Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:
On how much better he knows the team entering his second season:
"As far as knowledge and feel of every independent player, much more. I would say that during the season, week by week by week until you get them in game conditions – practice conditions are one thing, games are another – there is a knowledge there. There is a trust there. There is a feel there. I also think that at this time this year, there is also a knowledge and a trust about me. I am not as much of a shock to them. They are not as much of a shock to me. We have gotten a lot done. At this time, we are a lot farther ahead than we were last year at this time. We had to continue to evolve throughout the season on some of the things that we did not have time to do during spring or training camp. We have all of that stuff done now because there is a common knowledge about what we are doing. It is not foreign to them."
On the Browns secondary and DB Denzel Ward:
"Good competition going on. I think that (General Manager) John Dorsey and his group have done a very good job of increasing the competition. Competition makes us all better. There is a lot of newness there. That area is probably the one that we are spending a lot of extra time with. They have voluntary time. Those guys can come in and be with the coaches any time that they want above and beyond any other day that they want. A lot of those guys have done that. That is a testament to them about wanting to be good, wanting to understand. I do think that the competition will be good once we are in camp we are able to play more physical in camp and out of the shorts-type thing that is going on. It is a fun group."
On where LB Mychal Kendricks fits in the Browns LBs:
"He is a great addition to the mix. I do not think that you could have enough good players. He played last year with four guys on that (Eagles) team that I have already coached so he has done his scouting report on me and I have done my scouting report on him. There are four players over there that he played with – some of them I drafted, some of them I have coached and won Super Bowls with – that kind of stuff. (Eagles defensive coordinator) Jim Schwartz was my quality control coach and linebacker coach so there is some common knowledge there about him before he ever comes here. I think that he fits in perfectly here. One of the things that we do here – this staff will be better about this than they were last year because I kind of caught a couple of them off guard – is every player has to play more than one positon. That is how we have the flexibility of the 'next man up' during the season and how you play the next best athlete, not the next best on the depth chart. It is the next best athlete. Kendricks fits into that role. He is a multiple-position player. He is able to play inside and outside. He is able to play on the line of scrimmage, off of the line of scrimmage, and he will fit in with the packaging that we do. I think you have seen several of the packaging things that we do or that we play. Sometimes linebackers look like D ends in their positioning, but they are not. Sometimes we play D ends in linebacker positions when they are not. He fits in well. He is a very competitive, passionate, hard-nosed player. It is kind of the circle of life. I wanted to draft him when he was coming out, but we did not get him picked soon enough at the other play that I was at. This is going to be fun to have a chance to coach him this time around."
On Ward learning to play press coverage in the NFL as a first-round rookie:
"From an intelligence standpoint, it is not very hard because he just has to count to one and cover the guy that is the first one in from the sideline. Now, from an ability standpoint, that is another thing, but he fits in ability-wise. He has covered some awfully good guys. He has had a chance to play at a very high level in college. Both he and (DL) Myles (Garrett) – I will have to say this, I want to be honest with this – have fit into the locker room faster than most rookies that I have had the chance to draft. I do not move them up the depth chart without the understanding of how they are fitting in with the other veterans that play on the field. When a veteran comes to me and says, 'Hey coach, we are better when Denzel is on out there.' 'So really? Now you are taking ownership of him? Oh really? Now you are mentoring him? We'll see. I will give him a couple of reps out there, and we will see.' After that, when you give that kid the opportunity and that he fits in the room, as opposed to just anointing him because we drafted him. He has not played in this league. I do not anoint anybody. Both he and Myles got the acceptance of everyone faster than most rookies have had. Sometimes they come in bent out of shape, entitled and all this kind of stuff, and maybe they are not showing that around me but when they get around the players, then they start acting that way again. Players do not want to do that. They do not want to put up with that stuff. He fits into the locker room well. Now, he is going to have to light it up and play against good players. I have to do a good job of helping him and coaching him in the ways that coach him to his strengths. He is one of the best press guys that I have seen in the last few years at this level. He still has a ways to go, but coming in, he has a base of knowledge that is pretty good."
On DL Emmanuel Ogbah back and the team drafting Ward over Broncos LB Bradley Chubb:
"I am so excited to see how well he (Ogbah) is doing out here this year. He is night and day more relaxed and doing things more instinctive, not overthinking and not afraid to make a mistake than he was last year because last year we all of a sudden moved him into a new positon that he had not played for in the old regime. He – knock on wood – staying healthy is going to really stand out this year. He has had a very, very good camp. His health has been good. I would have loved to have (Broncos LB Bradley) Chubb, but at this point in time, I do not think that he covers the deep ball well enough as a press corner (laughter). Nor does he intercept the ball well enough (laughter). I have an Ogbah, and I have got a lot of other guys out there. But I think that he is a really good player, I really do. Knew an awful lot about him, too because the guy that was getting him prepared for the draft and all of that stuff was a D line coach that I had many years ago that is retired now and going around doing that kind of stuff. I had a great report on him. Everything passed with flying colors on him. Denzel fits in with what we need to do, how we need to improve here and how we need to improve as a team here. It will all come out in the wash once you play the games and start to win games. We need to win games."
On Ward and Garrett earning early acceptance in the locker room during their rookie seasons:
"They are probably just accepted in other aspects in life not only in team more accepting. There is no arrogance. There is confidence in both of them. They have been raised the right way. I have been around a lot of people that moms and dads let them do what they wanted to do all of their life. You can tell that their moms and dads have structured their lived pretty well. The acceptance of being respectful and trustworthy; yes ma'am and no ma'am, please and thank you. You can tell that. It is the same thing with your teammates. Your teammate can tell all of a sudden if you come in and act like you know it all, and you do not know anything at this level. Take your time. Ask for help. Be respectful. Do the right thing. He did all of those things and continues to do all of those things. Give Mom and Dad credit on that. Also, pass the blame over to Mom and Dad when it is not right."
On Garrett entering his second season:
"He is a physical specimen. Rare in lots of physical characteristics. He is even further ahead this year on some of the conditioning regimens he has done than he was last year. You just shake your head. He is one of the few guys that I have had to coach that I know I am going to have to keep my hand on to hold back. One of the things with him is his over-working. He works so hard because he does not want to be good; he wants to be great. Sometimes he can be his own worst enemy in that respect because he works so hard physically that he has to do a good job with recovery also. The next thing is this – and he knows – if he stays healthy, watch out. Now, we have become better in the back end. Allow the quarterback to hold the ball longer than 2.13 seconds, now watch. He in camp out here in this whole camp, if you were to ask anybody on the offensive staff or ask anybody on the offensive line who gives them nightmares, it would be him. It has been fun because I have known (QB) Tyrod Taylor since he has been [at Virginia Tech]. He was at Virginia Tech when my other son was at Virginia Tech, captains and all of that stuff. Tyrod has gone, 'Yeah, better get rid of it quick. Better know where he is.' They did not do certain things in camp to where they can do some double protections and shift protections because we do not want to hurt anybody, but Myles has taken another big step. Staying healthy, I would see him making a big breakout year. Have to stay healthy and have to stay on the field."
On Garrett's easy-going personality off the field:
"He is easy going, but here is another thing that I would say about him – I push him a little bit in this way – I do not think that leadership has any age. I think that leadership start with example. If you are providing the right example, then when you open your mouth, holy cow, somebody might listen to you. His example of how hard he works, how diligent he is, how much he understands, his feel for the game and his overall intelligence – it is not IQ intelligence, it is normal common sense intelligence – makes him want to be asked as question. His leadership will be more but not unless he is willing to set the example with his effort, his technique, his playmaking and his production. You all were not out here a bunch earlier in camp, but when we were doing the conditioning and running sprints, he ran with the DBs. He did not run with the linemen. He ran with the DBs and the wide receivers. They were having a hard time keeping up. How do you as a 280-pound man… I am just looking, 'Wow.' That is what I am talking about. Nobody told him to do that. That was him. He is doing a good job in leadership. He is. He is not too vocal. Right now, it is just right. He and Denzel have fit in extremely well in the locker room not only because of ability, because guys say, 'I respect your ability,' but they respect their behavior. They respect their actions. They respect how they have come in with a respectful attitude. That is important with who you are going to go to war with in a huddle on game day."
On DB Jabrill Peppers and his new role on defense:
"It is so much fun to get a chance to have him in the box [at strong safety]. He also goes back and plays [free safety]. He is one of the most versatile players on the team, can do a lot of different things. The competition that is going on between him and (DB) Derrick Kindred is lights out. Derrick Kindred is one of the best strong safeties I have had the chance to coach in my career in the run game and zone pass game. Jabrill has those same instincts, and Jabrill is really, really good around the ball and having a chance to make plays on the ball, which is important. What has been fun is to watch how both of them have been pushing each other and how far they have taken steps pushing each other. That is a great thing to have when you take a look at some of the other things I have done at other places where you see the multiple safety packages we play, and both of those guys play like linebackers anyway, but which linebacker do you want me to take off of the field? Which defensive end do you want me to take off of the field? It is a good thing to have package-wise. It is a good thing to have depth-wise because it is a violent, tough game. Hopefully, everything will be going good. It has been fun to see them compete and play."
On the Browns DTs:
"They are much better. When I say much better – comfortable. We were foreign. We were a lot drastically different than when you play in a 3-4 mechanism and you are catching and reading, staying on your side of the line of scrimmage. We are all vertical, knock back, coming off of the ball and knocking you back. That is why we were able to play a pretty good run defense. We will play even better. All of those guys are playing really well. They are all doing outstanding. The four returners that are in there are doing really well with (DL) Caleb (Brantley) and Larry (Ogunjobi) being the young guys. They will take the next step. (DL) Jamie Meder probably one of the best run players in the National Football League. You saw a little statistic last year. They are doing very well. Caleb and (DL Trevon) Coley are both doing very well in a three-technique position. Some of the new, young guys coming in here are giving them a fight. When you are in no pads right now, they have done a very good job competing and doing their jobs in no pads, but the real test for them is when they put the pads on."
On the discussion between Ward and Broncos DL Bradley Chubb prior to the draft: "I talked about that while you were talking about something else a while ago so you can ask these guys."
On the bond between Garrett and Ogbah:
"I think that they both are competitive dudes, and I think that they both help each other and they talk behind the scenes about a feel for things. I think that this coaching staff is one where the players are comfortable asking the coaches about the feel of things. (Defensive line coach) Clyde Simmons has a lot more sacks than these guys have ever had. Hopefully, they can compete up there with Clyde. Clyde played 15 years in this league. They do talk. I see them experience the thing from a feel perspective to where, 'Why did you do that? How did you do that?' Clyde can do all of that anyway, and I have been able to do that for a long time, too. They do and I do see them sharing ideas, and that is that comfort level that it takes to earn."
On if the defense will see a 'night and day' change:
"We have to prove ourselves any week. There is a comfortability on language now. I think there is a comfortability on language now. I think you will see them playing faster, and hopefully, smarter and tougher, and that the production will get ironed out. When we do a better job of taking the ball away – we have to take the ball away better, we did not do that very well at all – and we have to do a better job of when we are down in the scoring zone and the red zone. We have to do a better job there. Overall, you will see when those two areas are right there expand because our secondary is better – we will see as it comes out – then you will have a chance to see the production being better on defense. I think that we have to take the ball away better. We have to."
On why the Browns defense did not have more takeaways last year:
"A large part of it is that the people who are really, really, really good around the ball have instincts to be around he ball. Guys that you take that are not as good as players and you have taken them and ramped them up to their strength on just getting them to fit and do right, their awareness to the ball is not as good. We did not make as many plays on catching the ball that we had our hands on in the secondary. Then, getting the quarterbacks to hold onto the ball a little bit more, hold onto the ball a little bit longer because we are covering them a little bit better, I think that you will see more sack-caused fumbles. I do not think that we had enough sack-cause fumbles in that respect."
On if this year's team allows more opportunity to play more the desired style:
"So far, yes. I think that you will see some guys doing a little bit more with attacking the ball in those areas right there instead of preventing things from being down the field vertically. One of the things that I had to really think long and hard about when I first came here was the previous two years, they were dead last in deep balls – attempts, production, everything. Last year, we were No. 1. Why in attempts, production, everything? Because we discouraged people from attempting to do that. Now, we have to make plays when they do it. That will be the next step for us to do."
On the Browns offense also adding playmakers and how that impacts the defense:
"I think that it makes us both [better]. That is the one thing about (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson that he allows us to compete in practice. I have been places where you want to make it a walkthrough practice and nobody is getting any better. We compete in practice. We help them; they help us. It has been very competitive for this learning curve of offensively having to learn something new. Defensively, we did not have to learn many things new. The competition is there, and I think that the respect is there. From some of these guys that came in here, they are pretty good players. Offensively, they took some great steps, some great steps with some of the guys that are here. All of a sudden, some of those guys that have done very well all over the place offensively have all of a sudden got their eyes open that it is not just a push-around on the defensive side of the ball, either. They have made each other very welcome. You see them getting along with each other in the locker room because they have the respect for each other playing. Now, they will compete out here and they will talk noise back and forth out here, but that is what you want. You want them to do it. Here is something – I do not know if it was an open practice the other day – but we had an interception down here low in the red zone. There have been times where all of the sudden the offense is just going to let us run with the ball. The quarterback went out and wanted to smack. We had the quarterback within 8-10 yards show (DB Briean) Boddy-Calhoun that 'You are not going to go that far young man.' That got the respect of the defense that the quarterback is not going to let us go down the field and swag. We got the ball, but he is not going to let us score. That is the competition that helps team grow because there is a team attitude. Tyrod has that now, I will tell you that. I have known that for a long time about him. There are some other really good guys over there, too."
On what Taylor brings to the Browns:
"More importantly, not only does he have physical skill, but the best quarterbacks that I have been around in my lifetime bring leadership, bring accountability, not only do I play the position myself at a high level but I elevate the other people around me to play at a higher level. That is not easy to do. If you are really, really, really good, how do you get the other side to play better? How do you get the special teams to play better? Some of the top, top, top quarterbacks I have been around, go up and down the sideline elevating everybody's play. That is from a leadership standpoint. Tyrod has got that now. He has done that more than once in his life. It did not take long for the guys out here to respect that.
On the Browns rankings in deep passes allowed and points allowed last year:
"A 2-yard touchdown is different than a 75-yard touchdown. A 5-yard touchdown is different than a 14-yard touchdown. It all has to do with depth and length of the play. We have to do a better job down in the red zone. We have to do a better job defending the goal line. We have to do a better job than that. There have been places that I have been where it has been outstanding. That is the next step for these guys here to be up there at the very top. We have got to do a better job of that."
Offensive coordinator Todd Haley:
On what the Browns offense may look like Week 1 as far as balance and personnel:
"This time of year, we had an entire new language to install, and we threw everything at them. We gave them a lot to have to deal with, worry about and think about. Until the pads go on and we get to training camp, I think some of those things will start to come into more of a clearer picture."
On QB Tyrod Taylor's offseason program:
"I think very good. He is in a new situation with new coaches around him and a lot of new players, guys that have been here. Not an easy situation to come into but I thought that Tyrod has done a tremendous, tremendous job of establishing himself as the leader of this offense. His car is there every morning in his spot when I get here in the morning, and it is there when I am leaving. That is what you are looking for in the leader of the offense. I think that he has done a great job with understanding the terminology, the concepts and all of the different things. Like I said, we threw a lot at him. Through hard work – he is more of a show what to do more than by talking – I have really been impressed and encouraged by him."
On philosophies on prototypical QB's height:
"There is a prototypical size, but there are outliers. I think Tyrod has proven to be one of those. That is what this time of year is for: really getting a feel of what guys do, what they are most comfortable with, what they like and what they do not like. It will play a big part in really the next step for us."
On QB Baker Mayfield's development:
"He has made very good progress, but any time that you are a young player coming into this league, especially a quarterback, it is going to take time. You have a lot of different things that you are dealing with at that position. For him, a guy that has been in the [shot]gun 99 percent of the time, in this division I think that you have to be under center some. Whether it is running or play action, those are some of the things that he has really had to work hard at, but I am happy that we have training camp because young quarterbacks need all of the time they can get."
On which position groups the Browns still need answers:
"I think we need a lot of answers, obviously. Like I said, I am happy that we have a training camp now to get to and put the pads on these guys and see what we really have. You are only going to see so much in shorts, especially at those positions up front. I have been encouraged with the growth of (OL) Shon (Coleman). We do have a Plan B, Plan C and potentially a Plan D that we do not even know about. Those guys up front have really done a good job of developing, understanding the protection schemes the blocking schemes, working together. Especially in that front line group, you have seen every good growth. We won't answer all of the questions until we get the pads on and really see what we have."
On his philosophy using RBs and if there 'are enough footballs' to satisfy all of the teams RBs:
"I am not worried about footballs. I think that group has a chance to be a really good group. Even a couple of the younger guys look like they have some ability. I do not really have a philosophy. I have done it both ways. We led the league in rushing in Kansas City (2010) in a two-back, almost a two-and-a-half back system. Then in Pittsburgh obviously, when (Steelers RB) Le'Veon Bell was playing, he was playing. That will really be determined by those guys, what they are capable of handling on a down-in, down-out basis and really who gives us the best chance to win. Yet to be determined would be the best answer."
On if Mayfield can push Taylor in training camp:
"Again, that is yet to be determined. He has a long way to go. I would say it is clear that Tyrod is the leader of this team. That is a big component of that position, also. What I will say is probably in my career, this is one of the best if not the best quarterbacks rooms in general that I have had. (QB) Drew Stanton does not get talked about a lot, but he is a guy with a lot of experience that I never was with, but having watched him through this phase of what we are doing – the OTAs, Phase II, Phase III, whatever they are – he still has got some in the tank. He can throw the football. He is extremely smart. The group in general is what I am excited about. I think that it is an intelligent, intelligent group with ability to throw the football and make plays with their legs some of them. When you have that, I think good things happen. Competition is created in the room, even though they are working hard together to help each other and get better as a group."
On the relationship development in the QB room:
"Just like I said, if it is the strongest room that I have been a part of, then it is probably pretty good. That goes for coaches, too. (Quarterbacks) Coach (Ken) Zampese, myself, we are with these guys a bunch. It is an exciting room to be a part of."
On working with shorter QBs, specifically with Taylor and Mayfield:
"Finding out what they are really good at. Finding out what they are comfortable with. It is no different than with any other position. I said it early on here that I am going to play to guys strengths. We are not going to try to make guys do things that they are not comfortable with or just are not able to do. As we get into the pads and start playing preseason games, I think some of that will be developed."
On how much of the QB room's tone is set by Taylor:
"I think a lot. You have guys who are not real interested in helping other guys through the years, and you have guys who are interested in helping. He is interested in this team being as good as it possibly can be. He obviously wants to be the quarterback, and he is working his butt off to do that from an on the field standpoint; but off of the field, he is a great character really. I knew him just from watching him on tape and evaluating him that way, but you really do not get to know the ins and outs of a guy. This guy is a unique teammate, and one that I am very excited about."
On WR Josh Gordon's comment about the Browns WR group being the best in the league:
"I am a big 'go by what I see' guy. He can have an opinion, and I am happy he does, but I think that remains to be seen. We have some potential, I know that, but we have a lot of work to do in all areas, that group included."
On WR Corey Coleman:
"He has been out here working. I have seen him every day. He understands this is a big, big year in his career. Year 3 is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you are going to be. I have made that clear to him. He understands it, and he is working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be."
On how many points an offense needs to compete each game in the NFL:
"I think as many as you need. I have been a lot of different places where we have had a top defense. Usually when you have a top defense, you can afford to play a little more conservatively. When you do not have a top defense or you have a defense that is struggling to stop the opponent, you better score a bunch of points. In Chicago, I was a receiver coach, we won 13 games. We had one of the top defenses there was. We played accordingly and we were able to score enough points to win 13. All of that is kind of big picture, feel related. We have to see what we have as an entire team."
On his comment that the Browns QB room may be his strongest and if that is in reference to a talent or collaboration standpoint:
"A little bit of both. When I talk about the room, I talk about the makeup of the group. There are so many variables and things in football where you are together every single day for so many months in a row that the makeup of each room is very, very critical. There is a balance in most rooms of veterans and young guys, and when you have strong leadership in a group, it is usually a good sign for everybody involved."