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Chudzinski press conf. transcript - Oct. 1

Posted Oct 1, 2013

The transcript of Coach Rob Chudzinski's Tuesday morning press conference.

Opening statement: “We started our prep for Buffalo yesterday, a very good football team. They had impressive wins against Carolina and Baltimore, right down to the wire against New England and the (New York) Jets. They’re doing things that they need to in order to win, and doing a good job of that.  They have an outstanding running game, a versatile, young quarterback; they can make plays; and an aggressive, opportunistic defense. We’ll need to be at our best for this game.

“Our focus has been good. Yesterday we got started, as I mentioned. Our guys are excited about playing Thursday night and having that opportunity. We’ll be excited to see our fans again at home for that game.

“Thursday night, again, is a special night. We’re honoring (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) Jim Brown, the greatest player of all time, and certainly, the greatest Cleveland Brown of all time. When you grow up as a Browns fan, that’s the first thing you’re taught. We’re excited about that. He’s been great in terms of having him back here in the organization. He’s been very supportive. Personally, I’ve enjoyed the interactions that I’ve had with Jim. Him sharing his wisdom and some of his perspective has really helped me, and I know it’s helped the guys on the team, him being around and being somebody that they can talk to as well. You can’t say enough good things about the good he has done in the community and around the country for young people, as well. I’m excited for him.”

On LB Jabaal Sheard’s status: “He’s coming (along); he’s improved quite a bit. We’ll hold him for practice today, but we’ll wait and see what his status is for the game.”

On how encouraged he is that the defense is playing at a high level despite injuries: “I’ve been encouraged by how they’ve play and how they’ve progressed and are progressing, particularly with the things that we wanted to work on in the past few weeks. It’s a good feeling. We’re playing good defense right now, and we hope that will continue.”

On signing RB Fozzy Whittaker to add a kick returner or a running back: “Fozzy is a guy that’s been a kick returner, very versatile as a running back. We felt like we would bring him in and see what he could do and (we’re) excited about having him. He’s just finishing up a physical now.”

On how good the defense could be when everyone is healthy: “We’re building a foundation of the defense that we’re playing. I think the guys are playing hard. They’re playing relentless football, and that’s what you want to see from that standpoint. We’ll continue to take it step by step in terms of getting other things or different things in from a game plan standpoint.”

On three things that have made QB Brian Hoyer successful: “I think his approach, how he understands the game and understands what we try to do. I’d start with that. He has a good feel for things. He’s a quick decision maker. I think he has a knack of making plays.”

On why he did not pick Bills QB E.J. Manuel in the 2013 NFL Draft: “It was tough. He was very impressive on his visit. There was a chance, a couple times, to spend time with him. We went down and worked him out in Florida State. He’s a guy who has a bright future; you knew it then. Those are always tough decisions. We just felt like where we were at, picking (LB) Barkevious (Mingo) was our best choice at that time.”

On noticing changes in the team the past two weeks and what has provided a spark: “I’ve seen it on both sides of the ball. We were talking about defense a minute ago. I think that our secondary is playing better and better and really improved in tightening up some of the things that early on had hurt us. I think we’re improving on third downs, defensively and offensively. I think our protection is improving, as well.”

On what he plans to accomplish using TE MarQueis Gray in a wildcat formation: “For a number of reasons, I think it can cause difficulties for a defense playing against it. You can get some plays out of it. I think (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) has done a great job of finding different skills and different things that guys do and being able to utilize those things to try to help you win. It brings some excitement. Guys like doing that. When you find roles for guys, that helps overall in your team. Those guys get excited about playing.”

On if Gray was claimed due to his versatility and previous play at quarterback: “He was claimed in mind of his future as a tight end and the thoughts and terms of that, but he also has a background as a quarterback and did some of those things. That’s something that if you have guys who have some of those types of talents, you want to be able to utilize them as much as you can.”

On what he liked about Manuel and how dangerous he is when he’s outside of the pocket: “He’s extremely dangerous. Obviously, he can run and make plays, extend plays. He’s accurate. He really was intriguing and impressive guy coming out, and all of the things off the field from a leadership standpoint, the type of person he is were very impressive.”

On if his goals have changed from being competitive to winning the division after winning two games: “Nothing’s changed from our standpoint. Our approach has been one week at a time, improving from one game to the next and focusing on the week and the task at hand. This is a process, and we want to take it step by step. Obviously, consistency is something that we’re looking for, but our sole focus is on the week-to-week, the day-to-day thoughts of trying to get better.”

On K Billy Cundiff’s status: “He’s going to kick today so we’ll have a better idea from that standpoint on what he’ll be able to do.”

On if Cundiff’s performance against Cincinnati was due to him playing injured: “He wasn’t 100 percent. One of [the field-goal attempts] got tipped and partially blocked, as well; but he came back and made the last one, the 51 yarder. I have all of the faith in the world with Billy.”

On his faith in Cundiff, particularly from long range based on his career numbers: “Just watching him in practice and seeing him kick, I just have that kind of faith in him. Even though the first two – we didn’t have the results we wanted from the first two for two different reasons – I had faith in him and I felt like he was going to make it.”

On if he felt the same way after Cundiff fell down practicing a kick before the 51-yard field goal: “[Laughter] Actually, I didn’t see that. I’m glad I didn’t.”

On characteristics he noticed in RB Willis McGahee during the 91-yard touchdown drive: “He’s a guy who’s done it before. He’s a tough guy, mentally tough, very competitive, and he always has been. That’s Willis. I think he brought some of that and brings some of that to us, to our team and to our offense. I think you saw it on that drive.”

On if a decision has been reached on the backup quarterback: “We have not yet, we’ll see. Today is our first day of an actual, true full speed practice. We’ll make that determination. We’ll see how (QB) Brandon (Weeden) does today and kind of where he’s at from that standpoint. Then we’ll have tomorrow. It’s not going to be 100-percent full speed, but it’ll be at a pretty good clip for practice tomorrow.”

On determining if Weeden will be the back-up based on health or how he practices: “We’ll see how he’s doing.”

On comparing Manuel to Panthers QB Cam Newton: “In terms of his skill set, he can really throw the ball well. He has a strong arm and obviously the mobility and the things he brings to the table from that standpoint.”

On Hoyer having a different mentality due to growing up being a Browns fan: “I don’t think that’s affected him in any way. I see him as a competitor. That comes out on a daily basis. I think that no matter where he is or would be, that he would approach things the same way.”