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Houston Texans

Transcripts: 9-13-2021 Press Conferences 


What would you like to do better against Cleveland?

"Penalties. I've said this all along. We had pre-snap penalties that end up keeping us from getting in a situation from where we could have gotten points, that backed us up. We had two of those. We had them off the field on a roughing the passer. If we didn't have that happened, it would have backed them up and they end up scoring on that drive. The penalties is the one thing that I think we have to get better at because it kept us from keeping them out of the end zone one time and getting us into the endzone one time and those things are critical."

What did it mean for you to get the game ball? Have you ever gotten one before?

"I've gotten game balls before. Not me personally, but just because of certain wins with a franchise because of certain wins or getting in the playoffs, those kinds of things. It felt really good and I felt like when they gave me the game ball, I felt like the game ball was going to our coaches, this team, this franchise. Simply because for me, my first win, although I tell people I was 2-1 going into this game but nobody remembers that 2-1. Right now, we are 1-0 and we played a division opponent, got a win, but remember this, this season is a marathon. All people remember is what happens last, and once we start playing this next football game all that's going to matter is what happens in that football game. But I feel really good about that and I slept really good last night."

What are you planning to do with this one?

"I am going to put it in a little case that I have, and I am going to keep it in my office here at the Texans stadium and not at home, to remind me that every time I come in that dressing room of that first win."

WR Nico Collins played in 55% of the snaps. What did you see from him yesterday?

"He did a nice job. He's been getting better and better from Training Camp all the way through the preseason. You could just see that in him. He is very mature for a rookie, he never says a word. Sometimes I don't even know he's out on the football field until I see him make a play. But for him to go out there when we needed him to have something happen for us, he did it. I'll tell you what he did do a good job of. He did a nice job in the run game, which you don't ever see. But he did a nice job in the run game. He's a very physical guy. He's a guy we know we are going to need down the line on a basis of being able to make plays and I am happy with where he is at. He is just getting better and better and better."

What were some things that jumped out about TE Pharaoh Brown from yesterday?

"His physicality in the run game was what we expected. As I said before, those guys are an extension of our offensive line in the run game. He is a large individual and I am telling you now, his physical presence is a factor. Size does matter up front. The thing I was happy to see from him, and he hasn't had a whole lot of opportunities in his career to make some of the plays that he made for us yesterday and it was good to see that happen. The one play that he and Tyrod (Taylor) had was a tremendous play and I was so happy for him being able to do that. I say that because Friday at practice, he dropped three balls at Friday practice that were in his hands. I wasn't concerned about it, but I still had it in the back of my mind and to see him go out there and do what he did, just goes to show me the kind of maturity that he has and that's what we expect out of him."

Can you give us an update on DL Vincent Taylor?

"They are still doing an MRI on him now. It looks like it was an ankle issue. It's not a knee, it's an ankle issue. We will know more later today about it. He is actually at the doctors now and we are just going to have to wait and see. It looks like it may be something that can keep him out this week and maybe further but I am not sure on how long."

Do you expect to have WR Anthony Miller back this week?

"We expect to have Anthony back this week, yes."

How does playing 13 personnel suit QB Tyrod Taylor and this offense?

"Our personnel dictates we do that. That's who we are, the things that our offensive staff have schemed up fits that personnel group more than the groups we have had in the past here. We know going into the game that was going to be a big part of what we do and that's not going to change. That's who we are and that's our comfort level with that. But we will continue to change personnel's and get a variety of groups in there but when it gets down to the nitty gritty, you are going to see that group because that is the best personnel on our football team offensively."

What went into the decision to activating TE Antony Auclair and making TE Brevin Jordan inactive?

"Well because of the other positions on the team as far as what we need to have up, on defense, for what we need to have up on our defensive line. Antony basically fits that mold of our other tight ends from a physicality standpoint. We felt like he was more ready to do what we needed to do than (Brevin) Jordan is. Jordan is progressing very, very well, but with what we are, you just talked about that 13th personnel, those three guys that we play in there obviously fit that mold."

How do you fee about the pressure your defense got rushing four and what do you expect to see against the Browns?

"I think what happened was we didn't get the sacks we would like to have, but what we did do was rush him. Our upfront people made him get out of the pocket and made him throw some balls that he wasn't really ready to throw, which has to do with some of those interceptions that he threw. I felt like we didn't actually get the sack totals that we are normally looking for, but we got the pressure from the standpoint of getting him off his timing and him making some throws that allowed us to get some interceptions and missed some throws too."

With DL Vincent Taylor possibly out, who would have to step up in his place?

"Well, we're not really sure yet how we're going to approach that. We're just going to wait and see in the situation with him, and we'll just take it from there. But we're not really sure yet what we'll do with that."

Did anything surprise you about the way that WR Danny Amendola was able to help you guys yesterday and step up and make some plays?

"Not at all. Guy's been in this league 14 years, been a part of Super Bowl champion football teams. He's a football player. I mean, this guy lives and breathes and wakes up, it's about football. I asked him what he'd been doing before he got here, he says 'I've been working out. I've been waiting on this opportunity.' And what was good for us was that this is an offense that he's familiar with, he's been a part of this offense before and it was an easy adjustment for him to just step right in there. And what he did in the game, we expected him to do. That's what he's been doing his whole career."

You mentioned earlier you were 2-1 as a head coach. Were you an interim coach, what did you mean by that?

"Well, I meant the preseason games that they didn't count, but we counted them here, and nobody else counted them. So that was what I was meaning."

What was it like with text messages, emails and calls after you won that game from your friends around the country?

"It was similar to when I became head coach here, not quite to that extent. I got calls from people I haven't heard from in a while, which was good. And I'll say this, I was up a little bit later last night than I wanted to be, not just because of the excitement of the game, but because they did text me, so I did text them back. But it was like, my phone blew up. My phone blew up, but I got them all answered. I still got a few that I got to get to that's coming in today, but I've already put on my deal that, 'Hey, listen, I'm onto the next one right now. That one's over, right now it's about Cleveland.'"

Can you talk about the difference in the first half and the second half, where you guys were pretty clean in the first half. How do you address that, and what was the difference?

"I thought we lost our focus a little bit in the second half. We had the lead the whole ballgame, and I felt like we lost our composure a little bit with a couple of penalties and it kind of disrupted the flow of what we were doing. When that happens, you've got to get right back on track, and we weren't able to establish things as we had earlier, simply because we had some penalties that we did. We were getting ready to get them off the field in a critical situation, and we get a penalty, roughing the passer. We're getting ready to have a chance to be able to go in and get another score again, and we get a penalty. I mean, those kinds of things, that's just focus and discipline on our part, and we'll address that when they come in today with understanding that you've got to start fast and then you've got to finish the right way. And we didn't really finish the way we started that game."

What did you think of OL Marcus Cannon's performance, and also your thoughts on OL Laremy Tunsil in his first game back from COVID-19?

"The thing about Laremy (Tunsil) is obviously, we know he's a heck of a player. You don't hear his name a whole bunch right now simply because usually the guy that's over him is not doing very much in a football game, and that's what you expect for him. Marcus (Cannon) came in, we actually had a set number of plays that we were going to play him simply because he hasn't. It was his first time back for a while, and he did a nice job. We were taking him in, taking him out, and that was intentional. I thought he did a good job. The big thing was we wanted to make sure he got out of there healthy, that he got out of there feeling pretty good, and that happened during the game. He was fine. I thought those guys did a nice job."

How long do you anticipate having OL Marcus Cannon on a pitch count, and what went into the decision to have four active running backs and having RB Scottie Phillips being inactive?

"Well, again, the four running backs, obviously, you know what we want to try to do offensively. And those four particular guys (have) got a skillset that's different from each other. I mentioned this before. And offensively, we have a way to be able to use that skillset, because those guys are good, quality players. As far as with Marcus (Cannon), we'll just see how he feels as we go into practice, and that'll be predicated on how he feels and how his stamina is, and hopefully we can get him a little more than what he got this week."

What did you do with your feet last night after you got home with us?

"I took my shoes off, I got some open-toe Nike shoes on. I didn't put any socks on. My feet (were) breathing. I felt like I lost five pounds when I took those shoes off last night."

With you guys expecting WR Anthony Miller back, how do you approach using him, using WR Danny Amendola, how much of an effect does he bring into the offense now?

"Well, we'll just kind of see with practice how it goes, and we'll decide at the end of the week how we want to handle that. And again, with injuries, you never know what's going to happen. Basically, we could've played him this past week, although we wanted to make sure that everything was good with him. He practiced, he did a really good job for us, but when we got to that decision, we wanted to make sure that for the long haul, that he's ready to go, and we'll just see how it goes this week."


To run the football the way you guys did, how does it feel when you guys have success doing that?

"Well, I felt like heading into this game, I think Coach Kelly had a great game plan, and we executed it. But having the guys up front, L.T. (Laremy Tunsil), Tytus (Howard), Max (Scharping), having (Marcus) Cannon back in there was huge. Getting Geron (Christian Sr.) some reps in there also, bringing Justin McCray in for certain plays, having those guys with the backs that we have, we hold ourselves to a high standard. It wasn't perfect, we have a lot to clean up, but it was definitely a great start to the season."

When you're in the middle with so much going on in rotations and different personnel groups, can you notice differences with how you're able to run the ball in the middle, when you're trying to run the ball in short-yard situations, or how much do you notice a difference when you all are trying many different things?

"First and 10, if we run outside zone, based on how they line up, you kind of have an idea of where the soft spot might be, or the sweet spot for the running back, where he might hit it based on the front. Then you go to short yardage, you understand the concept of what you want to do, but then they know that we just need a yard, so they're going to just cave down the middle. So, you're just kind of understanding the different scenarios of the situation of the down and distance, where you are in the game, the scoreboard. You factor all those in and you can kind of get an idea of how a run play might happen, but every play is not the same. It's always a new play, new script. Yeah."

You can't always see what QB Tyrod Taylor is doing, but from what you know, what does it do for you and your fellow O-lineman to watch him be able to extend plays?

"I have history of that thought, that mindset, so it's not new to me. Tyrod, I thought he played phenomenal. He bailed us out on a couple ones where we were screwed up on our idea in what we were going to do, and he made us right and he made a big play out of it. It definitely gives us a big jump of confidence and belief in Tyrod and that he can do it, and we just have to keep building."

With this being the first regular season game for you in a while, how would you describe the experience being back?

"I had the time of my life, honestly. That was probably the most fun I've had playing a football game in a while. It's like two years of pent-up aggression, just being at home having to watch the game and not being on a team. Just to get out there and be able to hit, like I got home and walked in the house, somewhat gingerly, after a bar fight. My wife looks at me and she was like, 'You hurting?' And I was like, 'Yeah,' but you're like, I embrace this. I love this feeling. I mean, call me crazy, call me weird, but to have soreness to wake up this morning, it being somewhat of a struggle to get out of bed, I missed it and every aspect of the game. The meetings, having to wake up early, the workouts, practicing, 100-degree heat and humidity, that might be new to me. But I missed the grind, I missed the struggle, I missed someone scoring a touchdown and getting to celebrate. It was pretty cool that Phil (Phillip Lindsay) gave me the ball to spike. I feel like that was symbolic to me, in my own selfish way. But no, I had a lot of fun last night."

When you all had that scrum, on camera it looked like you were smiling through that whole ordeal. Is that an example of you just having the time of your life out there?

"Yeah, they were saying some not nice things, and I was just laughing at them, because on film there was like seven or eight guys headbutting me and pushing me. I knew that I won the day. At that point, I knew they were tired of playing us, and that was just kind of how my day went. That was my goal, kind of, in a sick way. I don't know, it felt right, and I don't know why they through a flag on me. I didn't do anything. I was just laughing, I was just having fun. They were the ones that were out of control."

How much pride do you guys take in keeping QB Tyrod Taylor upright? What was the mood in the locker room after Head Coach David Culley's first win?

"Our job is to open holes for the running backs. Our job is to keep the quarterback clean and let him throw to the receivers. Whoever is back there, in this instant it happened to be Tyrod. For me personally, there is something about Tyrod that makes me want to work harder and be right more. Just with his history in the NFL. I just want him to flourish, I want him to do good, I want him to have a great year, cause if he has a great year, we have a great year. I'm not going to let people take shots on him and this and that. I think all of us upfront feel that way and I'll feel that way for anybody that touches the football. But to answer your other question, it was awesome to get Coach Culley his first win in his first game as a head coach. He's a guy who shows up in the building. He brings the enthusiasm in the way he leads us and the way he goes about it is the right way. To get him that win is pretty special for all of us." 

Was that the first time you were able to spike a football and what was that feeling like?

"It wasn't my first, it may have been my best spike, but it wasn't my first time. I spiked the ball and then I let out a big yell. That play we worked on all week, and to be able to execute it that way and for it to happen exactly how we thought. It was just one of those moments, in the football world, I was the happiest I could be. I appreciate him letting me do that. I would have been fine if he spiked it, but I definitely take it." 

When was your last spike?

"I don't know. It all gels together at this point, doesn't it?"

Even with the win, in what aspects do you think you guys could be better moving forward?

 "In every aspect. It was Week 1, and we set our goals and what we wanted to do and we didn't reach all of them. We felt that we left some points out on the field that we should have scored. I think our run game could be more efficient. I think that will come with a little more time. LT (Laremy Tunsil) didn't play much this preseason, if any. For him and Tytus (Howard) to get some more reps together. For Tytus to grow with me at guard and for Marcus (Cannon) come back and work with Max (Scharping). Geron (Christian Sr.) staying active in there and doing his thing. It's only going to get better, but I know we are going to need to come to work every day with the right mindset that we want to get better and we are not complacent, and realize that our goals are high and our standards are high. We will take that approach, and the same goes with the pass pro. It's always little things, whether its hand placement, driving your outside knee. Getting your pads down, run and pass, it's a long season, no plays like the other and no games like the other. Everyone in this league is pretty darn good. We just got to come Wednesday and get back to work."

How good was it to see all three of your running backs score?

"Rex (Burkhead) can get in there and get one if he wants. The more scores, the better. They brought in Mark (Ingram), Phil (Lindsay), Rex. You could understand it was going to be a running back by committee room. So, the first game, get the out there, he gets to score, whoever runs the ball, whoever is playing halfback, go ahead and get you a touchdown. They are just handing them out in Jacksonville. But yeah it felt good."

How hard is it going to be prepared for the Cleveland Brown front seven?

"We'll see. We just watched film on the game they played yesterday. We are going to take that, park it and refocus on the next game and go from there."


Can you take us through a couple of your biggest plays, when you dragged a few guys and when you made a one-handed catch?

"The one where I dragged a few people, honestly though, I never know how many people I dragged until I watched the film. They called a play where I came across, and Tyrod (Taylor) had got flushed out of the pocket, so I was trying to just be a smart football player and just find the hole for him to be able to access me. I caught the ball and after that it's kind of time to just create. I remember getting him, bounced off a guy and then it was kind of like the Fast and Furious where they're getting ready to start driving. All I'd seen was the end zone line, and I was just running from (them) and I was just bouncing off people the whole way. The one-handed grab, my fellow tight end had helped get me open and Tyrod (Taylor) made another good throw under pressure, and I was able to come down with it and got an easy touchdown the next place. So it was awesome, two drives."

You guys used more three-tight end sets yesterday than you did all of last season. How do you like playing in an offense that kind of goes heavy in your position, and how do you think you all did when you did roll out all three?

"It was awesome. I don't remember how many plays, but any time you can get three tight ends out on the field, it's awesome for our group. We have a great group of tight ends, we've kind of been saying that all year, and it goes to show. I'm just happy we're able to use everybody. It's awesome. It's awesome on paper, actually, until you've got to go out there for all the plays. I thought I was in shape. So, it's great."

Head Coach David Culley was saying this morning that 13-personnel suits what you guys have offensively. Have you ever been a part of a team that works that way, and what makes that special about this particular offense?

"The thing that makes it special is that all of our tight ends kind of can do it all, so we're not really telltale when we get out there with three tight ends. We can get in three tight ends and be in a trips formation if we wanted to. We're not limited to what we can do with three tight ends. That is just a testament to the players that we've got in our position room. When you have a tight end position group that can't do that, you can't go out there with three tight ends because they will just stack the box and you'll just be leveraging everything you do. So, I think that's just a testament to the guys that we have in our position room that we're able to put three tight ends out there and be able to run. I have total confidence that we can run the whole play call sheet if Tim (Kelly) wanted to do that."

What does it say about Head Coach David Culley leading you guys to victory in this first game?

"I mean, I wouldn't call Coach Culley a rookie coach. Yeah, it's his first head coach job, but he's been around for a long time, seen a lot of great football, been a part of a lot of great organizations and great teams. So, I think that I'm not surprised by what happened. I'm not surprised by Coach Culley. He's been there before, it's just a different title, and I'm not surprised one bit."

What was it like for you and your teammates to watch him get the game ball after the game?

"It was awesome seeing him get the game ball. It's always a special first one for him and everybody in the locker room. All the work that goes into it, it was just like a glimpse of how special this can be this year. So, it's just one game at a time, and I think (there are) going to be a lot more game balls going out."

When asked about being able to block out the outside noise, you said the team's just going to go out there and compete at a high level. With yesterday's performance, is that what you meant?

"Yeah, that's what I meant. I said it last week, it's a new way of Texans football. A few questions back, they said it. You got three tight ends, we're coming downhill, so that's exactly what I meant. I hope everybody was entertained. I know a lot of people may have been surprised, but I spoke to it, like you said, last week. So, I think we just take this victory and get ready to go do the same thing in Cleveland next week, so we're rolling."

Can you talk about what yesterday meant to you and QB Tyrod Taylor personally to be one of the primary reasons the Texans won this game?

"I think there was a lot of reasons why we were able to win this game. I would say one of the big reasons was whenever you can be plus on the turnover battle, with the performance that the defense put on, you have to win that. But for me, I was just happy to see Tyrod was able to go out there after all he's been through with the injuries, everything that you guys already knew about that happened in L.A. So just to go out there and see him be able to get out there and get a victory, I know it feels like he hasn't played in like two years. It was just awesome to see him be a part, knowing his journey, I was just happy for him."

What are you looking forward to most about going back to Cleveland?

"Probably some food. I called my Mom, I need a home-cooked meal when I come back. But honestly, it's just always fun playing home. It's kind of always a personal game for me. I'm just excited to go back and hopefully have better results than when we went back there last year."

Do you think about mistakes you've made in practice and correct something, and carry that into games?

"I don't really get too carried away with it. I think I dropped three balls in practice, probably the first three balls I've dropped since I've been a Texan. It was just kind of an out-of-character day. The great Romeo Crennel wasn't at practice, so I think that played a factor. He came out the next day and told me that, 'I see you dropped a couple balls. I didn't know what happened,' So R.C. gave me some of that mojo on my hands and sprinkled some of his 'Make Me Like Mike' serum, and the rest was history."

When you think about the team now being 1-0 with a lot of football in front of you, what's the mentality like of the team after winning the first one and having a tough opponent coming up?

"I think all opponents in the NFL (are) tough. These are professional teams, so every game is a tough game. You have to bring it at this level. You don't get to play when Oregon pays small colleges to come play, it's none of that at this level. I think it's just doing what we do, and like I said all the time, my job is to go out there and be Pharaoh, and the Texans' job is just to go out there and be the Texans, to be the team that Coach wants to be, like I said, physical. We want to impose our will on anybody, quote, unquote, good teams, quote, unquote, bad teams. We just want to go out there and do what we do, and I think that every week, it comes down to this league of executing, and every week I think we will be in every game because of our mentality, because of how we play, and I don't think that's going to change. So, it's faceless opponents for me, no matter who's out there, we're coming the same way. That's how I feel about that."

How are you all working with TE Brevin Jordan behind the scenes?

"He's in a room with vets. He has one of the biggest challenges in the room, because he has to know potentially every position as far as the tight end spot, because if any of us have a shoelace, he has to come in and fulfill that position. I think just helping him get into a routine is big, just helping him and showing him. He's learning from watching us and how we attack the week and how we prepare, and this is just his first NFL week, so I think that's the biggest thing is just getting in that routine and just learning how to be a pro. He's a great kid, he's open-minded and he's willing to learn. Every guy in our room helps him out, and I think that goes for both him and Paul Quessenberry."

You mentioned that going back to Cleveland is always a personal game for you, and you played there last year with the team. What all is different this year going back to Cleveland?

"That's a great question. Mentally, I think I'm in the same place. I want to go out there and I want to dominate them guys. I have a bunch of family, bunch of friends that are Browns fans. I've been hearing it. I can block out the social media, but I can't block out the family calls. So, I hear this stuff all week, and they talk the most, those Cleveland Brown fans, they just talk the most stuff that you can ever believe. They think that they have a great team. I know all them guys, and they all know that they should be getting ready to strap it up, because I'm coming. They were in training camp with me, I'm coming hard. It ain't no secret, it's not bulletin board material for them. The coaches know me, everybody knows me from the owner down, and I'm excited to go back. All I'm saying is we're coming. We'll be there Sunday."


Can you take us through your touchdown?

"It felt great. It's always good thing to score a touchdown on offense. To help out the offense, help out the team, get the moral going, especially when everybody has us losing. It's always good to come out and score touchdowns and get a victory."

How special was it for you to see Head Coach David Culley get his first win and get the game ball?

"Really good, because everything that has been going on in the off season, everything that has been going on with our team, everyone talking about us outside the building about (David) Culley and him being a coach. So I am really excited for him and really proud for him to come out and lead us to a victory. I was really glad that he got the game ball, from the players. (Brandin) Cooks was the one who gave it to him and we are really appreciate everything he has done to get us here. But it is a long season and we are always going to fight for him and do everything we can to help him get victories."

When you see QB Tyrod Taylor avoid pressure and extend plays, what does that say about him?

"He's a play maker, I've always said that. Tyrod is a play maker, he's a leader for us and he's a good ball player. I think a lot of people forget how good he is, because of unfortunately what happened with his health last year and everything that has gone on in his career. I think a lot of people forget how dynamic he is as a quarterback, throwing the ball, scrambling and avoiding tackles."

What is your fit into this offense and the running back group?

"My fit is just whenever my number is called, being able to be productive for the offense. I think it just makes our offense so much more versatile when we can all produce in the running back group. As you can see, we all score touchdowns and do our part as a rally, as a team, for the offense. I think that is really going to be good for us, not just now but in the long run."

What do you like most about what you guys do differently from last year?

"The biggest thing is just keeping us healthy. Wear and tear as running backs, especially with them adding another game. I think that's the biggest thing that we can all contribute. It's not all so much to where I felt like I have to do so much to help out the offense, with all of us being great running backs. We can all do our part and help out the offense."

What is it like having RB Mark Ingram, RB Rex Burkhead and RB Phillip Lindsay in the running back room?

"It's good. I think all of us can actually do the same things. I think the biggest thing with like you said being veterans, we can bounce ideas, we all can ask for advice and talk about what is going on during the game or during practice and just try to make each other better."

Can you talk about how Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly is using you more of a pass catcher compared to last year?

"I think it's just getting more comfortable. Last year was my first year on the team and then with everything with COVID, we didn't get a chance to do a lot preparing for the season. This year, I think we are just getting more familiar with each other. He can figure out ways to utilize me and utilize all the running backs and come up with creative plays or plays to get me out in space."

Can you talk about how well the defense played yesterday?

"The defense was great. I think like (David) Culley said, we had more chances to score a touchdowns and we weren't able to capitalize on the defense having turnovers and causing us to be inside the 20, inside the 50, on a short field. The defense just really kept the momentum on our side and kept everyone rallying. Seeing it as an offensive guy, seeing the defense disrupt and really confuse the opposing offense, fluster the quarterback and everything like that, really motivates us to do more. The momentum like I said is a huge thing in football."

Are there different times throughout the games week-to-week where one of you guys will get more of the load, or is RB Mark Ingram going to get majority of the touches?

"I think he is just going to go with the game flow, what's going on, what the defense is giving us, and we will see what happens."

How impressed are you with TE Pharaoh Brown's one-handed catch?

"Oh, I'm not impressed. Pharaoh always has catches like that throughout practice. He's a dynamic player, he's a great player for us. Not just catching the ball, he also blocks very well for us. I wasn't really impressed. I think everyone else was outside of the team. The team knows what he can do and how impactful he is for our offense."

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