Zac Efron and Head Coach Bill O’Brien can agree on one thing: “We are all in this together.” O’Brien idly referenced the High School Musical quote when discussing his team’s mentality during the bye week.
The head coach nicknamed “Teapot” was on simmer today while answering questions from the media. A question about Deshaun Watson’s preparation for Seattle’s crowd and home field advantage led to a conversation about his music preferences. Rick Ross, Country, Irish tunes? I don’t think that is a combination seen on many people’s playlist.
“I like these types of media availabilities. These are good,” O’Brien cracked.
The media is definitely more amicable when you are winning and your All-Pro left tackle has finally returned from a contract dispute. O’Brien was more than willing to answer questions about Duane Brown.
“Its good to have him back,” O’Brien said, especially considering Chris Clark is out for a couple weeks with a calf injury. Brown’s timely return comes after missing all of training camp and the first six weeks of the season. “Continuity” on the offensive line is a mainstay for success on offense. O’Brien mentioned how the group has stayed relatively constant throughout the season and training camp. He discussed how imperative being “cohesive in communication” is to success on the line. Although Brown has not played this season, BOB is confident that the ten-year veteran will gel immediately with the other starters.
The media was also interested in the Seattle Seahawks and the preparation for the upcoming game.
“It’s definitely one of the toughest places to play in the NFL,” O’Brien said. BOB was outspoken about the hostile environment created by the “12th Man” in Seattle. To simulate such noise, O’Brien noted that they “crank up the music” during practice.
Other questions that BOB fielded included the infusion of young linebackers who have been helpful. “Tough. Very active... very coachable” were some of the phrases he threw out to describe their early success. With Max Bullough being let go before the season started and Brian Cushing suspended ten games, there was an immediate need for depth in the linebacker core. Undrafted rookie free agent Dylan Cole stepped up early to fill many roles but has suffered a hamstring injury on an interception last week, sidelining him for several weeks.
Kevin Johnson looks to get back in the lineup this week after suffering a knee injury in the second week in the season. His “energy” will be vital to a thin and aging secondary that has given potential opportunities for teams to beat them over-the-top. The Seahawks’ best WR, Doug Baldwin has 374 yards and two TDs on the season so far.
Red zone improvement has been a vital part of the success of Deshaun Watson. Houston is currently third in Red Zone Scoring Percentage, with 65% of all trips ending in a touchdown. OB mentioned that they “work on it every day” and “practice it more” compared to previous years. It helps having a stud quarterback who freezes linebackers with his mere presence, opening up passing lanes for wideouts.
Bill O’Brien was also very laudatory of the Houston Astros and their Game 7 victory against the New York Yankees. Jokingly, he considered bringing Evan Gattis as a linebacker option for the Texans.
With the bye week over, the Texans must now focus on Seattle Seahawks. They have yet to beat a team that currently has a winning record. The Seahawks are 4-2 and are getting better each week. BOB praised them for their defense and listed several studs on that side of the ball. The offense must outperform the Seahawks in many categories to pull off the upset and “continue to get better every week”.