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Houston Texans Postgame Quotes 8/10

Houston Texans head coach Demeco Ryans and quarterback C.J. Stroud comment on their preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday, August 10, 2023.


Postgame Press Conference
Thursday, August 10, 2023

Q: What did you think of C.J. Stroud's first game?

DR: I thought it was good for C.J. to go out and get some live reps, get some real looks. I thought he moved around well. Went to the right place with the ball a couple times, and it was good to see him move out of the pocket and try to make some things happen there. We've got some things to clean up, up front, and I don't want him having to move as much, but we all have things to clean up and get better at, but I thought it was a good first outing, good live action, and I thought it was good for him.

Q: For Tank Dell, besides the touchdown, just overall what did you think of the performance, how it translated?

DR: It was good to see Tank make some plays. We've seen him make a lot of plays throughout training camp, some of these same plays, so it was good to see him do the same thing here in a game. He's going to be an explosive playmaker for us, and we look forward to him continuing to make some of those plays.

Q: What did you see on the interception?

DR: With the interception, I think [Jalen] Mills made a really nice play, veteran player. Made a nice play. We probably were a little late there with the ball, and it was a learning lesson, and that's why we do preseason. That's why it's important to get live game reps, so you can see how can you come out and improve, where can you improve, what do I need to do different next time on those certain plays, and of course offensively we want to be in position to take care of the ball better. That's our No. 1 thing. We have to protect the ball and to have two tonight, that's not what we try for, and defensively we have to pick it up to take the ball away more, as well.

Q: Was it the plan for Stroud to only have two drives today? You talk about experience being good for him.

DR: Yeah, he got the reps that we were planning for him to get tonight, and we'll address each game – like the next week we'll address that game and see where we are and how many reps he will get then.

Q: When he came off, what did you think of the demeanor, just how he was processing –

DR: Yeah, he was fine. He was fine. I think it's good to have some ups and downs. That's what this league is all about. It's not always going to go great, not always go your way, but it's all about how you respond to the things that happen to you, and I thought his response to it was fine.

Q: When you say we've all got things to clean up, what do you have to clean up?

DR: Just overall for us, as a team, just as we operate, the communication, everything that we're doing, I think it was a good start for us, good first run with coaches, players, everybody working together. I thought it was a good first start, but we can always continue to improve.

Q: You mentioned the offensive line and the protection. How can you improve in that? Is there anything you think you might look to build for depth in the offensive line?

DR: Yeah, with our offensive line it's just going back to work. We go back on the practice field and we get right back at it, and each day it's striving to improve on your past performance. We just get back to work. There's nothing else to it. You've got to put the work in to get better, and we will get better there.

Q: Patriots have been running Cunningham at receiver and in practice and early in the game. Were you expecting to see him come in at quarterback?

DR: We thought it would be a possibility for him to come in at quarterback. Cunningham is a really good athlete, made some nice plays there at the end, running the ball. It's a really dynamic playmaker there at quarterback.

Q: How is Andrew Beck?

DR: Beck will be fine. He banged his knee up a little bit, but we'll get further tests, but as of right now, looks like he'll be fine.

Q: Did the defense play to your standards today?

DR: Defense did a good job of swarming. I liked the way we responded on sudden-change opportunities. We want to make sure we make their offense kick the ball there, and we did. Guys stood up, guys stood out and made plays, and it was fun to see our defense and the way they attacked there. That's the type of style that we want to play.

Q: With Dameon Pierce not playing today – you guys wanted to run the ball. What did you see from Bobby Slowik and the offense? Were there times you saw what you wanted? What was your overview, trying to get the offense you wanted?

DR: I think our offense continued to get better as the game went on. We ran the ball well later in the game, and again, we still have things to improve on, but for the first outing, I thought it was a good performance by our offense overall, the way Davis [Mills] drove down at the half to end that first half with a score there to Tank, I thought it was really good to see them operating in two-minute, something we've been working on in practice, so it was good to see them come out and just be efficient.

Q: You talked about Henry To'oto'o in training camp. He had that tackle on third down. What did you see out of him today?

DR: Henry was steady, just as he's been all training camp. The moment wasn't too big for him. He did a really good job of communicating, and he made a few plays there. So excited to see his growth moving forward.

Q: A few of your guys were back where they started their career. What was it like seeing Chase Winovich get in after quarterback a few times and giving the ball to Dalton Keene?

DR: Yeah, it was fun to see Chase make a play. I know he was fired up. He was excited to make a play, so it was fun to see him get the sack and Dalton to get the touchdown there. It was fun to see guys make plays. I'm excited. We're all excited when our guys make plays, and it was fun to see those guys having fun, executing and making big plays back at a place where they played before.

Q: What did you think of Davis Mills and how he played?

DR: I thought Davis did a really nice job of executing today. He was efficient with the ball. He moved us down in two-minute. Very effective there making plays. I thought Davis did a really nice job for us.

Q: This was your first time operating as a head coach. Takeaways from that today?

DR: Yeah, it's my first time going out as a head coach, I thought it was a smooth operation, offensively, defensively. Everything went fairly smooth. It was a good first outing, and again, we'll continue to build on what we've started here. Anytime we line up, we want to come out and get a win, so it's all positive when you get a win.


Postgame Press Conference
Thursday, August 10, 2023

CS: I just want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Kind of a crazy opportunity to be able to go out, my first NFL stadium, my first NFL game, and just a lot of things that I've been through to just get to that moment. It was just special. Of course just wish I didn't make one mistake on one certain play, but other than that, I thought I played solid. Felt good to get hit again and just get back in the groove. I just think that's what preseason is for. It's important to just get back and put your feet back in the water. Of course I'm not super excited how I played. I didn't get to play a lot. But just get my feet in the water, learn from my mistakes and just keep growing.

Q: That one throw you'd like back, what did you learn from that and what did you see?

CS: Just trust my eyes. I saw a certain look to where I knew on film that they could run that to where the safety, if his man blocks that he'll come off and really be locked into my eyes. Just lost track of that, and just forced it and should have just checked it down to Dalton [Keene]. But it was a great play by 2 [Jalen Mills], by kind of just hiding out. He was kind of ducking low, so I didn't really see him. I thought I threw a good pass, but of course it wasn't. Hell of a play by No. 2, and just put that in my back pocket and learn from it.

Q: You've talked before about processing the mistake and then learning from it. How do you go about that, to turn off the mistake but also not just put it away and learn from it?

CS: Yeah, it's about accountability. Just being accountable for myself and my mistake and learning from it. That's honestly what's been OTAs and camp for me. I've thrown a couple interceptions and I've thrown a couple touchdowns, and you don't ever want to ride the highs or ride the lows. You want to just stay even keeled. That's what I plan to do is just learn from everything, learn from the good and the bad. I have a bunch of vets in there to help me every day with that type of stuff, and all of them are having nothing but great things to say, that I handled it well. It's not easy to come to New England as a rookie and go in there and try to execute. But they felt like I did a decent job at that, so I've just got to keep growing.

Q: What might have you have done differently now that you know –

CS: You're talking about when I was out there?

Q: Yeah, the play you described, the interception in particular.

CS: I mean, yeah, it's easy to say what I can do now, but yeah, if I could do it over again, I'd just take the check down. That look isn't superb for what I threw. Just got to be better on my part. Got to make a play smarter and not put my defense in a bad situation, put them right in field goal range, and that's my mistake. Even though I'm a rookie, still trying to play as a vet and play sound football and not only protect my offense but to protect the defense, as well. Yeah, I would have just checked it down to Dalton after he checked flat and punted and hopefully got another drive.

Q: I know you're a competitive person, but how do you manage the mistakes you make any preseason now? How are you managing all of that?

CS: Yeah, that's a great question. It's tough. I mean, the competitor in me was like, 'Coach, let me go back out there, let me fix my wrongdoings.' But like you said, it is just the preseason, and it's a learning opportunity for myself, really this whole football team. It was good to kind of see the second group in there. Davis [Mills] did a great job, led them right down, and then Tank [Dell] made a couple great plays that we've known Tank to do. Then Case [Keenum] goes in there and caps it off. That's really what camp has been about, man, just uplifting each other, them learning from my mistakes, I'm learning from their mistakes, and we're just helping and growing each other. It's tough trying to – yeah, I want the play back and I want to be perfect, but that is what this camp and preseason is for, just to make mistakes, so when it comes to regular season, I don't make those anymore.

Q: What was it like game planning those drives that you had today with Bobby Slowik, before, during?

CS: Yeah, Bobby is really smart, and he had a pretty good idea on what they thought they were going to do.

Not trying to put too much out there, but we didn't really get what we thought, going out there, and just had to make a couple curve balls, and he did a great job by keep calling it and just trusting us as quarterbacks just to take care of the football after my mistake. Bobby did a great job of not having to lot to work with because preseason is tough. You really don't know who's playing, who they're playing or if they changed anything. We had a solid plan and we kept to it, and I think we had a pretty decent day offensively, except for me.

Q: How tough will you be on yourself? How many times will you look at what you did? How tough are you when you critique yourself, good or bad?

CS: Yeah, I always say when you watch the film it's never as good as it is or it's never as bad as it seems.

I know I did some good things out there that got my feet wet and took a couple hits, and it felt good to be back out there and play football again. But yeah, I'm critical on myself. I don't want to make any mistakes, but that is what being a quarterback and being a rookie quarterback is. But I hold myself to a different standard, and I know that the guys in the locker room aren't going to hold me down for this. They know what I can do. They've seen it in practice every day. I think I've made a lot of plays and done a lot of great things. One mistake on national television blows it all up, but like it's cool, I just keep growing, keep learning. It's a fun experience for me. I'm in the NFL; there's nothing to hold my head down about. I've dreamed about this moment my whole life, and God is teaching me something even now. I'm super blessed just to be able to be a Houston Texan and work with the special guys that not only just help me every day but tell me it's not just about me and it's not just, 'C.J. is going to save the Texans'; it's I'm going to help with that whole cause. Just excited to do that, and I have a great group of people around me.

Q: You mentioned Tank Dell briefly. What did you think about that catch, that touchdown catch, and just overall his –

CS: Yeah, that's just a glimpse of what he can do. He's showed so much already in camp. I think me and him kind of have a natural connection. Of course going all the way back into the combine, me and him have early conversations, and now fast forward we're on the same team, and that play was a great release, good ball by Davis [Mills], back shoulder, and it was good focus because it always is different when you're out there. It's not going to just be catch, touchdown. It's going to be bang-bang. He kept with it, which I'm really happy for him, and yeah, he made a lot of good plays. He's a great player. I can't wait to see what we do together.

Q: Facing pressure from the defense, the elements, the rain, how much of all of that did you kind of experience and take away from that?

CS: Yeah, it was kind of funny, I was talking to my mom about this, but it feels like every first game I've had in my career has been a rainy game, back in college and in high school. It's just something that God puts me through, and I've got to work through it. Yeah, it was good to be in that type of element, though. That's NFL football, those harsh environments, how do you handle it. I thought if I got some more at-bats and got to be out there a little bit more, I definitely thought I could have got in a better rhythm, but they wanted to protect me, make sure I was all right, so they pulled me out, and it was what it was. I don't ever go against coaching or anything like that, and I think that as I just keep growing and keep building, keep getting more reps and game live reps under my belt, the better I'll become, and I'm just excited for the future, man. This is a young promising team, I feel, and I'm just really happy and blessed to be a part of this.


Davis Mills, QB

(On the rhythm of the offense)

"It was exciting. Obviously I think we spread the ball around really efficiently on offense. I'm pretty sure all our receivers who suited up and played today got a catch, so that was awesome to spread the ball around. It was fun getting out there and putting together a couple of really good drives down the field, spreading the ball around to different guys, and letting people make plays."

(On his first performance of the season)

"Throughout OTAs and training camp, I started to take a good grasp of the offense, and everyone out there has done the same. I think we're executing at a pretty high level."

(On the team's new offense)

"There were different nuances that we got to and different personnel groupings, making sure guys are getting in different spots and different positions. We were motioning to different things to keep the defense on edge."

(On Tank Dell's touchdown catch)

"Yeah, he's great, electrifying. I think that's the best way to describe him. He's going to make guys miss in tight windows and when he catches a short pass, he's going to try to score anywhere he gets it on the field, I think. Just thinking in my head, I know there were a couple more plays where I could have given him a better, accurate ball that, if it was a catch, he might have fallen down. But, if I can bring it up six inches, he can catch it, hit him in stride, and who knows what he'll do with the ball in his hands."

Case Keenum, QB

(On his performance and the chemistry of the team)

"It felt good. We had a couple scoring drives, a couple times we went three-and-out even after the special teams did such a good job of getting us the ball back."

(On the style of offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik's offense)

"I thought it was good. I thought we wanted to establish the run. I knew we were in a lot of two tight end sets, or sets with fullbacks in there, and then hitting some play actions over the top. I thought it was a good mix of run or pass, when it comes to that. I thought playing a different style of defense than what we've been going against all camp, and not really game-planning a ton for it, I thought we executed pretty well and communicated and made adjustments on the sideline even."

(On sideline communication after C.J. Stroud's interception)

"I mean, that's the same that we do every time we come off to the sideline. We sit there and take a few moments to digest what happened and go look at the pictures and learn from it. And by that time, you don't have much time, you have to go back out there and make a play on the next drive."

(On C.J. Stroud's demeanor and performance)

"I thought he was good tonight, as far as demeanor goes. I thought he led well. First live action is tough. I've been in his shoes, too, where the first preseason game, you know, you've been getting a lot of reps in camp. Then, you come out and get one or two drives, you feel like you're maybe about to get your rhythm, you get a hit a few times, and you start getting going, and then you get taken out, so it's tough."

John Metchie III, WR

(On how it felt to be back on the field)

"Thank you, thank you! It felt great. It was a long time coming of course, but it was surreal and a great feeling to be out there with the team, to be out there with the guys and to be back playing football. It's a good feeling. It's a really good feeling to see all the support and all the love. Everybody coming up to me and telling me how happy they are to see me back out there. I feel really good, (I'm in) football shape."

(On the Texans)

"I think the team is looking really good. We have just got to keep working. There are a lot of new pieces and a lot of moving pieces. We're getting this new offense down. There's a lot of timing. I think we have just got to keep working. I think it's really promising."

(On the Alabama alumni in the game)

"I got my buddy Will [Anderson] here, Henry [To'oTo'o], [Christian] Harris. That's a good thing. We are all adjusting, we are all doing it together and there are familiar faces. We took a picture, there were like 12 of us [Alabama alumni] over there. It's a family."

Kenyon Green, G

(On getting into a rhythm)

"You just have to go out there and catch a rhythm with the team, the first time being out there. I felt like we started progressing and getting better with more drives. I'm just proud of my teammates, we keep going and keep pushing."

(On getting back out there)

"I felt good. You know, trying to find my way to get back playing good ball. I'm just excited to get back out there."

Chase Winovich, DE

(On coming back to Foxborough)

"It was very cool being back here. It was very nostalgic, just the bus ride coming up from Providence getting closer and seeing a lot of these sites that were super familiar to me. But it's all love, I've learned a lot about my life and myself and football through my time here with all the coaching staff here. There's some of my teammates that are still obviously playing for the Patriots, some of which are on the Texans with me now. It felt great being back here, it felt better getting a sack. Just keep on pushing now it's like what's next."

(On the fourth down stop)

"It was great being out there. Honestly it's one of those things where it's just football at the end of the day. Obviously it's special playing against a former team like the Patriots. It's like you want to make sure you make some plays and have some fun. It was fun, it was nice being out there with those guys."

(On catching up the Patriots coaching staff)

"I couldn't name them all, but I connected with a bunch of the guys after the game and even before the game. It was fun, just getting to see everybody again. It's a lot of great memories during my time here. I didn't run into Coach Belichick unfortunately, but I saw him after the sack. They taught me a lot and gave me a start in the league, they believed in me."

(On his missing playing against the Patriots last year due to injuries)

"So I've dealt with the greatest stretch of injuries, It's pretty common knowledge. Somebody told me this once – injuries are about recovery but they're also about discovery. I learned about myself in the process, and just really having to dig deep. Having this Patriots game being the first preseason game, gave me a lot of inspiration to say, 'hey listen I don't care what we need to do or how many hours we need to spend in this rehab place. I need to get back out there and prepare for this game."

Dalton Keene, TE

(On coming back to Gillette Stadium as a Texan)

"It was definitely a weird feeling, but I am happy to be back. I'm playing for a different team and it felt a little weird, but that's the job."

(On his touchdown)

"It was pretty cool. I didn't really care if they called it for me or someone else. I'm just happy I could be there to help the team out in that way. I got to play unselfish, so if it was me or someone else I would have been just as excited."

(On being healthy)

"I'm happy to be healthy. It was a tough couple of years for me. I know if I'm healthy there are a lot of things I can do on the field. That's the key for me to stay that way and do everything I can to help out this team."

(On his time in New England)

"I felt it was a great learning experience for me. It was a great place for me to start my career. They taught me a lot of stuff. It was a tough place to play and something like that helps me out a lot going forward in my career. I wasn't able to catch up with Bill [Belichick], but I saw a lot of guys I played with and was able to say 'hi' to a bunch of them. A bunch of the players, a bunch of the staff, it was really great to see all those guys."

Henry To'oTo'o, LB

(On the challenges of playing in the first pre-season game)

"Knowing what down it is, the possibilities of something happening, and just communicating that over and over again. So I think that was the biggest thing for me being out there and knowing this can happen and that can happen and ultimately that leads us to making the plays."

(On the energy from Coach DeMeco Ryans)

"Definitely we have a lot of work to do still, he's about being consistent in what we do. This is just game one, so definitely just being consistent and carry this to game two and game three, and ultimately when the season comes, to game one."

Tank Dell, WR

(On the offense)

"I think the offense is special, I think we started a little slow and then we got rolling as we got going. I think it is going to be really special, we have a really good running game and a well-balanced passing game. We have a lot of talent and a lot of guys we can get the ball to and a lot of good guys up front to hold up. I think we have the quarterbacks to get the ball to the right guys and I think it is an exciting offense for sure."

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