Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron met with the local media for the final time this year on Thursday. He offered props to many individual players based on the growth they have shown this season, and he also talked about why putting a coaching staff together was one of his toughest duties as a former head coach. [Read full press conference transcript here]
(On the growth of his defense and what players have grown this season)- "You’ve talked about Phil (Taylor) a lot. I think Phil has grown a lot through the course of the year. In the last five or six games he’s played pretty consistently and played well. He seems to be getting stronger. This will be a huge test obviously again this Sunday. Jabaal (Sheard) has just played well from the beginning to the end. Rube’s (Ahtyba Rubin) played well from the beginning to the end. At the right defensive end, Jayme (Mitchell) got hurt and then we struggled for a while.
The linebackers obviously we lost Scott (Fujita), he had a productive year. D’Qwell’s (Jackson) been outstanding. I’d say Chris Gocong has been really good. D’Qwell’s had an outstanding year in every area. I’d say leadership, playing the game on the field, performing in the game, attitude, everything. I’m not with him in the locker room a lot, but I would guess in the locker room he’s the same guy. He’s just really a pleasure to be around so that’s been terrific.
In the secondary, we’ve struggled with a number of injuries particularly inside. Joe’s (Haden) has had a good year. Sheldon’s (Brown) had a good year on the other side of him. Dimitri (Patterson) came in and has played the STAR for us, the nickel position very well. We’re working in the younger guys. There are a lot of things that we’re excited about and there are a lot of things we have to really improve obviously as we move forward. Other than not winning enough games, it’s always great to work with guys that want to get better and they work hard."
(On if Chris Gocong plays better on the strong side)- "Maybe, we really like him at the WILL too. It took him a few weeks to get into the feel of the SAM, but he has done a terrific job over there. I’d say either way. When Scott (Fujita) was here I thought it was the best fit for everybody. It certainly helps us a lot that Chris is so versatile, that he can move over there and perform at a really high level. Kaluka (Maiava) obviously fits the WILL better than he does the SAM. As we move forward we’ll see what happens, but I see him at both equally."
(On if he recalls things that happened that he did not expect to happen when he was a head coach)- "The one thing that took me by surprise and it wasn’t that I didn’t know that it would be hard, it was hiring a staff. It took an inordinate amount of time interviewing and kind of agonizing over it and then as you lost coaches, it was just more painful. I had to go through it again and it was unsettling. You went through all that time again. I think that was really the only one area that surprised me when I had my opportunity to be a head coach. That whole thing took a lot longer and was a lot harder than I had anticipated. When it got disrupted as it moved along, it was a pain in the neck."
(On if he feels his run defense has improved)- "I think it has improved. Hopefully it will keep getting better."