Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor
"Afternoon. Hope everybody is doing good. Baltimore, just getting ready for them. Need another good day of preparation for their special teams unit. They're one of the top units in the league if you look at them statistically. (Ravens special teams) Coach (Jerry) Rosberg and (Ravens Head) Coach (John) Harbaugh do a good job with them. When you look at them their punt return game, they're sixth in the league; punt coverage and net punt they're seventh in the league. Kick return, they're a top-10 unit, I believe, and top-half in kickoff coverage so we have our hands full. Like I say each and every week, it'll be about the Cleveland Browns and getting our unit a little bit better, but we need to have a good practice today."
On the PAT rules effect on NFL kickers:
"It has been interesting, and I know that there's been a lot of swap out on kickers on a lot of other teams, but obviously, longer-distance people are coming after it a little bit more. Maybe a little bit more pressure on the guys. It's not an easy point anymore."
On Ravens K Justin Tucker:
"Excellent Obviously, All-Pro Player. He's 10 of 11 on field goals, and the thing about him, he's been in a lot of clutch situations and has come through. The other area where he's really strong at – people don't talk about it – they've had 22 kickoffs and 20 of them have been touchbacks. He's obviously one of the best in the league so that's another reason why we'll have our hands full this week."
On DB Justin Gilbert on kick returns:
"Gilbert did a great job for us last week as a returner. I thought he did a nice job of, first and foremost, catching the ball and secondly, making good decisions. When he hit it, he hit it. Obviously, he showed when the ball is in his hands, he can do some things for us. We're real excited about that phase right there showing some improvement, and hopefully, we can continue that."
On K Travis Coons never being in a game-winning kick situation:
"Not yet, but I would say that he has been under some pressure since he's been a rookie and there has been a lot of trade out of kickers on a lot of other teams. I believe that he's seven-for-seven, and knock on wood, he'll be eight of eight. He's done a nice job for us, but he also understands each week is different. The thing I really like about the kid is he shows up to work each and every day, works at his craft and I do believe he's getting better."
On the offside penalty in the Chargers game:
"Awfully close call. It's a judgement call right there. Obviously, we reviewed it, but at the end of the day, I was pleased with his effort, what he gave us. It's a game-winner, he's going for it, but at the end of the day, we lost the football game. We've moved on, and trust me, when you watch Baltimore on tape, they have my undivided attention."
On if he teaches his unit to go for blocks with short field goals:
"Sure, at that point, you're either two things: you're either going for the block, just like anything, you're either going for the block or you're trying to force a miss. With that, there's a lot of things involved, but on the other end, snap-hold operation – that's why when we coach the field goal team, all of those things are so critical that you have a good snap, that the holder doesn't have to mess with the laces and the kicker is attacking the ball in a timely manner so that when there's great edge pressure, really the kicker is able to handle that. It's a play that it was a great effort by him, and I have no qualms about it."
On if DB Tramon Williams moved when the ball was snapped:
"I think that he did. I think that he did."
On if he reviewed the play frame by frame and saw that he moved when the ball was snapped:
"I thought he did, but I can tell you out on the field, it was so close, and at the end of the day, it really makes no difference. We lost the football game, and we're sitting at 1-3 and that's what our record is, as coach stated, and we're going to try our darndest to get to 2-3."
On if Gilbert will be the KR going forward:
"He's going to be our guy back there. He's doing a nice job for us. I was really pleased with how he hit the ball up in there. I thought his vision was really good, his ball security was really good. That's a nice step for Justin. He also played in the other areas real well. When (WR) Travis (Benjamin) returned the one (punt) from the 8-yard line, the guy that really sprung it to start it was Justin. He also had a tackle on the kickoff so I thought he played well. He set a bar for himself, and hopefully, this week, we can increase that."
On what makes him comfortable with Gilbert at KR:
"There's always a lot of factors, but he's a guy that has been progressing and maturing and doing a nice job for us. Like I always say, the tape will always tell you what to do, and what he had been doing in practice, it merits putting him back there and he responded so I'm happy for him."
Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil
"Go back to last week, I thought our tackling improved from the previous week. Our guys did a good job. I thought they brought that mindset that we talked about. I thought we had some guys really step up. I know Whit (DB Donte Whitner) was challenged throughout the week, and I think he had his best game as a Cleveland Brown against the run. I thought Bade (DB Johnson Bademosi) and (DB) Pierre (Desir) did a good job when they were thrusted into a lot of playing time at the corner position. I thought (DL) Xavier Cooper did a good job for us up front when he was in there for Des, (DL Desmond Bryant) and then Kirko (LB Christian Kirksey) really had his first full start with (LB) Craig (Robertson) being out and he did some really good things for us at the inside backer position.
"Looking ahead to this week with the Baltimore Ravens, obviously, it's our first divisional game of the year, we're excited about it. We know it's going to be a physical football game. We know it's going to come down to three or four plays just like the two games last year. We know we have to execute at a high level to give our team a chance to win this football game. We know the road to the playoffs goes through the division. It's always been that way in this league and in this division so it'll be a great test for us as a team and as a defense."
On what the Browns are doing to eliminate big plays:
"Our plans have been tight. They're a lot tighter. I don't feel like I need to over-scheme against the offenses we're going against because we have good players at every level of the defense. We just need to and guys just need to do their job. We need to do a better job executing more consistently."
On a common cause for long TD drives allowed:
"No, two games ago, some of those drives were the result of us not getting off the field on third-and-long. You do a great job on first and second down, and you expect a win on third and long, and we lost in some of those situations. This past game, it was just a bust here or there or not executing technique or maybe a play call and those guys hitting a play on us."
On DL Danny Shelton's comments about wanting to be a different player going forward, particularly getting into the backfield:
"We've challenged him with that, yeah. We want him to pop off the tape when he's in there. He knows that and it's good that he's saying that."
On comments that there was lack of variety in play calling at San Diego and Chargers QB Philip Rivers knowing what defense was coming:
"We knew a lot of their calls. Every week, everybody has a base or a foundation to what they do. There's a reason we spend so much time up here in the offices and we spend so much time meeting with our players. You're trying to give the guys the information on what is their base stuff. Then, you have calls that complement that stuff. At the end of the day, though, it's an execution league. It doesn't matter. We're in man, we're in zone, they're passing the ball, they're running the ball, this is the pass they're going to run. At the end of the day, you have to execute it. They did a better job executing their base offensive plays than we did executing our base defensive plays at times – end of story. That's where it starts and ends. The best defense in this league the past two years has been the Seattle Seahawks. They run the same defense every single play. It's an execution league."
On if the Seahawks do, in fact run the same base defense:
"Ninety percent of the time."
On if the Chargers changed their plan when they lost WR's to injury:
"They did. They changed some. They went to more 12 personnel, which is two tight ends, two wide receivers when (Chargers WR) Stevie Johnson went down. There was a series where we were trying to figure out what they were going to do. Then, once we got it going, we made adjustments and went from there."
On if he is referring to the big plays Chargers RB Danny Woodhead created when referring to improper technique:
On if it took the defense a while to adjust to the Chargers' hurry-up offense:
"I thought our guys came out, I thought we started fast, went three-and-out, three-and-out, which is great. That's always huge to do on the road, but yeah, I don't think we struggled to adjust. Once we got settled in, I thought our guys did a good job executing. They did a good job. We didn't do a good enough job."
On what the Browns want to see from the front seven this week:
"I want to see them roll off and attack the line of scrimmage."
On having and open-door policy with players and listening to their suggestions:
"Yeah I always have, I always will. You'd be crazy as a coach in this league not to take information from players. They're out there, those guys, especially, veterans and I'm constantly asking those guys. I over-ask those guys. What do you like? What do you think about the game plan? Do we have too many calls? Do we need another bullet in third down?
Then, I constantly ask throughout the course of the game: Is there anything you guys don't like? Is there anything you like? What are you seeing out there? To me, that's what a good coach does. Those are the guys out there executing the calls so you want to run what they like and what they feel good about. I'm in constant communication with everybody on our defense"
On if anything was different this week after the loss in San Diego:
"No, no it's been the same. Those guys know we set the plan and we present it to them and I tell them, 'If there's anything you guys don't feel good about, come see me. I have no problem taking defenses out if you guys don't feel good about a call.' It could be a 10-year vet or it could be a rookie. We have enough stuff in our gameplan that we feel is good that if we have to kill a call or two we have no problem doing that."
On his reaction when DB Joe Haden was listed as inactive for the Chargers game:
"I didn't have time to get emotional about it. My reaction to it was probably the same as it would have been if he got hurt the first play of the game. My call sheet ended up looking probably like a two-year old's coloring book because when you lose a great player that you built your gameplan around, you have to make some adjustments. Fortunately, we were able to have an hour to make those adjustments verses maybe five minutes if it happens in-game. I thought our coaches did a great job. We put in some calls. We took out some calls. We adjusted some packages. We obviously got Pierre and Bade ready to take on more of a role in a short amount of time. I thought as a coaching staff, we did a good job fighting through that adversity when that happened."
On playing DB Johnson Bademosi ahead of DB Justin Gilbert:
"It's really easy. I think you guys are looking too much into it. Last week, we trained Pierre to back up (DB) Tramon (Williams) at nickel. We only have one nickel, and it was Tramon. Justin got all his reps inside on the slot. He was going to be our sub, speed. All of our multiple DB packages, he was going to back up Tramon in the slot. Bade was going to back up both corners. He was going to back up (DB) Joe (Haden), he was going to back up Pierre so that's how we practiced all week. When the Joe thing happened, we were going to go with Bade because that was our plan all week. We weren't going to deviate from our plan. We wanted to give Justin a couple series just to see where he's at, and then when we me Haf (Secondary coach Jeff Hafley) and Pett (Head Coach Mike Pettine) talked on the headsets, just about how it was going, we just felt more comfortable with Bade just because he had gotten all of the reps. There were some very specific play calls we had in that week where Bade had repped it; Justin had not repped that stuff. That's how it fell. Bade did a great job while he was in there. Bade was playing well. He was playing well against a pretty good receiver."
On Gilbert not being on the field as much as expected on defense and if he will be on the field this season:
"If there's one thing I've learned about corner in this league is you're going to need them all. At some point this year, we're going to need all of them, and they all play huge roles for your football team at some point in the season. He's had three great weeks of practice. He really battled through the hamstring injury, which could have been a major setback for him. I thought it showed some toughness when he was up for us for the Oakland game. Even with him being a little hurt, he did a good job on special team returning kicks so I like the direction he's going."
On if his comments about not needing to over-scheme and needing to execute means the errors are on the players:
"No, absolutely not. It is an execution league. Any sport at this level is an execution league. No, I'm not saying that at all. If you know anything about me, that's not what I'm about. I'm saying that we know some of the stuff they're doing; they know some of the stuff we're doing. At the end of the day, it's the coaches' job to put the players in position to make plays and it's the players' job to execute. Whoever does that better – the coaching staff and those players – usually win the game. That's all I'm saying."
On noticing a change to how much time Pettine spends with defense:
"With us, the time is pretty much the same. Last year, he was wrapped up in a lot of the first-year head coach stuff, trying to get a lot of stuff in the building right the way he wants it. This year with all that time, now that it's his second year, he's spending it on offense, but as far as his role in the defense, it's been the same as it was a year ago."
Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo
"It is good to see everyone again. Obviously, a heartbreaking loss on Sunday. I was really proud of the way our guys fought and scratched and clawed until the end there. It was great to go down and tie the game up and punch the ball in and then get the two-point conversion. That showed a lot of guts by our guys. I was really proud of the way they competed.
"As a coaching staff we need to do a better job of finding ways to get our guys in the end zone. That is a big challenge for us this week to find ways to get our guys in the end zone. We have been snake bitten a little bit down there at times with penalties, with some other things, some unforced errors, some bad play calls by me. It has been a myriad of a lot of things, and we need to find more of a way to get the ball in the end zone. Even if you score on one of those, the game doesn't come to that. It doesn't come to that. We need to do a better job of getting the ball – I love (K) Travis Coons – but we are seeing him a little too much at the end of our red zone drives.
"I am most proud of our backs and our offensive line, I really am. I thought it was the most physical we played up front. I thought our backs ran as hard as they have run all year. I thought their tracks were really good on the outside and inside zone and some of the power schemes that we ran. I was really, really pleased to see our run game average, I think it was 4.8 yards a rush. That was definitely a plus.
"We have our hands full this weekend. (Ravens Head) Coach (John) Harbaugh and (Ravens defensive coordinator) Coach (Dean) Pees do a fantastic job with the Ravens defense, and we are excited to go out and compete and try to win a game on the road here in the division and get rolling."
On RB Duke Johnson Jr.'s performance against the Chargers, specifically his nine receptions:
"It came to fruition how we envisioned Duke's role. To say every week that he is going to have nine catches every game is different, but it was really good to see him – I think he is finally back 100 percent and trusting to get it loose a little bit in terms of running, hitting the hole. Like I said a couple weeks ago because he missed so much time early on, I think he is adjusting to the speed of the game."
On Johnson Jr. as a route runner and how viable he is:
"You know me, I love guys that can do a lot of jobs, skill players that can line up in the backfield on first and second down. We call it 'explode' or 'bomb,' we have a bunch of different shifts to get him out there. It is so valuable. I haven't done a lot of studying on the running backs in this league, but I wouldn't think they are a lot of running backs in this league that can make that catch that he made over his shoulder. Not only to beat a linebacker with speed, but to get his feet down – you saw at the end of that play – that was a toe-tap on the back of the end zone. There aren't a lot of guys out there to me that can make that play that Duke made. It was awesome to see him make that."
On keys to being able to breakthrough down in the red zone as a play caller:
"Everything to me, that is a great question, is advancement. You look for advancement on every play. We have a red zone mindset that we teach our quarterbacks where the first thing we talk about is touchdown, check down. When we throw the football down there, we have plays designed to get a touchdown, but if it is not there, there is a place for the quarterback to check the ball down. Everything to me is about advancement. I think on the drives you see us stall in the red zone, like last week, we had a pass for no yards. We had the ball out in the flat. That is obviously not advancement. We need to do a better job of that. I need to do a better job of calling things for the quarterback to get completions down there. We can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We have had some penalties down there that are unforced errors that are on us."
On if it is tougher to score with three shorter WRs than having a bigger body WR to throw a jump ball to:
"I think that is easy to say. To me, offensively, there are plenty of plays. There are always plays to get guys the ball. It is on us to get those plays and for us to say that because we don't have a taller receiver – I am not going to make that excuse or go down that road. There is always a bunch of plays to get guys the football."
On if he has ever considered the idea of possibly using DB Justin Gilbert on offense:
"I have gotten to know Justin in my time here, not great, but I know he is working really, really hard on the defensive side of the ball. To me, speed is not an issue with our receivers. That to me is not an issue. That is definitely something we have talked about and are going to explore."
On if he has a sense yet how durable Johnson Jr. is and how much he can play in a game:
"Yeah, I have a feeling. I don't want to say there is an exact number of plays where we are going to give him a pitch count on. To me, I think I really like what we did last week in terms of Crow and Duke got about an even amount of snaps. We did more things with Duke, obviously, in terms of splitting him out and those things. To me, when you have a guy like Duke that every time you put him on the field you are not using him as a receiver, you are using him as a running back, too, that even becomes a more viable option. To say we have a certain number of plays, we have that number in mind, but it is not like it is 25 or 30. Duke, I think, is going to be a pretty durable guy. He just got a bad break early with the hamstring."
On if he was pleased with WR Dwayne Bowe's effort when he was targeted:
"It was tough coverage. We were running a Saturn route, which is a 12-yard fade-stop. I went back and slow mo'd the play. I thought the corner made a really nice play getting his hand in there and holding his arm down. The effort I thought was there with that play. I just thought it was pretty good defense."
On why Bowe wasn't targeted more in the game:
"Dwayne has been a little bit behind with the injury. That is the way the plan dictated it that week."
On if the way McCown played against the Chargers with a high completion percentage and the ability to stand in the pocket was what he had envisioned his role coming into the season:
"Absolutely. Absolutely. We hold high standards not only for Josh but for all of our quarterbacks. It is about decision making, timing and accuracy. Those are the three things we want our quarterbacks to play with. They are not going to be perfect all the time, but we want them to be pretty darn close to perfect, as perfect as we can get. Absolutely, that is how I envisioned Josh playing."
On if McCown has reinforced his toughness to him over the past few weeks:
"He is a legit tough guy. Absolutely, he is a legit tough guy. We missed what we call a 5-0 call up front, the one we threw to (WR) Andrew Hawkins down the San Diego sideline. We had a defender coming free of the edge. For him to stand in here and throw the shallow return to Andrew like that with a guy in his face, that was a legit hit. That was a big time legit hit. For him to stand in there like that and stay in there, luckily, they had a guy down on that play because his shoulder got bruised up pretty good, his left shoulder. Nothing to where he would need to come out of the game but he took a shot on it. He went right back in there and did a great job."
On if the Browns offense has started slow and does he need to do something about it:
"We have definitely started slower than I wanted to. Part of the reason we started out slow last week was because of me. We were supposed to run the ball there. It was a run or pass option on second-and-one. I need to do a better job of taking the thinking out of the quarterback and just running the ball and getting the first down and getting us going. All that stuff that you see out there early on, I need to do a little bit better job with the quarterback with taking the decisions out of his head."
On if he was surprised McCown was able to play as well as he did with how swollen his hand was:
"Yes and no. Yes, the fact that his hand was a balloon. In 2007, Josh played with a compound fracture in his left hand for us. He was out there catching a ball, and he caught it wrong the week of the game. I think we were actually playing the Browns. We may have been playing the Browns. I forget. He had a compound fracture in his finger, and he played that week with a glove and a splint. Josh's toughness doesn't surprise me one bit. His hand was blown up pretty good."
On the challenge running against the Ravens front seven:
"It is going to be a great challenge, great challenge, a very different defense than I think we played last week. These guys are stout guys. (Ravens LB Courtney) Upshaw is a big man. Those backers are big people. The secondary are big people. It is going to be a challenge for us to move those guys. We are going to do hopefully as good of job as we did last week. I like our plan against these guys."
On having it pretty easy facing a Ravens defense that is without former Ravens LB Ray Lewis, FS Ed Reed and injured LB Terrell Suggs:
"(Laughter) Let me tell you, the Baltimore Ravens defense, believe me, is as disciplined a group and as well coached of a group that we will see all year."