HC LOVIE SMITH
"Tomorrow is a special day for our organization. As most of you know, October 6, 1999, the city of Houston and Bob and Janice McNair were awarded the 32nd franchise in the NFL. A special day for us. Where would we be without football down in Texas, especially in Houston. Of course after Bob's death in 2018, our organization wanted to find a way to honor his memory and his legacy of everything that he has done. The organization marked October 6 as Founder's Day, for us to honor him and what he's done again in football and in the community. For the third consecutive year, tomorrow we will be following up on that in honoring him and his legacy, which will be an exciting time. I know if he was here right now he would probably be disappointed in where we are at the current time, but excited about where we're going. Again, that'll be a special time for us to honor him. Along with honoring him, our organization has wanted to do a little bit more and do something in the community on something that he was passionate about. He was very involved in the community. Tomorrow, on October, 6, we'll let you know exactly what that will be. Football and what we did today out on the practice field. You need to get back to the field when you have some things you need to correct, you need to get back out there and go to work. A few things have happened since we've talked last, a couple roster changes. A couple roster changes with guys leaving, couple roster changes with guys coming back on board. Whenever we have somebody that's available, we start the process of seeing how quick we can get them up to pace to be able to help our team. Don't know exactly when that will be, but the process has started. We realize who we're playing. We have a long history with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Getting into the division, there are so many things that are at stake. Last game of the first quarter of our football season. We understand what's happened, but to finish off on a high note is important to us."
Where is DB Derek Stingley Jr. with his injury?
"We said it was a bruise and he's in a brace."
Where is he at medically? Do you think DB Derek Stingley Jr. is going to play?
"We hope he can. It's like we said before it was a bruise, it was a bruise, and he was in a brace today to just protect it a little bit. He should be good to go."
With LB Christian Harris back, how did he look today?
"It's pretty hard. It's hard to say that right now. Just keep in mind, he's a rookie and he's never played in a game for us that went through a couple training camp practice, so that process has started. As far as maybe this week, we just started the process and we had one practice. It's pretty hard to say much more than he's back out on the practice field. That's the first step about availability. He's available now and we've started the process."
Can you talk about the return of DL Mario Addison?
"Same thing. I think they're in different stages. Mario (Addison) has played in the league for a long period of time, so he's a little bit more advanced with being able to play quicker. We can always use help with a good pass rusher, a good defensive end to play. He's healthy now. Again, the process has started. Hopefully sooner than later he'll be out there."
What has helped LB Christian Harris be prepared and how quickly do you think he'll get used to the play?
"It's pretty hard to say that. All of those training camp practices, four weeks of practice, they matter, and you get better each time you practice. Is he behind? Absolutely. Our game is a little bit harder than to just jump right in and play the entire game. As far as when, you don't know that, we'll see how it goes. Right now, he came off the injury list and we've had one practice. I haven't even had a chance to evaluate the video. Give us a little time to see exactly where he is. As soon as he's ready to go and he can function and have an opportunity to have success, he'll be out there."
Staying on the topic of transactions, what was a deciding factor on parting ways with TE Pharaoh Brown?
"I don't know what good that would do. We went in a different direction. Sometimes divorce is a good thing for both parties. I don't know what else there is to say. Pharaoh (Brown) did a great job for us while he was here. We both moved on."
Did you make that roster move because you feel like you needed help in other areas?
"No, we're looking at each player individually based on where we are with them and we thought that for both of us, it was time to go a different direction. I realize we need tight ends to play. Are we satisfied with what we have right here right now? If you're asking that, yes. O.J. Howard, Jordan Akins has done a good job. Brevin (Jordan) is coming back. Teagan (Quitoriano) is coming back. Of course Mason (Schreck), we got some good plays from him. So we have some other guys and we played the last game without him. He was injured then. Not going to ever leave our team void of talent at a position and we feel like we can go forward with the guys we have the tight end position."
What have you seen from Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence and his development?
"I thought he was an excellent quarterback last year. Can make all the throws. As we're talking about Christian Harris, plays matter, experience matters, situations matter, with you being in those. He's had a lot more game experience since we played them last. Mobile, big guy, strong arm, top pick in the draft. If you look at their football team, the last two years, they had the top pick in the draft and both of those guys are difference makers from what I see. Every rep you get, every game you play, you're going to get better."
LB Kamu Grugier-Hill talked about trusting the defense. After you reviewed the film from this past week, do you feel like you cleaned some of those things up?
"Every time there is a mistake and you go out to practice you clean things up, absolutely. Trust, you've got to have that. Everything they're saying it true, absolutely.
At the time before LB Christian Harris' injury, where did you see his fit?
"That was three months ago we're talking about right now. Four months. I don't know what else to say about it. Christian Harris has been out. He hasn't played a game for us. He missed all of training camp pretty much and he's back healthy now. We'll start the process. On exactly when a rookie is ready to play, we'll see that. There's nothing else really to say besides that. Remembering back on what he did at Alabama or what he did in OTAs, just doesn't have an awful lot. He's healthy now in the best shape he can be. Mentally, he knows a lot more because of being able to observe but it's a little bit more than that. I'm excited about him eventually getting out there. That's about all I can tell you right now."
Do you feel like you'll start the window for DB Tavierre Thomas after the bye week?
"He's coming, he's making progress. Every player that's on the injured list, as soon as they're cleared medically, we're going to get them back out there. Start the process. Mario (Addison), Tavierre (Thomas) they have a history. They can jump back into it a little bit quicker than maybe some of the younger players. Can we use a player like Tavierre (Thomas) right now? Absolutely. Can't wait to get him back out there. I know he's making a lot of progress and eventually he'll be out there."
QB DAVIS MILLS
Does last year's game versus Jacksonville give you confidence?
"I think historically, at least for the most recent years, the Texans have always handled the Jags (Jaguars) efficiently. We've gotten wins in the recent years and we want to keep it rolling in the same way."
Being from the same draft class as Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence, is there a part of you that compares yourself to him?
"I don't think so. He's a good quarterback. I think I'm a good quarterback. We're going out there and trying to play within our system and play the best game we can possible. Let the winning team win."
How do you avoid the psychological warfare of comparing yourself to other players?
"That's exactly what it is. Just in the week of preparation, we're not focused on what they're running on offense. I'm focused on what they're running on defense. That consumes a lot of my time. I'm not really thinking about all of those other factors that I can't control. Obviously, we know they've been successful on offense this year. They have a good defense as well. We're just going out and doing our best job to execute our role as an offense and attack their defense."
What are some of the most impressive parts of their defense?
"Starting off, just their pass rushers. They've got a lot of guys who change around in their defensive front and want to attack the quarterback. We've got to be ready to defend against that. Then their secondary, with the new defensive coordinator (Mike Caldwell), they've started a little bit of a different scheme than what they ran last year. Those guys are on the same page. They've obviously created a lot of turnovers, so we have to protect the football and really go out and do our jobs and execute at a high level."
How comfortable do you feel going up against the Jaguars?
"I feel very comfortable. Obviously, we've got to continue to improve week in and week out. We're happy with where we're at, but we're still hungry for more. We're ready to go out and attack early on in games and not have to feel that feeling at half time or late in the game where we need to try to get back on track or catch up. Really have that urgent feeling from the start of the game and just go out and make big plays from the start."
Are there things you work through or plays that you change in the middle of the game?
"Definitely. I think we did that this past week. Different times will pop up where the defense, we get a feel for what they're running early in the game and what's working for them. Then we're going to find ways to go out and attack that specific look if they show it again."
How much does RB Dameon Pierce and the run game help to get this offense going?
"Developing the run game and really him (Dameon Pierce) just doing his job and running behind those offensive linemen is huge, especially on first and second down, even third-and-short. If we can get to a lot of third-and-manageable and we can increase our conversion rate on third downs and keep the drives alive, I think the run game is very effective in that regard. If we can keep running the ball better, it opens everything else up on offense."
What have you seen from RB Dameon Pierce's pass protection?
"He's been great. Every day of prep we have, he's getting so many different looks of blitz pick ups when he's not running the ball. We know he can run the ball but the next step for him is continuing in the pass game and protection, getting out and routes. He's been doing a really good job of that. I think you saw the post we threw to Jordan Akins in the game. He actually came and stepped in, aborted the play fake and stepped in to fill the A gap of a really fast add-on linebacker that they have. We ended up making a big play and a lot of the reason we were able to make that play was because he stepped up and made a big-time block. As he keeps developing and improving in the passing game, it's going to be huge for us."
Have you studied Jaguars OLB Travon Walker?
"Yes and no. I'm not looking a lot of the other pass rushers. Obviously I need to know who my threats are, but most of my stuff is focused on coverage. You've seen what he's done. I know he's had a couple sacks, TFLs, I think an interception in the first game already. Got to acknowledge where he's at on the field so we can handle their different looks. He's a good player, so we just have to know where he's at."
With the Jaguars blitzing the third most in the NFL, how much do you have to pay attention to that?
"We've got to communicate it well from a protection standpoint and all of our passing schemes. We have to be able to mix up run and pass so we can keep them guessing, tire them out before we take some big-time shots. Just mix in different looks on offense so we can keep them guessing. Not much more than that."
Because you're a young quarterback, how to you balance proving yourself and solidifying your role?
"Just go out and play my game every week. It comes down to just going out there and being efficient, doing my job on offense, getting the ball around to the playmakers. I don't need to go out and make every single play or go out and do too much. If I'm efficient with the ball, getting the ball out of my hands before the pass rush gets there, give my receivers catchable ball, everything else should work itself out."
How do you think you've grown in recognizing coverages both pre- and post-snap?
"A lot of it comes from game film and film study. You have to kind of know their disguise percentage, where they're trying to start to get to what coverage and quickly recognizing it post-snap. I think in the current state of football, a lot of the designer coverages that defense is doing, it's tough to do that. What we have on offense is pure progression passing game, stuff like that where we can make it easy for the quarterback. We're not too much trying to figure a full-blown coverage, but we're trying to find space in the defense. Obviously, still see middle field open, middle field close with the safeties to start. A lot of it is kind of with what the defense and how complicated they're trying to show, simplifying it for ourselves on offense."
WR BRANDIN COOKS
Does any of your previous success against the Jacksonville Jaguars matter?
"No. At the end of the day, just like every year, people are getting better. They are a good team. I don't necessarily think about the past when you think of the Jacksonville Jaguars. When you turn on the film, they're already showing that they're a completely different team in a good way."
What stands out to you about the Jacksonville Jaguars this year?
"Guys are making plays all over the field, from both sides of the ball, specifically on the defensive. They're playing at a high level from their front seven to the back end and they're doing it on a consistent basis, week in and week out."
With the progression of the passing game, is this something you can build on?
"I think we can definitely build on it. At the end of the day, it's about starting fast is the name of the game. The message to specifically on our side, the offense, being able to start fast like we started in that second half."
What limits you on offense that keeps the consistency from growing?
"Just the penalties, the pre-snap penalties. Not biting ourselves in the foot in that aspect, staying ahead of the chains. Anytime you can stay ahead of the chains in this game you're going to give yourself a better chance to stay on the field. I think that's the biggest thing that pops off."