Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- DB Joe Haden
- K Patrick Murray
- LB Emmanuel Ogbah
- LB Nate Orchard
- LB Joe Schobert
DB Joe Haden:
On LB Paul Kruger being released:
"It was a shock. This business, it never surprises you. You always have one or two [players] every year that you kind of scratch your head or it is a dude that you thought that was going to be part of the change, but it's a business. It's a tough business. My relationship with Paul, that's one of my best friends on the team. HE is a really good dude, and it just happened to go that way. It was definitely a surprise, but things like that happen every single year."
On if Kruger's leadership will be missed on defense:
"Like we said, other guys have to step up. I say myself, Double D (LB Demario Davis), (LB) Nate (Orchard), we just have to hold up his end of the bargain. Paul was a very good leader on our team, a guy that was vocal and people watched. We just have to know that we have to pick up where he left off and just keep leading these guys. We know there is an opportunity for the younger dudes to step in and make plays. They have been showing flashes on film that they can do it so it's just an opportunity for everybody else."
On if he's concerned that there isn't a proven pass rusher on the team besides Orchard:
"They must believe in the guys that we have. The guys that might not have any stats yet with (LBs) (Emmanuel) Ogbah and (Carl) Nassib, those dudes that we drafted. Coaches have a lot of confidence in them and their ability to make plays. It's just an opportunity for guys to step up that haven't done it before."
On if Kruger's release this close to the season shook the locker room a little bit:
"I wouldn't say it shook the locker room. It's just you have to be a pro. You know things like this happen all the time. You always see guys that are expected to be on the team. It's just upstairs it goes a different way. Really, you can control what you can control. I don't feel like it shook up the locker room. It just shows guys you have to be making plays. It's a 'what have you done for me lately' business. If you're not making plays, then anybody can be gone."
On what Kruger's release does for the psyche of other veterans on the team:
"Like I said before, what have you done for me lately? It's about making plays. It's about winning. That's the thing that they're harping on us that they talk about all the time. The thing is the proof is in the pudding. You have to put it on tape and you have to be making plays. For the vets and for everybody, it just shows that being friendly with coach or having a personal relationship doesn't really matter. It's all about what are you doing on that field and how are you going to be able to help the Browns win."
On the biggest takeaways from his performance Friday night:
"My tackling. I'm trying to get back in there. My whole thing is I feel good. My ankle hasn't been bothering me. I'm just getting the feel of the game. My back peddling, my covering, I haven't done one-on-ones in about eight, nine months. Just being able to get back to covering receivers and getting back comfortable, but it's coming back. I'm getting better and better, more comfortable and more comfortable every day."
On his message to Browns fans after the Tampa game:
"We watched the tape. We know a lot of corrections that we have to do. I feel like our defense, we're going to be able to make a whole lot of plays, myself included with Double D. I think with this young defense, we have a lot of potential and with these next two weeks leading up to the season, we are going to be able to tighten up a whole lot and we'll be ready for Game 1."
K Patrick Murray:
On being the only K on the Browns roster:
"First and foremost, it's an honor to represent this organization and this city. It's an honor to play for the Cleveland Browns, and I'm just really looking forward to continuing in representing this organization well."
On bouncing back from injury and joining the Browns:
"It's huge. There was never a doubt in my mind that I can continue to play at this level. I was very fortunate to have an amazing support system around me helping me through that process. I guess it makes it that much sweeter to come back."
On how much of the kicking competition happened behind the scenes on the practice field as opposed to preseason games:
"I can only speak on the fact that I do what I had to do during practice. The opportunities that I was given, I made the most of them. I don't make the decisions. I just go out there and try and put my best foot forward, and I believe that's what I did."
On lessons from his time with the Buccaneers:
"It's to never take an opportunity for granted, first and foremost, and to really appreciate every kick like it's going to be your last because you never know when that opportunity is going to be taken away. I feel like that has definitely steered my motivation to just continue to get better every day."
LB Emmanuel Ogbah:
On the difficulty of transitioning from OLB to DE and back to OLB:
"I was actually still studying the plays. It won't be that hard of a transition to go back to outside linebacker because I also played in a game at outside linebacker, too."
On transitioning back to OLB:
"I feel good, even though I would like to get after the quarterback. Whatever the teams wants me to do. They drafted me as a versatile player so I'm just ready to do what they ask."
On if he is surprised by LB Paul Kruger being released:
"Definitely. Yeah, that came as a shock to me and also everyone so I'm not the only one."
On if he will miss Kruger's veteran presence:
"PK helped me a lot. When I came in, I asked him a lot of questions about certain things and just playing 3-4 outside linebacker. He will definitely be missed but just have to move on."
On if he's capable of filling Kruger's role:
"I'm capable of doing whatever they ask me to do."
On what he is learning about life in the NFL during the first round of cuts:
"It is definitely a business. It is a grind. It is all about production. What have you done for me lately? That's how it goes."
On if playing on the right side of the defense means dropping into coverage more and less rushing the QB:
"Either way, I'm still going to have to drop so I guess it doesn't really matter."
On if he practiced coverage drops during training camp, even though he was spending time at DE:
"Yeah, I did some drops. I didn't do a ton of them because I was playing defensive end, but I still did some drops, too."
On what the Browns defense can take away from the Tampa Bay game:
"We just have some things to improve on. There are some things we did good and some things we did bad. You just have to get after it at practice today and see what we can fix."
On what improvements stood out defensively at Tamp Bay:
"We improved on tackling. We just have to get better at that, even more so."
LB Nate Orchard:
On LB Paul Kruger being released:
"It's hard to see someone like that go, especially Paul. The moment I got here last year, he was a mentor to me. I got really close to him, like a brother. To see him depart, it sucks, but at the end of the day, it is all part of the business. I wish him the best. Wherever he goes, I know he is going to succeed and he has for a long time in this league. I wish him the best, and I think we're going to miss him."
On what he learned from Kruger:
"So many things. How to be a pro, first of all, especially in this league – you have to learn how to take care of yourself on and off the field – and being a student of the game."
On if it is tough to lose a player like Kruger, who mentored younger Browns players:
"Yeah, but at the end of the day, we have guys that will step up. We have our inside linebacker (LB) Demario (Davis), who has done a phenomenal job of leading us. We have (DB) Joe Haden on the outside and myself. We need to step up in the outside linebacker room and then take leadership."
On if he and LB Emmanuel Ogbah are now the foundation of the Browns' pass rush:
"At the end of the day, we have a lot of guys up front that can make big plays, especially in that outside linebacker room. Whether or not he is going to be there – that is the coaches' decision – but no matter where he ends up on the defense, whether it's D-end or outside linebacker, he is going to do some great things."
On the Browns' pass rush, given the lack of sacks in the preseason:
"It is a process. We have guys that are very, very capable of making it back there. It is just little things as far as angles. It is a game of angles and having the right lanes. There were so many times we were there, we had him and we just couldn't bring him down. Little things like that we need to just take care of, and at the end of the day, I know we'll be a successful defense."
On if his and Ogbah's effectiveness as pass rushers in college is a good indication that they will be successful pass rushers in the NFL:
"Yeah, definitely. Once you have success in college, coming into the league obviously guys are a lot bigger and faster, but at the end of the day, where you come from is who you are. You just need to continue to build upon that. You are going to have to fine tune techniques and things like that, but that is something you should not look away from and shy away from, even if you have a season with three sacks like myself and wanting to have more. I know I can keep getting better and keep building upon that."
LB Joe Schobert:
On LB Paul Kruger being released:
"I was surprised. It is obviously my first time going through the kind of business side of football. He has been a veteran guy in the room since I've been here so not having his veteran presence will be missed for me especially."
On if Kruger's release creates more opportunities for playing time:
"I'm just here to do my job, and not having Paul, obviously, it limits the numbers. Numbers go down so there are going to be more opportunities for guys in the room, and I'll just do my best to fill that space."
On what he can do early in his career to contribute on defense:
"I'm just going to go in and play my game. I think I do a lot of good things in pass coverage, pass rush, different things little change up from maybe some of the other things some of the other guys on the team have. I'm just going to go in there and do my best. I'm confident in my ability."
On if he can contribute to the Browns defense early in the season:
"Yeah, I think so. I think whether it be defense or special teams or anything, I've been confident since I've been here that I can help the team."
On if he has seen the type of personal progress he desired heading into the final preseason game:
"Yeah, I think so. Mostly for me, especially coming into camp, I just wanted to limit mental errors, technique errors on the field. Once I can get that stuff out of the way, you can just start playing faster and recognizing what the offense is trying to do to you. You don't have to worry about your job. In that respect, that is something I improved a lot in camp and that is something that has helped my play."