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Browns coordinators press conferences - 10/29

Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo

Opening statement:

"It is good to see everybody. I appreciate everyone coming out. Obviously, it was a disappointing game on Sunday. I thought we moved the ball well at times, but it just felt like we couldn't get any momentum going because we kept shooting ourselves in the foot for a variety of reasons, whether it be a fumble, a false start, a sack, an avoidable sack, just a lot of things. We didn't have any momentum on Sunday, which was disappointing. You can't expect to go on the road and beat a team like that and have the pre-snap penalties that we had, the self-inflicted wounds that we had. We brought that upon ourselves. We did. We brought that upon ourselves, and that is inexcusable for me and it is inexcusable for our players. We have to fix that. That is what makes it so frustrating. Did they beat us on some plays? Absolutely. Give a lot of credit to the Rams. They played physically, they were well coached, but at the same time, I felt like if we would have eliminated a few of those self-inflicted wounds, we would have moved the ball even better than we did.

"Another big challenge for us this week at home. Obviously, we know the Cardinals are good both on offense and defense. We have our hands full this weekend again. For us to expect to win, we can't do the things we did last week."

On confidence that QB Josh McCown will be able to play Sunday:

"We are going to see. I think he is going to be limited today. We will see what he looked like at practice. I am as interested as anybody to see what he looks like today."

On why the Browns offense has struggled in the red zone:

"We are not good enough in the red zone. We recognize that. If you just look at the numbers, though, there are four or five occasions where we got into the 18 at the last play of the half. There are four or five of those. Are we where we want to be in the red zone? No, we are not. It is something that we have added more reps in practice to try to get better at. Are we as bad as we look on paper? I would say no to that, also. We do need to be better."

On if the Browns offensive line is performing at the level it needs:

"Echoing (Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine's words, 'inconsistent' is a word I would use, too. Not the majority of time, it is just in spurts during the game. Part of the product has been because we have had to throw the football some. Sacks are going to come when you have to throw the football 40 times or however many we threw it against Baltimore and the other teams we have played. We have hit a stretch here where in my nine-year NFL career, this is probably as long of a stretch of elite pass rushers that I have gone against, personally. I think that is a piece of it, too. I think it is all those three things."

On how he would feel if McCown were able to play Sunday but wasn't able to practice much this week and if he doesn't play how would he expect QB Johnny Manziel to play:

"We hold high expectations for all of our quarterbacks. If Johnny has to go in, I thought Johnny had a really nice day of practice yesterday. The tempo was good in and out of the huddle. He hadn't missed a beat from when he was practicing against Tennessee. With Josh, if it were a second- or third-year quarterback without the reps, I would be a little bit more concerned, but Josh has had almost all the one reps since training camp so that doesn't concern me too much."

On the Cardinals secondary:

"This secondary is very good. What makes this secondary good to me is they are good players, but it is also their defense as a whole. This is another defense that is very similar to the teams we have played the last two weeks where they can get home with four people, which allows those guys to be able to sit on routes and to be able to play two-high safeties to be able to sit on routes underneath. There is no doubt this is a very good secondary. I think they are an even better secondary because of their overall style of defense and how good they are on defense."

On the lack of production from the RBs and rotating the RBs:

"We are going to continue to have a plan for all three of those guys. I think all three of those guys bring different skillsets to what they can do. We are going to keep finding out what they can do and putting them in spots where we feel that they can succeed. At the same time, we need to be more consistent running the football. It falls on everybody. It falls on me, it falls on the O-line and it falls on the running backs. We have all had a piece on why we are not as consistent as we want to be, and we are working to fix that."

On a perceived notion of a lack of explosiveness from RB Isaiah Crowell:

"I don't think Crow has shown any lack of explosiveness. We are just finding different ways to get him the football."

On if he agrees that the biggest area of improvement in the running game is eliminating negative runs:

"I totally agree with that. As the weeks have gone on here, we have kind of figured out who we are trying to be running the football. I think we have given the quarterback more options to the run-pass options and the ability to get out of plays, and we are trying different ways in that nature to trying to get into better runs and to make sure we have a good play called. The negative runs have been a huge issue because the last thing you want to do is obviously be in second-and-13, and we found ourselves in that hole a bunch on Sunday. I think that is one of the reasons we didn't have the success we wanted."

On if WR Dwayne Bowe will be active if WR Andrew Hawkins is unable to play:

"That is a possibility. Again, I let Coach (Pettine) handle inactives. We have a plan for that. We have a plan for Hawk being up; we have a plan for Hawk being down."

On the holding call on OL Joe Thomas:

"I have to be really care in how I word this. That is why I took a minute there. It was called so I will leave it at that."

On Browns WRs' toughness, given their size compared to other NFL receivers league and if they are capable of doing everything he asks them to do:

"Yeah, they have. I think that is one of the things: if you watch (WR) Taylor Gabriel and Hawk block, those guys block like they are not the size that they are. Those guys are tenacious. It feeds off on all the other guys, and there is maybe one or two receivers out there that are true trained killers in terms of the blocking. As long as they get on their blocks and they sustain, that is what you want, the effort.

On expectations for Bowe, if active Sunday:

"To get in there, know what to do and do his job at a very high level."

On the difficulty opposing DTs who can rush the passer and play the run, such as the Rams DL Aaron Donald and the Cardinals DL Calais Campbell:

"Very challenging. It is very challenging. To me, the two guys you just mentioned are elite players in this league. They're as good at their positions as you will find in the league. For me to go into a game and not have a plan for those type of players, you are doing your team a disservice. We had a plan for (Broncos LB) Von Miller. Did Von push the pocket a little bit and make the quarterback move his feet? Yeah, but he didn't ruin he game. (Rams DE) Robert Quinn didn't ruin the game last week. That is what you try to do. You try to make sure you have a hat for a hat on those guys and you are doubling teaming at the point of attack as much as you can because those two guys that you just mentioned have the ability to go out and ruin a game."

On if there has been a change in the offensive philosophy, specifically a switch from being run-heavy to pass-heavy, and if that is partly due to success with the passing game:

"Absolutely. Absolutely. We talked about it when I got hired here about what the offensive philosophy was going to be and we were going to be flexible and have enough in our bag and do what we do well. When I got here, I didn't know what that was. I didn't know our team very well. As we are finding out as we are together longer, we are finding out what our guys can do, and we have had some guys step up in the pass game from (WR) Travis Benjamin and (TE) Gary Barnidge that were given opportunities and continue to take advantage of those opportunities. We are a constant work in progress."

On how Bowe has looked in practice:

"Dwayne is doing everything we have asked him to do. He has done everything we have asked him to do. I am fine with Dwayne in practice."

On if Cardinals DL Dwight Freeney has significantly upgraded to the Cardinals pass rush:

"For the first time, I noticed he played a little more base defense this past week then he had in the past. We have to be ready for that. Don't let age fool you with him. He can still get off the ball and still make plays. There is no doubt."

Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil

Opening statement:

"Looking back on the Rams game, I thought we did some good things a defense. I really like how we came out in the first half. That's the defense we want to be. We know we need to put that together for four quarters. I liked how we finished the game. In a situation where they were going to try to grind it out and run the ball, we went three-and-out. That was good to see. I thought we played well on third down, and I thought we did a better job pressuring the quarterback. We got a lot of hits; we had a couple sacks so that was good. We know we need to continue to work and we're determined to get the run game stuff fixed. It's a room full of competitive coaches, competitive players. We know what we have done has worked at times in the past. It's worked for the guys this year. We just know we need to be more consistent with it. We have to do a better job coaching it, and we have to do a better job executing it.

"Looking ahead to this week, obviously, the Arizona Cardinals are an explosive offense. It's probably the most complete offense we've played against all year. They're very good at every level of the offense, the offensive line, tight ends, running backs, quarterback and wide receivers so it's going to present a challenge. We have to execute at a high level. We have to do a good job up front. We have to get after the passer, we have to do a good job in the run game and then our DBs know there's a big challenge for them this week with the wide receivers and quarterback that they have."

On how much better the defense will be with three starters potentially coming back from injury in DBs Tashaun Gipson and Joe Haden and LB Craig Robertson:

"I think any time in this league you get your starts back, it help you. You invest so much time and so much reps and so much coaching in those guys, when you have them, it gives you more flexibility in the defense with things you can do and the chemistry's better. We're excited to get those guys back. We have to be smart because it's been some time since they've played, but we're excited to get those guys back."

On if there is more comfort having those starters on the field:

"I think that the guys that have filled in have done a pretty good job for them. (DB) Jordan Poyer last week was eight-for-eight on opportunities. (DB) Pierre Desir did a pretty solid job all game – he got the one ball caught on him down the sideline. Those guys have done a good job. I just think you feel a little more comfortable when you have Pro Bowlers back in the lineup – you have guys that are going to make plays within your scheme. They're proven in this league as play makers so that helps. Craig Robertson was playing at a high level for us against the run. He's one of our better run game linebackers so it'll be good to have him back. It will be good to have Gip (DB Tashaun Gipson), it will be good to have Joe obviously out there."

On Haden can return to his typical role:

"I hope so. We have two different plans. I think that that would be unfair to ask him right off the bat, but if he starts hot, we can definitely get him right back into his normal role. We're just going to have to see how the game goes. He's looked really good in practice so far this week."

On the talent on the Browns defensive roster:

"I like our players. We can win with those guys. Those are guys we felt good about. There was competition in every group. I'm happy with the roster. I'm happy with our defensive roster."

On DL Danny Shelton at the midway point of the season and his response to the defensive coaches' challenge:

"Two weeks ago, he battled through some of those injuries throughout the game, and then I thought last week, we had him limited a little bit because of the knee, but I did think he had probably his best game as far as pad level, being disruptive in the middle of the defense. He did some really good things for us. He's a guy that we want out there 60, 70 percent of the snaps. We're hoping that we're going to keep him building off last week's performance and get him out there tomorrow now that he's feeling healthier and all that."

On DL Jamie Meder's performance, particularly as an undrafted free agent:

"Very solid. He's a guy – I know you hear it from coach all the time – he just fills up the grade sheet with pluses. That's what Jamie does. He's where he's supposed to be. If the play comes to him, he's going to make it. If his jobs to hold two at the point of attack, he does and keeps a linebacker free. He's done a nice job for us."

On if the Cardinals will be one of the biggest downfield challenges for the defense:

"Yes, they throw the balls down the field more than I think anybody in the NFL, and the quarterback is a really good football player. They've got good receivers. They've got a good quarterback. They got a good offensive line. It's going to be a big challenge for us. It's probably the most complete offense we've seen all year."

On the Cardinals WRs, particularly Larry Fitzgerald:

"They've put (Cardinals WR) Larry (Fitzgerald) in that (Former Steelers WR) Hines Ward role, which was a little surprising to me. He's doing a heck of a job. They play him like a tight end almost at times, where he's blocking in the C gap and he's cracking back on guys, but he still runs great routes. He knows how to get open. They get him the ball. He's a threat in the red zone. He's a threat deep. (Cardinals WR Jaron) Brown is a vertical guy. He can take the top off a coverage. Then, they have (Cardinals WR Michael) Floyd who's a big guy who runs good routes, and the quarterback puts the ball on him and he comes down with it. It's a very good group."

On DL Xavier Cooper and Cooper earning more snaps:

"I think he's getting better every week. He's different than probably everybody else in that room just because of how good his first step quickness is. He's a guy who can make a couple splash plays in the backfield and the run game. He's got some pass rush ability. You're always going to fight some growing pain things with younger guys, rookie guys, but I really like the way he's progressing in our defense."

On the challenge Cardinals RB Chris Johnson presents and his performance this season:

"I think that they're doing a really good job building the run game around him. He's showing good patience in their run scheme, and when the hole opens up, he obviously has the speed to hit it and hurt you. He's been able to break a lot of tackles already this year. We all saw it, I'm sure, on Monday night some of the runs he had. He's definitely back."

On explaining grading opportunities for the DBs:

"The way we grade our DBs is you hate to just give him plus/minuses because a corner could have 60 pluses, but he was really only in the play three or four times. What (secondary) Coach (Jeff) Hafley does is he gives them opportunity grades, whether you're running the alley and you have a chance to make a tackle or the ball is thrown in your direction. What's your opportunity grade? It's different for those other positions because they're much more active in the game. With (DB Jordan) Poyer this past week, he was eight-for-eight. I'll just say this about Poyer: I have a ton of respect for him. His shoulder was pretty banged up in that game and just shows how tough he is that he went out there and finished it in a situation where everybody knew they were going to run the ball and that's what they did. It just shows his commitment to the team and what kind of person he is, and I think everybody appreciates that about the kid."

On what the Browns defense has been doing well on third down and the Cardinals' success on third down:

"For us, we've actually tried to de-emphasize how much we're working third down and emphasize the run game more the past couple weeks in practice. We're stealing nine to 10 reps a week on early downs than we have been on third down. I think that just for us, our safeties do a great job disguising. Our inventory, we're able to mix it a lot on quarterbacks, which has been able to give us some success. When you talk about Arizona, obviously, when you have three very good receivers and an experienced quarterback who can see pressure, get the ball out, they do a good job running a lot of rub routes on third-and-shorter distances so you have to do a good job on them. They do some things once it gets to (third-and-)7-plus that really challenge your coverages. They're definitely an offensive staff that understand defensive football, they understand defensive coverages and they know how to get guys open. We have to be on our A game on third down. We know the challenge that's coming."

On Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians putting more responsibility on the QB making it more difficult for the Browns defense:

"It would be very similar to what (Broncos QB) Peyton Manning was two weeks ago. There's going to be a lot of checking at the line. That's where it should be advantage us. I thought the Dawg Pound was huge for us energy wise, volume throughout the course of that game. If you get one guy who doesn't get the check on offense, it could lead to a sack or a turnover or the quarterback is holding the ball and bad things happen. Yeah, he puts a lot in the quarterback's hands. That's where our disguise, me mixing up coverage with pressure, changing fronts, changing coverage on him, all that stuff we have to do because when you're playing a quarterback like (Cardinals QB) Carson Palmer, if he know what coverage you're in before they say 'hike,' you're in trouble."

On if Palmer currently gets the ball out faster than Manning:

"I think it's based off of what you do. If you're attacking their protections, he's going to get it out. If you're not attacking their protections and their offensive line does a good job protecting him, then he'll hold the ball and he'll hurt you deep. They've got a very good offensive system, very good."

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor

Opening statement:

"Arizona, as you look at them statistically, they are just as good as their offense and defense. They're second in the league in kickoff return drive start, led by their returner (Cardinals RB David) Johnson from Northern Iowa. He is No. 1 the league so we have a big challenge there in covering kicks. Their kickoff coverage, they're eighth in the league so our kick return is going to have a big challenge there. They have some guys that can run down. (Cardinals CB) Justin Bethel, two-time NFC special teams Pro Bowler, leads the way and then they have another receiver (Cardinals WR Brittan Golden) who complements (Bethel) really well. We have our work cut out for us. Obviously, they are playing (Cardinals CB) Patrick Peterson back there. His history speaks for itself. He is a dynamic player and a dynamic athlete."

On if it's possible for the Browns to force opponents to punt to WR Travis Benjamin:

"You have to take stuff going into the game, whether there is going to be a little pressure here or a little pressure there, trying to force a kick to get the ball in his hands. It is going to be a common occurrence right now with the way he is playing. I do think that we have some stuff. Also, it depends on who you are playing and those types of things. Like last week, I thought (Rams P Johnny) Hekker did a great job putting the ball either out of bounds or right next to the sideline. We just keep preaching that if we only get one opportunity, we have to take advantage of it. We had a big opportunity there, but unfortunately, we had an effort penalty. We have to get that cleaned up, but I am still encouraged by how we are playing in the return game."

On defining an 'effort' penalty:

"I classify them in two areas. Self-inflicted, you obviously do to yourself. For example, lining up offside or illegal motion or those types of things. An effort penalty sometimes stems back to I have to do a better job as a coach teaching technique, but the kid is giving me everything he has and he is trying to get down there and make a big block, and at the wrong moment just ended up on the back side of the whole deal. I can live and put my head on the pillow knowing that kid gave me everything he had. I have to do a better job of coaching him. That is what I talk about the 'effort penalties.'"

On if that effort penalty was early in the game on DB Ibraheim Campbell:

"That was the early one where Trav went around the corner, yep. It ended up being a good return, but obviously, real life, it hurts in field position. We have to get cleaned up."

On if K Travis Coons is kicking the ball as deep as he was earlier in the season on kickoffs:

"I thought that he made good ball contact last week. Obviously, they didn't fly out like (Rams K Greg) Zuerlein's do. They are totally two different kickers. I thought he improved a little bit. It is not flying as what it was early on in the year."

On if there is a reason why Coons' kicks aren't traveling as far:

"No, not at all. We have been working on his steps to shorten things up. We have shortened some things up compared to what he did the previous week. I thought the contact was better than what it was the previous week. I am encouraged by that."

On LB Jayson DiManche performance and how Browns knew the team would be able to use him early on special teams:

"He is a very smart football player. I think he had 28 starts down in Cincinnati, and we have played them multiple times and played against him so you had a good idea of who the player was as you studied him through the years and how he reacted to things. When he got in our building and you visit with him and start going over the scheme, you could tell that he picks things up very, very quickly. I am glad he is here. He came in and filled a role for us, and we are excited about it expanding his role even more."

On if Peterson looks bored returning punts because he hasn't scored on a return since his rookie year and has had a few muffed punts this season:

"I don't think so. I almost feel you like approached me in the dugout and I have a no-hitter going (laughter). Patrick Peterson, I definitely would not say he is bored. I would actually say the other. You can tell that when he gets the ball in his hands, he is still trying to make things happen. He is a big, strong, fast athlete that we are well aware of. It only takes one for him. One of the muffs that he had was Monday night against (Baltimore Ravens P) Sam Koch, and he is hitting the knuckle ball and he is on the run right there. That is Sam's deal to make things happen like that. I think Patrick is a player that can break the game open at any time."

On if he is surprised the Cardinals don't use S Tyrann Mathieu to return punt, given his success at LSU:

"We are prepared for him also. We are prepared for everybody. As you look down their roster, they have a lot of players that they could put back there. At the end of the day, when you are facing teams that have that capability, you have to worry about the Cleveland Browns and how are we going to get down there and cover those guys. I have been made fun of before. I remember my first year here and we were punting, and I think (San Francisco 49ers RB) Reggie Bush was out there. They snuck him out there. I am on the sidelines going, 'Hey Reggie Bush is out there. Reggie Bush is out there.' Then, I thought there is really nothing I can do about that, except try to get our players to get down there and go get him. We are prepared for anybody, but we have to worry about ourselves."

On helping Coons deal with the approaching winter weather in Cleveland:

"You go outside and you work in the wind. You try to figure it out. At the end of the day, he has to hit the same ball that he has been hitting. If he makes it, we expect him to make the next one. If he misses one, we are going to expect him to make the next one. That is the mentality that we are drilling in his head and he's accepted that."

On not counting on being able to block a punt since Arizona had a punt blocked in their previous game and the Cardinals will be more cautious about it:

"I think so. Obviously, it was an unfortunate even for them. I have been on the other side of that myself and trying to avoid that ourselves. At the same time, we have to worry about blocking for Travis and if we feel like we can go after him, then we have to go after him and be smart and stay off the punter and those types of things. There is no doubt. They are a well-coached unit. I just think that was something that just kind of luckily happened. The Ravens did a nice job on that play."

On if he ever anticipated the Rams would run a fake on special teams or if the score made it unnecessary:

"We were always on high alert with them and you have to be. With them coming off the bye, as we watched the tape and studied the tape, they broke some tendencies that they had in the previous games. I wasn't shocked by anything. I thought we were prepared for anything, and you have to react. They ran the reverse at the beginning, and I thought that was a good call on their part and we rallied to it. It didn't end up hurting us. We ended up getting a three-and-out and they punted the football. We are always on high alert on everything, but at the same time, we have to be aggressive. We can't change that and we are not going to change that."

On when the Browns will do something 'tricky' on special teams:

"When am I going to do something tricky? Halloween, Saturday night (laughter). Thank you, guys. I'll be here later on."

On if blocked punts are explained as simply as a punter not getting it off in time:

"It is not that simple. It is not that simple. There are a lot of things that go into a punt block. It is hard to block a punt. What is the handle time? What is the get off? All of those things. Then obviously, who are you trying to attack up front. Baltimore saw something there, and it is something that they have been doing in their past. As I was watching it, you say here it comes. They executed on that play, and it is just one of those things."

On sharing stories of his fan interest in the Kansas City Royals:

"I think probably the neatest thing was I used to go to the games all the time as a little kid. When we played the Chiefs a few years ago, George Brett happen to be on the sidelines in pregame. I went up and introduced myself to him. To me, that was a big moment for me. I thought that was cool because I started naming off some of the players – U.L. Washington, Freddy Patek. He was like, 'Wow, you really did go to the games.' I said, 'I went to the games.' I am a Royals fan, but I am also an Indians fan. It is always good, as we all know, when your teams are in it, you are following them."

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