After another week with RB David Johnson, WR Randall Cobb and WR Brandin Cooks, can you describe what you've seen from them?
"The chemistry is coming along well. We've been building that all summer. From the past week, each guy is a veteran guy, so they see different things and their football IQ is very high. Those guys make plays. That's the biggest thing. We want for each one of our guys to come in and do their job and produce as veterans and All-Pros, and that's what they've been bringing to this team, a different type of energy than we've seen in previous years."
A couple of your teammates have said when you make a mistake you don't usually make the same mistake twice. What is it about the way you learn and practice that leads to that?
"I've always had that mentality since I've been little. I've just learned that over the years from different coaching staffs and just my mindset growing up, where I'm from. I've always had that and regardless I've tried to learn from other people's mistakes and if I make an MA, I make sure that I kind of correct that because a lot of eyes are on me. I control what I can do out there on the field and everyone is following. As far and as good as I go as a quarterback, that's how far and as good as the team is going to go. I have to have that mentality each and every practice, each and every day."
What did you think about Head Coach and General Manager Bill O'Brien doing pushups at practice?
"That's his way of, of course if he calls the wrong period – today was a big situational day so I guess he had the ends, I guess, mixed up on which way we were going to the end zone. That's his way of he messed up and he's knocking his pushups out and let's lock back in."
You had a chance to do a Zoom with kids from the Boys and Girls Club after practice. How cool was that and how much did you enjoy doing that?
"It's always good to be able to share my advice and say what's up to some kids that look up to me because I was in their shoes years ago. For me, to have the opportunity when I was younger with the Falcons and now they have that opportunity in their city with the Texans. For me to be one of those guys, I know it changed my life and motivated me to continue to fulfill my dreams and goals in life."
What did it mean to you to write your book this offseason?
"It means a lot. It was something that wasn't high on my bucket list, but it was definitely something on my bucket list as I learned when I was in college at Clemson University. For me to be able to share my testimony in a different perspective, different way for me to reach different people across the world, was awesome. With the leadership things and everything I learned through high school and through college, learning from Coach (Dabo) Swinney, I just wanted to apply that in a book and share that. Every time I do an event or appearance, a lot of people would say that once they heard my story, they learned so much from it. For me to be able to put it in words and for it to cross the globe is definitely my goal and that's what I want to do with it."
You have become a big soccer fan. Can you talk about that?
"FC Bayern Munich. That's my team. That's a family. We've got some big things coming up in the future. Supporting them in the Champions League, they have a big championship game against Paris. I think it's Sunday, so I'll definitely be tuned in with that and sending my best wishes and good luck to all the players out there and to the bros that I know on that team and to everyone in that football club."
Can you talk about the tight end group and what each guy brings to the table?
"It's a big group that each one of those guys definitely can do a lot of different things. They're all very dynamic and can make big plays. They can help this team, help especially this offense, take it to a whole 'nother level. To have a big group like that who all support each other and want the best for each other and it doesn't matter who's in the game or who's in practice, they all make sure that they set their standards very, very high. They all can do a lot of different things. Line up outside, inside, block, catch, receive. They do it all. Each guy has been bringing it and coming along, gaining experience and gaining reps as we continue to push forward."
What is satisfying to you to use the mental side of the game to beat opponents?
"There's always room to improve, especially on the mental side. Making sure you see different things on film. I'm always, each and every week, each and every practice, trying to gain so much information where I can do different little techniques and details on reading defenses. Sometimes they win, sometimes I win, but I always try to make sure that's the majority of the game. After that, I just let my athletic ability and my IQ and just kind of reacting and my gut feeling takes over, just play football. That's a lot of the time being. A lot of the mental part is pre-snap and then right when I get the ball, then after that I just react and play football."
Where have you seen yourself improve the most in training camp this season compared to last season?
"Just my confidence continuing to grow. The leadership, the knowledge of the offense, what we want to do as a whole, has been simplified for me just because it's Year Four for me. Having that comfortability and having that confidence on exactly what we've been learning over the past three years now getting into my year four and being with Tim (Kelly) and spending a whole year last year on his mindset and what he's thinking and now he's the play-caller. Now having that, we're being on the same page and I already know before each situation what he's thinking, so we're on the same page. I think that's the next step that I've been taking with him and it's been good."
How important is faith to you and do you believe you have a higher calling that might even be bigger than football?
"Yeah, for sure. Football has definitely opened my eyes and it's the main priority right now. But football can only last so long, so what can I do outside of football? How can I use this platform that the Lord has put me in to be able to share and touch other people across the world? Of course, everyone wants to be legendary and be remembered forever, especially after their football time. Hopefully I can continue to build my name and my brand for that to happen. After I'm done with football, I definitely want to be able to travel the world and continue to inspire people and motivate people and use my platform and testimony and the things that I accomplish in this football time to be able to help other people's lives and continue to grow this world and make it a better place."
Where does winning a Super Bowl fit into that?
"Oh, that's top priority. That's for sure. I'm trying to pull a big three. I won a state championship, I won a national championship, so of course I'm trying to get a Super Bowl. I'm trying to, of course, be legendary. That's my word since college and for me to be that I have to win a Super Bowl and definitely win it with the Houston Texans. We've never won one here before and we haven't even come on the brink of winning one. We've got to get to that game before that, and then of course we can think about that. But yeah, I'm trying to create history and continue that and make it a dynasty."
What's some of the new music you've been listening to this year?
"I got a lot of stuff. I'm on Gunna. I'm on that Lil Baby. His deluxe album came out. Gunna's deluxe, Young Thug, Derez De'Shon, Rod Wave, Sauce Walka, Travis Scott. I mean, my playlist in my Spotify is crazy right now, so it just depends what vibe. I can even go to the PARTYNEXTDOOR. It just goes down the line, so for me it depends on what vibe I want, what energy I'm trying to seek into and then I just throw it on. I listen to everything."
I know NT Brandon Dunn has a large influence on the locker room music but are you a part-time DJ?
"No, I let Dunny and the d-linemen take control of that. I let them. But they know the vibes. They know the energy of what we want in the locker room and they switch it up a lot, so they keep us going. There's a lot of Money Man on there. I like Money Man and a big fan of Money Man, so we play that a lot. I have my suggestions, but I have my own little music thing in my locker, too, in case they're not playing, and I turn the vibes up. I'm secondary DJ."
What is one thing you think you need to do better this season to put you in a position to win a Super Bowl?
"Just trying to be more detailed and just trim down the MEs – the mental errors. If we can do that, and of course stay healthy – that's a big key – I feel like we can have the opportunity. In that last game against the Chiefs, we started off right, we continued, but once we hit that wall and they got momentum we have to continue to flip that momentum and learn how to do that. There were a lot of games last year where we couldn't do that – Baltimore, Denver, Kansas City. Three games right there where if we can stop that momentum and get back in the game, who knows how those games turn out and what we could have done in them. Just the mental errors and the little details and stopping the momentum of the other team. If we just focus on the next play, we'll be fine."