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 Transcripts: 11-30-2022 Press Conferences


Opening Statement

"Another Wednesday game week. I realize there's a little bit more tension placed on this game. We need to get a win, so it doesn't really matter who our opponent is, but a challenging team coming in. I know they're adding Deshaun (Watson) to the mix offensively, but without him, their offense has really put up yardage. They have an excellent running back. One of the top running backs in our game. They have at least one number one receiver. A good tight end. A good offensive line, so that will be a challenge. To stop the run – we have played the run the last couple of weeks better, which is a good thing. It seems like we are trending in the right direction. We'll need to play our best game this week. On the other side of the ball, two first round draft picks at the defensive end position. Myles Garrett is as good as there is in the league I think, so it'll be a tough challenge for us. Our football team, Wednesday, Kyle (Allen) – any time you practice, you're going to get better. It was good for him to get a Wednesday practice. He got pretty much most of the reps. To just throw to the guys and all of that that goes into practicing. Injury-wise, the injury lists come out, and we'll stay with it. Derek Stingley still has a mild hamstring that's getting better. Rex Burkhead is still in the concussion protocol."

Do you worry about the team's morale when you are not playing competitive games?

"I'm going to say we got back into that last one. We were getting close to being in striking range with it. We're going to try and build on some of the good things we did in that second half. I think the guys, as an NFL player, you've got to, good or bad, put that to rest and move on. That's why we're excited by this opportunity. When we haven't played our best ball, we have another opportunity to make a lot of improvements in just about all areas. I think that's what the guys are doing. I know that's how they practice. They come to work each day."

How big of challenge will it be to defend WR Amari Cooper without DB Derek Stingley Jr.?

"(Amari Cooper) is a one receiver. He was a great college player. There's a reason why when you look at his bank account, he's getting paid the way he is. It'll be a challenge without Derek (Stingley). That was the case last week. That's life in the NFL too. Our guys Des (Desmond King), Steve Nelson and the rest of the guys have to step up."

How do you support a player's growth schematically, while also focusing on moving the ball?

"As far as Justin (McCray) playing to help out Kenyon (Green), that's not a part of it. We just – playing exactly what it is, you've got to let somebody else try a few snaps as much as anything. Maybe looking from another perspective, maybe it helps you a little bit. We're going to keep going. You can't – I mean, there's 11 guys on the field, and that position has to hold his own most of the time. It's not like Kenyon has bad plays every time he's out there. He did some good things this past week. Hopefully he will be able to do more good things this coming game."

Where have you seen Browns RB Nick Chubb and RB Kareem Hunt find their success this season?

"I think red zone, yeah. But I think it's all over the football field. When you're a good running back, I don't think it really matters where you are. They're just productive backs. (Nick) Chubb can run in between the tackles. Both of them have good speed. They can definitely run between the tackles. They're hard to tackle also, and that's what makes this offense and that's why we can't get into this trap of now all of a sudden they are a team that's going to pass it 50 times. I just don't believe that's what they'll do. I think they'll continue to do what they believe in offensively. That's continuing to give the ball to those two guys."

What has led to the slowdown in RB Dameon Pierce's production?

"I wish we knew exactly the reason why we haven't been able to run the football. I'm going to say that more than the decline of Dameon Pierce. I think part of why Dameon had success early on is because of what we were doing up from. So, we have to talk about what we're doing up front right now. Also early on in some of those plays, a lot of the yards he's gotten have been yards after contact. It's hard to maintain a certain level throughout an NFL season. We have time to get it right. Hopefully we'll see that. We're talking about Cleveland's offensive rushing output. We need to be able to match it and meet it as much as we can. Hopefully we'll get that going this week."

Is there anything that can be done to mitigate being outnumbered in the box and be more effective in the run game?

"I'm going to say that's been the case since game one. Defensively, you can always get an extra guy in the box, every snap. For running football teams, that's life in the NFL. Yes, there's been great interior defensive lineman we played most of the year. We're going to play very good ones this week also. Again, we've been dealing with that. We have to find a way to still run the football under those circumstances."

With RB Dameon Pierce only getting five carries, it seems like you mixed up the run and the pass early on in the game. Was that in the gameplan or a gametime decision?

"In an ideal world, I think we've seen how we would like to mix it up, run-pass. We want to have balance. When you get behind like that, it's hard to have balance. No fault in how we did it. We had to complete more passes. That wasn't a day to worry about how many carries a running back is going to get. We're just trying to get some production some kind of way. You get into a game, you have a gameplan coming in, but that gameplan can change at any time. I had no problem with what we're trying to do that last game."

What has gone into the decision to have TE Brevin Jordan on the sideline the last few weeks?

"What's going into is that we feel we have four tight ends that can play, and we can only dress three. It's kind of as simple as that. Nothing Brevin (Jordan) has done wrong. We've mixed it up. We've given all the guys an opportunity. He's been patient, and that's kind of the case. We have other players. We have a wide receiver, (Amari) Rodgers, that is a good player. We have a running back (Eno Benjamin) that hasn't been able to (play). We had a good linebacker last week that didn't play. I'm going to say in the NFL too, when you're as healthy as we are, normally you have injuries where it kind of works itself out, but everybody that deserves to play normally gets an opportunity to."

Because Browns QB Deshaun Watson hasn't played in a while, do you tell your defenders to expect to see rust?

"No, we're telling our guys we're going to see the best version of Deshaun (Watson). I think you go into every game that way. We have no idea. He hasn't played for a long period of time, but we hope there is some rust and all those things. But no, that's not what we're telling them. We're showing them the stats. One of the best offenses in the league statistically, adding a great player, so that should say that they're going to be better. That's how were going into the football game. It's going to be a tough challenge if they're throwing the ball, with the receivers that they have. We know that the easiest thing there is to do to get a player back into the mix is to hand the ball off to two excellent running backs. That's how we're going into the game."

What things did you all do to improve the run defense? Do you feel like it's sustainable?

"We hope we continue to get better. What have we done? We've continued to go to practice. It takes time is what I'm going to say. It's a process. You want it to be perfect right away. We played a lot of young players, and they're getting better. We're getting it. I think you just continue to practice. Eventually, you let the same guys stay out there and keep working together, they'll correct some of the things. As far as run defense, a lot of what we're doing is we've had guys in the box. It's not like we've been calling defenses where they have an extra guy, and we don't have enough guys to stop the run. You've got to be able to finish some plays, be able to tackle, and not let them get explosive plays. All those things is what we've been doing a little bit better these last couple of weeks."

What have you seen from Browns CB Denzel Ward and CB Greg Newsome II?

"First, I've known Greg (Newsome) for a long period of time. Recruited him, know his family well, know him. He's an excellent football player as you mentioned. There's a reason why he was a first round draft pick. He's got the skill set. Both of their corners are excellent football players. Their safeties are too. That's why we see the challenge that we have as far as that is concerned. We have good players, too. We've got to be able to pass the football, and sometimes you need to pass the ball more than others. If that's the case, we like some of the matchups that we have."

How has LB Christian Harris looked this week after going out with an injury on Sunday?

"He's getting better. Whenever you can't finish a game, there's concern. We're hoping he'll be okay. It's nothing season-ending. His growth, he needs to continue to play. He's missed a lot of time. Right when he's taking steps up, you start missing time, of course that doesn't help the case. Hopefully, he'll be ready to go."

Are there things you've noticed that the offense did with Browns QB Jacoby Brissett that mimics what you know about QB Deshaun Watson's play style?

"I hadn't really looked at it that way. When Jacoby (Brissett) played, he was playing excellent football right up until the last game he played. Running their offense, they have a multiple offense. You do everything. Most NFL offenses are similar. It's not like there's an option team and they're the ones that are passing the ball. I think it's a similar offense. Some of the things Deshaun has done in the past is what they're already doing there. I don't think they're going to change up an awful lot. Some of the things that they were doing with Jacoby, a lot of them Deshaun can (do). Deshaun Watson, he can go into any offense and whatever they're doing, eventually he makes that offense look pretty good. We're just hoping it takes a few weeks."


Where do you feel like you can improve from last game?

"I think I said it after the game, it's just execution and staying within the plan. Limit the big mistakes. We said it after the game, but the interception early really put us out of range. Can't put the team in that position. A lot of things to learn from, but on to the next."

What challenges does Browns DL Myles Garrett present?

"I played with Myles (Garrett) in college, so I know firsthand how good he is. He's only gotten better since then. The edge rushers are obviously really good. They've got a lot of stars over there. They've got a lot of good players. I think they pose a good challenge for us like last week. We're going to work through it, get a plan together and get ready for them."

How do you seeing the team organizing the run game and trying to make the scheme work?

"I think we've done a good job with the run game most of the year. When you're down 17-0 early in the game, it's tough to run the ball. You've got to start throwing it around to get back into the game. As always, we have a commitment to the run and everybody in our running back room can do well. Obviously, DP (Dameon Pierce) has gotten most of the carries this year and done well with it, but you see Dare (Ogunbowale) go in, you see Rex (Burkhead) go in. We just acquired Eno (Benjamin) from the Cardinals, he's looked good so far. I think everyone in that room has the ability to make it happen."

What do you remember about playing with DL Myles Garrett in college?

"I just remember his picture from high school with him running around. I think everyone has seen it. It's him looking like he does now and a bunch of his high school teammates, so he looks 30 years older than them. He's a freak. Good dude. He was the best player on our team then and is probably one of the best players in the league now."

What do you remember on being thrusted into the starting role from your time with the Carolina Panthers?

"Every situation is different, differing coaching, different scheme, different players, different organization. I really try to always focus on is just one game at a time, one play at a time and stay in the moment. I think that's why I was successful then. I didn't know how many games I was going to play, so I just stayed in the moment. That's what I try and do now. It's not always going to work out as you've seen from Sunday, but that's kind of the mindset I've always had. Come to live scrimmage with a plan every play and just play that play and move on."

If you could speak to DL Myles Garrett, what would you tell him now?

"Be nice to me."

What stands out from your time in Carolina?

"It was a lot of highs early, and then a lot of lows late. It was a learning year. The year before I was undrafted, I wasn't even on a team until Week 10, then the next year I'm starting for most of the season. I think it was just a huge learning experience. You try to learn as much as you can, and every year it's still the same."

Have you been able to talk to QB Davis Mills about helping him get through this point in his career?

"Yeah, we've had conversations. Like I've told you guys, Davis (Mills) is super talented player. He's got it all. It's just that he's young, been thrusted into a tough situation. It's a great opportunity for him, and he's going to be back on that field at some point. He's too good of a player to not be back out there. I think everyone in their career is going to face some type of adversity. Sometimes you've got to go through it to come out that other side better, and I think he's definitely going to come out the other side better."

How do you view the goal for you, the offense and the team going forward?

"Execute, score points. Got to make it happen on offense. Throughout the season, early in games it's been tough for the offense, so we've got to find a way to execute early, find a way to get on the board, let our defense play with a lead. We put our defense in tough situations all year, so I think for us it's literally as simple as execution and just trying to find a way to win games."

How do the two Browns cornerbacks impact timing and anticipation?

"It's like you said, you need timing and anticipation to beat guys like that. The way those guys play, they play with their eyes on the quarterback. They're reading drops. They're reading route combinations. They're both very good players and they get put in good positions to make plays. They've got good guys on the edge, good guys on the outside. They've really got good guys throughout the whole defense, but those corners are especially good players."

What's the opportunity and challenges when the opposing team making you throw? How does that affect the running game?

"Last game, they were playing two-high most of the game. There has been times where they're playing one-high and putting a guy in the box, but for whatever reason, Miami showed a little different. They we're playing two-high most of the game early. I don't think that's the reason we couldn't run the ball. I think it was because we were down big. We didn't want to run the ball, because it wasn't going to do anything for us at the time. I think that's a week-to-week thing. I don't think that teams have been giving us stacked boxes because we commit to the run."

Because you haven't played in over a year, do you feel like there was rust?

"I don't know if it was rust. There were a couple bad decisions, three-and-outs twice early and we were down 10-0. The pick put them at the 2-yard-line, and they scored. Then it's 17-0. We're just climbing back. I don't think it's a rust thing. I think it's just an overall theme of the offense. We've got to execute early in games to put us in a good position."

Do you think playing in that game helped you moving forward?

"For sure. I think any experience on the field, especially the first time in a new system, I was in the same system my whole career, getting that real life bullets experience in the new system with these guys who I haven't practice with, I think it's going to help a lot."

How does this week of practice change with you as the starter?

"I'm just getting more reps. I think the practice is the same. I prepped like I was going to play last week. For me, I just think I'll get a little bit more reps. Also, last week we took Thursday off for Thanksgiving. This week, we'll have another practice on Thursday, which will be really helpful."

Do you feel you have more confidence with WR Nico Collins and WR Brandin Cooks right now knowing that you're the starter?

"Not really. I think either way I was fine."

How would you evaluate Pep Hamilton as a play caller?

"I think Pep (Hamilton) has been great in the quarterback room. Pep has been trying to put us in the best positions. The one thing I love about Pep is we're in it together. You get some coaches sometime where it's a coach, coaching by himself on some players. When we're out there Sunday, we're in it together. We're working through things. It's been a tough year for us on offense, but when you look at football, it's easy to point fingers at the quarterback, or it's easy to point fingers at the coaches or coordinators. At the end of the day, there's 11 guys out there. It's a team game, and those guys have to make it happen. I think Pep (Hamilton) has been good for us this year."

What is the dynamic like in the quarterback room?

"You've got to reset, come back every week and still have motivation to want to fix it. It can get tough when you lose a bunch of games in a row to keep wanting to come back to work and motivate yourself to try and fix it when you're giving it your all every week, and it's not working. But Pep (Hamilton), Ted (White) and all the guys in that room, we all come ready to go come Tuesday or Wednesday when it's the next week. I really appreciate that from all of them. Some guys could cash in at this point, but no one has."

From your time on the sideline, is there anything specific you can remember that helped you as a starter?

"Not specifically. I think you go over adjustments of what their gameplan is. Miami was a very gameplan-ish defense, depending on who they were playing. We kind of got a feel for what they were going to do early in the game, and so I guess that would be it. But nothing really specific."

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