Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair**
(on joint practices with the Washington Redskins) "Well, I like the competition and it's a lot more fun for the players to see some different faces out there and good competition, so we can learn a lot about who we are and where we are."
(on the first day practicing against another NFL team) "I thought it was good. I thought we played with a lot of energy and made some good plays and it looks like we're improving, getting a little better each day."
(on the quarterback c
ompetition) "I watch that and they all made some good throws and they all had some they'd take back, but no I think it's very competitive and I think they're playing well."
(on the weather in Richmond, VA) "Oh, the weather is terrific. It was nice of them to air condition the place for us as we arrived, but it's terrific. It might rain tomorrow, but it's supposed to be good."
(on how practice with the Washington Redskins benefits the organization) "Well, I think it's good. It gives us an opportunity to spend more time with their ownership, general manager and other people. We work on projects together for the league, so it's good to be able to spend time together."
(on enjoying being in Richmond) "This is the fun and to see the young guys make plays and some of them that are the undrafted rookies, to see them make plays. You know, Corey Moore made that nice play right late in the practice and, you know, you like to see that sort of thing."
(on the popularity of DE J.J. Watt) "Well, you know, he's the best player in the league and people recognize that. I mean, he's a rare talent and I think we all respect that, whether they're on our team or another team. I respect it, I know that."
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on how the weather has been during camp) "Well there's no doubt about it that, it's Houston, Texas. It's like I tell the players all the time, it is what it is. It's hot. Our guys have been through it now with our training camp, a lot of the guys that were here last year have been through it, the new guys are getting used to it. We came up here and it was nice and cool for us. It was a good practice out there today."
(on if he's satisfied with the match-ups he's getting for his guys from the Washington Redskins) "Absolutely, I really like this type of practice. I think we, when I was in New England we did it against New Orleans, and the Falcons, Atlanta, then last year in Houston we did it against Denver, and Atlanta and here against Washington. It's just great work. These guys go against each other for so long, and I know it's really early now, but even in OTAs, and it builds up over time, and now you get to go against a different opponent. It's really good for the coaches, it's a different way of practicing, it keeps us all on our toes and so it's really good."
(on what philosophy he takes from situations where he turns organizations around) "Well, I think it's not just one thing. I think one of the things that we really try to do is, as far as players first of all, we're really looking for smart, dependable, tough players and we really have that right now. I mean even looking back when I was at Penn State we had that. Both years we had tough kids, we had smart kids, and here and now we've got these men here in Houston that are guys that practice hard, they're smart, they're tough, they're dependable. As it relates to our staff, I think whether it was Penn State or here, really strong staff, good teachers, good men, guys that care about their families, care about their players. And then I think the third thing is the organization. Here in Houston, we have a great owner and he really allows us to do our jobs, and the last thing I'll say about that is it's a really good place to coach in Houston because of our fans. We have great fans that are passionate about the game, you know there's 7-8,000 fans at every practice and training camp, loud, into it, it's really a good fan base."
(on Redskins WR Jamison Crowder) "Yeah, just seeing him out there and watching him on college tape, he's quick, he can accelerate, looks like he's got really good instincts. I know Jay (Gruden) likes him, so yeah I can vouch for him. He's a good player."
(on how the quarterbacks did today) "Yeah, I probably have to watch the film to really have some specific thoughts for you, but I thought both guys competed. You know, they're both in there with different groups, sometimes they're throwing to guys that maybe they haven't thrown to a whole lot. They're working with different offensive lines and that's not always easy, so I think overall, I think their play was fairly consistent today with all the different guys they were working with, going against a new defense, not really knowing what to expect from that defense. We didn't have a scouting report or anything like that with the Redskins. We just came out and practiced, which is what we should do, and I thought both guys handled it well."
(on he and Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden having a lot in common being relatively new NFL head coaches) "We spoke a lot during the offseason in setting this up, a lot of text messages, couple phone conversations, and then out here just having been around him at the owners meetings and things like that, good guy, really good football coach. So yeah we do, we go out there and kind of talk about, like right there at the end we both decided to do a little red area competition which really wasn't on the practice schedule. So really easy guy to communicate with and really enjoy working with him."
(on having to play four quarterbacks last year) "Well, I give those guys credit. I give our coaches credit. The four guys that played for us last year did an excellent job. They all came in in different situations, most of them came in based on maybe a guy getting injured ahead of him or whatever it was. They came in and they all had to play against very tough defenses and I thought they showed up really well. I give our coaches credit, as far as patience and all that, no. This is the NFL. So, if one guy goes down, or we've got to make a switch because of a competitive balance or whatever it is, guy outworks somebody else, does better in practice, that's the NFL. So we've got to have a next man up mentality that's what we have and that's what we try to adhere to."
(on CB Charles James) "Charles is a very competitive kid. He really wants it. He knows our defense well and he brings a lot of energy to the field, which is what I like. I could say that about all of our guys. They really bring a lot of energy to the field. He's a guy that's really competed well in training camp for a job."
(on RB Jonathan Grimes and DE Jasper Coleman) "Grimes has had a good training camp. He's strung about three good practices in a row here. He's done a good job. He's a smart player. He's one of our core special teams players. He's a guy that really knows our offense well. He plays a lot on third down, but now with Arian (Foster) out, he's playing more on first and second down in certain packages. Really dependable guy. We enjoy coaching him. You know, Jasper (Coleman) we just got in the spring and he's improving every day. Hard working kid and just got to keep improving every day."
(on if he would like to see joint practices replaced with preseason games) "You know what, I would say I'm more in favor of joint practices. I'm almost in favor of, if you could get with a team and almost spend training camp with that team. Practice against them on certain days and then other days be separate and stay in the same area wherever you decide to be. I just think it's a great thing to go against another team, so I'm more in favor of the joint practices because you get more plays than in a game and I think it works out really well."
(on how the team responded today) "I thought they responded well. I thought they came out here ready to go. We had a good- we were kind of delayed getting here. We had some plane difficulties and mechanical issues, sat on the tarmac, got in there, had a squad meeting, let them go to sleep a little bit, and they got up early. They were all up. 6:30, 6:00 a.m. ready to go. They couldn't wait to get over here. I thought they responded well. We just got to have some good meetings this afternoon, tonight and put it together again tomorrow."
(on the impact of NFL Films and Hard Knocks being around) "They do a good job. I think in the beginning you really do notice them. They're there and it's hard not to notice them. But as time goes on, they definitely blend in. The director, Matt Dissinger, has been a really good guy to work with. It hasn't been an issue at all. Well, we'll see when the first show comes out. But to this point, it hasn't been an issue at all."
(on if he thinks about how he is being filmed in his office) "I look up at the camera and I say, 'are you filming me?' And the camera has a way of saying yes or no. So when it says yes, I usually leave the office."
(on DE J.J. Watt) "Yeah, he's a great player and an even better guy. He's just a pro's pro. Obviously, his peers voted him number one player in the league. He works every single day to get better. He's a leader. He's everything you want in a player. Makes a ton of plays and a great guy. Great guy in the Houston community, great guy for the NFL. One of the faces of the NFL and really happy he's on our team."
(on facing the Washington Redskins offense) "Anytime you can go against another offense, especially like Washington's offense. And then you know, Washington's defense, too. It's really good because you're seeing different schemes. You're seeing things that our offense doesn't do at all in practice. You're seeing things from their defense that you wouldn't see just because that's what they do. I think anytime you have a chance to do that, that's what I was saying over here about these joint practices. They really make the players stay on their toes because there's no real scouting. You're not getting ready for a game here. You're coming up against a team and you have to react. You have to react to things that you see that are new. You got to put out the fire early in practice and figure it out. I think it's a good thing."
(on T Duane Brown) "Yeah, Duane Brown is the leader of the offensive line. He's a true veteran. He really, one thing about Duane Brown that really makes me proud to be associated with him is that he came into this offseason and he played well last year. He was a Pro Bowl player, but I think he knows that he can play better. He has high standards for himself. He came back in OTAs and then early in training camp in great shape. He's having a really good training camp. He's one of our dominate performers out there and just a great guy to coach. Tough, out there every day and really knows our system and just fun guy to be around."
(on NT Vince Wilfork) "He brings a lot to our team. He brings a lot in the locker room leadership-wise. He's a champion. He's one of the best nose guards to ever play the game, so he brings a lot to our scheme. That veteran presence in your locker room and on your defense means a lot. I believe it's going to help us. It's helped us already. The key is continuing to improve as a defense and I think he's a guy that can really help us improve."
T Duane Brown
(on how it felt to be surrounded by family today) "It was very special. You know it's still kind of surreal to me to be in home town and playing professional football. I never thought this kind of opportunity would come. When I got the information that we were going to come out here and practice, I told my family, they were so excited, and for them to be able to come out here and watch me practice, watch me work behind the scenes away from an actual Sunday. I hugged my mother, my daughter is here, I get to see her. It's an amazing feeling, and I'm very, very excited to, outside of that to be able to come here and get some good work in against Washington in front of them, in front of my family."
(on if he's going over to Hermitage High School) "We'll see, man, I've got to see if our schedule permits, but definitely would like to get over there, see Coach Kane, see some of the guys, talk to them, some of them if I can. It'd be nice to do that."
(on if this felt a little bit like high school) "No I wouldn't say that. It's definitely a lot of energy out there, a lot of intensity, but to see a lot of familiar faces I haven't seen in a long time, some people I've seen here I haven't seen in like 10 years. It's a very, very great feeling. It definitely brings back some memories, all kinds of memories, childhood memories, teenage memories, seeing some of these people. And like I said, being able to have them out here witness me do what I love for a living, do what I do for a living, at a high level, it's a great feeling."
(on how proud he is that his family is proud of him) "It's great, man. My family has been extremely supportive of me since I started playing football at the age of six, attended every practice, attended every game. I think we all had the dream that I would someday get to this level, and for me to get here, for the support to continue through the roof, it's been amazing, to have that foundation, that support system at this level is very key for a solid foundation, you know keeping your sanity. It's good to have them always there for me, have my back and be able to witness this."
(on being a Redskins fan) "No I wasn't a Redskins fan. I was actually a Giants fan growing up, I was a Lawrence Taylor fan. But I watched the Redskins some."
(on memories while practicing in Richmond, VA) "It's crazy man, I mean, I come to Richmond pretty often, so it's not like it's somewhere that I don't visit a lot, but just driving down (Highway) 64 from the airport you know, with my teammates. Everyone is asking me a bunch of questions that have never been here before and I'm just pointing out different areas, telling them about where I grew up and where we are staying at, telling them about that area. So it's a great feeling, man, and like I said I never thought I'd be playing football here, so it's nice. Just high school memories, college memories of when I came back home and visited, middle school memories, everything."
(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien's two-a-days compared to high school two-a-days) "It's like night and day. I mean, high school was tough, high school was tough, but our two-a-days are pretty intense. Coming here, the first thing I have to say is the weather here is amazing. It's a big, big change from Houston. Coming out here to these practices, just the weather alone, makes it a little bit easier."
(on improving this season) "Every year I want to come out and have the best year of my career and I think I've put together some good years here the past three, four years. I think there is definitely another level to reach, you know I'm not perfect at all in my craft, so I'm always trying to perfect it and progress as much as I can. I think for me the mental aspect of it with our offense is, you know, I'm leaps and bounds from where I was last year and I think that alone can help me play faster and play with more confidence. I'm looking forward to being able to put all that together this year."
(on remembering playing against NC State while at Virginia Tech) "Absolutely, going against Mario (Williams). Man, I mean they were trying to get me to move to tackle a bunch while I was a tight end and I wasn't hearing it because I wanted to catch touchdowns, but everyone kept telling me, 'move to tackle, move to tackle, you know you'll make a lot of money' and I finally made that transition and I got to face Mario Williams my first game. So exciting. We had Marcus Vick at quarterback, which made my job a little bit easier then, but ever since then, I never looked back. I just kept getting better and it has worked out for me."
(on speaking to Redskins CB Deangelo Hall) "I talked to Deangelo as soon as I got here. He was one of the first people I saw. Great guy. He was one of the first people at Virginia Tech that told me I should move to tackle when I was playing tight end. Being able to see him out here, compete against him, it is amazing. He's had a great career and I will try to talk to him some more while I am here and pick his brain some. Someone that has played at a high level for a long time, you can always learn from people like that."
(on playing tight end in the NFL like DE J.J. Watt) "I have been trying to state my case a little bit. I am just trying to lock people down at left tackle first. Just keep getting that going and we will see what happens."
(on what family came out to practice today) "My mother, my father, lots of cousins, my daughter was here, her mother, and a bunch of friends. Probably about 12 to 15 people total and it will be like that every day."
(on what he would tell local football players about making the NFL) "Keeping your dream alive, believing in yourself first and foremost. If you are in high school, realizing that school is very, very key and not putting that to the back burner because you definitely need that education to get anywhere you want. Just hard work man, there is no substitute for hard work. Trying to get better at something every day whether it is your strength, your speed, your technique. Try to get better at something every day. More than anything playing with confidence, believing in yourself no matter what everyone is telling you. Sacrifice, a lot of people that are young don't know how to sacrifice different things that their friends might be doing in order to get where they are wanting to go you have to sacrifice in order to get what you want in life."
(on practice today) "I think it was a good practice. A lot we can learn from and clean up, but I think the energy was there. The competitive nature was there. We still have a lot to clean up though, a lot to do."
(on practicing with a different team) "Absolutely. Always good to see a different colored jersey out there and to mix it up a little bit."
(on going against DE J.J. Watt every day at practice) "Very beneficial. He is the total package. He is a big guy, fast, quick, instinctive, he has a variety of moves. So going against someone like that on a regular basis is very beneficial because there are not many people around this league that can do what he can do. It prepares you for just about everything."
WR DeAndre Hopkins
(on RB Alfred Blue) "I think he has been working hard in the offseason to come in and be a leader in this offense."
(on the joint practice with the Washington Redskins today) "A little bit feisty, not too much. When you got competitive teams going against each other, you're going to have those battles and especially when no refs are around. It's going to linger on a little bit.
(on whether he enjoys practice being feisty) "Yeah man, that's football. That's what we all live for."
(on the importance of joint practices) "Yeah, it's important to come out with enthusiasm."
(on competing at practice and doing one-on-one drills) "Right. One-on-one, I feel like I'm going to win that match up any time, so that's what I live for as a receiver, to get those one-on-one match ups."
(on QB Ryan Mallett appreciating his competitive side) "I always want to be accounted for when he throws me the ball so he throws it to me more."
(on the difference between QB Brian Hoyer and QB Ryan Mallett) "This is an offense that's really, you know, you really can't tell too much of a difference. You're in a place where you have to be. I don't really see a difference."
(on QB Ryan Mallett throwing the ball hard) "Both of them throw hard."
(on QB Brian Hoyer's ability) "I was just watching film from him at Cleveland last year and he likes to go deep a lot, so I think he has a nice arm on him."
(on seeing QB Brian Hoyer playing against another team) "He was excited. He had a lot of enthusiasm coming out here. He was cheering up every body. So was (Ryan) Mallett. So it was good to see both of those guys out here cheering up the team."
QB Brian Hoyer
(on how he feels he did in practice today) "I thought it was a good day. I thought it was a good day. I mean, there's some plays that obviously you'd like to have back. I think you go out there and you try to make it perfect, but after you watch the film you wish you had one or two of those back. I think we made some big plays in the pass game and just keep building on it."
(on if he feels a chemistry starting to develop with the wide receivers) "I think the good thing for us is they're rotating all those receivers in there. Like I said the other night, I don't know if you guys see, but we're working with these guys after practice every day, too. So even though you might not throw to one guy during practice, you might get him after practice. To be honest with you, we put a lot of hard work in between minicamp and training camp where we had guys coming back and we were throwing with them. One day it was a few rookies. One day it was a few veterans. It just happened to be who was available. When you put that extra work in and then you come out and do it live, I think those connections start to keep building."
(on if it feels different practicing against another team) "I think if anything it's a heightened awareness because when you go against your own defense, you kind of see the same thing over and over again, so you're accustomed to seeing what that defense is. Now, like I said, you come in not really knowing what they're going to play. You got to kind of just remember your rules, remember your assignment, and let everything play out and hopefully react the right way."
(on last year's quarterback competition with QB Johnny Manziel) "I think, for me, it prepared me well for what I'm going through now. For me, I try to block out all the media, no offense to you guys. Not focus on any of that. Focus on the install that's going in that day, focus on what my coaches and teammates are asking out of me, and really focus on what I'm asking out of myself. That's the only way I know how to do it. I think when you get caught up in the other stuff, you're thinking about the wrong thing so I think going through those experiences definitely prepared me for what I'm going through now."
(on if he watched QB Ryan Mallett today) "Yeah because it's a little bit different. Usually we're two spot and you're not really seeing. When our offense is out there, that's my team. We're cheering those guys on."
(on how much he talks to receivers) "I think the beauty of this system is it allows the quarterbacks and receivers to kind of speak freely. Other places I've been that wasn't so much the case. It was kind of like the coach said this, this is the way you do it. Ever since going back, in fact, I can remember in New England and watching Tom (Brady) and the way he talked to his receivers. Then we'd have meetings with just the receivers, quarterbacks, and tight ends because when it comes down to it, it may be written a certain way on the paper, but when you go out on the field you want it a certain way. That's why we're always talking about the intricate steps, alignment, and all those things. I think when the coaches allow the players to talk it out, we're the ones out there playing on the field, and to give us that freedom. I think it's really awesome."
(on the Washington Redskins defense) "Yeah it's good. I mean, obviously (Ryan) Kerrigan, I've known him since college. He's a great pass rusher and then Terrance (Knighton) up front, so that's a big guy to help stop the run. So, for us, like I said, it's good for us to come out here and play against someone different, kind of see, throw our stuff out there and see how it plays against another NFL team."
(on practicing against the Washington Redskins) "At one point, I even got hit out there, so it's all, I think in good competition. I think we can get a lot out of this, they can get a lot out of it, and you just hope you come out healthy and get good looks from another, like I said, we've been practicing against the same guys, same schemes over and over, so now you come out here, you see different players, different schemes and you have to react."
(on the Washington Redskins' defensive standouts) "Well, obviously Terrance (Knighton), yeah, I mean he's hard to miss, so I have a lot of respect for their secondary. I played against (Dashon) Goldson a few times. Obviously (DeAngelo) Hall, you know those guys. (Chris) Culliver, I've played against him, so I kind of came in knowing some of the guys and you know what to expect out of them, good players. So for the thing that I was focused on was more the scheme. Do you know what I mean? Because when you come in not knowing what they're going to run, not everyone runs coverage three the same way, not everyone runs cover four the same way, so you may see one thing and then have to react to another."
(on Texans Offensive Coordinator George Godsey) "It's been great. I think for me, like I've talked about before the familiarity with not only the system, but the guy calling the plays. You know, I knew George (Godsey) for two years in New England and have always had a good relationship with him. I remember when we played against the Texans last year, I ran over to him and told him what play to call the first play of the game because I still remembered the system."
(on if Texans Offensive Coordinator George Godsey called the play he told him to) "No, no, no, no, but he was like 'get out of here you asshole' or something like that, but I think knowing the guy and having a relationship with him obviously is beneficial."
QB Ryan Mallett
(on WR DeAndre Hopkins getting feisty) "I love it, I love it. You've got to love a receiver that's got that 'go and get it' mentality. I think he does, so I like it."
(on the intensity today) "We're not going to back down from anybody, we're going to have each other's backs so it was good to see that intensity and that fire in us."
(on what you learn about your team in a joint practice) "You kind of see where you are as a team and as an offense. We have to get better. There are some things we did well and some things we didn't do well. We will go look at the film and come back tomorrow and try to correct those things."
(on what looks the Washington Redskins gave him on defense) "They had multiple looks, they're a good defense. We had some things schemed up just from our base stuff. We had some success, they had some success. I'm sure both coaches want to see that as far as one team winning and back and forth."
(on having joint practices with the Washington Redskins) "It is good not to go against our guys every day for camp until the first preseason game, so getting to see other guys in different looks and different variations of defenses is good for us."
(on having HBO's Hard Knocks around the team) "I haven't even noticed them."
(on if he will watch Hard Knocks) "Yeah, of course."
(on being in Richmond last year with the New England Patriots) "It is good to be here in Richmond. They had a good turn out last year, good turn out this year. They have excited fans and it is good competition against these guys."
(on if Richmond has changed since last year) "It looks the same to me."