The Cleveland Browns' offense and defensive coordinators, Brad Childress and Dick Jauron, respectively, met with the media on Thursday to talk about this past week's game against the Giants and what's in store for this Sunday's game against the Bengals. Their news conference transcripts are organized by topic below, starting with Childress.
The Amount of Throws Weeden is Making, and Recognizing Mistakes
(On if Brandon Weeden is being asked to throw too much and him being second in yardage) – "He’s second in yardage for a rookie too, right? Would I like to be able to run it more? Yeah, I would like to be able to run it more, but we put ourselves in some situations where the way that you have to come back is you have to throw the football. I don’t know if he’s being asked to. He’s holding up under it decently. That’s for you guys to say."
(On if it’s a positive step for Weeden accepting his mistakes) – "I think anytime you can own it, that’s huge. I certainly haven’t put it in the ego category. I’ve told you guys before that for him to keep shooting is really important. Whether it’s in the face of an error to shut it down and clamp down, and just look five yards beyond the line of scrimmage is not a good thing. That’s something that I have seen with young quarterbacks that do shut it down and don’t keep shooting. I’d say, having learned from that and being able to acknowledge it is a plus, but I don’t want him to back up."
The 3rd-and-1 Play Against Giants, and Why Weeden Didn't Throw it Right Away
(On Pat Shurmur being criticized for Richardson being off the field for the third and one play) – "We’d like to thrown it to the guy that flashed open in the flat. That’s where it was designed to go first and foremost, and the fact was we didn’t. We got a 50-50, we’re going to run it, (or) we’re going to throw it. We had it up as a throw and a completion for a first down, which it easily could’ve been. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect it to go back the other way."
(On it being obvious that they were going to pass with Richardson not there) – "I don’t know if it was obvious, it was open. I know what you’re getting at, is you’re getting at, Trent how come he’s not in the game? He played, what 85 percent, which is 53 out of 60 plays. He has to get a drink of water sometime too, you know? A guy like (Chris) Ogbonnaya has been productive in what he has done for us. When we put them in the game, everybody has some kind of role. It’s not that somebody’s going to be in the game 100 percent of the time."
(On if Weeden explained why he didn’t throw it) – "Why he didn’t throw it? He said he didn’t see it, I think."
Dealing With Injuries at the Wide Receiver Position
(On how being short on receivers changes the way they approach the scheme) – "All those guys are being paid as professionals, so we’re really kind of a next man up operation. We kept a bunch of those guys, kept a handful of those guys up for the first games. I think we had five up for the first game. If we have to go down to three or four, we’ll go down to three or four and we’ll build it some other way. Alex Smith looks like he’s going to be back this week, and that helps you build other personnel packages."
(On the ‘next man up’ not being as good as the injured players) – "You’d love continuity, but the fact is there are very few teams that are able to keep it. Usually the ones that keep it and stay injury free are the ones that ones you see in the playoffs at the end of the year. It’s a big deal to be able to stay injury free. If you can’t, you can’t. It’s a violent game."
(On if he could go into the game with three wide receivers or if they would have to make a roster move) – "We could. You have to do whatever you have to do. You have to fill other areas too. You have to be able to fill the special teams. You just can make things up, you just can’t do it. We went into a game with two tight ends, which we’re used to carrying three. You do what you have to do. "
Utilizing TE Alex Smith in his Return Game
(On if he sees Alex Smith’s role continuing and what he sees in his skill set) – "He’s a smart football player, and therefore you can utilize him in a number of different ways. Whether it’s playing on the line of scrimmage, (or) playing in the backfield. You mentioned ‘H’ or as a fullback. Being able to motion him and displace him. He’s as good a blocker as he is a receiver. Yeah, he’s a great utility guy that you can use in a lot of different capacities."
(On using Smith away from the ball) – "You can open him up. You can close him down. It’s rare that a guy can have the skills to be able to play in the back field as well as play on the line of scrimmage, and take care of the line of scrimmage."
Not Surprised by Stats, and Not Thinking Too Much About the Imbalance
(On if seeing an imbalance in the run and pass in the first half affects how he calls the second) – "Not usually, because we’re tending to script our openers. It takes us through the first quarter, sometimes into the second quarter. We have a pretty good sense of where we’re at. It’s not like one of those ‘Hey, let’s throw it, throw it, throw it, throw it’, or ‘let’s run it, run it, run it, run it.’ We’ll never get into that. There are a lot of times, Tony (Grossi), to be honest with you that I don’t look at halftime stats. You’re doing it by the way you feel like you need to play to win the game."
(On if he’s ever surprised when he sees the stats) – "I’m never surprised. There are times I think I’ve told you, that you guys were talking about numbers of plays for Trent when he first came back. We’re mindful sometimes of things like that. Sometimes we’ll count carries or touches, but that certainly hasn’t been the case for the last three weeks."
Progression of WR Greg Little and WR Josh Gordon
(On what he’s seen from Greg Little’s progression) – "I think there’s a time where we’d like to see more consistency catching the football. Is he evolving as a pro? Yeah, I think he’s probably getting a little bit smarter in terms of what we’re doing systematically. Unfortunately, you can’t quantify it with numbers or stats or catches, but he’s doing a good job blocking down the field. He’ll get his opportunities. His opportunities will come. Sometimes, as I mentioned before, he’s first in progressions, sometimes he’s last and sometimes he’s getting it whether he’s first or last."
(On how Josh Gordon has come along and how he’s handling NFL life as a rookie) – "He’s definitely dressing better. His sartorial splendor is something to watch when gets on the plane now. I’ve seen it really evolve here in the last five weeks. I think I mentioned to you guys that he had his best week of practice as a pro, or best practice at that point, because I think I spoke to you on Thursday, we hadn’t practiced yet. It kind of manifested itself on the field. Once you see that, once you see him practice that way and perform that way, you have expectations where you say, ‘We can’t go back to any back steps.’ Will we back step? We might. That’s part of being a rookie. We’re only five weeks into this thing. I think he’s making good progress and I told you before he’s a smart guy, he’s a great note taker. He has become a better practice player and game player."
(On how Gordon is dealing with coming in with a bit of history) – "To my eye, I sure don’t see him in any public specter or anything like that. I think he’s doing a good job. The only way I have to judge him, is what he’s doing in meetings, what he’s doing on the field. Is he showing up on time? Is he productive when he’s here? I’ve seen that from him. He seems to be a good worker."
Describing the Play that Included Three Running Backs Last Week
(On the one play where Montario Hardesty, Ogbonnaya and Richardson were all in the backfield together and what he likes about that formation) – "We were just playing around with it to see what kind of match we’d get, what kind of look we’d get. We may trot it out there every now and then. It’s kind of a tendency breaker. As long as you’re running and throwing, like you said there’s only one play of it. We just need to make sure that we weigh those things both ways, both run and pass."
Discussing the Offensive Line Last Week and This Week
(On his breakdown of the offensive line against the Giants and what makes the Bengals defensive line so good) – "They have good length. Last week, I think the Giants represented a great challenge in terms of those four guys we talked about (Jason) Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck and how they play along the front. I thought our guys gave a good account of themselves in the offensive line. Like you said, not to have a sack, but that goes from the quarterback to the running back to the offensive line. I might tell you that I feel like just looking at the Bengals, that I feel like they are a more talented line right now than the New York Giants from the standpoint of those two big defensive ends. Last time we played them, (Carlos) Dunlap wasn’t playing in there, so they’ve added him and it looks like he’s getting to crank it up. Geno Atkins may be as high of a motor guy that we face on the inside. He’s really a good football player. I guess I didn’t have a great appreciation for him until I got in and studied him in this division. (He’s) really a good football player. We’ll have our hands more than full with the people they put out there."
(On Jason Pinkston’s matchup with Atkins) – "It’s not just going to fall on the inside three, because he’s going to play on that side and he’ll play on the other side. It’s kind of dictated by formation and places you are on the field, where he’s going to play, whether he’s going to play over to left guard, right guard and center. Those inside three are going to have to be sturdy, but those outside tackles are going to have a day’s work with their two rush guys as well."
(On if he’s happy with how the offensive line has adjusted) – "You know what? I don’t do happy very well. I’m okay. Okay? I’m not happy, happy."
(On how the offensive line is blocking especially Pinkston and Shawn Lauvao) – "I almost misunderstood you. I thought you said, ‘How is the offensive line blogging?’ You specifically want to know about Pinkston and Lauvao, how they’re blocking. Okay. Pinkston and Lauvao, there’s so few, ‘hey this an individual block.’ There usually working in combination, either with Alex Mack or with (Mitchell) Schwartz or with Joe Thomas, so I’d be reticent given you how are they blocking? It’s usually such a collaborative effort in there with those guys. I’m better off just to tell you I’m okay with the offensive line."
(On if the pass blocking is ahead of the run blocking) – "You know, I think we can get better in both. I think we can grow in both areas. I just don’t portion it off that way. It’s a cumulative, how did we do in the game? How did we run it? How did we throw it? Those guys don’t step up and take bows because there were no sacks, like I told you the running back’s got a little piece of that puzzle and the quarterback’s got a huge piece of the puzzle because he’s got the ball in his hands. I just think we can be better all the way across the offense really."
Loose Ends: Criticism, Ownership Change, and Bow Ties
(On if he and Shurmur talk about the criticism he receives from fans and media) – "We don’t talk about that. I’m not a big reader or watcher of television coverage sorry to say. I don’t mean that. It’s like telling a professor that you’re not studying his stuff. I just simply don’t have time. Pat’s an emotional guy, and we’re all emotional people, and I’m sure that you catch some of that sometimes. When you’re the lead dog, that’s what goes with that. That’s where it gets pinned."
(On if the approaching ownership change has caused stress) – "Once again, not for me. I’d be reticent commenting about anyone else in the building. You’d have to talk about that. I have enough stress being 0-5 right now."
(On if he has a reaction to Jimmy Kennedy being called a ‘whistle blower’ in the bounty case) – "I just look at it in the rearview mirror. I don’t even know what Jimmy’s doing at this point in time. Is he on a team somewhere? I know he was on the (New York) Giants most recently, last year. Once again, I haven’t really been following it."
(On if the bow tie is a good look for him) – "Bow tie? I don’t know. I’m probably not prone to bow ties."
Getting Joe Haden Back and What it Changes
(On having Joe Haden back and how it changes the way he schemes)- "It’s great to have Joe back, there’s no doubt about it. We’ve talked about it almost every week since he’s been out, it’s just never good to have a starter out of your lineup. Call-wise or scheme-wise it helps us a little bit, but doesn’t change a lot of stuff significantly. It does change some things."
(On if A.J. Green is any different this year)- "It seems like he’s had a better year so far. It’s a limited number of games and they’re targeting him. Certainly they’ll make him a focal part of their passing game and they have a lot of talent around him also so it does open him up. He’s a threat, clearly, down the field and they use him underneath a lot also. He’s getting a lot of attention from his offense, he’s getting a lot of attention from defenses and he’s still producing."
Looking at the Other Cornerbacks
(On if Buster Skrine can play inside if Dimitri Patterson unable to play)- "Buster has played inside for us before and he’s worked there. He practiced there a good deal last year and then I would say a significant amount this year so he can move inside. He’s played the position, he’s familiar with it, clearly he doesn’t have a lot of experience there, but Buster does not have a lot of experience in the league."
(On what the biggest challenge is from going outside to the slot)- "Things happen very quickly. I would say you may be able to help that inside guy a little bit more, a little bit quicker. It all depends on who else they have and clearly (the Bengals) have a lot of weapons on offense. You can get help to him quicker in terms of doubling, but there’s a lot of field around him. I always found it very hard to play in the middle of the field. Generally people look at a strong safety trying to cover a tight end, it’s a really hard deal because you’ve got the middle of the field and you’ve got field all around you. It’s the same inside in the sub package. There’s field all around you. Not everybody can go in there even if they’re terrific outside players. It’s just a different deal in there."
(On why his confidence in Buster Skrine isn’t wavering)- "I just have a lot of admiration for the way he plays, the toughness he plays with. Clearly he’s learning a lot. He’s getting schooled at times and he’s making plays at time also. I have a lot of respect for his toughness. Clearly his speed and his quickness are things you can’t teach. He’s gifted in that regard and he’s a guy that he really does want it badly. He prepares as well as you can prepare, he works so hard in practice every day and he listens. He listens and with Tim (Hauck) and Ray (Rhodes), he’ll keep developing. He’s going to get penalties, clearly we can’t have as many as he’s gotten, but guys that battle like that and are willing to go up and press like that, they’re going to get called so we’ve got to clean that up and he’s got to clean that up. I have a strong in belief in him. He’s a terrific young man too on top of all the other stuff, but he’s just a tough player that likes the game and is going to get better and better."
(On if he thinks Buster Skrine will be alright mentally)- "I think he’s alright, yeah I do. I think he’s okay. Certainly nobody likes to have a ball caught on him or anybody score on him, but yeah, I think he’s alright."
(On if he is willing to play Buster Skrine at nickel even though he hasn’t played there in a game this season to this point)- "Yeah, there’s not limitless options there and I do have faith in Buster. I don’t have problems putting him in there and then Trevin can play in there also. He may be in there to start the game. We’ll just have to see how the week unfolds."
(On if Trevin Wade has improved in his role at nickel since his first action against Cincinnati in Week Two)- "Yeah, definitely. Trevin does a nice job inside. He’s got a very nice feel for it. That game, one of the two big plays that hurt us in that game came on a broken play really. He had good coverage early and then like a lot of players in general, certainly a lot of young players, he lost his man. He just lost track of him. He got his eyes on the quarterback and he never got them back on his coverage until it was too late. I think unfortunately it’s one of the ways you learn as a player, but Trevin is aware. He’s very aware, he’s played well for us most of the time, he’s another young player that will develop over time and just get better. He’s tackled well when he’s been called on to tackle, he’s ready to go if he needs to go in there."
Plans to Use JMJ on Defense
(On how he plans to implement James-Michael Johnson into the defense and if he envisions him playing both inside and outside)- "He does play both. He’s gotten more of his work outside in training camp to this point. Hopefully D’Qwell (Jackson) will be able to go, but we will keep dual training him. He’ll get work at both of them, really more focus on outside on our base and the backup MIKE on our sub package. That’s kind of where he’s been focusing."
The Potential Loss of Ahtyba Rubin This Week, and DQ's Impact
(On what the loss of Ahtyba Rubin would mean to the defense and if there is any trepidation to having two rookies defensive tackles start)- "You don’t want to lose Rube. It’s another one of those situations where a starter leaves the lineup and it’s just not good, it’s not what you’re looking for. Rube is a quiet leader for us so we don’t want him off the field. We don’t really have any problems nor choices with John (Hughes) and Billy (Winn), but they both really, they’ve played at a high level and they’re getting better. I believe they’re getting better every week. They just are so those two picks proved to be, I think long-term will really serve the organization well, short-term also. They are playing well."
(On how concerned his is about the run defense)- "When you’re losing you’re concerned about everything on defense. We’ve just got to give up less points. I don’t ever mind bleeding a team, we’re not concerned with yardage, but when they get into the end zone as often as they did last week, it’s never a good thing no matter how they do it. We defiantly put them in some not-so-great situations with some calls and we’ve got to make more plays on the field."
(On if it was as simple as D’Qwell Jackson not being in there or if there were more issues to allowing the long runs last week)- "The big runs are what hurt you. You’ll get some 8-12 yard runs, but when they break for 20-30, those kinds of things, you really have to hold those runs down and then you can keep it more under control and we didn’t do that. The loss of D’Qwell in the game was a big loss, but everybody’s got injuries in the league and we’ve got to find a way to patch the holes and keep moving and play at a higher level."
(On how you keep things from snowballing defensively when things start to go bad like they did in New York during the last four minutes of the half)- "You try your best, from the coaching side of it, just to put them in better defenses and I clearly didn’t do that. Then when you’re with them, you’ve just got to keep reminding them of all the things they’ve done, that they know how to do it and they’ve got to focus and get it done. The sudden change situation when we do get out there after a turnover, we’ve just got to be aware of what the other team likes to do, what people tend to do. People tend to take shots at you if they’re in your plus territory and our guys usually talk about it. It doesn’t mean you’ll always stop them, but we clearly need to be better at it and we certainly needed it there in that last, as you said, that last four-minute span which was not very good."
Evaluating What Jabaal Sheard Has Done
(On where Jabaal Sheard is at since his numbers statistically are down this season)- "I have no problems with Jabaal Sheard and the way he plays the game. The guy is really a good football player and he’s playing at a high level. Sometimes you get the numbers and sometimes you don’t. I think the longer he plays, the better he’s going to get and his numbers will get there. I think he’s a special player and a special guy too, a great teammate, team player. I really like this guy."
(On if he wants Sheard to put more heat on the quarterback)- "Yeah, you could say that about anybody on the field up front or anybody in a pressure situation. There is a scheme and Jabaal will play the scheme now. He’s not a guy that will play outside of it so you I can say I am not putting him in enough situations and letting him go. He’s not a guy that’s going to play for stats, he’s going to play the defense."
(On what adjustments other teams have made against Sheard and how he can counter that)- "There’s not a whole lot you can do if they want to slide the protection to you or make you a focal point of protection or chip you with a back. A lot of teams will chip. You can stunt to try to get away from the chip, but you can’t do it all the time. He’s getting all those things and he’s good enough to get their attention so those things are a part of it, but also the fact that we’re not winning, I think that’s a part of it too. We’re behind in games like last week. Not to the point where I think they change their play calling, but it can happen at times. As I said, Jabaal, I think he will be a special player here for a long time."
Impressions of QB Andy Dalton
(On what impresses him most about Andy Dalton and if he has changed in his second season)- "I think he’s just the same guy with more experience. He was very good in his rookie season. Coming out of college, he performed at a high level probably in his whole career. I don’t know anything about his high school, but I’m assuming in his whole career he’s been this guy that appears to be in control, he’s calm in the pocket, he makes plays when he has to, he’s good extending the play, he keeps the play alive, he can move, he moves well and he made that one big play we were just talking about coming out of the pocket and throwing it on the run. He’s done it to a lot of people so far. He is really a good quarterback."