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Browns player press conferences - Bitonio, Garrett, Njoku, Ogunjobi, Tretter

DL Myles Garrett:

On if he is more eager to return for next season, given the team’s finish in 2018:

“I was eager to come back at the beginning of this year. I knew that we had bigger things ahead of us, and I have bigger things ahead of myself. It is the same kind of excitement going into next year knowing that we are both going to raise our games as a team and me as an individual.”

On grading his individual season:

“B-minus.”

On his grade:

“13.5 is alright. I had a couple of TFLs to go along with it. It is a good year. It Was not great. It was not bad. Right there in the middle.”

On the future of the Browns:

“A winning season.”

On when the Browns will record a winning season:

“When? I can’t see the future (laughter). All I see is a winning season somewhere in the near future.”

On if he was disappointed to fall a half-sack short of the Browns franchise record:

“It happens. I know that I will take it out eventually, whether it is next season or years down the line. Preferably next year.”

On if the Browns defense got a better feel for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson as the game progressed:

“Yeah, we kind of knew what he was trying to do and know what they were trying to do as an offense. Tried to limit him out of the explosive plays.”

On if Jackson’s play style can be physically sustainable for an NFL QB:

“Depends on how he takes care of himself. If he is going to try those plays where he is jumping over people, trying to shake people or is he going to go down after he gets the yards he needs, it just depends on how he plays it. He can be sustainable. It just depends upon what he does.”

OL Joel Bitonio:

On being in the vicinity of the final offensive pass attempt:

“I did not know about the routes really. I know that (Ravens ILB C.J.) Mosley showed like he was blitzing so I had to take him. It was an empty protection. We only had five blockers. They brought about six or seven rushers – six, I think. I had my hands on him. He kind of jumped up and tipped it to himself. I was not really sure where the ball deflected. I heard it deflect. He made a great play. I do not know what the routes were doing behind it. They brought a zero blitz on the last three plays and had to get it out of his hands quick. Mosley made a great play.”

On if there was enough time to send a receiver to the end zone in an attempt to score while under pressure of the blitz:

“Not when they bring more than we can block. It is zero blitz. They are hoping that their coverage holds up for two seconds.”

On the Browns OL improving significantly in sacks allowed as the season progressed:

“I think it is a combination of things. I think the O line stepped up and won more of the one on one battles. I think (QB) Baker (Mayfield) improved as the season went on on getting the ball out and on getting us in the right play and throw the ball away when he had to instead of trying to take the chance every time. I think the running backs and tight ends did a better job of chipping. I think (offensive coordinator) Freddie (Kitchens) called better plays. I think it was just a combination of everything. When you give up a bunch of sacks, it is not always the O line’s fault on everything, and when you protect all of the time, the credit does not always go all to the O line. It was a group effort. I think (Head Coach) Gregg (Williams) did a great job coming in there. I think Hub (OL Chris Hubbard) improved as the season went on. I think our continuity as an O line really improved as the weeks went on, as well.”

On if OL Greg Robinson can be the team’s LT moving forward:

“Yeah, I think this eight game sample was pretty impressive for him. I think he improved throughout the time. I think he showed why he was the second overall pick. He is athletic. He is strong. He has more tools than any of the other O linemen that we have on this team – him and Des (OL Desmond Harrison) both, actually. If he can continue to push himself and if he does re-sign here, which I hope they do, and he just still has that mentality of trying to improve himself, I think he will be fine.”

On the future of the Browns:

“I think it looks bright. I think we have to work to it. I think it is not just going to be given now that we have some expectations, but I think we have cornerstone pieces here. I think you see a couple of draft classes where you have the No. 1 overall pick, No. 4 pick, and they are hits so far. You never know what is going to happen, but when you have a quarterback, everything else kind of gets a little bit easier when you have found that. Now, we have to find the right coach. I think it is going to be fun. I think that we have a lot to look forward to. You have a week or two to reflect but then you get back into it and you really try and improve yourself so that you can help the team coming fall of next year.”

On if the Browns retain their current staff:

“I think if (General Manager John) Dorsey makes that decision, I think the guys here will ride with it. We are here to play the game, and whatever coach they are going to put in front of us, we are going to try and fight for them. We fought for Gregg these last eight games, and it is a credit to him. He did a heck of a job coming in. That is a tough spot to be put into. For him to come into that and do the things that he did, it was pretty impressive. We are going to be ready to play for whoever they bring in.”

TE David Njoku:

On the future of the Browns:

“Very excited. I was upset last night with the outcome. I wanted to finish strong, but I am really excited about what is going to happen next year.”

On reasons for excitement next year:

“Just our playmakers on both sides of the ball on offense, defense and special teams. We have a lot of great athletes and players here, and everyone seems focused as you have seen for the past few games so I am really excited.”

On QB Baker Mayfield’s rookie season:

“He had a great rookie season. He broke a few records. He is very, very competitive, and I am excited to see him progress.”

On if he is curious who the Browns offensive coordinator will be in 2019:

“Am I curious? No because it is what it is. Whatever I think is not going to change what happens.”

On his development this season:

“Pretty good from last year. I still have a ways to go, a lot more learning technique and everything. I am happy where I am, but there is a lot of room for improvement.”

On if the third down pass in yesterday’s game arrived sooner than he anticipated:

“I believe it was tipped, but I have to double check. I have to watch it again. I think it was tipped.”

DL Larry Ogunjobi:

On ability to produce while playing through his biceps injury the final few weeks:

“I do not know. I am really blessed. When we have a team and when you have goals like we did, I knew that I was a big part of what we had to do on defense. I felt like if I took myself out, then we would be outing ourselves at a disadvantage. Like how we talk about the Hardland of football, I wanted to help be that staple in a way. Even when you are hurt, there is a difference between being hurt and injured. Certain things you have to play through, especially when your teammates need you. I just felt like they needed me so I played through it.”

On if he will need surgery on his biceps:

“No. No, sir (laughter). I am good on surgery. I have had enough.”

On if he was ever told to wear a brace to support the injury:

“I played with the wrap and had an elbow brace on just in case. Just take it one day at a time.”

On the mindset to be able to play through an injury to help the team:

“At the end of the day, you are out there playing with guys that you have grinded with all the way through you started OTAs with, through training camp and with all of those kind of things. You just build that kind of relationship and you just do not want to let these guys down because really need you are depending on you. Sometimes you have to just tough it out. Football is an amazing game. You start playing it and the adrenaline starts and you do not even feel it. After the game it sucks, but things like that progressively get better once you play through them. Now, you raise your pain tolerance. Now, you are feeling a bit better. Now, you can just build that callous to kind of tolerate those kinds of things.”

On the pain following games:

“It would suck. I could not really like raise my arm up. Once I got to Sunday, it was better again.”

On the rehabilitation process for his injury:

“Rest, recover. I am kind of a guy who over-trains. They told me I have to chill out or a bit and just give myself time to really just rest and recover, which is what I am going to do.”

On forcing Ravens QB Lamar Jackson to fumble on the goal line:

“I knew I knocked it out of his hand because I saw when he tried to go, but he pulled it back. As soon as he pulled it back, I hit it. I already knew, but I did not know if they were going to give it to us or not. When they did, I felt good about it.”

OL JC Tretter:

On being out of his walking boot:

“Out of the boot, at least for now. Got it all checked out. Little R and R and be alright.”

On if his ankle will require surgery:

“No surgery.”

On if the final five plays from yesterday show the team still needs to gain experience:

“I think everybody has been in big games like that. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) has been in big games like that in college. I think eventually just someone needs to make a play, and they made a play before we made a play. It is a tough way to go out. We thought we had them. There was never a doubt in the first half that we still felt like we were in it. We just could not make that last play to put us over the top.”

On if offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens is ready to become a head coach:

“I just play (laughter). I am not qualified to determine who can lead an organization. I think someone who definitely is qualified is (General Manager) John Dorsey, and I think the guys upstairs, there is no reason to not trust whatever decision they make. What they have done in their short time here, there is no reason not to believe in whatever direction they take this team.”

On if he has seen leadership qualities from Kitchens:

“Freddie is a great guy. We did a lot of good things with him, but again I think that is something for John and the guys upstairs to wade through and figure out what the best direction to go for this team is.”

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