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Browns player press conferences - 4/19


DL Danny Shelton:**

On what Hue Jackson's workouts have been like:

"Awesome. Really it's a different environment. It's a positive environment, an environment where we can go and not be scared to learn something new. It's really a comfortable place for us to work now. I'm not saying that it wasn't before, but just having a new coaching staff, a new defensive program, a new workout program it could cause some people to steer away and do their own thing, but I don't really see that this year."

On his number change:

"I switched my number to 55. Basically, I always wanted to be No. 55. Obviously, Alex (Mack) had it and I didn't want to disrespect the man and ask to pay for it off of him. So, I went with 71 because I used 71 before. I just wanted to take No. 55 before anybody else could, and I just felt like I'd be the best guy to represent the number. I took that opportunity and I'm here today."

On what defensive coordinator Ray Horton has told him about how his role may be different this year compared to his rookie season:

"Really just because I worked with Coach Horton during the senior bowl – that whole week there with him – me and him already had kind of a common balance. Him being a Husky alumni helped out a little too. He basically wants to me to make sure that I'm doing the right thing. I'm not seeing myself as a rookie anymore. He wants me to step up and take on a new role. That new role could be the leader of the defense, could be the leader of the defensive line, the leader of this team. Really as we go through camp, I'm just going through everything that their teaching us, and I'm trying to make sure I'm doing it at the best of my ability."

On how different the defense will be as a whole this season:

"I think it'll be real different going off just the players that we lost and the players that we gained. That alone is going to change our defense. I feel like our defense is really confident just based off of these past couple weeks working out with the guys. Everybody's really high-energy and just ready to get to work."

On what he learned about the NFL last year as a rookie:

"Really that it's a lot of opportunities, just really opportunities on both sides of the ball. Being able to go in and play my rookie year, I didn't really feel like I took advantage of those opportunities. Opportunities I'm talking about just players…going against some of the veterans that we played against and learning from veterans like (Falcons OL) Alex (Mack) and just progressing every week. That's something that wasn't consistent for me. That's something that I want to work on this year."

On how he can use that experience of going against Mack going forward:

"Really to be patient because Alex was a quick guy, really quick, really flexible. Every time I went against him it was like I'd win like every other four reps. Just going off of the way he played, I learned midseason that not every center is going to be like Alex. There were centers that I was dominating, and there were centers that were going back and forth with me."

On what his impressions of OL Cameron Erving are as he looks to move to the center position:

"I'm really excited. I'm excited to see how Cam does at center. It's a position he's familiar with playing in college. He dominated in college at it. I really think he's going to do really good. I think he could fill in those shoes that were missing. He's a guy with long arms, a guy who's quick as well. He has some great guards and great tackles that play next to him too."

On if Mack reached out to him when he changed his number to 55 and if he feels like he has something to live up to based on Mack's career with the Browns:

"No. 55 is a number that's been worn by a lot of great players. There's always going to be that aspect of trying to live up to the number. That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to focus on playing for the Browns and playing my butt off. Then, I'm also going to focus on representing this number the right way on the field and off the field. This number, it goes back to Junior Seau, obviously. He's a guy that impacted our culture, my community. Then, it also impacts my life because my older brother wore this number, as well. Just having that alone, I feel like it strengthens me and gives me the confidence that I can represent this number the right way."

OL Cameron Erving:

On what his primary focus has been in the offseason:

"Just lifting and working with the offensive line coach where I was training. Just getting better technically and fundamentally."

On what sticks out to him from his rookie season:

"It was just a really good learning experience for me. I was put in situations where I was very unsure, but it helped me learn and helped me get to a point where I can process things a little bit faster."

On if bouncing around from multiple positions hurt his development as a rookie rather than focusing on one position:

"We can say it hurt me, but at the end of the day it was the hand I was dealt. I'm an NFL player. I'm a professional, and it's my job to adapt to whatever situation that I'm put in. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Yes, I was put in bad situations.' It wasn't the greatest circumstances, but at the end of the day I don't blame the coaches. I don't blame anybody. I blame myself for whatever happened to me, good or bad."

On his mindset having to replace Falcons OL Alex Mack and what he's been doing in the offseason:

"I've always worked hard. Coming in to replace Alex, of course good luck to him in Atlanta, but you can't replace a guy like that. You can only come in and create your own identity, and that's what I plan on doing."

On if he always felt center was his most natural position:

"I played left tackle for a long time. So, I can't say it was my most natural position, but it came to me relatively easy when I played it in college. In that sense, I can say yes, but I haven't played a snap of center in the NFL. So, I can't tell you to be honest."

On what he wants his identity to be:

"I've always been a hard-nosed player. I always like playing hard and physical. I want to continue to bring that to the table, but I have to be more under control, better technique. I just want to be a nasty player. That's what I've always wanted to be, and that's how I've always played. I've always played hard. No matter what the outcome may have been on that play you can't say I wasn't playing hard. I don't care what it was."

On if he saw improvement in himself over the last couple weeks of the season last year:

"Yes, I did just because I got a little bit of normalcy playing at right guard. I played there for probably like the last three games. Just being there and being at one position for an extended period of time, you have time to correct what you didn't do the right way the game before and the next game at the same position, as opposed to playing left guard and then the next time you play is at right guard. You have kind of figured out what you needed to do at left guard, but now you're playing over here. It's like, 'OK, different mindset. New problems. New issues. Quick solutions.' It's different, but like I said I try not to dwell on those things. That was in the past, and I'm moving forward now in my career."

On if losing offensive line coach Andy Moeller played into the performance of the offensive line last season:

"I don't think so. I wasn't really around Andy long, but George DeLeone did a great job over this last year. He worked his butt off. Any stats negative or positive – it was the players, we accumulated those stats, not the coaches. We had a lot of veteran guys on that line last year. Anything that came, it was something that we should have adapted to as professionals. It's not always on the coaches. I personally place the blame on us as an offensive line."

LB Christian Kirksey:

On if he feels he needs to take on more now that he is in his third year and with the departure of LB Karlos Dansby

"Yes. With this whole coaching staff and change, it's been nothing but positive energy throughout the whole building. They bring a lot of knowledge to the game to us younger players. We can learn a lot from them. With the departure of Karlos Dansby, in my mind, I am really telling myself to step up. I know a lot of the coaches are telling me to step up. Nothing is written in stone so you always have to keep working, keep working like you are a rookie trying to earn a spot. That is my whole mentality, that's my mindset, to keep paving the way and keep trying to bring this team wins."

On if he can take the next step and be a starter who plays every down

"Yes. I believe that every player that is in this building, they work to be a starter. That is everybody's mindset. Injuries happen, you never know when a player is going to go down. You never know when it is your time to step in so each and every day when you are in the classroom, when you are in the weight room, when you are on the field, you have to prepare yourself like you are the starter. That is what I am doing myself. There's a long way before the season but that's the way I am preparing myself, as the starter."

On losing a lot of starters from last year and people saying the defense won't be good

"I think we have a chance to be a good defense especially with Ray Horton coming in here. His defense is a good defense, you can see the track record. He's a guy that has a lot of knowledge of the game. When you look around the room, you see veteran guys like Tramon Williams, Joe Haden, Paul Kruger. Joe has been a Pro Bowler. Tramon has been a Pro Bowler and won a Super Bowl. Krug, he's won the Super Bowl. We have plenty of leaders and plenty of older guys who can help us younger guys win games and show us the right way to do it as pros. It's nothing but great and positive energy throughout the room. We are kind of blocking out the outside. They are not in here working out with us or in the classroom with us. The guys that are in that room, we depend on one another and trust one another. If we work hard, we can do great things this year."

On if he knows if his role will change at all with this defense

"Wherever they need me to be, that's what I am willing to play. At the end of the day, we are football players so you just want to showcase your talents on the field. As well as special teams, me and coach (Chris) Tabes (Tabor), we have a close connection. I feel that wherever I am an asset at, I am going to try to do that to the best of my ability."

On the Browns not being able to stop the run historically

"That's in the past. There's nothing we can do about that. We are all going forward. We are moving forward. What has happened in the past, happened in the past. We've erased that tape and we are trying to start off fresh. It's a new season. What we have in that room, we are all excited about it. We all know that we can get the job done. We just have to execute."

LB Paul Kruger:

On working with defensive coordinator Ray Horton again:

"Very similar. Definitely great to see him back. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Ray. I love the way he coaches. It's a lot of fun. It is nice that it is familiar and just knowing what to expect. He is a guy that just really respects you as a player, talks to you like a man and expects you to go get it done. A lot of guys respond well to it."

On NFL belief that a good pass rush is dependent upon having two players who can put pressure on opposite sides and the two feeding off one another:

"There is an element of that, for sure. The more guys that are excelling at that the better. Everybody kind of feeds off each other in that way."

On if he expects to be used differently this year than in 2015:

"Yeah, it seems like that is the way things are headed is more of a traditional, at least for me, role."

On if he thought he potentially may have been released when veteran LB Karlos Dansby and DB Donte Whitner were released:

"I did, yeah. I was definitely, I guess, anticipating something. It made me a little nervous. I'm not going to lie. I am loyal to this team and it has been a lot of hard work that has been put in, and I want to see that through. I couldn't be more happy and excited to be here in this seat."

On not expecting a change now:

"Those are discussions that I just let my agent and those people take care of, but I am here right now. This is where I am planning on being come August."

On explaining his comment about having a more traditional role and if that includes more pass rushing:

"I think it will just be more of a traditional outside linebacker role where you are balanced in the run-pass, whether it is dropping in coverage and rushing the passer, in more of a consistent rushing the passer and dropping in coverage seldom. More traditional in that sense."

On part of him wanting to be on a team that reached the playoffs in multiple years, similar to Dansby, rather than a team that appears to be in a rebuild:

"I believe that we are in a position to put ourselves exactly where we want to be in 2016. There is nothing that I want more than to be a part of that transition. We have been working our tails off. Guys are putting a lot of hard work in. Coaches are enthusiastic. It is a very positive atmosphere right now. I've got to tell you, it's an exciting environment right now."

On how Head Coach Hue Jackson is different from his previous NFL coaches:

"Hue, he is one of the most consistently positive personalities that I have ever been around. That's player, coach or whatever, you name it. He is a guy that you hear, 'Light a fire within you,' that fire is more like a bonfire for him and it is constantly burning. That in turn catches everybody else. He has been able to really motivate me this year, and I think he has done it for a lot of guys. There is a very strong sense in our meetings of how good we can be and the positive direction that we are going. I think that is where he is different. He is not only an extremely intelligent offensive mind and has done great things in that way, but he is just a motivating personality that is a constant. It is not right before a game; it is not once a month, once a week; it is literally every day. That is inspiring to me, for sure, as a leader."

LB Barkevious Mingo:

On putting on weight this offseason:

"Honestly, this whole offseason, my main focus was getting bigger – bigger, faster, stronger – and just coming into the building and coming into the workouts bigger, faster and stronger. I achieved my goals and am excited to get to work with the guys that we brought back and the guys we've brought in."

On his reaction to Head Coach Hue Jackson, considering other players' comments about the excitement in the building:

"He has been a guy who is showing up to workouts, he is cheering guys on and he is watching guys work out. He has just been there. The players, we like that."

On how Jackson's presence to cheer players on at workouts makes a difference:

"Not just necessarily cheering you on, it is just he sees the hard work that you are putting in. He appreciates it. It is just like when we go out in front of the fans at FirstEnergy Stadium. You have somebody pulling you along, you can get that extra set; you can run that extra sprint; you can do whatever. It's the same thing."

On if this is the most upbeat he's been about his future in Cleveland:

"I'm feeling good. New staff, new goals, new building. As a team, we are collectively focused on getting better, putting in time and just putting it on the field."

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