Bill O’Brien took to the podium today after the first OTA session of the year. O’Brien touched on a little of everything, including the statuses of two of his best players.
O’Brien is short, but clear that Arian Foster’s back is healthy and can do anything on the field. #Texans— James Palmer (@JPalmerCSN) May 27, 2014
And of course it would not be a Bill O’Brien presser without a couple mentions of versatility and competitiveness as his favorite things in the world.
O'Brien says every position except quarterback, punter, long snapper and kicker needs to be able to do more than one thing. #Texans— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) May 27, 2014
According to Bill O'Brien, Texans' QB competition is wide open... that's what happens when you don't have a viable starting QB on roster— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) May 27, 2014
For those looking for a few more "meaty" things to chew on, here are some full answers to questions thrown at O’Brien this afternoon.
On practicing inside today instead of outside:
I really wanted to stay outside, but in the off season when you only have thirteen opportunities, so you have ten and three, and you have the mandatory one in the third week of June, I don’t really want to miss any of those opportunities because we’re slipping out there and things like that. Obviously there was also lightning in the distance I guess, so we decided to come inside but ideally we would like to be outside.
On the importance of OTAs for the coaching staff:
I think that OTAs are important for a few things. I think that as a staff we can set the tone as far as our philosophy, as far as our practice tempo, and then obviously teaching systems offensively and defensively and special teams. I really believe that the guys are getting a lot out of that and we’ve been together now for seven weeks because we started April 7th and we’ve gotten a lot accomplished. Everything is kind of ramping up towards training camp, but I think it’s about philosophy, teaching them our program, you know football wise the way we do things, our practice tempo, and then obviously the systems offensively, defensively, and special teams.
On practicing at a fast pace:
I think it’s really important because the game is played at such a fast pace. The game is really played at a fast pace. I’m not talking about running a ton of plays, I’m just talking about the pace of the game. In the National Football league there’s about seventy to seventy-five plays per game. The games are run efficiently and the games go fast, and we’ve got to be ready for that tempo. Now you can’t get that exact tempo in a practice but you try to. I think there are a lot of things you can do to ramp up the intensity in practice and we try to do those things and the guys have really fallen in line and done a good job of that.
On O’Brien’s reluctance to address injuries in detail:
My main philosophy on that is that I really don’t want to talk about the injury until I know what it is. So a lot of times when I come off the field people ask me about the injury but I haven’t even spoken to [the trainers] or anybody about that injury so as we move forward I’ll follow the rules of the National Football League and when the injury reports are supposed to come out I’ll put them out. The thing about injuries to me is that they are very personal to that player, so I think to come in here and just start talking right away about injuries without really knowing too much about it is probably the wrong thing to do as it relates to that player so I always try to do what’s best for the player.
On playing with tempo both in games and in practice:
I would say that my view – our view – of tempo has evolved especially for those of us who were in New England. We were a huddle team in New England, and we were always a huddle team in New England, but then the last few years I was there we incorporated more no huddle and different tempos of no huddle. So when I left there and went to Penn State, we found that the tempo we ran at Penn State [that] the kids loved it; it wasn’t that difficult to teach. Now in the National Football League it’s a lot more expansive than college football so we’ll continue to change our tempo. We believe in doing that and I think it helps our defense too. It helps their communication, and right now we’re not playing as fast as we’re going to play, but we’ll continue to try to get better and better at that.
On Andres Johnson’s absence from OTAs:
Well again like I said last week, I’m going to let Andre speak for himself. I said last week that he and I have had positive conversations. I have a ton of respect for him. We’d love to have him here right now, but that’s up to him. Again, we’re moving forward with the players that are here and these guys that are here are working extremely hard, so that’s what’s up.
On the difference between rookies and veterans in practice:
There’s a definite separation there for the rookies, and [for them] it’s hard because you’re going from college football to pro football and that’s a big jump especially as far as systems go and learning X’s and O’s and the details of each play. But as far as the veterans are concerned I’ve been very pleased with the way that they have studied on their own and come back from one week to the next. I can tell that they’ve studied and come back and been ready to go with the material that we had been teaching them and can put new things in. I’ve been pleased with the veterans here.
Once O’Brien’s full press conference is up on the Mothership, we will update this post with a link. Until then, make sure to keep up with all of today’s news over at our OTA open thread and live blog.