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Texans hoping to get win in their first week without Bill O’Brien

Romeo Crennel to serve as the interim head coach

Justin Reid celebrates with J.J. Watt after an interception against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
Justin Reid celebrates with J.J. Watt after an interception against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on November 4, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (2018 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The Texans are preparing for their first game since the end of the Bill O’Brien era.

Houston is 0-4, but hoping for a fresh start and a win over a beatable division rival, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Here’s what Crennel, Justin Reid, and Brandin Cooks said in Friday’s press conference:

How has the transition been with Crennel taking over?

Crennel: “I don’t know that you call it seamless because it’s a quick turnaround. What I’ve tried to do is try to lean on the things that I know, particularly from the football standpoint, and try to emphasize the things that I think can help us to the players and see if we can get it done on Sunday.”

Reid: “It’s different, (it’s) my first time ever going through something like this, but Coach Crennel has done a good job coming up and being up to the job. We as players have just been attacking the challenge. Making sure we’re doing our due diligence getting ready to play Jacksonville. That’s what the focus has been all week on both sides of the ball, trying to go get our first win.”

Has practice changed since Crennel took over?

Reid: “It is a little bit different, but the main focus has been treating things as consistent as possible. We still do the same warm-up. We still have the same coaches game planning. We try to keep everything as normal and as seamless as we possibly can in order to just keep the focus on Jacksonville and not on the changes that are happening on the inside of the building. That’s out of our control as players. That’s out of the coaches' control. All we can do is band together as a unit and go make some plays and try to get a win.”

How to handle the challenges of being 0-4?

Reid: “Well, upstairs Cal (McNair) did what he felt like he had to do. He did it in the best interest of what he thought was for the team. We as players just take on the challenge of the situation that we’re in right now. Nobody is happy at 0-4. It is an abysmal situation to be in, but my outlook on it being a leader on the team and just trying to keep guys in tune on the season is it’s still early. We still have a lot to go play for – wins, our pride, whatever it may be. Just keeping the positivity in the atmosphere, keeping the positivity in the locker room. Us banding together as a unit and start to make those plays that we need to make to correct those mistakes and start playing Houston Texans football the way it should be played.”

Cooks: “You know, at the end of the day I think what I’m feeling is what a lot of us is feeling, and that’s we should wins in our column right now. But at the end of the day, like I said, the biggest thing that we can continue to do is come here, work hard, work smart and work detailed and not try to press. We know football. We’ve got a lot of talent on this team. At the end of the day, we just have to be there for one another, stick together and tune out the outside noise.”

Why there have been so many missed tackles and how they can improve that?

Crennel: “Part of the issue is that we didn’t have an offseason. We didn’t have a preseason. So, those guys haven’t had that opportunity to hone in on their tackling skills because in tackling, you’ve got to take proper angles. You’ve got to know where your help is. You’ve got to be able to wrap up. Tackling has changed in the NFL from what it used to be. I’m not making excuses for us because we do miss too many tackles. We have to do a better job of tackling. One way to do a better job of tackling is to have live tackling drills. But when you have live tackling drills, you expose your players to injury in practice as opposed to injury in the game. This sport that we’re playing, guys are going to get hurt. You have to pick your poison. So, if you pick your poison, I’d rather the guys play in the game, and then we’ll see if we can improve from there.”

Reid: “I would treat the first three games of the season as your per-say preseason games as far as just the tackling goes. We’re past that. Guys should be in good shape. We should – every team across the league should still touch on it every once in a while if they start to see any bad habits start to creep up on the tape. Other than that, no, I think the tackling shouldn’t be too big of an issue more than it is any other year.”

Does the team think the Texans can turn this around?

Reid: “Yeah. We have such a veteran presence, man. Guys have stood up to the challenge more. You’ve seen it throughout the week. Players just trying to lead more. Players holding each other accountable. I think that’s been good for our leaders on the team to step up and do that. I’ve been doing that. It’s just continuing to do that and seeing what that result will show up like on Sunday.”

How to be more consistent on defense:

Crennel: “Well, we have to sell the players. One, that if they do their job and if they trust the guy next to them to do his job and then you don’t have to try to make plays. All you have to do is be in a position to do your job. Evidence has been shown on game tape. When we do our job, we can stop the run. It’s just when we try to make plays that we open up seams and then the opponent takes advantage of that. We’ve been concentrating on win your gap. Stay in your gap and make sure you win your gap and make sure the ball is not able to run in your gap. Now trust your teammate so then, if we can work as a unit then the unit will be better.”