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Browns player press conferences - 9/14


LB Christian Kirksey:**

On if he was surprised how much Baltimore ran the ball last week at Cincinnati:

"They changed up the style of how they run the ball. They have a new coordinator for the run – well, a guy that does their run game. I wasn't surprised. They have two good backs, offensive line is pretty solid so right now, that is the strength of their team is the run game. (Ravens QB) Joe Flacco mentioned that he kind of had a rough game at the beginning so just getting those runs in is definitely part of their offense where I think is their strong point so I wasn't surprised to see how many runs that they had."

On the difference defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has made to the run defense:

"Basically, Gregg since Day 1, he came in talking about how we wanted to defend the run because last year we were terrible in stopping the run. We made a special emphasis on doing that first, making that a priority because when you stop the run, that builds an attitude. Gregg came in and he changed the culture, changed guys' mindsets. The defense that he has us playing is aggressive and puts the guys in the best position to be in their gap, to make plays and hunt down the ball carrier. It is just all really a mindset with the guys that we have on this team. We are striving to still be in that category with a run stopping defense."

On if being able to stop the run is confidence booster for the defense:

"It is. One thing for the offense, whenever they can get a run game going, it opens up the offensive playbook, but once you defeat their run, eliminate it out of their game and force them to pass, that is when it is a whole different ball game. For us, we want to force teams to pass the ball almost. Once we eliminate the run, it allows us to do more and more and open up our defensive playbook so that is definitely a confidence booster when you are able to eliminate guys from making big plays in the run game."

On if he is a different tackler under Williams:

"No, I think I am the same tackler. He is coaching me to do even better with tackling. You can always improve on that more. I had a couple missed tackles and stuff like that last year so you can always improve on tackling. Playing outside is different than playing inside backer in the 4-3. I am just in a different position in a different role, but I believe that Gregg is definitely helping each player individually improve on tackling."

On Ravens RB Terrance West's performance last week:

"T. West, I think he had, what, 80-something yards? T. West is a hard runner. He came in with me in our draft year in 2014. He can make you miss. He is not the lightest guy. He is kind of heavy-set. He is strong. He can catch out of the backfield. T. West is definitely a good running back. It is up to us to eliminate him from making big plays and becoming a spark on the defense so we will make sure that we will be prepared for him."


OL Joe Thomas:**

On his past battles with Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs:

"Suggs is always one of the greatest challenges that I face every year, and it is amazing in his 14th NFL season that he still is doing it as well as he did when he was in his sixth or seventh season. There are always good battles between myself and Suggs. I think he is one of the greats of all-time not only for the Ravens but at his position."

On if playing against a rookie like Steelers LB T.J. Watt can be more difficult than someone faced in the past:

"You certainly have more anxiety going into a game against a guy that is sort of unknown. Playing a rookie in his first game, you really don't know exactly what he is going to do and what are his strengths and weaknesses whereas when you go into a game against a guy who you have played 17 times or so, there are not a whole lot of unknowns on either side."

On what makes Suggs so difficult to block:

"I think it is the same thing that makes other defensive ends great: big, strong, fast, smart, physical, savvy, quick and good use of his hands."

On being four plays from 10,000 consecutive snaps:

"I don't really think about it too much. People have asked me more about it as I have gotten closer. It is hard to quantify. I don't know. It's kind of a weird thing to even think about."

On if there is anything else in his life he has done 10,000 times:

"(Laughter) That is a good question. I don't know. I'm sure there are plenty of boring things that I do, like maybe open car doors or something, but nothing as exciting as playing 10,000 snaps."

On if some of those snaps mean more than others because he played through injuries:

"The only time that I really questioned if I could still play was against Pittsburgh in 2012. I tore my LCL, heard the pop and was in pain. I had to really try to test it a little bit to see if I could continue to play. Other than that, it is just your garden variety pain and anguish that you go through in certain games and with certain injuries, but I think that is probably the one that sticks out the most in my head as far as ones that were close to not knowing if I was going to be able to play."

On why it was important for him to play through those injuries despite the lack of team success:

"It was just something that was engrained in me when I was a little kid. It was just all about being out there to help your teammates and doing everything you can to help the team win, fighting through pain and adversity. I never really considered not going out there and giving my all because I always felt that the team and my teammates relied on me to be out there. No matter what the conditions were or what situation the team was in, I always felt that it was my job to be out there. Unless I absolutely couldn't do it, I was going to be out there for those guys."

DL Emmanuel Ogbah:

On the defense's confidence level after holding the Steelers to 35 rushing yards:

"We just had a lot of guys run to the ball, making plays. We just have to get better, have to be better tacklers, have to get better at open field tackles, but I am proud of our run defense. We made a statement and we have to keep making that statement every week."

On how the run defense is different under defensive coordinator Gregg Williams:

"I would say we are a more aggressive defense. I would say that is how we are different."

On Ravens RB Terrance West:

"He is a good back. He is one of the good backs. He runs hard. That is why you have to tackle him, you have to throw your body at him and you have to do a better job of running to the ball."

On Baltimore's offensive line:

"They have a solid offensive line so we have to get after it. We have to win the line of scrimmage as a D line."

On if Ravens QB Joe Flacco gets the ball out of his hand as fast as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

"We didn't see much pass plays from them because they ran the ball a lot, but you can tell he tries to get it out fairly quickly. He doesn't drop back as he used to or what I had seen from last year."

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