HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
Could you talk about QB Davis Mills today compared to Saturday?
"I thought he bounced back really well today. He did a nice job. What that tells me about him is that he isn't going to get rattled with things. We knew that. That's the demeanor that he had. He's that kind of guy. You know, we knew when we drafted him that we knew we were getting a good, solid guy that pressure doesn't bother him and for him to do what he did today as excellent. We expected that. That's what they all have to do, doesn't matter whether it's him or Tyrod (Taylor) or any of those guys. That's what they have to do."
Will QB Deshaun Watson be in pads tomorrow?
"Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed."
With WR Nico Collins, have you started to see him stack somethings together?
"I'm starting to see him make some plays. Again, as you watch the video there's still things he's not doing that we need to do better but he's playing bigger, and you see him every day, he'll end up making a play here or there. Here is the issue that we got to have from him is he's got to make those plays all the time and that's not happening right now. But he is getting better. He's getting better and better each day and he's got to continue to do that."
Is there anything that surprises you about your team during the first few days of practice?
"No. I expected great effort. He expected enthusiasm and I expect that from them because they know they are going to get it from us as coaches and it's been exactly what I want. The one thing that I want to get better and I want them to get better at is consistency. You know, the consistency. The last time we practiced offensively we were a little inconsistent. Today we're a lot more consistent than we have been, especially in our team periods and that's what we want to see during training camp."
What does it say about the defensive backs you went through a couple of changes in the off-season?
"That's a competitive group of guys back there. I mean and a lot of those guys have played and they have played in this league at different places and they are doing a heck of a job. That group is doing a heck of a job and that's a deep group. That's a competitive group. And we've got some great competition right there in that group."
How excited are you to be in pads tomorrow?
"I am so excited. We are starting to play football tomorrow. Finally starting to play football tomorrow"
The practices longer than what we've seen in the past; is there a philosophy on it and how is your team responding?
"They have responded very well. This is training camp. I mean, training camp's a grind. That's why we do. It and you know what, to practice it that way, we've got to find, and what better way to find out than this hot humid thing here in Houston. Hey, I'm finding out, you know. But they have been great with that. They have been great with that."
First day of pads, what is the significance of that?
"The significance of that is now we start to play football. Guys right now won't be as hesitant as they have been because when you're in shells and you're in shorts, you hold back when you get to the ball. Once you get pads on, we're running through things, finishing things a lot better. We have pads on and we're protected and that's football."
What about what DB Justin Reid brings to the team?
"You know, Justin, that whole secondary back there, it's not just Justin but that whole secondary back there is a group of guys that bring it every day."
DB TERRANCE MITCHELL
What is it like to be here playing football again?
"Oh man, It's a beautiful thing. Got some great coaches, great teammates and it's a fresh start."
What do you remember about the first time?
You signed in June, right?
How much better of a player are you now than you were then?
"I would say I gained some experience throughout those years, so I would say I'm a better player for sure."
What was it like playing for the Browns last year and having that big turnaround?
"It was fun. It's fun to win."
How are things for you guys with pads on for the first time tomorrow?
"It's real exciting. We've been out here working hard all during the spring and early in this training camp, so tomorrow we get a chance to go out there and put the pads on and hit a little bit."
How excited are you to put pads on tomorrow?
"It's real cool. We've just got to know how to practice. When you ain't got pads on you've got to be a little smarter and be safe for the team, but tomorrow it's going to be a little different."
As a defense, you guys are starting to get some more snaps and have had some practices together. Do you feel like that's going well?
"Oh, for sure. We're still working. It's an everyday process. We're stacking, and, shoot, we're just going to be ready for the first game, for sure."
What have you seen working with DB Bradley Roby on the other side?
"In our room right now, we got a whole bunch of great cornerbacks, a lot of great competition and regardless of who is out there, we all could play."
What have you seen from DB Justin Reid?
"He's kind of tight. I like him. Like I said, we got some cash, though. All the whole room, you know."
Which wide receiver talks the most? Who is the best at it?
"I haven't really -- I don't really know yet."
Is it quiet? No one that sticks out?
"I haven't heard too much."
So, when you say DB Justin Reid is kind of tight, what do you mean?
Which means what?
"He's tight. (Laughter)."
What are you hoping to accomplish this season?
"Well, I want to win games, you know what I mean, want to win games."
When you look at the wide receivers you match up with, how much of a challenge is WR Nico Collins because of his size and speed?
"Nico (Collins) has a bright future. He's a big receiver and he has a bright future."
What do you think about WR Anthony Miller?
"Anthony Miller, he's quick, real quick."
Is he hard to cover?
"Man, they all present challenges."
Is he tight, too?
"He tight. He tight."
WR Chris Conley in terms of his ability to go up and get it?
"Chris, he's a vet. He's got a lot of knowledge. He tight, too."
DB JUSTIN REID
DB Terrance Mitchell described you as being tight, and I asked him what that meant, and he said, it means you're raw. I said, what does that mean? He said, it means you're tight.
"Hey, just take him at his word, man. Tight, raw, all with that, just a guy that's happy to be here. Just a guy that's trying to be the best leader I can be for the guys around me and help us get this thing setback on the right course."
What do you think about DB Terrance Mitchell?
"Terrance Mitchell, great player. So far, he's my favorite guy to play Cover 2, he's a physical corner, he's very smart, competitive. He'll compete on every play, man coverage, zone coverage. Very enthusiastic and positive. Doesn't bring any negativity to the team. Great guy."
Do you feel like you are moving well compared to last year?
"The best thing, one of the only positives about my season ending early last year is I got to really focus on my recovery getting back healthy. Now it's honestly the best thing that I could have done going into this season because physically I feel great. I'm bigger, I'm faster, I'm stronger. I feel very fluid and just loose on the field and I just feel like I'm free out there. I just get to play ball and go make plays."
What does it mean when defensive backs like Ryan Clark talk about how good you are and your potential?
"Ryan Clark is a goat, he's one of my favorite guys. I train with him every year, a whole crop of guys go work out with him in Baton Rouge and in Arizona. It means a lot to me to hear that from him because he's played with some of the best, he's played with Sean Taylor and he's played with Troy Polamalu. He has a 13-year career and he's played with some of the greats. He's a Super Bowl Champion, so to hear that from him it means a lot for me."
What's the first day like having pads on at camp?
"It's like the first day of school. It's exciting. We all know that what we have been doing the last couple of days has been a whole lot of fun but real football gets played when the pads get put on. So we get to see what everybody got starting tomorrow."
How does the new defense benefit you?
"Coach Lovie Smith's system, it's so much more aggressive. He let's us play free on the back end. He's very intent about us wanting to make plays and going and making plays, playing with instincts, playing with security; at the same time but when we see an opportunity to make a play and go strip the ball out he harps on us going to do that. He's in my ear literally every day. First thing he said to me in practice today was, "Yesterday was yesterday. Now do it again today," you know what I mean. So, he preaches consistency, he preaches getting takeaways, getting turnovers and that's just the type of defense that we want to run."
How has your role in this football team with so many new faces you're one of the guys people are familiar with, how do you embrace that role?
"I just try to be the best guy. I want to be a resource for all the guys around me. I want to lead by example. If any guy has any question I want to be there as far as getting to know the city, people to talk to, the system, I talk ball all day. So, I just want to be a guy that not only is putting my best ball on the field, but helps everybody around me put their best ball on the field, too."
What is your mental approach?
"Yeah, you've got to focus on the task at hand. That's my mentality my whole career and learned that in college under Shannon Turley. He says hand-over-hand that translates to focusing on what's right in front of you right now. What's in front of you right now is pads tomorrow, and next after that will be the preseason games and then Jacksonville and then just take it one week at a time and the rest will work itself out."
Will your role be more similar to kind of what you did earlier in your career and last year in this defense?
"Yeah, last year wasn't a great year. It just wasn't. But heading into this year from a health standpoint, yeah, do I. I feel really, really healthy. I feel strong. I feel confident in every part of my body and man I'm having a lot of fun on the field again man, it's a blast."
Do you anticipate playing in the box less often then you did last season?
"We have a system that we have a bunch of coverages, so I play back more, I play deep more, I played in the box a couple of times. It's really just whatever comes."
Is that easier said than done?
"Honestly, no. For me it's always been very clear. Like I'm focused on this right now. I'm going to compartmentalize everything else and I kind of tackle things as they come. When it comes to football and want to put my best ball on the field, that's always been kind of No. 1 in my head. Like everyone around me, I have a great support team around me and they understand how I operate and how important this is to me. They know when I'm locked into this mode I'm locked in and once I step off the field then I have time to go do everything else."
Does it add motivation considering the year that you had last year and that this is a contract year?
"Absolutely. Absolutely. The better I play is better for everybody. If I play better it's for the defense, it's better for me individually and it's better for the team, too, and we're going to win more games if I play better."
You talk about discipline and what you focus on, is that from the military upbringing?
"Yeah, my uncle was in the military. My mom was actually in it, too. She was in the reserves. Yeah, my parents were very, very strict on the discipline aspect as far as handling my responsibilities ever since I was growing up as a kid. It's always handle your business first, have fun and do whatever afterwards but that's only after you get your business done first. There's kind of part of my foundation of who I am as a person. Handle my vials and after that, I can go do whatever next."
Your brother as well?
"Yeah, my whole family."
Can you talk about the room as far as the defensive backs?
"Oh, man, I'm excited. I feel like we have the most continuity on the team so far with Eric Murray coming back, AJ (Moore Jr.) , Keion (Crossen), (Bradley) Roby, Vern (Vernon Hargreaves III) , we have the most guys in the room as far as in one unit coming back to the same team. So that chemistry plays a role. Me and E-Murray (Eric Murray) and Lonnie (Johnson Jr.), too, as well, we all know how to operate as well, and we know each other's strengths and weaknesses we put each other in great positions to play."
How do the pads assist you in seeing what the defense looks like?
"That's when real football is played, you know what I mean. This is all very pretty and it's nice to play without pads and we got a lot of valuable reps in and lot of valuable work in to start learning the defense and the system. But the real football is played when the pads get put on. So that's when we're going to see what we really got. We're actually going to be able to play the run and we're actually going to be able to fit and see who can play ball and who can't."
You have a knack for making clean, legal big hits. How did you figure that out when so many guys struggle with that?
"I just didn't want to get fined."
But you were doing it in college, too.
"Yeah, I don't know, man, I think I was just lucky that I just -- it just came naturally to me, you know what I mean, just natural. I'm never out there to hurt anybody. I'm not a dirty player. But I am a guy that you're going to pay the toll if you come across me, you know what I mean, that's always been my mentality, to play legal, play clean but also play physical and deliver a blow and make guys pay for it if they come my direction."