Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- TE Gary Barnidge
- DB Ibraheim Campbell
- OL Cameron Erving
- WR Rashard Higgins
- WR Ricardo Louis
- WR Jordan Payton
- OL Joe Thomas
TE Gary Barnidge:
On if he recovered from his sports hernia injury:
"Yeah, I feel great. Feel really good. Had a great practice yesterday. Feeling good with everything. All movement, no issues."
On the impact of QB Robert Griffin III being named the starting QB prior to the first preseason game:
"I think that it just allows everybody to get the reps with one person instead of rotating and stuff. This allows everybody to get into sync together. That's a huge part of a team – come together as one team – and everybody's looking forward to it."
On what he knew about Griffin before he signed with the Browns:
"I didn't really know much because I really don't pay attention to other teams or anything, but since he's been here, he's been a true leader. He's embraced it and he's doing a great job with everything. He's learning. Everybody is learning. It's a new offense for everybody. Everybody is doing a good job with that. He has really embraced the leadership role."
On his fellow Browns TEs:
"Yeah, they're doing a good job. We have a bunch of young guys and they're all eager to learn. They're really grabbing onto everything and trying to learn the finer details of the position and the offense. They're really taking ahold of it. I'm excited to see how everybody plays in the preseason game."
On playing with WRs Corey Coleman, Terrelle Pryor and Josh Gordon:
"It's exciting. It's an exciting time. It's just going to be a lot of fun out there. You really can't worry about thinking, 'Oh, this is how it's going to be. This is what we're going to do' because you never know. You have just got to be ready to go no matter what happens. You just have got to be ready for it. I think we're really embracing all of the guys not just certain guys. We're embracing everybody out there in the whole offense. I'm just excited about it."
On what makes Head Coach Hue Jackson different:
"All of the head coaches I've had have been good. There is nobody that has been a bad head coach. Hue is very energetic. He wants everything done now. He doesn't want to change it tomorrow, not next week, not next year. He wants to change it now. I think everybody is buying into it and truly embracing it. You're seeing it with all of the guys. The way practice is going, how fast everything is going and everybody is really embracing it."
On one of the biggest areas of emphasis during training camp working with Griffin as the starting QB:
"I think a lot of it is learning the offense. We're all trying to figure out where we end up. He's putting the ball where it needs to go and we're trying to figure out – the receivers, tight ends, and running backs – where we need to end up on our route. I think that's all just coming on the same page. I don't think there's a certain way that he's throwing it or anything. I think it's just all coming together with the offense in general."
DB Ibraheim Campbell:
On how training camp is different compared to his rookie season:
"Biggest thing is coming in here knowing what to expect. Really, I felt like I was coming in blind last year. Coming in here knowing what to expect gives you a lot more confidence. Feels like you can attack things kind of rather than feeling them out sort of thing. It's been a lot better I would say."
On taking all the first team reps and if he feels like he earned the job in the spring and has the opportunity to run with it:
"Absolutely, it was a tremendous opportunity to come in and be running with the ones this year. I made sure that I kind of did everything that I could in preparation for that opportunity. I've just been working every day to make sure that I took full advantage of it and was ready to go."
On how important reps with the first team are during the preseason:
"Extremely important because no matter how much film you watch on those type of things, there's no substitute for experiences so I'm cherishing every opportunity that I have on the field, every rep that I get in practice. Whether it be individual drills, whether it be team drills, 7-on-7, I'm always trying to make sure that I'm making the most of those reps to be productive on the field."
On his strengths at safety:
"I think one of my biggest strengths is my versatility. I see myself as someone who can play down in the box, really create turnovers in the box, whether that be forcing fumbles, whatever. Also, I play high, but at the free safety position being able to break on balls and catch interceptions, as well. I think my versatility is probably one of my biggest strengths."
On how important is his relationship with DB Jordan Poyer at safety:
"It's very important, just like the relationship between the safeties and the corners and the corners and the linebackers. Any team, you need to kind of know what to be able to expect from your teammates. That's something we really harp on. We've been really focusing on building each other up as a team and on and off the field and I think it's really starting to show. It also makes the on the field experiences that much better when you're doing things, gelling well, all those types of things. It creates a great environment for the team."
OL Cameron Erving:
On if it has been tough to miss the last few practices because of injury:
"Yeah, I definitely don't want to miss time, especially at such a vital time right now, but I'd rather get healthy and make sure everything is fine on my end and be able to play during the season as opposed to right now. It's better it happened now."
On his recovery and when he may return to the field:
"I'm fine. I'm fine. I'll be practicing today and my plan is to be playing this weekend."
On his performance during training camp:
"It's been coming along really well. Like I said, I've just continued to learn and be a student of the game. I've been listening to the older guys, picking up on every piece of knowledge that I can and just going out there and playing ball. That's all it is and that's all I want it to be – just playing ball. It's been going really good."
On his comfort making calls and adjustments for the OL:
"Yeah, I'm comfortable. I'm a vocal person and everybody on our offensive line knows what to do so it's not like everybody is waiting on me to make a call just so they can play because the ball is going to be snapped whether I make a call or not. We've all taken that role of just being accountable for each other and just making sure that if one guy has a brain fart, then the next guy comes in and is just like 'Hey, hey. Make a call here or there.' For the most part, everything is going good as far as play calling and communicating throughout the offensive line."
On how frustrating it was to be sidelined with an injury during last Friday's scrimmage, when the team failed to convert a goal-line run:
"It's hard to watch it, but at the end of the day, we know we're going to have the right guys in the game, and we're going to go in there and we're just going to play ball. That's been one of our points of emphasis – being able to finish the ball in the red zone, being able to finish the ball on the goal line. To not happen, yes, we weren't satisfied, but we're getting there. In all aspects and at every position and on each level – ones, twos and threes – everybody has that emphasis, and it's going to be important all year."
On being able to focus on one position during this year's training camp:
"It's been awesome for me to just be able to focus on one position and just be able to go and play, make corrections and learn from your mistakes and learn from what you did well. It's been a total 180 from last year just being able to focus on one thing. I can definitely see growth, and I can see a lot of progression."
On if rotating multiple players at RT during camp concerns him at all:
"It doesn't concern me. I have complete faith in every guy who lines up beside us. It's just wanting to give guys opportunities to make plays. That's it. That's how I see it, and each day a new person may be there, but it's just trying to see who fits where the best. It's as simple as that."
On what he's learned during this training camp:
"Just got some good experience and some good reps in. Getting leverage with pads on and real live reps and just hitting somebody, really. You can hit a bag, you can form up and do walkthroughs out here, but until you hit somebody, it's totally different."
WR Rashard Higgins:
On what he's hoping to show in his first preseason game:
"Just go out and showcase what I'm able to do. I know this is my first NFL game. I'm a little nervous, I'm a little excited but I'm ready. I know this team is ready and we're ready to showcase what we're about."
On the WRs room during training camp:
"It's a lot of learning. For me, I've been learning from (WR) Andrew Hawkins, (WR) Marlon Moore, just the older guys that have been in the room, not only in the film studies but when we're out here practicing, as well. Those guys are always finishing on their blocks, just doing the small things that have kept them in the league so long. That's what I'm trying to learn from and hopefully pick up the things that they can teach me."
On his comfort with the Browns offense now:
"I'm feeling good. There are times where I still mess up, but that's why we come out here and practice so we can get better at the things that we don't know. I'm still picking up the offense. It's a lot to learn, but it's a challenge and I'm willing to face it."
On areas he has worked to improve the most:
"Just the film studies. Film study, me and (WR) Terrelle Pryor, we're after practice every day in the meeting room just going over how we did and what we could have done better."
On if he has a chip on his shoulder from being drafted later than he expected and if he uses all the WRs that got drafted before him as motivation:
"Yeah, it's no hate against those guys, but I just have like a revenge to go out and show the people what I'm really about."
On the competition at WR with the Browns:
"I don't say we like are fighting against each other; we're fighting to build with the whole team. I know with (Head Coach) Coach Hue (Jackson) and us as a team, we just want to win. However we can contribute to the team, that's the way we're going to do it."
WR Ricardo Louis:
On his first NFL training camp:
"It's going good, running a lot. There is a lot of competition in the receivers' room right now. It's all about grinding, listening to the coaches and just getting better every day."
On what he had improve most coming into camp:
"Just everything really. To be a complete receiver in the NFL, it's a lot more than just running and catching balls – being a technician, releases and top of the routes, stuff like that is what (senior offensive assistant) Coach Al (Saunders) has been teaching us. Everybody has been getting better at it every day."
On working with senior offensive assistant Al Saunders:
"It's been great. He has been in the league 37 years. He knows a lot, he's been around a lot of great players and he knows what it takes to win and to be a dominant player in this league. Every little thing he says, I listen to."
On if he's made more plays as training camp has progressed:
"Yeah, definitely. Coming in, learning a new offense and learning a whole new system and just adjusting to the NFL is not always easy, but when you put time into it and extra effort, you're going to get better. As camp went on, learning the plays and understanding the offense more, I've been able to get more comfortable and start playing faster."
On finally playing in an NFL game on Friday:
"I'm ready. It's going to be a big step. It's going to be a test for a lot of rookies and even players that are still on the team now. It's just going to be mind blowing really – your first NFL game, you see (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers on the field and all the great players."
On being mentioned in the same sentence as Titans WR Andre Johnson by associate head coach –offense Pep Hamilton:
"That's like the fifth time I've heard that since I've been here. Growing up, I've watched him and I've met him a couple of times. My game is physical and fast and he's fast and physical so that's a great compliment to me."
On his performance during training camp:
"Right now, I'm doing pretty good. I came into camp with a goal in mind to do everything that it takes to make the team. I think I've been doing that, whether it's on special teams or doing whatever it is they ask me on offense. I've been doing the best I can."
WR Jordan Payton:
On QB Robert Griffin III being named the starting QB:
"It's just a credit to his hard work. He's a phenomenal person on and off of the field. He 100 percent deserves it. We have great quarterbacks here all around, some of the best guys I've been around. They are all super helpful. Specifically RG, he's definitely a mentor. He helps me out, helps me in the locker room, helps me on the field. It's going to be an exciting year."
On former Bengals WR Chad Johnson being a mentor:
"My brother played with Chad and (former NFL WR) T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) at Oregon State. I grew up, kind of, I was five and six, so I went to their games. Obviously, Chad went to Santa Monica College with my brother I've known him since I was four or five. Definitely, he was someone I was looking up to as a kid. When he came out here, it was like a little reunion. I haven't seen him in a while. T.J. is definitely up there, too. I talk to T.J. every other day, text him and call him. Two great guys, two great mentors. Obviously, they played in the NFL for a long time so it's good."
On what Johnson helped him with personally:
"It's more route specific stuff. Chad is really, really good with understanding routes. Obviously, he's one of the best route runners of all time in the NFL. That's mainly what he worked on here, just footwork and understanding routes and how to get open and things like that. He did a great job the few days he was here."
On senior offensive assistant Al Saunders:
"He's a phenomenal coach. I'm definitely blessed and honored to be around him. He's a legend. It's definitely something that, as a rookie, you need a strong coach and a strong mentor when you come in here because things aren't easy. For me, it's unbelievable for me to hear him, how he coaches, how much energy he brings. It's truly an honor." On his comfort level with the new offense:
"Every day is a news step. As I continue to progress and continue to develop, credit to Coach Saunders for continuing to get me ready. I'm getting there. Every day you learn something new. You just try to get really comfortable within the offense. Every day is something new for me. I'm excited. I'm getting there. It's definitely a process. For us, I'm excited for Green Bay. I think we're going to showcase some great talent up there."
On if he is playing 'catch up' due to missing some of offseason workouts while at UCLA:
"My mindset was to come here and not think that way. My mindset was to come here and just go at it and learn everything you can. I would say yes, the catch up thing is gone, and now, it's about just fully understanding everything."
On the competition at WR among the rookies:
"It's healthy. It's very, very healthy. It's not a negative. It's great energy, honestly. It kind of brings you back to going into college. In college, you always have 12, 13 receivers on the depth chart so it's healthy. We all help each other. We're all there for each other. It's obviously competitive. Every day we're competing, but at the end, it's making everyone better. As long as you buy into competing and into making yourself better, which is going to make the man next to you better, everything is good."
OL Joe Thomas:
On OL Cam Erving's potential at C this year:
"He's doing a really good job right now. He has got to keep improving, keep getting better but I think people are feeling really comfortable with him in the middle. It's really tough as a rookie to learn any position, much less try to learn five positions at once. He's a really smart kid and has got a lot of ability, obviously. I think we're going to see a lot of good things from him this year."
On multiple Browns players competing at RT:
"I think it's no surprise we're trying to find who's going to be the starting right tackle. Like you mentioned, there have been three guys out there kind of battling for the spot. I think (OL) Austin Pasztor did a really good job yesterday. He's the guy that has the most experience. (OL John) Greco was hurt at the beginning of camp so they bumped Austin to guard. Initially, I mean now that Greco has come back, I think we'll probably settle with Austin at RT for the time being."
On Pasztor's strengths:
"He's just a tough, hard-nosed guy. He's got a couple years of starting experience under his belt. I think that's huge in the NFL to be able to have some game time experience. It's invaluable because things happen really fast. There is a lot to learn in a rookie season so having a guy with some experience out there will be really important."
On if it's important to pick the best five OL starting with the first game of the preseason or if it's not that significant:
"All things being equal, it's obviously important, I would say. You want anytime you're putting an offensive line together to find the best five guys. That's kind of our search right now, and I think we're getting close to finding those best five guys. Hopefully, we'll have them comfortably in place by Week 1 and that does not always happen, especially with injuries and the way the NFL goes, but that'd be cool."
On if this is the first time he's been in training camp and not known the top five OL:
"No, there have been seasons where a lot of guys were rotating through. I think back to (former Browns Head Coach) Eric Mangini's first year, and I was the only guy that was the starter based on how training camp went. We had (Vikings assistant offensive line coach) Hank Fraley and (Falcons C) Alex Mack were fighting for the center position until like Week 1, and even our guards were kind of up in the air, our right tackle. It's not uncommon to have position battles and have things unsettled, especially this early in camp. We haven't even had our first preseason game yet."
On QB Robert Griffin III officially being named the starter:
"Rob has done a great job so far. I think he's done everything we've asked of him as a team. He's been the leader that we'd all hoped at quarterback. I think he'll bring a dimension being able to run the ball that few quarterbacks in the NFL have. I think there's a lot of optimism with Robert back there at quarterback."
On his reaction to playing for another new coaching staff:
"I think you're always cautiously optimistic with a new coaching staff, but I think it's always easy to fall back on, 'I've got to focus on getting my job done because in the end, that's really the only thing that I can control.' That's always easy to fall back on, but I can say I think every person on this team is really excited about having (Head Coach) Hue (Jackson) as the head coach. I think he's shown the leadership, the attention to details and understanding of roles as a head coach that we've got a heck of a head coach in Hue Jackson."
Defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi:
On DB Joe Haden returning to practice:
"It was great. Obviously, this has been a long process. He is very excited about the opportunity. We were joking, and he had said he feels like a kid on Christmas morning and I kind of feel the same way. Having worked with him in the past, I'm very excited about the opportunity to get to work with him again."
On questions the Browns have to answer in the secondary heading into the Green Bay game:
"We're just going to go out and we're going to compete. There are guys competing at many positions, and I think that will all become clear as we move through the preseason. I'm excited that these young guys will have an opportunity to show what they can do."
On the competition at safety:
"Right now, we have guys moving around in different spots. Like I said, you are what you put on tape, and we'll see how it all shakes out."
On DB K'Waun Williams performance and the competition between him and DB Jamar Taylor at nickel corner:
"Both of those kids, football is very important to them. There is a saying that iron sharpens iron. Just like they are out there, these guys are competing with each other. I think at the end of the day, we'll end up with two really good football players that are going to help us win games."
On Taylor's potential after his career with the Miami Dolphins:
"In Jamar's case, he's a true professional. I think he's embraced the challenge. He's come in and he's worked really hard both on and off the field. He takes coaching really well. He really has a really good athletic skillset. He can play both on the outside and he can play inside. Like I said, I'm excited to see him play in games. I'm glad we got him."
On what the Browns saw in Taylor that showed a potential to play nickel corner:
"Just his knowledge of football, his awareness of football, just being a natural football player, No.1, but then his really good quickness, that really helps when you're inside there."
On DBs Ibraheim Campbell and Jordan playing with the first team at safety and if there is still competition for those two spots:
"I think as we go through these games, it will all play itself out. They'll continue to work. We've drafted obviously at that position, and at the end of the day, the best players will play."
On DB Justin Gilbert's performance during training camp:
"He's doing great. He's come in – obviously, with Joe (Haden) not being able to take reps in practice, he's got a lot of work with the first team. I think that's been great for him. He's grown. He's really done everything we've asked him to do from a technique standpoint. He's been great in the meetings. I'm excited to see him play in a game, as well."
On if this is a critical training camp for Gilbert or just another year in his progression:
"I think it's just another year in his progression."
On Gilbert's differences on tape from last year to this year:
"I just really focus on what I see with him. I kind of gave everyone a clean slate when I came in. I'm just really worried about getting these guys playing to the best of their ability."
On Taylor just needed someone to help him get his confidence back and give him another opportunity:
"Again, in this profession, just like coaches, we've changed teams, players change teams. I think you have to live in the moment and you have to utilize their talents to the best of their ability in the moment and work from there. I try not to talk about what they've done other places because I don't know what they were asked to do. All I know is what we coach and what we expect from them."
On Campbell's strengths:
"First of all, he's a very diligent player. He studies hard. He's been great in the offseason. I think he'll bring a physical nature to the position, and he's a player that can adjust and play in space, as well."
On concerns that the Browns secondary may be two young and will experience growing pains:
"No. We'll just play with the guys we have and we'll get them to do the best we can. That's our job as coaches to put them in positions to make plays and to win games."
On moving DB Pierre Desir to safety:
"Again, we moved him inside. We have a few guys that we're playing kind of as hybrids. The reason you do that, in this league with all the multiple wide receiver sets, a guy that has a skillset at corner when you're playing a team that puts three wide receivers on the field, in order to move a guy like that inside at safety it gives you a better chance to win on an every down basis. He's done a good job so far."
On the other CBs taking reps at safety:
"You'll have to figure that out in practice."
On Gilbert at times getting beat downfield:
"Like I said, we're working through some things with him. You may not see – the quarterback may hold the ball longer, the play may break down – but from a technique standpoint, he's done what we've asked him to do so far."
On how the Browns will use Gilbert when Haden fully returns:
"We'll see how that works out as we go through the preseason."
Senior offensive assistant Al Saunders:
On if there is a concerted effort by the Browns to make WR Terrelle Pryor an every down receiver and Pryor being listed second on the team's depth chart:
"Quite frankly, I don't know about any listings (on the depth chart), but what I do know is my job and my passion in this game is to try to make every player that's under my tutelage the best player that he can possibly be. It's fortunate when you have someone like Terrelle who has worked so hard to make a transition from a quarterback position to a difficult position in the National Football League, which is wide receiver. Every day we see things that he does better than the day before. He's worked extremely hard through this first phase of football. I think we're all really, really proud and really feel great about where Terrelle is. Now, the next step is to play real football."
On what the Browns are looking for when Pryor plays 'real football':
"I look for Terrelle to be able to, from a technique standpoint and an assignment standpoint, play like he's played without pads on and in a non-contact environment. That's a real step for everybody. It's a real step for these young rookies. It's a step for every player on the football team regardless of the position. A lot of times when you're learning skills and now all of the sudden you're against other people, you're against different looks, the speed of the game will change a little bit and it's just another developmental process for every player, and Terrelle is no different. He's going from an environment that's controlled to a degree to now an environment in Green Bay that they're trying to do some things different than we do on the practice field. The speed of the game will be different, but I have every confidence that if he continues to work as he has worked up to this point that this test will just be another one that he passes."
On if Pryor can be an every down receiver:
"You know, I'm not sure how that translates. I know this – he's working as hard as he can to be the best football player he can be. I'm looking forward to seeing how he plays Friday night and then the next weekend, and the next weekend, and the next weekend. He's at a point right now – this is really a hard transition for anybody to make. I'm trying to think back, maybe (former Steelers WR) Antwaan Randle El is the one guy that I've coached that has gone from a quarterback to a receiver and really done an exceptional job. Like I said, we couldn't be any happier than where Terrelle is right now, but he knows he has a lot of things to work on and a lot of things to improve on and that it's not all going to happen overnight. It's going to take time. This is his first exposure to that position, but myself personally, I couldn't be any more thrilled with where he is right now."
On the Browns WR corps:
"It's exciting, really. Working with those guys and the effort and energy they've put forward ever since OTAs, the hard work they're doing on the field, watching every one of those guys improve in their technique and skill, it's a wonderful group. Our meeting room is just phenomenal. They've all developed great bonds with each other. They help each other. They enjoy working with each other. You can't teach experience, but what you can teach is fundamentals and techniques and learn how to learn and effort and all those things. We always tell them, there are four things you have to do – you have to know what to do, you have to know how to do it, you have to do it with energy and enthusiasm and you have to do it all the time. Your assignment, your technique, your effort, and your consistency determine your value. Every day when we look at practice, that's what we focus on. Every game in the preseason, that's what we'll focus on. The only thing those guys can do is continue to work at the level that they've worked at and then the chips fall where they may. I told them the first meeting I had with them when the year started, my goal is first of all that every single guy sitting in this room has an opportunity to enjoy a career in the National Football League, some way, shape, or form. There's only so many seats in our boat, but there are a lot of life boats out there around the league that they may have an opportunity to fill. I've always treated everybody like a first-round draft choice. I treat (WR) Corey Coleman no different than I treat our free agent wide receiver Dennis Parks because to me that's my job. My job is to make sure that they do the very best job that they can and to watch their improvement. They're kind of like my kids, maybe my grandkids at my age (laughter), but they're wonderful kids. What happens and where everybody ends up – we haven't even started to evaluate that yet because we haven't even played football yet."
On who has really caught his eye with during this training camp that may not be on everyone's radar:
"Quite honestly, I think if you took our roster and looked at every single receiver we have, in my opinion, every one of those guys has the capability of playing in the National Football League. Now some qualities and some needs from other teams and from our team will differ, but I think they all have the physical skills to be able. If somebody develops those guys and gives them the opportunity to play, I think every one of those guys in that group have the opportunity to play in the National Football League."
On what it's like to coach a faster, smaller WR like Corey Coleman and if the league is trending back toward sub-six-foot WRs:
"I don't know if there is a trend back to those guys. I've had a lot of experience coaching guys like (Pro Football Hall of Fame WR) Charlie Joiner, who's in the Hall of Fame down there, (former NFL WR) Andre Rison, Antwaan Randle El, (former NFL WR) Santana Moss, (Dolphins WR Jarvis) Landry last year in Miami. You don't have to be 6'4" to be a great wide receiver in this league. What you have to be able to do is you have to change direction, you have to get separation and you have to catch the football. I don't think that there is a marquee on how tall and physical you have to be. When (Pro Football Hall of Fame and former 49ers Head Coach) Bill Walsh came into this league – he and I went to the same school and played for the same people at San Jose State as did (former Eagles head coach) Dick Vermeil – and Bill developed what everybody considers the west coast offense, but when you look at the players that he had – he had (former 49ers WR) John Taylor, and who's that other guy over there? Oh, (Pro Football Hall of Fame and former 49ers WR) Jerry Rice, yeah (laughter). He had John Taylor and Jerry Rice. The prototype of that athlete in his system were big physical guys. The genesis of that system really is slants, hooks, curls, shallow cross and drive. Big physical guys that can catch the ball inside against linebacker types and that can catch the ball in a contested environment because it's not an up-field vertical passing game. It's more west coast offense. As Bill would say, it's an extended handoff. The priority in that offense is you better have big physical guys because when you're running routes that you run up the field and come back, you're in an area where a physical nature is needed because you're going to be in a contested environment. I'm from the (former NFL and College Football Hall of Fame Head Coach) Don Coryell school with Charlie Joiner and (former Chargers WR) Wes Chandler and (former Chargers WR) John Jefferson and (Pro Football Hall of Fame TE) Kellen Winslow and those guys, and it's vertical speed. It's separation. It's get up the field. It's a different style of play. When you have guys that aren't big and physical, what you have to do is put a priority on the ability to separate and get speed and that's what we would do with Corey Coleman. Corey Coleman is a vertical player. Now, he'll learn all those other things, but he's a vertical player. He has undeniable speed. What we have to be able to do is teach him to get out of his breaks with efficiency. We have to be able to separate laterally as well as we separate vertically. Size, in my estimation at the receiver position, is not an issue, but what you have to do is devise a system and devise the kind of things that those guys can do so they aren't in contested environments all the time."