HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
How have you seen ILB Benardrick McKinney grow as a leader?
"He's one of our better players and leaders. He has a real good grasp of our defense. He's here every day, very consistent guy, high-performing guy, smart player, tough player, dependable player.
What do you think about the possibility of coaches still not being able to throw the challenge flag inside the last two minutes?
"Well that hasn't been determined yet. I'm just saying that I've been on a couple conference calls where the final determination has not been made. Just speaking for myself, I believe that with the addition of OPI (offensive pass interference) and DPI (defensive pass interference) to the challenge system, our ability to put a flag on the field outside of two minutes is really the only change. Inside of two minutes my opinion is that it should stay the same relative to the coach's responsibility."
What did you see in Offensive Assistant T.J. Yates when he was a player for you that made you think he would be a good coach?
"He's smart, a hardworking guy, and you see that in what he's doing right now. He's breaking film down, he's helping with the offensive line, he's drawing cards, he's doing a lot of different projects for Tim (Kelly), for Mike Devlin and for myself. The qualities that he had as a player, you can see coming through as a coach, no doubt about it."
What kind of guidance do you give your young players as they head into a break?
"I think my recommendation is – first of all, they'll be here for another week after tomorrow. They'll continue to work with our strength staff and other members of our support staff. My recommendation is to always stay in Houston, to train in Houston. That doesn't mean you can't go home on the weekend or visit your family or significant others on the weekend or whatever, but I think it's very important to train in Houston for obvious reasons."
What do you think of S Jahleel Addae and what are your expectations for him?
"Jahleel has been a really good addition so far into our locker room, on our field. He's a competitive guy. He's a smart guy. He's played a lot of football in this league. He's, in many ways, come up the hard way in this league, and he's been a good addition so far. Obviously this is not real football, there's no pads on and things like that, but to this point he's really been an impressive addition to our team."
How are you looking to manage the heat in this upcoming training camp?
"We put a lot of thought into that. I think that we try to do the best we can to, each and every year, treat it a little differently. Obviously going to Greenbrier was one way to treat it. But before we went to Greenbrier, practicing indoors, practicing in the morning, but in my experience here – and I only have six years of experience, I'm not a native Houstonian – but obviously at nine o'clock in the morning in August it's already 100 degrees. So, we brought in this cool room, basically a mobile cool room that we think can help. We really haven't determined – we’re going to be meeting about that over the next couple days among many other things – how to use that properly during training camp, because I think it fits about 35 guys in there. Obviously you can't fit 90 guys in there so we'll have to figure out how we want to give guys breaks and things like that during camp. We also have new turf down in the bubble so we'll be indoors maybe a little bit more during camp, but we’re figuring all that out right now before we head out of here."
How has CB Bradley Roby done so far?
"He hasn't done much, so we'll just have to see in training camp."
How do you feel the offensive line is coming along?
"I think without pads, so I think you really have to qualify that answer to make sure that you know they don't have pads on. Everything on the front whether its offensive or defensive line, is determined by when you put the pads on. So, take that and qualify this answer however way you want to. They've improved. They've improved in their knowledge, they've improved in their technique. It's a very good group of guys, they work hard, they're in early, they stay late, they do a lot of things together off the field. I think Nick Martin does a great job leading that group. I think he’s a great leader. I think they've improved. Again, when we go to full pads let’s see how that improvement takes shape with full pads on."
How do you see WR DeAndre Hopkins improve year-to-year and what can you do to help him take a step forward?
"I think the biggest thing for Hop is health, just continuing to be healthy. He plays the game hard. He plays Sundays very, very hard, and he plays a very physical style. I think the biggest thing for him is, in conjunction with us, taking care of his body and being as healthy as he possibly can."
Do you want a third running back to just have a guy to take snaps or do you really want a complement to the running game?
"I think it's hard. I think you've got a good question there, and I think we have a candidate there in Josh Ferguson who's had a good spring for us. Hopefully that carries over to training camp for him. But really that position is very unique, that 'sub-back' is what we call it. That third-down back is a very unique position. In the past we've had guys like Arian Foster who was a three-down back. He was awesome in the passing game too, he wasn't just a runner, obviously. Then places I've been before, Kevin Faulk who visited us a couple weeks ago and Danny Woodhead. So, we've had sub-backs and we've got to continue to develop Josh Ferguson and see if he can be that guy. That's something that we're still talking about, evaluating and thinking about."
What kind of offseason has CB Aaron Colvin had and what will be his role this season?
"I think roles for anybody are yet to be determined with the exception of (Deshaun) Watson and maybe a couple other guys, but he's had a good offseason. He's been here every day, he's worked hard. I think he's definitely in that group of players that have improved, which is a big group. But there's definitely been improvement because he's been out there every day. He's been healthy, he's been working. He's a hard worker. He's definitely takes a good professional approach to every day."
How important has CB Johnathan Joseph been in helping the new defensive backs get acclimated?
"He's always that way. He's been that way since the day I walked in here. He's got a lot of knowledge, so he's able to impart that wisdom on younger players. He's a very smart player. Whether its film preparation, preparing his body or obviously out on the field, I think he does a good job as a leader."
What are you looking for in your pass targets at this point in the offseason and what are you telling them about what you're seeing in their practices?
"We could really be here all day, but that's a great question. I think that it's about knowledge of assignment relative to where you are in the program, what stage you are in your career. It's about route technique. Is it zone? Is it man? How am I running this route? Am I converting this route? Am I changing this route? It's really about getting open and catching the ball. Can you do that in an OTA where really it's not nearly as competitive as obviously it would be in a padded practice or in a game, so you have to try to do the best you can to evaluate. I don't think I do a good enough job articulating this to you guys, but the evaluation is knowledge of assignment. The rest of it is teaching and making sure that they understand what we’re trying to ask them to do and then see if they can execute it. Maybe there's some evaluation in that if the guy can't learn it. You've taught it 16 different ways and he still can't learn it, then maybe you're thinking about a different guy. But really it's more about teaching and making sure they have a grasp of it before they leave."
What do you think has changed in your relationship with QB Deshaun Watson since he first got here?
"I'll tell you, I think I give a lot of credit this offseason to Deshaun. He's done an excellent job of improving the things that we've asked him to improve. His grasp of our offense is light years ahead of where it was, obviously, when he first got here, but I would say even last year. He's been able to participate in OTAs, which is huge. Then I would say that most of his meetings during this nine-week span were with Tim Kelly and Carl Smith. Those guys did a great job. They were coaching it up. They were really in a good, positive communication with Deshaun the whole nine weeks. So, I think we've really gotten better there and I'm excited about where he's at right now."
Is Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly a huge asset because he's been with you so long and worked so many different positions?
"Sure, Tim is a very bright guy. He's a very smart, young coach. One of the better young coaches I've ever been around. I'm not saying he's like 20 years old, but relative to some of us he's younger. He's a really hardworking guy and a really good communicator and he's done a nice job with the offense. With him and Carl (Smith) together with Deshaun (Watson), they've done a good job of planning out the meetings. Carl teaches some things, Timmy teaches the big picture and I think they've worked well together."
Is it your expectation that CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. will be ready for the start of training camp?
"I don't know. No idea."
What do you think of QB AJ McCarron?
"I think AJ has brought a really good, competitive, smart, dependable approach to the room. I think the way he approaches every day – certainly there's things that he has to improve on, knowledge of our system, but he really works hard. Smart guy. He's played in some really great programs, obviously at Alabama, but obviously with Marvin (Lewis) in Cincinnati and Jon Gruden in Oakland. He really comes in here and approaches every day in a very professional way. He shows up on the days when the vets have off. He comes in with the rookies. He works with the rookies. He's really put a lot of time into learning this offense and hopefully we can see the reward of that type of labor when we get to training camp."
TE JORDAN THOMAS & TE JORDAN AKINS
What is the biggest difference for you from year one to year two?
Akins: "I think that we know the system more, so we're more aware of coverage instead of just learning our assignments. So, we're more comfortable and we're able to just fly around instead of being hesitant to play the game."
Thomas: "Yeah, definitely. It's just you're going into year two and you're not comfortable, but you know what's going on. So, just piggybacking off what he said."
Jordan Akins, do you think your versatility is coming in handy as far as lining up in different positions?
Akins: "I would say slot receiver. Special teams as well, up-back, punt return as well as fullback. Just moving us around, I think we can create more mismatches. All of our tight ends bring a different set of skills. You have speed, you have the thump and you have a little bit of both with Kahale (Warring). I think coach is doing a great job of moving us around and creating mismatches as well as setting up the run blocks."
What do you guys think of TE Kahale Warring so far?
Akins: "He's a great kid. Me and J.T. (Jordan Thomas), we struggled way worse than Kahale. Kahale is coming in and he's picking up on plays very well. We encourage him as well and he's very talented. He's not just a catcher, he can run. He has a great blocking skillset as well."
How much do you think you've improved as blockers?
Thomas: "Well, you can't really say that because we haven't put on pads. Come training camp, we're going to see. That's all I can say."
Akins: "I can say I know my footwork has gotten better, my strength has gotten better, so I'm pretty sure the blocking has gotten better. J.T., he's improved a lot on blocking as well. Like I said, we know our assignments. We know our calls. We can adjust to the audibles, the hots. Coming off striking and driving, that's just part of the game, but now that we've got a year in our belt, I'm pretty sure that the blocking is going to be even better than last year."
What are your expectations for year two playing with QB Deshaun Watson?
Akins: "Touchdowns. My boy J.T. (Thomas) got in the end zone a couple times. I'm trying to get in the end zone as well. Really just creating plays, keeping the chains moving. It's just building a trust bond as well with Deshaun. But this year I think it's going to be better. We're going to move the ball and we're going to count on each other to get plays done."
Does it seem like it will be a committee approach where all of the tight ends play?
Thomas: "For now. We've got a rotation going. So, you never know until you get into training camp. It's going to be a great competition. All of us are great athletes and we bring different things to the table, so I think that all of us will get some time but we'll see."
Are you two competitive?
Akins: "Very, in everything we do. He thinks he's better, but you know."
How does a veteran like TE Darren Fells help you?
Thomas: "Darren has taken me especially under his wing with him being in the league for a while now. We talk a lot about blocking, and me and him are getting together over the break. He's come along and helped me a lot, actually."
How does QB Deshaun Watson's confidence help to elevate everyone else?
Akins: "If you don't bring your A-game you're pretty much not going to be able to roll with this group. Deshaun holds you up to a high standard. You have to know your assignments, and even if you run your assignment and it’s covered, the play is never dead. With Deshaun I would say, basically, you've got to bring your A-game. We hold you to a high standard, he holds you to a high standard. We're looking to win a championship and that's what we're looking for is championship-quality players."
What do you see in QB Deshaun Watson that makes him a great leader?
Akins: “He's a great leader. He's a great friend.”
Thomas: “(A great) person.”
Akins: “A great person. A great playmaker”
Thomas: “Stand-up guy.”
Akins: “There you go, hop in, man.”
Thomas: “All around a stand-up guy. He's all around a stand-up guy.”
Akins: “He makes you very comfortable. He doesn't just put so much pressure on you, but he does—”
Thomas: He's going to bring that swag. He's going to bring that juice.”
Are you OK with being referred to as the Jordans?
Akins: “You've got to be used to it by now. You used to get J.T. or Ake.”
Thomas (to Akins): “What do you call us?”
Akins: “Lightning and Thunder.”
WR FLOYD ALLEN
What is your story making it into the NFL?
“I started off at an NAIA school. I knew I could do better, knew I could play at a higher level. So, I set my adventure out to go to JuCo. First JuCo I went to, I couldn't play because my credits didn't transfer over. They said that year, 'Academic Red Shirt.' Second year, built up a little interest from colleges. Ended up getting a stress fracture in my left ankle, first fall practice. End of that season. Then a coach named Jacob Peeler, who was recruiting me at Cal, he ended up getting relieved from his job at Cal and ended up getting a job at Ole Miss. He hit me up one summer and asked me if I was still looking for a place to play. He asked me to walk on at Ole Miss, and from there it's been a grind. Just working out with N.W.O, "Nasty Wide Outs” – best receiving corps in the country. Then going from there, just worked hard and then got an opportunity at the Tropical Bowl. Got a chance to show what I can do in front of NFL scouts. Then Pro Day, and then I ended up getting an invite to the local day, here for the Texans. Now I'm here.”
What is it like being able to play for your hometown team?
“It's a blessing. Honestly, it would've been a blessing to be on any team. Just knowing that all I've been through to get here. To be in the home team is kind of like a dream come true. I always talked to my parents about 'How crazy would it be if I ended up playing for the Texans.’ Low and behold, I'm here. So, it's pretty crazy.”
How long were you homeless?
“I was homeless my second year in JuCo. I was transferring over to my second junior college. At the time, I didn't have any money to put down for a down payment for an apartment. So, I was homeless for about a good two to three weeks.”
What was your job working at McDonalds?
“I was working in the drive-thru. I was taking orders; I was the guy 'Hello, Welcome to McDonalds. How may I take your order?'“
What was the most stressful part about working for McDonalds?
“I’d probably say the hardest job is during lunch time. When the line gets backed up all the way to the street and everybody's frustrated. It's hot outside and everybody just wants to get their order, and I'm trying my best to make somebody laugh or trying to keep everybody calm so we can get the line moving.”
How did you balance working at McDonalds, going to school and practice?
“For me, if I didn't have class that day then I tried to work as early as possible until practice. Even if I did have class that day, I'd try to work really early, then go to class, then go to practice. I was doing my best to try to maintain everything.”
How were you able to handle your situation?
“It's honestly tough. Because knowing that you have teammates who are either from Cali or had a little bit of money to have a down payment on an apartment, it was tough. But honestly, I was big on seeing the bigger picture. Which is 'know this.' And every night, I used to just think about all of the times that – just thinking about making it to the next level, having an opportunity to take care of my family. It always kept me motivated. Kept me from, in a sense, going insane.”
How much did you shortcomings drag you down?
“It just keeps the fire in me burning. Knowing that my story has reached a lot of people and they, in a sense, have been telling me that I'm inspiring to them. So, just knowing all I've been through to get here. I've always been grateful for everything. Whether it’s them giving me shirts and shorts. When I was in JuCo, we never got any of that. So, I'm just like 'Oh my. ' I’m just happy to get that. So, all it did was teach me just to be grateful. You never know where like will take you. So, whether it’s up or down, just be grateful that you have an opportunity to see the day.”
Who did you lean on during the hard times?
“I'm big on faith, so I always lean on my parents and God. Again, it's tough in those situations. Especially chasing the dream of being an NFL player. It's tough, because sometimes you go through stuff where you think it might not happen for you. But again, my parents always told me to trust in God. God won't take you anywhere that his grace won't protect you. That was probably one of the biggest things.”
Did you ever think about giving up on football?
“There were moments like that. When I was homeless, there were moments where I was like 'Is this really what you want to do?' I always said that 'If God wakes me up in the morning, that's an opportunity to chase your dreams.' To this day, I'm still alive. So, this is an opportunity to keep chasing it.”
Will you become an advocate for homeless people and give back?
“There's a lot of things that I want to do. I also want to give back to the community. Because again, they support us, so why not support them? I feel like, for me, I've been through a lot, so I know there's people out there that's going through the same thing. If I can help them in any type of way, then why not use my platform to do it?”
What kind of car were you sleeping in?
“A 2003 Honda Accord.”
Which seat did you sleep in?
“Passenger seat. The front passenger’s seat, then I would lean all the way back.”
Were you purposefully wearing a neon hat in your tryout?
“Yeah, it was for sure purposeful. Again, I'm not the tallest receiver. So, if you see me in a crowd full of taller people, you might bypass me. So, I always thought that 'Why not do something to stand out?' and all of the camps I used to go to, I used to wear something bright. I remember I went to a Utah camp, I wore a bright red shirt just so I could get myself noticed.”
How many recruiting camps did you try out for?
“That summer, I think I went to probably five or six.”
Why do you think you stood out to the Texans?
“Just my attention to detail. I'm a very humble kid. I always want to work. I think they've seen the fire in me that wants to prove that I belong and that I can be a great teammate and a great asset to the team. I think that's something that probably caught their eye.”
Have you had an 'Oh Wow!' moment since you've been here?
“Every day. Again, sometimes I just catch myself coming into the facility and I'll be like 'Man, this is crazy. I'm really in the Texans facility.' Again, it's all a blessing to me. There are plenty of times where you think it may not happen, and the fact that I was blessed with an opportunity to be here, it’s still like 'Man, this is crazy.' I'll walk in the locker room and I'll see Deshaun Watson and I'm like 'I just watched him on TV like two years ago and now he's one of my quarterbacks.’ Seeing D-Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) and seeing Keke (Coutee) and all of the rest of the guys, I'm like 'Man, this is crazy. I've played Madden with these guys.' So, it's always just an 'Oh wow' moment for me.”
What was is like meeting DE J.J. Watt for the first time?
“Man, he is so much bigger than he looks on TV. Again, one of those things where the first time I remember seeing J.J. Watt in the locker room, I went home that night, and I was like 'Mom, Pop, I just saw J.J. Watt and the dude is huge.' So, again it’s all kind of crazy to me.”
What guys have taken you under their wing since you've gotten here?
“I think, as a receiving corps, I think everybody's been trying to take the rookies in, trying to help us all out. Again, it's different from college. Playcalling is different. The speed of the game is different. So, I think everybody in the receiver room has taken their time to really help us out, whether it’s with alignment, trying to know what to do and all of that stuff.”
What has it been like for your parents having you here?
“My mom, my pops, they've asked me every day like 'How's everything going?' 'How are you doing?' I just tell them the same thing, 'I'm just working.' I'm just doing my best every day. Becoming a better player, showing the Texans organization that I'm a great teammate. Just trying to find my niche up in the system.”
What is the fastest you have run a 40-yard dash?
“I think my fastest time was at the local day. I think they said they got me at a 4.45, 4.46.”
QB AJ MCCARRON
Was there anything specific you noticed about QB Deshaun Watson when you first started working with him?
"No, not really. Just first time really meeting him, and it was just good to actually meet him for the first time. Definitely watched him in college. He had a great career there, and that's pretty much it."
Why did you choose to sign with the Texans?
"It's close to home. It was a great fit for me, I thought. I had somewhat experience in this offense, and I also see it as a challenge, too. I think whatever I can do to kind of better myself and push myself will be great.”
In what way is coming to the Texans a challenge?
"I think just going from complete offenses. Oakland is a true west coast. The language, the whole scheme is completely different from here. That's probably the biggest (thing)."
What in the Texans offense fits your skillset?
"They like to throw it, and playing the quarterback position you like to throw it. At the end of the day in the league, everybody runs the same concepts. The scheme might be a little different, the reads might be a little different, but everybody is running the same plays. It's just playing football."
What is it like to playing for Head Coach Bill O'Brien compared to playing for Nick Saban?
"It's different places. College is just completely different when it comes to the mindset of how your day-to-day process is and the workload, having a lot more free time in the NFL, but you can tell somewhat that they’re from the same tree."
How frustrating has it been for you that your career has not taken off like you hoped it would?
"It's part of it. It's bigger than me. God has a plan. That's something we don't know as humans. I just go with the flow. I enjoy every day. I enjoy playing the game. I'm truly blessed at the end of the day to make the money that I make and play a game for a living. I don't worry about what-ifs and things along that line. I just go out and have fun and enjoy my time."
What has having Quarterbacks Coach Carl Smith in the room done for you?
"It makes everything entertaining. Tater (Carl Smith) is awesome and he has so much knowledge about the position. He's been around for so long. He'll tell stories about players that he's coached and coaches, and I start to question him on how old he really is. He's great. You can tell he has a lot of knowledge about this game, and we're blessed as a QB room to have him here with us. He's been great, though."
In what way is Head Coach Bill O'Brien from the same tree as Nick Saban?
"One guy, (Bill) Belichik. They both worked under him. That's pretty much it."
What is it like working with QB Deshaun Watson compared to other quarterbacks you've worked with?
"Everybody's personality is different, but it's been great. I feel like we communicate really well. He's played a lot of games. I've played, I've seen a lot of ball for the amount of years that I've been in the league. We kind of just bounce things off each other. When it comes to the season, I'll be able to help a lot more because of knowing so many teams and teams that I've played in the past with D-coordinators and stuff along those lines. But right now he kind of helps me while I'm still learning about just our own defense, since we’re going against them every day."
How important is it for you to help QB Deshaun Watson?
"I think just in the QB room itself it's always important for QBs to bounce ideas off of each other, whether that's during the game him coming from the sideline, being along the lines of, 'Hey what did you see right here?' Or me just going up and telling him, 'Hey just be aware, you've got this on the backside." Things along those lines. We're here for one goal, and that's to win. We're all on the same team, we're all going to push each other and compete to make each other better, but we're here to win."
Does you and QB Deshaun Watson ever give each other a hard time about national championships?
"No, every once in a while we'll say how we wish we would have played each other and that would've been fun. I joked with him once and told him I'm undefeated in those games and he's 50-50. Other than that, it's been awesome. He really is, he's a good dude. He likes to have fun and that's fun to be a part of."
What do you think about the culture of this team?
"It's great. It really is. It's awesome to be here. You can just tell, just the group of guys – I've been a part of some great teams and I've been a part of some teams that have struggled also, but just the group of guys this team has could be a very special group. Like we all know, the season is a rollercoaster. It's going to be ups and downs and trying to stay healthy, and all that weighs into the overall process of it. But it's a special group. Everybody works hard."
What part did Brian Gaine have in bringing you here and how does his departure affect you?
"None. I met with him maybe two minutes. OB (Bill O'Brien) was the main deal behind me coming here. I spent most of my time with him, so I didn't have anything with Mr. Gaine."
ILB BENARDRICK MCKINNEY
What all do you feel you’ve accomplished in the offseason?
“I'm just taking it one day at a time. There’s a lot of things that I need to get better at but I'm just trying to help get the defense ready. Just trying to be the leader I am, work on my craft, get the young guys ready. I think I can just improve a lot just being a leader and just get better at doing what I need to do.”
What did it mean for you to get selected to play in the Pro Bowl?
“I mean, it meant a lot. Just growing up, just watching guys make the Pro Bowl. Getting to the league, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me. I worked my butt off every day, took the coaching, and just to be a Pro Bowler, it means a lot to me. I just want to step it up a notch and continue to try to be the best player I can be, and maybe one day be one of the best linebackers in the league.”
What was your experience like when you first got into the NFL?
“I really didn't know anything. But just coming from college, I knew I was a decent player coming here. But just being here, just seeing all of the great players – J.J. (Watt), (Jadeveon) Clowney, J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph). Just seeing a lot of great players and guys like Cush (Brian Cushing), took me under their wing and like I said, I took it one day at a time, took the coaching. First season didn't go like I wanted it to, but I hear a lot of old players always say like 'The first season, it's going to take time for the game to slow down.' Now I'm at the point in my career where I'm just getting better every day. It's slowed down a lot for me and there's a lot of great guys in the league so of course I have to get better every day and of course I've got to bring my A-game every game, every practice.”
How much pride to you take in your durability?
“I take a lot of pride in it. Like I said, listening to guys like Cush (Brian Cushing), seeing how he played a long time, taking care of his body. Guys like J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph), dependable, a great friend. Just watching them guys, see how they do things, see how they go in one day at a time. I just look up to those guys and I try to do what they do.”
How are you doing to embrace the new guys that have come into the system?
“I'm just going to do the same thing. Like I was just saying, I do the same things that guys like Cush (Brian Cushing) did, Akeem (Dent) did. How they treated me and helped me grow as a football player. Not baby them, but just be on them. Help them out with what they need. If they ask any questions. Drew (Lewis), he's an upcoming linebacker. He's doing an unbelievable job taking the coaching. Anything they need, just try to help them out and just be on them hard, like Cush was on me, and just try to help them out.”
Has it sunk in yet that you're now one of the veterans?
“That's crazy, man. I sometimes just sit down when I'm chilling at the crib and be like 'Dang. Five years.' Because I just remember leaving college, having to go through training, the combine. That was a long process. Then having to do OTAs, then camp and then the season. Man, that had to have been the hardest part of my life. Sometimes I just catch myself thinking like 'Dang, five years.' But it's crazy, man. It's crazy.”
What is it like to have Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Brian Cushing as a coach?
“Believe it or not, Cush, he used to be a coach to me when I was playing. He was harder on me when I was playing with him, but a friend at the same time. But now he's like a super coach now. If I come to the sideline – I know the system very well now so I know what I messed up on, and Cush will be like, 'Yeah, yeah. You should do this and that'll help you out.' But it's a great thing because it kind of feels like we're still playing together. I'll look at him and be like, 'Yeah, I looked at it this way' and he'll be like 'Yeah, I see you seeing it that way.' It's crazy, but I love listening and just the bond we have when we were playing together. It kind of feels like we're still on the field together because he's right there.”
Are you now more of a mentor to ILB Zach Cunningham?
“Oh yeah, me and Zach, we're friends on and off the field. So, the chemistry between me and him is still growing. It's great chemistry. Like I said, we have a great time off the field and on the field. If we see something different, we'll talk about it. We'll talk to our coach about it. But we always click, and 95 percent of the time we're always seeing like eye-to-eye.”
Are you giving the same tough love to ILB Zach Cunningham that Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Brian Cushing gave to you?
“Cushing and Zach are two different type of players. Cush is a more serious based. It's kind of hard to be on Zach like that because he'll say something (funny). So, it's different.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
Do you feel like the offense can be explosive this season?
“Yes, I feel like all around, on the offensive side of the ball, we can be an explosive group. We have a great quarterback in Deshaun (Watson). He's been doing a great job communicating, leading the offense. We have playmakers out there at the receiver position, the tight ends and running backs. So, I feel like if we put all that together, we'll be an explosive group.”
How do you feel going into the end of the offseason?
“I'm feeling better this offseason. I think the coaches have been doing a great job taking care of me during the OTAs. I think what I did in the offseason last year helped me be more explosive last year. So, I'm going to try and continue doing what I did last year and just try to help this team win any way possible.”
Do you currently weigh less than you did last season?
“Right now I'm pretty much the same as I came in last year. Last year, I came in at like 220. So, right now I'm like 220, 221. But I'm going to try to drop my body fat down a little bit heading towards training camp. Yeah, that's pretty much it.”
Do you see yourself contributing more to the passing game this year?
“I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure we'll know more of that once we get in pads. But this offseason, that's one of the things that I've been working on, just running routes on the outside of the backfield. I feel like that's something that I can help this team do. So, heading to training camp, I'm just going to work on my route running and my speed, like always, to try to make big plays and just try to find a way to win.”
What goes into being effective and gaining yards after the catch?
“Once you catch the ball, I just think that you make a guy miss or breaking tackles, I think that plays a factor into it. But other than that, that's pretty much it.”
Can you and RB D'Onta Foreman make an impressive tandem this year?
“Yes. I think he's been doing a great job. He came back in great shape. He got leaner. He came with a different approach this year. Missing all of last year, so now heading into his third year, he's very comfortable with the offense. You could tell that he's willing to contribute to this team. We're looking forward to it. I'm going to be on him, make sure I'm pushing him. I'm pretty sure he's going to do the same so we can try to win football games.”
How have you seen RB D’Onta Foreman's mindset change since coming back from his injury?
“Just the way that he works. I’m pretty sure everybody's seen some of the videos that he's been posting on Instagram and stuff. Just coming back, being in shape, leaner. You can tell that he took his offseason pretty seriously. So, hopefully he keeps improving and yeah.”
What do you think of RB Josh Ferguson possibly filling the No. 3 position?
“Yeah, I think Josh has done a great job. He's more of a smaller guy. He's pretty quick. I was training with him during this offseason, so I know some of the things that he can do to help this team. He's pretty effective out of the backfield, catching the ball. I think he'll make plays. So far he's been taking advantage of his opportunity when the coaches have put him in, doing his assignments, making plays. I think he will help us.”