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Transcripts: 10-25-2022 Press Conferences


What are some things the team can do to improve and do better?

"We haven't met as a team yet to watch film, but from what I've seen, just small things like technique and tackling and making sure we're all just doing our job. Make sure we're doing what we're asked to do."

Why do you think the pass rush wasn't as efficient this game as it has been the last few weeks?

"To help with the pass rush I feel like sacks come in bunches. That's just something we've got to keep on working at, keep on doing that we do, get off, working our hands. I've got faith that the sacks will come for the group."

Does anything change for you and your approach now that you're a starter?

"No. I feel like my mindset and approach to the game hasn't changed whether I'm starting or not. I feel like if you're starting or whether you're not, you need to watch the same amount of film. You need to prepare the same amount, whether you're playing or not."

What differences have you noticed with the defensive scheme here in Houston compared to the scheme you were in last year?

"Since high school, I've been a part of a lot of different schemes and always try to do the best that I can and make sure I'm doing the best that I can do. Whatever I'm being asked to do, I'll always try and do that job to the best of my abilities. Always try to do that job as best as I can. The scheme doesn't really matter."

How do you prepare to try to contain Titans RB Derrick Henry?

"To try to stop a guy like Derrick Henry or just any good back, just making sure we're in our own gaps, doing our own job, making sure we do a good job of tackling this week."

What is your role in HC Lovie Smith's system and stopping the run?

"For me, what I do most of the time is I line up to the tight ends and tackles, making sure I set the edge and making sure I'm in my gap because the guys behind me are relying on me to be in a certain spot. I've just got to make sure I'm dominating the man lineup in front of me and make sure I'm in the gap too."

How much communication is there between you and the other defensive lineman or linebackers?

"There's not too much because I feel like for this defense, it's more about playing fast. We get our first call and we get a check here or there. We've just got to make sure hands and eyes are down for the guys on the D-line. Making sure we're still listening, to make sure if we get a start or make some other check."

Do you feel like the teams you've played in recent games are attacking you differently?

"If I'm completely honest, no. I feel like teams have been playing regular ball. Last game, I feel like their gameplan was like any other offenses because they're up by a score, and they don't need to pass. They'll just run the ball more than what they were in the first half because they weren't winning by 10-plus."

After five years in the NFL, how much have you learned about yourself through your opportunity here?

"One of the biggest things I've learned from the guys I've played with and from being out there, being around a bunch of different coaches, I feel like the game is more mental than it is physical, for the most part. For me personally, it's out there. It's not about the physical part. It's all mental, the preparation going into the week, I feel like that's the biggest difference for me."

Are there different ways to approach that here in Houston?

"Not particularly. First couple of years I got in the league I kind of struggled with doing small things like watching film because I didn't do that in college or high school. Just making sure I create the habits I need to put myself in the right position I need to, so I can make the plays I can make, and I'm not out there missing plays."


Can you take us through the routes you ran on the touchdown?

"It was just a bench route, and I saw cover-2. Usually when we see cover-2 on those routes, Davis (Mills) is licking his chops. Before I even came out of my break, he threw the ball, and I caught it last minute. The two dudes were collapsing on it, so I just tried my best to just catch it. I double clutched it, but I knew it didn't hit the ground."

First touchdown with the Texans, what was that feeling?

"It was a good feeling. Anytime you can touch the end zone it's a good feeling. It's been a long time coming. I think it was my first touchdown in two years or something like that. It's been a long road, but it definitely felt good."

Did you guys feel like there was something leading up to that game you could expose defensively?

"Just having another speed element on the field I would say, having somebody else that can go out there an stretch the field other than Brandin (Cooks). We all know Nico (Collins) can do it too. Just try to throw everybody out there and not necessarily confuse them but just have another threat out there."

What do you think about QB Davis Mills' game and how he's played the last few weeks?

"I thought he played a solid game. Other than that one interception, it happens. It's football. I thought he played a solid game. I thought he was comfortable. I thought he made all the right reads. Davis (Mills) is a gamer. I always say this, he's a gamer. He's even-keeled, he's poised, you can't shake him no matter what. He's always going to have that same look on his face. I love Davis."

How can you build off last game and keep moving forward?

"Like you said, things were going well. I mean we made some mistakes. They got it going offensively running the ball, stealing the momentum. I think we can definitely build off it at the end of the day. We just got to go back to the drawing boards. Like you said, we've got to just continue to do what we did well in that game and try to fix the mistakes."

When WR Nico Collins exited the game, what was your conversation with him like?

"I thought he needed a blow at first so I just went in. I stayed in and he said it was his groin. He was like, 'my bad.' I was like, 'you don't have to say my bad, it's all good.' Next man up mentality. It's been part of my career my whole life. You've got to be ready. You've got to be ready to play X, Z and F, and I'm always ready."

How beneficial was the bye week for you guys?

"We just worked on third down conversions the whole – we all know that was the biggest part. That what was missing. We've been horrible on third down and there's no secret to that. At the end of the day, the only way to get better at it is just work at it. Obviously, we've put an extra emphasis on converting third downs this week and it helped out to some extent but we've still got a long way to go. We're going to go back to practice, we're going to go back to the drawing boards and try to figure out ways to improve."

How does the offense work on preparing for third down scenarios?

"Just understanding what coverages the team we're playing plays, and then just work on the plays to try and execute. The biggest thing about third down is completing the passes. We all know you you'll probably get man coverage and some blitz. It's just the offensive line holding up and Davis (Mills) finding the right guy and the right read. Going to your playmakers, going to the guys you know will help you. The sure-handed guys. That's the big emphasis honestly."

How do you approach third down as a team, usually having three wide receivers on the field?

"You've just got to win your match up, whoever's across from you. If it's man coverage, you've got to beat them. If it's zone coverage, you've got to find the right spot in the zone. You've just got to be smarter. You've got to play smart football on third down, and that's what we've got to continue to work on."

What have the last few years been like for you as you try to reestablish yourself?

"I've been good. I mean, it's been tough. It's been tough. Honestly, when it comes to – I'm not going to say football is my life, but it's a big part of my life. I love football so much. I've been playing since I was six years old. To miss a full year and basically missing another full year being injured, bouncing around a little bit. It takes a toll on anybody because at the end of the day, it's not just plug and play when it comes to football. Being in three different cities, I've got a wife who was pregnant at the time. You've just got to find your way. For me, my mentality is that I keep working hard. Don't let anything phase you. Just keep working, and I'm still here."

When was your wife pregnant?

"Last year."

How does the team react when key players go down injured in a game?

"Everybody knows that it's going to take a collaborative effort. It's not just one guy that has to step up. We all have to step up. We all know Nico (Collins) was a big part of this offense. We've got to continue to just go and try to fill that void. I don't feel like just one person can do it. We've all got to do it because as the end of the day, our record says that we're not very good, and we've just got to keep improving. Not just one person but everybody."


How is your chemistry with QB Davis Mills right now?

"We're just picking up where we left off at. More repetitions for the tight ends to run down the seams, in the flats, as well as inside the hashes. I think we're connecting pretty well."

How did it feel to see the offense have some success in Las Vegas?

"Hard work and repetition. I feel like we haven't been able to finish, so I feel like this is the best game we've had offensively. Putting things together in the run game and opening up the pass game as well. I think we're going in the right direction."

What are you seeing from QB Davis Mills, making some accurate third down throws last week?

"Just trusting. He's trusting us and we're trusting him. Like I said, repetition, practice and just being able to read the defensive coverage well. He's doing a great job of stepping up in the pocket, and the timing is perfect. We're moving the chains, and we're looking forward to continuing to do that."

The ball QB Davis Mills dropped in to you last week, was that by design?

"It varies, you know. It depends on the coverage. Depends on how loose the coverage is or how tight the coverage is. He can put it back shoulder, he can throw it over the top. It was just really a feel route. Nico (Collins) did a great job getting a pick, and Mills did a great job throwing a catchable ball."

Going into that game off a bye week, what did you guys identify that you can carry on into the next few games?

"I'd say tempo and timing, physicality. The offensive line moving the defensive line. The run game seems to be our identity, and it's opened up the passing game as well. (Davis) Mills is getting comfortable. We're getting comfortable and the more repetitions we get, the stronger the offense will be."

On running some plays with a funky formation…

"Yeah that's true. Defensive identification, just moving around and giving different looks. Getting mismatches is what it's all about."

How excited was OC Pep Hamilton getting to run plays out of those funky formations?"I mean, we run it every day in practice, so putting it on film, I'm pretty sure he was excited to do that to get the looks that we need as an offense."

Did you feel like there was a difference in tempo against the Raiders than in previous weeks?

"Definitely. We definitely came out with some tempo, some energy. Pushing each other, competing at practice. It played over to the game. When we got to the game, we were excited to play. Everyone was expecting to make plays. That's what we did, we kept moving the chains and the offense looked good."

How does it feel to be having success back in Houston in an offense that seems to be tailored to your game?

"Coming back is an honor. To be back with my brothers and compete and go to work with my soldiers. Any time my jersey is called to make a play, I try to do the best I can whether it's special teams or offense. Any way I can contribute."

Do you think the big third down plays the team picked up last week will help the offense moving forward?

"Definitely. It's contagious. Once one player makes a play, another player wants to make a play and so forth down the line. We hype each other up, and we get each other going. Whatever we can do. Whether it is (Dameon) Pierce running the ball. Whether it is Cookie (Brandin Cooks) making a catch. Whatever we can do. Tight ends setting the block. We're just trying to piece everything together, so we can keep going."

Do you feel like the offense has come into its full form?

"I do. I look at myself as more than just a passing tight end. I can block as well whether inside the box or outside the box. I think he's (Pep Hamilton) is doing a great job creating mismatches and calling the right plays. Plays that (Davis) Mills is comfortable with and the whole offense is comfortable with, so we can play fast."

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