HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
Can you talk about what you did well in this game and what that means moving forward?
"I think it was a very hard fought game. I thought that – start with defensively, obviously we rushed the passer well, we scored on defense, we had another strip-sack that was recovered inside the five-yard line, we only gave up, I think, 41 yards of rushing, something like that. We did a lot of good things. Played hard throughout the game, were on the field quite a bit. Offensively, I think we moved the ball, did a little bit better in the red area, were much better on third down. I think we were 50 percent on third down. We had some explosive plays, plays that gain 20 yards or more. And, on special teams, I think we play solid on special teams. I think our return game's improving, punt return game is improving, I think our coverage units are doing a decent job and I think Trevor (Daniel) punted well. I thought he did a good job creating field position. We need to build on those things. There's a lot of things that we need to correct, but when you come out of that game with a win, there's a lot of things that you can look at that you can build on."
What do you spend more time on, building on or correcting?
"I think you do both. You have to correct. Obviously, go back to defense, we've got to correct some things with our coverage. Andrew Luck's a great player, had a great game, really had a great game. It's always difficult, with the way the rules are and how it is now in the NFL, great quarterbacks are going to make plays and that's just the way it is. But, we've got to do some things to shore some things up. Offensively, people are going to point to the sacks, and rightfully so, but the sacks are definitely not all the offensive line. I would say, to be honest with you, the offensive line is probably only responsible for two of those sacks. I think the other five came from missing some assignments here and there at other positions, so I think there's a lot to build on but there's – just, again, it's all about improvement and how can we improve between now and Sunday to play very well against a very good Cowboy team."
What was the thought process behind going with T Kendall Lamm at right tackle?
"I'm not sure where you want me to go with that. We had (Martinas) Rankin at left and Lamm was the next guy up at right tackle."
Could CB Aaron Colvin possibly miss the rest of the season?
"I don't know that right now. It sounds like he could possibly play again this year but I'm not definitive about that right now."
How do you balance letting QB Deshaun Watson be who he is as a quarterback, but there are also guidelines that most quarterbacks have to follow?
"I think it's all about the film. I think that's what – I just was talking to him in the locker room. We sit down and we watch the tape and there are certain plays that he extends, which are great plays, where he either runs or he creates a passing lane downfield for guys to get open, and then there's other plays where there has to be what I call a silent alarm in his head, where nobody's really open, this journey's over and I need to just either throw it away or duck out of bounds or whatever it is. That's something that he'll continue to get better at. He's very good at that, by the way. He's very, very good at that. Probably the best young quarterback I've ever coached at making the right decision. But, he needs to probably make that right decision all the time, if that makes sense, not take the five-yard sack and give us a chance to be second-and-10 instead of second-and-15, or third-and-10 instead of third-and-15. So, he'll continue to get better at that, but it's just he and I sitting down, watching the tape, 'Hey, look, in this situation here, it's probably better to duck out of bounds or throw it away. This one, hey this is beautiful, this is what we're looking for.'"
What do you see from CB Shareece Wright and do you think CB Kayvon Webster might be able to play this week?
"I think Shareece did some good things yesterday. He had some PBUs, a couple PBUs. Obviously, like everybody else, there's some plays that he needs to improve on, but it's good to have a veteran presence there. He's eight years in the league and good guy, real good guy. He's a little bit banged up right now and tough guy. Kayvon should be ready to go this week. I'll know better later in the week but we should have a chance to see what Kayvon can do this week."
You have some standout guys on defense, but how much of that is their strengths and how much of that is matchups, and how do you balance that when you're looking ahead to the next game?
"I think that we always look at that. We try every week to do as good of job as we can of looking at the other team and making sure that we're putting our guys in the right position with what their skillset is and with what they're comfortable doing. There's a lot of give and take with this coaching staff and with the players. We're the coaches, they're the players, yeah, but there's also veteran players there that are very comfortable doing certain things that have had a lot of success doing certain things, whether it's lining up on the right, or playing this type of man coverage, or rushing this particular way, so we try to look at the team we're playing and we try to put those guys in those type of positions, if that makes sense."
Does it help to have veteran players that are willing to make changes according to who you're playing and the way the opposing team plays?
"Yeah, it helps a lot, it helps a lot. Whether it's J.J. (Watt), or (Jadeveon) Clowney, or Whitney (Mercilus), D.J. Reader, B-Mac (Benardrick McKinney), J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph) on the outside, Tyrann Mathieu, Kareem Jackson, those guys, Shareece Wright, to have veteran players that really understand the game and understand how you're explaining things to them but also have experience of how they've done things in the past, it helps."
How has your team been able to be more creative with QB Deshaun Watson on offense?
"I don't know. We've been creative. I don't know. I guess that would be whatever is beholden to each vision that you have of what we're doing. We've been pretty creative, we've moved the ball. We haven't been good in the red area, and we were a little bit better in the red area, but we'll continue to try to do the things, like I was saying in the previous question, that suit the skillset of the guys that we have in there."
Has QB Deshaun Watson's health affected what you've been able to call?
"I think any time a guy's coming back off of a knee injury, I think you've got to do a good job of understanding where that guy's at. I wouldn't say that affecting anything is the way to put it, it's just more about, 'Hey, what's right for this player?' It's always about the player and the team. So, what is the best thing for this player, relative to the team, and that's what we try to do."
Does it concern you that QB Deshaun Watson is being hit more than any other quarterback in the league?
"He's a very tough guy. You know, some of it can be concerning, but it's some of the design of the plays. That's what we do. He's got good physical strength. There's certain things that we do not want him to take a hit on. There's other things that we do that he loves to do, and we like to call them and that's part of the way he plays. But, going back to what I was saying earlier, I think he's really smart about it for the most part when you look at how he deals with those plays. He gets his pads down or he ducks out of bounds. He's a very, very smart runner. So, that's something we try to build around."
What was your thought process behind calling the timeout before the Colts' two-point conversion?
"Well, at that point in time, I felt like it was – I told RAC (Romeo Crennel) during the drive, I said, 'I'm saving this. If they do score – because they were moving the ball, so you're always having to think ahead – if they do score, I'm not calling this timeout right now in this drive, I'm going to save because I know they have to go for two.' So, that's what we call a Kodak timeout. So, save it for the two-point play, (we) came out to see the formation that they were in and then call a timeout to see if we can adjust to it. They came out in the same formation, obviously, I think we played it as good as we could, but they did a nice job on the play. But, that's why I did it."
What happened with RB Lamar Miller?
"I'm not going to get into the details. He just got a little banged up but I think he's going to be OK."
What is it about S Tyrann Mathieu that allows him to be a leader in the locker room?
"He's been a guy that just got here in April and he's just a good guy. He's a good guy, he's a really smart guy and he's smart about football. He does a great job of getting to know all of his teammates. He's a good leader in practice, he loves football, has a passion for the game. I'm glad he's here."
How did you see your team stick together in yesterday's game?
"I think that this has always been, for the years that I've been here, these are resilient guys. Some of these guys have been with us the whole time we've been here, the (Johnathan) Josephs, the (J.J.) Watts, (DeAndre) Hopkins. There's guys that do a good job and now we've added a lot of other guys that are very resilient guys. It's a long season. We have to do a good job of not riding the wave. We've got to do a good job of continuing to build and get better because it's a very long season. Nothing has been determined yet. Nothing. No divisions, no playoffs – nothing's been determined. We have to understand that and take it really, really short focus of one day at a time and making sure that we're trying to get better every day."
What did you see from DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney on tape?
"He had a very disruptive game. He had his best game of the year to this point. It was fun to see him back out there playing that way. He did a great job. He did a great job."
How excited are you about what WR Keke Coutee can do for this offense?
"Keke did a good job. Like I said after the game, when he sees some of the things that he missed, he's going to really even be better the next time out. He's a very, very instinctive guy. He's got really good quickness but he's also got really good speed and he's got strong hands. So, he really did a nice job for us in some key moments that we really needed a play because maybe they were doubling (DeAndre) Hop(kins) or Will (Fuller V) wasn't in there, so he needed to be the guy. He came up big for us. Now, for him it's about not reading the stuff about, whatever, the most catches since the merger, whatever that is in a debut and just try to get better, like on these six routes, 'Maybe you could've done a better job. How are you going to get better at those?' That's what's key about the rookies is when you have a good game like that, you've got to really try to build on it."
What was your thought process on running the ball on first down with less than a minute to play in regulation?
"There was 45 seconds to go in the game. At that point in time, you're trying to get the drive going. You are trying to gain positive yards on the first play. If you throw an incomplete pass, you've got a big problem. Obviously, if you turn it over, you've got a big problem. So, you're trying to get the drive going, whether it's a screen or a draw or some type of quick pass. I chose to go with a draw. I think it gained five yards. The next play, we got to the line of scrimmage quickly and were able to get the ball in somewhat field goal range. That was the thought process and that was a situation that actually worked out when we were able to get the ball – it was a 59-yarder – but we were able to get the ball into field goal range."
T Kendall Lamm seemed to do a nice job at right tackle yesterday.
"He did. He did. He played tough. Like anybody else, there are some plays that he'll try to improve on, but he did a good job."
How have you seen momentum carry over from week to week in the NFL?
"I don't know. That's a tough question. I don't really know. I'm just thinking about our game from yesterday and meeting with the players and trying to get them ready to go relative to Dallas. I don't really know."
Do the players understand how important this game against Dallas is to the fans?
"I think the players understand that. I'm sure you guys will ask them a lot of about it this week, but I think the players understand that. They understand that this is a big week for Houston and a big week for the fans. We know the crowd is going to be awesome and it's going to be an exciting night."
Do you like having the game on national TV in primetime?
"Sure, yeah, I mean whatever the schedule says that's what we're going to do. We just need to, like I said, have a real good week of preparation because they're a very good team, very talented team, well-coached. So, we need to have a great week. That's what it's all about."
What did it tell you about Houston fans that the last time these two teams played in Dallas, Cowboys QB Tony Romo had to go to a silent count because it was so loud?
"We understand the rivalry, we understand this state, that this is a football state. When you have the two pro teams in Houston and Dallas, obviously, that's a rivalry. Like I said, we just need to have a great week of preparation and be ready to go on Sunday night. It's going to be a very, very tough game."
Do you expect the momentum of this game to carry over into the Dallas game and do you think the players are excited to play in front of the home crowd?
"Oh yeah, the players are definitely very, very excited about winning and moving forward. I think they're very excited about playing back home in front of the home crowd. Guys playing at home, they love it. No doubt about it."
Are your reading glasses going to be a new look on the sidelines this season?
"I mean, I couldn't see. I don't know if you've noticed – you've known me now for five years – I'm not really into sideline looks or apparel. For five years in a row, I've worn the same suit to every road game, if that tells you anything about my fashion. I have no fashion. Nor do I care to."
Do you think QB Deshaun Watson is doing a better job of protecting the football in opposing territory?
"I do. I think two of them, not including yesterday's, he's trying to make a play down the field. It's a shot type of play and it just hasn't worked out. Adoree Jackson made a great play on the one in Tennessee and the Patriots, they made a great play on that play, too. Part of it is that, too. He's just trying to make a play down the field and it just hasn't worked out. Yesterday's was kind of a tough situation based on the coverage and what it was and how the defender played it. I think he's really doing a good job of taking care of the ball. Interceptions are going to happen. That's part of the game and he's doing a good job of taking care of the ball and kind of moving on from it when it does happen."
Is S Kareem Jackson an option to possibly move back to corner?
"Kareem is definitely, because of his versatility, he's always an option to move around wherever we would need to plug and play him. He's an option because of what he knows and how he plays, but we'll see how it goes throughout the week."
When a player returns from an Achilles injury, does his recovery time depend on his position and what do you look for to see if a player is ready to return?
"I think it's definitely different for every position. I think at the defensive back position, it's whether the guy can cut and drive on the ball off of that foot. Is he confident in that? Is he confident when his feet get tangled up on some things of putting all of his weight on that foot to drive off of it. I think there's a lot that goes into that. I think a lot of it's mental. That's what I was saying earlier about other things. A lot of it's mental. Having the confidence to cut off of that leg after an Achilles injury, if anybody's ever had that, that's a tough injury. That takes a while. Every guy's different."
Was it a precautionary measure to sit WR Will Fuller V in the second half?
"Not really. We'll see how it goes this week. We just have to kind of manage it and see where it's at. In a game like that, if I thought he really could've gone doing the things that we need to do, I would've played him, obviously – he's a great player. But I just didn't think that he could do all of the little things that we needed him to do. That's why we decided to sit him in the second half."
What did you think of WR Sammie Coates Jr.'s performance?
"Did a nice job. Had a big catch there late in the game and did some good things on special teams. Did a good job. Big, physical guy. Good guy."