HOUSTON – As the Houston Texans prepare for their Monday night season opener at the New Orleans Saints, it will also be their first game since 2013 without Jadeveon Clowney on the roster.
Clowney, who made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons, was traded to the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 31.
Here's some reaction this week to his departure and how the team will overcome it:
Head coach Bill O'Brien
Q: How will you go about replacing what DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney brought to the run defense?
A: Every year is different. We've always had to replace players every single year, so right now we're just in the midst of game planning for the Saints. Obviously, I'm not going to get into specifics about that, but we're working hard. We had a good practice yesterday and we've got to kind of string another one together today.
Assistant head coach, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel
Q: What do you think about trade of DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney and how are you going to make up for his loss?
A: "Well the trade is a trade, it's happened and he's no longer part of the team, and so we're going to have to make up the best we can. Somebody else is going to have to step up and see if they can get the job done."
Q: Did you anticipate DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney would be back while you prepared in the offseason?
A: You come up with the plan because the system is the system. You can adapt the system as you need to, depending on who you have and who you don't have, and also depending on what the guys you have can do. So, because you don't know whether you're going to have him or not, you have to install your system and you work through your system. If he's here, then, boom, you can plug him where you used him the year before. If he's not here, you try to plug somebody else in and then you find out what they can do, and if they can't do what the other guy did, then you've got to figure out what their strong points are and play to their strong points.
Defensive end J.J. Watt
Q: What does the defense need to do to make up for the loss of DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney?
A: We just need to go out there and play football. We have got guys out there - Whitney (Mercilus), obviously, on the edge, myself on the edge, D.J. (Reader), Dunny (Brandon Dunn), Lo (Angelo Blackson). You've got B-Mac (Benardrick McKinney) and Zach (Cunningham), J. (Justin) Reid, J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), all the guys on the back end. We have a lot of guys out there. Obviously, it's tough to lose a player like that, but we have a lot of guys out there that can step up can make plays.