Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil
"Looking back to last week in the Oakland game, obviously a frustrating loss for us, too inconsistent on defense in the run game and then when we get presented with third-and-long opportunities, we have to be able to get off the football field. Looking ahead to this week, I like the focus where we've been in the meeting room. We had a good practice yesterday, a good walkthrough. I know I speak for the coaches and the players when I can say we have a lot of respect for this offensive scheme in San Diego we're going against this week and their players on the offensive side of the ball. It'll be a good challenge for us and should be a good game."
On the Browns' missed tackles being the most troubling aspect of the defense, according to Head Coach Mike Pettine:
"That's one of the things. We have to be more consistent with our tackling. I have to do a better job putting guys in position where they can make plays in space, but yeah, that's something we need to improve on."
On how teams improve tackling when there is no live tackling in practice:
"I think you have to bring a mindset every single play, that's one. No. 2 is the way you finish each play on the practice field, you can finish in a good football position – bend at the end, we talk about tagging off at the hip, that way you're in position to put your chest on the ball carrier and wrap and drive for five (yards) and tackle a guy when you actually are in a live situation. It's something we've worked every day as a defense. If you look at the first five minutes of our individual, we're usually always working on tackling. We just have to continue working it. We'll get better at it. We have good coaches. It'll be a point of emphasis for us."
On personally taking some responsibility for last week's performance:
"Yeah, I'm always going to be my toughest critic. Those guys know if they mess up, I call them out, and if I mess something up or don't put them in a great position to make a play, I'll be the first to take the blame. It starts with me. I have to do better. If I'm better, they'll do better. I have no problem [taking responsibility]. I'm not going to be a finger pointer. I'm always going to start with myself, and I hope those guys respect that,"
On if he was aware DB Joe Haden injured his ribs on the first play:
"I didn't know it happened on the first play until after the game."
On Haden's performance with the rib injury:
"Obviously, when one of your better players leaves the game, you have to kick into some emergency game modes, which I thought we did a great job as a staff communicating and adjusting on the run there. I was proud of how Joe came back from that and finished the game for us."
On DB Pierre Desir's performance Sunday:
"I thought he was very solid."
On if the defensive's struggles against the run are alarming, given the defense was supposed to be the cornerstone of the Browns:
"I'm not going to sit here and say that we still can't be the cornerstone of all this and we still can't do that. We have to be consistent and not give up that one big play. The numbers are what they are, but when you allow a 48-yard rush or whatever it was, you can't do that. You have to be consistent every single play. You can't be consistent for 28 plays or 29 plays and play good football and then for one or two runs, you give up a 20-yard run and a 40-yard-something urn. That's what kills you. Usually, you can deal with one guy getting a minus on a play or something but, when it happens when you're playing solid football, and then all of a sudden you get a play and three or four guys get a minus on it and you miss a tackle, that's what's going to happen. You have to bring it every single play. I have to bring it every single play. I have to put guys in position to make the play. I like where we're going. I'm confident in our players. I'm confident in myself. I'm confident in our coaches. I'm not willing to say that we're not going to be a good defense or we're not going to stop the run. I know the first three weeks are what they are. We're moving ahead, and we're looking forward to San Diego."
On making changes to improve the run defense:
"Couple things. The foundation of our scheme is the foundation of our scheme. It's been very successful on both the run and the pass. Like I said, I have to do a better job and we have to do a better job being more consistent."
On DB Donte Whitner's performance and missed tackles:
"He's missed a couple tackles. I think that he's very hard on himself, also. He's also done a lot of great things for us in the run game and in the pass game. He's been very focused, locked in. I think he's very excited to get back out on the field Sunday."
On potentially replacing Whitner with DB Ibraheim Campbell:
On switching LB Paul Kruger to strong side OLB:
"We thought he could help our defense when we were in base a little bit better at the SAM linebacker position. Obviously, the injury to Scott Solomon earlier in the year caused us to shuffle some things around."
On if it will be different when LB Scott Solomon returns:
"We'll evaluate that when it happens."
On when Solomon will return:
"I don't know. You'd have to ask Pett or the trainers about that. I know he's working his butt off to try and get back as soon as he possibly can. I know he's out of the boot, which is a big step. He's starting to do some running. As far me giving you a timetable, that's probably above my pay grade."
On if it was tough to move Kruger when he led the Browns in sacks last year:
"We only really moved him in base defense. You play over 60 percent in sub-defenses in today's NFL. Is it probably costing him five to 10 more opportunities to rush the passer? Yeah. But is it better for us defensively right now? Yeah, and we're going to do what we feel we need to do to win football games."
On it looking like Whitner has gotten old fast:
"I wouldn't agree with that. He's missed a couple tackles. I wouldn't say he's 'getting old, fast.' He's still one of our best player son defense. He's our leader on defense. We're going to roll with Donte Whitner guys. OK? (laughter)."
On DL Danny Shelton's responsibility in the run defense and his performance:
"Danny's done a really nice job. Like I told you guys – I got criticized for saying it last week – we've done some good things in the run game. It's just we have to be consistent throughout the entire game so we're not giving up those one or two long-yarders. Everybody just looks at the end result, which is fine and I understand that, but I do see improvement there. Like I said, it's my job to put the guys in better position to make plays, it's my job to create the scheme and then it's the players' job to execute that. I need to be better and we'll move on from there."
On if Shelton has gotten the number of double teams he expected:
"We're not getting hit in the middle, guys. Those big runs aren't coming through the A gap."
On who won the defensive belt this week:
"There were a number of guys that had two tags this week so they're kind of rolling it. Obviously, we prefer that number to be up to five or six tags so we have one clear winner. I think (DB Johnson) Bademosi was one; (DL) Randy Starks had two. I'm leaving out two guys so I probably shouldn't have named anybody, but there it was four or five guys that all had two so they're rolling with it by day."
On considering only distributing the belt after wins:
"No because it's a reward for guys being special on a play. It's them doing something unselfish, sacrificing their body, showing great effort on a particular play."
On the approach to San Diego's offense, given the state of their offensive line:
"Like I said, it's an offense I have a lot of respect for. The head coach (Mike McCoy) and offensive coordinator (Frank Reich) do a great job so I'm sure they'll have a good plan in place to protect what's going on there at the offensive line or simplify it. I would anticipate them probably running the ball more, getting the ball out quicker than maybe what they've been. (QB) Philip Rivers has been pretty damn good for a long time running the show and doing his thing back there so I don't see them changing too much. The guys that they promoted are guys that they're either familiar with from other teams who know the system or guys that have been on their practice squad. It's not like they're just bringing in guys who have no idea what's going on with that offensive scheme off the street. It's guys that at least know it. They have a foundation in it."
On entering the next game with injuries, specifically among DBs:
"Injuries are a part of the game. You have to roll with what you have. I feel like we've put together a good gameplan based off of the guys that were healthy. Like I said, they've got guys hurt; we've got guys hurt. It's who can adjust and do the best on Sunday."
On Chargers RB Melvin Gordon:
"I think he's special. He's a really good football player. He's doing a really good job running the ball, runs hard. He's got make-you-miss ability. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. I know we were high on him here. He's a very good football player."
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo
"It is good to see everybody out here again. Tough game this past weekend, obviously. We put ourselves in a hole early offensively. We just came out out of sync. It was on everybody. It was one me, mostly. I need to do a better job at the beginning of the game. There is no doubt about it. I need to do a better job. I didn't do a good of job as I could of. A lot of what you saw out there was on me. It wasn't on our players. Bottom line is I need to do a better job.
"I am looking forward to regrouping and flying out to San Diego and play another good opponent. We are looking forward to get back on the field."
On if means the play calling is on him when he says the game was on him last week:
"There were three play calls that I really didn't like early. There were three in the run game. I put our guys in a bad position on three plays that I need to do better."
On if QB Josh McCown was rusty in the first half:
"I wouldn't say he was rusty. I would say he was pressing a little bit, maybe, and overthinking some things. We had a read there that he missed, the one to Hawk (WR Andrew Hawkins) over the middle in man coverage that could have been a big play. For the two or three throws that he missed early, he made up for about five or six later in the game. The touchdown throw to (TE Gary) Barnidge, we missed a block up front and we had (Raiders DE) Khalil Mack coming free on him. He made a fantastic play. For the ones he missed earlier in the game, I thought he made up for two-fold later in the game"
On if the 18-yard catch and run by RB Duke Johnson Jr. was reminiscent of him in college:
"Absolutely. Absolutely. On that play – I told the players this – when I saw Duke do that, there was no doubt in anyone's mind on our sideline that we were going to win that football game. From seeing our players, they were really into at that point. That is the mindset you want to see from your guys at that point when the game is tight, you are driving to win the game, you get the ball on the 2-yard line and you have to drive 98 to win the game. That is the mindset you want to see your players in."
On Johnson Jr. start to the season as it relates to coming back from his injury and missing time in the preseason:
"I think it is a combination of a lot of those things you just mentioned. I challenged Duke after Week 1 to play faster. The thing I really like about Duke, he is not where he is going to be this week, next week. He is a guy that is going to keep getting better each week and he knows that he getting better each week. You see him getting better each week. He has become a more viable force for us in the passing game. You see him running it faster. I think a lot of it has to do with just being a rookie and adjusting to the speed of the game because he lacked those preseason snaps."
On the OL being built more for a zone-read system and compared to a power running game:
"Our run, as I have said since I have gotten here, really didn't change much. It really didn't. Have we added a few wrinkles? Sure, but without a few wrinkles on a few plays here and there, the verbiage is still the same, the line calls up front are still the same. Now, the pass game is much, much different. From an offensive line standpoint, from the schematics of it are fairly similar to what has been run here in the past."
On the lack of production from the running game:
"I think it is a couple things. I think there are a lot of onesies. The run game, to me, where we are right now, we need to have some confidence early. I feel like I had a big reason to why that didn't happen last week. I take ownership for that. We're going to be much better this week. We are going to do a few things different this week and we're going to see if they work for us. I am not going to tell you what, but we are going to try some new things."
On his take on the TMZ story:
"I don't read TMZ. I have a lot of respect for TMZ, but I really don't read TMZ. I didn't read the story to be quite honest with you. The thing I did read though was I read (OL) Joe Thomas' response and I read (WR) Andrew Hawkins' response. To me, those guys hit the nail on the head of what is really going on in this building right now and in our offensive meeting room."
On a difference in WR Dwayne Bowe this week as compared to last:
"Yes, absolutely. I thought he had his best practice of the year yesterday."
On expecting Bowe to play Sunday:
"I am going to let (Head) Coach (Mike Pettine) decide that, the inactives. I am going to let the coach decide that and we will roll from there."
On defining 'onesies':
"I am sorry, the onesies are just one guy not doing his job. Whether that be me with the wrong play call, whether that be missing a block at the point of attack, not getting to the second level, a back on the goal line missing a hole, those type of things when I say one guy. I wouldn't say as a cohesive unit we are playing bad on the offensive line. I just think we are having one breakdown and that is the nature of offensive football. When you have one guy breakdown, the play is not going to be successful. To where it is much, much different than defensive football. If a guy doesn't get in his gap, there are a lot of times there is a linebacker there or a safety there to make a play behind him. That is not the case in offensive football. That is the challenging and fun part of coaching on offense is that you have to get 11 guys running in sync and doing what you need them to do."
On hearing three players were anonymously quoted about personnel:
"I don't deal with anonymous sources. I don't believe anonymous sources. I don't give much credit to anonymous sources. To me, that is cowardly."
On being 100 percent confident McCown is the guy to lead the Browns after Sunday's loss:
"He is. He is. There is no doubt in my mind that Josh is. He had a really, probably, below-average, I wouldn't say poor, but below-average first quarter and a half. He recognizes that and we all recognize that. There is no one that feels worse about it than Josh McCown. I can tell you that right now. There is no one that is preparing better to make sure that doesn't happen this week against the Charges than Josh McCown. If you turn on that tape, there are a lot of plays that he made, a lot of plays he made and a lot of throws he made. Every quarterback in every game has plays that he wishes he could have back, but Josh is our guy."
On expecting TE Gary Barnidge's performance on Sunday:
"I have been really impressed with Gary since the day I got here. We have asked Gary to do a lot of different things as you know, especially when we had some injuries early in the season. Gary was asked to be in the backfield. Gary was asked to be at the point of attack. Gary was asked to be at the wing. He was asked to be at a bunch of different spots in our offense and did well at all of them. The fact of the way he prepares, it doesn't surprise me that he is playing as well as he is. As an offensive staff and our players on offense really trust Gary to do the right thing and catch the football. I think because of that and the way Gary has worked he is getting a lot of opportunities."
On what QB Austin Davis has shown him in practice:
"Austin was a guy I really liked coming out of college. Austin has gotten a lot physically bigger and stronger since his time at Southern Miss. I have been really impressed with his arm strength. He has a very, very good quarterback presence to him. He has some juice to him. He really does. He commands presence. You know when he is the room. That is a big, big piece of playing that position. The way he has come in and picked up the offense and done what we have asked him to do has been very, very impressive."
On where he would have liked McCown to throw the ball on his last throw of the game against Oakland:
"I think both places to go with the football wouldn't have been wrong. Josh got caught flat footed. He didn't get clean. He didn't even feel it until after the game until he watched the tape. He goes, 'I didn't even realize I got caught flat footed.' I think if he realized that he lost his feet he would have gone to Duke on the play. We had Gary as the first progression across the middle. In 2 Tampa, the WILL linebacker reads the quarterback's eyes and he squeezed Gary. If you get back there late, Duke Johnson is running what we call an 'M' route, which is right down the top of the numbers, which basically replaces the WILL linebacker where he vacated from. Josh's decision wasn't wrong. He got caught flat footed and he threw it a little bit late. I think that was the problem with that read. Those are things we have talked about and he has fixed."
On if McCown's attempting 49 passes was not the formula going into the game:
"That is not the formula. I would like to be as balanced as we can. People have asked me what my percentage is for run to pass. I don't give them an answer because it is going to change weekly and depending on the situation in the game. As we all know, each game is its own season. We are going to do what we have to do to win the football game. In a perfect world, would I love to be 50/50? Sure, but it is not going to work out like that. We jumped to a big lead against Tennessee and we ran the football. Last week, we got behind and we threw the football. Who knows what is going to happen Sunday? Our plan is to go in and be much, much more balanced than we were this past week."
On his message to RB Isaiah Crowell and if he has challenged him:
"I wouldn't say challenge. I don't think effort is ever an issue for Crow. To me, when I challenge guys a little bit, it is because I don't think there mind is in it and they are not giving their max effort. That has never been an issue with Crow. I just think Crow is still a young back. He really is. He is still a young back, and he is going to miss some holes. He regrets missing that hole on the goal line. I know he does. When we get going down here, I see Crow improving greatly."
On explaining the Davis contract extension:
"My take on it is that we got another good young quarterback in our locker room. That is all I am reading into it. I am glad Austin is here."
On the impact of former offensive line coach Andy Moeller's departure during the first three weeks and hiring assistant offensive line coach Paul Dunn:
"I think whenever you lose a coach, there is going to be a little bit of change. Sometimes that change is positive. Sometimes, more likely, that change needs some time to take place and get used to and those things. We added Paul who is a veteran (offensive) line guy. He has coached in the NFL and is going to bring some good ideas to the table. I can't tell you how much – I can't tell you are struggles running the football are on Andy Moeller. To me, that is not that case. That is not the case at all. It is a lot on me and some spots here and there. We are glad Paul is here. He is going to be great for our staff and he is going to be great to help out (assistant offensive line coach) George (DeLeone). Like I said last week or two weeks ago, I have all the faith in the world in George DeLeone."
On how QB Johnny Manziel has handled being the No. 2 QB:
"Johnny has been great. He has been great. Is he disappointed? Absolutely. I want guys that are going to be disappointed when they are not playing. I want guys that are going to be a little upset when they don't get the football. That doesn't bother me. That doesn't bother me at all. As long as it doesn't upset the team, that doesn't bother me one bit. I want competitive guys on our offensive side of the ball."
On where he expects his No. 2 QB to stand during games:
"The points that we made to Josh and to Johnny were made – the beauty of the communication now in the NFL is that I can press my button, and all the quarterbacks have an ear piece in there and I can talk to them all on the field no matter where they are. I don't turn around much during the game and look behind me. The few times I did, Johnny was probably about right here (points very closely to himself). That is the beauty of the communication now in the NFL is that you can talk to all those guys."
On creating a package of plays for Manziel:
"Sure. That is always a possibility. That is always a possibility. To say that we don't have plays ready for Johnny Manziel against the San Diego Chargers, I would be lying to you. I would be lying to you. You never know. We may use him. We may not. That is the competitive advantage of showing up and playing an opponent on Sunday. We don't know what they are going to do, and they don't know what we are going to do."
On understanding fans' frustration with Bowe:
"Sure, I can see where there would be some people – I wouldn't say taking offense to that – but looking at those statements and a guy that unfortunately got injured and couldn't play because he got injured. I was just thrilled that Dwayne had probably his best practice of the year yesterday. I am glass half full guy. That is the way I am looking at it."
On why Bowe was inactive Sunday:
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor
"Just getting ready for San Diego. Obviously, there are some things we need to clean up from the previous week and today got some more install in the game plan. Hopefully, that goes well. We'll see where we're at, head on out and then play a good San Diego Chargers special teams unit. We need to play better in our area."
On if DB Justin Gilbert was out of place on the WR Travis Benjamin's punt return fumble:
"No, he's supposed to be there. He's trying to block the corner there. He didn't bump into him or anything. He's doing a good job. Travis still had enough room there. It's a ball obviously Travis would say he needs to handle."
On attempting to block the punt that resulted in a roughing penalty:
"We got a lot of people to the football. Obviously, it didn't work out for us, the end result, but it was one of those situations that it looked like a return. They were getting out awfully fast, and that happens when you have big returns the previous week, the coverage teams usually get out a little faster. We elected to show return and go after it. Obviously, didn't get it but we have to do a better job of staying off the punter. When you're going for it you either get it or you don't, and that's the world of special teams."
On how many players attempted to block the punt:
"Three, almost four. A couple of their guys turned around and looked back as they were going down the field because they knew they got out a little fast. Just an unfortunate play. If we had to call it again, we'd do it again."
On the Raiders punt ruled down at the 2-yard line:
"It was a huge call, close call. That's why we challenged it. It was awfully close so you have to go with the officials, how they ruled it."
On if it was so close it was impossible to overturn:
"Yeah, it was awful close. I don't think there was probably clear cut evidence. You could probably make an argument either way. You just have to play how it goes."
On who will step in for LB Craig Robertson:
"A host of guys. The nice thing is all throughout OTAs, this is kind of the special teams world of if someone goes down this is where you've been training guys all spring, all training camp. Even though our roster has been somewhat fluid, we've had the majority of the same guys so it's next man up. It'll be different guys that'll do it, but I have great confidence in the players that will fill those roles."
On Benjamin's comments that may have been hit on the fumbled punt return:
"He wasn't hit. No."
On if he spoke to Benjamin about it:
"No, I didn't ask him. I would say this: unfortunately, we had a muffed punt. Those are plays that cannot happen and Travis will also be the first one to tell you, and I'll tell you – we talked about his returns the previous week – it was an unfortunate event. He's going to be our punt returner, no doubt about it. Gilbert was working hard to keep the single gunner off of him, but in those situations, the ball was high from (Raiders P) Marquette King. He made an immediate fair catch, which was good. He was square on the ball. He just pulled his eyes a little bit. Good news for that – that's an easy fix. He came out yesterday and caught the ball real well in windy conditions. Travis will be just fine."
On if anyone from the other team hit Benjamin:
"No, no one hit him. Were there people close by? Sure, it's a bang-bang play. It's a lot of people coming down. At the end of the day, he was clean."
On if a 76-yard net punt is a record for him.
"Yes. Yes, in fact, this week they said that there will be no blimps over Qualcomm (Stadium) because their punter (Chargers P Mike) Scifres, also, he's an Andy Lee type punter that bangs away. This weekend, it'll be a great dual between both punters, but no I've never been a part of a 76-yard net."