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Press Conference

Gregg Williams press conference - 12/19

Opening statement:

"Good to get back to work today. Guys came in good. It is nice to see that a couple of the young guys got some recognition last night in the Pro Bowl, which is kind of cool .The guys were congratulating that. As the team gets better, there are more guys on that roster that also can get some credit. That usually goes to how you are winning, how you are doing as a team and the recognition kind of goes that way. I have been fortunate enough to be on some teams where we had eight or nine – think nine a couple of years. We just have to keep on going with that. The guys appreciated and recognized those guys and then we got onto business.

"Had a good day out there today. Our grounds crew is amazing out there that takes care of our fields and stuff – as good as any I have ever been around. We had to fight through some of that at Denver. The field was not very nice in the middle of the field. I do not know if you saw the game and if you have a chance to go back and look at how many guys were losing their footing in the middle of the field. It just made me think about what good of a job our guys do our here because our guys had a good practice. When you are on the ground, it is not good."

On if the number of Pro Bowl selections leads to motivation for a team:

"As anything, there are personal goals and there are individual goals. One more thing that we talked about today was that it highlights how important the team is. You want more than the team. It highlights as we talk about the team success. When the team has success, then you look for more reasons why there must be more guys. It is nice to see it get started, but we have to continue to get better."

On DB Denzel Ward returning to practice:

"Had a good practice. He was peppy. He ought to be. He was fresh. It was good to see him back out there. Last week in the meetings, it was good, too, but everything seems to be fine."

On Ward being selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie:

"That is a huge accomplishment for him. It will be a great learning experience for him, but now he has to get on to the Bengals, too. He has to focus on the Bengals and worry about that later on."

On keeping the message of winning each day and each meeting fresh with the team:

"When I have keep it fresh, I have the wrong people around me. When guys at this level get the opportunity to get to this level and how special it is to be at this level, you have to understand that what I say is fine, but you have to do it yourself, too. Our guys understand that. There is somebody wanting to sit in your seat all of the time. You have to compete every single day. Every day is an interview. They do a good job with that."

On if Bengals special assistant to the head coach and former Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson returning to Cleveland was addressed in the team meeting:

"No. In all honesty, we are playing the Bengals. He has a lot of good friendships here. He is good friends with me, too, but we have to play the Bengals. Unless he is going to go out there and take a few snaps and a few reps, then I have to go back and do some really old scouting report stuff and pick up some college film (laughter)."

On if he spoke with General Manager John Dorsey about each defensive player on the roster when Dorsey joined the team:

"I answered the questions he asked. That is a good question. When you are around somebody else that belongs, there is no need for unnecessary conversation. He and I are pretty good about that. The things he asks me about, I am bluntly honest. The things I ask him about, he is bluntly honest. It is not political at all. It is honesty. Sure, we talked about certain things."

On the Browns establishing a winning culture at FirstEnergy Stadium this season:

"We emphasize it from the time we start every offseason program – April 14 this year. It is on our board. It is on our walls when they come into the room. It is something that they look at every single day. You have to do a good job at home. You have to do a good job in you division. You have to do a good job every week. The big emphasis is defending you home stadium, playing in your home stadium and doing that. Obviously, when you are doing that, your home field advantage becomes strong. I have been places where – I think that I have told you before – defensively when you are playing at home, the coach to middle linebacker communication is working fine, but they cannot hear me. There is no way. We have to do all kinds of other ways to get it in there because the home crowd is rocking and rolling and enjoying the games, too. Part of getting the excitement in the crowd and the excitement at home is you have to play well, and you have to keep on doing that."

On the crowd expected at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday:

"Hopefully, it is good. It has been really good since I have been here. That is one of the things that has been impressive that we talk about with our team. We talk about the responsibility, especially that we have defensively, on getting those guys behind us. They are supposed to be quiet when (QB) Baker (Mayfield) is out there, but when the other team is out there, we are supposed to be rocking and rolling. That is how well you are playing on defense and how competitive you are in the game. Expect it to be good."

On if he believed LB Joe Schobert was having a Pro Bowl caliber season:

"Yeah, I really did, but it goes to show about when you miss four games, that is hard. Other people maybe some of the people that do not get the chance to actually see you play, maybe all that they look at is the statistics or the percentage of plays played and that kind of stuff. It all goes into it. He is a competitive young man, and he has had a very good year. I think I said it a little bit the other day about what an unbelievable game he had from a quarterback perspective on defense this past game on some of the checks and stuff that he was doing and getting everybody else to play well. He played pretty well, too."

On factors of DL Myles Garrett's Pro Bowl season this year compared to last year:

"14 games – the fact that you are playing all of the games. You also have to learn how to do that in all honesty in how you understand the forest fire that you are playing in there as a lineman, offensive and defensive lineman in the core and stuff. His just raw speed and power, everybody sees that. It is only going to get better the more experience he has on being able to make some instantaneous decisions and then can we also help on getting – we have done a better job of it this year – of getting the quarterback to hold onto the ball a little bit longer. One of the things that came out this last week – I do not know if you track it – but we track every week as part of our gameplan on snap to release of a quarterback, the ratio and the speed and all of that stuff. We drastically affected (Broncos QB) Case Keenum and what he has been averaging all year long and then playing against us. The fact that we were able to have that kind of a pocket presence on how fast it was coming out, it was a pretty good deal."

On if Garrett is providing the Browns intensity:

"Myles is a good football player. Myles is a good football player."

On DL Emmanuel Ogbah's contributions that do not show up statistically:

"One of the things he did this week again is he got another one of those hardhats that we pass out on doing the dirty work and on doing all of the grunt work, doing all of the work that knocks the ball into different places and occupying space. He plays multiple positions. The comfort level that I have on being able to have him doing so many different things. He has a really strong season, a good season, too, especially bouncing back from a couple of the injuries that he has had."

On if the defense gets a confidence boost by playing against a backup QB

"Everybody at this level deserves a chance. If you are at this level, I have said this many times and I do not know if everybody else believes it, but I do not think that there are any backups at this level. If you are starting, you are starting. If you earn a spot to be on a team, just having and being on 53-man roster, the accomplishment that is and now, it is time to play. We have to play."

On if there are challenges getting a team ready to play when facing an opponent it previously defeated:

"There really should be no challenge in that because you have the wrong people when all of a sudden that becomes a challenge. No. There are changes and different kinds of things that we have seen them do to suit some of the people that they are playing now that they have had some injuries. They have had some other guys come back from injuries on both sides of the ball. No. It is so competitive this week that it is a challenge to win every week no matter who you are playing. There is no homecoming games. We have to play. We have to be on our mark no matter who we play."

On the significance of potentially sweeping an AFC North rival:

"The division is a big part of it. That is another thing that is on that wall in there. We want to make sure that our presence is felt in the division. It is important. Yes."

On helping a young player transition to tackling properly to avoid injury, including in reference to Ward:

"The big thing is that it is the repetitive communication, the repetitive action in practice and then the repetitive action in the game and the consequences that you have to understand about 'Hey, make a better decision.' He has. He has come a long way from playing at a high level in college and then being able to be thrown right into the wolves right now at this level. He really has had a strong season. I see a lot of strong seasons, but he has to do it right now. He has to get ready for this weekend. Be it somewhat similar too is I mentioned this when Mitch (DB Terrance Mitchell) came back after eight weeks. He has to get back into it. One of the things that I needed to see in practice today was getting back into it – no gliding and stuff. He was very sharp today. That helps because at this level, there is no just comfortable, easy, kind of gliding type of game. You have to get ready to go."

On the Browns as a young team over the past two years:

"It was one of the reasons I came here. It was a good young team. I think I mentioned that to you before. Why I bypassed some of the other opportunities and came here was that there were a bunch of good young guys that I was trying to get at the teams that I was on. It was the (Los Angeles) Rams, in particular. That can be a pro or can be a con. I see it as a pro right here when you have the right young guys. You have a chance to grow together."

On if facing Bengals QB Jeff Driskel in the second half of the last game is beneficial to this week's preparation:

"Some of that preparation is really good because of the experience on hand and then it becomes even more because you have a minimal amount of experience during that game but then the games after that. Yes, our scouting report goes to those types of games on what we are watching him do."

On OL Joel Bitonio's contributions to the Browns OL:

"He has done very well. He is extremely tough, very smart and he has had a solid season. He really has. A lot of those guys that were alternates, you will see a lot of those guys get a chance to go ahead and go. That is one of the things that has evolved in the league since I started so long ago. Nobody missed it, especially when you got a chance to go to Hawaii. Nobody missed it, but now there will be lots of different things where guys back out, get hurt, get injured, are still in the playoffs and all that kind of stuff so those kind of guys they will get some opportunity which is good."

On if Bitonio has been instrumental for the team's transitions at LT:

"He has done a very good job with all of that and he has been very settling. Anytime you have a veteran, especially when there is change around there… What is a veteran? S second year here? Third year here (laughter)? That experience helps, and it helps because on gameday, there is not a coach standing beside you. A veteran player becomes that advisory person, calming person and discussion person. He has done a very good job with that. He is sharp."

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