Press Conference

Gregg Williams press conference - 11/21

Opening statement:

"It was a good day, a nice balmy day and it was a good Cleveland day out there. The guys, it was good to see them back. They were bouncing around. It was a good practice and good energy. Bengals are a good football team, and we have to take the next step here in our preparation getting ready to play them. One bit of news is that (DB) Terrance Mitchell is back, and he practiced today. He will be ready to go and the word is he will be able to play in the Panthers game if everything progresses right – maybe the week after that, not for sure – but we will take the protocol with him. It was good to see him out there, and the guys did a good job welcoming him back. He had a good day."

On the message of asking if the team believes:

"The big thing is it is a catchphrase, and it was an instinctive word at that time and the things are probably the most listened to are things that in the moment, and you catch the moment right. It was great to see them rise up and believe we can play that kind of a football game, and that kind of a football game is in that locker room. It does not make any difference if I say that or you say that; they have to say it. They have to believe it."

On what the Browns missed while Mitchell was injured:

"The big thing is he was playing pretty well. He was really playing well in a lot of our man-to-man stuff and did well in some of the match ups that we were doing moving around. I think as a group that group in the back end has moved ahead a lot this year. As we were battling a lot of things last year, that was an area that (General Manager) John Dorsey and his crew came in and we had a lot of competition coming into this year. It has been a really good area back there for the next man up. When he was playing, he was playing very well at the time and playing winning football in some close games, but at his position, he was playing very well."

On the high-scoring Chiefs-Rams Monday Night Football game:

"One of the things that brought a smile to my face is – I do not know if you guys saw (ESPN analyst) Ryan Clark talking a lot yesterday. He is on your side in the media (laughter). I signed him out of obscurity. When he played for me at the Redskins – I used to say this a lot, I bet he said this 100 times yesterday – is that it set defense back 100 years. That was his catchphrase and that is just something that we have always felt. I have had the luxury of coaching every area of football, whether it be offense, defense or special teams. It was an exciting game to watch, but from a defensive perspective, you do not like that going up and down the field, but you did see some great defensive plays, too. Another smile to my face – I do not know if you guys have gone back and found any of the criticisms I took when I had the audacity to want to draft (Rams DL) Aaron Donald in the first round because he was not a good enough player from measurable or whatever – he is playing pretty well. It was interesting to see some of the things that he was doing in the game it brought a smile on my face there. It was an exciting game for the league, a lot of things going on, and the other thing I thought about in that game is how dynamic Kansas City is with five turnovers, giving up two defensive scores and still in the game with a field goal separation. It kind of tells you some of the teams we played this year and some of the weapons that some of these teams have and where football is going."

On if the Chiefs-Rams game is an indication of the future of the NFL:

"I would say this, typically, in all of the years there has been styles to play like that in other years. Go back to the Rams' years when they were doing a great job with (former NFL Head Coach) Coach Dick Vermeil and everyone back then. People catch up, people move around and then the athletic awareness of what you have to have on your individual team to be able to play in space and then can you as a team restrict some of those space issues. Both of those teams defensively did not restrict enough space, but they made some plays too when they had to make them. Both sides of the ball, they made some good plays, and I am close and good friends with both of them (Chiefs defensive coordinator) Bob Sutton and (Rams defensive coordinator) Wade Phillips, and I am glad it was them and not me."

On preparing for Bengals WR A.J. Green, given his status is uncertain and he may return this week:

"Yes, and we started that in our preparation. Some of early things we discussed last week when we hit the ground running on Sunday again this week, we anticipated him playing understand how they go about using him and those types of things. He has a lot of film. We are expecting him to be fresh."

On Green's consistent success:

"He is very athletic, and he has that body type with size, speed, strength, quickness and great hands. The quarterback and him also have a synergy back and forth, but he is able to separate from man coverage. He has been able to go up and get the ball with his height and his length, and his speed is rare."

On the next step for QB Baker Mayfield's development:

"Each day we talk a little bit about this is that it is a day of feel. It is a day of experience. It is a day of anticipation. The more you play – when you go back and talk to any of the real, real, real good ones – sometimes they can't tell you why they know what they know in anticipation. I tease the guys all the time is can you tell the difference between anticipation and guessing? Anticipation is right guesses, and if you are afraid to guess, you are going to have a hard time catching up in this league. From those things, that just comes from more time on task. When I look back on all of those guys, I think (former Broncos and Colts QB) Peyton Manning is one of the better guys to speak about that if you go back and pick some of the things that you have seen him say about those types of things. That just comes from the more time you put into it and the more time you have a chance to experience it." 

On if he has previously been a part of a team with three potential rookie of the year candidates:

"No. I would tell you this, it speaks volumes for right kind of people, and we were right as an organization, as a scouting department and as a coaching department on taking a look at those guys, and those are the kind of guys that we wanted in here. They have fit in well early on. Back in training camp or minicamp, I talked about how fast some of these guys have fit into the locker room that are rookies or one-year players. In the old days, it took a while for any young player to fit into the locker room. This is a young team anyway so maybe that helped a little bit, but they belong and that has been good."

On the importance of leading the league in takeaways, given the Browns currently rank second:

"It is very important and have been blessed to be able to do it a few times. It is probably if not the No. 1 thing we emphasize from April 14th on, it is in the top two. That comes from emphasizing it, but it also comes from your ability to do it. Especially in catching the ball, guys who have never caught it their whole life probably are not going to catch it at this level either. We have improved some of those people. The other thing is how we have improved in the pocket on our sack and strip opportunities there. We have some guys that out in space, even though the ball has been caught or has been run, that have the ability to focus on the ball and punch balls out, and cause fumbles and fumble recoveries. We can't do it enough. We have to continue to do it as much as we can, and we have to score with some of the things on defense, too, like you saw on Monday night. You have to turn some of those things into points on the board or shorter fields for the offense and the special teams to finish with scoring opportunities."

On Bengals RB Joe Mixon:

"I see a more experienced player there, too. He had our respect last year. He is able to lower his pads and run with power. As patient as he was last year, we see the patience in him this year as a runner. Would not say that there are similarities between him and (Steelers RB Le'Veon) Bell from Pittsburgh, but you will see some things on how he will search out the back end of a run. He will be pressing it front side, and then all of a sudden, he comes out the back of it. His patience and instinctiveness have grown. That comes from more time, more time in the feel of the pro game and the feel of experience with his blocking people on what they are trying to do. That is a top priority on how we go about playing this game is our ability to minimize his effectiveness in the game."

On OL JC Tretter having a sustained ankle injury yet practicing at times and playing every offensive snap in games:

"He is practicing in every week. He gets game-type speed stuff during the week. He is one of those guys, if you have a chance to take a look at him in the meetings or take a look at him on the field, you would think that he has taken every snap [in practice]. He is actively engaged in everything. Plus, he is a smart guy. He is smart anyway, but when he is not taking the physical rep, he puts himself through the whole mental process. He is back there, even in the group, and you would think that even he is a coach – just like Schobes (LB Joe Schobert) was when Schobes was not practicing. The body does not know if the mind is active on taking that rep and playing that play. He has done a good job with that, but they still need full-speed reps before they get the chance to get back out there on gameday. I have a smile on my face when I mention this one because he will hear his name in the interview – a guy that is in the Hall of Fame that I saw as an offensive lineman at the end of his career after 13 knee surgeries is (Steelers offensive line coach) Mike Munchak. Mike Munchak his last year when we were at the Oilers, his last year he practiced on eight Fridays and I think that the other 10 – because we were in the playoffs that year, and advanced quite a ways in the playoffs – he did not practice until Saturdays. At the end of his career, he could do that. He was such a sharp, active, engaged person that he was able to do that. I have shared some of those stories with some of the other guys here on that kind of stuff. That is what you have to do."

On the most passionate rivalry in the NFL:

"Wow, I have been a part of a lot of them. I would hate to say [one] and denounce anybody, but there are a lot of them. Some of these guys have grown up in college ball, too, and the college [rivlaries]. I would hate to go ahead and say it – one of the things that was really big in the time that I was at Washington was the Washington-Dallas one. Every division has them. We have them here. Every single division has them. It is special. It is special for the fans. The teams turn over so fast anymore. It is like college – 37 percent of your guys graduate and move on almost every single year. From a player's perspective, it is probably not as dominant as it was back before free agency when you had those guys all of those years in a row and they did not change teams when I first started coaching. For the fans, it was huge. When I was at Buffalo, (Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coaches) Marv Levy and Don Shula used to fight and go after it in Buffalo and Miami. When I went up there, wow. Down there, we opened the season down there and we tried to get them up here late in the year so that they would have to play in the cold. Those rivalries were huge, too, and they are fun."

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