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Browns coordinators press conferences - 12/24

Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo

Opening statement:

"First off, Merry Christmas everybody. I hope everyone has a nice day tomorrow. To all the Cleveland Browns fans out there, I hope everyone has a merry and a safe Christmas.

"Offensively last week, we did some good things. When you have limited opportunities in a game as that where there are some long drives by both teams, you have to capitalize when you get in the red zone, and unfortunately, we were only 1-3 last week in the red zone. I thought that that hurt us. It would have made the game, obviously, closer, if we score on those two drives instead of kicking field goals. When you are playing against a team like the Seattle Seahawks, you have to be able to convert in the red zone.

"I want to congratulate both (OL) Joe Thomas and (OL) Alex Mack for making the Pro Bowl. That is a big-time deal. For (WR) Travis Benjamin and (TE) Gary Barnidge to be on the alternate list, whenever you can have four guys on your offense be recognized by their peers and by their coaches, that it a big-time deal. The biggest thing I am happy about with those four guys – I told the offense this yesterday – is all four of those guys do things the right way. They Play Like a Brown, they prepare like a Brown and I couldn't be prouder of those four players."

On his message to QB Johnny Manziel this week, given the Chiefs takeaways:

"The Chiefs do a great job. They have obviously a lot of interceptions. They have a lot of first-round draft picks and Pro Bowlers on their defense. We respect the Chiefs a great deal, but at the same time, we are not going to hold anything back from the Chiefs. We are going to attack them like we would any other team, and we are going to cut it loose."

On how Manziel has done with ball security as the season progressed:

"I thought he has gotten much better. I always tell our quarterbacks, if you are afraid to throw an interception, then go play somewhere else. This thing that I am most pleased with Johnny in terms of ball security is his pocket ball security. I think that has improved a great deal. Obviously, we had the one in Seattle last week, but his two hands on the ball has been much, much better than it was earlier in the season from what you saw in New York when we had the fumbling issue."

On how to coach ball security with QBs:

"You drill it. You drill it. You do pocket movement drills where he is keeping two hands on the ball, two-hand ball swipe. We always talk about holding the ball, two-hand ball swipe, sliding up in the pocket close to your body so you use your chest as a protective shield with the football. I think (quarterbacks coach) Kevin O'Connell has a done really nice job of over-emphasizing pocket ball security with Johnny."

On OL Joe Thomas' comments supporting Manziel and his improvements and if he shares that sentiment:

"Absolutely, absolutely. The beauty of when players come out and say those things is they see what goes on, not-on the field, as well, that a lot of other people don't see, like the coaches and players we get to see. I didn't read Joe's comments, but I am assuming that it's his huddle presence is way better because that comes with preparation. His preparation to get to Sunday has greatly improved and drastically improved since the beginning of the season. He is learning to be an NFL quarterback. I would agree with Joe on those sentiments, yes."

On balancing aggressive play calling and putting Manziel in a position to succeed against an aggressive defense like the Chiefs:

"I tried to protect Johnny a little bit last week in Seattle. I am not saying we are going to do the same thing this week because each week is different. We ran a few draws. We ran some screens. We still had our run/pass options up. Those are ways you can still attack a weakness of a defense. They want to rush the passer and get up field. What do you do? You throw the ball over their head, a short distance where it is a high completion play. Those are the things that I think you can do. We are going to have to be great in protection this week. We have two not new [offensive linemen] but we are beat up a little bit on the offensive line. We are going to have to do a great job. Johnny is going to have to do a great job pre-snap with the protection calls, and hopefully, that will slow down their pass rush."

On if Manziel improved again against Seattle, considering the statistics:

"Absolutely. Where I was on the field, that is a hostile environment. We had no communication issues whatsoever. Credit to our offense for having no false starts. We drew them offside three times. If you would have told me there was going to be one team with three false starts or offside before the game, I probably would have said there is a good chance it was going to be us just because of the environment. The fact we kept our composure, I think Johnny was a big part of that. Just relaying the play in crowd noise like that and third down where it is a loud, hostile environment against what you could argue is the best defense in the league, that is definitely a sign of growth."

On if he ever thinks to himself that he is coaching a future Pro Football Hall of Famer in OL Joe Thomas:

"All the time. All the time. You just can't say enough great things about Joe. He does everything right. From his play to his preparation to the way he treats people to the way he approaches each day, there is a reason why he is going to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He just does everything right. He understands that he has a lot of God-given talent, there is no doubt, but he uses it in a way where he is still going to prepare and get better and look forward to getting better each day. I can't say enough great things about Joe."

On if CenturyLink or Arrowhead Stadium is louder:

"Wow, they are definitely one and two. I will be honest with you: I was in the box the majority of the time when I was at the Raiders so it was hard for me to tell which was louder. I would say they are one and two, 1 or 1a, however you want to rank it. I remember – I forget what year it was; it may have been 2012 when I was with the Raiders – (Kansas City) set a Guinness World Record for noise and then Seattle broke it the next week to break their record. I am not going to say one or the other, but they are both very loud."

On what makes Kansas City Chiefs DB Marcus Peters such a dangerous player:

"He has tremendous ball skills. For a defensive back, a lot of times, they are playing DB for a reason. You know the old saying. This guy has ball skills like a wide out. For a young player, he really understands route concepts and route schemes. He is not afraid to take a chance. You will see him get beat every once and a while for him taking a chance but then you will see him make four plays. He is a savvy – I don't want to say – he is almost like a savvy veteran as a young player or he really understands football and he has tremendous ball skills."

On noticing improvements in Manziel's football acumen and protection calls:

"Absolutely. I have been pleasantly surprised with how quick that has been. Is he where we want him to be yet? No, and he would say the same thing. I am even a little shocked on how quickly he has picked up the protection part of it because from what we do from a protection standpoint pre-snap is not easy. It is not easy. Certain teams try to get themselves into the perfect play. We want our quarterbacks to control the protection so they can extend their careers and get picked up and know where the hots are coming from. The conversations that you can have with this young man now compared to when we showed up in the building are just lightyears from where they were. That is a credit to him. He has done a great job."

On WR Terrelle Pryor's performance and his drop in the first half:

"I don't know if he was surprised by it. I couldn't tell on the film. I slow-mo'ed it a bunch. and it looked like the ball may have been tipped or grazed at least by a defender on the way by. It was hard to tell. When you have a young player, in terms of young at his position, you are really careful about throwing him into too many situations where he is not going to have chance for success. We are not just going to go out there and say, 'Hey Terrelle, you are going to be our starting Z or X.' We are going to have certain plays for him. Unfortunately. we only had 52 plays on Sunday so some of his plays weren't dialed. but hopefully. we will have more this Sunday."

Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil

Opening statement:

"I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas. Hopefully, you guys all got your shopping done and you're not going to be standing next to me in line at the mall tonight (laughter). Who knows what time that will be. Hopefully, you guys got that all done."

On if he agrees that DL Danny Shelton had one of his better games on Sunday:

"I did. I did. I was happy with how he played in the middle. He was disruptive. He was in their backfield. He made some good plays. He pushed the pocket in the pass game. He has just continued to get better and better every single game that he's been out there for us. He did a really nice job last week. I know he had a lot of family in the stands so if he is going to play like that, we've got to bring all those family members to every game that we play."

On Shelton's season and his improvement, given his statistics:

"The NFL game is very different than the college game. There is going to be an acclimation period where he has got to get adapted. I know he said on record that it is way more physical. There are more blocking schemes that you have to be aware of, the pass protection is better. Those are all things that you have to learn as a rookie. As a nose tackle, you're never going to jump off the stat sheet; you're going to be a guy that causes a lot more production for people than you getting production. He has been a guy for us as the season has gone us who has been able to get vertical penetration into the backfield, cut a play in half, eat up two blockers a lot at the point of attack for us. He has gotten some good push in the pass game. The more he plays in this league, the more plays he'll earn to be out there as a pass rusher and a guy who can collapse the pocket for us. He's done a really good job for us in the run game. I think that the pass stuff will come. Not to say that he hasn't done a good job for us – he has when he has been out there – he just hasn't had a lot of opportunities on third down. He got a few more this past week, and he did some good things for us."

On Shelton wearing the 'Play Like a Brown' wrestling belt yesterday with his lava lava:

"That's good. That's who he is. I'm glad he's having fun with it, that the guys are having fun in the locker room. Again, that's a reward that we give each week for 'Play Like a Brown' plays. We're rewarding what we think will lead to more victories, behavior that leads to victories. He did the best on the defense this past week. Even though we didn't win the football game, he put seven or eight exceptional plays on tape that we would consider 'Play Like a Brown.' To me, you get everybody playing like that, then that is what we feel like will lead to more wins."

On response to people who say the Browns shouldn't respond in that fashion, given the team's record and performance:

"When you're 3-11, you have to find a way to have some fun in the locker room. Otherwise, this becomes pretty brutal. I'm all for it."

On Shelton's performance in run defense, given the team's ranking in run defense and the expectation drafting him would improve the run defense this year:

"I think Danny has done a good job for us. It's not just one guy. You can't just draft one player and think that it's going to fix things. It takes all 11 to be good against the run. It takes all 11 to be good on third down. It takes all 11 to be good against the pass. He has definitely helped us. There might be some other pieces we need or we have to continue to improve our techniques, but we've brought him in here to do, he's done that."

On explaining why the run defense hasn't improved if Shelton is playing well:

"Like I said, there are a lot of things that go into it. It takes all 11. It has been inconsistent technique. It's stuff we've talked about all year long. It's been alignments. It's been missed tackles. It's been not setting the edge properly. It's been maybe a poor play call at a time. There are a bunch of things that go into it. You just can't say that one guy is going to come in, dominate and totally help the defense. It's scheme, it's players and there are a lot of things that go into it."

On if the Browns are still missing pieces on defense:

"No, I'm not going to say that. We were happy with what we had. We just have to be more consistent."

On Chiefs QB Alex Smith not turning the ball over frequently and Chiefs TE Travis Kelce and WR Jeremy Maclin:

"I think he's a really good quarterback. He's won a lot of football games there in Kansas City. (Chiefs Head Coach) Andy Reid does a great job with him. They are a very efficient offense. They are similar schematically to Seattle in what they do in the run and pass game. Obviously, the tight end is having a great year, a Pro Bowl player, creates some mismatches. They do a really good job with him. Maclin is a very good receiver. It is a good offense. They are rolling right now. They have good players. They are healthy. They have guys coming back that had been on the shelf for them. It's going to be a great challenge for us defensively both in the run and pass game."

On Smith's sack total:

"Some of that is a product of him not wanting to turn the ball over if he doesn't like the look. Some guys might force a throw into bad coverage. I don't think he has a problem eating it if he doesn't like the look. He'll be a guy, that like last week, if he doesn't like it, he's going to try to run."

On what makes Kelce a Pro Bowl TE:

"I always like tight ends that will stick their face in there and block, which he will do. A lot of the guys who have all the numbers won't do that, and he is an active participant in the run game. The other thing that he does is he is a big target. He's got unbelievable hands. He has scored a lot of touchdowns down there in the red zone. They do a good job schematically of trying to get him the ball. He is very good at breaking away from leverage. He has got really good quickness for a bigger guy to be able to attack your leverage, if you're inside leverage and then burst outside or if you're outside leverage to attack it outside and come inside. He's a really good route runner."

On if it is harder to anticipate when TEs will run routes when they are also active in the run game:

"Sure. There are some tight ends in the league who align attached to the tackle and everybody on defense can say, 'Well, we know the run ain't going there because he's not blocking anybody.' That's not the case with him."

On goals for DBs Pierre Desir and Charles Gaines:

"Just continue to grow, continue to develop and continue to execute the techniques that we want on the field and make plays. That's why we drafted them."

On deciding to play Desir, Gaines or DB Johnson Bademosi:

"We are a little limited at corner, obviously, with all the injuries, but each week, we kind of wipe the slate clean opposite of (DB) Tramon (Williams) and then when (DB) K'Waun (Williams) is healthy at nickel, we are going to roll with those two guys every week. We let those guys compete. At the end of the week, we talk about it as a staff on who we feel most comfortable with and we make a decision. Last week, it was Bade. They have all had their chances, every one of them. They have all had their chance to establish their position. None of them have been able to do that so each week, it's who is going to earn it, who is going to practice better. That is who we roll with. If we come out the first couple series and they are not playing well, we go with the next guy. That's kind of the mode we've been in for the past 15 weeks or whatever it has been."

On understanding that emotions run high during games and if he needs to address players, considering Gaines pushed DB Donte Whitner last week:

"I love that. I want our guys to be emotional and into it. Two emotional players, they want to win. It's an emotional game. Unless you've been on an NFL sideline, it's hard to explain it. There is a lot of emotion. Those guys want to get off the field on third down. They want to stop touchdowns. They want to make plays. They want to win football games. You can't do that if you're not emotional."

Browns special teams coordinator Chris Tabor

Opening statement:

"Merry Christmas. We're just getting ready for Kansas City. Kansas City is once again another really good opponent for us in the special teams area, well coached by (Chiefs special teams coordinator) Dave Toub, a guy that I worked with in Chicago. I have a lot of respect for him and what he has done with his unit. You look at their returners (Chiefs RB) Knile Davis, the (Chiefs RB/WR De 'Anthony) Thomas kid is just coming back from a concussion. He practiced yesterday and he is a dynamic player. (Chiefs P Dustin) Colquitt, the punter, is a Pro Bowl-type punter. (Chiefs K Cairo) Santos, the kicker, is doing a nice job. When you look at their inside cover players from (Chiefs LB Frank) Zombo to a lot of different guys, they can run. We have our work cut out for us. It will be another big challenge for us. We are looking forward to it."

On playing against Toub:

"I have a lot of respect for him. He is a guy that I learned under. He has had a couple head coaching opportunities. I believe he is a guy that should be a head coach in this league. I am going to have the opportunity to coach against him. It will be fun, but it will be about our units playing against each other. Hopefully, we play well."

On if the two teams' special teams units are similar:

"There are some similarities. We will definitely have some changeup for them, and I am sure they will for us. We need to worry about the Cleveland Browns. Last week against Seattle, I thought that we improved. Hopefully, we can continue that this week."

On the secret to not having a kick blocked last week:

"Well, they didn't touch the ball was the biggest thing on that one (laugher). Coonsy (K Travis Coons) did a good job getting the ball up in the air. I really did. Up front, the guys did a nice job there. We have. We have had three blocked. As you look around the league, and obviously we are only concerned about ourselves, but the blocks are up. There are other teams that have more than we do. There are teams that have the same as we do. As I stated, I have given one on protection and two on the kicker. I thought Travis had a good game."

On RB Raheem Mostert's 53-yard kickoff return against Seattle:

"He is a guy that I know to a lot of people came out of nowhere. As we studied him in Baltimore – I have written him up many a time – I felt pretty good about what he could do. He showed that there in Seattle. He has great vision. He hits it. He is explosive, and he is a running back. It is kind of like the guy we are facing this weekend in the Davis kid. He is a running back that is strong. They have a natural knack of running behind their pads, good vision, good ball security. Raheem shows that, and he did it in Seattle. Hopefully, he can do it again this week."

On if DB Johnson Bademosi has ever been a Pro Bowl alternate prior to this year:

"I don't think so.

On if Bademosi is long overdue to be included in the Pro Bowl:

"In my opinion, I think so. I think Johnson is a guy that has improved each and every year. I could be wrong with this stat, but I believe since he has been in the league, he is in either the top two or top three in (special-teams) tackles. He is a player that, as I stated a few weeks ago, has just gotten better and better. There are going to be things that maybe the common fan wouldn't see – all the little things he does with regards to blocking and where his hands are at and the subtle things that he does to influence a player to do other things. He is playing at a high level. Real pleased with him, and we are going to need him this week."

On if the Browns made personnel changes to FG protect due to blocks:

"No, we had some injuries there. First, (OL John) Greco went down. (OL) Cam (Erving) went down, and I know Cam came back, but at that time, we had some moving parts going on right there. In fact, the guy that I have to tip my hat off to is the (DL Jamie) Meder kid. When Greco went down, Meder came in and played guard for us. He has worked it probably early on in the year, and we actually on the sideline there were getting some reps at it, just getting his foot placement and all those things with (LS) Charley (Hughlett) so that it would be ready to go. He did a nice job. Then obviously (OL) Joe (Thomas) has ridden that bike before. It was good."

On if ever doubted that Coons would be able to play, given his right groin and trying out other kickers:

"There was no doubt. It was a precautionary deal bringing the other guys in. You also get the opportunity to look at some other players. I felt pretty good that he was going to be able to go."

On trying out former Browns K Carey Spear:

"He said he was still out in Tennessee. He has been kicking and it was great to see him. He is a guy that I think had a great preseason and a guy that definitely deserves a chance. I hope he continues to get an opportunity."

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