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Browns player quotes - 12/9

OL Joel Bitonio:

On if he needed to improve his strength after he was drafted:

"Yeah, I think that was one of the things. I felt like I was athletic and I had those capabilities. I think after my senior year and going into the draft that was already one of my things. I wanted to get stronger. I still want to get stronger. I think I am still growing from it. I think all rookie linemen want to gain that strength. A lot of these guys have that 'man strength' type of thing. They are grown men, and when you come from college, you are still developing that a little bit. I think it just takes some time to work it out."

On advice for OL Cameron Erving:

"I think you have seen it before. There are a lot of guys that have struggled early on and keep improving. He has the right attitude. It is not like he is hanging his head all the time. Obviously, he is upset that he hasn't been able to play as great as he wanted to. He has the right attitude. He plays hard. He is in the meeting room taking notes. He is asking questions, asking (OL) Joe (Thomas), asking (OL) Alex (Mack), asking Grec (OL John Greco) – guys that have been in it. He is going to be OK. I have told him that the whole time. He knows he is. He knows that it is a work in progress, and I think mentally it is a little bit like, 'Man, this has been exhausting.' He got thrown in the fire again. I think he will be OK. I think he is going to come back. I am sure he is going to play some football again this year."

On if getting stronger is as simple as improving ones bench press:

"It is more functional stuff. Your feet are connected – Joe always says it – like how your feet always start the movement then your knees bend. Your bench is part of it and stuff like that. It is never like the guy that benches 400 is always the strongest. It just takes time and it takes time to develop those things. When he gets a good base under him feet wise and technique wise, his strength will start showing. It is just more of a learning curve that way."

On if the Browns work on functional strength in the weight room and that benefitting Erving:

"Correct. The weight room is going to help that and just more reps is going to improve that and more coaching, a whole offseason with the team probably with someone teaching him those nuances."

On the challenge of switching from offensive tackle to guard:

"The reaction time is so much quicker. When you set off the ball at tackle, you have time to kind of diagnosis what they are doing. You see that they are bull rushing or you see that they are trying to run around the edge. Where, at guard, it kind of happens right away. Sometimes when you are not ready for it or you are not in the right position, it catches you off guard. It catches me off guard sometimes. I am like, 'Man, I should have set that bull rush better,' but you don't see it coming until they are already bull rushing you. You are reacting once it is happening. Where, at tackle, sometimes you can react before it happens. I think that is the one thing I have seen (Erving) get caught a few times is where he was in good position, but he wasn't quite ready for the bull rush or he wasn't quite ready for this. It is a guessing game sometimes, and I think it just takes a little bit of time to develop those instincts when you are playing guard."

QB Austin Davis:

On if he may start another game this season:

"I have to prepare everyday like I'm going to play 70 snaps because as the No. 2, we always say you're one play away so nothing really changes."

On his reaction to learning he would not start against the 49ers:

"It's obviously tough when you get a chance to play and you have to return to a backup role, but I'm also aware of the situation here and what was expected of me and what's been expected of me all year. I just tried to come in and get prepared and be ready to play in a situation like that. I did feel prepared so that was good. Like I said many times, wish the outcome would have been different but we can't dwell on that. We have to play San Francisco this week, a really good team and that we match up well with and we have to be ready to play."

On helping QB Johnny Manziel prepare for the 49ers, given his time with the Rams:

"They do a few different things than the last couple years with the coaching change, but some of the personnel is similar. I think they still play with the same mentality, very good defense. I'll do my best to share with Johnny what I've learned playing against them a handful of times the last couple of years and see if we can go win a ball game."

On if the coaches explained that the QB change was not a reflection of how he played against the Bengals:

"It was just a message of Johnny's going to start and I'll be the backup. That's what it is."

OL Cameron Erving:

On how disappointing it is to not start this week:

"I am not starting. That is the end of it. I am just not starting."

On what he has to do to get better and be a starter:

"Get better. Get better. I just have to get better. I played like [garbage]. I am not starting."

On if switching to play LG was more difficult than people understand:

"I am not going to sit here and make excuses. I said what I said and I meant it before: I am a football player. I am in that situation. I am not going to sit here and make excuses for anything that happens. Of course, it is hard. It is the NFL. I have to do a better job of going out and executing, point blank. Period."

On what he will work on this offseason:

"I have to get better and I have to get stronger."

On if this year has been discouraging or it gives him drive:

"Drive. It is a learning (experience). In all honesty, that was my third football game playing. I am not going to make excuses, but you still have to put it in perspective."

On how the learning curve is different from college to the NFL:

"Everybody up here is good."

On what coaches have said he needs to work on:

"Getting stronger."

On drawing on experiences from the past to bounce back:

"I just have faith and I kept pushing, and that is what I am going to continue to do now. I am going to keep working and I am going to get better. This is not it."

On if only needs to improve his strength in the weight room:

"Mentally and physically."

OL Austin Pasztor:

On if he played LG in Jacksonville:

"Yes, my rookie year I played left guard – had three starts then."

On his NFL journey:

"I'll just go through my whole history: I was undrafted, signed with Minnesota my rookie year, got cut after camp there. I was on the practice squad with Jacksonville for my rookie year, and then I started the last three games at left guard. Then following that season, I moved to right tackle, started 12 games that year and eight games last year at right tackle."

On not taking starts for granted, given his career path:

"Last year, I was dealing with some injuries. That's why I missed eight of the games. Now that I have a chance to be healthy and play, I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunity."

On how undrafted offensive linemen have sustained long careers:

"I would say because offensive line requires a strong work ethic. Coming in undrafted puts that fire under your butt to get after it and work hard, and I think that helps players be successful."

On if he prefers to play LG or RT:

"I like playing them all. It's fun either way."

On his comfort with the Browns' offense, given he wasn't with the team this offseason:

"I'm extremely comfortable. What are we in? Week 12, 13 here? I've had a chance to learn the system, been in the system for a while now so I feel very confident in knowing what to do."

On what he has shown coaches in practice:

"Just that I'm consistent and I'll be able to know what to do and do my job at a high level."

On receiving substantial reps on Sunday for the first time all season:

"The only previous snaps I've had on offense was when we were in Pittsburgh and I played those two plays there on the goal line and the (Bengals game) following that. It was great, especially to go against (Bengals DL) Geno (Atkins). Such a talented player. It was an awesome experience, really."

On playing between Pro Bowl OL Joe Thomas and Alex Mack:

"What a great experience it's going to be. I have the utmost respect for both of those guys, and I think it's going to help me tremendously playing beside two such great talents, guys that communicate well. They teach well so it should help to make it an easier transition for me."

On when he found out he will start Sunday:


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