Houston – It has been a grind of a season so far for the Texans, but now they can finally take a step back and relax.
Time to celebrate a 6-3 start. Let's not get too crazy with that, though, because there is still plenty to play for in the next seven weeks.
The Texans now will prepare for their trip to Baltimore to face the Ravens on Nov. 17 and then host the Colts four days later on "Thursday Night Football." Then comes another long break to prep for the Patriots on "Sunday Night Football" Dec. 1.
How do you like that stretch of football?
The Texans met briefly with the media on Tuesday at NRG Stadium before the break began. Here are a few of the top quotes from your AFC South leader.
HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
Do you expect to have CB Bradley Roby, CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. and S Tashaun Gipson Sr. back after the bye?
"That's a good question. I think they're trending in the right direction, but I think this is a big week for that. I think one of the keys, just to kind of rewind here a little bit, one of the keys to the second half of the season will be health. I think that guys have to work hard to get treatment this week and get away from the game a little bit, but to come back as healthy as they possibly can. I will know more about that when they get back here on Monday, but it seems to me as we leave for the break – they're working out right now, they'll take some time off, they'll come back Sunday night, be ready to go Monday morning – that guys are headed in the right direction."
What have you thought about what RB Carlos Hyde and RB Duke Johnson have done in the first half of the season?
"They've been productive. They're good guys, that's number one. They're good teammates, they care about winning, they care about doing the right thing for the team. You're not really worried about how many carries they get or how many times they touch the ball, they just want to help the team win. I think that's a big deal. I think that Carlos and Duke have been good additions. I think we can do more things with them. I think they're more comfortable with the offense, and that'll be part of our study coaching-wise over the break, but both of those guys have been good additions."
Could you talk about the Ravens' running game and what Ravens QB Lamar Jackson means to their run game?
"They're doing a great job with their scheme. Lamar Jackson is an excellent payer, plays with great poise, got a great skill set, throws the ball well. Their scheme is very difficult. They take advantage of the players that they have, led by Lamar, (Mark) Ingram (II), using their tight ends. Their offensive line is big and physical. It's going to be a big, big challenge for us."
QB DESHAUN WATSON
How do you feel about where you guys are heading into the bye week?
"It's a good spot. Halfway through the season, just being to be where we're at. A lot to look back over the past weeks to correct, and then a lot to actually build on. So, the biggest thing is really getting everyone healthy, getting everyone rested up for a long stretch, and for us to be able to try to make a run."
What improvement have you seen from the offensive line?
"A group of guys that's coming together each and every day trying to get better, finding ways to help this team improve, help this team win on Sundays and doing whatever it takes. Doing it in a way where it's about love and courage and a lot of confidence. It's a great group of guys, a great unit and they continue to get better each and every week."
How much does it mean to have a dominant win going into the bye week? How much does it build your confidence?
"Confidence, we always have the confidence, so not much confidence, but I guess you can say the momentum, just being able to come into this week with a little motivation and a different type of energy. I think that's the biggest thing. We all know that it's the halfway point, and we have a lot more football to play and a lot of tough, challenging games that's coming up ahead of us. We're going to be ready."
Are you excited about the matchup between you and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson?
"That's more for the media to hype up. My job is to make sure I have the best execution preparation for that game and getting ready for their defense and that environment, and that everyone on this team is healthy and ready to go. Not so much of me and Lamar. I have so much respect for him ever since college. We've been boys since then. We've been against each other each and every year. Of course, it's going to be hyped up, talked about, but it's nothing that I'll be focused on. My focus is the Houston Texans and what we can do to go in there and try to win."
What have learned about the team halfway through the season?
"Group of guys that care about one another, that's about us, about the Houston Texans, that is going to play 60 minutes and continue to fight and do whatever it takes to win that football game."