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Head Coach Mike Vrabel 


Q. Talk about the resiliency and the comeback.

MIKE VRABEL: We did a lot of things that were going to cost us obviously. The turnovers, the mistakes, but we did more positive things late. Defense kept giving us a chance. We got some stops. Then the offense needed to come through – they came through. It doesn't have to be that hard, but I'm proud of the character of this football team competing and then having to go in a different direction real quick and then coming back and getting stops late. Being able to move the football late in the game, score, and I was really proud of these guys. 

Q. What can you say about the red zone defense?

MIKE VRABEL: That's it. The whole thing was about getting the drive stopped. We said that they're probably going to get it down there, that's just what the nature of this offense is. We've done so well down there with sudden change unfortunately that I explained to them, hey, even if they drive it down there, just pretend it's sudden change and you guys were responsible for the sudden change, and have that type of mentality that, hey, we're down here and we get a stop. Guys were excited. That was the difference in the football game, being able to force them to kick field goals.

Q. What did you see from the offense after going down 14-0?

MIKE VRABEL: We had a tough time running the football, and we had too many mistakes. But we also were able to protect the quarterback enough to throw it late in the game, and that was key. Tyjae (Spears) helped us out, Chig (Okonkwo) helped us out. Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) came up big. Nick (Westbrook-Ikhine) came up big down there and continues to do that.

Q. I know it's a whole team effort but what does it mean for the young guys to be a part of a win like this?

MIKE VRABEL: I think they just realized it's never over – being able to keep our timeouts and being able to score and get the two-point conversion to be able to have a chance to win it in regulation.  

Q. After a tough week, how cool is it to hear the music blaring and the guys celebrating?

MIKE VRABEL: It's all credit to the players. We try to give them our best plan. Sometimes it needs to be tweaked as we go along and sometimes it doesn't. They stuck to it. They believed it. All the credit goes to the players.

Q. What about the resilience you guys showed going down from 14, how big was that moment?

MIKE VRABEL: I think they all were and being able to answer back. Again, kind of the disbelief, the excitement of getting the stop, getting the drive stopped on third down and celebrating. And one minute mistakes, but just keep lining back up and playing and having a lot of time. I think it says a lot about this football team and our growth. It's not going to be easy, especially on the road against a good team on Monday night, but I'm proud of the way that they compete and they fight. We've just got to eliminate some of the mistakes that are going to be too costly most of the time. 

Q. Is this what makes coaching fun? Nobody gave you guys a chance, then you play to win and celebrate.

MIKE VRABEL: Yeah, I think just coaching -- watching players improve and watching players be happy and share in success is what coaching is about. It's about getting players to develop and improve and inspire them to go out and get better each week and compete against a really good football team. There's a lot of guys out there that people aren't real familiar with. That's the facts of it. But they'll fight. They'll compete, and that's why I love them. 

Q. Will Levis seems he used his legs more, is that something he prefers to do, or is that him trying to make more plays?

MIKE VRABEL: I mean, it's not open, he's not going to stand there and wait it out with (Bradley) Chubb and everyone else coming and (Christian) Wilkins. So I think he did a nice job of knowing when to escape. We're certainly going to have to use great decisions going forward on some of those collisions down the field. 

Q. I guess Eric Garror, I saw your conversation with him, what did you tell him?

MIKE VRABEL: I mean, there's aggressive and there's reckless, and that, to me, is reckless. Again, we've coached catching it on the first bounce. We've coached being square. We've coached not catching that in traffic. But sometimes there's an opportunity to catch it on the first bounce when there's not bodies around. We have to use better decisions when we're back there. Again, Eric (Garror) has caught the ball well, and we just can't make that kind of mistake. I said, but you're also going to have to go back out there and catch the ball and be our punt returner. We just have to make really good decisions with the football.

Q. You had that drive after the field goal, where you ran the ball three times and punted, and then you got the ball back and got the touchdown. What changed from that drive?

MIKE VRABEL: Again, I think their ability to run the football and our success is eventually going to be very critical. Being able to also throw some shots and move the football and protect is also something. I think that's just the way the game -- Tim (Kelly) felt like we needed to kind of mix it up there and change it up. Weren't having a whole lot of success, to their credit, in the run game.

Q. Was the two-point conversion a gut feeling thing you wanted to try to do once you were down 14?

MIKE VRABEL: I think that's just in the research we've done and analytics to give you the best chance to win in regulation, you go for two there. I liked the call. That's how it goes. 

Q. You've talked about the main guys. T.K. McClendon filling in for Jeff Simmons tonight, these guys, they wouldn't know any better than to go out and play football?

MIKE VRABEL: Probably not. I think we're just working with a rookie left tackle against a really good player. I thought he competed and gave us an opportunity. T.K. (McClendon) is out there battling and Jaleel (Johnson) and K'Von (Wallace) hadn't been here all that long. Roger (McCreary) goes down, Eric (Garror) goes in, Roger comes back. Again, there's just a lot. Calvin Throckmorton played some at right guard and (Daniel Brunskill) played. We'll just find out who we have available and get them ready to try to beat the Texans.

Q. Did you always have the sense that this team was still capable of playing like this?

MIKE VRABEL: I think you sometimes second guess when you're -- just different moments. Then you remember what you practice, train, preach, about the resiliency and about our effort. We've got some great leaders that have been around and helped us win some really tough, close games. You've just got to remember that, when you come on the road, whatever situation you're in is about giving yourself a chance. We did that and make it a game and find a way to win it late. I guess it was disappointing because we were doing that. Then the mistakes that put us down, then to the players' credit, they responded, because that's what you have to do. You've got to make it a game. You've got to put them in the game and find a way to win it late. It looked like there for a few minutes that we were trying to lose it late, and we were able to come back. 

Q. When you mentioned wanting to make it a game, would it be accurate to say that you wanted to slow down the pace a bit?

MIKE VRABEL: We've got to possess the ball. They average 32 points a game, and we helped them out far too many times. You'd have to possess the ball. You're going to have to convert some tough conversions. We were prepared to go for it on fourth down if need be. But that's exactly where we were. That's where the game was. Get some stops on defense, then we've just got to eliminate the mistakes. I'm sure we'll win more games.

Q. What do you want fans to know about the guys in this locker room?

MIKE VRABEL: They'll play their hearts out for you. It's not going to be perfect. There's going to be mistakes. Hopefully there's not too many. They don't want to make the same mistake twice, but I know they're going to play their heart out for this team and for this organization and for our city.

Q. Regarding Frank Wycheck, can you comment on him as a competitor and a person?

MIKE VRABEL: Great, great player. Just, again, my heart and my thoughts go out to his family. I know his daughter, she has a special place in my heart. Deanna, we're thinking about it you, and Cole, as well, her husband.

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