Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- QB Robert Griffin III (full transcript)
- QB Josh McCown (full transcript)
- OL Joe Thomas
QB Robert Griffin III:
On if there are any new developments from the past 48 hours:
"Just more practice. It is good to see everybody working, putting our gameplan together and getting ready for this defense that we are going to have to go against. We know it is a challenge, but I think everybody is up for it. I have a lot of respect for those guys over there [in Cincinnati]. We have to go out and play well."
On how comfortable he feels on the field after missing time:
"Yeah, it has been a while since I have been back out, but the guys around me are going to make it a very smooth transition. We are all out there fighting for each other. They know that not one guy can do this by himself and make a world of difference. It is going to take everybody, and that is why we are an offensive unit not just individual guys. We are all looking to pull our weight, do our jobs and make sure we can go out and put on a good show."
On if every rep he gets in practice feels like it carries extra weight, given his situation:
"No, every rep and every play is important so you just have to win each play and not let something from one play carry over to the next. Good or bad, move on to the next play, get it going, watch the film, break it down and see what you can fix. There is no need to press or to try to make it all happen on one play. Every play has a correct answer, and you just have to make sure you find it."
On Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict and his performance against the Eagles last week:
"Yeah, Vontaze is a great player. He is not the only one on that defense that is playing well or are great players. I have a lot of respect for those guys over there and what they do and what they have been doing. It is going to be a challenge, but we have to go out and we have to match their intensity and try to get us a win."
On if he feels ready for contact, given it doesn't occur at practice:
"Yeah, I had a couple slides here and there, but no 350 pounders have landed on me yet. It is just something you have to be ready for. Football is a very physical game, and they are not going to shy away from trying to hit me. I just have to make sure I protect myself. I know my line is going to protect me. That is the goal is to not get the quarterback hit. We are going to do things to try to be conducive to that and I just can't worry about those things. It is football. You are going to get hit. That is why you put on your armor and go out to battle."
On if he will ever be hesitant to run with the ball:
On the impact of not knowing whether or not he will start Sunday:
"None whatsoever. You go out and you prepare and you do the work and you do the film study, and whatever (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) decides is his decision. Like I said on Monday, he wears the 'HC' on his hat for a reason, and we all trust and respect his decision and his opinion. We are going to go with whatever Coach goes with."
On the chance for snow this Sunday and the last time he played in snowy, wintry conditions:
"It has been a few years since I have played in the snow – football, that is – everyone builds snowmen when it snows (laughter), but it will be fun. Whatever the environment is – rain, sleet, hail, snow – we will be ready to go. That is kind of what Coach has preached to us all year. If you want to go play in the parking lot, we will go play in the parking lot. I know I am excited about it. I do not know about the rest of the guys and how they feel about it, but whatever it is, we have to go out and execute and do it at a high level."
On if it would be a letdown if he is not named the starting QB:
"Oh no, it would not be a letdown. You continue to work, and if they decide this week is not the week, then I am prepared for that, as well. Every week, even when I was sitting out, you still have to prepare as if you are the starter and be in the gameplan and know where to go with the ball and what is going on because an offense can evolve so much in a year's time. I did not want to get behind on that if I was going to have an opportunity to play. I am thankful for the coaches and the players helping me from that aspect, and whatever Coach decides, that is what we are going to roll with."
On how different the Browns offense looks now, compared to Week 1:
"An offense can evolve so much over the course of a year. I can't get into specifics because that would give our gameplan away, but just little things here and there changed and you have to be on top of that so that when you step back in there, it is like a well-oiled machine. My job is to try to help that machine move forward and score points and go down the field, and that is what we are trying to do."
On if Jackson specifically tailors gameplans to the QB:
"Yeah, but I think any great coach is going to tailor the offense to the skillset of the guys that are playing. Hue is one of the best in the business when it comes to that creativity and putting guys in a position to be successful. His track record speaks for itself. We have to make sure we go out and prove it on Sundays because that coach, Coach Hue deserves to win."
On how badly Browns players want to win for Jackson, especially given the emotion this season and that it is against his former team:
"It is paramount. I do not think – it is his former team, but I just think when you see Coach breakdown like that, as a player in this locker room it makes you – we already wanted to play hard for him, but it makes you want to play harder for him and win for him because he does not deserve to be 0-12. It is like I said, these guys in this locker room do not deserve to be 0-12. Talking about it is not going to do anything about it, but I think seeing that emotion from Coach lights a fire in everybody. We have to go out and prove it on Sunday."
QB Josh McCown:
On OL Joe Thomas, who was named the Browns Walter Payton Man of the Year:
"I am still trying to still figure out how he got that nomination (*laughter). *We will get to the bottom of it, though *(laughter). *You can't say enough about him. He exemplifies, for me, just consistency and toughness and all the things you are looking for in a player and a teammate. Just the fact that he has not missed a snap speaks volumes about who he is because this game is tough. For him to do that more than anything, that is the thing I am most impressed with. It is part of his make up off the field. You can see it by how he treats people and how he cares about people, cares about his teammates. To me, that is exactly what the Walter Payton Man of the Year is all about. It is a unique thing. He is certainly a worthy recipient."
On if younger players appreciate Thomas's reliability:
"You hope so. It is in context with everything that has gone on in a career. When you are young, sometimes you do not think of it that way. You try to help guys realize what it takes to do something like that and to play that long and be as consistent as he has been. At the same time, to play at a high level on the field and do things off the field that are the right things and be such a presence in the community that your team and your organization recognize you as the nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year you hope guys understand that. (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson says that all the time, but that is the guy and that is the gold standard for this locker room of how you want to preform and carry yourself as a player. I hope every young guy looks at that and takes something from it."
On how special and rare it is for Thomas to want to be in Cleveland and want to be part of the turnaround, given the team's record since he was drafted:
"It is very rare. It goes back to just his makeup and who he is and his character as a person. When you have that kind of makeup and that kind of character, the fruits of that are consistency on the field and it is being active in your community and helping people and doing all of the things that Joe does. It is very rare. It is an honor to be his teammate, to get to play with someone like that and you fight for that. Obviously, understanding that he has been here for a long time – like you said, only one winning season – but to want to be here and get it right is special. Us as teammates and the men in this locker room, that has to resonate with us as well. When you talk about doing it for each other and bringing each other along, it is not hard to look over at Joe and pick up some energy and want to do it the right way because of what he has done."
On if he is 'holding out hope' that he may start Sunday:
"I am going to be ready. The coaches are evaluating everything as we go through the practice week and we will see how things go. That is obviously always our mindset is just to stay ready and be focused and ready to go."
On how practice is being divided between the QBs:
"That is part of what we will keep within our circle, that information. We all know that Coach has a plan and has a way where we are all going to get prepared and be ready to go and be available. It can certainly be done, and it is getting done. That is the beauty of our room is that we work together, we help each other and everybody is always ready to hop in there whenever there number is called. It is no different this week."
On if it is unusual to have uncertainty at starting QB late in the season or if it is the norm this season, given injuries:
"A little bit of the norm, and then obviously, you get another guy healthy. Really, it is just an evaluation part for Coach Jackson. Our part as players is just to get yourself ready to play and be available. They make the decisions that they see best fit for our team. That is the idea. I think anybody in this situation, no matter where you are in the year, to a degree if you feel like waiting and making sure you are making the right decision and whatever competitive advantage you might get from those, then why wouldn't you?. I think it only gives you an advantage. We will do our part to be available, and we will move accordingly as he makes the decision."
OL Joe Thomas:
On being the Browns' 2016 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner:
"It is really humbling to be recognized for your service. For me it is always – being my third time, one of the best awards that I have ever received – it means a lot to me because giving back to the community has always been really important to me."
On if there is any individual award that he has not won during his Browns career:
"(Laughter) Oh, I will let the stats guy figure that out, but it just feels really special to be recognized. I have made Cleveland my home, and it is a very special city to me. Part of being in the NFL to me is service and giving back to your community and the people that support you every Sunday. It is great to be recognized, even though that is not why you do the things that you do, but it still does feel good when your name gets mentioned in the end."
On the most important areas of his community service:
"I don't know. Things that are really important to me are giving back to the military and then also kids and education. Those are three areas that are very important to me so the different charities that I am involved with in those three areas are the most special to me and the closest to my heart."