Damarious Randall didn’t flinch, even after the Browns fell to the Titans by 30 points to start the season. The veteran safety remained upbeat and confident amid the first major dose of adversity thrown at the 2019 Browns.
Now, he sees a team that’s just getting started.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Randall after Friday’s practice as the team continued its preparations for Monday night’s showdown with the undefeated 49ers.
CB.com: Through four games, what have you thought about this defense?
Randall: We just started to kind of gel together and really just get familiar with the play-calling and things other teams are going to do against us. We’re just trying to execute it as much as possible.
CB.com: What have you seen from all of the backups who have had to fill in while the starting defensive backs have been sidelined by injuries?
Randall: Attention to detail. Guys are just getting that next-man approach mentality. Their attention to detail, you can tell the guys have really been studying film and getting ready to play each and every Sunday.
CB.com: What have you liked about the three-safety looks Steve Wilks has installed with this defense?
Randall: It’s exotic. It’s a lot of different things we can do from it -- from blitzing, from coverage. We can kind of do it all back there. It’s just kind of fun to have multiple guys in your room on the field most of the game.
Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the 49ers Monday by team photographer Matt Starkey
CB.com: What did it mean to you to see a guy like Jermaine Whitehead have a game like he did in Baltimore?
Randall: I honestly expect that out of him. I’ve been playing with him for years now. I’ve been watching him at Auburn, and he did it a lot when he was in college. I actually expected it out of him and I’m looking forward to more plays like that from him.
CB.com: What did you see from him in Green Bay? Is he used differently here?
Randall: Opportunity, man. He’s gotten the opportunity and has taken it and ran with it. That’s the thing about undrafted guys in this league. You’re not going to get a lot of opportunities, and he got his opportunity and he took it and ran with it.
CB.com: Speaking of opportunity, you got the chance to nab the first sack of your career last week. How’d that feel, and what is it about this defense that allows you and Morgan Burnett to compile them?
Randall: When you have the type of roster we have, you really can’t key on one or two guys. Everybody can make plays. Everybody can change the game. When you know you’ve got that, whenever you see the ball get thrown up to your left and you just know guys are going to be in position to make plays, that just speaks volumes to the type of roster we have and the type of camaraderie we have together and trust we have with each other.
CB.com: After the Week 1 loss to Tennessee, you were confident the team would bounce back. It took a couple of weeks, but is this the kind of football you expected?
Randall: Definitely, and just for the team to get better. The more and more film we watch together, the more and more same page we get on, the more and more games we win, we’re going to continue to gel together and just keep on getting better and try to get to our ultimate goal.
CB.com: Is being able to understand that after a tough loss something that comes with being a veteran?
Randall: Yeah, because each week is different. This is not college football where if you lose the game, you might not make it to your ultimate goals. I’ve seen an 8-7-1 team make the playoffs and start to make some noise. You’ve just got to build up to get to the show. Once the show starts at the end of December and beginning of January, that’s when things get real, real fun.
CB.com: Without a guy like Christian Kirksey on the field, who steps up as more of a vocal leader?
Randall: Joe Schobert, Jermaine Whitehead. I feel like we’ve got a lot of guys that just lead by example. Whenever you’ve got guys that are going to do their job and continue to understand their roles on the team, I feel like that speaks volumes.
CB.com: Have you liked the schedule to start the season with three primetime games?
Randall: I’m more of a night game type of guy. I actually love the primetime games, later games. I’m not a fan of the 1 p.m. games.
CB.com: What do you like about the primetime games?
Randall: You get time to sleep in, you get time to get the rest you couldn’t get throughout the week. The whole entire world’s watching. Whenever you’ve got people that’s watching from across the country, that’s just crazy. It makes you want to put your best performance out there.
CB.com: What’s the toughest part of this matchup with the 49ers?
Randall: They do a lot of things well. They’ve got a pretty good tight end. (George) Kittle is one of the best in the league. They’ve got one of the best offensive play-callers in Kyle Shanahan that knows how to get his team ready to go and in position to make things easier for them. They have a franchise quarterback. Those are things you need to be successful in this league and they have all of those things. I’m just looking forward to a good, gritty, hard-fought game on Monday night and hopefully we come away with the win.
CB.com: Do you get excited about a stretch like this against the 49ers, Seahawks and Patriots?
Randall: It’s just going to show the world what we’re about and show the world we can play with the best of them. We’re going to be here for a very long time.