INTERIM HEAD COACH ROMEO CRENNEL
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Can you talk about QB Deshaun Watson's performance? And specifically in the second quarter on those back to back touchdowns – how much did him scrambling for yards help the offense?
"Well, I don't know the exact numbers, but just standing there on the sideline and watching him perform, he did a tremendous job. He was able to find receivers, put the ball right on them, and then when he had to run, get out of trouble, he was able to get out of trouble and still make plays. And so those two scores in the second quarter, that kind of gave the whole team momentum and put us ahead. There have been times that we haven't been ahead, and so being ahead was a good feeling, and I think the guys rallied around that and continued to fight for the whole game."
What was it like to see DE J.J. Watt have a vintage game, swatting down passes and doing some of the things he did today?
"That was really good. I enjoy seeing that from J.J., and probably the most impact was to the opposing quarterback because when J.J. is on, they know he's coming. He gets the quarterback off the spot and makes it tough for the quarterback to get his feet set and throw the ball down the field. And so some of that occurred today, and J.J. is knocking balls down. I'm sure that there's one that he thought he was going to intercept that Cam (Newton) knocked out of the way, and he (J.J.) was holding his head after the play. But that's the competitor that he is, and it was good to have him out there."
Your thoughts on S Justin Reid? Justin has been tough on himself this year, and for him to have this kind of game, your thoughts on the way he played?
"Well, sometimes the games kind of go up and down a little bit. Sometimes the ball comes your way, sometimes it doesn't. And Justin being the competitor he is, he wants to make plays all the time. And I tell him just make the plays you're supposed to make, and he was making plays today. He was down around the line of scrimmage and in the intermediate throwing areas, he was there tackling. He made a good contribution to the victory."
Any update on WR Randall Cobb and WR Kenny Stills? And wanted to see what you thought about WR Keke Coutee, for him to get into the end zone today.
"Well, Cobb has a foot injury. They'll be looking at it, and they'll let us know something tomorrow on that. Kenny has a leg injury, and they'll look at that as well, and they'll let us know something. Coutee, I'll tell you what, you've got to take your hat off to the guy because he hasn't played since Baltimore, but he comes for practice every day. He works really hard, and then when he gets the opportunity to go in and play, he shows what his ability is and what he can bring to the team. And that's what I tell all of them, that when you're not in the game and if you are not there, you need to study, you need to know the game plan because we just don't know when we're going to call you up, when you're going to put you in the game, and when you go into the game you have to perform, and he performed very well."
What does it say about QB Deshaun Watson that he was able to play as well as he did today despite you guys having such little success on the ground?
"Well, it says that he's a really good player. I mean, he's a really good player and he helps make our offense go. Sometimes when you've got a guy like that who can make the plays that he can make, sometimes you don't have to have a ground game. We were struggling a little bit with the running game in this game, and so we kind of relied on Deshaun in the passing game."
What was different about your guys against the run today?
"You know, I tell you guys all the time, the consistency. Consistency of technique and guys doing their job, and doing their job first and then trying to help out. A lot of times it comes to toughness and leverage, playing against double teams and not guessing. And so, we did that today against a good running team, a team who's top of the league as far as the run goes. And then we were able to slow that down, then they started to throw the ball, and they hadn't been throwing it as well overall because they'd been running the ball. And so now you kind of put them out of their element a little bit, particularly when you've got J.J. (Watt) coming off the edge and being disruptive the way he was, kept getting the quarterback off the spot. So that helped us a lot today."
I also wanted to ask you about your all's pass rush. You all had a couple of defensive back safety blitzes and OLB Jonathan Greenard got his first sack of the year. What did you think about the pressure today?
"When you bring pressure, you're hoping that it works or planning that it works. It was working today, and so we kept calling it a little bit. Because it was effective, sometimes that double-edged pressure you bring it and the quarterback has nowhere to go, and so now he gets a little antsy and doesn't know exactly where he wants to throw the ball. Particularly if he had a deep route called, so now he's got to look for the short outlet guy, and when you're able to get him to throw it to the short outlet guy, if you don't get him on the ground, then you rally up and make the tackle on those guys. So we were doing some of that today."
Did you dance in the locker room?
"A slow two-step."
Can you give us an example?
"Not right now. I used it all up in the locker room."
Does it make it any more special that this win is over Bill Belichick and the Patriots?
"Any time you go against a guy that you've worked with and that you've coached against before, a win is a good feeling. So I feel good about that. But I really feel good about the fact that we were able to win a home game. We hadn't done that, so winning a home game was a big plus, and so I know all those guys in the locker room, they feel good about the win and the way that they fought for the whole game. And I think that that will help us going forward into this short week that we've got coming."
What was your message to the team after the game?
"For one, give a shout out to Jon Weeks because of what he accomplished by playing in the game today. Gave a shout-out to him, and then I told them what we've got a short week and better get in the cold tub so you can regenerate and then get ready to work a couple days and then go travel and play on Thursday. And we need a win on Thursday."
With T Laremy Tunsil being out and the injury issues on the offensive line, how do you think the line played, specifically T Roderick Johnson?
"I think Roderick did a good job. He was able to hold his man out on pass protection, and then he had a couple of hustle plays. On one screen, over toward their sideline, he was running. For a big man, he was really moving and able to cut the defender to get our screen guy started, and we were able to gain yards on the play. When you see that from a big man, you appreciate the effort. And so I thought he stepped in and did a really good job. I'm proud of him for the way he played."
Do you expect T Laremy Tunsil to be able to play on Thursday? Do you feel like he's improving to a point where he could make it back out there in four days?
"I think we'll talk to the doctors and they'll let us know something tomorrow and see whether he can or not, and at this point I'm not sure."
QUARTERBACK DESHAUN WATSON
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 22, 2020
TE JORDAN AKINS (Transcribed by ASAP Sports)
Was the plan going in to throw to the tight ends as much or was it because of the injuries at wide receiver?
"That's just Deshaun (Watson) extending in the pocket and making great throws, trusting the O-line and everyone winning their route. It's a man-to-man game, so we won our match-ups."
Was this the best you've felt personally since you've had the two injuries? Are you starting to feel like yourself again?
"Definitely. Last week I felt good, as well. Like today we just was in a rhythm. Offense got into a rhythm, Deshaun got into a rhythm, and the offensive line had an outstanding game, and we just won our match-ups, like I say. Everyone made plays when the plays presented themselves to them."
Logistically speaking with the bright sun coming, with the roof open, that's something that hasn't happened in years here, did you have trouble spotting the ball on pass plays?
"A little bit. I would say my first catch, yes. But honestly with my training with baseball, I kind of know how to block it out, catch it at the end, and I just -- I saw the ball, the way he released the ball, I saw the ball midpoint and I seen the tip of the ball, so I just placed my hands on it and I held on to it, made a play."
As players, do you hope that the roof is open for every home game going forward?
"Well, it is good to get some fresh air in there. You know we had a good breeze in there, it wasn't too hot and it wasn't too cold, so I enjoyed it. I'm pretty sure everyone else did, as well."
What was the energy like on the sideline after QB Deshaun Watson hit the truck stick on the defensive back for that rushing touchdown earlier in the game?
"I don't know how it was on the sideline, but I was in the game. I know we was turned on the field."
I mean after the play.
"Oh, man, we was lit. That was a big boy play. That's something I try to do. It was amazing, man. He's stronger than what he looks, I'll tell you that."
We didn't get a great replay on the third down play where you ended up on the ground. What happened on that play?
"I sprayed release and I stuck my foot in the ground and went vertical. I captured his edge, so right when he flipped his hips he started to fall, so he knew I had free bait, and he reached his hand down and tripped my right foot, but it didn't get called. Part of the game."
What does it do for the team when you see QB Deshaun Watson make that big boy play?
"It gives us energy. It just fuels us, man. It shows us his will and his want and his drive to get in that end zone. You know, everyone comes with that fire. It's contagious, and everyone catches on and we get into a rhythm."
What was it like playing with him today? It seemed like he was throwing darts out there. He was very accurate. What was that like as the game progressed?
"Man, it's wonderful. You know, I mean, it's amazing because honestly you know you have to win regardless of what play it is, if it's a block, if it's a pass play, and it's just rewarding when you win that route that the ball is in the air, so when you come off that cut. D4 (Deshaun Watson) had an amazing game, and he was accurate. He used his legs when he needed to and he let us make plays for him, and the offense got into a rhythm and he just was moving the ball. We had a really good day."
When the running game is struggling and QB Deshaun Watson starts scrambling for yards like he did in the second quarter, what does that mean to the offense?
"Well, I know for the wide receivers and tight ends and running backs, that means a lot. The play is never dead when D4 (Deshaun Watson) is in the game. He can absolutely come out of any kind of tackle, and he keeps his eyes downfield. You know he's just got to be on the move and move with him and be ready to make a play."
WR BRANDIN COOKS (Transcribed by ASAP Sports)
What was it like to win this game and beat your old team?
"It was just good to get a W. I don't go in the game saying I'm playing my old team and start to do things out of the ordinary. In reality it's just good to get a win at home."
For you guys in the passing game, what did you see from QB Deshaun Watson, just the way he was throwing, the confidence he had, the way he was delivering the ball?
"Yeah, you talk about the way that he delivered today, he was able to stand in the pocket and make throws. I mean, that's who he is. The guy is special, so there's no surprise there from us."
TE Jordan Akins called that touchdown run by QB Deshaun Watson a "big boy play." How would you describe what that play --
"No, the same. He's built different. To be able to do that as a quarterback and give that energy to your offense like the way that he did and the energy to the team, I mean, that's what you expect from a guy like him."
When QB Deshaun Watson does something like that, how does that affect the whole team?
"It gives us all energy."
What did you think of QB Deshaun Watson's accuracy today?
"It was spot on."
What's it like when your defense responds? I know they haven't been playing as poorly as maybe what's been portrayed, but they've had their struggles, so what you think when they responded?
"I mean, it's what you expect from our D. The type of practice that we had this week, you know they felt like they had a lot to prove, and guys came out and that's exactly what they did against a great offense, a great coaching staff. To be able to step up like that, I believe gives us confidence moving and going on in the future, and that's how they'll continue to play."
Your play early really kind of sparked a whole lot, I thought. What were you guys looking for, and how much of a difference does that make with what you could do offensively when you hit a deep strike like that to start things?
"You're going to have to ask (Offensive Coordinator) Tim Kelly what he was looking for or else I'll be giving you the scheme that we had. At the end of the day it was just about making plays. When your number is called you've got to take advantage of the opportunity. Deshaun (Watson) threw a great pass and it was right there for me to make a play."
TE Jordan Akins said it was about winning one-on-ones today. Can you explain how that plays out and the mentality you brought into the game?
"Absolutely. That's what this game is about, winning your one-on-one match-ups, everybody, offensive line, DB, corner, tight end, safety, whatever the case may be. That's the type of day it was. They play such a great man-to-man defense, you've got to give hats off to those guys on the other side of the ball because they played well, too."
It's been a tough year for you guys record-wise, but QB Deshaun Watson throughout has played well. Just your thoughts on the kind of performance he's had throughout the season, not just today but the way he's played?
"I think that goes to show his consistency and the type of guy that he is. He's going to show up every single day, practice hard, play hard. He does not look at the record because at the end of the day as you know in this game you're never out of it until you're out of it. You expect that from your quarterback and he brings us along with him."
S JUSTIN REID (Transcribed by ASAP Sports)
What do you feel like was the key to the defense playing better today, not just the defense overall but your performance? What were some of the emotions for you to play this way after what happened in Cleveland?
"We all had a chip on our shoulder. That Cleveland game got away from us at the end of the game. Felt like we could have won it. Me myself, I felt like I had a lot to prove today. The defense as a whole, and it showed throughout practice, we really banded together and we came together and really believed in the system and the scheme that Coach Weave (Anthony Weaver) had put up. We knew we had to stop the run today, and felt like we did a pretty good job of that."
The blitz pressure, how key do you think that was to keep Patriots QB Cam Newton from getting to comfortable back there in the pocket?
"Man, I love it. It allowed me to get my first NFL sack of my career. You know, those exotic pressures that Coach Weave (Weaver) comes up with have been paying dividends for us. It was very important to make Cam (Newton) uncomfortable, not allow him to just sit in the pocket and have some pressure in his face."
Did you expect Patriots QB Cam Newton to run the ball more than he did?
"Yeah. Watching the tape, I felt like his legs were a huge issue for a lot of teams, so we know that the quarterback run was going to come up at some point, so we were ready for it. Didn't run it as much as we thought, but we were prepared."
Can you take us through the fourth down stop where you and S Lonnie Johnson Jr. got him, which essentially won the game?
"Yeah. Come down, same double-edged pressure. Beware of the evil twins, man. They were really focusing on blocking me or Lonnie (Johnson) and one of us was coming free every time. Lonnie initially came free, was able to get him off the mark, and then I had got off my block off a chip release, and then we both came together and made the tackle on him. So it's definitely one of our favorite pressures from the safety position."
You referred to your first sack. What was it like to get your first sack?
"Man, that was awesome. That was awesome. It took three years in the making for me to finally get it, but it was an incredible feeling to finally get it, and it was at a crucial point in the game, so it felt really good to do that for my team, help us get a win."
You mentioned those safety blitzes. How much has that been called before today?
"Not a whole lot. We started putting it on a little bit, but today was a big statement about it. Like I said, man, evil twins coming on both edge is something to watch out for."
Were you guys inspired by the way Anthony Weaver came out in such a fiery manner this week defending you guys on defense?
"Yeah. Yeah. I'll tell you what, man. There's one thing about Coach Weave (Weaver) is he has the respect of the entire team, especially the defensive side of the ball, man. We all really believe in what he coaches and preaches and he has our back the same way we have his back. We believe in what he says, and he's done a great job, know what I mean? We've just got to keep knocking down these wins and keep improving the defense, have his back as well, too."
Did you feel like a lot of the calls that he was making and a lot of the film work you put in you were seeing what you wanted and you were able to just go out there and play and thus make the plays?
"Yeah, yeah. I think that was a big part of it is he really just started playing to guys' strengths, simplified things, and just allowed us to go play football, fast, free, loose, and like I said, physical, and it's made a difference."
And did you also feel like you got everything from each level? You had guys up front batting passes down, you were helping on the pass rush and things like that? All levels were working today?
"Yeah, we had a huge emphasis on everybody contributing to stopping the run and plays were made on all three levels, on the D-line, linebackers and in the back end, too. It was a team effort to really do what we did today, and it paid off."
You've been really hard on yourself this season; what did this game kind of do for your confidence?
"Yeah, I've been hard on myself because I care a lot. I care about the success of the team. I care about the success of my teammates. I care about the success of myself personally, too. So it meant a lot to go out and get another home win against somebody other than Jacksonville. So it did feel good."
You've been very up front on social media and otherwise kind of meeting criticism head on. How have you kind of used that as fuel to kind of make this performance possible, and what can you do with this kind of performance personally for the rest of your season?
"Yeah, I'm an emotional player. I feed off my emotions when I play on the field, so I took it as a challenge, the criticism, and today stepped up to it, and plan to continue to use that as fuel for the future, man."
DE J.J. WATT(Transcribed by ASAP Sports)
Can you take us through the last play from your vantage point when you saw your defense stop Patriots QB Cam Newton on fourth-and-4?
"Yeah, it was a safety blitz off the edge, and the guys got there. It was great."
You had a tackle for loss. You had four deflected passes. How would you look at your game? Now that you won, it's easier to ask you that question because you won. What did you think about what you did today?
"It was all right. We got a win. That's what you're looking for. That's what you're going for, so it was good."
What did you think of QB Deshaun Watson's touchdown where he had to go through a couple of players to get it in the first half?
"It was great. I mean, that's a hell of a play. Not many quarterbacks can put their shoulder down and try to run over somebody. It's always a big play for your team when your quarterback does that and shows what he's all about and shows that willingness to kind of get dirty. It's a big play, and it's a great play."
You know the Patriots are a good running team. What did it mean to you to be able to limit them the way you guys did and hold QB Cam Newton to a season low in rushing yards?
"Yeah, I mean, obviously we all know that we've had our struggles against the run this year so far, and I believe the Patriots came into this game either second or third in overall rushing offense. So for us to hold them to 86 yards is a huge accomplishment for us. I think our defense deserves a lot of credit for the way everybody played today. Everybody doing their assignment, making the tackles. It was a great all-around game by the guys, and I'm very proud of the way they did that."
Was today a fun game for you being able to swat down all those passes like you used to do all the time back in the day?
"Yeah, I still do it. Just did today."
Earlier this week when Defensive Coordinator / Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver was so fired up, did that kind of message resonate with you guys? Obviously motivation hasn't been a problem, but just to hear that from your defensive leader, from your coach? What did that mean for you guys?
"I mean, we always want to play good. It's no secret that our defense hasn't been playing at the level that we expect to play at or that we want to play at, so we're obviously trying to, every single week, trying to turn that around. I think today was a good step to doing that, and now we have a short week to come back on Thursday and we have a chance to take another step in doing that. And the only way that you can do it is to go out there and prove it, and I think today was a good step in that. Like I said, with the rushing attack, obviously we've taken our fair share of lumps, rightfully so for how we've been against the run this year, today is a day that the guys deserve a lot of credit."
What was different about you guys today? You seemed like you all were flying to the ball and obviously making plays. What was different about the defense today?
"I don't know. We played well. We played well. We stopped the run. They came out in the first half. It was clear that they weren't just going to ever drop back and just throw the ball. There were a lot of gadgets, there were a lot of side-to-side things, a lot of screens, things like that. They didn't want to just drop back. We were working hard to stop the run and make them do things that they didn't want to do, and we were successful in that, and that's why ultimately we ended up winning the game."
You said you were able to do some of the things you wanted to do and maybe get them to do things they didn't want to do. You got the lead midway through the second quarter and played with it the rest of the game. How much do you think that impacted how much you were able to do what you guys wanted to do playing from in front?
"Yeah, that always obviously makes things a whole lot easier. When you can stop a team early on and your offense can put up some points, then you're in the advantageous position, and that makes the game go a lot smoother for you. I mean that's no rocket science there that it works better when things go that way. We just haven't been able to put that all together for enough games this season to make it happen, and today we did. And it shows what happens when you put yourself in that situation, and you're able to play from that advantageous position. Obviously, that's what we're trying to get to every game, we've just got to go out there and do it."
This might be the most complete game that you guys played all season. As a leader, can you talk about what was that like for you to see your guys have a productive day on both sides of the ball?
"Yeah, yeah. I think it speaks a little bit to the last question that was just asked. Like I said, you start out the game early. Obviously the first drive of the game wasn't what we wanted, gave up a touchdown, but the offense comes out, puts points up on the board, we end up getting a lead and then we can play the game that we want to play. Defense was stopping the run, putting them in tough situations they don't want to be in, offense continues to score points, and then you're playing from a position that's much better to play from than obviously if you're playing from behind and the other team is just trying to run the ball and you're trying to catch up. When you get yourself in a good position, it's a lot easier and a lot more fun to play from that way. Hopefully, we can do that more as we head out to close out the season here."