TEXANS HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
Q: Bill, could you start by just giving your overall thoughts on the game?
BO: Yeah, I think I thought our guys battled hard, give the Patriots credit. You know, they are a great team and you know, when you turn it over, you give up a kickoff return, a 98-yard kickoff return, you turn it over, you're not going to beat the Patriots. You know, we talked about that all week. Give our guys credit, they fought. They fought hard and just didn't do enough.
Q: What do you think about the fourth quarter, when you got within one score?
BO: Yeah, like I said, I thought that obviously, we were in the game, and just couldn't turn it over. I thought our defense played as good as they could play. You know, they played pretty well, and again, give the Patriots credit. You know, they did a great job.
Q: Bill, you guys were down early, they had that kickoff return, but then you were able to get back into the game and you were within a score in the fourth quarter. That kind of heart and fight, it seems like it has really captured your team this season and really the three seasons you have been here.
BO: Our team will play hard, you know that. Our team plays hard. We've got a good core group of veterans. You know, Brian Cushing, Duane Brown, and you know guys like that, they aren't going to let our team go out there and not play hard. But we need to, we have to play hard offensively, in order for us to get to where we need to be in this league, with the defense that we have. And so, I put that on me. You know, we have to figure it out. We have to spend a lot of time this offseason soul searching. Everybody's got to look in the mirror and figure out what we need to do better. Right now, like I said, give the Patriots credit. They got a hell of a team, great coaching staff and they did a better job than we did tonight.
Q: Speaking of offense, [Brock] Osweiler started and he was completing passes a lot of short, kind and safer stuff, was able to have some throws, but then he ends up with three interceptions and that second one was a bit of a back breaker. Where they end up on the 6-yard line and then push it in. What did you see overall from him tonight, but especially in the second half?
BO: Yeah look, you know, interceptions, they are never one guys fault. You know, obviously as an offense, we need to score more than 16 points. You know, you are not going to beat the Patriots scoring 16 points. So, I'm not going to get into all the different plays and all that. I just know that I need to do a better job. Like I said, it starts with me. And I like I also said, give the Patriots credit, they did a great job.
Q: Tom Brady, you guys hit him a lot, got some interceptions, but ultimately, he made enough plays…
BO: Right, no, he's a great competitor, a great player, I've said that. You know, I had the fortune of coaching him. I know what he is all about. And you know, that was part of our game plan, is to get in there and try to affect him with the rush. I thought our guys did a great job of that, you know. But in the end, you know, a kickoff return for a touchdown, short field on turnovers, it's just tough to play defense against the Patriots like that.
Q: What did you see on the kickoff, was it…
BO: Yeah, to be honest, I was over there with the offense going over the previous series, kind of the pictures. I know that we kicked it to the one yard line. And I think it was a decent kick, but we missed tackles and guys on the backside weren't able to get over, cross, and make the play. Dion [Lewis] went 98 yards. And anytime in the Playoffs that you give up a 98 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, you are going to have a hard time winning. Give them credit, they did a nice job on it.
Q: Can you address the issue about you possibly not coming back next season.
BO: I'll back next season, I'll be the Texans head coach. I'll be back next season, like I said, I have a five-year contract. This was year three, and like I've also said, I need to do a better job. You know, I think we have a good football team. And overall, we need to do a better job, especially on offense. So, I am going to work hard to try to get that improved this off season.
Q: Bill, last week after you guys beat the Raiders, Bob McNair said he was not even considering firing you and any of those reports were not even worth paying attention to. But the story was still coming up this week…
BO: Yeah, I don't know. I really am just tired of answering it. You know, you can't even have a sense of humor about it. You have a sense of humor about it, people run with that. I'm going to be the head coach of the Houston Texans. I'm looking forward to working this off season to improve the team. I really enjoy coaching this team. I have a lot of great feelings about the guys that I coach in that locker room. You know, the Cushings and the Duane Browns, all those guys. Lamar Miller, C.J. Fiedorowicz, [Ryan] Griffin. You know, all the guys on defense, Kareem [Jackson] and Jonathan Joseph. Whitney [Mercilus], JD [Jadeveon Clowney], I mean, I could name the whole roster. And I'm looking forward to coming back and coaching those guys.
Q: Your thoughts on how Jadeveon Clowney Whitney Mercilus played?
BO: Those guys are relentless players, they are disruptive players. They are good players, I mean, they really make a difference in there. And you know, they move around a lot. They have to be intelligent to play in our defense, because we move them in a lot of different areas. You know, Whitney had a pass break up on a route to Dion [Lewis] or James White. And, you know, so they are versatile players. And so, they are good players, and it's good to have them on our team.
Q: You guys have been 9-7 three straight years. Winning two AFC South titles, get to this point, and play the Patriots in a close game. Is it clear to you even post-game that for you guys to take that next step, the offense has got to take the next step?
BO: Yeah, and again, it starts with me. I don't point fingers. I look in the mirror. I look right square in the mirror and I figure out what I can do better. And I'm already thinking about that right now. You can't have the offense where it's at in this league, and expect to win a championship. And so we've got to figure it out, we've got to improve. I think special teams needs to be more consistent. Obviously you can't give up kickoff returns. Sometimes we look like a great special teams unit. Other times we look like a bunch of, I've got to be careful here, but we look like…not very good. And then offensively, we have to get better. It's pretty obvious. It's not rocket science. It's pretty obvious. I thought our guys fought hard today, and like I said, the Patriots are a great team and this was a tough game.
Q: Billy, you say it's on you…
BO: I'm the head coach.
Q: Is it on personnel too, delivering on the field?
BO: No, it's coaching. We've got to get better, coaching better. We'll evaluate…I'm responsible for a lot of things around here. I'm responsible for the product on the field, so I'm going to try and do a better job. I'm going to work hard to do a better job.
Q: There's a fine line between coaching and on-field execution.
BO: Again, I think it's all about making sure we are putting them in the right position to make plays. Guys, obviously they need to go out there and make plays. They're paid to do that. Again, I look at myself right away. That's the way I was brought up, that's what I believe in. I think we have a good football team. We are better than what we played tonight. I believe in coaching. I think coaching in this league is a very, very, very large part of success, as witnessed tonight on that sideline. So I think that we can do better, and that starts with me.
Q: Bill, can you elaborate on Will [Fuller] not bringing in that one big play?
BO: Yeah, the deep pass. That was a nice throw. Right in the bread basket. Look, Will is going to get better. We have not had a rookie receiver play as much as he played for us. I think he was probably in the top 10 of rookie receivers, as far as catches go. There are a lot of things Will has to work on to get better, and he knows what he needs to work on. He's a very smart player. I'm sure he feels as bad about that play as anybody, but that wasn't the difference in the game. That's just one play of many.
TEXANS QUARTERBACK BROCK OSWEILER
Q: Can you give us your overall assessment of the game?
BO: [My] overall assessment would be, I feel like we battled as a team. Every guy who was on that field was giving it everything that they had. They were fighting, but at the end of the day we didn't capitalize on opportunities and when you don't do that, you're not going to beat a good football team like the New England Patriots and I think you need to give credit to the Patriots players. I think you need to give credit to their coaching staff. They had a phenomenal game and they executed it very well.
Q: You pulled within one score in the fourth quarter then you had the interceptions. Can you talk about those?
BO: Yeah, it's very disappointing. Like I said, you need to capitalize on great opportunities against a football team like this and even though we hadn't done that throughout the game, at the end of the day, we were still just down eight points at the start of the fourth quarter. I made a clear read. I thought I was going to have a big explosive game completion and I think the ball just got away from me a little bit. It sailed a tick high and next thing you know, it's intercepted, so that's my fault, I'll clean that up. I can promise you I'm going to throw about a thousand of those routes in this offseason and get that fixed. Like I said, credit to the Patriots. They had a tremendous game plan and executed it very well.
Q: Coach Bill O'Brien said the defense he felt played as good it could, but the offense has got to play a lot better and he said it's on him. Some thoughts about where this offense is at now as you look at it moving forward.
BO: Obviously anytime you lose, the offense needs to play better because you didn't score more points than the opponent that you are playing and like I said, I feel like we had a couple opportunities early in the game and even later in the game to make plays as an offense and put our team in a great position, and we weren't able to make those plays. So, it's a collective effort and it certainly starts with myself and there's going to be nobody that works harder this offseason to clean up our offensive issues and be better than we were coming up and in the future.
Q: On that last interception you looked like you were really angry afterward. Is that because of the throw or somebody running the wrong route?
BO: I think that frustration was just a culmination of everything that's taken place tonight. Like I said, I felt like we really had ourselves as a team in a great position to really make a run at this game. Our defense fought hard, our special teams, everybody on offense fought hard, this entire team, the staff and ultimately, we just didn't make enough plays and so, it was just a culmination of a lot of frustration tonight.
Q: How do you feel about the way you played this season?
BO: Well, anytime you don't end your season with a Super Bowl Championship you're going to be disappointed and I'm certainly disappointed. The one thing I will say is that I think it's easy to point out the negative especially on offense of what has taken place this year, but I think there was also a lot of great things that took place that we can certainly build upon in the future, but no question about it, we have a lot to clean up moving forward into next season.
Duane Brown, Offensive Tackle
*(On what the offense needs to do to take it to another level next season) *
"Everybody just needs to improve a little more. Just playing smart football, [do] you know what I mean? Up front being able to run the ball consistently, being able to communicate, better protection. That's all I can really speak on right now."
*(On what he takes from this season) *
"I'm proud of my guys, man. I'm proud of my guys. We fought through a lot of adversity to get to this point. [We] came out here and played arguably the best team in the league and we held our own for awhile. Like I said, a lot of self-inflicted mistakes that cost us. We had a heck of a season all things considered so I'm proud of my guys."
*(On whether the Texans let this game slip away) *
"Yeah, yeah, I think [our] defense played their tails off, you know what I mean? You can't ask for much more going against that offense. They've got one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, one of the best coaches of all time and when you turn the ball over against them – penalties, things like that, backing you up in the red zone – it hurts. It hurts. So we've got to find a way to cut those out and I think we'll be a lot better for it."
Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End
*(On whether the Texans made progress this year) *
"Yeah. We started gelling when we were supposed to, man. This team came together. We made a little run, got on the right track, just didn't finish like we wanted."
*(On how they competed against Tom Brady) *
"I think we did good. [We] hit him when we wanted to. We were getting to him. We were messing him up disguising. Moving around. I don't think – what was he like three for something on third down? Yeah, when you're playing that good you expect to win games. [We] just didn't get the outcome that we want."
*(On whether Vince Wilfork may have played his final game) *
"I know, man. That's crushing. Yeah, man, I love that dude, man. He taught me a lot since he has been here these past two years. I just like him around, man. So that's one thing I'm really mad about – we didn't do it for him. He came and approached me and I really wanted to win for him and I told him I'd give him everything I got today, especially since I knew it was his last game. "
(On the impact Vince Wilfork has had on him personally)
"Man, he pushed me. He pushed me every day. I appreciate him. I tell the coaches, 'we need him'. [Do] you know what I'm saying? He was a big, big, big help for this defense to have him out there. He's going to be missed next year."
(On if this team is close to making a run)
"I thought it was this year. Deep run? It should have been this year. Things happen. We were what, three games away? Two games away from playing at home? I was thinking about it all week. [I] couldn't sleep. I was so amped up for the game, man. [We] came in here trying to get a win."
(On whether Tom Brady was rattled after some of the hits he took)
"He was rattled. We [were] rattling him. Like I said, third down conversions, what [did] they have? We had them right where we wanted them on third downs. We were getting them in third and longs. He was throwing the ball up getting deep catches, man. [He was] coming up with some big plays, man. [If you] take them plays away, [take] the kick return away, we beat them."
Christian Covington, Defensive End
*(On hitting Tom Brady) *
"That was the game plan going in, to try and hit him [Brady] as much as possible. At the end of the day it didn't really count for anything. So, it is what it is."
*(Asked if this was a successful season) *
"I guess you could say that. But, at the end of the day, the main goal is to play in that last game of the season. If you want to base it off of that, it comes down to we can't play the way we played today, so we don't get to go to that game. That's all it is. You've got to give credit to the Patriots. They came to play today. They execute, we made mistakes, they made mistakes but they were able to overcome them. At the end of the day you have to tip your hat to them. At the end of the day we have to take this for what it is and learn from it."
Brian Cushing, Linebacker
*(On the pressure they were able to put on Tom Brady) *
"That was one of our main goals to put pressure on him and keep him off balance."
*(On how he feels about the future of the team) *
"I think we are close, but at the same time, we have to win and it's just frustrating that we didn't."
*(On how it was playing with Vince Wilfork) *
"He's a hell of a player and it was a great experience. I hope he decides to continue to play but if he doesn't, it was a great experience playing with him."
Ryan Griffin, Tight end
*(On the outcome of the game) *
"Obviously I wish the outcome was different, but after we're done here I'm going to go out and see my friends and family. That's the most important thing to me. They supported me through this journey."
*(On sharing this day with his family) *
"The entire journey to get here was unbelievable, and I couldn't have done it without them. I'm just blessed to have the parents that God gave me."
*(On his future) *
"Who knows, I don't have any idea. I just tried to put the best film I could on the field, so we will see what happens."
DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver
*(Asked if this was a successful season) *
"No! Any time you fall short of your goal you can't say it is a success."
*(On where this game got away from the Texans) *
"Turnovers, that's what did it. We can't turn it over. We simply can't make those mistakes. It was more than one play. There were a couple plays. It's tough. They played well."
*(On the Patriots defense) *
"They're good and they did an excellent job. We can't put our defense in positions like that. They [the Patriots] beat us, that is all that needs to be said."
Jonathan Joseph, Cornerback
*(On the future of the team) *
"It's always one year at a time. Looking forward to the offseason and getting better. Just trying to get over the hump. At the end of the day, I think there's a bright future ahead for this team."
*(On what they did to create the turnovers against the Patriots) *
"Romeo [Crennel] did a great job of game planning and putting guys in position to make plays. The position coaches did a great job all week getting us ready."
*(On if they felt they had a chance in the fourth quarter) *
"Absolutely. We had a chance all day up until the end when they went up by a few scores. Up until the final second, guys kept fighting and executing. That's what this team is all about. You never want to give up."
Vince Wilfork, Nose Tackle
*(On the game) *
"It's tough. Anytime you lose, it is tough. We thought we battled like we were supposed to have battled and to walk away with a loss is tough. You can't just play bad football at critical moments. We fought but the Patriots did what they had to do to win the game tonight. I think we controlled the game for most of the part, mostly the whole game until towards the end when it kind of got out of hand. We went in and stopped the run and made them one dimensional. We got on and off the field defensively and got some turnovers for our offense. We did some things well, but we just didn't do enough. You have to give them a lot of credit that is a good football team."
*(On the offensive having to play better) *
"We win and lose as a team. We are not going to sit here and point fingers because I am pretty sure I turn it on myself and say if I would have done this better maybe that this would have been the outcome and everyone can say that. This is a team sport and we just didn't do enough as a team to win. When you get in games like this late in the season you have to be able to capitalize on some opportunities and I think sometime we did tonight and sometimes we didn't. That is one of the things you are gojng to look back at that game and just see the opportunities that we missed. "
*(On possibly retiring and his emotions) *
"No emotions and I will take my time and think about it. I think I have played my last NFL football game. I will take the time and do my due diligence and sit back see if I really want to retire. We will see. I don't know how long that will take. I will see, it doesn't change the fact that I enjoyed every bit of my career; I enjoyed 11 great years in New England and enjoyed two great years in Texas with unbelievable teammates. I couldn't have any better teammates from both organizations and you talk about the organizations themselves and you talk about top of the class. These are two owners that anyone would love to play for."