Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:
On Ravens QB Joe Flacco:
"Really have a lot of respect for him. He falls into – I do not want to always be same as same as when I come in here – he is a vet. Not only is he a vet, he is a vet with a good defense in practice all of the time and a multiple-schematic defense. We have to do a good job of how we go about playing and doing things from a technical standpoints of rules and assignments. They give you a lot of different things. I have known their coordinators for a long time as far as all of the stops they have had, and me too, with (Ravens offensive coordinator) Marty (Mornhinweg), (Ravens assistant head coach) Greg Roman and all of those guys on the things that they do from a passing game wise and run game wise. We have a lot of respect. They have our respect as a staff. They have our respect as players to see the different things they do. Obviously, Joe has really had a very good first quarter of the year on getting back into his deep ball presence. He has always wanted to force that a lot there anyways, even when it was not there, but it has been there. (Ravens WR) John Brown, I have known John Brown quite a bit. I was in the same division with John when he was at the Cardinals and I was at the Rams. I have had some quite a bit of in-game experience with him. A smile on my face – I probably should not say this because I will get another text when I get upstairs – but his offensive coordinator in college was one of my roommates in college. He blisters me every time I get ready to play against him about all of the things he is going to do against us. John and Joe do a really good job, especially last week, but have all year long. Joe is playing with confidence, and they are allowing him to have say in the offense, too. There is a lot of audible systems going on. You do that with a veteran quarterback. You give him say, and he has done well."
On challenges facing the Ravens TEs:
"I would tell you this, I do not particularly take a look at all of the different rankings, but I would have a hard time saying that there was a tight end group better than that group from a legitimate tight end presence on blocking on the line of scrimmage, a legitimate presence in the passing game and a confidence level that they have with the quarterback, and you can see the quarterback believes in them in throwing the ball to them. Yeah, it is a challenge. It is a matchup, and we have some things last week we had to clean up. We have done a pretty good job in matchups like that before. We have to take some of the corrections from last week and transfer it into this game because there are some similarities. That is a good thought that you have right there."
On the yards the Browns defense gave up last week:
"I do not know if you guys heard that (LB Christian) Kirskey could not practice today because he was sick so those yards made me sick too so I am done (laughter). No, those things are the big plays things. That is just not who we are, and you have to battle through those things. They are a talented team, and you could see how we stuff it, stuff it, stuff it and stuff it and then [they had] a big one [play]. You play that many plays, and 5/8ths or 3/4s of the plays are just dominate stuffed up plays, but a few of the plays that go big are the plays that are meaningful in the game. We have to understand that when changes in lineups and changes in scheme needs because of a different guy happening to play or couple of different guys having to play positions that still means do not give up deep balls and do not give up long runs."
On how his relationship with DB E.J. Gaines help the transition following DB Terrance Mitchell's injury:
"It does help. It does help. It does speed the process up. From his standpoint when you are down for a while, it takes a while for you to also speed up the process of how fast you trigger in a game – trigger meaning how fast you make a decision to do what you are supposed to do in a game. He is coming back from that pretty well. The in-game experience was even more. Going into the game, we were going to do a lot of rotations anyway. Going into the game, the gameplan was that way. He just had to play more when Mitch got hurt, but he was going to play quite a bit in the game anyway. It does help, especially as we transition into this week and the plans. He has been around and he knows our verbiage and he knows what I want."
On if Mitchell was playing the best football of his career:
"Ask him. My personal opinion is yes, and I take that personally. One of the reasons we wanted him here, (General Manager) John Dorsey knew him so well and I trust John Dorsey so much. Yes, Mitch would talk my head off about different things telling me how he felt about things. He had confidence to talk to me about what he felt he could and could not do. I shied away from some of those things, but I thought he was playing very well. He will be back. He will bounce back from it."
On if he is getting what he wanted from DB Jabrill Peppers in his S role this year:
"Yes, and I think he is yes. He is doing so many down around the ball that are productive for himself, and then how he understands to push the ball or leverage the ball to the nearest teammate, he has a very good feel down there. He and (DB) Derrick Kindred both are solid as I will get out in those things down there. The other thing is that I do not know – maybe I am wrong, I have not taken a look at all of the statistical things when they handed the play time stuff – Jabrill and Kindred have to be playing the most number of plays anybody on our team right now, special teams and defense. They are playing a ton of plays so that is our philosophy as a defensive staff to rotate them so we do not weaken the special teams. They have to be primary in those areas in that we will package and rotate guys in and out. They are such good friends and they understand that we are doing reason. There is no selfishness there at all. He is very relaxed when he is down in [the box]. Would like to have a couple of more protection beaters where he is blitzing, but one of the things is that I blitz him quite a bit, and they know he is down there and they are sliding the protections. What he has done is freed up two or three people on free rushes because they are afraid of him. That is productive. The other thing we have is with his experience – he and (DB Briean) Boddy (Calhoun) both –their experience playing down in the box and back in the post. We have scheme things where he also goes back there when needed because he has time on task now back there. I really do think he is doing well, and like me and like all of them, you are never satisfied until it is perfect. He will push himself. I love the fact that I have to wrap my arms around him every once in a while, because if I am on his [behind] quite a bit and on him pretty good several times anyway, but he is very demanding of himself, and I love that. I really do."
On if statistics don't reflect Peppers contributions:
"I really do even not know. I do not pay attention much to those individual statistics part of it. It is more of a team thing, but he is doing what we ask him to do. He is forcing a lot of issues. The other thing is he is as good as anybody I have ever coached in communication. He gets other people lined up and communicated as well as anybody. He and (LB) Joe Schobert are very, very good at that. When you do that, you do not let your own play decline, and he has not. He has not."
On needing to finish games and Browns players saying they can't leave it to a situation where the officials can make a difference:
"That means they must be listening to me so that is good."
On finishing in the fourth quarter:
"You keep fighting it, you keep pushing it and when it happens, then point towards that. You keep fighting it. You keep pushing it. In a game, we do not see how many times we do it in practice. We do not see how many times we do it in a meeting. We do not see how many times we do it in an argument. Competition is competition wherever it is at so how do you finish a competition? Do you finish a competition in a winning platform in a winning way? Boom, we have got to go ahead and get that done in a game so it breeds confidence and then confidence that you know that you can do it causes you and allows you to pull the trigger even faster. From a defensive standpoint, I feel like their confidence is strong. We just have to produce."
On giving the Raiders credit for making good plays on the game-tying drive and 2-point conversion:
"I would tell you this, we had a couple of leverage – the alignment was correct but leverage problems, but they had a good drive. They have very good playmaking people, and (Raiders Head Coach) Jon (Gruden) and I go way back. We did not talk after the game, but we will talk next summer or something. They had a really good drive. We have to finish. In practice situations, game situations, we have been pretty good at that anywhere I have been, and that right there has caused a very good concentration level in practice on where we had to finish in practice. This week, even today, was probably frustrating offensively of how we handle that. We likened the situation today in practice to that. I think our guys felt pretty good about how they handled it."
On if the Browns defense could have been done more on the Raiders' 2-point conversion:
"On those things right there, when you look at it, they have matchups all of the way across the board. What we were doing is we were playing over there to the bunch side, a multiple type thing there. That is a one on one, no matter what you play. You could play a zone, you could play man or whatever. Now, it goes about finishing. To tell you the truth on that, most of our guys have done a very good job. That is a really positive thing (defensive backs coach) DeWayne Walker has done a very good job as the cornerback coach here. I laugh and I smile when I give (DB) Denzel Ward some credit in that Denzel is one of the best I have ever had the chance to coach on a particular play like that on how you separate the ball from the man at the end. We have been really, really good on that in practice. Denzel can naturally come in and do that and paint the picture for our guys. We have not had enough of it on film here. I could not find some of the stuff on film here a year ago of us doing that. We have been regularly doing that play in practice every day. It frustrates our offense on how good we are at doing that. We did not finish it. (DB T.J.) Carrie has had a bunch of really good ones where he has done it. I jokingly give Denzel the credit for the emulation that he has kind of helped us picture for those guys. We have to make that play. It comes down to when you see that specific – that is an earned play. Perfect throw. Perfect catch. Now, the only way you have the chance to handle that perfect throw, perfect catch is to separate on the way down. You have to separate the ball on the way down. We just did not."
On DL Myles Garrett nearly recoding sacks late in the game and if there was more he could have done on those plays:
"No. We have used that this week. That day, once we had watched the film, we had a couple of things in coverage at the end that the ball was supposed to be held a fraction longer. We made two alignment errors on two of those plays that Myles is putting him down. That is why rush and coverage work hand in hand. It is very hard to do any more than Myles did on both of those plays, but the coverage part of it, one was alignment and one was just a technique thing that we do not let that happen. It caused a potential big play for us not to happen."
On if DB Damarious Randall can play CB, if needed:
"Yes. We have. We have flipped him down a bunch more. Yes. The big thing there, too, is I have to be cognizant and not be a total jerk – he is battling through injury. I have got to watch how that all goes. He is battling through it. Not going to throw him to the wolves unless he can handle that, but I have no problem, no hesitation when he is healthy playing there. None."
On Randall playing through injury:
"I think it is good. Guess what? You are supposed to. You can only imagine my conversations with him. I really like him, a lot. He has a great personality He is a competitor. If you are looking for sympathy, you aren't getting none. That is what a professional football player does. By the way, I do not know if you all know, I got my leg cut up in the offseason. I have a titanium knee now. I was back to work the second day. I was supposed to stay off for a month. That is what you are supposed to do."
Special teams coordinator Amos Jones:
On implementing anything new in practice this week:
"A lot of things. As you progress game by game, certain things heat up. After you have a blocked punt, everybody kind of focuses down a little bit better. That was a good week last week to see that, and I think we have seen the same thing this week. Attention to detail from the standpoint of just the little things."
On if major changes are needed on special teams:
"I think what we do in practice is work hard and we continue to stress that. I think the players responded to those types of things we told them to do. Focusing in on the little things like making a tackle, seeing the aiming points and things like that. Obviously, fielding and catching procedures and focusing on not getting the penalty and how not to get the penalty things like that. The intensity mounts up each week as you go through the season, whether you are winning, losing or at the bottom or the top. Each week, guys get a little bit more acclimated to the attention to detail because that is what happens in the season. Things go on, and everything is always copycatted in this league in terms of if you are on tape for something bad, you are going to probably rep it a little extra. Attention to detail."
On Head Coach Hue Jackson saying the team is willing to adjust special teams personnel for improvements:
"I think you basically got the answer from the guy you needed to get it from. Not being facetious with that because each week gameplans change – offense, defense and special teams. If a matchup is better for us to put another guy out there, then that is kind of how you do it in reality in terms of personnel. Maybe a guy got a lot of reps last week that won't get the reps this week and things like that. Anytime you interject a couple of guys that have been added to the roster and things like that, that is going to bode well for guys. 'Hey, maybe my job is to play a little harder. Maybe my job is to make the play.' I think that kind of handles itself through the attrition of the roster itself. Obviously, then the reps as we go through the same because there are only 46 of them [active] so you have your options there from that standpoint of who is going to play and who is not going to play."
On if he considered a directional punt toward the sideline or out of bounds on the final punt of the game:
"In terms of the punt? We are always a directional punt team. Now, that being said and done, wind and things like that affect everybody as a human. You are not always going to get directional sometimes because of circumstances that are beyond your control. Nobody in this league seeks to not be a directional punt team. We are not one of those teams either."
On if he considered more of punt on the sideline on the last punt:
"We are always trying to play one-third of the field, but again, I think we had a guy in position to make the tackle, too. That all ties into punt – the direction, location and open field tackling is always big in this league."
On DB Jabrill Peppers' success as a punt returner at Michigan and why that has not necessarily translated yet to the NFL:
"I think the biggest thing you still have to understand with returned in this league – at least I try to keep that focus – it is a whole different ball game. You can't get upset. You live to play the next play. You do not hit the panic button. That is not to say that Jabrill is doing that or any other returner is doing that. What I am telling you is that the game is going to come to you if you let it. I think I have said that before in here, and the thing is you can't get frustrated. That was a bad hit. They hit him when he had fair caught the ball and the penalty was called. You can't let that frustrate you. Want to make a play? Shoot, I hope they all are as competitive as him and want to make the play and want the play. Certain times, certain circumstances and certain kicks are going to put you in situation where it is just not going to happen that play so you just have to move on and go and get the next opportunity. Kickers and punters are very good in this league as we know. Sometimes they are going to play keep-away and sometimes they are going to give you the ball in advantageous position. Those are the ones we have to take advantage of. Take advantage of those."
On if there is a mental factor for Peppers and the special teams unit:
"I think it is learning thing, and I think it is just understanding the ball is different and kickers are different. We have faced great kickers and punters. We are going to face two this weekend. In that situation, you just have to kind of play it by game and kind of play it by play. One, go out there and field the ball, use good catch procedures, tuck the ball away and secure it, and then hopefully, the blocking gets him into the free yardage. Ball in hand in grass, as we call it, when he has got about 10 yards to make a good decision without someone being around on top of him."
On if he has considered other returners or if he wants to see Peppers produce:
"You want all of the returners work. We know that they catch every day that we are out there. We rep them. Sometimes game situations happen, too. For example, the week before, (WR) Jarvis' (Landry) situation. Jabrill was down, and Jarvis got put in. I think we are exploring all opportunities or all options, and everybody gets reps. We rep them in practice so they are game ready. In-game ready means everyone could get called on because as we have seen already in four games, we have had to put another guy out there not because the guy was failing as much as maybe the guy was tweaked a little bit. That is all part of it. That is why you have to have them all ready. Only so many guys will go back there and catch, punt in particular. Everybody catches punts and everybody catches kickoffs as we go through the week, even the practice squad guys because you never know when those guys will be a guy you have to use down the line."
On return decisions and where the Browns' blocking can improve to create opportunities for returners:
"I think the biggest thing – I will answer the first part of the question – anytime you are out there on kickoff return now with the new rules, you have to take advantage of them. We do not want to catch the ball over the top of our head on the goal line. That ball is going to be a touchback. We do not want to catch the ball going backwards, whether you are on the 2-yard line going into the end zone or you are in the end zone going backwards. Those things add. It is like when we punted the ball the other day, we pushed the punt returner. He had to go backwards to catch (P) Britton's (Colquitt) punt. That is adding yardage for us to keep running. Same thing on kickoff coverage. That adds yards to them. Take the percentage plays – kind of goes back to the other part of the question – and live to play the next play. From a blocking standpoint, I think the biggest thing is we had one missed assignment on one of the plays that kind of tied up two or three other guys because with the new rules, you are starting to see a lot of clustering of bodies. You can't stick your foot in the ground and come back and get somebody in front of the 40 anymore like people used to do so the depth of sets becomes very important in terms of balls that are hit inside the 10 yard line or inside the end zone. It kind of all ties into spacing and things like that and also somebody being aggressive enough to go get their guy when they are clean. The three guys on the backend, two of the three have to figure out 'Can I touch that guy? Can I chip that guy? What can I do to help in a situation where somebody from front line maybe has got the guy engaged?'"
On preparing for when opponent' goal is to land kickoffs inside the 5-yard line to force a return:
"It is about leverage. You have to have leverage. You do not need to worry about leverage on your blocking angle or blocking assignment until you pretty much know the ball has been secured. If I am a front-side guy and the ball is hit in my corner – directional kicks, things like that – you have to be ready to go attack and get them. Flipping, tuning and back-pedaling – some teams use that – and guys can climb up on you. Anytime a ball gets hit on the side on the edges from maybe the split to the sideline, if I am on the side of the field, I have got to have a sense of urgency. The ball if caught right behind me so that turns into a base block. I do not necessarily have to worry about leverage because he might not get back to the scheme. Now, we have to try to get the ball vertical. That is what young guys struggle with sometimes that have not done it. Is just that nuance of 'How deep do I go? When do I stick my foot? If I sit around and back pedal, I am probably going to get bull rushed, two-gapped and things like that.' It all ties in. For the most part, you will know going in whether or not you will get those types of kicks. That is kind of focus of how you practice it."
On core special teams players on the roster:
"I think it is a work in progress. We have added some guys over the last couple of weeks that you kind of consider guys that should be core guys or brought in that are not going to be position players per se because they can't get that quickly acclimated to the offense and defense, unless they are a veteran player. The biggest thing is putting them in an advantageous position when they come in off of the street. You do not want to throw everything at them when they are a young guy so you kind of give them a little bit as you go along. That is pretty much what we did when we brought in a couple of guys that we have brought in since the first game started. As you get to the comfort level with those guys, you start to add more units for them and you start to add more things that you can let them do because you want their natural ability to show up, too, and where they play better. I think part of the job for special teams guys, at least form what I see, is putting them into the right spot. You can't put them into a bad matchup because they are not going to win it. You do not want them not to have success. A core of special teams guys is hard in this league anymore. Some guys in our division have it. We are going to continue to work to get it. You see a lot of youth mixed in with a couple of veterans and stuff like that one a lot of teams. It is just kind of a work in progress. The good thing for us, the players are working hard to try to figure that out. Great communication. We have a couple of older guys that do communicate things and things like that for us so that is good. Attrition takes care of it sometimes. You count on a guy and sometimes, unfortunately, he is not up that week because of injury or whatever. We are continuing to try to build it, letting them know us and us getting to know them as well as we can. We got games to play every week right now."
On if tough learning curve for a player like RB Nick Chubb who did not play special teams in college:
"Very tough. We have talked about that in the past. I think the biggest that happens in college football now is that the walk-on situation is still advantageous for most of the bigger schools. Then, you have guys that come in as heralded freshman that are ball tote-rs like probably Nick was. Then the injury probably sidelined him from an injury standpoint anyway for a while. The thing is you have to have is a willingness. Nick's role for me is like (Cardinals RB) David Johnson's role was for me in Arizona. Two different players but that similar type of body. You have to have a running back that is willing to do that, and Nick is. I think Nick did a heck of a job as a guy that made a mistake, identified it himself, was able to communicate why he did it and what happened and worked to fix it. That is all that you can ask for as a coach. You do not want him to make the mistake – do not get me wrong there – but it is a learning curve for all of us. That position of wing on punt, you look across the league, it is a hard position to master and it is a hard position to find depth. That is why we go to guys like Nick that have some base underneath them that can help you. Last week, he was in on two tackles. He is learning that part of it, too."
On the hit on Peppers after calling a fair catch:
"Oh, I think it was violent, if you are asking in that respect. I think that was a nasty collision. It is a tough deal. I have had it go both ways. I have been on the other side of it when you are engaged as a cover guy and maybe you don't see the fair catch, but you always have as you get closer that ticking clock. When you have another body around him like we were there with him, you have to do something maybe as a jammer to get the guy out of the way, but you also have to get yourself out of the way. That is a bang-bang play. There is no doubt about it, when you are sitting there with your eyes up and your feet are in the ground, it is a hard one to overcome. You could hear that hit in the stadium.
On if he was worried about Peppers when hit on the fair catch call:
"I am always worried. I watch them. If I see a guy has a Band-Aid on during the week, I ask him if that is something that I need to know about (laughter). I hate to see any player [go down] because we preach so much about being on your feet in this game. That was a tough hit on him. No doubt about it."