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Houston Texans

Texans Transcripts: December 11


Do you expect WR Keke Coutee to play this week? What do you do if both WR Keke Coutee and WR DeAndre Carter both can't play?

"I would say on the injury question, it's all day-to-day, especially during this time of the year. We always have plans in place. Maybe it will be the same as what we did last week, maybe it'll be different. I think that's what we're all trying to work out right now."

How much does QB Joe Webb III practice at wide receiver during the week compared to his reps on special teams?

"He gets his work in. It's not as much as the starter would get, but he gets his work. He's a very versatile player. Every roster needs a guy like Joe Webb, I think, because he can do a lot of different things."

How tough is it to have WR Keke Coutee struggle with injuries knowing the kind of production he can deliver when healthy?

"It's tough for him. He's got to figure that out along with the medical staff and strength and conditioning staff. We've all got to work together to try to help him. He's doing better. He's trending toward being able to play. He's a really good guy, he's tough, he's smart, but he's got to try to get back on the field."

Do you feel like WR Demaryius Thomas has a good grasp of the offense and you're able to do more with him now?

"Yeah, we've been doing a lot with him. No doubt, he has a good grasp. We've run him on all different kinds of routes. We've done a lot of different things with him. So, yes, he does have a good grasp."

How much confidence do you have in your tight ends?

"I have a lot of confidence in those guys. They're good. They all have different skillsets. All of them can block in their own different ways. Good hands, smart guys, hard workers. I have confidence in all three of those guys."

How do you prepare QB Deshaun Watson to play in 50-degree weather with rain?

"I think we'll deal with it as best we can and we'll figure out ways to help them. If it's not raining out here, we'll think of different ways to – because I know what you're talking about relative to the wet football or whatever it is. We'll figure out ways to work on that in practice, no doubt about it."

What stood out to you about Jets QB Sam Darnold's performance against Buffalo?

"Sam's a bright guy. These young guys coming out of college, they're really smart, they get better, they improve, the more they see they understand what they're seeing. That's not an easy defense to go against – Buffalo – on the road. He does a great job of understanding what they're asking him to do and then he can extend plays. He can make plays with his feet. He's a very, very good quarterback."

Do you think Browns QB Baker Mayfield, Bills QB Josh Allen and Jets QB Sam Darnold are all similar in the way they can extend plays?

"Yeah, they all can run. Each one is a little bit different, but all of them have escapability. Watching that Jets-Buffalo game – getting ready for the Jets, obviously, and concentrating on Darnold – but then when you flip over and you watch the Jets defense, Josh Allen took off on some runs. They can all run. We saw that with Baker here. That's a very hard thing to defend because, like I said yesterday, when they get outside the pocket, it's difficult to stay with your man in coverage because everything changes. It goes from kind of a normal route to all of a sudden it's street ball and you've got to do as good of a job as you can of trying to what we call plaster coverage – stay in coverage, be disciplined. It's very difficult to defend."

The offensive line had been improving. How important is it for that unit to return to form?

"We're going to watch the tape here in about an hour and watch the Colts game and quickly move on to the Jets. I don't think we can – even though it's a short week, I still think you need to really watch – not the whole game, but you need to watch a lot of the game to get some things corrected. Those guys are great guys up front. They know that they need to improve. They know that they need to play better. I think a lot of guys in that locker room know that. I've heard them say that to you guys that we need to coach and play better than we did on Sunday."

Can QB Deshaun Watson learn from Sunday's loss?

"I think you learn from every game when you're any player at any stage of his career – any coach, you're always learning. I think that when you lose a game as a team, I think everybody really – not that you don't study the tape hard when you win a game – but you really look at it when you lose a game. These guys have these iPads. They've watched that game probably six times already in preparation for today. They probably already know a lot of the things that I'm going to say to them in about an hour. I think you can learn, I think you can improve and I think that's what it's all about. We've got to get better and we've got to figure out how our mistakes can be corrected and how that applies to the Jets."

What attitude do you think T Julién Davenport has had through the ups and downs of this season?

"I thought Davenport's played pretty consistently. I think Davenport – just like everybody else – has had some plays that he would wish to have back. I think you could say that about everybody. There's some play-calls that I wish I could have back, but I think that Jules is a very even-keeled guy, he's a very hard-worker, smart guy, very mature guy and I think he's doing fine."

Do you think surrendering big plays in the passing game is a result of mental or physical mistakes?

"I think that it was a lot of mental. We've got to do a better job of coaching it. We've got to execute it better. We've got to understand what we're seeing and we've got to react faster. We have to adjust faster. I guess you would put that in the mental category."

Do you view Saturday's game at New York as a big opportunity?

"Every week. Every week I think is an opportunity. Like I always say, I think this league is set up to have great parity. Again, in the Colts game, it was 20-to-25 plays that they made that we didn't make in all three phases, total. We've got to figure that out. You go up against the Jets. They do a lot of different things. Third down – the Jets defense on third down, I think they're second in the NFL. They've got a great safety in Jamal Adams. He's probably one of the best, I would say, top-five defensive players we've played against in my five years here. I think offensively they've got a rookie quarterback that's dynamic. They've got a receiver that probably runs as fast as anybody we've played in (Robby) Anderson. They've got a lot of good players. Every week's an opportunity. Every week is a challenge and we've got to be ready for the challenge."

Do the Steelers and Patriots losses make the Texans loss feel any better?

"I'm worried about the Jets. I think it's important for me to answer your questions about the previous game so I'm not going to sit up here and just ignore those questions because I do think in some ways, those apply to this game, but I'm not focused on anything other than correcting the mistakes from that game and then moving on to the Jets. If you were in the squad meeting at noon, it will be about a 45-minute meeting and I'll show them some plays from the Colts. Then, we'll show them the Jets and what we need to get started on with the Jets. Then, we'll break up into special teams. Brad will show them some special teams plays from the Colts, move on to the Jets. RAC (Romeo Crennel) and I will show the offense and defense the same thing, Colts-Jets. It's all about correcting from the previous game and moving on to the Jets. I don't really have time – nobody's feeling sorry for anybody in this league. That's the way it is."

How do you feel about the status of the passing game?

"I feel fine where the passing game's at. I think we have to do some things better relative to route-running, reads, protection, design of the play. I'm not worried about 300-yard passing games. I'm not worried about 150-yard rushing games. I'm just – and I think we all are – we're just worried about winning. Whatever it takes to win. Not really into the stats. Never really cared about stats unless – the biggest stat that I really care about is the takeaway-giveaway stat. I think that's one of the biggest stats. We're tied for fourth in the league right now. I think we've got to try to keep that going. We've done a good job of taking care of the ball. We've got to take the ball away even better than we do. But, that's really the only stat that I'm totally concerned about. The biggest stat is winning."

Do you ever show the team plays like the end of the Miami-New England game to prepare the team for end-of-game situations?

"Absolutely. At the end of the week when you have a little bit more time, maybe not as much on a short week, but certainly in a normal Sunday week on a Friday or a Saturday – not every week, but certain weeks throughout the year – you'll show them certain situations that have come up from other games that maybe you'll have a couple of guys on your staff that are studying those situations and they put the film together for you. How does that apply or could that apply? So many things come up. It came up the other day in our game. I thought we used our timeouts wisely there at the end, also had the two-minute warning. Obviously, had a penalty there and that hurt us, but I thought we handled that situation – up until the penalty – we handled that situation pretty well. That's another situation. They were in four-minute offense, we were in four-minute defense. So, yeah, every week there are things that come up. The week before when we played Cleveland, we had an end-of-half situation that Deshaun (Watson) handled really well. I thought our team, our offense, handled it really well. We were able to kick a field goal at the end of the half with about one second on the clock. We handled that clock management very well. We try to school the guys up as much as we can."

You could've had an opportunity to try a play like Miami did if you got the ball back at the end of the game.

"Sure, yeah, no doubt. That's why you practice those things or at least jog through them on a Saturday or this week on a Friday, or whatever it is. You try to cover everything every week. It's hard to do that, but you try to allot time to do that."

What did you say to DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney about his encroachment penalty?

"I don't think you have to say much to him. I really don't. These guys are pros. He's a good guy. Like I said the other day, that didn't lose the game. There were a lot of things that led up to that. He's an aggressive player. Quarterbacks always do a good job of trying to get our guys – they're aggressive guys – to try to get them to jump. Andrew (Luck) did a nice job on that and we jumped. But, there's not too much you need to say. He's an adult, he's a pro and he knows."


How much do you pay attention to upcoming weather conditions?

"We pay attention for sure. That could change the game, and I'm not sure what the weather is as I say this, but I'm sure we'll get the update here in the team meeting. We're prepared for a cold weather game. That's what it is in December."

It's supposed to be wet on Saturday. How much does that affect you?

"It could affect throwing the ball, and it's always windy there on the water in the Meadowlands. So, just got to be ready. I'm sure we'll practice outside this week and hopefully we get ready for game."

How does your preparation this week compare to weeks past?

"Yeah, I think we got to double-down on our focus this week. It's a short week and three games left in the season. It's very important in terms of getting into the playoffs, and then, once we do that, seeding. So, three weeks of the season where anything can happen."


How does rookie QB Sam Darnold compare to the other rookie quarterbacks QB Baker Mayfield and QB Josh Allen?

"Those rookie quarterbacks come in trying to win games and prove their work. Any time you get drafted No. 1 overall there's going to be a lot surrounding you as a player, but I think those guys do a good job as a rookie of just handling it and going about their business the right way. For us as a team, we can't go out and worry about their draft status or where they're drafted at. We just got to treat him like the starting quarterback they are."

What do you want to see from the defense this week to let you know you're back on track?

"Just four quarters of complete football. We don't have to do anything special, just go out and play our game and that'll be enough. Sometimes you start hot. We can't have those peaks and valleys where we start and then we kind of have a little lull for a minute and then we catch back up. At this point in the year, this time of the year, we got to be four, full quarters."

Do you feel like you are even more focused now coming off a loss with three games remaining?

"You have no choice. Nine-game winning streak, that's a long time. That's two months of football in the NFL. A lot of ball been played, a lot of things happened, so it's a lot of chatter throughout that whole point in time. With three games left throughout the regular season, I think you hone in and focus in, especially on one game at a time, 12 quarters of football, however it has to be."


Did you ever play in rainy games at Clemson?

"I did. A couple of them."

Is there anything you can do at practice to prepare to play in the rain?

"I guess you can practice that, but at the end of the day, you've just got to go out there and try to grip the ball as best you can, focus on your footwork a little bit more, be cautious with that and understand that the receivers might – depending on the turf or the grass, wherever we're playing – their footwork. At the end of the day, you can't really focus on that. You've got to just go play ball."

Do you have to have the right cleats on?

"For sure, depending on if it's turf – I haven't been to MetLife, but I think that's turf. Grass is a little different."

How do you deal with swirling wind?

"Depending on which way it's going, you just kind of have to go out there and play ball, really. I really don't focus on the weather. I just try to go out there and try to execute as best I can."

What's the challenge of putting different receivers into the offense due to injury?

"The biggest challenge is you just don't get enough reps with them. Like I said Sunday after the game, Joe Webb is a guy that does a lot of different things for this team – a lot of great things for this team – but I never, throughout the week, get to throw balls to him, especially in the slot position. We just kind of had to learn on the fly. That's part of the game, that's part of this league, that's part of the way things go sometimes. So, we try to adjust as much as we can and try to execute as best we can."

How much do you like throwing to big targets with TEs Ryan Griffin, Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins?

"They do a good job of doing what their responsibilities are, being able to find open holes in zones in the defense, and they're big targets. You give them a chance to make a play and those guys can make plays. They've been doing a great job and improving each and every week."

Do you view Saturday as a big opportunity to play on national television in New York?

"For sure. Every week is a new opportunity. Win or lose the previous week, it's 0-0. You're only as good as what you do (with) the next opportunity. So, a new opportunity for us to be able to go out there and perform, try to get a W and do what the Houston Texans usually do."

How do you deal with a player like Jets S Jamal Adams?

"He's an active player. I came out with Jamal in high school, so I've been watching Jamal for a while. Great friend of mine. He's a high draft pick for a reason. He's one of the best players in the league, if not one of the best safeties in the league. He's been playing great football. He's doing a good job for the New York Jets in being disruptive in the passing game and in the running game. He's definitely a guy we have to make sure we keep our eyes on and be able to try to control."

What did you learn when you broke down the tape from Sunday's game?

"Just stay disciplined to the system. That was pretty much it. Trust my guys, trust my reads, trust my O-line, hit the opportunities – the deep balls downfield. That was pretty much it. It wasn't anything crazy that we didn't do. We just didn't stick to the system and stay disciplined sometimes."

Do you get excited playing in New York, the media capital of the world?

"Every week is a great opportunity for me. Just because we're going up to New York, it doesn't make any difference if we were playing in another city. It's a great opportunity for myself and for this team to go out there and perform at a high level. There's always new levels and new opportunities for us to get better, and that's what we're going to try to do."

Had you ever completed a pass to a quarterback in a game before Sunday?

"Not that I know of. That was the first time, I think."

Why do you think you've limited your interceptions over the last seven games?

"I don't know. I've just been doing my job. Sometimes the ball goes my way, sometimes it doesn't. Guys in the first seven games made plays. I guess the opportunity was there. I took was the defense was giving me and that's pretty much it."

What do you want to improve on most over the next three games?

"I think the biggest thing is really the deep shots down the field, capitalizing on those more. Then, also not taking too many sacks and really just taking what the defense is giving me. Really the biggest thing is whenever we throw the ball downfield, whenever those opportunities come, just capitalize on those."

When you send a slot receiver in motion on a rush, what's the general idea behind it?

"There's multiple goals. You never know what we're going to do. We can hand it off, we can run the ball, we can pass the ball, we can do a draw, we can do a screen. It depends on the play call and the situation, really."

Does the loss on Sunday alleviate the pressure of a win streak? Can the loss be a positive?

"You only put pressure on yourself. For us, we don't really put pressure on ourselves. We don't really focus on that. Of course we didn't want to lose. We always want to win and try to continue to stack those, but it just kind of goes that way sometimes. It's the National Football League. We just try to focus on the next opponent, the next game and try to get back in the win column."

Winning's never a bad thing.

"No. We always want to win. No one likes to lose. You always try to win."

Do you stay in touch with all of the other young quarterbacks around the league?

"Not as much because I'm so busy and locked in on my opponent and what I have to do to prepare for the week. But, when I can, I'll watch those guys, see what those guys are doing, watch the other quarterbacks around the league and see what those guys are doing. Those guys are doing a great job for their teams and learning as they build their careers and as they play in more games. All of those guys are doing a good job for themselves."


Do you look at Saturday as an opportunity to turn things around?

"Correct. It is a big opportunity. We have to go out there and play the way we know we're capable of playing."

Can you talk about the recent turnover production?

"Turnovers come in many different ways. Sometimes it's just a matter of a lucky bounce, sometimes it's a matter of a great scheme, sometimes it's just a phenomenal play. They come in all different ways and shapes. Sometimes they come in bunches, sometimes you go on a drought, but you have to do everything in your power to make them come. That's what we're working to do, is put ourselves in the best position and make plays."

How much time do you spend studying an opposing quarterback?

"I look at it a little bit, but at the end of the day it just comes down to, as a pass rusher, getting there. You just have to get there. You look at whether the ball comes out quick or whether it doesn't, drop back, stuff like that. But, at the end of the day, you have to get there and you have to beat the guys in front of you, you have to find a way to get back there and then make the play."

How does Jets QB Sam Darnold's skillset compare to other rookie quarterbacks you've faced this season?

"I think he can do some of those things. He can move around, he can run a bit, so we have to do a good job. Everybody has to stay in their lane, make sure they do their job and keep him contained."

Is there a fine line between doing your job and trying to get to the quarterback?

"There's obviously a line there. You don't want to take your pass rusher's aggression away but you also don't want to just play reckless. You do your best to do both and a find a way to make sure you do it right. Then, you also have a bunch of great guys behind you who can make a play if the guy gets out."

Do you feel the rush defense can be better?

"I always think it can be better, yeah."

At training camp two years ago, you brought a little boy out to play four-square with you. You later found out he had been dealing with anxiety issues and he didn't like to go to school. A couple days ago, he gave a speech to his class about running for mayor. They attribute his transformation to you. What do you think about that?

"I addressed that on Twitter last night. It's pretty cool, obviously. I didn't know he was going through anything at time. You never know. You never know what people are going through. Everybody's going through something. If it helped out in any way, I think that's awesome, and I'm very happy for him and I hope he wins."

What can you do to improve the pass rush?

"You can do many different things. Sometimes it's a matter of guys getting chipped or double-teamed or whatever it may be. Sometimes it's just simply pass-rushing better, having better moves. Sometimes it's schemes. There's many different things you can do. But, obviously, myself and the pass rushers on this team, we put a lot on our shoulders and sometimes it's just a matter of making a play."

Do you get frustrated about getting double-teamed all the time?

"Yeah, of course. I mean, who wouldn't? But, it's part of the game. It's something that's happened my whole career, so it's not like I'm not used to it. But, of course you get frustrated, but you live with it, you work to fight through it and you find a way."

Do you think a loss is better from a learning standpoint, or are wins always better?

"A win is always better. Every single time."

Do you learn more from a win or a loss?

"I think you can do both. You can obviously learn a lot from a loss and things you did wrong, but I think if you don't learn from a win and still look at the things that you did wrong and also the things you did well, I think you're doing yourself a disservice. I think you have to learn every day – practice, games, everything. If you're not continually trying to get better, if you're not continually, every single day, trying to find ways to improve and trying to find ways to better yourself and your team, then you're not doing it the right way."

The Chargers are playing well but the Steelers are not. How do your comfort or encourage your brothers?

"I think you may be reading too much into it there. We just talk like brothers. Obviously, T.J.'s – nobody likes to lose, so he's just trying to find a way to win, and obviously Derek's team is playing great, so everything's great over there. They've got a big one on Thursday night. But, we talk much more regular, everyday stuff than we talk about stuff like that. We talked about Christmas decorations last night, so it's not like – we don't have these crazy, heavy conversations every day."

How did you look at the weekend and what happened in regard to the AFC playoff picture?

"I don't look anywhere else. I look at us and what we did and what we have to do. My whole philosophy and something I've learned throughout my career and throughout the last two injuries, obviously, is control what you can control. That's become something that I live by. You control what you can control, and don't worry about what you can't because you can't do anything about it anyway. All we can do is control our attitude, control the way we work, control the way you practice and meet, make sure that we go out there and put our best foot forward and play the best that we can and control everything within our realm, and not worry about anything outside of there."

What does it mean to you to being here and playing well?

"It feels great. Obviously, the last two years were extremely difficult. But, to be here, to be playing meaningful football in December, playing in big games in winter time and me being out there on the field participating in those games, is awesome. This is just – it feels good to be back in that situation, to be back on the field, to be getting the sacks, to be playing good football, to be with the guys. I can tell you it's a hell of a lot better than sitting on the couch and watching it from home."

Do the weather conditions this weekend concern you at all?

"I'm from Wisconsin. I've seen it all. I played in a game one time that was negative 28 degrees. A guy got hit so hard that the decal on his helmet, the paint underneath it flew off. So, I've seen it all. I'm OK with whatever they got up there."

Do you feel better now than you did at the end of the 2015 season?

"If you knew how I felt at the end of the 2015 season, I feel a hell of a lot better than that."

Do you feel better now than you did at the end of the 2014 season?

"I think it's different, obviously. This is my first full year back, and I didn't have a full offseason and all that. So, I don't think I would say that it's in the exact same spot as that, but I feel good. I mean, I feel good, I enjoy going out there to practice, I enjoy going out there to play the games. I'm playing, and I'm happy about that."


S Tyrann Mathieu has been a leader both on and off the field since joining the Texans. When you coached him as a rookie in Arizona, was he the same way and what did he bring to the defense?

"He was exactly the same. His football IQ is outstanding. He was one of the first ones out to practice every day. He understood the game. He made plays, ball-hawking. He's small in height, but he can hit you. He can play corner, he can play safety, he's a part linebacker. He was a great addition for us in Arizona and he's doing the same things over there."

What have you seen from DE J.J. Watt this season and are you surprised at all that he's returned to form this season?

"Talking about a guy with work ethic, you understand he's a hard worker and he looks exactly the same before he battled the injury. I know that took a lot to come back from. He's probably one of the few people in the world that can do those type of things and get back to how he used to be. He's playing outstanding."

What are your thoughts on the way QB Deshaun Watson has played this season?

"Deshaun's an outstanding player. He can beat you from the pocket or he can beat you with his feet. Throws the deep ball well, throws the short ball well. If there's nothing there, he's going to be hard to catch because he runs like a halfback."

How do you prepare a young quarterback to play in inclement weather?

"With Sam (Darnold), he's on the east coast, so he's had some bad-weather games here and there. We just came from Buffalo, so he'll be OK in the game. He's 21 years-old. He doesn't know what bad weather means yet."

What have you seen from WR DeAndre Hopkins when you watch him on tape?

"I love the way he plays the game. He's a defensive-offensive player because he plays with the mentality of defensive player. He's got outstanding speed, size, catch-radius, route-runner and he's a gamer. He comes to play every week, rain or shine, and you respect that about him. He's one of the best in the league."

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