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Transcripts: 9-29-2021 Press Conferences 


What has allowed WR Brandin Cooks to be so successful with so many quarterbacks?

"He has all the qualities you want in a receiver. He's fast. He's very smart. He's a very good route runner. He's got good hands. He's very skilled at playing the position. He's not such a receiver that can run, that's fast, I mean he's got the skill set that you want in a receiver. He's played big for us at times down the field where guys his size you don't see making those kinds of plays. He's just been a consistent play maker for us simply because he's very skilled at what he does."

How much of that is because of how he picks up the game mentally?

"I think that's a big part of that, especially having played for so many different quarterbacks and so many different systems that he's been in. He's just kind of picked it up. He's football IQ is very, very good. That's' what allows him to be successful. It doesn't matter what offensive you're in, how much you give him, he's done a really good job at that."

Through three games, where would you say OL Tytus Howard is in his move to left guard?

"He's improving. He's getting more comfortable there. The more he's been there, the more comfortable he's gotten. The more comfortable he is with those guys working together over there, making calls and being on the same page. I think its been good for him simply because he's been stable there in one position and he's getting more and more comfortable with that. I think you are starting to see him play a little bit more aggressive than what he has in the past, simply because he's getting more comfortable."

When a player makes a transition like he has, is it more of a challenge in pass protection or as a run blocker?

"Both. Both. Now offensive lineman, they all love the run block. They all love coming off the ball. The big challenge in his case being a tackle and a guard is the pass blocking because of how it is when you're on the edge as opposed to being inside having help. And I think that's been a plus for him from a pass blocking standpoint is that obviously he's proven in the past that he can play outside also and be a good pass blocker. With being inside a lot of things happen, there is games that happen were you have to work with the center, you got to work with the tackle and he's learning all of that right now and he's getting more and more comfortable with that. But the transition is probably a little bit tougher for pass blocking than run blocking."

What about OL Marcus Cannon? How do you feel about him?

"His stamina has gotten much, much better. He's been what we thought he would be. We weren't sure how much he would be able to go and be able to do at this point. He's further along than what we anticipated at this time and a lot earlier than what we anticipated at this time and he's playing good football for us."

Where is OL Lane Taylor at with his availability?

"Well Lane is still trying to get it all figured out from the standpoint of where he fits and making sure that things are right with him physically. He's getting there, much better physically. He's not unhealthy right now. It's just working him back in. He's still right there in the picture and at some point, could be available for us."

Do you have an update on DB Justin Reid and K Ka'imi Fairbairn?

"Justin Reid, he's day-to day. Our kicker will kick today, and we will see how he is. Terrance Mitchell has been a little sick, but he will be ok. I don't know how much he will do today. He's had a little bug, but he'll be available. But for the most part all the other guys are fine and ready to go."

Is LB Kamu Grugier-Hill ready to go?

"On a limited basis in practice today. We are hoping he'll be full go come Sunday."

Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with RB Mark Ingram II and what were the conversations like between the two of you when you discussed him coming here?

"Leadership was the first thing, and wanting him to understand that we are going through a redo, a restart here. You've been with some good franchises and you've been alongside some places were things have been established. I felt like because of the kind of player he's been and the way he's been as a professional that he would fit perfectly with what we were trying to get done. He has been all of that. Not just him being vocal, which he always is, but it's the things he says. His leadership has been valuable, and I am happy he's here. He's been tremendous help not only for that room but for this entire football team."

What was the reason behind bringing extra offensive linemen into the game?

"Well, we felt like it gave us an advantage running to the strong side, having that extra guy in there, that offensive lineman instead of having a regular offensive line in there, or a tight end in that group. We felt like it gave us an advantage to be able to control the line of scrimmage and get our backs to the line of scrimmage and get positive yards."

What is the most important thing you need to see from QB Davis Mills this week in order for your team to be successful?

"Basically, get off to a good, fast start. Be comfortable in what he's doing and stay the course when adversity happens, and I feel like he'll do that, because he's shown that. But basically, he just needs to go out and execute the offense and do what he's asked to do, and get us in the end zone. I feel like that he'll be able to do that because of having a game and a half now under his belt. We're going to run the offense and let him execute it and see what happens."

What makes Bills Defensive Coordinator / Assistant Head Coach Leslie Frazier's defense challenging to go against?

"They can be very multiple and they will pressure you. I know this, on third down, I know we expect they're going to play man coverage every third down, because that's what he's always done. They like blitzing five guys. I know with a rookie quarterback, I know he's not going to sit back and just let four guys rush the passer. I know he's going to add an extra guy just to see how he can handle it, and we'll be ready for that."

After watching film from the Panthers game, how was the secondary impacted by not having DB Justin Reid on the field?

"Well, just his knowledge was one thing. He's the quarterback back there. It was the first time Lonnie (Johnson Jr.) had been back there at full-time at this point in a game. Having him back, having his leadership, he's another one of those guys, his leadership back there. He's going into I think his third year of starting here, and having him back will be a plus for us in securing our back end on the defensive side."

When it was down to you and Bills Defensive Coordinator / Assistant Head Coach Leslie Frazier for the Texans head coaching job, when did you know that you were going to be hired?

"I never at any point during that process, until Cal (McNair) told me I was going to be the head coach, that I felt like I was going to be the head coach here. At no time during the whole process did I ever feel comfortable. Twice when I was here during the interview, I thought I was going back home, and I was still here."

Why did you think you were going back home?

"Because I was never told anything. As a matter of fact, I believe at one point Leslie (Frazier) and I were here at the same time. I'm not sure exactly what the timetable was, but I think we were here at one time. Speaking of him, he's actually, in this business, one of my closest friends that I have the utmost respect for, he and his whole family. As a matter of fact, I believe his son played here at Rice at one point."

When you were told you got the Texans head coach job, what did you do?

"I prayed and said, 'Thank you, Lord.'"

What do you need to see from the defense this week?

"We've got to tackle better. I mean, we've got to tackle better and we've got to play coverage much more (aggressively) than we have done. This football team is very versatile. They'll throw the ball around, they'll put five receivers in the game, they'll put four. We've just got to be more aggressive than we have been, and basically, tackle better. That was the one thing in this past game, is that we missed a bunch of tackles. We've got to tackle better and cover more aggressively."

When you worked with Bills QB Josh Allen as a rookie, he was one of the worst quarterbacks statistically in the league. What has his growth taught you about developing quarterbacks?

"I wouldn't say he was one of the worst, I think he was a rookie and was learning. You knew at that time when he was growing, and actually, we didn't start him right away. We started another guy, and he ended up becoming a quarterback I think real quickly after the first ballgame, or during the first ballgame. You knew developmentally that he was going to become what he has become right now, just with time. There were some fundamental things that he needed to correct, and obviously he's corrected those right now. He's playing at a very high level right now."

Where is TE Brevin Jordan at with his progression in the offense?

"He's getting better and better, and he's getting more comfortable. Being on our show team doing the other team's offense and playing tight end, and doing the different things that the different teams that we play, what their tight ends do, is actually helping him develop into a better player. He's still learning what we do, but for the most part, his time's coming. That's a good room there. The three guys that are in front of him, that's a good room. He's developing, he's learning, he's got good mentors there, and at some point when his time comes, I know he'll be ready."

Is it important to be patient with young quarterbacks in their development process?

"Yeah, because the thing you don't want to do, you don't want to rush them. You don't want to make them feel like that they have to make the plays all the time, because again, at that position they control the ball 99 percent of the time when you're on offense. It's going to be in their hands, and you want them to be good decision makers and do the right thing with the ball. Sometimes when you've got guys gifted like Josh (Allen) is, for example, they feel like sometimes that they can make every throw. They feel like they can make every play. And basically, at the quarterback position, when you're young like that, all you want them to do is just do the job, do what you're asked to do and not do any more, and protect the football. And that's the most important thing with young quarterbacks, is protecting the football."


How tough is it to prepare for the Bills offense with the number of targets they have?

"Just go over film study. Know the personnel that they got coming out. They got some talented receivers over there and a great quarterback in Josh Allen. They got weapons. As far as what we know, we are going to continue to do our job, watch the film and try to get some clues on what they are doing."

What's the most difficult part of game planning for a guy like Bills QB Josh Allen?

"Knowing that he is not just a pocket QB. This is a guy that if nothing is open, he is going to run the ball and he's not looking to slide. Like, this is a guy that's very physical, a great quarterback, a guy that wants to run the ball and is going to get yards with it. So, we got to know that containing him is going to be very important and also making him uncomfortable in the pocket."

After watching the film from the Panthers' game, what are some things you feel like you guys need to clean up?

"Knowing that we are going up against this type of offense, definitely third down. That's something that we definitely want to improve on is getting off the field on third down, making plays, continue to create these takeaways and do what we can as a defense to build that momentum for our offense to get them in a good field position."

How hard is it to go against Bills QB Josh Allen knowing that when he gets out of the pocket he can run but also drop the ball to anyone?

"He has a very, very strong arm and he's not scared to show it. We've seen it in film multiple times of him getting out of the pocket and finding (Stefon) Diggs in the endzone. So, we definitely have to be more discipline when he is getting out of the pocket and scrambling and just not coming out of our coverage."

Is there any reason we haven't seen you in kick returns?

"Right now, Andre (Roberts) is the primary returner for our team. That's all I really know. If something does happen, I know I'm the next man up in that role. But right now, Andre is the primary returner."

Is it a bit disappointing knowing that you haven't been even though you had a pretty good stint during the preseason?

"Not really. It's what he does too. He made All-Pro there. So, we believe that he's going to continue to try to make that status known when he gets the ball on the field."

What have you seen on film with WR Stefon Diggs?

"Very, very great route runner. A guy that's going to catch the ball when it's in his area. Diggs is Diggs. They say he's one of the top five receivers in the league. So, he has the stats, he has the film to show that. As far as us our job is to go out there and slow him down and not let him affect the game that bad."


Now that you're starting, how do you feel like you are adjusting to the NFL?

"We've only been three weeks into the season, but playing and transitioning with the group of guys that I'm a part of, they made it easy. The vets in our room are very professional. They teach me on and off the field how to take care of your body and make sure that you're ready to go every single day, whether it's practice, in a game, just watching film. We definitely put a lot of time in with each other that goes behind the scenes, so it's been great."

What have you noticed about yourself that you've gotten better at from training camp to now?

"It's just getting more reps every day at practice. Getting good reps, being able to go against the ones with Justin Britt, Tytus (Howard), and Max (Scharping), and just keep learning interior keys. I'll ask the offensive line questions, 'How do you feel when you feel this sort of pressure?' and stuff like that. I like to learn from them also. That's something that I feel that's grown since camp, is just comfortability and reps, and just my style of play. Just keep getting better at what I do."

What's something helpful they have told you?

"O-line is a good person to ask, so I'll ask them, 'what do you feel when I hit this move?' Stuff like that. I get tips, and 'What do you think when you get this sort of pass rush, or this sort of pass rush?' I can't give you guys all the tools, but just something to tell you guys."

Have you and OL Justin Britt had a wrestling competition yet?

"We talk about wrestling, but as of the season, we can't do nothing about it. But we joke about it, we have a good time. Yeah, everybody keeps saying there's like four or five wrestlers on the team, and if you ask all of us, everybody's going to say we'd win the match. That's just the pride in us talking."

How much have you all focused on tackling this week, especially playing a quarterback that likes to get out of the pocket?

"Right, so the game, that's a fundamental of football. When you get to this level, it's all about the fundamentals and just being great at the fundamentals. And Lovie Smith's big on fundamentals, so he preaches it every day since camp, since OTAs. That's something we've got to do better as a defense, and just excel at the fundamentals."

Do you feel the urgency on yourself and the line to get to the quarterback?

"Yeah, the D-line, we have a lot of inner talks with each other, more like confidence talks and being able to listen to each other and figure out what's working, what's not working, and we'll kind of bounce off each other ideas. It doesn't matter what's called, whether it's base, blitz, run, pass, don't matter. We try to be ready for all things, and that's what we work on throughout the week." 

What have you seen on film about Bills QB Josh Allen that makes him so difficult to defend?

"Josh Allen's an incredible talent. That's why people know he's Josh Allen. I remember watching him in college and watching him in the NFL now. He's learned as a player, as long as every other NFL player. He holds himself to a high standard, and he should. He's a great player. He's very athletic, he can throw a good ball, e's confident and Buffalo loves him."

Can you explain why you do the salsa dance when you get a sack?

"I haven't been able to do it in the season, so I kind of figured people forgot about it. Nah, it's just something that I like to do. I like to connect with the fans and I know the fans like it. Being from a Latino background, it's big, and I like to express it. My teammates know I like to express it. We always talk about it. Definitely trying to get some dinner made up for the D-line and bring some culture into the locker room and keep teaching everybody. Yeah, man, we're a big culture of love. My family's a big family and we all love each other. I try to express it through my style of play, and I figured what better way than a celebration dance?" 

Did you want No. 91?

"Did I want 91? I didn't want 79, so that was what it came down to. No specific number. They gave me 79 when I showed up, and I was like, 'Okay.' I tried to change when I got here, but they were like, 'Wait until after camp.' So, I just changed it." 

When you were in college, did you play against QB Davis Mills?

"No, I didn't. My last year I was just at Arizona for five games."

Do you still get tips from your dad when he watches the tape?

"Yeah, he does. I have to tell him to watch his own team. He'll call me and tell me something about my film, and I'm like like, 'What are you doing?' He'll have his film up right in front of him on a laptop, and I was like, 'Why are you even thinking about my tape?' He was like, 'Well, it was just on my mind. I see this guy getting reached, and I can't let you get reached, so I've got to call you. It's on my mind,' and I'm like, 'Man, bro, just relax. Just worry about your team, plays on Friday.' I'm very fortunate to have my dad be like that and put in the extra time and effort and continue to do it. Even though I reached this level, he still talks to me like he's my position coach. He's very into my games, he loves every second of it. But yeah, I'm thankful."

Can you talk about how much love you get from the Latino community, especially here in Houston?

"They've embraced me since the moment I got drafted. So when I got the call and it was Houston, Texas, I was like, 'Man, that's great.' I loved it and it's been awesome. Something that kind of goes full circle is in the football world, being a Latino is not very impressive, or shiny, I guess you could say. Nobody is going to say, 'Let me go find a Latino three-technique or a nose guard.' I just so happened to come from that background, and I love it. I've always known that I was a select few for the Latino defensive linemen, and I kind of just ran with it. You ask my old college teammates at New Mexico State, it's the same thing that I was doing here. I would make dinner for them and they would eat it up, and all that stuff. They just love it. I like to bring that. I like to bring my family, the way like I said earlier, I like to bring my big, loving family into the locker room with my expressions, and stuff like that. Being able to receive love for it is pretty cool. It's humbling. It's something that I look forward to keep growing."

What's your favorite thing to cook or eat?

"I like tacos, I like enchiladas, I like it all. Look, this is the problem, right? So, I can't eat none of that stuff right now because I got a nutritionist, and that's something I've got to stay away from. I'll throw down some tacos, for sure. But all of it. Don't ask me Christmas time, because that when it gets dangerous." 

Your dad said you didn't have a cheat meal a long time. What was it like when you finally had one?

"It was the cheat meal for pro day. You get done with the season, you go start getting prepared for pro day. You try to get as lean as possible, as fast as possible. You get your body fat down and you have to look good on stage. You have to look good in front of all the scouts and stuff like that. It was like four-and-a-half months. I've gone longer than that, but it was for pro day. Actually, the first meal I had after was In-N-Out. I don't know why, but I did. It was amazing. It was fantastic."


How much of an advantage is it for you to have a full week of practice?

"I mean we are only one day into it with our first practice being today. But I'm already seeing getting the full game plan a head of time, earlier in the week. Hopefully, it pays off at the end."  

They've talked about opening it up more that you may be comfortable, would you like to see that?

"I don't think anything was really closed off in the first game but whatever they are comfortable calling when I am in there, I'm ready to roll with it."  

What have you seen from the Bills on film?

"They have a lot of experienced dudes on their defense. A lot of their guys have been in the system for a while and they do what they do at a high level. I think as an offense just attacking that. We just got to go by our rules, and they are one of the teams that want to force you into check downs. Let's spread the ball around, get the ball to our playmakers in space and let them win the one on ones." 

What part of your time in live action has helped you the most in being able to see checks before plays?

"I think some of it goes back to college, just the system I was running in college helped a lot with that and having to make pre-snap checks. Some of it carried over into what we are doing here and some of it is new. I think just starting in camp, working with quarterbacks, working with TK (Tim Kelly), working with Pep (Hamilton) and just hitting everything a head of time and making sure I'm prepared for each and every moment is the biggest thing." 

Do you have a play in mind from your game and a half that illustrates how you want play?

"The thing that I am thinking of first is that two-minute drive at the end of the first half versus Carolina. Just moving the ball steadily down the field and ending in a touchdown. That's something we strive to do every drive. I mean, scoring points and outscoring the opponents how you are going to win." 

What is it about WR Brandin Cooks that makes you guys such an on-field force?

"Brandin is just a guy who is extremely willing to work. Got extra stuff with him after practice today. He's going to be there I know he's going to be in the right spot. A lot more often than not, he's going to be beating the guy across from him. So, it's just trustworthy targets." 

How important is it to establish the run versus Buffalo this week?

"It will be big. They're not a huge pressure, load the box team. So, I think really starting the run game strong will always allow you to open up the pass game but emphasis on the run game's going to be big this week." 

Has Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton brought up anything how he coached Chargers QB Justin Herbert last year and any similarities?

"Nothing crazy. I know Justin got thrown in early on in their season last year. I think something that Pep emphasized when talking about Justin is just being able to get through your reads efficiently, not having to force anything in there. Obviously, protecting the football and getting down to the check downs is never a bad option." 

What do you think is the value of beyond the job training?

"There's no other way to gain experience than to go out there and get the live reps. I'm just grateful for every opportunity I have, every play I am out there because I can continue learn more and more each play."  

What is the advantage of having Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton as your position coach?

"He's great. Obviously, I think it tells a story that he was one of the guys who studied me and helped Coach (David) Shaw recruit me when I was recruited to Stanford. So, he's had eyes on me going back pretty far. He's familiar with the system I had in college and how it translates into this one. So, he's been helping me a lot with that." 

Has Coach Culley given you any pointers since he was once a quarterbacks coach?

"He has. The biggest thing as a head coach, he's just stressing the emphasis of protecting the football, making smart decisions, and not trying to do to much as a rookie quarterback. Just going in there and doing what I can and showing them why they drafted me."

How do you think Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton's familiarity with Stanford helps you guys now?

"I think just conceptualize some of the plays we install, the verbiage, how I heard it before at Stanford versus how we are talking about it now. Some of that stuff just ties together and allows me to understand it a little easier." 

Do you look at how you are doing compared to other rookie quarterbacks?

"Not really. I'm just focused on myself and getting better each and every day around this team." 

Looking back to points where you have felt established playing in multiple systems and teams, where are you at right now with that?

"I mean with anything there is always room for growth. I am still very young I would say in this offense. So, I am learning new stuff every day and I think the big thing of that is knowing what I am comfortable with, communicating with the coaches and being able to run that stuff on Sunday when it counts."    

Do you feel like the game as slowed down not that you have played one full game as a starting quarterback?

"I would say so. The big part of the game slowing down for a quarterback is having a big understanding of what you are running on offense and what the defense is doing and how you can attack that. It comes with more and more film study and reps in the offense being comfortable with all the guys around me."

Were you nervous at all on Thursday or in Cleveland?

"I always kind of have the same answer when talking about nerves for a game. I think there is always the butterflies that go around at the start of the game but once you are in there for the first drive, the first hit you kind of settle into the feeling that it's just another football game and you are out there to do your job." 

OL Tytus Howard was saying last week you are faster than people give you credit for, do you agree with that?

"I think so. I think when I get on the edge if I need to run, I think I can make plays on the edge and try not to take any hits and get yards when its needed." 

Why do you think they don't give you credit?

"I don't know entirely. Quarterbacks aren't always the most mobile and I've always been deemed the stereo typical pocket passer, but I think I'm more athletic than a lot of people give me credit for." 

Didn't you run a 4.65 on your 40?

"I think the NFL Network might have put a 4.58 on something. I don't know how realistic the times were but timed faster than some people might have expected.

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