Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on an injury update and an update on CB Johnathan Joseph who was in the NFL concussion protocol) "J-Joe (Joseph) was out there today and looked good. It looks like he'll be ready to go. I would say most of the other guys that we talked about the other day pretty much day to day, with the exception of Kareem Jackson. I would say that Kareem Jackson probably would not play against Cleveland, but we'll see how that goes during the week."
(on what the coaching staff can improve on after self-review during the bye week) "There are a lot of things. That's a great question. I think offensively, let's start there; we've really looked at our protections, schematically and technically. From a technique standpoint, we've worked on that quite a bit last Wednesday, today with our offensive line, our tight ends, our backs and our quarterbacks. Everybody is involved there. I'd say defensively we've really looked at our run fits. How are we fitting the run? What do we need to do to get it better? We've looked at that a lot. Defensively, we've looked at our coverages. What are the coverages we're able to execute the best? What are the ones that we need to work on, and we've been working on those last week, today. Special teams wise, we've really got to do a great job in this game of protecting. They've blocked two punts and they blocked a field goal, so we've got do a great job of protecting on punt and protecting on field goals. Those are things we really looked at."
(on if the coaching staff spent last week reviewing themselves and are now turning to Cleveland this week) "That is probably exactly what it was. We spent a lot of time on ourselves. We looked at ourselves last week quite a bit. With our computer systems, with everybody, everybody has similar computer systems, you're able to kind of break the film down, break your tendencies down in a lot of different ways. The problem with that is you don't want to go overboard with that because at the end of the day what is the identity of your team? The identity of our team is that we're a team that plays very hard for 60 minutes. We've got to be able to run the ball on offense. We've got to be able to stop the run on defense. We've got to be able to create some explosive plays and stop explosive plays on defense and so we looked at all of that and we looked at our tendencies in those different areas -third down, red area- and we try to work on those things. Starting Wednesday- we did a little bit of Cleveland today- but starting Wednesday we'll be full throttle into Cleveland. Cleveland is a really good football team. They're very well coached. Quarterback Brian Hoyer is playing well. They run the ball. They've done a good job of getting the ball down field. Kyle Shanahan is doing a great job there. Defensively, it's Mike Pettine, it's Jim O'Neil, these guys have done a great job for a long time. It's a big challenge for us and we'll really be full throttle against those schemes on Wednesday."
(on his thoughts about QB Ryan Mallett starting his first NFL game) "I'm excited. I'm excited for him. I think this is his opportunity to go out there and lead this team, and he's excited. He was here all weekend, spent a lot of time on his own game and getting ready for Cleveland. He's very, very excited and we're looking forward to seeing what he can do."
(on what stands out about the Browns secondary) "A lot of good players. Joe Haden is one of the best cornerbacks in the league, plays press very well, plays off coverage very well. Donte Whitner has been in this league for a long time. I'm familiar with him from his days in Buffalo—tough, tough guy, great tackler, competitive in coverage, great ball skills. They all have good ball skills back there. It's a very challenging secondary to go against. They've added Jim Leonhard into the mix there who is a guy that knows; he's like a coach on the field. A guy that can really get those guys lined up. We just have a tremendous amount of respect for Cleveland, all of their players and coaches and the secondary, definitely."
(on if it helps QB Ryan Mallett because he's watched Mike Pettine coached defenses during his time in New England) "I think experience watching it—you probably have a point there. I would say, yeah. I would say that would help him, but I think at the end of the day the biggest thing is going against it, which he doesn't have experience on the field against it. He's going to have to do a great job this week of preparing on the practice field and the film room, and then when the game starts, how does it go then? That's the big thing for any quarterback who hasn't seen it in live action. He's going to see it live, and hopefully we've prepared him enough and he's able to go out there and do a good job with it."
(on what the offense can do to prevent pressure now that QB Ryan Mallett is the starting quarterback) "I think part of that is, you know, people look at that, the difference skill set of the quarterbacks with one guy running a little bit better than the other guy. To me it starts with making sure that you know the read of the play, that you know you understand where the ball is supposed to go almost as soon as the ball is snapped and many cases hopefully before the ball is snapped. That is one of the keys. To me, the other key is that you're leading the protection, that you're on the same page with the offensive line, that you're getting everybody to the right guy, that you want to be picked up, the five guys, the six guys that you want protected. It's more about that than it is about who is mobile, who's not mobile. It's more about that."
(on QB Ryan Mallett getting the ball out quickly enough when blitzed) "I'll tell you what, again, we'll have to see how he is in the game, but in practice since the day he arrived here there has been a lot of improvement with that from his days when I was with him in New England, obviously he was only a rookie. To where he is now in practice, looks like the ball comes out with good timing and comes out and quick enough."
WR Andre Johnson
(on the high number of interceptions the Browns have forced) "They have a great group. I think their secondary as a whole is very good and they complement each other very well. They create a lot of turnovers."
(on if the Browns secondary is one of the best the Texans have faced all year) "I think as a group just from looking at them, probably be one of the best groups we've probably faced."
(on how he feels about things after the bye break) "I'm fine. I mean, just trying to win games. That's it. I don't think it's any different from when I left. I think everybody feels the same way. We need to do what we need to do to win."
(on if he's curious about how QB Ryan Mallett will play) "We all have to go out and do what we need to do to help the team win. We all have to play a part in it. It's not just him. Whoever is at quarterback, it doesn't matter. We all have to go out and do our jobs. It's not just going to be about him. It's going to be about all of us. All of us need to step our game out and go out and play the way we know how to play."
(on if he sees QB Ryan Mallett having confidence around the huddle) "He's been in the offense for a few years, so he's comfortable with what he's doing. But you know, I'm just excited as him to get out there on Sunday."
(on how tough it is for a quarterback to make his first NFL start against a tough secondary) "This league is different week to week. You have to come and play every game. Anything can happen. Just because great things happen one week, don't mean it's going to happen the next. Anybody can be beat any Sunday."
(on what he can do to help a quarterback making his first NFL start) "I got to do everything I can to try and get open and make plays for him. That's pretty much it. Make plays and protect the ball."
(on what the offense can do to become more consistent) "Just make plays when they need to be made. I think that's the biggest thing."
(on if he is encouraged with the team at 4-5) "Why would I not be encouraged? That's what y'all read into. Y'all have to make a story, right? OK, then."
(on seeing former teammate RB Ben Tate next week) "It will be fun. I'm pretty sure he'll be talking a lot of trash. No doubt in my mind about that. It'll be fun to see him."
(on if he got to go to an island over the bye break) "No, I couldn't make it to the island."
(on how long it takes to build chemistry with a quarterback) "You can kind of get comfortable with a guy from practicing with him, but I don't think you can really get to know a guy that well until, you know, a lot of stuff that goes into the offseason and stuff like that. I'm comfortable with him. I'm pretty sure of you have an offseason and stuff with him, there are other things that you can be more comfortable with. You never really get that where you're really, really on the same page until you've just been through a whole offseason together and stuff like that."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on if he's had concussions before) "No, never."
(on what it's like dealing with a concussion) "It was kind of weird. Just with the new rules and everything, you've got to go meet with outside people and things like that. We have to do that several days back-to-back. It was just a little weird and long drawn out. Other than that, I'm fine."
(on the safety protocol regarding concussions) "Without a doubt. I'm thankful for it and the way the league is responding to it now and the way they're handling things. Obviously it gives the player a right mindset that you're able to go back out there and focus and everything. They do take the proper steps to make sure that your safety is first."
(on the Browns offense) "They've got a lot of speed guys at the skill positions, at the wide receivers, obviously a Pro Bowl tight end and their quarterback position, you've got a guy that's won a lot of games for them the past two years, year and a half, however long it may be. Their running back position, they use three guys, but all of them are capable of getting the job done."
(on facing former teammate RB Ben Tate and if he expects trash talking) "Without a doubt. Obviously he's facing his former team and he knows several guys on this team. He's been playing with us the last few years. It'll be a great deal to go up against a guy like Ben, but it's all business for us."
(on how RB Ben Tate is running) "I think he's playing fine. Obviously he's been banged up, hurt some early in the year, so he couldn't get into a groove. They're splitting time with the running back position now. All in all, I think he's doing what he can to help him team get the best out of the running back position."
(on what he's seen from QB Ryan Mallett in practice) "Very strong arm, sharp, he's on top of his thing from a playbook standpoint, understands the offense. I think having Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) has helped him grow to a certain degree also. Playing under Tom Brady when he was in New England, I think helped develop him also, but you know playing here and just being around a guy like Fitz, the way this team is built I think helped him grow as well because now that he's the quarterback he's the leader of this team."
(on if he sees the confidence in QB Ryan Mallett) "I think without a doubt. Coming in, being a backup, you never know when it's going to be your call to come in and be the starter, so you have to prepare like you're the starter at all times. I think he's done a great job the first 9-10 weeks of the season of doing that, preparing himself each and every week as if he's going to be the guy to get the call to start."
QB Ryan Mallett
(on watching Mike Pettine coached defenses from his time in New England) "Seeing it before, obviously I have a little recognition, but there is a lot of stuff that they do that we're going to have to be prepared for."
(on if he thinks the Browns will try to fool him or line up and beat him) "I don't know. We'll see. We've got to prepared for everything. Whatever they throw at us, we're going to have to communicate and get handled."
(on the differences between Mike Pettine coached defenses as a coordinator or head coach) "They do a lot of the same stuff. Last year when we saw him, he was in Buffalo, and they did some stuff that was different, so like I said, we have to look at it, get it communicated and make sure everybody is on the same page."
(on the key to improving pass protection) "We just have to communicate, see everything through the same set up eyes and make sure everybody is seeing everything the same way for us to be successful."
(on what he did during the bye break) "I don't know if you call it a break. I've been watching them, trying to get a beat on them."
(on who he worked with over the bye break) "I was here myself. The coaches were here doing their stuff during their time. I was doing my stuff."
(on what his days were like over the bye week) "A lot of film study. Worked out a little bit, but a lot of field study. Just trying to get ready for these guys and they've got a good team. Their 6-3 and we've got to execute to have a chance."
(on what his mood is like today) "It's Monday. We've still got six days, so right now we've got to get everything nailed down. We've got a few days to do it, but we've got a little head start coming off of a break and so do they. It's going to be a good battle I think."
(on if he feels like he has something to prove) "I don't feel like I've got anything you prove. I just need to go play football."
(on how much an advantage it is working with quarterbacks coach George Godsey after working together in New England) "It's definitely helped just knowing him and what he thinks. He taught me the offense so if I have a question or something, I just ask him and it gets answered pretty quick. It's been good working with him."
(on the high number of interceptions the Browns have forced) "Don't throw it to them. They've had a few turnovers that have been thrown right to them. We can't do that. We've got to protect the football."
(on how much it helped knowing he was the starting quarterback with extra time to prepare) "I guess it helps. Obviously, I'm ready for Sunday to get here. I'm ready to play. It gave me time to really watch a lot of the film, a lot of the games they've played this year and some last year. It's been good for me as far as a mental standpoint and studying and that stuff."
(on having an extra week to prepare) "Right. It gives you a sense of I don't know, calm or whatever. You're not rushing. You've got time to thoroughly digest what they're doing."
(on if he has a high amount of ticket requests) "Not yet. I know I've got a few, but hopefully it's not too many."
(on playing in the cold) "I played in it for three years when I was in it. Practicing in it for three years, so really the weather, you have to play with what happens. You just have to be ready to go."
C Chris Myers
(on what he did during the bye week) "It was good to get away for a little bit and spend some time with the family, but back on the grind, back to work."
(on the quarterback-center relationship with a new quarterback) "You've just got to get used to certain tendencies, the way they call certain plays. For the most part, it's going to be the same. You just learn how they operate differently. And he's been out there throughout practices so you kind of understand how he's going to be. It's just a matter of getting used to it, so that comes with time."
(on what he's seen from QB Ryan Mallett in practice) "He's got all of the tools. That's one of the things he's always been able to do that. He had a successful college career. For him to be able to come in here and prove himself, it's going to be a big test, but we're all behind him 100 percent."
(on the changes in protection strategy with QB Ryan Mallett under center) "Yeah, I mean it affects in terms of our pass blocking and in terms of his drops. He's going to get rid of the ball on time. He's a true pocket passer, so if he needs to scramble it's not going to the same result as if Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) does. But we understand that and we understand there is a certain amount of time that we need to keep him protected. That all equates back to our running game, too. Being able to run the ball is going to be able to give us enough time to pass block for him."
(on if he's a had a chance to speak with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel after his Super Bowl Rings were stolen over the weekend) "It hits close to myself as well. I'm right down the street from him. It's one of those things that it doesn't just affect the physical things that you have, i.e. his Super Bowl rings, which obviously mean the world to him. But it just affects the security of your family and that's the biggest thing that concerns me individually, and I'm sure Vrabes (Vrabel) as himself. To be able to kind of the security of your family is the number one thing that you want to have when you're not at work, and that got taken from them. That's one thing that you have to earn back. In terms of the rings, that is something that he earned throughout his career and that mean the world to him. To be able to get those back is going to be huge."
SS D.J. Swearinger
(on what stands out about the Browns offense) "They don't turn the ball over for one. That's one of the big things. They don't turn it over. They run it good. Six (Brian Hoyer) is doing a good job of managing the game and they're doing good."
(on facing former teammate RB Ben Tate) "It's going to be a good challenge. Going up against Ben, you know an old teammate, we're ready for him."
(on if there is new enthusiasm with the team) "It's new energy. It's positive energy. Coming off the bye week, everything is positive. There is no reason why we shouldn't come off this weekend and have a successful week and preparation and planning. Our bodies, everything should be in a positive mindset and a positive attitude. It should be good for us."
(on how healthy the team is following the bye) "I don't know how they feeling, bro. I'm not in their body. I feel like I'm ready to play ball and that's all that matters. Everybody has to get ready, get themselves ready to play."
DE J.J. Watt
(on what he did during the bye week) "It was very good. You get a chance to see the family, reconnect with them. It's a long season, so it's good to be able to see people and relax."
(on if he needed to get away for a couple of days) "You know, it's always good. A bye week is a chance to recharge, refresh and get your body back under you a little bit. Like I said, the biggest part is seeing your family, seeing everybody and making sure they know what your face still looks like."
(on the change at quarterback) "Like you said, that's the offensive side. I control the defensive side. We go out there and play as hard as we can. I know that everybody is going to do the exact same thing. We're looking forward to a great opportunity this week at Cleveland."
(on if he's curious what QB Ryan Mallett looks like as a starter) "Of course. We wish him well and we hope he does great. Whoever is running the helm on the offense side of the ball, we hope they do a great job and we have confidence in them, and we do what we can to help. As a defense you want to do as much as you can, try to get them the ball as much as you can. It's a good opportunity this week."
(on what he's seen from QB Ryan Mallett in practice) "I don't know how to judge quarterbacks. I have no idea."
(on being 4-5 and still having a lot of things to play for) "There is plenty of stuff to play for. Anybody who tells you otherwise is I don't know, I don't need to talk to those people. I'm just here to come to work every single day and put out best foot forward and looking forward to an opportunity on Sunday."
(on if he's a had a chance to speak with linebackers coach Mike Vrabel after his Super Bowl Rings were stolen over the weekend) "That's terrible. I mean, it's extremely unfortunate. You work so dang hard for something like that, especially three of them. It's terribly sad and I sure hope they find those because we work so hard for those and he had three. I hope he gets those back."
(on what stands out about the Browns offense) "They're playing well. They're doing a great job. I think they're running the ball well and their quarterback is doing a great job getting the ball out of there, doing things off of the run game, so I think they've been very effective."