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.
Trent Richardson's Success, and Improving on 3rd-and-1 Plays
(On if the success of Trent Richardson can change the philosophy of the offense going forward) – "I think you would always like to be able to run the football. Whether it’s that number or not, it could be higher it could be lower, it just kind of depends on how you’re moving it that day. It was good to see. I don’t think there’s any downside to that, for him to be able to carry the ball for 100 plus yards."
(On if it has been a dramatic change for Richardson to stay true to the play with the zone blocking the offense runs) – "I think that’s always a battle as a running back. Course integrity, staying on that course and trusting what you’re going to see in front of you and trusting we’ve got the thing schemed. Then obviously, innate ability takes over at some point in time. I think there are times probably where Trent has been a little bit impatient. You want to do more so you’re going to try to do more and that’s not always the right way to go as a running back. That happens with every running back, he’s not the lone ranger. I thought he was patient with what he was doing the other day and I thought our line did a good job of giving him holes every now and then."
(On what is the main problem on not converting third and one’s) – "I don’t know if there’s a main problem or not. Sometimes it can be the runner, sometimes it can be the scheme and that’s coaching. Sometimes it can be somebody being physically beat at the point of attack and that’s going to happen. Do we like it to happen? No, we’re coaching against it, we’re looking at who’s the best, we’re looking at us, and we’re looking at all those kinds of things. What do we do the best in that situation? We’re fighting to find a way to rectify that."
(On if the lack of reps by Richardson in the preseason is part of the problem) – "I don’t think I’d put it on that just because I think we don’t get into those third and one situations in training camp day in and day out. It’s typically an every third day type of deal. All those are kind of their own entity. People play different defenses on those third and shorts and you really only have maybe a handful of those third and one’s and two’s, if that a game. Sometimes two, three would be high."
(On if not practicing in pads made it more difficult to practice short yardage situations) – "You never want to practice short yardage without pads on because it really doesn’t mean anything. It’s like practicing goal line without pads on. We’re under the same tenants as everybody else, so I can’t sit and make an excuse and say the one day in pads has hurt us. If we had two days in pads we would be seven for seven. I can’t say that. Everybody else is doing the same thing."
Evaluating Weeden's Performance Last Week, and Throwing Through the Wind
(On his overview of Brandon Weeden’s performance against San Diego)- "I thought it was pretty steady with the exception of the one that he missed to Ben (Watson) and it was really a tricky wind at that point in time. He didn’t know whether to drive it or to float it, but I thought that he was as steady as he could be given the circumstances. There were a couple of drops in there. It would have looked a lot different, I guess that’s easy to say, but it would have looked different with a couple of those completions that were either dropped or the wind was taking advantage. It was the same circumstances though for Philip Rivers."
(On if Weeden can cut the ball through the wind)- "He can cut it through the wind. It’s just a matter of whether you’re going to put him in a wind tunnel and turn on the wind machine 100 miles an hour. I think he spins it pretty good into the wind. That wasn’t a straight on wind. If you looked at the flags up in one corner and then you stood on the field it felt like where it was coming from on the field somebody’s lying to you about where the winds coming from so I think he’s got plenty of arm strength to spin it into the wind."
(On if he had to change his thinking on what they could do in the passing game because of the wind)- "You did. When we talked about our openers on Saturday night I said, ‘That’s as it stand right now, these openers.’ I’m not foolish enough to amend things when we get to the stadium and walk around and get a feel for the warm-up and see what guys are doing and that type of thing. You have to innovate and adjust. If you don’t you’re going to fall victim to the circumstances."
(On what Weeden has learned from his interception against Baltimore earlier this year and if that will ever happen again)- "I think as a quarterback you want that short term memory, but you want to have learned from what it was that you did on that play that allowed them to have that opportunity. I think he’s learned, but can I tell you that will never happen again? Crazy things happen. You get a ball tipped, or you miss somebody or misjudge something or leave it on the inside shoulder instead of the outside shoulder. Just over the course of the last four weeks, I’d say that he’s made improvement in that area."
(On what went wrong on that interception)- "He was a little bit late to the flat. There was just a little bit of a kind of a pause and just shouldn’t have gone there."
Joshua Cribbs Complaining About Not Getting the Ball Enough
(On Joshua Cribbs asking for the ball publicly and how they are handling that and how they keep him at bay while still trying to get the best out of him)- "Well I don’t think you have to keep him at bay. All in all Tony (Grossi), he’s a team guy. Now, as I said in here I think last week, I don’t know one of those guys at a skill position that doesn’t want to have that ball every single time. That’s why he loves special teams because they’re kicking it to him or he’s going to get his hands on it. I don’t know that you have to go out of your way. We try to keep him involved with a play here and a play there and personnel with his name on it, but again, we could have the best intentions and defense dictates that the ball can’t go there right then."
Putting Alex Smith at Fullback
(On what he’s seen from Alex Smith at fullback)- "I think we talked about him about a month ago, he can do multiple things. It’s rare that a fullback can play in the backfield and also play on the line of scrimmage. You see tight ends that can do that and change the line of scrimmage and tee it up against a defensive lineman, but you don’t see fullback’s that can do that very often. He gives us some of those components of being able to play on the line, being able to play next to the line and being able to play in the backfield. "
(On if they feel comfortable giving Smith the ball in a short yardage situation)- "I wouldn’t want to give away any tactical advantages. There are some things in there where he could get the ball. He could."
Considering Other Quarterbacks
(On if he goes into a game thinking our guy gives us a chance to compete against a Joe Flacco or a Philip Rivers or whoever the other quarterback is)- "I think all of us think about how many points it will take to win. For instance, in the game the other day, you didn’t think that was going to be a 40-50 game. Whether as it started or whether as it got going you said, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be tough sledding.’ But I think you look at it in those terms. How are you going to be able to move the ball against their defense with your guy, are there some things you can take advantage of, is he at a spot in time where we can take advantage of those things that we think we can schematically and then full well knowing that they’ve got a chance to be a potent offense as well with the people that they have and the quarterback they have planned."
(On if he likes where Weeden is on that scale)- "On that continuum? Yeah."
Discussing How Mohamed Massaquoi Looked
(On how Mohamed Massaquoi looked at practice yesterday)- "Yeah, we talked about it last night, he looked to have a good day of participation yesterday. I would hope that that would grow and he would come back and add a little bit more to it here today. It’s kind of a building thing. We’ll just see if he’s ready for prime time here by the end of the week when we get to Friday."
Discussing the Struggles of the Ravens' Defense
(On if he notices anything drastic about Baltimore’s defense due to the yards they are giving up this year) – "I don’t notice that. I’m aware of where they’re at statistically league-wide, but I still think they’re a pretty salty defensive outfit. They’ve had injuries just like everybody’s had injuries now. They’re getting a guy back just like everybody’s getting some people back now. I still see them being a pretty salty group against the run and against the pass."
(On the Ravens struggling with run defense the last couple weeks)- "I think when you look at the Kansas City game and you look at the Dallas game against them, they were kind of steadfastly going to run the football. It appeared like they were running it out of some no huddle settings and they were almost belligerent about running the ball. That’s why you saw the run yards pick up. Now, they’ve had a bye week. Typically, you go back and look at yourself in the bye week and try to rectify whatever is wrong, whether it’s going against the no huddle or going against somebody that belligerently wants to run the football. Like I said, I still look at them as a top defense."
(On if Kansas City and Dallas losing to Baltimore justifies what the defense did)- "I don’t know that because Kansas City was down there four times and fumbled on the quarterback sneak and fumbled the ball away four times inside the red area. They were having success with what they were doing, they just weren’t having success and kind of finalizing."
(On how the Ravens defense is different without Ray Lewis)- "I don’t think you can quantify from a leadership standpoint what Ray does for them, but I really have been impressed even when Ray was playing with the (Dannell) Ellerbe kid that comes in and plays. He’s an active linebacker. He looks like he’s kind of grown, come into his own a little bit and it looks like he can hold his own in there. Like I said, it’s hard to quantify with Ray being the straw that stirs the drink. They are not going to take a big back turn because Ellerbe’s in there. I don’t see that happening."
(On what Terrell Suggs adds to their defense)- "It looked to me like they were going to get Suggs started there. He did not play every snap of the game, he played about 20 it seemed like. I think he’s playing himself back into shape, getting into football shape. I think probably the two weeks has probably helped him. He looks like he probably hadn’t played football in awhile, although he’s good enough to have sacked the quarterback here against the Texans, and play decently. I just expect him to kind of continue to ramp up and continue to roll as he plays more football."
Players Buying Into the Browns' Mentality, and Being More Explosive
(On wanting to be more explosive and scoring more points going forward and what he would like to do)- "You’d like to have some more explosive plays. If you look at the chances of scoring when you have an explosive play in a drive and for us that’s a run of 12 or a pass of 16. If you can incorporate some of those things within a drive, you’re scoring changes go up in the 80th percentile so we’re always continuing to look for those shots or those explosives is you will. If you don’t look for them, if you don’t swing the bat you can’t get a hit. I would say that particularly in relation to the passing game because the running game the guy has got to break the line of scrimmage to get 12 and then wide receivers have got to be doing their business down the field."
(On if the players seem engaged and that are they buying into what the coaches are trying to do here)- "I think so. I was just going to say, they do everything we ask them to do. I don’t see guys backing up or pushing back or any of that kind of stuff. I don’t mean that they are docile and they’re all followers and nobody would question because that’s not the way that those guys are set up. I think they want to try to do the right things and I continue to see that in their work and their preparation to follow the plan."
(On if it’s more of a mental or physical challenge for a player in their rookie year)- "I think it’s different by different positions depending on what kind of year you’ve had physically. Mentally, I think it starts to take its toll when you get to Thanksgiving time and there are a couple different walls that kind of come up. There’s a wall because the college season is ending and you realize that you’re in whatever game this is plus four, your 12th game and typically you would be done. Then there’s that real physical component where you say, ‘Wow,’ and you couple that with the mental part. It can be daunting and you have to guard and make sure you are looking for the signs from your young guys that they are not going to get overwhelmed."
The Return of Phil Taylor, and the Effect on Everyone Else
(On Phil Taylor coming back)- "It’s great to have Phil back practicing. As of now, he’ll certainly rotate into that game. We’ll see how much he can go. We don’t want to overdo it. He’s had two weeks of work and it’s been a long season. He’ll definitely work in, and we’re really excited about seeing him back. Wish we had Rube (Ahtyba Rubin) obviously, but we’ll see where that goes too."
(On if it’s been a challenge with the two rookie defensive linemen John Hughes and Billy Winn as opposed to having the size of Taylor and Rubin)- "I would say no really. We’ve talked a lot all the way through this about John and Billy and what a nice job they have done. Phil is really a good player. We got John and Billy to kind of back up Rube and Phil, and losing Phil was a tough one. It’s given those two young guys a lot more experience, the loss of both Rube and Phil. It’s brought them along a lot quicker. Now, once Phil gets back into it and we can get Rube back, I think we’ll have a really good inside rotation. Phil is a giant man, and a good athlete, and at the end of last season he was playing at a high level. We do expect a lot of him, but it’s not an easy thing to come back at this point and play at that same level right away. I think it’s going take him some time to work back into it."
(On if not having Rubin and Taylor’s size on the defensive line affects the run defense)- "I think any time you lose a player, certainly a starter, it impacts everything. It will impact you along the way."
Joe Haden Making a Difference Against Baltimore, and Buster Skrine
(On if having Joe Haden back will make a difference)- "I think anytime you’ve lost a starter - there’s a reason why he’s on your starting 11, and it’ll be nice to have them all back. Everybody in the league deals with injuries and plays through them. We’ve just got to play better. It’s good to have Joe back out there."
(On if he ever saw Buster Skrine’s confidence waiver)- "No, I haven’t. I really have a lot of admiration and respect for Buster. He’s a very tough guy, very competitive guy. He doesn’t change from practice to game. He just prepares himself really well, works very hard all the time, and then plays. He plays hard. Buster, I believe is a good player now and he’s just going to get better. Everybody at any position is going to struggle sometimes. The best in the world go out there and have poor games. They will be some ups and downs, but Buster will take them and work through them."
(On if he thinks Skrine has improved over the past two weeks)- "Yeah, I think he’s gotten better every snap. He’s a guy that I believe that he learns from his snaps. I think as his career moves along, I think he’ll be a player that has years of experience as opposed to one year of experience five times. I think Buster will be a guy that has five years of experience when he’s in the sixth year of his career. I think he’s just going to get better and better."
Evaluating the Performance Against San Diego
(On the defensive performance against the Chargers)- "That was a really good day for us. There was no doubt about it. Any time, in any condition, it was bad conditions for an offense and a defense. But to try to throw the ball in those conditions, it was very difficult, no doubt about it. To come away with six points was just a terrific day for us, and the win. That’s the deal. You’ve got to find ways to win no matter what you do. It’s all about the W."
(On what players specifically played well against San Diego)- "It won’t be anybody you don’t know. D’Qwell (Jackson) always performs well. Buster performed well. There were a lot of people in that game, everybody played really hard, and performed at a high enough level to keep a pretty good offensive football team off the board in terms of touchdowns. That was a good day."
(On if he had to change his game plan last week due to the weather conditions)- "Last week going in we certainly had an idea of what they did. Then we had a pretty good idea of what they do in that weather. I think you generally feel that way about an opponent. A good opponent is going to do what they do, that’s what makes them good. They may add a few wrinkles, but they are not changing. They are not going to change a lot of their stuff because they are beating everybody with it anyway. We didn’t have to change a whole lot, we just had to adjust some personnel things. Before we went into it, we talked about it, what’s it going to do today? What did we think they were going to change of what they had coming into the game? It was pretty close."
(On if the weather factored into taking Antonio Gates out of the game)- "The weather was definitely a factor in that game. Our guys played hard and did a nice job. I don’t think there’s any way you couldn’t say that the weather had an effect on that football game, the ball in the air, the kicking game, that was a tough one. That’s one of those games you’re glad you’re in the box."
Stopping the Run Against Baltimore, Road Struggles, and More
(On if the game against Baltimore was the best they have played against the run)- "I think we’ve played well at times on and off. What I remember about that game was we lost. It was a close game and we had a chance to win. We just needed to make more plays than we did obviously and we didn’t make them. They are very good. They do an outstanding job. They have terrific players, a lot of skilled players, and they prepare them well. They do a very nice job. Our hands will be full, and certainly both their running backs are really good, but Ray Rice is a unique player in this league. We’ll be challenged for sure."
(On if he has any idea why the Ravens struggle statistically away from Baltimore)- "No, I don’t have any idea. I just hope the trend continues."
(On characterizing Cam Cameron’s offense)- "I don’t know Cam personally. I think that he does a very good job though of preparing his offense to play to their strengths. He does a nice job of adjusting and using plays over until you make an adjustment to it. He’s a very good football coach and has a record to prove it."
(On how they avoid Anquan Boldin having another big day against them)- "We’ll do our best. It’s not the first time in his career that’s happened to him. He’s a proven veteran over a long career. He’s big and strong, strong hands, physical receiver and we’ve just got to get closer to him. We played him tight. We’ve just got to make more plays at the end of the play when the ball arrives to him. The guy is a really good player. Unfortunately, they’ve got a bunch of them."
(On if he has ever been around a corner that doesn’t have confidence)- "I guess I would say not for long. You have to have a very short memory out on the edge. You’re going to get beat, anywhere in this league at any position, you’re going to get beat and probably humbled and embarrassed at some point. You’ve got to just be able to come back the next play and wipe the slate clean and do it, challenge it. It’s just part of the deal."
(On if corners are born with confidence)- "I think they are born with certain skills. I guess I doubt that that is one of them. I think they are born with physical gifts, and that’s one of them. I think you can develop mental toughness, and you can certainly develop your physical skills too up to a point. Some people are just more gifted athletically than others. I think mentally you can certainly apply yourself and make yourself more focused, more determined, understand the game better or understand yourself better and fight through a lot of things."
Number of Takeaways This Season
(On the defense having 16 takeaways and if they put a point of emphasis on that)- "We do like to think, and we know that we do emphasize takeaways. That being said, I’ve never been anywhere that didn’t. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t. I don’t know what the answer is because we certainly stress it, and we stress it every year. I know that in terms of interceptions, you always preach that if you just catch your chances, the odds are you’ll have a pretty good year in terms of interceptions. The ball gets batted, and they’ll miss at times. It’s just hard because that ball gets on you fast and you’re focused on other things. It’s just hard to do those things. We would like to get more and more obviously because it really is one of the few statistics in our game that has meaning in terms of wins and losses."
James-Michael Johnson's Growth
(On James-Michael Johnson’s progress)- "I think he is another young player that’s gotten better every start that he’s had. I really believe he’ll just continue to do that. He’s playing faster. He’s got a better feel for the game. He’s got a better understanding now being out in the field of what it takes to perform in this league. It’s certainly not like college for him. He’s a fast learner, and another guy that really cares about it. He really cares about he performs, he cares that he does his job and prepares. I think he cares about our football team."
Ward Dealing With His Injured Hand, and Why Young is Starting Over Hagg
(On T.J. Ward being a sure tackler and playing well despite playing with an injured hand)- "He’s so aggressive. He’s so tough and he’s a willing tackler. He gets to the ball carrier. He has been good at getting the ball carrier on the ground. However he’s done it because as you’ve pointed out with that thumb and the surgery, he played the next week. I didn’t anticipate that he would do that. I admire his toughness, but he couldn’t really use that hand very well or at all really to grab."
(On Ward playing with pain against New York)- "Again, you admire his toughness. Obviously, he was medically cleared to play so our medical staff didn’t feel like he could do anymore damage, but it was very painful. There’s no doubt about it. He’s done a nice job."
(On what Usama Young did to take the starting job from Eric Hagg)- "Usama’s always been a very physical player. I think that was part of it. We needed to make a switch to give him a chance, to get him back out there to get him a starting chance, and see if he could take and hold that job. I think he has to this point. I always admired his toughness, his willingness to play the game, and it is a tough game. It’s a very rough game."
Better Than the Record Indicates?
(On if the Browns are better than their 2-6 record)- "I don’t know. I think I’ve always felt that what should have happened did and you live with it. That’s where we are and we’ve got to change it. Somehow we got to find ways to put more W’s on the board."