Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- OL Spencer Drango
- DL Myles Garrett
- QB DeShone Kizer (full transcript)
- DB Jamar Taylor
OL Spencer Drango:
On his performance on Sunday:
"I think it went pretty well for me. (Vikings DE Everson Griffen) got me a few times, but he is a great rusher. Overall, I was kind of happy with how I played, but I'm my biggest critic so I know that I can do better."
On if his performance gave him confidence moving forward:
"Yeah, for sure. Anytime you do well against a great player, it helps, but going into the bye, I plan on taking some time off and then looking at some film and getting ready for Detroit."
On compartmentalizing filling in for OL Joe Thomas while still focusing on executing his job:
"Really I wasn't thinking as much about the shoes to fill because I don't think that anyone can really fill those shoes. My thought process was just go out there and do the best I can for the people around me."
On if Griffen said anything to him after the game:
"Good game. He was limping off the field so hopefully he is OK, but I talked to him a little bit. Just good game and all of that."
On if Thomas' advice to stick with the gameplan even if he got beat came in handy during the game:
"It did. They get paid, too, so everyone is going to get beat. As rare as it happens, even Joe got beat sometimes – very few occasions. It is definitely good to just have that in the back of your mind. Don't abandon everything you have worked at that week. They get paid, too. [Griffen] is a great player."
DL Myles Garrett:
On how he is feeling:
On if his concussion was due to an accumulation of hits:
"Probably just the accumulation. I didn't really feel a specific hit shock me or stun me. It was just I didn't really feel good after, and most of my family members after the game, they took notice that night when we were at dinner so they told me that I should probably go in and [talk to the trainers about it]."
On what his family members noticed after the Titans game:
"That I had a good headache. I really didn't feel like eating. I felt kind of nauseous and I was a little bit dizzy, but it was brutal just working into it. I had no symptoms in the game. I didn't really feel that way. It was just as the night progressed I kind of started feeling that way."
On his plans for the bye week:
"I plan to go home and just take some time off in Texas. I will make sure I am working out and keeping my body in tip-top shape, just get away from football a little bit and try to get myself back to peak condition, but I feel good."
On if it is a 'small blessing' to have two weeks to rest his ankle after being inactive last Sunday and on bye this week:
"I guess you could look at it that way. I never want to miss a game. I don't ever want to be out. Whether it is practice or a game, I don't want to miss anything, but if it helps me recover, I appreciate it. Just having that time to work on my ankle and strengthen it to get it back to 100 percent, I will take it, but after the bye week, I should be back to my normal self."
QB DeShone Kizer:
On the team's mindset heading into the bye week:
"Remove yourself. Take a step back. Truly evaluate everything that has happened the first half of the season. Accept the downfalls, the weaknesses that you are going to see on tape. Do whatever you can to create a plan to improve those but also find a positive and how you can build on them. I think that we are in a position now at 0-8 heading into the bye week that we can make some slight changes in terms of mindset, gameplan, guys who need to touch the ball more and things like that. If we can all go and figure out what those positives and those strengths are for ourselves, then hopefully, we can come back and attack those moving forward."
On what he came out of Sunday's game against Minnesota feeling best about:
"Didn't turn the ball over. That was obviously the ultimate goal. Obviously, the only thing only thing I am going to learn with my game and that is something that we attacked and I was able to be team-protecting with the ball. That has been the ultimate goal for me. Now I have to go out and make a couple more plays. Obviously, you had a couple balls out on the sideline to (TE) David (Njoku) that could change a game. It is now about taking the progress in the turnover side of things and turning it into making a couple more plays, so we can put more points on the board."
On if the team is closer to being successful than the record indicates:
"Absolutely. We have a couple games that are three-point games. We have hung tight with some of the better teams in this league. At the end of the day, almost doesn't cut it so you are going to accept 0-8 for 0-8 but understand that the line that we need to cross is very close. We feel pretty confident on offense that if we don't turn the ball over and we eliminate some of those shots to our own foot that we are going to be able to go out and start winning some games."
On if he has watched WR Josh Gordon play and the potential impact Gordon could have if he was reinstated by the NFL:
"Unfortunately, I haven't really watched him too much. I know that he was a dominate guy in this league, but he is not on this 53-man roster and he is not on the practice squad here now so I am going to focus in on my guys and making sure that we can develop the guys that we do have in the locker room."
On there is pressure that making one mistake could significantly impact momentum or a game's result:
"It is professional football. You can't make mistakes in this league because somehow, someway that mistake is going to come back to haunt you in the game. There are not a lot of games that you don't have multiple turnovers and multiple mistakes in crucial moments of a game and still win. You feel that pressure, but you also know that the same conversation that you say a mistake can turn a game around, a big play can turn a game around. We have to go after those now. That is what I think we can improve on right now is going and finding two or three big plays a game where we haven't had that big march down the field with a 67-yard pass or we haven't had that run that breaks away for a while. It is close. We are right there. You see it on Crow's (RB Isaiah Crowell) run that unfortunately he loses the ball on. He is getting ready to break it out and go for 65 and that changes the game. Now, it is about doing whatever we can to go make those big plays."
On how much he thinks about not making a mistake during a game and if that limits his playmaking ability:
"It is always on my mind, but it is not on my mind with the phrase, 'I can't make a mistake and I can't turn it over.' What I am thinking about is how can I get to the next play and make it positive. That is why you see me checking the ball down more and that is why you see me use my feet a little more. Instead of adding more pressure to myself by thinking negatively, I am thinking how can I just string together some positive plays because you see in this last game that there are two or three drives in which those little small chunks just continue to push you all the way down the field and all of the sudden you are in the red zone with either three or six points."
On if he is releasing the ball more quickly and if that is part of the game plan or him making quicker decisions:
"A little bit of both. I think that gameplan wise with the loss of (OL) Joe Thomas, it is obvious that we are going to try to get the ball out as fast as you possibly can and just to allow some of our guys to get into their rhythm before we start pushing it back to our five and seven step drops, but also at the same time, it is me with a new mindset of once again just trying to get those positive plays and getting the ball in playmakers hands. If (RB) Duke (Johnson Jr.) is coming out of the backfield and there is a one-on-one tackle, nine times out of 10 he is going to break it so let's get it in his hands and see if we can do it. (TEs) David (Njoku) and Seth (DeValve) are some awesome tight ends who can do the same thing. You add a little bit of quick game with some of our receivers and you see a lot more positive plays."
On playing a full game on Sunday and if he is 'looking over his shoulder' as he has been replaced in recent games:
"It was awesome. You get to get into a fourth quarter situation in which you have some confidence and have some momentum and you know you have an opportunity to win. That is all you want to do in this league is put yourself in a position to find some success in the fourth quarter, but now it is about doing whatever you can for the first three quarters and hopefully giving yourself some sort of a buffer room to where you are not down by a couple touchdowns and try to make a miraculous comeback. It was nice. No, I am not looking over my shoulder. I think this position is mine and it is about going out there and performing."
On if he feels more comfortable on the field:
"The more you play, the more comfortable you become, the more you let it rip. I think that every game that I have stepped out there, I have felt more comfortable. I felt completely in control this past week, but once again, as much as you want to develop yourself and become more comfortable, you still have to go make more plays. If I can go out there and make a couple more plays in that game, it could be a different outcome."
On if his TD celebration was planned:
"Actually, I saw No. 19 (Vikings WR Adam Theilen) on the other team, obviously, do his little FIFA celebration so after that, it was on me to make sure that I could one up him."
On OL Spencer Drango's first start at LT:
"Unbelievable. The guy is a star. He stepped in. He did his job exactly how was asked him. The only one that he let up that anyone is going to look at is actually on me for holding the ball for as long as I did. He did awesome, and we are going to expect that out of him every time now. When (OL) Joe Thomas gets back into the locker room, he can help him with his preparation and can take his game to the next level. We are going to have a great left tackle to fill in for Joe."
On takeaways from LA Rams QB Jared Goff's improvement from his rookie year to second year:
"I think that since Day 1, we have known that this was going to be a process. It wasn't going to happen that way. I wasn't going to come in and walk into a position where I was going to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league. It was going to take a little bit for me to develop into that. It wasn't a specific timeline on that. Whether it be one, two, three years – a lot of people want to put that timeline on things – but for me, what I do like is that I truly feel like I am a better quarterback today than I was three weeks ago. That is a great feeling. I feel more comfortable, I feel as if I belong in this league, and I am going to be able to hang onto this position for a while if I can continue to perform the way I want to."
On if he feels he has the support of the Browns coaching staff and front office:
"Yeah, after going out there and attacking the big issue of not turning the ball over, I do feel pretty confident in my position. Once again, it is about wins. If I can go out there and do my job to the best of my ability and hopefully put our team in a winning position, then I will feel a whole lot better about it."
On if throwing short and intermediate routes is different from the strategy early in the year or a result of game planning:
"Once again, a little bit of both. There are definitely some gameplan things where you are trying to get it out but also a new mindset of understanding that once again a check down or a quick pass is half of the time just as successful as throwing the ball down the field when you have the playmakers that we have. I think moving forward, you will continue to see that. When you have Duke Johnson, David Njoku and Seth DeValve, those guys who can catch the ball and then make a guy miss and run another guy over, why not give it to them as fast as you can and take the pressure off of my hands and put it into the playmakers' hands."
On the process of Head Coach Hue Jackson installing his offense:
"I think the way that Coach installs his system is that he is going to give it to you all at once. We did that at training camp. We did a little bit of everything during training camp. That gives us the ability to dabble each week into something new. I think that is something that allows us to be a little less predictable. No, I don't think it has been able to slowly grow on us, but you definitely can go and see a little thing that we did in training camp here and there that have come out each week. It is about doing something different every time to make sure that you keep the defense on their heels and we have been able to do that."
On if Notre Dame's record last year and the Browns' record this season has affected his confidence, given announcers' comments during the game broadcast:
"The conversation was more based upon accepting where I am right now but also accepting that who I am is a winner. I have won since I have been in pee wee football throughout high school with state championships and division championships in every sport that I have played. Once you take a step back from the game – I think this will be an awesome opportunity during this bye week to do so – you can feel yourself going away from that mentality, that dog that you have when you are winning. I need to get back to having that dog . I think (DB) Jabrill (Peppers) and I have had multiple conversations about that when you are at 0-8 and you are going through the season that you are going through, sometimes you allow some outside elements to pull away from the drive that you have always had and recently I have picked that back up. After being benched and seeing some things from the sideline and having some pressure on me, I have been able now to go back now to that winner mentality that I have always had. Now, it is about going out there and performing and getting back to winning the way I know I can."
On if the bye week is a starting point for self-reflection:
"Absolutely, I think self-reflection is big for us. To have a bye week directly in the middle of the season gives you a nice little halftime where everyone can do that. You can really focus in on yourself and figure out how you can get better as an individual so that you can come back and help this team get back to winning."
On his plans for the bye week:
"I will be home for a little and then I am going to head over to Notre Dame and check out the No. 5 team in the country play some football."
DB Jamar Taylor:
On if there is pressure that the team can't make any mistakes during the course of a game that some other teams can make in order to win:
"I don't think it is pressure, but it is true. You have to think that the other day we got like three crazy calls or four penalties and then they just throw a touchdown, which kind of just took the momentum away. We definitely have to play at a crazy high level. We can't afford penalties and turnovers and things like that right now."
On if there is a domino effect in worrying about making mistakes during a game:
"No, I don't think you can worry about it. You just have to play ball, you know what I mean? If something happened, then you try to let it go and move onto the next play. If something doesn't happen, you just try to make your plays that are there, but you can't really worry about it."
On where the Browns defense has improved this season:
"We just have good people. We have good dudes who care about football. GW (defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) always tells us, once we start caring about it way more than they care about it, then we will have a good defense. I think you see that on the field. Dudes are flying around. Dudes are making plays. We haven't got as many turnovers as we want right now, but we are getting people off the field and we are giving our offense a chance. I think as long as we keep on caring and dudes keep taking it serious, then we will be where we want to be."
On why the Browns can't afford to make many mistakes during a game:
"I think you just have to ask coach that. Really it just comes down to our team, with a young quarterback you want to put him in the best position to make plays so I think on defense, we know we have to get the ball back and when we don't it gives them less of a chance to give DeShone looks. We want those guys to be on the field so they can make plays. As a defense, we just try to put it on our back. We want to win games for our team. We pride ourselves on winning games in the defensive room so we don't want to have penalties. I think we had five the other day, and that is just uncommon for us. We don't want to have stuff like that because now our offense doesn't have a chance if we are keeping their offense on the field."