Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo
"Obviously, a heartbreaking game on Monday night. I was proud by the way our players fought back. Getting down early and scratching and clawing, I thought it showed a lot of heart from our players. We are looking forward to coming out this week against the Bengals again at home and playing a good football game. We are pleased that (QB) Austin Davis will be our starting quarterback this week. He has prepared like the starter since the day he has been here. I think that is one of the reasons why he went out and played well the other night for us, threw the big touchdown pass and came in and gave us a little bit of a spark.
"Unfortunately, as we all know, (QB) Josh McCown was placed on injured reserve. Everyone in this room knows my feelings for Josh, his family, and it is a total bummer with what happened to Josh. I think that is shows the character and toughness of Josh McCown that he refused to come out of that football game until he was told he had to come out. I can't say enough great things about Josh, and we are so happy that he is a Cleveland Brown and will continue to be a Cleveland Brown.
"On a side note, I would like to congratulate (TE) Gary Barnidge for being the (2015 Walter Payton) Man of the Year of the Cleveland Browns and (OL) Alex Mack for being our Ed Block recipient. I think it just shows the character of those two guys, both on and off the field."
On if was tough for Davis to come into the game in the fourth quarter trailing and facing a long third down:
"That is like being a relief pitcher coming in with a 3-0 count with the bases loaded. That is about as tough a situation as you can be in as a quarterback. I think it was third-and-9. He rushed the throw a little bit, he came off and I said, 'Just take a deep breath.' It was like a tale of two guys. He went out and we got him a completion play. I know it went for zero yards, but he said, 'Hey Flip, just get me a completion.' We rolled him out and he threw the pass to (TE Gary) Barnidge. After that, he was great."
On if what Davis showed in relief of McCown was enough to warrant him seeing more playing time:
"I am not sure it was that. I just think that the circumstances provided themselves that we thought Austin earned this. We are excited he is going to be playing for us this week."
On his conclusions after watching Davis' game tape from the St. Louis Rams:
"Austin has always been a guy I really liked even coming out of college when I was in Oakland and I saw him and graded him coming out of the draft. Obviously, I think when you look at Austin last year – I don't have those stats in front of me. From what I remember reading about Austin was that he put together some really good games. I think he had two or three 300-yard (passing games). It is obvious that he can play in this league and we are happy he is here."
On how the offense can score more points against the Bengals than Week 9:
"We need to do a better job, I need to do a better job of getting some completion plays early for the quarterbacks. Cincinnati poses a very good challenge for us because they are very, very big, long and physical football team. I think we are going to have a better plan this go around. We know them a little bit better. I know them a little bit better. They pose a great challenge. They are the No. 2 or No. 1 scoring defense in the league. There aren't a lot of people putting points on them. We are going to pick and choose our spots to take some shots, protect the quarterback and hopefully be a little bit more successful or a lot more successful than we were the first go around."
On what Davis brings to the table from a physical and mental standpoint:
"You never know how a guy is going to act until you see him live in a game yourself. What really impressed me was the throw that Austin threw on what we call a circus route, which is an inside stem, 15 roll to 18 out cut with the throw right on our sidelines. Whenever the quarterback can drive the football outside the numbers like he did, that is a pretty impressive thing and throw it on time and accurately. That opened my eyes a little bit. I was like, 'Wow, that was a really, really good throw.' It got us going a little bit. I think Austin is an underrated athlete. I think you saw him get out of trouble at the end of the game. You saw him slide up with a two-hand ball swipe there when he threw the touchdown pass, which was fantastic. What people don't understand on that play was that was an unbelievable blitz pickup by (RB) Duke Johnson Jr. For a rookie to come across the football and see a blitzing safety coming from depth, that was an unbelievable pick up by Duke, which allowed that play to happen. Our offensive line picked up the rest of the blitz. Those are the things I see from Austin that I am really pleased with."
On if WR Travis Benjamin was McCown's target in the red zone late in the third quarter, if had an a few extra seconds:
"That was one of our options. The other option was Duke Johnson on the twist route. He crossed the linebacker's face, and I think if we had another split second, I think Josh as going to go to Duke coming back up underneath. Both guys were open."
On if the Browns offense can take more risks, given the 2-9 records, given defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil's comments that the defense has that opportunity:
"To me, I think you always play to what you think the strength of your players are. To me, you are always taking risk. It is just the type of risks you are taking. I didn't hear Jimmy in the context he spoke so I am not going to divulge very deeply into this. To me, you can take some risks, but they are still calculated risks. You are not just going to go out there and play circus ball and say, 'Just because we are 2-and-whatever we are going to go out there and throw double-reverse passes all day and those type of things.' You can open it up a little bit."
On WR Terrelle Pryor's physical shape and the how long until he plays in a game:
"Terrelle looks like he is in great shape. You would never know he wasn't in an NFL building working out and running and practicing. He has fresh legs. At this time of the year, a lot of the guys that have been here that have been playing ball. He has fresh legs so he looks a little bit faster than those guys. I am really glad we got Terrelle back. I really am. Not only does he provide us with a security blanket for the future for being a big body guy that can run and catch but also now again with Josh being down, he also provides with you the possibility of a third quarterback. He knows the system. He has been in this system. He provides you a security blanket both at receiver and at quarterback."
On if there is enough time left in the season for Pryor to make an impact at WR:
"I think so. I definitely think so. I can't tell you he is going to go out there and play this week, but I do think at some point before the season is over we will probably see Terrelle Pryor on the field."
On why Pryor may not play this weekend if he is in great shape:
"I just don't know if he is mentally ready there yet to divulge into a gameplan and coming off the street and being out of it for so long. You have to get into a mental mindset to be able to play in this game. Let's get him back in the building here for a week or two or three. I don't know. That is up to (Head) Coach (Mike Pettine), and we will see if Terrell can make an impact for us."
On if he communicated directly with Davis in-game through the headset:
On what happened with the headset issues at the end of the game:
"This is exactly what happened: we were on the ball in a two-minute situation. For some reason, there is a button on the side of your 'packet,' they call it. You press it, and the quarterback can hear you until there are 15 seconds left on the play clock. It went out or it was static-y. It was static-y a lot of the night so it wasn't just an isolate incident. The quarterback had a hard time hearing me. I think it was a combination of where we were in the football game and a new quarterback being in there for the first time and us in the situation we were in and the headset going out. Was it just the headset? I don't know. I think it was a combination of a lot of those things. When you are dealing with a young quarterback that to me was playing as good as a quarterback could play in that situation – kudos to him – we need to be better there. There is no doubt. We will all be better the next go around. There is no doubt about that."
On concern that it a week-by-week QB decision could become a distraction for the offense:
"No, we have a very resilient group on offense. I challenged our players two days ago. Obviously, it would be a real easy out for our players on offense saying, 'We are working on a short week. We just had an unbelievably heartbreaking loss on national television,' to go out there and mope around and just putts through practice. They did the exact opposite of that. We are a very resilient group on offense. Whoever is in there at quarterback, whoever is in there at Z [receiver], whoever is in there at left tackle, I expect all 11 guys to go out there and play and play like a Brown."
On how often headset issues occur and how frustrating is it:
"It is very frustrating. I wouldn't say it happens a lot. I know we have the best headset crew in the league. Those guys are right on top of it. There is a guy standing right behind me the whole game making sure he has a walkie-talkie if it goes out. We have the best crew in the league, bar none. It happens. It is technology. Technology goes down, and unfortunately, it was static-y at a bad time."
On if he wishes the Browns called timeout after Davis' slide in the fourth quarter:
"It is not on me as an offensive coordinator to call time outs, and I am not trying to pass the buck. That is on coach. The situation, we have practiced that a lot. We were on the ball. All of a sudden, we are on the ball in formation and the play is not getting called. It was like slow motion. You are waiting, waiting, waiting and signals were going out. We were on the ball. It was a tough situation on Coach Pettine. It really was. It was a tough deal for everybody. Sure, you could look back. I would have looked back and wished I would have called five different plays or 10 different plays in that game, but it happened. Austin has been coached up now. Don't slide in-bounds. Those things. Again, young players and young players in a tough situation. Like I said, I thought Austin played as well as he could."
On if it mattered if Davis slid in-bounds or ran out-of-bounds, given the timeout stopped the clock at a comparable time:
"Here is the thing: when you slide and you are not touched and you give yourself up – I am fine with that if he wants to slide – but I thought he could have run out of bounds another 4 yards. When you give yourself up, where your back touches first, that is where you declare yourself down. When he went down, he slid another four yards, but where his first initial contact went down is where they blow the ball dead. It wasn't the slide for me because we did have timeouts. It was the location of it, more so that was where we need to be a little bit better."
Defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil
"Before I get started, I wanted to congratulate (coaching intern) Ryan and Julie Downard, one of the members of our coaching staff who had a baby boy last night, Jackson, or early this morning. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Ryan was already fitting him up for a helmet. I know they're pretty excited."
"As far as the game Monday night, I thought defensively, we played hard. I loved how our guys finished the game, I thought we had two critical stops at the end of the game there. We had some guys make some key plays throughout the game. We're still working hard as a group on trying to be more consistent throughout the course of the game, not allowing those long drives that lead to touchdowns. That's something we need to get cleaned up. We're looking forward to this week against the Bengals. We know it's going to be a good test here at the Dawg Pound."
On the Ravens' long drives:
"Any time you're on the field for that long, it comes down to you have to get off the field on third down or fourth down. That's the most important thing. We were pretty good actually on third down. I think they were 2-of-11 for the game so we were good on third down. There were a couple of mistakes we made throughout the drive that gave them some things, but they did a good job executing on that drive. Teams shouldn't be allowed to methodically move the ball down the field on you."
On the plan to stop Bengals TE Tyler Eifert:
"Schematically, it's tough because they have a lot of other weapons on their offense so you can't just say, 'Hey, we're going to stop one guy' and then leave the rest of those guys out there on islands all by themselves. Anytime you have a bigger tight end that can run – he's got wide receiver ball skills – he creates mismatch problems. We have some stuff in the gameplan to help guys out, some stuff coverage wise to take some things away for him."
On if DB Donte Whitner being out for the first Bengals game this season helped Eifert's success:
"The one touchdown Eifert had, he was out aligned as a wide receiver so he was on a corner so Whitner wouldn't have been on him there. One of his other touchdowns was when we were in goal line and he just popped free late in the play. We had him covered early and then he did a good job breaking off his route and zoning off. Whitner is definitely one of our better man cover guys so he'll be on him some."
On comparing Eifert this year to last year:
"I think he's a really good football player. I think the quarterback is playing really well, and they have explosive players on the outside so you can't just say, 'We're going to shut down this tight end' because if you do that there's (Bengals WR) A.J. Green out there. They have some guys that you have to worry about. They're doing a good job offensively. They have weapons all over the place."
On DB Justin Gilbert's performance against the Ravens before sustaining a concussion:
"It was obviously frustrating that Justin got hurt. I think he got 17 plays. He didn't get tested all that much. I thought he did some good things. He did some things technique wise that we still need to get cleaned up with him. There's one play I'm sure he wishes he had back. There was a play we worked all week, they actually had a big gain on it, and if we just execute the coverage the right way, it's probably an interception. I know he was frustrated with that, but like I said, it was frustrating that he got hurt because I was excited to see him out there for a full game because of how well he practiced throughout the bye week and then the week leading up to that game."
On if the decision to start Gilbert was based on significant improvement in practice the weeks leading up to the game:
"We rolled those guys throughout our practices during the bye week, and then we made a decision going into the week of that game that Justin was going to start that week as a starter. He was going to have to continue to earn it, and he had a really good week of practice so that's how we rolled into the game."
On frustrations with the low sack total:
"I said it before: sack numbers – I'm sure some of the players they get into some of that stuff – I don't as a coaching staff I mean our coaching staff doesn't, I don't. I think we had 14 or 15 quarterback hits or hurries in that game. If you watch the last two series, I think we did a great job affecting the quarterback. I think that's one of the reasons (DB) Tramon (Williams) had the pick to set up the field goal [attempt]. I think (DL Desmond) Des Bryant has done an unbelievable job rushing the quarterback the last few games. I think people are really struggling to block him. Again, would I love to have more sacks? Yeah. Do the guys want to have more sacks? Yeah, but if we're affecting the quarterback, that's just as good, for me, as sacking them. I do think that Baltimore did a good job. They ran a lot of seven man protections against us and they got the ball out quick with the quarterback in his first start in two years so there was a lot of quick throws. We had free runners. We had guys winning on rushes the ball was just getting out."
On LB Karlos Dansby as a team leader:
"He's doing a great job and obviously in coverage. He's got two pick-sixes. He's one of our leaders. Karlos and Whitner are our two leaders on defense. He's done a great job of keeping everybody positive, keeping everybody going, talking to the guys and just doing his job."
On if Dansby is a reason the run defense hasn't improved:
"No, I'm not going to put it on one guy. It takes all 11 to stop the run. He's done some good things. He's been inconsistent at times, just like everybody has been on the defense. It's not on him. He's done some good things for us."
On Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh taking risks from their own end zone:
"No, he's done that all year. He's done that. That was something even in our first breakdown he's done. That's who he is as a head coach, and when you have two or three wins, you're going to be more aggressive than what you normally would if you're 9-2. You can take more risks."
On LB Christian Kirksey, LB Nate Orchard and DL Xavier Cooper:
"I'll start with Kirksey. I think that Kirko has had a very good year for us coverage wise. I think that he needs to continue to improve in the run game. I think he has. I see Kiksey quickly becoming a three-down player for us probably in the next year or two where he doesn't come off the field, whether that is at MIKE or WILL. He's a guy that has rare ability to coverage. He can run. He's athletic. He's a guy we're excited about as a defense. You can definitely build it around him, and he can be a core player as he grows up in this league. Nate, as a rookie, I think he's done a great job coming in and learning the outside linebacker position. He played exclusively at defensive end, where all of the coverage stuff was very foreign to him, in college. As he plays more in this league, you'll see his production go up. I think he's very, like most rookies, 'I'm going to get my job done. I'm going to do my job. I'm going to let the plays come to me.' As he plays more, he's got that play making ability. You'll see quarterback hits, sack numbers, more plays in the run game for him. Coop, we've talked about it all the time. Again, it's hard for rookie D linemen to come in and have an immediate impact in year one in this league. Coop is going to make a lot of plays just because of his first-step quickness and his pass rush ability. Again, he's a guy we're excited about. We're asking him to do a lot more stuff up front at the D line position than what he was asked to do probably in college. He's learned multiple positions for us because he has to be a backup at several positions, but those are all three guys that's we're excited about and guys that we see as building it around in the future."
On DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu's development, despite being on injured reserve:
"He's done a great job. He's in every meeting. We give him projects. He studies the opponent and then he presents it to the group. He's working his butt off in the rehab stuff. It's not like a deal where we drafted him and he's gone it's almost been like a redshirt year for him in college where he's been able to come in, he's learned the whole defense. He's obviously not repping it because of the injury, but he's a guy that I'll be excited to see once OTAs come around, see where he can help us. Can he help us as an inside corner, an outside corner? I've been very impressed with him as far as his ability to pick up the defense, ask good questions, study the opponent, help the guys out – 'Okay this is what I'm seeing' – study splits, study how they release. All of our guys that are on the practice squad or all of the guys on IR are a big part of that. (LB) Scott Solomon does that for us in the outside linebacker room. (DL) Dylan Wynn does that for us in the D line room. We keep all those guys involved in what's going on week-to-week so if we ever have to bring him up, he's ready to go."
On Ekpre-Olomu presenting to the DB room:
"Yeah, all of our guys do. All of our practice squad guys, the coaches will give them small project. When (Jaguars LB) Hayes Pullard (III) was here on the practice squad, he would study all of the running back releases, when they release from the backfield. Just a small project, and he presents it to Kirko and (LB) Craig (Robertson) and Los (Dansby), and it's just his way of helping but its teaching those guys how to study tape and they feel a part of it then."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor
"A quick recap: obviously, what happened the other night on Monday Night Football, we didn't play well in our area. I take responsibility for that. We have to do a better job of getting the guys to play better. That is what we are working on right now. We have already moved on to Cincinnati. We don't have time to lick our wounds or sulk. That does no good. We are preparing hard because Cincinnati is an awful good specials teams unit, and we need to play better. We are looking forward to the next opportunity."
On if it was a perfect mix for a blocked FG, a low kick combined with penetration by Baltimore:
"The kick was low. The guy that got his hand on it, he just put his hand up. He obviously got a piece of the ball. What took place after that was unfortunate. It was terrible. Unfortunate is not really – I can't even describe what it was. That is what happened. We have to do a better job."
On if having two rookies on the left side contributed to the FG blocked:
"No, not at all. Those guys have been playing there the entire season. We had been [tied for] No. 1 in the league for field goal percentage for the entire season. Our field goal kicker set an NFL record for the most consecutive kicks [made to begin a career]. It was just an unfortunate kick. It was just low. That happens. We have to do a better job there."
On if the FG would have been good if not blocked:
"I have no idea."
On not having OL Alex Mack and OL Joe Thomas on FG protect:
"You have seven active offensive lineman up. We just felt at the time – I shouldn't say at the time – I haven't used those guys all year. Typically, you do not use your center. We have here in the past. Both Alex and Joe are very good. They do a good job, but we have other guys that have been getting the job done the entire season. I will tell you this: it was a misfortunate event, obviously, but for me to sit up here and say we will hit the panic button, it's not going to happen. You don't go from No. 1 in the league and have an unfortunate event and say we need to revamp everything. What we need to do is Chris Tabor needs to coach them better. That is what we are going to do."
On if P Andy Lee outkicked the punt coverage or coverage needs to tackle better on Baltimore's WR Kaelin Clay punt return touchdown:
"Obviously we didn't do a good job covering that kick. It went 62 yards, the location was great and it was at 4.9 [hang time seconds]. If he gives us that type of hang time, we have to get down there and cover that. That was not on the punter. That was on our coverage unit. We have watched that and addressed that. We need to clean up those fundamentals. We will work that stuff today. Coming into this game, they have (Bengals DB Adam) PacMan Jones and (Bengals WR Brandon) Tate. Those guys can go the distance, also. We have our work cut out for us so we better fix it fast."
On if he wished a Browns FG lineman stood up in reaction to the Baltimore player jumping into the neutral zone on the potential game-winning FG:
"You are on the fringe field goal right there – would of, could of, should of. It is something that you address. It is tough. There is really only one guy that is going to be able to see it and that is the wing. The tight end, as he is there, he is not peripher-ing on the outside. His eyes as he is in his stance he is peripher-ing inside to the ball because obviously, he is not going to hear the count and he has to go on the movement of the football. He is not going to see that on the outside there."
On if OL Mitchell Schwartz was the tight end and TE Jim Dray was the wing on that play:
On if the Browns practice a blocked FG situation or if it is it too difficult to simulate:
"It is tough to simulate. You practice the coverage part on a long field goal. For example a year ago when we played Atlanta and we tried the one right there before the end of the half and (Falcons WR) Devin (Hester) got it and took off, that is the hard part about that play is you have to have the big guys up there for protection first. You like to have a couple guys that can run and chase it down if something bad happens – that is where Dray and (LB) Armonty (Bryant). Your wings still need to have length because they still have to widen the edge with their alignments and their length. The other thing is obviously as those guys scream around the corner – snap, hold, kick – the operation kind of helps them with their blocking because they get the ball off so fast.
On if it is difficult to coach a player like DL Danny Shelton to protect on special teams, given he doesn't pass block:
"I don't think it's that hard, to be quite honest with you. He's a good football player. You're teaching the fundamentals of the game. I think what you're teaching him essentially offensively in the field goal area can help him in the field goal block because now he's understanding both sides of it. I can tell you that he's not the only defensive player in the league that's on field goal protection. This weekend, you'll see No. 94 for the Cincinnati Bengals, (DT Domata) Peko on their field goal team. He's a big wide body and what that helps you is helps widen the edge also because obviously, now the tackle is getting his alignment off the guard and those type of things so you're looking for those big wide bodies. He's done a nice job this year, and actually, on that play, I thought he did pretty good, to be quite honest with you."
On if Monday night's game was the toughest he has ever been part of in special teams:
"I've had a lot, to be honest with you. I will say this: when you're in this game long enough and I hope that I can continue to be in it for a while, is you're going to experience things that don't always happen. You have to put it in the book of is it Alabama-Auburn? Is it Michigan-Michigan State? It was kind of a freak thing. That's never happened to me before. I have experienced some things that were like 'Whoa, I can't believe that just happened.' Here's how we're approaching it: it was a terrible event that took place. I look at it like this: we sustained a huge wound, and when you get a wound you go back home, you bandage it up and you want that thing to heal. When it heals, it's going to form a scar. Every time you look at that scar, you're going to say 'You know what? That scar is going to make me better because I remember what happened. I need to coach better, I need to play better.' That's how we're approaching it going into Cincinnati right here. We have to clean up some things, and every time we look at this scar, it hurts. There no doubt it hurts, and you remember it but you can either sulk about it and its going to get worst or you say, 'You know what? I remember it. We'll move on and we'll attack this next game.' That's our mentality in our unit for this next one."
On if he knew as soon as the kick was blocked that there was a chance for a return:
"I didn't process the information like that. I processed block, let's get them, where is the ball? I'm standing on the sideline. I couldn't really see. I saw obviously on the tape that (Ravens safety) Will Hill is basically backing off in a safe look. He's just standing there and it takes one basketball bounce right to him as opposed to some of the tape that I've watched. Cincinnati has given up a couple of blocks and the balls bouncing all over the place. It was a perfect storm, but we didn't help ourselves and that's on myself to get it coached better."
On if Baltimore Hill stepped out of bounds on the return:
"I don't think so. They didn't call it so I assume that he didn't. I will tell you this: the play is over to us. It's over. I don't talk about it. We just have to move on and go because if we live in the past, it's going to affect us in the future."
On tips for K Travis Coons on improving kickoffs, particularly after placing one out of bound:
"Just a little too aggressive with his line right there. He was a little outside in on the ball and got that thing pulled left. We were directional kicking. Baltimore ended up putting two returners back there because Travis has done a nice job of moving the ball, and he just got around it a little bit too much back there. Obviously, that's something that can't happen."
On potentially using WR Terrelle Pryor as a personal protector on special teams as the Browns did during the preseason:
"You want to always on expand on that. I will say this: in my world as the roster is always fluid, you have to define what a players talents are, don't put him in a box and limit the player and then if you think he can do something, experiment with him and see if he can handle it. Terrelle, that's what we were doing with him, and now that he's back, we'll begin to reopen all of those things and revisit."
On Pryor as a personal protector:
"It just gives you the threat. Obviously, him being a former quarterback, a lot of fake possibilities. What's it do to the return team? Are they playing a little bit safer? It's like playing St. Louis. When you're playing the St. Louis Rams, you are in a little bit more of a safe mode just because the punter is essentially the third string quarterback. It just kind of puts you on your heels a little bit. In my world, that's being aggressive and you're being aggressive with your personnel."