Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith and the players meet the media after the Texans’ training camp.


How was your transition to the NFL?

“I have a great coaching staff who teach me the game, who helped me understand the playbook very quickly, and I also have great teammates who help me when I need it. . So I’m grateful for that.”

What’s it like playing with DB Jonathan Owens?

“Oh that’s wonderful, JO (Jonathan Owens), he’s on. He brings that energy to every game, and he’s a great teammate to have on the pitch because he always makes sure you know what what you’re doing and making sure you’re paying attention to some upcoming games. I love being out there with JO.”

Do you remember the first thing safety coach Joe Danna said to you or what he expected of you?

“I don’t know. The only thing I remember, though, in our room is one thing that, just as you walk through the door, says, ‘I’m fine. “You should never say, I’m too good for something. You should always work to get better at something and I feel like he brings that every day. Coach Joe (Danna) has great energy every day and he tries to match the intensity of the players, so I love that.

At what point during this training camp did you notice that your instincts aligned with your knowledge?

“Yeah, I would say I’m still growing. I still understand the playbook, I understand what offenses like to do in the NFL, and I like football, so I like to learn every day, and I I feel like I’m doing this. I just keep going up. I feel like I haven’t really plateaued yet. I have a long way to go.

Does it seem to you that your game translates to this level? Is it kind of a confidence booster to see the plays you did in college and the plays you did here?

“Yeah, coming in, I just wanted to make sure I was confident from the start. I understand that I don’t know what I’m just doing, and I think when you approach something, you have to start with confidence. in order to grab the gear and be able to go out there and make the plays when needed. I try to approach everything with a confident mindset, and I think that helped me assistance.

Some of your teammates have mentioned to you in their interviews how impressed they were with what you were able to do at camp. What does this respect mean to you, being noticed?

“Certainly it means the world to me. I try to earn these guys respect and I try to show them that I belong. It’s important that they feel like I’m doing a great job, but I want to keep growing and keep matching their intensity.”

DB Grayland Arnold said the day you got drafted you exchanged pleasantries and then you jumped straight into the playbook. Is that why you’re so vocal out there knowing where you need to be and what you should do?

“Certainly. You have to know what you’re doing to talk. I take this very seriously, and as I say, I always try to help my teammates so we can get intercepted here or get a punch there – down. I always try to do what I can to help my teammates. Learning the playbook is the start of that, which is why I asked Grayland (Arnold) initially.

What are the things that have most marked the pro level so far?

“I would say the quarterbacks, their decision-making is very good. They’re very patient. The offense does a great job giving us different looks and showing a lot of different things, so I like going against them. Just the whole intensity of defense, every day they come out they’re ready to compete, and it just makes me want to go harder Just the general atmosphere of the NFL, it’s second to none .

What did you learn from DB Derek Stingley Jr?

“Yeah, (Derek) Stingley, he’s great. He’s also a guy I lean on when I talk about different things the offense is trying to do. I love playing with him and I love being around him. We’re always talking about what we’re about to get. And I feel like me and him are going to be great together. I love being out there with him.

How eager are you to find yourself in a game situation on Saturday?

“Oh, I’m very impatient. I love games. In practice, you’re not able to hit and drive a lot – finish a lot of games. It would be great to go out there and compete with my teammates and running for the ball.”

Is there extra pressure to play in front of the home crowd?

“Not necessarily. I had a lot of people who came to my games at Baylor, and when you’re on the pitch you kind of forget all that. All you have left is all the studies you you made and the preparation you put in it.”

Do you have friends and family coming to watch?

“Yes, madam, I have, I have many.”

Both you and DB Derek Stingley Jr. were coached by Dave Aranda at some point in your career. What did you two learn from him?

“Just being mindful in meetings. Coach (Dave) Aranda is a smart coach, a very conscious coach, and he’s always looking to improve and always thinking about the next step. I see that in (Derek) Stingley and I’m trying to take after that with Aranda too.He was a great coach and I’m happy I got to play for him.

How do you connect with HC Lovie Smith?

“We connect well. Coach Lovie (Smith) is great. He’s a very energetic guy, very funny. He has jokes here and there. But he’s also very serious. He wants us to get turnovers and he wants us to run for the ball. I try to do that, and I try to bring that every time I’m on the pitch.

Do you feel like there’s pressure on this rookie class to help rebuild this franchise, and what have you seen from RB Dameon Pierce?

“No pressure, no, sir. We’re all here, everyone’s here to do a job, and I think we all understand that. Dameon Pierce, if you’re in his way, he’s going to run you over. is the only information I can give about him.”

And then are you going to hear about RB Dameon Pierce crushing you next?

“I’m definitely going to hear about it after, and I love it.”

Have you ever taken a moment to realize everything you’ve been through from Baylor, to the draft, to now?

“Certainly. You know, I thank God for putting me here and allowing me to do the things that I’m able to do. I never would have guessed that he would put me here in Houston to play in front of my hometown. . It’s really wonderful that he chose me, and I’m very grateful for that.”

At Baylor, you played a lot of box and nickel. It seems that here you do a lot more free security?

“Yeah, it’s a lot more patience. You’re the last line of defense so you can’t be that aggressive, but it’s still football. I still understand that I’m part of the defense and I gotta do my job. Every time I’m out there, I try to do that.”

Where does your consistency come from?

“Just in college. I figured that out – I played a lot but wasn’t as consistent, and that led to me seeing a lot of dips in my game production. Every day I come here , I try to bring the same energy and the same production in order to see the results that I want to see.”

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