Offensive coordinator Todd Haley:
On WR Josh Gordon starting in Week 1:
"With the job that we are trying to get done here – no disrespect, I know that you have a job to do – but it is a silly question to me. We are now trying to get ready to play the New Orleans Saints, going into a lion's den type of place down there. They are coming off of a loss. We are coming off of a tie, which is just as bad as [a loss]. It is a big, big game. We as an offense, the whole starter thing to me is comical because we have so many different personnel packages play in and play out that any one of our 22-25 guys could be starting on any play. We are going to continue to play the guys that on each particular play give us the best chance to succeed."
On if dynamics of the game went as expected with Head Coach Hue Jackson:
"We did not win. We had a chance to win. From a sideline aspect, I thought everything was fairly smooth."
On Gordon starting after Jackson said he would not:
"That is behind us. I think it is behind him. It is behind everybody."
On TE David Njoku's dropping passes and ability to not consider those when calling plays:
"I do not think you can. The players trust us to put them into positions to succeed. We have to trust them. That is what we practice for. There are going to be drops in game. I coached receivers for a long time. I know that. Those are the types that we do not want in critical situations, especially the third down ball. Both of those potentially get us into scoring range and take points off the board as we talk about it. As a play caller, no different than quarterback, you have to trust the guys around you to do their job. That is the No.1 selling point around here is do what you are supposed to do. We do not need Supermen. We just need you to do what you are supposed to do. If that includes catching balls that are thrown to you, you only need to do that."
On QB Tyrod Taylor's performance:
"He gave us and we were in a positon to potentially win the game. By playing not as well as we wanted to as a group, our margin of error was very small, obviously. The entire group, we need to improve obviously. In the course of that game, I am looking across the sideline and watching (Steelers QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) throw to A.B. (Steelers WR Antonio Brown) or throw to (Steelers WR) JuJu (Smith-Schuster) or throw to (Steelers TE) Jesse James. Having been there and gone through that, there have been thousands of balls thrown between those guys. Our group is really new together. On top of it being the first time together, we had a lot of guys miss a lot of time. All of that affects most importantly the passing game. I think the run game, you can get going with new bodies and new people, but when you are coordinating a passing game and you are a quarterback have to have trust and faith – man, we have not had a lot of time on task. What we are really urging all of these guys is to understand that missing a day is not going help us speed that process. Doing it wrong, doing it half speed or not doing it the way you are supposed to do it is not going to help speed that process. That is what everything we are doing, from a passing standpoint is about is speeding that jelling process. For the quarterback, he has to trust guys are going to be where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there and that he is getting their eyes at the right time. There are a lot of intricate details that go into an efficient passing game. We were not there yet. We are practicing our tails off trying to get ready this week. I go back in my mind to when I first got to Pittsburgh. It was not like we just plopped it out there and we were No. 1, 2, or 3 whatever on a weekly basis of putting up yards. It took time, and it takes time. Now, the name of the game is that we still have to win the game. We are going to try to do it any way that we possibly can. It may not always look pretty. If the defense keeps getting six turnovers every week, that would be awesome (laughter). That would be awesome. We have to take better advantage of opportunities. We had 28 mental errors in that game. A winning performance is 10. That is way too many to think that you have a chance to win a game. We had a chance to win it, thanks mostly in part to the defense and what they did. You can't go out and have 28 mental errors. As a coaching staff, we can't just say, 'Players, we are making mistakes.' We have to figure it out are we doing too much. Are we asking too much of these guys? All of that is being evaluated on a day-to-day basis. This would not matter if this is Year 1 or Year 6. You are always doing that as a coach, trying to figure out, 'Hey, there was a problem. How do we make it better?'"
On Gordon having three targets despite his offensive snaps:
"I think that I just explained it. I would like to be a wizard and say, 'Let's put Josh or (WR) Jarvis (Landry) or any of the guys that we think have a chance to help us make plays and move the football, let's put them here, let's put them there.' We have a guy that missed an extended amount of time that was not here practicing. That slows not only his process but our entire offenses process. We know that he has a chance to be a big part of what we are doing. You can't just snap your fingers and say, 'Put him here. Put him there. Put him there.' Obviously, the defense is going to dictate a lot of times where the ball goes. Offensively, we just can't guarantee a lot of times where the ball is supposed to go. It is a process. We have to understand that. I know as the coordinator I am trying to understand that because we all want it to be great right now, but I believe that it is a process and it takes time. The trick is, while it is taking that time, we find out ways to win."
On if he may have to ask less of the offense, given his statement of trying to do too much:
"If we have that many mental errors to me, then we did too much because whether we think they can handle it or not handle it, we can't go out and play a game and have that many mental errors and expect to have a chance to win. Rather than whine about it or [complain] about it, we have to find solutions to problems. A problem in that game was mental errors. Mental errors cost us big minus plays in the midfield, plus territory which took points off of the board. Any one of those points and one of those points would have been the difference in the game, and that is painful to think about but that is the way it is."
On if he has to take into account rookie's experience when determining what is too much for the offense, particularly as it relates to penalties:
"Oh, absolutely. Thought has to be put into that. What are we asking each and every player to do? If it is a young guy specifically or a guy like in (WR) Josh's (Gordon) case that has not been here, what are we asking him to do? Is it fair what we are asking him to do?"
On how many mental errors were protection based on Sunday:
"I do not know off hand, but too many (laughter). Too many."
On protection penalties affecting the game's outcome:
"When I say protection, it is not just the line. We had backs that had an issue in protection from a mental standpoint. We had tight ends that had issues in protection from a mental standpoint. All of those things we need to clean up and clean up fast, and that is what we are working on."
On false start penalties at home and concerns with false starts heading into the team's first road game:
"We told them we gave them a flier on the game, but now in this game, this is a defense that is very good, a very aggressive defense that feeds off of their offense, feeds off the dome and that noise. This is a game that is very critical for us as an offense to stay ahead of the chains so to speak. If we have minus yards like we did in that game, which equaled 100 when you factor in runs, sacks and penalties, 100 yards, I am a big believer in yards equals points – 100 yards should be seven points. We gave up seven points in just minus plays, which we have to get fixed. You go on the road in this place, you better stay ahead of the chains and you better not have pre-snap penalties that hurt yourself."
On if experiencing the growth process in Pittsburgh is beneficial to him to when building the Browns offense:
"Everywhere I have been for the first time, it has been like that. It is just the fact of life, and we as coaches understand that there is a process to it and it takes everybody. It is not just the quarterbacks, it is not just the line and it is not just the receivers. It takes everybody to be on point every single time when we lace on the cleats and go out on our field. There can't be a wasted rep. They do not allow us to practice long enough to get it all so we have to make sure we are efficient and doing it the right way most of the time."
On how the limited practice time has affected football:
"You do not want me to get into this. Let's stick to the Saints (laughter). That is a whole philosophical talk."
On if he was surprised by the Browns OL play on Sunday, given transition to it late in camp:
"I am definitely a glass half-full guy and kind of someone who refuses to take no for an answer a lot of times – [my mom, wife and daughters] do not like that (laughter). What is encouraging to me is opening drive of the second half. I thought a lot of good stuff was put on display – a lot of grit, a lot of determination. That was a positive, positive drive for us as a young group coming together in our first game. The problem was there was not enough of it, but I understand the situation and variables given. As a coach, our job is to make it work."
On QB Tyrod Taylors balance of holding the ball and taking sacks versus taking chances and throwing it deep:
"That is what gave us a chance to win. You are talking about one of the better offenses in the league (Steelers) that gave it to us a bunch. I would be having a heart attack, but there was a lot of good and some areas where we need to get better. That being said from a quarterback's perspective, there were times he thinks he is protected and then there is a mental error and now he is not protected. There are a lot of those factors that go into it so anybody who is not actually watching the tape and understanding who is supposed to be doing what on each and every play, you are probably going to get a false impression at times."
On how much of Taylor's 15 of 40 completion rate and seven sacks is attributable to the QB and how much to the offense as a unit:
"I put it on the whole unit. That is kind of the point that I am making that we need to speed this process of trust because to be a good or big time passing offense, you better have trust in everyone. I think we are still in the process of building that trust. Me as the offensive coordinator has to take some of that into account when planning. Like I said, we can't just throw it out there and say, 'Hey, we are going to be a juggernaut.' It is a process, and as a play caller and lead play designer, we have to be very thoughtful in what we ask all of these guys to do here especially early."