"We gave them yesterday off. Got back real late, about 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning. They got a chance to recover a little bit. We brought the guys in that needed the rehab and needed some of the things to get done. It was pretty cool to see a bunch of other ones that were here, too. They are a calming influence of when they come into the building they enjoy being around each other. An awful lot of them were here yesterday. Today has been a good day. It is always better after a really solid team win. It was good to see them step into an atmosphere on a Saturday night game at Denver. That is always a pretty cool place to play. In my history, that was probably the warmest it has ever been in December when I have been up there in playoff games and all of that kind of stuff, too. The guys played very, very well. A very had fought game but a very good team game. One of the things that we talked about in the team meeting was how all three phases complimented each other and did a really good job of understanding that in order to win close games, you have to be a team. The other thing that we talked about really quickly in the team meeting was that we have had the opportunity to win a couple of games by multiple scores and we have had a couple of games we have lost by multiple scores, but we have had this opportunity the past couple of weeks to win by one score or less. Winning close games comes down to doing it as a team. You win everything as a team, whether it is by multiple [scores] or anything, but it was a good emphasis for them to see of how everybody has to do their job, be on cue with everything and be on point with everything. It was a really good meeting. Now, we are in there doing all of the corrections from the past game and then we will get a jumpstart on the Bengals today. Most if not all of them will be back in here tomorrow, even on their day off. We have a procedure that those guys get ahead, and they do a great job of getting ahead before we ever come back in here on Wednesday."
On what Sunday's when showed as it relates to the team's growth:
"It is another step, and it is another validated step, meaning that until you do it, you can't feel it. Now they feel it, which is good."
On calling a timeout prior to the fourth down attempt late in the fourth quarter:
"The timeout, I wish that I could have had it [back], but there was a little bit of confusion at that point in time on what play we were going to call. We were going to go for it no matter what. That is the only way that you have total control of getting the first down, take a knee and it is over with. I explained that to our team. It will be good for you to ask our team. We just went through a long process in there of how you win special situation games. I have been a part of the games many years ago when the league started understanding of how you let somebody score to get back into it. I did that at the Redskins back when (Chiefs Head Coach) Andy (Reid) was at the Philadelphia Eagles when we let (former Eagles RB) Brian Westbrook score. We got back in the game and had a chance to go. Then a couple of years later, Brian pops one on us there at the Redskins, takes a knee at the half-yard line and they were able to close the game out. The most important thing is that even on that third down play, that third down play is a down-down situation, meaning that you do not want to score. You want to get the first down – 100 percent, totally on your side now, now take a knee and the game is over. No timeouts. Whether you kick a field goal, whether you score a touchdown, you have to go for two, whether you are not going to go for two. All of those things come into it. We needed to impose our will with a young team. It was a great way for a confidence booster for our team. Now, we have to get better in that situation, and we will continue to get better in those situations on how you win. Less than a yard, we also have some things that we have turned in on was that a first down or not. When you take a look at the spot of the ball, and we have some great pictures upstairs that we have passed on that show that possibly it was a first down. In that situation for a young team – and it is my call – with a young team is impose your will, have total control of the win, take a knee and after the first down the game is over."
On if the reason for the timeout call was confusion:
"I thought there was still some things on the play call. What we were are trying to do is make sure that everything is calm for our guys to line up and do it."
On if it is clear QB Baker Mayfield is the team's QB of the future:
"No doubt in my mind. No doubt in my mind."
On confidence in Mayfield:
"I have been around a lot of really, really good ones. I have been around ones that are not. I have been around guys as rookies and as veterans. This is not an easy position to play. In my personal opinion, it is if not the hardest but one of the most professionally hardest positions to play in any sport in any professional sport with the speed that goes on at this level. The young man has it. Each and every week, there are things that are just abundantly clear to how he handles stress, how he handles confusion and how he handles dysfunction. To be really good, you have to be a master of dysfunction. The best ones that I have been around handle that and do a great job with it. He has done very well. Each week is a learning experience. We can practice, we can meet and we can do everything we want, but you have to be able to learn from the games and learn from the experience at full speed. He does a great job with that."
On if Mayfield has appeared to be struggling with his accuracy recently:
"No. He is fine. In my opinion, he is fine."
On if the team's playoff scenarios were addressed in the team meeting:
"That will be on Wednesday, but one of the things that we do is that we are looking at every week. Every game is important. We can't control those other factors, but we can control who we are, how we are going about doing it. Do not have excuses. Control who we are. We are treating each and every week as that opportunity."
On how to potentially top having former Lakers star Kobe Bryant speak to the team:
"He did a really good job. It was fun to see their reaction when he came into the room because he means a lot to those guys. I have said this, and hopefully it starts to become even more of a reality – I really do not believe in one voice, but I do believe in one message. The message can have as many voices as possible when it is the same way. Sometimes a different person like that that means a ton to these young guys, it was perfect timing. Nobody knew about it. I appreciate that. One of his coaches, he has had several – but one of his coaches is a good friend of mine, (Pro Basketball Hall of Fame Coach) Phil Jackson. He and I go back to several different experiences together. He came in and good timing to have these young men after he delivered his message just open it up and just talk. The fun thing was for me to stand off to the side and see how focused and attentive everybody was in the room on everything that came out of his mouth. That was pretty cool. They were even talking about some things on the sideline at the end of the game, in the locker room at the end of the game and today I heard some things where they are shooting things back to me. 'Did you hear this? Coach, did you hear him say this?' Those are the fun things about it. It was a great message, and I appreciate his message."
On the most interesting elements of Bryant's message:
"The big thing is that it is not easy to be special. It is not easy to be looked at as one of the best of all time. One of the things and messages that we talk about all of the time is how can you be that person if you can't be the best of who you are? Sometimes we accept things on a particular day. That is not how you be the best of all time. You have to be the best of who you are, who you are genetically blessed to be and then let everything fall where they fall. He did a great job of making sure in understanding that it does not make any difference if it is a pick-up game, if it is an argument or if it is a championship game, Kobe is going to win. That is his thought process. That is not easy to be that way all of the time. Sometimes you do it in a way that is offensive, but other times, it is in a very, very leadership way. Leadership comes from example first and voice second. You have to be able to set the example first. He has that documented so now the voice is pretty easy to listen to."
On if he thinks about wanting to retain the Browns head coaching role more as the team continues to win games:
"In all honesty, I do not think it is fair to the players or to anybody here. The most important thing is making sure that these guys understand how we continue to win and how we get ready for the Bengals. Really. When they see the mindset is that way, that is the way that my mindset has always been. We will talk about that at the end."
On if each win strengthens his case to retain the head coaching position:
"I will never apologize, I love to win (laughter). I will never apologize. I am a competition-aholic. I stay away from a lot of things but I do not stay away from competition. I am not afraid of that at any point in time."
On if he has the 'head coaching bug' now:
"I love what I do. I really do. I love the fact that for my entire life I have had the opportunity at whatever level to be a captain, quarterback, pitcher, point guard – it does not make any difference – to head coach, to assistant coach. When you are the head of a department or when you are the head of a position group, when you are all of a sudden in charge, you have to be in charge. It ramps up at each level you go to. I am not afraid of that."
On the Browns' 4-2 record in the past six games:
"Those two, I do not like. Those two that are losses, those are irritating. We have to continue to do everything that we can to eliminate those, too. We talked about that today, too. That was not who we were. At the time, maybe there was a little bit of doubt, but when I said that today, there were nods. There were nods in the room. That is good when those young men see that. They have had some really good opportunities. Another thing that we said in the room and we passed out the game balls and stuff is that (P Britton) Colquitt got one of them. I always love teasing punters and kickers because I have been a special teams coordinator, too. You see that we have the most number of inside the 20 punts in the history of the Cleveland Browns. That is not easy to do. That is what you have to do when you are playing a team game, a field positon every blade of grass type of game. When your punter gets that, it is huge on how you win very close games. It is good to see that out of those guys."
On Mayfield's development this season and how it will benefit him next year:
"The playing time, you can't replace. You really can't replace actual game speed playing time. That will be good. Once we get to next year, we will think about that. In all honesty, the great thing about the young man is that he is strutting, walking up and down the hallway talking about the Bengals today. He is all of a sudden to everybody else in the room, 'Let's not forget about what is up for this week.' When that is coming out of your guy's mouth that is doing the most talking during the game anyway because he is calling the plays… (LB Joe) Schobert is that way, too. You guys do not see behind the scenes all of the things that he does behind the scenes on the meetings that he will have when the coaches get done today with different position groups and the meetings that he will have tomorrow minus the coaches being around. You have two pretty good guys right now playing quarterback on each side of the ball. We have to continue to build off of that."
On if he needs to focus on keeping intensity and motivation high with the team, given the decreased chance of a playoff berth:
"That is a good questions, and please take this in context: If I have to worry about that, we have the wrong people. People do not understand that when you ask about motivation and you ask about intensity, we are inside of the white lines; let's roll. If that becomes a factor, the most important thing that I have to do is recommend to the people upstairs that guy does not belong."
On the type of feedback that he has received from General Manager John Dorsey:
"Good. He and I meet and talk every day. We have done that from really since he got in here last year. He searched me out right when he got here last year because he and I go so far back in the league, and helping him transition into last year, I was a voice in the room. Like I have told you guys, nobody has asked me for the pictures that I have on him (laughter). He just wants to make sure I do not post those pictures so we have that conversation every day (laughter). No, I am just kidding you. There are times of every day that we do it. It is good that he understands so much about the actual instincts of playing the game, the instincts of calling the game and the instincts of motivating people. We are good with that."
On if motivating players has been one of his strengths this year as head coach:
"I believe all good players want to be taught or coached, motivated and inspired – everybody does – but then when the motivation and inspiring thing becomes way too primary, it is once again why are you here? It is our job to get everybody on the same page, treat everybody the same way and hold everyone accountable, and it starts with me first. I have to be the same accountable, say what I mean and mean what I say and first one here, last one to leave. I learned this a long time ago too is being on time. Be on time tells everybody exactly right. When people are not on time, maybe it is because of one of two things I tell these guys: either it is not important to you or you think you are important than everybody else. That does not work in this league. It does not work so that is why I am the first one in the meeting room. Nobody is waiting on me, and we have to get ready to roll."
On what the Browns have to do to be an elite team next year:
"Those will be really good things that we will talk about when it comes to the offseason, but right now, we really have to be dedicated and focused on this next game."
On helping Browns players gain a sense of belief in the team:
"I really believe the word and why I used it – I think I said this back several weeks ago too – is to be calming. Get rid of the distractions. Belief is a feel, and once you feel it, you truly believe it and now we move on. We just had to eliminate some distractions and get on about our job and don't be afraid to do our job every single day. Come in with that mindset. They have done a very good job with that and that was one of the reasons we had that context of belief."
On the team's confidence building each week:
"I see it every day when they are on time in the meetings. I see it every day with how we go about practicing and competing. I see it every day with attention in the locker room, attention on gameday and attention on the sideline. It just builds, builds and builds. It is not easy to do at this level, but you can do it and you just have to continue to walk the line and believe what you say and say what you mean, and everybody else follows when the right people are in place."
On if the last six games has flipped the Browns past 'losing culture':
"I would say that our guys understand there is a good young team in there. We have to continue to focus on week after week after week on don't look ahead. Do not look ahead. That is when things start to maybe become more distractions that we were just talking about. Take it for what it is."
On Browns players who he hopes will be named to the Pro Bowl:
"I love all of those things with our guys, and we will see. I really have not had the time to think about. I have not looked at rankings and I have not looked at all that kind of stuff so we will see how it is tomorrow. I think I have said to you before is that I really take it to heart when – I have had the opportunity of many, many times for a lot of years – when you see those guys that come out undrafted and have earned their spot every single day, and all of a sudden they have moved up a few years into the profession and then they make the Pro Bowl, those are pretty cool. I always try to see which one of those kind of guys they are. Love those individual things; that is fine, but the team stuff is the most primary thing that we have to look forward to. It is about team goals."
On the Browns taking pride in only allowing one sack against the Texans' and Broncos' talented pass rushers:
"Yes. We do as a team, yes. It shows us once again that young men in that locker room belong. It does show the young men in that locker room that maybe we know a little bit about what to do in coaching, too."
On DB Denzel Ward's status for Sunday:
"He is still in the protocol but is moving in a positive fashion. We will see, and I will know a little bit more at the end of the day but feel good about it."
On if the Browns would have kicked a PAT or attempted a 2-point conversion if it scored a TD on its final drive:
"Those are questions that we don't have to worry about (laughter). If they go down-down, I do not put my foot in some place where they don't need to have it (laughter). Then I would have to make that decision, but the thing is down-down and I think they will all tell you about that is down-down."
On Mayfield's pre-snap adjustments prior to the TD pass to WR Antonio Callaway:
"Pretty doggone good, and it was him. That is outstanding, and it can't be that simple. It can't be that simple. We do the same thing and there is so much of the game that you don't see that (LB Joe) Schobert does the same thing. Schobert made so many different little bitty plays in the game that were similar to that. Without giving away too much – I probably am by saying this – but the end of the game walk-off, (DB) Jabrill Peppers made the same type of on-field adjustment that Baker Mayfield did on that touchdown to win the game for us. Those are the things that I learned from (former NFL Head Coach) Buddy Ryan and then when I got placed in charge to start giving players some decisions. I am not afraid to give players that type of power on the field as long as they do what I tell them to do. Jabrill Peppers made a tremendous adjustment to the play call because of what he knew they were going to do. It is still the same play, but what does the offense do? That is what Baker did. We had the play call boom, he saw what they were in. It does not make any difference what (offensive coordinator) Freddie (Kitchens) and I think, it is what Baker sees and that is another step that you have to have, and the big time guys do that all of the time. From (Saints QB) Drew (Brees) to (Pro Football Hall of Fame QB) Warren Moon to (former Titans QB) Steve McNair to all the different people that I have been around – (Pro Football Hall of Fame QB) Joe Montana, (former Colts QB) Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning used to have three play calls in his helmet, and then he could get rid of all three and do what he wanted to do once he saw something like that, and that is what Baker did."