Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:
"Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. After all of these years, I'm always in the office. I have had a chance to play a ton of games on Thanksgiving Day. Those are always fun. I had a chance to play several games on Christmas Day. Those are always fun. It also is important that we – (Head Coach) Hue (Jackson) does a great job of this here, and wherever I have been, I think I have done a good job – about the family of the team, the second family of the team and what we do to make sure that all of that is done correctly. We get our job done, but at the end of the day, give thanks. I think our guys did a pretty good job of that yesterday. I have been really pleased with them again. I thought last week was improved in so many ways. We still have room for improvement in our last six as we continue to press on. Young is not an excuse, but it has been fun to see some of the newcomers have reflections or recognitions of things we have talked about back in August that all of a sudden make sense. The more we continue to do those type of things, the better they will perform. There is not one guy in the room that I have right now that I don't like being around. Those guys give everything they have every day. I have to do everything I can to help them continue to improve."
On how the Browns defense has improved since the first matchup against Cincinnati:
"Really, it has been fun. This is the first time this year that they get a chance to go [play] the same year against the same opponent. What might be normal for me, for some of these guys, it is the first time. Even in college it didn't happen, that kind of stuff. It would be good for you to ask them that. As we have talked all week long, that is the reflections and that is the recognitions of things that they say, 'I can't believe I did that. I can't believe I saw it that way.' That is refreshing in that respect because it doesn't make any difference how I see it. It is how they see it during the heat of battle because they didn't do it wrong on purpose. They saw it incorrectly. It takes some time that way. When you are new to the league, it even takes more time that way. Yeah, they have had that pounded down through them. This is also the first time in a practice setting to where they have plays that are in the carded plays of what was done last time. They see and recognize. Some of them, even today, I was really pleased today with some of the recognition factors of what was going to come before the play took place. They didn't know [the play]. I don't show them that before they go out there. They had it figured out because the see it. That was a good question, and hopefully, we have to make those corrections. You can't have those things. Even last week, as dominant as they were in so many ways defensively, the two runs were incorrectly forced. I didn't say gap fit – forced. The one pass was incorrectly technique-ed and aligned. Why? 'Coach, that is only three times.' I don't care if it's one time. Why? Then, the fact that be it special teams and defense, we cause five fumbles and only one of them was recovered. Why? They get that, they see that and I have been pretty hard on that this week."
On Head Coach Hue Jackson saying DL Myles Garrett needs to make more splash plays down the stretch and why Garrett hasn't had more splash plays:
"First off, it is time on task. Second time right now is that the college game and the NFL game schematically are way different. When you are perceived to be premier, when you are perceived and respected as talented, then you don't let one guy handle one guy. You let two or three. Watch and see how many times the protections are slid to him, maxed to him to where he is not just playing against one guy. He is playing against what we call chippers. He is playing against not only a chipper but another one that was slid towards him to end up being three on one developed into two on one. Those are things you have to grow to. Those are things that we get better on when I help him with some calls about he disappears from that spot and he is not in that spot some of the times that they think he is in that spot. It will be the same way this week. We will see. When you say he is not in that spot, there is some type of a stunt game, angle difference, alignment difference that all of a sudden they came out of the huddle thinking he was there. He is getting more comfortable with that, but I am also very cognizant of not filling his head so much that he slows down. I don't want him to do that. Health, each week they all have bumps and bruises, but he is getting healthier and healthier and healthier and healthier. He will be fine. He will be fine. It is not only him. Hey, throw out another name. Who else? (LB Christian) Kirksey? (LB Joe) Schobert? (DL) Carl (Nassib)? (DL) Emmanuel (Ogbah)? Oh, Emmanuel isn't here. I'm just kidding you. It is not just him. To the point of I understand where he was drafted and I understand what that means but so does everybody else on how they decide to play the game against him."
On how tough it is to lose DL Emmanuel Ogbah for the season:
"Was it the last time we talked? I can't remember when I was bragging about how well he had done. I couldn't remember. I have CTE, too, so I don't know how long it is, but he had played so well. One more time just like we talked about (LB) Jamie (Collins), I care about him because he was moving in such a great place. Right, wrong or indifferent, he is not a linebacker. He was asked to do that. He is not. He is a defensive end. Remember back early, maybe in August or whatever, where you questioned why I was playing him there. He is a defensive end. Had I drafted him, that is where I would have played him anyway. I liked him coming out at that spot and didn't get a chance to take him at the last place I was. He has to get back into it, continue to grow and not take time off right now. He is going to take time off in the surgery and the rehabilitation process, but from the mind process and the mental process, keep growing. The mind doesn't know when you are actually doing it or visualizing it. He has to keep growing in that way. I turned Jamie into a coach, Collins. Turned him into a coach. The players know a lot more than coaches. They have to dumb down to be a coach so now they have to dumb down to come over and do what we are doing."
On Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette's 29-yard run and if DB Jabrill Peppers took a bad angle:
"What it was is it should have never even gotten to Peppers. The ball never should have gotten out of the gate. It never should have been there. It was not Peppers responsibility. Peppers was a deep half-field player and basically he is a secondary support player. There are nine guys in the box playing that run, two more than they can block. It got out. Now, once it gets there, and he has gotten, better and better and better and better at making those space places. One of the things – I love that I have to do this with him; I would rather do this than the other way – I have to pull him back from shooting his gun too fast and too hard. Instead of when a guy is not really tough and you are trying to get him to hit somebody, that is hard. Those are the ones we need to cut. I was not with you guys at this time, but if you can remember, if you ever got the chance to see the kid, I am going to call him by name and he is going to smile because of all the times I was on his rear end is (Eagles S) Rodney McCloud. Rodney McCloud could not tackle you in space. The last year I got the chance to coach him, he made 12 open-field touchdown-saving tackles in the season. Jabrill will get there. It is time on task. He did what he believed was correct. He is the first to say it. His recognition, he is a very, very intelligent young man. His recognition was he was irritated with himself. He could not wait to get to the sideline later on to tell me that he knew what I was going to say before I said it. We have something good there. We just have to continue to build on it."
On Bengals QB Andy Dalton and challenges preparing to face him:
"Each year a quarterback that has had success in the league. He grows and becomes more like a coach than a player. When you get a quarterback to be a coach and a player, you have something. The familiarity, I say that because it brought a smile on my face watching, I got the chance to see part of the game with (Chargers QB) Philip Rivers. You guys have no idea how hard that guy studies and listens to every TV copy. He listens to every interview. I am sure he is listening to this interview today to see what I am saying. He takes it into the ball game and knows more than coaches know and predicts and changes protections and predicts this and changes that. Andy has come a long way since he has come into the league. Coming from TCU to the league and I knew his coaches really well at TCU, too. At that time, there was a guy down there on the defensive side of the ball that I had coached a long time ago in college ball. He has risen his way up the ranks. I see him growing each time each year and just knowing more football. Then can you and can we defensively upset the timing or upset the recognition that he has or thinks he has before the play? Those are the things that are difficult to do when you are playing more veteran quarterbacks."
On if the Browns defense has improved in the red zone:
"We have, but you know what? We have made so much. That would be another thing to talk to the guys about just how we meet and practice and those types of things. The irritating thing last week was letting that play to get down there to start with. The third down was incorrect that allowed it to go immediately to first down. Defensively, everybody – 10 guys absolutely perfect – one guy messed up. He looked at the wrong thing and (Jaguars WR) Marcedes Lewis, which I had the chance to be around him and coach him years ago when he first started in the league when I was in Jacksonville, became free. A play we would love that back. We can't cannot continue to have those mistakes. Just like what I said about Jabrill, DK (DB Derrick Kindred) immediately when he came off the field knew exactly before. I need to continue to trust them and we will play. Last week, we played really good red zone defense when we did not let them down there. We have to play better on third down and play better when we are here. I know from the game relationships that are going on down there in practice – we are getting really good looks and help from our offense on how we picture plays – they are light years better out there, but we have to take it to Sunday."
On if it was a play-fake that lead to Lewis scoring:
"Yeah, it was a play-fake but not only the play fake but did you see what Mercedes did on that? Yeah, how long he faked blocking. That is another really, really good veteran. We have a call built in to take that away, even how long Marcedes is in. We just did not do that. I tell them all the time, your tool box, you have to know when to use the tool. Give Marcedes credit. That does not happen. I think about our young tight ends here, too; you tell them to do that, they go [more quickly]. The game is going so fast that they [release more quickly]. He has played for so long that he sold it. He sold it. He was even in the third count selling it and then went. Now, that also tells you the protection was pretty good because we were playing run instead of pass upfront before that happened. We just have to do a better job of that. It was just a good play call but executed very well by Marcedes."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor:
"Cincinnati Bengals, second time go around. First time we played them, I thought that they dominated us in the special teams area. Obviously, (Bengals CB Adam) Pacman (Jones) had a big return. (Bengals WR Alex) Erickson had a big return that was called back. As you keep watching them throughout the whole year, their return game has been outstanding. We are going to have our hands full there. We are trying to get better in our areas, and we are going to continue to concentrate on that. We have some new guys playing here and there, but they have stepped up to the challenge and we are trying to emphasize to them this unit that we are playing is a well-coached unit. We just have to go down there, play our best football and give ourselves a chance."
On the play when WR Ricardo Louis got hit waiting to down the ball deep against Jacksonville:
"It is a legal play. If you don't waive fair catch, you have the right to block and make sure that the gunner doesn't down it there. The kid did make a nice play. It has to be below the head and neck area, and it was. Those are tough plays on the gunners. He was looking up to find the ball, and that is obviously when guys get it. (P Britton) Colquitt, I think, was one of three punters in the league that had not had a touchback. Obviously, if he doesn't block him there, Ricardo is going to down that ball easily on the 2-yard line."
On how well Colquitt punted the ball against Jacksonville:
"He did a great job. It was tough sledding down there with regards to the wind. I think he ended up with 39.8 was the net. When I walked on to the field, I kind of thought 40 was kind of the score of the day, if you were to golf-term there, I thought that was going to be a good number and he hit that. I will be honest with you, I think quietly, he has had a great year – Pro Bowl. He has been up there most of the year in gross and has helped us with the net with his punt location and just the way that he can move the ball around. We have to have him continue to play at a high level. I say it, he is our best player on our punt team. We need to take advantage of that."
On if weather conditions played a role in DB Jabrill Peppers' two muffed punts last week:
"He has to catch the football and do a better job of that. We have to do a better job of keeping him clean. He was taking a chance, trying to make somebody miss right there, but I still think he is really good. He hasn't hit it yet, but I think it is just kind of one of those things where you can't press. You just have to kind of let it come to you. There are going to be times where he maybe should take a fair catch but wants to be aggressive. I would much rather coach that type of player than the one that just fair catches it all the time and never takes a chance. I'm willing to live with it. I kind of look at it like this, too, to be honest with you, the muff – unfortunately, they got the ball back – we can't turn it over there, but our defense did a great job of getting the ball right back to us. In my world, it went in and it left. It didn't even happen. That is how I process the information there."
On clarifying that there were two muffed punts:
"The other one kind of went out of bounds right on the sideline. He was chasing it. We just have to do a better job of getting to the ball. What I say is beat the ball to the spot – the ball is chasing you; you are not chasing the ball is the coaching point."
On RB Matthew Dayes contributing on kickoff return:
"I think all of those kids are doing a good job. We kind of talked about that earlier in the year that we kind of saw some things on tape that we were getting closer and closer. He made another big return for us and that was good. That has been a nice, pleasant surprise. You can sit in your room and go, 'Should we put Dayes back there or should we put Peppers back there?' You are getting options. Like we have always said, you want more ponies in that stable. Which one do you want to trot out there? We are getting to that point, and that is encouraging."
On the coaching point on the Jaguars onside kick that was nullified by a penalty:
"They executed it well. They got us. Obviously, you can't leave early. I told them and I said, 'You have hit some big returns so now you have just entered something that you haven't experienced yet of a team surprise onside, teams now squibbing you and teams now blooping you.' I said, 'Take that as a compliment. We have to establish the field position, but we have to make sure we have the ball back at the end of the play.' Like I said, that was a nice kick by (Jaguars K Josh) Lambo. Fortunately, they were offside. It kind of goes back to that muff when I saw the flag – that play immediate left my head. That was it."
On what he told the kick return unit about the onside kick:
"You just have to see the ball kicked. Don't leave early. Can't get caught leaning and anticipate those things. That is really all you can do. For the two guys up front right there, that can always be somewhat of a tough play because they are in charge of that, and usually, when teams do that, there are more people than just two guys coming after them. You can't commit everyone up to the ball and then you will have zero returns. We just have to be on our toes better."
On saying Colquitt is having a Pro Bowl-level season:
"For most of the year, I think he has been top five, top six in gross punt, and you are punting in Cleveland. I think we are 13th in net punt. We have dropped a little bit there, but for a lot of it, we were 10th and higher. I think that is a credit to him with a lot of moving parts on our punt team. I will say this, our starting punt team – it is no secret – is not the same as what it was in Week 1 or actually in Week 5. It is totally different. I think the one consistency has obviously been him. This is a tough place to punt, and it is going to get tougher. I just think he has been a bright spot for us. I know that is a big term that I used the word Pro Bowl, but at the same time, I do think he is that caliber of player. I think he is a special player."
On Colquitt's first touchback occurring in the Jacksonville game:
"First touchback of the year, yeah. To do that and we are going into Game 11, that is pretty impressive in my opinion. That is why I say those things about him."
On if it is tough to sell Head Coach Hue Jackson on running a trick play on special teams:
"I know you always ask me about the tricks and those things. I will be honest with you, we have actually shockingly called some fakes this year. We haven't had a chance to execute them yet. I said that last week. A lot of teams in special teams, there are a lot of fakes called that don't happen because maybe a team is looking for a certain look. I think every team probably in the National Football League always carries something into it. I will say this, Coach Jackson, he will be aggressive."
On if the unsuccessful fake punt against Philadelphia in 2016 has made Jackson less willing to consider fake punts:
"No. No, not at all. In fact, we have had the green light a few times."
On why the punt unit hasn't executed a called fake punt:
"I can't tell you everything (laughter). Really what happens to be quite honest with you is you are maybe looking for something. You call it and you don't get that so you have to execute what the other aspect of it, which obviously would be punting the ball or those type of things. That happens. For example, if you go back studying Jacksonville, they were up 35-0 against Baltimore. A look presented itself that obviously they had practiced all week. They ran the fake and the guy ran right around the sideline right down there because there it was. The kids are programmed – there we go, and they took it."
On if the Browns practice fake special teams plays every week:
"Oh yeah. Yes."
On what day the Browns practice fake special teams plays:
"I can't say that either. I have a feeling you want to be out there at practice during the fake part (laughter). All seriousness, we practice it during our special teams period or our walkthroughs and those type of things. We are not any different than anybody there. Obviously, most of the time you guys are already gone by the time we get to the special teams part. "
Running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson:
On how well the Bengals defense is playing now:
"You said it right. They are playing much better than they were earlier in the year. All their pieces are coming together here a little bit. Both of their defensive ends have really picked up the slack and are leading the charge. Having (Bengals LB) Vontaze (Burfict) play at a high level like always really adds to their defense. We have our hands full this weekend. We have to find a way to block them, execute our assignments at a high level and do a good job."
On the difference in the run game with 200 yards against the Lions and not being as successful against the Jaguars:
"A combination of things. We just could never really get on track. It started early on with the execution in the run game. If you have one missed assignment or one lack of execution, it is a breakdown. We had that it seems like on every possession early on. We had one single element break down which led to 0 [yards] or 1- or 2-[yard gains]. As a runner, you need to get in rhythm and get some confidence early to have some success. We all have to get on the same page and we have to execute our assignments at a higher level to have some success Sunday."
On if he stresses to the RBs Head Coach Hue Jackson's comments that he has to be inspired by the offense to call more running plays:
"Yes, we do. What he is talking about is the way I have coached for 20 years in this league. The runners have to inspire the play caller. It does not matter if it is a 1-yard gain or a 4-yard gain; if you are running violently and you are finishing and hitting holes aggressively, sometimes they tend to make them believe that you got 5 yards. He is exactly right. He has to be inspired to call it. That means blockers have to be blocking the right people and runners have to hit the right hole. We all have to do it at a really high level with execution, speed and violence. When you are doing that, it sends a message that you are ready. They stopped you but 'Coach call it again. I will get more yards for you.' He is absolutely right in that regard."
On Jackson's comment about players not winning matchups in the running game last week and if that is in reference to the OL:
"You certainly understand his point of view. You look at some plays or after they come off the field and you review assignments. Sometimes you find out where the play got broke down and where was the breakdown. It is discouraging at times. It is discouraging to the runner, as well, because if things are not clean, there is a level of frustration on their part because everyone wants to do their job at a high level. Everyone wants to win their block. That is not the case at any level [of football]. You are going to have guys lose blocks. You are going to have guys miss the ball every now and again. We just have to keep working harder and execute better to have success because I think we have five really outstanding offensive linemen. I think we have two really good runners and a young emerging one in (RB) Matt Dayes. There should not be an excuse where we do not run the ball effectively every weekend because we have quality people doing the heavy lifting. Each time, we all have to look in the mirror and aim our thumb instead of pointing the finger on what I can do better to make this a better situation. I think all our guys are doing that."
On the Bengals red zone defense:
"Red zone defense really changes for everyone. Calls are different. How you run fit is different. The coverages are different. Obviously, as we all know, the field is shorter and condensed both vertically and horizontally. They have always done a really good job over the years. They have had some issues in some other areas, but that is not one of them. We just have to come in and execute our assignments better than they do theirs. In our room, we like to call that an NFL down – two good players going one on one. Somebody has to win. It has nothing to do with schemes. At some point, you have to whoop the man's behind across from you physically. That is what the red zone is going to come down to Sunday."
On RB Duke Johnson Jr. playing 24 snaps against the Jaguars and not playing more, given his success this season:
"I don't have the numbers in front of me, but sometimes, if you look at the first half the amount of total overall snaps that you got as an offense, I think last week we were down in terms of the first half. Sometimes he plays more than the starter because of the two-minute and the situational football aspect of it. Sometimes he doesn't. Last week, it fell into that cloth of we just did not have a lot of offensive snaps early on. We did not have a lot of conversions early on third downs, which leads to more opportunities. I would agree, we would like him to be on the field as much as possible in all situations because we believe in him so strongly as a player and as a playmaker. That is up to us as coaches, me in particular, to make sure that he is always involved and always has a role in being on the field at all times or as much as possible."
On if Browns players are 'angry enough' about being winless this year, given statements made by players this time last year in a similar situation:
"I think everyone, at least on the offensive side of the ball is concerned, because we do believe that we are better. We do believe that we are more prepared. The wins just haven't come yet. I think our guys still believe in their process and how they are trying to go about their work every day. The goal in my room in particular is we always talk about being in charge of our attitude and our work ethic because that is what we really control at the end of the day. We try not to watch the scoreboard. We work on improving. We work on our preparation. Our goal is to go out there and get better as players because the preparation will eventually lead to that in the performance aspect. It doesn't change. Our guys are focused that way, and they know they only control so much. That is their goal is to get better, do your part, meaning the running backs do your part. If you do your part really well, eventually that will help this team be in the positon to win. That is what we focus on every week. We don't watch the scoreboard. We don't finger-point. We talk about what we can do better to help us win."