Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- TE Gary Barnidge
- LB Christian Kirksey
- QB Josh McCown (full transcript)
- DB Tramon Williams
TE Gary Barnidge:
On if the Browns are close to where they want to be:
"I think it definitely is. I think it's showing on the field. This game, we played great on offense and we're going to keep going, just keep doing it."
On his chemistry with QB Josh McCown:
"I'm fortunate that I got to play with Josh back in Carolina when I was there, but it's also the whole team because I think everybody has good chemistry with Josh and we're doing a good job. Everybody's getting everybody open."
On the Browns' red zone offense:
"The main thing is just you have to score. When you have those opportunities, if you settle for three, it's tough. It's tough to win games when you're only settling for three when you can get those seven."
On taking advantage of his personal opportunity to show his skillset:
"I'm not really worried about that. All I'm really worried about is the wins, honestly, because I think every position, we have great guys and we're just working to get each other open."
On if there is a philosophy shift to pass more:
"I think we're trying to be balanced. We're trying to do both. It just happened to be we threw more that time, which is fine. We had a good running game, as well, as we showed this week and just have to keep going."
On how often he's practiced a difficult catch like the one from Sunday that set up the TD:
"Never (laughter). It's just concentration, just trying to watch the ball wherever it goes."
On offensive coordinator John DeFilippo's play calling:
"I think he's doing a good job. The whole offense, we're buying into everything so it's good."
LB Christian Kirksey:
On how the defense can improve on surrendering big plays:
"We have to limit the mistakes. Guys have to be in the right place at the right time and everyone has to do their job. That is the best way to eliminate big plays. Don't worry about doing someone else's job or don't get out of your character. That is the best way to stop."
On if players are trying to do too much in those situations at times:
"Everyone wants to make a play, especially in the heat of the moment. You want to try to help out the defense as much as possible, but you still have to be sound with your job and make sure you do what you are supposed to do first, and then everything will fall into play."
On how frustrating it is to surrender big plays:
"Of course, it gets frustrating when you are doing so well and then you have a good play, good play, good play and then a big, explosive play. One, that makes you stay on the field longer to stop them from scoring. Two, you just don't want to give up that many yards like that. It is definitely frustrating, but during the game, you can't really think too much about it. You have to move on to the next play and try to stop them."
On if the Browns defense has been able to identify the cause of big plays:
"Like last week, we knew that we had to eliminate some of the missed tackles. I think we did a pretty good job going about that this week. We just have to make sure we play sound all three downs and make sure we eliminate the big plays. It is not rocket science. It is not something that we have to search to find. We have it. We just have to make sure we execute it on Sunday."
On if the Browns defense is close to eliminating big plays:
"For sure. We are close. If you watch film – I know a lot of people outside, they are not watching the film; they are just watching the game on Sunday and they see the stats and they think, 'The Browns are doing this bad and doing that bad.' There are a lot of good things on film that we can learn from and build off of. I think we are right where we want to be. We just have to keep moving forward."
On if the defense is predictable:
"(Chargers QB) Philip Rivers has been in the league a long time. I am pretty sure he has seen a lot of things and schemes with defenses. When you have a guy at that caliber and a guy that has been playing for a while – he gets paid for what he does – he is an elite quarterback. He is going to see things that we are doing. I don't think that we are easy to read like that. We just have to execute our plays."
On the Browns defense's mood today:
"You have to have the same energy every time, whether you win or lose. You don't want to be moping around because that can carry into a loss for the next week. It is the same energy. This is the National Football League. It is hard to win in the league. You can't just beat yourself up for having a loss. You have to keep a positive mindset and a positive attitude. You definitely want to encourage other guys. The defensive meetings went well. There were a lot of encouraging things on the film that we can build on. We have to take those and take what we are good at and take it and run with it."
QB Josh McCown:
On if he feels differently one day after the loss:
"No, still disappointed. Tough one, tough one again. We looked at the tape, made the corrections and move forward, but yeah, just disappointed."
On how to build on RBs performing well in the passing game:
"You just get the ball in their hands more. Every game is different and things play out differently, but I do feel like it gives us confidence that when we call plays to know that sometimes it might not be the best; you might not hit it on the head with the coverage matching the route that you have going on, but you know what? You chuck it down underneath and those guys can make plays. To see those guys emerge in that area just helps round out our passing game even more, and that's a good thing."
On if incorporating the RBs more is part of the Browns gameplan:
"It's just part of what happens. I think it's a reflection of coaching that we're prepared for that, even though it's not necessarily something you go in and talk about – 'Hey, we're going to get the ball to the back,' but it's something that just comes through as the ebbs and flows of the game happen. You have routes and concepts that are called, your progressions, and like I said, the coaching and things of that nature take you there. We were able to exploit some of the matchups that we had and we liked, especially with (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.). Again, every week, we talk about coming into games feeling prepared and being ready to go. I felt like those things, those parts of the game that came up were a reflection of our preparation."
On if it is tough when one phase of the team struggles:
"No, you said it – it's a team game. All we do on either side is everybody looks at what they could have done to help us be better and play better and make those corrections and move forward. I don't think anybody on either side of the ball and special teams, I don't know if anybody played perfect. Every guy takes the approach of 'OK, these plays, whether it's two or five or 10, whatever the number of plays is that I didn't go out and do my job – I didn't go out and execute at the level I'm supposed to execute – I have to get those fixed.' If everybody takes that approach, then I think we start gaining ground. That's certainly our focus offensively is what can we do to finish. There are positives that you can take away from that game yesterday for us offensively, but there are trips to the red zone that we didn't get seven when we should have, and it might have made a difference in the game. We look at those plays very critically and go 'What could we have done different and how could we have done better?' I think that in itself keeps us together as a team because you're focused on what you can do to help us and not necessarily 'Well, if they would have done this then…' You can't do that because each week it's different, and if you're a well-rounded team, you can pick each other up from week to week and that'll be what makes the difference and win a lot of game. Hopefully, we'll continue to grow together and do that."
On Head Coach Mike Pettine's comments that McCown may have been too aggressive at times:
"Yeah, I think I understand his assessment. I think there are times when we have matchups and it's my discretion of 'Hey, where do we want to go with the ball?' I have a lot of faith in (WR) Travis (Benjamin) and really every guy. I look at that and there's things as you move forward, and go 'Hey, maybe next time maybe not so aggressive,' but some of those I'll step back and even in the moment go 'I went there for a reason. I had a plan for why I was doing it.' That's the main thing. It's just not throwing caution to the wind, but there's a reason why you take those matchups and take those opportunities. I had a plan for it, but we talked about it and where we were at in the game and maybe situations sometimes might not be the best thing, but as far as matchup wise, I liked the matchups that's we had."
On throwing the ball more against San Diego compared to other games:
"It's probably a little bit of everything. You get into these games, especially you play against an offense and a quarterback like Philip Rivers. I said it last week, points are at a premium. You have to score some points and be able to move the football. We feel good. We've said this all along, we feel good about where our passing game is. Felt like our run game started to emerge a little more. We have to continue to cultivate that. As far as the direction, the game goes and the play calling, it's just Flip's (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) feel and how he feels we can best move the football. Everybody in the huddle with me, we're reacting to the plays that come in and execute them accordingly. We've said it from Day 1, we want to be balanced and we want to be able to lean on the run when we have to if the games dictates and lean on the pass. We're getting closer to that. It was a good week for us this week to capture that."
On QB Austin Davis interacting with him on the bench:
"Austin, that is him. He loves the game and he is studying the pictures all the time and trying to give me as much feedback as he can. That is part of what we do. We get over there on the sideline and talk through it as quarterbacks so everyone is on the same page with what is going on. I think it is more a reflection of that is how he is wired. He loves to study those pictures and see what is happening so he can not only help himself get prepared but also be able to give whether it is me or Flip any little tidbits of feedback that you can get. We talk about it all the time. It is all hands on deck. There are no secrets on the sideline. If there is information that you see or feel that can help us, pass that along. I think that is what Austin is trying to do."
On the Browns' issues in the red zone:
"I don't know if they were necessarily issues. We didn't execute as well as we needed to on some of those. We got stopped on the one after Crow's (RB Isaiah Crowell) long gain, and we were one block away on a screen play from that cracking open. The other one, we were at the two-minute (warning). We got down there. I don't know percentage wise, you look at that and it doesn't count as a score in the red zone because we got down there, but we got down there to kick the field goal. I felt like we were pretty good. Sometimes, it just doesn't go your way. The fact that we are getting down there and getting points, that is a good thing. Certainly want to punch some of those in, for sure."
On TE Gary Barnidge's performance the past few weeks:
"It is fun. I joke with you guys, Gary and I, we had him as a rookie [in Carolina], and we didn't get a lot of reps, but when we were there with (former Panthers and Bears Head Coach) John Fox, we would, in our practice, we would compete against each other for a few snaps. The ones would go against the ones and the twos on twos. Gary was a rookie and a backup, and I was the backup quarterback so Gary and I got to throw together then. I always have been a fan of his and just his work ethic, the way he approaches the game and his abilities. You get it in his cylinder, and Gary is going to catch the ball. He proved that the other day. That was a huge catch for us in the game. The more we are putting the ball his way, the more plays he is making. That is a huge asset for any offense. You look at the production of offenses in the league right now and there is a guy in the middle making plays for that team, whoever it is. Gary is emerging for us and helping us to do that and that is going to be big for us."
On if there is any fulfillment after coming back and taking an opponent down to the very end of the game:
"Yeah, bottom line is that we didn't win so it is hard to say if there is any fulfillment in it. Like I have said, as a group offensively, there is a feeling of growth and that is the thing. You just have to keep making strides. Week to week, you want to look at that tape and go, 'We are better this week than we were last week.' I think we are seeing that. If you can do that and be consistent in doing that, I think the wins start happening. You start to get hot and play at that level for a while, and some of these games start going your way. I think more than anything, it is momentum for our offense to build off of."
On evaluating his performance after playing in two full games:
"There have obviously been some ups and downs. I felt better about this week than I did last week. I'm pleased with it but not satisfied because we have to get the wins. We have to go look at this thing and every guy, that is just my approach: 'What could I have done to help us win the football game?' That is how I will go about it. Continue to grow and learn in this offense and as we grow into what kind of offense we are going to be and how best I can help us, whether it is getting in and out of the right plays and the checks and stuff like that or by how we play in general by seeing the backs emerge, checking the ball down. It is going to be a continued growth process. I feel like, as a quarterback, you are going as the offense goes. I feel like I am growing with the offense. We have done some good things here the last few weeks, and we have to keep building it."
DB Tramon Williams:
On if the Browns defense is close to where they want to be:
"From what we just watched, we watched some pretty good stuff out there. Obviously, in this league, you can play 60 good plays and three bad ones, and it can affect the game. We have to get some things cleaned up, but we saw some good things on film."
On why the results aren't matching what's on film:
"I'm not sure, man. Sometimes, you just can't see it from afar, but we feel that we are close. At the end of the day, that's all that matters. Hopefully, we can obviously get some wins."
On if the Browns defensive room is angry:
"I'm not going to just say anger. You have to be more composed than anything to get things fixed. There's always a process. Guys have the right attitude. Guys come into work to be better and hopefully we'll be better."
On if players' voices will be heard in terms of diversity in play calling:
"I think everyone is open. Coaches, players it's no egos so we're able to go to coaches and give them input. Obviously, they're able to come to us and give us input on things they see. We're definitely going to be communicating a little bit more, just to make some minor adjustments, and like I said, hopefully, it gets us to where we want to go."
On if Chargers QB Philip Rivers knew blitzes were coming:
"He's a pretty smart guy. It was a lot of times that he knew what we were doing out there. It was a couple times he told us what we were doing. He's a real smart quarterback, but there's only a few of those guys in the league like that. That's the type of guys you're going to play if you're in the playoffs or anything like that so we definitely have to be better."
On if it is an adjustment coming from a team that won more often:
"Whether we won or we lost, we expected to win. That was the difference. We expected to win and the vibe that I got from the sideline, we expected to win that game. Week 1, I didn't think we felt that way. We're making progress, like I said. It's taking a little more time than people want to see, but I think we're making progress."
On eliminating opponents big plays:
"Communication. It's going to be different things. You may have communication errors. You just may have a buzz. You have to get those things cleaned up. It's a lot of different things that play parts in the big plays. At the time, it seems simple, but at the point and time, you just never know how the game is going. Obviously, San Diego came out and they wants to quick tempo us so they kept going, kept going and teams not used to that and they kept doing it. It wasn't like it was one series. Then they're back to their regular offense. They kept doing it pretty much half of the game, and we didn't expect that but I thought we adjusted well to it."