Texans Transcripts: August 2

Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel

Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin

Secondary Coach Anthony Midget

Wide Receivers Coach John Perry

Quarterbacks Coach Sean Ryan

Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely

Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver


What is it like to have DE J.J. Watt back out there?

"He hasn't been fully released yet. He's doing some things. Like all guys who get injured, they have to knock the rust off and get back to feeling comfortable. Hopefully he's beginning to feel comfortable and we'll see how it goes."

Can you talk about the complexity of your defense and the options you have with the talent you are working with?

"Every year is a new year. You have to find out what the new guys can do, how fast they can pick up on the system and then you have to find out, the guys who have been injured, what they can do. Even though they might know the system, they still have to find out that they're capable of doing what they used to do. So, you have to go through that process and then once you get through the process, then you begin to know what you got. It's training camp, it's preseason games and then we should be able to figure something out toward the end of preseason."

How would assess where S Tyrann Mathieu is right now?

"Well, he's still learning. I think sometimes you have to get to game competition to find out exactly what guys know. But he's picked up on the system, he can communicate back there, he's got good ability to make plays. When we get into the games, we'll see how that compares."

How have you seen ILB Benardrick McKinney grow the last few years?

"He's grown quite a bit. He came in and – all of these guys when they're in college, they're the big fish in the pond but then when they get here they're little fishes and then they have to grow to be a big fish again. I think that he's growing. He's taking a leadership role, he understands the defense better, he understands his role in the defense, so he's been able to help us and make plays."

How has the way practice and training camp have evolved over the years impacted your ability to evaluate?

"Well, I think the main thing is that the offseason is really the beginning of training camp and we're able to introduce a lot of the system in the offseason and they have to pick it up and then we begin to apply it during training camp. Then we find out who can apply things quickly because the offenses are just not going to line up and give you time to make your adjustments and communicate. They're going to go quick, they're going to motion and you have to be able to handle all those motions and all those formations. When guys can do that quickly, then they've made good stride and they can help us then."


What's the challenge of getting the offensive line cohesive in a short period of time?

"Offensive line play is about getting five guys on one page, talking the same language and understanding how they'll react in different situations. Since the spring, all of them have really been working hard toward that. Now, this is the next level of it. Now you put on pads, the physicality of it has to come in play. So, with any O-line, it takes time. Glad we had them all here in the spring and they're all starting to come together, work hard and are doing their job."

How tough is it to plug in so many new players in one year?

"I think it depends on the situation, but I think all of these guys have played, they've been in the NFL, they've been well-coached. Therefore, they've seen things, they've had experiences. When we talk that language, now it's just a matter of how do I say it relative to where they've been. I'm very pleased with how everyone's working, working hard and well together and trying to learn our system."

How much does it help to have C Nick Martin back healthy?

"He's a very smart guy. To me – I'm being biased, I was a center – you need to have a smart guy. (In) our system, you need smart people. They're all smart, but you need that guy in there to help direct traffic."

What did you like about C/G Zach Fulton that made you want to invest in him in the offseason?

"I think Fulton is a natural football player, a grinder. It's hard to explain, but when you watch him on tape, he's doing his job every play. There's a consistency to him and a work ethic and a toughness that I think will help us be stouter inside."

How is T Julién Davenport doing so far in camp?

"He's working hard. He has to go against (J.J.) Watt, (Whitney) Mercilus and (Jadeveon) Clowney when he comes back – our defense in general. So, going against that should help him prepare. He's working hard at it. He's trying to take consistent steps, trying to use his length and learn."


What do you like about the chemistry of the secondary group?

"We have guys with great personalities, guys that love the game, come to work in the meeting room, bring it on the field and guys that practice hard. That's what we look for in players and that's what we have."

Has S Tyrann Mathieu added some juice to the secondary?

"No doubt. He's a guy that has natural leadership skills. He rubs off on the guys, holds the guys accountable, and he's been doing a good job."

Are you encouraged by CB Kevin Johnson's progress?

"I am. Kevin came in this offseason fully healthy, had a chance to go through a whole offseason program. He did a good job in OTAs and has continued that beginning with this camp."

Does S Justin Reid's family pedigree help him acclimate faster?

"I think it does because the guy has been around the game his entire life, his brother being an NFL player, him having a chance to be around that. I've seen the benefit of that. He left and came back from OTAs and came to camp with a better understanding of the system, so he's put in the work in the time that we had off in between camp."

What makes S Kareem Jackson able to make the transition from corner to safety?

"He's smart, he's instinctive and he's physical. He's a guy that has played the position for us in the past when we needed to, so now he's concentrating on it and the more practice reps he gets at it, he'll just continue to get better."


When you look at this group, do you just sit there and get excited about the potential?

"I love working with this group. They're an exciting group. As I've said, the most exciting thing is the skillset diversity we have in the room allows us to really try to be creative with what we can do with them because we can threaten defenses on all three levels. Each guy has the ability and skillset that helps us be able to do that. That does make it very exciting to work in the meeting rooms and out here on the field."

What have you seen from WR Braxton Miller this camp and what do you look to see from him in the preseason?

"Braxton has done a good job embracing his role as well. Again, the skillset diversity that we have, he's that guy that we can plug and play, so to speak, at multiple positions. You see him at times in the slot, you see him outside on the perimeter. He'll catch balls down the field. He's caught some intermediate routes. He's continuing to develop. I think that role and embracing that role is going to help him moving forward."

Have you seen a difference in WR Will Fuller V so far with the added upper body strength?

"Will's play strength has shown through this camp. He's played strong through press coverage, he's played strong through some things down the field, he's made some contested catches. The other thing is, as his confidence continues to grow – you saw yesterday with Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) out, he was able to step in and kind of be a go-to guy. That's what you need to do, but he's been a guy for us and he'll continue to be a guy for us."

What do you see from WR Keke Coutee so far?

"I keep telling Keke that if he is able to recognize the coverage, there's going to be a lot of people that have a hard time covering him. Right now, the biggest thing early on there was recognition of coverage. The reason for that is you need to know who's guarding you. If you don't know that, then you can't beat him. I think that's the biggest transition. We see so many multiple coverages, so many multiple blitzes. You see those flashes of that and hopefully that's something we can take advantage of moving forward."


How does QB Deshaun Watson look after one week of practice?

"I think he's looked very good. To me, there doesn't seem to be any sort of apprehension on his part. He's out there, he's doing what he does, moving around very well. So, I think to this point, I think all signs are positive."

What have you seen from WR Braxton Miller so far in camp?

"I think the biggest thing to me is you can tell he's more comfortable with our system and with his assignments, and because of that, he's playing faster. To me, he's playing faster on the snap of the ball and it's noticeable. It was noticeable in OTAs, it's continued over here into training camp and I think he's catching the ball well. I think he's really catching the ball well. He had a couple catches that were outside the framework of his body that he went up and stabbed. So, I think he's really improving, he's embracing the role that he's got here, he's working at it and I think it shows up."

Can you talk about how QB Brandon Weeden has performed so far?

"Weed is – Weed is a good voice in the room. He has experience, he's very helpful with Deshaun (Watson). He's gone out, he's done what we asked him. He can throw the ball well, he has natural arm talent, he knows the offense, which helps to kind of get plugged in and really function with the offense. So, to this point I think he's done OK."

Was there a moment when you knew QB Deshaun Watson was back?

"I think there's been some different times when you watched him in our seven-on-seven periods that he's involved with in OTAs. You could tell he felt comfortable, and that's the biggest thing with those knee injuries, is when they feel comfortable (and) they're confident they can do some things that they used to do. You saw that then and I think it has just continued. So, it's been an ongoing process and he worked very hard to get himself to the spot he's at physically. He was dedicated to his rehab and it's showing up."

Have you only scratched the surface with what you can do with QB Deshaun Watson with the limited time that he had last year?

"I think so. I mean, you're looking at a section of what, five, six games? So, when you take that, obviously there's more we can build on, and I think it's one of those things as we continue to grow with the offense, new ideas will come in based on certain things that we see or how defenses react to it, so, I think it's always going to be evolving – it should be. We have a lot of good, creative coaches on the offensive side and I expect it to continue that way."


What are your thoughts on how the special teams units have fared thus far in camp?

"I think they've had a good start. We've got a lot of work to do as everybody does at this time of year, but the guys are learning the system. We're finding more out about them. They're finding out more about me, how I like stuff done. I'm trying to find out what their strengths are and try to accentuate those and try to limit their weaknesses."

Is there extra pressure on you knowing the Texans' historical special teams performance?

"I think the pressure always comes from yourself. You always want to do good. You want to do really well and I think we have a chance to because we have good players. We just have to make sure they all know what we're asking of them."

It always helps when you have a P Shane Lechler on your team.

"It does. Any time you have veterans, it makes it so much easier. They understand what it takes. Shane has been around long enough, he's won a lot of football games. He's got that mentality, he's a worker. He works at his craft every day, so it's fun to coach guys like that."

Is the return game looking good and who are your top candidates to return kicks this season?

"That's a great question. I think it's a plethora of guys. We're still trying to figure out, No. 1, who catches it the best? That's No. 1. If you can't catch it, you can't play. Then, secondly, we find out what they can do after they get the ball in their hands. So, there's a host of guys. I think we'll see here, maybe by the next week we'll get it honed down where these are the guys we're going to work in the preseason games and these are the guys that are going to have a chance to compete for the job."


What have you seen from DE J.J. Watt?

"Oh man, he looks like he's knocked the rust off pretty quick. He's out there, he looks strong, fast, physical, and he's getting some really good work in Seantrel Henderson, who's also looked really good. I mean, if you can play against him every day and all 300-and-whatever pounds of him, and I think that's a good test going into the season. So, I think he looks great."

What have you seen from DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney?

"He's been very limited in terms of what he's done on the field, but he looks great. He looks great, and I know that's the plan to get him as physically strong as we can just so hopefully we can avoid some of those injuries he's had in the past that have nagged him throughout the season. So, I'm excited, he's in good spirits and when he's in good spirits, I'm in good spirits."

What is it like having a some of your guys back healthy?

"I've said it before, that this game is unique and it takes so many people to be successful on every play. So, even when those guys weren't on the field, I still believe you should play good defense because it's such a team game. Now, it makes it a little bit easier when they're on the field, certainly. They clean up a lot of stink. So, I don't know if the team looks different, but I know we're all much better coaches when they're out there."

Do you think NT D.J. Reader gets lost in the mix a little bit with us talking about DE J.J. Watt, DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney and OLB Whitney Mercilus?

"D.J. is an absolute stud. A lot of the work he does, it just goes unnoticed. We notice it in the film room, the guys appreciate what he does. He's like a tree trunk out there, and you're not moving him. He also has some pass rush game, which I think we neglect to talk about and goes unnoticed so often. But, I love D.J. and I'm happy he's here."

How happy are you about the depth you have?

"This is probably the deepest group that I've coached in my seven years back in the National Football League. That's a credit to our scouting staff, Brian Gaine (and) all those guys who bring those guys in. They brought in some really good football players. Now, the unfortunate part of that thought is that it's a very competitive group and the likelihood is that a good football player is going to get let go. But, they'll all get better as a result."

Can you talk about the improvements that NT Brandon Dunn has made?

"Yeah, I love Dunn. He's a guy that he just comes to work every day, he puts his hard hat on and he goes to work. So, he's definitely one of the leaders in our group and all he does is come out here and continue to get better."

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