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Houston Texans

Transcripts: 10-18-2021 Press Conferences 


Opening Statement

"Just a little quick update here on Terrence Brooks. He is still in Indy. Again, we know he had that contusion, but they are going to just keep him for observation right now. We expect him maybe to come home tonight. If not, he'll be back tomorrow. Other than that, from the game, really no significant injuries or anything from anybody."

What is the update on QB Tyrod Taylor, is he healthy enough to play?

"We are just going to go day-to-day with him right now and just kind of see on Wednesday where he is at. Go from there with it."  

Is day to day better at this point than what it was last week?

"It's better than it was last week because as we move along, he's getting better and better. But it is better than it was last week."

Do you expect QB Tyrod Taylor to have a week of practice before he comes back?

"That's what we are going to look at and see as we are moving forward even with this week to kind of see where he is at. We won't just bring him back and throw him into the game. He will have to have some practice time and we'll treat him that way just like the other guys who have been out." 

Do you feel your team is making progress and if so in what areas?

"Not the progress that we feel we need to be at this time. We're still inconsistent with things. Our penalties in this last game were down but two of those penalties were critical penalties. We got better there but they are coming at the wrong time. I just think our inconsistencies from that standpoint, when turnovers happen, they do happen, penalties do happen. But we seem to be getting, especially on the road, at critical times that are hurting us, both sides of the ball, in continuing drives and stopping drives."

What were the two penalties that you viewed as critical?

"Obviously, we had a third-and-10 and we have them on defense, and we end up jumping offsides. We're third-and-10 at that point. We had a holding penalty, obviously earlier when we had a good drive going on offense that brought the ball back and put us behind the chains again. We can't have those."

Obviously, other than reinforcing that you can't make those types of penalties, what's the message like to the team to try to change their ways, play better and not make those mistakes?

"The thing about it is, it's not happening from one particular position or one particular guy. If that was the case it would be easy, I would get them out of the game and put somebody else in the game. It's happening and usually, we are getting more of those, for whatever reason, when we are on the road as opposed to when we are at home. I'm not sure why that is but it is happening and more so with the turnovers. We are getting the turnovers, obviously, most of Davis's interceptions, if you look at it, have been on the road. I don't know why that is. Yesterday, for example, I don't think it had to do with the crowd noise or anything like that, it has something to do with a bad decision that he made that we can't make. Those things are happening more so on the road, in the second half, in games that we're in. In this past game, it's 10-3 at halftime. We come out back in the third quarter, we get a stop and then we throw an interception, and then all of a sudden, they score. They score, I'm going back again to the inconsistency, they score because we got a guy out of position from the standpoint of reading his keys and if he was back where he should have been in that particular situation, that touchdown doesn't happen." 

How does a string of losses complicate trying to get people to correct things?

"Wins are encouraging and it's much easier. But what happens in wins sometimes, things get hidden when you win. Even in the Jacksonville game we made some of these same mistakes in the Jacksonville game but didn't make them at critical times. We end up winning the game. There has been a continuation of, especially on the road, these things coming. But what we do in practices, we come in and focus on that, put ourselves in situations where these things that are happening, we redo those things again, go over those things to make them aware of that, how critical it is to be able to do the right things in those situations. We just keep coaching and teaching that and it's just on and on and on. It's a process, and right now that process is not going as quickly and consistently as we want, and we got to get that better. We're just going to keep working on that in practice every day."

How do you address the issue with road games with another one coming up this week?

"The thing about that is, is that obviously, we're more comfortable playing here. We've played better here. We've had chances to win every game we've played if we played at home. When we're going on the road, our mindset has got to be that no crowd in any game we've played—we went to Cleveland, no problem. We went to Buffalo, there wasn't really an issue with the crowd, per se. It was an issue that with our football team being away in that environment not being able to keep our focus and concentration the way it needed to be in order to win, especially against good football teams on the road. Again, when you do that, we have to grow to that point to where we're playing the same way at home when adversity hits. It's usually on the road when adversity hits, a bad play or a bad penalty. We have seemed to overcome those better at home than we have on the road. That's just a focus and concentration thing, and just keeping your mind in the right place and playing it one play at a time, and not allowing the fact that, yeah, you're aware that you won one ballgame. But you're aware of the fact that how do you change that? You change that by taking that mindset that we've had of being one play at a time, wash that play out, go to the next play and then do your job the way it should be done."

WR Brandin Cooks talked about the team being undisciplined. As a coach, what do you need to do to correct that?

"Well, that starts with me, and that starts with what I just said. We've got to do a better job as coaches in practice of making sure that we're focusing more, that our concentration is at a higher level. And it's not at that level that it needs to be right now. In practice, we haven't seen a whole bunch of those kind of things happening. It has happened, but we're going to emphasize it more as a staff. We're going to make sure they understand it more, we're going to put them in those situations again and make sure that they understand how critical it is. And again, to change things, you've got to change. We have to do that moving forward in practice and making sure that we're addressing that even more so than what we have been addressing it. Just emphasize it and let the process take care of itself."

At the safety position, do you think DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. will be the top candidate to replace DB Terrence Brooks, or do you look to DB Eric Murray or someone on the practice squad?

"Obviously, Terrence (Brooks) is not going to be able to play this week. I'm not sure how long it will be before he is able to play. But Lonnie (Johnson Jr.) went in and played, and we'll basically start the game this coming week with those guys back there at safety, with Eric (Murray) being back there, also. We basically have been playing those guys (in combination) just like our defensive line, and we'll end up doing the same thing now moving forward."

After reviewing the game, was anything else revealed about the secondary?
"Yes, just reading our keys. Just reading our keys. We've been inconsistent in doing that. We went into the game, and I'll just say this right here: When we went into the game, the night before the game, I gave them three things that I thought were important in this game. The first one was winning the turnover battle. We didn't do that. The second one was prevent the big play, and how do we prevent the big play? By making them go the distance. But to make them go the distance, you have to do the right thing in critical situations. I go back again, we had an offsides on a third-and-10 that put them in a situation to end up getting a field goal. We had a situation where it was a third down and they end up getting a touchdown with a situation where our guy didn't read the key right. Had we done those things, two of those touchdowns do not happen if we had just done the right thing in reading our keys. And we've got to keep harping on that and keep getting to the point of where we're consistent at doing that, because that's the only way we're going to change the result."

Do you think your roster understands the thin margin for error this team has?

"Not to this point we haven't understood that. And again, that's my job to make that point to them and understand that to change the results of what's happening in these ballgames, that has to happen. We're going to get it in practice, we're going to keep doing it, we're going to emphasize in our meetings over and over again, and that's the only way we'll end up getting it done. We've got to be able to get it changed. Obviously, if it's not getting changed by the guys that are doing the same things again and again, then we'll put somebody else in there to do that."

Have you seen a team that you've coached go from making undisciplined mistakes early in the season to correcting it later on?

"Yes, I have, and that's why I'm encouraged moving forward with an optimistic (view) about what can happen for us later on in changing these results. I've seen it happen. I've also seen this football team we just played last year was 0-5 at one time and ended up turning things around. But to turn things around, you have to change the way you're doing things and do things the right way, just like those things that I mentioned. You've got to be able to play situational football and not have critical errors. As a coaching staff, we've got to make sure that we're doing the things in practice to make sure those things don't happen. And if they don't happen, then we're going to be in the ballgame and have a chance to be able to win a game, which when we've done those things, we've been there."

Is there any chance you'll give RB Scottie Phillips an opportunity to play running back?

"We'll see, that's a possibility. That's always a possibility. When we sit and we look at it, I do feel like that the guys that have been playing for us at running back have been consistent. Up until this game here, we hadn't laid the ball on the ground at all at the running back position. We had a couple this past game. But obviously, Scottie (Phillips) is there waiting. If we get in a situation where we feel like we need to make a move, I feel confident in making that move if it gets to that point."

With having three starters out on the offensive line, is this now the makeup of the line?
"It's the makeup as it is right now. We've got to go with what we got, and that's what we got. We're going to go with them and I thought yesterday that those guys played hard. I thought they did exactly what we ask them to do. Again, the critical errors that we've been making, obviously affects not only them but it affects the entire football team. Usually, I've always said this before, we are going to be identified with our upfront offense and our upfront on defense, and basically, that's how we're going to be successful."


Do you think the players meeting you had last week was productive? What was the tone of that, and going forward where you guys are as a team and the chemistry in the locker room?

"That's more personal for us in the locker room, as players. We mainly talked about just how we can get better, that's what that meeting was about."

How can you guys be better from your vantage point?

"Well it seems like the main topic is everyone being more discipline, everybody doing their job, everybody doing their one-11 on the field. Sticking together, buying in and selling out, for real."

Is it difficult to process having a meeting like that and then getting the results you did on Sunday?

"For sure. I'm sure it's tough, but it's the NFL. It's a tough league, and if you go out there and are undisciplined and don't do your job to the best of your ability, then that's what happens. That's the results you get."

How do you feel you guys are performing in the run game?

"I mean I feel like at times we are doing really well in the run game but up until that run (Jonathan Taylor's 83-yard run), that kind of took the top off a little bit."

WR Chris Moore said that LB Christian Kirksey talked to the team after the game yesterday, what did he say?

"Again, I think that's more of in the locker room type thing as well. But it was about how we can get better, the things we can do to turn this thing around and start getting some wins."

How do you personally process the loss yesterday and being back?

"I'm a person that's going to stay the course. I'm going to just keep plugging no matter what. I'm not looking for no light at the end of the tunnel, I'm going to keep digging and hopefully, we get it turned around here soon." 

What are your thoughts on Jon Gruden?

"I'm not going to comment on that situation."

Are the conversations about being disciplined and better getting a little tedious?

"For sure. At some point, we have to go out there and put action to that. Like anything, you keep talking about it, you keep talking about it, at some point you have to go out there and put action to those words that are coming out of your mouth. I feel like that's where we are at."

How did you process your roughing the passer call against New England?

"For me, I don't feel like it should have been called, but I also have to look at where we are at in the game, with the league making an emphasis on protecting the quarterback, not leading with my head. And it was an incomplete pass as well, I mean I didn't know it was an incomplete pass of course. I feel like I just got to be better in those situations and more disciplined in those situations and make sure penalties like that don't cost our team." 

How hard is it to let up on the quarterback?

"It's hard, it's hard, but I mean I'm a professional and can make those necessary adjustments and be better for our team."


What did you see on the long run from RB Jonathan Taylor?

"It was a good call on their part. They caught us in a certain call, and it was one of things where a good call by them at the right time. He has breakaway speed. He just made the best of the opportunity." 

On the touchdown to TE Mo Alie-Cox, could you take us through that play?

"We just didn't execute the proper way. They just ran the scissor route. We just didn't make a play on the ball. I mean that's all I can really say, I can't make no excuses, I can't really make something of it. Just poor execution by us." 

Are these breakdowns more situations where you are supposed to read it yourself or is it communication in those plays?

"Guys just have to do their job. I can do my job better. I'm pretty sure a lot of guys on defense feel they can do their job better. That's what it all boils down too, execution. I'm not really a person to sit up here and dissect a play or make excuses for a play, it's just that simple that we have to do our jobs better." 

WR Brandin Cooks said it feels that the team was undisciplined and that's kind of an individual thing, as a leader on the defense do you feel there is anything you can do to help your teammates become more discipline and play more sound or do you feel similarly?

"It's 11 men on the field at one time. I'm just trying to play my part. I can't make a guy a guy disciplined, that's got to be on him. A person got to take ownership of that. All I can do is make sure I look myself in the mirror and ask myself, 'Am I doing everything I can with my job and doing what I got to do to play my part?' I think that every player on this team got to look themselves in the mirror as well and really ask are they really doing their job to the best of their ability? As Brandin (Cooks) said, being undisciplined, that has nothing to do with scheme, that has nothing to do with coaching. That's all on individual play, be discipline, do your job, minimize the penalties, be at the right place at the right time when your teammate is expecting you to be there. That's all will and want to. We got to find a way to be more disciplined, point blank, period. 

Losing five in a row, does that make it harder to bounce back?

"Nah. It (doesn't) make it harder. Losing one in a row, losing five in a row, a loss is a loss. But that's the beauty of the NFL. You've always got another game, another opportunity to go out there and show what you're capable of doing. It wouldn't be a 17-game season if you just say, 'Hey, we've got five losses and that's the end of the world,' You always got a chance to get better. Our mindset is basically, like I said, looking ourselves in the mirror and seeing what's our identity, who we want to be. We've got to play good football, and right now we're not playing good football, we're not playing complementary football. We're kind of all over the place, in my opinion. But like I said, it has nothing to do with scheme, coaching or anything like that. It's just us coming together and being a disciplined team, and we've got to find a way to do that."

How hard is it, in your experience, to change an identity midseason?

"You can really do that. Like I said, it's all mindset, it's all attitude. We have good guys in this locker room. We have good guys on this team. We've just got to put it together. (Not) by any means am I saying we've got guys that are going out there and not playing hard, or guys that are just not going out there and willing to put it on the line. We're just not being fundamentally sound and playing smart football right now, and that's something that our head coach has been talking about throughout the week. We've got to be a smart football team. Smart football teams win. The heart is there, the hustle is there, but we've just got to fine-tune some things and be more disciplined. Like I said, I love the guys in this locker room. We have all the talent to get it done, we've just got to have that attitude and that will to be the most disciplined team that we can possibly be."

How tough of a task will it be for this defense facing the Cardinals?

"The Cardinals, they're playing good football right now. We all know they're talented from the top to the bottom of their depth chart. They've got a lot of good, talented guys. But it's the National Football (League), anything can happen, it's any given Sunday. We have good players, they have good players. It just comes down to who's playing their best football on Sunday. So, we'll prepare this week, we'll look at the film and see things that they do. We know that Kyler Murray is playing at a high level right now, so we've got to, on the defensive side of the ball, figure out how to stop him. I can't speak for the offensive side of the ball, I'm not in that room, but I'm sure they'll put something together to go and execute. We've just got to prepare for them giving us their best football, and we've got to give them our best football."

Head Coach David Culley talked about how the team seems to have more penalties, mistakes and lack of execution on the road, and says it's not because of crown noise. Can you speak to that, and is it something different about playing on the road?

"I only can speak to how I feel going on the road. I really don't know what's going on or what makes going on the road tough, or why this happened, or why that happened. It's just one of those things that you really can't answer. It still just boils down to being fundamentally sound, whether it's crowd noise or not. You've just got to make sure that you're focused. I could do a better job of that and my teammates, they take the accountability of doing that, as well. It's really nothing I can pinpoint to say if certain guys feel differently when they're on the road. It's just that we've got to do our job, and you can't make excuses about that."


Head Coach David Culley talked about the need to become a more disciplined team. Is that something that's discussed among the players?

"That's something we're all talking about. Coach Culley, that's what he preaches every day, that we need to be a more disciplined team. We've got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. It starts in practice. Every day, we go out there and we're just working on it. We had a player meeting where we talked to each other and we're trying to just get this ball rolling."

When was the player meeting?

"It was last week. We were just talking about how we've got to get this thing going, and how we've got to hold each other accountable, and we've got to have guys in there willing to turn this thing around."

Who orchestrated the player meeting?

"I don't know exactly who did, but we got a message about it. The whole team, it was just players only and we were all in there talking."

How do you feel about the offense right now? Other than penalties, is there anything else holding you guys back?

"Nah, it's mainly that. We're just not consistent right now. Like last week, we had a pretty good performance, and then this week, we just came out and just didn't finish our plays and we didn't finish our drives. It's the main thing that's been said, we can't shoot ourselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. I feel like if we get that cleaned up more, we've just got to be more consistent at the end of the day, really."

What was the trip like coming back from Indianapolis?

"It was quiet. You can tell that everybody on the plane could feel that it just sucks. Nobody in here likes to lose. We're all professionals, we all want to win. I think the great thing about the guys in this locker room is we're all very competitive. It might not seem like it to the outside world, but it hurts every single time we lost, no matter what. I applaud (Christian) Kirksey, because he stepped up after the game and talked to us and told us that we need to get this thing going. We just got to get going at the end of the day."

Does it surprise you that a team made up of so many veterans would have issues like this?

"Yes and no, because at the same time, we don't have that chemistry. We're all new here, we're all trying to figure each other out from the top down. Everything is brand new, so I feel like we've just got to get this together and just get going."

How do you think QB Davis Mills handled the game yesterday?

"Like I said last week, he's an even-keeled dude. He doesn't have any super highs or super lows. He tries to stay pretty level, so I do like that about him. You need that in a quarterback and a leader, somebody that doesn't get too high or too low. I feel like each week, he's just going to attack the week and start over fresh. That's what you've got to hope for coming into next week, that he's not going to dwell on the past and that it's going to be a new week for him."

When you have a player meeting and then having the result you had yesterday, do you feel like you're running out of options in terms of what to do next?

"Not really, because we're all pros here, like I said. I trust every dude in this locker room, especially because we have so many veterans, we have dudes that have been in so many different situations throughout the league. We just got to find the right chemistry and right thing that gets this thing clicking. That's really it all it comes down to at the end of the day."

How does each loss emotionally compound and weigh on you?

"For me personally, it sucks because I'm a very competitive person. I hate losing. I'm pretty sure everybody in the locker room feels the same way. But it also gives you a drive because when we come out to practice, you can tell each week that we're coming out to practice, we're not losing that type of steam. We're not coming out at practice lackadaisical or just not giving effort. We're actually coming out to practice harder and harder every week. Eventually, this thing is going to get right. The way we're working and the guys we have on this team, we'll get this thing right."

What do you see in Cardinals DB Budda Baker?

"He's a great athlete. He's one of the better players in this league. We're going to watch film on him and just try to do the best we can to get those points on the board and get this offense going."

"Yeah, sometimes you'll get the call, normally. But sometimes, in the heat of the moment you might not get it. It might be a quick motion, and just motion in, 'Set-hut', so they might not be able to get it out. So, you've just got to be dialed in on your keys and your film study."

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