Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski met with the media following the team's Day 14 of training camp on Sunday. Chudzinski talked about Hardesty's status, Weeden's ability, rookies, getting fans involved, and more. The transcript is organized by topic below, or you can watch the news conference here.
Opening Statement - Hardesty, fundamentals, and trust
Opening statement: "We’ll get started with medical. We had Montario Hardesty back today. He got involved with some individual drills. We will continue to see how that goes and upgrade as we can. Today was a good day. These past two days have been good days in terms of work and really focusing on getting back to the basics. We had the shoulder pads on today so we were able to do a little bit more hitting, blocking and working on the fundamentals.
Also, one of the things we have been emphasizing with the guys is trust. They’re learning. They are getting to know the offense, getting to know the defense and getting to know the special-teams packages. It’s been very individual in terms of that learning. Now we are really emphasizing with the guys working together as a unit, the offensive-line communication and so forth, secondary communication, and all the things you want to develop through trust, playing with each other and being lined up and comfortable with the guy next to you."
On Hardesty showing enough to show where he fits: "We have an idea. Hardesty coming back, hopefully that continues, there is still a lot of preseason left and he’ll have that opportunity to show us."
On Brandon Weeden’s ability to throw deep passes: "It’s been something we’ve worked on. He has the arm to do it. I think he’s getting much more accurate as a deep-ball thrower. We have some guys with some good speed that can get down the field with them. I think that part of his game and our game is coming along."
On Weeden looking better in the first preseason game than practice: "Everybody is up and down at this point in the preseason. When you are installing things, when things are new and different things are happening, there’s going to be ups and downs. I’ve said it before, it’s important that from a head coach standpoint that we have good competition. Offense is up some days, defense is up some days and we’ve kept a little score up there. So, there is a little back and forth that you just don’t see."
On what Alex Mack needs to do on the line of scrimmage: "It’s a lot for centers, quarterbacks and guards. I’ve done it all different ways where different guys did it, but Alex is extremely bright. He has to know what the front is, where the secondary players are and who’s filling where. He has to identify all of the blocking schemes and tell everybody and communicate those things. It is a lot to know with a short amount of time to do it. That is where a guy like Alex separates himself. He can do it quickly and effectively."
On thoughts about Jordan Cameron: "He’s improved quite a bit. I think he is getting a better understanding and more comfortable with the offense. He’s a guy that has potential that you see. He has playmaking ability and he’s improved as a run blocker. He’ll continue to develop and I think Jon Embree has done a really nice job with him."
On the status of David Nelson: "He has made progress. We have been talking to him. We will just have to see how he comes along."
On how many rookies have a legitimate shot at making the roster: "It is hard to tell right now. There are a lot of guys that are getting reps and some of the younger guys are because of the injuries and so forth. They have been able to get some time in games and some practice time. It always helps the younger players to get those opportunities. There is still a lot of ball to be played before we make those determinations. There is a group of guys that have made a lot of progress."
On after starting possibly the most rookies in NFL history last year, what it says about the organization that a rookie may not start this year: "We didn’t have a lot of rookies this year, so that helps. From a starting standpoint when you are talking about starters I really don’t get caught up in the depth chart with who is starting. What I’m looking for and as a staff what we are looking for are guys that can play. When we find guys that can play we will find places and roles for them to help us win. To talk about starters isn’t as important to me as talking about finding guys who can play."
Continuing the peanut butter competition:
On the friendly competitions between the players (offense had to eat peanut-butter sandwiches last night) and why he is doing it: "Well, competition makes people better. I’ve always felt that, and that’s gone back to base philosophy from when I was playing football. Different ways of creating competition, you get into the doldrums of training camp and different ways of creating some fun as well. Of course, I have a special place in my heart for the fans and getting them involved out here in practice. I think everybody enjoys."
Getting fans involved:
On having two fans kick field goals to end the practice: "We grabbed a couple guys from the group of fans that were here today. For individual meetings that we had planned tonight, I told the guys if Anthony (Kinney, the first fan) made the field goal, the offense wouldn’t have their individual meetings tonight, and D.J. (Rapposelli) kicked for the defense, and if he made it, the defense wouldn’t have their meetings tonight. Both of the guys made it, of course, and the guys were pretty happy about that."
On picking the fan kickers randomly: "Yeah. We just randomly picked them out. We had a little mini tryout before practice so we were sure that they could kick it, at least."