John Perry – Tight Ends Coach, Houston Texans

John Perry – Tight Ends Coach, Houston Texans

As the Texans’ tight ends coach, John Perry has built a strong foundation heading into his third NFL season based on his background at the collegiate level. Perry paid his dues, learned different coaching philosophies and emerged as an accomplished teacher. Before being hired by Texans coach Bill O’Brien three years ago to coach the tight ends, which includes former Iowa standout C.J. Fiedorowicz, Perry was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Delaware.


He was a head coach for five seasons at Division II Merrimack, going 29-21 and winning a conference title and coaching five All-American selections. Perry began his coaching career coaching the Northeastern running backs before coaching receivers at Brown and New Hampshire, being an offensive coordinator at Dartmouth, an associate head coach at Georgetown and New Hampshire. Now, the former four-year starter and two-time All-Yankee Conference selection from New Hampshire is continuing to make strides as a coach at the professional level. Clipboard Nation caught up with Perry for the following interview at the Texans’ full-team mandatory minicamp in June.


What’s been instrumental in your growth as a coach?
Perry: “I never got into it with the impression that there was one direction I was going to take. It was always about just trying to be the best I could be at that moment. I was fortunate to get a great opportunity at Northeastern University. That was my first coaching job. That was exciting. It just built up from there. Over the years, other things get added into it, whether it’s being a coordinator or being a head coach. You just continue on the path and figure it out as you go.”


Who have been some of your coaching mentors?
Perry: “Early on in my career, obviously Bill Bowes at the University of New Hampshire and Mark Whipple, who’s at the University of Massachusetts now. Both of those guys were tremendous influences on me early in my college coaching career. I think their mantra was always fundamentals and building on those fundamentals. That was instrumental in what I’m doing now.”


What do you think of this group of tight ends you’re coaching now?
Perry: “It’s a good, hard-working group. They take the approach every day that they’re going to come out here and put their hard hat on and lunch pail in their hands. That’s kind of their approach. They’re a good group to coach in that respect. It’s a great room. Everybody comes with a great attitude and want to get better.
“We’ve got a great room. They really work hard. They come in early, they stay late. They’re just that type of group. They have a great rapport among each other. They root for each other. They help each other out between plays on the sidelines. It’s a good chemistry and I think moving forward that’s going to be helpful for us offensively.”


What do you think of Fiedorowicz’s development as an all-around tight end?
Perry: “I think he’s really effective blocking and I think the thing is sometimes he’s a little underrated as a pass-catcher just because maybe all the stats aren’t there. One of the things I always point out he had 23 targets and 17 receptions. So, he very rarely doesn’t catch the ball. He’s got a great catch radius. He’s an effective guy that way. We used him well last year. We’re going to continue to use him well. He shows up every day and continues to give great effort.”


What’s your view on Ryan Griffin’s skill set?
Perry: “Ryan gives us ability in a lot of respects. He’s not just one-dimensional. He can be effective in the pass game. He can be effective as a blocker. You need to bridge that gap like you’re a great blocking tight end and a great receiving tight end, to have a bridge guy helps you as an offense to be more effective.”


How is former Cal tight end Stephen Anderson, an undrafted free agent, performing so far?
Perry: “He’s come out and really put in a great effort every day. He’s held true to the Cal mantra of being a smart kid. He’s picked up things very quickly and, on top of that, he’s got great athleticism. He’s got good hands. His best trait is he continues to work at it. Here’s a kid who’s just climbed the ladder. He walked on at Cal. Now he comes in here as a free agent. He’s taken advantage of opportunities that have been presented to him. So, he’s fun to work with and I can see him continuing to get better.”


Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.

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