Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith**
(on being in Richmond, VA) "It's nice to be back in the state of Virginia and it's good work. Obviously, the reason we're here is for our football team to get better and compete, so I think there have been a couple good days and I'm looking forward to another one tomorrow."
(on practicing with the Washington Redskins) "You know what, I was excited. Obviously, we had original plans to work with another team and when that fell through and I got the call from Bruce (Allen) I was happy about that, but then as it kind of sunk in that I'd be coming back to the home front it was exciting."
(on being back in his hometown) "Well, it's fun. I mean, obviously you feel, whenever you come home, there's a feeling inside that's a good one. You know, our guys are working hard. This is a good group we're working against. I hope our team is getting better and then really that's what it's for, but it's nice to be back home."
(on having his family at practice) "Well, it's good. I've got a sister that still lives here in Richmond and her family and my brother lives in Northern Virginia. My dad and my mom are back and forth, so it's good to see everybody. They try to get down to Houston and to as many games as they can and obviously with the distance, it's not as often as we would like, but it sure is easy for them right now."
(on growing up in Virginia) "It was significant, obviously, my entire family is from Virginia. We left when I was a junior in high school to go to Dayton, Ohio when my dad got a superintendent's job in Ohio, but all of my roots are here. My foundation is here, so it's just nice to be back."
(on going to Petersburg High School) "Well I think, hopefully, the folks at Petersburg are proud of me. I take a lot of pride in being from Virginia, of course, and all of the things that I've learned and the principles and the values that were established here. But hopefully the folks here can see it, and the young folks that are growing up now in Petersburg or from Richmond in the tri city area, know that whatever they want to do, that they're capable of doing if they buckle up and do well in school and do the right thing."
(on being a leader at an early age) "I've always enjoyed leadership. That's just something that has come natural to me. It's interesting that Frankie (Smith) said that because Frankie was the captain of the football team, the captain of the basketball team. He was the guy I was chasing, so it's nice to hear him say that, but really, I've always naturally migrated to those leadership positions. It's just been a part of my personality and it's helpful."
(on his family identifying him as a leader) "Well again, it's just something that has naturally happened for me. I was president of my pledge class in my fraternity. I was captain of our football team. Those things just kind of naturally happen, so to see them recognize that and try to help develop that was nice."
(on originally wanting to be a coach) "Well, I was a coach. I coached for a number of years. I coached in college at Purdue and I coached in Denver with the Broncos. At a certain point, I knew I wanted to do this, so I was fortunate enough to be in an organization that afforded me the opportunity to transfer over from the coaching to the personnel side and it was fortunate."
(on if it surprises him how interested fans are in what he does) "No, and in fact one of the great things about being here in Richmond is it shows how popular the National Football League is and what a great game we have. I mean, to have this kind of setup here in Richmond, and we don't even have a football team here, it's just pretty indicative of how popular our sport is. So, I'm not surprised. I'm grateful and thankful that we've got such great fans in the National Football League and hopefully we can continue to improve the product."
(on if his father being a professional educator influenced him) "Well, as much as a professional educator, but as much as I watched him in the public eye, and that's probably the biggest thing that I garnered from that is just watching him deal with the media over the years in a tough situation, and tough jobs, and handling controversy and stress and those types of things. He was just a great example for that."
(on if he liked the tempo of practice today) "Yeah, you know, I thought it was good. Obviously when you come out in pads one day and then you come back the next day follow it up with just shells, you might expect it to be a little bit of a drop off, but I thought our guys competed. I thought they brought energy today and looking forward to another good day tomorrow."
(on if his father's job had traits similar to a general manager) "It was good training. It was good training, trust me."
(on WR Jaelen Strong having a good day today) "You know what, I thought he did. I think he continues to improve. When a guy, when a rookie, especially a rookie, comes in and he's injured early on, it presents problems for the guy in his development. So, he's fighting an uphill battle from that perspective, but I think he continues to come out every day and get better. I think he's increasing in his confidence, and I think the more confident he is, the more success he has, the more I think you'll see him play."
(on if he's surprised at how popular DE J.J. Watt is in Richmond) "J.J. is a superstar. He's one of the stars in our league and deservedly so because the guy just works. I think you just, put a camera on him practicing and you see how hard he works and the effort that he puts into it. It's just good to see that he has that."
(on if he gets that kind of attention on and off the field) "He does, yeah, and I think it's just, because of who he is on the field and he's equally impressive off the field with the way that he engages with the fans and with the people who respect the way he plays the game."
(on his sister-in-law Catherine and brother Frankie not being Texans fans) "Well, I'm tolerant to a degree, but blood is thicker than the mud, so whenever we get to Texans versus either one of those teams, I know where the allegiance is."
(on what he's seen from S Eddie Pleasant) "Yeah, I've been impressed with Eddie. I've got to tell you, from the time that we reported back and watching him attack the conditioning test the way that he did, I mean he came back in great shape. I just have been impressed with him over the course of the offseason so far, and as you mentioned he's made some plays out here. These preseason games are going to be important for him because I'd like to see him take that next step. He's always been a good player for us on special teams, but it'd be real nice to see him evolve into a defensive player."
(on if he's a proponent of practicing against other teams during camp) "I think it's vitally important. We've obviously done it over the years with the Saints and then last year when Atlanta came in and we went up to Denver. We felt like our football team improved significantly in those environments. I just think anytime you can put your team in a more competitive environment, it's good for you. It's good for the development of young players. It's good for all of our team as a whole."
(on if he's planning on adding another running back) "Well, obviously we are continuing to look at all the rosters. You have to manage these training camp rosters, as you know, with injuries. Right now, we didn't make a move immediately because we felt like we're okay. Chris Polk is on the mend, so hopefully he'll be back soon. So we'll just keep adjusting to whatever happens out here on the field."
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on practice today) "Yeah, you know, again it was another good day of competition. You know, they threw some different things at us, we threw some different things at them, but I thought both teams competed hard against each other. It got intense out there which is good. That's always good during training camp. It's just been really good work with the Redskins."
(on his strategy with DE J.J. Watt) "We monitor his reps. You know, during different periods he will get more reps than he will in certain other periods. I am not going to get into the exact way we do it, but we definitely monitor how many reps he is getting. He is in fantastic shape, and he can go all day, but I think it is a long season and we have got to do that and that is what we try to do. We have a plan for it is what I am saying."
(on update on RB Arian Foster's groin injury) "I have no update on Arian."
(on if he gave NT Vince Wilfork the day off) "Yes."
(on the wide receiver position) "Yes sir, that's a very competitive position top to bottom. We have got 12 guys there that are very, very competitive. You know, I think it is a good group of guys. They work extremely hard. There are some good route runners in there, there are some younger guys that are learning the game, you've got some good veteran leadership in there with Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), Nate Washington, and Cecil (Shorts III) in there. So, really like that group. There are going to be some tough decisions to make in that group as we go down the road here, but really competitive group."
(on what you get out of the 9-on-7 run drill) "Yeah, early in practice, yeah. You are looking for a lot of different things. You are looking for a good pad level, you are looking for good run fits on defense, you are looking for good double teams, good combo blocks on offense, guys that are hitting the right landmark, you are looking for the backs, their vision their proper depth in the backfield, how they are reading the play. Like I said, assignments with the quarterbacks you know, who they are making the MIKE (linebacker), how they are understanding the front that they see. So there's a lot of different things you get out of that drill. And look, at the end of the day it is a competitive, tough, physical football drill."
(on the ESPN article about RB Arian Foster) "All I'll say is this, we have a very diverse locker room. We have guys that come from all different background. Guys that have all kinds of different beliefs. My biggest thing in that locker room is that they respect each other, and I believe we have that. We've got a bunch of guys in that locker room, 90 guys that really respect each other. Personally, I'm Irish Catholic. Anybody else Irish Catholic in here? Yeah so I try to go to church every Sunday because when I don't I hear my mom's voice ringing in my ear like 'why didn't you go to church today?' But that's just my own opinion and that is my point, it's about respecting each other, it's a free country, everybody is entitled to their opinion, but in that locker room it is about respect and I believe we have that."
(on T David Quessenberry being out at practice) "I don't think we make a big enough deal about that. I think we should talk- that guy, to think what he's come back from, he had a really tough bout with cancer and look he's still fighting it. He's fighting it, but what an incredible story to just be out here. Like you said, to get in a stance and be thinking about football. Now, whether he can come back sooner, later, or whatever, he's here. He's a Houston Texan and I think he's an inspiration to our football team. Just the type of battle that he wages every day. Just a great kid and a great story."
(on if he was controlling the practice for both teams) "No, no, no. He's on the other side. You might have been on this side. Jay's (Gruden) on that side, he's calling out for his team. I'm calling out for my team. I'm not- I coach the Houston Texans. I coach the Houston Texans. No, we're both out there coaching our butts off."
(on DT Christian Covington) "Probably not enough, but I'll say this about the kid, I think he's a hardworking kid. I think he's a very serious kid. He brings a really good work ethic to the field every day. He was well-coached at Rice. You can tell he knows different ways to rush the passer, different ways to take on blocks. Look, he's got plays that he wishes he had back, that he could do over again because he's a rookie, but he's getting better. He brings a good work ethic to the field every day."
(on OLB Lynden Trail, RB Jonathan Grimes, and T Duane Brown coming back to Virginia) "Duane Brown's from Richmond, yep. Lynden, undrafted guy that came in here, really good length, very bright player. Smart guy, kind of like Christian Covington. A guy that has some plays that aren't so good sometimes, but look he flashes and he's a competitive guy. He's out there every day and we really enjoy working with him. It's a long road ahead for him, but if he gets better every day, he's got a shot. Jonathan Grimes, I talked about him yesterday. Very consistent player for us, core special teams player. His reps have been increased with Arian (Foster) out, he's really taken advantage of that. Then Duane Brown, who is from here in Richmond. Just a really good leader for our offensive line. He's had two really good days here. Just a very, very good football player."
(on how RB Jonathan Grimes has responded to his increased role) "Good. He's responded well. He's a very serious guy, smart football player. Has a good, consistent daily approach. He's responded very well. But that's the way he is. It's not even a response. That's the way he is every day."
(on if the defense needs to make an adjustment after allowing the Redskins to score) "I don't know. I mean, yeah you know, it's pads and shorts. I mean, we'll watch the tape and we'll make our corrections, but we're not going to be making all these adjustments. I don't know if I saw it the same way you did."
(on S Eddie Pleasant) "Eddie is a very competitive player. Another core special teams guy last year for us. He's battling every day to play safety for us, too. He's another guy that brings a really good work ethic, competitive work ethic to the field every day. Had a nice interception today. Just a very competitive football player."
(on who will rush the passer besides DE J.J. Watt) "Obviously, you want when JD (Jadeveon Clowney) comes back, Clowney. Clowney's a guy that can rush the passer, obviously. I know he's not out there right now, but he's going to be back at some point. You got (Whitney) Mercilus, you've got Watt. We've got some candidates, you know. Look, last year I thought Jared Crick did a good job on the inside in certain situations rushing the passer. We've got a blitz scheme. We've got a lot of different ways to pressure out of the blitz scheme. I think Brian Cushing is a good blitzer. There's a number of guys that I think are candidates to rush the passer and I think we can do it in a lot of different ways."
The Texans worked vs. Washington on Thursday in Richmond, Virginia.
DE J.J. Watt
(on practicing with the Washington Redskins) "It's always fun being out here and practicing against another team, seeing other guys. In this league it's your goal to work extremely hard and try to earn the respect of your peers and the coaching staffs around the league, the guys that are also out there also working their butts off. It's a lot of fun. The competition has been great. I really enjoyed it so far. The people of Richmond have been unbelievable, it's pretty awesome. Having a great time so far."
(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien monitoring his snaps) "I do what coach says. I think it's going to be beneficial in the long run. Obviously, you know my style, you know how that conversation probably went, but I trust coach. I trust the plan that we do have and I think it's going to be very beneficial and just from the results we're already seeing so far, it's been great."
(on playing against the Washington Redskins) "I think it has been a good challenge all week. I think going against another offensive line is fun. It's nice to hit somebody other than your own o-line. It has been good. It's nice to see different schemes, see different looks, see different players, so we've had a good two days and we're looking forward to having one more."
(on Reskins rookie T Brandon Scherff) "I've got to watch the film from today. All I know is from the film yesterday and from playing today. We'll see, he's a rookie, so just like every other rookie there's a learning curve and I'm sure he's out here doing a great job. He's got good offensive lineman around him to help coach him and he's got a great coach to help coach him, so I'm sure he'll be just fine."
(on staying after practice to work) "Yeah, yeah, I do that. If not every practice, quite a bit. My goal is always to create the best athlete possible, so it's focusing on hand-eye coordination. It's also catching the ball. It's just everything. My goal is to create the best athlete possible, hand it to the coaching staff and say 'here you go.' Whatever you need him to do, he'll do."
(on whether he will catch touchdowns in 2015) "Whatever is going to help the team win."
Texans players signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans.
(on things he wants to improve on) "There's about a billion things I'd like to get better at. I always say and it's the absolute truth, when I watch the film I click over the good plays real fast. All I see when I watch the film is the negative stuff. What I can work on, what I can get better at and sure everybody sees the highlights, everybody sees the great plays. It's awesome, trust me, it's a lot of fun and it's great, but there's still so much to improve upon and when you focus on every little thing, that's when you really start to see improvement. Other people may not see the improvements because it's real miniscule things, but at the end of the day, going out to practice every day, there is always something I'm working on every single day to try and improve my game. Don't be mistaken, every single aspect of my game has ways that it can get better."
(on how Hard Knocks has been being around them, and if he looks at other players to study technique) "First question, you don't really notice it. Lately I feel like a camera is following me around 24-7 as it is, so I don't even notice really what's going on. Then as far as what do I do to improve, I'm watching everything. I talk to offensive coordinators, I watch offensive linemen, I watch other defensive lineman, and sometimes you watch and you don't get anything and sometimes you watch and you get a lot of stuff. It's really just, my goal is to watch everybody and try and take the best of everybody's game, whatever they do best, take that, apply it to my game and go out there and try to be the best player I can be. But yeah, you can always improve, and you can learn from places you never thought you could learn from. So every single day there's something I learn."
(on his game plan includes changing his own tendencies) "Yeah, very big on it. I use other people's tendencies a lot, so I know that tendencies are a big thing, especially in this league where there's film of everything that you do. So everybody can find anything. So I'm very conscious of that and I'm also very conscious of how I counteract that. That's one of the things that's evolved in my game is, it kind of becomes a chess match between an offensive coordinator and myself. That makes it fun where it's a back and forth game, and you try and figure out what they're going to do, and they're trying to figure out what I'm going to do, and that makes the game a lot of fun."
(on what he has learned from NT Vince Wilfork) "We have a lot of fun. Vince and I have a big brother, little brother relationship, like a puppy and an older dog relationship. It's pretty funny, man. It's a blast. I love the guy, he's experienced, and he knows what he's doing. We have great conversations, both about life, football, everything. So, we talk about how he had success at where he was and we talk about different things on the field, off the field, but Vince and I, I don't know, we're just buddies, it's just a friendship and it's a lot of fun. It's great to have him around and he's a lot of fun, and I'm sure that I annoy him quite a bit."
(on if he was surprised at how many fans he has in Richmond) "Yeah. It's pretty incredible. I'm very, very fortunate. You don't really get to see it until you go somewhere else and you see it in person, but it's incredible. Then even the Redskins fans that are wearing Redskins gear and they say that they are fans or they appreciate my play, it's incredible. And I think that's the type of thing that makes you work so hard, and that's the type of thing that makes you want to represent yourself, your team, your family the right way, because when you come out here, on the road in Richmond, Virginia, a city I've never been to before, and there's people out there with signs and they put in the time to go out and buy a t-shirt or get a jersey, it's incredible and I'm so fortunate. I mean it makes my job the best job in the world because I come out here and try to work my butt off to try and perform to these people and make them proud. I mean I saw signs, there's people from Maryland, Dallas, there's people from all over here, and it really is extremely humbling and extremely motivating at the same time. It's pretty special, man, I can't lie. Someday it's all going to end, and I'm going to miss it for sure, but right now while I get to enjoy it I'm just trying to enjoy every second because it's unbelievable to have so many people show you how much they love you."
(on if he's told NT Vince Wilfork that they're like a puppy and an old dog) "I did, I told him the other day, because in practice, I made him a little made the other day, in practice, like, one of the things I used to do, I can't do it anymore because of this incident. I used to like come out to the practice fields and I'd grab a ball and go out on the field and I'd dunk it over the top of Vince, just like as a joke, because he knows I like to get loose before practice. So I dunked it over the top of Vince, I dunked it over the top of Vince every day, and then one day I came out there and dunked it over the top of him and my hand came down and hit his hand and he didn't like that very much. So I don't dunk the ball over the top of Vince anymore. It's just, we have such a good relationship and we have so much fun. Yeah, I think he realizes our relationship is, it literally is like a little kid. His wife is awesome, it's fun."
(on if he was posturizing NT Vince Wilfork) "I was trying to. He doesn't know what's coming. I don't know, it's stupid, but I can't do it anymore though."
(on his video of him catching balls one-handed) "I am always trying to push limits as an athlete, but I don't think, I have been doing those one handed catches since my rookie year. I can't help that now a days it seems like every single time I take a step it makes it on to the television. Every day I am trying to find some way, somehow that I can improve myself as an athlete. I think the day that you start to get complacent, the day that you start to feel like you've made it is the day that you begin your decline. For me, if I don't push the envelope, if I don't go out there and practice my ass off, if I don't go out there every single day and try to be the best athlete I can be, I am cheating myself, I am cheating my teammates, I am cheating my fans, everybody. So every single day I am trying to find a way to be the best and I am trying to find a way to be better than yesterday. The day that it stops is the day that I need to stop playing the game, because then I will be on the way down. But for right now I am still trying to climb the mountain, I am still trying to find out how high it can go because I don't know. I haven't reach my potential yet I am sure, and I hope to find out what that potential is. They say you reach your prime between the ages of 27 and 33. I am 26 so hopefully it is still ahead. I hope they are right."
(on rookie DT Christian Covington) "Yeah he's a good player. He has good hands, good feet, he listens, he is very smart. You can tell he knows what he is doing out there and that is good out of a rookie. I think our rookie class as a whole has been doing a great job. Our rookie class has come in, they have been willing to learn, they have been willing to work, they have been willing to do whatever is asked of them and that is what you want out of a rookie class. These guys come out here every single day eager to learn from older guys, from the coaches. And that is crucial. I think that they are going to have a lot of success because of that, because we have a lot of older guys with a lot of experience that are giving them that wisdom, so it has been a lot of fun every single day to be out there and watch those guys improve."
(on his jersey being for sale in the Redskins store at practice) "What tent? Oh like their store? My jersey is in their store? Geez Louise, that is pretty cool. I mean it is incredible, like I said, I think one of the biggest, I mean the fans in Houston are incredible. I am so, so fortunate to play for Houston and to have the incredible fans. One of the biggest compliments I can receive is when people come up to me and say, 'I am a fan of this team, but I love the way you play, or I am a fan of this team, but I am a fan of you.' For me that is why you work so hard, because you want to go out there and you want to play the game the right way. You want to do things the right way and you want do it in a way where people are proud. My goal has always been, like I have always talked about, I know what it is like to be a fan. I grew up a fan of football so I know how I would have loved for the superstar on my team to act and how in my mind I had that you had to act to be a superstar. So I am so fortunate that I get to come out here and try and be that guy. I am trying to be the superstar that every average Joe would be, that is my goal. I can only hope that I make people proud with the way I work, the way I act, the way I handle myself, because that is my goal. I want to make my family proud and I want to make all of these fans proud because like you said, people that are buying my jersey, I am so fortunate and so thankful because they can choose any jersey in the whole world to wear, but they choose to wear 99 and Watt on their back so it is my job to go out there and make them damn proud every single day to put that 99 on."