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Texans Transcripts: September 20


DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney told the media he's playing this weekend. Did he tell you?

"He didn't tell me that he was playing, and then what I have to do is I have to wait until I get official word from the training staff to see whether he's playing or not. Right now, he was listed as questionable. I don't know how he will be listed today, but I'll have to wait and see for sure."

What would it mean to have DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney back in the lineup?

"He's a playmaker. So, having playmakers on the field is a good thing. He's got some length, he's got some strength, he's got some quickness. If he's able to provide all of that, that will be helpful."

What do you like about S Kareem Jackson at cornerback and safety?

"Well, Kareem is a smart player. He has good versatility. He competes. No matter where you put him, he competes and he started off this year really good, making plays and things like that."

Does OLB Duke Ejiofor look like he's ready to play more?

"He showed up. Any time a guy begins to show up, you have to give him an opportunity to see if it was just a flash in the pan or if it's something that can have some longevity."

What do you think about the impact DE J.J. Watt has had in the first two weeks?

"I think people notice it and when they change their protections and slide the line to him, that shows some respect for what he can do and what he's capable of. Then, if we can get some guys on the other side away from him to begin to make some plays, then now what happens is the offenses will have to make a decision on how they want to scheme us. It'll be interesting to see what happens this week, but every week is a little bit different and you just never know before you kick it off and find out."

If opposing teams attempt to remove DE J.J. Watt from the game by doubling him, how does that affect your game plan?

"I've got some pretty good ability away from him. So, they have to step up and make plays because if they're pushing everything to J.J., they're one-on-one. Generally, you have to win the one-on-ones. If you can win the one-on-ones, then we're ahead of the game."

What stands out to you about DE J.J. Watt's 2015 season?

"Well, he was very competitive like he still is. He made a lot of plays because of his length, because of his intensity and because a lot of teams didn't feel like they needed to slide to him on every play."

Is it more difficult for DE J.J. Watt to accumulate sacks now that he's been in the league and has a reputation as an elite pass rusher?

"Of course. Yeah, because they know what he can do, what he's capable of. So, they're not taking a chance."

What are your thoughts on WR DeAndre Hopkins and Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.?

"Hop is the ultimate competitor. He has great hands and he competes for the ball and feels like every ball that comes his should belong to him. I think that's one of the things that makes him really good. Odell is similar in the fact that he wants the ball and he competes for it, just a little bit different skillset. Odell is a returner as well as being a receiver. Returners have that quickness and change of direction and those kind of things and run after the catch maybe a little bit better, but they both are very good receivers and hard to defend. We go against people and they double Hop because they know that when they don't, the ball goes to him. So, they try to take him out of the game. So, we'll try to take Beckham out of the game."

Did you see on tape why the Cowboys were successful in pressuring Giants QB Eli Manning?

"I think they were just being aggressive with their rush. They lost the center and had the backup (John Greco) in there. Even though he has some experience, not having played the position consistently impacts him. Then, they have one or two young guys in there that they're still learning as well. I think all of that came into play against a good pass rushing team."

How much has DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney been set back by all the inactivity in the offseason?

"Well, I think any time you miss time, it hurts you on the playing field because it takes time to get back to where you want to be and where you need to be. What was it, two years ago after he got back after missing time and being able to go through the offseason and having a good training camp, being on the field, he was a dynamic player. So, when you're able to be out there most of the time, I think your game has chance to improve. Not only in what you can do, but what you think and what you see from your opponent and then what moves you make. So, I think not being out there slows him down a little bit. That's why it's important that he get out there when he can and if he can stay healthy, that's a big plus."

What do you think about that taunting penalty?

"Well, it was taunting. I think that he was excited about the game, made the move toward the player. I don't know what he said or if he said anything, but the rule states that if you direct comments toward a player, then they can drop the flag, and so they dropped the flag. It's unfortunate for us because we lost some field position with those yardage, and we have to be smarter football players and know just to stay back and not get involved."

Where do you feel OLB Whitney Mercilus is at after two games?

"He's gotten better. Because he's rusty in the first game, but he's improving every week as well. We talk about knocking rust off, and he's knocking his rust off and he's getting his take-off better, his counter moves and things like that. So, every week, we should see some progress."

Is it harder for guys to come off lower body injuries because they can't stay in shape?

"Well, they can still work out, but the type of work they do, most of it is rehab work, instead of being football conditioning work. So, that impacts your conditioning when you do come back to start playing."

Who is a player that came back in really great shape after not having to go through rehab?

"For us? Generally, they don't come back at the level that you need them to be back at. It still takes time. It's just a part of the process. You're hurt."

Have any of your players come back after not having to spend an offseason recovering from an injury but came back in great shape?

"Well, I'd have to go way back to come up with that player, but Lawrence Taylor. Generally, when he walked onto the field, he was where he needed to be."

With guys playing less in the preseason, do you think that has something to do with what you're saying about players needing time to knock the rust off?

"Yeah, I think so, a little bit. Because their bodies don't get into football condition as soon. Back in the day, you used to practice twice a day, so their bodies had a chance to adapt to the contact and to the stresses of the game. We don't have as many opportunities now. So, then when we get to game time, I think you see some guys maybe getting injured that might not have gotten injured back in the day."

How rare is it to such talent and success out of a rookie running back like RB Saquon Barkley?

"Well, that's why he was drafted where he was drafted, because people noticed he had that ability, that he's a productive runner, and you see it when you look at the tape. I mean, he has size, speed, quickness, toughness. So, that's why they took him where they took him."


What kind of similarities do you see between WR DeAndre Hopkins and Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr.? Do you notice any differences?

"I think the commonalities speak for themselves. They're both big-play receivers who can have the ability to change the game every time they touch the ball. Both have tremendous ball skills, body control. As far as differences go, I think it depends on within the offensive system that they're in. I don't really have much on that, but I think the commonalities of those two guys, just being explosive players, very good at what they do, body control stands out to me. Certainly, their catch radius is a big part of what both of those guys can do and do well."

How important is WR Will Fuller V to the success of the offense?

"It's huge. We talked about it last year. Will's presence out there just gives you another big play threat that defenses have to be aware of. It affects how people play us and how they attack us. Him being out there, and not only that, but the production that he gives us makes a huge difference in our offense."

Do you think WR Vyncint Smith has a similar skillset to WR Will Fuller V as far as being a deep threat?

"Yeah, I think so. I think Vync certainly has the ability to be able to take the top off when he gets his chances to do that. He has that kind of speed, that vertical threat that defenses have to be aware of. They've got to be prepared for that, so I think him seeing the effect of what Will does – Will doing it so well – I think certainly helps any young player that can watch that."

Was the goal for last game to target WR Will Fuller V a lot?

"The goal is to always get your playmakers involved. That's every offense across the league. We're the same way. We scheme up different things for different guys to touch the ball. Will's one of them, but we spread it around between all our skill players. Then it has to do with what the coverage dictates, our reads, our progressions and where we go to. Week in and week out, we're always trying to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and that'll continue to be the plan."

What have you seen from TE Jordan Akins and TE Jordan Thomas in both the running game and passing game?

"Again, I think the more weapons you have out there that defenses have to account for, less goes into other things. It's got to be balanced. They have to account for the fact that you have receivers – and Ryan Griffin, don't forget about Ryan Griffin now. All of those guys are going to play a huge role in being threats down the field that it's got to be addressed so it opens up other areas, whether it be other people in the pass game, whether it be our run game, it's all part of it. Then, in blocking, our tight ends, that whole room, they do a great job. They take a lot of pride in being able to do that and I think it shows up on gameday with that."

Are you comfortable with QB Deshaun Watson taking deep shots into the end zone even though a few have been intercepted?

"I think every interception is unique. I think there's some of those that we have not been OK with. I didn't think the Rams one, and I feel comfortable saying that, because Deshaun knew it and he was coached that way. I think there are aggressive mistakes and times where a coverage warrants taking a shot, and we do that. We make plays on them at times and this time, that corner made a great play on it. I think the answer is both. I think there are times where you absolutely say, 'No, that was a poor decision. It can't happen again,' and there's times where you understand that it was an aggressive decision that didn't work out in that instance for him."

Does QB Deshaun Watson still work through what you'd classify as first-year mistakes in this league?

"Yeah, I think so. I mean, the guy has started eight games in the NFL. He's literally got half a season of starts under his belt, so there's going to be certain things that he hasn't seen, certain defensive styles or schemes that he hasn't seen. When they come up, it might take him a little bit to settle in and get used to, but that's what our job is. That's what we work on all the time is preparing him the best for what we anticipate we're going to face, and then within the game, making the proper adjustments and explaining to him clearly why we're doing it and what we're trying to get done. The good thing about him is he's football savvy, he's football smart, he cares, he listens – which is huge. I know it sounds strange to say, but it's a big deal. He takes in the information and he applies it moving forward. I think that's what's going to make him be able to take these strides that he needs to take from an eight-game starter to a nine, to a ten and so on from there."

Is offensive aggression dictated by the situation such as down and distance or field position?

"No, I don't think that plays into it. I think based on our play-call and again what we see post-snap, those things dictate it more than that. We certainly will have a game plan of certain times when we feel like shots are – that's by game and by what the play caller's feeling – OB (Bill O'Brien) does a good job of that stuff. A lot of things combine in that."

What are your thoughts on Giants S Landon Collins?

"He was young when I was there. I know he hasn't been in the league 10 years, but he's gotten more seasoned. You can see that. I think he's a physical guy, a tough, physical football player, smart football player. In the box, he can certainly impact the run game. You've got to be aware of where he is all the time, and I think in the last couple of years, he's grown in terms of being around the ball. I think that showed up a couple of years ago with his interceptions and his plays on the ball. He's a really good football player and as he's gotten more experience and seen more, he's gotten better as he's gotten more years under his belt. Physical, good football player."


How nice was it to get back out there and contribute on offense?

"It's always good to get back with the guys. Like I said last week, coming off my injury, it's nice being back out there at practice and being here in the locker room, just talking with everybody, it's always a good feeling."

As a young receiver, do you appreciate what Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. has been able to do in the NFL?

"Oh yeah, Odell's a great player. It's fun watching him. You can learn a lot of things from him, just how he works."

Do you feel a sense of urgency to get a win in the home opener?

"I would say so. We don't want to go 0-3, so we're going to do whatever it takes to get this win."


What determines whether you play or not?

"How I feel."

Do you know right before the game or Saturday if you will play on Sunday?

"I don't know. Today, tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday."

Did you say it's more likely that you would play than you won't play?

"Yeah, I will play."

You will play?

"I will play."

What will it mean for you to get back on the field?

"It will mean a lot to me to be back out there with my teammates. Feels good to be able to go compete at a high level. It's very important to me."

Is there anything that could limit you or prevent you from being full-go on Sunday?

"If I'm out there with my pads on, I'm full-go. I don't know who puts their pads on and limits themselves in a game or anything. That's crazy to me. I'll be ready to go."

How important is it for you to play and help the team get their first win?

"It's very important. We've got to get a win. We need it to get this thing going and I need to be out there with my teammates and be a part of that, helping in any way that's possible, doing whatever I can do. So, I need to be ready."

Do you have any comment on the taunting penalty?

"No. When was that? I forgot about it. We're on a new game. We're playing the Giants this week."

Can you tell us what caused it?

"Caused the Giants to come down here? It's Week 3. We play them. That's what we're doing right now. We've got the Giants this week. Got a big task to stop Odell (Beckham Jr.) and this running back they've got. It's going to take a whole defensive effort to take this guy down, Saquon Barkley. The first guy won't just do it. It's going to take a whole defensive effort to get this guy."

How important is getting the pass rush going this week?

"Very important for our front to dominate this front this game. We respect the guys they've got up front. I'm sure everybody does, but we've got to come play this game and hopefully get a win at home."

Giants RB Saquon Barkley had a lot of catches last week.

"He catches all the balls for them. He does everything for them. He's a very versatile back. He can catch it, run it. There's nothing the guy can't do. Like I said, it'll take a whole effort to get him down on the ground. He's a good player."


How is it to work with WR Odell Beckham Jr. in Los Angeles and learn from each other?

"We don't really talk about football. It's more just real life hanging out."

What do you think of WR Odell Beckham Jr. as a wide receiver?

"He's a great wide receiver. He's one of the best to do it and will be for a while."

What do you think about WR Will Fuller V and how much he has improved this offseason?

"A lot. He's worked on his hands, he's worked on his route running, blocking, and it showed. He goes out on every play, he wants to make the play for us and when he gets the chance, he does."

How does the way WR Will Fuller V open up the game for you?

"A lot, because Will can do a lot of things that not a lot of people in the NFL can do, and open up the field the way he can. He's worked on his hands. You've seen a difference. I don't think he's dropped any balls yet."

Are you encouraged by some of the things that happened in the second half last week's game?

"We have a lot of stuff that we can improve on, but it's on to the Giants. Not talking about last week."

What do you see in the Giants' secondary?

"They got a lot of skill back there. A lot of young guys, they want to make plays. They got (Landon) Collins, who's one of the best safeties in the game. And, you got guys on the outside that can make plays as well."

Do you feel an additional sense of urgency to get a win with the team being 0-2?

"Oh, it's a long season. We're going to go out and play our game and do what we do and try to get a win."

What have you seen from the two rookie tight ends, TE Jordan Akins and TE Jordan Thomas?

"A lot. A lot of good stuff. A lot of good stuff that they can build on, they can work on. They know what they need to do. So, I think they'll come out and they'll help us get a win."


When's the last time you faced WR Odell Beckham Jr.?

"A couple times in practice back at LSU. This will be our first time actually playing against each other in a game."

What do you think about the way WR Odell Beckham Jr. plays out there?

"He's probably the best receiver in the game right now from the routes he runs, the things that they ask him to do, his catch radius, 50-50 balls, so he poses a problem for some of the best DBs in the game."

What was your take on the superintendent's racist comment about QB Deshaun Watson?

"I try not to put fire to it. Obviously we deal with those kinds of things a lot now, but we try not to give it too much attention."

Do you see similarities between WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Odell Beckham Jr.?

"Yeah, absolutely. I feel like both of those guys are the best receivers in the game, obviously. The way they attack the football in the air and how they play the game, with a lot of passion, a lot of fight. They're always trying to make a play."

What's different about WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Odell Beckham Jr.?

"I'd probably say DeAndre's a little bit taller and Odell's a little shorter. Like I said, they have the same kind of fire. I think both of our offenses ask those guys to do similar things. He's going to get doubled, both those guys are going to get doubled, triple teamed and somehow they still find a way to make plays."

Does WR Odell Beckham Jr. like to be played tight and one-on-one like WR DeAndre Hopkins said he likes to be played?

"Well, I think you can kind of get caught up into kind of fighting with those guys down the field. At the end of the day, what you got to realize is that defenders, those guys know where the ball is going, so they are able to kind of make a better judgement on the ball. So, for us, obviously, it's tough for defenders to cover those guys given their abilities, but our hands will be full, speaking of Odell this weekend. We'll try to do our best to cover him."

When watching film, what have you seen on RB Saquon Barkley?

"He's a special player. You can see that from the way he runs the ball, the different things that they try to do with him in the passing game. He's free releasing a lot. They try to get the ball to him quick so he can have some space to run with the ball. So, we're going to have to rally, tackle – even Dallas last week, the first guy normally missed that tackle, but they always had extra guys around the ball. So, they were able to contain him from that aspect."

Have you played against Giants QB Eli Manning very much?

"I played against Eli a couple times. Obviously, he's a great quarterback. Any time you can win a Super Bowl in this league, it's pretty tough. He knows what's going on, he can understand different coverages. I think his problem is when he has a lot of guys in his face. He rushes decisions and that's what we'll try to do Sunday."

How has practice been this week?

"It's been great. At the end of the day, any time you come off a loss it can kind of lag into the following week, but we got to continue to remind ourselves because we always have a game next week. So, I thought yesterday was better from an energy standpoint. Obviously, guys are prepared, but a lot of times you have to raise your level of intensity to kind of get the work done the way you want it done."

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