Transcripts: Monday OTA media availibility

Houston Texans Transcripts
Head Coach Bill O'Brien, T Duane Brown, G/C Ben Jones, G David Quessenberry OTA Media Availability
Monday, June 8, 2015
(Transcribed by Omar Majzoub)

Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(opening statement) "One thing first, I don't think I officially announced this yet, but I'll start off by just officially announcing that George Godsey is the offensive coordinator. I'm sure you guys at some point will have a chance to spend some time with him. He'll be the offensive coordinator. It's really not too much different then what he did last year, it's just his got the title."

(on the decision to promote George Godsey to offensive coordinator) "Well, I had coached him and then we had worked together in New England, where he was in an offensive assistant position there. He had grown a lot as a coach. It wasn't necessarily anything that I wanted to see, it was just more, 'let's make sure we're getting on the same page here.' Not just the first year, but the beginning of that first year, we hadn't coached together in a couple years because obviously he wasn't at Penn State with me, but I just thought he did a heck of a job last year. He did a really good job of dealing with all the things that came up during the year and he deserves this opportunity."

(on Offensive Coordinator George Godsey's personality) "He's here- he's one of the first guys to arrive. A very bright guy. He works really hard at the game, not only studying what we're doing but kind of studying the tendencies of the rest of the league on both sides of the ball. He, along with a lot of the other guys on this staff, have a lot of good input in the staff meetings behind the scenes and in offensive meetings. I think the players respect the type of teacher that he is and how demanding he is. He does a lot of things behind the scenes that you guys aren't able to see. Hard Knocks will see it, so you guys will be able to see it now. You guys can see those Hard Knocks episodes."

(on the Texans offensive coaching staff and lack of a quarterbacks coach) "I like our offensive coaching staff the way it is. George (Godsey) coaches the quarterbacks. I'm involved with the quarterbacks, so you have really two quarterback coaches on the staff. Then also, Pat O'Hara, who we added this offseason, who is kind of a guy that works with a lot of the offensive skill positions, whereas Tim Kelly works with a lot of the lineman and the tight ends as an assistant to Mike Devlin and John Perry. Pat works a lot with (Tom) Savage and some of the younger receivers, so I think the way our staff is set up right now is really good for 2015."

(on Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin) "I think he's a hell of a coach. I think he's added a lot to this staff. I don't think this is an easy job to come into and learn all the things that we do right off the bat, especially from a protection standpoint, a run game standpoint, and how we allow the quarterback at the line of scrimmage to direct us to the right play. The lineman and the line coach have to be very, very sharp and I think he's come in here and done a really, really good job. He's been very impressive."

(on Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin's personality) "He's certainly a tough guy. He's definitely a tough person physically and mentally. He played in this league. He was an offensive lineman for the Bills back in the Jim Kelly days. He's a guy that brings a lot of mental toughness to the workroom and to the meetings room because of another guy that arrives early, stays late, and tries to figure out what we can do to be better in addition to learning our offense, which is tough. He's a very bright guy. He's a very smart guy. I saw that right away when I interviewed him. Just a really bright guy, a good communicator, and I think the players have really taken to him as a coach."

(on what he's seen from NT Vince Wilfork and his impact) "That's hard just because we're not in pads. I just know that I feel like he's going to make a big difference for us just knowing what I know from being around him in the past. He's one of the best nose guards to really ever play this game and he's going to add that dimension to our defense and our front. Also, he's leadership in the locker room has been really good. As far as totally seeing what it does with all the packages that we have on defense, it's hard because we're not in pads. It's more of a passing camp right now. More so for the development of the skill positions then it is necessarily for the lineman on both sides of the ball. I know that with Vince, he's going to add a lot to our defensive front."

(on where things stand with G David Quessenberry) "Well, first of all, I think his story is something that we probably- I know you guys have done a great job of covering his story, but I think it's something that should be talked about even more. I mean, think about what this guy has gone through just to even be here today. To even be here, playing on a pro football team, coming back from cancer, I think probably it's a little bit better question for him. Not as a cop out, but just more he's a very bright guy. He knows his body really well. He knows where he's at in his treatments. I have an idea of where he is at. I would say that this season is a possibility. I would not rule it out. I would not rule it out, but we haven't come to that determination yet. He's here every day. He's not allowed to be out there as far as in the practice, but he's out there. You guys see him out there. He's in all the meetings. He can lift weight. I just think it's an unbelievable story. It says a lot about him. It says a lot about our organization, I think, that we've stuck by him."

(on holding joint practices with the Washington Redskins in August) "I do really believe in these joint practices. Especially when we can get away, go to Richmond, practice against a very, very good football team with a great coaching staff and great players and be in the hotel. It's like a camp unto itself, so I think that it's going to help our team. I thought when we went to Denver last year, I thought that was a great experience for our team. I think it helped our team and hopefully this will be the same type of experience. We're looking forward to working with those guys. Speaking to Coach (Jay) Gruden, he's just obviously a great guy to work with. I know that New England went against them last year and had a great experience with them, so we're looking forward to the same thing."

(on what he is looking for from the players during OTAs) "There's a lot more situations now, so I'm really looking for how we adapt to the different situations. The first two weeks was a lot of first and second down. A little bit of third down in the second week. Now, it's first, second, third down, two minute, red area will come up now, we'll be doing more four minute situations, end of game situations. It's not that you didn't have to be mentally sharp in the beginning, you always have to be mentally sharp. But you really have to be in tune with your teammates and your coaches as far as what's coming over the horizon over the next two weeks here. Today was a third down day, a two minute day. I thought we had a good, tough practice today, but we have to do a better job in situations and I think these guys are really in tuned to it."

(on the importance of the team standing behind G David Quessenberry) "That's what I'm saying. I think it's important to. First of all, you have a guy, let's just tell it right off the bat. This guy is a good football player. This is a guy that was a versatile football player, could play tackle, could play guard, I think we even trained him a little bit at center last spring before he was diagnosed. This is a tough guy. This is a guy that went out there and practiced three or four times last year with cancer. Before he was diagnosed, he was fighting through what he thought was probably some type of flu, cold, or something. Geoff Kaplan and our doctors sent him right over to the hospital and found out it was cancer. Here's a guy that's tough. Here's a guy that's been through all these different things, radiation, chemotherapy, and all the things that he's been through to be back here where he is today. I just think he's an inspiration to our football team. I know that teammates have a lot of respect for him and the coaching staff does, so good football player, tough guy, been through a lot. Let's see where it's at. Maybe not right today, but down the road here, let's see where it's at."

(on the importance of RB Arian Foster to the offense) "He was a big part of it last year. He was a big part of it. When he plays and he's out there, he means a lot to our offense. He's one of the best backs in the league. I believe what I've seen this spring out of him, he's a very motivated individual. He's out there, he's practicing hard, and he's been here every day. We appreciate that as a coaching staff. He is, you're right, he's an important part of our offense and we need him out there. He's been out there every day and it shows. We've been able to do some decent things on offense this spring. A lot of it has to do with him being out there."

(on if the coaches have 'scratched the surface' on what they can do with RB Arian Foster) "You entered into the Arian Foster laboratory. He can throw. I think in a lot of ways, he's right. He's a good runner. He's a good pass catcher out of the backfield. He can line up in empty. He's a very bright football player. I don't know about 'scratching the surface,' or scratching this, scratching that. I just know that we're going to use him as one of the more important parts of our offense."

(on judging the kick and punt returners during OTAs) "That's something that I think about a lot. That position is definitely up for grabs both kickoff return and, most importantly, punt return is up for grabs. It's tough to get a gauge on that right now. What you can tell right now is, 'can this guy catch or can he not catch.' That's the way it is right now, but I think when we get into preseason it's going to be really important for us to see what these guys do in practice, against the Redskins, in the preseason games, and be able to make a determination towards the end of August about that position. But yeah, you're going to have to really determine that during training camp."

(on OLB John Simon) "John Simon is a guy that we picked up from Baltimore last year that really defines in many ways the type of player that were looking for. He's tough. He's smart. He's in here all the time. He works extremely hard in the weight room. He's a great teammate. He's a guy that I'm familiar with when I was at Penn State. We played against him when he was at Ohio State. Mike Vrabel was very familiar with him, coaching him at Ohio State. He's been a good addition to our team. He really embraces the role that he has on our team and he's been a good addition to our team. Look, he's fighting, just like all these guys, to earn a job on this team. But he's out there every day and he really earns the right to be out there every day, if that makes sense. He's a tough guy and a good guy to have around right now."

(on RB Chris Polk) "Chris Polk has come in here. It's a very competitive position at running back. I just talked about Arian (Foster), there's Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes, Chris Polk, and Kenny Hilliard. We got some guys back there and Jay Prosch at full back. It's a very competitive position. Chris Polk has come in here and really picked up the offense pretty well, so he's made the position even more competitive. He's a good pass catcher out the backfield. He's a smart guy. It's going to be a very competitive training vamp at that position."

(on if the offensive line depth worries him) "Again, you guys always use the word 'worried' with me. I really don't get worried. You know me. I get worried about my family. What I do is I try to analyze the roster and I try to look at the roster and say, 'okay, where do we need some help?' Right now on the offensive line, I like the competition that's going on there. But I think that's going to be something that were going to have to evaluate all the way through training camp. Because when you're out there in no pads, it's kind of easy to see what the assignments are and who's making mistakes as far as assignments go, but as far as contact and how they're doing in that regard, it's tough because there's no pads on. Right now, I'm happy with the way they're working. I'm happy with the way they're being coached, but that one is going to have to play out for a while."

(on the importance of having versatility across the offensive line) "I would say that on the final roster, if we decide to keep nine or if we decide to keep eight, that's always a discussion depending on that position and how it effects other positions. So when you can only keep that number of guys, those next three of four guys, you have you're starting five, but the next three or four have to be versatile because when you go to the game, you can look on last year, where we usually went to the game with, I think, seven guys. So the sixth and seventh guy had to be guys that can play center and guard, guard and tackle, or tackle and tight end. That's just the nature of the game because you don't want to get stuck out there not having guys that can be versatile, so I think versatility upfront is a very, very important factor for us."

(on WR Nate Washington) "I really like Nate (Washington). I think he's been a good addition to our football team, both from a veteran leadership standpoint and then from his route running ability. He's really practiced hard all spring. He's been here a lot. He's been out there every day at practice. He's picked up our offense well. He's always communicating with the other receivers and the quarterbacks. I think he's going to add a lot to our offense. I'm glad he is here."

Take a look at photos from the Houston Texans' third week of OTAs.

(on what he has seen from G Brandon Brooks) "First of all, I think when you look at Brandon (Brooks), you see a guy that really understands the expectations with our coaching staff. He's come in here and lost weight. He came back in shape. He's had a really good spring. He's, knock on wood, he's stayed healthy. He's moving well. He knows our offense better. I have very, very high expectations for Brandon Brooks. I think he can be one of the top guards in this league, I really do. I think he is a very, very good player who can pull and that can be stout inside. He just needs to keep developing in that regard. He's got to have high expectations for himself. We have very high expectations for him."

(on the team's offensive philosophy) "We were (a running team). I think we lead the league as far as rushing attempts last year. We did. We ran the ball. We felt like that was our best way of wining last year. Playing good defense, run the football, don't make a lot of mistakes on offense, try to be good on special teams. I think every year is different. I think when you look at our team this year, I think we have more depth on offense especially at the receiver position, the tight end position, and the running back position. I think you have two quarterbacks that are very familiar with our system as far as both pass and run, how to get us out of a bad play and into the right play. They really have a good understanding of it. I'm not sure what our team is right now in regards to what type of offense will be. We are a game-plan offense, so what that means is when we play a certain team, let's say we're playing Jacksonville as opposed to playing Baltimore. Our gameplan is going to be totally different based on what Jacksonville does versus what Baltimore does. It's what we need to do to win the game. If that means running the ball 55 times, then that's what we're going to try to do. If that's what that means. If that means throwing the ball 55 times, then we're going to have to figure out if that's what we need to do. I know that's kind of a non-answer for you, but we're not in a situation yet in June where we can say, 'this is the type of offense were going to be.' We're going to be a game-plan offense."

(on the team running the ball a lot) "Well, we have a very good running back so you can rest assured that as long as he's healthy and he's out there, we will run the ball. I can tell you that. That's one thing we will do."

(on what he looks for from the quarterbacks) "We look at a lot of different things. We look at their operation of the huddle, their operation at the line of scrimmage, and then their operation after the ball is snapped, meaning what type of decision are they making? Are they making a good decision? Is it a poor decision? Is it a decision that maybe we can agree with because it worked but maybe we'd like a little bit better decision? So, we look at three phases with them. All three of these guys, each in their own right, have done a good job in all three of those phases. It's a really good competition, especially between Brian (Hoyer) and Ryan (Mallett) because both of those guys are very competitive, they're very bright guys, and they're good quarterbacks. These guys are good quarterbacks. They can throw the football, they understand our offense, they're good leaders, they're good communicators, and so it's still an evaluation process but both of those guys are really working hard. (Tom) Savage has gotten better and I think a lot of it has to do with what he's seen from those two. That's helped him get better. We're driving them hard. They're driving each other hard. It will be interesting to see how it all ends up."

(on if WR DeAndre Hopkins will be ready for camp) "Yeah, I think (DeAndre) Hop(kins) will be ready for training camp. I can see him being ready. I don't know the date. Like, I can't tell you if it's going to be July 25th or the 27th or the 28th at 9:00 am when he'll be ready. I don't know, but I know that he'll be out there at some point during training camp ready to go."

T Duane Brown
(on having joint practices with the Washington Redskins in Richmond, VA) "Man, it's a great opportunity. I don't get to get back in that area often to play at all, so being in my backyard and practicing against Washington, it's a good opportunity for a lot of my family and close friends to come out and kind of check me out, check us out as a team in a competitive environment. I'm looking forward to it."

(on what he thought when he heard about the redskins match up) "I was excited, man. I wasn't quite sure when I heard we were going against them, wasn't quite sure if their camp was still out or not, so when I heard it was still in Richmond, I was excited. Then I was texting my mom and everybody, so they'll be out there in full attendance."

(on how importance it is to work against a strong defense in the preseason) "I think it's pretty important. Number one, it just breaks up the monotonous feeling of going against the same defense, the same personnel every day, against each other. Going against another team, different player, someone you're not as familiar with, in a competitive environment is very important and it just keeps everyone on our toes. You have a lot of different looks that you're not prepared for that you don't see on an every down basis for all facets, offense, defense and special teams. I just raises your level of play a little bit I think."

(on what the difference is with Offensive Line Coach Mike Devlin coaching them this season) "Coach Devlin's done an incredible job. He's a very experienced person, he played a long time in the league, he's coached a long time in the league, and he knows his stuff. He's very technique sound and tries to keep us technique sound. Fiery guy but still gives you constructive criticism, so it's been a pleasure so far working with him."

(on how special it is seeing G David Quessenberry on the sidelines) "Every time I see him it's inspiring. You know, I know this weekend has been a year since he was diagnosed and just seeing the progression on a weekly basis, it's been nothing short of amazing. He's fought hard, hasn't said much, never put his head down or showed a sign of weakness or just vulnerability at all throughout this whole process. He's been lifting us up as much as we try to do for him, he's been doing that for us. We have him in our meeting rooms, out there on the practice field with us, it's incredible and knowing that he had a shot to strap up the pads again, it's amazing."

(on how comfortable he feels with the playbook compared to last year) "Oh man, it's like night and day for myself. It's not even close. I think that's for everyone on the team, just being familiar with it. We all do a good job of studying it on our own, but having a year where you're in a loud environment in that game atmosphere, you know with making those mistakes and learning from them, you have an offseason where you're starting like it's the back of your hand now. I think we're all better for it. I think you can definitely see the progression in this OTA compared to last year."

(on what the challenges are with being a game-plan offense) "It's challenging. We have a lengthy playbook. Some plays you might run week and might not run again until week nine, and you just have to know that, you have to know the plays regardless of when they're going to be dialed up. Protections can change from week to week, and it's challenging, but it's very beneficial. It makes you unpredictable, it keeps defenses on their toes, they don't know what to expect from us on a week-to-week basis. It's very complex and very tough, but we are professionals and that's our job to know it."

G/C Ben Jones
(on G David Quessenberry being back out there) "It's amazing. Seeing him every day fight through this, we know it's a long run and he's out there grinding every day, he works out every morning, and he's out there, he's in every meeting, and just seeing him fight through this, we're all there behind him."

(on going up to the Redskins training camp) "It's going to be great. Anytime you can compete against another team, especially during camp, seeing a new face and doing that, they have a 3-4 defense, similar to ours, and going against different personnel, it's awesome."

(on what he's taking away from OTAs after Coach Bill O'Brien said the offense does a lot of passing) "Oh we definitely run the run also, but when you're only in helmets you can't, you stick mainly to passing. You don't want to get a guy injured in this part of the season because you want to get everybody to camp. So you definitely rely on the pass a little more, but we definitely do all the run fundamentals and have run periods versus bags and stuff, so you get to work everything."

(on what it's like not having Chris Myers out there) "Definitely, heck of a leader, heck of a player, just him and being around his pranks and everything, you just love a guy like that on your team, and it's definitely been different. You know he'll be missed because he's been around for so long, and such a good guy on and off the field, he makes you a better person so you definitely miss a guy like that."

(on who is picking up the slack with the pranks now that Chris Meyers is gone) "We have a little bit of everybody. Right now we're just focusing on football and trying to get better every day."

G David Quessenberry
(on how it feels to be back) "It feels amazing. It feels really good, actually. It's hard to put into words. But you know, I'm out there running, working out, being in meetings, and it's been great to be around the guys."

(on if he can put a percentage on how far along he is) "It's hard to put a percentage on it, but I can definitely feel myself getting stronger and that's exciting. I can feel myself getting stronger. I can feel my body changing. It's motivating for me to push that much harder."

The Houston Texans roster in photos.

(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien talking about his inspiration and not ruling him out for 2015) "Yeah, hearing those things is even more motivation. For me, it's just coming back in here and being around the people that I love and doing the things that I love. That's what really it's all about for me and that's my journey right now."

(on putting on some weight) "I've been putting it on. It's been coming on real steady. We've been putting in a lot of long and hard hours. It's a lot of hard work. I was at a pretty low spot when I finished my chemo and my radiation. Now, every day it's just about putting in that time, putting in that work, and getting your body back to where it needs to be."

(on what phase of treatment he is currently in) "I'm in my maintenance phase right now. It's been going well. I still meet with the doctors once a month. I get my labs drawn once a week. All signs have been very positive. Everything's looking good, so we're on track. We're right where we want to be. We're not ahead of schedule and we're not behind schedule. We're right where we want to be. People in the cancer world know that's what they want. They want to be right on track."

(on his timetable) "The timetable right now is just taking it day by day still, still taking it day by day. Coming in here, putting in the work, working hard, and eventually to be cleared. There's no timetable right now."

(on his typical day) "As far as football? It's everything these other guys are doing. I come in here. I lift, I work out before the team does in the morning. I go to meetings, go out for practice. I'm not cleared to play yet, but I'm on the other field pushing the sleds, running, and doing those things working on getting my strength and stamina back. Then come in here for meetings in the afternoon and taking care of anything else that needs to be done before I get out of here."

(on how his treatment mixes with football) "That's something that we're still working out, we're still playing with it, and we're still making sure that its right. It's not something that is set in stone. It's more of a fluid program, so me, my oncologist, and (Geoff) Kaplan and everyone make a program and a protocol that works with my schedule."

(on if he gets different treatment with his size as a football player) "I'm not sure if there is anything different. There's a standard procedure and we've followed it. The difference is for a lot of the chemotherapy I was getting was based on your body weight and body mass, so I was getting higher doses than normal people, but as far as anything different, there's nothing really."

(on if they get him a special bed) "Extensions, yeah."

(on how it will feel when he gets back to playing football) "I will be back out there. That will be a special day. I've been through a lot. That's something that's been a vision of mine throughout this whole process."

(on what the Texans organization has meant to him) "I mean, I can't put it to words. They've stood by me and they haven't wavered for a second throughout my process. I'm extremely blessed to be part of this organization. I'm proud to be a Texan."

(on how much weight he has put on) "It kind of fluctuates sometimes, but we've steadily been gaining weight. I think at the end of my chemo, I was in the high 260's (pounds). Right now, I'm high 280's (pounds) about. It's coming on. You don't want to put on weight too fast. We're right where we want to be."

(on what his playing weight was) "Before I got diagnosed, I think I was around 306 or 307 (pounds)."

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