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Chudzinski press conf. transcript - Dec. 9

Posted Dec 9, 2013

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

Opening statement: “Yesterday was a hard-fought, December football game against a great team. Not at all happy with the outcome, but as I mentioned yesterday, very proud in the effort our team gave, both in preparation for the game, as well as during the game itself. We had opportunities to win the game and weren’t able to capitalize on them and close the game out. Experience is a great teacher for a team, and the things that we can take from this game and build on are that we can go toe-to-toe with anybody in this league; anything can happen in a game, and it did yesterday, and that we have to make the plays and take advantage of the opportunities that we have to win those kind of football games. I see the light. I’m encouraged by our team and how they continue to work and move forward and build on the things that we’re doing. I look forward to competing again this weekend against Chicago.”

On the pass interference call on rookie DB Leon McFadden in the fourth quarter after watching film: “I still feel the same way about that, but the things that are important are things that we can control. We had opportunities to win that game and make the plays to win that game and do the things to win that game that would have been able to change the outcome. That’s what we have to focus on.”

On if the NFL should adopt the college rule for defensive pass interference: “I think the way it is now is the right way to have it.”

On if there was a special alignment for the onside kick based on New England’s formation, and if the Browns have an all-hands team and if RB Fozzy Whittaker is on it: “Yes, he (Whittaker) is, and as far as the alignment goes, when they first aligned, they were spread out and that was actually the proper alignment that we wanted. As the kicker approached the ball and they all started coming inside, we slid in as we needed to. When you first start in that alignment in that particular formation, if the ball is kicked outside, which is the typical onside kick where you see it, you block and then one guy is designated as pretty much the guy who will handle the kick. On the middle bunt, which they’ve shown before and done before, as they start coming in and their guys start converging into the middle, we slide and go, and you go get the ball in that case. It was a great kick by (Patriots K Stephen) Gostkowski for that type of kick. We had an opportunity. We just weren’t able to come up with the ball.”

On if the mistake committed on the onside kick was that Whittaker needs to charge the ball: “He did [charge the ball]. He did. He charged the ball and went after the ball and was just unable to get it.”

On if the Browns did everything right but get the ball on the onside kick: “Getting the ball in those type of situations, it’s a scrum. We just weren’t able to come up with the ball.”

On Whittaker saying postgame that he was trying to block Gostkowski rather than get the ball: “What his initial assignment is, is to block. As they all converge and break out of the formation, it’s to go for the ball. My understanding of what he saw was he thought Gostkowski was catching the ball or touching the ball, and he went after Gostkowski at that point.”

On if the Patriots alignment on the onside kick confused the Browns, specifically referencing RB Chris Ogbonnaya’s gesture: “He was looking over at how wide we wanted him based on that formation. He was fine where he was. We wanted him to lean a little bit more toward the four-man side, but he was fine where he was in splitting the difference. As they broke and came more inside, again, we converge, and we were fine in terms of that. He was fine in terms of that.”

On if everyone was lined up correctly before the onside kick: “Yes.”

On how much blame he puts on the two penalties in the fourth quarter for the loss: “I don’t because I can’t control it and we can’t control it. We can only control the things that we can do. We had opportunities in all three phases to make plays and make a difference in the game. We just weren’t able to get that done.”

On using the team’s final timeout after the pass interference in the fourth quarter call due to confusion or to settle the players down: “A combination of those two things. I wanted to make sure we had the right call and the right personnel that we needed in the game at that particular time and then just get our guys composure and understanding what we needed to do at that point. There were 30-some seconds left in the game. Then finally, I wanted to see what New England was going to do. They broke out in the formation that they did and having a feel for what they were going to try to do on the next play so I waited to use it, as well, until we saw that.”

On taking two timeouts earlier in the second half: “There was one where the play clock was running down. The other one was we were trying to get to a play where we needed a specific package, a specific player in the game, and he had been way down running a deep route. It was (WR) Greg Little, and we needed to get him back in time. We just couldn’t get him back in time for that particular play.”

On what officials said about the personal foul on rookie DB Jordan Poyer in the fourth quarter: “It was contact to the head.”

On reviewing the penalty on film: “It was hard to see.”

On the defense not protecting a late lead in back-to-back weeks: “That’s one of the things that we want to get better at and improve. When you have the game in your hands, we want to close it out defensively. We gave up a couple of big plays, and they were able to get out of bounds at another point. Obviously, some of the other things – the pass interference and so forth, and the onside kick and all of those things – played into it. We just have to do better.”

On injury updates on OL John Greco and RB Willis McGahee: “Greco, again, sprained his knee. We’ll see where he’s at in terms of being able to play for this week. Willis did have a concussion so he’s in the concussion protocol.”

On if DB T.J. Ward’s hit on Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is a product of NFL rule changes: “I don’t know. From my vantage point, I think he was trying to get Gronkowski down on the ground. A big guy coming at you that way is tough to get on the ground so I don’t know that it has to do with the rules other than trying to get the guy on the ground. Certainly, we feel terrible about that [injury]. He’s a great player, and [we] hope that he has a speedy recovery.”

On if the league needs to evaluate rule changes from a defensive standpoint to allow players an opportunity to defend certain plays, specifically in reference to Poyer’s penalty and Ward tackling Gronkowski: “I think they have looked at it. The bottom line is we have to operate within the rules of what they can and can’t do. The biggest thing is just for it to be clear for the defensive players what they need to do.”

On changing the culture, and his message to players on believing in the team when so many things go right but the team is unable to win: “You go back to we need to make the plays in those situations. We talk through that, show it to them, see it. I see a lot of really positive signs, and I think they see it, too. Coming out of this game, them knowing and understanding that we can play with anybody in this league and go toe-to-toe with anybody in this league. You see the signs; you see the progress we’ve made in terms of the mindset of the team and the togetherness of this team and how they’re playing that way. A lot of great examples of relentless play out there on the field. I think you saw us attacking all day long, which is something we’re trying to build, that mindset as well. That happens over time. I think that a lot of the guys, the improvement and the development of the players is a very positive thing. We have to build on the positives, and the results will come. That’s what we’re preaching, and I believe that. I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen it with other teams, but the positives are the right things to be happening. Of course, we’re not getting the outcomes that we want so bad, but that will come.”

On QB Jason Campbell’s play after recently being cleared to play following a concussion: “He played great yesterday: good decisions, made plays, managed the offense, had no turnovers and was a real positive in that game. There were a lot of positives, as I mentioned before. I thought our protection improved yesterday, significantly over what it had been the past couple of weeks. We got some good play. We were able to run the ball and mix it. Guys made some plays down the field; our playmakers made some plays. Jason’s leadership and his presence had a lot to do with that.”

On ‘the book’ saying to go for two in the third quarter or if other guidelines suggest not going for  two in that situation until the fourth quarter: “The book I have is the one that says, ‘Go for two.’ Hindsight’s always 20-20, and you always wish the outcome would have been different if something else happened, but at the end of the day, you try to play the percentages and go forward with it, like I said. Certainly, knowing that New England can score and how they can score played a part in it and (Patriots QB Tom) Brady and what he can do, as we saw yesterday.”

On if he always goes ‘by the book’: “I can’t always pin myself in on just doing one thing, Tony (Grossi), you know that. I think you have to know what the percentages are and then you go from there based on a hunch, who you’re playing and those type of things.”

On WR Josh Gordon, his recent success and how he compares to current top NFL receivers: “He’s playing at a high level, no question about it. I think that you have to put him in that conversation of those guys. Consistency is the things that I’ll be looking for and we’ll be looking for as he continues to improve and get better, and he has a lot of things to get better at. Like I was mentioning before, I think he was a great example of a player that you see developing and that’s getting better. His best days, like our best days, are ahead of us and him.”

On Gordon’s 80-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter: “It was a quick slant that we had, and we caught them in man coverage. They were actually in zero coverage, where they were pressuring and bringing everybody, so a great call by (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner). (They) came out with the defense that you’d want. He caught the ball and then was able to stiff arm (Patriots DB Aqib) Talib enough to get away from him and then run the way he can run.”

On calling the slant with the idea that the Patriots would play zero coverage: “Not necessarily, but it was a good call for the situation. They’d been loading up in the box; Norv expected them to load up in the box and called it. We got probably the best defense you can get for it.”

On what the difference was for TE Jordan Cameron’s improved numbers: “I just think a lot of that is the natural cycle of how things are going to play out during the course of the season. When a guy shows that he’s a playmaker and demonstrates that ability, people are going to account for him. They may do a better job or he may not have the numbers in the next few games or the next stretch of the season, but then it’s going to come back to him eventually. I think that you’re seeing that with him. He’s proven he’s a consistent playmaker, making some great plays. His route running is getting better. Again, going back to another guy where you see a lot of development out of whose best days are ahead of him.”

On if this game worst officiated game he has seen, specifically referencing challenges and non-called penalties: “I wouldn’t say that.”

On being frustrated about the outcome of the game related to the Browns’ play and officiating: “Again, I’ll repeat, we can only control what we can control. If we focus on the things that we can’t, then we’ve given up all of our ability to do what we can do, and we put it in somebody else’s hands or we blame somebody else. We’re just not going to operate that way.”

On QB Caleb Hanie serving as the second quarterback against New England and why the players received the day off today: “Caleb Hanie, I just felt like where he was at he would be better in that position if he had to go in that game and be able to operate and do what we needed him to do in that particular game.

“As far as the players, they actually came in today and worked out so they did work out and do that part of it. They met and watched a lot of them and talking to them, watched a lot of film together as the players. I want them to recharge and be ready to go on Wednesday so we have a great week in getting ready for the Bears.”

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