Chudzinski press conf. transcript - 9/20

Posted Sep 20, 2013

The transcript of Coach Rob Chudzinski's Friday afternoon press conference.

Opening statement: “It’s been a busy week. I’ve been extremely impressed with our team’s focus and effort that we’ve had in getting ready for this game. We’ve had a great week of preparation. I’m looking forward to the challenge that we have with Minnesota. We talked a little bit earlier in the week with the team about doing a little bit more, and they’ve really responded. We have, obviously, a great challenge ahead of us and are excited about this game coming up. As far as the injury update, (QB) Brandon Weeden saw a specialist yesterday. It’s highly unlikely he will need surgery. We’ll see how he progresses for his status for next week. (DL Ahtyba) Rubin is questionable and (OL Shawn) Lauvao is doubtful.”

On if Weeden will start when he is cleared to play: “As soon as he’s cleared we’ll have to evaluate what status he is, whether he’s 100 or 80 or 90 percent. We’ll play by ear as it goes.”

On if Weeden has just a sprained thumb: “Yes.”

On RB Willis McGahee playing on Sunday: “He will.”

On how much of a role McGahee will play: “Well he’s been in this offense, the terminology, he’s familiar with, when he was in Baltimore. So a lot of those things are the same. Just doing a little review with him yesterday he’s got a good handle on the offense overall. We’ll just have to see. We’ll talk about it when we get in as a staff in practice today and where he’s at from a physical standpoint and a conditioning standpoint. But he looked pretty good out in practice today.”

On McGahee entering the season as a free agent and not practicing with a team: “Well in this case, Willis is an experienced guy. He’s done it before. He’s a savvy veteran. Running the ball is an instinctive thing. He’ll be ready to roll and we’re excited about that.”

On why they picked McGahee: “We felt like he was the best guy available, certainly. Me knowing Willis and how tough he is from a mental standpoint, what he brings to the table, I have 100 percent faith in him.”

On if the front office asked him about trading RB Trent Richardson: “We talked about it all along the way. I was supportive and we had great discussions on it. I’m confident and feel great about our plan to get better.”

On talking to Weeden about not having a guaranteed job when he is clear to play: “I have. I talked to him about that.”

On if Weeden understands the situation: “He does.”

On what they know they are getting with McGahee: “Well, you never know until a guy gets out there in the games. Just knowing him and the type of person he is, he’s going to bring it and he’s going to give you everything that he has. He was cleared from a medical perspective. Like I said, he was out there and went through practice today and he looked good doing it.”

On if he thought McGahee would play again after his injury in the national championship game: “It was obviously a terrible injury. But there was no harder worker on the team at the time. I haven’t come across a lot of guys that work the way Willis does and has. I knew that if there was anybody that would do it and be able to do it, it’d be Willis McGahee.”

On where McGahee stands as a player: “We’ll talk about that as a staff a little bit when we get off the field here. From a mental standpoint, there’s nothing holding him back. We’ll just have to see from a physical standpoint, his conditioning and so forth and those kind of things.”

On if McGahee is rusty: “Obviously we don’t have the pads on and it’s not a full-speed situation. But you can see the tracks he’s taking, his reads and things like that. I thought he looked pretty good today.”

On if McGahee could start against Minnesota: “We’ll start in different packages. It’ll depend on which guy is out there. But between (RB) Bobby Rainey and (RB) Chris (Ogbonnaya) and Willis, those guys will get the snaps at tailback.”

On Weeden being affected by possibly not starting when cleared: “Not really. We’re just going to take it week by week and see where he’s at and where we’re at. He’s played two games. I’d love to see more of them.”

On QB Brian Hoyer being closely watched this week: “He’s going to be the starter. I have full confidence in him. He’s had a great week of practice and preparation. I think as the week went on, we got better and better and better. I really feel we’re good at where we’re at right now. After that, we’ll evaluate.”

On WR Josh Gordon and his return, expectations and week of practice: “Very good. It was apparent that he worked the two weeks he was out. He came and conditioned, caught the ball very well and it was good having him back out there.”

On dealing with the changes all at once as a head coach: “Well it’s about the focus. It’s about what’s important. It’s about what our goals are and what we want to do. That focus being on this game, the Minnesota game. I’ve really been impressed with our guys and how vehemently they’ve been working and focusing on going and winning the game.”

On getting his first win as a head coach: “You need to get that first one before you get more. Sometimes all it takes is a few plays to get that going. That’s where we’re at. We talked about at the beginning of the week, ‘Just a little bit more.’ So that was the theme of the week. We’ve been close, but it’s time for us to make the plays when we need to and to be able to push through and win a game.”

On the play of DB Chris Owens and DB Buster Skrine: “I think they’ve responded. They’re going to get tested with (DB) Joe (Haden) on the other side. The people are going to look to their side and they’re going to have opportunities to make plays to show what they can do. Their attitudes have been great. We’re improving and getting better. I see our coverage; I see the things we’re doing. We focus a lot on third down, which is an area on both sides of the ball that we need to improve on. But we’re making progress and what we need to do is take it from the practice field out to the game field.”

On former president Mike Holmgren’s comments on the Trent Richardson trade: “Look, I love Cleveland. I love these fans. I love this team. I feel strongly that I absolutely agree with our plan, what we’ve done to this point, and bringing a winner to Cleveland. I’m focused on this game and playing in Minnesota and getting our guys ready to play and win, and focus on that alone.”


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