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Chudzinski conf. call transcript - Dec. 16

Posted Dec 16, 2013

The transcript of Coach Rob Chudzinski's conference call with the Cleveland media.

Opening statement: “Good afternoon everybody. [Media congratulate Chudzinski on the birth of his son] Thank you. I appreciate it.

“I’m obviously dissatisfied with the team performance yesterday. The results are frustrating for us as coaches, players and especially, I know, our fans. As I mentioned yesterday, I appreciate the loyalty and support of our fans. It will pay off.

“We were unable to put all of the pieces together, play a complete game and close it out yesterday. Simply, we did not execute well enough. We’re not just going to hope we get better; we are going to make good things happen. We’re going to be proactive. I’ve challenged our players and coaches to be part of the solution.”

On the imbalance in passing plays and running plays in the fourth quarter, given the cold, windy conditions: “Looking at it from a first-half standpoint, we had limited plays, limited possessions. We really didn’t get into a rhythm offensively in that first half. I thought we did have a better mix in the second half, particularly in that first series of the second half. I think penalties affected some of the situations that we had in the second half, particularly in those later possessions. The bottom line is with Chicago you have to do whatever you can do and need to try to do to score. Obviously, we weren’t able to do enough of that yesterday, but I thought there were some good things from the run game. Just seeing (RB) Edwin Baker come out, I thought he played well. Again, we want to be able to score against that team.”

On Baker’s performance and him fitting in the offense: “In a short amount of time, he was able to come in, and of course, he had some background in the terminology and the system and some familiarity with it; but I thought he came in and gave us a spark. He was able to make some good runs. He looked explosive out there, had some juice and made some nice runs and actually a nice catch or two and was able to get some run after catch.”

On third-down defense against Chicago: “It wasn’t good enough, as you know. I felt like we had made some improvements through the course of the last number of weeks, but it’s been too inconsistent. We had some busted-coverage issues early in the game. Obviously, we gave up too many big plays on third downs, and we struggled at times with some of the matchups that Chicago presented us.”

On why he defers if he wins the coin toss prior to the start of the game: “Yesterday, let’s talk specifically, I really felt like it was important for us to get off to a good start and the field position in that game was going to be important, in that regard. The thing is, part of yesterday, as well as other games if you look at it, you get the potential of a double possession. At the end of a first half and the beginning of the second half where you can get the ball in those back-to-back possessions and that gives you an opportunity to be able to take a lead. So if it works out that you get that, that’s a big factor and if you take advantage, you can take the game. As far as yesterday with the wind, obviously, that was more of a factor in the kicking game. I really didn’t feel like that affected us offensively. (QB) Jason (Campbell) actually preferred going against it, talking in terms of him throwing into it.”

On if Chicago felt that throwing into the wind was a bad idea: “For them, how they felt about it, I don’t know. I’m not sure exactly how they felt about it. I can only say, like I said, Jason actually preferred going into it. He felt like the ball was worse, sailing, going with it.”

On why he called a timeout at the end of the third quarter: “I wanted to preserve that particular time for giving us a chance to be with the wind for the kicking game. Trying to get, I think there was about three minutes left in the quarter, where if we could get ourselves into position, we’d be able to use it, utilize it, whether it’s a field goal (or) a punt. So I didn’t want the time to just run off.”

On injury update of DB Joe Haden: “Yeah, his X-rays were negative. As I mentioned last night, he has a hip bruise, or a hip pointer. We’ll take it day-by-day and see how he is on Wednesday. I’ll give you updates on him and all the other guys on Wednesday.”

On how DB Julian Posey did coming into the season: “I thought Posey came in and did a nice job; he got a number of snaps. As I mentioned before, Chicago presented a number of tough matchups with their receivers, and those guys are outstanding. I give Chicago a lot of credit for what they did yesterday. But I think Posey has gotten a lot better. Obviously, he was on the practice squad a few weeks ago and we bumped him up and moved him up. He needs to step up and it’ll be his opportunity and I’m looking forward to seeing him.”

On if he was able to watch any film and why WR Josh Gordon struggled to get any opportunities: “We had some things up for him early; it just didn’t work out to get him the ball in the first half. We never were able to really get into a rhythm. Didn’t really have a lot of snaps in the first half. We had some misses on him and a near miss, I should say, right there before the half that would have been a big play. I think that was a big play in the game on a third down there. In the second half, I think we got him a few balls early and I think there was a couple of near misses, again, were just off. I know the one he got, he couldn’t get his hands underneath the ball. I think he slipped on one of them and another couple of throws, we just weren’t able to make the connections with him. Sometimes it’s going to be that way. It may be a quarter, it may be a half that he doesn’t get a lot of work and then all of a sudden he could get a lot of throws. That’s the cycle it goes in. We’re always going to work to get him the ball and certainly, he’s a big part of what we want to do.”

On if a ball that hit Gordon’s hand should be considered a drop or a bad throw: “You want your quarterback to think he can make a better throw and you want your receiver to think that it was a drop and he can make a better catch. At the end of the day, it would have been a tough catch. The situation was zone and Josh was gearing it in the hole and the throw was just out front of him a little much and it didn’t work out.”

On if Baker will be given another opportunity if RB Willis McGahee is cleared to play: “That’s something that we’ll talk about as a staff certainly, from what he did in the game. I think he earned a lot of respect and earned my respect. He made good on his opportunity.”

On how Haden said the defensive players are able to voice their opinion more than they previously would: “What he may be directly speaking of, in terms of a couple of things: From a game-plan standpoint, we’ll talk to those guys, what makes sense to them, certain adjustments as things come up in games. We’ll involve them in that process of what they feel like they can get done and confidently get done in the course of the game. He may be speaking to that and going forward, what things that we can do to be better and get better at closing out games and playing in the fourth quarter. I think if you look at the positives of that game yesterday, we were in the fourth quarter and we had the lead. Obviously, the negative is we couldn’t close it out against a team that’s a very good football team.

“The reasons for that, as you’re going through, you asked me about that last night. Jeff (Schudel), every game is different. You can’t just point to one thing over a course of the last few games. There’s multiple things or different things and there’s the same things and different reasons that are within a game for him. I think as we look at it and as I looked at it and looked at the tape, whether it’s big plays or whether it’s penalties, critical mistakes or mental breakdowns or just having to step up and be a playmaker, it’s a game of inches. It really comes down to one play or a couple of plays in those situations, of us thinking. That’s the difference in the football game and we need to be better. That’s in all phases, offense, defense, special teams, coaches, players, everybody. All it takes is, it’s a just a matter of a few more plays and we’ll get the results that we want.”