"At least we are in the shade. This has been a great camp, too, because I have been a lot of places sometimes where the heat index at this time of the day is 120, 125, 126 [degrees]. This brings back my memories of over in Rochester (N.Y.) in training camp. The weather is a little bit calmer and we can get more done and the players can feel that, too."
On if he would agree that the defense has 'dominated' the offense thus far in training camp:
"They are having some solid days, and then we will pick and choose a play or two that pops out on us that the coaches and the players are learning. It is hard to satisfy me until – there is no chance we are ever going to be perfect, but we can be a lot better than we have been. They have been solid, and they have been very good in the practice setting. For you guys to watch the ones versus the ones, that is very important. When you see me and us take one of the younger guys and make sure they are going against ones, I always love it when I see things or I hear things, especially even in our own building, about how this young guy had a great game in the fourth quarter. Yeah, he had a great game in the fourth quarter against everybody that team is going to cut. None of those guys are going to play in the NFL. Unless you are playing against people who are going to play in the NFL, it is just one more piece of maybe information, but it is not the deciding information. I thought our guys played solid the other day in the game, but there were a lot of guys who didn't play for the Saints. Solid is one thing, but we have a lot of places to get better. I am very proud with the staff on how they have adapted to the intensity of how I want us to be, and the players have done a very good job with that. I said this when we broke camp back in June, there has not been any pushback. They have said, 'How do you want me to do it? How do you want me to do it? How do you want me to do it?' That is pretty pleasing."
On how good the Browns defense can be:
"Now that you have the pads on, it is another indication, but we are still a long ways off on playing real people. I think (Patriots Head) Coach (Bill) Belichick says this the best all the time is that we all need to wait until we get the pads on and then wait until we get into real games. Hopefully, we can have enough exposure against NFL-type players for some of the decisions that we have to make defensively. To be quite honest, we have come a long way, and I am feeling more comfortable about what these guys can and can't do so you will start to see us shrink the gameplan a little bit and start focusing in, but I am still doing a little bit of gambling or a little bit of research to see if this guy can do this and if this guy can do this, be it pass-rushing, be it pass-coverage or what specific types of schemes are best for them because I have to change for them. It doesn't make any difference what I like to call or what I have done or what we have done other places, we have to do the best for this group of guys right here, and there has been a good buy-in with that, coaches and players."
On his progress report on DL Myles Garrett:
"Very good. Of all the guys that I have had a chance to… I have never had a chance to draft the first overall pick ever, but I have had some pretty high draft picks. He is the one that has jumped out and fit in faster than any of the other ones, and I have had some really, really good ones. The reason that he moved up the depth chart was because of him and his teammates, not because of my evaluation. One of the things we do is when those guys come in the door, they are dead last on the depth chart. How do you handle that? How do you handle the locker room? How do you handle the meeting room? How do you handle the field? How do you handle the walkthroughs? How do you handle being humble? How do you handle being respectful? He is a really good young man and a pretty good player, too. He handled the threes, he handled the twos, he got some spot time on one and then when the other players, the veteran players came to me and said, 'Hey, do you know we are better when he is in there?' (laughter) Really? Well, now you are going to own him. I don't have to force him down your throat. You are going to own him. They just fit in together. He has done well. I thought he played the run very well last week. I thought he was very disruptive on the things that we ask him to do in the pass game. I can tell you this, you go back and watch the film, they were pointing to where he was. The Saints knew where he was."
On who is winning the starting MLB competition between LBs Tank Carder and Joe Schobert:
"Both of them have been doing great. Truthfully, it is 3A, 3B. 3A today, 3B tomorrow. 3B to A every day. They are doing very, very good, and you can't have enough good guys like that."
On if DL Emmanuel Ogbah or whomever plays DL opposite of Garrett should benefit:
"I think Ogbah has fit in very well on what we have asked him to do. I think he is growing each day, and I see week-to-week progress in him, but anytime you play with an impactful player or you play with a player that you can trust to do his job, you will be better. Lots of times when you can't trust the guy playing beside you and you try to overplay, there is where your mistakes come in. We have to trust everybody that is out on the field and that is coverage and rush, rush and coverage, but yes, you can benefit from that because he knows the impact the other guy can make."
On if DL Nate Orchard returning to defensive line is beneficial to him:
"Yeah, and I like the fact that there is flexibility there. I think he fits in very well with what we do, but I don't have any hesitations in also incorporating some of the things that he got a chance to do last year here. It is not wasted time. I do know he likes the way we are utilizing him better than last year. I know that. That is OK, but I think he has been making an impact. The big thing with him will be staying healthy and just going and keep on going. I don't have to worry about his effort when he is out there. He is flying around. He gives it to you every single play he gets a chance to play."
On if he would move Orchard to LDE to get him on the field more:
"What we do is and you will see in all honesty, I don't believe in starters. If you make an NFL team, and you understand, what is (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) going to let us have? 23, 24 [defensive players]? We are going to play. How much you play will be dependent upon number one, your production when you do get to play, and No. 2, what kind of package does the offense that we are going against play that utilizes us to get you in the game. The other thing with a defensive lineman in our system, I had the luxury of learning from Jack Pardee – a George Allen disciple – early in the 90s. Jimmie Johnson was at the Cowboys and we were at the Houston Oilers. Jimmie saw us and then really copied it on how you try to keep those defensive linemen fresh all the time. You can't play 90 snaps per game. Ask Myles (Garrett) in college. You can't play 80 snaps in a game. As a defensive lineman that has a fistfight in a booth for three hours, and then he is running back and forth, if we had the right percentage – if I could say we could have 55 percent or 45 percent of all of the guys and they are not backups where we are splitting time because we all trust everybody – you will see the impact of a full-speed player over a player who is tired. The other thing you will see is that fatigue is directly related to injury, especially with a big guy. We are going to try do everything we can to keep it even when we can."
On if his encouragement for the DL to get off the ball during practice is due to significance or if it needs improvement:
"No, they haven't been struggling to get off the ball, not since the second week of training camp, but whatever what was done before in the past in more of that catch-and-read, two-gap on the line of scrimmage, we are never about that. We are never about versus the run game or versus the pass game being on the line of scrimmage. You can't print what I say all the time when I don't see their feet on the other side of the line of scrimmage on where they are going in life. They have to be that way. How fast you are getting off the ball has a direct reflection to the production you will make on that play. One of the best in the world that has ever done that was here a week or so ago in (Pro Football Hall of Fame DL) Bruce Smith. That was one of the things Bruce talked about when he was here. Myles already naturally does it. He naturally does it. The rest of them a starting to do a better job. Now, you would not want to print nor record what I said about five defensive offside penalties in the ball game. All of them alignment. None of them jumping off the ball. We have had a little bit of a discussion about that and a few focus experiments on that this week. We have to improve that. You can't have a pre-snap nor a post-snap at the end of a play. There are going to be things that go on in the middle of a play that are going to happen, but not pre-snap, post-snap. We have to do a better job of that."
On if Peppers has been exposed to everything he wishes on defense:
"Just about. Just about. He has done very well. He has adapted very well. He has played really defensively every position but one that I might end up doing with him later on down the line. You might see him at middle linebacker, too, at times. I have had powerful DBs in certain packages in certain situations that will get a rep or two at that. I don't have to think of that as much because of the talent at linebacker that we have. We have talent at linebackers enough that we don't have to expose and put a faster guy in that situation. He has played free, strong, linebacker both strong and weak, punt returner, kick returner and quarterback. Do you know the definition of what kind of position he is playing? He is a football player. He can play football. He has been a joy to be around, too. He has been really focused in the meetings. He has been really focused in practice. He is starting to take advantage of a few snaps with guys who are going to be kept in the league. Every day is an interview now. If we have a setback before we ever come out here, then they will stand by me and wait until it starts getting right again."
On DB Joe Haden's performance during camp after returning from injury:
"He has had a very good camp. He has had a very, very solid camp, a physical camp. Even yesterday, some of the more physical plays in his total career was yesterday on how physically he played. I have been very pleased with him. Now, it is about being available. He has to stay healthy."
On if there are one or two Browns defensive players who have caught his eye who he may not have been as familiar with entering camp:
"This is a compliment to everybody here in the organization: There is nobody on the defensive side of the ball here right now who doesn't deserve a chance to make an NFL team. We have a good group of guys on our side of the ball. Those young guys came a long way from the mandatory minicamp to here. I can't tell you how far. Now, we truly have a chance to evaluate their athletic ability, their toughness and their effort because they are not handcuffing themselves mentally. They know what we want. They are getting aligned better. Still every once in a while you will see a breakdown, but really, it is going to be fun. There are going to be some tough and hard decisions at the end on who is going to make the final roster, who is going to be a practice squad candidate and to be quite truthful, guys who I have had a chance to touch and coach during preseason games make other teams because they see how fast and hard they play for us. It is a good young group."
On ability to assemble the CB corps needed:
"We play in a tough division and we also play in the National Football league, and that is a hotspot. There are things that every one of the guys who make our team do that I can help them with. Style of coverage and types of coverage, you don't coach the same person [the same]. Be it a D tackle, I don't coach (DL) Danny Shelton and Des Bryant the same. I don't coach (DL) Myles (Garrett) and (DL Emmanuel) Ogbah the same. I don't coach Joe Haden and JT (DB Jamar Taylor) the same. We have to find what they can do best and fit them into those types of things. We will be fine as long as – I won't compromise on their effort and their toughness. I won't compromise on that."
Running backs coach/run game coordinator Kirby Wilson:
On expectations for RB Isaiah Crowell this year:
"Nothing short of a spectacular year. He has worked extremely hard here during training camp. He has all of the physical tools. We think that his work ethic and his attitude about how he approaches his job every day should lead to a really special season for him."
On how improved the offensive line is in the running game given the additions of OLs JC Tretter and Kevin Zeitler:
"I think we have added two players who are at the top of their positions in the National Football League. Anytime you add that to your offensive line, you have improved. We expect it to be quite a bit of an improvement this year."
On RB Matt Dayes' performance in training camp and what differentiates him from RB Duke Johnson Jr.:
"The first thing that jumps off is the experience factor. (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) has been doing this now going on three years so that is a huge advantage in terms of execution and knowing your assignment, your position and the adjustments that come along with that. We think Matt has some similar qualities. He is a three-phase player as a runner, pass protector and pass receiver. The similarities are there, but the experience is the biggest factor right now."
On what makes Johnson so special with his receiving ability:
"He is a playmaker. When you go in his past and look at things from college to high school, he has always been a playmaker. That is what you always preach to your guys. Just play hard. Play hard until the playmakers make their plays because they always do. There are a certain amount of things we expect from Duke each and every Sunday. So far to this day, he has never been a disappointment. He has always been there to make plays for us."
On if he hopes Johnson Jr. will get more touches this season:
"It is all in the flow of the football game. A lot depends on that – the score, the dynamics of field position. A lot of things play a factor in how many touches each player will receive in a game, but he is one of our better playmakers, and we expect him to touch the ball a lot this season."
On what Johnson will do this season that he might not have done in years past, given his experience:
"We will expect him to make that jump in terms of understanding defenses better, understanding how to set players in one-on-one and what to expect during game-planning, and all of those things improve with experience. That is what he is bringing back to the table this year. He has done it now two times, in addition to being in the same system Year 2, will dramatically increase his ability to make more plays."
On if Johnson has talked to him about decreased amount of touches from Year 1 to Year 2:
"I have never coached a running back who was happy with his touches. They always want more. That is all they think about was the last run, the next run and then when are you going to throw me the ball. He is no different than anyone else. They all want to touch it as much as they can."
On how much playing in the same system for a second year helps players:
"You understand your job better. You understand the little nuances that come along with it, the adjustments, how do you change, what the adjustments are and what to expect. I think all players make their biggest adjustment in their second and third years within the system and pass protection and then understanding how to adjust when things aren't just perfect the way you researched it and what the evidence says. Now you have to adjust. That is what experience gives you, the quicker ability to adjust the things you haven't prepared for."
On if teaching players new systems repeatedly is a detriment to a football team, particularly with young players:
"Now, you are starting to have to coach every single player again because any slight difference, now that guy hasn't seen it because he doesn't have the experience. You are kind of behind when you have a young guy playing a lot, because he hasn't seen as much."
On if Crowell has the talent to be an upper-tier RB in the NFL:
"Physically, he is gifted. He has what all of the good ones have, the special ones. He has great vision, outstanding instincts and the ability to change directions that are on par with anyone in this league. The physical tools are there. The work ethic arrived last year, and this year, he is taking it to another level because he is hungry. When someone is hungry and he wants something so bad, that is what you see. You see a guy who plays desperate because they want something so bad."
On if those skills and mindset may result in a 5-yard per carry back:
"It is all relative because a guy can get a first down on second-and-2 and get 3 yards, and he keeps doing that and he has a 3-yard average. One guy can come in and run the wrong way and bust a 20-yarder, and it will appear that he has the great average and is doing everything right, but the guy went the wrong way once, the second time he didn't hit the right hole but he still got a 10-plus yard average. It is all relative. It is in the yards, and you have to look at every read, every decision and every ball placement. That is what is important and that is what we count. It is not so much the yards per average. It is about doing the right thing with the football when it is in your hands."
On if he has noted Dayes with a chip on his shoulder:
"I just think he is an angry guy. That is his mentality. That is his makeup. When I first met him in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, he was angry. It is hard to make that guy smile. That plays right into his ability. He has always probably had a chip on his shoulder because of his size. I think guys like that tend to carry that with them everywhere that they go."
On how Crowell's vision has improved:
"It is about understanding the defense, where each player is going to fit in their run responsibilities. That comes with studying the game, studying defenses, watching tape and acquiring more knowledge as you watch about a certain defense. I think he has improved in that area, and every year, you can get better at that as a runner."
Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor:
On if the Ks are being evaluated in addition to training camp practice:
"I think it is just like anything in the NFL. Every day is a job interview, whether you are on the field, in the classroom or how you handle those things. To answer your question, I guess it would be yes."
On who is ahead in the K competition:
"I am not going to tell you that. Good try, though (laughter)."
On DB Jabrill Peppers as a returner:
"He is pretty dynamic at it. I still think it is a learning process with him. Just like the other night, it was a good learning moment when he made the fair catch and still had some room because it is different. It is different in the NFL than it is in college. In college football, those guys on the interior can go downfield right away. In the NFL, technically you can't go down until the ball is punted with the exception of the gunner. A high hang like that, his clock was probably going off like, 'They are probably going to be here,' because that is what he is used to. That is just something that we are working on breaking. He has a chance to be a good football player."
On if another player is supposed to assist Peppers on how close pursuing opponents are on a punt return:
"You take a peek at it. He is probably not going to hear anything right there in a sold out stadium, big punt and I am on the other side. At times, if he is closer to us, we will yell at him and try to give him some information with regards to where the guys are, but when the ball is punted, returners take a peek to see if they have an opportunity, they know what the call is and they go to work."
On what makes the coaching staff believe Peppers can handle defense and special teams duties:
"I think he is a good football player. I think when he was born, there was probably a football right next to him. It is just an innate ability for him. He understands and his football intelligence is extremely high."
On how touchbacks moving to the 25 yard-line last season impacted his approach and if it changed:
"I think it does. I think it changes your thought process with regards to No. 1 where are the match ups going into the game. Do you think you have an advantage or don't have an advantage? Then I think you saw some teams that elect to bloop kick it and kick it short to try to pin you inside the 20. It has changed, but we are working on it and getting better at having answers for all of that stuff."
On the Browns looking for a dependable returner since former WR-KR Josh Cribbs and how that benefits a team to have one:
"It does everything. It sets field position. That is what we are in charge of. When you are not able to do that, obviously, you are hurting the team. Our guys know first and foremost at the end of the play, we have to be able to hand the ball to the official, whether that is being tackled or we go in the end zone. We like to hand it to the official. That means we took care of the football. Secondly, in the punt return game, we want to get that first first down. After that, everything is gravy. If you can do that, you are probably going to be one of the top teams in the League. Kick returner is no different. We have to pick and choose when we are going to bring the ball out. When those opportunities arise, we have to take advantage of them."
On if he senses an edge of focus from K Cody Parkey, particularly after the Browns drafted K Zane Gonzalez:
"He has been really good. Both guys have been really good. That is what we are building here. This culture is being built on competition at every position. I say that whether it is at the quarterback position, left tackle, or defensive end, kicker, it makes no difference. If there is competition, you are going to get better and you are going to get more game ready a little bit quicker. Those things are taking place right now."
On the young players who are standing out on special teams:
"They have all worked hard. We have had them here all spring and some of the guys we had last year. Our carryover has been a lot faster than what it was a year ago. I am excited about that opportunity. To single out one guy, I don't want to do that because each and every guy is working their tail off trying to make our team. We kind of go with the philosophy of we want you to make the Cleveland Browns, and if you don't make the Cleveland Browns, we want you to make someone else's team. With that philosophy, every guy is working hard and getting better. Hopefully, that will show up again on Monday."
On who the K will be against the Steelers:
"We are looking at Tony (Grossi). Tony has the pull on 850 AM so we are going to see how that comes out."
On how he will decide who will be the team's K if are kicking well:
"You make the best decision that you can and you go with that decision. I think that both players are extremely good kickers and are very deserving to kick in the National Football League. That is a nice problem to have. It is good to have that problem."
On if he was surprised when the Browns drafted Gonzalez:
"No, I am not surprised by anything. Like I said, everything is built on competition. You want that competition. That is not a surprise."