HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH
"Our version of a Friday, in-season practice, getting some guys back. Kenyon Green was able to get back into full speed work. Roster is shaping up. As far as the game, we're going to play some of the guys a little bit more, but the third preseason game is when we'll play the guys the most. I'm not going to get into how much every guy is going to play. We'll show up at the game and see that. I'll take your questions."
Why wasn't DB Tavierre Thomas out there today?
"He's injured right now. He won't play this week."
Are you planning on playing OL Kenyon Green?
"Eventually we'll get him out there. The biggest thing was to get him back into the mix. He missed a couple weeks, so we'll gradually get him back into the full-time mix, but no issues, right on track. We'll see how it goes."
You said on Sirius XM Radio yesterday that OL Kenyon Green had a concussion. When we asked a couple weeks ago, why didn't you want to disclose it?
"I can't remember what I said then because it's a little later in the game. We're not trying to keep anything away from you. When he initially did, I didn't talk about any of the things. Now it's a little bit closer and he's back. That's why I did it. I'm not going to keep anything from you, but when a player has an injury back then in training camp, I didn't go into detail on any of the injuries then. Now they're a little bit closer, I'm going into detail a little bit more. That's how we're going to handle it throughout. If I don't say anything, I'm not trying to keep anything away from you, I just didn't really even think about it."
Do you have a decision on DB Derek Stingley Jr. and if he's going to play a little bit?
"Yes, yes, and just as a general rule, I'm not going to talk about (playing time) too much. We're going to play some of them a little bit more. A lot of these things we wait right up until. To give you a heads up in the preseason, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. He's practiced full speed. Eventually he's going to play some this preseason."
How have you seen LB Jake Hansen come up and improve in the linebacker position?
"Yeah, we have a couple of injuries, so that kind of dictates a little bit how many reps you get. He (Kevin Pierre-Louis) has an injury. I won't go into detail exactly what the injury is, but I'm talking about other guys before him a little bit, KPL, Kevin Pierre-Louis. As you can see, he hasn't been doing an awful lot, so then it's just about moving guys up on the depth chart.
How about TE Pharaoh Brown? Was it an off day for him?
"There's no such thing as vet days. All of our vets, if the player isn't out here, he has some type of nagging injury. That's the case with Pharaoh. Hamstring is a little tight. We kept him out for that reason."
Do you know how exactly OL Kenyon Green suffered a concussion?
"No, but I mean, it's not 100 percent wearing those (helmet) covers. Of course, you lessen the odds of getting concussion, but nothing is 100 percent in football. It wasn't a big blow or anything like that. The game of football, there's no way we can eliminate concussions in our game, but you stay out, and eventually you get back clear. We've really taken our time with him. We make sure a guy is really ready to go, where there's no symptoms before we put him on the football field, and that's how we took it with him."
What's the challenge for a rookie to play such a physical position like the interior offensive line? What do you think about your depth at guard with OL Max Scharping and OL Justin McCray?
"When a player goes down, I think it's a good thing to be able to work on your depth. Preseason games are for being able to work on a lot of your depth. But as a young player, we want every young player to take every rep. It doesn't happen like that. But there's still time. Kenyon missed some time, but we have two more preseason games. As long as we get a player some action before, they've had a lot of practices, so it's not like we're just throwing him out there, cold turkey. We kind of like the way he's going."
What have you seen from DL Thomas Booker and his progression?
"We've seen progress, which you would like to see from the rookie class. I mean all of it, if you stay on the football field and you continue to just work hard, you're going to get better. That's what we've seen from Thomas. He had some good plays in the game, he's in practice. Just to see some of the young players, their second preseason game, to see how they do with it."
What are some of the biggest things you're looking for from the second preseason game?
"Just improvement. The guys that played last week, they set the bar then. Improvement. And the guys that didn't play last week, just to get them some game action. It's no more than that. We like to have a healthy crew after the game, and as I think I said, the third preseason game, we will play our guys. That's the game that we pinpoint, so again, just a few more, a little bit more improvement from this group."
What are you looking for in RB Dameon Pierce, RB Marlon Mack and RB Rex Burkhead when determining who's going to be the starting running back?
"I think you let guys play. They kind of tell you who should start, who should be on the roster, how many plays they should get. We've been going through training camp, practice, we've seen a lot, but to see guys finish, I thought that was a big game. Of course, we talked a lot about Dameon (Pierce). Then you have history a little bit, too, on what we've seen from some of the veteran players. It's good competition there. They all have a certain strength, and we'll let it play out."
When QB Davis Mills said he feels like the Texans are ready to shock the world, what does it mean to you when he has that level of confidence?
"Are we capable of winning this year? Your quarterback, yeah, I want him to have confidence. That's all he's really saying is guys, we've been working hard. We think we're a pretty good football team, and if we do well, you're not picking us to win much. I'd say no one here is. So it's going to probably be a shock if that happens. I think it's no more than that. You're the quarterback, you really have a pulse on what you're seeing each day. We think we're going to be, I think we're going to be pretty good this year. If that happens, you can say that Lovie said we're going to shock the world, because nobody is picking us. Isn't that how it goes? If we do well, what's the story? Is it going to be a shock to you if we do well? Yeah, I'll answer it for you. Yeah. It's no more than that."
WR CHRIS MOORE
Can you talk about how you plan on being consistent this year?
"Every time I come out on the field, I give my hardest work. I work hard. I think it should improve even more this year because me and Davis (Mills) got some good time in during the offseason with all the wide receivers getting together and throwing. That's the biggest thing in the league, if you can be consistent, you can play for a long time."
What do you think about QB Davis Mills and his progression going into his second year?
"I'm excited to see him. The biggest thing I like to see, too, is his leadership and how he's really taking control of this offense and just stepped up and is showing that he's the leader of this offense."
During the offseason, what were some of the key things you and QB Davis Mills worked on that will help you guys?
"Biggest thing is just timing. Most offenses are based off timing and trust between the quarterback and receiver. He's got to trust that I'm going to be in the spot that he expects me to be in, and I've got to trust that he's going to throw it there. Just consistently seeing each other being in those spots is going to help a lot."
Do you feel like you and WR Phillip Dorsett complement each other in terms of playing styles?
"I feel like all the receivers complement each other. When you've got two guys like that that are fast and just like to take the top off of defenses, they can be a dangerous threat out there for sure."
What stands out to you about being in OC Pep Hamilton's offense this year?
"It's really going to be down to the idea that we're coming out as an offense on the field. We're going to establish the identity from Week 1 and we're just going to continue to try to grow on it and just show it every week."
How badly did you want that deep shot in the preseason game?
"You always want every single ball thrown to you. Every time the ball is thrown to me, I'm trying to make a play, so I definitely want that back, but you can't harp on it. You've just got to move to the next play, just keep trying to make plays."
Can you talk about the plan to get more explosive plays in this year's offense?
"As long as we go out there and execute the plays, that's what it comes down to. It comes down to execution, and if we execute the plays, there's going to be chances for us to make those big plays, and when they do happen, you've just got to take advantage of them. That's really what it comes down to."
K KA'IMI FAIRBAIRN
How do you feel coming into this year?
"I feel very comfortable. We put in a lot of work this offseason physically, mentally. As far as our unit, (Jon) Weeks and Cam (Cameron Johnston), they're second to none. They really have a great attention to detail and they make my job very easy."
Can you talk about how much you've grown in your seven years as a player?
"That's a great question. I think every year, I learn so much with every game, with every year especially. I just try and get better at the things that highlighted me last season, try to grow physically. I think a lot of it, of kicking, is mental. Always trying to get to that next level mentally, visualization. I've enjoyed the journey."
Have you surprised yourself in any way?
"No, it's just a continual curiosity for the game, the game of kicking, the game of life. It's a more holistic view, but yeah, enjoy the journey."
What's it like working with LS Jon Weeks?
"He's a legend. It's fun to come to work with him every day. He's a great example for our team, for our unit, for us as specialists. 13 years he's been doing it, and I strive to be like him every day."
Does LS Jon Weeks' consistency amaze you?
"It does, yeah. He's a perfectionist. It's fun to watch every day. His margin of error is so small. It's something I aspire to measure up to."
Can you talk on the field goal attempt before the half against the Saints?
"Obviously I wanted that one. The long kicks are always fun. Definitely learned something from it, and I'll bring that into the regular season or whenever I get that attempt again. Yeah, looking forward to the next one."
Are you excited to be going back to Los Angeles and playing the Rams in the preseason?
"Yeah, a little second home. Can't forget about the islands, of course. SoFi (Stadium) will be fun. I haven't been there yet, so it'll be fun to kick in that environment."
DL THOMAS BOOKER IV
Can you talk about your progress so far?
"I think I'm definitely making some progress, obviously a lot left on the bone. I think in terms of my get-off, which is what I emphasize as being aggressive and getting off the rock, I think I was pretty good with that. I want to come out with lower body attitude, be a more natural pass rusher, be able to see those run-pass keys a little bit quicker so I can make more of an effect on the quarterback on a consistent basis. It's somewhere to start out from, but I think a lot of my teammates were really encouraging, letting me know this is really just an extension of practice. What you do here, the habits you're installing in yourself here, are going to show up big time in a big way on game day."
Can you define what "lower body attitude" is?
"For me, the thing that I do a lot of times is I'll get out low my first step, and then once I get contact, my pads will raise sometimes. So being able to drill myself on being able to keep that lower body attitude in that way, that's what the word means to me. I don't know if there's a formal definition for it. That might have just been a little catch phrase that I just made up."
What's it been like watching DB Derek Stingley Jr. from your position right now?
"I think he's a guy that works extremely hard, obviously physically talented and the guy just goes to work. Doesn't say too much. He's just focused on his craft, so I always respect that because I try to embody that, as well. At the end of the day what matters is what you put out between these lines, and that's going to show up again on game day. I think he's preparing the right way and doing everything to a high standard."
What are some tips that you get from a veteran like DL Maliek Collins?
"Maliek (Collins) is a physical freak. The way that he moves, the smoothness of his pass rush, the way that he always chains his moves together is something that I really want to get to at some point and that I'm working for. I think the big point for me that he's given is just don't think as much. Just go. This is a defense that prioritizes penetration and disruption, so the more you're thinking, the less you're going to be penetrating and doing that. So that's a big point that he's given me. But all the vets, Ross (Blacklock), Derek Rivers, all those guys have given me really good pointers to help me progress my game quicker."
How much more important is hand work here in the NFL than in college?
"I played in a different system partially in college. I was playing in a 3-4, I was playing a lot more 4i technique, so I was head up on tackles. In a system where I'm more of a shaded technique, either 1-technique or 3-technique, that handwork of being on the edge is so much more important to be able to maintain your gap and everything. Kind of melding the hands with the get-off and all that and being penetrative and disruptive but also controlling O-linemen. That's a big, big, big thing, versus when I was in college where I really just had to come out and hit people with my hands already. Big point of focus for me coming from college."
Can you talk about going back to the West Coast for the Rams preseason game?
"It's nice. So-Cal is a different breed than northern California. I'm sure that southern California people will tell you that. But I'm super excited to get back out there. Played a couple games down there at the Rose Bowl and all that, so it's always a great place to be in sunny southern California."
How much does your academics from Stanford help you as a football player?
"Throughout college, both football wise and academic wise, I had like an iPad that I would write on with notes, so I kind of carried that on to the league. I treat all my meetings like classroom sections because that's kind of what it is. You're studying yourself. I try to keep those study habits the same way, so during our meetings I take notes on what everybody is saying. Then when I go back to the hotel room, I go take a look over the tape again for like 45 minutes to an hour and just go down and write everything that I could have done better."
Is there a sample note you can tell us about?
"One that comes to mind for me is just, for example, when I'm rushing the B-gap, a lot of times I feel like I don't take enough steps up field, so I'm not really selling that guard on the fact that I'm going to be rushing outside so I can come inside. So that's one of the things I write down a lot that I'm still working on. But to be honest, I probably write down like 10 to 15 things every day. I try to underline like three or four of them because I know that I can't focus on 10 to 15. I don't have that much mental bandwidth, but I try to focus on three or four."
Did you learn note taking on your own or did somebody else teach you?
"No, that was a thing I did in college. I think once you get to the college level and the professional level, you've got to look for ways to separate yourself, and one of those ways is how you look at yourself, how you're a student of the game. It doesn't just come to looking at other people's tape and the opponent's tape, but it comes to critiquing yourself on top of what the coach is doing. Because when you're going into coaching sessions the meetings and all that, you're looking at everyone's tape, which is great, but you really have to dial down on your own stuff. Sometimes when I have trouble with something I'll go look at Maliek (Collins) and I'll go see what he's doing and try to implement some of that into my game. Just really becoming a student and critique of your own game."
Have you and the rookies discussed or exchanged notes on what it was like playing in your first NFL game?
"I've talked to Kurt Hinish about it. I think it was one of those deals where, as a freshman in college before I got into my first game you have the jitters about, will I be able to do what I did at the previous level at this one. I think a similar thing happens. I wasn't as nervous this time because you get your confidence on the practice field, so I think that I have progressed day over day, week over week with the help of all the guys on the D-line throughout that time. So just tried to come out there and treat it like a much more formal version of practice. You're doing the same thing, you're applying the same technique. Don't let everything go out of the window just because you're playing somebody else with different colors on."