Browns coordinators press conference - 9/30


Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor:**

Opening statement:

"The Washington Redskins have a lot of good players on special teams. They have an exciting punt returner – the (Redskins WR Jamison) Crowder kid is averaging 21 yards per punt return. They are third in the league. We have a big challenge for us with our punt coverage with (P Britton) Colquitt, our gunners and those type of things. They have some good corps players in (Redskins TE) Niles Paul and some other really good ones – (Redskins S) David Bruton (Jr.), who has been a special teams player in the league for a long time. He is playing defensively, but he is also playing a lot of special teams. We have our work cut out for us. We need to continue to get better. We saw some good signs last week but not where we want to be. We are working at it this week."

On K Cody Parkey's first full week of practice with the Browns:

"He has had a really good week. He really has. I am excited for him to go into this game and have a lot of confidence in him. To be honest with you, selfishly, I hope the game comes down to a game-winning field goal because I believe when we trot him out there that he will make it. I really do. He has had a great week of practice."

On the complexity of coordinating snap, hold and kick with a FG unit and how much that factored into Parkey's missed FGs at Miami:

"It is hard, but at the same time, if you had an opportunity to talk with Cody, he is not an excuse-maker. The guy has been to a Pro Bowl. He is an excellent, excellent kicker. Tough circumstances for him. Those things can be tough because you are thinking snap, hold and kick, getting the rhythm, when is the ball coming out, when do I approach the ball and still striking it the way that you want to. It has obviously been nice to have this week to iron all those things out. What I have seen from him this week is the Cody Parkey that we know and watched on tape."

On if he had to convince Head Coach Hue Jackson to give Parkey another opportunity this week:

"No, he is a good football player. In this league, you don't go to a Pro Bowl and hit the ball the way that this kids does [if you aren't]. It was tough circumstances, and he will be the first to tell you that he is ready to jump back on the horse again and go. I'm excited to watch him this weekend. In other areas, he played really well – six touchbacks and the one that they did bring out, I think it was 5 or 6-yards deep, it had a 4.2 (second) hang and we tackled inside the 25. People talk about the misses, but the other things that he was doing were outstanding."

On the missed FGs going left:

"A little fast coming around the ball a little bit. That is a timing thing, also. If he hits them like he was this week, which I expect him to do, he has had a great week. I am looking forward to it. I think he has definitely fixed that."

On reports that he was disappointed the Browns didn't sign former Bears K Robbie Gould:

"Not true. No, there is not truth to that. There are a lot of good football players out there. There is no doubt about it. Our scouting department does an outstanding job. When we visit with our scouts and our front office, we decide on a player. We have a really good young player who has been to a Pro Bowl, gets great lift on the ball, bangs touchbacks and can place the ball directionally. He is good. I heard about the reports. I don't think anything of them. I have moved onto Washington and am excited to watch our guy, the guy that is here perform for us at a winning level."

On the Browns' options at punt return, given WR Corey Coleman is out and DB Tramon Williams Sr.'s injury:

"We have (DB Jordan) Poyer, we have (RB) Duke Johnson (Jr.), we have (DB) Joe Haden and we have some guys in the stable."

On the Browns' punt return production and how to get it started and improved:

"You get it started when you have opportunities. Obviously, sometimes it is dictated by where they punt from. We need to eliminate some penalties. In the Baltimore game, I think we had one punt return and one opportunity and we had 13 yards on that. Last week, Jordan got about a 15-yard return and we had a penalty, which obviously negates that. Those are the things that we have been working on fundamentally to get that going. I find it like this: You don't press the panic button. You just keep working through it, and when you get chances, we have to take advantage of them. We have been on the aggressive side also of going after people. (WR Rashard) Higgins almost came through the other day on a nice up and under for the block. We are trying to do some other things, also, as opposed to just saying return, return, return. We are also coming after you, too."

On how K Patrick Murray's injury occurred:

"We kick on Friday, and it was just an unfortunate event, obviously. He just kind of went to plant there and just kind of tweaked it. I feel awfully bad for him because he was battling back from injury and had a great preseason. I believe that he is an awfully good kicker, also. It is just one of those things. It was a very unfortunate event that we didn't see coming."

On if the Browns have identified a high-level corps special teams player, similar to former Browns and Lions DB Johnson Bademosi:

"We are trying to develop those type of players at this time. I don't think at this time as of today we have that, but we are getting there. I am seeing some good signs by some young players that when you really hone in on the tape, I thought they got better from the Baltimore game to last week's game. I hope I see that again this week – the (WR) Ricardo Louis, the (LB Dominique) Alexanders of the world, the (DL Tyrone) Holmes, the (RB George) Atkinsons (III). Guys are making progress."

On if Jackson spends a lot of time speaking with him about field position prior to deciding to kick in OT:

"Coach has a great – the plan he had was exactly right. I was right with him. Our defense was playing great. No doubt about that. My suggestion to him, I just tell him, if he wants to kick off, which way to go. I give him that information."


Defensive coordinator Ray Horton:**

Opening statement:

"Before I started with the questions, I just wanted to make two announcements. Both of them are kind of reflective of I think me as a coach. One is the passing of Arnold Palmer. I had the great pleasure of meeting him a number of times. He was always very gracious to me. He had an uncommon touch of spending an uncommon amount of time with people who are ordinary people and made you feel very, very special. I was fortunate enough to play a number of times at his golf course at Latrobe, and it was always an honor to be on his course and just the legacy that he brought to the game of golf and really to me how I hope to treat people that I meet out in the public. If they are taking the time to talk to me, I want to take the time to listen and talk back to them. He had a great influence on me hopefully reflecting towards people.

"Then the second thing is kind of a confluence that we are going to Washington. I started my career with the Redskins. I'm kind of a history buff, and one of the places that has really touched me, hopefully as a person, is Arlington National Cemetery. If you guys have ever had the chance to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch what is on display there is truly amazing to watch those soldiers stand guard over the tomb and what they do, the precision. There is a creed that they have and I copied it because I couldn't recite it by knowledge, but it is the third U.S. infantry regiment and they are called The Old Guard. It is called The Sentinel's Creed. When I was there, I studied it. I read it, and it really touched me. I don't want to do it disservice, but it reflected on me or it meant something to me as a coach, a young coach in Washington, just the words and what I try to really instill as a coach. Again, it is The Sentinel's Creed: 

My dedication to this sacred duty

is total and whole-hearted.

In the responsibility bestowed on me

never will I falter.

And with great dignity and perseverance

my standard will remain perfection.

Through the years of diligence and praise

and the discomfort of the elements,

I will walk my tour in humble reverence

to the best of my ability.

It is he who commands the respect I protect,

his bravery that made us so proud.

Surrounded by well-meaning crowds by day,

alone in the thoughtful peace of night,

this soldier will in honored glory rest

under my eternal vigilance.

 "It meant something to me. My father was in the military. When I read it and when I watch what they do out there and read the creed, it is what I wanted to do as a coach. I wanted to respect the integrity of the league and the players and really the fans. Just with the passing of Arnold and then going to Washington this week, it all kind of hit me of just who I am and who I want to be as a coach.

"With that, do I think Joe Haden will play? Really to me, it goes back to the, I guess, how small we are. When you look at this country and everything that is going on with all the issues and everything, Washington D.C. has always been a special place to me because just the power of the buildings and city and what it represents and our country.

"So football. Joe Haden. Yes we hope to have Joe, whether it is on a limited basis or a 60-play game, we expect him and we hope for him to play."

On citing a family member's service to the country and the honor and seriousness that is evident at fellow servicemen's and servicewomen's funerals:

"It is. It's touching. Really for me, the sacrifices that our servicemen make and to watch those guys come rain, snow, hail, it doesn't matter. They are out there guarding what really our whole freedom is based on – young men and women sacrificing their lives so we can live and play and enjoy what we have. Appreciate that."

On the emotions expressed by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and others:

"For me, it is two-sided. The love of the country and what it is based on and also really the right to protest peacefully. If you get into history lessons of people, it doesn't matter if they are men or women or they are white or black and the whole spectrum goes in there and the U.S. Constitution and the Pledge of Allegiance and the words that are written. If you go to Washington DC and the Jefferson Memorial, Jefferson writes about the Constitution. He talks about, really if you read it, there is a passage in there about really the ability to change with the circumstances. I think that is what this country has done over the years, whether you look at women's right to vote, the civil rights, the country has always been in flux and in change. I think it strives to be a nation from many, one. That is what it is really based upon. Are we perfect? I don't think so, but I think that really the foundation of this country is a bunch of immigrants coming over and trying to make this the best country that we could, not perfect but good."

On the challenges Redskins QB Kirk Cousins presents:

"Their offensive team as we look at them is very talented all over the place, from their receivers from (Redskins WR) DeSean Jackson up the field, you look at (Redskins WR) Pierre Garcon underneath being whether you call him a possession receiver or not but a savvy veteran. (Redskins WR Jamison) Crowder, he is a punt returner, he is a slot receiver. He took a low, screen pass 45-55 yards last week. They are talented. Their offensive line is very talented. (Redskins TE Jordan) Reed is probably the hottest tight end going right now in the league. Then Kirk Cousins, obviously, I think his performance last year warranted a huge contract. He is probably on their standard by their statistics struggling a little bit in the red zone but nowhere else. They are the No. 2 passing team in the league. They present challenges all across the board. If I didn't mention their offensive line – I know they have two injuries on there – but they are a very athletic line. This offense, I believe they are rated fifth in the league right now and they are playing like it. They are moving up and down the field. For us, it presents a challenge really on all three levels to stop the run, to try to make them one-dimensional and then handle really one of the top passing games in the league right now."

On if LB Corey Lemonier and DL Tyrone Holmes will receive more reps this week, given LB Nate Orchard's injury:

"Yeah, just we are trying to play every guy on our team for the most part, and obviously, with the injuries, we are going to play everybody. I think that is a common theme all season long, it will be, and playing the hot hand. We are trying to develop quality players that are going to take this franchise where it wants to go, and when you get production from young players who really were not on our team to start the training camp, it is encouraging. The challenge is can you do it two weeks in a row? Can you do it all season? We are trying to find those players that are young, budding franchise players, meaning cornerstones for us to build upon and play well week in and week out."

On how Lemonier and Holmes played last week and their strengths:

"We get in on defense – and it really comes down to on defense, do you make enough plays to help you win the game? Well, we did not win the game so we did not make enough plays. We need to make one more play. They did contribute to put us in the position, but we did not ultimately get that done. Right now, they are still learning the nuances of the game, and we are trying to get them just to rush the quarterback and understand. I'm calling the game a little bit different because of the different amount of players we have in and I'm trying to learn what they do best so we are still learning that. As you watch, we are doing a lot of things out there. They are subtle things, and you have to I guess understand the nature of what we are trying to do with disguise packages, blitzes and zones and mans, and I'm trying to keep offenses off balance and also learn our guys and put them in the best position. Sometimes, it is as simple as just calling Cover 2, and sometimes, it is as simple as just blitzing them."

On Head Coach Hue Jackson's statement that the team cannot run the type of offense that he fully envisions yet and if the same can be said for the defense:

"Yeah, I would think so. It wasn't a wise American, but there was a wise man that once said, 'It is not in holding the greatest cards. It is how you play them.' You have to play the cards you are dealt. I go back to (Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach) Don Shula, the great Miami Dolphins coach, when they got (Pro Football Hall of Fame QB) Dan Marino all of the sudden he said, 'Well, let me just throw this ball.' (Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach) Joe Gibbs ran the ball with (Pro Football Hall of Fame RB) John Riggins. I think you adapt to what you have and you don't try to fit players into what you want to be. You allow yourself to do what your players do best, Yeah, I think on both sides of the ball we are trying to play to our strengths and let our players win the game for us and not try to be smart and outcoach somebody. We just want to outplay them."

On if he appreciates when a head coach kicks off to start OT as a defensive coordinator:

"(Laughter) Yeah, you know, I think when you look at your analytics chart there is a theory, a philosophy, a numbers, a percentage on everything probably in football from kicking off, heads or tails on the coin toss, to kicking or receiving at the end. Sometimes, it is also a feel, and I think Coach Hue probably felt 'Well, the defense was playing well at the end of the game, and if we get a stop, a punt and good field position…' We always want to be out there, we really do. Obviously, you want to be out there with a lead, but I think competitors want to be out there when the game is on the line and 'Put the ball in my court. Let me take the shot. Let me be the guy making the last putt, like the young man at the Ryder Cup.' Those are situations that you want to be in. You really do."

On DL Danny Shelton's progress:

"He is, hopefully for all of us, we want to be ascending. You want to get better every week. It is not to me that sprint where you have to be good today where you keep getting better. The nature of the game, whether it is a passing game or the zone schemes that people are running outside – they are not running the downhill Power Os – you can effectively limit his ability to impact the game because all you have to do is throw the quick passes outside or drop back or double team him. For Danny, he is doing what we want. Do we want him to be a leader? Yes. I think he is inside the building and the meeting rooms he is developing into that. A very bright young man, a very smart young man, we want him to be, as I said earlier, the cornerstone because he has natural God given ability to be that at his position. Now that position is obviously the closest to the ball, but it is also probably the furthest from the action once the ball is snapped."

On if the Browns defense is getting enough production from Shelton:

"He is giving us what he can right now, but like I said, sometimes it is a hidden production thing. It depends on how the game is going. Are they in what we call a – most colleges call them 11 – the three wide receiver package and more passing, and the runs that they do give us are the Denver Broncos stretch or press to the outside so they are really running away from him or they are passing and he has to fight the guard and the center. A lot of that position is really hidden production where they can't run it down the middle or when he does get his opportunity to get a sack or push the pocket, that is what we are looking for from him. Is he giving us what we want? Yes. Do we want more? Absolutely, we want more. We want to win."

On how tough it is to prepare for a player of WR Terrelle Pryor Sr.'s caliber:

"He had a remarkable game last Sunday. The first thing I thought of when I saw the stats, and you watch the game – I don't see the whole game from upstairs on offense – but he reminded me of (former Steelers QB) Kordell Stewart from Pittsburgh the slash part of running, throwing, catching. I was in Pittsburgh when he was at Jeannette High School and was a phenomenal football player and basketball player. They won the state championship in football and basketball. He is a tremendous athlete. Really all the credit to him that he can have the mental capacity to play quarterback, pass the ball, run the ball, run routes, and we put him in on defense on the last play of the half. That is kind of the talent he is in the league."

On what makes Redskins TE Jordan Reed tough to defend:

"Fantastic route runner, exceptional hands. He is a guy that can stretch the field down deep. When you watch him, they will split him out by himself as a wide receiver. It just goes back to that trend of these athletic (former Broncos TE and Hall of Famer) Shannon Sharpes that are really wide receivers in college that are playing tight end, who is really playing a flexed out or flexed in, depending on which way you want to look at it, wide receiver. Just the matchup of a big power forward playing football."

On if a team has to prepare for a read-option leading up to a game or if it is already built into the defense:

"You would hope in your offseason studies as we do – the Tennessee Titans, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Miami Dolphins, the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco with these athletic quarterbacks that run the read option – if you do your due diligence, you study them in the offseason because you know you are going to play them and you come up with a package. Now, let's say New England next week, they have gone through a quarterback position flux where they have run all kind of stuff. I have to look at all of that and figure out, 'Well, I know Tom Brady is going to play next week,' but you always do your diligence, your due diligence to say 'This is what they have,' what you are going to do and if it happens, off the cuff and they spring it on you, you have to have a plan in place. We had a plan way back in April, May, June, that we exposed our team to because we knew the teams that we would be playing this year."


Running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson:**

On RBs Isaiah Crowell's and Duke Johnson Jr.'s production last week:

"They are coming along really well. They both had really good outings last weekend. It is a part of the process. We are trying to develop our identity of who we are and how we are going to run the football. After the first quarter of the season, it is just starting to show the type of run game that we are going to have and our strengths within that run game. It is coming together nicely. Guys are doing a great job up front. Everyone is doing their part for the success of it."

On finding a balance between Crowell and Johnson:

"We think both of them are dual runners, meaning they can run between the tackles and they also have the ability to run outside of the tackles. They both have done a good job to this day. We are going to continue to work that are for both of them."

On if Crowell is more decisive this year and the most notable difference between this year and last year:

"The biggest difference is he is understanding. He is understanding where his eyes should be prior to the snap and he is understanding where his eyes should be post-snap. He is reading defenses a lot better because he understands it a lot better and he is training his eyes. He is mentally rehearsing throughout the week of what do I need to see for this play to be successful."

On if the Browns had a plan of how to split carries between Crowell and Johnson or if it is based on who has the hot hand:

"We knew we had two very capable runners when we first got here. Our plan was to develop both of them and see where it all falls at the end, provided that everyone stays healthy, of course, and then see where it goes from there. We are pleased with both Crowell and Duke in terms of their development and how they are running the football. They are violent, they are great finishers and we are excited to see where this thing goes."

On if he agrees with OL Joe Thomas' comment that there were a lot more rushing yards out there for the Browns:

"We all do. We are never satisfied. We want to be the best in the National Football League at running the football, and that takes 11 men to do it. You have to do it up front, obviously, you have to be great runners and you have to be great run blockers on the perimeter. It is a team effort, and everyone is trying to do their best."

On how changes in the middle of the Browns OL have impacted the running game:

"We really don't get concerned with that. We know we are going to coach whoever shows up to work, whoever is healthy and they all are going to get coached extremely well, and then everyone is expected to perform their duties to the best of their ability every snap."

On the added dynamic with WR Terrelle Pryor Sr. contributing to the running game:

"We think it is outstanding because he is a threat obviously as a passer, he is a threat as a runner and he brings a lot to the offense in terms of his ability and what he can do. It keeps the defense off balance, and we are going to take advantage of it."

On FB Malcolm Johnson's performance this season:

"He is working hard. He is trying to do the things we are asking him to do. He has his highs and lows, some inconsistencies, but he is working. He is a willing performer and he is capable. With Malcolm, it is all about fundamentals and it is all about technique, and if you have a bad play, move on. You can't change it. You have to identify what happened, fix it and then be ready for the next snap. He has done a very good job of that. I am pleased and we are pleased with where he is at right now. We are looking for big things from him throughout the rest of the year."

On challenges facing the Redskins defense:

"It is another long line of big, fast players on defense. They are big inside at the tackles. They are extremely gifted, athletic and fast at the defensive end position. Their linebackers run extremely well. Their safeties are two of the better tackling safeties we have faced so far. It is going to be a challenge. I know statistically it doesn't appear that they are very good but that can be very misleading, and we are very aware of that. We are not paying any attention to where they rank right now defensively. All of our focus and energy is on getting better as an offense and executing our assignments at the highest level."

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