SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR FRANK ROSS
"All throughout spring, you're trying to put in a much as possible. Try new things. Get everybody and the fundamentals working. You're trying to gain as much familiarity within the system and with new additions to the roster, from players who had been here a year before. Trying to get as much of that in as you can so that way when you get to camp, there's some semblance of a feel. And I think we accomplished that so far."
After last year, what have you taken to try new things?
"As we all know, starting a new job, call it a year ago, you're trying to get familiarity with what your players can do, what I'm asking them to do, and how well we can put them in spots to be successful. Like the jump off point, from where we ended spring to what's going to lead into camp, and that familiarity with my guys has been, I think, pretty good so far."
With LB Garret Wallow being a big part of special teams last year, how much have you seen him grow as a player?
"Yeah, I tell the rookies that just finished their first spring, 'That was Garret a year ago'. I tell those guys, 'We're trying to get you to be a year 3 player in less than 6 months'. Garret is going into his second year and he's trying to make that quote-on-quote, metaphoric jump as much as possible. He's done a great job. Guys like him have taken the reigns as far as special teams, heavy core-four roles. He's done a great job with that and excited to see where he comes into camp in shape, and gets ready to roll for his second full year."
How about the return game with DB Tremon Smith?
"Sure, yeah. Excited about the return group. Anybody in a white or blue jersey has the opportunity to come out here and win that job, Tremon (Smith) and Dez (DB Desmond King II) coming off of last season. Those guys are going to be leading the pack as it stands right now. Happy with the depth that's hopefully rising to the challenge, and we'll finish that up once the preseason is completed."
DB Derek Stingley Jr. did some punt return in college. Is he an option?
"If there's a defensive back that's not catching punts post practice and getting work in the period, you're wrong. The more value you can add as a wide receiver, defensive back, or running back. We've got to have depth that can handle the ball on the starting 53-man roster and then on the active 48. Stingley, he will be a guy in the mix as well."
Different teams have different philosophies as how many players are for special teams versus guys that are offense and defense, and sometimes are thrown in. What is the Texans philosophy on that currently?
"I'll speak for the head coach. The Texans philosophy is there are 53 active, core-four special teams players."
Can you give me 20 'Anytimes'?
"20 'Anytimes'. I don't owe you a full 20, 20 'Anytimes'. That's great. Good discipline 46 (LS Jon Weeks). The 'Anytimes', that's the legal way to bet when we owe him pushups. Anytime he can say 'I want three right now', and I'd have to drop and give him three. Any non-official Texans functions. In the hallway, in the cafeteria. It's all green lights there."
How far are you ahead in this?
"I'm in the hole. I'm in the hole right now."
What's the worse time you've had to do 'Anytimes' so far?
"I gave him one set in a meeting. I gave him one set in a meeting. Then we said, 'we got business to take care of'."
So, for the rules, you wouldn't have to had done it just then?
"That's correct. But I'm going to get ahead, and then well get him on camera doing some 'Anytimes'."
How much have you seen K Ka'imi Fairbairn improve since last year? What have you all worked on with him?
"I thought Ka'imi had a strong year and I think that every single player out here wants to improve whatever their craft is. His is obviously more finite skills set. The emphasis we put on it for this year is just continuing to grow his body. He is 27, 28 years old. As you get into that, you want to be a sustainable strength as much as possible. Just working on legs, feet, and overall strength. He's done a great job of trying to implement that throughout the spring. Hopefully he continues that through the break here."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR PEP HAMILTON
"I think our guys have really invested a lot of time and learning or terminology. Really just getting a sense of what we want to do, moving forward and getting into the season. We're still a work in progress. We feel like our identity will be established in the preseason once we get pads on and training camp and have a chance to really go out and harden our knuckles and get ready for a tough football season."
How much of a foundation does OTA's and minicamp create and carry over to training camp?
"We expect it to carry over a ton. We feel like the OTA's and this minicamp was an orientation of what it is that we want to do. Now we want to take our system and continually acclimate our system to our playmakers. Our identity will be all about the players that we have in the system. Its not going to be about plays. Were excited to continue to work through the off season and roll into training camp and pick up where we left off."
Are you feeling additional pressure because of the last couple of years and needing to break that?
"No, not at all. I feel like it's really important that our players embrace what it is that were doing. Ultimately the players, the playmakers, are going to facilitate whatever scheme we come up with as coaches. And they'll do a great job of working to be the best version of themselves as we get to training camps."
What do you expect from QB Davis Mills from year 1 to year 2?
"Well, you expect from year 1 to year 2, any player or any quarterback in particular to have a better sense of an NFL defense. That's going to allow him to process information faster, and ultimately make better decisions, or be more consistent in making good decisions."
The game officials said they are here in part because you are working on situational stuff. How important is having them here?
"It's really important that we have the officials as a part of our minicamp, our OTA's, hopefully our training campus practices, because it gives us a chance to have a real time evaluation of pre-snap routine our pre-snap operations."
How do you approach building an offense, keeping an open mind, and finding creative ways to work with them?
"Really it's all about the players and where they are with regards to having a good sense of the foundation of what it is that we want to do. We have constant dialogue with or guys. In our meetings, we treat our meetings as dialogue sessions. Open discussions about not only our system, but we're open to ideas that the players may have at times and how we can best feature their talent. Its all about the players. It's all about what they know. We want them to be able to go out and play fast."
Who are the players that had some good ideas?
"Quite a few of our guys."
What's this like for you, being an offensive coordinator, being control of the offense, being on the headset calling the plays?
"I think it's a great opportunity for us to atone for some of the things that happen over the course of last season. To be able to go out and show that we can play at a high level of football more consistently. We had times where we played good football offensively, but there were times also where we tended to make mistakes and crate issues for ourselves. Myself and the rest of our off staff have been charged with this duty of making sure we put players in the best position to be successful."
What are some things you see that give you hope in terms of building on the running game from last year?
"I think our O-Line is working really hard to bridge that gap of communication. To make sure that they are working in sync with the scheme. That they are working together to give us a chance to go out and be a better running football team this upcoming year."
What's it like to see OL Laremy Tunsil back out there?
"It's good to see Laremy out there in practice. We'll go back and watch the film and really evaluate how these two days of minicamp went for our guys."
What do you want people to know about the Texans' establishment of the run game?
"If you go and just look at the analytics, look at the data, I think it's important that you have balance in your offensive attack if you want to be a successful team in this league. We're ultimately going to do whatever we have to do to score one more point than the opponent. It may be pushing the ball outfield in the passing game. Of course, at some point you want to finish the game running the football. We want to be good at all of the above."
How do you factor WR John Metchie III into the offense? What can you do with Metchie?
"You go back and you look at what he was able to do at a high level in college football. You go out and want to project how his skillset will translate to the NFL game. That's a big reason that he's in our building. Spending a lot of time with John Metchie when he was in high school as well. He's a high character young man and we expect that he'll hit the ground running whenever he's available."
What was that relationship like in high school?
"I thought it was a great relationship, until he decided to go to Alabama instead of Michigan."
Has Lovie Smith brought a calming effect to this team?
"I feel like that's a great way of describing just the personality of our leader. Coach is, I wouldn't call it necessarily calm all the time, but he's consistent. He doesn't waste words, and everybody knows where we all stand when it comes to the expectation of us to do our job."
What have you seen from RB Marlon Mack?
"I think Marlon is a proven commodity in this league, and it'll be good to see him in training camp and get football pads back on. Continue to see him develop and do things well."
Have you had the chance to give WR John Metchie a hard time for his decision to go to Alabama?
"Quite often. Never the less, I'm excited. I was always excited to see Metchie play when we watched him play when he was at Alabama. You root for the good guys."
What do you say to him?
How would you describe what Metchie can bring to an offense?
"He can create his own yards once he gets the ball in his hands. He has good short-area quickness, which will allow him to beat man coverage, and that's what you got to do in the National Football League."
What do you like about the tight end group?
"They're working hard, and that's really a testament to Coach Berbenich and the time that they've spent in the meeting room. We feel like it's going to be important that our tight ends offer us the ability to run the football, be able to block defensive ends, block six-techniques, and they have to be a threat in the passing game."