HOUSTON — Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien denied Wednesday that he and general manager Rick Smith had a confrontation on Saturday about whether to cut Ryan Mallett.
His comments come after a report said Smith overruled O'Brien, who wanted to cut Mallett on Saturday after the quarterback missed the team's charter flight to Miami. That move would have left the Texans without a backup quarterback for Sunday's game. The Texans released Mallett on Tuesday.
O'Brien opened his news conference Wednesday by saying: "Rick Smith and I both have respect for each other. We work together every day. We communicate every day. It's a partnership. Decisions are made by two of us."
Asked if there was a confrontation Saturday, O'Brien said no.
The missed flight comes after Mallett, who started four games this season, also missed a practice in training camp because he overslept. He blamed the latest gaffe on traffic and took a commercial flight to meet to team.
O'Brien talked about what he expects from his team and the rules that he has.
"We don't have a lot of rules, but one rule that we do have is we want guys to be on time," O'Brien said. "Now we're not talking about starting a meeting 15 minutes early ... if the meeting is supposed to start at 8, then be there at 8, be there at 7:59 ready to go. The way that we deal with those issues when they're not here on time it's dealt with internally. If it's something that happens time and time again then the message isn't getting through then we have to make decisions in that regard, too."
He said that he tries to communicate with players about his expectations and addressed Mallett's situation.
"I believe that I'm clear about (expectations)," O'Brien said. "Look, it just didn't work out. We wish him the best of luck, but it didn't work out here."
The Texans have signed T.J. Yates to back up Brian Hoyer. Yates spent his first three seasons with the Texans before playing with Atlanta last season. He led the Texans to their first-ever playoff win in 2011 when Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart both suffered season-ending injuries.
He's got a leg up in learning this offense after practicing in O'Brien's system before being traded to the Falcons in June 2014.
"He's got a ways to go since he's been here last," offensive coordinator George Godsey said. "It's good because he does have some familiarity. He's put in some hours already, and it's going to take a lot more hours."
NOTES: DE J.J. Watt missed practice on Wednesday with what O'Brien called a "minor back issue" but O'Brien said he expects him to play against Tennessee on Sunday. ... OLB Jadeveon Clowney also missed practice because of an illness, but he should also be ready to go on Sunday.