BB: Alright, how’d it go yesterday? Good? Good on this end too. Alright, well, closing up shop here on the Texans. As I’ve been saying all week, this is a good football team. I think they’re obviously a lot better than what their record says. You watch them play; they do a lot of things well. [They’re] ranked number one in the league in defense and yards and deservedly so. They’re real good in that area. Special teams is going to be a big challenge for us. Obviously, we had a real tough day covering kickoffs in the playoff game. [We’re] lucky to get away with that, we can’t let that happen again.
Q: Has the defense changed a lot from last year?
Q: Same Wade Phillips stuff?
BB: Yes. They get a lot of pressure with their front, I’d say, five because sometimes it’s Reed, sometimes it’s [Whitney] Mercilus. Or when they get in their nickel, a lot of times they’ll bring a fifth guy. But they get plenty of pressure with four guys too, don’t get me wrong. It’s a lot of four and five-man pressure and they can get there. Somebody, two or three guys get singled, maybe they can slide to one guy, five-on-four but the other three guys, and they get production out of him. [Earl] Mitchell has done a real good job for them. He’s been very active. Makes plays in the pass rush, makes a lot of plays in pursuit. He’s a very athletic nose guard, so is [Terrell] McClain. We’ve had him, he runs well too. They’ve gotten plays out of [Jared] Crick. They have good depth on their front and they have good players. They have a lot of speed on the edge with Mercilus and Brooks Reed.
Q: Ryan Allen has handled some tough snaps lately. For a guy who never did that in a game before the NFL, what has he learned and how’s he doing?
BB: Well, he’s worked hard at it. It starts with having good natural hands. Coach [Scott] O’Brien and Coach [Joe] Judge, those guys have spent a lot of time with him on the punt ball handling, as well as the field goal ball handling. You’re right, it’s definitely a different skill and one that takes a lot of practice, especially because it involves timing with the kicker and that whole operation. If you’re a little bit early, it’s hard to make them. If you’re a little bit late, you have to deal with the rush. It really needs to be real good timing. Ryan has worked hard on that. He’s gotten better at it. [There’s] no real secret, just a lot of reps, lot of hard work; he and Danny [Aiken] and Steve [Gostkowski] on the field goals. But even on the punt snaps, these conditions are a little different than what he’s had to kick in the last few years.
Q: What have you seen on film from Case Keenum?
BB: He’s been a real good decision maker. The defense hasn’t had their hands on very many balls. Even the interception at the end of the game last week was on a tipped ball, it was a good throw. He’s got pretty good judgment, pretty good accuracy. He’s athletic. They run a lot of bootlegs anyway, but he’s athletic in the pocket to get away from the rush, buy a little more time. Like I said, he’s done a good job of not turning the ball over. He’s been disciplined with his decision making. Still getting the ball to his key guys – obviously [Andre] Johnson, [DeAndre] Hopkins – but at the same time not really putting it up for grabs very often. Look, he’s made some tight throws, especially if you’re fourth down in the red area and that kind of thing, you have to have a play, you have to throw it in there. But I’d say overall his decision making, his judgment, he’s an athletic guy, he can buy time, extra time, to throw which puts more stress on the coverage and the defense. All those things.
Q: Have they been pretty similar schematically on the offensive side of the ball to what you saw last year?
BB: Yeah. Well, they’re the type of team that will mix up their formations and their personnel but I’d say the plays are pretty much their core plays. But they window dress them, they make them harder for you to recognize them with different shifts, motions, personnel groups, the way they position their players. But then when the ball is snapped, the guys end up doing their core plays, their stretch play, their inside zone play, their flash play, their different bootlegs. They have a little different look to them but it’s really still their core stuff.
Q: What makes that stuff that you mentioned, like the stretch play, hard to defend?
BB: Well yeah, because they’re running wide so you have to defend the boundary. You have to defend the backside on the boot, so it gives you a lot of width; it forces your defense to handle a lot of width. Then when the defense stretches, the backs, when they hit that third step, they’re looking to get downhill. I don’t want to say cut it back, but they cut downhill. If your defense doesn’t get wide enough, they hit the edge. If they get too wide, the back comes downhill. You can’t let the backside go because of the amount of bootlegs that they run. Even if you bring an eighth guy into the box, so to speak, against seven, that eighth guy has to take the quarterback. He doesn’t have to, but you better have somebody on him. So if the eighth guy takes the quarterback, then you don’t have him to chase those plays down from the backside. That’s how they keep you honest. It’s not different, but it’s similar to the zone-option, read-option program because in that, it’s the same thing: they hand the ball off to the running back, but somebody has to take the quarterback on the keep. Well, in their offense, somebody has to handle their quarterback on the boot or you let him stand out there by himself and throw. That’s not a good situation so he accounts for the extra guy you could potentially bring down into the front. It forces you to play seven-on-seven or six-on-six or however the formation is displaced. That’s how they handle the numbers game, which is a good concept.
Q: Does that fall to those guys on the edge a lot, to stay at home?
BB: Well, to be sound, somebody has to have it. It doesn’t have to be the same guy every time, but if you send one guy down then you have to leave somebody back. If you leave one guy back, then you send the other guy down. You have to fill your space in there. But I’m just saying, they’ve made plenty of big plays where the backside guy has tried to chase the run down, it’s the pass and the quarterback whether it’s [Matt] Schaub or [Case] Keenum or whoever it is, [T.J.] Yates, is standing out there with nobody pressuring him, has all day to throw and he’s looking at receivers 20, 30 yards downfield, that’s not a good place to be defensively. I think somebody has to take it or you want somebody to take it.
Q: Was D.J. Williams a guy you looked into during the pre-draft process in 2011?
BB: Yeah, sure. We look at everybody, all those guys that are at that level, yeah.
Q: What do you see him bringing to the team?
BB: He’s had production in the passing game, both in college and in the NFL. He’s also played in the kicking game. Smart guy, has some experience. We’ll see how it goes here. Bringing in a new player, you give him some stuff and by the end of the week, you just see how much it’s piled up. Even if there’s any consideration to make him active for the game but then whether or not he can handle the volume of first and second down, third down, red area, goal line, special teams. There are a lot of things that by the end of the week, you end up getting piled on to a player’s plate. Whether there’s part of that, all of it, none of it, we’ll just have to see how it comes together here at the end of the week, as to whether or not he’d be able to contribute anything this week.
Q: Did you ever find yourself getting too close to the action like Mike Tomlin did last night?
BB: Yeah, I’ve been blown up a couple times. There’s one play in particular where I was kind of watching the pass rush of the front and the ball was thrown. I didn’t really follow the ball that quickly and all the sudden the guy caught it and was right on top of me and [I] ended up under the Gatorade bench. Obviously if you’re watching the ball, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. But if you’re trying to watch something else… Obviously we have to give the officials and the players room to play. Sometimes that just happens where you get guys caught up a little bit on the sideline. But yeah, I saw the play last night. I was like, ‘Oh my God, yeah.’ That could easily happen to any of us. It’s a good lesson, I have to be careful.
Q: Do you remember what game that was when you ended up under the Gatorade?
BB: Oh yeah, I sure do. Looking up at the cups and the Gatorade dripping down, yeah.
Q: Will Svitek got to play a lot Sunday night. What have you seen from him over the course of the year?
BB: Will’s a real, obviously he’s got a lot of experience. He’s a dependable player. He was with all us all spring, all training camp, had a good preseason. Then he missed a little time there at the end of the preseason, the beginning of the regular season before he was able to come back. He has a real good understanding of what we do. As we know, in preseason he played not only tackle but guard, so he’s played both tackles, both guards. He has a lot of position flexibility. When Marcus [Cannon] went down, he stepped in the game against good players and stepped up there and competed well. Not perfect, but he hung in there. We’ll see that again this week. We’ll see how it’s going with him and Marcus. I know he knows he has to be ready. Everybody has to be ready, that’s what the NFL is. That’s a good example for everyone too, that on any play you could go from not expecting to play a lot to being in there on every snap. It’s all about having everybody ready to go and taking advantage of the opportunities and having guys step in and be able to do the job when they’re counted on.