View Full Version : Chris Myers sits down with ProFootballFocus

11-23-2011, 03:45 PM
Interview with Chris Myers, Center, Houston Texans
November 23rd, 2011 | Author: Sam Monson

Weíve been talking about the season that Houstonís Chris Myers has been having at center for a while now. Weíve even written an article about it!
PFF was lucky enough to get to talk to Chris during his bye week, and in addition to talking about the usual things, we got his take on the Texansí prospects with Matt Leinart under center, and what difference that makes to the Houston offense, and Myers himself as that center.

Pro Football Focus: Thanks for taking the time out of your bye week to talk us here at PFF, Chris. First off, can you tell us a little about what an average day for you guys is like Ė itís more than just a few meetings, a practice and then going out on Sundays, right?
Chris Myers: For the most part every NFL team pretty much has the same kind of schedule on a day-to-day basis. Mondays you come in after the game and you get a lift in and go over the film from the day before. Weíll get a bit of a run in to get loosened-up from the game the day before, and then Tuesdays are always off. Iím married now with two little daughters so I spend most of my time with the family hanging out.

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are the big work days. Iím usually in the facility from 6:00 in the morning on Wednesdays, and I donít leave until 3:00 or 3:30-ish. Those are long days. Then on Fridays we get to tone back a little bit, more of a mental preparation. Weíve had our big days of practice and weíre just putting the finishing touches on things getting ready for the game.

Saturday rolls around and we go through a walkthrough, but weíre pretty much traveling the whole day for away games, and that can get pretty tedious. For home games we get pretty much have the day off and then go to the hotel in the evenings.

PFF: How do you get your feedback from the Texans as players?
CM: Just like you guys have your own grading scale, every position with us has their own grading scale. Our offensive line coach John Benton and Frank Pollack, our assistant coach individually grade every single play for every person on the line just like you guys. They check how you did, how your technique was, whether you got someone to the ground and it all gets tallied up into a score. Ours gets worked into a percentage. In our grading scale you have to get knockdowns and cuts to get a positive grade. When you do your job you just get a zero, but if you get a knockdown or a cut you get a plus, so youíve got to get some cuts just to get above zero.

Thatís just the offensive line, every position is different. They rate us early Monday morning and then when we come in as a group weíll watch it as an offensive line and as an offense and check out the grades.

PFF: How much do you get to watch of other players in the NFL at your position? Do you watch film of those guys?
CM: I donít specifically watch other centers. Sometimes if weíre getting ready to play a team Iíll try and watch some film of offenses that run a similar offense to ours. Teams that we know runs similar plays like the Raiders, the Falcons, or Seattle runs it a little bit, the zone blocking scheme, and youíll watch a few different centers throughout the league. Just watching film on guys, you know, you donít even know them. You donít talk to them, you donít have their numbers, youíre not friends with them, but like for instance Matt Birk, a quality center in the league for a long time, whenever weíd get to play the Ravens Ė or in the past, Minnesota Ė Iíd talk to him after the game, just a mutual respect from center to center, you know what I mean? He watches me on film when heís scouting defenses heíll face and vice versa. This past game I got to talk to Alex Mack after the game, the Cleveland center. Heís in his second year, went to the Pro-Bowl last year as a rookie, and had a heck of a season. We kind of just have that mutual respect ícause thereís only one other guy on that team playing center on the line, so you kind of have that respect and you know every single one in the league.

PFF: So when youíre watching somebody like Matt Birk Ė a bigger type of center who has played primarily in power-blocking schemes Ė are you watching for technique stuff, or just to check out another center?
CM: Yea, both. I understand that his technique will be a little bit different because heís bigger, but Baltimore has been trying to implement this zone scheme this past offseason. They brought in Alex Gibbs, basically the founder of the zone schemes, to try and help them get that technique underway. Matt was talking to me after the game about that, saying itís not easy, especially for bigger centers. I mean, Iím only 285-290, and to be able to be in a zone scheme youíve got to be quick off the ball and be able to get places and to the second level, be quick at everything youíre doing, and thatís what Matt was talking to me about after the game.

PFF: At Ďjustí 285lbs do you find it more difficult to go up against some of these behemoth 330lb, 2-gap nose tackles?
CM: It depends on our scheme and the plays we have called. Because of the way we block things, offensive linemen arenít usually alone on defensive tackles, aside from pass plays. In pass plays youíve got to be able to man-up and do your own thing. Sometimes itís even harder to block the lighter and quicker guys, because theyíre able to react and read faster than bigger guys are. With bigger guys youíre sometimes able to get around them and get play-side technique, and then get them cut. Thatís the biggest thing with the 3-4 defenses Ė weíre trying so hard to get the backside cut, and yeah, 3-4 defenses are tougher, but it depends who it is with those big tackles and what kind of schemes weíre running.

PFF: So who are the toughest guys youíve gone against?
CM: In my career, Shaun Rogers has been a tough task in his prime. That one season Albert Haynesworth had in Tennessee he was pretty tough, and Kris Jenkins. When Jenkins was on point he was one of the best defensive tackles in the league and nobody could block him. But now youíre up against guys like Haloti Ngata in Baltimore, and heís unbelievable. He can line up at nose tackle, 3-technique and defensive end and beat guys. Then youíve got Justin Smith. I rarely have to go against him because he played DE in a 3-4, but speaking with my guards and stuff Ö and heís having a heck of a year right now.

PFF: Another Justin Smith fan! Weíve been singing his praises for a long time, he must be one of the most underrated players around.
CM: Oh, by far.

PFF: So you havenít seen the information behind the PFF paywall yet, Iím curious if our grading matches your perception of games this year. What would you say has been your toughest game this season, your worse performance?
CM: Oh, by far, Oakland! [Chrisí -2.4 grade against the Raiders was more than twice as bad as his next worst game and represented one of only two negative grades heís received this season] Our whole offensive line didnít grade well in that game. For some reason Ö no, I donít want to say for some reason Ö Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour have always been quality players, and this year theyíre playing unbelievably. They had a scheme for us, and it worked tremendously. They stopped our run, and when we had to pass because they stopped the run, theyíre so tall and so lanky inside that they were batting down balls. I think they batted down like six or seven balls [PFF counted 6] and I honestly think that was the difference in the game. We didnít have great grades as an offensive line blocking them, and they were able to bat down balls in the passing game. It was definitely our worst game of the season, and we kind of took that personally a little bit, and weíve been trying to use that for the rest of the year.

PFF: Richard Seymour is currently in our Top 3 for defensive tackles this season.
CM: Yea, I wouldnít doubt it right now.

PFF: So is there an area of your game you think youíre better or worse at? Are you a better run blocker or pass protector, say?
CM: I donít know. I definitely enjoy run blocking, I think that goes with the territory with offensive linemen but especially with our scheme and the way we can get on top of defensive linemen and linebackers before they have a chance to react. That helps us out as a line, and the fact that weíve been together as a unit for a while now, weíre meshing really well. So I definitely enjoy run blocking more, I think any offensive lineman is going to say that, and like we talked about before, pass blocking, with me being a little bit lighter, Iíve got to work on my technique and be a little bit stronger weight room wise to be able to hold in there. But that comes with the territory, because if I gained a few more pounds I woultnít be able to run block as well as I do. Itís a give and take, but itís working out right now, knock on wood.

PFF: That was something else we were going to ask, how much of a difference does the time you guys have played together and had a chance to gel make?
CM: It makes all the difference in the world when it comes to offensive linemen, especially in a system like this. Weíre all doing the exact same things at the same time, and we really donít even have to make too many calls anymore. Between Eric Winston, Mike Breisel and myself on the right side weíve been starting together since 2008, and Mike and Eric together since í07. Duane has been starting since 2008, and Wade Smith has been starting since the beginning of last season, and heís a nine-year veteran so he didnít need much time to pick things up. Weíve all been gelling real well, and for the most part we just go up to the line, donít make many calls anymore, just call out a number, and they canít tell if weíre going left or right. Itís really helped us out.

PFF: What about you personally Ö youíve always graded well for PFF, but this season you seem to have taken it to a new level. How do you feel about your play this year, are you aware of improvement?
CM: I mean you can obviously tell when you have a decent game compared to an average game, like in the Oakland game I could tell that I didnít play well, and we didnít play well as a line. I think thatís the way it goes, the way the offensive line goes, the team goes, and right now weíre playing really well as a team. When our line is playing well the team is playing well. I try not to look at it too much individually, thatís just the way I am, supersititious wise, but I had a decent year last year, and Iím just trying to build on that this year.

PFF: So tell us what happened in Denver, why didnít things work out there, and you had to come to Houston to get the shot?
CM: I ended up starting most of 2007, the first four or five were at left guard when I had to jump in for Ben Hamilton who was a guard there for a long time. Then Tom Nalen ended up getting hurt and I had to jump in at center. At the end of that season they werenít sure if Tom was coming back. My contract was up, and they werenít going to re-sign me as their starting center if Tom was coming back, and so was Ben Hamilton, and thatís when Coach Kubiak searched me out. He was my offensive coordinator out in Denver before he came to Houston, and thatís how that all started with the trade. Thatís how it all worked out.

PFF: It worked out pretty well for you it seems.
CM: Yea, I canít complain too much, you know. That helped out my future big time so I owe a lot to Coach Kubiak and Rick Smith.

PFF: How much does the Pro-Bowl mean to you guys as players these days. Itís become the subject of a lot of derision, whatís your take, do you take it seriously?
CM: Yea, obviously you take it seriously, and if that honor gets bestowed on you at the end of the season itís icing on the cake. Weíre only in the midst of things now, weíre only 10 games in, on our bye week, relaxing and speaking for our guys, you donít think about it too much. Right now weíre in the hunt to do something this franchise has never done Ė make the playoffs, and onwards. Thatís what our goal is right now, and if all of the accolades like Pro Bowls come afterwards then thatís more icing on the cake, and I can talk to you about that if it happens down the line, but right now Iím not even thinking about that type of stuff.

11-23-2011, 03:46 PM
PFF: We’re curious about Matt Leinart. With Schaub down, we wrote a piece recently about what a great situation this is for Leinart to walk into. Tell us a bit about your take on him coming in to be the guy at QB.
CM: I think you guys hit it right on the head. Aside from everything about Matt, if you were a backup quarterback coming into a team, you’d want it to be a situation like this. 7-3, looking to go to the playoffs, an offense that’s been able to have success on the ground and give you a bit of a cushion. That being said, Matt’s got all the tools in the world to be successful. Things didn’t work out for him in Arizona for whatever reasons, but he’s got the chance now. He’s been in the offense for over a year-and-a-half, and he had his chance to leave and didn’t. He wanted to stay here, and I think that says a lot.

He knows how to run the offense, he does it every day in practice, and we’ve seen what ability he has all through training camp, and now he has the chance to go out and do it on Sundays. I’m thoroughly excited for him. I got a bit of extra work with him before we took off for the bye week and I’m excited to get back to work and see how it’s going to work out.

PFF: Is there anything you have to do differently from a technique or mechanics point of view to deal with a left-handed quarterback like Matt Leinart?
CM: To be honest with you, I had never taken snaps from a left-handed quarterback before he ended up coming here last season. I thought it may be different or feel different on my butt or something, but after a few days of training camp you get used to it. Now when he’s in the huddle as opposed to Matt (Schaub) I don’t notice a difference of where their hands are at. Obviously he takes it with his left hand not his right, but you can’t really notice the difference. He takes pride in being able to do that and makes the centers comfortable, so they don’t have to worry about how they’re snapping the ball, he’ll move his hands around, so he does a good job with that.

Obviously it’s now backwards with the blind side now on the right, those type of things. Our offensive coordinator may have to take that into consideration, but aside from that we’re just rolling with what we’ve been doing.

PFF: How big a deal is something like the blind side moving for a left handed quarterback? The media likes to make it into a big issue, but do you guys really focus much on it, or is it just business as usual?
CM: To be honest with you, I don’t know yet. We haven’t had to deal with it in the regular season. I think it’s more like you say, a media issue, and something for the fans to talk about, or something for the announcers to talk about on gameday as a whole different situation, but it really isn’t. Our protections are already build to go both ways, and if we go a little more to the other side now it’s not like it’s out of the ordinary, because we’ve already been running them to both sides for a long time.

PFF: That’s all we’ve got Chris, thanks again for taking the time to talk to us, and good luck down the stretch, hopefully we’ll see you guys in the playoffs.
CM: Yea, absolutely, any time. I’m a big fan of the website. Thanks guys, I appreciate it.


11-23-2011, 05:14 PM
Enjoyed the read.


11-23-2011, 06:04 PM
Good stuff.

11-23-2011, 06:05 PM
very good read, thanks for posting. :)

11-23-2011, 06:14 PM
"I thought it may be different or feel different on my butt or something, but after a few days of training camp you get used to it."

So that's what goes on in camp. :vincepalm:


Hardcore Texan
11-23-2011, 06:58 PM
Good read.

I am not sure if I believe the quote of about protecting the blind side though, sounded kind of like coach speak. Enjoyed his perspective though.

11-23-2011, 08:22 PM
That's the 2nd OL that's said it won't really matter that Leinart is a lefty. What I'm saying is, I can't wait for Winston to give up ONE sack so I can watch the critics stroll by.

My favorite part is when he says that they have the calls down silently and it's confusing D's.

11-23-2011, 08:29 PM
He needs to sit his azz down and examine why he repeatedly is NOT blocking anybody on a lot of pass plays.

I swear, if I see him stick an arm out and shuffle backwards while looking side-to-side for some fellow lineman that he thinks he needs to help out on a double-team block, rather than just maintaining his own two gaps and taking on the stunting d-lineman or the blitzing LB running free up the middle....I'm going to break my TV once and for all.

He had done fairly well until the past couple of games. A center can get your QB killed out there.

Sorry, just a little pissed off with the Haynesworth thing...and I'm venting. Just now relaying my feelings on Chris Myers play as of late. Forgive me if I'm being obnoxious about it.

11-23-2011, 08:31 PM
That's the 2nd OL that's said it won't really matter that Leinart is a lefty. What I'm saying is, I can't wait for Winston to give up ONE sack so I can watch the critics stroll by.

Is that because you believe Winston never gave up a sack on a right handed QB?

11-23-2011, 08:51 PM
"I thought it may be different or feel different on my butt or something, but after a few days of training camp you get used to it."

So that's what goes on in camp. :vincepalm:


The whole offense goes both ways. :specnatz:

Hardcore Texan
11-23-2011, 11:20 PM
That's the 2nd OL that's said it won't really matter that Leinart is a lefty. What I'm saying is, I can't wait for Winston to give up ONE sack so I can watch the critics stroll by.

Not sure what you are saying here. I think it does matter why else is there an emphasis placed on the LT position? I am way more nervous about Winston protecting the blind side than Brown. Critiquing is part of what fans do, doesn't mean I don't like Winston, he's a mauler in the run game but he has had gaps in his pass pro from time to time.

11-24-2011, 12:26 AM
Not sure what you are saying here. I think it does matter why else is there an emphasis placed on the LT position? I am way more nervous about Winston protecting the blind side than Brown. Critiquing is part of what fans do, doesn't mean I don't like Winston, he's a mauler in the run game but he has had gaps in his pass pro from time to time.

I think what they are saying is that the RT pass blocks just as often as the LT, LG, RG, or the C..... as far as being on the blind side, I think they're just circling the wagons.

Very few teams leave their best pass rusher on the blindside. They usually flip their ends for different reasons, so it's not like Winston never went against Dwight Freeney (who is the only "elite" pass rusher left on our schedule).

Teams may blitz more often from the blindside, but that's going to be a team thing, not just an Eric Winston thing, to pick-up.

11-24-2011, 12:38 AM
The whole offense goes both ways. :specnatz:

Hey. Hey now...
We'll have no more of that kind of talk.

11-24-2011, 06:43 AM
Not sure what you are saying here. I think it does matter why else is there an emphasis placed on the LT position? I am way more nervous about Winston protecting the blind side than Brown. Critiquing is part of what fans do, doesn't mean I don't like Winston, he's a mauler in the run game but he has had gaps in his pass pro from time to time.

Fans critiquing is one thing, ignoring what at least 2 players who are on the field doing it is another. I think I'll go with their analysis over a critiquing fan.

11-24-2011, 07:43 AM
That's the 2nd OL that's said it won't really matter that Leinart is a lefty. What I'm saying is, I can't wait for Winston to give up ONE sack so I can watch the critics stroll by.

My favorite part is when he says that they have the calls down silently and it's confusing D's.

I love this!

Hardcore Texan
11-24-2011, 10:24 AM
I think what they are saying is that the RT pass blocks just as often as the LT, LG, RG, or the C..... as far as being on the blind side, I think they're just circling the wagons.

Very few teams leave their best pass rusher on the blindside. They usually flip their ends for different reasons, so it's not like Winston never went against Dwight Freeney (who is the only "elite" pass rusher left on our schedule).

Teams may blitz more often from the blindside, but that's going to be a team thing, not just an Eric Winston thing, to pick-up.

Yeah, I get what your are saying, he has seen his share of good rushers especially Mathis and Freeney, that's a terrific tandem. But still he'll be protecting the blind side every down now, and teams will definitely test it. It's a bid difference when the QB can see the rush coming versus a strip/sack from the backside. I bet we see a lot of chipping from the TE's and RB's to make sure everyone is settled in.

Fans critiquing is one thing, ignoring what at least 2 players who are on the field doing it is another. I think I'll go with their analysis over a critiquing fan.

I don't disagree completely here about critiquing, but to say for sure that they are not just giving an PR type response is an assumption. What else is he going to say? If we see more chipping on the pass rushers by TE's and RB's that will give us the answer on how the coaches feel. If they live Winston on an island all game then Winston is right.

02-23-2012, 05:37 PM
Interview with Chris Myers, Center, Houston Texans – Part 2

February 21st, 2012 | Author: Sam Monson

Pro Football Focus first spoke to Chris Myers during the 2011 season, just after the loss of QB Matt Schaub and the first start of his backup Matt Leinart. At the time, T.J. Yates wasn’t even on anybody’s radar, and the Texans were hoping they could keep their season on the tracks and secure that elusive first postseason berth. He was quick to talk about the team’s goals and reluctant to even think about the prospect of any individual honors before those goals had been realized.

This time we caught up with him after having won the franchise’s first playoff game, running the Baltimore Ravens close in their second, and after he had been off to Hawaii as a member of the AFC’s Pro Bowl squad.
The Texans have firmly rid themselves of that troublesome monkey from their backs, and now look ahead to the 2012 season as the AFC South favorites for the first time.

Myers himself is a free agent, and finished the year as our top-ranked center, ahead of perennial All-Pro Nick Mangold. Check out what he had to say when we caught up with him second time around.

Pro Football Focus: Hi Chris, thanks for taking the time to talk to us again. How are things going?
Chris Myers: Things are going great man, really can’t complain since we talked last. It’s been a fun ride this season, and unfortunately we ended it with that second round, but it is what it is this season. I, fortunately, got to go to the Pro Bowl which was a really great addition to the year.

PFF: What was that like?
CM: It was an awesome experience. You always kind of have that underlying goal for you on a personal level, but you never kind of, I don’t know, think about it too much. It’s only a personal goal, and you’re thinking more about the team. And then when it happened, especially with me being an alternate, it didn’t happen right away–all of a sudden I found out and it was just awesome to be able to share and bring my whole family out. My family from my hometown, Miami, and of course my immediate family from here in Houston.

PFF: How does that process work if you’re an alternate?
CM: Well the day the announcements are made for the starters and so on it’s kind of kept a secret who the alternates are, but the coaching staff of each team gets a notification from the league of who the alternates are, first, second, third string alternates. So I got notified by my coaching staff and then I just had to sit and wait.

PFF: What was the week in Hawaii itself like?
CM: It was just a really humbling experience. I’ve always gone way over and above whatever dreams I could accomplish in football, but when you accomplish things, you keep setting higher goals for yourself. That was just above what I ever thought, and to see all those faces just walking around and all the different players that you see every year at the Pro Bowl it’s pretty cool to be a part of. And, even aside from the football part of it, just getting to experience Hawaii. The fact that it’s still out in Hawaii, seeing Pearl Harbor, and going to see North Shore, and getting to go to Waikiki, my family would never have been able to experience all of that, so the opportunity for me to play in the Pro Bowl brought them out there, and it was great.

PFF: It seems that the Pro Bowl belongs in Hawaii.
CM: I just don’t think it would get the same player turnout if it was in the city of the Super Bowl every year.

PFF: You got seven of the 50 All-Pro votes for the center position, but we had you as the top-ranked guy in the entire league, which do you think is a fairer reflection of your season?
CM: I’ve said it every time someone asks me about the Pro Bowl even, but a center isn’t going to do anything better than the rest of his offensive line does, especially the guards. Not too many centers sit for 60-something plays a game and block by themselves. A guard or a tackle can do that a whole game, but a center is going to get tremendous help every game from both guards, so I attribute a lot of the success that came my way personally to both of my guards and my offensive line. You’re not going to have a center be successful in this league without a great offensive line along with him, so I think it’s a testament to them.

PFF: The Houston assistant O-line coach, Frank Pollack, just went to the Raiders along with Greg Knapp. What kind of an impact does losing coaches like that have to you as players?
CM: It’s kind of a two way street. He’s been here a long time–longer than I’ve been here in Houston–and Frank has a tremendous experience, especially as a player, to be able to give current players input. He played a long time, especially in San Francisco, so you take to heed what he says to you and the different techniques that he’s trying to teach you, so to have someone like that is tremendous for the team. But, on the other end, you’re so excited for him to be able to get a head O-line coach job back in the bay area where he played for so long. It can be frustrating to lose coaches, you know you’ll see them later in your career, you know, when you face that team, but you’re just happy for their opportunity to get that job and to further their career.

PFF: What does an assistant O-line coach actually do day-to-day in the organization?
CM: Well, the way we work, he was pretty much installing all of our pass protection and pass game stuff for the O-line. Our head O-line coach, John Benton, will do the whole running game for us, and Frank would get up on the board and do the whole pass protection game. He was pretty much our pass protection coach. He worked a lot more with the tackles out at practice because of his experience, that’s what he played, but he does a lot of things. He does a lot of breakdowns, he does the scout cards. He pretty much puts different cards together for the defenses that we face week in week out during practice, which is a huge responsibility, so an assistant offensive line coach’s job isn’t just that; an assistant–it’s a lot more work than you think.

PFF: So you’re an impending free agent, what is your outlook on that, are you looking elsewhere, or to come back to Houston?
CM: I would love to be able to come back here. I want to come back here and see this thing through. I have no want to leave, but I do understand how it is. I’d love to be able to stay here, I’ve built so many friendships and relationships and the camaraderie that we’ve built as an offensive line as a whole, and just the thing that’s going on with the team. This organization is going big places in the next few years and I want to be a part of it. That being said, I’ve been in the league a while now, this was my seventh year, and I understand that it is a business and there are a lot of other free agents up this offseason and it’s gonna depend on everything else going on, so I’m just biding my time for the next month and enjoying my time off until free agency hits. When it does, that’s what my agent is there for and hopefully I’ll be here.

PFF: You’ve just finished your seventh year, as you said, how many years do you think you’ve got left playing?
CM: I hope a long time. When I first got to Denver in 2005 I was playing behind Tom Nalen who played like 14-15 years, and I hope to get to that point. I’m only half way there. I hope I can play for a long time and looking back at my last couple of years, I think I’ve played my best ball the last two seasons, and I really feel like I’m on the up, so I’m hoping I can play that time. Who knows, as long as my body lets me without hindering me for my future.

PFF: Are you more conscious about things like that now, rather than when you’re young and you just take your body for granted as something that’ll always be there?
CM: Oh yeah, definitely. Back when I came into the league I would see guys living in the training room. In my first couple of years I didn’t touch the training room, I thought it was the worst place in the world, but in the last couple of years I live in the training room. I’m one of the first guys in there at 5:15 in the morning, and I’m in there after practice. You realize when you get older that taking care of your body is the most important part, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

PFF: Do you have to watch what you eat to maintain your weight? You’re one of the smaller and most athletic linemen in the league.
CM: Yeah, but for some reason my metabolism is great, so I don’t even have to worry about what I eat. When we come in for weigh in day I’m usually right at my weight and don’t have to worry about being two, three, or four pounds over and a lot of guys do. Fortunately enough, I’m one of the lighter guys and I can just come in, or I can go to that O-line dinner and eat whatever I want.

PFF: There is a lot of trash talk during games, especially down in the trenches; do you get involved in that?
CM: I get involved I guess, if it pertains to me, but as a group we get a lot of dirty looks and dirty talk because of guys getting cut blocked all the time. We take it for what it is, and we roll with it. It’s part of our offense and part of the game, and has been for a long time. Guys get really pissed off with it, but you know what, we’re going to keep doing it, so you can either keep talking about it or you can try and play off it. Once they start talking about it, you know you’ve got them, because they’re not worried about playing anymore they’re worried about the cuts.

PFF: When they start talking to the officials and complaining in-game do you guys just laugh, or do you try and wind them up even further?
CM: You may take a jab here and there just to kind of respond, but for the most part you just keep going. When you get them on the ropes, especially in the run game, you want to keep going, you don’t want to waste time talking. But there are those games where you have to kind of get into it a bit.

PFF: Against Baltimore the second time you played them you seemed to have a lot more success, and execute better, was there anything specific you did to have more success second time around?
CM: No, we didn’t do anything different we just came out of the gate knowing that we wanted to be dominant running the ball. We knew we weren’t going to get anywhere without being able to establish the run and be physical with them up there. Especially in a playoff atmosphere, where we’d had that first playoff game here in Houston, but we as a franchise didn’t know what it was like to have a road playoff game, and going up to Baltimore where they’ve had plenty, and they were a dominant team who have had success for years … we just wanted to be able to establish ourselves and get some respect. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to, we had some turnovers, but I think we were able to grind out the game with them and hopefully earned some respect throughout the league.

PFF: What was that first playoff game like for the Texans?
CM: Oh, unbelievable. I got to play in some playoff games in my rookie year in 2005 in Denver, and the atmosphere that was here–even just in the last month of the season, ever since we beat Atlanta in early December–has just been tremendous. The fans have been fantastic every single week, and been a huge help, and we got to see it culminate in that playoff game against Cincinnati. From the first snap to the last snap it was just unbelievable. It’s such a huge help, especially for the defense, how many delay of games and false starts you get, and just the feeling you get running out of the tunnel knowing your fans are right behind you. I hope it stays like that from here on out.

PFF: Do you pay attention to offseason stuff that happens to divisional rivals? It looks like the Colts will now be a 3-4 defense under their new coaching staff.
CM: Yeah, you pay attention to it. You’ll see online or on Sportscenter and when you read certain things, but you don’t really pay real attention to it until it comes around. Until the season rolls around, it’s pointless to really get into it. It’s good for conversation, but what good is it going to do you talking about it for the next six-seven months, you know?

PFF: What are your offseason plans? You’ve got a young family now, how does that influence your downtime?
CM: We’re pretty much settled here in Houston. We’ve had our house now for four years, a little over four years, and we’ve got two daughters under two years old–two years old and four months–so we’re kinda stationary here. We’ll travel back and forth to see my wife’s family and see my family, but other than that, we’re kinda here. Last offseason with the lockout I did a lot of working out down here with a lot of the guys, and I think I’m going to do the same thing this year, I’ll be in Houston working out. In my first couple of years in the league you do the whole going back to your hometown and partying thing a little bit, but once I settled down and got married I’m a bit more low-key now.

PFF: We read recently that with the new CBA NFL coaches can’t even talk about football to their players until April.
CM: Yeah, it’s something along those lines, I don’t even know the exact dates and timelines for everything right now until I get filled in by a rep, but there’s a whole bunch of different things they’re not allowed do. Being a veteran, I think it’s a good thing, I want to get my mind off football for a little bit. (laughs)

PFF: So veteran guys like you really just switch off and take a step back until things start to roll around again?
CM: We’re in there working out and you’ll see the coaches walking around and stuff like that. You’ll have a conversation, but they’re not allowed to, you know, meet with you, or be out on the practice field while you’re running voluntarily and that kind of thing. We’ll see how all that works out, it’s a new CBA for this offseason so I’m sure there’ll be kinks everywhere.

PFF: That’s got to get awkward. You see your coach and get chatting, but you’ve got to stick to the weather and how the wife’s treating you because nobody can talk football …
CM: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, I’m sure there’ll be kinks in there to be worked out, but for the most part it’s going to be just the players trying to do things on their own and then we’ll all meet up when the official offseason workouts start.


02-23-2012, 05:38 PM
PFF: What are your goals going into the next season?
CM: Just trying to build off this year, and what we’ve done in the past couple of seasons. Every season we’ve been saying we need to take that next step and we finally did it, we made the playoffs. Obviously, the overall goal for any player and team is the Super Bowl, and we were close this year. We were two games away, and that’s going to be that fuel for the fire for us. Being able to go up and play that kind of grinding and scrappy game on both sides of the ball and get it done this time is going to be that motivation for us in training to go that extra mile to make it happen.

PFF: How do you think you guys will react to being the favorites for the division next year for maybe the first time with the Colts falling so far?
CM: It’s going to be a fun offseason and a fun preseason to see all the different hype and talk and so on, but when it comes down to it, we’re all professionals, and we’ve got to get it done on game day. When you strap it up and you get on the field you’re not thinking about the talk and all the media hype, you’re going out there and remembering your preparation for the week and focusing on performing. It is what it is and it’s fun to deal with and do all the interviews, but when you’ve got to get it done on Sunday you’ve got to get it done on Sunday.

PFF: Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us Chris. Hopefully the Texans bring you back and you get a chance to take things one-step further next year.
CM: Thanks guys, my pleasure.


02-23-2012, 07:20 PM
Thanks much for posting. I always enjoy these interviews.