Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:
"Made some strides in last week's game. Still had a couple of plays each game that you would like to have back. Really, only two plays that were explosive in the entire game, and both of them, we didn't play the coverage right and it cost us. Made a lot of strides in a lot of other areas. Got a chance to see (DL) Myles (Garrett) play in his first game. In the first half, keeping him warm was really good in that respect. We were trying to make sure that we had situations that would be positive for him, positive for us. Long halftime, the offense did a great job coming out in the third quarter and keeping the ball for a long time, and we were trying to run him up and down the sideline, keeping everybody loosened up and everything, but he felt different in the second half. We tried to protect that a little bit. I thought he did well. I thought (DL) Danny (Shelton) did well, too. He did a good job in the reps that he got. (DL) Jamie (Meder) did well with the reps he got. Those were some guys that I had my eyes on just to make sure that we were doing the right things in the reps that they were taking.
"We have a big task this week going down playing indoors, playing inside – fast field, fast turf and fast team. We have to play fast ourselves. It will be a good test for us to see the strides that we need to continue to make in all aspects of playing defense because they do a good job in the passing game and the run game. They do a good job – (Texans Head Coach) Bill O'Brien, I have known him for a long time – on the things they do offensively and the things that they have adapted for this quarterback and how they have brought some facets into their offensive plan that he fits very well and what he has been doing his whole life. It will be an interesting game there. We have experience with that as a staff. We have experience with those type of concepts. It is not the first time we have seen those types of things, even at this level. Then a couple of the other assistants I have had a lot of time with that at the college level when they have coached at that level along with coaching at this level, too."
On challenges facing Texans QB Deshaun Watson and his mobility:
"To be quite honest with that is it is his improvisation. From a coach's perspective, when all of a sudden the timing of a play is in a quarterback's hands and in my perspective, that becomes frustrating at times because now it just goes ability on ability. As a coach, you can't help as much with your players when it becomes an improv game. I think some of the plays that he has extended have been very explosive. He has done a very good job with that, and it shows his athletic ability."
On if the Browns defense will try to disguise schemes against a rookie QB:
"One of the things we do, we do that every week. No matter like with (NY Jets QB) Josh (McCown), 38 (years old), there are things that he had not seen. That was one of the things that he talked about even with his experienced as he was, but we showed some stuff that was different. From a self-scouting mechanism, we do things that pictures we are painting and some of the pressures and/or some of the looks we present each week is going to be different for whoever plays quarterback. When you are younger and college football doesn't show as much as you do in the NFL, there will be some things that he hasn't seen. Hopefully, that will be to our advantage. We will see."
On strategy containing a mobile QB, and if the team will use a spy:
"What we do is that every single scheme has responsibility for that. No matter what the call is, there is no call that you have that doesn't have that responsibility be it from a three-man rush pass relativity to four-man pass rush relativity to pressure, five, six, seven-man rush – all of those things. Then, there are things that we specifically have in the plan that would be in a stalk phase. We call 'stalk' is what you were calling a spy. We don't use that term. Some of that stuff looks good on paper, but the person you have on paper can't get the guy down. I have been with that with (Seahawks QB) Russell Wilson. Russell Wilson can frustrate a lot of different people. This is not the first scrambling quarterback that we have been with. Even here, we have him here in practice. (QB) DeShone (Kizer) does a really good job of that. Early on when he first got here, he was doing even more of it than he is now. He has been controlled a little bit in that phase, but he paints a tough picture at times when he is able to extend the plays. We have to have some things ready to roll and we do."
On facing a QB with 10 TDs in the last two games:
"(Saints QB) Drew Brees, (Pro Football Hall of Fame QBs) Joe Montana, Steve Young and (former Colts and Broncos QB) Peyton Manning, I have gone against a whole bunch of those kinds of guys, and this is a first-year guy. It is what it is. He has had big days. A lot of it is due to (Texans WR) Deandre Hopkins. He is a pretty good receiver. We are going to have to do a good job there."
On the Browns' decision on fourth-and-2 and the ensuing NY Jets' 97-yard TD drive:
"In all honesty, we go through all of those situations and scenarios the day before and before the game, too. There will be certain times when (Head Coach) Hue (Jackson) looks at me and I'll nod or whatever or we will have communications during the ball game. In those situations right there, we have to get off the field. There were two critical plays on that drive. The third-and-2 – I think it was the second third down we had – the third-and-2, we just dropped coverage on 83 (NY Jets TE Eric Tomlinson). We are in a man-to-man thing and we just flat dropped him. He was sacked because he was getting ready to get laid out if you have watched the film, and all of a sudden, he sees at the last second that nobody covered the guy. We had a guy drop the coverage. That was the play that got them to midfield, and then the screen-and-go is ridiculous. It is our job to get off the field. We had been dominant all day long in those facets of the game, and we let two plays in the game on that drive get away from us. The other plays on that drive, they were having to earn and even working hard to gain yardage. Both of those were semi-disguised or misdirection kind of plays, and we have to play better. It is on us defensively. We have to force field goals, and we have to force the punts in that situation. There is no excuse from that."
On if the 97-yard drive is one that keeps him up at night, given the defense's success outside of that drive:
"In all honesty, there are a lot of things that keep me up at night and that would be one of them, yeah. That could fall into that list because I know that guys don't make mistakes on purpose. For what reason would you pick that opportunity to make those mistakes? I own those things, and I tell those guys all of the time that I have to do a better job to help you put your eyes in the right spot because if you look right, you do right. When your eyes aren't in the right spot, you have a chance to be 50/50, and I don't like those 50/50 propositions because both of them burned us."
On if Jackson looked to him for his input on whether or not to go for it on fourth down:
"No, no. As a head coach, and we had already talked about that. Those are fine. I'm cool with that. I am really good with the fact of what we have to do in fourth down situations to continue the drives, that kind of stuff. I am all for that. There is no part of it. We have what we call 'go zone' situational football. That falls in the 'go zone' when we get down there and have a chance to put points on the board and that kind of stuff. No problems with it. None whatsoever. Defensively, the defensive players either. They are ready to roll."
On how to slow down Texans WR Deandre Hopkins:
"We have seen already multiple guys like that. You have seen guys on each team really that kind of fall under that area. We will have to lean coverage to him at times. You will see us double at times. You will see us also try to do things from a pressure perspective. All of that falls into the same place, but the big thing is playing the right technique and not giving an awful lot of time to let some of those deep balls go."
On having the Browns defense healthy this week:
"Yeah, it will be good. It will be good just from the fact of the energy and the communication in the room, but one of the things – I don't read hardly anything at all anymore – is that which one of you wrote about how well (LB) James Burgess (Jr.) has been playing? Last week, wow, did he play well. He played really well. One of the things you do when you are building communication and you are building confidence and you are building camaraderie in the room is one of the things I talk to them all the time about is if you make the active roster, you are a starter. There is no such thing as backups. We will go into this game, and this morning we have 15 or 16 packages of defense. How we play them is what they disperse, what they deploy, and then what we have to do from a situational matchup at times. All of those guys get a chance to play, and then these guys that are coming back, coming off of an injury, it will be fun. They have enjoyed practicing and they have enjoyed the communications back and forth. It also is at this level you don't just show up because you have athletic ability and think everything is going to fall right back into place. The speed of the game at this level and the ability levels of everybody that plays this game can run, you have to get back into that fold of it takes you a little while to feel it, to sense it and to instinct it. I saw that each and every day with (LB) Jamie (Collins Sr.). Jamie Collins, he has tremendous instincts anyway, but it was fun to see each day the reps become faster for him as he gets back into the fold of making the decisions that I can't coach. I can't coach some of his decisions. He just knows what is getting ready to happen. When his confidence is high, he really pulls the trigger fast."
On if Collins' return will help stop opposing TEs:
"Some of it does, but one of the things too is that – this is hard sometimes to understand – the tight end last week there is no explosive plays until we dropped that coverage. I would have loved for us to play the one in the end zone from second-and-1 a lot better, but when we make the ball go away from the primary guy to the tight end – I would like for us to not let him catch it at times – but in zone coverage, I would much rather have that tight end catch it and lumber around with it rather than some of these guys who can blow the doors off of it that we are trying to not let have the ball be caught. Some of it is directed by us."
On DB Jabrill Peppers playing closer to the line of scrimmage last week in situations:
"We had kind of shown some things the week before where he was in a move-around and in coverage and kind of tried to picture those same things up with him and now let him cut it loose. The other thing is we have more time-on-task with some of the other guys back there, and we have had more time-on-task with some of the other guys getting healthier and ready to go. Just like that, though – you have to smile and I love to see the excitement that he plays with – he has to work on changing direction in the pocket. He had a chance where he just ran by the quarterback one time because boom, it had been a while since he had been in the pocket. Now, he had been in the pocket in practice, but in the ball game, it is just one fraction of a little bit more speed and instincts that go into that. He will do that each and every week. We will put certain things in for his skillset just like we do all of them. We do that with all of them, though. It is not just him. It was just good timing for him because of some of the other things we had shown that blended in with the picture in the quarterback's mind."
On if the Browns can play Garrett in more snaps this week, given his ankle injury:
"Yes, we can, and each week it will get better. We have seen that. He has seen that. It is not real hard because you can just see how he moves around in the practices. You can see the health. Also, he is a smart enough guy that he doesn't fib or exaggerate when he is talking to the doctors and the trainers, and we all see it. It will just be a process, and we don't want setbacks. There is no magic number. He would have played more last week if it hadn't had been difficult for him to change direction. It just got sore, but he would have played more. I like the fact that he brought that up and he wasn't trying to get out of anything. It was more us seeing it than him seeing it because he was just pushing himself through it."
On if Collins' return allows more opportunity with defensive play calls:
"Somewhat. Somewhat, and also his intelligence on some things. I am looking forward to coaching him for a long time because he already has shown me some things where we have made a call and he has said to me like, 'You are making that call because you are thinking this.' I look at him and I'm thinking, 'That is pretty sharp.' A lot of people don't understand what I am guessing. Just go do your job. He has that ability that 'You are thinking this. Gregg, you are guessing this.' That is going to come just from him and I being together more, too."
On Garrett's first sack and if that resulted from an indicator in the NY Jets' protection:
"That was something we had hoped we could get, and they just cooperated. They had shown that in that situation before. Sometimes from a self-scouting mechanism on their part, they don't repeat something. It wasn't the same pass concept, but the protection concept was same as. It just kind of fell into what we wanted to have done. Make no bones about it, though, that protection was built to handle what we did, but Myles' quickness shocked that left guard. He saw him setting out there wide so he was doing everything he could to go, and Myles tricked him. We had a trick thing where Myles crossed his face and went back inside. He went back inside so fast that the guy had no chance."
On if DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun is playing at S some due to his skillset:
"Yes, it is a skillset thing. We do like him back there. Boddy is one of the guys like Burgess that plays multiple positions. Boddy can play outside, he can play inside in the nickel and he can also play in the safety position. We have a package that is called a certain package where depending upon what the offense comes out in and depending upon what type of call I make, he can be in one of two positions. He could either be back there playing that or he could be in the box playing the regular nickel position. That is his versatility, and he is smart. I tease him all the time as I'm sure he will have to dumb down and go into coaching one of these days because as players we always know they know more than the coaches so I tease him all the time about that, but he does want to coach one of these days. He is a smart kid. He is a very sharp kid. I can see him continuing to grow in the things we want done."
Running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson:
On success in the running game last week:
"We had opportunities. Anytime you have multiple opportunities, it allows your offensive line to seize control of the line of scrimmage and at times, we felt like we had control of the line of scrimmage, which led to some success, along with the backs that continued running hard and hitting the right hole."
On how the health of the Browns OL impacts ability to control the line of scrimmage at Houston, if not all players are available:
"It will have a big impact because you don't have your normal starters in there, but the next man has to step his game up. Then collectively, they have to continue to do the things they have worked on. The backs have to work even harder because we are going to be down one guy possibly."
On how the Texans defense changes without DE J.J. Watt:
"They are down one playmaker, and with the other player out, (Texans OLB Whitney) Mercilus out, you are down two defensive playmakers. It is going to add pressure on the backups – now the starters – to perform at a high level. I am sure they are preaching the same thing in their locker room that the next man up has to step his game up and has to execute at a high level for them to have success."
On how to account for Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney, who moves into multiple positions in the defensive front:
"He has a little bit of unpredictability to him in terms of you think he is going to be in one gap and then he hits another gap full speed. He is very disruptive, he is explosive and you always have to account for a player like that, but it makes it double hard because you don't know sometimes exactly which gap he is going to fit in."
On the fourth-and-2 run last week that was stopped short:
"We thought we had a good call dialed up, and it was something that we use regularly. At the end of the day, we didn't get enough push and we didn't get enough movement. We couldn't make the necessary yardage we needed. It was very disappointing. Every time you have a play like that when you don't succeed, you learn a little bit from it in terms of why didn't this work? You go back and you look in your own mirror and you decide, 'Hey, what can I do better next time to make sure we have success on this play?' We are going to run it again at some point. That is kind of what everyone did. Everyone kind of decided, what can I do better? I promise, you every man probably felt like they could do something better for the success of it."
On how much a QB change affects the running game:
"Not much at all. They have all had playing time. They all prepare like they are going to play the entire game. All of our guys are rooting for (QB) Kevin (Hogan) just like they did for (QB) DeShone (Kizer). We just want to go out and execute and play at a high level. Regardless of who the quarterback is, we have to make plays for him. This game will be no different. We have to make plays for him."
On Hogan's ability to successfully run the zone read:
"The biggest factor in that is that he has been here. He has been in a system for an entire year now, starting in his second year. He knows it a little bit better than DeShone or maybe, you think that this guy can handle maybe a bigger workload. You don't really know, but at the end of the day, he has been in the system so that helps him out in terms of directing the offense and getting the things done that (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson wants him to do."
On if Hogan's running ability created additional opportunities in the running game:
"Absolutely, of course. We think it does and he has had success directing the offense from the read zone standpoint. We think in this game it will be no different. He will do a really good job of getting done what we want done as far as how do you read a defense?"
On if both Kizer and Crowell were responsible for the fumble on the red zone option play last week:
"We like sharing the blame. We all want to make sure we aim our thumb and not point our finger. I think both players will admit that they had some responsibility in that happening. It shouldn't happen because we practiced that multiple, multiple times last week, and in the heat of the battle, we didn't execute it well enough for success."
On Kizer calling an audible to the option play and if it is a good play for that area of the field:
"At that particular time, it was an outstanding check because it was something we knew about them that there was a weakness there that we could exploit at that particular situation. When we saw him giving the signals that he was checking to it, the entire sideline lit up because we knew it was probably going to be a touchdown and he would probably go in there untouched. Like I said earlier, it is unfortunate. We didn't execute it well enough, and the results are the results."
On determining how much FB Danny Vitale plays and in what situations:
"It has already been built in the gameplan during the week and how we prepare and what we study. Anytime you get into the flow of the game in terms of, what is the score? What is the situation? Where we are at that point? It can be added if we are up, for example, in the fourth quarter, maybe he will get 7-10 more snaps or it could decrease if we are behind and he can lose five-seven snaps. It has been rehearsed all week in terms of what we think he will get and then the actions of the game will determine the final results."
On RB Duke Johnson Jr.'s 41-yard touchdown reception late in last week's game:
"That was a call that we thought had a chance in that situation based on the defense. He made a play. There were several times where he could have gone down, and he refused to. That has kind of been him all season. The first guy rarely gets him down on the ground and then to watch him come alive with the ball in his hand really kind of excited everyone on the sideline and gave you hope that we might be able to steal this game in spite of what has happened for most of the ball game. Every time he touches it, collectively, we kind of hold our breath because we think potentially something special could happen. He is that type of playmaker, and he is dynamic with the ball in his hand. Anytime he gets it, we are looking for big things to occur."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor:
"The Houston Texans, a really good special teams unit. They are top 10 in the league in the return game – punt return and in kick return. (Texans WR Will) Fuller had a huge punt return last week, a 49-yarder against Kansas City, and Kansas City is an excellent special teams unit so we have our hands full there. Obviously, the punter is (Texans P Shane) Lechler, a guy who I think is in his 18th season. He is a crafty vet that is now moving the ball around, putting it next to the sideline so he has kind of changed his game a little bit and is playing at a really high level. A lot of work to do. We are still concentrating on us. We are not where we need to be yet. Hopefully, we will take another step this week and help us win."
On Lechler moving the ball:
"He used to be what you would put in the category of a bomber. He can still hit some bombs – there is no doubt about that – but he is being more directional, putting it outside the numbers, where he used to be a little bit more down the middle of the field."
On helping K Zane Gonzalez after missing two FGs last week:
"I think it is just having confidence in the kid. I think he just needs to get out there and do what the good Lord has given him the talent to do. I think that he will do that. He has had a good week of practice. I'm excited for him. He is going back home, being able to kick down there in front of his friends and family. Looking forward to seeing how he bounces back this week."
On how Gonzalez has handled it mentally:
"He has been good. Obviously, he is disappointed, there is no doubt about that. That is not a bad quality. He cares, wants to do well and he is going to do well, but he knows that sometimes this happens. What I tried to tell him, I said, 'Hey, you were not the only kicker that missed two kicks on Sunday.' (Packers K) Mason Crosby missed two kicks for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday also. It does happen. The mark of a good pro is getting back up, bouncing back and working hard, and he has done all of those things to give himself a chance to play at a high level on Sunday."
On if he said similar things to Gonzalez that he did to K Cody Parkey when he missed three FGs in his first game with the Browns:
"Yeah, I think you kind of have to know who the player is and what kind of makes him tick a little bit. Zane is a guy that not a lot of things bother him, but I can tell deep down that he is ready and he wants to get to Sunday. I really admire and respect that in him. I think sometimes it is a fine line. You don't want to over-talk it too much. He has missed a few kicks. I know there are other kickers in the league that have also missed. He is going to get other opportunities, and when he gets those other opportunities, just make those kicks. He can do that."
On if there is more pressure on a rookie K when drafted, also referring to former Buccaneers K Roberto Aguayo:
"When you look back and you look at things, when you draft a kicker he obviously had a good college career so he goes through his college career and then he is going to start training for the combine. As he is training for the combine, he is thinking, 'You know what? I have been dreaming about this my entire life. This is my opportunity. I go for that.' Then I get drafted, then I'm in a kicking competition and I'm battling, I'm battling and I'm battling. You go four weeks in the preseason and you are into Week 6 so it is like it is Week 10 in some ways mentally for young kickers like that. Everybody is different, but I do think that those are factors that you do look at. There is not an exact science on it. You have seen guys that maybe have had bad years that come back and have good years or guys that consistently – you mentioned Aguayo, and his college record spoke for itself and obviously, he hasn't produced like what he did in college – there are a lot of different things with kickers. It is not an exact science."
On examples of rookie Ks who are immediately reliable and always consistent:
"It is up and down. When you go with a rookie player, really at any position, there are going to be ups and downs. How you navigate through those ups and downs and how fast they come out of it, that is what makes the difference. The hard part for kickers is obviously everyone says, 'Gosh darn it, they have to make all of those kicks each and every play.' When you see a younger player at another position, you don't say, 'Hey, you have to make all of those catches or all of those throws.' It is a different deal, and I understand that, but at the same time, a player is a player with regards to growing pains and going through and working through those things. He is a very resilient player. I have confidence in him."
On how much input he had during the K competition decision during preseason:
"I get asked questions, but I don't make personnel decisions."
On if it was a 'no-brainer' to stick with Gonzalez this week:
"Yeah, it was a no-brainer to me."
On if Gonzalez will need to learn more about the challenges of kicking in the wind at FirstEnergy Stadium:
"Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy going in that direction, even (Jets K Chandler) Catanzaro, when he kicked one of his field goals – it was just a little closer – you saw his ball flight actually take the same [trajectory]. It began to move just a little bit at the end, but he was a little bit closer going that same direction towards the Dawg Pound. Zane's was going and it just moved farther. He was a little farther out. It is just one of those things you have to do. You just have to get used to it and play it, but at the same time, you have to hit your ball. If you hit your ball, just like anything, you give yourself a chance."