Skip to main content

Transcripts: 8-3-2021 Training Camp Press Conferences


Opening Statement

"I felt like I practiced today. It felt good to finally get pads on today and for us to be able to look at those guys and evaluate and go from there, but it was good.

Is QB Deshaun Watson injured? Was he in the building?

"Well, as I said before, we're day-to-day with it. The only thing that's changed from the standpoint of that is we make decisions every day based on what's best for our football team, and I'm going to leave it at that."

You can't tell us why he was not at practice today?

"Again, I'm going to leave it at that."

Going forward, is this kind of what you would expect as far as the structure of practice?

"Well, I think from a practice standpoint, I think it went exactly like I wanted it to be, and that's the most important thing right now. This day is we wanted to see. We've been waiting on this day right now for six days, and we got out there, and what I saw and what I heard was exactly what we expected, guys playing football the way you're supposed to play football. The thing we found out today out there with pads on today is when you don't have pads on like we've been in this ramp-up period is you don't really get to see leverage finish. You don't get to see guys when they take the angles. If you take a bad angle with pads on, it's different than taking a bad angle when you don't have pads on, and so today that was good."

Was it good to get DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. and TE Pharaoh Brown back?

"It was good to get them back. Again, they've been on (NFI), and basically we got, as we said before, we got limited reps for those guys to work them back -- they're actually going through the ramp-up right now, so their reps are limited from that standpoint."

What do you think QB Davis Mills can contribute, and what is he comfortable out there doing?

"He's getting comfortable every day. Basically he's just getting the reps. He and those quarterbacks are all getting the reps. Basically today their reps were kind of even, and he just needs to get reps. He and Jeff (Driskel) and Tyrod (Taylor), they just need to keep getting the reps, and as the reps come, they get better and they get better.

Do you get a sense that fans are getting a mixed signal with QB Deshaun Watson not out here?

"Nothing new on Deshaun (Watson)."

The two-minute work that QB Tyrod Taylor got in, they celebrate together, he's down with the offensive line. What are you building there with him running the show?

"Well, it's not just him. We feel the same way about whoever is running the show in that particular thing, even the second group that ran it today. They were fortunate enough that they were able to score today on that. The second group was not able to score. Actually, the defense ended up finishing with an interception. But basically whoever is running that offense, whoever is running that two-minute offense, that's what we expect, and touchdowns, that's what you're going to see, and you'll see that out of any of those guys, whoever the quarterback is."

If QB Deshaun Watson practices all the way leading up to today and then doesn't –

"Again, nothing new today on that."

What have you seen out of DL Maliek Collins so far?

"Well, I'll tell you what, he plays the game the right way. I mean, we had a play two days ago in practice where actually it was an interception, and I think Justin (Reid) had intercepted the ball, and once he intercepted the ball, all of a sudden I saw one guy flash right by me, and I was standing right there, and it was Maliek Collins, running up the field to block for him like he was an offensive lineman. He plays the game the right way. He's very strong. I mean, he's a wonderful guy, and again, just playing the game, and he's a great example of how you're supposed to play this game."


Do you feel like you're fitting in well with the offense with everything they've got going?

"Yeah, I feel like everybody is fitting in very well. We're just coming out here trying to get 1 percent better every day. I feel like we're progressing every day. First day with the pads on was a good day. We're just going to try to improve tomorrow."

What did you think about WR Randall Cobb getting traded and opening up another opportunity for you here?

"That was just the situation from the top of this day, but obviously next-man-up mentality is always just to be out there, make plays every day is what I'm focused on right now, just getting better with the team."

Once you started getting a lot of targets last year, you started to get numbers, you started to produce. Did you feel like you were starting to get back to yourself compared to last season?

"I feel like this is more sticking to my routine, being ready when my number is called and just being able to make plays when the ball is in the air, so that's what I'm going to continue to do."

How are things offensively with QB Tyrod Taylor so far?

"Going good. Tyrod, he's a new guy, learning very well. Everybody is learning each other right now. This is a whole new team, so I feel like we're gelling pretty well right now."

How much do you feel you've grown as a player coming into this camp?

"I feel like I've grown a lot, this being my fourth year in the league. Obviously still have more to get better at as well, so I'm just focused on different, little things every day, just focusing on one thing at a time."

How do you look at your opportunity this year?

"I feel like it's wide open opportunities. Just sticking to myself, as I said before, continuing to make plays for this team."

Head Coach David Culley has talked about competition, especially at receiver, it seems like it's a very competitive situation there. How do you guys approach that every single day?

"We've got a lot of different talent in that room from one to the bottom, as well. Everybody brings something different to the table, a great group of guys, so I feel like we all can make plays."

You've had an up-and-down few years. What do you feel like you've learned from those past years that you want to take into this year?

"Every day is a new day. Every day is a new opportunity, as well. So that's in the past and I'm focusing on this year with this team."

What have you seen out of rookie WR Nico Collins?

"Nico, big strong guy, able to go up at the point of catch and make tough catches, big guy, brings a lot to this team."

How much effort have you put in over these last three years to now to try to be as healthy as possible to get through everything and stay on the field?

"Just learning from my past situations, past injuries, as well, and just learning how to be a pro and take care of my body and just be out there as much as I can and just being available."

Your time with David Robinson, you've worked with him before, how beneficial is that time?

"In the past, yeah. In the past, but D-Rob is a guy that I've been working with for like four years now, so I stick to my guys that I know and just keep training with him because he knows my abilities."

Who are some other receivers that have trained with him?

"Just a lot of different guys, me, Dez (Bryant). I can't think of them off the top of my head right now but a lot more guys will be out there with him."

Was WR Dez Bryant a mentor?

"Most definitely a mentor. Obviously being from the same hometown as well, so I obviously looked up to him, a big mentor."


When you found out they were going to be moving to the 4-3 and having Associate Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith has the defensive coordinator, did you get excited about how linebacker friendly his defense has been over the years?

"Yeah, yeah, I was definitely excited to hear that, excited get into the new scheme, get around the guys and just begin the process of learning a new defense. Yeah, very excited for that."

Do you feel like this defense suits you and your game?

"Yeah, like as a linebacker, focusing on me playing the Will linebacker allowed me to do what I do best, which is run around, make plays, key on the ball, and also being more open in the coverage game."

What were you focused on working on coming into camp?

"For me it was really just getting acclimated with the new defense, getting with the guys, working with the coaches as far as like the new coverage schemes that we had, just getting into that."

How would you describe the level of intensity of the two-minute drill, offense, defense, and it looks like you guys really wanted to answer with the DB Vernon Hargreaves III interception after they scored? How intense does that get this early?

"Oh, yeah, yeah, you're always going to have that, especially the first day in pads. Guys will come out there with a lot of energy, so yeah, you definitely felt that out there."

Were you familiar with Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith's linebacker-friendly system?

"Yeah, yeah, I definitely knew about it. But for me I'm just more focused on what I can do in that defense."

How would you describe yourself as a player?

"Yeah, I think I've always showed that I'm a guy that can make plays, a guy that can get to the ball. That's pretty much what I've tried to show out there on the field."

What is your goal for this year?

"I don't know, we'll see. I'll see what I can do. Who knows."

What have you seen out of LB Neville Hewitt?

"Yeah, he's definitely a hard worker, a guy making plays out there, not just him, a lot of other linebackers out there, being able to make plays, get to the ball. I'm definitely excited to see that this year."

Do you think he's as aggressive as you?

"Oh, for sure. I don't know if you saw him out there with the neck roll on, ready to get downhill. He might have been a little more aggressive than me today."

Are you excited about the linebackers and additions this offseason?

"Yeah, for sure, for sure, and that's another thing I'm excited to see this year."


Did you all just douse QB Tyrod Taylor? What happened over there?

"Oh yeah, it's his birthday. We had to do it for his birthday, show a little love for our QB."

What do you think that he did so well leading you guys down the field in two-minute drill? I saw you guys celebrating that together. What did he do well in that period?

"Yeah, I think he was very poised back there. He was very patient with the protection, with the routes. I think he led the football team down the field, and we got a score at the end."

What element does he add where he can run because obviously that's special what he did to get into the end zone?

"Yeah, you put a lot of pressure on the QB being able to pass and to run. When you have a QB who can do both, it only makes the offense a little bit better."

How much do you feel you've grown as a player coming into this season?

"I feel like I'm getting better each and every day. My goal is to be the best me for the team and putting in the work every day. I'm only getting better day in, day out."

What are some things specifically you'll want to work on during camp?

"I think the number one thing for me is my technique, being consistent with my technique day in, day out, playing better with my hands this year, and just dominating every play to be the best me I can be."

I see OL Laremy Tunsil over here, do you take some tips from this guy? Does he keep it secret or does he help you?

"Yeah, man, ever since LT (Laremy Tunsil) been here, he has been nothing but like a big brother to me, helping me out on and off the field, just giving me ideas and ways to help my game get better. I'm appreciative of my boy right there."

They have been moving you up and down the line a lot. Do you feel like you can thrive at any position they put you in?

"Yeah, I feel like when I put the work in, I can play anywhere on the line. I'm only here to be the best me I can be to help the team, so that's my ultimate goal."

Are you a better left tackle than this guy (T Laremy Tunsil) right here?

"No, man, he's best in the game. That's my goal -- he's best in the game. My goal is to be on that level, and that's why I look at all his film, learn from it, and I take all that in and I try to apply it to my game."

What are some of the parts of your game that apply to playing inside as opposed to the outside?

"Yeah, I think by me being at tackle and coming in to play some guard, I feel like my feet are a little bit faster. When I'm playing guard, I'm able to use my athleticism a little more inside against guys who usually don't go against guys with as good a feet as I do, so I think I like playing all the positions. Whichever one my team sees me as, I'm going to go in day in and day out and play the best I can be."

Right tackle, do you feel like that's your natural spot?

"Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Right tackle is where I've been playing the last two years. I'm very comfortable playing right tackle. My goal is to go in, do my best job at right tackle and do my best job at left guard, left tackle. So any position they put me in, that's my goal is to give my all at every position because I like to play, so me being on the field, it makes me happy, makes my team happy, so that's what I want to do."

Did you do anything different this off-season to get ready for this year?

"Yeah, this off-season was a lot different for me this year because all the other off-seasons I was hurt. So this is my first off-season when I was healthy, so I trained a lot, I spent more time with my family because I wasn't in the building as much, and getting a chance to spend a lot of time with my daughter, my wife, it helped me a lot with my family and stuff like that because when you're having a good time at home, it makes coming to work a lot better. I do this job; I do for them. I had a pretty good off-season."

How old is your daughter?

"My daughter is about to be 10 months old."

What is your comfort level practicing at guard this time around compared to when you did as a rookie?

"I'm a lot more comfortable now than when I was a rookie because when I was a rookie it was all new to me, so I was just put inside and I never played inside before, versus now I've played guard before. I got a lot of reps on the left side, so I'm very comfortable being on both sides."

What are some of the things that you kind of remember being difficult as a rookie that are not as hard to do now that you're playing guard again?

"Oh, man, like I said earlier, just being more patient. When you're playing inside, you ain't going all over the place like you would be at tackle. Everything is right there in front of you. As a rookie, I didn't really take that into consideration. Now I know that, so it makes it a lot more easy for me."

Are you enjoying Offensive Line Coach James Campen's technique, the legal holding? Is that an adjustment?

"No, I mean, Coach Campen, his coaching is different but I think it's good because as O-linemen I don't see how you can't hold. He teaches it in a way that you can get away with it, and it's within the game, and he doesn't try to make you use it all the time, but just in case you have to, he tries to teach you in a legal way. I like his coaching. I like what he brings to the table as an offensive line coach, and I feel like this group, and this year is going to be a lot better."

How has fatherhood changed you?

"Fatherhood has changed me a lot, man. Being able to see my daughter every morning before I leave home, it just makes me go that much harder every day, so offer her all the things I never could have when I was growing up. Just knowing I have someone at home that's depending on me that's just fully depending on me, it just makes me want to work and do everything just a little bit better."

What age did you get into Kool-Aid pie?

"Kool-Aid pie, I think I was like eight or nine years old, and I still eat it to this day. I can't eat it right now because I'm in season, I'm trying to take care of my body, but as soon as the off-season hits I've got to have some."

What's your daughter's name?

"Willow Grace Howard."

Related Content