HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
Where is CB Kevin Johnson on the concussion protocol?
"Yeah, he's cleared."
Do you expect WR Will Fuller V to play?
"We'll see. We'll see how the next couple days go."
What makes Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel so good at his job?
"A lot of experience, really good person, really good teacher, very fundamental coach, good fundamental coach, been around a long time, coached a lot of different types of players, he's great with the players. There's a lot of things that make him good."
How would you describe Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel's relationship with his players?
"I mean, he's got a really good working relationship with the players."
Was there a change when Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel came back to the program?
"I just think that these are professional football players, so they show up, go to work every day and they try to do the best they can to listen to the coaches and try to do what the coaches are asking them to do."
What's the biggest difference between Week One and all the other weeks?
"Just that it's Week One. It's opening day. There a lot of unknowns. You're going into a game that you really don't know what they're going to do. You just don't have any film from this particular year other than the preseason, which, whatever that is – that you can really go by. So, you have to prepare and be ready, but you have to be ready to adjust."
Can you talk about WR Keke Coutee?
"Yeah, I think he's progressing. Smart, young player. It's hard when you come in as a rookie and you get injured, but he's a good guy. He concentrates in the meetings, focuses, and he's progressing pretty quickly to be back."
Do you expect CB Kevin Johnson to play a normal amount of snaps?
Speaking of rookies, WR Vyncint Smith was one of the players that ended up on the roster, how do you feel about his role?
"I don't know about his role. It's still to be determined, but he's a really good young player. He earned the right to be on the team. Smart guy, he has good speed. Look, he's a guy that's coming from Limestone College to here and he's really done a good job relatively speaking to being a rookie. We'll see how it goes. He's got to keep doing it every day. He knows that. But, we'll see how his role shapes up as we move forward."
Can you talk about S Tyrann Mathieu was named NFLPA Week 0 Community MVP for distributing 250 backpacks to local students?
"Yeah, he's a great guy. He's been a big addition to our team. We had six guys elected captain: J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson, Johnathan Joseph, Tyrann Mathieu, Brian Peters and DeAndre Hopkins. Those guys were elected captains. For Tyrann, to just get here in April and be elected captain says all you need to know about that guy."
How do you elect captains?
"It's between me and the players."
DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney said he can't wait to get back out there with DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus. What does it take to be able to play as a team, but also know you'll make the big plays individually?
"I understand the question. These guys are very instinctive players. J.J. Watt is a very, very smart, instinctive player in addition to his talent. Whitney, very smart, instinctive player. Clowney, very, very instinctive, smart player. So, you have guys like that, B-Mac (Benardrick McKinney), Johnathan Joseph, Tyrann, all of them – they know that they need to play within the system but they know sometimes you have to go make a play, you got to go make a play. I think that's something over the years that we've seen with a lot of those guys. I think it's been a good preseason, and like I said to the earlier question, there's a lot of unknowns and we'll see how it goes. It's a very challenging opponent with great scheme, great quarterback, but our guys are excited about the opportunity."
How do you counteract the lack of preseason reps to sharpen your team for Sunday?
"I think the way that we practice and the things that we do in practice – every coach decides how he wants to approach preseason. We feel like we've had a good approach. We feel like we've had a good training camp. Guys have competed in practice, we've had full speed drills, we've had walkthroughs, we've had everything under the sun relative to tempo. So, again, playing in a regular season game is totally different regardless of how many reps you got in the preseason. We'll see how it goes, but we feel good about our preparation over the last month."
Do you think limited preseason tape on some of your rookies can actually be an advantage for you?
"I think that any time there's not a lot – I think you could say that about really anything in football where there's not a lot of tape out there. Especially, that was kind of what I was saying to the earlier question about game one – you really don't know exactly how things are going to play out. That's where you have to do a really good job of coaching and make sure that you are able to adjust during the game, whether it's a particular player and how they're using that player or a scheme or anything that may come up in a first game. That's what you have to be prepared for."
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
What's your role as a captain? What do you try to do?
"The same thing I've always done, honestly. It's no different for me. This year we just selected to elect captains instead of having them roll out. We're had kind of a committee before of about 12 or 13 different guys and he (Coach Bill O'Brien) would select the guys he wanted. This time, he let us pick the guys. It means a lot to me, but at the same time I have a job to do. I go about my business the way I've always gone and show the guys the ropes and lead by example."
What did you think of the first-team defense when you played for a few series against the Los Angeles Rams in the preseason? Was that a snapshot of what the potential for this group is?
"Yeah, I think you said the right word, 'potential'. But, at the end of the day we have to go out there and put the play on the field, let it speak for itself. You can't keep talking about it anymore. Sunday, we get a chance to go out and let the real live bullets fly, so we'll definitely have a chance to see how we match up every Sunday."
What's your feeling on the potential of this defense?
"All this time I put in, I feel like we're ready to go. You have no choice but to be ready to go if we aren't ready to go. So, we'll see Sunday."
When Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel talks about communication, is it positions? Is it feel throughout the game? Does it change throughout the game?
"It's every play because you can't take one play, one snap for granted. You never know when that instance is going to show up, so I think every play we're out there we have a chance to communicate, get something across to the other side of the formation or it could just be down and distance or something simple – watch hard count or watch the toss crack – anything like that. The more you have guys aware, the more guys are able to go out and play fast, I think."
S TYRANN MATHIEU
What does it mean to earn the NFLPA's Week 0 Community MVP?
"It's a blessing. I'm extremely grateful to be voted. We try to do a lot of different things in the community, always trying to reach out, always trying to help. So, it's definitely a good feeling."
What does it mean to be named team captain in your first season with the Texans?
"Again, I'm extremely grateful. I'm very fortunate to really come into a good situation, a good locker room, some great guys, great football players. I didn't really have to do anything but really be myself and that's all I've been trying to do since April. It's been working out for me. Obviously, with that comes a lot of responsibilities but I'm just looking forward to being a positive example throughout the season."
Is there any extra excitement for the opening game when you're with a new team?
"Yeah, no doubt. You always want to put your best foot forward, especially with me personally. I just want to go out there with a lot of energy, communicate a lot, have some swagger, have some attitude and hopefully it can reflect to my teammates."
What's your feeling about this defense?
"I've played with some great defenses, some top-five defenses. I feel like this team has the same capabilities. I could go up and down the list just naming a bunch of guys that can do a lot of good things really good. For us, it's going to just come down to having some effort, having some swagger even though things may not have gone well last year, but still coming out this season with a lot of energy, a lot of swagger as if we made the playoffs. So, as a captain, as a leader, that's kind of my responsibility. I'm looking forward to it."
Is there extra excitement to get the first game out of the way?
"No doubt. Obviously, the Texans have some bad history with the Patriots. For us, it's just about going out there, trying to compete at a high level, obviously, knowing who our opponents are, knowing that Tom Brady is – it's going to be a four-quarter game with him. So, we just have to keep our head on a swivel, be ready for the misdirection plays and just make sure we're communicating well."