuff that I'm used to in my career. I've ran a lot of routes out of the slot just being my primary position for most of my career. I think, obviously, when I played with (Aaron) Rogers my first eight years, a lot of what he did was late in the play, scrambling around, moving around and just being able to find ways to get open after the initial route and create separation and be a target and find a way to get open for him in those situations. I see a lot of the same characteristics in Deshaun (Watson), the way he's able to escape the pocket and keep his eyes downfield and find receivers."
How much did you learn from your dad about building a work ethic to help you get to where you are now?
"That's all I know. I come from a little blue-collar town, Alcoa, Tennessee, the Aluminum Company of America. That's all I've ever known. My pops, he worked at a manufacturing company there in town, and then he would come home and do handyman work for people. We would go out in the little bit of snow that we got, but when we did get it we would go out and shovel snow for other families in the neighborhood that couldn't. He's always been one that was always working, always doing something to keep busy, and I kind of picked up that trait from him. He always taught me if I wasn't working, there's somebody out there who's working to get better than me. That's kind of how I've always looked at it, and sometimes it's been my gift and my curse. Some of the injuries I've had have come from overworking, so it's important for me to make sure that I find that balance and continue to grow as a player."
Will you play any special teams for the Texans?
"I don't know. We haven't really talked about that. I'm willing to do whatever I can to help the team win. At the end of the day, that's what I'm coming for. I want to win, and whatever it's going to take to help us get to where we want to go. So, yeah, I'm definitely willing if that's the case. I've been a punt returner in the past. I'm not as much of a fan of kickoffs anymore as I was earlier in my career, but I definitely wouldn't mind getting back to punt return."
What do you think about being on the same team as DE J.J. Watt?
"I know whenever I was up in Wisconsin, he's a fan favorite. Everybody loves J.J. He's a great player, a great leader. I think as you look at what he's been able to do over his career – we came into the league the same year. We trained together at the same facility coming out, so I've known J.J. from afar for a long time, and it's impressive to see how well he's continued to play throughout his career."
What are some of the specific ways that you mentor the younger players?
"I think just finding out what motivates them. Everybody's different. You talk to guys and get a feel for who they are and what they're all about. You find ways that you can help them to better themselves because at the end of the day, that's what it's all about. It's about us making each other better and growing together and becoming more of a team, and doing everything we can to find a way to win games."
Is this the first time that the Houston Texans have pursued you in free agency?
"Yes. This is the first time that they came into the picture. My first time going through free agency, I didn't really know what was going on and I really just wanted to go back to Green Bay. I think last year a lot of people had given up on me just for the fact that I had been injured the prior year and missed a lot of time. Obviously, being 28, I guess a lot of people didn't know if I was capable of still playing. I was able to go out last year and prove that, and have a few offers this year."
How vital was it for Dallas to give you a chance to get back on track last season?
"That was, I think, one of the special things about Dallas. They gave me that opportunity. They made the decision a little bit tough to either go back to Dallas, or Houston. I was excited about the opportunity to come to Houston, but Dallas definitely did give me that opportunity. I thank that organization for believing in me still and giving me that chance.
What allowed you to create the amount of explosive plays you did last season?
"I think the biggest thing was the offseason workout that I went through with Dallas, I think definitely helped keep me healthy. I think I built a lot of strength, especially in my hamstrings. Whenever I got to Dallas, I was told that my hamstrings were really weak and I was the first time that I've been told that in my career, so being able to build that strength and stay on the field, I felt really, really good. Probably the best I've felt in the past five or six years, so I was really excited to go down and be a part of that offense. Like you said, we had three receivers that produced and played really well. I think that has a lot credit to Kellen Moore and his offense. I think that he was a great coordinator and great at putting us in great positions to make plays."
What other teams made you offers before you made your decision to sign in Houston?
"There were a few teams that made offers or showed interest. Dallas and Houston were two teams that offered and it was a tough decision to make. Hearing what my agent was telling me about Coach (Bill) O'Brien and the opportunity that he wanted to give me to kind of do some of the things that I did when I was back in Green Bay, was one of the one of the main reasons that I jumped at the offer."
Is there anybody that had made the biggest impact on your career?
"I would say, probably the player was Jordy Nelson when I was up in Green Bay, just looking at the way that he approached things. I was fortunate enough, when I came into the league my rookie year, I was behind Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Watching the way that they went about their business, watching the way that they communicated with each other, it was all about the team and how they can make each other better, because they know at the end of the day, the more reps that we had on the field, the better that would be overall. So, just being able to watch them work and to learn from them about how to practice and how to go about my business, I think that was a main reason why I turned out the way that I did, was being able to see pros be pros and do what they do. Jordy Nelson in particular because just the way that he went about it. He was the same every day, practiced the same every day. He ate the same meals every morning. He went into the weight room and did what he needed to. Before practice, after practice, throughout. Going into the training room and getting everything that he needed. He made sure he took care of his body and he was very, very good with his communication skills about teaching young guys and helping young guys understand what we were trying to accomplish."
Have you had a chance to get to know any of your new teammates even though you're separated?
"No, not really. I reached out to Deshaun (Watson). Me and him text back and forth a little bit. I used to train with Kenny Stills him a little bit, so I've been talking to him. Still trying to get in touch with (Will) Fuller (V) and some of the other guys. I'm going to try to get their numbers here shortly so I can reach out and call them and text them and everything. But no, obviously it's an unprecedented time with what's going on I don't know how long we're going to be stuck in L.A. and when we're going to be able to get down to Houston and find a house and start training down there and everything. I look forward to getting to know everybody and meeting everybody and starting to mesh together."