Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo
"It is good to see everybody today. I appreciate everyone coming out. Obviously, a painful way to lose on Sunday. It is great to get back to work yesterday. I was really pleased with the guys' mindset on how they came out after such a tough loss. It would be really easy to come out slow and sulking, and our guys really attacked the day yesterday and I was really proud of that.
"I thought we had a lot of good individual efforts on Sunday. I was really pleased with the way (OL) Mitchel Schwartz and (OL) Joe Thomas played. I thought they had as good of games as they have had all year, especially Mitch, who drew the (Broncos LB) Von Miller assignment the majority of the day. To me, whenever you can eliminate – you could argue one of the best – at least one of the top five defensive players in the league, to an assisted tackle I think you have had a pretty good day. I was pleased with our plan for him. I thought (WR) Travis Benjamin played well. I thought (TE) Gary Barnidge played well.
"It is going to be another tough game on Sunday. Through the first six weeks, we have played the top three defenses in the league. This is another top-10 defense that we are drawing. We are excited for the opportunity to go on the road and win a football game.
"Both (Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine and (General Manager) Ray Farmer have issued statements about (QB) Johnny Manziel, and I am going to leave it at that. My main concern right now is getting our offense to play as good as we can against St. Louis."
On if QB Josh McCown is able to recover and move on from the type of letdown after the Denver game:
"From a coaching standpoint and from a player's standpoint, I think it is OK to be really hard on yourself the first 24 hours after a game, especially a game that took a lot out of us. It really did. I was pleased with the way Josh came out yesterday and prepared. He was ready to go and back to himself. You want your quarterback to be down and put a lot on himself. At the same time, you have to make sure and mange that it is not all on him."
On what McCown needed to do better against Denver:
"A lot of the things you saw Josh do were a product of the team we were playing. There was some push there and there were some guys in his face. They are doing that to every quarterback they are playing this year. They are forcing quarterbacks into bad decisions. I read some stat the other day where their kicker and defense had scored 80 percent of their points in the previous three games. I am not going to say Josh could have done anything better. Obviously, there are a couple bad situations that we put him into that you would have liked a different outcome, but I think a lot of what you saw Sunday was a product of the team we were playing."
On what the Rams do best defensively:
"To me, this is going to be another big-time front that we are going to see. They play a four-down front and there are five first-round draft picks in that group. They are going to rush the passer. They are going to be great at home. They play really fast on that turf at home. We are going to have to match their speed."
On if QB Austin Davis can help the Browns since he played for the Rams:
"Yeah, I think he can. I think in terms of snap counts, in terms of the types of protections schemes, the adjustments to the protections, the types of routes that they like on third down that maybe they haven't shown on tape yet so I think anytime you have player from another organization that has come in and knows that system and is fresh in that system. He joined us late. I think it is obviously a help for the defense. I know he has been up with Jimmy O' (defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil) and those guys a bunch this week."
On what RB Robert Turbin adds to the running game:
"I am still learning about Robert, but I really like what I see so far. I really do. I think he is a powerful runner. I think he is strong. The thing Robert has done that has impressed me the most is nothing that he has done on the field yet but the way he prepared himself when knew he wasn't playing. He was a true pro. That is why I think he is ready to play right now at a high level because he treated the weeks that he was out very much like he was going to be the starting running back for our football team. It just shows the maturity and professionalism of Robert from week to week."
On if McCown is a streaky QB:
"I wouldn't say Josh is streaky. Josh has played good football for us. Every once and a while, the defense is going to get you. They rolled into a coverage that we hadn't seen, they two-trapped us, we had a hitch called and that is an easy mistakes for the quarterback to make. All of sudden, you are throwing a hitch and the next thing you know, (Broncos CB) Aqib Talib is eight yards off and then the next thing you know, he is making a play on the ball and you are like, 'How did that just happen?' I think that was something that they schemed up on us that I thought they did a good job. Aqib has done that to a bunch of quarterbacks this year. I wouldn't say Josh is a streaky player. I would say Josh is a very consistent player. A lot of it was a product of the team we were playing."
On if he goes back and kicks himself over certain play calls, specifically OT series following the interception and the two-point conversion attempt:
"The first down call, I would love that back. What I was thinking was up until that point as the game progressed, they were over-shifting big time [to the] strong (side). We called that play I think later in the second quarter and we had gotten 8 yards on it. We had gotten around the edge and gotten 8 yards. I was playing the percentages of how they were playing us, and they came out in a different look. Unfortunately, it probably was the best play call that I could have had on or the safest play call. There are other plays calls that whatever they come out in, you are probably at worst going to get back to the line of scrimmage. You play second-and-10, second-and-9. They came out in a different defense than they had shown the whole game, and they got us. Sure, I would love to have that one back.
"The one on the two-point play, we had a pass with a run-check. We were going to run the ball if it was zone coverage. We were going to throw the ball if it was man coverage. Unfortunately, we had a mental error on that play and we didn't get the rub route to Travis Benjamin coming from the opposite side. Obviously, I didn't do a good enough job coaching that play during the week for us to have the best chance of success to execute it."
On if McCown had the ability to change the first down call in OT:
"It wasn't a check. It was a safe run. We had a hat for a hat. The angles of the play probably weren't the best, but we had a hat for a hat for the defense shown."
On if the second and third down plays in OT were a product of the Denver defense as he stated:
"Unfortunately, on the second down play, we missed a line gain that we had blocked up the third play of the game. Unfortunately, we missed it and had a guy come up the middle. Josh really didn't have much there. The third down call was third and forever. Josh saw a little crease and I think just tried to get north, and unfortunately, took a sack. That was a tough series of plays. I'll be the first one to admit that. I wasn't at my best."
On how OL Joel Bitonio is playing this season:
"Joel is playing really good football for us, really good football for us. Unfortunately, we have played so many good edge rushers so far this year that you are hearing a lot about (OL) Joe (Thomas) and (OL) Mitch (Schwartz) because they are playing pretty good against those guys for the most part. Joel is quietly having another really solid year for us. There is no doubt."
On if it is a mental or physical key to win close games:
"I think it is a little of both. I think it is a little of both. You have to be able to execute, to call the right play call, do the right thing, not have a mental error on a two-point play. I think it is a combination of a lot of things. I would not say, at least offensively – that is what I know; I am not going to comment for Jimmy O' – I don't think our guys are not mentally tough to finish games. I just think we just made a few mistakes that they capitalized on, and unfortunately, they came at a really bad time."
Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil
"I thought we took a step last week defensively. I thought the guys did a good job executing in some critical situations. Third down defense was good. I thought we did a good job in the red zone. Obviously, guys made plays. We had three interceptions. We had some big PBUs throughout the course of that game. It is a performance that by no means are we satisfied with – we know we can play better; we know we need to play better – but it's something as a defense we want to build on as a group and hopefully gain some momentum here going into this Sunday and then in the next few weeks."
On the plan for shutting down the Rams RBs:
"They're doing a good job running the football. Their offensive coordinator is very creative with the different run schemes that they're doing. They get the ball into a lot of guys' hands. It's not just (Rams RB Todd) Gurley – he's a dynamic back and he's electrified that offense since he's been back – they've got a stable: (Rams RB Tre) Mason, (Rams RB Benny) Cunningham, they use (Rams WR) Tavon Austin and rolls as a running back. It's going to be a challenge for our guys. We have to play with great eye discipline. We have to do a great job attacking the line of scrimmage. We have to do a great job tackling. They've got guys that are very good players in space. It's going to be a challenge. We've talked about it all week. We have to show up Sunday with the right mentality, and we have to execute."
On what makes Gurley so difficult to defend:
"He's big. He's strong. He breaks tackles. He's a good football player, a very good football player."
On if the Browns run defense is lacking the want-to or attitude to be successful:
"Anytime in any part of this game if you don't bring an attitude and a want-to, you can get embarrassed. You can get embarrassed as a player, you can get embarrassed as a coach. You have to bring it every Sunday, and usually, you have to have a great week and build momentum to get to Sunday. We talk to our guys about building that fire throughout the week. You have to get yourself ready to roll and ready to explode come Sunday when we kick off."
On if attitude has been an issue with the defense this year:
"I wouldn't say it's been an issue. I think that we need to be consistent with it for four quarter."
On the Broncos game-winning drive in overtime:
"They completed a couple balls on us underneath. They had the one run where they captured the edge. It was second-and-9, I took a shot, ran a pressure. They just out-executed us on the last drive. I thought the defense did a really good job in two-minute situations that game. I think we had three two-minute stops against arguably the best two-minute quarterback in the NFL or in the history of the NFL. We started overtime with a three-and-out and a turnover. We needed to close it out. We just needed one more drive. We needed to get off the field, and we did not."
On how much chemistry and playing as a unit factor into the issues with the defense:
"It has a role. We're not going to make excuses. That's what chemistry is. When you have a group of guys that are out there used to playing with each other, they're all on the same page when it comes to communication, and they can look at each other, they know what the other ones thinking, that helps. When a guy goes down and you have a backup in there, it doesn't go that smooth. We've had some communication issues that have hurt us, but like I said, that's our job as a coaching staff to get those guys ready to go. I think the coaches have done a great job with some of the backup guys that have gone in there and played. There's nobody that wants (DB) Joe Haden and (DB) Tashaun Gipson and (LB) Craig Robertson and those guys out there more than me, but that's not the case."
On DL Danny Shelton's role on the defense, his role in the base defense and playing his fewest snaps on Sunday:
"He's played more than just base defense – he's been a part of our sub-packages. We roll those guys. We were fortunate to have six guys up this past week so we rolled them to try and keep them fresh throughout the game. I don't get too caught up in the rep stuff. I know there are high expectations of Danny because he's a first round pick. He's doing a good job. I like the fact that he expect more from himself. We obviously set the bar pretty high for him. We were talking about (LB) Paul Kruger last week and then he ended up with 60 reps just because of the packages we ended up in. I'm not trying to avoid your question. I'm not worried about it."
On Shelton playing fewer snaps than he did in college and if it's going in a different direction than the past:
"No, that's not the case. We're very happy with Danny. Danny did have a couple injuries that were bothering him in that game that he was fighting through. Danny's fine. He's fine."
On why the Browns defense isn't as intimidating and what is missing from last year:
"I think that as the season got rolling last year, we got to the point where we had a pretty intimidating defense. I think we played pretty good defense last week, and I think it's something we're going to build on."
On if the Browns defense is getting to the QB as much as they would like:
"You always want to hit the quarterback and get more sacks. Last week, we were talking about the lack of interceptions – we got three. Sacks come in bunches. We're close. Guys are winning on pass rush, the ball is getting out. (Broncos QB) Peyton (Manning) did a great job last week of getting the ball out. We brought some pressure where we had free runners. We had some one-on-one pass rushers where guys won. He got rid of the ball. He's a damn good quarterback. He got it out. That stuff will come, but do I want our guys to win more? Do I want more free runners? And more quarterback hits? Absolutely, but I'm not panicked about that. I think Murph (communications manager Dan Murphy) told me we're at the same spot right now that we were last year at sacks, and I think we ended the year pretty good."
On LB Nate Orchard's performance in one-on-one battles:
"Good. He's getting better every week. I think that this past week was one of his better pass rush games. We're going to give him more opportunities this week."
On DB Tramon Williams on the Broncos long TD pass:
"I think Tramon probably got four or five deep balls thrown on him. He won on all of them except one. I think there were a lot of things we could have done better on that play. It's not on Tramon. Even with the catch, that should be a 30-yard gain. I can make a better call. There's other guys that can do a better job effecting the quarterback. We can get the guy on the ground. That's not just on Tramon. We put him out there on an island that game, we needed to. I think Tramon did a hell of a job."
On Williams' season so far:
"He's having a very good season. Some of the stuff we've asked him to do, play inside in the slot when (DB) K'Waun (Williams) was hurt and play outside, that's a lot harder than it sounds to do because your mentality changes. You're getting different kind of routes. Guys instead of having a two-way go on you now have a three-way go, you're playing against different players. He's done an unbelievable job for us this year. I don't know where we'd be without Tramon."
On comparing his second year as coordinator to his first as it relates to play calling and if defensive coordinators ever get in slumps:
"I don't know if you get in slumps. I think that as the game goes on, your call sheet restricts a little bit just because if there are calls that are working for you whereas you're communicating with players on the sideline and they're saying 'Hey, Coach, we feel really good about Cover 6 or Smoke' or 'Hey, we can lock these guys down. We can play man coverage.' You want to get a beat for how your players are feeling with it or obviously, if your guys are winning up front, you might not have to pressure as much. If they're not winning, you want to pressure some more. You go in with this big plan and you never know exactly what the offense is going to go. As the game goes, the gameplan shrinks a little bit to what you're executing at a high level with.
"I would just think that the biggest difference between this year and last year, just for me, is I feel like the operation is quicker between getting personnel, what's the down and distance, what package do we want to be in, what's the call, getting that information to (LB) Karlos (Dansby), Karlos making the call to the defense and then we're off and running. I feel like our operation is a second or two seconds quicker, which is a lot because that second or two seconds allows the guys to get the calls see the offense and now gather pre-snap information, which can help them make a play
On LB Craig Robertson's performance prior to his injury and what Robertson adds to the defense:
"Craig's kind of, he's the spark plug of our defense. He was playing really well at the inside backer position. He was obviously rolling in there with Kirko (LB Christian Kirksey) and he was a big part of our base package. I know he's going to do some individual work today, which it will be great to see him out there. He stayed very engaged in the meetings. (Linebackers) Coach (Chuck) Driesbach has him do some linebacker projects for those guys to help them get ready – running back releases, tight end studies all kind of stuff. He definitely brings a spark when he's out there running around with our guys."
On if DB Justin Gilbert is getting closer to playing on defense:
"He's got a chance to compete every week. (DB) Pierre (Desir) has done a pretty good job establishing himself as our third outside corner but that doesn't mean that that's set in stone. Justin right now out in practice has looked as good as he's been since he's been a part of this organization. He's definitely going in the right direction."
On the ripple effect of DB Joe Haden not being active:
"Joe is obviously one of the best corners in the NFL so when you lose somebody who's that good of a player, there's going to be a ripple effect. You can't spend too much time worrying about it because you have to figure out 'OK, if this guy is down, this is what we have to do to adapt.' You change some to try to build the scheme around the 11 guys that you're going to be playing with. Joe allows you to do some things that you might not be able to do with other guys. Joe can lock down half of the field or you can put him on the best wide receiver and not have to worry about helping him at certain points of the game. There's a ripple effect, but the best coaches and the best coordinators in this league, they adjust and they push forward."
On if Haden not playing means the Browns play less man coverage:
"You have to mix it a little bit more. We're always going to play some man just because that's how we're structured. That's the way we recruit on the outside at that position group. That's why all those guys are here because they can play man. You may have to do some things to give a guy covering the X or give a guy that's in Joe's position a little bit more help."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor
"Good afternoon. Just getting ready for the Rams. They present – I say it every week – a lot of challenges, but this one is definitely no different. All you have to do is turn on the tape and you see (WR) Tavon Austin. He can wreck a game. He's dynamic, explosive so we have our work cut out for us in that area.
"Their specialists are really good. (Rams K Greg) Zuerlein, the kicker, he goes from a long range. I think he's had three misses – they've all been over 50 yards. He missed a 63-yarder in Green Bay, had plenty of leg, just barely missed it left. The punter, (Rams P Johnny) Hekker, he's like having a quarterback out there. He's 6 of 8 on his throws and really throws the ball really well, besides also really punting well.
"Good corps, but we'll be up to the challenge and looking forward to it."
On how it changes preparation when a punter can throw like Hekker:
"They've run a lot of fakes since (Rams Head) Coach (Jeff) Fisher has been there and (special teams coordinator) Coach (John) Fassel have been in St. Louis. They have run a lot of fakes and kind of got them archived. What makes it tough is they are all different and they've been very creative with it. We have to be good with our eyes. We have to play good disciplined football, but at the same time, we still want to be aggressive on our end because we feel like we can make plays in the punt-return game, also. It's a big challenge."
On comparing Austin and WR Travis Benjamin as punt returners:
"Both guys are dynamic. I think Tavon is second in the league right now. I think Travis is fourth in the league. Both have explosive speed, can make you miss. They both catch the ball well. Very comparable, very comparable. They even both obviously wear No. 11 so it goes right down to the jersey number."
On what yard line the Browns needed to reach for K Travis Coons to attempt a game-winning FG last week in overtime:
"We were thinking around the 30-yard line there and stretch it back to the 35 to make it a 53-yarder. We felt real comfortable. We got the opportunity to go the way that we wanted to go, but it just never came up. We felt good about it."
On if the overall game versus Denver was cleaner, specifically in reference to penalties:
"It seemed to be cleaner, but there's no question – we talked about it last week – the self-inflicted penalties, we actually had two of them. We were doing something there because Denver presented a problem for us matchup-wise so we were trying to help in that area. It was unfortunate because it ended up costing us about 13 yards in field position, which obviously we can't have. The first punt, I think, ended up about the 13 and then he (P Andy Lee) punted the next one at the 26. We have to still work on cleaning it up. As soon as we can clean those penalties up, I'll feel better about it."
On an NFL trend for penalties on punts and if they are legitimate penalties:
"They're legitimate. It's just something that you have to be good with your technique. You could probably say it on any football play – offense, defense or kicking – there's usually something that's taking place. I think the officials do a good job. We just have to make sure that we play within the rules and execute our technique. If we do that, it gives us a chance to be clean."
On if it easier to see penalties on special teams because players are more in the open:
"I think so, sometimes. It's tough to say. The officials are so good. They all have their assignments of where their eyes are supposed to be. They've got it down to a science, and that's why we preach extra hard about that you've got to be clean in your technique."
On the Browns not attempting a 51-yard FG in the first quarter:
"There are a lot of other factors, as you stated. Their field goal rush is probably one of the best rushes we've seen. They had two blocks and had forced a couple misses. It's early on in the game, and at that point in time, I thought the wind was blowing pretty good. They also could have kicked a field goal earlier on in the game and also elected not to do so themselves. The wind patterns down in the stadium, sometimes it gets a little gusty, and at that point in the game, probably not willing to give up that field position yet."
On if Coons' squib kickoffs were planned or kicks he missed:
"We are still working on a lot of things there. I don't want to say one way or the other what they were. He is doing a variety of things. The thing about squib kicks to the naked eye is sometimes you say it doesn't look very pretty, but on the very first one, by the time the returner picked it up, the real hang time was 4.01 (seconds), which allows us to get down the field and tackle him inside the 20. There are a lot of ways to obviously kick the ball, and hang time, whether it is, in the air or rolling on the ground, it doesn't matter to us, just as long as it gives us enough time to get down there and field it."
On the risk of inadvertently kicking the ball out of bounds on squib kicks:
"You risk that. You risk it taking a bad hop and getting in their hands fast and they run it back essentially to the 35-yard line almost 40. You are playing with it a little bit. At the same time, you can keep teams off balance of whether it is going to be a deep kick or are we playing a squib, what are there rules going to be on that and try to get our speed down the field to cover the players."
On if teams like St. Louis are more prone to getting surprised by a 'trick' special teams play or are they on-guard because they practice it so much:
"When you turn on the tape, they are very well coached. I would say that they are dialed in on things. They take calculated risks, and they have been very successful with it. That is why we are going to have to be good with our eyes. We have to have good eye discipline and play our rules and just handle our jobs. If we can do that, that will give us a chance to hopefully not let them get one on us."
On if St. Louis is more prone to getting victimized by kicks or fakes:
"I don't know about that. We always look for stuff. Like I said, I think they are well coached."
On his rules for DB Justin Gilbert to bring the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs and did he come close to breaking a return for a score last week:
"He squeaked it out pretty good. He is doing a nice job for us. The rules, to be quite honest with you with regards to bringing them out, differ each and every week. Sometimes that is by gameplan, how the game flow is going, who the kicker is, what our matchups up front are, injuries and those type of things. We vary that each and every week. We want to be aggressive in that area, but at the same time, play with good judgement."
On if he is like fans that when they see a crease there is a feeling Gilbert will have an opportunity at a nice return:
"I do think that when the ball is in his hands, he is a threat. I really do. He is getting better and better, and I see him getting better and better out at practice. I am encouraged by which way he is arrow is pointing."
On if Coons maximum FG distance stretches this week because of the dome:
"I think we will just have to see in pregame. I still follow the approach a little bit. I know what he puts out on tape, what he does each and every day in practice, but at the same time – I have said it before – I was a water boy for my dad for a long time when he was a head high school football coach. I would go watch the players warm up. If they weren't on, sometimes you just have to say maybe it is not his day or maybe it is his day and we can stretch him a little bit. Pregame tells me a lot of things about which way we can go and how he is hitting the ball and you can kind of see the look in his eye. All of those things are factors of how far we can take him back in this dome."
On who can fill in for TE Rob Housler and former Browns RB Shaun Draughn:
"We are planning on it. We are still planning on it because we are going to have to get 11 of those guys out there. Someone will step up. I feel confident about the guys that will replace those players."
On how TE E.J. Bibbs has looked on special teams:
"He is progressing. He really is. Young player that I would also say his arrow is up. Works hard in practice. Even if he is on the look squad, we are saying that you are still executing our techniques and trying to get better there. He is a player that is working hard at it, and the tape will tell us whether to play him or not."
On if it can result in a TD if one player is half a beat off on special teams, specifically considering the Browns must replace core special teams players:
"No. 1, we have to make sure that they are coached up. You are always concerned about that. I think that practice tells you exactly how to play them and where to play them and those types of things. Anytime you play a new player, if they are off, there is the crease, and then obviously there is your problem. Hopefully, that won't happen, and we will play good on Sunday."