Quotes: Texans DC Wade Phillips 2011 Draft Pass

For the third consecutive year, HoustonTexans.com did exclusive 1-on-1 interviews with key figures in the Texans’ NFL draft process for our “Draft Pass” video series.

In the fourth and final segment, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips spoke with Drew Dougherty of Texans TV on Thursday night of the draft after the Texans selected defensive end J.J. Watt in the first round.

Drew Dougherty: “This is a pretty exciting night for you. Talk about the first reaction when you guys got to turn in that card (for Watt).”

Wade Phillips: “I think ‘yes’ was the first reaction. But no, we were all excited about it. Everybody says in the draft, you know, ‘We can’t believe the guy was there’ and all that stuff, but we were looking for a real good football player that played tremendously hard, and this guy is that.”

DD: “Yeah, he’s got a lot of great effort. But you talked about he’s a really disruptive force on defense.”

WP: “Oh, yeah. He forced more fumbles than anybody they had on their team. He had more sacks. He had more hurries. He had more blocked kicks. Second-leading tackler on their team, and he knocked down I don’t know how many passes. So the guy is a real productive player.”

DD: “Initially, what sort of role do you think J.J. Watt can have on this defense in 2011 and beyond?”

WP: “Well, defensive line is what he plays. He’ll play at defensive end. He can be kicked down inside some on your third-down rush if you need him to. But he’s also a good pass rusher on the outside.”

DD: “How soon did you guys have him targeted? Was it January or even before then?”

WP: “I think the process takes a while to evaluate all of them, put them in the right order. I was really impressed with – Rick Smith and his staff really did a great job of that, and it was pretty easy to say, ‘Hey, this guy’s here and this guy’s there.’”

DD: “How refreshing was this whole process for you compared to other drafts in your career?”

WP: “Well, everybody has their own opinions in any draft that you go through, but I just think the organization, the way they organize it and the way we discussed each player, was really helpful in making a good pick.”

DD: “Take us down to the war room when the pick was actually made. Aside from you saying ‘yes,’ what was the rest of the reaction there from the rest of the scouts?”

WP: “Same way. I think everybody, well I know everybody, was excited. I said it was an organizational pick because everybody was behind it.”

DD: “How impactful will Watt be on the rest of the guys on the defensive line, and what sort of maneuvering do you think it allows you to do with guys like and Mario Williams?”

WP: “Yeah, you can move those guys around some, which I think will really help. Because the more you move people around and give them matchups, that’s what you want. And so we’ll be able to do that, and I think especially with Mario.”

Texans add King to coaching staff

The Texans have hired Bobby King as defensive assistant, the team announced today. King has spent his entire collegiate and pro coaching career in the state of Texas.

King comes to the Texans after serving as the defensive quality control/assistant linebackers coach for the in 2010 where he worked directly under Texans linebackers coach Reggie Herring and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Prior to his tenure in Dallas, King was the defensive line coach at West Texas AM University in 2008-09, and helped the 2009 team reach its first bowl game since 1967.

From 2006-07, King helped coach the defensive tackles at Baylor. In 2005, King ended his first stint at WTAMU by helping the team win the Lone Star Conference championship and make the school’s first NCAA Division II Playoff appearance.

King began his coaching career as a student assistant at his alma mater, Texas El-Paso, working with the defensive line from 2002-03. In 2004, he coached the defensive line the St. Martha (Ky.) School. He was a three-year letter winner and two-year starter at UTEP on the defensive line from 1998-2000.

Quotes: Ryans discusses rehab, switch to 3-4

When tore his left Achilles tendon on Oct. 17 against the Chiefs, it was the first major injury of his career. It also left the Texans without their two-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker and defensive captain for the final 10 games of the 2010 season.

Ryans, 25, is making steady progress this offseason toward a return to the field. He recently sat down with Texans TV at Reliant Stadium for an exclusive interview to discuss his rehab, his thoughts on transitioning to the 3-4 under Wade Phillips and more.

to watch the interview. The transcript is below.

You walked into this interview with no cast, no walking boot on that left foot. What’s the latest in your rehab status?

“It’s feeling good now. I’m just happy to be progressing along fine. I think I’m about three months, three or four months in on the rehab. Time has flown by very quickly. But things are progressing well. Right now, I’ve just started to do a little extra, do a little running on our fancy treadmill, you could say. It lets me run at a different percentage of my body weight. Right now I’m running at about 65 percent of my body weight on the treadmill, which is going fine. No pain. Everything’s just been running smoothly.”

Take us through one of your typical days: What time you get here, what kind of stuff you do throughout the day.

“I get in about 8:30 in the morning, start rehab about 9. I spend about an hour just warming up my Achilles in the pool. I get a massage on there for 10-15 minutes. (I’m) doing a lot of stretching. That’s the most important thing is just trying to stretch it back out, so I spend a couple minutes stretching, trying to get a little motion in my ankle, a little flexibility in my foot. So that takes a while. Then I start doing exercises like squatting and calf-raises. A lot of different strengthening-type things (like) step-ups, just trying to get that strength back in my calf muscle.”

You’ve been rehabbing at Reliant Stadium for 4-5 days a week since your injury. You’ve got a lot of other teammates in the training room with you, but has it been hard for you to see light at the end of tunnel?

“Yeah, it’s kind of hard. I’ve been in there a while, and it’s weird. I see a lot of guys progressing along and a lot of guys that have came in after me that have had surgeries and they’re cleared already. So it’s kind of tough, but I have a long road to recovery. Some guys have minor clean-up surgeries; they’ll be in there for a couple weeks and they’re out of there. So it’s like a revolving door through there, but I’m one constant that’s going to be there for a while.”

Yours is a tough injury to come back from. Do you have any doubts that you’ll be able to come back at 100 percent?

“No doubts at all. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back, and back stronger and better than I was before.”

What have doctors told you along those lines, and do you have a certain target date set for when you’ll be 100 percent?

“I don’t have a certain target date. Most people that I talk to that have had the injury say it’s about a year to be all the way back. I don’t have a certain target date. I think I’ll be back before, feeling a lot better before a year. I’m just excited to (take) the next step in the rehab process. Hopefully, I can start running on the field in about three weeks. So, I’ll just take it the one step at a time. The next big step for me would be getting out on the field and doing some jogging on the field.”

What are your thoughts on new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and on switching to the 3-4?

“I’m excited that we have Wade in. Wade is a guy that’s very experienced in this league, so he brings a wealth of knowledge that I’m excited and eager to learn from him, learn a different scheme. I’ve never played in a 3-4 before. I’ve always been in a 4-3 from high school all the way up until now. So for me, I’m excited to learn something new, learn a different scheme. Just the challenge of learning something new, I’m excited about that. Wade seems like a great person. I have met with him one or two times. (He) seems like a great person and he understands ball, understands defense, and he knows what he’s doing.”

What are your some of your impressions of your new linebackers coach, Reggie Herring? He has a reputation of being a fiery guy and has been in Wade’s system for some time now.

“I met Reggie once. It seems like he’s very passionate about football. You can tell it means a lot to him and he loves to coach it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Reggie. Everybody says he’s a great linebacker coach, so I’m ready to start getting with him and studying some film and learning from him also.”

Have you been able to delve into much yet as far as how your responsibilities might differ in a 3-4 versus a 4-3?

“It may be a little different, definitely from my standpoint of playing the MIKE linebacker. Now, you have two inside linebackers. So whether that’s me and Brian (Cushing), I’m not sure exactly where we’ll be, but I think both of us will be inside guys. So we’ll be playing next to each other, which we’ve done a lot of and had fun doing that. I think it’s a little different for us from a 4-3 to a 3-4 where we have to probably take on linemen more so than we did in the past. But my mentality is that football is football. There’s nothing totally new about it. It’s still 11-on-11, no matter how you line it up.”

From what you saw of what Phillips did in Dallas with DeMarcus Ware, what do you think about the prospects for guys like and as edge rushers in the 3-4?

“I think it’ll be great for those guys. It’s a defense that opens it up for those guys and allows them to do what they do and that’s get after the passer. I think it’s going to be good for those guys to do what they do best and that’s rush the passer, get sacks, create turnovers.”

With the new defense, and with you coming off the injury after watching the end of last season in street clothes, how excited are you about moving forward in 2011 and helping this defense get turned around?

“I’m very excited. I think the most exciting thing for me is just to be out there again putting the helmet and pads on again; just getting back out there with my guys. Getting hurt in October and missing 10 games, it was tough for me to sit back and watch it. For me, I’m just excited to strap it up again and get back out there with my guys.”