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Transcripts: 8-10-2021 Training Camp Press Conferences


Opening Statement

"I'm finding out about the Texas weather right now. When I came out of NRG (Stadium) this morning, my glasses fogged up, and when they fogged up, it's not the first time it's fogged up. But I realized then when I was in Philly, we used to go to Lehigh University, and we actually had to drive to practice, and when you would see the fog, the clouds, and all of a sudden you knew that day in practice, it's going to be pretty tough. So I'm expecting that today, but I've already made those guys aware of that."

General Manager Nick Caserio said today that QB Deshaun Watson will not be traveling to Green Bay. Could you talk about that?

"Well, as I said before, it's day-to-day with him. He'd been out for a while, and he was back today. We're just taking it day-to-day, as we have been from the start of training camp."

What goes into the decision about whether or not someone travels to a preseason game?

"We haven't made that decision yet on who all is going to travel and who all is not going to travel. We're going to make that decision probably around Thursday and go from there with it."

What goes into that decision?

"Injuries - there are some guys that we'll sit down and decide if we want to play them or not. That doesn't mean they won't travel to the game, but they may not play in the game."

Can you elaborate about the decision to not have QB Deshaun Watson travel to Green Bay?

"He's unlikely to play in the game, for sure. We'll make a decision later on in the week as to what's going to happen with that."

Is that based on QB Deshaun Watson's injury?

"Well, it's based off the fact that the limited reps he's had in practice and that kind of thing."

Do you expect QB Deshaun Watson to play at all this preseason?

"No comment."

Last week, you mentioned DL Maliek Collins. What is it about his game that you like so much?

"Again, when you have a defensive lineman that plays the way he plays the game, it trickles down to everybody else on the defense. He's like what we say, he's an all-out player. He's all out all the time. It's almost like sometimes you want to kind of slow him down a little bit, but he never does that, and you love that about him. Even when he makes a mistake, he makes a mistake doing full speed, and a lot of times when you do that as a player, good thing happen."

How valuable is it for you as a coach to see QB Davis Mills and WR Nico Collins in a game environment?

"I'm looking forward to not only seeing them, but all our rookies we have. And there's a lot of guys on this team that we haven't seen and we're going to be able to get to see, and we're looking forward to all of those guys."

What do you think about where QB Davis Mills and WR Nico Collins are as third round picks?

"Again, training camp is to find that out. They've been doing a nice job in training camp. As you said, it's been a very competitive situation all training camp with those guys, and they've been up to par with the standpoint of competing every day and not letting it be too big for them."

What is it about the rookies on the defensive end like LB Garret Wallow and DL Roy Lopez?

"I'll say this about those two. Someone mentioned about Maliek Collins. Those two guys play the game the same way. They played that way when they were in college coming out. Those guys are all out players all the time. It's encouraging to see. Although they don't know what they don't know right now, but what they do know is they know how to hustle and they know how to play the game right."

How much improvement have you seen in QB Davis Mills?

"Each day in practice, he gets better and better. Just like Jeff (Driskel), Tyrod (Taylor), all those guys. Each day, they get better and better. I'll say that from the scrimmage coming into practice yesterday, I was so encouraged as a coach to see us, especially offensive, make progress from the standpoint of eliminating the penalties, our tempo being a little bit faster. That was so encouraging yesterday. It was the first time this training camp that I've seen that consistently from the start of practice to the end of practice, and it was the first time when I left practice and I said that's what I want to see."

How is TE Brevin Jordan doing?

"He's working hard. He's working hard. He comes to work every day. He gets after it. He has that same kind of mentality that those guys, that all those rookies that we've got, those guys flat out love to play the game. He's doing that. He's learning. We want him to get a little bit more consistent. He's starting to get that way. We're starting to see that day to day, and that's what training camp is about."

How is the defensive line doing so far?

"Well, with the competition with that group, every day guys can't come to practice and not have your A game with you. Because when you do that with the group that we've got right there, with the numbers that we've got there, those guys are all competing for positions. And the competition each day out here in practice, just keeps all those guys getting better and better."

What are the things you've seen from QB Davis Mills that make him a good fit in this offense?

"He would be a good fit in any offense from the standpoint in this league. We knew when we drafted him what we were getting. He hasn't not shown those things we felt like he was going to be, and he's progressing every day and getting there."

What specifically do you want to see from QB Davis Mills in preseason?

"More consistency in running the offense."

As a coach, what's the biggest thing you look for in the first preseason game?

"I want to see how they perform in the game-type situations. We haven't been in that yet. Our scrimmage was actually a manufactured kind of scrimmage. This right here, I mean, it's live. It will be the first time other than the goal line that we've done where it's going to be live."

Has there been anything you've learned about yourself or the coaches during training camp that you want to improve upon?

"Again, the thing that's going to happen in this first preseason game, it's going to be the first time as a staff we're going to be able to do the game-day thing about how we handle things, what happens from the press box, the communication. And those kind of things will be the first time this group has all been together to do that."

Are your coordinators going to be on the field?

"On the field."

What does it say about Davis Mills that he bounced back so well after having bad reps all day?

"That he has the right stuff that a quarterback has to have because there's going to be bad plays. Not only going to be bad plays, but there will be bad series. I'm going to go back to what happened yesterday in practice. When we were in practice yesterday and we had three groups going, and our tempo got faster and faster and faster. And when his group got up there, he started doing the exact same thing. When things happen and you've got that tempo going, the front people that we got up there, it's all a reflection of what's happening with the quarterback with his tempo. He showed yesterday, as well as Jeff (Driskel), that Tyrod (Taylor) had a really good tempo going because we were doing some up-tempo stuff, and when those two guys got up there, all of a sudden you could see that same tempo, and it showed in the success that we were having with consistency."


How do you think it's going so far for you in Training Camp?

"I feel like it's going good. I'm out here trying to get better every day, just stacking days. Out here learning from the vets. Just having fun, every day."

What has been the most challenging part of the transition to this level?

"I'd say just the speed. Everybody's good. In the NFL, everybody is good. Just coming out here to camp, competing with the best. I feel like that's good for me to get up to speed. Just to get in really well with the camp and with the team. Like I said, everything is going well, having fun."

Which of the players have you leaned on so far?

"Just pretty much everybody in my position group. Chris Conley, Brandin Cooks, just leaning on him every day, asking him for tips, soaking up their mind. Do whatever I can to improve my game on the field because they have a lot of experience. I ask them every day just ways I can do to get better. They're right there by my side just helping me."

Head Coach David Culley was saying he wants you to stack days and be consistent. Would you agree with that assessment so far?

"Every day I'm coming to stack days. That's my plan. That's my goal. Just come out here and get better each and every day. Learn from the day before and practice on the things I feel like I need to work on. That's what I do."

How do you feel about QB Davis Mills so far in this camp?

"He's coming out every day and competing. Stacking days, just like we all are. Just coming out here trying to learn, just trying to fit everything in to come out here and have a great camp."

What do you think he brings to the offense?

"A lot. He has a great skill set, just like the rest of the quarterbacks. I feel like he's going to be a great player."

Do you talk outside of practice?

"Yeah, we talk all the time, man. Yeah, cool, chill guy. Outside of football, we just chill. We're just chilling, talking about anything. Just like that."

When you go back and watch the film, what do you think you do need to work on?

"Just everything. There's always room to improve in my game. That's what I do every day. Every day I feel like it's an opportunity to come out here and work on the things I feel like I need to work on."

Does anything surprise you about your game translating to this level?

"Just coming out here to compete. Great DBs, great defensive backs. Come out here to catch up speed with them. So I feel like that's one thing I've got to improve on, just straight behind. They get me better, I'm getting them better. I ask them what they feel like I need to work on, and they tell me. So that's what I try to improve on."

What do you think you would like to accomplish in your first game at Green Bay?

"I feel like the first NFL game is everybody's dream. I'm going out there prepared, great camp. So I'm going out there just working on things I've been working on through camp. Go out there and have fun. First NFL preseason game. It's a big dream. It's a blessing, for sure. Just taking advantage of every opportunity I get."

When you look at yourself and like your size and what you bring and you look at the rest of the wide receiver group, like how do you think -- you know, assess how you guys play off of each other and open things up with each other?

"I'm a big receiver, different from (Brandin) Cooks. He's a slot, shifty. We all can learn from receivers. It's a receiver thing. I take tips from him, like footwork, releases, and things like that. So there's always room to get better in my game. So I nitpick Cooks' brain, just small things all around to become a better receiver."

What are some of the small things that you've done for yourself so far?

"Just the film study, hang with the best a little bit. I watch film, just whatever, to up my level and get prepared for the season."

What have you learned from DB Bradley Roby outside the fact that he went to Ohio State?

"He give me a hard time every day. But it's all good. We're out here competing every day. He gets me better. I get him better. We take every rep seriously and that's iron shaping iron.


How much confidence are you building after you've had a chance to have some practices under your belt?

"My confidence is high. I got Jordan Akins and Pharaoh Brown, and Coach A.B. (Andy Bischoff) -- the belief that they've given in me to just go out there and play my best ball, my confidence is very high because of those guys."

What's been your biggest takeaway from camp so far?

"My biggest is just stacking days, continuing to get better. You know you're going to have days where you're kind of low. You're going to have days where you're very high, and you've got to just keep getting better. Overall, you've got to just keep stacking days."

How do you view how you fit within the offense?

"I think my skillset is perfect for the offense. Tim Kelly is a genius with his offensive calling and he loves to move tight ends around. So I think that's my type of place, just being moved around and creating mismatches."

How diverse can a tight end be?

"It's probably the most diverse position on the field. You see guys who are like 6'8", 270, blocking defensive ends like they're tackles. Then you see guys who are like 6'2", 6'3", outrunning safeties and corners. So I think we're the most diverse position on the field."

How long did it take to figure out Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly, would you say?

"Whew, I'm still figuring him out. I'm still learning the offense."

How long did it take to figure out he's kind of a genius at play-calling?

"From day one, from OTAs. Just the way he talks, how deliberate he is with what he's trying to get across, his messages. I mean, you can just see it from just being around him."

How do you feel like you are as a blocker?

"Whew, blocking is hard in the NFL. That's probably the biggest adjustment that I've had to deal with. I'm blocking guys like Chuck (Charles Omenihu), and man, those dudes are so big. They're so long. But I'm slowly getting into the groove of it. As I'm going throughout the process, I'm getting better at it."

What challenge has DL Charles Omenihu kind of given you?

"Dude, he's like 6'8", his arms are freakishly long. But it's a fun process. It's fun to see yourself get better throughout camp."

What does it mean to you to be such a red zone opportunist for the quarterback?

"The tight end position overall, we're red zone guys. We're very big on that. But my job right now is just learning the offense and just slowly getting accustomed to the team and earning my guys' trust. That's the main thing right now."

Where do you see the similarities between you and TE Jordan Akins?

"I think the size similarity obviously, he's a little bit similar. Jordan is just a vet, man. He has the tools to be an All-Pro tight end. The way he moves his head, the way he moves his hips, his shoulders, how tenacious he is coming out of his routes, I mean that dude is a problem. He's going to be a problem in the NFL for a long time."

Do you see similarities between you and him?

"Yeah, I see similarities just because of the size similarities. Overall, the dude, he got it all. He got it."

When you trained in Las Vegas with Trippe Hale, did that kind of get you ready?

"Yeah, Trippe Hale is crazy if you know him. But he's crazy. We're out on the track at 8 a.m. just running lots of 110s and stuff, but Houston is different. The humidity, it's a little different. It ain't like Vegas. Vegas is just hot. I walk out, it's like an oven. Out here, you get in the shower and come out here and start sweating again, so it's a little bit different."

Do you have to carry a towel to interviews?

"Oh, everywhere. That's why I've got this towel on me right now. I'd be sweating crazy."

What are some things about your blocking you feel you need to refine?

"I mean overall, everything. My hand placement, bringing in my hips, keep my base steady, just everything, all aspects of being a better tight end."

What do you hope to show in your first NFL game?

"That I know what I'm doing. Just go out there and learning the offense, just playing clean, make no MEs."

Do you find you have to hydrate more?

"Every morning. I mean, I have a routine. You get to the NFL, you get a routine. But every morning I'm drinking a coconut water, I'm drinking electrolytes, a lot of IVs, two bottles of water, 'sug' juice. The way you have to hydrate out here, to come out here and perform at the highest level, you have to be hydrated."

How do you see yourself play off of the wide receivers? How do you feel like the relationship is between tight ends and this offense?

"Our job is to catch the ball. Their job is to catch the ball, but our job overall is to go out there and catch the ball. We definitely rely on each other. If I have a question, I could ask (Brandin) Cooks, like where do I line up right here, or vice versa. I mean we all help each other out. The relationship between wide receivers and tight ends is very close."

Do you give each other good matchups? Do you personally help each other out in that way?

"Absolutely, absolutely."

Which veteran has taken you under his wing to show you the NFL?

"Definitely Jordan Akins. I mean the dude, he's a pro. He's showing me how to get a routine. He's showing me a lot of different ways to get open, learning about blocking. He's brought me under his wing, and he's showing me like, this is how you do it. If you want to be great in this league, if you play in this league for a long time, this is how you're going to have to do it."


How do you think you're doing in camp?

"I mean, I think I've done pretty well so far. Obviously, there's still a lot to learn. It's a new offense for me. So I'm just trying to study as much as I can, learn from the older guys, and pick up and improve every day."

When you have a bad day, how do you kind of keep that in perspective with the transition into the NFL and being in a challenging environment?

"We're still early on in camp. Obviously, I'm still learning the offense. Something that always stuck with me is the little quote, it's never as bad as you think it is, and it's never as good as you think it is. I try to keep my head up and just continually improve."

How much carryover is it from what you did in college to what you're doing now?

"When you think of offense, a lot of core passing concepts carry over through every offense. A lot of that's the same. The reads are still the same. It's just kind of a transition on catching up to speed with this current system, all the different calls, the verbiage, and also getting used to the speed of NFL defenses."

What do you hope to do Saturday to demonstrate on this offense?

"I'm just happy if I get to play on Saturday, kind of obviously go out there and show what I can do. I'll have really talented players around me on the same team that I'm looking forward to going out there and playing with, and I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun."

What's some of the advice you've gotten from the other quarterbacks?

"A lot of it now, we're all kind of new here, so we're all trying to learn the offense. So, we're just bouncing ideas off each other. Tim Kelly and Pep (Hamilton) are both really open to ideas, and what we've kind of thought about in the past and how we think about different things to try to become universal in it. They're helping me out a ton. If I have any questions, it's kind of an open room where we're just bouncing around ideas and they're all helping."

Day to day, working with the offense, what other things did you steadily learn like to become more consistent in this offense? Things like you learned to build on.

"A lot of it is just kind of getting reps. It takes time to learn offense, learn the new concepts. Obviously, I had a little rough patch of a couple reps practices where I want to improve on. Obviously, I had some turnovers, but I know protecting the football is the most important thing in the NFL. So I've got to be better with that. I think I've done well the past week or so improving that. Like I said, just getting better every rep is the biggest thing."

How do you approach that? I feel like you're free to make mistakes, you know, learn from those?

"You have somewhat of freedom because it's early on, but it's a tough business. Obviously, I want to protect the football."

What are some of the wide receivers who are helping you out?

"Really the whole room. I've been working with a lot of them. A lot of the guys are sticking after practice, and they have a ton of experience in that room. It starts at the top with guys like Brandin Cooks, Chris Conley, and kind of goes throughout the room. We're all trying to get on the same page."

Will you take a moment to yourself on Saturday, maybe before the game, take it all in and that kind of thing?

"I'll try to, obviously, before or after. I think I'll have a lot on my plate going into it, but, yeah, afterwards. I've never been up to Lambeau Field before. I've heard a lot of good things about it, so I'm looking forward to it."

Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly said that QB Deshaun Watson messaged you guys in the room. Have you had any conversation with him? You mentioned some of the new guys. He's obviously been here. How has he helped out with the transition?

"I have. He's helped out a lot with what he's done with me. Any questions I have, like the other guys too, he's an open book, and he's taught me a lot."

Since you were drafted, take us through what it's been like coming into this team, even living here in this city. What's it been like the past few months?

"It's great. I love the city of Houston from what I've seen so far. Fortunately, my middle sister, the middle sibling, she's lived out here for almost four years. She's kind of shown me around. And my girlfriend moved out here with me as well. Kind of taking on the city as a pair. From what I've seen of it, it's been great."

When you have a tough day, does it affect you?

"I mean, one of the things I've always tried to pride myself that I'm a confident person, and you kind of have to be as a quarterback. You can't let those little mistakes faze you. The biggest thing on my mind is the next play, and that's the only thing that matters."

Did your sister tell you about fans, like kind of prepare you, this is how fans are out here and how the Texans are?

"Not a ton. We're from Atlanta, so we grew up Falcons fans. Making the transition into the new city, obviously, I know it's a huge football city, and I'm really looking forward to that first game in the stadium and NRG and seeing all the fans."

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