Transcripts: Bill O'Brien Press Conferences (9-3-2020)

Opening Statement

"I just want talk about a few things here before we take questions. I saw where the NFL and the NFLPA issued a joint release this morning that all club facilities will be closed on Tuesday, November 3rd, election day, to ensure that every member of the NFL family has an opportunity to exercise the right, the precious right to vote. I think that's a great statement by our league and by the Players Association. I think you've heard Randall Cobb talk about it. As an American, it's a precious right that we have to vote and so I think that's awesome they did that. I know I'll probably be asked about this but I just kind of wanted to kind of give you my thoughts on the player social justice video that went out. Our team – we just have a lot of great guys on this team. They put a lot of thought into it. They put a lot of work into it. They focused on football but when in their spare time on their off days, they really thought a lot about this. These guys care about social justice. They care about each other and they're trying to create change with the platforms that they have as NFL players. We are fully supportive. I especially would love to mention the McNairs; Cal, Hannah, Janice McNair. They're very, very supportive of what's going on here relative to the social justice initiatives. It's been really good. Lastly, I just want to congratulate Justin Reid for winning the Spirit of the Bull Award today during the virtual team luncheon. Justin's a great example of what it means to have the Spirit of the Bull. This is the organization's highest off the field honor for community service and nobody is more deserving than Justin. He does a lot in the city of Houston in the short time that he's been here. He's had a real impact on the city. On behalf of the McNairs and the entire team, we congratulate Justin on the award. With that I'll open it up to questions."

With next week's game being a Thursday night primetime game with a big platform to make a statement, if the players take a knee will you still take a knee?

"I would say this, again, going back to our conversation with you and I back in the spring. I think you asked me if the players asked me to take a knee, would I take a knee, and I said yes. I'm not going back on that. I think now moving forward here we're going to talk about those things as a team. I think right now we have some things that we have to get done. We have to get the roster down here by Saturday. We've got to review last night's scrimmage. We've got several other things that are going on, but I know we'll get to that subject and we'll talk about it and we'll put a lot of thought into it and we'll make the right decision, maybe along with Kansas City as to what we want to do to continue to really make people aware of the social justice initiatives that are taking place across the NFL."

Why are you so supportive of your players on racial injustice?

"I just believe in it. I have a very strong belief that this country can do better. I have a very strong belief in our players. Their intelligence, their voices need to be heard. Their passion. These guys are more than football players. They care about things that are going on in the world and they want to make a difference and they have the ability to do that with the media coverage that we get for this great game of football. They have the ability to do it. At the same time, they know they need to concentrate on football because in the end we have to win games. I'm very supportive of our players because I believe in them."

What do you see from G/T Max Scharping going into his second year?

"Max has definitely improved. I think any time you play as much as Max played last year – he played more than Tytus (Howard) because Tytus had to deal with the injury. I believe that experience, you can't replace it. You learn the speed of the game, the strength of the game and the things you need to get better at technique wise. Max is so coachable. He's a very, very focused guy that cares a lot about doing what's best for the team. He's getting better. He's put on weight. He's gotten stronger in the offseason and he's had a good camp. We feel good about where we're at that spot and he can do other things. He can jump in play tackle if we need him to. He's played a little center for us so he's a multiple tool guy for us up front, which is good."

How are you measuring the team's preparedness for the first game of the season after a unique offseason?

"It's hard. We have to, relative to what I said last night, we have a long way to go relative to the game week. We've got to get the roster down. We've got to have a good quote-unquote Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then travel to Kansas City on September 9th with a good game plan, with a good week of practice, making sure guys understand what we're expecting of them in the game. We know we're playing a great opponent and we feel like we're pretty good. We know that it's going to take a team effort. We know that we're going on the road into an environment that's going to be different. Only about 15,000, 17,000 fans there. It's just going to be a different experience. I think our guys are mature enough to handle that and they're looking forward to the opportunity."

How has WR Keke Coutee looked since coming back from injury?

"Keke looked good last night. He was cutting off of his foot and doing some good things. He returned kicks. He played in the slot. He played on the outside. He ran reverses. He did a lot of different things. He looked pretty good."

Is there a specific time where QB Deshaun Watson's work ethic has stood out to you?

"I mean, every day. He works hard every day, whether it's mechanics, footwork, obviously coverage reads, protection reads, communication. He stays after practice. He's watching a lot of film with Tim (Kelly) and T.J. (Yates). He works hard in the weight room. I heard the other day he had a really good weight workout. He was squatting and doing power cleans and things like that. The guy works hard every day. Like I've always said, I'm glad he's on our side."

What is it like competing against Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu after he played a season under you in 2018?

"He's a great player. We only had him for a year here, but he made an impact on this organization from a leadership standpoint, from a playing standpoint. Very smart player. One of the smartest players that we've had here. Just really understood what the offense was trying to do relative to the defensive call. Had really good leadership qualities. When they were able to get him in free agency, I remember Coach (Andy) Reid and I talking, and he's brought the same thing there, obviously, to Kansas City. It's tough. It's tough, but those are the things that happens in the NFL. We're going to have to do a good job. They line him up in a lot of different spots. They use him in a lot of different ways and we're going to have to be ready for him."

Do you feel like this team has a number one wide receiver? If not, what are the advantages of having multiple wide receiver threats?

"You know, it's funny, we don't label it like that in our organization. We really never have. We have guys that can do a lot of different things. We have guys that can play on the outside, that can play on the inside. We've got running backs, tight ends that can do different things. I think the key will be health. Just like any position, the health of the receiver position will be very important. The timing we're working on. We're getting better. I thought we did some good things last night in the scrimmage. We use different personnel groupings. We use different ways and different groups to help us try to matriculate the ball down the field. So, that's what we'll continue to do."

What are the advantages of to play on a Thursday when you do not have to play on the Sunday before?

"I think the Thursday night opener, it has its advantages. Obviously, it's the only game and guys are really excited to play in the game and it's going to be a historic game. You think about this game being played during a pandemic. With everything that this league has gone through to get to this point, it's a privilege and an honor to play in this game. I think from a roster standpoint, having it at the beginning of the year is tough, but it's the same for Kansas City. We have to wait for certain players to clear to be able to have a full complement of practice squad and 53-man roster guys. But we'll work through it. We'll get ready."

How do you prepare for rookie Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire when he does not have any preseason tape?

"We studied him a lot. We interviewed him at the combine. He's a really good guy, a really dynamic player. Obviously, he did a great job at LSU with Joe Burrow last year. I mean, they set records. Their offensive output at LSU last year was in another stratosphere. Look, he's a guy that can run it. He can hurt you out of the backfield. He's a part of an offensive system now in Kansas City that's a very dynamic one. We're just going to have to do as good a job as we can of knowing where he's at, how they're trying to use him early on and do as good a job as we can."

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