TEXANS HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN CONFERENCE CALL
(with Baltimore Media)
How beneficial has it been to have a bye week ahead of this game with some of the things the Ravens do on offense and getting a chance to get into their gameplan and some time to study what they do on offense? (Jeff Zrebiec)"It's a good question. I think the answer to that will be on Sunday. I think it's good anytime the bye comes midway through the season. I do think from a health standpoint you're able to get some guys healed up after eight or nine weeks of the season. I think relative to the Ravens, you do the best you can to simulate what you think it might be, but you better be ready to go on gameday, because it's a hell of a football team. We feel like we have a good football team, and it's going to be a big challenge for us."
With QB Deshaun Watson and QB Lamar Jackson, when they entered the league there were a lot of questions about how they would fit into an NFL scheme. But with their success, do you feel that those types of dual-threat quarterbacks could be the next wave of the future for the NFL? (Jamison Hensley)"I guess I would question the questioners. When we evaluated Deshaun [Watson], we felt, obviously, very strongly about his ability to come in here and be a winner and develop into an excellent pro quarterback, which is what he's done. I don't coach Lamar [Jackson]. I definitely evaluated Lamar and met Lamar pre-draft, and he's a great player. So, 'wave of the future,' all those different things ... I think these guys are winners. They were winners in college. They were winners in high school, and they're winners now. And I think that, relative to what their skillsets are, I feel like both coaching staffs do a good job of putting people in the right place around them and doing everything they can to emphasize, accentuate their skillsets. I don't know about the future and all those things. I think it's all about leadership. It's about instincts. It's about ability. It's about intelligence. It's just ... When the lights come on, these guys play real well, and that's what it's about, in my opinion."
This season a lot of coaches have talked about the difficulties of preparing for QB Lamar Jackson and how to simulate him in practice. What does having a guy like QB Deshaun Watson – how much does that help you kind of give your defense a feel for what you're going to see on Sunday? (Andrew Gillis) "At the end of the day, when you're getting ready for the Ravens during a week like this, you're not using Deshaun [Watson] on the scout team. You know what I mean? But we do – throughout the year – we do some things that are very similar to what the Ravens do, so maybe relative to training camp or OTAs our defense has seen some things. But at the end of the day, I would say it's almost impossible to simulate the speed and the tempo with which the Ravens do it. We'll try to give them a good picture this week and then get these guys ready to go as best we can on Sunday."
It's easy for coaches and reporters to say, "You have to build around a young quarterback," but in your mind, what has been the key for you guys and what are the keys when any team sets out to build around a young quarterback? (Aaron Kasinitz)"To me, just my opinion, that's really what coaching is all about. Coaching – you're not trying to fit someone into your scheme. You're trying to make sure that you evaluate the players that you have, the quarterback that you have and do everything you can to emphasize the things that they do well, that the quarterback does well. And with Deshaun [Watson], he does a lot of things well, and so, we're able to do a number of different things. And we have so much trust and faith in him that when he's out on the field directing the offense, he's going to make the best decisions for the team, which is what he usually does."
The Ravens have had a lot of personnel on defense. They've had guys come and go. They've had some injuries. They've made some changes. We talked a lot about preparing for QB Lamar Jackson, but is that a defense that could be particularly difficult to prepare for, just because how much different personnel they use and how many looks they provide? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Absolutely – a very difficult defense to prepare for. It's all of what you just said – the different personnel, the addition of Marcus Peters, the way that their secondary as a whole is playing, obviously the addition of Earl Thomas and then the front. The front is a very, very tough, stout front, and then the scheme. Coach [Don] Martindale does a great job mixing it up. You really don't know what you're going to get. You have to be prepared for everything, and again, that's what we're working hard to try to be ready for when we get up there."