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Browns player quotes - 11/16

WR Travis Benjamin:

On dropping a potential TD pass against the Steelers:

"At the end, I just lost focus of it – one of those balls I knew I should have put my hands on instead of just catching with my body because I was so open. Just one of those plays I wish I could get back."

On QB Johnny Manziel's growth since his first start:

"When Manziel gets the right focus in practice and is prepared fully for a full week to go out there and play, he's a baller. Knowing the type of throws he threw yesterday, he sat in the pocket and just launched it, especially the couple to Hart (WR Brian Hartline) and on the scramble drill to me, he put it in the pocket for only me to catch it and turn up and made a big play with it."

On his 61-yard reception:

"I had come back on the high side, and once I came back out of my route and I saw him rolling my way and I saw everybody's coverage was kind of late coming my way, I turned around, scrambled. He beelined it to me, and I caught it and turned up the field."

On the number of WR injuries this season:

"That's very tough knowing that the wear and tear and amount of plays you want to be out there as a group. We know that we can rotate and get certain guys on plays, but with those guys going down, it just puts more toughness on us, but we as a receiver group, we're willing to go in there and compete still without those guys."

On if he has talked to WR Andrew Hawkins since his concussion in yesterday's game:

"I talked to him this morning. He came in and he said he's feeling better so that's a good thing."

On if it's significant it is Hawkins' second concussion in two months:

"Oh, it's a big deal. Those concussions are something you don't play around with. I just continue to tell him to get healthy, and by the time he comes back by the grace of God, he'll be fully healthy."

On if he watched film of the hit that caused Hawkins' concussion:

"Yeah, [the Steelers player] left his feet, which is unacceptable, when he left his feet and launched into Hawk. He could have easily just passed by because he was already off balance, but it's the game of football. Those guys are looking to take our head off and the same thing towards us."

On comparing Manziel in his third start to ones earlier in his career:

"It's night and day. He's going in, pronouncing all the words and strong arm with the plays. We just feel comfortable with Johnny in at quarterback. He's coming in there competing, and we're competing with him."

On if Manziel's approach is different this year with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo:

"It's just all about him being prepared. He's well comfortable and well prepared this year, that's all."

On dealing with a 2-8 record:

"It's hard knowing that. We don't want to tank the season because there are still games out there to be played. We're just coming into that for the next Monday night game versus the Ravens and hopefully just get a win. We get a win, knowing that wins are always good – it's not a matter what 2-8 – we're just looking forward to being 3-8 next time we're on the field."

OL Joe Thomas:

On where he hopes the season goes moving forward:

"We have six games to go, and we are going to treat it like six one-game seasons. Each one of those games, we are going to prepare to win in the best manner possible and try to make the best of it."

On if he is surprised where the Browns are after beating the Steelers by 20 points at home last year:

"I guess I haven't had time to reflect on all of that. Obviously, I expected us to be in a much closer game on Sunday. I didn't expect it to be such a blowout. I felt really good going into the game that we would have a really good opportunity to beat them. We didn't play well enough."

On QB play this year, given many analysts expected it to be a position of weakness:

"We are throwing the ball a lot. We are behind a lot so I guess that is not a big surprise. I would say the work that (QB) Johnny (Manziel) and (QB) Josh (McCown) have done has been really good. By all accounts, I think Johnny probably played his best game this weekend. That is not me saying it because I know anything about the quarterback position, but that is what the coaches have said. Obviously, we are seeing a lot of improvement from Johnny. He is playing really well and giving us a chance to win. That is all you can ask of the quarterback position."

On if it passes muster in the locker room if Manziel is named the starter:

"It passes the muster, no doubt. I think that he has done enough that he has proven that he can be a winning quarterback in the NFL based on the performance he has had the last couple weeks. Josh has done the same amount so I think whatever decision (Head) Coach (Mike) Pettine makes, he is not going to make a bad decision. That is a good position for him to be in. I think everyone is comfortable with both guys being able to go out and execute and give us an opportunity to win."

On Manziel's maturity improving in the huddle:

"He is doing a good job. All I can say is that when you are a lineman, you notice glaring mistakes and formations, play calls, snap counts, exchanges, interceptions and things like that. Obviously, he has minimized those. Hardly see any of it, notwithstanding the first play – that can happen to anybody. The sharpness and the command of the offense and huddle is really impressive, especially considering where he was a year ago."

On attribution for negative running plays:

"I can't attribute to any one thing. It is like a sack or an interception – it is always different. That is always the problem. It is never one thing. You can't say, 'If we clean this up, we will have it solved.' I give credit to what Pittsburgh did this past weekend having some really excellent blitzes and looks dialed up to some of our runs that we did get called. We hit them on a couple, and they obviously had some good things lined up for what we were going to do. They hit us on a couple, and then because of the circumstances, we weren't really able to do much else the rest of the game running the ball."

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