Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- WR Andrew Hawkins
- WR Rashard Higgins
- WR Ricardo Louis
- QB Charlie Whitehurst (full transcript)
WR Andrew Hawkins:
On Browns injuries during the first three weeks:
"It is unfortunate, but that is football. Sometimes, things are out of your control, and I think that is what makes the teams who do well later in the season so special because of the ability to overcome that and have a deep enough roster where guys can step up is important."
On the unfortunate timing of WR Corey Coleman's injury:
"Yeah, no doubt. Like I said in the beginning, Corey is going to be a special player. He has such ability. I'm sure he is down about it, but like I said, everything happens for a reason. He will come back in a couple of weeks, and we fully expect him to be the same ol' Corey, not just this year but next year and years to come.
On if he has experienced a series of injuries like this before:
"No, I have not gone through something like this. I have seen other teams grow through things like this. Like I said, it sucks. It is just bad luck is what it boils down to. I have full confidence in all the guys who have to step up. Like I said, this is the NFL. This is how it works."
On his confidence in QB Cody Kessler's ability to be ready to start this weekend:
"He has put a lot of work in, a lot of work. He is taking the practice reps as if they are game reps. He is just taking it seriously and doing what he has to do to get himself prepared. That is half the battle. He is a young guy. He is going into his third NFL game, and he is already a starter. What we have seen this week in practice, we feel good about it. We think he is going to show up on Sunday, and that is what we are planning on."
On his connection with Kessler:
"He is an extreme talent. That is why he is a third-round draft pick. I think it is more about his feel of the offense. We think he has a really good feel for it. I think that will be the determining factor of how he does on Sunday."
On his message to rookie WRs Ricardo Louis and Rashard Higgins:
"This is kind of how you mature. You go through situations like this. All of the rookies, Corey included, I think the Browns are in really good hands going forward with this receiving corps. The only thing a rookie doesn't have is experience. This kind of opens the door for those guys and other guys to get reps and show what they have and kind of trial by fire. You really don't know until you go through it. When you go through it, you feel confident about it going against NFL corners, going against NFL defenses and that is part of the maturation process. I think in the long run this is going to be really good for those guys."
WR Rashard Higgins:
On his opportunity to step up following WR Corey Coleman's injury:
"They brought me in here for a reason. That was to showcase what I can do on the field. Obviously, if somebody goes down, then it is my turn to come in so I'm just going to do what I can do and showcase my best of my ability."
On if he has been anxious for more opportunities on gameday:
"No doubt. I have been waiting for it for a long time, and unfortunately, it had to be my boy [Coleman] getting hurt, but I have to step in and do the job so that is what I'm going to do."
On how badly he feels for Coleman:
"That is what comes with the game. I texted him. I really could not believe it happened as well. I texted him and I was like 'Did you really break your hand?' He was like, 'Yeah. You have to step up now.' That was the end of that. It comes with the game. Injuries come with this game."
On if preparing for Sunday's game is slightly easier, given his chemistry with QB Cody Kessler:
"Yeah, Me and Cody, we will do pretty good, man. I'm looking forward to seeing what Cody can do. Not only that but it is going to be like my first NFL game because I am going to get a lot of reps this game. I'm looking forward toward the challenge and seeing where we will go from there."
On the biggest challenge preparing for Sunday's game with a third starting QB in as many weeks:
"Biggest challenge? I say it is just getting him ready. Cody, he might have a little nervousness coming into this game, knowing that he is starting and he has to make the right throws and it is going to be on TV and all this kind of stuff. I'm going to get him ready. I'm going to try my best. I have been doing it for a long time, working with him after practice to try to get the timing down with me and (WR) Ricardo (Louis). I'm going to do my best to get him ready, and we are going to see how it looks Sunday."
On what he has to do personally to make sure he is ready:
"I have to know the positions. I have to know the X position, I have to know the Zebra position incase (WR Andrew Hawkins) Hawk goes down. So man, it is a lot on me, so I have to make sure I am ready."
On how playing in a pro-style offense in college has helped him transition to the NFL:
"Well, a lot of the routes that we learned is like man-to-man, so just being in a pro-style offense we threw the ball down the field. We had routes where we had to get open, so coming here it was just about the same thing. You have routes where you have to get open and I think this scheme fits me pretty well."
WR Ricardo Louis:
On having an opportunity to get more reps on offense:
"It definitely is. It is what I have been working on being the backup behind TP (WR Terrelle Pryor) and some of the other receivers, just preparing every week like I could be a starter. You never know what can happen. It is unfortunate (WR) Corey (Coleman) got hurt, but sometimes, things like that happen. Stepping up is what we all have to do as a receiving corps now."
On if he received more reps today in practice:
"Definitely, I got a lot more reps. It definitely helps me get in shape, too. A lot more running, playing different positions, as well."
On if he has worked more with QB Cody Kessler than other Browns QBs:
"Yeah, coming in, it was me and Kessler and the other rookies. As time went on, we would stay after practice a lot throwing the ball around. I also got a lot of reps with (QB) Josh (McCown), as well, mostly Cody."
On the impact of having three different QBs in three weeks:
"I've never dealt with anything like that before, but fortunately, we have gotten a lot of reps with each quarterback. Now that we have Cody coming in, it won't be as tough, but obviously, [we are] adjusting to it and the quarterback changes, but we will deal with it."
"He is really good with the West Coast offense. Short routes, throwing slants, getting it out of his hands quickly is one of the things he's good at. I think that gives him a lot of confidence moving forward. (Head) Coach (Hue Jackson) is telling us to help the quarterback out. We have to get open, catch the ball for him, make plays for him so he gets more confidence back there. Obviously, our offense has to block for him the entire time."
QB Charlie Whitehurst:
On what he was doing when Cleveland called:
"Watching football, I think. That is what I have been doing the last couple of weeks. It is good to be back into it."
On his past 48 hours and getting a crash course in the Browns offense:
"Yeah, that is what we are doing. Luckily, some of the terms and stuff from my Indy experience last year has carried over. It is not a whole new offense. Obviously, a bunch of terms and a lot of thing to learn, new players to throw to and learn names and coaches and all that. It has been a little bit easier because of that."
On his relationship with assistant head coach-offense Pep Hamilton and if that factored into why he is in Cleveland:
"I met Pep when I got here. I actually missed Pep last year. I think a lot of that carried over from Indianapolis is going to help me this week and in the future so maybe that had something to do with it."
On if ever doubted that he would receive a call to play in the NFL this season:
"I kind of thought there was better than a 50-50 chance that I would be on a team at some point this year, but you never know. You just work hard, stay in shape and kind of occupy your time that way. I'm used to playing football. I started doing this, gosh, like '93 I think. It is the first time I had been sitting at home in the fall with nothing to do so you go and you work out. That is what you do, and when the time comes, you are able to get through a practice, and if they need you to go into a game, go out there and compete and help win the game."
On his home city:
On his nickname 'Clipboard Jesus':
"(Laughter) I guess it has been around for a while. I've never called myself that."
On his recollection of the Browns comeback win at Tennessee in 2013:
"Yeah, that was tough. I came in the game before halftime. It started as good as it could have for the Titans, the team I was on at the time. After that, those are the ones that are tough. They stick with you. It was a bad game. It is probably the worst ones I have been part of. Hopefully, I can change that (laughter)."
On how much he could do if he was asked to play in the game:
"I hope operate the offense. That is what my plan is. I feel confident that I can do that. You go in there, obviously, you don't have reps with these plays and these players. Kind of first and foremost is not make the critical mistake, but if you are called on to make a throw to win the game, I expect to do that."
On experiencing a tough loss with Seattle:
"Yeah, that one was worse, actually. I take it back. That one was worse. It felt worse than the one two years ago, but yeah, there has been some not great stuff against this team. Hopefully, I can change that if given the opportunity."
On hoping to make good things happen with the Browns now:
"Right. That is how you have to think of it."
On how much he played against Miami last December and how it helps his preparation for this weekend:
"Yeah, maybe a little bit. There are a few things you pick up, actually playing in the game that you can tell a young quarterback and help him out. They do a great job. He (QB Cody Kessler) has had a heck of a week of practice. I think he'll be fine in the game. Anything that I can remember from playing these guys, it's a physical front. Protect yourself in their type stuff. I've been trying to help him as well."
On if he is aware of the QB history in Cleveland:
"Yeah, there have been a lot of quarterbacks (laughter)."
On the Browns playing five different starting QBs in their past five games dating back to last season and if that is 'mind-boggling' for him:
"It is the NFL, not really. That is what happens. Guys get hurt. That is what happens."
On Kessler's week of practice:
"He kind of operates not like a rookie. He really takes charge out there and seems like he has a really good grasp of the offense. I don't know what kind of reps he has gotten thus far – I wasn't here – but being the third guy, I think he has put in a week's work that has given him a chance to perform on Sunday."
On if he has ever played with any of the current Browns players before:
"I have never played with anybody in this locker room. When I got the call, you looked at the roster and the coaches, I have a little history with a handful of the coaches here, but players I have never. I had met some of the quarterbacks. I have met (QB) Josh (McCown), I have met (QB) Robert (Griffin III) playing against them, but I did not know anybody. That kind of makes me feel a little bit old, too, because I used to know everybody in the league (laughter). It has been a little bit different."
On playing with guys he has never met before:
"It is kind of cool. You get to see, 'Wow look at that guy! That guy is flashing some. That is pretty neat.' I actually had someone say, 'Hey how many years have you been in the league?' Didn't know who I was, one of the younger guys. I said 'This is my 11th year,' and they go 'Oh my gosh!' They don't know who I am so I don't know what to think of that (laughter)."
On if he has seen the photoshopped The Last Supper image of past Browns QBs with Whitehurst in the middle:
"You know, I have that one over my mantle at my house (laughter). Yeah, I have seen that type of stuff before. I don't own any of that, no."
On if he is amused by the photo at all:
"I think it is pretty funny (laughter). I do."
On playmakers on the Browns roster and Coleman's injury:
"Yeah, that was unfortunate yesterday with (WR) Corey (Coleman), but there are some guys to throw it to, guys to hand it to. Up front, obviously, you have (OL) Joe Thomas there. He is an incredible force there, a Hall of Fame player. There is some talent. Everybody is young and learning how to play together, it seems like. I hope it will happen fast, and I think there are good things ahead for Cleveland."
On spending much of his NFL career on the West Coast and now working his way back toward his roots:
"Back East, yeah. Yeah, exactly. I guess this is not the south anymore. I was in the south the last two years, but yeah, it is back east. I have been kind of all around. That is kind of when I introduced myself to the team in the meeting room, I was like 'This is who I am and I have been everywhere.' I've been all around. It has been kind of fun."
On if he has introduced himself to OL Joe Thomas yet:
"Yeah, I have met Joe for sure. That is a guy you definitely want to be on good terms with. I think if I were to get in the game there is a chance that some of the other linemen I have not met before (laughter) so maybe you introduce yourself real quick, and hey let's go to work (laughter)."