Included below are select quotes from interviews with the following Browns players during today's media availability:
- OL Joel Bitonio
- QB DeShone Kizer (full transcript)
- DB Jabrill Peppers
OL Joel Bitonio:
On Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs still playing at a high level:
"It is impressive. I think he has kind of reasserted himself the last couple of years and reinvented himself a little bit. It looks like he has leaned out. It looks like he is in great shape coming off the edge. He is still a threat. You have these edge guys that you think they play maybe for 10 years and they are stretching it to 15 nowadays so it is tough. Luckily, we have (OL) Joe Thomas out there that hopefully gets to handle him for most of the game."
On how to minimize the Ravens' ability to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage:
"Just try and stay on the guys. When they get separation, that is when they jump. Just try and stay on them. It is tough sometimes. It is tough to stop a batted pass. They have some tall guys in there that can kind of get up and make some things happen, but we want to stay on them and if they ever do leave their feet, try and push them or grab them and get them down."
On how good Baltimore's defense looked against Cincinnati last week:
"Really good, really good. Against Cinci, it was impressive what they were doing. They were collapsing the pocket. They didn't have to blitz too, too much. They were kind of just creating pressure wherever, but they could blitz, as well. They did a good job. Like you said, batted balls – batted balls end up in the other team's hand most of the time. They turned the ball over and gave their offense a short field. It wasn't a great offensive performance by them, but their defense put them in great positions where they didn't need to score that many points. A shutout anytime in the NFL is tough to do."
On Kizer saying that he needs to get the ball out quicker and if that is something he sees him working on in practice:
"Yeah, I think so. I think it is just reading a little bit quicker. It is his first NFL game. If he was out there perfect, somebody would have drafted him first overall – you know what I am saying? It takes time to improve, and he is doing everything. That is all you can ask. He is doing everything he can to be the best he can be."
On why the Browns running game was not as productive against Pittsburgh:
"Just little things here and there. They did some internal twists and sending backers through where it was one guy. It seems like that is always an issue, but one guy misses a block or the hole is a front side and he hit the back side on that play. Just little things. You can fix those. We haven't played that much together, but we are going to improve. We are going to work to improve it and we will see. Pittsburgh did a good job of slowing us down Week 1."
QB DeShone Kizer:
On if facing a defense like Pittsburgh early in the year builds confidence:
"Absolutely. Schematically, that is as tough of a defense as we are going to see. They play almost every coverage very similar to Baltimore. It is a great one-two punch in the sense that you get to play two AFC North teams. Both schematically play three-down, four-down have a great front seven up front and you are going to see every coverage they have."
On his expectations of playing a road game against a division rival:
"It has been a long time since I played in a loud away game so I am looking forward to that. We are going to do everything we can to prepare for that. Obviously, mixing up the cadences. We might get a little bit of crowd noise going in practice hopefully, and do my best to over-communicate in practice because we know when it comes down to playing in an away stadium, you are going to have to be able to get in tandem."
On Baltimore's shutout last week and what the Browns offense need to do to be successful:
"Figure out what they do. They tip a lot of balls. They do a great job when they are not right next to the quarterback of getting their hands up so we have to get those hands down and eliminate turnovers. Obviously, they played one heck of a game against Cincinnati doing their best to take the ball away from them. It is our job to make sure that we keep the ball in our hands and out of harm's way."
On if Ravens OLB Terrell Suggs jumps out on tape when studying Baltimore's defense:
"Absolutely, he is playing as young as I am. It is another AFC North team. They are going to be star-studded on defense. That is what we do here. You get as many guys as you can to come in, play hardnosed football and get to the quarterback. That is his job. It is our job to make sure we do what we can schematically, and then mono y mono, make sure that he doesn't end up as close as he wants to the quarterback at the time."
On if he asked OL Joe Thomas about playing Suggs:
"Absolutely, he has a notebook that is all over these guys. I will be able to sit down with him hopefully after practice today and really start looking at some of the details of how I can help him and help other guys internally with protections to make sure we have other guys helping him out whether it is another running back or another hand from an offensive lineman."
On if the Steelers defense did multiple things schematically that he hadn't seen before:
"We were pretty prepared. I think we did a good job. Obviously, (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson has played against these team multiple times over and over again. He has seen a little bit of everything. He is able to recall from things way back in the past to prepare me for those throughout practice. It is my job now to do whatever I can to prepare as much as I can for Baltimore and make sure that if there is something that is new thrown at me that at least I can get two or three looks at it from a previous year."
On Thomas keeping a notebook on opponents:
"Yeah, all of us do. Every time you play against a team you know that you are going to see them again, you get to go back to your notes that you took from before. Obviously, he has played against these guys quite a bit, and I'm sure that he has a bunch of things stored back in his mind that allows him to play to the best of his ability. It is my job as a QB to create the same notebook for myself and understand how defensive coordinators want to play and what their tendencies are and obviously, then individuals out there, how a corner reacts to certain things, how a defensive lineman likes to rush."
On how he spent his first players' day off, and if he spent any time at the facility:
"Yeah, I got in [the facility] and I got a nice little start on Baltimore. I spent a little bit of time game planning myself, just getting ahead of the game as much as I can to prepare for the gameplan I was given today. With a couple of the free hours I had, I was able to go over to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital to spend some time there, reset my mind and get my mind back to some things that are going on off the field."
On if coaches consult him on gameplans, even though he is a rookie:
"Absolutely. Coach Jackson makes a great effort to make sure quarterbacks are involved in the game planning. We go in – (QB) Cody (Kessler), (QB) Kevin (Hogan) and myself – go through film on Tuesday morning and we express what we see and try to find some tendencies to help them out. Obviously, it is their job to make sure we can become as prepared as we possibly can by Wednesday. As much as we give them, I'm sure they will give us the same in return."
On if Jackson has discussed coaching Ravens QB Joe Flacco as a rookie with him and made comparisons:
"He has not. Obviously, this is a completely different situation where I come from a completely different background, a completely different mindset. I think I have a different set of skills than Joe had as a rookie. Coach has done a good job of creating a unique situation for me that has allowed me to be the best quarterback that I can be."
On if he gets to the facility at the crack of dawn:
"Yeah, I'm absolutely a crack of dawn guy. I do my best work in the morning so I try to get in around 5 every morning to try to get ahead on things to make sure that I can go accurately help my team out."
On what time he normally goes to bed:
"I try to get to bed around 8:45-9 o'clock."
On if he wrote down notes preparing for the Pittsburgh game:
"Absolutely, everyone does. That is our job. We take as many notes as we possibly can during preparation. Obviously, we will see them at the back end of the year, and we will be able to have a little bit of a head start to be able to go back and read over those notes."
On if he wrote down notes after the Pittsburgh game:
"Yeah, it is part of our job to make sure that we are out correcting our mistakes and taking those notes so that we can pull from them when we play them again."
On if he takes those notes in a notebook or on a tablet:
"I'm a notebook guy."
On if the team expects WRs Sammie Coates and Kasen Williams to have larger roles in the offense each week:
"As they continue to grow into this offense and grow in this locker room, I think they will start gaining some confidence and will be able to make some plays for us. We have a solid core – three or four guys – who played a lot for us in the last game, but as they continue to learn the offense and we continue to find chemistry between myself and those guys, I expect they will get out there and start playing some plays for me as well."
On if he has any familiarity with Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh prior to this week:
"No, nothing too much. He grew up right down the road from me in Perrysburg and is obviously another great talent that came out of Northwest Ohio."
On how Jackson helps him get rid of the ball earlier in practice:
"It is just a mentality. My mindset when I have the ability to run the ball is to always try to extend the play as much as I can. Now, as I step into this week, understanding that yeah, you can extend the play and are going to have to use your legs to make plays, but when the check-down is there and you get a running back out, that is where the ball needs to be. That is just the next step in the process for me, learning how to get the ball in the right guy's hand at the right time."
On Thomas' streak of 9,996 consecutive snap streak:
"It is unbelievable. I don't know if I have taken 10,000 snaps ever of football in my life, and he has done it in the NFL. Obviously, he is a unicorn and he is going to have a gold coat coming soon. To be here alongside of him and to be a small piece of what he has been able to do in this league is an honor for me."
On the loudest stadium he has played in:
"I think Texas. Texas last year. 110,000 fans. We were playing on Sunday of Labor Day Weekend so there was a lot going on for that."
On making it look easy during last year's Notre Dame-Texas game:
"(Laughter) Once again, I had a lot of preparation for that game. When you get into those environments where it is a little hostile and gets loud, you have to go back to the fundamentals that got you where you are. I think that has a lot to say with the way you prepare for that, making sure that you know how to accurately communicate, overly communicate and pretend that every play you have in practice is going to be as loud as you play in the stadium."
On starting his NFL career against the Steelers and the Ravens:
"In the NFL, every team is good. They are all going to be different from everything I did in college, but to go against two divisional opponents and to understand the importance of this for us to go out and at least win one of those, obviously, we came up a little short against Pittsburgh, but now it is my job to do whatever I can to help my team get into a position to winning this football game."
On if he is still working to develop chemistry with WR Kenny Britt:
"Kenny and I have had plenty of reps. We have spent just as much time as any of the other guys out there throwing balls. I think he is going to make some big plays. He has been in this league since I have been in grade school. He understands how to go out, and he has made the plays that we expect him to make. I know he is going to come out, have another great week of preparation and I expect to put the ball exactly where we want to put it, and I know he is going to come down with it and score some touchdowns for us."
On if Britt said anything after dropping a pass last Sunday:
"No, he doesn't have to. I know who he is. He knows who I am. That ball is going to be right back in that same spot. There are times where there is going to be two guys on him and it is going to be a ball that is right at his face and he is going to catch it. It will be a big hurray and everyone is going to forget the one that he dropped against Pittsburgh, honestly."
DB Jabrill Peppers:
On if his first NFL game was different than expected:
"I didn't really go in with expectations. We faced a lot of adverse situations. Not anything we are not used to. We just have to capitalize when we can."
On looking mad after the Steelers punted the ball away from him on the first punt, and if he expected that:
"No, I didn't, especially with the kind of unit they have. They have a lot of guys on special teams that make plays for them so I thought they were going to see what I had and then make their decision from there, but they gave me plenty of opportunities. Just the heat of the moment in the game."
On if he said anything to the Steelers bench after they punted the ball away from him:
"I don't think I said anything other than punt me the ball' Other than that, no, not really."
On if defensive coordinator Gregg Williams asks for his input in the gameplan, given his role on Sunday:
"No, that was just what we felt was best for that week with all of the vertical threats they had. Their counter to that was a lot of screens and check downs. Try to get their elusive guys in space, but everything is gameplan wise, it is what is the best thing they do and how can we take it away? That is what we felt was best for their play style and play type. They love the splash plays, big gainers, but I think we kept them in front of us for most of the night. Two plays that got away, missed tackles and didn't go up and get the ball, but that is the way it goes sometimes. It is not really an input thing. It is whatever we think is best for this week, that is what we are going to do."
On if Williams asks where he thinks he can have the most impact when creating a gameplan:
"It depends on certain situations, but that [Steelers game plan], I had no say on."
On QB DeShone Kizer's performance:
"I think he did pretty well. He definitely put the team in positions to win. I think it is something that everyone in this locker room could say that themselves, personally, could have done better – made a play here, made a play there, maybe the outcome is different. For the most part, came out, things didn't go in our favor early, he came out, put some points on the board for us, kept challenging, kept competing. As a defense, we just have to help him out. We know he is a rookie, but we are going to ride with him. He definitely put us in position to win that game. We just have to capitalize on certain plays."