Q: What are your recollections of Jack Easterby in his time with your organization?
BB: Yeah, Jack was here for six years and he was really good for our football team, for the organization. He did everything I asked him to do and he had a good interaction, relationship with everybody in our building, from the support people, to the players, to the coaching staff and so forth. I learned a lot from Jack. I think we learned a lot from each other and we went through a lot together. So, he had a good, positive impact on our football team and on the organization.
Q: You talked after the game about Chase Winovich having a great week of practice. He obviously played off the ball a decent amount, and he said he hadn't really done that since high school. Did the tape back up your feelings about how he played that day? What led you to have him play off the ball?
BB: Right, well, just the defense that we had in on some of those plays that were called, he did that. As you said, it wasn't something that he's done a lot of and he didn't do a lot of it for us. But, in those particular situations, that's kind of what was called for. One thing about Chase, he's always willing and ready to do whatever you ask him to do. So, he learned the assignments on that and what to do and I thought I did a good job of it.
Q: Do you expect Sony Michel be healthy enough to activate this week?
BB: We'll see. Sony's been working hard. He's practiced the last two weeks, so we'll see how things go this week. But, hopefully.
Q: Will it be a challenge to figure out how to best utilize all of those running backs who have all contributed for you?
BB: Yeah, well, we'll go through our process like we always do and try to put together what we feel like will be the best game plan and best way to attack the Texans. They're a very good defensive team, they're very well coached, so we'll need everybody we can get to help deal with those guys. It's a good football team. It's a good defense.
Q: Against the Ravens I noticed in 21 personnel you tended to mix up the receiver pairings. I know Jakobi Meyers was out there every play, but sometimes he was with N'Keal Harry and sometimes he was with Damiere Byrd. How much of that was matchup based or was it more about managing the workload of the receivers as that game went on?
BB: Yeah, I think all the above. Again, we have a lot of confidence in all the players and all of our receivers and they work well together and handle different roles and can we try to take advantage of certain things that they do, but they're really able to do it all. But, as you said, to kind of manage the group and let guys concentrate on specific plays or specific roles that we think they'd be good in, then we try to do that where we can – not be predictable and do the same thing all the time, I'm not saying that, but there are times you can take advantage of different combinations of people in there and what they do and how it fits together. So, I thought Josh [McDaniels] and the offensive staff did a good job of that. We use the people that we have all offensively and try to put them in positions where they can be productive.
Q: You have two coaches working with the offensive line. How are Carmen Bricillo and Cole Popovich working together and how does their dynamic work, compared to how most of the position groups have one person overseeing the operation?
BB: Yeah, well, we have multiple people working in the same position group in a lot of areas. So, we have two coaches in the secondary. We have two coaches with the linebackers. We have Troy [Brown] and Ivan [Fears] with the running backs. Josh [McDaniels] kind of oversees a little bit of everything offensively, and I'd say that's fairly common. But, particularly the offensive line, that's the largest group on the field. So, we have usually anywhere between call it 11 to 13 players on our roster, including practice squad, not including injured reserve. That's a lot of guys to coach and some players are at different stages – maybe the five or six guys that you expect to play the most, and then you have other groups of guys that are in more of a developmental stage that may not play that much, but that could have an impact on the game as they develop, or if you need them to move up due to injuries and things like that. So, I'd say also there's a difference between what the centers and guards do and what the tackles do with tight ends and pass protection and things like that. So, there are different ways to break those combinations up. I think that Carm and Cole have worked well together. They both do a good job. They both have a lot of experience with the offensive line in terms of experience and coaching different types of players maybe on different levels – you know, Cole more here, but Carm's had a lot of experience on that, as well. We try to coach all the players and help all the players, and I really feel like you need two guys to really be able to do that when you have the number of players that we have at that position, or everybody does, for that matter. So, I think you see a lot of teams that have some type of a two-coach setup there.
Q: What's the dynamic like between the two of them from a personality perspective and coaching style?
BB: Well, I mean, again, all of us have different personalities and different ways of motivating, communicating and teaching and so forth, but they're both relatively young. I think they connect well to all the players. And, again, they all work with everybody at some point or another. So, it's really about teaching and if a person's not learning one way or if they learn better in one way than another way, then you modify the teaching to that person. Again, that's a lot easier to do when you have smaller groups then one big large one. Carmen spends probably a little more time with the younger players and Cole a little bit more with the guys that have more playing time, but they overlap and work with each other. Both have a lot of good ideas in terms of game planning and strategy and things like that. So, it's good situation. We're fortunate to have two good coaches at that position, and I think that's really beneficial for everybody.
Q: As you've been in the league, the support and coaching staffs have gotten so much bigger. Do you see any downsides to that at all?
BB: Well, I think it's the overall functionality that's important. We've generally been on the lower number relative to the rest of the league through the years. I'd say as a head coach or as a coordinator, it's easier to manage a smaller number of people than a larger number of people, just in general – not any specific person or group. But, just in general, it's probably easier to manage 15 people than 25 or 10 instead of 15, or whatever the numbers are. But, that being said, the most important thing is to get everybody on the same page, to be consistent, for the players to hear a consistent message. And that always falls back on the people involved that are working together, communicating together so that if you and I are talking separately to a player, that we're not telling them two different things and creating a level of confusion or misunderstanding or conflict. We should be able to coach and answer questions and teach the assignments the same way. We might have different styles, but the information comes out the same way. So, that's sometimes it's a little bit challenging, but again, overall I think that having a smaller room, having a group of 10, 12, 13, whatever it is, at times, split into two is better than always keeping everybody together. That could be drill work, it could be a meeting, it could be film. But, look, there's also a point to having everybody together and hearing the same thing. That's why you have team meetings and offensive meetings and offensive line meetings and skill player meetings and things like that. It's so that everybody does hear the same thing from one person to create that level of consistency. So, it's a balance of all that.
Q: What have you noticed behind the scenes about Cam Newton's leadership and accountability?
BB: Yeah, Cam's [Newton] got a good leadership style. He has a good personality. He gets along with everybody, works with everybody. I think everybody feels a positive connection to him. He knows who they are and cares about them and wants to fit in as a member of the team, just like everybody else does. I think we all appreciate and respect that. So, he demands a lot of himself, which is a good leadership trait, and he's very supportive of his teammates, which is another good leadership trait. So, I think he's done a good job, especially considering that it's a new team and he doesn't have the background that some other players, that a lot of us have in this organization. But, he kind of brings a different, kind of a fresher maybe energy or perspective to the things that I think we all can appreciate that, as well. So, I think it's really worked out in a positive way from that standpoint. I'm sure he's learned some things about our organization and learned some things from us, and I think we've all learned some things from him. You can see why he's accomplished so much in other – whether it be in Carolina or at Auburn – why he's been so successful in other places over a long period of time, as well. So, it's been good.
Q: What stands out in terms of Ryan Izzo's value just being available, week after week this season, as really the one guy at that position since day one?
BB: Well, Bob [Socci], I think you hit the nail on the head. In football, that's the number one thing is dependability and availability. A player that's out there every day that can continue to work and improve and get better has a lot of value to the team, and Ryan [Izzo] has been able to do that this year, more so than the other years he's been here. He's always worked hard. He's always been kind of a quiet kid that's very diligent and works hard. But, he's had some, unfortunately, physical setbacks where he would be moving along and then miss some time and not really be able to have the on-the-field consistency that any player needs to improve and be successful. I think his training, his overall development physically has improved and that's been helpful for him again in terms of maintaining his durability and sustaining the day after day grind of practices and preparation and games that has brought him this far. So, durability is more important than ability, and Ryan I think is a great example of that. The fact that he's been out there has really given him a chance to improve and he's taken advantage of that and given us some good play at that position. Certainly, this has been his best year, but it's also been his most durable year.
Q: Yesterday, Romeo Crennel met the Houston media and he talked about how much he learned from you on the racquetball court. What did you learn from being around Romeo and what did you take away from those racquetball matchups?
BB: Well, what I took away from it was neither one of us are very good racquetball players. I enjoyed working with all the coaches that I've worked with and learned from all of them, whether I was a coach or an assistant coach. You learn from everybody and I've always enjoyed my relationships with the players that are on the side of the ball that I was on, or the players or the coaches I was working with on the other side of the ball. And with Romeo, we've always worked pretty closely together between defense and special teams. He's just one of the very, very best that I've ever worked with. He's got a great demeanor. He's a great teacher. He connects well with everybody. He's a very good listener and perceptive and he keeps things from getting overly complicated. He always emphasizes the most important points that need to be hit on. He does a great job of building the team chemistry. I thought that he was a very, very important part of the 1990 championship with the Giants when he went from being a special teams coach to the defensive line coach and kind of the chemistry that he had with the defense was very important to the success there. He actually always adds, in whatever role or capacity it's in, I mean he always adds a lot of positivity. Again, he's a great teacher, he's a very good fundamental coach, so players always get better under him. That's one thing that I always noticed that the players that he coached, you'd see a very rapid improvement from where they were when he started with them to where they got to in a fairly short amount of time, whether that was in the kicking game when he was a special teams coach or on defense, specifically working on a defensive lineman. He did a great job here as a coordinator and won three championships. Nobody had more poise under pressure and calling games, being in big games, making adjustments. He just did a tremendous job with that and then went on to be a head coach, and I respected and admired the way he handled all the things that he's handled and dealt with in that job when he went to Cleveland, anyway. So, his track record is really superior and as a person he's off the charts. Again, just a great, great football man. I put him in a pretty high class. There are not too many that I could rank above him.
Q: Back to your availability point earlier, can you speak about Lawrence Guy and his toughness and how he was able to shake off multiple injuries and give you some really quality snaps on Sunday night?
BB: Yeah, it was very impressive, Jim [McBride]. I know L.G. was dealing with two or three things last week and missed the Jets game, which it takes a lot to keep him out. He's physically and mentally one of the tougher players that I've coached, certainly one of those on the team. To have him come back against the Ravens and give us the number of plays and the quality of plays – he's just got a great mindset of 'I'm never going to feel 100 percent, it's pro football, you get banged up that's part of it. But I'm tough enough to work through it.' And he shows that on a consistent basis. He's a great example to younger players in terms of just having the mental toughness to go out there and compete and work every day. That's how you get better. If you know you let little things get in the way and keep you from working, then you just don't improve as much. So, he's a guy that's everything we've asked him to do, he's worked hard to improve on it and do it better, and I think you see that in his play. He's great with the younger players. I mean, everybody looks up to him as they should, because of the example he sets and in a way he carries himself. He's not a real loud or a guy who says a lot, but when he talks, everybody listens and he's on the money and he has a great message because it's always about the team and how to help the team win. He's a very unselfish player. But, yeah, the toughness that he showed last week against a big offensive line that's a very good running football team, he gave us a lot of quality snaps in there against those guys.
Q: How impressed were you by the way in which Jack Easterby's role grew while he was here in New England, to go from character coach to the position he has now in Houston where he's an executive vice president of football operations? I think people look at that and wonder how that transition gets made, so wanted to ask you maybe how his role grew while he was here that might have prepared him for the role he has now?
BB: I don't know, Phil [Perry], that's probably a question that you should ask him. I'm not really sure about that whole situation down there with how it grew or didn't grow or whatever. I just told you what I saw in six years here and that's really about – I think that was an honest perspective from here. That's about it. Right now, I'm trying to get ready for Texans and that's where all our efforts are focused.