Monday’s Cleveland Browns training camp practice, Day 14, has come and gone. You can find our full Day 14 recap here. Let’s check out what Hue Jackson, Shon Coleman, Zane Gonzalez, Christian Kirksey, and Cody Parkey had to say throughout the day.
- Head honcho Hue had some opening remarks before fielding questions following Monday’s session.
“The last two days, I have really pushed this team pretty far, and as I keep telling them, I will keep pushing them because I think there is a lot in this group. You just have to keep pulling it out. There are hard days, grinding days, but that is what training camp is. We are still in training camp mode, but they are giving me everything they have, and that is all you can ask for. As a football team, I am happy where we are. We still have some things to keep cleaning up, keep getting better at, but that is part of it. That is training camp and that is the way it goes, but we have had a really good two days the last two days of building our football team and that is what you look for.”
- With consecutive physical practices now strung together, how are his players handling things?
“They haven’t blinked. They have asked for more, and that is what I like about this team. They haven’t backed down from anything. From yesterday to today to what I am asking of them, I think this is how you build a football team, and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to become a really good football team that is mentally and physically tough. In order to do that, you have to bump into each other quite a bit and that is what we have done.”
- Jabrill Peppers made a big hit today, what’s gotten into him and the rest of his defensive teammates?
“Nothing got into them. I don’t think anything got into them. They practiced. I don’t think there is anything spectacular that got into them. They are just making plays. Somedays it goes the offense’s way and somedays it goes the defense’s way. That is football. That is the way it works.”
- Can his run defense improve in any specific areas?
“Get off blocks, communicate better and tackle. That is all it is, and I guarantee you our guys will do that. We will get better at those things.”
- Where is he at in the evaluation of his offense, and is he concerned with where they currently are at?
“No [concerns]. We are practicing against each other. We have been practicing these same things since OTAs so no, I am not concerned. I think you guys are more concerned about all of that way more than I am because you guys write all these numbers and we are doing – I don’t mean any harm, you guys have no clue what we are doing every day or what we are trying to attempt to do. I have heard it all, but trust me, I laugh at it all based on what you guys have been saying. Anytime you are mixing and matching like we are on offense, guys over there working – we haven’t really played as a unit yet – but at the same time, there are a lot of good things the offense has done. There are a lot of good things the defense has done. This is not offense against defense. This is the building of a football team, and that is what we are trying to do.”
- Are the physical practices Jackson’s seeing like what he saw during his first training camp in Cleveland, last season?
“No. You guys were here.”
- Jackson said expectations are why he’s raising the intensity level this season.
“Better football team. I expect more from this team. I want more from this team. That is the expectation. I really believe we are going to be a better football team. We will put a better product out on the field than what we did a year ago because I think these guys understand where we are.”
- Is rookie tight end David Njoku behind after a slow start in camp and after recently missing a few practices due to injury?
“OK, just needs to get in better shape. He has been gone for a while. You have to play. You have to be out here every day grinding. It is hard. This is a hard business. He is a young man who is learning how to play. I’m asking a lot of him. He is trying, and he just has to continue to get better.”
- What’s it like having a chess piece like Peppers on his team?
“He can do some things. If he gets the ball in his hands, he is probably going to score because he has that kind of skill once the ball touches his hands. I was trying to explain to him in that situation, the game is over. Just get down. Yeah, but he was going to score. He was trying to go score. Game over, let’s protect the lead and that’s what we do. That is a teaching moment for him. He is growing and getting better every day. There have been questions about if he can play in the post. I think he is showing you he can play anywhere. I think he is a very dynamic player, and I am glad he is here.”
- Quarterback DeShone Kizer completed a long pass at the end of practice. What’s that due for Jackson’s offense?
“When you have an opportunity in the National Football League, a guy that can make plays with his arm, I think it is unbelievable. I am going to say it again, there is a lot that goes into that. It is not just firing the ball down there. Everybody has to protect still. I mean our protection unit has to still work better and do some things better. They did a good job there and gave us a chance to make a play. Now, I am disappointed with the defense. We can’t let the ball over our head in that situation. That is the last play in the game. Yeah, that was the last play in the game. It was kind of like a Hail Mary, and DeShone threw it down there. We made a play, but we have to make sure we get that play stopped.”
Hue Jackson’s entire press conference can be viewed at ClevelandBrowns.com.
- How does Coleman self-assess his performance during training camp so far?
“I am doing well so far. I just have to buckle down on a couple things technique-wise and just be more consistent.”
- Does practicing at left tackle affect his competition and ability to start on the right side?
“By now, I am pretty comfortable at both sides so whether it is playing left tackle or right tackle, you just have to go out there and work your technique and everything. It is good work for me to be able to go on both sides and be able to keep refreshing everything as far as assignments and things like that.”
- Is his power his biggest strength in run blocking and has it always been that way?
“In the SEC, all we did was run the football so you kind of derive from that. That is the big thing that (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson is trying to put in the game is running the ball, and I feel like I can go out there and help him do that.”
- He described blocking for a running back like Isaiah Crowell.
“He is a hard runner. He is a very physical runner. He can hit the hole, and that just makes our job more important to make a hole for him. We know he will get in there.”
- Did the unveiling of the team’s first unofficial depth chart mean anything to him, as it listed him as the starting right tackle?
“I just have to keep going out there and doing my thing, working on the technique, getting better, being more consistent and just trying to make the team better.”
- Does he view the starting right tackle job as his to lose?
“I don’t look at it like that at all. Like I said, I just go out there, do my thing and just try to get the team better. I leave that up to the coaches and everything, how they want to do the depth charts. I am just focused on what I can do to get the team better.”
Coleman’s entire press conference can be viewed at ClevelandBrowns.com.
- What do kickers do in addition to what the media sees at practice?
“Whether it be working on timing, get-offs on film, little things like the way you are hitting the ball, approach the ball, your follow through, whether it is the right or left hash – a lot of different things when we are watching film, as well as the weight room. Just getting in there and getting better. Putting the time and effort in and being a pro.”
- What’s his take on the status of the team’s kicking competition that he’s entrenched in with veteran Cody Parkey?
“I think it is pretty close competition right now. They usually do a pretty good job of keeping it under wraps for the most part just between the coaching staff. I believe that helps out a lot. Me and (K) Cody (Parkey) just go out there every day and just try to do our best each and every day.”
- How do they quantify their progress against another, as in metrics?
“(Laughter) Well, we know our charts. We know how we do each and every day. We have both been kicking phenomenally. It is really hard to say if anybody has the edge right now. The last few days, everybody has pretty much been hitting the balls the same. When you have two kickers going 100 percent, it is hard to complain about that.”
- Did the windy practice in July prepare him for kicking in the wind that he’ll experience in Cleveland?
“Yeah, looking back on those kicks, I feel like we both could have done better, but it did give me some work in the wind and getting used to the situations here in Cleveland. At the end of the day, it was just another day to get out here and get better. Practice is practice for a reason. You go out there and get reps with the team so you can get better on gameday.”
Gonzalez’s entire press conference can be viewed at ClevelandBrowns.com.
- How does he grade the Browns defense’s performance at this point?
“I think things are going pretty well right now. Guys are getting more and more confident and more and more comfortable. They are making plays, more and more plays here and there, so I think collectively, we are coming together and just starting to shape it to where we want to go.”
- What did New Orleans do to exploit the Browns defense on the big runs they landed up the middle?
“You are going to get a couple big plays here and there. That is the name of the game. That is football. Honestly, it is just tackling for us. Some of those plays where the running back gained 10-12 yards after contact, that is just us not being sound in our technique as far as tackling. We will clean that up.”
- What was Gregg Williams’ reaction to those long runs?
“Gregg is coaching us. When we are on the field, he lets us go out there and play. We will correct the correctables once we look at film. He just told us we need to tackle better so I think he took that pretty well.”
- What’s linebacker Joe Schobert been like in his second training camp?
“Joe is smart. He can play all three linebacker positions. He is a guy that is always around the ball, always trying to make plays on the ball. I am excited to see him grow in this defense. As you can see, he went out there, he got a sack and he was in on a lot of tackles. He is just a guy that flies around and knows what he is doing and could easily play any one of those positions. Whenever his name is called, he will be ready.”
- Did he like the way the first-team defense played on the goal line against New Orleans?
“Yeah, I think guys were sacrificing their bodies, just going in there trying to make a play, trying to clog the hole. We were out there trying to fight, trying to not allow our opponents to score a touchdown and guys just gave it their all. We have some stuff we need to clean up technique-wise and stuff, but guys continue to strive to get better.”
- What kind of things has he dealt with in switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense?
“Just growing up playing football, you learn about the 3-4 and the 4-3 so I wouldn’t say it is a difficult adjustment or too hard for guys to make that switch. I think guys are really picking it up well and adjusting to it well. All it is is just learning a new defense. We have seen a lot of different playbooks, we have had different coaches so our minds are fixed basically to learn the playbook like that [*snaps finger], so I think guys are handling it pretty well.”
Kirksey’s entire press conference can be viewed at ClevelandBrowns.com.
- What’s his opinion of his own performance so far in training camp?
“I’m kicking well right now, going out there and doing my best. I put in a lot of work in this offseason to be where I am at right now. I definitely feel a whole lot better at this time this year than I did last year. That is for sure.”
- Parkey got candid about his feelings about the team drafting Gonzalez in the seventh round.
“I was kind of taken aback, but I was reassured that it was going to be an open competition. For me, it just kind of makes me want to work even harder just to prove people wrong about me. I have had success in this league. I have had my ups and downs like anyone else, but just to go out there and show the team that I can do it. I hope that I am going out there and showing the coaches what I am capable of doing. Good competition – Zane is an awesome guy – but at the end of the day, this is my job. I want to win. I’m just going to go out every day and try to compete.”
- Has the competition with the rookie made him better?
“Absolutely, competition breeds success. At the end of the day, I am competing against myself. I am not trying to beat Zane that day. I am trying to beat myself. As good as it is having another guy in there – we can talk kicking and stuff like that, and (special teams coordinator) Coach (Chris) Tabor is awesome with that, too. It is definitely refreshing having another guy in there that is very good. We are getting each other better, and I think that is what they wanted.”
- Parkey missed three field goals in his debut against the Miami Dolphins for the then 0-3 Browns, including what would have been the game-winning field goal as time expired in regulation. Has he bounced back and earned the team’s trust since then?
“They gave me another game after the first game, which was honestly awesome. They believed in me. I didn’t have a good first game. There is no way to sugarcoat that, but I think the definition of a good kicker is how you respond because you are going to miss a kick here and there. It is how you respond so I think I responded in the next game going two-for-two and just showing them that I can do this. Especially for me, that was my first couple games coming off my injury the year before. I feel stronger than ever, better than ever and I am just ready to get things rolling.”
Parkey’s entire press conference can be viewed at ClevelandBrowns.com.