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Browns coordinators press conference - 11/4

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor:

Opening statement:

"Dallas Cowboys, there is a lot to see about them on special teams when you watch them. A big, strong fast group that is well coached. They have a dynamic returner in the (Cowboys WR Lucky) Whitehead kid, punter returner and kick returner. I know statistically right now his numbers aren't where they were last year, but he is a guy who has long speed, and even though he is slight in stature, he plays much bigger than what his size indicates. Our cover groups are going to have a big challenge ahead of us with this guy because also their corps, those guys that are blocking, are very aggressive and they do an outstanding job."

On the significance of missing a player like LB Tank Carder:

"Anytime you lose a guy who is a four-phase player, it is always a little bit of a blow to you. At the same time, we feel like we have guys that we have been training for a long time that have to step in and go to work. I am expecting those guys to play well."

On message to WR Ricardo Louis about his kick return last week when it appeared he hesitated:

"We want to keep that one in. Just a young mistake that I know he will learn from. I think he still has a positive upside. I see things in him – the size, the speed and the toughness – that he can develop into hopefully a really good kick returner. He is a guy that since Day 1 since he has been here he has progressed as a cover player. Obviously, when we had some injuries, he has played more wide receiver and has done well there. It is nice to see a young player developing offensively and still adding to his craft as a special teams player. I am still excited about where he is trending. Every moment is a learning moment, and I think he learned something there."

On K Cody Parkey not missing a FG since the Miami game, his first with the team:

"You just came up to me in the ninth inning and just said, 'I think you have a no-hitter going.' But go ahead, what's your question (laughter)."

On if Parkey has validated the Browns' belief in his belief:

"I have stated it each and every week, and this week is no different, and I see more of it behind the scenes – the routine, how he attacks things, how he is striking the ball – he is an awfully good football player who is still developing. I would say that his arrow is up. Is there going to be a time maybe where he misses one? That could happen, but I know that there are going to be plenty of times that he is going to go out and hit them. I will be quite honest with you, I hope we another opportunity where he gets to go out and hit the game-winner because I know that he will make it."

On balancing communication with teammates and personal confidence as a kick returner:

"You have to make that decision quickly. As all players, regardless of where they are at in their career and learning moments, sometimes players – we might have gone down by one at the time – and no need to press. I always say, 'Don't force a play. Just let the plays come to you.' I think you see that in all sports. It is a thing that he (Louis) knows he probably should have kept it in there, but I will say this, I will give him credit for fighting to get it even to the 19. There is no question, it could have been a lot worse. It is something that he will learn from, and he will do fine this week."

On if LB Jamie Collins Sr. will play on special teams this week:

"Not right now. Obviously, he is a really good football player. Studying him from New England, we were very well aware of him just on the field goal block just because he has shown that he can jump over people and go block them. I am glad he is here with us, but right now, he is concentrating on defense."

On Browns players not wavering in their belief that the team will succeed and if this year feels different than past years:

"I sense the same thing they are to be quite honest with you. We own the record and we understand it, but at the same time also, we understand more the inner-workings of what is going on in the meeting rooms, the locker rooms and the culture and those types of things and what (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) has established. It is second to none. That is not just me saying that. That is a fact. I see it from the standpoint of how the guys are coming in each and every week and studying the opponent and saying, 'What can I get better?' You see them after practice, there is a whole host of guys still on the football field working to get better. Sometimes when you don't have the results that you want, you see people right after practice just go on in because they want to go home. That is not the case. We are chopping wood, and I do believe that we are getting better and the guys have bought in. We just have to keep plugging away, and that is what we are going to do."

On concerns that the loss number could become stifling to that mentality if there are more:

"I don't. I mean that because of Coach's leadership and then what I see on the practice field. As I say all the time with regards to players playing, the tape will always tell you what to do. The tape tells us that we are getting better. Are the results where we want to be? No, we understand that, but I expect this group to play hard, to keep getting after it and to put ourselves into position to win, and when we do, we need to pull ourselves over the wall and get the win. Honestly, I never think about the record. When we win a game, you are going to concentrate on the next one. You don't say, 'Well, we are 1-whatever.' You say, 'We are still 0-0 and let's get this next one.' That is how I approach it."

On remaining patient for WR Corey Coleman to return punts, given Jackson said he probably will not serve as a punt returner this week:

"I can be patient. Just as I said, the tape will tell us as he is catching punts on the field how natural he looks. He hasn't played since Week 2. Getting back to the ball reads and now it is windier, the weather is changing, when it is time and appropriate, we will put him in there. Still really pleased with what (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) is doing. He averaged 14 yards per return last week and is playing solid. We are trying to continue to eliminate the penalties in that area, and I see signs of guys blocking better. I am more encouraged about where we are going and the development of all of our players, and Corey is obviously one of those guys that we have to keep developing."

Defensive coordinator Ray Horton:

On LB Jamie Collins Sr.:

"Jamie is very impressive in his football IQ. I would assume the hardest transition for a player like that is coming in and at New England, they were a hybrid 3-4/4-3 depending on what game they were playing, so he knows what we play and the position, but to come in the first day and learn a new language and to be able to flip it in his mind and look very smooth in doing it was very impressive. Very athletic, very smart, dynamic. It has been, on the outside, it appears to be an easy transition for him. We are going to ask a lot of him and obviously see what he can handle, but so far, I have been really impressed with his smarts and his savvy and athleticism on the field and really off the field, too, of just learning something and not hesitating to translate it in his mind."

On if Collins will mostly play OLB, given the production of LBs Demario Davis and Christian Kirksey:

"He will play all over for us. He is a joy to watch move around on the football field and has. He gives you the ability to do a couple things and put different people on the field, different packages because you have to account for him to be different places. I would not say he is necessarily just going to be just an inside guy for us."

On how much impact adding a Pro Bowl player like Collins can have on a defense:

"I hope a lot, and some of them may not show up in the statistic category. Some of it shows up on the practice field of this is how you prepare, this is how you play. Obviously, when you come from a Pro Bowl and from a known program, guys look and go, 'Oh, OK, well let me see how he does things.' It is a great comparison to 'How do I, how do we do things? As you go and you are different places, you will bring somebody in, and I think it validates what you do and it is like, 'Oh, yeah, all we do is work hard. We work hard and we do our job and we make plays.' It does not matter what city you are in, it is just it is football. It is on the same dimensions always. You go in, it does not matter what it is – it is either indoors or outdoors – but it is always the same dimensions, and just how you make plays on the football field. I think sometimes, 'Oh, well I thought it was this.' No, man, it is football. Just go tackle the guy and get the guy with the ball and hit the quarterback."

On Collins' attitude after being traded from a possible Super Bowl contender:

"Outstanding. We talked to him on the phone before he got here and when he arrived, and since then, we have not said a word [about it] to him. When you watch him on the field, he is very intelligent, very bright. He understands, I think, what the NFL is, and we talk to our players all the time anyway. This is a business first, and then you after that you just do what you do. He is very happy to be here and he is looking forward to the game and he has moved on."

On Collins' potential displeasure about being traded from a Super Bowl contender may be overplayed by people outside of the building:

"I think it is human nature to – sure, you want to win, you want to be successful – but he also understands the opportunity that he has in front of him here to be a huge difference maker, where at someplace else, you may be one of the guys. I think he is excited. I think he is genuine, Once you get to know him, it is easy to say something, but it is another to look a man in the eye and go 'Yeah, he is excited,' and he has been fantastic here. He really has been." 

On Collins fitting in with the Browns LB corps immediately:

"I think he fits in because what he does on the field first of all, and then how bright he is. Obviously, when you get a good player, you want to acquire talent. You can't fool players. Players know talent when they see it. They see it across the field, they see it on the film and then now they see it in the huddle with him. Sure, we are going to embrace him because we are trying to get better players, more talented players and put a better product on the field. This is a great step in that direction."

On if Collins' presence can have a synergistic effect on the Browns defense and may cause players around him to rise to the occasion:

"I would hope so because I think he creates issues for the offense. He also has the ability to create dynamic plays for us so he affects us in what he can do on the field, and obviously, he is going to create some issues for the offense on what they do, how they look at us."

On the Cowboys OL and RB Ezekiel Elliott:

"This is taking me back to my high school and college days watching the USC Trojans (laughter). It is amazing, and it has been years since I have seen an offensive line like this where they are fantastic across the line. They understand, in my vernacular, of how to get a hat on a hat. They know who to block, how to block them and where that guy is going to be. They get to the second level. They have fantastic feet. They wall. If you guys have ever since the (Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach) Vince Lombardi segment where he draws a play on the board and he creates a X, a X and an alley, that is what you are looking at. You are looking at outstanding offensive linemen that understands how to play the game and play it very well at a high level together across the board, five men. Ezekiel is benefitting from a fantastic offensive line, and what is impressive about him is his contact, his ability to stay up, run through arm tackles, and then you see his athleticism when he is leaping over the defensive backs at the next level. We have talked about this offensive line just they are gorgeous to watch just what they do in concert with one another. Our job starts up front with that offensive line."

On facing the Cowboys OL and Elliott:

"Challenge our strength up front with our guys, our technique. We have made a point that this team is driven. Really, everybody knows the marquee guys' names, but this team is really, the offensive team is built up front. We have to be man on man and move our feet and have outstanding techniques and fundamentals because that is all they do. They know who to block and how to get there. It is outstanding to watch these guys play. For a purist – I know everybody follows the ball when it is snapped – but if you take a peek before you follow the ball, watch their linemen. It is pretty to watch. For a purist, it is what football is. It is your hand in the ground and it is football up front. That is where it starts and that is where you win the game so we have to win the game up front."

On if the Cowboys run 'student body right and left:'

"That is what they run and press. It is football the way it was meant to be played way back when before everything got to throw the ball over your head and deep down, comeback and throw it to your outside big wide receivers."

On DL Carl Nassib and the next step in his development:

"This will be a huge test for really our guys because it is not a game where you can take advantage or like, 'Hey, we have a guy that is not on par.' Their guys are on par. It is going to be an outstanding test for us as far as how we develop and where we go from here. For Carl, it is just continuing. He is a very bright kid and he is energetic. It is just taking that next step up against a very good team, a team that when you look at what they are doing, they have the longest win streak in the NFL right now after the first week of losing to the Giants, of playing playoff-brand football. It is where we want to get. When you look at their organization, from way back when, when everybody was talking about (Cowboys Owner and GM) Mr. (Jerry) Jones and this and that, well Mr. Jones is probably going to be the Executive of the Year, whether he is the owner or he is the GM. He built his team, there were issues with his team and he built his team the way he wanted to and what we are talking about, you get good players and you go. This is playoff football. These guys are going to be in the playoffs because they are very, very good at what they do. For us, it is going to be a great measuring stick to play: this is what playoff football is supposed to be like. You build a front, you run the ball, and then you play-action pass. The quarterback (Cowboys QB Dak Prescott) is benefitting from the running back who is playing well and the O-line who gives him time. Whether it is (Cowboys WR Cole) Beasley in the slot or (Cowboys TE Jason) Witten in the red zone, and you have (Cowboys WR) Dez (Bryant) on the outside, you build a good team and you get ready to run the ball because you have to run the ball when it gets cold and that is playoff time."

On Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and his success as a rookie:

"Great poise. You watch him in the pocket, his feet, his decision making, the boots, when he gets out of the pocket, he is looking to throw first versus run. He can run. His runs show up in the red zone from the very first game against the Giants to the last one against Philadelphia, just him checking in and out of plays and putting them in the right position. He appears to have complete command of the offense now because he makes a lot of checks at the line. Not many mistakes. His two picks, one the ball got away from him in Green Bay, it was low and away and their defender made a great play, and last week against Philadelphia, he was coming to his secondary receiver and they fell off. There are only a couple guys with less picks than him, and one is (Patriots QB) Tom Brady and (Browns QB) Cody Kessler is the other one. He has been impressive and solid and not stepping outside the boundaries of the play or the game for them."

On the biggest difference in the first and second half of the Jets game:

"Lack of turnovers in the second half. Our guys came out really ready to go. I mean they were foaming at the mouth to come out, and we had the chance early to make a – the second play of that drive I think – to make an impact play, and we did not make it. For us, we have to get tackles and turnovers. I go back to just fundamental football of what Dallas is doing. That is what we have to do. There is no secret to what we are doing. You just you play well and at some point, you have to turn the tide. Usually, it is with a great tackle, a third down stop, or turnovers."

On if the Jets made significant adjustments in the second half:

"I did not see a different play they ran. They did not run a flea-flicker. They did not run a reverse pass. They did not run a toss sweep. They executed a little better than we did. I don't remember what the longest play was in the second half, but I don't remember them making a – they did not change personnel. They kept their same four-wide and their three-wide. I did not see a play different from them. I heard (Jets Head) Coach (Todd) Bowles' talk afterwards. He just said 'We got our … kicked in the first half and then you have to come out like a man and play football.' They kind of just came out and executed a little better, I thought."

On if he tracks missed tackles and if the Browns tackling struggles have been as severe as they appear:

"For the top 10 defensive teams in the league – with the exception of Chicago, I have not done them yet – if you look at the league top 10 defenses, the average missed tackle per team, they average about 15 guys per team missing a tackle and the average missed tackle yardage when you total everything up is I think 9.2. We are at I think 10.1 so when you look at it, it is about the same. The No. 1 defense in the league is Arizona, No. 2 is Minnesota. Minnesota has 500 yards of missed tackles and I think we have 372. We actually fall in line with the top 10 defensive teams as far as number of players that missed tackles, the number of yards, the average per yards and what goes on. Yeah, I do follow those numbers."

On getting players to take the jump to making key plays during crucial situations to win games, including in the red zone:

"That is what it is for me, and how I have tried to explain it to the players is put it in simple terms, teams will drive the ball somewhere. They get on average 11 series, 11 drives per game, and you have to stop them somewhere on a certain amount to get three-and-outs. For us, how we are trying to tell our players is it comes down to teams are going to move the ball somewhere. Field goal kickers, usually when they get to the 35-yard line, they are in field goal range in today's NFL. We have to make them kick field goals down there versus scoring points down there in the red zone. To me, that is where they plays are made. Sometimes, the plays are not necessarily a turnover, but it is a third down stop in the red zone to make them kick a field goal and there is a four-point swing there. To me, there is where your big plays are made. Sure, you want picks and fumbles and touchdowns and safeties and all that, but sometimes it is just as important to make a third down stop in the red zone as it is to get a turnover. Those come from what you do on the practice field. It is kind of what we came back to talk about Jamie Collins – how he practices and how every play is important. That is where your big plays come from. Sometimes, it is as innocuous as 'Wow, we have a third-and-eight and they got seven' and they kick a field goal."

Associate head coach - offense Pep Hamilton:

On QB Cody Kessler, what he has shown and if he can be the Browns' QB of the future:

"I try to stay in the moment more so than the decision makers, should I say. He has had a good week of practice. We will be ready to try and just match the intensity of a really good Dallas defense. They are a really good football team. Their defensive unit is led by (Cowboys LB) Sean Lee, No. 50, and they play hard."

On further assessing Kessler to see if he could be the Browns' franchise QB moving forward:

"Cody, he has a natural instinct and awareness in the pocket that gives him a chance to just make the – how can I put it without saying he is a good game manager – but just to stay on schedule and make the plays within the play call. That is something that is rare for young quarterbacks, just his poise, his toughness, his overall field vision, and then once again those instincts that he has in the pocket."

On the impact WR Corey Coleman's return can have on the Browns offense:

"Wow, he is a guy that can score the ball. You can throw him a short pass and he can run a long way with it a long way with the ball. He is a playmaker. That is the one thing that this offense, (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson's offense relies on, just guys making plays, in particular the big plays. That is what we need more of."

On Coleman may be slightly rusty or if he can pick up where he started:

"He is fast. He is fast, and he was fast when he played against Baltimore, and I feel like he is even faster now. Over the past however long it was that he was not able to go out and play with his teammates, he has been working hard with (senior offensive assistant) Coach Al (Saunders) to stay on top of the playbook. He has prepared himself from week to week as if he was playing so that can only help him to be able to make that transition back to the playing field."

On how Coleman is faster now than before the hand injury:

"I don't know. We haven't had him run a 40-yard dash. He just to the naked eye appears to be just as fast and even more explosive than he was the last time that we watched him play in practice."

On what the Browns saw on film from LB Jamie Collins Sr. when preparing to play the Patriots:

"I even made this point to our offensive unit during that week of preparation that he was one of the most underrated defensive players in the National Football League. Over the past three years, the previous three years, I was on a team that faced that Patriots defense several times a year. He is a guy that can change a game as a defensive player, and those guys are rare. He can play on all three levels of the defense. He can rush the passer, he can cover your backs out of the backfield and of course, he can fit in there and stop the run. If you detach a tight end, even some receivers, he can cover those guys out in space. With all that being said, he has bad intentions when he gets to the ball carrier. He has had a lot of success against the teams that unfortunately I was a part of in the past that faced him."

On if the Browns offense is catching a break with Cowboys DBs Morris Claiborne and Barry Church out due to injury:

"No, we are not catching a break at all. That is a good Dallas defense. They have guys ready to play."

On why the Cowboys defense has been so successful this year:

"I think part of it is when you look at all three phases of their team, they are a good football team. They play complementary football. They are one of the better rushing teams in the National Football League, and that always helps the defense to stay fresh. (Cowboys defensive coordinator) Coach (Rod) Marinelli has done a great job of just making sure that those guys play hard with great intensity and get to the ball. They get to the ball as well as anybody that we have played. They swarm on defense, and they do an overall good job of playing complementary defense, and they play complementary football as a team."

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