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Houston Texans Postgame Transcripts 8/19

Houston Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Saturday, August 19, 2017.


What are your thoughts on QB Tom Savage and the kind of night he had?
"Obviously, like I always say, you have to watch the tape. That's part of football coaching. You have to really see it on the film, but it looked like we moved the ball when he was in there, he threw the ball accurately – went to the right people. Like I've said all along, he's got good command of what we're doing, so he's able to get us into the right play at the line of scrimmage, which is important in our offense."

For WR Jaelen Strong to make that move across the middle against a really good corner. What are your thoughts on that?
"I thought it was good to see him get that touchdown catch. He's working hard. It's a competitive position and I think he's doing a good job. So, it was good to see him do that tonight."

What have you seen from G Chad Slade and G Josh Walker this training camp?
"I think that the line overall has improved. I think that they've improved every day. Chad Slade is really one of the more improved guys on our team. That's regardless of position. He's really worked hard. He's been here with us now going on three years plus, and he's worked very hard to get to where he is now. He's in the battle to make the team. Josh Walker's really improved over the last couple weeks. So, we'll watch the tape. We'll see how they did on the tape but both those guys have improved. There's no doubt about it."

What are your thoughts on what DE J.J. Watt was able to do tonight?
"I think that the key is to make sure that our top players, J.J. (Watt) obviously, is to be healthy on September 10. So, I think it's important that they prepare for the game, they warm up for the game, they get their juices flowing so they're ready like they will be for a game, and then they play a little bit. They get in there, there's contact, it's live, there's tackling. He had a TFL right off the bat which was good to see. But, you're not going to see a lot of J.J. (Watt) and some of those other guys. Next week they'll probably play a little bit and then you won't see them against Dallas. So, that's kind of the way it's going to go. But, you will see them on September 10, hopefully, because of how we play them."

What kind of look does WR Bruce Ellington give to you?
"Give Bruce a lot of credit. Bruce just showed up here, I think about a week, 10 days ago, and he's picked it up pretty well. I think we do a lot of things that are similar to what he did in San Francisco, but maybe they called it something different, we call it something else, but it's the same type of routes, same type of rules on the route, things like that. He's been working hard with John Perry and getting ready to go. He made the most of his opportunity tonight. He did a nice job. It's good to have him around."

What did you think of two of your rookies, QB Deshaun Watson and RB D'Onta Foreman?
"Again, I want to watch the tape. I thought Deshaun (Watson) did some good things. I think they were doing some things defensively that were tough. It wasn't like a big schematic game, but they were playing a lot of man coverage. Guys had to work hard to get open and I thought he made some plays. The play that he made to (D'Onta Foreman) is a play that he's been doing a good job on that play ever since he's been here. I think it was a similar play to what he ran at Clemson – that type of scheme for that particular play. (D'Onta) Foreman's done a good job. Since we've gone to pads, put pads on, (D'Onta) Foreman's stood out. That's what he is. He's a first- and second-down back that has decent hands. He can do some things in the passing game, so hopefully that continues."

What did you think of QB Tom Savage's performance?
"Look, I think preseason you have to look at it for what it is. I think that we practiced against these guys for two days. They came in here and we had a pretty good idea what they were going to do. They had a pretty good idea of what we were going to do, and I was just happy to see Tom execute. I think that, even on the first drive, I went for it on fourth down – it wasn't a great play call. So, I think if that was a better play call maybe we score there. So, I thought he really handled the two drives that he had, he handled them real well. He's an accurate passer. He's got really good command of what we do, and he's a fun guy to coach. They're all fun to coach, all three of them. They're good guys."

What does it mean to have the kind of playmaking ability in the offense that RB D'Onta Foreman brings?
"Again, like I said about preseason in the previous question, it's preseason. I don't think we're getting ready to fit him for a gold jacket just yet, but I think he's a good player. I think he's a good, young player that I think, if he continues to work hard and learn and pay attention in the meetings and do all the things that we're asking him to do – watch how Lamar (Miller) prepares, watch how Alfred (Blue) prepares. I think he's learning a lot from those guys. Charles London does a good job with those guys. I think that he'll be a good player, but I think this is just one step along the way and hopefully it continues."

What did you think of what you saw from the safeties tonight?
"There is a lot of competition there. They're really a good group to coach. They're very competitive. They're fun guys. They all love football. There's some – you mentioned those guys, and then there's (Marcus) Gilchrist, there's (Kurtis) Drummond. There's a bunch of guys in that room that are all competing for playing time, competing to make our team. That's going to be a tough decision. There's some guys in there that play well on special teams. That comes into play there, too. There's some guys that are in that room that have been with us for a while, some guys that haven't been with us that long, like (Marcus) Gilchrist, who brings a lot to the table. So, that'll be interesting to see how it plays out over the next couple of games."

Any thoughts on ILB Shakeel Rashad, ILB Dylan Cole and ILB Zach Cunningham?
"Look, I think that playing linebacker in our system is not the easiest thing, especially for a young guy. I think you have to learn a lot about communication, about what package you're in – this is our base package, this is our sub package, this is our nickel package. I think at times those guys made some plays tonight. I think Shak (Shakeel Rashad) knows it pretty well. He's a very bright player. I think Dylan and Zach at times struggled, at times they made some plays, just from what I could see. Again, I'll watch the tape, but all three of those guys are great guys. They work very hard and I know they'll improve over the next week."


What are your thoughts on your performance tonight and the throw to Jaelen Strong?
"Yeah, I thought offensively we did a good job moving the ball down the field and scoring some points."

How comfortable did you feel just running things, and after the hit from LB (Kyle) Van Noy when you came back and found WR (Bruce) Ellington?
"Yeah, the hit felt good. It felt good to get out there and take a shot, but I think all the guys made some big plays for me, and it really helped out."

Was this a confidence builder in some ways for the offense or for you?
"Yeah, obviously it's preseason, you know. So you got to do this in the regular season, and go out there and consistently score points and then move the ball like we did, but it's a good foundation that we're in."

How did you feel as a team that you went out there and clicked, and specifically you and the new signee Bruce Ellington?
"Yeah, Bruce (Ellington) came right in, he didn't skip a beat, he hit it running, and it kind of just shows the resilience of this team little bit. We, obviously a lot of our playmakers are down, but a lot of guys stepped up and they made some big plays for us, and that kind of speaks for this team."

The first drive of game, was that one of those plays where you have to determine whether it's going to be a draw or another play?
"Yeah, that was the call, and the clock kind of got down a little bit. I mean you don't want to take a delay of game there, so obviously we got to go back and watch it, and kind of see where we can correct."

Do you feel you had pretty good protection most of the game?
"Absolutely, I mean the sack was 100% on me, and I told the o-line that. You know, sometimes you want to make a play, and you want to stay in that pocket, and get the ball out of your hands, but I can't say enough about this offensive line, and how they're playing, and what type of guys they are."

Do you think some of the work you got with the (New England) Patriots earlier in the week helped them for tonight, the group in front of you?
"Yeah, whenever you get the chance to go out there and you play against talent like that, it helps this team a lot, and I know we enjoyed it. I know we're kind of moving towards New Orleans (Saints) now."

Midway through the preseason, how do you feel about your performance?
"Yeah, I think, just from a personal stand point, just protecting the ball and I think that's been good. But like I said, it's tough to get a good gauge of it, this is a good foundation we're building, but we got to keep improving. We got to get out there, and keep working."

Thoughts on Jaelen Strong's play tonight and this offseason.
"Yeah, Jaelen's my guy.  I love the guy.  He's a Philly guy, so we have to keep that connection going.  We worked a lot this offseason together.  I know he's really working his tail off.  He's a great player, and I'm lucky to have him."

What did it mean to have two sustained drives to open up the game?
"I think it kind of just shows the resilience of this team.  Obviously we knew that we wanted to start this game fast. I think with you just mentioned with that fourth and five, we really weren't satisfied with the drive unless you score a touchdown.  Just coming back down the field and finally putting it in was a good boost for us.  We got to watch it and correct some things and get better."

How do you continue to add elements to your game to get quicker but still staying the course with what Head Coach Bill O'Brien wants you to execute?
"Ultimately, it's just continuing to watch film on yourself but also on the defense. And shoot, just playing against a guy like that in practice, Tom Brady over there, I mean that's a good gauge. You see the guy get the ball out of his hands and he's constantly making good decisions for the team and I think that's my main goal, just to keep protecting the ball. And you know, there might be a sack here and there, but ultimately we've got to protect the ball and put our defense in good situations, because they can't score as many points as we need to win a game, you know? I'm sure they can. I shouldn't say that with J.J. (Watt) out there."

Is it meaningful to start well offensively even in the preseason?
"Absolutely. I mean, we have to go out there and we have to score points, and I've kind of been saying that over and over again this whole preseason, but I can't emphasize how important that is for us, is to go out there and score touchdowns. And we did that. And obviously the red area is something we've been working on a lot. The first drive, you want to score a touchdown there, but it's good to get down there and punch it in, and we've just got to keep doing it."


How would you look back on what you did?
"I did a decent job. I did what I needed to do to try to move the ball to help the team out. There's always things I can get better at. I'm going to watch the film and I'm going to continue to work on that."

Take us through the play where you avoided the rushing and got into the end zone? 
"It was a play call that O.B. (Bill O'Brien) called and I just made it work. Everyone did their job. It was a one-on-one matchup and I won my matchup."

What did you think of the job RB D'Onta Foreman is doing for you and what he did tonight on that one long run after your good throw?
"He's doing a heck of a job. He's getting better each and every week and each and every day. He's a playmaker. That's one reason why the Houston Texans drafted him when he makes plays like he did last week and this week. He'll continue to do that and get better and continue to be an impact for this team."

How did you feel about the reaction from the crowd when you entered the game?
"It was cool to have the support and the home team behind you. That's just for every quarterback and every player. We have a great fan base and it's fun to go out there and play in front of the home team."


How special was it to get a tackle for loss right off the bat?
"Yeah, it felt good. It was really good to be back in front of our home crowd. We have some of the best fans in the world. It's really good to be back in Houston. Good to be back in the city, in front of our fans in our own stadium, in our own home. We love it here. We love playing for these people."

Big picture is you looking forward to September 10, what is the step by step process for you to be ready for that?
"It's just a couple plays here, couple plays there. I'm just getting my toes a little wet. I'm just getting started. You know, I'm really just show glimpses here and there of what's possible. It's going to be a lot of fun."

For getting a tackle for a loss, was that a good feeling knowing you could make that play?
"Yeah, it's a great feeling. Like I said, it's just a glimpse. There's a lot of stuff I've been working on a very long time. There's a lot of plays that I've built up in the archives that I want to get out there and make. It's going to be a lot of fun this year. Our defense is a blast to play in. This team is a lot of fun. Offense did a good job today, so when you put it all together, we are a lot of fun." 

How do you feel with the work that you've had and do you feel like you've come a long way from where you were?
"I feel great. I think I'd be less tired if I wasn't standing on the sidelines the whole game. Staying on the sidelines is a lot more tiring than I thought it was. It's a lot of fun to get my feet wet. Last game was a bit of a tease to get out there for only one series, but we all understand the plan, we all understand what the angle is. I'm perfectly fine with it, but my body feels great. My mind feels great. I love being able to come to work each day and get better."

This group is really tight. You think West Virginia trip helped you all bond?
"Yeah, it was really good for us. We have a really, really  good group of guys. I think we have guys who truly care about each other. We have guys who truly and vested in each other's success and are truly happy for each other when they make a play. We have really good chemistry and I think West Virginia was great for that and it's a testament to the guys in this room. We love each other and we love playing with each other so it makes it fun. It makes coming to work every day fun."


Can you talk about the short catch that you turned into a 63-yard run?
"I went out there and he gave me the signal. I just wanted to win. I went inside and looked for the ball. He threw me the ball and then I was loose. I was mad I didn't score though."

What about catching the ball in traffic?
"I feel like I catch the ball well. I said that coming out of college and I'm able to display that now, so I want to be able to continue to do that moving forward."

Talk about the ability of making the big play? You've been able to show some flashes of that these past two weeks.
"It really comes from my coaches. They're putting me in the right situations to where my line is blocking for me and where the quarterback can find me when I'm open. Ultimately, I'm just going out there trying to give the best I can give every day, even at practice. That's where it starts at practice. I try to go out there and work hard every day so when I come to the game, it just goes normal for me and I'm not thinking as much when I'm out there."

This was your first game at NRG, did you have a lot of family here with you being so close to home?
"My mom and my grandma came today. It was wonderful though. I've only been in this stadium one time for a bowl game and I didn't even play. I never watched a NFL game live, I've only watched a game on TV, so, for me, my first NFL live game was the one I first played in. It's a blessing to be here. For me to be able to play basically in front of my home crowd, that's how I look at it."

Take us through the touchdown run.
"I wanted to score. That's pretty much it. I just had to find a way to get in. They did a great job up front blocking for me. I found the edge and once I made the guy miss on the edge I just had to go in and score."

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