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Transcripts: 12-29-2022 Press Conferences ahead of Texans vs. Jaguars


Opening Statement
"We're going to play Jacksonville. We're going to be at home. Their unit has played, if you look at the rest of the league, a lot of variables. We watched Tennessee a week ago, and we saw a bunch of guys that had not only been signed from the practice squad or elevated but brought in mid-year. Jacksonville has been very consistent, and that's allowed them to become better in their individual roles, more consistent in their daily roles in the kicking game. You look at their guys. (Andrew) Wingard, you're looking at (Caleb) Johnson, (Chad) Muma is still an animal running down there. Then you can make an argument that the gunners on the punt team are the best tandem going in the NFL. (Chris) Claybrooks, one of the fastest gunners in the NFL, and Daniel Thomas is proven. So, they're playing going into this game with a ton of health. They have performed at a very high level and have grown consistently and shown it week-after-week. We've got our work cut out for us, and it's going to be a tall task to be able to make a play in the kicking game."

What are your thoughts on K Ka'imi Fairbairn's season?

"The kickoffs have been really good. If you noticed on the first kickoff versus Tennessee, the ball got really close to the 15-yard line. There was a gust of wind, and he was able then to adjust as the game went on. That's really who he's been for this season. He's done a good job of the daily regimen. Any time he's rolled out there, we expect to make kicks. He's done a great job of adjusting when those are needed. The hang times on the kickoffs has allowed us to be successful in coverage and having everybody down inside of that 30-yard line when the ball is being caught. So far he's had a good year. We've got two more big ones to go here and finish the season strong on what's been a good year to this point."

What does DB Tremon Smith do well on downing punts?

"I'll get some flack for this, but Tremon Smith is the best all-around athlete on our football team. I'll go ahead and start some debates with those guys in there if they hear me say that. Baseball player, hooper, can catch, can throw, can run, all that good stuff. The athleticism part is where he's been able to take advantage. He's not the biggest or strongest guy, but he can run, and he has some good wiry athleticism. It's helped him makes those plays. He made a big one at Jacksonville if you remember, with the ball checking into the end zone he kind of got his butt to the goal line and was able to bat it back and Grayland (Arnold) downed it. We saw that last week in the biggest clutch moment of the game. 96 yards with 1:10 to go for them. There's not really much more you can ask for. He'll tell you his best man, his setup man, his John Stockton has been Cam (Johnston), with the assist and putting that thing with hang and location. So far it's been good. Just love the way those guys come to work. Big smile on his face. I need him to continue to do that for two more weeks."

What has the tandem of DB Tremon Smith and P Cameron Johnston been like for you?

"I think that they both understand where the placement is going to be as best we can. You can have a mishit of course, and then when it is, he usually knows which way it's going to go on the mishit. It will be drifting one way. But the best friend to a punter is your one gunner. Cam (Johnston) doesn't take that for granted, and he understands that Tremon (Smith) has been able to make a lot of plays right there and add to Cam's donations to his charity for his punts downed inside of the 20. Hopefully we can continue to do that and manage field position against – I didn't mention this in my opening statement – but really the best and most dangerous multiple-returner in the league. (Jamal) Agnew can run, he can outrace everyone to the perimeter. But great returners can go vertical. He can cut, stretch and cut, cut and wiggle on the move, and yet can stop and start while they don't lose speed throughout their decel and accel. He's our tallest task. We definitely have to have great lane discipline. We need to condense lanes with our press block take on. Tremon and those gunners are going to do that on the punt team, and Cam has to have a good day for us to be successful on Sunday."

Do you work with Director of Team Wellness Ladd Harris?

"I love that guy. He's great. I do try and be healthy, but the only thing I say to Ladd (Harris) is there should be pasta or some sort of bread product carbohydrate four days a week instead of the one that we get. I could eat a heavy amount of carbs four or five days a week. He's does a good job of keeping people like me, who like to overindulge on the things we shouldn't too often. To me, I've only been in three places in my NFL career, and we do an unbelievable job here of keeping it healthy. I would say the quality of the food is second to none, and he heads all that up. Putting coaches like myself into the body scans and helping you achieve your longevity goals. Making sure you're being healthy through a strenuous season. That's part of his job as well, and he does a great job with that."

How was your body scan?

"I've got to get better. It's all about what I can do tomorrow."


What did you see from QB Davis Mills in the win on Sunday?

"I just felt like he was decisive. Also, Phillip Dorsett made a couple of big plays, as well as of course Cookie (Brandin Cooks) catching the touchdown that put us ahead for good. It was good to see collectively our guys go out and protection was good, the routes were good enough for us to have an opportunity to complete passes in a critical situation. It was good to finish that way."

Is it fair to say that this offense is still evolving?

"Yes is the answer to that question, but I think it's also fair to say that the guys that are having the opportunity to go out and play each Sunday are improving as well. Amari (Rodgers) once again out of nowhere, he shows up and makes a big play in a critical situation, as well as Chris Moore. From week-to-week when he's given the opportunity to make plays, he goes in there and makes plays. Then (Jeff) Driskel came in and completed some passes, caught a pass and had a couple of runs. That probably creates more of a conflict and issue for defenses as they try and prepare for us on a week-to-week basis."

What did you see in WR Amari Rodgers after he was cut by the Green Bay Packers earlier this season?

"Ultimately, and I can't speak for our front office, but our scouting department they trusted their evaluation. From what we've seen thus far, it seems like that evaluation was accurate. It was good enough that we should bring him in and give him a chance to see if he can function in our space. He's done just that."

What about WR Amari Rodgers allowed him to stick on the team?

"The fact that he's been able to go out and process the play call, lineup and then ultimately once the ball is snapped, just do instinctively what you should do if you're a professional football player. Go out and make plays."

What progress have you seen from OL Kenyon Green?

"It was good to see him back on the practice field, so we're just taking it day-to-day."

How has the offense found different ways to move the ball since the Dallas Cowboys game?

"It all starts with finding ways to stay out of obvious passing situations and finding ways to effectively run the ball on first and second down. Or just move the ball on first or second down, it's not just running the football. We've talked about this in weeks passed. When you prepare for it, it's just going to limit some of the calls Davis (Mills) will see because of some of the things you see us do on a week-to-week basis. With both quarterbacks in the game, or just one quarterback in the game or be it different personnel groupings. That's always the case. Teams have to prepare for all of what they see on tape. But I think when you have two quarterbacks that can do whatever we ask them to do, both running and passing the football, it creates a different conflict."

In what ways have you seen WR Chris Moore grow over the past two seasons?

"He's grown as a leader in that room. He's a guy that we've asked at different times to play all three spots. I'm talking both outside spots and the slot. He's done just that as well as run down on punts and kickoffs, just being able to contribute on special teams. He's been a pro, and he's been prepared to play."

How have you navigated keeping this offense on a positive trajectory?

"I think from week-to-week we have to do a great job of not getting too high with the highs or low with the lows. Trusting that our process of preparing ourselves to be at our best on gameday is comprehensive. Ultimately, it's going to come down to us putting our players in the best position to be successful. Then those guys have the tough job of going out and making the plays. As of late, because we've been able to get more first downs and have some success early in the game, it seems to fuel our entire sideline, and we hope to do that this Sunday. Fuel the entire stadium and bring some excitement and energy for the fans and to the stadium on Sunday as well."

I noticed that WR Brandin Cooks was not at practice today. Do you expect him back tomorrow?


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