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Browns coordinator press conferences - 8/4

Ray Horton - Defensive coordinator

On assessing the Browns defense's performance after one week of training camp:

"I hope seven days better. I know for sure we are [better] just with the experience of learning the new defense, the coaches learning the players – nuances, their desires, their hopes, their wishes. We have a long way to go. I use the analogy of an airplane on a runway. We have a long runway so it's not like we have to get off the ground right now. We're going to build this thing, and we have some young players. I'm proudest of our veterans. They've taken ownership of how to teach these young rookies how to be pros – not how to run a sprint but how to come into the classroom, how to take notes and how to be on time. That's the foundation of having a good team is when your veterans teach these young players 'This is what being a NFL pro is all about.' We have that foundation, and now, we just have to build it to having good players and go out and compete.

On if some Browns veterans have picked up the defensive system more quickly or easily since he was with the team in 2013:

"I would hope so. The words are the same. Whether you're in Denver's 3-4, Tennessee's 3-4, Pittsburgh's 3-4, it's all the same. It's just the words, the terminology. Yes, it should be comfortable. The young guys, I take my gauge by the young guys. If they get it, I know the old guys do so I teach to the rookies. If they can understand this concept, I know the veterans can. I would say to date we're on pace. We're not where we want to be by any means, but I think we're on pace to go where we want to go."

On the loss of DL Desmond Bryant's injury and experimenting with LB Emmanuel Ogbah on the DL:

"Des was a shock to me. I was on vacation and I heard about it. Immediately, you go into survival mode, if you will. What do you do? How are we going to get better? What do we do? He was a key part of our defense. Now with his injury, just like anybody else's injury, you have to adjust because nobody is going to wait for you. If you ask me, 'What are we doing?' as you guys watch practice and we're moving guys around, I would use the term 'kaleidoscope.' When you turn it, you're going to get a different picture. I want us to have guys that are interchangeable because I don't know what we're going to be yet. If somebody said, 'Well you're a 3-4. Would you be a 4-3?' Well sure I would if I thought it would win. We're going to be an ever-changing defense until we find out what we do best and put the players in that position. These things in the NFL happen. You feel for the player, but you can't let that suffer the rest of the team. You have to go on and say, 'How are we going to get better?' When you lose a good player, what happens is the other players have to get better. That's what we're trying to do right now."

On where DL Xavier Cooper fits into the equation of replacing Desmond Bryant:

"He's a good young player that we were counting on anyway so nothing changed in my mind about Xavier. All it meant was we're going to need you to step up right now today versus Week 1 versus Philadelphia. Some of it is his leadership ability, but he was a player we were counting on from day one to get a lot of snaps for us."

On how DB Justin Gilbert and LB Barkevious Mingo have been playing so far during camp:

"Justin Gilbert has done everything we've asked. We came in – I came in – and we talked about having a clean slate. I remember Justin in college, coming out what kind of player he was. I said, 'I want you to be that type of player.' He's done everything we've asked, and I'm very happy with him. Barkevious is again doing everything. He I believe gets praised because you see him, he sticks out running. Now, in this league what it takes is you need that, but you also have to make plays and produce. We have a four-week window coming up here where it's going to be very important, not only for him, it's going to be important for the rest of our defense, our team and our coaches. We're trying to establish, from the coaching staff, that our players can trust us that we're going to try to put them in the best position to succeed, whatever that may be. We're trying to, once we get them in that position, make sure they do succeed. I think it's a give and take of guys learning what do they want, what can I give them and what can we expect from them."

On DB Jamar Taylor and DB K'Waun Williams competing at nickel corner:

"For me, I love competition. It's really the only way you get better, unless that person is a Michael Jordan, a LeBron (James), a Steph Curry, guys that are highly self-motivated. Competition makes you better. When you get that, your team is going to be better. I need guys, just as we talked about, Desmond getting hurt, I don't know what the future is going to bring. The more players that you can get in competition to be the starter and whoever the next guys is is the starter in waiting. We say 1A and 1B. It's not No. 2. The competition is good for me. They are both very competitive, very prideful men that are going to help us win. That's the most important thing. They're going to help us win."

On if there is an extra emphasis on the Browns defense stopping the run:

"Yeah, I would say in the NFL, 1 and 1A is stop the run and hit the quarterback. That is our emphasis all the time. You have got to be good tacklers. You have got to be able to pressure the quarterback. You have got to be gap sound. That's Fundamental Football 101, things we preach every day. When we get done not preaching that or when somebody says, 'That's not important anymore,' then it's time for me to walk out the door because that's not football anymore. Those are just bedrock idioms of what we do – stop the run and hit the quarterback. We're working on that every day. You probably see me when we miss a tackle, that's not good for me. I let the players know that's not good for you."

On if he feels he is a different coordinator than when he was with the Browns in 2013:

"I think I'm comfortable with the building, ownership, management, coaching and the city. I feel at home here. Sometimes, you move into a new city and you're in the building all the time because you're never get to go anywhere because you're meeting so you don't know the community, you don't know the people. I was telling the story yesterday, (Head) Coach Hue (Jackson) gave us a couple of hours off so I was able to go golfing and go flying. At the golf course, the people were talking about the Cleveland Browns. The guy had a Cleveland Browns tattoo on his leg. Flying, when I landed, the guy that takes care of the plane was talking about the Cleveland Browns defense. It allows me to absorb what this team means to the city. I appreciate it. I think this city is fantastic. I'm so blessed to be able to come back and know the people. I equate the Cleveland Cavaliers celebration with what we want. We want that parade. We want it to be bigger than what they had. I've fallen in love with the city."

On why DB Pierre Desir might be better suited at S than CB:

"When I said earlier the kaleidoscope analogy, not just Emmanuel moving and maybe (LB) Joe Schobert and maybe Pierre, we're going to move guys around because it helps me when you can play more than one position. When you can play corner, nickel and free safety, it makes my job easier. For us, we are experimenting with what works best with the player, how can he maximize his talents. We're trying to give every guy on the team an opportunity to make the team. Sometimes that may be at a different position. I'll just use the analogy of Troy Brown of the New England Patriots; he was a wide receiver that played nickel in the game. (Former Cardinals WR) Roy Green went from All-Pro wide receiver to All-Pro safety. The more you can do, the better your chances of helping us win."

On where and from who the Browns pass rush will come from this year:

"I would say that's probably why we are moving so many guys in different positions. We're really getting used to our players. What do they do best? I don't have an answer right now. I don't know. I'll find out a little bit more tomorrow in our live scrimmage. I'll find out a little bit more when we go to Green Bay next Friday, when we play Chicago, when we play Tampa Bay. I'll find out a little bit more of who can do what. Right now, I don't know. I don't have that answer yet."

On if it is unique to have those questions during training camp:

"I think you hope you know. The reason I don't know is we have so many new young players that they have never even had an NFL experience in a stadium yet. We get to go to Lambeau (Field) and watch them there. That's what's different about it. I've got to learn what they do. Whether Joe (Schobert), Emmanuel (Ogbah), (LB) Dominique (Alexander), (LB) Scooby (Wright III), all of our young players moving around playing different positions, I'll get used to them. We will find out probably in Week 3 or 4 that we're pretty good at this and we're probably not so good at this yet and maybe we feature a little bit more of this that we're good at and maybe a little bit more less of something that we're not. That's part of coming back, understanding what we're good at.

On if the live tackling periods give him a better chance to evaluate Browns players:

"Instantly it does. I like it because it's a tempo changer, where practice may be dragging and you're doing this and all of a sudden you have got to be ready to go. That's really what an NFL game is – sudden change. We always talk about when you watch ESPN, the segments that they always show are either scoring plays or sudden change. They don't show a punt that goes 40 yards and a good punt and fair catch. They want the action. That gives us instant action. You better change your mind set up, 'I'm just at practice, and OK, practice is going to be done.' It's immediate, 'Oh, well here we go.'"

On LB Demario Davis playing next to LB Christian Kirksey as a 'shot in the arm' to the middle of the Browns defense:

"For me, it's a shot of adrenaline – I don't know, whatever relaxing drugs there are, it's not caffeine, it's I don't know, whatever, Xanax or something; I don't know, whatever you use to mellow down (laughter). For me, it's going to be a comfort zone of I've got an ultimate competitive warrior leader sitting in there that is nothing but football. For me, it's a comfort zone of I know what I have. I've talked to those two guys about what I expect from them, how dynamic I expect those guys to be. I'm challenging those guys to be not only leaders, but really statistical leaders."

Pep Hamilton - Associate head coach - offense

On the state of the Browns offense:

"We've made a ton of progress over the course of the past week and a half or so. We've seen a lot of positive things. The guys are working hard. We feel good about where we are as far as our communication up front, guys being able to make plays on the perimeter, how our running backs are running the football. We're definitely trending in the right direction."

On the performance young players among the Browns receiving corps:

"There has been a learning curve, but at the same time, they're working hard. They are spending a lot of hours with (senior offensive assistant) Coach (Al) Saunders just trying to digest what all we've put on their plate. Even so with that being said, you've seen flashes of all their potential. In particular with (WR) Corey Coleman, he's made a big play or two in every practice we've had thus far."

On QB Robert Griffin III and how he has developed since minicamp:

"He has more of a command of our offense. He's able to manage the all checks and all the things that we ask him to do at the line of scrimmage. There's been just continued work on developing continuity with the receivers and tight ends and all the new guys that he is working with for the first time. He has been working a lot and there has been a lot positive things that are happening for us in practice."

On rumors about the Dallas Cowboys being interested in a trade for QB Josh McCown and if he would make that trade:

"I don't know anything about what you're talking about."

On if Griffin's mechanics have changed since he started working with QB coach Tom House:

"I think because he had time to just work out over the summer, a lot of the things we've asked him to do from a fundamental and technical standpoint, we were able to facilitate those things through Coach House out in California. He is throwing the ball well. Mechanically, he's always been just as good as anyone else with regards to being able to throw the football all over the field. We feel good about where he is right now."

On how well Griffin is dropping back and processing what he's seeing:

"He's been good. He's been good. We'll find out about his ability to recognize looks from a defense that he's not so familiar with once we play a game next week."

On if it is a work in progress to determine a balance for the amount Griffin will run or throw from the pocket:

"There will come a time when he will have to run. It doesn't necessarily mean that we'll call a running play for our quarterback or for any of our quarterbacks for that matter. I think it's good that our quarterbacks are  all good enough athletes that they can manage bad plays by extending plays and making throws downfield or tucking the ball and running and getting us positive yards on first and second down and even on third down."

On RBs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. and his designs for those two backs:

"They're competing with each other each day in practice. They've both done a ton of good things. We've actually had some live periods in practice so you've had a chance to see them run in a – I don't want to say game-like environment – but you've seen some real live football and they've done well. Both guys are players and backs that can play without the ball, and they have the ability to score the ball as well. They've been positive."

On what he likes about WR Corey Coleman:

"He can score the ball. I think we saw it a couple days ago in our scrimmage when he caught a hitch route down inside the red zone area, he made two guys miss and he scored the football. That's what we're going to need him to do. We need a big-play threat or two or three on the perimeter, and we feel like he's the guy who can do those things."

On Coleman's route-running ability:

"He's a good enough athlete, and with the coaching that he has in Al Saunders, I'm sure that in time he'll continue to progress in that area. He'll do just fine."

On if Coleman is going to simply be a vertical receiver:

"No, just like I said, he caught a hitch route, which is a 5-yard route. He caught it, made two guys miss and found a way to score the football so he can do both."

On if any of the other drafted WRs have separated themselves:

"I'll start with (WR) Rashard Higgins. For a young guy, his skillset is above average. He can do a lot of things with regards to beating press coverage and running routes. His routes are fairly detailed for a young guy and he's still a work in progress, but he's shown tremendous progress over the course of training camp. Ricardo Louis, big strong wide out. He reminds me a lot of (Titans WR) Andre Johnson, someone that I had a chance to work with last year. When I say that, I say a poor man's Andre Johnson. Let me put it in perspective. They're working hard, and we'll find out next week when we play a game just where they are."

On WR Jordan Payton entering the league pegged as a possession receiver:

"No, I wouldn't say that. He missed some time in the spring because of UCLA's graduation, and he's working hard to get caught up with the rest of the guys. He's done some positive things, also."

On the challenges of developing QB Cody Kessler, whose reps are limited:

"It takes time. For all quarterbacks, it takes time for them to get acclimated to the speed of the NFL game but more importantly to develop more of an understanding of NFL defenses. That's what it's all about at the quarterback position. He's working hard. We put a ton of time into watching film, and he's working each day in practice, just like the rest of the guys are working hard."

On if Kessler ideally wouldn't have to play this year:

"I don't know. I don't know the answer to that question. We'll see."

On if any TEs has emerged outside of TE Gary Barnidge:

"Yeah, (TE) Randall Telfer. He makes a play every day, and he's playing well without the ball. (TE) Connor Hamlett has made some amazing catches. (TE EJ) Bibbs, he's been able to play both the tight end position for us and play some fullback. (TE) J.P. Holtz, he stepped in and once again with some attrition that we've had on the practice field, he's been a guy that can play multiple spots for us. Those guys are working hard and (tight ends) Coach (Greg) Seamon is doing a great job and getting ready for the preseason."

On what improvements the Browns are looking for from Griffin during the first few weeks:

"Just efficiency managing the offense, being smart with the football and just doing really what the play prescribes. The preseason is all about hardening our knuckles as an offense because we don't get a lot of time to bang on our own guys in practice. It'll be an opportunity to go out and play some real live football and establish our identity as a power running team with the threat of making big plays downfield."

On how OL Cam Erving has improved and his comfort with Erving at at center:

"He's improved his command of the offense and of the system. The communication up front has been better, and it's still a work in progress. He is a big, athletic guy that's smart and tough. We knew once he was able to get fixated at one position and get locked in and get those reps that there would be a ton of improvement on his behalf. He's been very good for us so far."

On what he hopes to see during tomorrow's live scrimmage:

"Every opportunity that (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson gives us to be physical, harden our knuckles and play some real live football – guys getting tackled – it gives us an opportunity to feel good about the brand of football that we're going to play. We'll grind it out, hit you in the mouth, try and impose our will in the football style of offense with the threat of hitting the big plays downfield. It'll be fun to compete against our defense and see where we are at."

On what the difference will be between the Browns offense and Baylor's offense, given the number of Browns offensive players who went to Baylor:

"*(laughter) *I don't have an answer to that question. I don't know enough about the Baylor offense to compare it to."

On the power running game being very important to Browns offense:

"Yeah, it is."

On when he wants the starting RT to be determined:

"That's Coach's decision to make."

On looking forward to working with WR Josh Gordon and getting him involved in the Browns offense:

"The only exposure that I've had with Josh Gordon was at the (2014) Pro Bowl, and he was amazing. He's an amazing talent. I'm excited for him to have an opportunity to get out on the field so that we can work with him full time. It'll be fun to see where he's at once he's back on the practice field." 


Chris Tabor - Special teams coordinator

Opening statement:

"We're working a lot of guys just trying to get them ready. It's still a process. Really at the end of the day, the first evaluation will begin to come at the Green Bay game."

On K Patrick Murray:

"A guy that kicks the ball very consistent. I think he has a good kick off leg, also. A guy that's obviously been successful in the league before he got injured, but I see no ill effects from his injury. He's totally healthy, hitting the ball well, quick to the football, does a nice job getting it up so he's doing a nice job."

On deciding to bring in a second kicker and if it is a legitimate competition between Murray and K Travis Coons:

"In special teams, I think everything is legitimate from the standpoint because we're at the bottom of the roster and you're always churning the bottom of the roster. At that position, those guys know it's about makes and misses. To have a guy like Patrick come in and here compete for job, it's a legitimate job. If he does better than what Travis does, then obviously there's talk."

On how focusing on lifting kicks is going for K Travis Coons:

"It's going really well. We worked it hard all spring. We take our net out there we called 'Ivan, Ivan Terrible.' What we did is we took (DL) Des Bryant, and he got as tall as he could and we made the perfect height, which I think that's helped us. Then we've backed it up as if we have kind of got knocked back a little bit and kind of put it in the worst case scenario that we can, but his lift has been really good."

On WR Corey Coleman as a punt returner:

"Corey is doing a nice job, still learning to catch the ball, has natural hands. Obviously, very explosive after the catch. You saw that out here when we went offense-defense. He's a dynamic player, and we've got some other guys that I think are also dynamic players that can help us in that area. We'll see how it all shakes out."

On RB Raheem Mostert and DB Justin Gilbert competing as kickoff returners:

"You've got two guys there that have a true opportunity to take the ball the distance if that opportunity arises. Both are explosive. They put it on film last year. Like I say, you want to have more than one pony in the stable, and I think we've got a couple good horses right there."

On if younger Browns players are standing out on special teams and how that could potentially help those players make the roster:

"I'll say this because I wouldn't want to leave anyone out: In all seriousness, they've all been excellent in the classroom and on the field with regards of doing what we've asked them to do. I think the true test will come in Green Bay when the live bullets are coming. With regards to the preparation and working the fundamentals and understanding the concepts of what we're trying to get done, they all have done a great job. Hopefully, it will translate to real game time."

On what Browns rookies' path to making the team may be through special teams:

"I'm going to be honest with you, if you're part of the rookie class, you're part of my class. You say that for rookies, but that's all the other guys, too. Everyone at this time of year, when it's OTAs and training camp, are training special teams, are working special teams fundamentals because once it gets cut to 53 and then 46 on gameday, I've been in games where you've had a rash of injuries back-to-back plays and you're looking for anyone that could fill in those spots because the game is not going to stop. That's kind of where you go back and count on the training they got in training camp and all those things. That's what we're working right now and all the guys are doing a good job."

On if special teams assistant Shawn Mennenga has more of a vocal role this year:

"I will say this about Shawn and I've said it – he's been with me the entire time – Shawn and I, we go way back. I have more than the utmost confidence in this guy, and I believe that he should be a coordinator in the league. When his opportunity arises, when he gets an opportunity to do that, he will shine. This is how I look at it: I feel that Shawn and also (special teams quality control coach) Stan Watson, the other coach that helps me who does an outstanding job, I don't look at it that it's my unit. It's our unit. The more that we can break things up, we're able to detail teaching even more, more guys are getting more reps. We're getting more people trained. That's the way I look at it. I want to take advantage of our coaches' skillsets and I think they're second to none. Shawn has always had that role. It's just we're doing more breaking up of the groups so that we can get more guys trained more quickly. Everyone is getting reps. To me, I just believe that if you get reps, you get repetition, you learn."

On if the repetitions are different than past season:

"It has been. We've been doing it in walkthrough, but now we're doing it more in the team settings. Like I said, it's going back to we've got a lot of young players so they're getting more experience and more reps. We're accelerating their learning process."

On if he views himself and Mennenga in a similar light as his relationship with Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who he worked with in Chicago:

"No question, I do. I know this, and along with Stan, if those guys for example in the punt – I'll take a side, Shawn takes a side and Stan will go outside and work outside at the gunner so we have it all covered. Those guys, they're in meetings. They run meetings. We break things up. It's just we're paring down the teaching because they're great quality coaches."

Kirby Wilson - Running backs/run game coordinator

On RB Isaiah Crowell looking quick and aggressive in practice:

"Yeah, he's very explosive. He's got all of the tools. He's going to be a special player this year. Along with that, he's got a great work ethic. We're really pleased at how he's working at his trade. Every day, it's an interview for him, and he's going out and doing a fabulous job for us right now."

On if there are any lingering mental effects from Crowell's social media post and the reaction:

"No, we understand that the situation's very serious. He's addressed it. When he comes here, he's been prepared. He has studied hard in the classroom and he's come out on the field and done an excellent job of blocking out distractions and doing what he's supposed to do.

On what last year's film shows on Crowell during an up-and-down season:

"There we things on film that you saw that you think you can help him as far as identification, how you read certain concepts and certain fronts and where you're placing the football at. It's all about a read, a decision and then ball placement. Those three things go together and we talk about that and set that situation up for him every day."

On if Crowell has made strides in those three areas:

"He's doing a lot better because he understands now that the defense is a puzzle. Like any puzzle, the pieces fit certain places, and he's starting to get an idea and understanding of that concept."

On having a lot of signatures on his shirt after practice:

"Every other day, (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) assigns a certain group or side of the ball to sign autographs for the fans who come to practice, and we're grateful that we have that opportunity to do it. I kind of flip the script on them. I'll sign if they sign. I'll sign an autograph, and then they sign my shirt. I've got about maybe 30 or 40 signatures on it so it'll be on today for practice."

On if he's going to frame the shirt with fans signatures:


On if he wears the shirt with fan autographs during practice:


On if he talks to Crowell a lot about his social media post from or if he lets other people handle it:

"No, that's been addressed with the organization, with the head coach. My part was 'Accept it. Own it. You deserve any criticism that you're going to receive and rightfully so,' but he understands it was a serious, serious mistake, and he's addressed it and he's moved on."

On Crowell doing all that he possibly can to make up for since his social media mistake:

"Yes, and as Coach said, he's still working on some other things, too, with people, and it's going to be good for him."

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