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 Colts and what's in store for this Sunday's game against the Chargers. Their news conference transcripts are organized by topic below, starting with Childress.
Brandon Weeden's Progressing Slow and Steady; Quarterbacks Should Have Flat Line Reactions
(On Brandon Weeden’s progression)– "It has just been slow and steady, that’s kind of how I see it. I don’t know if it’s, catastrophic is not the word, but any gigantic leap. I just think it has been slow and steady. All you ever want to know is what standard of performance you’re going to get from somebody. I think he’s developing a consistency that we expect."
(On how Weeden responds to a drop like Josh Gordon had against the Colts)– "You don’t want a reaction either way. I really believe what you want is you want flat line guys at quarterback. You want never too high, never too low, just kind of right straight across the board. It’s the same way you don’t like to see receivers overly demonstrative if a quarterback scuffs a ball at him and dumps it at their feet. I think it’s not a good way to act. I wouldn’t want to see that either way. I know there are some tangible emotions that happen there, but his thoughts were his thoughts and he didn’t act out. Let’s put it that way."
(On if he’s seen things from Weeden that he didn’t see in the scouting report)– "It was up to conjecture a little bit how he would deal with coming from underneath the center. I think he has done a decent job with that stuff in the pocket. It’s very hard to evaluate quarterbacks in general these days, just because the center-quarterback exchange is not something that you get to see and it’s a fundamental of the position. You can say, well I think he’ll be okay, but I can’t tell you how many Senior Bowl’s I’ve gone to where all those shotgun guys come to the Senior Bowl and balls are on the ground and it screws up a drill. That’s maybe one of things that we’ve seen that we didn’t really know about."
(On if he can point to anything that has made Weeden more effective throwing the long ball the past several weeks)- "That throw he made to Josh (Gordon) was a great throw because there was somebody coming loose right in his face where it kind of stopped his arm coming through. You always go back to just like you say what drives interceptions, what drives somebody throwing well? Usually its protection and our offensive line had been doing a nice job of protecting him - giving him ample time, knock on wood. I think that he’s taken a better look at things and by that I mean progressing through, getting to some numbers two’s and some number three’s, getting away from who’s my first guy. I always ask quarterbacks can you count to four. There’s usually about four of those options there and sometimes they get hooked up on one and two, one, one, one, one so I think he’s progressing more through his reads."
(On how impressive Weeden’s back shoulder throw for the touchdown was)- "It was great. Those two were on the same page because it’s probably not going to get in the end zone if he goes in over the top so just taking some sting off the football. He can exhibit that throwing the ball long strength and I think he exhibited some pretty good touch there and you’ve got to know the capability of your receiver. Not everybody can go back and flip themselves around and back shoulder a ball and it’s something those guys work on from time to time and it was a great throw. It was impressive."
Game Plan Doesn't Chargers With Hardesty Over Richardson
(On if the game plan changes if Montario Hardesty is featured more than Trent Richardson)– "It doesn’t. They both get ready with the same game plan and they both take the same looks at the same plays. It’s hard to rep two guys a ton, but we’ve managed to get them enough looks at it. They get more looks at it then say, a backup quarterback, during the course of practice. I think he has done a good job of preparing himself. I think obviously two games ago was a little bit better outing, but I think he had more opportunities around the ball two games ago."
(On if Hardesty has been a leader and is helping out Trent Richardson)– "I think Gary’s (Brown) got a pretty good room there where those guys share pretty good. They are innately all very, very, very competitive. Again, those guys would like to have the ball in their hand every time too. They’d like for you to turn around and hand it to them every single time. I think it’s more of an example and how you prepare, how you get ready, which has been an example for Trent. I think they don’t hold anything back when they get to the back of a line. Sometimes, I believe as a player, you learn the most at the back of a line with a guy standing next to him as opposed to a coach that might be coaching a guy at the front of the line. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on back there. Montario has been good with that. Is he Dale Carnegie? That kind of leader? Probably not."
(On how challenging was it game planning and then Richardson wasn’t himself)– "I mentioned the game plan’s not going to change measurably, just having his body presence and what he can do when he’s full speed ahead, I think you miss that. He’s a good back when he has all his faculties. It doesn’t change, like I said perceptively, when you put a guy like Montario in."
(On if Richardson has a dynamic that they can’t get from the other backs)– "He does. He’s a very good player. That’s why he’s the starter."
(On if they put in Hardesty for Richardson because of his rib injury or for not attacking the hole)– "It’s kind of subjective, but it was probably something that Pat (Shurmur) was looking at, when he decided that he wasn’t seeing the things that he wanted to see. We went with Montario. I don’t mean to put words in Pat’s mouth. In general, he’s usually pretty good about attacking the hole. If there was something that was not in that attack mode, that’s probably what Pat saw."
(On where the running game disappeared to last game after Trent Richardson left the game)– "I think it was probably driven more by the way they were playing defense. I think you’ll probably see a similar defense this week with the Pagano brothers speaking to each other. I think it was driven more by some of the numbers in the forcing units that they were giving us, to where you would be kind of shoveling against the tide to bang your head and run in there against what they were doing."
Greg Little and His Maturity
(On if it’s been hard to keep Greg Little’s head in the game because he wasn’t getting the ball a lot)– "I don’t think it has been that tough. Those guys know that that pendulum kind of swings towards them and away from them different times. I’ve said it before in here, there are different reads that have him number one and they happen to be covered with a coverage that won’t allow you to go with number one. Then there are times where all of sudden they are on the backside as a number three, the ball swings their way, because somebody else was maybe targeting Josh Gordon, and all of a sudden it swings back to Greg Little on the other side. I think those guys understand it. Do they like it? No. Every one of those guys would like to have the ball in their hand every single time, which is really the way you like it. I feel them when they are frustrated when they are not getting an opportunity to play with the football."
(On if Greg Little becoming disinterested in Twitter is a sign of maturity)- "How about that? He might have just become disinterested in Twitter, you know? He might be moving on to the next Mortal Combat 7 or something. I don’t know. I’m kind of disinterested in Twitter myself."
Didn't Talk to Gordon About the Dropped Touchdown; Josh Cooper Not Catching the Final Pass
(On how Gordon has responded to his drop against the Colts and if he had to talk with him)– "No, I didn’t. I think you can pile on from that standpoint, give it a woe is me or whatever. I don’t see that from him. I see him as a hungry guy that wants to get out there and do it again, right whatever wrong there was there. He’s been doing so many good things. It was a shame that he dropped that ball."
(On if Josh Cooper should have caught the ball on the last fourth and six)- "I never saw a T.V. copy of it. It looked like the guy got his hand around in there. I don’t know. Did he get his hand in there on the T.V. copy? It’s hard for me to tell on the coach’s copy of film whether it was sideline or end zone. He would have been draped pretty good. It would have been a pretty good catch. I’m not sure if it was a little bit off center or it was right down the middle. I just know he was covered pretty good."
(On what he thinks he has in Josh Cooper through two games)- "We liked him in the spring time a great deal and he had some injury issues in camp. It slips my mind exactly what they were, but he missed reps and wasn’t quite the same as he was in the spring time. We thought he’d push to be on the active roster just coming out of the spring and that didn’t materialize. We like his savvyness, his ball skills, there’s obviously an immeasurable trust between him and Brandon having played with each other before and all things we liked in the spring time, his quicks, his football I.Q."
The Decision to Punt on 4th-and-1
(On what the discussion was like during the timeout before the fourth-and-one)– "Do we want to or don’t we want to. It was one of two things, right? We just figured we had time and we had taken our shot there and played aggressively there. At that point in time, on the fourth-and-one, we wanted to put them back down there and back them up. The defense had been doing a better job of stopping them at that point. What we didn’t want to do was we didn’t want to give them the ball there in the event that you miss with half the field to go because you’ve effectively ended the game right there."
(On if that was the one factor that convinced them not to go for it on fourth-and-one)– "Just that we didn’t feel that we had the call that we wanted, that type of thing."
Challenge of Having Too Many Wide Receivers Back
(On if there is any challenge with play time with having all receivers back)- "There will be. There are plays that we kind of earmarked for certain guys right now. The guys know which plays those are, but we can have the best intention as I mentioned before, we can want to throw the ball to this person and it’s not going to this person because that person happens to be gloved or covered. There will be some challenges, but those are good challenges to have as opposed to who are we going to throw it to know."
Assessing Mitchell Schwartz, and Losing Jason Pinkston
(On how he would assess Mitchell Schwartz’s overall production)- "He’s a guy that’s grown too and anytime you’re not talking about an offensive lineman they’re usually doing okay which that’s just the way it is. If they disappear, that’s a good thing. I’ve seen him really grow and evolve since that first game against Philadelphia where all of a sudden you’re getting warp speed that maybe you haven’t seen before. Maybe you’ve seen some pretty good rushers in training camp, but training camp is one thing, regular season’s another thing. I’ve seen him grow. Again, he’s a very smart guy who has physical tools. I’m watching him grow kind of incrementally here, as we go week-to-week."
(On if there is a drop off with Jason Pinkston out)- "We hope we don’t see any drop off. The thing that (John) Greco brings to the table is, position flexibility. He’s got some experience in there. He’s played really everything but tackle. I think he’s lined up at tackle before. He can center the football. Anytime you’re talking about a guy that makes your seven man gameday roster, you’re talking about a guy that probably has got position flexibility and can swing across some different spots at line. He would have been first guy in if we had a problem at right guard as well. He’s a smart guy. I hope not to see much fall off."
Evaluating the Struggles of the Young Defensive Linemen
(On if the young defensive linemen struggled maintaining their assignments last week)- "No I didn’t think so actually. I thought they played pretty well again up front. We made some errors in our fits. That doesn’t mean every play they played terrific up front. In a 70-play game, you’re going to have good and bad downs. But no, I thought the young guys played pretty well again. They’ve been consistently solid and we talk about it a lot. Really, I don’t want to say it’s a surprise, because clearly we drafted them for this reason, but they’ve played better than you could anticipate, and continue to improve I think."
(On if he feels good about the depth on the defensive line with John Hughes and Billy Winn along with Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin returning in the future)- "I feel very good about it. Inside, our depth, when we get everybody back, is really pretty good. They are all playing at a good level. We like Kitch (Ishmaa’ily Kitchen) too. Kitch has done a nice job. He’s come along. He’s learning more and more about our scheme and how we play, and he’s willing and he’s big. We like that combination. We’re happy about it. Again, up front there are a lot of really good young players. I think it bodes well for the organization as it moves forward and as we move forward this year."
JMJ's Role, and Defending Tight Ends
(On if James-Michael Johnson could play inside linebacker or if he’s better suited for outside)- "I think that he can handle the MIKE in time. We don’t need him in there right now. Obviously with Scott’s (Fujita) injury, there’s a real need at the SAM, but I do believe that he can play them both. He can probably all three of them in time. I think he’s smart enough and he’s talented enough to do it. He’s certainly helping us in doing the job at the SAM at this point, but I think he can play inside."
(On defending Antonio Gates)- "What can you say about this guy? He’s one of the premier, if not the, pass catching tight end in the business, and probably as good as the best of them have ever been. It’s very, very hard to matchup with him. With the big body on the safety and the athletic ability, he can be covered and still be open. He’s got excellent hands. He knows how to get open. Obviously they have a relationship, the quarterback and he have a relationship. They have played together a long time. They are very difficult to stop, very difficult. He’s a very smart receiver, knows how to release, knows how to set you up in his routes. It’s just a tough assignment for every team including us as you go up against him."
(On if the tight end position has had the most versatility in the league in regards to lining them up and what they can do)- "When you have that talented big man, as we were just talking about, it poses that problem for you inside. Generally they are more athletic than your backers and then bigger than your skilled secondary players. Occasionally, you find a big strong safety that has a chance. It’s just hard. I don’t know where the transition began. I played with Charlie Sanders, who was just a tremendous player. He had that advantage over people all the time. I guess it’s just the individuals that are born with that gift."
Keeping Teams at a Low Point Total, Despite Long Drives
(On starting out poorly defensively in the first two series and then getting better against the Colts and what happened there)- "That’s about it. Defensively the deal for us always is, if we score 14, we’ve got to hold them to 13. When you plot it seasonally you say, if you can hold people to 17, it’s a pretty good day in our league, but it’s not if you lose. We started out, and we usually challenge most throws. They made them. They made a lot of throws. They made plays in their first drives, it was disheartening to say the least. Because we made them go the long way, you end up towards halftime. Even if our offense hadn’t done well and moved the ball and scored, you still say, ‘Okay we’re still in this thing.’ We didn’t give up the big plays, the huge plays. That was a positive. The loss is just a huge negative over the whole thing. We changed a few things, not a lot, our guys maybe calmed down, the young guys and just played more consistently and better over the course of the game, and made a few more plays."
Defending the Run More Consistently
(On the key to gaining consistency in defending the run)- "Sometimes it’s calls. I don’t put them in the best defenses. Then fits, we’re 4-3 scheme and there are fits. There are gaps that are controlled by the front. There are gaps that are controlled by the linebackers, and gaps by the secondary where everybody fits. It’s not an easy thing to hold that fit as the play moves. It’s not stationary, obviously. Everything is dynamic in there. You get different blocking angles and pullers and things happen. Our guys, we have young guys, but sometimes our older veterans they’ll miss their fits too. Sometimes anybody’s going to miss a fit. That’s generally been it. It’s either not the best call, I didn’t give them the best call or something breaks down up front by somebody. It could be a secondary player not hitting the right gap, or a linebacker or the front. It happened, of course it happened a lot more against the Giants and they had a nice scheme. They did a nice job against us."
(On if ‘fits’ means maintaining your gaps)- "Pretty much, yeah. On every play, probably both sides of the ball, I’ve never done the offensive side, but on both sides of the ball, you have an assignment. It’s certainly a lot easier in writing than it is on that field, I’ll say that. That’s it. It’s alignment, it’s assignment and it’s technique on every play. It’s hard. Forrest Gregg used to say, ‘If it was easy, people would walk off the street and do it,’ because they want to do it."
Reggie Wayne's First Big Reception Last Week, and Bringing Pressure
(On what went wrong on the first pass to Reggie Wayne)- "I didn’t have them in a great defense a three-deep concept. The play-action always gets your backers because they got to react to hard run fake. It opens up the middle of the field. Our backers were responding well and running to it. It was a 20-yard in cut, which is hard for any defensive back to cover in man. We’re kind of outside in on it, and they made a good throw."
(On where the rush from the right side came on that play)- "I think it was Frostee (Rucker)."
(On how he approached the game against the Colts because people say you should pressure a rookie quarterback)- "We went in thinking we would pressure about 20-25 percent of the time, then the game progresses and we see what’s happening, see what they are doing, then move along from there."
Buster Skrine's Confidence and Performance
(On if he talked to Buster Skrine about his confidence after Giants game)- "I’ve never sensed that Buster had any confidence issues. I know I’ve never spoken to him about his confidence because I’ve never doubted it. I just think he’s a very good football player. He’s got a great attitude. He comes out every day with the same attitude. He’s a willing learner and he’s progressing. He’s still very young in this game at this level, but he’s got the things that you certainly like to coach. He’s tough, he’s fast and he’s a really good person. He likes to play. Buster is doing a nice job."
(On Skrine’s run support)- "Buster probably as tough as anybody I’ve been around. He’s a very tough football player. He’s got a pretty good feel for the game. He’s learning the feel for different spots. He plays inside in the sub package and that’s not an easy thing to do. He’s very willing. Thankfully, it doesn’t make a big different to him who he’s on. He’ll go up and play Reggie Wayne like he would maybe a younger receiver, not as accomplished receiver and play them just as hard and just the same way. It’s a really great experience for him to be gaining."
Sheldon Brown's Key Takeaways, T.J. Ward on Turnovers, and Haden's Impact
(On if Sheldon Brown’s success having two takeaways the last two games is due to him being a crafty veteran)- "Definitely, the experience is definitely part of it. It’s not just experience. Even when Sheldon was as younger player, he was a good player before he had experience. When he got into the situation on Sunday for maybe a very young defensive back, they are not there very often. They are not in the back field very often sacking the quarterback. He knew exactly what he wanted to do. He went after the ball in the right way. He got it loose in the right way, and then he recovered it. It was a remarkable play, and it has to do with his skill and his experience."
(On T.J. Ward saying the defense has more interceptions this year because they are catching the ball and if there is more to that)- "Interceptions are a combination of lots of things, clearly. The situation the football game, pressure up front, those kinds of issues, but it always comes down to catching the ball. I’ve always felt as a defensive back and as a coach, I’ve always felt that any time you catch it, it’s a great play. I don’t care if its 20-yards overthrown, it’s a great play because it’s a takeaway. Then we got a chance to be on offense with the ball, the defense, so we can attack and score. His point is well taken, if you don’t catch it, clearly, it’s not an interception. We’re catching the ball. It’s a big part of it every year. Every year, when you go back at the end of the season, you look at it as an individual player or as a football team and say, ‘If we had only caught our chances.’ Some of them are really difficult, a lot of bodies around, a lot of contact at the ball so you’re not going to catch every one of those. Some of them are not that hard, the ball surprises you. You’ve just got to make your catches, and make your plays."
(On how Joe Haden played in his second game back)- "Joe’s playing well, kind of like Buster. He’s got this innate toughness that you really admire. He’ll tackle, he’ll cover you. He likes a challenge. He’s still rusty, but he’s getting back to where he was before he went on his leave."
The Inconsistency of Philip Rivers
(On if Philip Rivers is an inconsistent quarterback)- "No, I wouldn’t say so. I would say no. If he were inconsistent, which means all the time, every game, we wouldn’t be talking about him as one of the elite players in the league. He’s clearly one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. Every quarterback, including the best that have ever played, have bad games. They all do. They all have a game where they would like to have plays back. He puts up a lot of points and he makes remarkable throws from some unusual positions. He’s really good."