Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- DB Jason McCourty
- DL Jamie Meder
- LB Joe Schobert
- DL Danny Shelton
- OL Joe Thomas
- OL Kevin Zeitler
DB Jason McCourty:
On DL Myles Garrett returning to practice:
"We almost started to throw a little party to see him back out there. We should have had him introduce himself to the defense again, but no, it's a pleasure. Throughout training camp, just seeing what his ability is, you know he is a weapon for us. To see him back out at practice, I think our entire defense and team probably gets excited because we know the talent that he has."
On the boost Garrett would provide if he can play on Sunday:
"A huge boost. He is another player for us. The more weapons you have, the better you are going to be. When (LB) Jamie (Collins Sr.) is back out there, it will be another weapon. When you get your players back out there, it is a good feeling to have and you know what those guys bring to the table."
On how Garrett looked today:
"To be honest with you, I have no idea (laughter). I'm looking at the receivers, trying to cover them all of practice. I haven't had a chance to look at the film yet, but I'm sure he looked pretty good."
On if Garrett will help the defense's pass rush:
"I just believe in football, the better players you have out there, the better you are going to be. It sounds so simple, but I just think that is what it is. Myles was the No. 1 overall pick for a reason. I think we all know he possesses a special type of talent. Just having that caliber of talented player out on the field, we will all benefit from it."
On what makes Bengals WR A.J. Green so special:
"What doesn't? Tall, fast, quick, makes the contested catches. He is one of the athletes you go against throughout the season where you circle it and you say this is one of the special ones, an All-Pro receiver. He can get open in short routes, intermediate and obviously, down the field. He will pose a tough challenge for us. He will definitely be one of the best receivers we will play throughout the course of the season. It is just like each and every week. Last week was (Colts WR) T.Y. (Hilton). We have already played (Steelers WR) Antonio Brown. Each week, it is going to be somebody new that has that special type of talent. We have to know where he is at and do our very best to take him out of the game."
On how much he will be covering Green on Sunday:
"We will see. It just depends on offensive formations and what they do. Between me, J.T. (DB Jamar Taylor) and Boddy (DB Briean Boddy-Calhoun), we all will get our fair share."
DL Jamie Meder:
On the challenges of the Bengals backfield with RBs Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill:
"It's a three-headed monster right there so it is pick your poison. You just have to be ready to come bring it against them."
"He is just one of those guys where he can play any spot. He can protect, he can run and he can catch so we have to be ready for that."
On how DL Myles Garrett looked in his return to practice:
"I thought he looked good (laughter)."
On how exciting it is to have Garrett back at practice:
"It is always good to have everybody back, regardless of who it is. Everybody healthy is good."
On if he is looking forward to seeing what Garrett as the No. 1 overall can do:
"Regardless of him being a draft pick or not – I know he went first overall – but we are just ready to see what he can do. Status has nothing to do with how you play. He is ready to play so we are excited to see it."
LB Joe Schobert:
On DL Myles Garrett returning to practice:
"It is good. Just you see the excitement when he comes off the edge. As explosive as he is and the types of plays that he can make, it is definitely fun to have him out there and making the quarterback rush passes or make hurried decisions or just get a sack."
On if Garrett looked like himself at practice:
"Yeah, I think so. There was one time where he came right off the edge, dusted the tackle and it would have been a sack if we were allowed to touch the quarterbacks in practice. The whole offensive line was kind of giving him a little a stick because, 'Oh, Myles is out here?' Saying stuff because it is his first time back and he has been missing. He looks good."
On the significance of Bengals TE Tyler Eifert potentially not playing Sunday:
"He is a great tight end, a great competitor. As another competitor, you always want to go against the other team's best. He is going to be missed by those guys, but I know they have other tight ends who are capable of stepping up and playing in his spot."
On if the Bengals will adjust and have a next man up mentality at TE:
"Yeah, I think they can. They carry a couple of tight ends. The other guys have good skillsets, as well. I don't know their gameplan, but I would imagine they will try to use those guys."
On if the Browns defense has been preparing for a heavy dose of Bengals RB Joe Mixon if Eifert is out:
"You don't really know because they have that three-headed attack. They used Mixon a lot last week. We are prepared for all three of their guys as if all three of the guys will be the main one. They all have different strengths from (Bengals RB Jeremy) Hill to Mixon to (Bengals RB Giovanni) Bernard so you just kind of have to know who is the in the game and adjust yourself accordingly."
"He is just a good all-around back. He can run out of the backfield, he can catch, he can run in between the tackles and he makes people miss. You have to really be behind your shoulder pads when you come to take him down. You saw people bounce off of him last week against Green Bay when they were just arm tackling and stuff. He is a very good all-around back."
DL Danny Shelton:
On his injury status:
"I should be good. Hopefully, the MRI is good and the doctor thinks I am cleared and everything, but we are just going to continue to do the precautionary steps with (Head Athletic Trainer) Joe (Sheehan) and get the right rehab and treatment for me right now."
On when he had his MRI:
On if he was able to finish practice yesterday:
"Yeah, I was still out at practice and everything."
On if his injury is serious:
"It doesn't feel too bad, but we will see what the doc says."
On misfortune of getting hurt as soon as DL Myles Garrett is returning to practice:
"Yeah, I know. Myles seems like a bad luck for me or something (laughter). Every time he wants to come out to practice, I end up going in to get treatment. We just switch off I guess (laughter). I am excited to see Myles back at practice and everything, too."
On if he will miss Sunday's game against Cincinnati:
"That is something I am not going to give up. I am going to continue to do all of the treatment I need to do to get back out there."
On seeming optimistic about his injury:
"Yeah, you never know, but I am pretty confident that I will be good. I feel a lot better from yesterday. Just working with the trainers and doing the treatment, it has been feeling a lot better."
OL Joe Thomas:
On Bengals LB Carl Lawson:
"He has done an amazing job so far. Last week, he had 3.5 sacks. One got taken away because they had 12 men on the field, but he had a career game and I think it was really a breakout game for him. He has a lot of ability, a lot of nice pass rush moves. He is going to be a good challenge for us. Their front has been good since I have been in the NFL. Obviously, we know (Bengals DT) Geno Atkins and (Bengals DE) Carlos Dunlap, and they have (Bengals DE) Michael Johnson playing a new role inside a little bit more on their sub-pass rusher so that they can get Lawson on the field and let him rush freely over the left tackle."
On if it takes a while to get used to a player when facing him for the first time:
"It does a little bit. There is an element of unknown that you have to kind of prepare for. You watch all the film you can and you try to get ready as much as you can, but for a guy that you have never played against, there is a little bit of an unknown that kind of plays into it so there is some anxiety more than going against a guy like a (Baltimore Ravens OLB Terrell) Suggs or a (Pittsburgh Steelers DE) (James) Harrison that you have played 17, 18 times throughout your career."
On DL Myles Garrett returning to practice today:
"Yeah, it is good to see him out there. I don't know how much he will play this weekend, but I hope he can have some meaningful snaps out there because we know what he can do and the difference he makes for this team when he is out there and is able to rush the passer."
On if Garrett would give the Browns defense a boost even if he is only on the field on third down:
"It would. Really, the role that he is going to have the biggest impact is as a third down pass rusher and as a second-and-long pass rusher. He is great against the run, don't get me wrong, but the impact that a pass rusher can make is huge for a defense. If he can't play on first down or even second down, that is OK with us. We have a lot of guys that can defend against the run. Where he is going to be a difference maker is third down rushing the passer."
On how close the Browns offense is to reaching its potential:
"We are getting closer. I think we still have a ways to go, but that is why we come out here and practice every day. We have made some nice progress. I thought our quarterback had his best game last week, and I hope that he can continue that progress and give us a chance to be the offense that we can be."
OL Kevin Zeitler:
On if the Bengals underrated his presence given their offensive line struggles this season:
"No, I have no hard feelings about that. It is a business. They have a lot of talented players on that team that they need to take care of in the upcoming years. It is what it is. I'm happy to be here and be part of the Browns, and I'm looking forward to Sunday."
On if he expected the Browns run game to be ahead of where it is now:
"We have run into some challenges these first couple of games. We have run into some good defenses with different types of linemen, but I think we are learning, working hard every week and I expect to take it to where we want it to be."
On how much attention he pays to what is happening in Cincinnati:
"I'm just focused right now on just week to week with the opponent. I haven't paid too much attention to that."
On if he talked to any of his former teammates about the offensive coordinator change in Cincinnati:
"No, I really haven't. I'm a little curious. I liked (former Bengals offensive coordinator Ken) Zampese a lot. He was a great guy. I heard about that, and it is definitely something different for how the organization runs, but it is what it is."
On if he thinks this is Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis' last year with the team:
"Marvin was a great coach for me. I really liked him. The way he coached, I thought his coaching style worked really well for the guys out there. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I wish him the best."
On if he was able to give the Browns offensive line any tips on facing the Bengals defensive line:
"As they have played the opponent before, they know what they do. I don't know if there is anything that I could really give them that is different."
On if Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict is the same intense player in practice that he is during games:
"Yeah, Vontaze is always intense. He is a very good player. He is definitely back, and I'm sure it will have a big impact for their defense."