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Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams conference call - 12/1

Opening statement:

"Again, you guys are in charge of the weather and it is a beautiful day here today. Now, I have a long, long plane ride. I enjoyed the weather out there last year, but I didn't like the taxes and I didn't like the cost of living so I came to Cleveland."

On the late Redskins DB Sean Taylor as a persona and player, given the anniversary of his death:

"It has been a tough week. I even talked to our players, our defensive team about it starting on Monday and again today. I appreciated them having my back on a couple of emotional things that I had throughout the course of the week. I think you guys probably saw some of the specials that were on Monday night and then last night on the Thursday night game. I participated in the special that they were putting on NBC. He was like a son to me. I miss him a lot. He is the best player I ever coached in my life, and I already have some Hall of Fame players that are in the [Pro Football] Hall of Fame that I have had the opportunity to coach and a lot more that are going to be able to get into the Hall of Fame when they get done, but by far, he was the best player. I love him like a son. He made a lot of changes in his life as I did on some of the battles we went through. He was one of the people that really made me realize that I think that the reason I was put on Earth was being a mentor to young men and really some of the most difficult young men you have ever been around in your life. He was not that way. He wasn't that difficult, but he was very competitive. He was very, very, very prideful. He is one of the rare people that I have had a chance to coach that every single time he stepped inside the white lines or really in any competitive venture, he thought he was the best. There was no way that you were going to tell him anything other than that and getting him to play in a very team-oriented structure, but his example that he set was outstanding. I miss him to this day. Sometime, you guys might be able to come by my office and see the big crystal statue that the players made for me back then. When he passed, I mentioned that – I believe in this with all my heart – I saw him that morning. I was the first one they called. I cried like a little baby. He was there up in the corner of my room telling me, 'Coach, get onto the next play. I'll always have your back.' Our players at that time went out and spent a ton of money on this beautiful crystal statue that is lighted and sits in my office wherever I am at behind me because he always has my back. I speak to him often, but I wish I had a chance to coach him one more time."

On what impresses him most about the Chargers offense:

"(Chargers QB) Philip Rivers. I have a lot of respect and have competed against him for a long time. I have spoken to our team this week about this every day in preparation that Philip is going to read every article that you all publish. He is going to watch every website video on every interview. He is going to watch every TV copy of a game that we have played in this year to listen to code words, to watch for hand signals and to get every single advantage he has. He is one of those rare quarterbacks in our league that is smarter than most coaches that he has ever had a chance to be around. I love his confidence. I love the fact that he talks some smack and that if you guys watch probably during pregame, he will be down there with a big smile on his face giving me our hand signals so that I know that he knows what is about to happen. Of course, when you do that, make sure you don't video the hand signal I send back to him because it probably won't be appropriate. He is amazing. He is what makes them go. I smile and I respect every time I watch him on film of all of the things that he does changing protection, changing plays, changing routes and changing cadence. That is how it should be. Coaches, we are outside the white lines guessing. Inside the white lines are the players, and the real players should have say. He does, and I respect that in him."

On why Cincinnati had success running the ball, given the Browns run defense's performance all year:

"I think a couple of things. I think one of the things is and this would be good and I hope our players see me say this because they are very tired of the butt chewing that I have given all week long on knockback. I don't think we knocked the line of scrimmage back the way we have all year long. That is a credit to Cincinnati. For whatever reason, there was some type of maybe a hesitation in our guys. We have to vertically knock the line of scrimmage back. That is the defensive line first. We did not do that. That is the first time since I have been here, and I think everybody here understands that the next time that happens, they are going to be your all's interns and not playing for me because we have to knock the line of scrimmage back. When that happens, now, we will talk about leverages. Now, we will talk about gap fits. Really, it was only four or five plays, but those four or five plays are the statistics in field position changes that occur. When that happens, then you only force nine legitimate third downs, when the week before, we forced 21 third and fourth downs because of how you play dominantly in the run game. There are no excuses. It is my fault first. Evidently, I didn't get the message across. I think we will see, but if you get a chance to chat with our guys, the message was listened to this week."

On DB Jabrill Peppers' unnecessary roughness penalty and fine from the NFL:

"You want the published take or you want the unpublished take? Ah, there we go. I know you guys have my back. I know, I know (laughter). Here is the deal: when you break the film down and you take it in slow motion, I am very proud of Jabrill paying attention to what we coach on strike zone. He is doing everything he can, just like Major League Baseball, to make sure it is from the tip of the shoulders to the top of the knees. He is actually ducking down to make sure he is underneath the shoulder/collarbone to make sure that when he hits him if the head comes down, the head will come down and that will strike maybe a part of his body, but he is leading with his shoulder; he is not even leading with his helmet. It is unfortunate, but one of the things that I really want you to take a look at – again for people wondering why I play him in the post and his instincts right now as we are growing as a team – he broke on the ball and made that play when the ball was thrown 35 yards from the line of scrimmage. There has only been one other player that I have coached that did it in 34 and that was Sean Taylor. Most of the times, you see guys making that play at 38 and 39, if they are any good. If you can't do that at 40 yards about being at the point of attack at 40 yards from a post-middle of the field safety, then you don't belong in the National Football League. I have had to cut players when we see that analytic on you can't get there on time. It is 42, 44, 45 yards. Mom and Dad didn't give you enough speed to get over there. He made that play on contact on trying to break it up at 35 yards. That is with slowing down to try to make sure that he was in the strike zone. It is what it is. I know he has appealed it, and we will see where it goes from there, but I thought it was a rare play and I thought it was an outstanding play. Never, ever do we want it to hurt our team and put them in field position the way they did, but now when that happens again, we have to get off the field and force them into a third down. We can't be worried or can't be thinking about that play too long and let it affect the next play. It affected the next play or two. That is what I really don't like either."

On the challenge facing Chargers WR Keenan Allen:

"First, it is the relationship and the trust that he has built with the quarterback. Because of coaching the position, playing the position of quarterback and being a coordinator on offense, too, is those things come outside of coaching – the trust and respect and the understanding between the quarterback and the receiver and what they have going on. There are a lot of no-voice signals going on between those guys on understanding where they need to be. Then because of his discipline of being where Philip Rivers wants him to be, his ability to catch and make run after catches. Philip Rivers is one of those few select quarterbacks in the league that will throw you open and allow you to run with the ball when you catch it as opposed to quarterbacks of inexperience or whatever throwing once you get open and then now it is throw, catch and tackle. Our big job is going to be able to not only have leverage and coverage ability on Keenan but also be in those windows of opportunity that Philip Rivers creates by throwing him open. He has very good agility and very good speed once he catches the ball. He has good toughness, too. We talk about that each week on which receivers we do not perceive to be tough and which receivers we do perceive to be tough. He has got some good toughness about him, and it will be a good challenge for us."

On how injuries have affected the Browns defense:

"This is an honest question; this is not anything just for trying to have the publicity answer or whatever. Really, it does not ever cross my mind during the season. We will talk about that in the offseason. Right now, I have a written document and next man up philosophy in the playbook. In order for our players to believe that, they have to know and trust and respect that I do, too and what we do. That is why it is so important to be here in the offseason, training camp and go through all the what ifs so I can get a feel for who actually is playing and make some adjustments to techniques and schemes to help the people that are playing. I do not ever think about that. I think about the guys who we are going into the game with each and every week. Also, to be quite truthful, if you do not have that philosophy, how do you react and adjust in a game when it happens? I take and we take great pride with the staffs that I have been able to help in that we are doing that during a game when that happens and we will do that during the season, during the weeks and all of that kind of stuff. We just do that. We can't blink, we can't flinch and neither can the players."

On his reaction to when interceptions don't happen, given missed opportunities against the Bengals, and what can happened during the week to turn those plays into turnovers:

"We had three to be exact when we got both hands on the ball – three plays. One of them, I do not think (DB) Jabrill (Peppers) could have been tackled because it would have been an easier run than a punt return had he made that catch. We tricked (Bengals QB) Andy (Dalton) to make that throw to (Bengals WR) A.J. Green. It was a trick that he never saw Jabrill coming. We have to make those plays. The other two were with (DB Briean) Boddy-Calhoun. How we affect that is I put them both on the injury report with bruised and broken hands, no-catching hands so they are on the injury report for everybody to see they have no hands (jokingly). Then as the week progresses, we progress on and we do it every week. We do it every week with all types of ball drills and catching drills that we do. Once we get here and once we get off the injury report and catching some balls in practice is to create some confidence again that we have to make those plays. You are exactly right, the difference making plays – some of those runs that we talked about earlier, some of those third downs that we talked about not getting earlier – all will make a bit of difference because we took the ball away and we put points on the board. Those are critical, critical plays that we have to take on defense to take the next step. Hopefully, we will not have guys listed on the injury report for poor hands or bruised hands and all that kind of stuff this week."

On his approach to coaching Peppers and DBs after a penalty like the one called last week:

"We approach it by now even taking the what if out of the people who make that decision and get lower. OK? Just get lower, but don't be afraid of making the play that the game of football is about. We are not looking to do anything above and beyond. We are looking now, OK, just move your strike zone lower, Jabrill. Also, the bam-bam, the instant reaction that has to be made during that kind of a play, don't worry about if you end up being wrong, but you need to worry about not going ahead and doing what is right; just lower your strike zone, and he gets that. He is a very instinctive player. It doesn't take much for me to have to talk to him about those things. Sometimes, when you are playing, you are around people or you play with guys that are somewhat robotic. They are talking about centimeters. They want to talk about half-inches. They want to get down into all the little specifics, and I know they don't understand. When I tell Jabrill, 'Lower your strike zone and take the people's decision out of it,' he looks at me and says, 'Yes sir. I get that.' That is just what we do."

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