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Press Conference

Browns player press conferences - Bitonio, Garrett, Schobert, Ward

OL Joel Bitonio

On keeping the weekend of the Pro Bowl open:

"Yeah, I'm having a baby pretty soon so I do not really have plans anyway (laughter). We will see how that goes."

On when his baby is due:

"January 10."

On being named a Pro Bowl first alternate:

"It is a cool honor. Obviously, you want to see yourself in the Pro Bowl, but to be recognized by the fans, the players and by coaches – so many people are at least voting for you. I was second last year and I am first this year so I am slowly moving up hopefully (laughter). It is very cool. It was cool to see some of my teammates recognized, as well. (DL) Myles (Garrett) is a hell of a player. We have been saying that for the past two years and to finally get recognized. (DB) Denzel (Ward) kind of came in and took the league by storm so those two guys are very deserving and it is cool to see more recognition. Last year, we only had a couple of alternates. This year, we have two guys going and six alternates, which is an improvement, and I think the more you win, the more you will see with Pro Bowl."

On if this game will be much different than the previous game against the Bengals:

"Yeah, it is a completely new game. We got on them quick last game and they are going to come back with some vengeance. I know that. I know they are ready to play. I would be if I was in their position, too. It is going to be a new battle. It is going to be a new day. They are going to come in and try and do what we did to them. We are bringing our A game. We have to practice well this week. We know they have some players that are ready to go." 

On expected reception at FirstEnergy Stadium for Bengals special assistant to the head coach and former Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson:

"I am sure he will get booed a lot, if that is what you are asking (laughter). The fans will probably give him a hard time. I think he understands that. too. Anytime you leave a team… He got fired so he did not really have a choice to leave, but he is coming back on another team. If it would be next year, he would still get the same reaction. It is probably going to be like that, but for me personally, I have to worry about blocking (Bengals DT) Geno (Atkins) all game so I am not really thinking about that aspect of the game."

On if potential motivation facing Jackson has faded since the first Bengals game:

"I am sure for some guys. For me, like I said, I have other motivations going into the game, and I think it is a little bit different now. I think we have gotten that one out of our way. It was in Cincinnati. Now we have a little win streak here and we are trying to finish the season strong. If that means beat the Bengals then that is part of it, but right now we are really focused on going 1-0 this week and beating the Bengals team."

DL Myles Garrett

On being named to the Pro Bowl:

"It is nice. Step one of many steps to come, and hopefully, many more."

On sharing his Pro Bowl accolade with his teammates:

"Absolutely, it has to do with them and how affective they are. I could not do this without them being productive on offense and defense on the other side. With the back end giving us time and E-Man (DL Emmanuel Ogbah), (LB Genard) Avery, (DL) Larry (Ogunjobi) and all of the guys on the inside and on the other end over here dominating, as well. I just have been fortunate enough to make some of the plays that got me here."

On DB Denzel Ward making the Pro Bowl as a rookie:

"He has been great. He has been tasked to cover some of the best in the league and has done a great job. For the most part, he has been healthy and he has been able to come up and make plays, make big tackles and have them hold the ball so we can get there. It has been great for us."

On the future of the Browns defense with young talent on the team:

"Can only get better. [Ward] will only get better with time. I will only get better with time. E-Man and Larry, the sky is the limit for us on defense. I feel like the more time that we have to grow and mesh together, we will be able to really terrify some quarterbacks."

On what stood out about Ward's play when joining the Browns:

"Watching him play and just watching him move, he is so fluid and so smooth with how he transitions out of his turns. Hearing (Head Coach) Gregg (Williams) get after him, I know that he only gets after the guys who he is really passionate about and he knows can really have a chance of being great. He gets after everybody, but it is different when he really has his eye on you. He has always had his eye on Denzel. He has always wanted the best for him. I kind of see it from his perspective and know that he can be really special."

On if Williams got on him when he was a rookie in the same manner as Williams does to Ward:

"Oh, absolutely. He still gets on me. I still hear it. It doesn't change."

On hopeful future steps for his career, given his comment a Pro Bowl honor is step one:

"Two, All-Pro. Step three, Defensive Player of the Year. Step four, win it all."

LB Joe Schobert

On potential disappointment of not being named to the Pro Bowl:

"Yeah, a little bit, but I knew it was probably a longshot. I was missing about four games worth of snaps. Not too surprised."

On DB Denzel Ward's development and opposing QBs tending to throw away from him more:

"Even earlier in the year, that is when he was getting a lot of his interceptions the first couple of games. When you do not get thrown at as a corner, that is kind of a sign of respect that other teams are not trying to test you and allow you to make plays on the ball. Obviously, as a rookie coming into the NFL, a corner is probably the second hardest position to play besides quarterback because of the change in ball skills and the elite athletes that are at wide receiver on every team. Every team across the NFL has a bunch of elite athletes at wide receiver who have ball skills, which you are not really used to in college. He has done a great job of stepping into that role this year for us."

On DL Myles Garrett making the Pro Bowl:

"I think everybody as soon as Myles got into the league could see that if he was going to stay healthy the whole year, he is a Pro Bowl-caliber player. He has proved us right this year in that respect. Obviously, he has had a great year for us, has gotten a lot of pressure on the quarterback and has gotten a lot of sacks."

On how playing in the Pro Bowl last year benefitted him the most:

"I think it helped mostly as a motivational tool being able to experience that, being able to see all of the guys who you kind of grew up watching and then being able to talk to them as peers and learn what they do in their day to day routine and their week to week routine. The motivation of wanting to get back there and working hard in the offseason was huge. It is a great experience. I think everybody who gets chosen to go to the Pro Bowl – I know a lot of people sit out these days – I think you should go if you have the chance."

On the Browns having an opportunity to finish the season with a winning record after going 1-31 the past two seasons:

"It is exciting. Since I have been here, like you said 1-31 the first two years and now turning it around, we have a chance to go 8-7-1 if we win these last two games. You can definitely feel the emotions and the swagger in the locker room are just totally different than it has been. It is just exciting. It is going to be awesome. I think we are building something really special."

On the value of Ward in the secondary and Garrett in pass rush to the Browns defense:

"Today's NFL is a passing game so to have a bookend defensive end that can get after the quarterback, get a lot of sacks and make hurried throws and to having a corner who can go and make plays on the ball when they are in the air, it works hand in hand. If corners are shutting down the passing and the quarterback is holding onto it longer, you know that Myles is going to get there. If Myles gets pressure on the quarterback, you know that he is going to be making forced, hurried throws and our secondary is going to be able to take advantage of it. I think you have seen that this season."

DB Denzel Ward:

On earning Pro Bowl honors:

"It is exciting. It is definitely a blessing. I appreciate all of the voters and everyone that believed in me. Just glad that I can be a representative here for the Cleveland Browns."

On earning Pro Bowl accolades as a rookie:

"It is a blessing. It just shows all of the hard work that all of us put in. This is not just me. I could not have done it without my teammates. They are really supportive. I appreciate them and the coaches. It is just really exciting."

On joining DL Myles Garrett at the Pro Bowl:

"It is exciting. It is going to be fun. I am looking forward to really just focusing on these two games that we have left this season and the Bengals. That is where my focus is right now."

On if he is disappointed that the Pro Bowl is in Orlando and not Hawaii:

"No, not disappointing (laughter)."

On being in the concussion protocol and now returning to practice:

"Longer than I expected. Just glad to be back. I was out there today. I had fun. Able to be back with the guys, able to run around. Glad I am back."

On if he had ever had a concussion before:

"No, that was my first one."

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