Transcripts: Bill O'Brien Press Conference (8-24-2020)

Can you tell us what you expect from OLB Jacob Martin this season and what does he have to do to get more time on the field?

"Jacob has a unique skillset. He's going to play a lot of football for us this year. He plays really hard. He's got good speed for the position that he plays. He helps us on special teams. He's smart. He can line up in different places. He's improving every day because of how hard he works. He really works hard. We have high expectations for Jacob."

OLB Jacob Martin has worked hard in the offseason. Has he added weight and muscle? How much better is he mentally?

"He's definitely more comfortable in our system. Coming from Seattle, which is a great system, coming into our system, just some things are different. He's done a good job of picking that up. And yeah, he definitely worked hard in the offseason. He came back in great shape. Put on good weight. He's had a great camp."

How much does the weather potentially affect your plans for practice and the scrimmage coming up on Thursday?

"We've talked a lot about that. I pray that it doesn't hit Houston. Looking at the way that we're tracking it right now – Jeff Schmitz, he sends out multiple emails per day letting us know kind of where it's at. It seems like it's heading more towards Louisiana, which is brutal for them. It doesn't seem like it's really going to veer – it's kind of a weird course. I don't know if any of you guys have followed it. It looks like it's coming straight for us but it's going to veer off towards the east. I don't know, but we do have plans. We've got to do what we've got to do. We've got to adjust. If something happens where we can't practice or whatever, the most important thing is the safety of our players and their families and our coaches and their families and all the support staff and their families. So, that's how we would handle it."

What are your thoughts on Andre Johnson and his thoughts to step away?

"Andre and I spoke for a while about two weeks ago maybe. Look, Andre is an awesome guy. Loves the Texans. He just decided that at this point in his life he wanted to concentrate on some other things but he's going to be around. He'll still come around and come to practice, be in the locker room. He's a Ring of Honor guy and he and I have a really good relationship."

When you look at what happened with the false positive COVID-19 tests yesterday, how much do you think in some way this could be a drill for what could happen in the regular season on a weekend? What are your thoughts on the consistency of the testing system?

"All I can go by – I did read about that, quite obviously. I read about what happened at several teams. All I can do is go by what's happening here. And here, with the BioReference trailer in our parking lot and the people that work for BioReference and the lab being only a mile and a half away from our stadium, I think it's gone really well. Knock on wood. Really, that's all I can go on. We've had, to this point, zero positive tests. I do think, if I was going a step further, I think the regular season is going to be a true test. It's different. Training camp, you're in a routine. You get up at whatever time you get up. It's like Groundhog Day. Every day is the same day. Every day is the same day and then the regular season is a little bit different. You've got Monday, you've got Tuesday off. You have Wednesday, Thursday practice days. Fridays are a little bit lighter. It's different. That's going to be the true test. So far for use, I give a lot of credit to our players and staff. Everybody has done a great job."

What have you seen from WR Kenny Stills as he has begun practice and what have your conversations been like with him as he gets into the swing of camp?

"He's been really good. He had a good day yesterday. He ran a beautiful in-cut yesterday. He's been good. He's a good pro. He's just a really good pro. Smart guy. Really passionate about things off the field and passionate about football. Deshaun (Watson) has a lot of confidence in him. I think they worked out quite a bit together this offseason. There's good chemistry there. We're glad Kenny's on our team."

Normally this would be your fourth preseason game. How do you approach this week from a physical approach and how big is the week ahead for guys trying to make the team?

"Great question. We're trying to set up the next two weeks like two game weeks. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, scrimmage. That's how we're trying to do this. It's not exactly like a game week because obviously there's some differences. But this week and next week are big weeks for our football team. I thought yesterday they really came out ready to go. I just think if we can keep stacking day upon day upon day and keep trying to get better. It's an improvement league. That's really what it's going to be about. This year is going to be about, I believe, for our team – not speaking for another team – I'm speaking for our team. Can we do a great job of keeping the virus out of this building, and can we get better every single day? Can we improve every day? It's a league of improvement. Can players and coaches get better every day and can we keep the stinking virus out of our building?"

We talked to C Nick Martin yesterday and the improvement the offensive line has made by being back together. How do you evaluate the offensive line play to this point and do you see better communication taking shape?

"I think having a year where they all worked together, I think is good. Nick leads the charge up front because he's in charge of a lot of the calls and things like that. He does a great job. A really bright guy. Awesome guy on the team. Leadership. Loves football. Loves the team. That's who you want in the middle. So, he does a good job and then I think, when you think about it – we were actually talking about this last night – L.T. (Laremy Tunsil) didn't get here until right before we played the Saints, right. Max Sharping was a rookie. Zach Fulton, he's here for another year, and then Tytus (Howard) was a rookie. These guys playing together, I think is really a good thing for us. We've got to keep them healthy and that's a big key, but we also have depth. I think Roderick Johnson has come back and played well for us. Senio Kelemete came back in really good shape and he's playing well for us. Brent Qvale has been a good pickup for us. Veteran player who played for Mike Devlin in New York. So, we have some familiarity there. I think it's been good and it's going to hopefully continue to get better."

WR Brandin Cooks sought out WR Isaiah Coulter to talk routes during practice yesterday. When you assessed bringing Brandin on board, how much of that part of him factored into the decision and how important is it for a guy like Wide Receivers Coach John Perry to have that in the room?

"It was a big part of it. I was familiar with Brandin when he came out of the draft in 2014. Jack Easterby was in New England with him. Obviously, number one is the talent. He's a really good receiver. He's got speed. He's got really good hands. He's a strong player. Then the other part of him is he's a really good pro. He just does a good job of talking to the offense and especially within that position of technique and work ethic and how important it is to do what's right on every route. You may not get the ball every single route but you have a great quarterback who's reading the defense and you've got to be there. He's got to trust that you're going to be where you're supposed to be. He's always helping. I think you see that on the offensive line, too. Like Cookie was doing with Isaiah, I see L.T. (Laremy Tunsil) all the time taking A-Rod (Roderick Johnson) or taking Charlie Heck behind the offense and kind of hey, giving them some pointers on pass pro or what they saw on the front. You can use that at every position. Justin Reid and the secondary. J.J. (Watt) up front. Brandon Dunn up front. I think we've got a lot of guys like that. I believe in that. You guys know that now. I believe in those type of players and I believe that will lead to wins. I believe in that."

What do you see from C Nick Martin in terms of his progression as a player over the years?

"Nick works really hard. He has really good leadership ability. He's very smart. He comes from a football family. It's just really important to him. Even during the offseason, he was home. He went back to Indianapolis for a while and worked out with his brother and came back in really good shape. Just every day it's great to see Nick. Nick has a great attitude every day. Works hard. Takes his reps. He's got a very workman like attitude and he's got really good leadership qualities. Great guy to have on the team."

Now that you have seen WR Randall Cobbs since July, is he the slot receiver you've been wanting?

"We've had some good slot receivers here. We have. Over the years we've had some guys that have been good. We drafted Keke (Coutee) a couple years ago. Keke is doing a good job. Then we brought Randall in free agency and DeAndre Carter. We have three guys there. Randall is doing a really good job. He's very smart. He's a lot like (Brandin) Cooks in the fact that he's just a great pro. He's another guy that helps the younger players. Really, not only talking to them but going out there and working the way he works. That's what it's about. It's the work. It's the work that you put in so those players, yeah, those guys speak to those younger players, but those younger players see the work every day. Every day you see Randall out there doing what he's being asked to do, and same thing with Cooks. I think that really has helped the room."

What are you looking for in the slot receiver when you see WR Randall Cobb?

"The slot receiver is interesting. There's a lot more traffic in there than there is on the outside. You have to have a great knowledge of coverage. You have to have a great sense post-snap of what's happening because you see a lot of disguise of leverage or a disguise of coverage. You've got to be really decisive. You have to be a very decisive player. You can't be kind of wishy-washy on a route because, at that position, the quarterback has to know what you're doing. You've got to be on the same page with the quarterback. You're responsible for certain hots relative to protections and things like that. You've got to block. There's a lot that goes into that position and Randall is doing a great job."

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