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Houston Texans

Transcripts: 12-20-2021 Press Conferences 


After watching the tape, did anything stand out to you during the game that you liked?

"The two things that we did that we haven't done this year is that we scored on our opening drive and then we end up getting points in the second half off of that opening drive. I thought that was a positive that I hadn't thought about at that time. Going back and looking at it again other than the one mishap with Davis (Mills) taking care of the ball, our entire offense football team took care of the ball and did a nice job."

Was TE Brevin Jordan active in case of an emergency?

"Well we thought he would be able to play with that hand and it wasn't as good as we thought it would be. He was having trouble with it. If we could have used him more, we would have used him more. It was a matter of him not being able what he needed to do."

Why hasn't TE Brevin Jordan played on special teams?

"Just learning. That's him having to learn what you do on offense. He obviously started having a big role there. Special teams is a little bit different. I am talking things happen so fast. You got to be able to be an offensive guy and a defensive guy when you are playing special teams and we just didn't feel he was ready to do that. We are just kind of easing him into that point and I believe in time he is going to be a good special teams player for us."

Do you expect DB Justin Reid or any of the guys on the COVID list to play this week?

"I don't have an update right now. I think later on in the day we will know a little bit more about it and by Wednesday, we'll have a pretty good idea about those guys as far as their tests and getting consecutive negative tests. With Justin, it's just a matter of the where is he at right now with his concussion."

What did you see from Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross in designing the Tremon Smith kickoff return touchdown?

"We've been very good, and we've been a man or two away from breaking him earlier where one guy didn't quite get him up in the wedge where we needed to get him, one guy here and one guy there. Yesterday they got him up in that wedge and everybody had a hat on a hat. We talk about having a hat on a hat and you don't really have to have him blocked, you just kind of have to have your body on him. Yesterday on that particular one, they got him through there and he was coming through there so fast and so hard. He wanted it so bad. He had been so close a couple of times before. Once he got up in that wedge and there was like three or four guys there ready to tackle him and he just ran right through those guys. He could see it. He felt it because he had gotten clean further down the field than he had gotten in any of our other kickoff returns. He knew that was the opportunity to do it and he took advantage of it."

Darrell Bevell said last week they were going to re-emphasize the run with James Robinson. Yesterday you guys allowed the fourth fewest yards rushing this season, considering many guys you had out how do you account for playing run defense so well?

"We knew going in that they were going to feature him (James Robinson) and he is very good player. He actually had some pretty good runs against us yesterday, but he didn't have those breakout runs that he had before, but it was a big emphasis. We knew that their offense was going to go through him and if they got the running game going, that would have taken a lot of pressure off of Trevor (Lawrence) and we made an emphasis on that. The big thing was we had our guys playing the gaps the way they needed to, better so in the run game than in the pass game. We weren't as good up front in our pass lanes than we were in our run lanes but that was an emphasis."

Do you have an update on the guys on the COVID list?

"Really won't have an update until later on with those guys. We're still day to day with it with the way protocols are right now with the guys having to test and getting two consecutive tests. Guys getting that done today and then tomorrow and Wednesday we will have a little better of an understanding on where we are with that. We are just taking it day by day right now"

What are some of the things you've learned the most in the game management meetings with General Manager Nick Caserio and Senior Football Advisor Romeo Crennel?

"We don't just do that with Romeo and Nick. We do it with a couple of scouts, Rohit (Magalayapalli) and Frank (Edgerly). Those guys give us scenarios of other teams. We watch video of other team scenarios that could possibly happen or the things that happened last week that could possibly happen to us. We go over those and say, 'If we were in that situation, what would we do?' Sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree on that. With those guys, it's all about those analytic numbers and I get it, I do get it but in the end, it goes back to my gut feeling on some of that stuff. I heard them talking about John (Harbaugh) going for the two points in the last two ball games and not getting it, I get it. I don't know what I would have done in that particular situation if that was us because of the situation of the game. I do know this being old school from the way I was brought up, with overtime I am probably going to tie the game and take my chances."

What role does Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton have in QB Davis Mills' development? What is the relationship between Pep Hamilton and Davis Mills and how much time do they spend together during the week?

"A lot of time and it's not just Pep, it's also Tim (Kelly). Tim, Pep, Davis and Tyrod (Taylor) our quarterbacks, spend a lot of time together making sure they are on the same page. Pep making sure fundamentally that he (Davis Mills) is doing things he needs to do to improve. He and Tim will go over the game plan daily with them, all in a room together discussing what we are going to do and things that we like to do and what they feel they are comfortable with. It's a combination of them working together and they are doing a good job. He (Davis Mills) is improving weekly, getting it done because other than the bad throw decision to make that throw which he shouldn't have made. I thought too that later on in the game, in the second half where we stalled a little bit, I thought he missed a couple of throws that he should have made that would have kept drives alive. But he is improving, he's getting there. He doesn't make the same mistakes twice and we just got to continue to bring him on."

Can you talk about the value of WR Brandin Cooks and his leadership in the locker room?

"Earlier in the year, we know obviously when Mark Ingram was here, one of the reasons he was here was because of that. When he left, the guy that went right to the top of that list was Brandin Cooks. He's so important in understanding, this guy has been with three other teams that have been very successful. He knows how it's supposed to go. He's been in good locker rooms. When things weren't right in the locker room, he's someone I could always lean on to know that he's part of my leadership council, where 'What do we need to do to make sure things are going right?' He's been right on with everything that I feel like he knows that I want to get done here. We're on the same page with that. He's a guy that our players trust, and not only just because of the kind of player he is, but the kind of person he is."

What are the conversations like with General Manager Nick Caserio and Senior Football Advisor Romeo Crennel during the game?

"Just like I go back to the two-minute situation when we're in it. I immediately went on a line with Nick (Caserio), and obviously he and Romeo (Crennel) talked about it, and he says, 'Okay, our timeouts now, how do we need to use these timeouts?' And then immediately, 'Okay, depending on what happens on this play, we need to call it. If this doesn't happen then don't call a timeout.' So, all those things are discussed before we ever get to that point. We're usually a play ahead of that. When it happens, then I've got to be ready to make that decision. That's usually with all those kinds of decisions. I go back again to the New England game, I can remember just like it was yesterday that the conversation went, 'let them score.' I heard the conversation, and then all of a sudden it didn't compute to me at that time. All of a sudden now from that point on I've learned to be ahead of those things. When you're ahead of those things like that, you're much better to make those decisions. (It does) not mean you're going to make the right decision, but when you make that decision, you're pretty sure about making that decision. When you make those decisions, those players know. They know immediately whether you're going for it on fourth down. A lot of times when we get in a third down situation, third-and-two or whatnot, I tell Tim (Kelly), 'You got two downs.' I want him to make the decision knowing that you've got two downs to get this first down. Nobody knows that but he and I. The point is, being able to have those things ahead of time allows us and allows our play callers to be able to do the things that they need to do."

RB David Johnson didn't play in the second half. Did he get injured, or was it just the flow of the game?

"That's just the flow of the game. He's got a role, he's got a big role with us. It was just the way the flow of the game went. It was just one of those things that sometimes that happens. But his role was just as big as it's ever been, and it will be that way."

Have you seen QB Davis Mills improve physically, and have his mechanics changed since he got here?

"What's happened to him is he's gotten stronger. He's gotten stronger in the weight room and he becomes more durable with that. He had issues in college of durability. Our strength and conditioning people, Mike Eubanks and his staff, have done a great job of making sure that he more or less, it's not so much getting his arm stronger, it's more about getting his body ready and able to take the punishment that you've got to take to play in that position, and he's done a really good job of that. As far as the mechanics and stuff with Pep (Hamilton), Pep's as good as there is in understanding how to throw the ball, how to be a passer instead of a thrower. They've worked well together in doing that. But he's gotten stronger, which is the big thing.'

What are General Manager Nick Caserio and Senior Football Advisor Romeo Crennel like in the Saturday morning conversations you have?

"The good thing about that is we don't always agree on things. They see things differently. To me, having Romeo (Crennel)'s perspective of things has really been good for me. Obviously, with Nick (Caserio) with all the experience he's had in New England going through this and being a part of that, we get to have some really good, hard conversations about what we would do and what you think we should do. In the end, I've got to make a decision based on those conversations we had, the things that we've seen, and then what my gut tells me to do. Now, some of those decisions, it's cut and dry. This is what you've got to do in this particular situation. But those fourth downs, whether to kick it or not kick it, those kinds of things become gut decisions that I've just got to make depending on the flow of the game."

What did you see from P Cameron Johnston on Sunday?

"Under those conditions he did an excellent job. Not only just he, but he and Ka'imi (Fairbairn) both, with the conditions they had to kick in, to be able to have the success that they had and to be able to have the field position, which we won during this ballgame, was a big part of what Cam (Cameron Johnston) did and our coverage teams. Again, it's so important, too, that I go back to those field goals that Ka'imi had, those are not easy field goals. Those field goals if we miss them puts them in pretty good field position. We just felt like in that time he kicked well in warmups, he felt good about things, and when he made those things it was a big lift for us. With Cam putting the ball down there, we actually had them backed up there a couple of times. He put a punt down there and a guy picked it up on the one-yard line and ended up getting out about 40 yards, which we should have had him backed way up there. That was a great punt, but he's been doing that all year long. Both of those two guys have been good weapons for us, especially in changing field position and getting points."

What is it about General Manager Nick Caserio's background that gives him the insight in the conversations that you have?

"There's nothing that has happened in this league that we've talked about that he hasn't gone through or that myself hadn't gone through. With different perspectives on what we would've done if we were in that particular situation, or if he was in the situation that I was in, just being able to bounce off each other those situations and real life situations, things that have actually happened. Not only the good things but the mistakes that we've made along the way during those things. Just being able to have that experience and knowing that there's really nothing that's going to happen in a ballgame that we haven't seen before or that he hasn't seen before, and then we basically decide what's best for us during that particular situation to do and make those decisions, and that's been very helpful for me."

Have there been any moments when General Manager Nick Caserio's opinion has surprised you?

"No, not at all. Before we ever get to the game, we've talked about those situations and we kind of know when it comes up what's going to happen. If there's any kind of disagreement or whatnot before, I call a timeout and make sure we're on the same page with those kinds of decisions and make sure we do the right thing in those critical type situations."


What have you seen from QB Davis Mills in the last two games, and what would you like to see from him in the last three games?

"What I've seen is his confidence just grow and grow. I think I've noticed the first time I stepped out on the field with him was any time something bad happens or we make a mistake or maybe he does, he's the same person throughout the entire game. He's so levelheaded, he'll come back, he'll be on the sideline like, 'Hey, sorry I missed you there. Let's get the next one.' That's what's impressed me as a rookie quarterback in this league. Just seeing things as well as he does, I feel like the game is starting to slow down for him. If he can continue to do that and continue to execute with some different looks that possibly can come to him, then the sky's the limit. I look forward to seeing what he can do."

What has the hip injury been like for you? How do you approach a game deciding if you will be ready to go?

"This time of year everybody's got bumps and bruises, so you just do your best to be able to get out there on the field and perform the best that you can to the highest ability that you can. Our staff here, the trainers, the people in the weight room do a tremendous job just making sure we're as good as we can be for gameday. Being a veteran in this league, I've learned some things to recover faster and just get my body in the best shape possible for games. I take that knowledge and approach every single day."

How did you feel about your performance yesterday?

"The rain started pouring down so we knew the run game was going to have to be a focus for us, something we establish and be physical at the point of attack with, and we did that. It wasn't always easy yards, it was definitely some grinding times, but I thought the line did a tremendous job and T.K. (Tim Kelly) with the play calling enabling us to get some of those creases in spaces to get some good yards in critical times throughout the game."

With the last three games against teams contending for the playoffs, is that a good test for QB Davis Mills?

"Yes, absolutely. Competition, the defenses we'll be facing here are tremendous and very talented. I think it'll be a great test for him, and not only him but as an offensive unit and as a team in general. We're looking forward to the challenges. We know they'll be ready because they're fighting for those spots and those seeds and everything. Hopefully we can go out there and perform and execute at a high level."

What are your memories from WR Brandin Cooks in New England, and how does that reflect on him from this year?

"He's a stud. He's impressive. Not just what he does on gameday, but the way he goes about his business every single day on the practice field. I've told many people he's probably the most in-shape person I've ever played with. He can run a go route, jog all the way back, run another one, do it all day and never seem like he's tired. It's unbelievable. I'm not surprised at all what he does on gameday because I see the work he puts in throughout the week, and that was the same as he was in New England. That's why he has the respect from not only myself, but a lot of guys in this locker room. Just his leadership and his playmaking ability, that speaks for itself and has his whole career."

As an all-purpose guy yourself, would you like that kind of energy, too?

"Whatever it takes, but no, it was great. Just on the screen pass there at the end, I was on the opposite side of the field. Guys were joking like, 'Yeah, we're running to go get a block,' or whatever. I was kind of a decoy on the other side of the field, I was like, 'Yeah, that was great. I'll be honest, I was just sitting there watching him.' As fast as he is, I figured he'd outrun everyone. It was a great way to end the game there for him."

What would you say about WR Brandin Cooks and the recognition that he does not get?

"I think he should be a Pro Bowler. I don't know statistically how that all is calculated or whatever, comparing to other guys. But in my mind, he's one of the best receivers in this league and has been his whole career. I'm looking forward to what he can continue to do, and maybe one day he'll get that bid into the Pro Bowl."


Can you talk about what you've seen from QB Davis Mills and the play you made down the field?

"He looks great to me. He's definitely getting a lot more comfortable and I think that comes with the experience. Just going in there and playing game to game, seeing different looks, seeing different things going on out there, I think that's going to help him a lot. As far as the play, he saw the blitz zero and I saw it too, but he saw it and got into the right play. He took charge of it instead of bringing me over in motion, he actually told me to stay and then he called the play. I saw it and was like ok I know if we get the right ball up and he gets time, we're going to be able to gash them and that's what he did."

How much did your background with General Manager Nick Caserio lead to signing with the Texans? What are your thoughts on signing here initially and then into next year?

"I took it into consideration. Obviously, me and him at a good relationship in New England. I knew once I asked for my release from Seattle that I would have a chance to be able to come. Once he offered me the chance to come, I ran with it because I believe in him. I think that he has a great eye for talent, and he has a great football mind. I think he's going to be able to do great things here if he gets the right pieces together and that's the reason I wanted to be here."

What do you see from the team that General Manager Nick Caserio is building?

"I see a lot of guys that fight. I see a lot of guys that go out there and they play their butt off. Obviously, we don't have a lot of guys that have the big names, if you want to say it, but we have a lot of guys that come together and they just go out there and they play really hard and they fight. They are making a name for themselves. That's the kind of team I want to be a part of. A team that goes out there and no matter, no matter what happens we are going to fight every game and we'll see what happens on the scoreboard."

What kind of opportunity is it from QB Davis Mills to go up against teams that are fighting for playoff chances?

"It's a big opportunity. You got teams that are trying to fight for their playoff chances, and they are going to come out there and give everything they have. Nobody is going to overlook us. They are going to try and go out there because at the end of the day, it's their season. It's our season, we are fighting too. We don't want to lose. We are going out there and trying to play as hard as we can and just go out there and get better. It's not about the end of the season, it's about next year too. You want to end the season on a good note. You want to go out there and see what your team can do for the future."

What would you like to see from QB Davis Mills the last three games?

"I just want to see him get more comfortable. He's going to see a lot more different coverages, a lot more things. I feel like he can make every throw and with the experience that's coming to him, I think he can get a lot more comfortable. I think him getting in this offense is perfect for him. That cover zero play, him basically seeing it and being able to gash it, he's going to see a lot more things like that. Him being able to identify it and going out there and take advantage of what the defense gives him, I think that's going to be huge for him."

How great has it been for you to reunite with WR Brandin Cooks? What has his leadership meant to the wide receiver group?

"It's been big. It's definitely been big. It was one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to come, just to reunite with him. We had some great times when we were in New England together. We played in the Super Bowl together. Obviously that's the goal, just to go out there and be on the same field, running down the field, helping each other get open. It's definitely big. He's been a great leader for us. Obviously, I've only been here two, three weeks, but I already know his leadership qualities and you can tell it's fueling the room. He's a guy that leads by example and we all know what he brings to the table on the field and off the field. He's a great guy and a great player."

How much does it mean to you that you are under contract for next season here in Houston?

"It means a lot. Obviously going into the off season just trying to build, trying to build what we have and build that chemistry more and more and that will help. Just help us run into the next season. I'm not trying to look forward to it now. We got three games left. We got to end on a good note and yesterday was definitely a start. We got the Chargers this week. That's going to be a tough matchup for us. They've got a great defense, a great quarterback but at the end of the day, we're just going out there and trying to get better. We're trying to keep stacking and get better each day and continue to build."

What have you seen from WR Brandin Cooks that shows his competitiveness?

"I would say the way he takes his day to day business, the way he goes about himself. He's all in when it comes to football. The way he works. The way he eats. Everything he does, it's football. That rubbed off on me when I got to New England, so I took some of his habits and I think it helped me in my career. I'm glad I'm back with him. I'm going to lean on him, and we are going to lean on each other and keep fighting each day."

What are some of the habits that you've adopted?

"Just on the field before practice, after practice, just working on whatever you can, releases, catching the football. Off the field just being in the weight room continuously working on your body, making sure you're available. At the end of the day availability is everything and I've learned that. Obviously last year I missed the season, but it is what it is. I am just leaning on him because he knows what to do. He's been available and he's a great person and an even greater player."


What's the feeling like in the locker room after a win like yesterday?

"It feels great. It feels great any time you get to win, especially in this league. It's hard to win and with how our season has been, it's a great feeling right now."

What was the key to not letting James Robinson break out and limiting the Jaguars to 107 rushing yards?

"Everybody just doing their job, staying in their gaps and just executing the game plan that Coach Lovie (Smith) and the coaching staff put in place."

How are you preparing for possibly being without the guys on the COVID list for another week? How have they talked to you from behind the scenes?

"Kirko (Christian Kirksey) and Kamu (Grugier-Hill) and those guys continue to encourage all of us. Coach Miles (Smith) especially in the linebacker room, he's done a great job of preparing every guy in the room to prepare as a starter and to come in and do their job. I think everybody took advantage of the opportunity yesterday."

Why was the gap control so good yesterday, and what did you see from LB Garret Wallow?

"I think yesterday everybody was focused on just doing your job and trusting each other to be where you're supposed to be, and we've done it over and over and over yesterday, and we were able to get off the field. And Garret Wallow, I texted him last night and told him I'm proud of him. To get that opportunity your rookie year and to go in there and play lights out like he did, and play with that fire and that energy, he has a great, great future ahead of him."

Can you describe LB Garret Wallow's gameday personality?

"Garret's pretty chill. Sometimes guys get overwhelmed getting ready to play in a game, but Garret's never like that. All season he just knows his job and prepares for whatever role that comes up. He can play all three linebacker positions. He went in there yesterday and he just executed and did his job over and over."

What was LB Garret Wallow doing specifically that was so impressive?

"He was getting to the ball. The ball was there, he was running and hitting. He had a TFL, I believe he had a sack on the sideline, he was everywhere. You've got to keep into consideration, he was playing on special teams, as well. He was on kickoff return, punt, I believe those two phases of the game and he was still playing at a high level on defense."

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