ASSISTANT HEAD COACH / DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
What do you have to do to eliminate big plays in the passing game?
"Well, I think it's a combination of things. We have to do a better job of staying on top of the receiver, we have to do a better job of rushing the quarterback. It kind of goes hand-in-hand sometimes, but I think those are the two things that have to happen. When you're facing those really fast guys, you stay on top of them. Then, if we can get the quarterback down or get him off the spot, that helps also because that destroys some timing."
How does Jets QB Sam Darnold compare to the other rookie quarterbacks you've faced this season?
"I think that he's a good young quarterback. Has a lot of ability, can make some throws, but he can hurt you with his feet, also like the others as well. I think it'll be interesting to see how this game goes and how he performs against us and how we perform against him. But, he does have good qualities."
Have you seen anything particular about DE Christian Covington that has led to his on-field production?
"I think he's taking advantage of opportunities and he's gotten better every year that he's been here. He's a good teammate, a good pro and he works at his craft. I think that helps him be able to make those plays when they come along."
Did Browns QB Baker Mayfield make adjustments in the second half a few weeks ago or did you back off as a defense in the second half?
"As the game goes on, the opponent gets used to what's happening in the game. I think he kind of got used to what we were trying to do and anticipated some things, so he was able to make some plays."
How do you think patience has helped S Tyrann Mathieu and how do you think he's been playing?
"He's doing good. I think he understands the position and what's required of the position, and that basically you're the last line of defense and you need to be patient and not jump the gun. I think that that's helped him in his overall game as well because sometimes he's down in the box, sometimes he's deep. We kind of move him around a little bit, and I think that patience helps him."
Why didn't CB Aaron Colvin play more on defense last game?
"Well, he got injured a little bit. He's come back and sometimes as things develop on your team when a guy is not there and out, you don't want to change that mix. I think that's part of it. Guys started doing a pretty good job, and I don't necessarily want to change the mix right now."
When you don't know which running back will get the majority of carries, do you have to game plan to stop a scheme rather than a certain back?
"Yes. You go after schemes and then you still try to anticipate what they may do, even though they may not have who they want to have. I think they're still going to try to run the ball because it's a home game for them. If they can get ahead – I think every team feels like if they can get ahead, that improves their chances. We're going to have to do a good job of stopping the run and then do a good job of containing the passer when they decide to throw it."
Is the run defense the one thing you're the most pleased with?
"Yes and no. I'm pleased with the wins. I'm most pleased with the wins because the wins give us an opportunity to play another game. If we can keep winning, I think that's going to help everybody. But, overall, we've made improvement in the run defense. We're still not as good as we need to be in the redzone. We've gotten a little bit better on third down over the last couple weeks. We need to continue to do that, and we need to try to force some field goals."
Do you cook up new schemes when facing rookie quarterbacks to take advantage of their inexperience compared to what you would do against a veteran quarterback?
"Well, we have plenty of schemes. We have a lot of stuff that we can throw at a quarterback. I don't know that we need to cook up new stuff. Just get good at what we're doing and not make mistakes that give up plays. Then, I think that if we can do that, we'll be all right."
OFFENSIVE LINE COACH MIKE DEVLIN
Last Sunday's game seemed like a departure from the way the offensive line had been playing.
"Yeah, that's a true statement. The Colts did an excellent job in their game plan. I have to do a better job of countering that and getting them better prepared to handle what they did."
What are the keys for your in-game adjustments?
"There's some technique involved, obviously. There's matchups that you have to think about as well to adjust to. They had a lot of movement and did some other things like that, but I think it's things we did before. That was my point to them, is we maybe overreacted a little bit instead of just doing what we do. That's on me for not handling that."
Was this a humbling game for the offensive line?
"I think our group is very humble. I think we know we have to go out there with this group we have and we have to play smart, hard and tough every game with the matchups we see every week."
How much to you scout the opposition and try to incorporate what other offensive lines do into your game plan?
"Sure, I mean, that's coaching. As my father used to say, if you stare at it long enough, it's not stealing, it's research. We all do that."
How much do you have to prepare for that 'stealing'?
"Every week. We have to evaluate ourselves. We have to know how a defender beat us, and we have to know that the next person's going to do that until we fix it."
What were the Browns and Colts doing to hide their blitzes?
"Relative to those, I don't think they necessarily hid them. Again, we didn't do a good enough job of responding and reacting."
What do you see from the Jets front seven when watching the tape?
"Obviously, big, athletic. I think their defensive scheme – (Todd) Bowles and their defensive coordinator and all of those guys, the things that they do – they run to the ball, they have 19 takeaways. They're going to try to strip the ball. So, you see that traditionally good defense that he produces."
What do like about the offensive line accepting their challenges and meeting those challenges head-on?
"I don't think this is a group that ever looks beyond what's in front of them. I think they don't think they're any better than what they are. They know they have to work hard every day to improve. That's the approach. Last week was not what I wanted, what we wanted as a group. Now, you've got to get back to work on a short week and prepare for a really good defense."
DE/OLB JADEVEON CLOWNEY
Do you expect to bounce back as a team on Saturday?
"Oh yeah, for sure. In the locker room, we're preparing well and ready to go down there and try to get a win."
Head Coach Bill O'Brien said the neutral zone infraction wasn't what lost the game. Would you agree?
"I was upset about the play, of course. You don't want to jump offsides in that situation. It was a mistake. It happened. I'm past it."
What did Colts QB Andrew Luck do well to draw you offsides?
"I don't know. I don't even think it was him. It was just me."
What do you see from Jets QB Sam Darnold?
"He makes a lot of plays with his legs. We have to corral him and keep him in the pocket. Same as every week – stop the run and try to keep him in the pocket and force him to make turnovers."
What have you seen from DE Christian Covington this season?
"He works hard. He works extremely hard. He comes to work every day, puts his head down and grinds. Comes out here and it's showing on the field. Just keep coming."
What did it mean to be able to give back at your event, Jingle-A-Thon, last night?
"It meant a lot to me. Like I said, I grew up in a situation similar to the kids I was helping last night with a single-parent home. For me to go out there and do that was great. I just like seeing the smiles on kids' faces – to see them last night smiling, that was a good time."
How does playing on Saturday instead of Sunday change things?
"You don't have to worry about last week. That's the only thing good about it. Hurry up and put last week behind us, get ready to go to the Jets and try to get a win."
Are you more ready for this week than you any other week?
"For sure. Trying to get back on that winning streak. This is a big week for us. Coming off a loss, we have to bounce back. We need this game for the division, for everything. All these games are important, so we have to go up there and take care of business."
Does it seem like more quarterbacks around the league are able to make plays with their feet now?
"Yeah, that's what the league is becoming. Guys can make plays with their legs and get outside the pocket. You've got (Patrick) Mahomes doing a great job, Sam Darnold, even (Andrew) Luck – guys who run, the mobile quarterbacks who run and throw the ball pretty well, make plays. They're showing up. We just have to go there, do our job and play well and try to stop this guy."
Does it hit you that you've had plays this year where you missed a sack when it would have been a sack in previous years?
"Yeah, I've missed a few. I've missed a few this year chasing the mobile quarterbacks around, but they're good athletes. You have to prepare well. That's what you look forward to, the game. That's the great thing about a game. Go out there and play against athletes just as good, great players and you go out there and try to make plays against guys like that."
What are the keys to defending a mobile quarterback?
"Everybody rush to the level of the quarterback and try to press the pocket. No fly-bys, no opening up of lanes up the middle. Just try to push the pocket and not run him out and make him throw from the well. That's what we're going to try to do this week.
S TYRANN MATHIEU
Why do you think the defense has allowed multiple big plays in the passing game over the last six quarters after not doing so in the first 12 weeks?
"I think we've done a great job of that, really, this entire season. You're going to get in certain situations where teams may scheme you to get a big play. We just have to be sharp on that, but I think for the most part we're playing well. We just have to do a better job of really making more plays."
Do you see similarities between Jets QB Sam Darnold and Browns QB Baker Mayfield?
"Well, I think Darnold can extend plays, use his legs. I think Mayfield has more weapons than Darnold may have, but I think both of those guys are showing great signs, especially as rookies."
What will it be like to play against Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles with whom you have a great relationship?
"Just about me going out there and trying to play my best football. Honestly, just trying to make enough plays to win the game. I don't really think there's anything with me and Coach Bowles. Obviously, he's done a lot for me coming into the league. He's a great defensive mind. Really knows how to put guys in position to make plays. So, I can't wait to play against him Saturday."
What do you want to see from the defense early on against the Jets to show that the defense is 'back'?
"Just more splash plays. I think for the most part, we keep players in front of us, we keep guys in front of us. We just have to do a better job of really creating turnovers and then wreaking havoc."
How much does the honesty about the team's performance within the locker room help the team improve together as the season progresses?
"I don't think anybody is a bigger critic (than we are). We always point the finger at each other. We're going to hold each other accountable. At the end of the day, nobody's expectations are higher than ours. We still have a lot of work to do, but like I said, it really comes down to us just making more plays."
What do you expect from you and your teammates on Saturday?
"We'll bounce back. We've got a bad taste in our mouth. Like I said, didn't make enough plays and that's really what this game comes down to."
Jets S Jamal Adams was actively recruiting you in the offseason. How close did you come to signing with the Jets?
"Well, it was a conversation that we had. Me and Jamal are real close friends. We always try to inspire each other, motivate each other. But, at the end of the day, the Texans were the best fit for me."
Was there one specific thing that convinced you to come to Houston over other teams?
"No, not really. In my mind, I just try to take the biggest challenge and really surround myself with great guys – upstairs, downstairs, locker room, training room – you just want to be around great people."
The Texans needed you as part of this defense. Is that what lured you to Houston?
"I think so. There's a lot of work we still have to do, but I think ultimately I like the group that I picked."