HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
Can you talk about what you saw in the running game against the Green Bay Packers and what you expect to see in the game against the Cowboys?
"Well, I hope that we can do the same thing, and maybe a little bit more. I thought in the second half, we were a little bit better with it than we were in the first half. We want to be able to establish that a little bit earlier and a little bit more. Of course with the way we had it setup with the way we were playing the game, Tyrod (Taylor) just got the first series in there, and then after that when Davis (Mills) came in, we wanted to see him in all kinds of situations, and basically we want to see him at this point handle the passing game and kind of do both."
What's the latest on WR Anthony Miller?
"Not really sure right now due to he had a little slight dislocation in his shoulder. He's had a little previous injury with that before. But we're not really sure right now."
Do you think he could be ready to play this season?
"We anticipate him being back. It's something he's dealt with in the past before, so we'll see."
Do you expect QB Deshaun Watson to practice today?
"Nothing has changed from last week. We're not going to talk about what we do with personnel each day in practice. We haven't done that all fall, so we're not going to do it now."
Will you treat the second preseason game more like the third preseason game was?
"A little bit differently. We had a bunch of guys who didn't play in this first one, that we held out. Hopefully, we're going to get those guys some playing time. And some guys that didn't get to play, we'll play a little bit more. Not really sure yet how much, but they will play a little bit more."
Do you have a preference between cuts coming all at once or staggering them throughout the preseason?
"It is what it is. We've got to deal with however it is, so we'll just take it as it is."
Do you have an update on DL Jonathan Greenard?
"No, he's doing fine right now. We expect him to be back out here pretty soon."
Can you talk about trading DB Keion Crossen and cutting WR Isaiah Coulter?
"As Nick (Caserio) does and we've always done this, everything we do, we feel like is best for the football team. The situation came up where we could make the move that we did, and we did. We felt like that was the best for what we needed at this time."
DL Ross Blacklock was active at times against Green Bay. Where is he in his development? What do you need to see him do in training camp?
"He's coming along fine, and the reason that's happening is because of the competition that those guys have right there. That's a deep group. All of those guys, along with him, were really excellent from the standpoint of trying to put pressure and handling the run game, and they did an excellent job. I think they maybe rushed from less than 50 yards during the whole night, and that's a credit to those upfront guys."
After watching the film, what did you see in the red zone chances?
"You know what, it's one of those situations where we've had inconsistency all during training camp right now, and it showed up in the game a little bit. When we had the first time we were down there with Tyrod's group at third down and two, basically, if we had got one yard on that play, we were going to go for it. And not getting that yard right there, it's just something that we've got to be able to do because this football team is going to be identified with what happens upfront with our offensive and defensive lines. And that was a situation right there where we didn't want to kick a field goal. We wanted to go for it in two downs if we had gotten one yard there. We've just got to be more consistent there, and we're going to work on that more."
What was your assessment of the offensive line against Green Bay?
"I thought they played hard. I thought they did a nice job in the run game of getting our backs to the line of scrimmage. I thought the protection was good. What I saw in those guys is what we have been seeing all training camp. They've been working very hard. And the thing about it is, those guys have been switching around as I've mentioned before, all over the place. They kind of got solidified right there, not having a bunch of those guys playing, I thought they did a great job of protecting the pocket and giving us a chance to run the ball."
Would you say that you all need to work on run blocking more?
"Oh, we do. And we've got to run it more. We'll run it more, and we'll be able to see. That's the only way we're going to find out."
When you were at the Baltimore Ravens, they were one of the league leaders in aggressiveness on fourth down. How do you feel about that in general?
"I think that comes with how you feel during the game. It has something to do with who you're playing also. It has something to do with how we were playing. I mean, we took that ball and went right down the field, and they were doing very well. When it got down to third and two, I said, 'Timmy, you've got two downs to get this if we can get a yard.' And we didn't get it, but I had that feeling at the point that we were going to go for it in that particular situation with where we are on the field."
Will you get anyone back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list for the upcoming game?
"Yeah, we'll get some guys back this week. There's still a couple of days for the guys that have been out right, but they will be back in practice this week."
Will OL Laremy Tunsil be back?
"Tunsil will not be back right now. He actually tested, so he's going to be out a little bit longer."
Did you see anything from your team this week that surprised you?
"No, the effort was excellent. We've been preaching all along on defensive about getting turnovers, and those guys did that. The one thing that I was a little bit surprised with was the fact that we had some third downs on defense, third and longs, that I felt like, all training camp, we've been getting off the field in practice on those. They made a couple of big third downs on us, and I think we need to improve there. Other than that, I thought they did a nice job."
On fourth downs, what has gone into your philosophy on how to build up the plays to have in certain situations in conversations with people?
"We practice those situations where obviously if we get in two down territory so to speak, anytime you get in the red zone, and you feel like you've got a third down and short, there's a pretty good chance we're going to tell the offense, 'You've got two downs to get this.' Unless the score or the time in the game dictates that you go ahead and take the field goal, we're going to be aggressive that way. We're going to be aggressive that way."
Will you have someone in your headset or a sheet of probabilities to refer to in those situations?
"It's not so much the probability, it will be more so how I feel at that point about going for it. I know analytics has those things out there. We do have access to all of that, but I'm old school in the way that when we're playing, if I'm not feeling it, we're not doing it regardless of what that chart says."
With the Keion Crossen trade, you've also added some depth with guys like DB Tremon Smith, he plays special team and he plays corner. What do you think of how Tremon has played so far?
"I think it was more so, it was a good situation for our football team, that Nick (Caserio) felt like getting some draft picks for next year. And a situation where we do have depth there. And it was a situation where we felt like our football team got better by being in that situation and doing what we did."
DL JACOB MARTIN
What do you think about the way the defensive line played?
"Everything starts up front and I said earlier in the off-season that the D-Line brings the juice, D-Line brings the energy and when the D-Line such, the rest of the defense is up and when the rest of the defense is up, and when the rest of the defense is up, the team goes. I truly believe that the energy and the effort comes from the D-Line in terms of how our team responds and plays."
What's it like playing for Defensive Line Coach Bobby King?
"I think if anything he can be a lot more hard-nosed. There's less rise on us in terms of coverage, and how we affect coverages through our pass rush, and really just focusing on the small details of our game, and you know, being violent and being physical, those are things that we work on and preach all day and every day. Just being enthusiastic. You get paid to play football."
In terms of the defense, more time in the system, are you feeling pretty comfortable and liking what you're doing now?
"Yeah, I think it's like a homecoming for me, being able to put my hand back in the dirt. I was at Temple for three and a half years and played true defensive end and I'm a lot more comfortable playing defensive end rather than outside linebacker honestly. So it's been nice, real nice to get back to that."
What did you weigh last year?
"Most of the year, 242."
What did you do?
"Eating more. I ate a lot more Rice, honestly. Rice."
Is it fun when you don't have to worry about staying small?
"Yeah, I don't have to watch as much what I eat. I'm a leaner guy and I don't have to really watch as much what I'm putting in my body."
Any cheat meals besides the rice?
Great not having to worry about getting any coverage?
"It's awesome. I'm not going to lie; it's just dope. It's dope. It's a blessing for sure."
What are you guys focusing most trying to get into the defense, the new scheme, game ready?
"I would say focusing on the small details, focusing on the things that us as a defense can control and that's our effort and that's turnovers, actively punching at the ball, actively making moves and being in the right positions, and knowing and doing your job and once you know and do your job, then you can play -- you can be the athlete that you're gifted to be and play fast and physical, things like that."
How much do you think is left in the bag with Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith?
"I don't know man to be honest with you. You know, Lovie has been around for a long time -- he's been around for a long time."
DB JUSTIN REID
What did you think of the first preseason game?
"Oh, man, I thought it was excellent. I wanted to get in on the action myself but it was fun seeing guys fly around and making plays. You could see the emphasis on what Coach Lovie Smith has been preaching on the turnovers. Should have had three more of them but that's just continuing to find the ball. Take advantage of those opportunities, had two three-and-outs to start the game, can't ask for a better way to start it."
What do you think of the run defense?
"Great. Did an awesome job. A lot more aggressive, guys are downhill. I'm personally a fan of the 4-3 system a lot because it's more aggressive downhill and guys are able to make their reads faster."
What's the atmosphere and confidence like coming off that first preseason win?
"It's great for the locker room. This is a preseason game and at the end of the day, these scores and these settings are going to reset , but I think it just does a tremendous job for the locker room and guys being able to see that, hey, this system works, the plays that we are putting in, the atmosphere we are creating, if guys put into it works and we are going to get turnovers with it. It's really big for team morale in that sense."
Have you seen more progress from DB Lonnie Johnson Jr., are you seeing more confidence at the safety position?
"Absolutely, got another interception today. He's continuing to buy into it more and all it is experiencing reps, he's trained from cornerback his first year in the league and the more reps and experience he gets, the better he'll get at seeing things faster and he'll be like, I've seen this play before and know I need a fit here. He's continuing to take better. He's doing a great job."
How much pride to you take in and embrace the role in becoming one of the leaders on this team?
"I love it. It's fun for me on the back end just because I like being the guy that gets guys off the line, I feel like safety, middle linebacker too but safety you get to be a chief on the back end , see the whole picture, get to put guys in the right spot. I feel like my job as far as the rest of the guys on the team is to be a resource for them because if I'm playing my best ball and nobody else is, we're not going to win that way. The only way to move forward is get everybody on the same page and better, and I want to get everybody on the lineup into their best position as possible in order to make plays and that's my job, as well."
Who was the person you looked to; you were probably a born leader but when you got to the NFL is their someone you looked to?
"I've been lucky that I've had a bunch of guys I got to look up to. I got to look up to J.J. Watt, Jonathan Joseph, Tyrann Mathieu was a strong emotional leader that came through, Kareem Jackson just was a pro's, pro. All those guys I got to take a bit of everything from them and add it to myself and in turn try to spread that to the rest of the guys on the field around me."
This is the first time you're not going to play with a new safety next to you for the first time in your career. What are the benefits of that?
"It's awesome. Chemistry, me and E Murray (Eric Murray) and me and Lonnie (Johnson Jr.), I know their strengths and weaknesses I know the chemistry and know where we like to be at in certain coverages. The communication is there, we're speaking the same language and terminology from last year we can use those same terms together and we are able to use things from that experience together in order to be just tighter, you know what I mean. It's really nice that I get to have a partner in crime that I've had before for the first time."
Is it particularly hard last year without the offseason program?
"It was definitely different. It was definitely different. It's an adjustment because teams that had cohesive units throughout time had a better advantage when we had those represents and teams that were new did not. It's nice to see on the back end some of that chemistry."
In that communication, how much is learning the defense and is there still more that you guys are learning?
"Coach (Lovie) Smith is going to add stuff as we go. We haven't even gotten the game plan yet. This is still preseason. The defense is fun for me and I'm lucky it's not my first time learning it. My brother played in this system back in 2013 so we talked ball about it before. It's funny to see it come full circle from the defense he taught me back then is the one we are playing in now."
What are some of the helpful things your brother Eric Reid told you?
"Really, it's just like some of the back side reads, I don't want to get too much into the details of the coverages, you know what I mean. But it's just keys. You can read your own linebackers in this defense just because it's so aggressive and how the linebackers are making their reads, you can actually get a read off them for your read, so you can read the offense and you can read your own players, so it just goes hand-in-hand and you have keys that let you play faster."
What did you see from DB Tremon Smith in the game?
"Tremon Smith? Oh, man, I wish he took that one to the crib, that one-to-one return he had, he was one player away from taking that to the house. I thought his interception was excellent. The PI (pass interference) call that he had on him I didn't think was a PI, maybe I'm biased but I thought it was great coverage. He's doing a great job. His man coverage is really good"
DB TREMON SMITH
Can you take us through your interception and the first game?
"That first game was real fun. That's what we've been waiting all comp to do is go out and compete against everybody else. Didn't get tired of lining up against our receivers but it was fun seeing somebody else. On that interception, I felt the routes -- was getting digs and overs the whole game and I kept that in the back of my mind and seen him take off and beat him to the spot.
DB Justin Reid said you had a chance to take it to the house, do you feel like you had the chance to do that?
"Not with the toe tap on the side. I think he more talking about the punt return, I felt like I should have got that punt return to the house. I'm going to get it this week though."
On the interference call, DB Justin Reid said he didn't feel like it was a good call.
"Now watching it for like the fourth or fifth time, I give it to him, it's whatever. Ref aren't going to argue with me on the field because it was so bang-bang but it was a good call at the end of the day."
How do you feel like you are fitting in and what do you feel you bring to the table?
"I feel good, me and "Justin (Reid) and Lonnie (Johnson Jr.) we trained in off-season and the coaches did a good job of getting us together during the OTAs and working hard and once we in here we bond together real quick and it wasn't bad at all."
Your background with Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross, how much do you think that help you?
"Oh, yeah and also I knew Coach Ross in Indianapolis. He's a guy you love to play for. I could not come play for him and it's a great choice by him obviously to come coach for the Texans."
The success of the defense in the first game, how much do you appreciate to come off that game?
"The D-Line held their own. That's the reason -- I praise D Rivers (Derek Rivers) for my pick for that -- D-Line played a real good game. We had two strip sacks and it starts up front and their job, they make our jobs a lot easier on the back end"
Do you notice that you have less time to be on your man now because of the defensive line?
"It just force the quarterback to throw real bad throws and just rush his throws so he can't get his drop or get his proper read. As long as our D-Line rushing like that on the back end we're going to have a real successful year."
What's it like playing for Cornerbacks Coach Dino Vasso?
"I was with Dino in 2019 in Philadelphia for probably two or three months, so just coming from that and just knowing his background, how hard he worked on his way up to get to this coaching job, and just how hard I worked to get in this position, it was a good connection."
How would you describe this team's mentality?
"We got a lot to prove. It's all new guys pretty much on a one-year deal, two-year deal, I feel like we're here to prove ourselves and put the league on notice."