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11 burning questions for Donte Whitner

Donte Whitner understands the frustration felt by Browns fans because he's just as frustrated by the team's performance in his 10th NFL season.

The Browns veteran safety opened up on that topic and more during an interview Friday with What are your thoughts on the season 13 weeks in and the Browns holding a 2-10 record?

Whitner: I think it's been a tough season for everybody mostly because the tough games we lost, close games that we lost, expectations being so high. We truly feel like we're being tested and the only way to get through this and get through adversity is come out here and continue to work, not change anything, and understand it's going to turn. What's it been like to deal with a seemingly endless string of injuries in the secondary?

Whitner: I don't think I've ever been through a situation like this with all of the injuries, mostly with all of the concussions. It's just been a tough year. It's been a tough year for everybody, players and coaches. We're just trying to run off a few wins before we get out of here. You were one of those players with a concussion and it sidelined you for a couple of games. Walk through that experience.

Whitner: A lot of people would think I've had quite a few concussions in my career but I actually haven't. Being down and not being able to work my arms and legs and get myself off the ground, that's when you tend to realize concussions are serious. That's why I missed the two games. I really wanted to get back out here for these guys no matter what our record was so we could go ahead and finish this season the right way. I do realize what all the fuss is about with concussions. I do realize how serious they are and I had to take that little bit of time to get it right and not rush to get back out there. What have you thought about the young guys that have had to fill in for Joe Haden?

Whitner: It's been tough. It's been tough. Guys have been beaten, guys have made some plays, but that's why Joe is considered to be one of the top corners in the National Football League because you can put him out there without any help. You can take other guys away and other aspects of the offense away. That's why having a corner like that is so valuable. With him being out all year, it was like a trickle-down effect. We have to put a little more help over top of some guys sometimes and that takes away from being able to add another guy in the run game. When we want to take somebody's No. 1 guy away, we have to pay added attention to them because we don't have that cornerback out there who can do that. It's been tough. It's been tough not having him out there. It's been tough with all the injuries we've had as a team but we're going to continue to fight. Growing up in Cleveland, is there an extra level of frustration for wanting to get this team turned around?

Whitner: It definitely adds to a layer of wanting to get this thing turned around. Everybody has the right to say anything they want about us, to feel any way. We're 2-10 and there's not a lot of people happy. Nobody's happy inside this building. I know our fans aren't happy and they deserve better. We're going to give them better and we understand that. Despite the 2-10 record, there's been a lot of positivity among players about practice this week. What have you seen?

Whitner: Guys really paying attention to detail, not really worrying about the record. We just need one win. We need to get this bad taste out of our mouth of losing and losing so many in a row. We just need one win. It will be a great win if we can go out and be detailed in our work on Sunday, finish the football game and first and foremost get some turnovers on defense. When we do that, we can beat anybody in the National Football League. We showed it. We had a lot of tough games. That Denver game still haunts me. The San Diego Chargers game. The Monday Night blocked field goal haunts me. It's just been tough for everybody. We just want to come out here and get that bad taste out of our mouth and get that one win. Aside from the wins, what do you want to see over the next four weeks to feel satisfied with how the team finished?

Whitner: We need to see guys out there fighting as if we're fighting for a playoff spot. There's a lot of people that expect us to lay down and not go out there and compete. That's not going to happen. We're going to remain who we are no matter what the record is and get some wins and feel good going into the offseason and going into next season. That's what we need. What does it mean for you facing your old team?

Whitner: Pretty much nameless, faceless. There's not too many guys over there that were actually there playing when I was there. There's a couple guys: Anquan Boldin, NaVorro Bowman on defense. We get to see Shaun Draughn who played with us here. Other than that, it will pretty much be a nameless, faceless opponent we want to beat and give our fans something to cheer about. No extra juice?

Whitner: I'm not going to have any extra motivation. If that happens, then I've been saving something from my teammates and the team and not putting everything forward. There's not going to be any extra juice, but I'll be ready to play. What's your assessment of the 49ers passing game with Blaine Gabbert at the helm?

Whitner: It's simplified, especially since (Colin) Kaepernick hasn't been in there. Gabbert, he's making things happen with his feet and his legs. Guys are scrambling. We're going to really have to plaster these guys when he gets to scrambling. He's a lot faster and a lot quicker than he's actually give him credit for. He's been doing a good job of what they ask him to do. He had a 72-yard touchdown pass last week against Chicago to win the game in overtime. You know he's capable of making those throws. We just have to make it hard on him. We have to not allow him to know what we're in pre-snap and then we have to get a lot of pressure on him post-snap and force him into some mistakes. If we can do that, we'll win the game. What has to happen on defense that hasn't happened in recent weeks for the team to come away with a win?

Whitner: We need to get into his face. We need to force him to make some turnovers. We need to tackle well and we need to get off the field on third down. If we do all that, we'll win the game.

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