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Texans Transcripts: October 15


Opening Statement:

"Yesterday was a very difficult game and really good win for our team. I thought defense and special teams really did an excellent job and obviously picked up the offense. That's a very challenging opponent. Give Buffalo a lot of credit. They play hard. Sean (McDermott) does a great job with that football team and it's a hard-fought win. Now, it sets up, obviously, a divisional game here with Jacksonville. Obviously, a great opponent and we've got a lot of work to do. Just relative to injuries, really not too much to report on anything. So, I'll just let you see the injury report as it comes out throughout the week."

What was your weekly message to the team when you were 0-3?

"Every week is a little different. I think the one thing is that every game that we've had this year has come down to the wire. This is a very, very tough football team. That's one thing that I know about this team. Very tough team, very resilient team and a team that really cares about each other. I think that's big. I think chemistry in this league is big. It's underrated. I think talent is important, don't get me wrong, I think coaching is very important, but I think that chemistry and toughness in the locker room is big. That's why we enjoy coaching this team because they fight."

What worries you the most about the game against Jacksonville?

"They're a great opponent. I would never use the word, 'worry'. I'll let you use that word. They're really good in a lot of areas. They're really good – start with offense, obviously, up front, very physical offensive line, Blake Bortles has had some really good moments this year, good skill players, good backs. Defensively really tough up front, defensive line and linebackers. Obviously, A.J. (Bouye) and Jalen Ramsey in the secondary along with their safeties, and special teams – they do a great job on special teams. They're really strong in all three phases, so we have a big challenge ahead of us."

When you watch the tape, was it mostly speed rushes that gave the tackles problems?

"There was just a lot of things. I say this every week, but it's not just – if you look at the line, there were times where they certainly could do a better job, but sometimes the ball has to come out quicker, the route needs to be run better. We've got to do a better job of coaching. We've got to get these guys to be more consistent in how they play. That's coaching. That's really what we have to get done. If we can just fix these things – and we've got to take care of the ball. We've got to take care of the ball. We were lucky because we turned it over a number of times and we have to stop doing that."

The redzone offense has struggled.

"Yeah, we're in there, but we're not getting anything done. We just have to continue to work at it and we have to figure out what we can do to get the ball in the end zone because it's not getting done right now."

You say it's coaching, but at what point do the players need to execute better?

"I think in the end, to me like I've said for a long time and I know everybody gets sick of it in here because that's what I say, but that's what coaching is. A coach told me a long time ago, I said to the coach when I was an assistant coach, 'Well, I told the guy 50 times to do it that way,' and the coach turned to me and said, 'Well, you need to tell him 51. You need to make sure that he's doing it the way you want him to do it.' It's coaching. We have to do a better job. Everybody's in it together. The coaching in all three phases – it's not just offense. Obviously, defense and special teams did a nice job yesterday, but we're always trying to figure out how we can coach better to get these guys to understand and execute at the highest level they can."

Was QB Deshaun Watson's toughness something you evaluated when going through the draft process in regards to him?

"Oh, yeah. He's as tough as they come. When he was playing in college, he was playing Alabama and they were running quarterback power and not everybody was blocked. He's as tough as they come. So, that was something that really stood out and his ability to keep his eyes downfield even when the rush was coming. One of the things that we have to do for him and with him and he has to do is there's times where the ball has to come out a little faster. The ball has to come out. That's something that we're going to really work on in addition to many other things we're going to really work on this week."

In the redzone, would you like to get the ball to WR DeAndre Hopkins more often when you have a goal-to-go situation like yesterday?

"We got the ball down in there. We called a play that we felt like was the best chance for us at that time. Then, it just didn't work. Any time a play call doesn't work, these are the questions you're going to get. Totally understand them. Then we jump offside. We've had probably 10 false starts in the red area. We have to coach that better and the players need to execute that better. We've got to stop jumping offside, but we just have not – we've been in the red area quite a bit but we have not executed or done a good enough job coaching down there to this point."

Would you bench a player solely due to penalties?

"It's certainly something you look at, but also I think a lot of it starts with what we're doing operationally before the snap, if that makes sense. It's obviously the guy, you want the guy to stay onside, but maybe it's not totally his fault."

Where you do you feel the team has made the most progress six games into the season?

"We've won three in a row. So, I'd say that's pretty good progress."

Is it frustrating to win three in a row and have people complain that the wins haven't been pretty?

"I don't care. I don't care what anyone says. Nobody. All I care about is the players in that locker room, the coaches upstairs, Mr. McNair, Cal McNair, their families, the support staff. I could care less about what anyone else says. That's not my job. That's your job. My job is to coach the team to the best of my ability and that's what I'm trying to do."

What are your thoughts on being tied for first place in the AFC South after starting 0-3?

"Feels good. Feels good. I feel good for these guys. We know we have to improve in areas, obviously, but that's what the league's all about. I think winning the last three games the way we've won them shows a lot about that locker room and what they're all about. If we can improve and get better in a lot of different areas, maybe we can do something. To come back from where we were is a testament to those guys, but there's a long way to go. Now, we're back at 0-0. There's a lot of teams in the league that are 3-3. That's kind of the way the league is. It's set up that way."

How difficult has it been to come back from an 0-3 start?

"Every week is a different week. It's not how hard it is, it's just – I don't know how to articulate this – 'OK, so that's what happened in this game. Let's learn from that game. Let's figure out what we can do better and how that applies to the next game.' That's what we try to do."

How valuable is S Kareem Jackson and his versatility?

"Yeah, he's having a good year. He's been a very productive player, very versatile player, smart, can do different things, like you said. He can play safety, he can play nickel, he can play on the outside, has made big plays for us, he's made plays on the ball which are important. He had a good game yesterday. Then, I don't know if anybody's going to ask me about him, but Johnathan Joseph played a great game. It wasn't just that pick-six, he played a hell of a football game yesterday. So, both those guys, in addition to other guys in the secondary, Shareece Wright made a big play on a screen pass, Tyrann (Mathieu) was around the ball, Justin Reid was around the ball a lot. I thought a lot guys showed up in the secondary yesterday and played really well."

Can you talk about ILB Benardrick McKinney's performance?

"Benardrick McKinney played real well, yes, definitely. And Zach Cunningham. They both have played really good football for us the last couple games."

Although his performance does not always show on a stat sheet, what have you seen from OLB Whitney Mercilus?

"Whitney had a real good game yesterday. He did an unbelievable job of setting the edge, played tough, did a lot of little things, like you said, that don't show up in the stat sheet, but that really helped us stop the run, helped us rush the passer, helped us in coverage. So, he did a lot of different things that really helped us in the game."

Can you talk about the type of player OLB Whitney Mercilus is?

"He's a great teammate. He's here all the time, comes in early, stays late trying to figure out what he can do to help the team in different ways. He's just a good guy in that locker room. I point to him among many veterans, I point to the young players and say, 'Hey, look, this is a guy that you need to model yourself after relative to being a professional football player.' Whitney is one of those guys, he's really been a great guy for us in the years we've been here."

Do you feel like recent coverage has made it difficult to get your tight ends involved?

"No, I think that the tight ends have been open, and I think we have to get them the ball. That's part of some of the things we have to fix. Then, you know, the tight ends, there's times where they have to do a better job. But no, nobody's doing anything to take away the tight ends. Again, we've got to correct some of the things that we're doing. It's not necessarily what somebody else is doing. Again, give Buffalo a bunch of credit, they've got a great defense. I think they have a top-10, top-five defense in the league and they did a great job yesterday."

What are you guys doing in the secondary to help overcome the loss of three corners?

"These guys, you bring in a guy like Shareece Wright, good pro, really has brought a lot of experience to the position. Johnathan Joseph's done a great job of taking care of his body from a week-to-week basis and being ready to go. Kareem Jackson, we talked about. Then there's guys like Johnson Bademosi that have really helped us on special teams. So, it's been good. It's been a collective effort and hopefully it continues – the health especially. Because if those guys stay healthy, that's a good thing."

Do you think there's a chance you could get CB Aaron Colvin and CB Kevin Johnson back?

"Sure. Yeah, there's a chance. Yep, there's a chance."

What kind of conversation do you with QB Deshaun Watson after a play where he shakes off a sack and then throws an interception in the end zone?

"You're in field goal range there and it's a very fine line. He's a great playmaker and if he feels like he sees something, he's going to try to make a play. But, at the end of the day, he's a young guy who's going to learn from those things and he's going to be better in that situation the next time. The play call could have been better, the execution of the play could have been better from the offensive line standpoint and then his decision could have been better. So, these are all things that are learning experiences, and obviously we don't have like a lot of time. We've got to learn right now. But, those are all things that we have to improve upon."

How do you think QB Deshaun Watson is doing?

"I think he's doing better. I'm going to meet with him here this afternoon. Obviously it was a physical game yesterday but I think he's doing better. Better than he was at this point last week."

What does it mean to see the special teams win a game the way that they did after having struggled in past seasons?

"They were really good, and you're right, they've been an issue up until this year. I think Brad's (Seely) doing a great job, Tracy (Smith), they're doing a great job and these guys are really buying in. We work hard on special teams, we meet a lot on it, we practice it on the field and it's really good to see when it all comes together on a game. Tyrell Adams blocked the punt, Brennan Scarlett had a great game, Buddy Howell made some big plays and there were several others. I thought Trevor (Daniel) had a couple good punts, he one poor punt, but he had some decent punts in the game and that was important. I think that Johnson Bademosi's another guy that's done a good job for us. It was really good to see that yesterday."

How big was K Ka'imi Fairbairn's kickoff from the 20 and OLB Peter Kalambayi's tackle?

"Huge. That's another guy. We got the taunting call there and had to kickoff from our own 20, and I felt like that was a tough spot. It was great kick and then Peter did a real nice job of going down there and covering that kick. That was a big play in the game."

What are your thoughts on DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney's taunting penalty yesterday and some of the recurring neutral zone infractions?

"Guys that play like he does – he plays the game in a really attacking way, and so people are going to use their cadence against him and he's just got to be really focused on that. Then, the taunting call, like somebody asked me if I'm going to – yeah, I'll talk to him about it, but I'm not going to go down the road of what – I think he just was just kind of messing around with the guy, but you can't do that. You can't do that, and that's what they called and we'll make sure that he knows not to do that anymore."

Does the way DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney stands straight up or with his hand on the ground make a difference whether he's jumping or not?

"I don't know. I mean, either way he's got to understand one's different than the other. One, he's trying to maybe time it up, and he's got to do a better of that, and the other one where he's actually just hand in the dirt, he's keying the ball. So, it's a good point, it's a good question. He's just got to learn in each situation it's a little bit different."

What did you think last when DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney had called Jaguars QB Blake Bortles trash?

"I don't like that. I've talked to him about that. First of all, we don't believe that. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Marrone, the Jags and what they – I mean, think about what they've done. When we first got here into Houston, they weren't really winning. They changed everybody, but a lot of the players stayed the same. Blake's there and they added some other players, got a new staff, Coach (Tom) Coughlin comes in there. They have a great football team. I know whatever happened yesterday – I haven't even watched the tape yet. We'll take a look at that. But they have a very physical team. Blake is a very, very good quarterback, smart guy, I've known him for a long time, got a lot of respect for him, we have a ton of respect for the Jacksonville Jaguars."

Do you expect RB D'Onta Foreman to be out there this week?

"We're talking about that right now. I would probably say no, though. I would say I don't think he's quite ready. Once you ignite that, you have 21 days I think to actually add him to the 53, so we're still kind of talking about all those things."

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