What the 49ers, Texans Said after Week 1 of Preseason

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**The Houston Texans defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 24-13, in Week 1 of the 2016 Preseason.

Take a look at the postgame comments from key members of both teams, courtesy of the 49ers communications staff.49ers Head Coach Chip Kelly

How did you evaluate QB Blaine Gabbert's performance and the first team offense all around?

"It was up and down in both Blaine and our first team offense. I think that first drive, a couple balls, he probably wants back. Kind of get us on track. But, I think once they settled down and got in a rhythm I thought they did a really nice job of executing. But, I think that really the concern for us, and in this league you just can't turn the ball over. We turned the ball over twice in the first half, once was returned for a touchdown and the other time we turned it over on our 2-yard line going into score, so that's a 14-point swing that we need to win those if we're going to win games this season. So, that was our biggest concern. I thought we moved the ball. At times we ran the ball well. I thought Vance (McDonald) showed up a little bit and it was good to get some production out of the tight end position. But, overall there are things that you can be excited about, but there are certainly a lot of things we have to clean up."

DL DeForest Buckner played almost entirely the first half, maybe even into the second half, were you meaning to get him a ton of reps and what did you think of him?

"I thought DeForest has had a really good camp so far and I thought he did some really good things today. It's really for him, and for all those rookies, their first time playing in the National Football League game. There's still some things I think he needs to clean up, but he's obviously pushing to get a lot of playing time right now. So, we've been impressed with him, but again there's still some things, a lot of things he can continue to work on."

How do you think the offensive line played and how fluid is the situation within the starting five there?

"Second question first, I think it's very fluid. Again, this was our first game. We had a good day with Houston on Friday that we felt good about that group. But, we'll continue to try to figure out exactly who we're going to plug. Obviously, there are some guys, Joe (Staley) is going to play. You kind of know where he is with that, but just trying to work the rest of it out in terms of how those guys fit. Some of the guys in the second group could have an opportunity to push. I think when you look at it, when Mike Davis and Thad and those guys were in there, I thought we ran the ball well with that group too. So, really going to have to look at the film and evaluate and see where we are. But, I think we have some guys to select from, so it's not one of those situations where I'm nervous about where we are with the offensive line. I'm really positive about where we are from an offensive line standpoint. But, trying to find out which the proper five is, will be kind of what these next couple of weeks are when we go against Denver and Green Bay."

What did you think of your defense, particularly the first half?

"I thought they played well. And, I think it was kind of unfair, the offense, they did a really good job, especially on third down by getting them off the field. Our battle of our ones against their ones, I was impressed with how our defense played. We had a play count, not a series count in terms of who was going to play. So, you kind of look out there and go, 'It's the third series and the first defense is out there.' That's because they played really well on the first and second series, so there wasn't any real long drives, so they did a good job and what we're preaching is for our defense to get off the field and to get stops and I thought they did that. Really, the only points they had in the first half was the fumble return for a touchdown that the offense gave up, but by and large I thought that first group played well."

CB Chris Davis had a couple of those third down I think pass defense, third down and fourth down, what have you seen out of him and how is he excelling?

"I think he's really grasped the nickel position in terms of what [defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil] Jimmy and [defensive backs coach] Jeff Hafley are doing, in terms of how they want the nickel to play and he's taken advantage of the opportunities he's had. I think he's really sharp. He's very sharp as a football player. He's physical. He's not the tallest corner we have, but he's thick and he's strong and he's physical. He matches up well and he also does a good job blitzing from that position because he has a little bit of size to him. So, he's done a nice job so far and we'll continue to see if we can expand his role."

Were you using a tablet, or do you like to use a tablet?

"I use the tablet, yeah. We don't have it after this game though. It just goes back to stills. I think it's a great teaching tool on the sideline. As you're talking to your players you can say, it's funny when you get out there, there's a lot of times where players will tell you things happened that really didn't happen. Sometimes there's a rookie, 'There's a guy in my head and a guy over here and a guy up here and a guy out here,' and so I told them call a time out and tell them that they've got 12 guys on the field. Because, they can't have that many people in front of you. Then when you show them the tablet and say this is the look you got, they kind of settle down."

Does Mike Davis look different to you now than what you looked at on tape from last season?

"Yeah, he's a lot bigger in person. I try to look at the positives with all those guys. When I looked at film when we got here, it was just give me a feel and a flavor for what he's like. I knew that he was a physical runner. I knew that he ran behind his pads really well and he's shown that. He's really put himself in a position for a spot. It's like I talked to some of those guys in the locker room, you guys have a chance to play tonight. You're battling and what you put on tape is really what we're judging you on. Some guys really stepped up and really took advantage of that opportunity and some other guys were kind of looking around and kind of caught up in the moment. So they need to kind of settle down, take a deep breath and then hopefully everybody has a little bit better, kind of let's get going we have to get ready to go play Denver."

49ers QB Blaine Gabbert

How would you assess this as an opening exhibition game?

"It was fun to get out there and get our feet wet in this system. Games are a lot different than practice and to see the tempo that we can play at, to see the level that we can execute at when we are rolling. There's definitely some good things on that film. But like I said earlier, there's a lot of ups and downs and definitely things that we can correct from the film and that we will going into next week."

The touchdown throw to Vance, that's your final one for the game. What kind of confidence does that give you moving forward?

"Yeah, we just wanted to end on a high note. We wanted to go out, kind of set the tone for how this season's going to go. And like I said, there were ups and downs in those first two drives, things that we can correct, things that we inflicted on ourselves. But, we got the touchdown. We strung a bunch of quality plays together. And like I said, the O-Line gave me plenty of time there, Vance ran a great route and did a tremendous job after the catch scoring a touchdown. "

49ers DL Ronald Blair III

You're a versatile player. You've played D-end. You played in a four-man front. You can play in a three-man front. I know they line you up a little bit on the nose. Where did you get most of your action today?

"Most of it was in the interior defensive end, running the three technique area. So, it was good. Good physically. Good size in there. It felt real good to bang again, live with referees. It really felt good. I'm glad to have the opportunity to go to Denver again this week and practice with them in the joint practices. So, just a good opportunity and glad to have it."

What'd you think of the joint practices with the Houston Texans? You guys get tired of hitting yourselves? I mean, was it a refreshing thing or do you have to dial it up intensity-wise when you're going against another team in practice?

"It's definitely easier to dial it up when you go against another team because when you go against your teammates all the time, you kind of figure out their tendencies and what they're going to do. But, when you go against somebody different, you kind of got to figure out what they do as you go along. So, it's fun going against a different team. It was even more fun going against them in the game. So, it was a great experience. I'm really looking forward to this next week. Looking forward to making improvements. I'm just glad my teammates were along to help me go through this experience for the first time."

49ers CB Chris Davis

How much experience did you have working in the slot?

"I played a bit my rookie year in San Diego, had a good experience doing it then and my junior year in college. We actually ran the NFL scheme. So, I got that down working from college in my rookie year."

Did you go into training camp saying, "That's my spot, I want to win that one?"

"As a competitor, yeah. I came here to compete. That's one thing I asked [general manager] Trent [Baalke] at the end of the season when I got here. Would I be able to compete for a starting position? He told me of course. That's what it is right now and I'm just trying to make the best of my opportunity."

49ers QB Jeff Driskel

You're doing practice, going through a pro camp. Do you notice that the windows close a lot faster at this level?

"Absolutely, everything happens faster at this level. The guys are smart. The guys are fast. The guys are athletic. So, I've got a lot to work on. I have got to see the coverage better pre-snap and anticipate windows a little better, but that's a good start and something to build on."

Did you enjoy finding the open field and stretching your legs a little bit?

"Sure. If there is an opportunity to run the ball, I'm going to take it. I would have liked to throw the ball a little better. There were a couple plays there where grounded balls back to back. All in all I competed and I have some things to work on and things to build on."

49ers G Joshua Garnett

How do you think it went overall?

"It was exciting to have some live bullets. It's unfortunate we didn't get the win. You hate losing whenever they're keeping score, preseason or regular season, it's all the same thing. You have that sour taste in your mouth. It's kind of a relief to get that first NFL experience under your belt so now you can really focus on technique, kind of what worked and what didn't work, and just play football."

Were you impressed with the backs? The backs seemed to make everybody look good today with the moves they were making and the cuts they were making.

"Oh yeah, I'm always impressed with those guys. They're professional athletes and they're professionals of their crafts. So as an offensive lineman, you know that if you make your block and as long as you stay on your guy, these guys are going to make plays for you."

49ers QB Thad Lewis

How do you think you guys did moving the football?

"I think we did great, man. We did awesome moving the ball down the field. Unfortunately, we had that fumble down there. Just like coach told us, you can't win games when you lose the turnover battle. When you get down there you have to score. We did a good job with that. There are a bunch of things we have to clean up. It's the small things. If we do that, we should be fine"

Do you think all that preparation really prepared you for getting out there and knowing where the ball was going to go and running the offense?

"Definitely, there were a few throws I would want back. I feel like I rushed. Practice and film study and knowing  defenses and things like that help and prepare you to know where to go with the rock in this offense. Just being able to be in and study it for a year and get a chance to actually run it has helped me a lot."

49ers TE Garrett Celek

You made a guy miss, obviously. How good was that to complete a 12-play drive to get into the end zone?

"I thought we moved the ball really well in the first half. I think someone said we had 50 plays or something like that. It's really awesome to see. Again, you wish you could come out with a victory in the preseason game, but it was still really fun to see what we could do tempo-wise and see how it wore the defense out."

 Is your approach different this year than any other year you've had in your career so far?

"I think having a kid puts it into perspective. You see the world differently for sure. I take appreciation for everything. Being a dad is just the best thing ever. In terms of this year, it's working the whole offseason. You have Garrett Celek competing with me, too. It really is this coaching staff, Chip and the coaches he brought in. It's just super fresh and really fun. We've kind of held that and reestablished that as a team. It's been really fun."

49ers WR Jerome Simpson

Early on, there were some missed connections, but you kind of got into a rhythm. QB Blaine Gabbert talked about you, could see what you can really do in this offense when you do get into that rhythm and, obviously, the big drive with TE Vance McDonald was big. Can you talk a little bit about that, where you are offensively?

"It's just really our first time live in action. So, we just got to work out some kinks. Vance did an incredible job there on his route to score the touchdown. Man, I'm proud of the guy. We just got to bring it together. Keep connecting on the same page."

How was QB Blaine Gabbert in his first game? In the huddle, executing, managing the game plan.

"Confident. He's very confident. He just needs to keep playing hard and making the plays that he's making."

It seemed like in the run game you guys could have a nice balance out there. A lot of big holes your offensive line was able to open.

"Yeah. Our offensive line did a tremendous job tonight opening up for the running backs. They broke some good runs there. Hopefully, we can break more runs there too, because we have incredible backs. We just got to keep playing hard for each other."

Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien

Talk about OLB John Simon's end zone play.

View photos from the 49ers first preseason game against the Houston Texans.

"Yeah great, really good play. I think Vince (Wilfork) knocked it loose. Vince made a heck of a play on that and Simon scooped it up, and that was good. It was good to, you know one of the things we're really harping on with our team is that if we can create takeaways and we can take care of the ball on offense and win the penalty battle, win the field position battle, win the situation football battle, then we have a chance to win games. When we turn it over too much or we give up tackles for loss or sacks or don't get any takeaways or you know don't produce any sacks on defense it's going to be hard to win. I think there's a winning formula and that's what we're really trying to harp on with our guys."

Did you have any issues with the pace? The Niners ran 50 plays in the first half.

"Yeah, and we'd seen it in practice but their pace is really what obviously they're known for. So I think for your first game to see that is good. It wasn't always handled great, we had a lot of missed tackles, but at least we've seen it early so that when it happens again, hopefully we'll be better at it. You know, we'll see it from New Orleans. We're going to be installing more of it with our offense, so I think it will be a good thing that we've seen it early. But again, we talk to our guys all the time about, 'look if it's a problem early in the training camp we've got to take care of it you know, right away'. And that's what we're going to work on this week."

Texans QB Brock Osweiler

How did you think you performed and played?

"I think it is difficult until you completely watch the film and see exactly what happened, but from my brief time on the field and getting a generic feel from seeing the sideline photos, was it completely what I wanted tonight? Absolutely not. But rarely is it ever. I think the biggest thing about tonight is we did some really good things offensively, and we know we have some things to learn from and grow and get better at. That's what we will do this week in practice, and I am very confident we will be better next weekend."

How did you feel about what you had to work with on the field?

"We came out with a fairly basic scheme, but you know what? No matter what the scheme is, it is our job as players to go out there and execute that scheme and make plays. I am not going to get into what we did call, what we didn't call. Bottom line is coach puts in a game plan and it is our job as players to execute that to the best of our abilities." 

Brock, can you evaluate what happened to your team in two days of work up here and what progress you have made as a ball club--?

"Certainly, looking back and coming up to San Francisco and getting a practice under our belt against the 49ers and now playing them, this trip only made this football team better. I thought we got some really good work against a different opponent. We saw a ton of different looks defensively that we haven't seen from our defense all training camp, so it really tested our rules and our knowledge of the offense. It definitely made us better as a football team."


Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins

What do you get out of preseason games now when you only get a couple of series?

View behind-the-scenes photos from Levi's® Stadium as the 49ers prepare for the matchup with the Houston Texans in Week 1 of the preseason.

"I am on the sidelines studying the defense. How they are disguising things, learning things other than just going out there beating guys one-on-one. I am trying to learn coverage or what they are doing or how the quarterback is looking at things, because the defensive coaches are calling plays. If I can pick up little tendencies that the safeties or cornerbacks are doing, I think it will help me out."

What do you take away from game one?

"That there were some good things and bad things. You don't get a lot of opportunities to go out there and make plays. You sit on the sidelines and cheer your teammates on. For me, I'm on the sidelines trying to learn coverages and little things like that."

Was it good for you to get out there to play against other teams?

"It was great. Anytime that I can go up against another team, I am excited. I was excited for the young guys to see what they can do. There are a lot of things that we have to work on, but we are off to a good start."* *

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