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Gregg Williams press conference - 12/26

Opening statement:

“I hope everybody had a good Christmas. It was pretty neat to see how many of those guys were in here lifting and getting their things in. That is the job that they do and this is the time of the year. Then got a chance to spend some time with family. Quite a few guys in here Christmas Eve too. We are continuing to do the process and go back and get with the family, but then we got back here together this morning. Everything was good. We understand the toughness of the game. We understand the opponent. They were pretty focused all day long on what we have to get done. The weather was very cooperative out there. Our field crew here is amazing. Our fields out there, those back fields were outstanding, and we got a lot done because we had a chance to go outside today and get on with the plan.”

On QB Baker Mayfield and WR Jarvis Landry having difficulty connecting and the Browns offense starting slow in the first half of the Bengals game:

“I addressed this the other day, and those are things that will always happen. When that was asked to me on Monday or Sunday, those are the things you have to fight through. Those are the things that the pace of the practice has helped. That is why the practice has to be as fast as, possible too, so that you do not have to all of a sudden adjust that much on game day. I thought they did a really good job of being together with that, and you see the communication that the players have among themselves. Coaches should not have to babysit everything. You have to be able to do that. As a player those are the things – the feel for the game – you are also able to have input on and we allow that input, we want that input and we encourage that input so they were pretty good.”

On the importance for the Browns offense to have an efficient start against the Ravens:

“Always good. We have to start fast. Both defenses have been pretty solid here. Especially with them with what they are doing, we need to make sure we are on point from the opening kickoff on. That is important because I think you guys have taken a look at how much they have done a really good job of and I think (Ravens Head Coach) John (Harbaugh) has done a fantastic job maybe the best in the league on what they have to do to how they manage the game and how a few of possessions there are in a game and what they have done to do a really good job of that. Now, every play even becomes more of a priority, yes.”

On if Harbaugh has taken Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s playbook from the 49ers:

“You know he hasn’t, but you know you realize who the guy there the run game coordinator is right? It was Jim’s guy and that is (assistant head coach/tight ends coach) Greg Roman. Yes, he was at the 49ers, and yes, there is quite a bit of symmetry there, but even more above and beyond, I have a lot of respect for those guys. Greg going against him in several of places and what he has been able to do and how he has adapted – just like we do here – to the skillset of (Ravens QB) Lamar (Jackson) and what was needed there. They have been a physical run game and run team since he was there.”

On the Browns defense not relying as much on turnovers as the beginning of the season:

“We have had opportunities. We just have to finish. We have had balls in our hands. You have to get those.”

On what the Browns defense has done better to not be as dependent on takeaways to limit opponents:

“The biggest thing is that we are – you guys seen that one statistic (DVOA) I have told you about we play per play and you guys can go in and analyze and take a look at that in the Football Outsiders. They understand that too in how we go about how good we are playing play by play by play no matter what the situation is. You want to completely be suffocating, you have to be able to finish it with taking the ball away and you have to score on defense. We have to continue to do those types of things.”  

On if the Browns defense concedes rushing yards against certain opponents:

“No, we don’t concede anything at any time. No.”

On Mayfield finishing the season facing one of the NFL’s best defenses as it relates to his development:

“Those are good things maybe in the postseason evaluate, but we really think about that each and every week. Then you can do all of the comparisons, the rankings and all of that kind of stuff later on. We do understand how good they have been, and then how good we have to be. That is important.”

On Mayfield being able to have such a strong impact on the team as a rookie, including being named the local PFWA Joe Thomas Award winner (player of the year):

“I think it is very positive, and I think those are types of things that you’re supreme leader is supposed to be able to do and don’t discount that that is not what he has been able to do for all of his life whatever level the young man has played at. It is good. I did not know you guys voted on that. That is good.”

On OL Joel Bitonio winning the local PFWA Dino Lucarelli ‘Good Guy’ Award:

“He sets an example every day even behind the scenes outside of his play – somewhat of a calming effect on people being able to talk to somebody that has as much experience as we have. We don’t have a ton of experience in the room in there so he has been a good voice, but the voice is only listened to when the example is set. He is a captain so that must have been something for people to vote that much for him and then he sets an example every day on how he prepares, how he practices and how he plays. That is good.”

On the Browns defense’s most significant improvement this year:

“Every week Every week becomes a new thing that you have to do because the opponent is new – the skillset of the opponent and the skillset of a space play. We are still tackling very well. We have a couple of those guys where we didn’t. At this time of the year, sometimes that slacks off with other teams and we take that personally. It should not slack off no matter what, whether you are not wearing pads as much in practice. We tackle every day. I think our guys have done a very good job with that. We have done a strong job on third down, and we have been playing good situational defense all year long. We have had a couple of things where a play has gotten away from us or we missed a tackle or two, but they have played solid all year.”

On preparing the Browns for the intensity of Sunday’s game, given the playoff implications for the Ravens:

“That is a good point. Remember this and I am going to answer this for the 19th time. When I have to worry about that, the best thing I do is tell people upstairs who does not belong. It is time to play, and it does not make any difference what game it is, this is how we have to play. This is a division opponent. People say they have more on the line that us. Really? You are interviewing every single day so don’t put something on film – you want an owner to buy stock in that performance and you? We have to play, and that is up to those guys and us, me helping them with that. When we have to work extremely hard on motivating somebody at this level, why? You are getting paid a lot. It is time to play.”

On the intensity of Sunday’s game, given it will be a playoff atmosphere in Baltimore:

“It is the same thing. We are picturing that up. We are talking about it behind the scenes. They have played hard-nosed games at other levels and they have played some hard-nosed games this year. I think the fact that how many people have played more overtime snaps than us? Are those less intense? I do not think so. What we have to do is now if there is another gear that you have to ramp it up on because people talk about finding another gear and these things, it is time to play. Every single time in the National Football League you go out there, you are putting who you are on film and who we are. You have to do that.”

On DB Denzel Ward’s status:

“He is in concussion protocol. We will see. He has been enlisted in there, and we are watching it day by day by day.”

On if Ward will remain on the Browns active roster:

“I am going to get another report on that later on today. I have not gotten that.”

On containing Jackson when he scrambles:

“They do a very good job, and we have played a lot of those kind of scrambling quarterbacks this year anyway because the league is involving into that more and more, but he has another gear. There are similarities between him and (Texans QB) Deshaun (Watson). He is not as big as (Panthers QB) Cam (Newton) and some of the other guys, but he has that elusiveness. That is a part of the plan on how we try to negate that as much as possible. The way that they are playing and doing things and coaching the game to his skillset – not only his the other players’ skillsets there, too – they are a really good offensive line. They are a very physical offensive line. One of the comments that I have made to the guys that started off today was it reminds me of some of the old days in this league. When it was time to run the ball, it is time to play the run and understand that the line of scrimmage is going to be challenged at every single snap of the game. We are going to have to do a good job with that. His elusiveness outside the pocket, we have to make plays in space.”

On the Ravens defense and how Mayfield facing the unit before is beneficial:

“I think it does a little bit with the familiarity. Some of the best pros I have been around – I have told this story, too – is when I first started coaching at this level, I had an opportunity to coach a couple of guys that were in their eighth, ninth, 10th or 11th year, and they had their old beat up spiral notebook that they kept on their own, not what coaches told them, but they are playing against a guy over and over and over again. They had their own scouting reports back before you had free agency and you had those guys on your team for so long. When you play against somebody you do have the competition feel of what you can do and what you have to do, and that does give you your own personal opinion to possibly be a little bit more refined. We are going to have to do that, and I just think they are well coached. I think defense has been a big part of that organization for a long time. I think that when you come into that organization that it is going to be that way back from way before even when (Pro Football Hall of Fame LB) Ray Lewis and all of those years and went against that program in that same division before they switched divisions. That is part of it. Defensively, they have done a very good job of transitioning from style to style and coordinator to coordinator. I think Wink (Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale) has done a very good job with that. I think he has been around some good guys there, too, and he has really brought them up to his status, and they are playing strong for him.”

On if he has spoken with Mayfield about on-field reactions to big plays and how they could potentially be detrimental to the team and be penalized:

“Here is what I would tell you is that even if I did talk to him about that, I would not be answering the question. The other thing is that we have to do everything… We live on the edge, we play on the edge but we do not hurt the team. We do not hurt the team. You do not have setbacks. You do not have penalties. You do not do those types of things. There are no penalties. There are no flags so what I have to do is that we have to make sure that we are playing football. It is a competition to play football.”

On Jackson’s passing ability, given the need to defend him as a runner:

“Do not disregard his arm strength. He can throw it a long way, too. They do a lot of good jobs in the run game, especially in the play-action run game when you are compensating so hard in the run game that all of a sudden he understands how to fake a guy open and get somebody else open. He has been able to do a good job and improve each week with throwing the route concepts that they are asking him to do. At this level, it takes a while for anybody to get ready for the speed of the game, including him, and then us getting ready for the speed of him. He has thrown the ball better and better each week.”

On having personal conversations with players and if there is ever a need to address it with the team or public, in reference to Mayfield:

“We talk about things behind the scenes, but there are no public things. That is private. Join the National Football League. Those are things that do not go on outside.”

On if fans have a right to know subjects addressed in those player-coach meetings:

“How do I say no? I just said no. Right now, that is behind closed doors. Those are the privacies of what goes on at our level. There are things that go on behind closed doors.”

On factors in WR Breshad Perriman having an impact on the offense:

“He works extremely hard. He has gotten the people’s confidence around him on how hard he practices and how hard he prepares. That is one good thing. Now, he has gotten the confidence in the people to give him a shot in the game, and he produces in the game. It is not very hard to see when he has created the confidence and he has also come in here not having as much time on task with all of the people, coming in here with short notice and just worked his tail off. He has worked hard at it, and he has produced when he has been given opportunity.”

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