"It will be interesting to see their mood when you get in there in the locker room. They were rocking and rolling at practice today. There was a lot of competition. There was a lot of jabbering going on back and forth in a positive, fun way, a competing way. Do not be shocked if they are still talking when you get in there this afternoon."
On if he can sense how teams will perform based on the practice week:
"I will tell you this, I get more of a sense if practice is bad when Sundays are bad. What we do with every single meeting, every single practice, every single walkthrough when we are doing it the right way, then we are not surprised on how Sundays are. Those are the things that they have bought into and have done a very good job. To be quite truthful, it is hard for me not to say that everything has improved day by day by day. Today might have been the best that I have seen them do. Now, we just have to take it to the next day, take it to Sunday and be ready to roll."
On Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins' ability while not necessarily getting the deserved national attention:
"We talked about the very same thing in our staff meetings and then with our install meetings with our players. He is extremely competitive, extremely physical, an extremely hard-nosed, really good football player. He makes plays that are not there because of his will power and because of his want to compete. He is a pretty good athlete on top of all that. There is a good synergy between him and the quarterback. We understand that when (Texans QB) Deshaun (Watson) is in some type of a mode of we have broken the pocket down or something has changed in the coverage, he is still going to look for him. He has put him into some difficult situations at times, and DeAndre has come up with the ball. Those are all confidence things that are built between each other."
On what another win on the road could do for the Browns against a talented Texans team:
"The big thing is that a win is a win, in the respect of we are not going to discount any type of a win and that we have to build off of wins. Hopefully, we are building in the right way. We have presented every team that we have played in a very favorable and in a very good, competitive format. This week, we have had no problems getting our players' attention on how good they are. They see the film, too. They are playing very well. We have to take it up a notch. We have to play and perform and produce in the right way."
On what makes Texans DE J.J. Watt great:
"His physical skillset, his power, his quickness is good. Then on top of that, what separates the really premier players is their instincts. There are times I am sure he can't tell you why he knew what was getting ready to happen. I have been blessed to coach a lot of players that way. Another really good one at the defensive line, defensive tackle and end positon, (Rams DT) Aaron Donald can't tell you that same thing. I would talk to him constantly about that. I saw him in college do that a lot before we ever had the chance to coach him. J.J. does a very good job of seeing more than just the obvious, and then, his power, his strength and his quickness all aid into now can you slow him down once he has guessed right. He does guess, but more times right than wrong."
On preparing for the Texans DL:
"Those are things that you have to do from an overall protection standpoint. Those are things that the quarterback has to do at times, too. Understanding the position, sometimes we have to do some things that are a little bit off kilter as far as the timing of things and then we can possibly add some extra into the protection at times. You have to win your one on ones – have to do a good job with that – and they have to work in sync as an offense. You can't just have one guy responsible for something like that. It has to be in sync as an offense."
On philosophy on starters practicing against starters at this point in the season:
"I have always been teased about the fact that anybody that makes the team is a starter at this level in all honesty. What we do is we say 'good on good' as much as you can. I do believe that is vital. It is not just this time of the year. It is all of the time of the year. That is how you get better. For instance, at the end of training camp, when you talk about evaluating some of the guys that, are they going to make your team or not? If you as a coach and we as a staff have not put them in against people that are going to make other teams and all of a sudden we are evaluating them on guys who are going to get cut anyway or are out on the streets, same thing here, now. We are going to get ready to play against guys who belong in the league. They have to practice against those kinds of things, too. One of the things that we have adjusted in the practice schedule – you guys are not out there – is that we have competition periods every day. We start with a competition, and we end with one or two competition periods. It does not have anything to do with the Texans. It is about competing. Yesterday, it was fun to see (QB) Baker (Mayfield) take it to another level on a couple of things. Even today, the competition bled back over from yesterday. It was interesting, and it was fun to see them do that. You know that you got them. You know that they are getting better when that kind of energy and that kind of execution was taking place yesterday and today."
On an example of a competition period:
"We will have a blitz period. We will have a red zone period. We will have a fourth down period. We will have a special situation period where we will create situations at the end of the game. We have been doing better with that. We do that every day. We have some type of an end of the game or end of the half type of situations. It is offense versus defense. You are both in it so how do you handle it? How we grade it among the staff and how we grade it among the players, you can see the learning curve accelerating in that. We are not shocked when we are in those situations because we have been going over them and over them and over them."
On determining how much a mobile QB should run while still protecting them from hits:
"It is a fine line. It really is. I really do think that it goes to the individual player. There are certain players that it is part of their game and why they are getting the chance to play at this level. Then as a coach, schematically, you are trying to decrease the hits, decrease the labor that you are putting on those guys. I think (Texans Head Coach) Bill (O'Brien) has done that. There is a definite shift from last year to this year in those functions and those areas. He is still a really good athlete. Even though maybe some of the designed runs are decreased a little bit, he has scrambled maybe 40-plus, 50-plus times this year. When I say scramble, [it is] for positive yardage. That does not mean all of the scrambles that he ends up throwing the ball away or gets sacked. He still has his mobility. He still has been doing a really good job with that. That is going to be a big part of the game on how we minimize the escape-ability that he has."
On accounting for Watson and Texans RB Lamar Miller in the running game:
"It does make a big difference. I will do this, I will also say it is the same thing with Baker and (RB Nick) Chubb because Baker can extend plays very well, too. He has done a very good job with that and has been somewhat of a pain for other people to deal with. At times, it has been a pain for us in practice. Today, he had a couple of really good extended plays in practice today where it is not something that you can draw up as a coach; it is what you feel as a player. He is able to do those things and so can Deshaun."
On how LB Joe Schobert has improved since last season:
"In almost every facet of the game, he improved, and he was the only one of them at the Pro Bowl there last year. Not a lot of people thought that he could play. I take that personally. I can't tell you how proud I was of how much he matured and how well he played from start to finish. He made a lot of drastic improvement really the last half of the year – the last quarter of the year was a lot, lot. What he did in the offseason, I shake my head that I do not know that I have had maybe any other player spend that much time mentally into the game and understand all of the little nuances of an opponent. As he learned what we were doing defensively – I say this to coaches all of the time, and I say this to players all of the time – you need to know what the other side of the ball is doing. When you know as much about what the other side of the ball is doing, now you really have an advantage. He has taken tremendous strides in his offensive understanding – concepts, calls, checks, alignments, tips and alerts. I can't tell you how much he babysits for – I tell him all of the time – me and other players when he gets out onto the field. The story goes back to this: as an old time quarterback, then all of a sudden an offensive coach and then I got a chance to move over to defensive coaching in (former Redskins Head Coach) George Allen's system when I got a chance to work for (former University of Houston Head Coach) Jack Pardee and a very detailed and successful, very reputable system of defense. One of the things when I first started doing that, I was shaking my head all of the time thinking, 'How come the offense always has final say? For what reason? Now, we have to do what they are telling us to do?' We were in this, but there were not hardly any check systems at all in that. Then (former NFL defensive coordinator) Buddy Ryan came along. Every single thing that we did defensively was a check. When (former NFL Head Coach) Jeff Fisher then said, 'OK, now you are in charge of this' because we had to do some drastic things differently once free agency came about because you did not have guys for eight, nine, 10 years on carry over and you had a set of new players every year that you are trying to get all of this stuff done to, had to hybridize the check system. We are probably defensively as much of a check system in the league as anybody. That is only effective if the guy can handle it and you do not burden the guy that handles it. Right now, I can't give him enough. He is asking for more. He is asking for more. He has made a lot of strides in that area (points to head), and then I think it lets him cut it loose and shows how much athleticism that he has. Then next step is taking the ball away again more. He had some great takeaways earlier in the year where he understood where the ball was going before anybody else understood where the ball was going. He has made a lot of progress."
On what Schobert showed while recovering from injury:
"I saw the same competitive, unbelievable competition on wanting to be faster than whatever the prognosis was or whatever the diagnosis was and there he was going to come back faster. The thing that he did was he did not let the mind sleep. We gave him coaching responsibilities, and with what we were doing with installation, how he was breaking the opponent down, how he was presenting the opponent to other players in the room and how he was coaching on the practice field every day, he kept his mind sharp. Sometimes when you are down for a little bit of time, you come back and it is a shock to get back into the verbiage and to get back into the speed of things. It was not any shock because he was doing it every single day in practice, and that helped him a lot."
On what makes the Texans unique:
"The unique parts of it, every single team poses some really good things on that. The big thing is that just from the competition of the matchups – we see the same matchups – as far as we have been going through a bunch of that right now defensively on the opponent offense. It has carried over into our offense having the matchup understandings and how we have to schematically help a little bit and balance some of those matchups. The special teams, each and every week you have to be able to do a good job in limiting the space and playing the field position game but really, really restricting the space. (Special teams coordinator) Amos (Jones) has done a really good job of doing that, and I think our guy shave responded well to that."
On if the Browns live tackling in practice:
"What we do is we do not go live as far as to the ground. The contact is live, and then the speed of some of the drills things set up, we tackle every day. It does not make a difference if we are in shorts. If we have a helmet on, we tackle every day. Some of it is bag work. Most of the day, most every day, there is some type of body work, but we do not take them to the ground. We just have to make sure we are in the right form and responsibility so they will go to the ground on game day."
On if WR Jarvis Landry is producing as much as he should:
"Right now, he is fitting in very well, and I will tell you this, his production as a leader has been outstanding, too, on the things of how we are trying to make sure the versatility of everybody on the formations we are putting out there and also making sure the predictions of other teams' defenses on what you think we are going to do. A large part of the success right now is we have been breaking some tendencies, and he is doing a really good job of helping us do that."