For the first time in a while, Houston Texans executive vice president Jack Easterby and head coach Bill O’Brien shared their thoughts on the upcoming season. Both were honest about the challenges faced during a strange time.
Here were some of the takeaways:
1.) 100% negative COVID-19 tests.
With the MLB experiencing outbreaks, the question of how the NFL will fare is a huge question.
As of now, the Texans have managed to keep everyone healthy.
“So far, for us, over the last three days, we have had 100 percent negative tests, which I think is a testament to our staff and our players. They are obviously taking this thing seriously,” said O’Brien, who is also the Texans’ general manager.
2.) No update on Deshaun Watson’s contract
The news of Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes blockbuster half-billion-dollar deal made a lot of fans wonder what that meant for Watson’s contract situation.
“We’re not going to talk about contracts in the media, but we obviously have stated that we have so much belief in Deshaun,” said O’Brien. “We love Deshaun. We want him here for a long time.”
3.) Extensive measures to make sure the facility is clean
The team released some changes last week, including the players being spread out over three locker rooms, facial recognition to avoid contact, daily testing, and the hiring of a hygiene coordinator.
“We’ve done it together,” said Jack Easterby. “We’ve studied from other organizations. We’ve studied other sports. We’ve studied all the way around the globe, really, at how this has been handled, and that’s educated us on how we can serve our players the best.”
“You’ve got three different locker rooms we’re using. The cafeteria is redone. I feel like we’re headed in the right direction,” said O’Brien.
4.) Veterans getting rookies acclimated
This one is obvious, but to O’Brien’s credit, he said before the draft back in April that this would be a veteran year.
Some thought he was calling it too early. Three and a half months later, with delays, there are no doubt rookies will need more help than usual.
“Rookies usually have eight weeks of spring, right after the draft all the way through June,” O’Brien said. “They usually have a ton of time to get indoctrinated into pro football and everything from changing their diets to how we practice, how we lift and all that. I think the veteran leadership on this team is going to be key.”
5.) Will Fuller’s everchanging health, as of now, is where it needs to be
When healthy, Fuller is a huge part of the Texan’s offensive success.
“He showed up and he’s in great shape,” said O’Brien. “He looks good. He’s been working out and working hard. He’s excited about the season and he’s excited about our offense. We’re excited about having him for 16 games. He looks as good as he’s ever looked and that makes us happy.”
Stick with KPRC for coverage of JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson’s media availability tomorrow.