What would be your pitch to a free agent or any player as to why this is a team they should play for given everything that’s been circulating around the team recently?
“I’m not really sure about whatever is circling around outside the team. All I know is what’s inside the team, and it’s very positive. It’s been positive since I’ve been here, and everybody that walks through this building feels that same positivity. Any free agents that we bring in, that we have brought in, feel the same way about that, and we feel really good about that.”
What do you view as some of the biggest needs for your team as you enter free agency?
“You know what, each year the team changes, and at that point, we look at everybody from top to bottom. We look at all positions and you always want to upgrade those positions. Basically, the reason you want to do that is to create competition. Competition makes everybody better, and you’re always trying to do that through free agency. You do that through the draft, and that’s a yearly thing, and that’s something that we’re trying to do right now.”
Do you believe the organization can get QB Deshaun Watson to change his mind?
“Well, it’s not a matter of me trying to change anybody’s mind. As I said before, right now we’re committed to him. He’s a Houston Texan, and we’re going to move forward with that.”
If QB Deshaun Watson doesn’t want to be a Houston Texans, how does the situation get resolved?
“I don’t know about him not wanting to be a Houston Texan, what I hear from the outside. I just know that he’s a Houston Texan. He’s ours. We’re committed to him, and we’re going to go with that.”
What does it mean to you to have Senior Advisor for Football Performance Romeo Crennel back on the staff and as a resource?
“Obviously, he’s been on football teams that’s been multi-Super Bowl winners, two different football teams. He’s got a wealth of experience. He’s been a head coach. He’s a guy that I have the utmost confidence in, and he’s kind of been a mentor to me throughout my career in the NFL. Again, Romeo was a guy that, when I was a senior in high school, recruited me out of high school. I go way back with Romeo and have followed his career, and as my career has gone up, I’ve talked to him many, many times, and I’m so elated to be able to have him here with us to be able to bounce things off of him.”
What is your contingency plan if QB Deshaun Watson does not participate training camp?
“As of right now, there is no contingency plan from the standpoint of he is a Houston Texan, and basically that’s how we’re moving forward with it. We’re committed to him, as I said before.”
How closely have you worked with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby? Also, when you and Nick Caserio talk about personnel, how involved is Jack Easterby in the process?
“Nick is the general manager. I’m the head coach. Jack is the vice president of football operations, which involves a bunch of things. It involves scheduling. It involves logistics around the building. It involves a bunch of things that goes on here that he does a wonderful job of doing, and basically it’s a multitude of responsibilities.”
Is Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby involved in personnel decisions?
“The general manager is Nick (Caserio). Nick handles all personnel.”
Are you trading QB Deshaun Watson?
“Deshaun Watson is a Houston Texan and we’re committed to him.”
How do you guys create an identity and vision for the team if you are not sure who the quarterback is going to be in 2021?
“Well, that’s something that we would deal with it if we ever got in that situation. We’re not in that situation right now, and if that situation ever came up, we’d deal with that situation when we got to that point.”
Has your level of enthusiasm changed at all now that you’ve been in the building for a month or so? Also, what do you think of your coaching staff that you put together?
“The first thing about my enthusiasm, it’s gone through the roof right now. It’s gone up even more. If you saw me before then, you see me now and you hear me now, you’ll see it’s gone through the roof and it’s getting higher and higher every day as I get excited about this football team and where we’re headed. As far as the coaching staff, I’ve been very excited about the guys that are on our staff right now. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve got teachers. We’ve got guys that have the same vision that we have here as far as moving forward and teaching and coaching, and I couldn’t be more excited about that.”
What are your expectations for some of the second-year players after watching them on tape?
“Well, we’re evaluating the roster right now. We’re evaluating everybody. We have the same expectations for all those guys, to be better than they were before. We expect the same thing out of all of those guys, not just the rookies.”
You’ve said repeatedly the team is committed to QB Deshaun Watson. Is Watson committed to you and the team?
How do you know QB Deshaun Watson is committed to the team?
“Well, he’s a Houston Texan. Again, I know that I feel like the commitment we’ve made to him, I feel like that same commitment will be there with us also moving forward.”
What goes into the process of scouting and drafting? Also, how excited are you to be a part of that process as a head coach now?
“Again, Nick (Caserio) and our personnel department handles all of that, and we all work together during that process. I couldn’t be even more happy to be able to be where I’m at right now in that particular situation with the experience and everything that Nick has had, and his staff has been doing. We’re working on that right now. We’re moving forward with it at this point and it’s been very exciting and continuing to look forward and move on with that.”
Do you feel like you have been put in a position to succeed here as the head coach?
“Without a doubt. 100 percent in a situation to be able to succeed. When the McNair family hired me, knowing that Nick (Caserio) was here and part of that process – I mean I couldn’t be in a better place to be able to be successful going through my first time than where I am right here.”
What will the offense look like moving forward? Will it be similar to Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly’s offense from last season?
“Well, we envision it being an offense – first of all, in all offenses in this league, first and foremost, you want to make sure you’re a turnover-free type offense. Tim did a nice job with this football team last year offensively. As an offensive staff here, it will be a collaboration of direction that we go in and that direction will determine our personnel, and we’re going to do what we feel like is best for our personnel. I felt like last year that Tim did a great job of doing that. I foresee that moving forward.”
What are two or three things that you think are the most important for turning around the Texans this offseason?
“Well, the thing is competition. Competition, getting players in here because the team changes each year and when the team changes, you know, you go out and look for people to bring in for competition to be able to make it better. I feel like right now, with what we’re doing, Nick (Caserio) and our personnel staff is doing with free agency and with the draft coming up, that that’s the best way and the quickest way to be able to get things moving in the direction that you want to do is creating competition. That’s why we’re bringing in the people that we’re bringing in and that’s why we’re evaluating the people that we’re evaluating.”
What are you able to do right now to get your message to the players on the roster who you aren’t able to see on a daily basis?
“Right now, because of the NFL rules and not knowing about what the offseason is going to be like, the players that are currently on our team right now, we have limited conversations from that standpoint and what you can and cannot say. But guys that are free agents out there that we’ve had in to visit, we have the conversation. We tell them our vision of what we want and where we’re headed, and basically those guys have been very receptive to that. Each one that we end up talking to, basically we give them that vision and give them where we’re headed and we take it from there.”
Based on what you watched from last season in evaluating RB David Johnson, what do you think you can do to put him in a better position to succeed this year?
“He’s been a very productive player here and that’s why he’s still here. Obviously, he’s a very versatile player. He’s very good at not only just running the football, but also catching the football in the backfield. We feel like Tim (Kelly) and our offensive staff will put him in position to be successful to keep doing those things.”
What is your number one priority that you want to get done the most before this season starts?
“To make sure that everybody in this building has got the same vision that I have for this football team, and every day when I leave this building and when I walk into this building, that’s the one thing that we make sure that’s happening, is that everybody’s going in the same direction. And I see that happening from top to bottom.”
Can you further explain what your vision for the team is?
“Well, that vision is that everybody in this building knows that we all have to be on the same page. We all have to believe in what we’re doing. That right there, that belief will end up carrying us through anything that comes up. Whatever adversity comes up, we are going to deal with it in the same way. We’re all going to deal with it the same way. When everybody’s going in the same direction, when those things happen, then you’re able to move forward a lot quicker.”
Can you explain why Jon Weeks is no longer a part of the team?
“Again, we look at our roster from top to bottom, and we have to make decisions. When Nick (Caserio) makes decisions, we always make decisions what’s best for the football team, and then we go from there. All those decisions are always based on what’s best for the football team.”
Why did you pursue Associate Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith and retain Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly? Also, schematically, are there changes in the running game that you guys can make as a whole to help RB David Johnson become more successful?
“The first one is with Lovie. Obviously, Lovie is someone that has had a great track record in this league. He’s someone that he’s been a head coach. He’s had a great track record as a defensive coordinator. He’s someone that I’ve known for a long time and being able to get him here was very very important simply because I felt like he’s the kind of guy that you want to be able to have on your team to be able to have success. That was the reason that he is here and we’re very fortunate to be able to have him here. The same thing with you mentioned too about David. I mean, David’s a good football player. He’ll be a part of what we’re doing right here offensively. We felt like he fits, and that’s why he’s still here.”
How important was it to add a coach like Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton to potentially work with QB Deshaun Watson and be a part of your offensive scheme?
“He has a world of experience. I’ve known Pep a long time. You’ve seen what he’s done. His track record coaching quarterbacks, whether it’s been in Indianapolis or whether it’s been this past year with the Chargers. I mean he’s done a tremendous job. He’s got a world of experience. I was very fortunate to get him and I’m glad to have him and looking forward to him doing the same thing, having success here that he’s had every place else he’s been.”
Should we expect players like ILB Benardrick McKinney and OLB Whitney Mercilus to be waived to create additional cap space?
“You know, that’s something I refer to Nick (Caserio). Nick would be able to take care of that one for you.”