Q: Can you explain what you saw in the two new receivers, Amara Darboh and Chad Hansen, that prompted you to claim them off waivers?
BB: Well, we looked at both players last year as part of the draft process, also saw them in preseason this year – well, Hanson in preseason this year – and they were available. So, we’ll take a look at them, see how it goes.
Q: Is Darboh’s size and speed something that particularly appeals to you?
BB: Sure, sure.
Q: What is the challenge of getting two new receivers up-to-speed heading into Week 1?
BB: Right, well, we have a little bit of extra time this week, not a whole lot, and so we’ll just see how quickly that can or can’t happen. I’m not really sure. So, we don’t have any background with these players other than from college, which we’re a long way away from that. So, we’ll just take it day-by-day, go through the process and see how it comes along. Again, our expectations are just, again, short-term. Not trying to plan out anything other than where we are today, where we are tomorrow, see where we are the next day and just see how all that comes together.
Q: Five players that you released already got picked up by other teams. Can you speak to the depth of the roster this year and the difficulty of making cuts with so many good players?
BB: It was a competitive team, we had a competitive camp and I’m not surprised that we have players that are on other rosters. So, we weren’t able to give them the opportunity. I’m glad that they were able to get it somewhere else.
Q: There is obviously some uncertainty with claiming players off waivers. When you end up with two at the same position, is that a surprise to you? What is your expectation of landing a couple players at the same spot?
BB: Well, I mean, the system is what it is. It’s set up the way it’s set up, so if you only want to claim one, you only have to claim one. If you want to claim more than one, you can claim more than one if you can get them. So, the players that we claimed, there was a reason for claiming them, and the ones that we didn’t claim, those other circumstances around them, whatever they are – it doesn’t mean that we weren’t interested in the players, just for whatever reason, we didn’t put in a claim on them. So, I don’t know, it’s not my system, it’s not your system, it’s just what we work under. So, we look at what the options [are] and understand the rules and [what] the process is and try to use whatever we can to make our team as competitive as we can make it this year. So, this is one tool that is available to us. We’ve had plenty of cuts where we haven’t claimed players and yesterday was one where we did. So, I don’t know, just try to do what we feel is best for our team.
Q: J.J. Watt has only played eight games in the last two years and eight snaps in preseason. How do you gauge what he is now versus what he was, considering that’s a significant amount of time being on the sidelines?
BB: We expect every player that we play against to be at their best. We always expect their best performance, and we usually get that. That’s what we’ll expect from J.J. J.J’s a great player, he’s very talented, he’s got great motor and very instinctive. He’s a very smart player, as well as one that has outstanding physical skill. So, we always expect their best and prepare for it.
Q: Dante Scarnecchia said yesterday that this is about as good of a front seven as you can find. Do you share the same opinion of what you’re going to see on Sunday?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. They have a group of outstanding players. I mean, they’re amongst the very best in the league. So, very challenging and they have good depth, so they rotate some players through there that are maybe not quite as good as some of the other ones, but they’re still really good players. So, this is a very talented team in all three phases of the game. They front four or front seven – however you want to look at it because some of those players are a little bit interchangeable – are very good, and one of the things that the Texans do a good job of is they don’t always line up in the same place. So, sometimes finding them or identifying where they are is a little bit of a problem – not that you can’t find a guy, but depending on what you have called and where he’s located, then that might change what your anticipated matchup on the play is and then what it really is could be two different things, and they do a good job of creating problems on that. Romeo [Crennel] is an outstanding coach – I mean, one of the top coaches in the game and has been for a long time. Nobody’s better than Romeo in running a defense and creating problems for the offense and utilizing his personnel. So, it’s just a very challenging situation for us or any team that plays them, but in this case, this week us. To be able to not only handle the players where they traditionally line up but when he creates schemes that moves them or puts them in places to attack our offense, that makes it even a little bit more challenging.
Q: Changes to injured reserve and designated to return rules the last couple of years have altered roster building and cut-down day around the league. When you’re building a roster, what are the specific challenges you have considering players like Braxton Berriors and Ryan Izzo?
BB: Yeah, that’s a great question. You just have to – I mean, first of all, you have to be compliant with the rules as they relate to those players’ situations and their injury and the time they’re out and so forth. And then you have to try to figure out – first of all, you don’t have an unlimited number of move. And second of all, there’s certainly a possibility that over the next few weeks, that a player who’s currently on the active roster could come into some level of – could be relevant to this conversation, as well, or they could not, so there’s an unknown there. But, of course, the cost to carrying a player and put him in that DFR category, you have to release another player to have the DFR player active before you can move him to that list. So, it’s just trying to balance that out, how many players you would want to expose to do that and how many players you could keep as depth. I mean, again, you couldn’t get them all back anyway, even if you put five or six of them on there. You’d be able to get back the one that you needed or wanted. But, let’s just call it if you put six guys on, you’ll only be able to get two back, so four of them would sit anyway. So, that’s another part of the equation. If you think you were going to have a chance to get a player back, then that’s one thing. If you don’t think he would be back during the year if it’s a more serious injury, then that also affects it. So, it’s no straight answer here. I’m not trying to be evasive. It just depends on which guy it is, what position it is, how much depth you have at that position, maybe whether or not you have a practice squad player at that position or some other player that’s relevant to depth and how to best manage it. There are many options and so we talk about the different ones and, in the end, try to do what we think is best. But, it’s certainly one of these situations that you could look back on it in four to six weeks and say, ‘Well, I wish we had done it differently,’ but you just didn’t have access to the information now that we’re going to have at a later point in time. So, we just have to do the best we can with it. But, it’s challenging, no doubt.
Q: What have you seen from Jeremy Hill this summer?
BB: Jeremy’s had a good spring and a good summer. Again, new system, some different responsibilities, some different type plays, I think, than what he has been used to running, but he certainly adapted quickly and was able to pick up our offense and our techniques and some of the things that come with it pretty quickly. He’s a smart guy and he has experience in this league, so he understands defenses and run reads and things like that. But, he’s done a good job in all the areas we’ve asked him to work in – running the ball, passing game, special teams. So, I think he has some versatility and has some experience, obviously, and had production for us, not only in preseason games but also in practices. So, we’ll see how it goes, but he’s done a lot of good things to this point.