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Texans Transcripts: December 24

HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN

What can you do to run the ball more effectively?

“There’s a lot of things that we can do to be better. I’m not going to get into all of the details of that, but we’re going to really work hard to be better this week. We’re going to work at it Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in practice and try to be better. It’s going to be hard based on who we’re going against in Jacksonville. They’ve got a great defense. I think they limited Miami to under 200 yards of offense, so it will be very difficult, but there’s a lot of things that we’re going to try to do to be better.”

How would you describe the performance of the running game in the last three games compared to the previous six games?

“It’s just the nature of – we just haven’t gotten it done. I don’t know what else to tell you. We just have to keep trying to get better.”

Does the coaching need to be better in terms of the running game?

“We’re going to work as hard as we can to improve the running game to the best of our ability.”

Do you have more information on WR Demaryius Thomas’ injury?

“Not detailed information, but I will, probably, on Wednesday.”

Are you confident in the wide receivers you have on the roster to replace WR Demaryius Thomas?

“Yeah, no doubt. Demaryius is a great player, excellent pro, but (we) feel good about the guys that we have and also some of the moves we may make to help that position. Feel good about the guys. We have strong guys on the roster. We have strong guys on the practice squad. We’ve got, I think, a strong wide receiver group. I think we can do some things to take up the slack there a little bit. It’ll be a loss because he was such a good pro and a mentor and all of those things that we’ve always said about him, but we have to move forward.”

Is there any chance WR Keke Coutee is back for this week’s game?

“We’ll have to see. He’s worked hard to come back and then he’s had a setback, worked hard to come back, had a setback. So, we’ll see how it goes this week. He’s a really good, young player. We like him. We just have to see how it goes this week.”

What did you think T Martinas Rankin did well yesterday at left guard?

“I thought he battled. He had a couple of false start penalties, but sometimes that’s not always that particular person’s fault – silent cadence – there’s a lot of things that go into that. I thought he battled hard. He’s a tough guy. He’s good on the inside. I think he’s a little bit more of a guard than he is a tackle, and I thought he battled hard in there.”

Were you on the plane when you found out the Texans had clinched a playoff berth and was there a celebration?

“We were on the plane. But, we were all watching the film. Just trying to be as honest as I can with you, there was no reaction.”

Do you expect RB Lamar Miller to play this week?

“I think he’s got a chance. I think he’s got a chance. I don’t know that yet, but I think he probably feels better at this point this week than he did at this point last week. Maybe trending upward is the right way to say it.”

After starting 0-3, was there a sense of accomplishment in clinching a playoff berth?

“I think that’s a good point. From 0-3 to where we are now, there’s definitely a sense that there were some things accomplished, but there’s a lot left out there. We didn’t win yesterday. We had a chance to really do something yesterday and we didn’t get it done – coaching and playing-wise. Philly, give Philly credit, they made a few more plays than we did and coached better than we did. We’ve got to try to regroup here and get ready for Jacksonville.”

When WR Vyncint Smith makes a catch like the fourth-quarter touchdown catch against the Eagles, how much does that help his confidence and how much confidence does that give QB Deshaun Watson when throwing to Smith?

“He’s really improved. I think he’s a guy that’s got really good speed. He’s a much improved route-runner. You don’t make that throw unless you have faith in the guy to make that play. I know D4 (Deshaun Watson) has faith in the guy to make plays, and that’s big – the trust. The trust factor is big. But, I really like Vyncint. I think he’s a really good guy. He works hard and hopefully he can make some plays for us.”

Do you think CB/S Kareem Jackson will be able to play this week?

“I think so. Kareem’s a tough guy. We’ve been around each other a long time. Kareem’s a guy that he’ll do whatever he can to help our team and to be ready to play.”

*It looked like CB/S Kareem Jackson was trying to talk his way back onto the field yesterday.
*
“Yeah, he’s one of those guys. We have a lot of guys like that that really want to be in there making plays and try to help the team. He’s definitely one of those guys.”

WR DeAndre Hopkins played very well yesterday while dealing with an injury.

“He’s a tough guy. He competes so hard on Sundays. He wants the ball. Made some incredible catches yesterday – man-to-man coverage, safety over the top. Deshaun (Watson) made some great throws to him and he battled. He didn’t practice all week. I think he feels – (it’s) kind of weird – but, I think he feels like bit better today. He’s a hell of a football player.”

How impressive has QB Deshaun Watson been over the last three games with the running game not being as successful as it was earlier in the season?

“No doubt. He’s done an excellent job. I think he’s done a good job of taking care of the ball. The one he had yesterday was kind of – I would never put that on him, the strip-sack there. That was something that we have to do a better job blocking-wise, but I think he’s taking care of the ball for the most part, except for Washington. He’s done a great job of that. He really understands how we need to play as a team. Everybody in this organization has faith in him because he’s a winner. He’s been there, he’s done it. So, we know that the game’s never over with him.”

Can you talk about DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney?

“There’s a lot of things I can say about JD. I think he’s a great teammate. I think he comes to play on Sundays. He’s a very disruptive guy. He’s a very instinctive guy. He does what we ask him to do. He made a lot of plays yesterday. When he feels good, like I’ve always said about him, when his body feels good and he feels good health-wise, he’s a hard guy to deal with.”

Did you re-watch the roughing the passer penalty on the final drive of the game?

“I think at the end of the day, like I said after the game, John Parry, that crew is a good crew. They are a good crew. They communicate well with the sideline. His head was down. What they’re ultimately trying to remove from the game is the position – I guess what you would call the pronated position where the head is down. They’re really doing that for the safety of, not only player who’s being hit, but also the player that’s doing the hitting. So, I understand that. We just have to continue to coach it better. We do, we show – if you asked the players, every Saturday morning we show them clips from around the league on different calls that are made, and a lot of them have to do with that type of play. His head was down and that’s just the way it was.”

How valuable is it to have a quarterback who believes the team is never out of a game?

“It’s huge, especially at that position. We have a lot of guys like that, but at that position, it’s got to be that way. If it isn’t, then it’s going to be a problem because the ball is always in his hand. He makes a lot of great decisions. He’s got good poise. He’s obviously extremely talented. He made so many plays yesterday with his feet, he made plays from the pocket, he made plays outside the pocket, he ran. He did everything he could to help his team win. He’s a great player.”

Have you seen QB Deshaun Watson grow more comfortable as the season has progressed?

“Yeah, I think it’s human nature. I think it’s probably a better question for him. I would just go with my experience from coaching guys at position that have come off of ACL injuries. I think it’s human nature that in the beginning of things, you get back to the speed of the game. It’s difficult. You haven’t played in a while. You’re having to plant off that leg, cut off that leg. It takes a little bit. In the beginning of the season, I’m not saying that he wasn’t playing well. I think he was playing very well. I think he’s had a hell of a season, but I think you’ve seen steady improvement in some of the skillset that’s really hard to defend – the running, the scrambling, some of the things that he can do to keep the play alive. A lot of that has to do with him having a lot of confidence in his lower body.”

Why do you think the pass defense hasn’t been as successful over the last few games?

“It’s a lot of different things. I mean, these guys are playing hard. That’s No. 1. I don’t know any other way to explain it other than to tell you that we just have to continue to teach the players and show the players and then get the players to execute. I really do think it’s coaching and playing together, but we’ve got to continue to preach how the rush and the coverage have to work together. If you’re in a four-man rush, then there’s got to be some challenging in the secondary or at linebacker and vice-versa. If you’re in a five- or a six-man rush, then you’ve got to know that the ball’s coming out quick and you’ve got to be able to make a tackle. Then, the rush has to get home. It’s just like on offense. You asked me about the running game. I mean, the running game, it takes a lot of different moving parts to get the running game going, and right now in certain areas of our offense-defense, we’re just not clicking, but other areas we are. We stop the run really well. We haven’t run the ball really well, but we’re throwing the ball a little bit better. We’ve just got to figure out how to become more consistent. It’s a long-winded answer, but it’s the only way I can describe it to you.”

Can you talk about Jacksonville and do you expect to face QB Blake Bortles or QB Cody Kessler?

“I don’t know about the quarterback position. I know what happened in the Miami game. We’ll have to see. We’ve played against Blake, we’ve played against Kessler. We know both guys, but we’ll have to be prepared for both. Jacksonville is an excellent team. I know what their record is. I don’t really care. They have talent all over the place. They’re very well-coached. Just look at their defensive front – Calais Campbell. I don’t know if anybody saw his game yesterday. He dominated. Dominated the game yesterday. (Yannick) Ngakoue off the edge, Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, A.J. (Bouye) and Jalen (Ramsey) at corner. I mean, this is a hell of a football team. We know the challenge. Then, you flip it over to their offense and you look at their ability to run the ball, some of the receivers they have and their ability to get open. Then, on special teams, they do a lot on special teams. They do a lot, so we know it’s a big, big challenge for us here at home.”

Why do you think the AFC South has played so well recently?

“I think that’s an interesting question because I can remember the question was, two years ago, ‘Why is the AFC South so bad?’ Now, ‘Why is it so good?’ I don’t know. That’s up to you guys. I’ve never thought it was bad. I think every year it’s been extremely difficult to win games in the division. I just think there’s a lot of great coaches. You’ve got Frank (Reich) in Indy, Mike (Vrabel) in Tennessee, Doug (Marrone) in Jacksonville. You’ve got a lot of great players, quarterbacks, so you’ve got a tough division.”

What do you think about the job WR DeAndre Carter has done? Do you think he can help fill the void of WR Demaryius Thomas?

“I think he can. He plays a different position than Demaryius, but he can definitely help. He’s been a good addition to our team. He had some good returns yesterday. He’s a very tough guy. He took a hit on a return late in the game, got up and then made some plays for us on offense, made some big plays. I think he had six catches yesterday, which is really good. He plays mostly on the inside on offense. Strong player, tough, great guy, smart. So, he’s been a good addition.”

How do you correct S Justin Reid’s missed tackle on the 52-yard completion to WR Alshon Jeffery?

“It’s called a block tackle. I think there were a lot of different things on that play. The underneath coverage wasn’t great to allow that guy where he was in the coverage, and then we just have to wrap up. Those things are correctable, but it’s something that the player definitely has to correct. You can do things in practice, but there’s no way you’re going to be able to simulate that type of tackle in practice right now. So, there’s a lot of things that Justin will do, because he’s such a hard worker and a great kid, he will do to try to get that better next time. He’s got to wrap up.”

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