GENERAL MANAGER NICK CASERIO
"Just a quick note about the Astros, I know everybody was kind of glued to their chair, bittersweet end. But honestly, great organization, great team. They had a great season, accomplished a lot. Came up a little bit short in the end, but just a credit to what they've done and what they're doing. Honestly, both teams, when you look back at what Atlanta's gone through and what Houston, the Astros have gone through. Just as it pertains to the Houston Astros, the city of Houston and the level of interest and the joy that was brought over the last couple weeks, credit to them. Their season ended up a little bit short, but great season, nonetheless. It was fun to follow them and watch them, whether it was Dusty (Baker), the players, watching those games, just thought the strategy and how much actually goes into it, it's similar to football, different, but there are some similarities, really to football in a lot of different respects.
As it pertains to the roster, basically, where we're at here currently, we (have) 52 players on the roster with the release of Vernon (Hargreaves III) yesterday, the trade of Charles (Omenihu) and added Hardy Nickerson from the practice squad to the roster. That puts us at 52, so we have an open roster spot. I'd say that's pretty fluid. Whether or not we fill that today, tomorrow, a week from now whenever it is. And then 16 on the practice squad with the two new additions in Chris Smith, a defensive end, and T.J. Green, a corner. So, that's where we are roster-wise.
Just speaking on a couple different topics or items here, quickly, as it pertains to Deshaun (Watson). Going back to training camp when we kind of got together, it was our first opportunity to get together as a group. We essentially said we're going to take him one day at a time, we're going to assess the situation, take the information that comes in, be respectful of everybody and all the parties involved. I would say with Deshaun, including other player throughout the league, there were various levels of discussions specific to him, and specific to some other players, as well. In the end, there was no trade that came to fruition, so I don't really have any comment about some of the logistics and mechanics about what happened, what hasn't happened, what did happen. I would say that's where we are here for today. I actually talked to Deshaun here this morning. He and I had a conversation, so we're moving forward. We'll evaluate that situation as we move along here.
As it pertains to the team, just relative to where we are: look, we're 1-7, nobody's happy with where we are. I think all of us need to be better, myself included. Myself, players, coaches, we're all accountable. We all need to do a better job with our performance, and we're going to try to figure out ways that we can do that. I think any time that you put a program in place, you're trying to build a program, I think all of us understand there's going to be some bumps that come along the way. We've been competitive in half the games, and in half the games, we haven't been competitive. Some of that is self-induced, some of it is some of the things that we've done. I think there's a level of accountability in this building that's refreshing, that everybody realizes we're all a part of this. We all need to do better, and that's what we're going to do. We're going to take it one day at a time. Our goal for the rest of the season and each week is try to focus on the opponent that week, and try to get a win each week. That's what we're going to try to do. We're going to try to do that to the best of our ability. We're going to evaluate our opportunities each week, what we need to do to win that game, and we're going to put as much effort into it as we possibly can, and whatever the result is, obviously, we'll have some control over that if we do the right things.
I would say that's just a couple things in terms of where we are. I'm sure you'll have some questions. I think it's probably important to put this out here a little bit, I don't know if I ever really stated it or said it. But, again, what are we trying to build here, in terms of our program? I think everybody kind of gets caught up in culture, like what does that exactly mean? I think there are a lot of different definitions of how that's interpreted. Culture's about habits and about action. It's about work. That's what culture's about. It's being able to build up a series of habits, a series of actions, and putting those in place so you have something sustainable for a long period of time. That's what we're trying to do. There's a lot of work that goes into it, it's not going to happen all at once. It's going to take a lot of purposeful effort, purposeful work. I would say, what are we trying to be? What are the Houston Texans trying to be? We're looking for good players who are good people that care about winning, that put the team first, that put the team above themselves, and are committed to work through purposeful action. If you're asking me, 'What are we trying to do?' That's what we're trying to do. Now, does that happen all at once? No, not necessarily. There's always a lot of moving parts, but the goal is to put some of those parameters in place, and to place something place we can sustain for a long period of time. I'd say right now, we're in a rough spot. We haven't played as well as we had hoped, and we're all accountable. The most important thing is to focus on the next step and what we can do moving forward, and that's what we're going to try to do."
What are the advantages of waiting until March 16th to trade QB Deshaun Watson?
"Right now the focus is on Miami on Sunday. Anything as it pertains to the offseason, the draft, there will be plenty of time to talk about that. I think the focus right now is on the Miami Dolphins."
Do you believe QB Deshaun Watson's legal situation played a part in the difficulty of trading him?
"I don't know. I don't really want to comment on something that's sort of out of my control. Again, we just take it one step at a time, and just take the information as it comes, and try to make good decisions the best we can. In the end, there wasn't a trade that came to fruition. That happens all the time. It happens in business, you look at corporate America, whether it's football, whether it's basketball, whether it's corporate America. I mean, PayPal was going to buy Pinterest, and then that deal fell through. So, when you just take a global view of this which I think sometimes we all need to do, it's important to do because there are a lot of similarities that's what we're going to do, we're no different. We're looking at it ourselves as a business entity, and how we approach it, and that's how we're going to handle the day-to-day."
How much did you help facilitate the Dolphins as they did their due diligence?
"Respectfully, what another team or organization does, I don't want to speak for them about what their level of work is or isn't. My focus is on the Houston Texans, and that's where it's going to remain."
What do you say when people ask why QB Deshaun Watson is not playing?
"I don't want to speak for somebody. I'm never going to interpret someone's beliefs, what their wishes are. That's not my responsibility. My responsibility is to the people in our building. I have a fiduciary responsibility to 200-or-so people in NRG Stadium on a day-to-day basis, whether it's the business entity, our coaches, our players, our operations staff, and quite frankly, to the fans of our organization, which we have a lot of great fans. Anecdotally, we've actually had a lot of support. I've had people come up to me randomly and just let us know how much they appreciate what we're trying to do. Again, it's nice to hear. It hasn't necessarily translated over into what everybody had hoped, but we've had a lot of support, and my job is to try to do the best job on a day-to-day basis for this organization as possible. That's what I was hired to do, and I'm going to try to do that to the best of my ability, and I can't do that by myself. There are a lot of people that are involved in that, and we're going to try to continue to bring as many good people in this building that help us accomplish our goals."
Would you play QB Deshaun Watson if he wanted to play?
"I'm not going to comment about what we're going to do on a day-to-day basis."
Can you comment on trading DL Charles Omenihu?
"Good question. We haven't really talked about Mark (Ingram II), but if you want to lump Mark into that discussion as well, there's two trades that have taken place. I would say in Charles' (Omenihu) situation, similar to what we do with any particular situation, we kind of go through – David (Culley) and I have a lot of good discussions, myself, our staff, and ultimately, we try to do what we think makes the most sense for our team. Charles was a good player for this team, he's done a lot of good things. In the end, we felt like this made the most sense for our team and for him, to get a good opportunity to go to a good organization with a lot of good people. In Mark (Ingram II)'s case, when you look at players and trades, it's a case-by-case basis. In the nature of this discussion, we're kind of talking about three different situations, and they're not all the same. Deshaun (Watson), Mark (Ingram II) and Charles (Omenihu). In Mark's situation, Mark did a lot of great things for this team. Nobody is a bigger fan of Mark Ingram than myself. What he brought to our team, his leadership, his energy on a day-to-day basis. It's a very unique situation that came up. We're very honest and transparent about that situation with Mark, and the circumstances. Mark has mentioned this, and quite frankly, if it wasn't the Saints, we probably wouldn't have entertained the discussion. In the end, we felt like it was the right thing to do by Mark, and the right thing to do for our team and organization. I think just from a fundamental standpoint and our principles, we're always going to try to do the right thing, what we think is best by everybody involved. Sometimes it might be different than what that individual thinks, but we understand that."
Has QB Deshaun Watson said he will only play for the Dolphins?
"I'm not going to comment about what his decision-making mechanism is, or what he's thinking about doing. My focus is on the Texans. So, again, we'll take it one day at a time, and then as the information comes through, and if something were to change, then we'll address it accordingly."
When you talked about building culture, how long does that take? A couple weeks ago, WR Brandin Cooks talked about the team being undisciplined. How much of that falls on you?
"We're all responsible. I think at some point, we're all accountable for actions and our patterns of behavior. Some of this is behavior science-based. Your actions are usually giving an indication about what you believe in. I think you have to be purposeful, and quite frankly, and this isn't specific to the Houston Texans, it's throughout the league, some players are more committed than others. That's just the reality of what goes on. Our job and responsibility is to try to maximize whatever somebody has, and if someone's not maximizing what we feel is the best, then we have to find somebody else to do it. Ultimately, the players are accountable to themselves. We can have as much accountability from an organizational standpoint, from a coaching staff standpoint, but most importantly, the players are accountable to each other, because when they go out there on Sunday, when you're on the field, you're relying on the guy next to you. Just speaking from experience, there's a multitude of examples, outside of Tom (Brady). Let's not talk about Tom, but just anecdotally, we have some players on this team that have that same sort of mindset. When you go back, I was around guys like Rodney Harrison, (Willie) McGinest and Junior Seau. Three arguably pretty good, really good players, Hall-of-Fame-ish caliber players. They kind of had a breakfast club, show up 5:30 in the morning in the weight room. Wasn't required to be there, but they showed up. If a guy was late, they would say, 'Good afternoon.' They kind of needled each other to push each other. Or (Junior) Seau going into the weight room at 5:30, and literally playing Mike linebacker and simulating the call and positioning. Is that extreme? It depends on the lens through which you look through it, and your level of commitment and focus. I would say we have a lot of players on this team with those similar habits. I would put Brandin Cooks at the top of the list. We have players that have that level of commitment, and ultimately, if you want to be great and you want to have sustained success, that's arguably what it's going to take from however many players you have on your team."
Can you give us an evaluation of QB Davis Mills? What is an advantage of going back to QB Tyrod Taylor?
"We'll talk about (Davis) Mills specifically, first. Davis has said this, there's been some good plays, and there's been some plays that he would probably want to have back. At times, he's played okay. He's made some good decisions, he's made some good throws. Other times, he's probably made some sort of ill-advised plays or throws. Anyway, you go through the league, I would say specific to the rookie class, he's probably been, other than Mac (Jones), as competitive as the rest of them. Again, he's got a lot of work to do, he's got a lot of progress in front of him. He's made some progress in some areas. There are certainly some areas he can improve, and he's certainly committed to doing that. To your second question, Tyrod (Taylor), he'll practice today, and we'll evaluate it day to day, and ultimately, we'll do what's best for that particular week, what we feel gives us the best chance to win the game. If Tyrod is prepared to play, and we feel that's the way to go, then we'll go with him. If we feel Davis is the way to go, then we'll go with Davis."
How far away are the Texans as a franchise from getting to the same level of success as the Braves and Astros?
"I don't have a crystal ball. It's going to take a lot of work. I'd say we're however long we've been here, eight months sort of building a program, and putting a program in place. There's a different arc. They're not all the same, there are some similarities. When you just study organizational behavior, study organizations, study the leadership models, look at different teams, the Braves went through a pretty rough patch there for a long time. A.J. Minter, there was a video of him, just some comments, three or four minutes about everything that they've gone through and what they went through to get to this point, and what it took. You all know better than I do, but there was a period from '06 to '14, organizationally, the Astros had some challenges. They were able to overcome those. You look at the NBA, the Phoenix Suns, they were the worst team in the league in whatever year that was, and they went to the NBA Finals last year. I'm not saying that's going to happen tomorrow, or that's going to happen next year. There's no crystal ball, there's no timetable. That's all we can do is stack up the days, put some building blocks in place and try to make a continual improvement on a day-to-day basis. And then, the results will take care of themselves, but it takes a comprehensive effort from essentially everyone in the building. Quite frankly, we've got a lot of great people that are in our building on a day-to-day basis, which some of you don't see the unseen group that works in some of our other areas, football operations, data technology, sports science. We're continually adding those people to the building that we think can help us and help serve the players. Ultimately, their job, our job is to serve the players and help the players so we can go out there and perform and optimize their performance on a Sunday on a weekly basis. That's where we're trying to get to. Are we there yet? Absolutely not. Do we have a lot of work in front of us? You bet. But no one here I'll speak for myself is afraid to roll up their sleeves, and understands the massive amount of work that it's going to take. That's the beauty of it, that's the challenge of it. I'll speak specifically from my experience. I've been in football 30 years going back to high school, college and however many years, 21st year in the league. I've had two losing seasons my whole entire career. That's the reality of life. Sometimes you're going to have to face some challenges, sometimes you're going to have to deal with things, that's okay. That's why we're here. We're try to improve, try to fix problems, try to find solutions and try to move forward, and that's what we're going to try to do."
How do you deal with the QB Deshaun Watson situation while trying to build a culture?
"That's a fair question. Honestly, it hasn't been a distraction. I don't want to speak for anybody else, but it really hasn't been a distraction for me, and our team has done a great job of focusing on the things that they can control as well. I said quite frankly, it's probably more of a distraction away from here. It doesn't really affect anything we are doing on a day to day basis."
When you try to make trades, who do you consult with and what is the value they bring to that?
"Your personnel department is involved in that. So, our group there, because you happen to have an understanding of the league, who may be available, who is available. I'd say throughout the course of the year whether, it's in the fall or when you start to look at the draft, we essentially talk to every team in the league. So, whether it's the pro personnel director or the college scouting director may have a contact with another team. Reach out, 'hey, just wanted to reach out, just want to have a conversation. Are there any players that you may be looking to have a discussion about or move?' Ok, so you take that information in and you assess it and say is there any player that makes some sense? We kind of get together as a group and sift through. Ultimately, it's all kind of funnels to my desk. If there is something that we feel makes sense, I'll talk to David (Culley) about it and then we will have a discussion, whether its with the coordinator or whoever is most intimately affected. Ultimately, the decision, our decision, it's my decision but it's our decision, they are not made I would say unilaterally. It involves multiple people. I would say from a process standpoint that's the best way I can articulate that to you."
When you're discussing trades with other general managers, what is your philosophy on trading picks that may be contingent on an outside factor such as suspension?
"I would say every transaction or every deal takes on a life of its on. I would say pretty open minded and flexible just from a thought process standpoint. I think you have to be flexible, be willing to have some adaptation. There's really no hard and fast rule. I think any trade or any agreement or any business agreement, it takes both parties to agree upon whatever the parameters are. You're either comfortable with the parameters or you're not. Ultimately, you have to make that decision."
Where you comfortable with conditional picks as a part of the QB Deshaun Watson trade?
"I would say we talked to, not necessarily in this situation, we've talked about a number of different things. I haven't seen a lot of reporting, but the veracity of what has been reported is a little bit stretched, but that's just the nature of how these things work. I would say that every discussion we have, that I have, is internal. So, it's not like we are taking the information. I think sometimes there is some speculation that goes into, it if I'm being honest, but that's ok. I know what the conversations are with whatever party, whatever team we are discussing a trade with."
What was the market like for players on one-year contracts? How much did strategy with compensatory picks factor into your decisions?
"We have about thirty players under contract next year. I don't know if compensatory picks are really going to be a part of the formula. You don't want to spend to much time on that. I would say trades are always a function of the level of interest from an opposing party. You can't make it up, you can't say, 'Well this guy's here, let's try to trade him.' If there is no interest in the player, then you can't trade the player. Again, every team knows, mostly every team knows what a player's status is, what his situation is, and they will ask about, 'what do you think about so and so? Is he available? Then you tell them, 'he might be.' Ok, then they go about it, what's the value, what's the worth? Then you decide, is it worth keeping that player? Or do we move on from that player? Again, there is no set formula, set way to do it, we have a lot of players that are not under contract for next year. We will be busy in the off season, but that's ok."
How did the cap changing from the pandemic impact the trade deadline league wide?
"Probably not that much. Everybody's cap situation is a little different. I would say when you look at where teams are, I would say two-thirds of the league were pretty tight, call it in the one to two million dollar range. You have to get creative about how you structure contracts or what you can actually take on. We're actually like 11th. We went from 12th to 11th over a course of a week and we didn't do anything. Is that more a product of with what other teams do? I don't know. We incrementally talked about this whenever we met a couple of months ago, just kind of our cap situation, to where we were to where we are now. We can operate the rest of the year, whatever we don't use, we'll use it, or it will roll over to the next year and then we can start some of our planning. I would say some of those big picture things, that's probably more to your question about trades, that's more of what I am thinking more about as opposed to the day to day, going out the practice. But again, think about everything, but that particular bucket is something certainly I am thinking about here and just kind of planning here as we move forward."
How would you classify the QB Deshaun Watson situation?
"It's a serious situation, given the circumstances. I don't think we want to lose sight of the serious nature of what is happening, aside from football. Let's take it away from football for a minute. So, that's real, that's real life. There's that component and then there is a functionality, Houston Texans, football team, day-to-day business. To a certain extent, we have to be respectful of both sides. My focus, our focus has to be on the things that we can control, which are the things that we are doing on a day to day basis. If there is some information or some material on the outside that affects what we do or what's going on with us, then that will obviously have more of an impact."
When you hear that Whitney Mercilus say that there are problems in the organization from the top, what do you think of that?
"I have a lot of respect for Whitney and what he's done. I certainly don't agree with what he said. I'm not sure of the exact context of how that was said or what he meant by that. Again, if there is more clarity on what that means. Again, we have a lot of great interactions. Players have come up to us, come up to me about how much they love being here, that they want to be here, they want to stay here, the things that we are doing they believe in. Again, it depends on the lens through which you look through it. I have a lot of respect for Whitney (Mercilus). He's been a good player for a long time, not exactly sure the context or what he was implying. If there is more clarity on that, certainly love to answer that."
What is the value of bringing in QB Tyrod Taylor to play when loses are as wide when the chances of playoffs are slim?
"Each week is its own entity. So, you have to evaluate the week, evaluate the team in front of you and evaluate your team and say, 'ok what are the things we need to do to in order to give ourselves a chance to be successful on Sunday, and who gives us the best chance to do that?' Forget about anything else, that's what we are doing. I would say there are certain areas that quite frankly we haven't done very well in. Tackling, penalties, turnovers and big plays. Like those areas, we haven't done a good job in those areas. That's a collective effort. That's all of us. That's players, that's myself. So, we have to find ways to improve that and if we can improve in those areas, then we'll give ourselves a better chance. Specifically, to turnover margins, not to focus in on one area, when you evaluate the league and go through the league, I think the top six or seven teams their turnover margin, whatever they are, is plus-five or six . I mean other than Indy, Indy is a good team, but their record doesn't necessarily say they are a good team. They are second in the league with turnover margin. The rest of the teams are some of the best teams in the league and have a pretty good winning percentage. We are 23rd in the league in turnover margin and the teams below that their records are similar. Not to oversimplify taking care of the ball, but we've actually looked at this. If you are zero in the turnover margin, you have like a 70 percent chance of winning. If you're plus-one on the turnover margin, you have an 83 percent or 80 percent. If you are plus-two on the turnover margin, you are at 93 percent. Again, forget about anything else, if you focus on that, at least you give yourself an opportunity to be in a position to potentially win a game. There is times when we've done that and there's other times where we haven't. That's' the truth. Not to oversimplify it, but that's part of it."
What would you say to the fans to keep them encouraged going forward?
"I mean look, we need to do better. We all need to do better. We're accountable, accountable to this organization, we're accountable to each other and we just have to find ways to improve and get better. That's our responsibility, not only to each other here in this building but to our fans as well. That's our commitment and we are going to work as hard as we can and do the best we can on a day to day basis to do that."
Is there anything instructive to you from other sports leagues about building a franchise?
"Yes. This goes back to behavioral science and organizational structure. They're not all the same. You can't just say, 'Well, this team did this. We're like this.' You have to look at some elements that may be similar. What are some of the things that they did to try to improve their situation. We're always trying to learn and find ways to get better. I think as a human being, curiosity and having the appetite to learn and take information in, that's something that I personally enjoy. The only way we're going to get better is to learn. How do we learn? We listen, we look, we try to assess information, and then we try to make good decisions. There's not one specific team, one specific organization. But you do look at models, whether it's in NBA, whether it's Major League Baseball, whether it's corporate America. We're not going to have enough time for that, but we can go through examples of, call it restructuring companies. I'm actually reading Michael Dell's book right now about when Dell went public, he built it out of his dorm room. They went private, and he was going through that process, because the company wasn't performing as well, and now they kind of reshaped the company. Now Dell, it's not a computer company anywhere, it's more a technology company. You're looking at a number of different areas, a number of different ways. If there's something you can you can glean, that you think there's an application, then that's our job and that's part of our responsibility."
WR NICO COLLINS
How hungry are you guys to break the losing streak?
"We are just looking at this week as another opportunity. Another chance to go out there and compete. That's our mindset this week. Another opportunity, another week. Let's improve from last week."
What can QB Tyrod Taylor add to the offense that you guys have been missing these past few weeks?
"A lot. Just his energy. I'm glad he's back, but I feel confident with either one, Davis (Mills) or him (Tyrod Taylor). I'm glad he's back. It's not fun being on the IR and not being a part of the team. Great feeling that he's back with us."
How was it going through your first trade deadline?
"It was alright. It was kind of sad losing people, seeing them go and come so quick. But I'm glad that I am here. It's a great opportunity for me. I'm just looking forward to every day, proving my game and just do whatever I can for the team."
Did you realize the NFL is a business?
"It's real. The trade deadline and cuts and everything. It's a lot. It's really a business. Just make sure you come in every day and do your part."
As a rookie, who have you seen and leaned on for an example of self-accountability in the business league like this?
"Just everybody in my position room. I am kind of youngest in there. (Brandin) Cooks, Danny (Amendola), (Chris) Conley, Chris Moore. Just the way they lead by example. The way they carry themselves. I just watch them every day. I'm glad that they are in my room and I get to see them as mentors. Whatever question I have, they are always there for me. I'm kind of just leaning on them. I am kind of just following."
In a losing streak, can you see how self-accountability can slide?
"You just have to trust the process. It's another opportunity, another week. It's really how you are going to respond the next week. Everything else is in the past is over with, so now we are looking forward to Miami this week. We are going to trust the game preparation and go out Sunday and have fun."
Have you had your 'welcome to the NFL' moment yet?
"Yeah, when I first got here. It didn't feel real. It felt like a dream come true. Lot of people in this league are great and to share the field with them on Sundays, man, it's a great feeling. It's real. Last week, sharing the field with Jalen Ramsey, I've been watching him forever and now I'm on the field with him. It's real and I'm glad that I'm here."
Did you matchup against Jalen Ramsey at all?
"Pretty sure I did. Depending on what side I was on. Pretty sure."
How was that?
"It was good. It was fun. Go out there and compete and play football. At the end of the day, it's just football."
Are you looking forward to the challenge to go against Byron Jones and Xavien Howard?
"It's another week, another matchup, another opportunity. That's how I'm looking at it. Going out there and trusting my skills in the game preparation and go out there Sunday and have fun and make plays."
What do you see from Byron Jones and Xavien Howard?
"They're great defensive backs. Got to respect their game. It's the reason they've been in the league for a while. They've been successful. Once again, I'm just going out there and playing football. Just another opportunity."
How excited were you for TE Brevin Jordan last week?
"I was so happy for him. He's been grinding, working his tail off. First time being activated, and that man came out there and made a big time play for us, put six on the score board. It was a great feeling. He's part of the rookie class, you know I was hype for him, for sure."
How do you view how you can help this team?
"That's my goal. Hopefully be a big impact on this team. My main focus is come in every day and get one percent better. Whatever I can to be here for the team, whatever the coaches need me to do, I do whatever for them. So, that's my mindset every day I come in the building. Just find ways to get better, to improve and help this team out."
What's the difference between working with QB Davis Mills and QB Tyrod Taylor?
"Tyrod's just got experience. He's been in the league for a while now and Davis is great too. But I feel confident with both of them, no matter who's in, who's not. I feel like they are both going to come up to the plate and do their thing."
WR BRANDIN COOKS
What's it like having QB Tyrod Taylor back at practice? He looks pretty good out there.
"He looks great. It was great to have him back. Just his presence. We look forward to it."
What is it about the Texans that wants to keep you motivated and want to turn this franchise around?
"It's more so about taking something that hasn't been too great and turning it around. That challenge in life is intriguing. I think we got some great pieces around here and I look forward to continuing building on that."
Is there anything from previous teams that you now have a little more appreciation for things that were already established in terms of a winning culture and how they do things?
"I've been blessed and fortunate to be a part of some great organizations. No one has it perfect. You take a little piece here and there. You would love to add that to your repertoire. Just try to add some of those things that I've learned from those places here so it can help us all get better."
Is there any different approach to Miami with them having a similar record to you guys?
"No. Not at all. We're dressing up for Sunday for another football game. Not looking at the record. They got a good football team. From a similarity standpoint, you don't think of that. At the end of the day, we both have to dress up Sunday and play a football game."
What does culture mean to you?
"That's a lot of things. First and foremost, it's the way that you go about business. The way I think about, when you have a positive culture, you walk around being able to love one another, be able to have fun and have that joy, in and outside the locker room. Obviously, we all get this is a business and that is what it is. But while you're here, you just want to be able to love others and do things together and make sure you are all on one accord from top to bottom. Not just players to players, but players to coaches, coaches to players, front office and everything. If we can do that, I think that right there is a positive step forward."
Have you seen management do the right thing when it comes to players with trades? Whenever they do that, what is the message?
"No comment. It's all dead and gone now. We got to move forward on that."
At what point in your career, did you realize there was a business side to the NFL?
"Pretty early on. Any time money is involved you kind of figure that out quick. You can only control what you control. Those things you have to trust the process, trust the organization on. For me, I've always tried to do the best I can to be the best I can for whoever I'm playing for."
DB JUSTIN REID
How have you approached the day after the trade deadline, with the rest of the season ahead?
"I don't know. It felt kind of close to a normal day. We went out there. I know there's been a little bit of changes going around, but that's the National Football League. It happens every year, so it's not anything that's particularly new. Practice was nice, the weather was a little cooler outside. Tyrod (Taylor) was also a breath of fresh air out there. So, it was nice."
How long did it take you to get acclimated to the business side of football?
"I would say the first year is a little bit like everything's new. The first time anything happens, like when you're in college, you don't change your roster around. A guy may transfer once every two years, or something like that. But that first year, going through training camp, the first cut day, trades in the middle of the season, the trade deadline are all hectic time periods. By the time the second year comes around, in combination with (how) I kind of knew about it with my older brother going through it before, too. That's when it became a little more almost ordinary."
What does the departure of DB Vernon Hargreaves III mean to you, and what does it say about the secondary?
"In the secondary, we're continuing to try and figure it out. Vernon's a good friend of mine, I hate to see him go. He's going to have an opportunity to play somewhere because he's a good player. We're just trying to figure it out on the back end, find the best combination to eliminate those missed tackles, stop the big plays and find a way to play a tighter defense."
How much does it hurt losing DL Charles Omenihu?
"Same thing with Chuck (Charles Omenihu). He came from Texas, he was always a ball of energy, too, when he was in the locker room. A good personality, a good character guy. But like I said, this is a business. Same thing with Mark (Ingram II), that happened last week, and everything like that. Those are all great guys, but that's just what the NFL is."
How much more difficult does it make it when you lose three players on defense?
"You miss the personalities, you miss the guys in the locker room, the camaraderie. Guys come in, too, and they also add another element to the camaraderie and the locker room personalities. Personalities are always shifting. Can't say that there was a whole lot of chemistry to begin with, because the whole defense is essentially new already, anyway. It hurts in a sense that you know those guys are going somewhere else, but like I said, it's just the NFL. It's what happens in this league."
How does the mentality of the team change when you are on a losing streak?
"The mentality's got to be the same. I always believe you've got to be the same guy regardless if you're on a seven-game winning streak or a seven-game losing streak, and that's just focusing at the task at hand. The task at hand right now is the Miami Dolphins. Like I said, Tyrod (Taylor) coming back this week has been a great breath of fresh air, and you can feel that electricity kind of running through the team. We're just going to go and we're going to play football. We're going to play with our fundamentals, we're going to get it right and we're going to try and get a win."
In what ways are you seeing the franchise's commitment to changing toward a winning culture?
"I see a commitment to their plan, and also a commitment to the details of what a team really is built around. No guy is bigger than the team. We're willing to do what's best for the team. You've got to show up on time, you've got to be responsive, those types of things. I've seen a strong commitment to that. And in the long run, that's going to help build a strong core of players that essentially are always doing the right thing. So, I have seen that."
How much are all the changes going to weigh into your options this offseason, deciding whether or not you want to stay here?
"I don't know, man. That's going to come whenever the offseason comes. We've still got, what is it, nine weeks left? So, I'm going to tackle the nine weeks. Those conversations are going to be had in February, and we're just going to have to figure it out then."
What do you see from Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa?
"I think he's a talented kid. I feel bad for him that he's struggled with so many injuries. I think all of us have seen the leg thing that happened with him, so that's unfortunate for him. As far as a quarterback talent, I think he has an accurate arm. I still think he's trying to find his groove into the NFL, so they're taking care of him with the short passes, RPOs, that type of thing. He is a lefty, (and) he's one of the few lefties in the league, so that's a little bit different as far as quick game goes, with tendencies and which direction he likes to go to, but he's a solid guy. He's talented. He was a first-round pick for a reason, so he's still just trying to find his wings and become their guy."
Who is your emergency punter and holder?
"I would assume it's got to be one of the quarterbacks to be the holder. I can go in there and punt if they need me to, that's easy."
Can you talk about the difference in preparing for a right-handed quarterback compared to a left handed quarterback?
"That's really two-fold, and that's a little bit with the rush game, as far as where you want the games to be. Normally, your left tackle is the most important lineman, but if you have a left-handed quarterback, it's really your right tackle, because that's the blind side of the quarterback. If you can put some stunts that's coming to his blind side on his back side, you have a better chance of him not seeing it and getting the ball out. Also in coverage, quarterbacks tend to have a tendency to whichever way their shoulders are open. So, if you're a right-handed quarterback, they typically like to throw a little bit more to their right, your left, and vice versa with a left-handed quarterback. So, you just pay attention to tendencies like that, and after that just play football."
What do you see from Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki?
"I see him as a receiving tight end. I don't think he likes to block very much, but he has good hands. He's a long guy. I don't think his speed will be a problem, but he is a big body. We're going to have to be able to play those jump ball-type balls that they're going to throw to him along the sideline."
What have you learned about yourself during this losing streak, and are you seeing commitment from your teammates?
"One thing that being on the streak right now does, is it reveals a lot of character. You find out a lot about yourself, and the type of player and the type of professional you are. Showing up today, still showing up every day and being a pro, doing your job, doing it with enthusiasm, taking care of your responsibilities on and off the field with the body recovery, and things like that. A lot of things just start to reveal themselves, and you learn what type of guy you are, because you've got to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, 'What could I be doing better?' You also get to see that in your peers around you."