HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
What is your philosophy on the trade deadline coming up?
"The thing about that is, myself, I don't even think anything about that. That's Nick (Caserio). Nick takes care of that. We don't talk about that as a staff. Nick and I will talk about that when things come up. As of right now, my focus right now is on coaching the football team."
So, the conversation between you and GM Nick Caserio would be 'what would the impact be if this player is moved?'
"Yes, if that was coming up, we would have that conversation. We have always had that conversation, everything that's ever happened. We have that conversation before things are ever done."
Do you expect to designate QB Tyrod Taylor for return?
"We will designate him for return. As far as his status for the game, that's still up in the air right now."
How do you split the reps between QB Tyrod Taylor and QB Davis Mills?
"Davis will get the reps today. Tyrod, we are just easing him back into practice, just to see where he is at. Tyrod is a veteran. He's been around here. He doesn't have to have all the reps. Davis need the reps. If Davis is going to be playing this week, as our starting quarterback, and right now he is. As we move into the week if we feel good about where Tyrod is at, we will give him some of his reps. But, him being a veteran quarterback, that's not an issue."
Is it by design that QB Davis Mills is throwing shorter passes and not creating as many explosive plays?
"No, we are trying to get those explosive plays. We just haven't done that. Also, being behind the chains has had an effect on how we approach getting the ball down the field. If we have stayed above the chains in first and second downs a lot more than we have been, we'd be getting the ball down the field. But we are trying to get back to manageable situations more so then trying to get the ball down the field."
How do you evaluate the right guard position right now?
"Well, we are still going to look at it this week in practice and we will base that just off practice. Out of the game, obviously we felt we needed to make a change when we did with Max (Scharping). We will go into practice this week doing the same thing as far as who we feel should be at that position."
What are some of the things that OL Max Scharping needs to improve on to get back into that role?
"Well, just be more consistent and be more consistent in taking care of his one on one battles. Last week was a tough day for him early and we felt like we needed the change to do that. But he just needs to be more consistent in taking care of those one on one battles."
Since QB Davis Mills needs the reps, what is the point in going back to QB Tyrod Taylor and taking those reps away from Davis?
"Well, he needs the reps only because if Tyrod cannot go, he's going to be the quarterback. Tyrod does not have to have those reps. If we knew Tyrod was healthy to play going into this week, then he would get those reps."
Do you think QB Tyrod Taylor would benefit from getting the ball down field with his experience and his mobility?
"That's exactly how he's played the game. If you remember some of those plays that we got down the field, he was out of the pocket when he was making those plays down the field."
How hard of a task will it be to block Aaron Donald one on one?
"We won't have one on one battles with him most of the day. We'll have two blocking him most of the time."
What do you see from Aaron Donald?
"He's one of the top two or three defensive guys in the game at his position, has been since he came into the league. Nothing has changed. Obviously, we are not going to allow him to wreck our game. So obviously, if you put one on one situations on him, it doesn't matter who is he against, he usually wins those battles."
What do you think about how Matthew Stafford has done this season?
"He's been having a really good year. He's had great years before. He's on a different football team, a different environment. They're off to a really good start, and he's playing well right now."
Why is it that having a good quarterback is so important to having success?
"He handles the ball 99 percent of the time on offense, and he directs everything. Everything goes because of him. It starts with him. That position doesn't necessarily have to win the game for you, but that position has to do the things that put people in position to win games. That's why that's so important and critical, having veteran guys around that have been there and done that. Another thing too, with veteran quarterbacks as opposed to rookie quarterbacks who haven't had that experience, when adversity hits, veteran guys understand that and the guys that are playing around them understand that and know how to deal with those kinds of things."
Are you looking at DB Eric Murray taking a bigger role at safety?
"Yes, for sure."
Why have the wide receiver screen plays been so ineffective?
"We haven't blocked it very well. We've had some miscommunication there blocking the right guy. Earlier in the year, we had a couple with Brandin (Cooks) and with Danny (Amendola). We haven't executed those."
How has LB Kamu Grugier-Hill played so far?
"He's done very well. He's been one of the leaders on this team. He plays probably more snaps than anybody we have on defense because of how valuable he is on special teams. He's playing very well for us."
How important is it to get WR Brandin Cooks involved back in the offense, as he's tied for the lead in third down receptions?
"Well, if we stay above the chains as well as we should do, when we've got third-and-manageable situations, he's obviously a guy that we go to, and it's been very effective there. We've just got to get in more of those types of situations to be able to execute and do those, and he's been a big part of that when we've been in those situations."
How valuable is it for the Texans to get the quarterback position solidified?
"It's extremely important. It's extremely important for the entire football team to know that when you go out there, that particular guy is going to do his job and give you a chance to win. I feel like in Davis (Mills), we have a guy like that, (who) in the future could be that kind of guy. Obviously, we've got Tyrod (Taylor) here for a reason, and he's been there and done that, also. Unfortunately, the injury kept him from being able to do what we feel like we're going to do and take us to where we need to be going right now. But that's very, very important to have that."
With the mental mistakes, is there a point where you're trying to fix those things and then a player could overthink it and commit the mistake again?
"You said a word there about overthinking, it's very, very important. And what happens, I think, so much that they don't overthink, they start to press. When they start to press, you kind of get yourself muddied in what's going on. You can't go on to the next play after having a bad play. I think guys start to press when those kinds of things happen."
Is that why you've started taking guys out after a mental mistake?
"Exactly right, exactly right. And basically, we've got to find that right combination of guys that understand that it's the next-play mentality. But the next play has got to be the right play."
What stands in the way of getting past the muddiness?
"Just continue the process that we're going to continue to coach the fundamentals, and it will come."
OL JUSTIN BRITT
Do you have any thoughts on RB Mark Ingram II being traded to the Saints?
"Well, I just got out of meetings, so I don't know the logistics about that. But I know that Mark (Ingram II) is a really good teammate, a really good leader, good person overall. Any organization would be lucky to have him, and he'll definitely be missed here. But as far as that goes, we've just got to prepare for the Rams and focus on going 1-0."
When the team is in more of a selling position than a buying position, how does that weigh on the locker room?
"I don't know anything about that. My job is to come in here, snap the ball when they say go, block and try to score touchdowns. All the front office stuff and coaching, I'm going to leave to them. Just tell me the game plan, what I've got to do, who I'm playing, that's my focus."
What boost would it be for the offense to potentially get QB Tyrod Taylor back this week?
"Whenever you have someone like Tyrod (Taylor) who's played a lot of ball, has a lot of experience, lot of poise, just the leadership he brings makes you kind of feel more confident. We've missed him since Week 2, and it'll be good to have him back. I think Davis (Mills) has had a lot of really good reps and things to learn from, and he's grown a lot throughout the early part of this season. I'm going with the ups and downs, not just him, but collectively as an offense, as a team. We've had our struggles, we've had our battles, so whenever we get someone like Tyrod potentially coming back this week is just huge to the morale and kind of where we're at in this season."
What have you seen from QB Davis Mills as he's grown as a starter and a rookie?
"Just poise, confidence here and there. I know he would like to have some throws and different things back, but you see the confidence never waivers. He's going out there week in and week out, trying to be aggressive, trying to go win the game for us and do what he needs to do. Being the center, blocking for him, I've appreciated how he's gone about it and how he's approached each week with the mindset of, 'Let's get better, let's execute and let's go win the game.' When things don't happen, they don't happen, and you try to learn from them, you try to correct the mistakes. But the losses, they're not on him, they're not on me, they're on all of us. We've got to do a better job protecting the football, better job staying on schedule, not getting penalties and finishing drives whenever we get in the red zone.
WR BRANDIN COOKS
If you were to get QB Tyrod Taylor back this week, what type of boost is that for your offense?
"I think it's a great boost, just more so from the leadership that he brings. We've just got to continue to trust in the process and see where that takes us."
Will there be any extra emotions playing the Rams, or is it just another game?
"No, I learned the first time being traded to not get your emotions too high going into a game like this. I have a lot of respect for that organization, a lot of friends still over there. At the end of the day, definitely want to beat them, but from an emotional standpoint, it's just another game to get better and go out there and play the best ball that I can possibly play."
How much were you able to work with QB Tyrod Taylor at practice today?
"Just a little bit, little bit at the beginning. I'm always doing something on the side myself, so I didn't really get the chance to see him that much."
How cool was it to see your former teammate QB Tom Brady break 600 touchdowns over the weekend?
"It's huge. That's a special guy. I loved playing with him, and what he's doing is incredible. You love to see it and love to see him continue to defeat the odds."
How long does it take for you to get an idea of how good a young quarterback can be?
"I think that takes a long time. You can't pin a person a certain way just off a few weeks. I think that takes a minute."
With the NFL trade deadline coming up, is it nerve-racking around the locker room?
"At the end of the day, guys know it's a business. We've got to keep coming in here doing the best that we can to better ourselves for the team, and all that stuff takes care of itself. (Those are) decisions that are out of your control, and you've just got to keep coming and work, being a professional."
Have you noticed anything that's preventing the offense from pushing the ball downfield?
"Just not playing good offense. Last game, we've just got to be better. Period, point-blank."
You're tied for first in the league in third down receptions. How good is it for you to be able to be that guy on third down?
"I think it's huge. As we all know around the league, receivers often say, 'Third down, money down.' At the end of the day, you just give yourself the chance to stay on the field. To be able to be looked at as that guy to be able to make those plays in those times is huge. I just want to continue to build on that."
Head Coach David Culley was talking about how QB Tyrod Taylor's ability to get out of the pocket is what made him able to throw deep balls. Is that part of the identity of this offense?
"Those types of plays, that's just Tyrod (Taylor) being an athlete. There are ways for us to get down the field regardless, but it's just the little things that we've got to do to be able to do that. It's not just about getting out of the pocket. We can do it inside the pocket, as well, but a lot has to happen for that to be able to get done."
LB ZACH CUNNINGHAM
What was communicated to you about your role in the defense?
"They wanted me in the best position in where they felt I was more comfortable in. That's basically all it was."
How do you feel about the change?
"For me as long as I am able to go out there and do what I can, I'm just going to step up to that role."
How do you feel that you have played just as far as run stopping?
"Like I said, whatever role that they feel like I fit. I'm just trying to go out there and do the best I can. I feel like I've done a pretty good job of that."
In the locker room, are there conversations about the NFL trade deadline?
"I mean there are going to be conversations, but everyone pretty much just focused on the next game, the next team that we have to play. That's the main focus that we have."
What's preventing the defense from being as efficient as it can be at this moment?
"I think it comes down to everybody just doing their job. Everybody just trusting in the defense and trusting in doing their job. Once we do that as a defense, all come together and do that, then we are going to make plays."
What do you think Darrell Henderson as a running back?
"From what I've seen, he's a pretty good back. Another good challenge for us as a defense. Something that I think we're going to be able to step up to."
What about Matthew Stafford and the season he has had?
"Goes along the same lines. Great athlete. Great quarterback. I feel like what we try to focus on as a defense is not individual players just more of us being able to do our job. Just us being able to hold together as a defense. If we keep that focus, we'll be able to do good."
Has your role changed going into this week with LB Christian Kirksey being out?
"No, it hasn't. We have guys stepping up to the role. Neville (Hewitt) we have stepping up as that Mike linebacker, stepping up in that role. I think he's going to do a good job in there."
How are you guys handling the losing streak?
"Same things if you're winning. You've got to take it week to week, you've got to watch the film and see what you can correct. We'll see what it is that's causing it. Like you said, the big plays, that's just week to week with that."
What is it like for you personally to see all the changes that the team has been through over your time here?
"I don't really have a good answer for that one. Obviously, there's been a lot of changes and that's something you get used to, that I've gotten used to, in the league. I don't really think too much on that."