OC PEP HAMILTON
With the injury of WR Nico Collins, what have you seen from the other guys at the position to fill the void?
"I feel like Nico (Collins), our entire receiving group, those guys are somewhat interchangeable. Whoever's called up to duty will be ready to go."
What do you remember at WR Tyron Johnson from your time together with the Los Angeles Chargers?
"Play speed. He's a guy that can run the route tree, but the one thing we can't coach is speed. He has outstanding play speed."
What did you see from QB Davis Mills in terms of growth in last week's game?
"I just saw that we didn't play well enough to finish the game. I felt like there were spurts where we were able to execute at a high level, but obviously, it wasn't enough."
How does your approach on first and second down compare to previous offenses you have been a part of?
"It's always important to have a high level of execution on early downs to stay out of obvious passing situations as often as you can. Depending on the opponent, we just have to find ways to incrementally move the ball and try and avoid third down altogether. Our goal is to not have a third down. But if we do, we want it to be a situation where we feel like the defense is going to ultimately have to defend the run and the pass."
How have you seen QB Davis Mills improve in recent weeks?
"We take it day to day. The hope is that ultimately there are not as many lapses of consistent execution. That goes for everybody on the offense. Ultimately, it's our challenge to come out every day that we step on the field, be that practice or on gameday, just stay in the moment and execute that play."
How do third down plays help you evaluate what QB Davis Mills is able to handle?
"When you go back and have your full evaluation of the game, you're looking for consistency. That's the challenge of being a winning player in this league. You've got to be able to come out on any given Sunday, on any given play just be able to go out and win your matchup. It's the same for the quarterback. There's going to be times when you have to problem solve. There's going to be times when you have to manage bad plays. We just ask our quarterbacks to not compound the issue and understand the situation and then weigh the risk-reward at warp speed."
What do you like about the tight end room given your use of the position in your offense?
"Ultimately, we like giving the presentation to the defense that we can run and or pass the ball. The biggest challenge for any offense and for the quarterback specifically is for the defense to really hunker down and defend one thing. When they put extra hats in the box to defend the run, we want to have the ability to attack them with the passing game. Be it the play action passing game, quarterback movements, whatever it is. It's also the same concept when you talk about two safety coverages, middle open coverages as we call it, just having the ability in that situation to feel good about those guys who are pass receivers being able to play without the ball and win their matchup. Blocking really good defense ends that we face in this league play after play."
With WR Nico Mills going down, does that force the tight ends to play a bigger role?
What have you seen from WR Phillip Dorsett?
"Phillip (Dorsett) has been working hard throughout the offseason, training camp, into the season, it hasn't changed. He understands that he has a great opportunity to show that he is an every-down player. It was important for our offense for him to make that play down in the red zone, and we expect that he'll be able to make more plays."
What did you learn about WR Tyron Johnson with the Chargers that makes you excited to have him in Houston?
"We're just excited to add another guy to that group that we feel like can run by people. He is going to acclimate himself to our system and to the guys in that receiving room. Coach (Ben) McDaniels and Tyron (Johnson) will spend a lot of time together as he gets acclimated to what we are doing here."
How do you continue to find success on offense moving forward from last week's game?
"I don't think that I was one step ahead necessarily. I think we were moving the ball effectively on first and second down. That's a testament to the guys up front, and of course, our backs. A guy that we don't talk about enough is our fullback. He (Troy Hairston) is a bowling ball of butcher knives. Guys are turning it down when he's leading up in the A and B gaps late in games. We'll continue to feature a balanced attack, and our guys will go out and execute at a high level. The execution that we had on third down was big for us just having extra plays or having more opportunities to run first and second down plays."
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR FRANK ROSS
"Alright this is what we've got this week, Tennessee Titans, Mike Vrabel, Craig Aukerman, dang, these guys are good. They played their best special teams game to date last week versus Indy and it there's a reason why they were able to win a tough football game in my opinion. We have our hands full. Our guys have already been prepped and know that when you're playing against (Mike) Vrabel and the Titans, an impact tackle or a good play in the first quarter means pretty much nothing. It's about doing that throughout the whole 60 minutes versus a team that's battle tested. Got to be ready to go versus a very discipline, physical and tough football team in the kicking game."
What are your thoughts on LS Jon Weeks being able to snap at that level for 200 games?
"Selfishly, I'm fortunate and lucky to coach that, because people like Jon Weeks in our business, in the NFL, have the ability to do it day in and day out, season in season out for an extended period of time for years is difficult. Okay, now we're talking about 200 games. I'm fortunate to learn from him to have him on or roster where I know week in and week out he's going to do exactly as asked and work hard every week to do so. Talking about 200 games specifically, it's an achievement that I honestly don't know how many times that's happened and the ability that it's been consecutive is a testament to consistency, every day coming in, showing up, hard work but doing work with intentionality and focus. As you know, once you hit a certain age in life to be able to continue to work on your body and improve your body, becomes more and more challenging and he's done just that. Excited for him, happy he was able to achieve that. Big goal for him and congrats to Jon."
In what ways do you learn from him?
"Just like anybody else, if there is somebody in our room that has knowledge about the game, the opponent, another player that they know, they've worked with, or that he's seen. He's seen more football than most people so were going to ask him questions, 'Hey, how do you see this playing out in this protection versus this look? How do you feel most comfortable?' Well then you can trust the guy because he's probably seen it before. Just like a quarterback that is seeing this style of nickel pressure versus another team he can then relay that in his mind, same with Jon. He's able to ID those things and we're able to prep those throughout the week. He's been great and it's been nothing but a blessing to coach him."
Since you got here what has tipped you off the most from LS Jon Week that he knows all of these things?
"Having played against Houston when I first got here, I had a snapshot of the player going against him. When you get to then be on the same sidelines, you see the intricacies and the insight from him personally. The best thing about him was, I asked him to do things a little bit different for the system that I was brining here. He took those, ran with them, 'Hey we're not going to sit at the line of scrimmage we're going to go factor in coverage and he's done just that.' Taking every little detail that I've asked, he's been able to adapt. It may sound funny, but he's done it before whether it was different regimes or special teams coaches he's had in the past. Again, being able to pull from different experiences that he's had, have been really good and beneficial for him. Again, to his present performance, which he's doing his thing continuously everyday week in and week out."
Does that speak to his versatility that he's been able to last through so many coaching changes?
"That's a great point. I think there is a little bit of the word 'last'. There is some of that, staying, last and outlast, he's definitely done that. But it all comes down to especially a specialist skillset is one thing, putting the ball right here and he's done that time and time again. The end all be all, he'll be graded on that. He's done just that and more."
Last week, K Ka'imi Fairbairn was able to drop the ball on the end zone. Is that something easier to do indoors as opposed to outdoors?
"Yeah, definitely. The ability to be able to control the ball in the AFC South is a lot greater than say if you're playing for the Bills or Green Bay and Chicago. Definitely fortunate to have the ability to control distance, hang time and direction at a more consistent level. He's done a good job with that. Need to be able to force kickoffs that don't go into the end zone or hit a touchback when it's required or place the ball with certain width depending on what we're running in that instance. Done a good job of that so far. Need to continue and improve it in every and any time we go out there."
LS JON WEEKS
How does it feel to reach the milestone of 200 career games?
"It's definitely something I'm very proud of. I think the important part of my job and one of the aspects of it is to be as consistent as possible. I think when I can look back and say that I got to game 200 and done it consecutively, I feel like I've done my job at a high level. It's something I'm very proud of. I'll be more proud if we can go get the win."
Does it feel like 200 games?
"It's funny, you look back at it and it's like your time in college. It's flown by. It's been a fun ride and I've enjoyed every second of it. I'm incredibly blessed to do what I'm doing right now. I love doing it and I love playing with the guys in the locker room. I've really enjoyed my time and I hope to continue going for as long as possible."
Can you talk about film study and how you prepare for games?
"I've had the pleasure of working and playing under a lot of great minds in the special teams area that have taught me a lot of things. I like to watch a lot of film. I like to see certain things that are going around in the league when it comes to punt rushes and exotic punt rushes just to make sure that I'm prepared. Sometimes we get told it's a copycat league, so if something works for one team maybe another team brings it in. I like to be as prepared as possible, so I like to watch other special teams and see how they're doing. It's one way that I prepare for the week. Frank (Ross) does a great job, Frank and (Sean) Baker, of breaking down the opponent and their strengths and weaknesses. I like to go over all that as well and be able to talk to the young guys about everything special teams-wise if they have any questions."
Was there a time where you thought you might not be doing your job and snapping well?
"I've been lucky. I've been very fortunate, thank goodness, that nothing very dangerous has come along. I've had one or two instances where I wasn't sure, but I always told myself if I felt like I could go and I was still the best option for the job that I was going to do it, as long as I didn't compromise the team. Fortunately for me, I've felt good every day. I just continue to keep working, trying to stay in shape, do things the right way and keep going."
What's your most memorable game?
"My most memorable game for me is going to be 13 years ago, my first preseason game was in Arizona. I was out of football for two years, from 2007 to basically 2010 when I signed here in Houston. Our first preseason game was back in my hometown of Phoenix. To be able to put on the uniform for the first time in front of all my friends and family was a very special moment for me and something I look back and cherish."
Are there moments when you realized you could do this for a long time?
"I don't know if I've ever looked at it that way. I think I've always looked at taking it day-by-day, just trying to improve and get better every day. Knowing if I did it that way that there's a possibility I could go for a long time, but I've tried to never take any snap or any play I've done for granted. I've tried to really enjoy and embrace every one of them, but I've always told myself if I stick to my routine and stay on top of things, heath-wise, that maybe there is a chance."
Because you've been through a lot of personnel transition, do you find yourself being the historian sometimes?
"No, not as much as you would think. The guys do like to give me a hard time about my age, being the older guy on the team, but I have a great locker room, great group of guys that I love going to battle with every week. I just try to be able to pass on the knowledge that was given to me from great teammates that I've had in the past. If they have any question special teams, team-wise, health-wise, anything like that, I just try to pass that on."
Who is an influential football figure in your life?
"Early in my career, working with Matt Turk and Neil Rackers is very special. Two very well proven vets that came in and took a young kid under their wing, showed him how to do the right things and how to last in this league and take care of your body and how to establish your routine that you're comfortable with that prepares you for Sunday. I had the privilege to snap to Shane Lechler for six, seven years, watching how he went in day-in and day-out, did his stuff, super special. Then getting to see guys like Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Matt Schaub, Brian Cushing, JJ (Watt), see how they take care of their bodies, the mental aspect, the physical, everything that they did to prepare for Sundays. I sat back, I watched and I tried to learn and pick up from that. Those are things that I try to pass on to the younger kids because I watched a bunch of great football players do it the right way, and I was privileged to do so."
What does it mean to be one of only 18 active players in the league to play over 200 games?
"That's incredibly special. I don't know what the stat is these days but when I was coming out, two and a half years was the average football career. To be able to sit here in front of you guys in year 13, talking about playing in my 200th game, especially when I was out of football for two years early, is incredibly special to me. I definitely will cherish and I will take in on Sunday. At the same time, we have a good Titans team coming here, and we've got to get ready to take care of business."
How many more games do you think you can play and what keeps you playing?
"I would love to play as many games as the organization would like to have me around, to be honest with you. As long as I don't think I'm a hindrance to this team, as long as I feel like I'm the best player for my position, I'm going to continue to go out there and do that. If the day comes where they ask me to step down, it would be a sad day, but I don't see that day coming anytime soon from my point of view. Again, I'm going to enjoy Sunday, but I'm going to enjoy it more if we can get the 'W'".