SANTA CLARA — Greg Roman spoke in the media tent Thursday afternoon. Here’s a transcript.
ROMAN: Good afternoon. We’ve got a very good Houston team coming in. We’ve got a very complete defense, a playoff team that won a lot of games there, a complete team. When you look at their defense, it starts up front but they’re really talented at every level of their defense. You look at their two defensive ends, Watt and Smith, very, very good football players. Watt is a very unique player, plays with a frenetic style, very talented. The whole defense plays with very high motors. Line backing crew, they’re a 3-4 type of scheme really led by Cushing who is sideline-to-sideline. And then you look at their secondary, Jackson and Joseph outside, very highly rated against the pass. At the safeties you’ve got Manning and a Hall of Famer in Reed. We’ve got our hands full. Really dialed in here. Having a great week. Had some great meetings today. Looking forward to having a great practice. Any questions?
Q: Do the Texans keep Watt on the left side?
ROMAN: They move him around. Boy, he can stir it up. He stirs it up in the run game, pass game, front side, back side, double team, single blocked, this guy is a handful. We’re taking a hard look at studying. He can appear anywhere.
Q: Are you looking forward to the Watt-Boone matchup? It seems like two guys who are at the top of their games right now.
ROMAN: We’re looking forward to whoever against Watt. Whoever that is is going to be in for a full day. Our guys are excited about the challenge. I don’t think it’s going to just be one guy against one guy all day. I’m sure Alex will have a chance to block him.
Q: Do you expect Jon Baldwin to be on the field in most of your two wide receiver sets?
ROMAN: I think everybody that’s on the 53 and makes it to the game day is very important to our team. Everybody is going to have a role and Jonathan definitely is going to have a substantial role.
ME: What do you like about John Skelton as a quarterback?
ROMAN: We’ve got some exposure from competing against John. I think he’s big, got good stature, good arm. We got a chance to visit with him about three weeks ago, like his visit, liked his demeanor. Had a really good workout with us. Brings a veteran presence to the group. We’ll see where it goes.
ME: You mentioned Skelton’s stature. Jim Harbaugh mentioned Skelton’s stature yesterday. The team brought in two quarterbacks this offseason – Colt McCoy and B.J. Daniels – who don’t have stature in the pocket, they’re short by NFL quarterback standards. Why has stature now become an attribute you prioritize?
ROMAN: I just think when you describe a player like John, that’s one of the things that you can point to, his ability to see the defense and get the ball up and over the tall trees when necessary. That’s certainly not being derogatory to quarterbacks without great stature. But when describing John, I think that’s one of the things -a big, big guys who’s able to stand in the pocket and deliver down the field.
Q: What are the challenges of trying to fit LaMichael James into the offense and find a role for him, especially in an offense that seems so based around a power run game?
ROMAN: I think we can change gears pretty quickly. With a player like LaMichael, it’s really not a challenge to find things for him to do. He’s a very important part of our offense. From week to week he’s going to have a different role. I think we’ve that in the past where LaMichael steps in and now all of a sudden you’ve got a different style coming at the defense and it allows you to do different things and focus more on his skill-set, and we’ve seen that.
Q: I don’t know that we’ve ever seen it while Kendall Hunter has been healthy. Is there a lot of overlap between what those guys do?
ROMAN: I think they’re unique but you can do very similar things with them. The more we stay on the field, the more we can utilize those weapons. It’s definitely a function of how many plays you’re running, how many opportunities you have during the game and trying to forecast that when you’re putting a plan together.
Q: Are opposing defenses more prepared for the read-option, more ready for it, than they were last year?
ROMAN: You’d probably have to ask them about how much time they spent on it. But I do think from time to time we’re seeing people that are game planning in order to box you in. People have definitely tried to change what they’ve done and rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak. I definitely think there has been an effort to do that.