TE Gary Barnidge
On the difference in the Browns offense during the first half and the second half:
"I think it was just execution. We didn't execute the plays that were called. We didn't do a good job with that. I think that is a huge aspect. You can't win games and close out games if you don't have execution."
On the Browns' mindset with a short week following a tough loss:
"We are looking forward to it. We are excited about it. We are getting ready for them. We are looking forward to it. It is a good opportunity for us, and our mindset is great."
On what QB Josh McCown showed by staying in the game while being in obvious discomfort and if it affected McCown performance at all:
"I don't think it affected him at all. He showed us he is a true leader. I think everybody fed off it, knowing that he is going to keep playing no matter what. I don't think it affected him one bit."
On if he surprised that opponents try to cover him with only one player in the red zone:
"It is alright. Teams, you have to prepare for everybody. You can't just prepare for one person. If they do that, it is going to leave other people open. If they want to cover more than one person, than somebody else is going to get open and that is fine with us."
On how much he enjoys Cleveland:
"I enjoy it a lot. I love my time here. I have enjoyed it. The fans are great. The team is great. I am really rooted in the community with all the stuff I have tried to give back to. I enjoy it here."
On if he would like to stay in Cleveland, if offered the opportunity in free agency:
"I really don't worry about all that kind of stuff because right now I am only focused on the season. All that stuff will take care of itself when the time comes. I am not even thinking about any of that stuff right now because I am just trying to help the team get wins."
On Head Coach Mike Pettine's message today and if he has noticed a change in Pettine or the coaching staff:
"No change at all. They're just going to keep going with us. We have total confidence in them. There is no negativity towards anybody. I think everybody is just fired up getting ready to go for this week."
On how the Browns can have a good mindset after losing three consecutive games and injuries heading into Thursday's game:
"You can't worry about it. The season is one game at a time. You can't worry about the previous game. You have to get past it as soon as it is over and move on to the next one. You can't let one loss turn into another loss turn into another loss. You have to turn it around and fix it the next week."
On if McCown should have been taken out yesterday's game, given the hits he took:
"That is the coaches' call, but I don't think it affected him one bit. I think Josh was still doing everything he can do to win. He was playing well. Nothing was affecting him throwing the ball or anything like that. I don't think there were any issues with that at all."
On if there were any distractions before the game due to trade rumors that surfaced before the game:
"No, I don't think so. We don't really worry about that kind of stuff. That stuff is going to happen one way or another anyways. You really can't focus on that. You can't let it affect your play or anything with the team because it is all about the team. We are not worried about any of the outside stuff."
On if the Browns players were aware of the trade rumors in the locker room pregame:
"I think some people might have known. I had no idea until afterwards, but again, you can't worry about that kind of stuff because a lot of it is just rumors. It doesn't mean there is any truth behind it or anything. Nobody knows, really."
On why the Browns have been unable to run the ball consistently:
"I think it is just execution. We haven't been able to execute the way we wanted to and the little details. I think that is all it really is."
DB Tashaun Gipson
On how tough it is to regroup and prepare for a Thursday game after a few tough losses:
"I would definitely say it's a little tough. It's a little different. You would ideally like to be coming off of a victory going into a short week, but that's what we get paid for: to be professionals. You just have to put each game behind you win, lose or draw. Each opponent is different and each outcome could potentially be different. We have to put everything behind us and go back to the drawing board, short week coming against a good opponent in the Cincinnati Bengals. We just have to be ready to go out there and play a good game, one of our best games of the year."
On if there is a need to fight perceptions that the season is lost, given the Browns' 2-6 record midway through the season:
"Absolutely, I feel like when you look at the one important thing that you're coached upon is that division games count as two. As it stands right now, we sit 1-0 in the division. It might seem farfetched to a lot of people, but I think that the guys in the locker room understand how important these division games are and what they mean for us in the season. 2-6 doesn't mean the end of the world for us. It's not where we want to be, but at the end of the day, we still can control what we can control at this point. 2-6 doesn't necessarily mean you're out of the playoffs, contrary to what any statistics may say. 2-6, you still have a fighting chance, and if there's any fight, there's hope. We're going to take that and we're going to run."
On when players must start holding themselves accountable for the 2-6 record:
"I think that was something that everybody began to hold themselves accountable – it's not something you have to wait until we're 2-6 to say. I think that once we felt the ship was wrong, I feel like everybody began to hold themselves accountable. We've had a couple players in the defensive-only meetings and at some point, I think that everybody needs to be held accountable. I don't think that it's just on the record to say it's time for somebody to say, 'Hey, we need to be held accountable.' Those things have been in the works. Unfortunately, the games' outcomes haven't been what we wanted to be. I think everybody knows that that accountability – which is something that Coach Pett (Head Coach Mike Pettine) preaches on – everybody has to be accountable for their actions. Myself and all the other guys in the defensive locker room and on this team, specifically, understand what role they played in the losses that we had this year."
On how frustrating injuries in the Browns secondary have been:
"I would say it's definitely tough when our secondary can't get that gel, that continuity that we had last year. I'm not comparing last year to this year by no means, but last year, for the greater part of the season up until my injury and (DB) Joe (Haden) missed some games on the back end last year, we played together 11 straight games. This year, I can't think of many games that – I had my stretch where I missed my three games, Joe missed three games throughout the season and now (DB Donte) Whitner is down and Joe is down again. Just revolving door injuries that just keep hitting the secondary, which was supposed to be the strength of the team, as well as the defense. We've been hit with this injury bug and it's unfortunate because like I said, we have great player back there. I'm just praying for a speedy recovery for Joe and Donte. The next man has to step up, and unfortunately, we have a short week to prepare the next guy to step up and fill those guys' shoes. It's unfortunate, but we can't hang out hats and say, 'Two of our better guys on defense are down.' Is the game over? No, I don't think that matters because that's not going to stop (Bengals QB) Andy Dalton from throwing for 350 (yards) if we allow him so we just have to go out there and let us play football."
On trade rumors about Browns personnel:
"You would like to keep the guys in this locker room who bled, who sweat, came through training camp and went through the rhythm. You would like to keep this locker room the same. In this business, you guys know just like I know every locker room is completely different than the year before. It's almost unheard of for the locker room to be identical as the year before. I wouldn't say it's unsettling to me, personally. I couldn't tell you the thought of other players, specifically the guys whose names have been whirl-winded and swirled within the trade rumors. How it's affecting those guys? I'm not quite sure, but I know that as professionals, we have to understand that whether trades are made, whether it's affecting the offense or the defense, that we have still have a job to do. It's unfortunate. That's part of the business. The business is that's the one thing that's for certain – that you know change is going to be necessary and happen in every locker room. Unfortunately, we can't control it. We can't control who it is. We're going to just go with the moves and try to make good with whatever the decision that the front office makes. Hopefully, it's the best one for the organization. I would hope that most of the guys are focused on football right now, but I can understand that it could be a distraction."
On if he has spoken to Haden or Whitner since leaving yesterday's game:
"(Haden) is the same, upbeat personality. I talked to him for about five minutes, wished him a speedy recovery. I haven't seen Donte. I talked to Donte last night, though. We just chatted it up a little bit. Those guys both seem in good spirits, None of them seemed down. It's the NFL protocol. We're going to lose those guys certainly for this week, but those guys seem in good spirits, which is always a plus and a blessing."
On DB Ibraheim Campbell stepping into a larger role on defense:
"I think that Campbell has come along, and he came late in the game and he made some big plays. They were up a little bit so the game was kind of tailored. They were more of a run [offense]. I thought that he came in and did some great things – something to build on, something to let you know that this guy can play football. I never doubted him playing football. He fits that mold, that downhill going-to-run-through-you player attitude. I think that he made some good physical tackles, something we can build on coming into this week. Cincinnati has a good run game, and they're going to want to run the ball. They're going to want to test us early and often so you think that he's going to be definitely ready for the challenge."
On DB Johnson Bademosi stepping in for Haden at CB:
"I think Johnson is one of those guys that you know what you're going to get out of him. You know he's going to compete. In this business, being a competitor that takes you a long way because he's a big guy, he's physical and he's fast. Those three things can truly take you a long way in this business. You add a competitor in. I think that he's truly a guy who he's going to compete, and when a play is able to be made, he's able to make plays. You have to respect a guy like Johnson. I respect his game. I respect his approach to the game. Would you like to have Joe Haden out there? Absolutely, but Johnson Bademosi, I've seen enough of him over the past couple of games that he had to step up he had to play and he's someone I respect. He's someone I'm confident being back there. If I'm a safety back there, I have total confidence that he's able to go out there and get his job done. It wasn't a head scratcher to me when they put him in over (DB) Pierre (Desir) – nothing against Pierre. I just know that the coaching staff sees what I see. He's a competitor. If you throw him in there, he's going to fight until the end."
On the momentum shift toward the Cardinals in the second half:
"I think it was one of those things where they came out and it wasn't – we played the same calls, we played the same defense, the exact same things we did in the first half and had success with the second half. I guess the outcome flipped. It wasn't the play calling. It wasn't anything that they did because they came out with the same game plan. It's just that they came out and they executed. The first half, we were really executing the game plan, causing turnovers, getting off the field on third downs. Second half, it was almost a story of two different tales so to speak. They came out, and when it mattered the most, they came through in the clutch. It's not about how you start in this business – we all know that – it's about how you finish the game, and they finished and we didn't. It was the complete opposite result in the second half and that's what blew the game wide open. Their defense played a lot better than they did in the first half and the offense played a lot better than they did in the first half. That combined prepared them to win, and we just didn't make enough plays."
On how much it hurts the Browns to not have Haden to match up against Bengals WR A.J. Green:
"That's one of the things year-in and year-out that me as a player and a fan of the game I appreciate matchups like that when you have two guys that are tops of their positions. I think that Joe, he relishes the big matchups with the guys like the A.J. Greens, (Falcons WR) Julio Joneses, (Steelers WR) Antonio Browns and those guys. Primetime matchup – I know Joe – it's going to be eating Joe not to be out there but there is nothing we can do about it right now. He can just only give – until he's out of the protocol, I don't think he's able to be in the meeting room to just give his view and his take on things of how to go at him because he's had a lot of success against him. I can't think of the last game that he had over 80 yards against Joe. That's going to be a huge blow going against a good receiver in A.J. Green. He's one of the best in the league. It's going to be a huge blow not to have him out there on him, but as I said before, that's just another opportunity for another guy to step up and showcase his talent, his God-given talent and just go from there. Like I said, I'm praying for Joe and a speedy recovery, and he'll get his chance when he gets back healthy."