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Houston Texans

Transcripts: 11-29-2021 Press Conferences 


After reviewing the film, how did you feel OL Tytus Howard and OL Lane Taylor played?

"I thought they both played well together. They did a nice job. I was very happy for Lane to finally get some extensive action. He was only out a couple of plays. We were concerned with his endurance and what not, but he did a nice job. They both played well."

The offensive line had a lot of success when pulling OL Justin McCray to the other side. When he was out did things change?

"It did change. As a matter of fact, Justin was playing very well up to that point. Very happy to see because he didn't play quite as well the week before. He came back, was playing very well and when he went out, obviously it made a big difference with us." 

What do you think is the best position for OL Tytus Howard long term?

"Well right now with the situation we are in, we are going to put him where we feel like he gives us the best chance depending on the matchup we have. We know he can do both. We know he is very affective doing both and we'll just kind of take it week to week to see where best fits until Laremy (Tunsil) gets back to see what needs best fit him."

Do you have an update on DB Justin Reid?

"We'll have a meeting this afternoon and we'll talk about it." 

Have you determined more about DB Justin Reid's return?

"We'll talk about it a little more today."

What are you looking for in the discussion with DB Justin Reid?

"Well just to make sure that he understands that we are all in on everything we are doing. I'm not saying that he wasn't all in, but we have rules and we have standards here. I just felt like last week in that particular situation, he didn't meet those standards and when that happens, I made a decision."

What is your standard for when coaches and players disagree?

"It wasn't just a disagreement. It has something to do with our rules and our standards. It wasn't just a disagreement."

What are some things you can fix going forward with the inconsistencies with the offense?

"The good thing was in the first half we actually had like four sacks, we only had one in the second half. Even the one we had in the second half, Tyrod (Taylor) should have gotten the ball out. It had nothing to do with our offensive line. The big thing we saw from the first half to the second half is that in the first half, our first two drives, we had back to back drive where we scored a touchdown because we executed. In the second half yesterday, there were times when guys were off a play here, a play there. They didn't do the right thing and it got us behind the sticks. When we get behind the sticks, it's tough for us to come back."

Once OL Justin McCray was out, was that not a pulling scheme that OL Max Scharping was comfortable with?

"No, it wasn't. We went on and did the things that we felt we needed to do with him. It's just that Justin is much better at doing that. We did some of that even after he went out. That has really nothing to do with us not being able to effectively do what we are doing when Justin was in there." 

How hard is it when something that was working well on offense is taken out of the game?

"What ends up happening is there are other things that we have to go to and do. When we are doing the right things and a couple of times yesterday, we didn't do the right thing in critical moments which put us behind the sticks. When you do that, it doesn't matter what scheme we are running, it gets us behind the sticks.

Given the way the offense has performed, why not consider changing play calling?

"That's not even a question about Tim (Kelly) being the play caller. We got to play better. It has nothing to do with the play call. It has something to do with us playing better and doing things the right way."

Can you evaluate your overall rookie class and what do you want to see from them the rest of the season?

"For them to keep growing. They are growing. They are doing a good job of getting better each week. All we want them to do each week is to get better. All of those guys who are playing for us right now, regardless of what their role is, are getting better. You are starting to see it with Nico (Collins), starting to see it with (Roy) Lopez. You are starting to see it with (Garret) Wallow on special teams. All of those guys are doing a really good job of progressing and I think that's a credit to the veteran guys on this football team. They see how they are being professional about going through a tough, tough year with a won-loss record and still going out there every day and doing things the right way. Those guys are falling right into that and they are getting better because of that."

Is there a chance we can see QB Davis Mills again?

"If something happens to Tyrod (Taylor), you could see him."

So, if QB Tyrod Taylor is healthy he's the starter?

"He's the starter."

What are the challenges for you as a head coach when you have a situation like you did with DB Justin Reid and not letting it become a distraction?

"It's a not a distraction anymore. We took care of it. When those things happen, you take care of it and you move on. That's what we did in this situation."

What do you guys do as a staff to improve execution?

"The thing is when we call a play, the guys got to do the right thing. Sometimes when the focus is not right in certain situations and it usually happens with us after a negative play, the thing we have to be able to do is have that next play mentality and not allow the bad play that happened before to interfere with what's happening going forward. We have to do a better job of doing that."

Is there any point in the season where you start thinking about the draft and how to help your team with that?

"No, not at all."

When do you start thinking about that?

"All I think about right now is winning the next football game. That's Nick (Caserio)."

Do you think OL Justin Britt will play this week?

"We hope so. We will see what happens when we go out there on Wednesday, but we are hoping to see what he does and see if we can get him back. He actually practiced a day last week, but he wasn't ready."

Do you think OL Laremy Tunsil will play again this year?

"I hope so. I'm hoping he does. Looking for him too."

Given the inconsistency of the run game, why didn't you give RB Royce Freeman a chance yesterday?

"The two guys in the back field were doing a nice job for us of running the football."

Do you think the run game problems have more to do with the offensive line or the running backs?

"Well it has something to do with everybody on the offense. The line, when the backs aren't always hitting the right hole, we aren't always making the right calls. It's combination of things. It's not who is running the ball. It's how we are all executing it when we are out there running those plays."

The screen that got blown up on the interception is a play you guys use often in the red zone. Do you feel like that was part of the reason the Jets were prepared for that?

"No, the guy made a play. I mean Tyrod (Taylor) tried to get the ball over him. The guy made a good football play and then did a nice job on it."

Is there an effort to get TE Brevin Jordan and WR Nico Collins more reps?

"I think what I am seeing now is the opportunity coming up in the game where they are in those situations, like the situation with Brevin yesterday on the touchdown. It was zero coverage that Miami did to us a bunch of times. He and Tyrod (Taylor) were on the same page. He learned from it from the previous couple of weeks, made a play on it and got us a touchdown. That's just from him playing and those guys doing their thing and getting a feel for what we are doing."

Is there anything you would like to see Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly do better?

"No, I would just like to see our whole offense do better, me as a head coach do better in getting things the way it should be. But no, there is no question about our play calling. It's the fact that we are not doing what we need to do when the play is called."

If QB Tyrod Taylor stays healthy, have you seen enough from QB Davis Mills on and off the field to believe he could your quarterback next season?

"I believe he could be a quarterback in this league for a long time."


What was it like for you to be back at left tackle?

"It felt pretty good. It's good to get a chance to get back out there on the edge and play. I felt like it was a pretty good first game for me, and a lot to learn from. The only job is to get better and move forward."

What was the conversation like with the coaching staff to move you to left tackle?

"It was pretty much like an ongoing thing throughout the week. I pretty much have been preparing for this situation all season. Throughout camp, throughout the season, I've been getting multiple reps at a lot of different positions. So, the coaches pretty much prepared me to play any position on the offensive line so far this season."

What are the challenges in moving to left tackle, and how do you feel you handled them?

"It was just pretty much getting used to playing back in space. I think I did a pretty good job. There's always stuff I feel like myself, that I can learn on and I can learn from. There's a couple plays I wish I could've been better for my team. But my job is to be better this coming week, and that's my goal for this week."

What position do you feel most comfortable in?

"It's not really like which one I feel better at, because I think I can be a great guard, but I also think I can be a great tackle. For me, it's just putting the time in and each one on, seeing which one fits me best through this season, and I think that's my goal."

As an offensive lineman, how do you think all the movement affects your development?

"For me, I really don't think it affects me at all, to be honest, because we're all in the NFL. Everybody's good, so I feel like I go against great guys inside and out. I practiced both throughout the season, throughout camp, throughout the offseason, so when it comes to my development, it's all about what work I'm putting in. And then my coaches, they're putting in work with me and stuff like that. As far as development, I feel like no matter if I was at guard or tackle this whole season, each week I feel like I've gotten better. So, that's my goal, to continue to get better so by the end of the season, I feel like I've made a jump."

How do you compartmentalize the different positions?

"When it comes to game plan, that comes (as) a part of studying all the plays, all the positions, studying what everyone's supposed to do. When it's playbook-wise, I know my playbook pretty good. I'm pretty smart. But when it comes to technique, it's really like putting the extra work in, maybe before or after practice, something like that. Trying to be able to switch it up knowing that at any given time during a game, one person goes down, we might have to make a movement. So, being prepared for that opportunity, I think that's what got me to where I am right now."

What was the feedback like from Offensive Line Coach James Campen?

"He told me I played pretty good, pretty well. That was my first game back, I played pretty good. But like I said, I want to play even better. So, my goal is always be the best I can be at every situation I do, every game, to get better. Hopefully next week I can correct some of the things I need to correct so I can be even better for my team."

How different was it working with OL Lane Taylor and working on double teams?

"For me and Lane (Taylor), I think actually we did pretty good yesterday with double teams. It was good to have him beside me. He's a vet, he's been playing this game for a long time. I feel like we got our camaraderie pretty good early on in the game yesterday, so I think working with him was a huge success for the offense, and I think it's only going to get better with time."

How often can you switch positions and keep progressing?

"I think I can do it on the move any time, to be honest. It's just a flip of the switch. I think I've been doing it long enough to (where) I'm used to it now, so when I come into a game preparing for the game, I prepare myself to be able to move to any position any time."

How do you evaluate the current rookie class?

"I think it's going pretty good. I think it was last week, a lot of guys asked me about Roy (Lopez) and stuff. I think he's been doing pretty good. Even though Jimmy (Morrissey) wasn't a part of our rookie class, him coming in and stepping up at center, which is a huge role in this offense, I think he's learning, getting better each and every day. Everybody knows how I feel about Davis (Mills). I think Davis has got a bright future behind him. So, I think the rookie class, without having a first round pick, I think our coaches, GM, everybody upstairs did a pretty good job picking up some great football players."


Can you take us through your touchdown, the route you ran, and what you saw from the coverage?

"They were in zero coverage. We ran a concept that, honestly, the ball wasn't supposed to come to me. It was really designed to go to Nico (Collins). They were in zero coverage, and Tyrod (Taylor) just really took a blind faith on me and through the ball to a spot where I was going to be, and then we got in."

What do you think overall about your rookie class? What do you expect from the class from here on out?

"I think we've done a tremendous job so far, just being professionals, learning under the vets and just trying to do our jobs to the best of our abilities, and just be contributors to our team. I think the future for our rookie class is very bright. Our rookie class, all of us have pretty much played. We've contributed to the team, and I think we're just going to continue to get better."

With the scoring opportunities you and WR Nico Collins have gotten, how valuable are those opportunities to progress as young players?

"Every opportunity that you get, especially as a young guy, is valuable. You have to capitalize on your opportunities. So, on third down, that's my opportunity to keep the chains moving, to keep the offense rolling so we can go score. Being able to have the coaches' trust and go out there on third down, they trust me to go make a play, and that's a huge deal for me."

As someone who sat out the first part of the year, how would you compare learning with the live reps as opposed to just learning from practice?

"It's way different. When you're inactive, you're just watching. You see a team, they run a couple stunts or whatever, they run a certain coverage, and you're like, 'Okay, I see that.' From the sideline it's different, but on the field when a team is disguising cover two, then they drop to cover one or whatever the situation is, it's always a little bit faster. Getting that time to be inactive and really study and learn how to read coverages and how to read zones, and just everything. It's helped a lot."

What does it mean to you personally to have the coaches' trust so soon?

"It's a huge deal. I'm a rookie, so just to be able to have that trust - we have, what, six more games left? I think my opportunities are just going to continue to get bigger. I'm excited. I'm happy that they trust me, especially on third down."

Do you think expectation for you is to be a matchup-winner in situations like third downs?

"Yeah, that's the expectation for me, but also, I want to be a guy that's going to be a complete tight end. I want to be able to play first, second and third down. They trust me in the run game, too, on a power or zone play. Yeah, that's my role right now, but my expectations for myself is to be a three-down tight end."

Do you feel like you've grown in the run game?

"Absolutely, absolutely. Just getting the live reps, and in practice, blocking the guys we have on our team has definitely helped me a lot. I feel like blocking-wise, I've done pretty good up to this point."

What does scoring a touchdown do for your confidence?

"My confidence has been sky-high since I've gotten drafted, really. It's been sky-high just because of the people that are in this building, the support they give us. Dylan Thompson and his staff, how much they've shown they trust us to be professionals. My confidence has been sky-high, you guys are just now finally starting to see it." 

In terms of blocking, how important is it for you to get stronger and add weight? What do you weigh right now, and what would be ideal for you to be able to block the way you want?

"My weight right now is 250, so I'm not getting no heavier than that. As long as I'm in the NFL, I won't be heavier than 250, but definitely getting stronger. Coach Mike (Eubanks), his staff, that's what they're doing right now to the rookie class. We lift more than everybody, so it's just a thing about getting bigger, getting stronger, continuing to grow, because as time passes I'm going to get a little older. I'm only 21 right now, I'm a little baby. But as time passes, God bless me to have a long career. I've got to be able to be strong and hold my ground."

What has been Director of Team Development Dylan Thompson's role in helping you?

"That's my guy. Dylan Thompson, he really is just like the overseer of our rookie class. We always have meetings with him. He's always just making sure we're good. But even aside Dylan just doing his job, he's more so like a figure for us. We really look up to Dylan. He helps us out with a lot. He always makes sure we're good emotionally, physically, mentally, everything. His job is huge, and it's definitely helped me keep a positive mindset."

Does Director of Team Development Dylan Thompson help you with coaching too?

"Dylan (Thompson) played football, so Dylan knows his football. He always is throwing to Nico (Collins) and Brandin (Cooks) on the sideline. His job is just to be there for us, and he does a tremendous job at it."

Can you talk about the journey from playing a lot in college, to being a rookie here and not playing much, to now earning more opportunities?

"That journey, it's been beautiful. That's the word I'll actually use for it. It's been beautiful, because the Houston Texans, they drafted me and they didn't throw me right into the fire like a lot of first round, second round guys. They didn't throw me right into the fire and say, 'go play.' For me, not that I wasn't comfortable, but I had to learn how to be a pro. I had to learn how to watch Jordan Akins. I had to watch Pharaoh Brown, and (Antony) Auclair and Quez (Paul Quessenberry), and all those guys. I had to learn how to be a pro, and once I got my feet wet and learned what it takes to last in this league a long time, I was ready to go. The Texans saw it, the staff saw it, so they're just letting me loose."


Can you take us through your interception? You've been waiting for that for a while.

"A long time, I've been waiting a long time. Happy it came yesterday. Mad we didn't get the win but glad I got my first one."

How do you think the defense is playing overall?

"We are playing pretty good. There are little areas we can clean up. We are playing pretty good, but we got to get the wins. Somehow, someway we have to come out and try to get another turnover or anything. We just have to get in the endzone. We haven't gotten in the endzone all year on defense, so that is one of the goals, not just take the ball away but get in the endzone." 

How did you feel in your role in the pass rush yesterday?

"I felt like I did good. I felt like the team did good. We just trust the coaching. I'm just doing my job and just doing our jobs."

What are some of the things you feel the defense could do better?

"On third down. Get our third downs down more. Really third down, like money down, we have to get off the field. I remember it was fourth and five, we could have gotten off the field right there. When it was a fumble, get that turnover right there, give the offense more time to get the ball in the endzone to win the game. Just little stuff like that."

On the fourth down plays that the Jets converted, what did you see on those?

"There was one play on fourth down that I know was my problem, my fault. I took the cheese on fourth and five and they threw a dig right behind me. Just the little things. You just have to trust your keys and do the little things right and we get off the field on those downs."

How much have you started to understand the big picture on defense and learning with Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith on that?

"I've learned a lot because I'm a nickel. I'm the only nickel and I'm the Lovie every day, all day and he teaches me everything from all standpoints, safety, corner, linebackers. I know what everybody is doing. When one person messes up, everybody knows who to look at. So, it's getting pretty good, everybody just playing together and trusting their teammate."

Is it mostly a film thing where you are learning each position or sometimes in practice you do it?

"It's just film. Sometimes in practice we switch in and out, but really film because you never know if two guys go down at corner, I'll probably have to go in at corner. If two guys at safety, got to go in at safety. Just have to be ready, try to help the team win."

The Colts burned you guys deep in Week 6, but you haven't given up big plays since. What has been the difference since then?

"We are playing tighter coverage. Everybody playing tighter. At the end of the day, if people can't go over top on us it's going to be hard to score against us because dinking and dunking it all the way down the field is going to be tough because it gives us more opportunity to take the ball away."

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