HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
Can you give your assessment of the draft picks, particularly QB Davis Mills and WR Nico Collins?
"Davis Mills, I thought Nick's (Caserio) staff did a great job of all of a sudden earmarking a guy that fit what a quarterback in the NFL is all about. Obviously he didn't play as much football as some of the other guys because of the COVID situation in the Pac-12, but we really love what he's all about. We love all of the intangibles he has. He's a protype NFL quarterback and we feel good to have him. He's smart. He can make all the throws and we feel good and feel fortunate that we're able to get him when we got him. Nico (Collins), again, I've got a couple of coaches on my staff that have some background with him. Pep (Hamilton) had him in Michigan. (Ben McDaniels) had him, who actually coached him, assistant receivers coach Ben (McDaniels). We had an idea that we liked his size. He is the protype wide receiver, big strong, 50/50 catch type guy in this league and we feel like he'll bring that to us. We're looking forward to that. Very tough kid, very tough kid. Garrett Wallow, loved him. Our people love what he's all about. I'm talking about he's a football player. He is a flat-out football playing 'Jessie,' I like to say. Old term from the south, you've heard that term before. We love that about him. Roy (Lopez), I'm telling you. He's down in the trenches. He's excellent there. We felt good when we got to that point of being able to get him and once we got to that point, it was good. Lovie (Smith), Lovie loved where he was. And Brevin (Jordan), oh my goodness. Let me tell you something. We feel like we got a steal with him where we got him. We felt like that guy would probably be gone before the fifth round, but once we got to that point and he was there, it was a no brainer with the ability that he has as far as being a protype tight end in this business."
What do you hope to get out of rookie minicamp?
"Let me tell you this, you see this whistle in my hand right here. I don't know if you can see it, but let me tell you something. Our staff is so happy today that for the first time this coaching staff got to get on the field for the last two days with our rookies and implement what we're all about here, implement our system, get those guys up to speed. We've been going four weeks right now with our veterans and our strength and conditioning and some Zoom meetings. These guys have been all over the place. They're a little bit behind. Right now the rookie minicamp is a time for us to get to the point to where we get these guys the culture that we want them to have, what we're all about. I felt like today in practice, especially the second day here in practice, they had a good feel of doing that. We felt like they were doing the things we want a Texan football player to do."
What do you hope to get out of Phase 2 when it starts on Monday?
"Well, I'm going to hold this whistle up again, I'm excited to be able to get out there with them for the first time. We've had the veterans now for about four weeks, strength and conditioning on Zoom meetings, putting installs in – our coaching staff has. Starting on Monday, we get to do the same thing, but we get to get some field time with them. Basically, we're going to kind of do what we just did, start with our minicamp schedule that we've done with these guys that we just got through with and start that with our veteran group that's coming in here and kind of restart again and get them into the culture. We've got 30 new guys on this team right now. It's a brand new football team, so we want to make sure that they understand from day one what we're all about and where we're going and what we're trying to get accomplished. That's what we want to do for the rest of the offseason."
You mentioned Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton and he obviously worked with Chargers QB Justin Herbert in Los Angeles last season. What do you think makes him a good position coach for a young quarterback in this league?
"He's been a good position coach for years in this business. He knows what he's doing. He knows about quarterback play. He's been one himself, he's done it his whole career. He's coordinated. He's been a quarterback coach. He knows the whole offense. He knows a variety of offenses. He's a heck of a teacher. If you go back and you look at all the guys he's coached through his coaching career, you can see the one thing that we loved about having Pep here is all of those guys he coached whether they were young guys or guys that have been in the league, they all got better and that's all you want out of your coaches is for them to get better and he's done that and we're hoping for the same thing."
Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton worked at Stanford with David Shaw. What did he say about QB Davis Mills before you picked him?
"Obviously, we had some insight on him because of Pep and because of David because of Pep actually coached him and we knew him. There's just a comfort level in knowing when you draft a guy like that and he's had some things happen to him during his career because of the Pac-12 with the COVID situation, we knew from David and from Pep and especially from David who've obviously had some guys come out of there and go on and done well also that he knew exactly what we were looking for. He knew about what Davis was all about. With Pep and him understanding exactly what we were looking for, we felt like he was a good fit and we're fortunate enough to get him."
What's your football philosophy on rookies playing early?
"Well, here's the thing. If a rookie progresses the way he needs to progress and if he's a good enough player and picks it up, picks the offense up or the defense up or what we're doing on special teams, we're about competition here. Regardless of whether he's a rookie or he's a veteran, if he picks up what we're doing, he's doing the things that we want done, I've seen rookies throughout my career throughout this league that people felt like didn't have a chance, end up playing right away. I've seen some rookies who've thought would play right away that played later. It's just a matter of the individual being able to come in and pick up the system and learn what we're doing and if he's good enough to do it with competition, then he's good enough to do it."
You said you've liked food a lot. Have you gotten a taste of Mexican food here in Houston?
"I have gotten a good taste of Mexican food here. The Tex-Mex food here is unbelievable and I will agree with you right now after being here for three months that there's no place in America better than the Tex-Mex food here. No place."
What's your order?
"I'm going to tell you about David Culley who's a junkie from the standpoint when it comes to food. There's really no food on that menu that I won't try. None. But let me tell you, I'll always start with the nachos and I'll always start with the nachos and I'll go from there. Then when I go from there is kind of unending. It could go for a while."
Do you expect to QB Deshaun Watson to be at minicamp or OTAs?
"We have nothing to say about that situation at this time. Cal (McNair) and ownership a few weeks back indicated about how our organization feels about the situation. I think when Nick (Caserio) was on not long ago, he mentioned that he also mentioned that the legal process is in affect right now and we're going to respect that and go from there."
But do you expect to see him this offseason at all?
"I have nothing to say about that at this time."
What's it like to watch QB Davis Mills throw in person and what are some of your first impressions?
"The one thing that we liked about him and Pep (Hamilton) talked about this when we were sitting down talking with Nick (Caserio) and talking about what he was all about in the evaluation process is he's very accurate. He gets it out on time. He's very smart. He understands the passing game, because they do a very good job at it there at Stanford. He's been in a very good play-action, run-action type of pass game, which we have a history of doing here. He fit what our model was wanting to have a guy at that position."
What has the working relationship been like between you and General Manager Nick Caserio and how has that evolved in your three and a half months on the job?
"I'll tell you what, when I first got the job here, I knew what Nick (Caserio) was all about. I knew that he is all about football. He's all about winning. His record speaks for itself from where he's been. He knew about me. He knew about what my situation has always been and how I have approached things throughout my career in this league. We're like-minded that way in what we believe a football team should be about and how a football team should be run. It's been really good from that standpoint where I understand where he wants to go. He understands where I want to go. We've kind of meshed that and we're basically all in with what we're doing right now."
How important is it to get a good look at QB Davis Mills this season because it could impact your 2022 draft?
"We're not looking at it like that. We're looking at it like there's going to be competition at all positions. This is a new football team here. Basically, we've created competition all around this football team. Not just at the quarterback position, but basically at all positions. That's why you see so many guys on this football team right now that haven't been here. We're going to let things play out in training camp. We're going to go from there and then the best players that give us the best chance to win are the ones we're going to be put on the football field regardless of position."
Will this be Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly's offense that he's put together over the past couple of years?
"The offense that he's had has been a group thing even previously. There's a couple of guys that are on this staff here with him before and basically with some of the new guys that we have brought in, basically to bring in some new ideas to basically take what Tim has been doing for the last few years and just make it better. Tim has done a tremendous job. He knows exactly what he wants to get done in this offense. As a collective group, they've sat down and Tim's been great with this about getting the ideas from everybody in that room and usually, the best offenses in this league are usually offenses that are from a whole offensive group that are putting in input and basically doing what you feel like your personnel can do. During this offseason, they've done a really nice job of doing that. Tim's done a nice job of incorporating that."
Why did you bring Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly back after you didn't know him previously?
"Oh, I knew about him. We played against him three years at other places I've been. I knew they've been very good offensively. I like what he's all about. The thing about when I interviewed Tim and we talked to Tim about it, I love the mindset of – I'm going back again to just like when Nick (Caserio) brought me in here, this organization brought me in here. We had some like-mindedness as far as how we look at things and I felt the same way with Tim when I talked to Tim about winning football. Again, that was a part of also why Tim is also still here."
How important is it to you as a head coach to establish confidence in the rookies that can carry over from their rookie season and throughout their careers?
"I'm very fortunate that I've got a tremendous staff here that are teachers. I've just had two days right now of watching our staff coach and teach these guys right here and I tell you what, I came out and practiced today, smiling a little bit better today than I did yesterday and yesterday was pretty good. Today was even better simply because we're all on the same page. We're trying to establish a culture right now. Those guys offensively and defensively and our special teams are basically coaching their tails off. They have been itching to get on the field for the last three months. We've gone through free agency. We've gone through the draft. Now, we've gone through the Zooms with the strength and conditioning and finally to get out here today, let me tell you something – we were more excited than those players were today to get out on the football field just to coach them. You know what, after we got through coaching them, they understood what we were all about, what we're trying to get done here with the Texans. Now, did they get everything we tried to get them to do, no, not at all. But they got a good indicator of where we're going and what we're going to end up doing and what we need to get done to go where we need to go."
LB GARRET WALLOW
What are some things you want to improve on in rookie minicamp?
"Most definitely. First and foremost, I want to learn the culture here. As you can tell by Coach (David) Culley who just got off the call, we've got something great going on here. Definitely a lot of energy in the building, so one thing you'll do is learn the Texan way. It's just like college all over again, coming in there, learning the ropes, learning the ways to be the best teammate you can be and the best player for the organization. But as well as that, it's definitely catching on to the routines that happen at practice, catching on to the speed at practice, the drills, the coaching. Just taking it all in is definitely something that as a rookie you want to keep catching on to and keep working forward to every day you're out there on the field."
What is the one thing you bring to the team immediately?
"The best thing I bring to the team right now is just my leadership right now. Just trying to be the best leader I can, especially among the guys that are out there right now. Definitely try to bring a lot of enthusiasm while I'm out there on the field, lead by example and also just try to be flexible in any area that I can whether that's on special teams or on defense. Anything I can do to help the team out, that's what I'm here for."
Do you think there are some similarities between the defense you played in at TCU and the one under Associate Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith?
"Most definitely. I think coming from Gary Patterson's defense, it definitely prepares you for the mindset and just knowing the intelligence of what a defense is, and you definitely come into a great coach in Lovie Smith. Being under him, one, is a huge blessing. Very, very intelligent guy. His staff is very intelligent, too. Going forward you definitely see some things that are alike, but it's two different defenses as well. Just trying to catch onto the scheme and be the best, smart school player you can be."
Have you had an 'oh wow' moment yet?
"That's a good question because my mom asked me that same thing this morning. I'm always kind of the type of guy that never really gets satisfied with the moment, just going forward, kind of bring that humble mentality, keep going forward and try to reach the goal. The goal is to be the best player I can for this team and also play as long as I can. I'm definitely not there yet. I have a long way to go and I'm not satisfied at all. Just keep going forward and just keep getting better every day is kind of my mentality right now. Never satisfied."
What was it like being out on the field today?
"I love football. I love being out there on the field. I just love the vibes, the intensity, the chills that it brings, especially just being on the football field. It's definitely amazing to be here and I'm excited for whatever the future holds."
How soon after being drafted by the Texans did you reach out to DL Ross Blacklock?
"That's funny that you ask. Me and Ross had actually been talking way before I got drafted. It wasn't about the Texans, it was just about the mentality that you have to come into the NFL, how different it is. There are a lot of things that are different. More games, definitely different studying. You don't have school now. Football is your school. Ross is like a mentor to me. I take in knowledge from him. I've always seen him like a bigger brother, but now we're on the same level and we get the chance to play together now. Definitely just trying to pick his brain whenever I can, especially when he sees me. He was my first text to tell him I was coming here before they called my name. It's definitely an excitement to be back with him and such a great and talented guy as well."
What do you think you will do well on the field as a rookie?
"Kind of what I said earlier, just be flexible. Be able to play whatever coach needs me to play. Trust that whatever he has in mind is best for the team. Like I said, just be flexible and be good in whatever area that is."