HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
What did you think of WR Keke Coutee's first day back at practice?
"Good. We'll see what he does. He's been in the training room for about four weeks so he's got a long way to go."
What can WR Keke Coutee bring to this team?
"I don't know yet. He hasn't really been out there that much. We'll find out."
What would you like to see from the running game this weekend?
"Continued improvement. I think that in the preseason it's always difficult. There's not a lot of game planning going on, so you're just trying to go off of what you've seen last year and things like that, but I think our running backs have run hard, our line is coming off the ball and you're seeing good things out there and just continued improvement."
What have you thought of CB Johnson Bademosi's play on defense so far in camp?
"Like everybody else here, everybody has room to improve in every area. We just worked situational football at the end of practice right there. We've all got room to improve. Corners have room to improve, quarterbacks have room to improve. Everybody's just looking to try to get better."
With all of the new faces, do you have the offensive line on a different program than you would if they were all returning from the previous season?
"No, I think we would still play them. I think the offensive line needs to – that's one position – not saying it's the only one, but that's one position that needs to play in the games, communicate what they're seeing, communicate with the quarterback. I think that really needs to happen whether they've played together for a long time or not. I think this group has gelled pretty well. You've got some veterans up there that have played in different systems but they're coming together and it seems like a very good group as far as chemistry goes. So, it's good."
There's no way for you to know how well they're playing except in games.
"Yeah, I think you have to play in games. I mean, somebody asked me the other day, 'What's more valuable, a practice or a game?' It's definitely a game. At practice, you have the coaches out there, sometimes telling you what to do even though they shouldn't do that, but in the game, there's nobody out there. You're depending on your teammates, yourself, your knowledge, everybody working together. So, I think the games are really valuable."
Have you seen all you hoped for from QB Deshaun Watson in training camp?
"Deshaun's been great. Deshaun does everything we ask him to do. He's fun to coach. I really can't say enough about the guy. He's a great guy. He's worked very hard to understand the system going into his second year. He's the type of guy that's always going to show up to work. He loves football. He's got great questions. He's been great since the day he walked in the door here."
What's the biggest area of growth you've seen from QB Deshaun Watson since he got here?
"He loves watching film and he loves studying our offense. I think the growth that I've seen is just his overall knowledge of our offense, the NFL game, how teams are playing defense, watching other offenses. I think he really studies a lot of tape and I've seen him grow with his, what we call 'F.B.I.' – his football intelligence, his ability to take in more information. He's really grown with that."
Is there a particular example of how QB Deshaun Watson has grown since he got here?
"Oh yeah, I can probably name 50 just from this practice right here, whether it's calling a play at the line of scrimmage quickly or getting us into a different play or handling a situation there at the end of practice. He went right down the field there and we just scored there at the end of practice in a two-minute drive. So, those things, as a rookie, those are hard. You're learning a brand new language. He's got that language down right now. Now, he's able to do other things. So, there's been a lot of growth."
Is WR Sammie Coates Jr. still in the concussion protocol?
"I don't know that. I think he is, but I'm not sure. I'll check on that for you."
How have you seen WR DeAndre Hopkins be a mentor to the other wide receivers?
"Hop's a good leader. He comes out and practices hard, he competes, he wants the ball. He jumped in on the scout team here today. I think he does a good job of showing up and competing every day. I think he brings juice to practice. I think when he doesn't practice, it's a different practice. I think when he does practice, it helps our practices, and he's out there most of the time. Never missed a game, so I think he's a really good mentor in that room."
What's the difference between having Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel in the booth or on the sideline during games?
"I think the big thing is just having him on the sideline, I'm able to communicate with him a little better than when he was in the booth. In the booth, it required switching over and a lot of different technicalities. I think on the sideline you have him down there running the defense and you're right there next to him, so you can talk to him. He can ask you what's going on, what I think about things. So, it's just a little bit easier when you're right there next to each other."
How do you manage offensive linemen learning multiple positions along the offensive line?
"We've always done that. There are things that we always look to improve upon, but one thing that I think we've always done pretty well is train the players in multiple positions. That's the systems that Mike Devlin and I grew up in, that a guard could play tackle, a guard could play center, a tackle could play guard, a tackle could play tight end, and we manage practice that way so that those guys have the proper reps to be able to execute that in a game. I think we do that pretty well."
What has stood out to you about some of the leaders on this team?
"I think we have good leaders here. We have a lot of guys that have played a lot of football in this league, some several years here. I'm looking at Johnathan Joseph over there. Obviously, J.J. Watt. Then, I think we have some younger players, obviously, Deshaun Watson. We have some new players, obviously Tyrann Mathieu, and several others. Several other players that I think would be considered leaders on this team. So, I think our leadership is good."
WR WILL FULLER V
How has WR DeAndre Hopkins helped you as a receiver?
"We communicate. Like I've said a lot of times before, we just communicate about how each other runs our routes. We're different receivers, so just communicating after every play or when we're watching film on why I ran my route like that or why he ran his route like that and just challenging each other every day."
How important is the third preseason game for you and what are the things you want to try to accomplish this Saturday?
"It's very important because I haven't played since last year's Colts game. It's just good to get back out there with everybody and just play with Deshaun (Watson) again in a live game."
What has WR Bruce Ellington brought to the WR room? He seems like a fun guy.
"Yeah, before you said that, I was going to say that. It's just fun to be around Bruce. He always has a lot of energy every day. He's always putting a smile on people's faces. I love playing with Bruce and having him around every day."
What has stood out to you about WR Keke Coutee?
"Keke, he's real explosive. I haven't seen him drop a pass since he's been here. He's got some sure hands, and I like playing with him as well. He brings another dimension to our offense with his explosiveness."
What is WR DeAndre Hopkins personality like?
"He's the most competitive guy I know. It doesn't matter what we're doing, he always wants to win. Especially in football, but just everything we do, he wants to win. I would say he's the most competitive guy I know."
Do you and WR DeAndre Hopkins have a relationship similar to Hopkins' relationship with WR Andre Johnson?
"Yeah, I would say that. This is his sixth year, my third year. We've been with each other since I got here and he's been putting up outstanding numbers each and every year (and) it doesn't matter who the quarterback is. It's easy to look up to him because you know how great he is and I can learn something from him every day."
What's your relationship like with QB Deshaun Watson?
"It's great. That's all I have to say about that. It's great. That's my guy."
How has your relationship with QB Deshaun Watson developed since he got here?
"Great. He was out here all of OTAs, camp. We've been playing with each other. It's just great getting him back out here because it's just fun playing with him."
What is something fun or cool about QB Deshaun Watson that we don't know?
"I don't know anything you wouldn't know, but just his swag. Just his swag and how he dances. He just has fun with everything. It's easy to have fun with him when he's out there. That's another reason I like playing with him. It's just so fun playing with him."
QB DESHAUN WATSON
How happy are you with where you are at this stage of the preseason?
"I'm good with where I'm at. I'm right where I needed to be as far as mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, just being able to come out here each and every day and try to get better."
WR Will Fuller V said you can dance.
"I guess I have a couple moves here and there. I'm a music guy so I like all types of music and just different cultures and different – like you said, swag stuff. I just try to stay up to date and just bring some fun into the locker room."
Was it hard for you not to dance when you had your knee injury?
"I was still moving around. That wasn't stopping me."
What has stood out to you about WR Keke Coutee?
"He's a guy that comes in and can put an effect on the defense. He's quick, fast, strong hands and just a smart player, so he's another weapon for our offense."
What do you hope to accomplish on Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams?
"Just do my job. Really just be as perfect as I can, 100 percent in whatever Coach OB (Bill O'Brien) and Sean Ryan are asking me to do. I just do it fast and just do it well. If I can do that and go in there and do what I need to do and try to put some points on the board, that'll be good."
How have you seen WR DeAndre Hopkins be a leader of this offense?
"Hop has just been himself. He's just been able to help the younger guys, study the game, study the offense, be able to encourage them, motivate them to go out there and make plays and just be the All-Pro he is. Everyone looks up to him. He doesn't have to say too much to be able to lead. Everyone just watches his lead, watches his steps and follows."
What has WR Bruce Ellington brought to that wide receivers group?
"Bruce has a lot of energy. He has a feel of the game, knowledge of the game and he just relates to everyone. Everyone on the team likes him. Like you said, he has that swag and just that approach about him, and everyone just really surrounds themselves around him. He's been a great addition to us and I'm glad he's on our team."
How much does it help you to play a team with talented cornerbacks like the Los Angeles Rams in the preseason?
"I mean, every game is helpful for us, no matter if someone ranked them higher than another person. Everyone's good in this league. Everyone is in this league for a reason, regardless if it's preseason or regular season. So, each and every day is an opportunity for us to come out here and get better and try to improve and compete. That's what we come out here to do. That's what we get paid to do and that's what we love to do. So, each and every opportunity is very important."
What's the most competitive you've seen WR DeAndre Hopkins off the field?
"Fashion, probably. Fashion, outside of the field stuff, he's been the most competitive in."
What are your biggest areas of growth from last year at this time?
"Just everything. Mentally, knowledge of the offense, knowledge of the game, me as a person physically, emotionally. Each and every day is a learning experience and each every opportunity is a learning experience. So, I'm growing. I'm only 22 years old and just trying to prove it each and every day, and if I can do that, however long I play and be able to walk on this earth, I'll be able to be the best me."
What was the key to that growth even though you weren't able to play?
"Just learning. Just whoever is talking to me, whoever is around me, just try to observe and have great awareness and pick up something I can learn and try to improve on myself."
What was it like to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated 2018 NFL Preview?
"It's always a blessing to be on a cover of a magazine. Not too many people get that opportunity, regardless of how many times you do it. I just thank the people that decided to put me on there and I appreciate them. It's a cool thing to have, and for sure my parents and my family are happy for that and of course I can be able to show my kids in the future."
What do you think about the Sports Illustrated cover jinx?
"I don't believe in none of that. I had it plenty of times in college and was very successful, so I don't believe in none of that stuff."
What are your thoughts on fantasy football?
"I don't really get into the fantasy football stuff. I see people talk about it, and of course last year the people that had me were very successful, so I appreciate them picking me and having confidence in me and myself was just doing the job on the field. I don't really get into it but I see a lot of people who are very competitive and it's growing each and every year. If you have a pick, draft No. 4, for sure."