Texans Transcripts: September 24

HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN

After you went back and looked at the tape, what would you have done differently yesterday?

"There's a lot of things. Like I always say to you guys when things don't go well – and they haven't gone well lately – that it starts with me. So, I just think there's a lot of different things that I can do to be better. I'm not going to list them all."

How frustrating is it to know that you could've won all three of these games?

"It's frustrating. It is, but that's the way it is. That's the NFL. These are close games and it's the team that doesn't beat themselves that ends up winning, and we've been beating ourselves too much."

Why do you think DE J.J. Watt was so successful yesterday?

"He did a great job. Did a really good job against the running game, played hard, excellent job pass rush. Again, he really did a great job yesterday."

Why do you think the offense has struggled in the redzone this season?

"I don't know. We've got to look at it. We've got to look at it closely. We started to look at it this morning. There's really an area of offense, probably other than the penalties – the penalties are terrible. We take too many negative plays down there, sacks and penalties. Statistics tell you that when you have a negative play in the red area, you really have no chance of scoring a touchdown. So, I think on all of the drives where we've had to settle for a field goal, we've had a negative play. We have to figure out how to stop doing that. It's not good, and that's been one of our main issues on offense. When you have a lot of yards, it doesn't matter when you're not scoring touchdowns."

Why do you think T Julién Davenport has struggled?

"He's struggling, and we have to work with him to keep getting better, but we're definitely looking at that position. He's a good guy. He's going to work hard to get better but he needs to improve, no doubt."

How did you think C/G Greg Mancz played in relief of G Senio Kelemete? Do you expect Kelemete to be out for an extended period of time?

"Not sure about Kelemete right now. Probably will know better about Kelemete in the middle of the week for you. Mancz is a fighter. He's a smart player, tough guy. He did OK."

Are you looking at offensive linemen to potentially bring in?

"I think we're always looking at every position. Every single day, we look at every position, what's out there. Just about every single day – well, Mondays and Tuesdays – our workout days, we've brought in guys to workout. We'll continue to do that."

What can you do at practice or in film to eliminate penalties in a game?

"I don't know. I'm going to try to figure it out, though."

How did losing WR Bruce Ellington early in the game affect what you were trying to do on offense yesterday?

"I don't think that much."

Is each week's game plan put together with input from all coaches?

"Yeah, we all work together on it. It's everybody. Everybody's in there, Timmy Kelly, Mike Devlin, John Perry. We've got a good staff. We've got a good staff. I just have to do a better job of getting these players into a rhythm."

What's your role in making sure players don't get too down after an 0-3 start?

"I just think, it's not good, obviously, but I don't think anybody in that locker room – there's a lot of good guys in that locker room that will come in here today – we'll show the tape. There's no magic dust, there's no magic wand we can just say, 'Hey, wave this magic wand and everything's going to be OK.' It's hard work, it's trying to figure out what we do best, do it better, and the things we're not doing well, either stop doing them or figure out how to improve them. I think you teach off the film. I think we have a bunch of good guys in there that are very much together. We've only played one divisional game. We've got a big one this week. So, we just have to keep grinding. There's no other way out of it. There's no choice. I think when you have the role that I have, it's easy. There's no choice. You have to go to work and you have to figure it out. That's sports, that's life and that's the way it is."

How does QB Deshaun Watson coming off an injury affect your designed runs?

"We have a number of designed runs for him. We booted him twice, we do a lot of different things in the running game that you probably don't see because of what we're doing, relative to what his assignment is on the play. So, no, he's full-go and we have to do a better job of maybe the design of those plays a little bit, but we definitely have plays for him in all different phases of the offense."

Can you talk about TE Jordan Thomas?

"He's done a good job and I would say he probably needs to be in there more."

What did you think about the way TE Jordan Thomas caught that ball and the way he ran it?

"Yeah, big guy that can run. He used to be a wide receiver, got really good hands, getting better as a blocker, so we have to continue to work with him. He's a rookie, he's young. (Jordan) Akins is a rookie. These guys are improving and they probably need to be involved more."

Can you talk about OLB Whitney Mercilus' slow start to the season?

"Look, I think Whitney's working hard. I think some of the – sometimes that's the way the ball bounces. Where he is in the front and the pass protection or the run, where it's directed things like that. So, I think Whitney's – we all know what Whitney can do. Whitney's working hard to get better and better every day."

What about DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney?

"Both those guys are working hard to try to make plays, try to get better. They're out there at practice. I thought both guys had a good week of practice and they're working hard to improve."

The superintendent that made the racist comment resigned over the weekend and he called QB Deshaun Watson a role model in his resignation. Do you have any thoughts on that?

"No."

Do you think the running backs, who had been the best in the league on paper, need to make more plays?

"I mean, the paper and all that – look, I think at the end of the day, everybody's got to do a better job. We have to play better team defense. We play terrible complementary football right now. Offensively, our defense sets us up with great field position. J.J.'s (Watt) getting sacks, the crowd's into it, they're stopping the run pretty well, we turn it over, we don't turn it into points, we kick a field goal. Flip side, we go down there and score late in the game, cut it to five or whatever it was, they drive the ball the length of the field, they drive the ball down the field and score a touchdown. Kickoff coverage, A.J. Moore goes down there and does a great job with a tackle, pinning them, Buddy Howell, same thing, but we don't play good – we don't complement each other at all. I know you guys always ask me about that phrase, but that's the truth. It's a team game, three phases have to complement each other and we really just do a terrible job at that right now. That's my job, is to figure out how to get these three phases to do a better job at playing complementary football."

Is complementary football more mental or physical?

"I think it's a little bit of both. I think we've got to do a good job of also starting the game, finishing the game and all those things we always talk about. Everything's got to get better, but I just think we need to do a good job of understanding how each unit complements each other."

Do you ever reach out to outside sources for advice or guidance?

"No, not really. I got enough guys on this staff. I've got some great coaches around me, Romeo Crennel, Brad Seely, Mike Devlin. I've got some great coaches around me to be able to bounce things off."

Why should fans continue to believe in you as the head coach of this team?

"Well look, I think we have to win. So, we understand that. We understand why fans would be upset with us. We get it, that's the game. The game is winning, we're not winning. I'm not going to stand up here and give you a speech. We just need to win. We need to find a way to win, and hopefully they'll stick with us."

S TYRANN MATHIEU

Why do you think it's hard to bring the team chemistry to the field?

"Well, I think a lot of things go into preparation and we all have to be prepared to really execute. I think we got a good locker room, got a great locker room, great guys, guys get along well, but really go out there and execute."

It's still early, but finger pointing can happen, you guys seem solid.

"It's disappointing sitting at 0-3, especially when we know what kind of talent we have in the locker room and it's really, like I said yesterday, it's really going to come down to leadership. We know how it is when you start losing in the league, a lot of noise goes on outside the building, and then noise can be created within the building. So, leadership has to do a great job of kind of keeping it to a minimum."

When you joined this team you said wanted to win, are you surprised?

"Well, I signed up to play football and I tried to choose a good group of guys, great group of guys, and I feel like I've chosen the right place to come. We have some adversity, but at the end of the day, a fight is a fight. Whether, we're 3-0 or 0-3, my hand will still be in the pile trying to help us win the next game. So, that's what I'm going to do, that's what I'm going to continue to do and every time we line up I'm going to play as hard as I can."

Do you have a message to the fans?

"It's tough. I look at my life, I feel like when I was born I was 0-3. So, I've been fighting this fight a long time. It'll be some good that comes out of it, I believe that. We have a great coach, we have a great quarterback, we have great guys all around our team. Like I said, it's really about kind of building up throughout the week, having a good Wednesday, a good Thursday, a focus Friday and then Saturday, guys taking care of themselves and then Sunday having a clear mind so you can go out there and execute."

As a veteran, how do you approach a teammate when they are struggling?

"Well, I think initially, encouragement is probably the best answer. But, obviously, we're 0-3, so any mistakes from this point on have to be handled head-on. So, that starts with leadership and then coaching. As long as leadership does it, the coaches won't have to do it. Now, if leadership doesn't do it, then the coaches have to do it. At the end of the day, it always falls on the players."

Is it frustrating to get the offense a great field position and then they're not able to execute?

"At the end of the day, as a defensive player, our job is to defend territory, to get the ball back to our offense. If they score a touchdown, great, if they don't, my job is to go back out there and defend again. So, that's the mindset we have to have. We can't get into a, 'Oh, what are they doing? What is this person doing?' It's all about our job. If we're doing our job, perfect, and if we're not, then that's what we're striving to do."

How do you shake the frustration and get ready for your next opponent?

"I think the positive around all of this is we could probably, honestly, watch the tape and say we've beaten ourselves three games in a row, by like a total of 15 points. We're not that far off. Like I said, we just have to do better at preparing, building up throughout the week and then on gameday, starting fast and then finishing strong. So, if we can do those things and if our five-star players could play like five-star players, then we'll be good."

Do you consider your first three losses to be beating yourself or losses to three different teams?

"I think we've beaten ourselves. So, each week is something that we can teach off and build off. This week we have to have a sense of urgency. We have to win this game. We just have to win."

What are some of the most impressive things about Colts QB Andrew Luck?

"Me personally, I always admired guys that have gone through tough injuries and then have come back. He's been playing well. I haven't really dove into the tape too much, but me and Andrew go way back to when we were nominated for the Heisman. He's a great guy, he's a great competitor, and I know one thing, he's going to try to beat us Sunday. So, it's going to be a tough challenge once again, but we'll be ready."

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