Houston Texans Transcripts**
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
OTA #2 – Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on the pros and cons of having an open quarterback competition) "I don't know. I just know that for this football team, it's the best thing for this team."
(on what he looks for from his quarterbacks when evaluating them) "I look for leadership, work ethic, accuracy, knowledge of the offense, trying to get better every day, being a good teammate, being coachable. All of these guys have shown well in all those areas."
(on what he saw from the team from day one to day two) "It's hard, because you have to go in there and watch the tape to really get an accurate assessment, but I felt like it was a little bit better today. Like I told them out on the field, that's the goal, to try and get better each and every day as an individual and then that makes the unit better, which makes the team better. That's what we're trying to do, just get a little bit better every day."
(on if he has talked to the team about the situation with Andre Johnson) "I'll never tell you what I talk to the team about with all due respect. Whatever I talk to the team about is between myself and the team. That's the way it will always be."
(on who benefits the most rep-wise with the absence of Andre Johnson) "I don't know if there is one guy benefiting the most, but I do think that at any position, if somebody is out with an injury or not here or whatever it is, the rest of the guys get more reps. Each and every guy gets maybe one more rep, maybe three more reps depending on how the rotation went. I think any time there is a guy missing at a position, there is always a chance that it gives an extra rep to somebody else who can take that extra rep and get better with it."
(on if he knows T Brennan Williams' status and when he'll be able to participate in OTAs) "No, I don't really know. I'm not sure."
(on if the Texans' three veteran quarterbacks are on equal footing) "Yeah, I think that's pretty accurate. I think that everybody's pretty equal, although I'll say that the three guys that have been here since April 7, they're probably ahead of Tommy Savage because he's just been here since the draft. But we'll give Tom enough reps where he can on his own try to equal that out. Yeah, I would say that these guys as far as knowledge and where they're at right now, they're all pretty even."
(on how Tom Savage is doing and where he's at right now) "I thought he did a little bit better today. Where is he right now? I don't know. He's out there. He's working. He comes in early. He stays late. I would say that about all the quarterbacks. They really do. They have extra meetings. It's not an easy offense to learn. But where is he at right now after two OTAs? I'm not sure. I think that's something that you compile over time and try to—after 13 practices, 10 OTAs and three mandatory camps, you try to make that assessment. But right now it'd be hard to tell you, 'He's here, he's there.' I don't know."
(on how Derek Newton has done this offseason) "I think he's had a good offseason. He's worked hard. He's a good guy. He's fun to coach. The true test for linemen on both sides of the ball is when the pads go on. To make just a final judgment on any lineman is difficult during this time of the year but I can tell you that I've been happy with the way that Derek works."
(on if he likes having a young wide receiver corps that is 'moldable') "I like receivers that get open and catch the ball. Whether they're young or they have years of experience in the league, guys that get open and catch the football are the kind of receivers that I think we all like."
(on what stands out to him about DeAndre Hopkins) "He's a hard worker. He's a young player. This is a brand new system for him so it's difficult because he had a rookie year, now he's having to learn a new system. I think he's working really hard. He takes the coaching well. He's a big guy. He's a physical player. He's learning a new way of doing things relative to our offense and I think he comes out there and tries to get better every day."
(on how he spends his day breaking down the evaluation of what he does versus the teaching that he does) "You have to be good at multi-tasking. So we'll take a break here for lunch and we'll come back here and meet with the guys, offensively and defensively and watch this morning's practice film from about 2:15 to 3 and the veterans will be out because they have to be out of here by 3 o'clock. Then we'll have the rookies from about 4-6 and then we'll sit down as a staff after dinner and we'll watch every single rep of the whole practice: special teams, offense, defense, drills, everything. While we're doing that, we're talking about, 'OK, is this the best way to play this? Is this the best technique against this? Is this the best call in this situation?' And we're evaluating each and every guy, so it's kind of a multi-task type of deal."
(on if going drill to drill during practice is a chance for him to get as much as he can out of an OTA with this being his first time as an NFL head coach) "I always try to get around, especially during individual, really because I want to see the guys working and see how they're improving and I want to hear the teaching because I love listening to how all the different guys teach and the different styles. The benefit of being a head coach, you can go around and get a lot of that done during the individual (period). Then, what I try to do once we go to group period, I'll spend most of my time I would say with the offense but I'm over there with the defense a good amount of the time, listening to what they're doing, trying to give little coaching points here and there based on my experience. That's just the way that I do it."
(on what makes this offense harder to learn) "I think it's a multiple offense. There are a lot of formations. There's a lot of terminology. If you look at the receiver position, many of our routes are based on what coverage, what technique we're seeing out there. The quarterback and the receiver have to be on the same page. I'll talk about the defensive package, too; it's very multiple. It requires a lot of communication. So there's a lot of thinking early on that has to go on until you get it right and I think that requires a lot of repetitions and a lot of film-watching and working together as a staff and then the staff with players. I think we're on the right track there. We've given these guys a ton of information over the last seven, seven and a half weeks that we've been together, especially the veterans and these guys are working really hard. They have iPads, so they take them home over the weekend and they study. They try to get ahead on what's going in the following week. It's been pretty good to watch that process."
(on the offense probably being hard for veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick to learn) "It's all new. It's not that one system is better than another. That's not what it is. It's more about, hey, it's new. It's a new language. What somebody else in Tennessee called apples, we may call oranges and he's got to learn that. So it's like learning a new language and a new way of doing things for everybody, whether it's 10 years, one month, it doesn't really matter. When you're new, it's new for everybody."
(on if he enjoys the individual teaching aspect of coaching) "I do. I love the teaching part of it. I view coaching as being a teacher. It's a large aspect of what my job is. I love getting prepared for the team meetings in the morning. I really enjoy going out on the field and teaching guys and watching guys improve. To me, it's neat to teach somebody something, watch them take that teaching and go out and get better and help him go make a play. I think that's a part of coaching that's really important to me and to all of our coaches."
(on if it's difficult to balance the individual teaching aspect of coaching with having to oversee everything) "No, no it's not. It's just a matter of organizing your time and making sure you're on task with the things that you need to get done each and every day."
(on if there is a tangible difference in the way he teaches here versus in the college ranks) "Yeah, I think so. I think when you're teaching college guys, it's just they're younger. They're 17, 18, 19 years old. In this case, even the rookies, most of these guys are 21, 22 years old, and then obviously you have your veterans that some of these guys are in their mid-20s, early 30s. You're talking to a different group of guys that have played a lot of football and in college they've just come straight from high school and it's a little bit different. That's just the nature of the pros versus college. It's a totally different teaching method."
(on if he can make some assumptions when teaching at the NFL level that he could not make at Penn State) "We don't assume anything. But what we do, we speed up the process with which we give them information, if that makes sense. If we're in college, maybe we take a week to teach two or three runs, whereas here, we're putting two or three runs in in a day and the next day we're putting two or three more runs in. It's more the tempo of how we install."
(on the roles of Jerrell Powe and Kendrick Lewis, who both played for Romeo Crennel in Kansas City) "I think each and every guy is determining his own role on the team right now. Like the way we put them in different situation, whether it's Powe as a nose guard and Lewis as a safety or maybe even a corner. Maybe being involved a lot in special teams. I know that both guys have worked extremely hard and we've really enjoyed working with them but I think every guy on this team is still in the process of determining their own role, meaning we put them in a role, we start them somewhere and they kind of take it from there and try to expand that role because, really, in the NFL, that's what it's all about. It's having a guy that can do a few different things and not just one thing at most positions."
(on how much rookie Xavier Su'a-Filo is missing by not being at OTAs (Su'a-Filo is missing OTAs because UCLA is on the quarter system) "Not being here, obviously missing the meetings, but here is a guy who I believe is a hard worker. As soon as he is able to get back here, he'll be back here and he'll make up for lost time by studying and working hard in the weight room and conditioning and doing those things. He's a guy that we spent some time with before the draft and studied him and we feel good about the fact that when he gets back here, he'll do the best he can to make up for lost time. It's really nothing you can do about that. That's the rule and every team plays under that rule of, guys that if they have to go back and graduate, that's the rule. That's what they're going to do. So we're not the only ones dealing with that."
(on if the players will be able to ride segways to practice) "No."
(on his early assessment of Brandon Harris and Ricky Sapp) "Brandon Harris and Ricky Sapp have both worked hard. We're talking about two different positions, two different guys, so I'm not going to get into one guy is an outside backer, one guy is a corner. I believe that they've both worked extremely hard on the things that we've asked them to work at. They've both studied. It seems to me that they're just like everybody else: they're trying to be good teammates; they're trying to be coachable. They're trying to do the things that we ask everybody to do."
(on if Alfred Blue picked up where he left off in rookie camp) "Yeah, he's doing pretty well. He's a guy that came in here, I think, as a talented player that has shown us early on—very early, OK? We're not sending him off to the Pro Bowl just yet—that he's able to learn and he's got some instincts. So far, he seems like a good team guy. Again, I've enjoyed being around him."
(on how he likes his group of tight ends) "Yeah, I like them. I like the tight ends."
(on his approach to balancing the Texas heat) "I think it's a team approach. It's an organizational approach. It's myself working with Geoff Kaplan, our trainer, and Craig Fitzgerald, our head strength and conditioning coach, and making sure that we're all on the same page. The three of us meet every day and many times we meet together with Rick Smith, because he's been here for eight years. He understands the heat and things like that, just from being here. We're very, very aware that form a hydration standpoint and from a rest standpoint, from a nutritional standpoint, we are on top of that. We will always try to do what's best for the players as it relates to their health, stamina, hydration and nutrition. Just personally, I try to have a good gauge of what I see out there. If guys are dragging a little bit, sometimes there is a time where you have to get them going. Other times, maybe they're dragging for a reason. We as coaches do a good job of monitoring that also."
(on he expects his coaches to be versatile just like his expectations of his players) "I think the mark of a good coach is somebody that can be versatile. I think we've got that type of staff. For example, all of our guys, all of our assistants help out with special teams. We'll see guys contributing in the punt team, the kickoff team, the kickoff return team and the punt return team. That's an example of guys that are very versatile in what they do. I think that's a part of what makes us a strong staff. Again, I would tell you that that's probably the same for all 32 staffs in the league. When you're coaching at this level, it's a privilege and our guys understand that. They really do work well with a lot of different positions and a lot of different roles."
WR DeAndre Hopkins
on his offseason training in South Carolina) "A bunch of guys go back to Clemson. Sammy (Watkins) was there, Andre Ellison, C.J. Spiller was there. It's a fine place there to go work out. We all know the strength trainers, so it's a good place to work out."
(on what he focused on during his training) "Just become a better player overall - nothing in particular."
(on what it's been like to start over with a new offense in his second year) "It's not been easy; I'm not going to lie. It's a new playbook, you have to refocus, you have to do everything you did your rookie year all over again, but I feel like I know how to prepare better than last year, just going out and learning from Andre (Johnson) and doing things like that, and I feel like I'm becoming a better player overall."
(on if he has to do more studying) "I think so. I think I put more time and effort into this playbook. Last year I did, but not as much as this year just because I'm learning how to study the playbook and learning how to become a professional."
(on if it's been strange not having Andre Johnson here) "I don't want to speak on that. I'm sorry."
(on if you have to be a smart player to play in this offense) "This offense has worked in other places and it's not made for guys who are going to come out there and be individuals. You have to be a team player and you have to put a lot of work in and study the offense. It's worked in other places, so we shall see."
(on getting on the same page with the quarterbacks) "It's going well. All four of those guys are great quarterbacks. They wouldn't be here if they weren't. It's a learning process right now, just catching from all four of those guys. It's going to be a sight come the season."
(on how important it is for him to have a strong second season and not regress) "I'm not really worried about so much of failing. I really don't think about it like that. I just want to come out here and be able to help this team win football games."
(on the biggest difference in him compared to when he was a rookie) "I will say, preparing myself day in and day out to come out and practice at a high level. Doing things on and off the field."
(on if O'Brien has brought a more team-first mentality) "Yes, I think it's a good thing. I like the aspect that he is approaching things. He's the head coach and we have to follow the rules. I don't find anything wrong with what he's (O'Brien) doing."
(on how hands-on O'Brien is with every position group at practice) "He's everywhere. He's on the rookies, he's on the veterans. You really don't get away with too much with him on the field."
(on the changes in the offense) "It's a good offense."
(on if he likes the music selection at practice) "I am. I'm impressed. Somebody told me that it's O'Brien's music and I really didn't think so. He had Rihanna on one day and country music on another day. I like it."
(on how his route running has improved) "I'm nowhere close to where I want to be. Not even close. I have a lot of things I need to work on and I'm doing that this offseason."
(on if the coaches point out his weaknesses during film review) "Yeah, every position does that. We point out our weaknesses and we come out and work on them the next day."
(on if his confidence is higher coming in to his second season) "Yeah, a little bit, but this is a different offense. I have to go back to the chalkboard and refocus and do everything that you did from your rookie season. I'm always going to have confidence, no matter what."
(on his feelings on the wide receiver unit) "I think we are a good wide receiver group. I think every position on this team is a pretty good position."