O'Brien talks about playing young QBs

O'Brien talks about playing young QBs
March 25, 2014, 10:15 am
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(USA Today Images)

Bill O'Brien is at the annual NFL meetings in Florida this week.

He sat down with media members for an extended breakfast on Tuesday morning and talked about several items, including the upcoming draft and the future of the quarterback position in Houston.

“I think that it’s very, very difficult to play quarterback as a rookie right away," O'Brien said, via a transcript provided by the team. "I think to expect a guy to go in there and play right away against a, for instance, Rex Ryan defense is very difficult. At the same time, you better be ready to do it, because you never know what might happen.

"I think what we’re trying to do in Houston is set up, at every position, a very competitive roster so that through the spring and into training camp at every position—quarterback, wide receiver, defensive line, secondary—we want a very competitive roster and let these guys win their positions on the field. That’s what we’re trying to do and if that means a guy has to play as a rookie, then that’s what a guy has got to do.”

O'Brien, GM Rick Smith and QB coach George Godsey will attend Johnny Manziel's pro day on Thursday in College Station but they probably won't schedule a private workout with Manziel. “I don’t think so. I think his day is—he’s got his Johnny Day," O'Brien said.

The plan currently is to bring Case Keenum and T.J. Yates to camp, along with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, to compete.

"They’ve all been told basically the same thing," O'Brien said. "They’re going to be given a chance to compete. We brought Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in the other day and had a good talk with him. I told him, ‘Look, nothing is guaranteed. You’re coming in here to compete and try to get better every day and to try to be the starting quarterback.’ That’s the same thing I told Case. Case played I think eight games last year. T.J. has been the quarterback of this team when they went to a playoff game, so they all have experience. The deal is competition.”

O'Brien didn't change his stance from comments he made on NFLAM on Monday. He said again that he doesn't see the top three quarterbacks being that far separated from the rest of the quarterbacks in the draft. He quickly mentioned A.J. McCarron and Zach Mettenberger by name

How will the Texans get a better idea of who they will draft?

“Face-to-face interviews, my notes from that, my thoughts about that, the football discussions that I’ve had with these guys," he said. "Rick Smith, he and I will guide each other with our thoughts on all these guys, any draft pick. We’re going to bring some of these guys to our facility in Houston and you can spend a day with them there too. I think it’s like playing quarterback. When you break the huddle, you have to have a process, a progression of how you think about running a play. It’s the same thing with the draft. You have to have a process, a progression of how you put together, ‘OK, here is what we believe this kid is and here is what we think he can do for us. OK, let’s go pick him.’ That’s kind of how you do it, but it takes a long time.”