HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
"Just off of last night, the only injury I'm going to talk about is Will Fuller (V). Will Fuller tore his ACL and will be out for the season."
How big of a blow is it to lose WR Will Fuller V?
"Been playing well, but that's the thing about this league. I think if you go through every team, everybody's dealing with injuries. It's such a cliché, but the coaching staff, the players, we all have to pitch in and figure it out and figure out how we're going to construct the offense. Maybe some things will be the same, maybe some things will be a little bit different. Most importantly, for right now, very disappointed for Will because Will's a great guy, has really been playing at a high level. So, just disappointed for Will."
Do you know when WR Will Fuller V will have surgery?
"I don't know that yet."
Do you have players internally who you think can fill the void left by WR Will Fuller V or would you have to look externally?
"I think it's both. I know there are guys in the locker room that can do certain things. Obviously, if they could do them like Will, they would've been out there like Will, but there are definitely guys that can do some things. We've got a lot of good players in that locker room. Then, we're always – Brian (Gaine) and his crew – we're always trying to do what we think is best for the team."
Do you hope that WR Keke Coutee can go back to the production he had earlier in the season to help replace WR Will Fuller V's production?
"Sure, hopefully. We'll see where he's at. I don't know anything yet, because it was a late game, relative to guys that were either injured in the game or maybe coming back from injuries, but yes, he's a guy that had been playing well for us and hopefully he can come back at some point."
Do you see WR Keke Coutee as more of an inside receiver?
"I think Keke's a very versatile guy. He can do a lot of different – you've seen us put him in the backfield, he's played on the outside, obviously he plays on the inside – so, he's got versatility. A little bit different than Will (Fuller V), no doubt about it. Every guy's different but he does a lot of different things."
Do you expect this to be a good opportunity for WR Sammie Coates Jr.?
"Yeah, I would add Coates, Vyncint Smith, tight ends, backs. That's kind of what I was saying. There's a lot of guys in that locker room that can help fill the void."
What do you think has been the key to RB Lamar Miller's recent success?
"Lamar, himself. I think he's healthy. He feels good, and I think the offensive line and tight ends did a nice job last night. They moved the line of scrimmage, they got to the second level, Lamar made really good cuts. Lamar did a great job securing the ball, ran the ball downhill. It was a combination. I think Alfred (Blue) has gone in there and done a nice job, too – Alfred Blue – so, it was a combination of those guys really working well together."
What have you seen from the offensive line in the last two games?
"I think their past couple of games have been good. They've pass protected well. We've run the ball well, but like I just said to some guys in the locker room, it's a short walk. 'What have you done for me lately?' We'll look at the film when they come back in. We gave them a few days off, so we'll come back in on Monday and we'll look at the film. There's a lot of things to improve upon in all three phases and we'll start really working hard on Denver."
What did QB Deshaun Watson do in this game that impressed you the most?
"He's just an impressive guy. He's really the same guy every day. That's what you're really looking for in a quarterback. You really don't want an up and down guy. He's the same guy every day, he's got a lot of confidence, he has no fear, he loves big moments, he loves when the ball's in his hands and he's learning every day. When you have those things going for you and you're like a sponge and you're willing to learn, work at it and get better – remember the things that you can improve upon each week and remember them for the next game – now you've got something. That's the type of guy he is."
The stats show you've been very successful when winning the turnover battle. How important has the defense been in terms of creating takeaways and giving the offense a short field?
"I don't think there's a more important stat in pro football. I really don't. I think you can talk about third down, you can talk about red area – those are important, don't get me wrong, those are important – but when it comes to taking care of the ball and being able to take the ball away, I think if you look at our time here in the five years, I think when we've won that battle, we've won the majority of our games. I'm not sure what the record is, but that's a big stat. We obviously did not play great against Buffalo offensively. The defense took the ball away and we won the game. Last week against Jacksonville, we played a little bit better offensively, defense took the ball away, got us the ball in a short field, we scored some points. Same thing happened last night. I think the turnover/takeaway deal is something that if our guys can really buy in and continue to understand how important that is, that's a big deal."
What do you think is the key to being 26-1 when leading at halftime since you've been here?
"I don't know. Amy (Palcic) told me that last week after Jacksonville. I didn't even know that, and I don't know. I really don't. I credit the players, I credit the coaching staff. I wish I knew because that's pretty good, but I don't really know."
Do you think making adjustments in the first quarter rather than waiting until halftime has helped you be successful holding second half leads?
"I think to a certain degree. I think that also includes personnel. I think our staff – especially like last night defensively – our staff did a really nice job of, on a short week, training some guys. We signed Josh Keyes on Monday. I think he had a sack, recovered an onside kick. Natrell Jamerson, he hadn't played a whole lot of defense, comes in there – Mike Tyson – so, those guys, I think the coaching staff does a nice job with those guys and getting them ready to play. That's part of the adjustment when those guys have to step up, they're ready to go in there and do something."
What have you seen in terms of development from S Justin Reid?
"Justin's getting better every time out and he's making big plays for us. That interception last night kind of got us going. That was a big play. He's got good ball skills. He's really got a good room in there with the vets – J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) and those guys, Kareem (Jackson), obviously Tyrann (Mathieu) – guys are helping him out. I think he's taking advantage of that and trying to get better and better."
What do you think about the versatility of the guys that came in after some key injuries?
"I think versatility's key. Sometimes, though, you can go overboard with versatility because then they don't really have a home. Like, what is their main skillset? I do think at certain positions, versatility can be key. We put Brennan Scarlett in there at insider backer towards the end of the game. That's another guy that's a versatile player. So, that's important, especially when you have injuries, guys that can do both. That can help you, but you don't want too many of those guys because then you have a bunch of guys that really don't have a home. But, we do have a few guys that we think are versatile enough to do some things."
Is there any chance that CB Kevin Johnson or CB Aaron Colvin could come back as soon as after the bye week?
"I would say Colvin, yes. I would say Kevin, no. That's just my opinion, though."
Could CB Shareece Wright be available by then?
"Shareece Wright could be available sooner than that. Could be."
You've lost five corners in the last seven games but players have been able to step up in those positions. What credit does Secondary Coach Anthony Midget deserve?
"He deserves a lot of credit. It's kind of like what I was saying before about the coaching staff on defense. Romeo (Crennel) does a great job in that room – I'm talking about in the coaching staff room. He's got so much experience, so he's able to give his wisdom to younger coaches. 'Hey look, these guys need to be ready to play corner, safety, nickel, dime,' whatever we ask them to do. Then, Midge has done a good job. D'Anton Lynn's done a good job. So, Anthony Midget and D-Lynn have both done good jobs. But, again, I always catch myself as I go into these answers, it's a short walk. Penthouse. Outhouse. So, it's 'what have you done for me lately?' We go out to Denver and we don't play well, it will be our usual press conferences in here."
How does it feel to be in control of the division?
"I'm using that as a phrase. I don't mean we're in penthouse. We're 5-3. I feel good for the players. I think the players have put a lot of work in, they've worked very hard, they're very coachable, they're great guys. I think you guys probably saw the locker room scene last night. We've got a good group. I really am a big believer in that, no matter what happens, this is a team that we really love to coach. We've got really good guys that care about each other and they care about the coaching staff, they care about each other and vice-versa. I think that goes a long way in this league, I really do. I believe that."
What have you done best to help this team recover?
"Nothing. Nothing. I've just worked very hard. We just work hard to try to work with the coaching staff to put the players in the best position to try to go make plays."
Do you think CB Johnathan Joseph's injury could be a relatively short-term injury?
"Could be. Don't know the details of that one yet, but that could be."
How will you help you team realize the level they have to get to really make the 5-3 record pay off?
"Yeah, that's the thing, it's a long way to go. Especially when you're dealing with – which, you guys have a job to do, so when you're dealing with the media, or even not the media, maybe just your buddies outside, whatever, 'Hey, it's great, five in a row, it's great." It is good, don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to down play five in a row. I think it's fantastic, but at the end of the day, it's 5-3. There's another eight games to go. It's like I say to the rookies, when you're playing your final college game last year, the NFL has six games left. So, you have to keep coming here, and the veterans will help with that. There's a lot of football to be played. Now we go on the road to Denver, which we all know is a very difficult place to play, a team that's coming off of a big win last week against Arizona. Now we've got to understand how difficult that game's going to be. On the road, Von Miller, (Bradley) Chubb, Case Keenum, Demaryius Thomas – I mean, I haven't even watched them yet and I know the usual guys there. So, it's week to week. How can you improve and get better and stay grounded and be ready to go on a week-to-week basis."
What has made play-action so effective lately?
"I think it's more about being able to run the ball. I think no matter how well you fake, if you're not running the ball, you're not gaining yards in the running game, the fakes aren't worth anything. But when you're running the ball and you show that ball to the defense and then pull it out, sometimes that can really help when you're getting five, six yards a carry."
Is RB D'Onta Foreman any closer to practicing?
"Sure, yes. Not sure the date of that, but yes he is definitely closer."
Is free agent WR Dez Bryant an option you would explore?
"I would say my answer to that is we explore everything. I think that's kind of the job, one of the main jobs of, obviously, Brian (Gaine) and then he brings things to me and then we talk and we communicate. We just met earlier this morning. So, I would say we explore everything, including our own team. How can we use this guy in maybe another position? Or do this, can we do that? We look at our own team first in addition to looking at what's going outside. That would be my general answer to that."
Does losing WR Will Fuller V change the threat of play-action?
"Look, I think that we still have guys that, obviously, like I said, if they could do it like Will, they probably would have been in there more. But, we still have guys that can run, we have guys that can do some of the things that we're going to need to do in the building, and we'll keep working with those guys and see what else is going on."
What were your thoughts on that penalty before the half where half your team was already in the locker room?
"I don't know. That was just kind of a weird thing. I think that was just one of those fluky things."