How has your offseason gone in terms of rehab from your injury and training? Also, what do you hope to do in your second season in the NFL?
"My offseason went pretty good. I was mostly in the building five days a week rehabbing, getting ready for the season. I got married in the offseason back in February, so I spent a lot of time with my wife. She's pregnant now and we're having a baby now in October. So that's how I spent my offseason. I spent it trying to get as healthy as I can so Year Two, I'll be able to play all 16 games plus the playoffs and bring some solidarity to the O-line so we can be the best unit we can be to help Deshaun (Watson) out and help the team out to be the best offense in the NFL."
What do you hope to build on that you did well as a rookie and what are some things you can improve on?
"Yeah, I feel like I did pretty good in the run game. This year too, I'm trying to take a step and get better in the pass protection so Deshaun (Watson) has more time back in the backfield. I feel like if I can get better and win the one-on-one blocks that I need to win, it's just going to only help the team. That's my goal for this year, to improve in pass protection so we can be better on offense."
What advice have you given T Charlie Heck as he prepares for his rookie season?
"The main thing I told Charlie was just be himself. He played left tackle in college and here he's going to be playing swing, left and the right. The biggest advice I could give him is be patient. With me, I could see last year sometimes I was trying to do a little too much. The biggest thing I learned from Laremy (Tunsil) was just to be patient and let the game come to you."
Does the offensive line feel like you all have been together for a year or does the lack of an offseason hurt that continuity?
"It feels pretty good for all of us to be back. We have a pretty close group. With all of us being back in the building it felt good, especially having five starters back, something that I don't think has happened in here in a long time or ever. With us, just keep building that chemistry is going to be the key for us. Like I said, we have all five starters [back]. Just for us to have that is important for the offense, Coach (Mike) Devlin and Coach (Bill) O'Brien. I'm just looking forward to seeing what we can do once we keep on building up these games together. I think we're going to build something pretty special."
What did it mean to you to make the 2019 PFWA All-Rookie team despite only playing eight games?
"It felt pretty good. I can't lie, I didn't think I was going to make it because I didn't play eight games. To me, to be honest, I wish I would have been here because it's not, to me, about making All-Rookie. I wish I was here to play in the playoffs so I could help us beat the Chiefs. So, yeah, it felt good to make All-Rookie but it would have been better for me to play the second half of the season."
What are the challenges of not having a preseason and OTAs when preparing for the season? Also, was it a difficult decision on whether or not to play with a growing family?
"First and foremost, when it comes to my family, I thought about it. But in my eyes, I had a talk with my wife and my parents, and I think it was in my best interest to play. At the end of the day, yeah, I have a family, but the team is my family too. I had to think about the team. Yeah, I wanted to play. I wanted to be here with my guys. Like I tell a lot of people, I feel safe coming into the building each and every day because of all of the upgrades to the team facilities that were made. I feel like that they take it in the best interest of the players and how we can go back home to our families and stuff like that. As far as the offseason, this year is going to be a lot tougher than all the other years because you didn't get a chance to do real OTAs and stuff like that, and the offseason workouts how we usually do. They help you get accustomed to the game before the season actually comes. I think that's big – the rookies, not getting the chance to get in those preseason games. The rookies we have, like Charlie Heck is picking up pretty fast being able to have a chance to look up behind me and Laremy (Tunsil), I think that's going to help him out this season a lot."
How difficult is it to know that some of your former teammates will not be able to play at Alabama State this season because the SWAC postponed their fall sports?
"I don't like it at all, to be honest. My biggest thing on the players not being able to play is I think it's safer for the players to play college football right now because you don't really know the situations – I'm not going to get into it that much. You really don't know the situations the players have back at home, so I feel like it's more of a safe haven for the players to be there and be able to play football because these opportunities like this, to play the NFL and go to the NFL Combine and stuff like that, that's not going to be able to happen to some of those players who play at HBCUs and FCS schools because their seasons are getting canceled and then moved to the spring. The NFL don't really know nobody, to be honest. So, if people like Alabama, Auburn, the SEC are still having their seasons this fall how is that going to affect the players who didn't have their season this fall and have it in the spring? Because they will not be able to go to the bowl games and nothing like that. I support the decision of having it in the spring if it's in the best interest of the players. But at the end of the day, it is kind of affecting those players who have aspirations to go to the NFL or to any other next level of football."
What were some technical things that you have worked on to become more polished in pass protection?
"I know the offseason for me, because I wasn't able to do as much because I was recovering from a knee injury – so I think with me, it was more film study and watching what did I do to get beat on the plays that I did get beat on and how can I improve that? Looking at other guys who have been successful in the NFL before and watching how they go about pass blocking and what can I do to be on the same level as those guys. Because I want to be one of the greats. I watched the greats and I got one of the best on my team at left tackle, Laremy (Tunsil). So, I try to watch and see how patient he is, how he stays inside-out. Coach (Mike) Devlin always coaches me to stay inside-out and stuff like that. I think for me, that's the biggest part of my game, being patient and staying inside-out and just playing a game that my coaches coach me to play. I think that's going to help me out in this Year Two and I'm looking forward to helping my offensive line."