Texans Transcripts: December 17

HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN

How do you feel about the Texans controlling their own destiny?

"I think it's all about the Philadelphia Eagles. It's all about trying to have a good week, good practice week and going up to Philly to play a very difficult game. A very difficult game against a team that just beat the Rams on the road. It's all about the Eagles."

What are the Eagles with QB Nick Foles at quarterback?

"I think they're a very strong team. I think that obviously Carson Wentz is a great player. Then, they have an excellent situation where Carson's not able to play and now they're able to put the Super Bowl MVP in there. That says it all. They've done a – Howie Roseman's done a great job, Doug Pederson's done a great job. Nick's a starter in this league. He's an excellent player."

How would you gauge RB D'Onta Foreman's readiness to return from injury?

"As far as injuries go, I'll just let the injury report speak for itself every day, but I would say that D'Onta has had a good two weeks of practice. He's looked good on the practice field."

How do you get a player like RB D'Onta Foreman ready to play in a game when you can't hit in practice?

"You can hit in practice, but I know what you mean – full-speed, live tackling, all of that – I think it's difficult. I think you have to get your scout team tuned in to trying to strip the ball, punch the ball out. You have to do a bunch of drills. You've got to make sure – because I think if you look at our football team, that's one thing that we've done very well over the last however many weeks, is we've taken care of the ball, for the most, on offense and on special teams on our return units, for the most part. Then, we've taken the ball away on defense. I think that has to continue. That has to be drilled in practice."

What's happened to the run game the last two games?

"I think everybody's involved in that. I think we've got to do a better job upstairs coaching-wise. Then, they guys up front – tight ends, line, running backs, everybody – everybody's got to do a better job. We're all involved in trying to get that improved. We're going to work to try to improve that this week."

What's the process of evaluating the Eagles with QB Nick Foles instead of QB Carson Wentz?

"I think you definitely look at what they did – there's so much information available to you. You have to really look at all of the information that's available to you, but then you have to say to yourself, 'OK, what are they now?' I don't know if that answers the question, but Nick does a lot of the same things that Carson does. They're both really good. They don't really change a whole lot relative to what they do because they've got a very explosive offense with either guy playing quarterback. They've got a real strong offensive line. Their receivers are explosive. Zach Ertz is one of the better tight ends in the league. Darren Sproles – you saw last night some of the things he was able to do. Their running back situation is strong. This will be a big challenge for us."

Does QB Deshaun Watson's ball security open up the playbook in any sense?

"I have tremendous faith in him that he understands how important ball security is. It doesn't really affect anything other than the fact that I know that he understands how important it is to possess the ball at the end of every play."

What did you see from the pass protection breakdowns and do you think the blame is shared amongst the offense?

"It's not good. No doubt about it. We've got to try to fix it, but what I think I was trying to say, and it's true, after the game was that it's always pinned on the offensive line. There are certain things that, without giving you all the details, that we have to do better on the offensive line, but there's also route-running involved. There's so many things that go into a sack. The backs, are the backs protecting the right guy? Is Deshaun (Watson) holding the ball a little bit? Could the ball come out quicker? Is the receiver running the route the same way? Is the play call a great play call in that situation? There are so many different things that go into the end result of a sack. We've got to figure that out, though. We have to really try to get that cut down. It's not going to be easy because now we're going against (Michael) Bennett, Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham. It only gets harder. That's what we're spending time on today trying to get figured out."

Is the lack of interceptions a product of QB Deshaun Watson's decision-making or the receivers catching everything?

"No, I think it's both, but I think his decision-making has been really good. I think that has a lot to do with it. He knows that it's important for our football team, the way we're constructed, to possess the ball at the end of every play. That's the number one goal really every week is to make sure that we're 100 percent ball security. I think a lot of it, he does a really good job of deciding – making the right decision for our team – then, we have guys with good hands. You see the catches that (DeAndre) Hop(kins) made, obviously, Demaryius Thomas had a big catch, Alfred Blue had a big catch on the last drive, Lamar Miller's a good back to be able to check it down to, the tight ends have good hands. We have guys with strong hands, so it's a combination of both."

Do you still harp on ball security with QB Deshaun Watson?

"That's an every day. I think that's part of coaching, is there are certain things that you emphasize every day. They're called every day drills or whatever it is, certain things that you have to emphasize every single day."

Is there a chance we could see RB D'Onta Foreman play this week?

"You could. Yeah, no doubt. You could. Like I said earlier, he's had a few good weeks of practice and he's looked good."

What do you want to see from RB D'Onta Foreman given how long he's been out with an injury?

"I just want to see, obviously, good vision, good knowledge of how the play's being blocked, decisive running, continuing to improve in his knowledge of pass protections. Just good, solid play. Take care of the ball, number one."

Why do you think the team is 31-1 leading at halftime?

"I still don't know. I still don't know. I think that's a good stat and I think that's good that that's our record, but I think everybody in the NFL tries to do the best they can to make the right adjustments at halftime. So, I don't know how much of it – I think it's more about maybe giving a lot of credit to our players, go out there and play good second halves and get off to good starts in the second half. I give credit to the players on that."

Can you talk about WR DeAndre Carter's performance?

"He's been good. He was a good pickup for us. He's a tough guy, he's got good playing strength, he's really smart, so he's been able to pick up a lot of things for us offensively. He's gotten us some decent yardage in the punt return game. Very tough guy, good pro really. Really glad he's a part of our team."

How was WR DeAndre Carter able to get open on his 50-yard reception?

"I think they did pressure on that play and Deshaun (Watson) did a good job of understanding – the way that our protections are set up, it's important for the process of Deshaun and Nick (Martin) to first be on the same page of what we want to do with this particular protection, and this all has to happen very quickly. Then, Deshaun and the receivers or the tight ends are on the same page with how the protection is being seen, and when you go against Todd Bowles, and now Coach (Jim) Schwartz, it's very difficult. So, everybody's got to be on the same page because it happens fast. We play at a pretty good tempo, and on that particular play, both guys were on the same page and sometimes it looks pretty good. But, it's got to be a lot better moving forward."

How do you think your team handled the some of the blitzes by defensive backs against the Jets?

"Not great. They brought the nickel, they blitzed Jamal Adams and sometimes it was it good, but other times it wasn't. So, that's what we're trying to fix upstairs right now."

How do you think Eagles TE Zach Ertz compares to Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and how do you think you guys have fared against tight ends?

"I think that Zach is a different player than Gronk. All these tight ends are different. Zach is a guy that really is used in a lot of different ways. He's used as an inside receiver, he's used as basically at the tight end position as a normal tight end, he's used in the backfield. They just use him in a lot of different ways, so, I think number one, it's going to be important to know where he is on every play. We've got to know where he is. Relative to how we've played other tight ends, I'm not sure that really matters because of the way they use Ertz. It's all different. But, he's a great player."

What intangibles does QB Deshaun Watson have that has allowed him to achieve five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime?

"Poise. Poise, that's number one. You've got to be able to think the game and think it quickly, so you can't be a nervous wreck, that's for sure. You'll have no chance. Knowledge. Knowledge of your own system, knowledge of your own players and knowledge of what you think the defense is going to do. Then, you have to be able to make the play. You've got to be able to make the throw, get us into the right protection, go to the right people. You've got to have good guys around you that are on the same page, no doubt about it. But, I think the number one thing is the fact that he's been in that situation before, and he'll be in that situation again. He enjoys those situations, that's where the poise, the enjoyment of the situation is pretty rare."

Is it too early to know about WR Keke Coutee?

"Yeah, I would say all these guys at this point in the season, you're going into the second-to-last game of the season, I'd say anybody that you were to ask me about that was banged up would definitely be day to day. I'm telling you, we'll go out there, we'll work some of these guys out tomorrow, we'll work them out in practice on Wednesday, Thursday. It'll go right up to game time relative to what the 46-man roster will look like."

How do you adjust the practice for the players who are banged up?

"I think a lot of that – I have a great staff around me that helps me with that, the coaching staff, Geoff Kaplan, Luke Richesson. Those guys have input, and then I just try to make the final decision on how the tempo of practice should look like. We're going to practice. We have a strong belief in practicing at a certain pace on Wednesday, and then Thursday and then Friday. Our guys understand that. But, there's different things you can do to make sure that – basically, the goal is that they're ready to go on Sunday. That's the whole goal that they're absolutely ready to go when it's time to go on Sunday."

With what happened around the league yesterday, do you tell your team they have an opportunity in front of them to fare well in postseason seeding?

"Again, and that's where it's all about the Eagles, because that's the opportunity you have. You've put yourself in a position and now it's all about the Philadelphia Eagles. That's the big deal. If you start thinking about this, that, all these scenarios that you guys do a great job of covering and put out there, then you're going to be way ahead of yourself because you should be thinking about, 'OK, how am I going to get open against this corner for Philly? How am I going to block Fletcher Cox? How are we going to cover Zach Ertz? When we have to punt to (Darren) Sproles, how are we going to tackle him?' Everybody's focus should be the Philadelphia Eagles."

Although you were focused on the Philadelphia Eagles, did you have an eye on the Steelers-Patriots game?

"I'll be honest with you, based on what's kind of happening with me a little bit, no. I was focused on our game against the Jets, the Eagles and then some other stuff. So, no."

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