Transcripts: 8-11-2021 Training Camp Press Conferences


What are you looking for out of your offensive line in that first preseason game?

"Consistency, coming off the ball, communicating, everybody being on the same page and here is the thing about that, being our first game is we've been moving those guys all across all during training camp, I mean, guys been playing different positions and so now, once we get in there, obviously the communication has to be really, really good because guys may be playing one position a little bit longer than what he been doing in practice and the communication is big thing with the offensive line as far as us doing the things that we need to do in our running game and our pass game. Their communication is critical."

When will you have time to stop rotating at the line and in general, how are you dividing up the reps?

"As far as dividing up the reps, we haven't decided how we want to divide up those reps and we're going to wait till the end of this week when we practice tomorrow and see how the situation is with injuries and the situation as far as who is available and who we may not play and we are not sure of that yet, and then we'll gauge it on that."

Tell us about DL Roy Lopez.

"He's jumped into a group of guys as a rookie with some veteran guys that know how to practice and know how to play and he has fell right in there and there are times when I don't even know that he's a rookie with that group when he's out there. Again, coming from where he comes from, the way he played when we drafted him, we knew what we were getting when we got him and he's been everything that we wanted him to be from that standpoint and he's just falling right in with those guys. He never says a word. I like the fact that he's tough, aggressive, he's a grinder. He's grinding every play, every play that he's out there."

As for running backs, you have some guys that play a lot, some Pro Bowlers, how do you handle preseason as far as figuring out who should get carries?

"The thing about it is when you talk about it, you're right, some of those guys about been Pro Bowlers and whatnot. It doesn't matter what they have been before. Right now, we have been rotating those guys. We've been trying to figure out what the right combination is for those guys. We feel like there's a role for all of those guys at some point and during the preseason, we'll find that out and what best fits from that standpoint.

Can you talk about your relationship with Senior Advisor for Football Performance Romeo Crennel and how he's been able to help you in this transition to head coach?

"I felt comfortable when I came here because as an 18-year-old out of high school, he recruited me, so I've known him from that standpoint way back when and he's always been a mentor through that time. Having him here, having had the experience that he's had, been where he's been. He's had a wonderful, wonderful career in this league as an assistant coach, defensive coordinator, head coach and just a great person to have to lean on and he's been invaluable for me."

What was the experience of being recruited by Senior Advisor for Football Performance Romeo Crennel?

"When I was being recruited by him, it's ironic, not only being recruited by him at the time but I was being recruited by Bill Parcells at another college and what ended up happening, as it moves on, four years later before I graduated they were coaching together at Texas Tech. So I've got two mentors guys that as an 18-year-old I remember and I look at now, and being where I am right now in my career and having those guys to go through already what I'm going through right now through all aspects of it NFL football is tremendous value for me."

You have a lot of enthusiasm and that comes across talking to you. How do you as an NFL coach maintain that every day and through the entire season, knowing whatever happens to the team, there are going to be ups and downs. How do you maintain that level?

"I know this is a marathon. The NFL is not a sprint; it's a marathon. The thing about it is when you love when you do and you have passion for what you do, those things don't come into it. I have a job to do, I have a job to run this football team, to every day to come to work and be what they expect me to be and from my entire career to now from college to this point, I don't feel like that's an issue. I feel like it's going to help me because again the longer you play, the better, you know, the longer you go into the season, the better. That's our plans and that's how we approach it every day. I don't know any better. Maybe it will hit me later on, we'll see."

Your thoughts on adding OL Drake Jackson and RB Darius Jackson?

"Basically we added some depth right there. We have some guys that are a little nicked up right now and some guys that may not be able to play in the game and we wanted to make sure that those guys were available and Nick (Caserio) did his due diligence in making sure the availability with the backs and O-Line that were available out there to be able to help us at this point with the situation that we're in."

Do you know who is not playing on Saturday yet?

"We're not sure. We'll evaluate that after practice tomorrow."

How do you go from being in training camp mode to being game day or regular season mode?

"This week will basically be the last week we feel like we'll be in training camp mode. Next week we start into -- because next week is going to be the same as this week going into Dallas. We'll approach it as if it is a game week and we'll use the last week of preseason the same way as we are in -- in a regular game. So it gives us a chance to do that. Right now, we feel like that we still needed to stay in training camp mode. Green Bay hasn't played a game. It's their first game, it's our first game, and we're going to go up there and play each other and take it from there."

Obviously not everybody can make the team, the defensive line, you're trying to rotate a lot. When you're looking Saturday to see who you are going to keep, how do you divvy up and try to get most looks at a guy?

"Well, we have three preseason games so we have plenty of time for that to iron itself out and I'll say this here: It always works itself out as you are going through training camp, when you are going through preseason games, is when they get their reps and they get in and we get to see and evaluate -- and that's why it's so important now, as opposed to last year, to have those three preseason games. We will know. It will iron itself out.

How do you divvy up the carries when there are so many running backs and so few preseason games?

"Well, again, the three present games. There's plenty and we've been getting enough in practice that that won't be an issue as far as how much you give them, how much they need. We will know when these three preseason games are over what we have, where we are, and where we need to go."


What do you think about all the coaches and teammates praising the camp you've had?

"Goes to show we're a big family, that's something that Coach preaches is team, team, team, family, and building relationships with everybody. You come out here as a player and just try to put -- like (Garret) Wallow says a thousand times, put your best foot forward. That's what I plan to do every day and my teammates they are out here balling, too. It's fun."

How do you feel about playing against the Packers?

"It's going to be amazing. I'm excited. We're all excited. We can't wait to play somebody else finally and it's Lambeau Field, so you're a little kid, you hear about it, that's cool. But finally able to set foot on it, it's going to be something to kind of take a deep breath."

What have you established so far as far as providing a scout presence?

"The thing is, I try to come every day and do my job. Whether it's 3-technique, nose guard, hole in the bag, it doesn't matter. Try to give back to my teammates as much as they put into me. The way the old guys have invested in me, I don't know if you guys stay after practice, they are coaching just as much as everybody else. They truly care. They truly worry about us and how we feel. So you know, just being able to grow with them is probably the biggest thing that I've loved throughout this whole camp."

You've got some creative pass rush moves, where do you work them out and what have you gotten to build that?

"Yeah, so I'm playing football for a while, so you kind of just pick up some things. But I've had a lot of great D-Line coaches throughout my years. But being able to work with BK (Coach Bobby King), the way he's been able to teach stuff, from him coaching linebackers last year and being aim to watch film and add it to our game. They are a little faster at linebacker, but when you're watching film, you're like, I can do that, we can do that. So we come out and drill it for hours ask days at a time to a point where we put it on film and we're like, we just did what we saw, so that's cool to see. But you know, definitely I'll get with (Coach Brandon) BT Jordan out here in Houston. There's definitely been a lot of guys and lot of coaches, a lot of people that have touched me to where I like to add to my game."

Was there a point where you feel like it clicked?

"Yeah, we haven't done much. It's been nothing but camp. You've just got to come every day. Every day is a new day. Vets say it. Nobody cares about what you did tomorrow, today is a new day. So that's something I live by throughout camp. Just come every single day with an open, free, new mind and if I did good yesterday, I did bad yesterday, doesn't matter. Today is a new day. That's really it."

How do you feel like your strength has translated to what you've been able to do so far? And your wrestling background, how much as that helped you?

"I definitely encourage everybody to wrestle, defensive lineman, offensive lineman. Wrestling will teach you everything about yourself. My wrestling background I give a lot of credit to it because it's the truth. You push yourself to the limit to where nobody thinks you're going to be able to go to. So, like the state championship, they were in sudden death so you've got to dig deep for those, and you're breathing heavy but you find out who you are. The strength aspect that goes along hand-in-hand with conditioning and when you're tired, you have to be able to perform."

Are there any experience or bad habits you feel like you have to work to get rid of as you transition to a higher level of football?

"No, but like you said, everybody is a good athlete. Everybody is fast and flying all over the place. Everybody is competing. So just being able to do my part, understand what I got to do on this play and get it done. So I keep saying, the vets, but it's the truth; the way they taught me and brought me up throughout this whole camp is an every day thing, and I can't give them enough credit for mentally and physically just preparation, watching film on the field. You know, just constantly being in my ear, so that's something that has helped me along."

Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith wants to rotate you guys in, how does that affect your approach and how you approach going in?

"It doesn't change my approach at all. We have a lot of great guys in our room, a lot of great ballplayers that really can play football, so everybody does their job at a high level. You know, we like to cheer each other on and get excited and we all make plays and that's something we pride ourselves on is work and seeing our individual drills and excitement come out together during team, during one-on-ones and front sevens and just being able to learn off of each other. We see one guy do something, okay, I want to add that to my game. That's something we do in our room."

OL Justin Britt is also a wrestler. Can you tell a difference with the guys that have a wrestling background?

"I did not know Justin was a wrestler. I'll talk to him about it. I didn't know that. I'm going to ask him. I haven't talked to him about it. You dig deep, you find out who you are. When your body's tired and just all you can focus on is how you're breathing and how much you can't do any more, you've do the to dig keep and really talk to yourself and say, okay, I've worked this hard, I've worked this hard and when you stand across the man in front of you, you know you worked harder than he did and so it comes out to show."

How much of an influence is your dad and what kind of advice are you getting from him?

"My dad and my mom, they are my biggest fans. But my dad, when I'm home training, I go out to his practice. I work with his D-Line and we get a lot of drills in. I try to teach them things. My dad impacts me a lot, man. He texts me every day. My dad is a YouTube freak. So he'll stay on YouTube for hours. He don't even listen to headphones, he just play it is in his ear. He'll send me an old-school long or acoustic or he sends me a lot of gospel songs. He's proud of me and I'm proud of him. We have a friendly dad/son/love relationship."

Where on the line do you feel most comfortable?

"I don't feel any sort of way more comfortable in either spot. I just go out there and play ball, read your keys, read the offensive linemen and come out here every day and earn the trust of my teammates and earn the trust of the D-Line and keep growing. I feel like we made great strides and as long as we keep that going, it's going to be a fun season.


How has the time you have got in with your teammates this summer?

"It was great, we was combining together and competing with each other, and I think with us doing that in the off-season, you could see that it's coming from the off-season into practice, so it was very good."

Because they signed so many defensive linemen, how competitive is it to get snaps in?

"This is a competitive league so it's going to help us. It's going to bring out the best in everybody and I think they did a great job in doing that. A lot of guys come out here and compete every day because we know what we're up against, so I think it's good for the whole group."

What do you think you bring to the table as a defensive lineman?

"I'm good at stopping the run. I think that's one of the things I've been good at since came in the league and really with field goal blocking that's something I take pride in. So I think I'll be able to bring that to the team and any other way that I could, whatever they need me to do to help for the team, whatever I can do to help them, that's what I'm looking forward to doing."

Last year, how did you hear about that Texans were interested in you?

"My agent, when I got let go from Buffalo, my agent wound up calling me. He was like, how you feeling about Houston Texans? When he called me, Cleveland was also one of the teams that reached out to me, so wound up going to Cleveland. But Houston was always a team that was interested in me."

How would you evaluate the defensive performance overall for the last couple of weeks?

"We're a new group so we are still learning. Coach is doing a great job keeping it so limited to what we can do and that way guys can play faster, he ain't put too much in. I think him and the coaching staff are doing a great job with what they are doing, but like I said, we are all still learning but we are out there playing and we're out there competing."

What do you like about most about the system -- Is it the simplicity of it? What would you say?

"The attack. Since I came into the league in 2017, when I was with Miami, that was kind of the same defense, it was an attack defense and that allows us to play fast, and that's what I really like about the defense.

Against Green Bay, what do you feel the expectations are for you?

"Just go out there and be myself and do what the coaches ask you to do, and try not to think too much and go out and play fast and execute."

Have you guys organized a defensive line dinner yet?

"Actually, we are going Thursday. We going to try to leave before we leave to go to Green Bay, so I'm looking forward to that."

Where you going?

"Some steakhouse. You got to ask Brandon Dunn. He's in control of all that."

So, he's the D.J. and the organizer?

"Yes, he's the organizer and he got all that."

What do you think of him as a D.J.?

"He's doing his thing. He's playing some stuff I like, so he's doing a great job with that."

What's it been like living in the same town as your brother?

"It's good. People always ask me that. I'm very close with my family after everything we went through with (Hurricane) Katrina, that brought us closer. To be out here in Houston with him, it's not like when I was in Miami and he have to get on a plane to come see me. Now he's not too far. I'm very family oriented, so to be in the same city and state with him, it's good."

Some of your family still in San Antonio?

"Yeah, I have some family in San Antonio and some in New Orleans."

Have you been able to hang out much with your brother?

"Yeah, he was out here at practice two days ago. My dad was in town. So, I got to see everybody, like I mentioned him being in the same city as me, I hang out with him probably more than I have been doing lately."

Can you talk about the competitiveness in practice today? It seemed like there was a lot of trash talk going on between the offense and defense.

"That's just how it goes – that's with any team. I think it's just guys out here competing. Coach Culley doing a great job of making sure he getting that out of both sides of the ball, so it's good for the team."

It looked like QB Davis Mills had a good practice, what are your impressions of him?

"He's doing a job. He just got to come out here and just keep doing what he's doing, doing what the coaches are asking him to do and it's only going to help the team."

You mentioned Head Coach David Culley just a minute ago, what have been your impressions of him so far?

"Great guy, like I was telling some of the guys on the sideline, the teams that I've been on in previous years, a fight break out, Coach make us go on the line and get ready to run. So to see Coach doing that and getting guys under control, I think he's doing a great job of that."

You have been in the league for awhile now. How would you compare the environment of this team with so many new players, some guys on one-year contracts to the other teams you have played for before?

"Like you mentioned a lot of guys on the one-year contract, so they hungry. Like you mentioned it's a new team so guys coming out here and competing and showing what they got, and I love it."

You talk about guys being hungry. How are you able to use that as motivation with so many people saying, I hate to say it, worst team in the league this year?

"We as a team, we just got to stick together. We can't listen to what they saying on the outside. Y'all are reporters, that's y'all's job to come up with a story. We got to stick together as a team and do what we've got to do and do what the coaches ask us to do."


What have you learned so far from the other linebackers and some of the veterans?

"To start off with, we have a lot of vets in the room. So coming in as a rookie has been a great experience for me, to see those guys catch on to their game, see how they play, feed their mind, see what they are thinking while they are out there and it's really helped me grow exponentially since I've been here so it's been nothing but a blessing to have LB Christian Kirksey, he's one of the guys I look up to, it's a blessings to have him in front of me each and every day, and pick his mind and try to make myself better with him, as well."

What do you think of DL Roy Lopez?

"That's my boy. I think he's a really about player. He's kind of one of those guys that I latched on to coming in because we both have a good mindset. Definitely a defensive player, definitely a physical guy, so yeah, I'm excited, I think he's going to have a great future, especially in the league. He's a smart player, he's a tough player and you can definitely see it out there while he's out there on the practice field."

Coming from college to the pros, what is the biggest thing you've learned from guys like LB Christian Kirksey like you mentioned earlier?

"Like I said earlier, trying to pick at their mind day-by-day, just trying to learn how they see the game mentally, and kind of what goes into my biggest adjustment is the speed of the game. You come from high school to college, you have to get used to the speed of the game. And you come from college to the NFL, you have to get used to the speed of the game. That's one thing that all of us as young players have been trying to take day-by-day, trying to make the game slow down mentally and play to the best of our ability."

Do you ever find yourself in with matchups TE Brevin Jordan?

"We're out there competing day-by-day, that's what makes us good as a team. We have all that mindset that we are going to push each other every day, come out here and compete to the best of our ability and we find ourselves growing as a team as we do that. So, it's definitely a beautiful thing going against each other day-by-day."

The Texans traded up twice in the draft to get you. How much did you talk to them before the draft and did you know before you were getting picked there was a chance they were going to select you? "I had a good conversation with Coach Miles Smith and he's definitely a reason I've grown, and definitely just keep going up from there. It's definitely been him and the older guys, so I had a good conversation with him during the draft process.

Of course you never know where you're going. I'm blessed to be here and blessed to be a part of this team and pleased to come out here every day and work hard for the team."

Your first NFL game, what do you expect emotions to be like and what do you hope to do?

"My first NFL game, it's an exciting moment, definitely a dream come true. Just like practice, just come out here every day, just put my best foot forward with the team, work as hard as I can and let the rest take care of itself."

In the transition from college to here, what do you notice about what Lovie Smith likes to do with linebackers and how you fit in it?

"Coach Lovie, he has a plan for us linebackers, definitely a real defensive guy. Coming in here with him, it's been a bless and I've learned a lot from him. He has a lot of experience and there's a reason why I've grown exponentially too, as well. I've got high praise for Coach Lovie."

What's the biggest challenge so far?

"I think it would mostly be the mental aspect of the game. It's a challenge but you like that challenge. You start to really feed into that challenge and you see yourself growing day-to-day. Like I say, a bunch of the old guys have led me along the way and made that quite a bit easier for me."

What has been asked of you to show against Green Bay on Saturday?

"I'm ready to come out here and put my best foot forward with the team and work as hard as I can with the team."

You talked about being involved with community service, what are some things you want to do?

"Yeah, for sure. So definitely want to lock in with a couple Houston food drives, working with the homeless, things like that, whenever I get the free opportunity. I know we have a lot of things going on within Houston that we give back, so I definitely look forward to being part of those things as well."

When you talk about making the transition, how has DL Ross Blacklock been a mentor, has he was someone you played in college with?

"Yeah, me and Ross we have a good relationship, definitely a guy I always lean on and get advice from. He's kind of been in my shoes where I'm at right now. It's always good to have a person like an older brother that you can lean on and kind of get information from whenever you're walking into something that you're not sure of. He's been nothing but a blessing and a big help to me."

Are there any specific things you find yourself working on in this transition?

"Really just day-by-day getting better at anything I can. You know, anything linebacker-wise, special teams wise, just bring my best foot forward and best mentality forward every day with the game. Just all in all, coming out and grinding with the team."

Where do you see yourself making the biggest impact?

"Whatever Coach has planned for me, special teams-wise, defensive-wise, whatever they have planned for me, I'll put my best foot forward, and whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I'm looking forward to doing."

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