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Browns coordinators press conferences - 12/17

Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil

Opening statement:

"Great team win this past week against the 49ers. I thought our staff put together a good plan. I thought our players did a great job executing it. We had some individual guys that had exceptional efforts. In the secondary, the two Williams brothers – (DB) K'Waun (Williams) and (DB) Tramon (Williams) – had really good games for us. At the linebacker position, (LBs) Armonty Bryant and Nate Orchard were very productive for us in the run and pass game. Then up front with the defensive line, (DL) Des(mond) Bryant continues to be a beast inside for us, and he was obviously very productive. It's great to get the win. It's great to feel this way after a win. Our guys definitely have some juice this week. We're excited to go up to Seattle. We know it's going to be a great challenge. It's a very good offense. They've got weapons. We're off to a good start. Look forward to Sunday."

On LB Armonty Bryant's development since last year and his transition from DL to LB:

"When we first got here, we were excited about him. He was a guy that we targeted when we were in Buffalo as a defensive coaching staff as a guy we liked in the draft. Right when we got here, we were excited about him. We started him out as a defensive lineman. He played big end for us. Last year, he made some big plays in the preseason, kind if established himself what we thought in our first year here, just as more of an interior pass rusher. When we had the injuries that we had last year in the D-line, he was thrust into more first and second down duty, and he was doing a great job for us. He was really developing, and then he suffered the injury, which was a major loss for us. When we started the year, this year we thought he could help us some at rush linebacker more as just a true defensive end, not a guy that would drop into coverage a lot. As we got towards the end of training camp, we made the move for him to be totally in the outside backer room. As he's gotten the hang of all of the outside linebacker techniques, what his role is within each scheme, he's really gotten better each week, and he's a guy that can be a difference maker. He's got difference-maker ability yin the run and pass game. He can do some things that I don't know how he does it as far as how he can get skinny and slip in between two blocks. He's a guy that I think is only going to get better the more he plays in the scheme and stays at that position."

On if A. Bryant has improved against the run:

"Yes, he has. He's gotten a lot better. It's different when you're playing on the edge than inside because there's more space, there's more time before you actually engage that block. It's different with your hand placement. You don't want to get off a block as quick as you might inside because the back is not coming to you as quick. You have to make sure you hold the edge. Those are all things that he's getting more and more comfortable with as the year goes on."

On what the win over the 49ers meant to the defense:

"It was great to get the win. Winning is like nothing else in this profession, in this league. I love my job. Usually by three o'clock on Monday, I'm over it whether we won or lost. It's good. The players have worked so hard. The coaching staff has worked hard. It's good to get a reward. It was big for us."

On how the Browns defensive scheme changes when facing a QB who can scramble like Seahawks QB Russell Wilson:

"You have to be discipline in your rush lanes. You have to probably have somebody account for him. You won't usually see a lot of two-man coverage where you have five underneath guys in man coverage and then two deep safeties when you're playing a running quarterback because if he does get out, he's going for a long way. With some guys who are statues back there, you can't be as exotic with some of your pressure packages because you can't leave an open edge. You have to make sure you have edges to your rush. You have to change somethings, but a lot of that's situational based, hash based, down-and-distance based. We're still going to roll the dice some, like most teams will, but it's got to be the right shot in the game."

On Wilson's success in the past four games:

"He's not turning the ball over. He's not taking sacks. He's truly a dual-threat quarterback. He's a guy that can make plays running the ball and he can make plays throwing the ball above his shoulder. He does a great job buying time and then getting the ball to his playmakers down field. They do a great job staying alive in their routes. They're giving him a lot on offense. He's got flexibility to get the offense in the right play. He's playing at a high level right now. He really is."

On if the Seahawks have made adjustments due to RB injuries:

"No, their run game has been what it's been. The two guys that they just added, the (Seahawks RB) Bryce Brown kid, I remember him in Philly when (Bills RB) LeSean McCoy got hurt, and he had a pretty productive year for them. I don't think that what they do from a run game point of view is going to be much different from what they were doing in Philly with some of the zone read stuff and the zone stuff. (Seahawks RB Christine) Michael they just picked back up. He was on their team last year, who played a lot for them. I don't see them changing much with what they had with the other guys."

On evaluating DB Charles Gaines:

"I thought he did a good job. I thought he's gotten better every week. Obviously, the Pittsburgh game was a little bit of a growing experience for him. He came out the next week, he battled, played a lot for us. He did a good job. To date, this past week against the 49ers, he had one of his better games. I thought he did a much better job tackling, which was big for him. We challenged him with that early in the week, and he did a good job coming through or us."

On how the Browns defense produced nine sacks last week:

"It helps when you have the lead because it allows you to get into some more passing opportunities. Our guys did a really good job on early downs, getting them in obvious passing situations so we either won in the run game or we did a great job in coverage, forcing an incomplete pass. Our secondary played really well, we matched routes, we bought time for those guys. I thought we had a good plan and the players executed it."

On Orchard's performance Sunday and his development:

"It's great for Nate. It's always good when a guy gets his first sack as an NFL player. Like I said a couple weeks ago, he's been close a bunch. Sacks come in bunches. We found that out this past Sunday. We've had a bunch of guys that have been close. We just haven't finished the deal or the ball has gotten out. Nate is a guy that comes to work every day, he does everything you tell him, works hard in the meeting room, works hard at practice, takes almost every scout team rep for us at defensive end and then turns around and gets real reps. There aren't too many guys on our defense that work harder than him, and he e studies. It was great to see him get those two sacks because I know that the media has been on him a little bit. I'm sure it's a weight lifted off of his shoulders."

On if Orchard was playing strong side LB:

"Yes, he's our strong side backer. He usually goes to what the close call is or to the tight end side."

On how crowd noise affects the defense:

"Usually, when we're at home, we try to have less moving parts or double calls in our defensive gameplan just because you don't want a guy not to get a check or communication. When you're on the road, you can do a little more of that stuff because as a defense, you can communicate. I would think for an offense, it would go the opposite. At home, they can probably do some more checking and some more double-called stuff because it's easy to communicate whereas on the road, they have to probably be a little bit simpler or be really good with their non-verbal communication.

On how noise can affect the defense's communication, if the crowd is cheering for the home team's offense:

"Usually, when a home offense is on the field, you can hear a pin drop in a stadium so it's very easy for a defense to communicate. Where it's hard for us to communicate is when we're at home in front of the Dawg Pound, which we love, but when you're at home, it's hard on the defense."

On goals for the Browns defense when facing three teams in playoff contention to end the season:

"I want to play well enough to put us in position to win the game. That's our goal every week. I think it's a great opportunity with the three opponents we have left. It's a great opportunity this week. Our guys expect to go down there and win a football game. It's the same thing every week."

On what kind of a spark QB Duke Johnson Jr. was for the Browns defense against the 49ers:

"That's hard for me to answer. That would probably be a better question for some of our players. I don't know. Usually, when the offense is out there, I'm sitting on the bench, I'm looking at the stills, I'm looking at what I've shown, what they've shown, I'm trying to gameplan my next possession, what I want to show them, what I'm doing to take away. I rarely see our offense play so I wouldn't know."

On Manziel as a leader at QB:

"I think Johnny's done a good job this year. I'm in the building late; he's in the building late. I'm in the building early; he's in the building early. He's here. He's working. Our leaders on defense are (LB) Karlos Dansby and (DB) Donte Whitner. Those are the two guys that lead us. For me to speak about 'Is Johnny leading the whole team?', that's hard for me to say."

Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo

Opening statement:

"It is good to see everybody today. I hope everyone is having a nice day. Obviously, it was a great team victory for us on Sunday, much needed, long overdue. Offensively, I thought it was our most balanced game we have played all season. I thought our guys played hard, physical. I thought they came off the football. I thought our backs ran really hard. I thought (QB) Johnny (Manziel) played well, with the exception of the one pass. I thought that he played very, very well and took another step forward in where we want him to be as the Cleveland Browns quarterback. I was pleased with his execution. I was pleased with the way he got in and out of the huddle. I was really pleased with the way at the end of the game where I put it on him to manage the clock with the last 10:30 minutes to go in the game. We were up three scores. I put it on him. I gave him the play, and I said, 'You manage the huddle. Break the huddle at 12 seconds. If we have a motion, break the huddle at 14 seconds.' He did a great job with those things.

"Obviously, a big loss for us losing (WR) Brian Hartline, total bummer losing Brian. He really, really started to come on once we moved him inside. I am really looking forward to having him in that role again next season. We are really sad to lose Brian. He was a major part of what we were doing."

On the Browns establishing a rhythm in the run game against the 49ers:

"When we popped those two big runs early, I think it gave us a lot of confidence, a lot of confidence. Crow's (RB Isaiah Crowell) run was he just exploded through the hole. There was a hole there, he found it and exploded through it. (RB) Duke's (Johnson Jr.) was a cutback that usually isn't there with that play. That is a front side run we call '6-Pop.' He did a great job of finding the hole on the back side and our left side of the line washed everyone down. Those were two great runs and two well-executed plays by our guys. Once we hit those two big ones early, I think it gave us a lot of confidence."

On why it took Hartline time to produce consistently:

"Anyone is new in the offense. I was learning about what Brian did well myself those first four or five games. Brian was producing and everyone was healthy, and we had roles for each guy and trying to get each guy on the field to make sure they are doing the things that we felt that they were good at. Once we lost a few players, we decided to move Brian inside. He excelled at it. He excelled at it, and his role in that position grew and he grew with it. I was very pleasantly, not surprised, but really comfortable with Brian there and doing what we asked him to do inside."

On the transition from outside-zone running scheme to power-zone running scheme:

"I wouldn't say we abandoned the outside zone. We still have some outside zone plays. I think we focused this past game on more inside-zone plays and one-back gap scheme plays. Our goal was to go in and spread the 49ers out. They have some big people inside. We wanted to open up our holes and our 11 run game – when I say 11, I mean our three-wide out, one-back run game – has been, I don't want to say hanging our hat on, but we have had some success when we have been running the football a little bit in 11 personnel. That was our goal going in. Anytime you can do something that you want to do early well, it gives the play caller a lot more confidence and obviously, the players more confidence."

On how Seattle's defense presents challenges to offenses:

"They present challenges everywhere, everywhere. They are well coached. They are tough. They are physical. They don't miss tackles. They rush the passer with four people, with four elite pass rushers. They have two elite players in the secondary in my mind and two very, very good players in the secondary in my mind. There are not very many weaknesses to this defense. They don't do a lot schematically. What they do is they do it over and over again against what you do. They fit up runs well. They pattern read well. They are well coached. We have a tremendous challenge Sunday, a tremendous challenge. I am going to echo (Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine's words. We are going up there and we are going to battle. We are going to fight. We have great plan. We are looking to go up there and win a football game."

On how OL Austin Pasztor played in his first start with the Browns:

"I was pleased. He was a little high at times. He got bulled a view times. He obviously had the holding call on the long run that got called back, which was a legit hold. He grabbed him. There is no doubt about it. I sit next to Austin in team meetings, and I told him I was really proud of him for the way he went in there and competed. Austin is not fundamentally perfect all the time, but he turns it into a street fight, which is kind of his game. I was pleased with the way he played."

On how much gameplanning is done for weather, given the expected conditions in Seattle:

"We think about it. You think about it. You never make it a big deal to the players. You don't make those outside factors a big deal. You adjust as you go. I think we have plenty of offense, whether it is a day like that or it happens to be spotty rain or whatever. It is Seattle in the winter. They have to play in those conditions, as well."

On if it is harder to run outside-zone with three WRs on the field and if that affects how many outside-zone plays are called:

"No, you can still run your outside to the open side and the closed side, both to and away from the tight end. We have really gotten into – like I said, I talk about it a lot – the run/pass options. That ball that Brian Hartline caught up the middle of the field early in the second half that was a called run in the huddle. We probably had four or five passes that were actually run plays called in the huddle, in addition to what we called locked runs, which are being handed off no matter what the look. We were reading the MIKE backer. If there was a six-man box and the MIKE was in the box, we knew we had room to hit Brian Hartline right up the seam. Meanwhile, if the MIKE had walked and it was a five-man box, we knew we were going to run the football. Those are the kind of things that Johnny has done in his past. That is another reason why we went down that route, as well. Let's do something that our quarterback is good at and has done in the past. You saw how quickly he got the ball out of his hand. Brian made a great catch. I have said it all along: we are going to adapt our offense to what our quarterback does well."

On if Crowell individually had a great game, if it was simply taking advantage of the holes or if it was him developing a rhythm:

"It is a combination of everything you just said. There were probably better holes there. I thought Crow got into a rhythm that I know he was pleased with and obviously, we were all pleased with. I thought he was running the ball very hard. His pad level, he was running with great pad level. He and Duke both. It was a combination of everything you just said."

On WR Travis Benjamin's ability in scramble drills:

"Very good, and we work on scramble drills a good deal. We work on those and we stress those. Our coaches do a great job of stressing our specific scramble rules, whether we are in the red zone or in the open field. Travis was on what we call a 'scorch route' where he was going to run a post to the opposite side. What he did was when he saw Johnny flushing out, he flattened the route off and did a nice job of finishing towards the sideline. We were running a crisscross type of route. Travis and Johnny have a really good knack of when Johnny breaks the pocket of him coming back to the ball."

On successful scramble plays going back to comments that coaching is overrated:

"Coaching is way overrated when you have a free rusher off the edge and the quarterback makes him miss and throws a 60-yard bomb. I would like to take credit for that, but I am afraid I can't. Johnny and those guys, they do a great job of impromptu when they are outside the pocket."

On WR Terrelle Pryor in his first game and if he is due for more playing time with Hartline being injured:

"Yes, I would say that is a correct statement, No. 1. No. 2, I was very pleased with Terrelle. The game was not too big for him at all. I always tell those receivers, 'No tip-toeing through the tulips,' like when you pattern your feet. You have to run; run into your routes. You saw Terrelle run, which I was pleased with. Now, he didn't get any targets or catches. That didn't surprise me either because it being his first real game you are not going to throw a guy out there and base your whole gameplan around him because as a coach you don't know how he is going to react to a new position and those things. I was pleased with T. As we see this season go along here these last three games, I think you will continue to see Terrelle's role grow."

On if defenses play Manziel differently due to his mobility and ability to scramble:

"I am not in any defensive meetings so I don't know how they teach containing the quarterback, but I think anytime you have a quarterback that can move outside the pocket – the thing with Johnny is not only being able to get outside the pocket but to throw off balance and throw with accuracy from a bunch of different positons and being able to drop his arm in different angles. That to me is what makes Johnny the most dangerous, his ability to not only throw on the run but to throw off balance."

On if Manziel improved against the 49ers as he did between the Cincinnati and Pittsburgh games:

"It was definitely a leap. Now, it probably wasn't as noticeable because we were more balanced offensively. I see the whole thing. I see the confidence in the huddle part of it. I see him coming over to the sidelines and telling me exactly what he saw and why he did certain things. He took another step of growth from that standpoint, but it probably wasn't as noticeable a jump because we were much more balanced."

On what the Browns offense changed between the second half of the Cincinnati game and the Steelers game, given it was a struggle against Cincinnati in the second half:

"Struggle is putting it nicely (laughter). You teach, and like I have said in here several times, Johnny is not a repeat offender. I know what some people think of Johnny and we talked about perception of him outside the building last week; he is coachable. He is a coachable player. He listens. As long as he keeps doing that, he is going to continue to get better."

On if comparisons of Manziel to Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is valid:

"I think I have said this one time in here: I don't like to compare players just because each player's situation is very different. I like to stay away from player comparisons."

On how Seahawks DT Ahtyba Rubin is playing and what he means to the Seahawks defense:

"He is playing very well. He is playing very well. It is hard to find – it is not hard, it is impossible to find a weak link in their defense. There is not one player where you would say, 'We are going to attack this person or this area of the field.' (Seahawks Head) Coach (Pete) Carroll and (Seahawks defensive coordinator) Coach (Kris) Richard do a fantastic job of taking away your strengths, and we anticipate a dogfight up there. We are looking forward to that challenge."

On if Manziel still has to show him that he can be trusted, given external criticisms:

"I think each player, we are all in constant evaluation from somebody. I trust him. I know him more than most people. Has he made mistakes in the past? Absolutely. We are moving on from those, and each day is a new day for all of us. That is where we are right now."

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor

Opening statement:

"Seattle Seahawks, really, really good core unit. They also play a lot of starters in their special teams. You'll see guys (Seahawks SS) Kam Chancellor, (Seahawks FS) Earl Thomas, Pro Bowl guys that are playing on their kickoff team. They have an exciting returner in the (Seahawks WR Tyler) Lockett kid and can change the game in the kick return game or in the punt return game. Then their specialists are doing a really, really good job. Once again as we head to the great northwest, we have a great challenge for us. Looking forward to that."

On considering personnel changes on the left side of the FG protect unit, given the Browns have been 'crushed regularly' there:

"You're limited on personnel where you're going to put there. I don't know if I'd go exactly with the word 'crushed.' We've had problems the last three games. Two of those three blocks have been low kicks that we're trying to rectify out there in practice. I'm going to put one of them on the protection and the other two on the trajectory of the football. No question, it needs to get rectified."

On explaining the low kicks:

"Hitting the ball too high. Foot on the ball just a little high there and not getting underneath it enough, and it's not clearing. Later on in the game after the block, they actually came through cleaner on another opportunity there, but (K) Travis (Coons) got the ball up and got it through there. It's gone from a strength of ours early on – I guess you could say probably the first 10 games, 11 games maybe – to obviously, it's a little bit of an Achilles heel right now. We have to get it because we need every point we can get."

On if Coons had problems connecting too high on the ball earlier in the year:

"Didn't seem like it. I'll be honest with you: I think going into the game, he was at 90 percent and you felt good about that as your rookie kicker. You also have to understand I think that's there's always sometimes going to be growing pains, and I think that maybe we got accustomed a little bit of maybe we bypassed that and got fortunate in bypassing those growing pains so to speak. I still have confidence in that player and I think that he's a good kicker and doing a good job, but it is an issue that has to get fixed. He came out yesterday in practice, and we did some different things, trying to simulate some different things. He performed real well so hopefully that will carry over to Sunday."

On if the low kicks are due to Coons attempting to get more distance:

"Can be. The one he hit the other day, his technique was just a little bit off there on that first one. You can kind of see it on his other ones. I guess you could say if you looked at it there are, for lack of a better term, some divots – golf term there a little bit. The one that got blocked it was very clean and you didn't see any divot at all. As you paused it, you could see the foot on the ball just slightly high and trying to drive it a little as opposed to getting underneath it – chili dip it, so to speak."

On if the three blocked kicks are getting to Coon's head:

"I hope not. I hope not."

On if OL Cameron Erving has become a liability on field goal protection:

"He's been really good up to this recent stretch. I'm not going to put everything on Cam Erving. In fact, Cam Erving is going to be in there. There are seven offensive linemen that play on Sunday. You have to have big people up there. With regards to a wholesale change of people in my world, we don't have that luxury to do that. Did he look better yesterday? Sure did. Does he have to get better? Sure he does, but that's all of us, coaches included, players included. I expect him to do a good job on Sunday. It will be another good test for us."

On impressions of RB Raheem Mostert on special teams and that being a factor into the signing:

"No. 43for Baltimore. Know him very well and have studied him. When I saw it come across the wire, it caught my eye because he's an awfully good football player. He was their return man. We actually kicked away from him. He's a guy that also plays gunner and was an inside cover player. He's been well coached. He did a lot of good things up there for him. If he's available, then obviously, we'll use him. If he's not, then we'll continue to get him ready."

On WR Marlon Moore's contributions on special teams;

"Toughness. Marlon is a guy that comes to work each and every day and he gives us a little bit of an edge, little bit of an attitude in our special teams unit. Just a good football player, good person more importantly, but when he goes out there, we feed of Marlon. He's done a nice job for us, and I'm real proud of him, how he's done on offense, too. That's a credit to that kid that he's taking advantage of our opportunities, but at the same time, he says, 'Tabes, if you need me to go, I'll go.' I appreciate what he's done for us."

On the Browns tribute to 49ers K Phil Dawson on Sunday:

"I'll be honest with you: I did not see the tribute on the scoreboard there, but Phil Dawson, a class act. There's no doubt about it. I had a great time being with him out on the field again and then getting the opportunity to visit with him after the game and visit with his wife and kids. Like I mentioned last week, if I can tell a young kicker, 'If you can end up like Phil Dawson and become a Phil Dawson, then you've made it.' It was good to see him."

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