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Chudzinski press conf. transcript - Nov. 13

Posted Nov 13, 2013

The transcript of Cleveland Browns coach Rob Chudzinski's Wednesday morning press conference.

Opening statement: “Good morning. As I mentioned Monday, (it’s) an important game against Cincinnati this week. They’re first place in the division, in the driver’s seat, an extremely talented, well-coached team. Obviously, playing them on the road is a tough place to play. As you look at their team offensively, they’re very explosive. (Bengals QB) Andy Dalton is a playmaker, one of the top quarterbacks in the league. They have a solid offensive line and they’re really loaded at the skill positions. Two running backs that are playmakers for them, (BenJarvus) Green-Ellis and (Giovani) Bernard, their tight ends (Jermaine) Gresham and (Tyler) Eifert are outstanding and we all know about (WR) A.J. Green and the type of player he is. (WR) Marvin Jones is playing real good football for them and (WR Mohamed) Sanu as well. On defense, excellent scheme and personnel. Their front seven is outstanding. (DL Michael) Johnson and (DL Carlos) Dunlap at the defensive end position create a lot of issues for people. (DL Domata) Peko inside and obviously (DL Geno) Atkins was hurt two weeks ago, but you look at him and (DL) Brandon Thompson stepped right in and, I thought, played outstanding against Baltimore. Their linebackers are an excellent group as well. (LB James) Harrison, (LB Rey) Maualuga and (LB Vontaze) Burfict, you look at those guys playing great football; flying around. Obviously, Maualuga was hurt and (LB) Vincent Rey stepped in last week and, I thought, played very well. A solid secondary, again, they battled some injuries but guys have stepped up. (DB Adam) “Pac-man” Jones and (DB Terence) Newman at the corner position and (DB Reggie) Nelson is playing very good at safety. Their special teams, they’re really solid in the kicking game. They have an outstanding returner in (WR) Brandon Tate. This is going to be, again, a great challenge for us; a great opportunity for us. I expect our guys to respond. Our focus has been good through the bye week. We’ll need to be out best as a team.”

On what gives him the confidence that the team is ready for such an important game: “They’re all important, every one. As you look back at the beginning of the season, last week’s game and the one’s going forth, they’re all important and this is the most important one this week. Our guys, I think, have had a taste of some success. I think they believe in themselves. We know we have a lot of areas we have to improve on and are continuing to work on those areas. I just really like our guys’ focus right now.”

On if he has seen the players mature over the season: “I have. I think there’s a lot of examples that you can look at of guys who have grown as players, matured as professionals, and have gotten better as the season has gone on. Obviously, the experience of playing and having some success helps.”

On how comforting it is to have a veteran quarterback playing down the stretch: “I’m very pleased with (QB) Jason (Campbell) and what he’s done. He’s really been efficient in managing the offense. He’s made good decisions, has not turned the ball over. Even more so, he’s a guy that I know when tough stretches come, he can respond to that adversity and battle through those tough stretches and that’s a key to that position.”

On if there is a common reason for Bengals QB Andy Dalton throwing multiple interceptions in the last two games: “He’s played against some pretty good defenses. As you look at those games, you go and look at the season, obviously he’s won six games this season and that says enough and some of the teams they’ve beaten along the way. He’s led the team to the playoffs. I think the guy is a great, young player in this league. Again, with a crew and the guys around him, it’s a formidable group with a lot of weapons. We’ll have to playing on our game every snap because I think they have six or seven guys that have 30-or-more yard plays. So they’re a big-play team, they’re an explosive team that on any given play can give you a big problem.”

On what level of optimism he has in the running game making improvements: “It’s something that we’ve taken a hard look at over the bye week. We want to have balance and recognize that we need to improve the running game obviously, whatever it takes to win. We’ve played some good teams that are loading up on us in the run game but we feel like we’ve identified some things and are going to take the steps and have taken the steps to try to improve that part of our offense.”

On what has been the most impressive improvement of DB Buster Skrine: “I think it’s his confidence in his own abilities. You look at a guy who has a lot of ability. He can move, he can run, he can do all of the things that you want from a corner in this league. But trusting himself, trusting his technique and playing that way, I think, are the biggest improvements and those come with playing more and more.”

On if defensive coordinator Ray Horton has been able to call a different game as Skrine and the secondary have improved: “We have, we’ve evolved defensively. As the season has gone on and as guys have gotten more comfortable in understanding what to do, I think that Buster’s development, and I look at the whole secondary, look at (DB) Tashaun Gipson, there’s a number of guys, as I’ve mentioned, we could go through position by position and look at a lot of guys that I feel have made improvements. I think that (defensive backs coach) Louie (Cioffi) and (assistant defensive back coach) Bobby (Babich) have done a great job with the secondary and with Buster (Skrine) in particular and it allows us to do more things as guys improve.”

On still being committing to the running game even when you haven’t gained a lot of yards: “When I speak to balance, it’s not necessarily the number of runs versus the number of passes, but the ability to have that threat and the willingness to do it as well. There’s going to be situations that come up as the season goes on, and there always is, in games or different points in games where you have to be able to run the ball. Again, we recognize that and the willingness and commitment is there. They are going to be some times where we are going to need to do it as the season goes on and probably in this game.”

On the job DB Joe Haden did against A.J. Green earlier this season and how well Green has been playing this season: “A.J.’s been playing great. You go back, I got back to a few years ago when he came out and we studied him hard and looked at him. (He is) just a fabulous talent, great person and really works at his trade and one of the best in the game. So anytime you’re playing that type of guy, that’s where the competitive nature of a player comes out. I think that Joe has had that response and welcomes the challenge and it’s a great challenge for Joe.”

On how he feels they have done defending tight ends: “I’d say that it’s mixed. There’s been some guys that have gotten free and had some gains. You spoke of the Detroit game, I thought for the most part we had decent coverage on it. Those big guys are tough because they’re open sometimes when they’re not open. I think overall just looking at it and studying the cut-ups from a self-scout standpoint, again, and I feel like we’re improved and have improved as the season has gone on and our guys understanding matching up properly and just playing better in coverage.”

On if he is referring to LB Craig Robertson regarding defending tight ends: “Not just Craig but everybody that would get matched up or in zones, being in the right spots and matching properly in zones. I see that improvement as the season has gone on.”

On what makes Giovani Bernard a challenge for the defense: “He’s a real versatile guy. Obviously, he has a lot of juice and can make guys miss. He’s great at the screens, he has a nice patience and they get him the ball in that situation and as a runner. He’s shifty and can make guys miss.”

On if the next step for the team is to improve on the road: “It’s something that we want to do. Again, this is a time where we need to do that and want to do that, playing and going into a tough place. We talked last time we were together, I think it was on Monday, about the focus that’s needed on the road, the fact that the whole team has to play and play well together on the road. You don’t have a lot of fans so you have to generate your own energy. Those are the things that we need to try to do this weekend.”

On if it is nice to see a relevant game against Cincinnati this late in the season and what it means for both franchises: “I think that’s the great thing about this division. There’s a lot of history there and they’re linked. In this division there’s a lot of those types of rivalries and history there. It’s exciting to play in a game, to play against a team where they’re at. Again, they’re in the driver’s seat in the division and leading the division and we have an opportunity to go play them. They guys are excited about that and where we’re at right now.”

On his sense of the team being ready to assert themselves as a legitimate contender in the division: “I think the guys are focused on that and excited about that. At the end of the day, all that matters is what you do on the field. So the willingness is there and we have to have a good week of preparation and transfer it onto the field and that’s the bottom line.”

On how Campbell looked on Monday throwing the ball: “He looks fine. No issues.”

On if OL Jason Pinkston will play this week: “He’s up now so he’ll have the opportunity. We can have him up, we can put him down, whatever. He’s on the roster full time. As of right now, (OL John) Greco and (OL Shawn) Lauvao will be the starters and we’ll see as Jason gets back into it and get some more reps. But he’s progressed and we’re trying to get him back to that form that he had prior to his injuries.”

On if short throws can be an extension of the run game: “I think that all of those things come together, whether it’s screens, the shorter throws, the quick throws, even check downs are ways of getting guys yards and getting them out in space and creating the same type of opportunities as the run game can create.”

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