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Chudzinski conf. call transcript - Nov. 4

Posted Nov 4, 2013

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

Opening statement: “I just want to start out and really thank our fans. They were awesome yesterday and they make a real difference for us. They make it tough on the other team, communication, the other team’s offense, being able to play. Really, our guys feed off of the energy that the crowd provides, so really appreciate that. After looking at tape, definitely a lot of positives. I thought we got off to a good start. It was a good team win. All three phases really contributed. One of the biggest things, I thought the guys made plays when they had to in critical situations, which is something that we were able to do in this game that we’ve been talking about. So many games we haven’t been able to do that.

“Offensively, I thought the early drives were key. Our performance in the red zone and then the four-minute drive at the end of the game was huge. Defensively, I thought we did a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage. It helped us keep our run game in check and we were also able to get good rush on (Ravens QB Joe) Flacco, which I thought was a factor in the game as well. I thought our pass-coverage was solid for the most part with a couple of exceptions. We had some big stops on defense, even when Baltimore had some drives going, where we were able to prevent them from getting into the end zone or get more points. I thought we did good in the sudden-change situation after the fumble, of preventing Baltimore from getting any points out of the drive with very good field position. Special teams: (P) Spencer Lanning did a nice job punting. It’s really something that (special teams coordinator) Chris Tabor and (assistant) Shawn Mennenga did really well. We had a number of injuries yesterday to some of our special-teams guys that caused them to come out of the game for portions or come out of the game for the rest of the game. We had four, four-phase special-teamers who were hurt at different points in the game. Those guys (Tabor and Mennenga) had to do a lot of shuffling around and did a great job of managing those injuries over the course of the game.

“Some things we need to improve on: Some of the efficiency and substitution issues that we hadn’t had popped up. What I mentioned, on special teams, was some of the reason why. But we need to do a better job overall with that. We lost some timeouts and had some penalties because of that. That’s something that we need to improve and get fixed. We had a couple personal fouls; we have to keep our composure in those situations. I talked about that yesterday. We’re really going to spend some time on our third downs during the bye week and dissect that whole situation and see what we could do better there. We played well in spurts, at times, on the third downs, but we need to be more consistent as I’ve talked about before; defense red zone, improved in that. And then, offensively, again, looking and taking a hard look at our run game and continue to work on that.

“Some injuries to report, I’ll give you a little bit of an update on some of these. Some of them still don’t have a clear picture yet. (QB) Jason Campbell has bruised ribs. His X-rays were negative and he’ll probably practice tomorrow. (WR) Greg Little has a shoulder sprain and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow about practice, but there’s a good chance he’ll practice tomorrow. (LB) Quentin Groves will not practice tomorrow; we’ll take a look and evaluate his ankle. (TE) MarQueis Gray will not practice tomorrow; he has a hamstring. (LB Darius) Eubanks is cleared, no issue; he will practice tomorrow. And (LB Eric) Martin, who I reported had a knee sprain or strain, is fine. He’ll practice tomorrow.”

On elaborating on swagger of the team and when it started: “That’s an interesting question. I think that swagger can mean a lot of different things and it depends on who you’re talking to. But it’s really about confidence and playing, confidence in your abilities. In my opinion it’s the confidence that you’ve built through preparation. It’s something that you want your guys to have. We talked about it yesterday; there’s a fine line of playing with that intensity, playing with that swagger and playing on the edge, which is a great place to be. But you have to be able to not cross that line and stay under control. I think as you get more confidence, as you go through more situations, as you feel like you’re prepared and can handle any situation, you’re able to gain more of that swagger.”

On Baltimore not being penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after a sack, for a digging motion: “I didn’t see that particular one and sometimes it’s just a matter of what the officials see and don’t see. I know there’s a lot of times there’s some jawing back and forth, and that’s part of the game. Again, we just have to make sure it doesn’t get to the point where it’s obvious.”

On having swagger as a college player at Miami, due to being a national powerhouse: “In those days, we had an us-vs.-the-world mentality. So that was what we thrived on at that particular time there. Those things were a bonding-type thing for us at that particular time.”

On if he saw the picture of WR Greg Little being choked at the bottom of the pile prior to being called for his first unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty: “I know they were tussling there. I have not seen that picture. I don’t know exactly what happened; the guys are off today, so I’ll get a better idea. But that’s the typical thing. There’s things that go back and forth with guys and usually the second guy, or the last guy, gets caught. We have to know that in that situation. Obviously, that’s part of the game and part of being smart and part of the control that I’m talking about.  A lot of times, sometimes the second action could be understood because of what’s going on or what has gone on up to that point.”

On if the injury scare to Campbell has intensified the team’s effort to get another quarterback: “We’re looking at that and consistently looking at that. I think that for a gameday it really doesn’t change or isn’t going to change who is up and how many guys we would have up on gameday. So we’ll have two up on gameday. (TE) MarQueis Gray was our third and (WR) Armanti Edwards on the team now is another guy that can function as a third and has in the past. Jason looks to be fine and unless there was a real sense of urgency that we had to do something right away, we’ll just continue to evaluate who is there and be ready to move when we need to.”

On if Campbell was in the facilities today: “I had not been down there to see him but he was X-rayed last night and those were negative, like I said.”

On if he knew how bad Campbell was hurt and if he knew that he was this tough: “Based on him grimacing and knowing that it was bothering him, and then just seeing him go out there and continue to push through it, I know he’s tough. Just talking to him and looking at him, there was no way he would come out of that game and miss out for his teammates.”

On how relieved he is that Campbell doesn’t have broken ribs, how well he played against Baltimore, and if he looks ready to play against Cincinnati: “I’m very happy that he’s okay, obviously. He played really well. You just look again at what he was able to do, moving around and being able to extend plays, create plays. Fourth downs, he was huge on. Those were great throws and great plays and (WR) Davone (Bess) made both (catches) in critical, critical situations. Again, you saw him from a leadership standpoint. The calmness out there, the ability in that final drive, again, to make plays and extend that drive when that was crunch time and in a critical part in the game and just his presence with our younger guys and what he’s doing is really giving us a life.”

On if Campbell is doing anything that indicates he has a lot more experience that QB Brian Hoyer: “Well they both have only been in a few games. Jason has played a lot more than any of our guys here. You see it during the week, him knowing what to expect in different situations and the questions he asks. He’s been through it and he knows it and when he gets out on the field, he’s been there before. I think that’s calmness. I think that’s a sense of confidence that our guys have, and I have in him. He has it himself, that he’s done it before and I think that really helped us.”

On if it’s safe to say that Campbell is playing the best football of his career: “I can’t honestly say that. I hadn’t studied him through all of the course of the years that he’s played. Obviously, we looked at him prior to signing him. I think that certainly he’s used the time between the time he’s played and the last, I guess two years ago, until now; he’s improved during that time. I really think, as I’ve mentioned before, since April, I’ve seen him get better at a lot of things. I think he’s really speeded up his feet and his decision-making, and I think a lot of credit goes to (Offensive Coordinator) Norv (Turner) and working with him in that area and him working on that himself when he’s not actually getting a ton of reps. I just can’t say enough about Jason as a professional and as a person and what he’s done here in a number of different areas.”

On whether Jason Campbell is enjoying the opportunity of starting as a veteran: “Well, I think so. I think that as time goes on you come to appreciate the opportunities that you are given more. You learn from previous experiences, you learn how to be better. Whether it’s a player like Jason or whether it’s a coach like me or anybody else, you always want to do better the next time you get that opportunity, that chance. I think he’s done that.”

On being aggressive going for fourth-down plays: “I think that you go back. Jimmy Johnson was that way. It’s really about the situations that come up. I see it as any other situation that you want to execute. You want to have plays, execute and get things done. It’s just a matter of how confident are you in those plays and really in your players, and I have a lot of trust, a lot of faith in our guys and the guys in the locker room in getting the job done. Those are the things that you weigh at particular times. There are times to do them and there are times not to do them. Again, we’re going to tend to be on the aggressive side of those and you’ve got four downs; you might as well use them all, right?”

On the stress of being a coach in the NFL, with regard to Gary Kubiak and John Fox: “I sent them both a text. I hope they’re better, doing better and things are going well there. It’s a high-stress job. It’s an exciting job. It’s a job that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It can be very demanding on you and it’s part of it. Like I said, I hope that everything is going well in their cases. It’s good for us that the bye week is here. It gives us a chance to catch our breath a little bit.”

On the running game: “I think that if we’re using a group with a combination of those guys gives us enough of what we need so that’s the key, and we have to do a better job of executing. We played against a great defense yesterday. Give them a lot of credit, that front is hard to block and hard to run the ball on. They were playing hard. You saw it in the weeks leading up to our game, the kind of defense that they were playing against some great teams. So again, we’re going to look at it, we’ll refine it, we’re going to keep getting better from a technique perspective and from a scheme, trying to get our guys to do everything we can to put them in the best possible position. It’s something that we’re going to look hard at in the next couple of days because we need to improve as the season goes on.”

On WR Greg Little attacking the ball: “Yeah, he did, and that was something that we talk about when the ball is in the air, attacking the football and being strong to the ball. That’s the way he played. He made some of those catches, jumping up for it and having some of those guys on him. He really had some good run after the catches, which was critical in those things. Again, he’s working at it; he’s working to get better. You see him getting better and he was able to transfer what he’s been doing in practice, into the game. I thought that between Greg and Davone Bess, both of those guys really stepped up for us and were big.”

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