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Browns coordinators press conferences - 12/10

Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil

Opening statement:

"Another great opportunity this week to play in front of the Dawg Pound. San Francisco 49ers coming into town. Offensively, I think the quarterback (49ers QB) Blaine Gabbert is playing well for them. He's doing a good job of not turning the ball over, not taking sacks and getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers. (49ers RB) Shaun Draughn, who was here, is doing a good job for them at running back. He's running hard. He's a threat out of the backfield. They use him in the pass game and he does a good job in protection. They have a good group of wide receivers and San Fran has always been known for their offensive line play. It should be a good challenge for us. I think our players are excited about it. We've had a good start of the week. We're excited about trying to get in that win column and getting that bad taste out of our mouth."

On 49ers WR Torrey Smith:

"Obviously, he's a vertical threat. He kind of came into the league as a guy that could really just get vertical, but as he's been in the league, he's really developed the route tree and he can run a lot of routes now. For us, we have to do a good job first taking away the vertical ball but also being able to cover him. He obviously had the game winner against Chicago last week on the deep seven route. He's a good receiver. He hurt us last year in Baltimore, and he's doing good things for them now in San Fran."

On Smith having three 70-plus yard touchdowns:

"He's definitely one of the better deep ball receivers in the NFL."

On DB why Pierre Desir was a healthy inactive:

"We got (DB Charles) Gaines back. He was a guy we were excited about so we wanted to see him. The inactive thing, like I told you a week ago or two weeks ago, it kind of more came down to special teams and then inside-out flexibility. We thought with Charles, he gave us back up ability at slot and outside. That's why he was inactive. We're not down on Desir. We just thought the other guys maybe practiced a little bit better than him. I do think that as the year goes on your confidence can take a hit. I'm not saying that that happened to Pierre – you'd have to ask him that – but he's a guy that we're counting on again this week. He had a good practice yesterday. I would count on him coming out today and having a good practice, and we'll see where we're at at the end of the week with who we're going to roll with against San Fran."

On how DB Joe Haden being out has affected the defense and DB Tramon Williams facing team's No. 1 WRs:

"Joe is one of the best players in this league so when you lose that, it hurts. We've had to adjust our defense. We've had to adjust our coverages. When you have a great player, you build it around them. That's the NFL. You're going to lose guys as the year goes on. You have to be able to adapt and adjust and build it around what you have available to you and go from there. As far as Tramon, I don't think Tramon really struggled against (Bengals WR) A.J. (Green) I know the numbers. He had a big game. On the one touchdown, he was supposed to have help over the top. On two of the plays, I thought Tramon was in perfect position, I thought A.J. might have pushed off on him a little bit and then he got a couple balls caught on him. I thought Tramon battled against A.J. Green. He's a top receiver in this league."

On not having veteran safety help on Green's TD:

"It's a bust, and that's what's frustrating. I thought we did a great job practicing that situation. We knew when they liked to take shots. We knew that play. A.J. was doubled on that play. We just didn't execute it. It just didn't happen the way we practiced it. Anytime that happens, it's frustrating."

On goals for the Browns defense for the final four weeks of the season:

"It's week to week. I don't think of it as a four-week thing. We set some goals coming out of the bye as a defense on what we try to hit each week. There are six defensive goals that we set. I got together with some of the other coaches and some of the older guys by position group. We put some thought into that, and then we have usually three or four gameplan specific goals that we try to hit each week. We want to hit our goals, and you'd like to finish strong and just gain momentum into the offseason. I always think that that's important, finishing the season strong."

On what happened with Bengals QB Andy Dalton's TD sneak:

"Again, I thought we had a good play call. It was something we practice. We had a guy, a different guy, that the formation and the shift kind of messed him up and that was kind of a ripple effect, messed two other guys up. We should have been gapped out and had everybody available for the quarterback sneak."

On if the Browns were prepared for the formation:

"The play. The formation was a unique formation, but it was an empty formation. It was something that had come up in the past for us."

On if has spoken to Haden about how he feels after missing time:

"I'm sure Joe is frustrated. I talked to him last week for a while in my office. We sat down together. I just wanted to see how he was doing. He's in the meetings. He was making some coaching points this morning when he saw something on tape to some of the younger guys when we were meeting as a full defense. He's still very involved."

On the main issue with the Browns defense this season:

"It's been a bunch of things. I have to do a better job. It starts there. We have to do a better job as a coaching staff. The players have to do a better job executing the defense. I don't think the defense is too complicated. If anything, we've simplified it. We've oversimplified it this year with some of the injury stuff. We've had a lot of different lineups in the secondary. Our system in the past, a lot of the success starts in the secondary and that allows you to do other stuff, whether it's pressure, load the box, confuse a quarterback. It's been hard to do some of those things when you're playing with a lot of younger players or you have guys in and out of the lineup. Just because of the carry over and coaching and the reps, it's a new slate every week. Like I said, if there was one thing, it would be fixed by now. It's just not, and that's probably why our record is what it is right now."

On if DB Donte Whitner is extra-motivated to play his former team:

"Whit kind of builds his fire every game. It wouldn't surprise me if this game meant a little bit more to him. I know there are not a lot of players on that team anymore that he played with. I think there may be only three or four of them on offense, but I'm sure anytime a coach of a player is playing against a former team there's always a little bit of added motivation there. They always say that there's not – everybody always says it's just another game – but that's never the case. I'm sure Whit is going to come out of the tunnel this week with a little bit of extra juice."

On if opposing offensive coordinators have picked up 'oversimplification' of the Browns defense:

"No because I still think we're multiple enough week in and week out where we change what we are. You're crazy if you think that the guys that started for you all last year and then the guys who took all the starter reps throughout the whole preseason the whole training camp, all offseason all of a sudden you throw a new guy or two in there that you can still do all that stuff. You can't. You have to simplify it a little bit. You have to give the new guys a chance. They just don't have the cumulative reps in the system that some of the other guys have. I'm sure it's frustrating for some of the guys that want more, but you just can't. Otherwise, you're putting the defense in a bad situation because Player A might not have gotten as many reps as Player B, and it only takes one guy to give up a play, which we all know on defense."

On if this season has been his biggest challenge as an NFL coach:

"Yeah, I've never been in the position where we've only won two games at this point of the year. I'd trade being 33rd in the NFL, if we could flip our record, in total defense. I don't care about that. I care about winning football games. Yeah, it is tough. It's very tough, but I think that our coaching staff has done a great job keeping the player motivated and working hard every day. As a staff, we grind. The players do a great job in the meeting rooms. They give great effort at practice. They give outstanding effort on game day. We're getting everything that those guys have on Sundays, everything that they have. I appreciate that, and I know the coaching staff appreciates that."

On if he has been disappointed in DB Tashaun Gipson's production this year:

"No, I think that some of the adjustments we've had to make this year secondary wise might have hindered his ability to do what he does best, which is roam the middle of the field, play off the quarterback. We've had to play some more split-safety zone stuff. When guys were hurt, like Whit, he had to take some other jobs on that he hasn't in the past, but I've been very happy with Gip. I love coaching him. I hope to coach him for a long time."

On if Whitner is the same player as last year:

"Yeah, Whit is doing a really good job for us. He communicates, he gets guys lined up, comes downhill. I know early on in the year, everybody was getting on him some. I know he missed some tackles early in the year, but I think he's cleaned that problem up. He's been very solid for us as a tackler as far as a guy supporting the run. He's had to take on some more jobs this year. When Gip was out, he had he's had to play some more deep zone stuff. He's been good in man coverage against tight ends. Donte is another guy – those two safeties are playing pretty good for us right now – both of those guys are. They had two very good games, both those guys, this past week and the week before."

On not seeing a lack of effort from Browns players on defense:

"If I see that from anybody on defense, they won't play. They know that. I won't have that problem. The roster was built – we don't have those type of guys. I'm not in the offense rooms, but defensively, we will get everything we have out of the guys in our room up until it says 0:00 in Week 17."

Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo

Opening statement:

"It is good to see everybody. A good end of the week here practice wise. Obviously, (QB) Johnny Manziel will be starting for us this Sunday in our game. We are really excited to see Johnny come back. Obviously, the last time Johnny was on the field, he did some nice things. We are looking forward for him to kind of keep pace with where he left off against the Pittsburgh Steelers. We are going to see these last four games and watch Johnny grow, and I am really excited to watch him play these last four games."

On ability to take Manziel at his word:

"I think Johnny has learned a hard lesson. I really do. I think these last couple weeks were really hard on him just from being around him every day. He didn't take it out on anybody other than himself. He wasn't a Debbie Downer around the facility or anything like that. I think he really learned his lesson this go around that you have to act like an NFL quarterback and there are other things to being an NFL quarterback than just playing the position. Hopefully, he has learned his lesson and we are moving on from there."

On if Manziel has shown he understands his responsibility for the latest incident:

"I do. I do. To me, with him and with all of our players, let's move on. Let's move on. That is in the past now, and we are really looking forward to these next four games."

On challenges gameplanning with uncertainty at WR due to injuries:

"As the week goes on, I think it will become a little bit clearer on who we are going to have. I will be honest with you that was a situation on Sunday that in my coaching career I really haven't been involved in. You are down to two guys with a lot of football left to be played. I told our players this the other day, I thought everyone because the tight ends had to accept a bigger role than they were going into the game. I thought everyone kept their cool. I thought everyone stayed poised. It was an unfortunate situation that we had so many guys go down as fast as they did, but guys stepped up."

On 49ers defense coordinator Eric Mangini's defenses and what he will do to take away Manziel's strengths:

"I don't know Eric personally. I know of Coach Mangini and I respect the heck out of Coach Mangini. I think you can see his influence these last four, five, six weeks where this defense is playing much, much better these last four, five, six weeks. They have played teams really, really good. Obviously I think when they are changing over to a new scheme, that two-gap scheme, I am not a defensive coach, but I would assume it is different than what the 49ers had done in the past. I think they are finally catching on and it is working. It is working. You can tell that they are a well-coached, disciplined football team. We are going to see what they do to take Johnny away. They are a zone football team so there are going to be eyes on Johnny the whole time. This is not a man football team. This is a zone football team. I think they are going to try a wide rush. Teams have done that in the past. We may have to climb up in the pocket and get outside. Johnny is going to be Johnny, and like I said, we are looking forward to watching him play."

On if there is a threshold where Manziel would be 'down to his last strike':

"I don't know if there is a last-strike policy or when that comes about. Like I said, we are going to see how Johnny handles this last situation. I will be honest, there is some pressure on him to do what he says he is going to do. There is no doubt about it. We are going to hold him accountable to his word. I think we have in the past, and we are going to continue to do that not only with Johnny, but all of our players."

On Manziel as a person:

"He is a great guy. He is really fun to be around. He is probably one of, if not, the most competitive people I have ever met. I am not talking about just in football. I am talking about – we do a college football pool in the quarterback room every Saturday morning, and he is competitive with that. We go bowling during training camp and his elbow is hurting, and he was bowling left handed and rolling strikes. He is that type of kid that is going to pick up a ping pong paddle and has not played in 10 years and just crush you. He is that type of kid in terms of a competitive person. Around us, he opens up. He is a great kid. I really, really enjoy being around him."

On external perceptions that Manziel cannot be a long-term NFL QB:

"My perception is different. My perception is much different of Johnny. I don't know what people outside of this building think of him. Really, I don't care what people think about Johnny. I know this: he is going to get coached hard. I am really interested to see how he reacts these next four games. It is going to be very telling. It is going to be very telling. I disagree with people that say they don't think Johnny can be a quarterback in this league."

On if Manziel will play with a chip on his shoulder, given external criticism for his off-field behavior:

"I hope his chip on his shoulder is more so to try prove everyone wrong. I don't know what outside perceptions are of him, but I guess they are to prove people wrong that he can be a quarterback in this league. That is the type of chip on his shoulder that I want the young man to play with and not the fact of being defiant about whatever he does outside of this building. That is the type of the chip on his shoulder I would love to see him play with these next four weeks."

On if the Browns will know what they have in Manziel if he starts the final four games:

"I think so. I really do. Here is the thing, these next four weeks now – obviously, we are only concerned with this week – when you look down the road, Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, that is a pretty nice sample size of defense that we are going to be going against. Obviously, starting this week with the 49ers. They are playing really good football on defense right now. Nine games is a good body of work. It really is. Compared to some of the preseason he has played, I think that is a good body of work. To say that it could give us a final conclusion, we take it week to week, but I think so, yes."

On how much closer WR Terrelle Pryor is to playing and potential for an individual package with him:

"I think Terrelle is very close. I think he is very close. I have been really pleased with Terrelle and not just from a physical standpoint but also from a mental standpoint. He did not take a huge drop off mentally from when he left here. If it happens to be that Terrelle plays on Sunday, I am really, really looking forward to seeing that."

On sensing angst among the Browns that Pryor was signed off the street and may play quickly:

"I don't because the mentality of us as a coaching staff, and I hope the players and our fans appreciate this, is we are trying to put the best 11 guys on the football field who we determine is going to give us the best chance to win. Obviously, Terrelle has a skillset that a lot of guys don't have in that he is a big, fast receiver with good hands and with a different view of the game than a lot of receivers because he has played the quarterback position. He sees things a little bit differently. I am not saying it is better or worse than other receivers, but you see it differently when you have seen the whole thing. Again, Terrelle offers a skillset that we are looking forward to seeing."

On challenges working with a rookie QB:

"I have had a good deal of experience on that field. I am going to be flat out honest with you – it is not easy. It is not easy. It takes a lot of patience. It takes a lot of gray hair. It takes a lot of anxiety, but to say it can't be done, you just have to be ready for what it is. The guy is going to make mistakes if he is a rookie or a young quarterback. I don't care if he is in his second year; he is going to make some mistakes. He hasn't played a lot of football. It is not easy, but at the same time, you coach who you have. If that is the guy that this organization wants it is full speed ahead, it is full speed ahead in getting him ready to go. If that is the direction that this organization goes down, I am all for it. Those decisions are out of my hands."

On the high number of sacks allowed this year:

"I told our players this: that sack on fourth down the other day was totally on me. That wasn't on our players. That was on me. I gave the quarterback an audible that I should not have given him, a young quarterback. That one was on me on fourth down. I told our owner that, I told our head coach that and obviously, I told our players that. The sack numbers to me are a lot because we have had to throw the football some. We have been in a lot of two-minute drives. We have been playing from behind some, and obviously, we all know our struggles with running the football. Whenever you throw the ball a lot, you are going to take some sacks. There have been some that have been the quarterback. There are some that have been the defense that we have played in terms of coverage. There are some that have been on the offensive line and there some that have been on me like I just admitted to. I think all four of those things have a major reason. As of late, we have been better. We will keep working at it."

On reports that TE Gary Barnidge signing a contract-extension is imminent:

"I don't, but I sure hope that report is true."

On why he feels that way about Barnidge and what he means to the offense:

"Gary Barnidge is probably one of my favorite players that I have ever coached. He really is. He is the same guy every day. He is productive. He works. He keeps his mouth shut. If you give him a coaching point, he takes it to heart and it shows on the field. I tell you what, if that report is true, than the Cleveland Browns just got better today."

On having any inkling Barnidge would be this productive before the season:

"Yes. In terms of the Baltimore catch and the San Diego catch, you never know about those and when they are going to come about, but I did. I did. To say at this level, you don't know. I didn't know the players well in a game situation. When I saw Gary and our coaching staff saw Gary, we were like 'This guy is good. This guy is good.' I think I told him the other day that he is 30, but he doesn't have a lot of tread on the tires. He hasn't played a ton of football because he has been behind some really good players. If that report is true, there is a happy guy sitting behind this microphone."

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor

Opening statement:

"The 49ers have a good core, led by (49ers LB) Nick Bellore. They are covering really well. Return game, they are doing a nice job. They have the (49ers WR Bruce) Ellington kid, who kind of reminds me of (Rams WR) Tavon Austin. He has very good speed, very good first step quickness, make you miss type of player. We will have our hands full there. The punter (49ers P Bradley Pinion) is doing a nice job for them. They are only giving up 7 yards per return in their punt coverage. They have been real good there. Obviously, (49ers K) Phil (Dawson) is having a great year for them and is kicking just as I would expect Phil Dawson to kick."

On expecting Dawson to be the first one at the FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday:

"Yes, he always is. He always is. He has his routine and he knows what he needs to do. I am sure he will be there early."

On how remarkable it is for Dawson to be playing at such a high level for his age:

"I think it is unbelievable. It is a credit to him. I have always said he is a pro's pro. I was fortunate to be able to be with him for a couple seasons, and I learned a lot from him. I am happy at how he is playing. He has only missed one field goal, and that was last week and it got blocked. He missed an extra point, but that also got blocked. Other than that, he has made them all. That is just a credit to who he is and how he approaches his craft. I use him as a standard with young kickers. I really do. I say, 'Someday, if you can be a Phil Dawson, you have made it."

On how tough it was for Dawson to leave the Browns:

"Extremely tough. There is no doubt about it. He is coming off a Pro Bowl year, and then, he was let go. That was hard."

On if he pushed to bring Dawson back:

"Most definitely."

On why Dawson was allowed to leave:

"Here is how I look at it: it is the old Chief and Indian philosophy. I am just an Indian. I brought it to the Chiefs, and they made their decisions."

On if Dawson would have liked to stay with the Browns, if offered:

"I think so. I will be honest with you, my philosophy with all players is that I don't get into the contract negations or how it is going. I really do. Not to side step the question, I truly stay in the player-coach relationship. Those other things are handled by other people. I am a Phil Dawson fan."

On his favorite Dawson memory:

"The thing that really struck me is just how consistent, and he still is consistent at 50-yards plus. I can remember one day we were doing a two-minute drill, and we were back on those back fields so you have to actually add four more yards because of the goal posts. The offense kind of stalled out right there just at range on the cusp of it. We said, 'Phil, go on out there and finish it off.' By the time we got done kicking, he made it and everyone clapped and kind of routine Phil. We kind of walked off and I said, 'Hey, you know that was about 59 yards.' He goes, 'Yeah, I know.' He doesn't blink. He just goes and attacks it, and that is why he has been kicking for a long time."

On if Dawson is the best kickers he's coached at evaluating all environmental factors:

"I think so. That is part of his craft. That is what he has mastered. That is one of the things he taught me when I came to Cleveland, just learning the wind patterns down at the stadium. I am sure he will get there early just because now the stadium has been reconfigured with the new scoreboards and those types of things, and the patterns are a little bit different. Being the pro that he is, I am sure he will get dialed in quickly."

On if opponents will attempt to block more Browns FGs after two blocks in two weeks:

"No question. That is a point of emphasis. In fact, this team has blocked three of them. 'High alert' is probably the best way I can sum it up."

On if an increase in missed PATs in the NFL last week are due to the weather changing in December:

"I really do. I think the weather is changing. You are probably sustaining some injuries on certain teams and maybe different guys are in there. The one thing I can always say about, for example field goals and field goal protection, is that you never really get to practice it live until the preseason. That is your first bullets. As injuries amount and guys are coming in, you might have some new guys in here that don't have all the live experience, and maybe that causes some of it. With the wind and all those things and field conditions, the fields aren't as pretty as they used to be. There are divots out there, and there is not as much grass in certain areas. It makes it tougher for those guys hitting the ball."

On P Andy Lee's season and discussing with him that he is facing his former team:

"His year has been outstanding, to be quite honest with you. I know right now we are 11th in net punt. Obviously, we were higher in that before the Baltimore game. He is providing a spark for us, so to speak, with regards to flipping field position. His professionalism has been second to none. I know that he is excited, but at the same time, there is a reason why these guys have been playing in the league so long. It is because they are so professional and they know how to handle their business. To be quite honest with you, we talked about it briefly. He is approaching this game just like any other game, but I can tell he is excited."

On if he and Lee swapped Dawson stories:

"We did. We talked about some 'Phil-isms,' so to speak. We have had some good laughs on that. When we see him in pregame we will remind him of a few of those."

On if it is tough to see Dawson on a team with a losing record after a few successful records in years prior after leaving Cleveland:

"Sure. Obviously, any player that I come in contact with, if they go to another team, I want them to be successful. Trust me, when they were making that (playoff) run, following Phil on that was a lot of fun. I know they are finding their way right now also as we are trying to, but just knowing the pro that he is, he will be ready to go."

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