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Bill O’Brien Speaks: Day After Press Conference (Texans-Chargers)

Bill O’Brien speaks about Brock Osweiler, Tom Herman, Charlie Strong and what went wrong against the Chargers.

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans’ head coach took to the podium today for his day after postmortem of the Texans’ latest loss and had some interesting words about the future of Texans QB position and much more. Here’s the complete transcript:

You said yesterday that you’re not going to change starting quarterbacks. What do you see that gives you confidence QB Brock Osweiler can play better and be more consistent?

“There’s 160 plays in yesterday’s game. The game usually turns on between eight to 10 plays. Some of those plays weren’t very good. I’m talking about the whole team. But a lot of the plays were good, so what happens is when you get into these games where San Diego makes a few more plays than you do, a few less mistakes than you do, you’re not going to win the game. Now as it relates to the quarterback spot, one of the things that I really try hard not to do is to – obviously, the head coach and the quarterback take the most criticism when you lose, that’s the nature of the business and we all understand that – but there are 11 guys on the field. There’s an offensive line, there’s running backs, there’s receivers, there’s tight ends. Could Brock have done some things better yesterday? Absolutely. Could the offensive line have played better yesterday? Could I have coached better yesterday? Absolutely. It’s a team sport. Brock is our starting quarterback and that’s the way it is.”

You changed quarterbacks a few times over the last couple of years.

“Some of that was because we had injuries. We had a guy tear his ACL. We had several. Last year is last year. Two years ago is two years ago. If you look at specifically to every instance in the last two years where we changed quarterbacks, there were different issues that came up. A lot of it was injury. We had concussions, we had a torn ACL, we had a broken leg – I think Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) broke his leg in the Indy game. That’s two years ago or last year. That has nothing to do with this year.”

We talked to QB Brock Osweiler about the first interception he threw to WR DeAndre Hopkins and then the second one to the tight end. What happened on those plays?

“It was a play-action pass where three blocks were missed up front. He was flushed from the pocket and he tried to make a play to Hopkins. Hopkins was on the sideline and the guy made a nice play undercutting it. Look, in the end, could he have thrown it away? Yeah, he could have thrown it away but a lot of things went wrong on that play, the interception wasn’t a great thing. The other play you’re talking about, that was to (C.J.) Fiedorowicz. He threw an interception. He tried to hit a seam ball versus Tampa coverage to Fiedorowicz, which I thought was the right read on the play. He just made a poor throw. That’s one play out of 160 plays. Of course we have to take care of the ball better. We can’t turn it over. He was going to Fiedorowicz on that play, made a poor throw, made the right read, but got to make a better throw. There’s 159 other plays in the game that we could dissect. Again, it’s all about 11 guys doing it as consistently as they can on the same page. It’s all about correcting those things and understanding how close you are to getting it right. It’s all about understanding that this league is a very tight league and that we all have to do a better job, starting with me, leading into the Green Bay game.”

What about QB Brock Osweiler’s accuracy passing?

“I think one of the keys to being a good quarterback is being accurate. We work on accuracy with all of our quarterbacks all the time. I think that’s a key. I think Brock will be the first one to tell you. I think there’s been very many times where he has been accurate and there’s been other times where he hasn’t been as accurate as he needs to be. He’s working very hard to be as accurate and improve his accuracy all the time. We work hard on it with him.”

Can you talk about the throw down field QB Brock Osweiler made to WR Will Fuller V?

“Fuller ran a, what we call, a special seam route. Brock made a really nice throw over his outside shoulder. Will did a great job of catching it and keeping his feet inbounds. It was a very, very well executed play.”

What have you seen from the team in the red zone this season?

“We got to be better in the red zone. We got down there a few times. We can execute better down there. We can design better plays down there. We all have to do a better job in the red zone, there’s no doubt about it.”

Are you encouraged with WR Will Fuller V’s progress this season after dealing with an injury?

“I thought he played well yesterday. We put him back there on punt returns. I think he can do a little bit better back there on punt returns. I thought receiving-wise, he made some really nice catches, some tough catches. I thought he played well.”

What about ILB Benardrick McKinney reaching 100 tackles on the season?

“He’s had a heck of a year. He had a great game yesterday, had multiple tackles, had a sack. Does a lot for us. He’s had a really, really good year for us.”

Where have you seen QB Brock Osweiler make the most progress this season and what areas would you like him to improve moving forward?

“I’m not going to get into all the different areas. I could get into areas where I need to do a better job. Where can I do a better job? I’m not going to dissect where each player what areas they need to do a better job in. I mean, we could be here all day. Every player on our team – we have a great locker room. They’re all looking to improve in any way that they can. Coaches are looking to improve. Look, we’ve got five games left. I know everybody out there has given up on us but there’s nobody in here that’s given up on themselves or on this team. So we’re going to fight, we’re going to try to improve and we’re going to try to do a little bit better job next time out.”

At times you’ve talked about the identity of the team. What would you say the identity of the team is right now, or are you still trying to find that?

“I mean, I think we’re a tough team, I think we play hard, I think we have a good defense that plays hard, I think we run the ball well on offense and I think, overall, we’ve been OK on special teams. I’d like to be a little bit better. I know Larry (Izzo) would, too. But that’s what our identity is. We’re a tough football team, a team that is going to play 60 minutes, and that’s what we are.”

It looked like RB Lamar Miller limped off a little bit at the end of the game. What happened to him? Is he going to be OK?

“I don’t know. Yeah, I think he’s going to be fine.”

You touched on ILB Benardrick McKinney. What has made him so special so quickly at this level?

“Well, he’s an excellent player himself. I mean, he’s very instinctive, he understands the defense. We line him up in different spots. Yesterday he played a lot of what John Simon’s role would’ve been in the game. He just does a lot for us and he’s just an excellent player.”

You just said you think everybody has given up on you. Why do you feel that way?

“Well, I just think that any time you lose a game, it’s tough. Did I say that? I didn’t mean it that way. Look, what I mean is, when you lose a game in the NFL, it’s terrible for everybody involved: the home city, the team, the players – everybody understands that. But what we have in our locker room is a bunch of resilient guys that know that they’re 3-0 in their division, that there’s a lot of football left. If I could take that back, I’d take it back. I didn’t mean it that way. I meant that there’s a lot of ball left and it’s football. The league – I’ve said this to you guys a thousand times – the league is set up to be an 8-8 league. So, we’ve got to understand what it takes to not be 8-8, not to be 9-7, to get over the hump of that, and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’ve got to do a lot to improve, we understand that, but we’ve got a bunch of guys that want to fight in that locker room.”

What were your thoughts on WR Will Fuller V returning punts and will that continue going forward or will RB Tyler Ervin get the job back when he’s healthy?

“Ervin probably will not be back this week. You know, look, I really wanted Will back there because, obviously in the Tennessee game he really gave us a big boost there with a touchdown return. So, in this game I thought there was a lot that he could learn from. One of them, we had a wall return set up and I think he went the wrong way, another one, I thought he made a good decision on fielding the ball, fair caught it. You know, it was a little inconsistent. So, I think having him back there helps us and I think it’s just us, it’s me overall doing a better job of coaching him when he’s back there.”

The last two years you’ve had stretches where you were down and had to fight your way out. Does it feel like you’re at that point right now at 6-5, with two road games coming up that could be a defining point in the season?

“Oh yeah, this is big. No doubt about it. I don’t think there’s any question about it. I know you guys have a job to do. I just mean it’s very difficult to lose in this league. It’s just a hard thing because you put so much work into it. What I mean is we all realize the tough games. Every game is tough. We’re going into Green Bay. It’ll be a very difficult team, very difficult opponent, great coaching staff. I think we have the type of team, though, that understands – I just watched, basically, most of the game with them as a team today. There’s maybe this play here or that play there, this technique there, this technique there that we could all do a better job of. If we can clean those things up, coaching-wise too, we’ll have a shot to play well in all these games. If we don’t, we won’t. But I think, you know, the sun will come up the next day, but it’s just the way it is. We’ve got to clean these things up and try to coach them better and get everybody on the same page.”

Do you see a common thread to the penalties in terms of what your guys could do differently?

“We had some defensive holding calls, we had some neutral zone infractions where we were lined up in the neutral zone. We have to realize, I think, as coaches and players, how the game is being officiated right away, as soon as we can. If it’s being called tight – every crew is a little bit different. That’s just the way it is. It’s human nature. If it’s being called tightly on the perimeter of the defense right away, then we’ve got to understand, hey, maybe we can’t use our hands as much or maybe we have to make sure we only check them under five yards, things like that. If it’s being called – the same crew called the neutral zone infractions against us against Minnesota, so we should know that. We know that. That’s what I’m talking about, 160 plays. There were 156 plays in the game and we made 20 mistakes and San Diego only made 15. That’s where you win and lose the game, and part of it is what you’re talking about – we didn’t win the penalty battle. Even though the numbers suggest maybe we did, we really didn’t. We had too many first-and-5s, first-and-5, first-and-5 because of the neutral zones or first downs because of the defensive holding.”

What are the challenges of facing the Packersoffense?

“Well, you know, it starts with Aaron Rodgers. Great player, very athletic, great arm, just does a lot back there. Very different player than ones that we’ve played so far this year. Big, physical offensive line, a lot of good receivers. Obviously, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Ty Montgomery is a great special teams player for them. They line those guys up everywhere. Mike (McCarthy’s) scheme is very hard to go against. Good backs, big backs – James Starks. It’s a big challenge for us. Our defense – look, our defense has played well. Our offense needs to play better. I mean, let’s put the cards on the table. The defense has given up less than 100 yards rushing in three straight games and played really hard. Like, could they play a little bit better on a couple shot plays yesterday and here and there? You know, yeah, but like, our defense has played well. We’ve got to play better on offense, but I know our defense understands the challenge of going into Green Bay.”

You had to shuffle some personnel on defense without OLB John Simon. How do you think that went and do you think there is a shot that Simon will be back this week?

“I don’t think John will be back. John will be back before the end of the season, but he won’t be back this week, I don’t think. We did. Give credit to a lot of different guys up front. Obviously (Jadeveon) Clowney. Move him around a lot. We ask him to do a lot. He’s playing banged up too. Give him a lot of credit. Whitney Mercilus had a really good game for us. I think he had three TFLs, had some quarterback hits. Played very tough on the perimeter of the defense. (Benardrick) McKinney we’ve already talked about. Brian Cushing always plays tough for us. I thought Vince (Wilfork) did a nice job. D.J. Reader did a nice job inside. D.J. Reader made a lot of plays. Quintin Demps played well. He had the one double move on him but other than that, the guy played a good football game. (Andre) Dre Hal, you know, solid game. A lot of guys contributed and anytime you lose somebody, the next guy’s got to step up but sometimes that involves more than one guy.”

During your first two years, your team had to dig out of some holes but it worked and you were able to get to the playoffs and make it to 9-7 your first year. What did you find as a coach worked and do you have to go back and see what worked for you to be better in the next five games?

“I think the best thing you can do, for me personally, is - just for me personally to answer that question - is to just be yourself. Be real with the players. Like, this is what it is. I mean, these are the plays that we executed well. These are the plays that we didn’t execute well. These are the plays that shouldn’t have been called. Got to eliminate those plays. We’re all in it together. I don’t know I just try to go into those meetings. I’m not trying to mind-trick anybody or do anything like that. I’m just saying, ‘Hey look guys, it’s all out there for us. We’re 3-0 in the division.’ Like you pointed out, I think every week is tough. I told you this story before. I remember being on a Patriots staff where we were undefeated and we were playing a Miami team at the time that was 1-11 and I can remember that was I think an overtime game. I mean these games are all tough and our players understand that. We have tough players, you know, you watch the film and you watch our guys fly around. We just need to clean some things up and be more consistent. Now you can say to me, ‘Why are you saying that in December?’ I don’t know, but I am. We got to keep working on it. What choice do we have? We’re going to keep trying to work to get better.”

Penn State University has come a long way since you started there in 2012. What do you think about them being in the Big 10 Championship game considering where they were when you first got there?

“Couldn’t be more proud of that program, those kids. A lot of those kids were there when we were there as a staff. I could answer this forever. In 2012, I will say this, in 2012 people gave up on that program and you can go back and look it up. Numerous experts gave up on that program and it’s a great testament to that school, that coaching staff, James Franklin’s staff, that’s there now and especially those kids to come back from that and to be 10-2 playing in the Big 10 Championship game when it was basically very close to death penalty SMU-type sanctions. That’s a testament to those kids that are there now.”

What do you think about Tom Herman taking the head coaching job at the University of Texas?

“I think he’s a great coach. I think Texas got a great coach. I’ve gotten to know Tom a little bit when they practice over here. I’ve watched them on TV. Obviously Mike Vrabel holds Tom in very high esteem. I think that Texas is an unbelievable job and they hired a great coach. One thing I would like to say though is - to make sure on that - is I really respect and admire Charlie Strong. I think Charlie Strong is a hell of a guy and an excellent football coach. Like we all know, sometimes it doesn’t work out. It’s not from lack of effort or lack of toughness and things like that. Charlie is a tough guy, good football coach, and now Texas has moved on to Tom Herman and Tom Herman is an excellent football coach.”

That’s all of BOB’s comments from today’s presser. What say you of his comments about Brock Osweiler? Let us know in the comments below.