clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2014 NFL Draft: Bill O'Brien Talks Draft Picks, Quarterbacks, Watt, Foster And More At Owners Meeting

Bill O'Brien had plenty of microphones in his face throughout the yearly Owners Meeting, and he spoke about a multitude of topics that Texans fans have been eager to hear about. Read and react to what he had to say here at Battle Red Blog.

"Don't bother asking.  I'm not going to tell you who we're drafting."
"Don't bother asking. I'm not going to tell you who we're drafting."
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies and gentlemen, here's Bill O'Brien...

Current Roster

...on four of last year’s draft picks coming off of injured reserve and how much that will help the team:

"Yeah, it’s a good point. A guy like (David) Quessenberry, our staff doesn’t know too much about him. (Offensive line coach) Paul Dunn does, because Paul studied him when he was coming out when Paul was in Atlanta. That’s a good example of a guy that we’re really looking forward to working with in minicamp because we hear a lot of good things about him.

We’re looking forward to seeing how he performs doing some of the things we’re asking him to do. So I think it’s a good position. It’s a position of unknown, when you have guys that you really haven’t been able to really study. There are preseason games and college tape, but until you see him doing your things, you don’t really know. So we’re looking forward to working with those guys."

...on his plans of where to play J.J. Watt:

"The thing about J.J. is as it relates to Romeo (Crennel’s) packages is it’s a very multiple package. We run a base 3-4 defense, so the first day of mini-camp we’ll line up in this 3-4 and that’s what we run. After that, it goes to some three-down looks, some four-down looks, some odd looks where he’ll be moving around. It’s just a very multiple defense. 70 percent of the game now is played in nickel.

When we went through our snaps, I think against last year’s Texans offense, I think 75 percent of the snaps were played in nickel or dime because a lot times, Houston was in 11 personnel. He’s going to fit in very well with what we do."

...on if he’ll lean on RB Arian Foster a majority of the time or if there will be a 60/40 or 70/30 split of playing time:

"A lot of that will be up to Arian when he comes back for training camp and how he feels and type of shape he’s in and all that and I’m sure he’ll be in great shape. He’ll be ready to go. He’s shown to be one of the better backs in this league and he’s carried the load in the past.

Our philosophy is we have three-down backs, which is Arian. Arian is a three-down back because he can catch the football. He’s a talented guy. Then you have a first- and second-down back. We don’t really have that guy right now in Houston. Kind of like LeGarrette Blount in New England, first- and second-down guy. And then a third-down guy is kind of how we divide up our backs.

So we have three types of backs. Sometimes we’ve had all three of those types of backs on our team, sometimes we haven’t. But Arian’s going to be the guy that we’re looking to lean on, no question about it."

...on how T.J. Yates and Case Keenum fit into the team picture now that Matt Schaub has been traded:

"Compete. They’ve all been told basically the same thing. They’re going to be given a chance to compete. We brought Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in the other day and had a good talk with him. I told him, ‘Look, nothing is guaranteed. You’re coming in here to compete and try to get better every day and to try to be the starting quarterback.’ That’s the same thing I told Case. Case played I think eight games last year. T.J. has been the quarterback of this team when they went to a playoff game, so they all have experience. The deal is competition."

...on when he talks about the possibility of Jadeveon Clowney playing next to J.J. Watt, it’s almost like a "Dream Team" concept:

"There’s no such thing as a dream team."

NFL Draft

...on if he saw improvement at Blake Bortles' workout last week:

"Yeah, I did. I saw it in his workout the other day, again, that’s an on-air workout. Really, if you’re throwing to guys that you’re used to throwing to, which I think he was, he had (Jeff) Godfrey there and a couple of receivers and a couple of backs, the ball really never hit the ground. I think it only hit the ground like twice. You could see better footwork. You could see a more compact delivery.

I’ll say this about Teddy (Bridgewater)—I was at Teddy’s too—people made a big deal about Teddy’s day, but I thought Teddy had a decent day. He threw some incompletions but Teddy has obviously worked extremely hard to improve his footwork, his throwing mechanics and he’s working with Chris Weinke. So you’ve got Chris Weinke and Jordan Palmer, I mean those guys know what they’re talking about.

I’ve seen improvement there and I’m sure we’ll see improvement with Johnny (Manziel) when we show up there on Thursday, because he’s working with George Whitfield. He’s doing some unique things. I saw an article where he’s dropping back in the beach and the ocean and stuff like that.

I think these guys, like I said yesterday on NFL Network, there are other quarterbacks in the draft. I think it’s just being a quarterback coach, I think it’s important to know that there are a lot of quarterbacks that are winners, that have played well. I probably shouldn’t mention names because I’ll forget somebody but you’ve got (A.J.) McCarron and (Zach) Mettenberger and (Jimmy) Garoppolo, you can go right down the line. (Tom) Savage is a guy, we were at his pro day. There are a lot of guys that can play quarterback."

...on the first thing that he looks for in a quarterback to play in the NFL:

"To me, it’s really like two things. The guy has to be able to throw the ball accurately and the guy has to have intelligence. When I say that, he has to have a quick mind. He’s got to be able to process things in two or three seconds because it happens so fast. The defenses are so multiple that a lot of times, you’ve got to change the play. I can remember times the quarterbacks, not just Tom, but the good quarterbacks that we’ve had, even the freshman that I had at Penn State last year, where he had like 10 seconds left on the play clock and he had to make two or three changes to the play. That’s hard to do.

One of things we’re doing right now, we’re going out there as coaches and we’re kind of practicing the practice so that when the players show up in April, we’re not running around like chickens with our head cutoff. We know where we’re going so they know where they’re going. So what we do is we kind of run plays against each other. Godsey and I, we trade off playing quarterback, we’ve done it two or three times, we always walk from the field back to the locker room together and we’re like, ‘Man, it’s hard to play quarterback. We just call the plays.’ So that guy has to have a really quick mind, good brain."

...on what he wants to see most from a player when he looks at the quarterback position:

"I want to study more games. Again, maybe go back and watch more games. I want to study different situations in different games. I’m looking forward to bringing some of these guys to Houston and talking to them more. Kind of how I said earlier, ‘Hey look, we talked about this when we were at Louisville. What do you think now? Do you have a better understanding of what this is?’ I’m looking for improvement."

...on how high durability and prototypical size is on his list when looking at quarterbacks

"I wouldn’t say that we’re looking for this guys that’s this size and this weight. It’s more about how smart is he? How tough is he? Is he a good guy? Can he articulate the plays? Can he throw the ball accurately? Is he our type of guy? Can he run our offense? That’s more what it’s about."

...on if he has to guard against the "Brady Syndrome" and you think you can get someone like Tom Brady in the sixth round:

"The one thing for us in Houston, especially like myself and George Godsey, we have to guard against looking for the next Tom Brady. Those guys are few and far between. You think about how many Hall of Fame quarterbacks there are, and he’s going to be one, there just aren’t that many of them in the whole spectrum of quarterbacks in the history of this league, as you know.

I think what we’re looking for is a guy that has some of Tom’s qualities: like a great teammate, an accountable guy, a hard-working guy, a competitive guy, a good leader. But to go out there and say, ‘This guy is going to be like Tom Brady.’ I mean, that’s ridiculous. That’s such a high standard. We have tremendous respect for him and his career and coaching him was awesome. I look forward to seeing him again at some point."

...on if he’s trying to remind people that you don’t have to take a quarterback in the first round for them to be successful:

"No question. I don’t think we’re ready to really sit down as a staff and say what we’re going to do, but the more I study these guys, I see a lot of guys with a lot of experience and production in college, good games, and games that they brought their teams back with under two minutes to go, tough conferences, guys that have been through some stuff personally, on the field and off the field, that have overcome. Like I said, I probably shouldn’t start mentioning names but I know there are a lot of quarterbacks that I’ve watched that are decent players."

...on what will give them a better idea of who they want to draft:

"Face-to-face interviews, my notes from that, my thoughts about that, the football discussions that I’ve had with these guys. Rick Smith, he and I will guide each other with our thoughts on all these guys, any draft pick. We’re going to bring some of these guys to our facility in Houston and you can spend a day with them there too.

I think it’s like playing quarterback. When you break the huddle, you have to have a process, a progression of how you think about running a play. It’s the same thing with the draft. You have to have a process, a progression of how you put together, ‘OK, here is what we believe this kid is and here is what we think he can do for us. OK, let’s go pick him.’ That’s kind of how you do it, but it takes a long time."

...on Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo:

"First of all, really class-act of a kid. Really good kid. Smart. He went through some tough times at Eastern there where they were like 2-9 I think two years in a row and then they kind of turned it around. He was a big part of that. He’s got a quick release. He’s athletic. Just really enjoyed talking football with him. He’s a great kid."

...on if anything surprised him about Jimmy Garoppolo in his meeting with him):


...on Houston fans possibly worrying about having Derek Carr as the face of the franchise:

"Believe me, when we’re thinking about who we’re drafting, we’re thinking about that individual person, not who his brother was or who his cousin is or who his mother was.

The fans in Houston are awesome and they’re a big part of what we’re doing but if we started asking the fans about who we should draft, I’ll be sitting next to you at the next game. We try to look at who the individual guy is and Derek Carr is another guy on that list of quarterbacks that I was saying that’s a good football player. He’s a had a productive college career."

...on if the Texans are considering all options at the No. 1 pick despite it being a quarterback-driven league:

"Yes. All options are open, no question. It’s the end of March. You still have a lot of time. You go back and you do what we call re-checks, cross-checks. We’ve all watched all the games but ‘Hey, why don’t you take a good look at these four games on any position?’ ‘Okay, I’ll go back and watch these four games.’ We have different meetings about what we saw on the different games. So there’s a lot of time left. What fun would it be if you already knew who you were going to pick? What fun would that be? You should go on vacation then if you already knew."

Other Stuff

...on the Houston Texans as an organization:

"I think patience—that’s not the word. The word is it’s a smart organization with a great owner, Bob McNair, who understands football. Rick Smith, who does a really good job and has proven to do a good job of putting together a really good football team that understands football. I think it’s an organization that is professional and smart and we have a good process in place and that’s what we’re doing right now."

...on if he has an opinion on expanding the playoffs:

"I do. I’m a rookie head coach in the NFL, so my opinion doesn’t matter on that. But I think the more teams you can have in a tournament, the better. I think it’s a good idea."

Quite of bit of quotable stuff from the Texans' new head coach. Read and digest as much as you can and leave your thoughts down below.