Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- OL Joel Bitonio
- OL John Greco
- QB Thaddeus Lewis
OL Joel Bitonio:
On his second year with the Browns:
"It's been good. I like it a lot more. I kind of know what to expect now (after) my first training camp. Training camps are hard, but it was really good this training camp so far. I know we have still two preseason games, but I know where I'm at, I know how long the season going to be, I know how my body feels right now and how I need to feel for the season so it's been a good start."
On if there will be a clearer look at the offense in the third preseason game:
"Yeah, I think so. I think the first two, we maybe did one meeting on the other team, if anything, so we didn't really talk about them much at all. Now, we're kind of putting a little game plan. Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) finally was able to pick certain plays that we wanted to focus on and bring into this game. This should be a good example of what we have for this week. It's going to be a good test. They have a good front. (Buccaneers DT) Gerald McCoy is one of the best players in the league in his position, and the rest of their defense, (Buccaneers LB) Lavonte David runs to the ball better than any linebacker we've probably seen on tape. They have a good D, and it's going to be a good test for our line, but I think we're getting there. (QB) Josh (McCown) has a good command of what Flip wants and the protection and the scheme. It's starting to come together."
On if injuries have been a setback to the running game:
"I don't think it's a setback. I think it's good for Cam (OL Cameron Erving) to work at left tackle and right guard; its good for (OL) Andrew McDonald to get some reps in there; it's good for (OL) John (Greco) to play center. As you know, last year, we lost a guy and it kind of threw our line off for a few weeks. This camp, it's been good to mix and match a little bit and have some different things in there. We still have two and a half weeks until the opener. We're getting a lot more reps and we've been together now. (OL) Joe (Thomas) practiced today, and we had five guys in there working. Saturday should be good. Buffalo had a good front. I thought we did some good things in the run game against Buffalo. If you watch the tape, there were some good blocks, some good things. They had some safeties on blocks and some things like that. Overall, we did pretty well, not as good as we want to be, but it's coming together. We have two more preseason games, a lot more practices and Saturday should be a good test."
On the blocking schemes from last year compared to this year:
"I would say it's pretty similar. I was fighting between 'pretty' and 'very' there (laughter). We do a lot of the same plays, same ideas, same footwork, same concepts at least for the O-line because we have (offensive line) Coach (Andy) Moeller still, and he's kind of running the same scheme that we had last year, but we are throwing in some more gap scheme blocks, some more things you see teams like the Raiders, like the bigger O-linemen do. It takes time, but we ran a decent amount of that stuff last year. Obviously, outside zone, inside zone is our bread and butter. I think we're just throwing some change ups in there so when like we played Jacksonville last year and they did a really good job shutting us down in that game, but maybe if we had some more gap schemes or something like that, it could open it up for us. It takes a while. I feel like I'm improved in the zone scheme from last year, and now, the gap schemes, I'm trying to catch up so it's up there with the zone scheme, call it whatever you want."
On if the entire offensive line is catching up, as well:
"Yeah, In the offseason, we don't have as much practice as they had before so now we're just working and gelling. Luckily, it's a long training camp, six weeks. We have a few more weeks. As I said earlier, I think we'll be ready to go."
OL John Greco:
On the importance of the third preseason game, when the first team takes more snaps:
"The third preseason game, like you just said, we expect to take the majority of the reps. It is a great kind of final test because generally, you don't see a whole lot of playing time in the fourth preseason game. It is kind of like a test heading to see where you are at heading into Week 1. It gives you a chance to rest, and with that, it really gives you a chance to hone in on what you need to work on going into Week 1 and the regular season and see what you are doing well and try to capitalize on that."
On if it is different blocking for RB Duke Johnson Jr. than the other RBs on the team:
"I don't think so. To be honest with you, if I don't look to see which running back is in the huddle with me, I don't even pay attention to it. Those guys are all capable of making the right reads. They do have similar running styles. We don't really pay attention to that."
On what the Browns have shown from their wide-zone blocking scheme:
"I think it is still kind of mixed. I think we are still trying to get at least one of everything on tape to see how defenses are going to react and to see what we are doing well and what we are going to major in. In the preseason, you don't want to show your whole hand. You kind of want to put out feelers and see what you are doing well and see what you need to work on. I don't want to pin us to anything right now. We are still trying to work on the whole playbook. As you get into the gameplan in the regular season, it is condensed and you are working on what you do well and game planning against that particular defense."
On balancing quality reps in extended playing time during the third preseason game while also remaining healthy:
"You have to (play all out) because if you don't, that is how you get hurt. When you are playing half-speed, that is when guys get rolled up and accidents happen. You prepare for it like it is a regular game. As far as the pitch count we are going to get, I like that it hasn't been a secret, but I prefer not to know going into the game so it is not like, 'I have 10 more plays or eight more plays.' You just go into it expecting to pay the whole game. If they pull you, they pull you. You still have to play full-speed and treat it like it is a regular game, or like you said, that is when the accidents will happen if you don't."
On if he been able to relax at all since it seems most likely that he will be starting at RG since he has taken a majority of the first team reps:
"I think I have taken that mindset the whole time. Like we said when you guys asked me earlier on in camp, yes, it is competition, but I never looked at it as I have been in here this time so I can let up. You can't let up because it is a long season. If I don't perform, they are going to put the best five out there. I have had the mindset of appertaining each day that it is my job to lose and I have to keep getting better every day."
On if he has ever experienced a training camp with so many injuries:
"This has been a little unique. It seems like we have had an unfortunate situation happen to us. As you can see, a lot of teams have had some unlucky breaks and lose key guys. I think for the most part, (the injuries) are kind of nagging type things. Knock on wood, we have been able to get through this preseason with just dents and minor bumps and bruises. We are excited about that, but looking forward, I know we are going to have a healthy group of guys going into the first game."
QB Thaddeus Lewis:
On how he keeps his arm strong through camp:
"It's tough. It's tedious on the arm, but it's just maintenance – weight room, icing after, just making sure you take care of it and things like that. It's mechanics, as well. As our coaches always stress, your mechanics, it helps out your arm by using your legs so you try to focus on that throughout the camp, totally."
On if he has ever had arm problems:
"No, never. Never had a problem with my arm, thank God."
On how the preseason is going:
"I think is going good. I haven't done much in the preseason, but if I get the opportunity Saturday night, just hope to go in there and play to the best of my ability and put good film out there. That's what you want to do, lead drives, go out there and put points on the board as a quarterback should do."
On if he thought he had a chance at a roster spot when he was signed:
"You definitely have an opportunity anywhere you are. You never know what the situation will be. You always have to be ready. Just take advantage of your opportunities. If you take advantage of your opportunities, you definitely have a shot to make any 53-man roster."
On what he likes about the Browns offense:
"It's similar to the West Coast (offense), been in the West Coast (offense) before, but at the same time, it has a lot of dynamics where you can get the ball down the field to some of the fast guys you have, and that's what you like about it – opportunity to get the ball in the playmakers' hand and allow them to make plays for you."
On what he sees from the WRs:
"You see a bunch of guys that can play in the NFL, whether it's going to be here or somewhere else. A lot of these guys can play, and that's what you want in training camp, depth at the wide receiver spot. I think that makes all of us better."
On if the Browns' reputation of QB issues made him hesitant to come:
"Not at all. You never try to think about the past. You always prepare for the future. When you have that opportunity, you pretty much want to move forward and take advantage of your opportunity. What happened in the past, you can't change it. You can't predict the future, but you can control what goes on day to day so that's what you try to do."
On WR Terrelle Pryor:
"Just a big strong, fast guy that has the opportunity to convert from the quarterback positon to wide receiver because of his physical tools. Just going out there getting reps on the regular. I'm pretty sure he could transition pretty well. As you can see, sometimes he's a mismatch for smaller DBs, and that's what the NFL is about. If you see guys like (Lions WR) Calvin Johnson, with his size in the uniform, that's one of the guys he resembles. Obviously, Calvin Johnson is a special player, but if he has the opportunity continue to grow and develop into that, maybe he can be one of those guys."
On getting more reps in the third preseason game:
"It's a great opportunity. You have to go out there and show that you're capable of stepping in and the offense not losing a beat as if (QB) Josh (McCown) or (QB) Johnny (Manziel) was in there. Josh is the starter and you put another guy in – can he continue to do the job that a starter would do? That's the opportunity I would have Saturday, and that's what I look forward to doing."