Associate head coach Pep Hamilton:
On the status of the quarterback competition:
"All the guys are working hard. We put a lot on their plates with regard to not only digesting our offense, but we ask our quarterbacks to make sure we don't waste plays. We're an advantage-based offense. We like to make sure we're in the ideal play against certain defensive looks. Our guys need to be on top of it. They have to have a comprehensive understanding of not only what it is we are trying to do, but the opponent, as well. It's been a good camp up until this point, the OTAs have been very productive, and all the guys are working hard."
On what Hamilton knew about QB Robert Griffin III before working with him, and what he has learned about Griffin in camp:
"I knew he was a smart guy and very talented, and I feel the same now."
On question about Griffin's progress from not playing a full season last year:
"Robert's done a great job of doing the things we have asked him to do. Ideally, we would like all of our quarterbacks to throw perfect passes on any given pass play, but he's been effective. He's been accurate and consistent in his ability to manage our offense. We're good with where he is at right now."
On QB Cody Kessler:
"He's a sharp guy, and he's right where we thought he would be at this point. He's played a lot of football, of course at the college level, but he played in a pro-style offense. That is helping him make the transition into our offense and into the National Football League. Only time will tell, the game's going to be faster for him at this level than it was at the college level, but from a mental standpoint, he is ahead of the curve."
On if Hamilton had to do anything to build up Griffin's confidence:
"No, not at all. He's a football player and I'm a football coach."
On Kessler's recent availability:
"He is available, he had to miss a couple of days with the NFL Rookie Premiere, but he is here today."
On challenges of developing rookie receivers into the offensive system:
"They have a lot of work ahead of them. They have to work throughout the summer, between now and training camp, and get with the quarterbacks to find a way to develop better continuity. It takes time and it is a process, but our receivers coaches, (senior offensive assistant) Coach (Al) Saunders and (offensive quality control/assistant wide receivers) Coach (Bob) Saunders, have done a good job of really trying to make sure our guys have the right perspective. We do have a plan in place to accelerate that learning curve for all of the young receivers."
On WR Terrelle Pryor's veteran presence:
"Not only has he been around for a while, but he has experience in this offense. He has been helpful to all those young wideouts in the receiver room."
On the faster operation and transition of offensive plays during practice:
"It is our plan to put pressure on our opponent's defenses and to make sure that not only we are a unit that can execute at a high level, but ultimately, we want to wear our opponents down. You have to rehearse the things you plan on doing during the season."
On if a play clock is on the practice field:
"Yes, there is a play clock out there. We have play clocks in both end zones."
On the running back situation:
"We have several guys that not only can run the ball, but we challenge our running backs to play without the ball. You really won't know until we put the pads on during training camp and during the preseason, you get a better feel for our guys running schemes, in particular with the schemes that we plan to employ. We will have a better feel after the preseason starts up."
On Griffin's status:
"He's here to compete with the other guys for an opportunity to lead this football team, and be the starting quarterback for this franchise."
On what stood out about WR Corey Coleman:
"He can score the ball. That's so important for any offense, but we need guys that can score the football, that can create their own yards, create their own yards after they catch the football, and we need playmakers. We need guys that, without calling the perfect play, if they get the ball in their hands, they can get more than what is prescribed. He is a playmaker. He is explosive, and I think we all saw – and it is well documented – that he can score the football."
On QB Josh McCown fitting into the quarterback situation:
"Josh is great. He has field credibility, not only just in the quarterback room, but throughout our locker room. It has always been beneficial, just in my experience, to have veteran guys around. They have been a tremendous resource and he has been a tremendous resource, not only for our quarterbacks but for our entire team. He is competing with all our other quarterbacks to earn the right to be the starting quarterback."
On the main point of focus, teaching wise, for the quarterbacks:
"The thing with all our quarterbacks is that they have to be great decision makers. We have to score the ball and protect the football."
On if there is a possible division on the team while going through a quarterback competition:
"No, in time, it all takes care of itself. Once we continue through the offseason program and get into training camp and whenever our head coach decides who 'the guy' is, everybody will rally around that guy. At the end of the day, we all want to win games."
On the offensive line:
"Nothing has changed. Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Cameron Erving – he has stepped up – Alvin Bailey. We have guys that have played good football in the past, (John) Greco, of course. They're still showing that they can play football the way we want them to play football at a high level. Once again, once we get to training camp and put football pads on, we will have a better feel for all those guys."
On concerns with Coleman learning the kick return position, in regards to wide receiver play:
"You don't learn to catch and return kicks at the NFL level. You either can do it or you can't. The instincts that you have got to have, and the overall skill set, is just something that I am sure Corey can do, and I am sure he has done it in the past. That is not my area of expertise, but he is a talented kid and he can score the ball, so however we can get the ball into his hands – returning kicks, throwing screen routes, throwing post routes – we know that he will score the ball."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor
Opening statement: "Another opportunity to get better, once again, today. We're working a lot of people, trying to develop some new special teams players and find out what guys can do, so we can properly put them in the right spot come training camp."
On coaches that prefer players who can play a position first then help on special teams:
"Some head coaches are like that. I can tell you this. (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson wants us to be second to none. He puts high priority on our special teams. I'm not concerned about the personnel. What we want to do is develop as many guys as we can, so when it comes decision time at the end of training camp and those things we have a lot of options available for us."
On which of the four drafted wide receivers are candidates to return punts or kicks on special teams:
"The (Corey) Coleman kid is. He can do both. He's an explosive player, and he's developing right now. We're working on all those things."
On WR Ricardo Louis being fast and if ball security is an issue:
"Right now, I'll be honest with you Tony, some of those guys were gone with the Rookie Premiere stuff. He's a guy that we love his size, the way he can run. We liked him on tape. Right now, for us, for me to give any definitive answer I really can't do it. I'm not trying to avoid the question. It's just that we're trying to figure out what those guys can and cannot do and tap into those things. All the guys that we did draft are doing really well for us, and so are some of the free agent guys. I'm really excited about this incoming class and just trying to get them up to speed. That's really what we're concentrating on right now."
On who he's looking at for punt returner and kick returner:
"In kick return, we still have…Obviously, (DB) Justin Gilbert did a nice job for us. (RB) Raheem Mostert, when we picked him up he did a really, really good job for us. I think that we're in good shape there. In the punt return area, we're developing guys. I think we'll be fine. I'm excited about the guys that are working at those spots – the Colemans of the world and Mosterts of the world. (DB) Tramon Williams has obviously done it a long time in Green Bay before he came here. We'll be fine."
On what skill sets the rookies have to have to fill the kind of special-teams role that WR Marlon Moore has in the past: "Obviously, it's tough to say because everyone's different. I think that's kind of the fun part for us as you're going through practice right now figuring out what a guy can do. Then, taking that skill set and putting him in a position so he can use those skills. Obviously, you're always looking for guys that can run, that can cover, that can get off blocks. Some things will be answered for us in preseason games. Right now, like I say not to sound like a broken record, we're doing a lot of drill work. We did a lot of that stuff in Phase Two. Now in the OTAs, you're starting to incorporate drill work and scheme. Then, that hopefully lays the foundation so that when you get into training camp you're up and running."
On where K Travis Coons stands and what happened with K Brad Craddock:
"Travis Coons is doing a great job for us. The Craddock kid that came in during rookie minicamp did a nice job for us. We just had to make a roster move there. Those things are always going to happen. You'll see on lots of teams, this is the time of year where there's a lot of movement and you're finding out about guys. I'm always just worried about the guys that are here. When you say about Travis Coons, he's gotten stronger. We've really worked hard on the lift on his football. I can see him improving there, along with his kickoffs. I'm excited about which way he's trending."
On how important it is to find competition for Coons this summer:
"You want competition at all positions. At that position, it's no other than any other position. I'm sure we'll continue to look, but like I said, we're just worried about the guys that we're working with right now. Travis has definitely matured, and you can see it going into Year Two here and he's taking the next step. I like the way that he's performing." On if it is taken for granted that P Andy Lee is the punter for this team with the youth movement that has been happening on the roster: "Andy Lee set a gross and net record for the Cleveland Browns. He's pretty good. I like his chances." On what he's seen from LB Joe Schobert: "Athletic linebacker. Smart, intelligent football player. I think the things – that as you evaluate him on tape coming out of Wisconsin – you're seeing those, it's translating at this level. I'm excited about him. Some things are new for him, with regard to our world and what we do, but he works extremely hard at it. He has a chance to be a good player."
On what Coleman's style is as a punt returner:
"Obviously, he has great speed. He has, what I would say, some really good short-area quickness. Make you miss type of guy, then has a good burst to go. He's doing a nice job for us, and we've just got to keep developing him." On how long-term a first-round draft pick would be as a punt returner: "I'll be honest with you, I never think of them as first-round draft picks. If that's the best option and best player that you have that's what you want to do. If it's going to help you win that's what we want to do. I don't get caught up in where a guy's at just from this standpoint – (WR) Antonio Brown for the Steelers might be regarded as one of the best players in the NFL and he's their punt returner."
On the new touchback:
"I think it's going to be an interesting year, with regards to…I'm not surprised that it went to that. I thought that the college game might have been a little ahead of the curve on that deal. But at the same time, I think that there could be more returns possibly. There was only one team in the National Football League last year that got the ball, on the average, out to the 25-yard line, and that was the Minnesota Vikings. Everybody else was under the 25-yard line. People, obviously, will probably think, 'Maybe we can tackle it inside the 25.' It'll be interesting. I think there'll be different schools out thought out there. (K) Justin Tucker for the Ravens hit 60-some touchbacks. You're talking about almost 300 yards of field-position difference now. I think you've just got to be prepared for everything."
On if the touchback change will cause teams to consider kicking high and short:
"I think it could. I think you saw it a little bit. As I was evaluating kickers this year in college football and in talking and interviewing kickers, they said that their coaches stressed more hang time and if it was a little shorter that was OK because they felt like they could get it tackled inside the 25 there. It'll be interesting. I think it'll probably be a different trend throughout the whole year, a lot of factors that will go into it – where you're playing at, weather, who's the returner, all those types of things."
On if there will be a point where kickoffs will be eliminated from the NFL:
"I don't think so. I'm a football purist. I think that player safety should always be at the forefront. There's no doubt about that. There's just a lot of other factors. How would you execute an onside kick if there was no kickoff? There are other things that maybe the league will…I'm sure that they're always looking at things, and they're always going to protect the player and protect the game. Obviously, as a special teams coach, I feel that it's an important play."
On how valuable experience is for Coons even if it's one year of experience: "I think it's tremendous. When you first come into the league, No. 1, you're trying to figure it out. No. 2, you're trying to figure out your routine. What do I do on a daily basis? How many kicks? What's my stretching? What's my recovery? All those types of things. After going through a whole season, a player, obviously – just like we all do as we get older, we get smarter. He's really maturing, and I can see the difference in him from Year One to Year Two just in this time right now. I think having the experience of last year and understanding what it's like to go out and have an opportunity to make big kicks, I think that's hopefully going to pay off for him."
On kickoff being the most dangerous play based on injury data, if punt return is close and what the difference in the plays are:
"The difference is in the punt/punt return game, as a punt return player I can get on the punt player, the cover player, and I can hold him up immediately. He doesn't have that running start. I think there's the major difference. You do have the protection of the fair catch. If I'm worried I can always take a fair catch, and they should stay off of me. Whereas, a kickoff I have that time and I feel like, 'Boom, I can bring this thing out,' and guys are running down unimpeded. It is. I understand that players are bigger, stronger and faster now, and we always have to protect the player. But at the same time, I just think that it's a dynamic play. For example, if you're really good on defense and you want to pin them down there that plays to your strength. Then, you have a short field. All those things. There's a reason why we start the game off with it – because you have to set field position."
On if they could incorporate those rules into the kickoff, such as getting on a player right away:
"I think they're looking at that stuff. I don't know that for sure. I know amongst our community we're always talking, the special teams coaches, because we don't want to see the play disappear. I don't think it will. I really don't, but you always have to think of the player and you have to think of player safety first and foremost."
On how tense the transition was from the previous coaching staff to the current staff:
"The transition's always tense. Any time you're working for someone new, we can probably all relate, it's as if you're going to school for the first day. You have a new teacher, it's a new school. You have to figure out what the rules are, how it works, what's expected. The great thing about Coach (Jackson) is he spells everything out very crystal clear what he wants and how he wants it done. It makes it very nice to work for him. It's going well. I've always been blessed to be here, and I want to help the Cleveland Browns be a winner."
On if the new touchback will lead to more returns and defeat the purpose of the rule change:
"I think you're statement is correct. I could see an increase in returns. I think you could see maybe the kicker puts it in a tough spot, he puts it one yard deep. Do I bring that out? Because now you're saying the 25 is the new 20. It's one yard deep. Do you want to bring that out? Do you want to put pressure on them? What are the consequences? If we get tackles inside the 25 are we OK with that? There are going to be a lot of factors: game planning, weather, matchups, who the returner is, who's the kicker. All of those things will go into play. I'm excited about it because it adds more factors into the play."