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Browns player quotes - 10/1

Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:

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  • TE Gary Barnidge
  • WR Travis Benjamin
  • RB Isaiah Crowell
  • DB Tashaun Gipson
  • OL John Greco
  • WR Brian Hartline
  • WR Andrew Hawkins
  • RB Duke Johnson Jr.
  • RB Robert Turbin
  • DB Donte Whitner

TE Gary Barnidge:

On if he is a blocking or receiving TE:

"When I got drafted, everybody considered me a receiving tight end. After my first year in Carolina, I was considered a blocking tight end. Everywhere I've been, it's gone back and forth. Every year, it seems like I go from receiving to blocking, receiving to blocking. I want to be known as I can do both, not one or the other."

On his performance last game as his role going forward:

"I don't really consider any role as that because everybody gets everybody open. It's a different week. It's different guys. It's not always going to be the same guy every week, and we don't gameplan for one guy to get all these catches or one guy to do all of this stuff. Everybody gameplans together and guys just get other guys open. That's all it is."

On if he looks for more opportunities to catch the football as a TE:

"You do look for things like that, but you also know, them as a defense, they're going to work to fix so it doesn't happen again. You can't count on that to happen every time so you have to game plan as a team and let things fall where they fall.

WR Travis Benjamin:

On if he is frustrated with his punt return performance last week:

"Not at all. I'm still confident. I'm still going to be out there and be the punt return guy and go out there and play full speed every snap. Just going out there knowing I just can't make that mistake again."

On not connecting with QB Josh McCown for many deep balls:

"Just caching the ball. It's just catch and pass. Even though it was a deep ball and I didn't catch it or he so called didn't put the ball on the spot, it's all about just catching the ball from a receiver standpoint. You want those balls deep to give your receiver a try. Nobody to blame it on. We hit a couple deep balls in practice this week. Hopefully, we go into Sunday and knock them down."

On if he prefers to play with QB Johnny Manziel:

"Not at all. Not at all. It doesn't matter if it's Johnny, Josh or even if they bring (QB Austin) Davis in. it doesn't matter. Whoever throws the ball, we have to get out there and catch the ball. That's it."

RB Isaiah Crowell:

On his play against Oakland:

"I feel like I played okay. As a team, we just have to step it up and be more sound. Myself, I have to do better. That is what it is."

On if the Browns didn't run the ball much against the Raiders because they were trailing:

"Yes, anytime you get behind, you have to try to do things to play catch up. I feel like that really did take a big part in the ball game."

On if the Browns are running the wide-zone running scheme as much as last year:

"The season just started so I really can't say what we are doing more of or what we are not doing because there is a lot of season to go. I don't know right now."

On missing the hole on  the goal-line run:

"Yeah, I should have hit it a gap outside of what I did. I have to do a better job of seeing the holes and picking and choosing. That was on me."

On how good of a RB he can be:

"I feel like I can be a big-time running back. I feel like I have all the tools and what it takes. I am just waiting. It is the coach's decision on what they would like to do. I am just waiting and playing my role."

DB Tashaun Gipson:

On how he feels physically:

"I feel good. Just bumps and bruises. That's part of being in this league. It's 100-percent injury ridden league. I had a minor groin issue, but come game time, I'm more than confident I'll be out there with my guys."

On the defensive issues:

"It's a lot of different things. It's more than just. I don't think that it's fair to pinpoint and say, 'Hey, it's one thing that we can't stop the run.' I don't think it's fair to say that that's the problem. When quarterbacks are throwing the ball, they're completing passes so we can't put it all on the front seven. It's a cumulative effort. The defensive front seven and the back four, we all have to play as one unit together, and I don't think we've been doing a good job so far. When you look at it, we have all the guys we need on paper. We just haven't been able to show up. Like I said last time I talked to you guys, we're not in panic mode. Last year , if you remember the first couple of games, we started off similar to this – gave up a couple 300-yard passing games and we claimed to be one of the best secondarys in the league last year. I don't think there's room for panic in nobody's room, whether that be the defensive line or linebacker corps or the DB room. I think we're all definitely excited for another challenge this Sunday."

On DB Donte Whitner and comments that he's 'aged quickly':

"If it's one guy, I wouldn't rather play with another safety in this league, and that's truly from the heart. I have nothing but respect for him and the way he approaches the game. Him as a player, like I said, he's not going to make every play. I don't think it's nothing to attribute to his age. It's just that sometimes guys are going to make a play. They're high paid athletes just like we are. Donte for sure is feeling some type of way. I'm pretty sure you guys already know that, and I sit right next to him so I know he is. He's going to come out with a chip on his shoulder. I don't think he's been under this type of pressure in his career thus far. He's definitely going to rebound and be the Donte Whitner, the Pro Bowl player that he was last year. I think he actually got a little more pep in his step this year than last year. I give him a hard time about it. 'Man, you look faster to me this year.' I think that he'll be fine. I'm not worried about Whitner. I know that sometimes we can get caught up with what we read on Twitter. That's why I typically don't read my twitter, especially after loses. You just have to learn how to roll with it and just go from there. That's the price you pay being a professional athlete."  

OL John Greco:

On if the departure of former offensive line coach Andy Moeller has had an impact:

"Anytime that happens, especially when it is someone like you said, when two guys are sharing duties and one is gone and everything is on the remaining guy, it is going to be a tough adjustment. I give all the credit in the world to (assistant offensive line coach) George (DeLeone). Even he was just doing the pass, the guy was here all day, every day. First one here, last one out of the building, putting that whole other side on him. I think he has done a hell of a job."

On what he sees in the running game:

"It is easy for me to sit here and say we are not hitting the panic button because we only had 14 run attempts. In our minds, a positive run attempt, a successful run attempt, we said we had five of 14 (against Oakland). If you look at those two goal line runs, one or two things here and there then we are seven out of 14. That is 50 percent. If you are at 50 percent or above success rate in your run game, you should be a pretty good team. We are one or two things short here and there. That is the most frustrating (part) about it. I don't know think it is this big cataclysmic thing that we are having a problem with. It is just one guy here and there. It is all of us. We're trying to get that cleaned up. If we do we know we have something special."

On what was it like to lose a coach in season:

"It is different. It is tough, but it is like a player getting traded or released or losing a guy to injury. You just have to move on. Just because it was the situation that it was, we have to move – I hate to say it – but like it never happened. That is just the nature of the business. There is no time to sit back and say, 'What just happened?' We had a game that week. We have a game in a couple days. We have to prepare each week and get ready each week. If something happens, if a curve ball is throw at you – like you said adversity – we have to fight through it."

WR Brian Hartline:

On if he has ever previously had a season where he makes two circus catches:

"I just try to make a play when a play is presented. Not the first time, hopefully not the last time."

On if it affects his preparation when San Diego's secondary is reportedly banged up:

"No, I do a little bit of personnel study, which is always good. I look at the scheme probably more and what they try to do defensively as a whole. There is definitely parts for scheming for individuals and knowing how they like to play, but I think a lot of the guys will be coming back. I don't think they are as banged up as perceived."

On saying the Browns needed to be more aggressive:

"It took us too long to get started, and we needed to be more aggressive out of the gate."

On if he means from an energy standpoint:

"Nope, I don't think energy was a problem. I think we were flat in the essence of not executing. The perception can be that they weren't pumped up to play, but anytime you can't stay on the field, it is pretty hard to be successful. We weren't doing a good job staying on the field."

On if he meant it more from a player's perspective:

"We just need to execute better. We need to stay on the field. We need to get more plays ran in the first half."

On if that was a point of emphasis this week:

"It is always a point of emphasis. It always is."

WR Andrew Hawkins:

On if it was important to clear the air after the TMZ article:

"Honestly, it wasn't even so much about (that). For me, it wasn't about the context of the article as much as it was just the fact that people were taking it and running with it. The things that were in the article, it wasn't even about that. It was the fact that nobody wants a representation of what I am not be true. By saying that and saying it's anonymous, it could be any one of us. I think it's important for most guys to know, no, that's not how we operate here. That's why I love the guys on this offense and on this team, period, because they're stand-up guys and that's what they believe."

On if he felt the need to reiterate his support of QB Josh McCown in person:

"No, I don't. Like I said, I speak highly of Josh and I mean it. I speak highly of (QB) Johnny (Manziel) and I mean it. They're two great quarterbacks. We have the luxury of having two great quarterbacks in the room. When you have two good quarterbacks, from the media standpoint and a fan standpoint, there's going to be sides of the fence, but the guys in here know that we're a family, we're tightknit. Johnny's development, Josh is catering to that. If Josh is out there, Johnny's coming to the sideline and telling Josh what he's seeing and helping Josh. There's no need for me to have to go to either one of them because they both know where I stand because we all stand in the same place with each other. This is a team and this is a close-knit offense and that's what I appreciate about it. "

On if there are still things the offense needs to do to move to ball:

"Yeah, there's a lot of things we need to do on offense and I'd be saying the same thing if we were sitting here at 3-0. It's about continuing to get better. Anytime you have drives that don't end in touchdowns you can do better. Obviously we're not that close to being that but I say that to say we always have to improve. There's always thing we need to do better and like I said, hopefully we can work to do enough to end up on the winning side of the football game."

RB Duke Johnson Jr.:

On how good his 18-yard reception felt against Oakland:

"It felt good just to get out there and get in a live situation, not practice. Catch it, make a move, get up field and get out of bounds in the two-minute situation."

On if that is the best he has felt playing this season:

"As of now, yeah. I haven't had many opportunities yet to catch a pass out of the backfield, but we are working on getting towards it."

On if he is getting better every week:

"That is the plan."

On if he is up to speed after missing some time in the preseason:

"I think I am fine. Still out here playing and try to make a difference."

On if the change of speed from college to the NFL is faster than he expected:

"No, it is just about around the speed I expected. Not too fast, not too slow; it is right there."

RB Robert Turbin:

On if he is anxious to contribute right away:

"I'm definitely anxious to play football. The only thing I want to do is do the best I can for these guys, for the team. Perform at the very highest level that I can perform to help us win football games."

On his ankle:

"It's getting there. It's getting real close. Starting to run, starting to run full speed. Like I said, we want to put some extra weight on the ankle with the helmet and shoulder pads and change direction that way, catch a couple footballs and accelerate down the field and see how it felt, and then just shut it down and continue to progress from there."

On the Browns bringing him to the team, despite being injured:

"It's incredibly humbling to get a team that knows I'm going to be out and teammates that are happy that I'm here, although I'm not playing yet. To have those guys around is definitely encouraging it's motivating its inspiring. That's why I want to get back on the field and be there for those guys and contribute to the team."

DB Donte Whitner:

On his performance:

"Me, personally? Up and down. Missed a few tackles. I see a lot of people writing me off as being old and this and that and wanting me replaced and all these things, but I can accept the criticism, being a leader of this defense. It's OK. We're going to fix it. A lot of things are easily correctable."

On how the Browns work on tackling:

"We tackled a lot today in individual. You have to go – I guess the DB's but more so when you're in practice – you have to make sure you really concentrate on breaking down, not breaking down too early and making sure that you wrap those tackles. That's something that I got away from and that's something we got away from as a defense, and we've been working on it."

On the notion that the run defense has gotten worse:

"I wouldn't say it has gotten worse. I would say there's two or three plays per game that we let out that we really shouldn't have. That goes for all of us from the defensive line to linebackers to safeties and keeping it in between us and getting the guy on the ground. We can't give up big plays. When you give up big plays, that's what happens, especially in the run game. If you watch the film, you'll see 10, 12 plays where they try to run the football and barely get anything. Then, you'll see that one break out for 40, 50 or 60. Just being consistent and not allowing that one to get out and us getting them on the ground."

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