Transcripts: Bill O'Brien Press Conference (8-17-2020)

What kind of a duo do you see S Eric Murray and S Justin Reid becoming?

"They're definitely paired at safety in certain packages. In other packages, Eric's doing some different things. Justin's doing some different things. But they're both very smart players, good pros. Eric works hard, smart, played a lot of football in this league. He fills a lot of different roles for us. He's involved in special teams. He's involved in different parts of the defense. He's been a real good addition to our team."

Is RB Duke Johnson a good example of someone who is always ready and makes the most of his touches?

"Yeah, really good attitude, a very instinctive player. You're right, his role really kind of demands that kind of attitude where you have to be ready at a moment's notice – different third down situations, different first and second down. He's in there quite a bit, sometimes in there with David (Johnson). We ask Duke to do a lot of different things. He can return punts, he can return kickoffs. Really a guy that fills a lot of different roles for us because of his intelligence and his instinctiveness."

You told us you were going to manage the reps of some veteran players this camp. Is that what's going on with DE J.J. Watt?

"I think it's a very good question. I'm sure I'll get a lot of these questions. It's just a different year. We basically have three weeks to the game. We have two weeks to the end of August and then we play on September 10th, but the ninth is a travel day, the eighth is like a Friday, so we basically have three weeks. With these guys that have played a lot of football for us, they do get their work some days in the weight room, just in the weight room. Some days they get a lot of work done in the training room or some days they'll be out at practice. I think every guy is a little bit unique. Obviously J.J. has played a ton of football for us and at a very high level. He's on a different type of plan. I'm not sure how much you'll see him out there this week. He'll be out there eventually, but he's on different type of plan just like a lot of other guys."

How much do you have to consider other divisional teams' roster construction when choosing to extend players and build your own roster?

"That's a good question. We definitely talk about our opponents, our divisional opponents. We play them twice a year. Sometimes you play them three times a year if you meet them in the playoffs. We have to – the best road to the playoffs is through the division, if you win the division. We have to think about those teams and what the strengths are of those teams and what their philosophies are. All three head coaches, I have a ton of respect for. They're really good football coaches, good people. Mike (Vrabel) was here. Doug (Marrone) I've known forever and Frank (Reich) is an excellent football coach. We do take into account what they're all about or what we believe they are all about and then sometimes that has to factor in. But at the same time, we have to know what we're all about. We have to figure out, 'hey, is this guy dependable? Is he tough – physically and mentally tough? And is he smart?' That's more what we're looking for relative to maybe than what our opponents, but our opponents come into play too."

Can you talk about WR Kenny Stills returning to practice and your expectations for him in his second season with the team?

"Yeah, it was good to see Kenny back out there running around and being out there. He caught a couple of passes from Deshaun (Watson). I thought that was good. I think he's an important part of what we're doing. You're right, he's another year in the system. He's very comfortable with what we do, how we do things, how we use him. It was great to see him back out there."

How much do you enjoy seeing your team celebrate when they get interceptions in practice?

"I think it's hard because you don't want to throw interceptions, but you also want takeaways in the game. Again, at the end of the day the turnover-takeaway battle is a huge part of the game and I think it's going to be a huge part of the game early on here. Penalties, tackling and then turnovers and takeaways – your ability to take the ball away – those things are going to be huge. It was good to see our defense – they work hard at those drills and then it carried over to team today a couple of times."

What did you make of your team's performance in the situational drills today? Also, are those drills emphasized more in a training camp like this?

"We've always emphasized it. I think that it is more meaningful that we have less time and that we didn't have an offseason program. So yeah, it is more. We're doing it almost every day, some type of situation. I thought it was decent. Look, we've got to clean some things up but I thought that we've done it about almost every day, and I think it's getting better and better. But these games come down to situational football – third down, red area, end of the half, end of the game situations. So we're practicing those things every day."

What are your impressions of S A.J. Moore Jr. so far?

"A.J. Moore is when we describe 'DTS' – dependable, tough, smart – that's what he is. He embraces his role. He loves football. He loves being on the team. It's just a really good guy. He's a really good player. He does a lot for us on special teams. He fills in on defense. He's got leadership qualities. Awesome guy."

What jumps out about DE Charles Omenihu and how will you use him in various roles along the defensive line?

"Yeah, he's a unique player. He does a couple of things for us. He plays inside. He plays off the edge. He's a powerful guy. He's got good reach. He's an athletic guy. He's about 285 pounds, so he can do a couple of different things and I think with a year under his belt – he had a good day today. He had a good day the other day. I think he's getting better and better. He works very hard. Yeah, he can do a lot of different things for us."

What are you seeing from some of the younger receivers right now and who has stood out?

"A lot of those guys are getting reps because we are managing some of the other guys, like Will (Fuller V) and Brandin (Cooks) and Randall (Cobb) and Kenny (Stills). So, you look at a guy like Chad Hansen, he's had a really good training camp. He's in the hunt here. You look at a guy like Stevie Mitchell (Jr.), who had a touchdown catch today. Isaiah Coulter and Tyler Simmons – they're coming along, they're working hard, they're trying to get better. They're a long way off, though. It's just hard for a rookie right now. I think when you look at those guys, also the other guys – Keke Coutee has had a really good camp. DeAndre Carter is a very solid player. It's a very competitive position. It's going to be a tough conversation relative to how many you would keep on the 53. All those guys are working really hard."

Is there an advantage or disadvantage for a guy like S Eric Murray who has had to learn his third defensive system in three years?

"I think experience is always an advantage. I think when you play in different systems, you're coached in different ways. Some of the coaching is similar relative to some of the schemes he's been in and who he's played for. I think it's an advantage when you have experience in the league. You've played, you know what to expect. You've been in a couple of different places. I just think he's a good pro. I think he's smart, he communicates really well. Coaches really enjoy coaching him and he's fit in really well."

Can you talk about the development with WR Steven Mitchell Jr. and do you see a bigger role for him this season?

"I think he's worked hard. I really like Stevie. He works so hard. When you look at the GPS numbers, he can run all day. He works really hard. He made a couple good plays today, he had a touchdown catch today. I think he's gotten better every year here. I think he's really improved. Relative to his role, he does things on special teams, he does things on offense. He's always trying to improve and he's always embracing his role."

Can you talk about the intensity and focus you have seen this camp?

"It's been good. I think it's been good. These guys, they've been locked in during meetings. It hasn't been perfect. I'm not sure it's ever perfect. The intensity and the attention to detail and the ability to focus on what we're trying to get done, I think it's been really good. I've enjoyed this team and coaching them. I think they've worked hard every day."

How much do you, Offensive Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach Tim Kelly and QB Deshaun Watson feel like you can disguise this season with the depth you have at each position?

"We have a lot of different players. I think I know what you're asking. I don't think we think about it as much of disguise as we think about where we're putting guys and what we're asking them to do and what's the personnel? How much 12-personnel, how much 11-personnel, how much 21-personnel and all the other different types of personnel. Today we worked on 13-personnel because we have a number of tight ends that can help us. If you can have three tight ends in there at once, that can be something that can be good for us because these guys can all play. I think it's more about OK, let's look at these plays these days with these personnel and let's keep fine tuning and once we get to maybe 10 days before the game, we're thinking about OK, we're trying to hone in on what that's going to be now."

What are your expectations for TE Kahale Warring?

"Kahale is a good, young player. He's very talented. He's dealt with some injuries early on in his career. He works really hard. He's a good, good kid. He's a very good kid. I see a good future for him. He's just got to keep working. He's got to keep working and gain experience. Hasn't played a lot of football in his life. He's learning the pro game and he works hard. He's a really good guy to work with."

With the additions at wide receiver, are you happy with the progress they are making?

"It's been tough because they didn't have an offseason program. They did get together in the offseason on their own. They did a few times. But yeah, they didn't have an offseason program, so they didn't get any of those type of reps. We have some ground to make up there. They work hard. They get a lot of these individual reps in practice. We have a ways to go there with the timing and the passing game but I think it's getting better. I think Deshaun's (Watson) had an excellent training camp so it will get better and better, but that's something that definitely we talk about working on every single day."

How good did it feel to let loose a little bit as I heard you jawing with the defensive backs during the situational drills?

"They like to jaw back and forth to with me. That's good banter. That's training camp. That's fun. I think that was Keion Crossen. He always has something to say. He has a lot of energy. He's got great energy every day. I think it's fun. It was good to be out on the grass, too. I think practicing on the turf, that can wear on you a little bit. I think it was good to be outside. I think we'll keep it that way. I think it was good. The guys came today with a lot of energy."

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