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 Ravens and what's in store for this Sunday's game against the Giants. Their news conference transcripts are organized by topic below, starting with Childress.
Maximizing Trent Richardson's Potential, and the Run Blocking
(On what has to be done to maximize Trent Richardson’s potential) – "It all starts getting into rhythm. It probably starts with running the football and running it a little bit better, and then I think his catches will come in the pass game. He’s obviously shown some explosion in the passing game, but I would say being able to run the football a little bit better."
(On if he has noticed any frustration in Trent Richardson not being able to get the rushing yards he is accustomed to) – "All those guys, whether it’s receivers or running backs, they’d love the ball every single time. Unfortunately there’s only one. The quarterback would love to throw it every time and the running back would like to carry it every time. I don’t sense his frustration. Five yards a carry in this league would be pretty tall cotton. It would be pretty good. I think he understands that grinding some of those two’s and three’s and four’s is good work and then you’re going to get some of those six’s and seven’s and eight’s. I don’t sense a frustration only from the standpoint he’d like to do more and you kind of appreciate that attitude."
(On how he would assess the offensive line with run blocking) – "If we’re calling it and sometimes I haven’t done a great job of calling it as much as I need to, it has been okay. I wouldn’t say we’ve been overpowering, but then again that’s driven by lack of calls."
Brandon Weeden's In-Game Adjustments and Reads
(On Brandon Weeden and the progress he made against the Ravens) – "I thought he made some in-game adjustments where he missed a blitz opportunity. The one that Greg (Little) dropped down the middle, he got that exact same look and exact same play earlier and missed the read. I thought coming back and being decisive with that, that was a full pressure and I thought he was seeing things good."
(On if Brandon Weeden has done a good job of going through his progressions) – "I feel like he is. I feel like that’s always, for a young quarterback, that’s always getting to your two’s and three’s and backside number four’s. That’s always a work in progress. They know the system forward and backward, but yet being able to come off of one and get to three, it’s easier said than done sometimes because that’s where it starts. You’d hate it if all of a sudden they’re snapping to three and they shortcut the read. I feel like he’s getting there."
Fixing the Dropped Passes
(On if dropped passes can be deflating to quarterbacks) – "It’s deflating from the standpoint that those are drive-stoppers typically. It’s like a zero gain when you think you have a plus play. I don’t know if it deflates quarterbacks, but it’s not a good thing. It can be deflating for your offense because you feel like you’ve got a call and you have an opportunity and it gives you an opportunity to progress in the drive."
(On if dropped passes affect his play calling during a game to avoid more drops) – "Not so much just from the standpoint that we’re a progression scheme and you’re always trying to call plays that attack (the) defense. You can’t ever get in that mode and I don’t think you can get in that mode as a quarterback either saying, ‘Oh, I can’t throw it to that guy.’ That would entail short-cutting the read and doing something that we say we don’t want to do. If that’s the first kind of progression and you say you’re not going to throw it to him and he’s open then you’ve got issues. I’ve seen that become an issue before so you can’t ever do that. You’ve got to stay true to the system."
(On what the correct way is for a quarterback to deal with dropped passes in terms of interaction with the receivers and if the quarterback should get on the receiver) – "Generally it’s more encouraging than getting on. If they dropped it they dropped it in front of God and everybody so everybody knows. They don’t feel particularly good about it, but usually it’s an ‘Atta boy’ instead of a kick in the pants."
(On if he has seen that type of interaction with Brandon Weeden and his receivers) – "I see it all the time. I’ve seen it from the beginning of training camp and on. You see it with all of those guys back and forth. Our quarterbacks are pretty good about that, just like you don’t like a wide receiver to show up a quarterback if the balls errant or it’s inaccurate."
Josh Gordon Preparing to Take on a Bigger Role
(On the challenges of heading into this game without several offensive players) – "I always say many hands make light work so it gives an opportunity to some other guys. We would love to have all the tools available to us. If we do, we do, if we don’t, we don’t. You prepare with the guys that are practicing today and tomorrow and the next day and then at the end you have a plan. I know the game is going to be played with the guys that we have."
(On if he feels that Josh Gordon is ready for a bigger role in the offense) – "Yeah, I thought he had his best practice as a professional yesterday."
(On if he expected Josh Gordon to have a long adjustment period due to the lack of offseason activities) – "I don’t know how long ‘long’ is relatively speaking, we’re really in the beginning part of the season here. Different people’s light comes on at different times. With what I said about yesterday’s practice, we’re interested to watch today come about and then stack some good plays back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back. It could be because he senses that he might have more of an opportunity."
(On what he saw in Josh Gordon yesterday that made him say it was his best practice) – "I didn’t see any hesitation, I didn’t see him thinking about anything. I saw him playing fast, catching the football, doing all of the things that you expect to see from a professional receiver."
Scouting the New York Giants' Defensive Line
(On the New York Giants’ defensive line) – "(Jason) Pierre-Paul, he’s kind of a freaky guy. You’ve all seen the YouTube things of him doing back handsprings. He’s a rare athlete for a man that big and it presents some special problems and he doesn’t just rush from that end position. They kick him inside in the nickel and he rushes over the guard and center too. He has a long reach and matter of fact I was just watching the Super Bowl game and watched him back balls back at a 6’5" Tom Brady, so he presents some problems in the front. He can ruin a game if you’re not in tuned to where he’s at in a hurry. You have him and you have (Justin) Tuck on the other side. Like I said, all those guys, it’s interesting because they all play all long the defensive front. It’s not as if Pierre-Paul will only show up on the offenses left side. One snap he may be there, the next snap he and Tuck may have changed positions and then you’re in nickel and all of a sudden he’s inside rushing over a guard. All those guys play all along the front and I think that’s the thing that makes them unique as well."
The Return of James-Michael Johnson
(On how they will incorporate James-Michael Johnson into the defense)- "First of all, it’s really good to have him back, to get somebody back. We were counting on him to contribute throughout the whole year. We’re excited to get him back on the field, now we’ve just got to see because it’s his first week back in full practice. He’s moving well, he’s moving around well. If he has any soreness, it’s very minimal. He’ll have to work his way back in. It’ll be a lot of special teams and then we’ll see what happens defensively as we move along. We’re really excited to have him back."
(On what role Johnson will play)- "I think it will probably be with our base scheme, as opposed to the nickel, but he can play either. That’s how I would see it at this point."
Ahtyba Rubin's Role as a Leader
(On if Ahtyba Rubin has taken more of a leadership role)- "I haven’t seen him take more. He took a lot last year. He looks the same to me, he acts the same. Everybody looks up to him. Everybody respects him. He’s probably assumed more of a role just because that group has those young guys that we just got. They all have to admire him. You can’t watch him play and watch him work and prepare, and not admire this player. Personally, I don’t know him off the field, I’m just around him in the building, but I feel like they have to admire him as a person too, how he conducts himself. He plays a huge role for us and he’s a terrific player on top of all of that. I haven’t felt that he’s taken more of a leadership role, but I always felt he had a huge role anyway."
Joe Haden's Return Next Week, and Status at Safety
(On if Joe Haden will play when he comes back next week)- "I haven’t been through these things that often, a lot of it will depend on his conditioning. I’m going to assume, knowing Joe, that he’s going to come back in really good shape. I assume he’s been training the whole time. Then, we’ll just have to see, and then coach Pat will make a decision as we move along. I don’t really have an answer or a lot of experience with that. I think at his position, a lot of it will depend on conditioning."
(On if they expect to be without T.J. Ward this game)- "He hasn’t practiced to date as you know, and you would have to check with Coach Pat (Shurmur) on any injuries stuff. If he can’t go, then we have Bubba (Ray Ventrone), he has the other broken thumb, we have him. He’s a good player then Eric (Haag) and Usama (Young). Hopefully, T.J. will be okay, but as of today he hasn’t practiced yet. He’s playing really well. I think T.J. understands our scheme better. He really wants to do it right. He’s working at it hard. He’s done a nice job."
(On Eric Haag’s confidence after starting then being inactive)- "Hopefully, it’s high. He knows, he’s been told, the nature of our business is he will be back on the field. As soon as he was put down, he was told that he’ll be back, unless it’s a very unique year. He’s going to have another opportunity, and he’s got to be ready to go. He’s a smart guy. He’s a very good guy, quality person. I think he’ll be ready to go and play."
(On if this season has been unique because of all of the injuries)- "Some seasons you suffer more injuries than others. I’ve never been able to figure out why. You always study your program or study how you do everything. You could do it the same way two years in a row, and have no injuries one year and a bunch the next. It’s just is that kind of a game. Everybody has them. It’s not like we’re alone in the league. You have to find ways to play over them and the next guy has to step up and play. It’s just kind of part of our game."
Loose Ends - Robertson's Play, Patterson's Coverage, and Kitchen
(On Craig Robertson)- "He’s got a great attitude. Bill (Davis) and Chuck (Bullough) do a terrific job getting him ready. He’s embraced the whole thing from training camp on, he was very serious about working to make this football team. Then he was very excited about making it, which is always great to see. He wants to stay and be a big time player in the league. He’s got unique abilities. He’s got toughness, he’s got quickness. He can run. He’s compact. He can deliver a blow. Week by week he’s gaining more and more experience. I really can’t say enough about him, but attitude is hugely important for all of us in whatever we do. In this game it is for sure, and he’s got a really good attitude."
(On Joe Flacco making great throws last week and if Dimitri Patterson needed to play the ball better against Baltimore)- "I would say that in general, no. There were some exceptional throws, and they just made them and made plays. All that being said, and Dimitri would probably be the first one to point it out, he’s got to make plays. He’s just got to make a few more plays. I love Dimitri. He’s just going to battle you to the end. There were some exceptional throws in there. (Anquan) Boldin’s a big receiver, big and strong hands. The back shoulder fade on press is really hard to defend. The one he caught on the sideline where it was inside man, he threw it outside and high. I don’t know many people that are going to get to that. He threw some really good balls and made some really good catches, and Dimitri made some good plays too."
(On Ishmaa’ily Kitchen)- "I really like Kitch. He’s big and thick. We like big guys. We like a very physical front. He’s learning our system, it was a little more two gap before. He’s learning the gap. He played some gap defense in Baltimore. He’s a good guy. He fits our room. The guys all like him. Like I said, he’s a wide body, he’s a tough guy. We have a lot of confidence that he’ll be with us for a while and keep doing a better job every week."
Scouting Eli Manning and the Giants' Offense
(On facing another elite quarterback and what they have done to compensate for missing Joe Haden)- "We haven’t really tried to do a whole lot different so in that regard, in terms of calls and defenses, we haven’t done it a lot different. I haven’t really thought about it like that - to try to change things up or protect our corners. Our guys are very competitive, the people that play on the edge, they have to be to play in this league, they just have to be. They have to tough, and have short memories and get right back up and challenge after they don’t look so good on a play, and they’ve done that for us. Hopefully they will continue. I know we’ve said it a number of times, to lose any player is hard, to lose starters is really hard. We’ll look forward to getting Joe back, but they’ve stepped in. This week I know that the Giants have some injuries too, and may have some guys miss the game, they may not, I don’t know that yet. They are a very talented group, so it will be another huge challenge, and as you pointed out with another elite quarterback. We’ve got our work cut out for us. The guys are really excited about it as they are every week. I feel good. I like our guys, they just play. They play, they don’t complain and they come after you."
(On Eli Manning’s growth over the past couple years and what’s most impressive about him)- "He’s got a tremendous grasp of their offense. I will say that he’s very well coached. They do a terrific job with him. Their whole unit from Tom (Coughlin) through the whole staff, they do a great job. He’s had the benefit of that. He’s calm. You can rattle any quarterback, obviously, if you hit him enough, it doesn’t matter who they are. It’s just not normal not to get a little bit affected by it, but he throws a nice ball in the face of pressure, standing there and deliver it, and deliver it accurately. We’ve seen him do it time and again on video that we’ve watched. They have a talented crew around him. They’ve all grown kind of together. Obviously, when you first come into the league, you’re experiencing it all for the first time, the speed of it, the size of the people and the toughness of it. It’s just different. It’s all very different. Once he grew through all that, he’s just kept growing. As you pointed out, he’s got two championship rings on his shelf now."
(On if he’s seen a big change in Tom Coughlin from when they coached together in Jacksonville)- "I haven’t coached with him for a long time. Tom and I were assistants together in Green Bay and then in Jacksonville I worked for him. I don’t know. I wouldn’t guess in coaching because I haven’t been with him. As a person, he’s as good as it gets. As a coach, he’s as good as it gets in the business. That’s why he is who he is. That’s why they are who they are. He’s done a terrific job everywhere he’s ever been."