Houston Texans head honcho Bill O’Brien had his weekly press conference this afternoon from deep in the bowels of NRG Stadium. For a guy as intensely focused on leading his team each and every week, I often wonder how much of a pain-in-the-back-judge these press conferences must be for O’Brien. This thought is especially valid on a short week when time is at a premium. When asked about how things change when dealing with a short week, O’Brien said, “We sleep here, instead of at home.” The reporter seemed to doubt his sincerity with that statement and O’Brien replied, “Do I look like I’m kidding? Do I look, like, fresh as a daisy right now?”
In keeping with my thought that press conferences weren’t high on his “Want To Do” list, as if on cue, O’Brien added (with tongue firmly planted in cheek), “I was really looking forward to this this morning… to being with you guys.”
The expression of “are you freaking kidding me with that?” lasted for a moment before he returned to the more serious aspects brought up in the questions posed to him.
A reporter asked, “What are you seeing from WR Will Fuller V in regards to his ongoing progression?”
To which O’Brien replied, “He’s a smart kid. He works hard. This will be a big test for him here. Quick turnaround. We’re not getting ready for Bowling Green here. He’s got a couple days here to get his body back and get going. That’s for all the rookies. This is a really big test as far as taking care of your business in the training room and all those different things.”
As we all know, O’Brien and New England coach Bill Belichick share a mutual respect born of their time together on the Patriots coaching staff. When asked about O’Brien earlier, Belichick praised O’Brien and said he learned a lot from him when the Houston head honcho worked for the Patriots.
When asked about Braxton Miller’s status for Thursday, O’Brien simply said it was too early to tell.
The questioning turned to how preparing for his third Thursday Night Football game was similar to the prior two and if it gave him any advantages. O’Brien stated those prior two TNF games were different as they were home games, whereas this one has travel, etc. which made things uniquely different. That, and the fact the Texans are coming off a really physical game against Kansas City.
The Chronicle’s John McClain (who could stand some lessons in microphone usage – sorry, that’s a pet peeve for the former singer in me) asked if O’Brien had learned anything of use during his time with New England. O’Brien replied withm “First of all, they’re a totally different team than when I was there. Last time I was there was 2011. Very, very different team. Different players. There’s very few players that are still there that were there when I was there. Obviously, (Rob) Gronkowski, (Matthew) Slater, (Devin) McCourty, but there’s not a ton of players there, so it’s a different team. Different skill-sets. So just because myself and George (Godsey) coached there, that doesn’t really give us much insight into what they’re doing now. Now as far as last year’s game, we’re going to look at that, but they’re very much of a game plan team. In some respects whatever we saw last year, we may see some of that, but we’ve got to get ready for, in a couple days here, for basically making sure that we take care of our own business if that makes sense. Make sure that we know our game plan and that we go in there and we just make sure that we do a great job as coaches of seeing what their game plan is as quickly as we can.”
The questioning then turned to outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney. O’Brien said, “I think he’s playing really hard. There are a few clips on there where he is rushing the passer, the pass gets off and he’s chasing the ball carrier down. I think the guy is playing with tremendous effort, and I’ll say that about all the guys on defense. When I turn the film on as a coach, you just kind of want the personality of your team to definitely be a team that plays very hard, and I think that those guys on defense are playing hard.”
It wouldn’t be a Texans presser without a question regarding J.J. Watt. Coach said, “J.J. had a good football game. He played well yesterday.”
On Brock Osweiler – McClain asked if Texans talked to Pats about Osweiler when they were evaluating him, O’Brien replied by saying, “We talked to a lot of people about him. I would say that personally, I did not talk to anybody at New England about him, and I’m sure that Rick (Smith) didn’t either. I just watch the tape, and that was definitely, you know, part of the evaluation, as were numerous other things like Arizona State, preseason games, our recollection of him when we were out there for training camp a couple years ago. There’s a lot of different parts of the evaluation. That was definitely one of them though.”
Some of the better tidbits of the remainder of the presser:
On Clowney/Watt together (asked if they’re playing the way O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel envisioned when they drafted him): “I think when you turn the film on, all of those guys. I know what you are asking with Watt and Clowney, and I understand that. It’s also Mercilus and John Simon. John Simon, he played a good football game yesterday. I’m going to give a game ball to the whole team. I think the whole team contributed to that win. Yes, there’s no doubt that J.J. and JD and Mercilus and John being on the field at the same time.
On A.J. Bouye/DeAndre Hopkins relationship: “They compete hard against each other. I know they are really good friends. You wouldn’t always know that in practice because they really go after it when they go against each other. I think that’s made both guys better.”
And the most likely over-quoted comment in the bunch, sure to turn into click bait by the mainstream media outlets: “I believe Coach Belichick will go down as the best of all time.” – Bill O’Brien (September 19, 2016).