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Gregg Williams press conference - 12/6

Opening statement:

“Good day, got a lot done, even though as soon as you guys left just like I said it snowed pretty significantly out there. It was not until the end until that it got kind of slick so we tempo-d it down some. We got a lot out of it, everyone did. Had to play in the conditions and adapt to the conditions. It is fun to see some of these young guys that have grown up and have never seen snow, and all of a sudden, now they are out there practicing in it. It was a good day, got a lot done and now, we have to come in here and get everything graded up in the film rooms right now. We got a lot out of being out there today.”

On DB Denzel Ward’s status:

“Right not, he is still in the protocol and it is day-by-day.”

On if opponents have caught up to what the Browns are doing offensively:

“No, none whatsoever, and if they did, then they lost track in the second half because the second half they started rolling again. We just have to keep on doing what we are doing. It is an execution matter. Football is football, space is space and plays are plays. You have to execute the plays.”

On RB Duke Johnson Jr. not practicing again today:

“Still personal, and it is day by day right now. When he is ready to talk about it, then that would be fine. Still, he is excused and we will see. Hopefully, he will be back tomorrow we will see. Again, it is day by day.”

On DL Larry Ogunjobi practicing today:

“Yes, he practiced, and he was clamoring to me to make sure I saw that sack that he got at the end of practice. He is a tough dude now, but he had a pretty good day.” 

On goals for the final four games of the season, in additions to winning:

“The biggest thing is day-by-day improvement, day-by-day competition and winning. Right, wrong or indifferent at this level, there is not any in between and that is what we have to do. The improvement of lots of different young guys and how they fit into the thing, there is not really any aging guys on the team, but they have to continue to do that. It is about winning. It is.”

On if QB Baker Mayfield waited a bit longer could he have prevented a few turnovers on Sunday:

“Is this still the last game you are talking about? The last game, I have talked about that for three days already. We are past that and we are onto the Carolina Panthers.”

On what the Panthers or remaining teams can present to Mayfield that he has not seen so far:

“That is why we practice, and that is why hopefully from a staff that we have an understanding of what each team schematically is doing. There is not a lot of rookies on the staff. They have gone against that style of defense, and I have been in that division and know that series of coaches quite well. I have even advised those series of coaches that are on that staff, and now (Buffalo Head Coach) Sean McDermott is up at Buffalo. They have carried over a lot of things that they were doing there, and that is why we practice to try to pose those pictures schematically of what we think they are going to do, but then it is a guessing game. It becomes of an experience of saying, ‘OK, they are in a little bit of a position here and I have to hold a little bit longer. I have got to be quicker a little bit longer. I have to check to a better play.”

On Panthers QB Cam Newton’s shoulder and if that causes the Browns defense to change:

“We have to defend formationally and can’t be chasing ghosts. We have to honor the fact that he is a really, really good football player and they have great speed at the wide receiver position. We have to play the right way, and we always want to keep the ball in front of us on defense and we have to do a good job of tackling in space. Just like I mentioned here the other day, this team – I think (Panthers offensive coordinator) Norv Turner has done a very good job – and for you all maybe a thought process of similar of what (Chiefs Head Coach) Andy Reid was doing at the Chiefs on how they are creating the formations and creating the wide-space plays and stuff. We have to do a good job of tackling because they are doing a good job formationally of creating those things.”

On if WR Antonio Callaway has become more consistent:

“Yes, yes. It has been comforting and nice to see him start to take the next steps. Starting to feel a little bit more comfortable and a little bit more understanding. Still has a long way to go as far as not even close to his potential yet. Some of that will be just the volume at this level and the speed at this level. When I say volume, the number of plays that you have to play at this level to be top. I shake my head again and when I mention this to you yesterday, the running back (Panthers) Christian McCaffrey – wow, 97 percent of the plays so far this year, and you can’t see him taking one single solitary play off or backing off from a conditioning level. All young guys have to get that part of it when they come up to this league.”

On Mayfield speaking with Callaway after his fumble and if he felt the need to also say something to Callaway:

“[Mayfield talking to Callaway] is good. No, I was not happy (laughter). Right, wrong or indifferent that is what you play off of each other. That is what Baker is supposed to do in that situation, and what I am supposed to do is it is too valuable. No, it is never ever acceptable – protect the ball.”

On the trend this year of teams deferring when winning the coin toss and if that is his standard approach:

“No, I mentioned that the other day. It is not always that way. From a defensive mentality, there is more of us that think that way, but I have been around some really good thoughts in that respect and how the weather conditions, the field conditions and opponent come into it, too. Also, sometimes you want to strike a different attitude with your own team. It is never 100 percent.”

On if his decision when winning the coin toss comes the morning of the game:

“What we do is I pretty much have a meeting and I have a coordinators meeting in the locker room that morning when we go through those what ifs. We go through a lot of different what ifs on game management type things, too, but that is more one of the decisions, yes.”

On if Johnson could play Sunday without practicing, given his statement that those decisions are made on a case-by-case basis when a player misses practice time during the week:

“It would be a case-by-case [situation]. He would be a classic example so we will see. We will see where that is tomorrow.”

On the best trash talker on the team besides him:

“No, I do not even compare to some of the young guys and some of them you would be shocked to see how quiet they are around the buildings, but that would be a great question to ask the guys in the locker room.”

On if he sees issues with the run game, given the team’s recent totals and RB Nick Chubb’s average:

“No, I do not. I think that was talked a little bit on Monday, too, as we take a look at when you are getting behind the scoring opportunities and trying to pace the game up, but we felt like maybe we could get a few more runs. It was not that we aborted them there was a structure of… Very seldom anymore at any level of ball, even at the high school level, is it just one play called. There is a period of usually at least two, sometimes three plays called. You give the choice out there in a check system to doing that until you hard call something and say do it no matter what. There are a few of those situations maybe we could, and I have even talked about it in the run game of how screens are portrayed in my mind as a glorified run. It comes down as a pass, but we have to try to do some more space plays with Nick in those areas and the running backs in general. One more step is take a look at what Norv is doing with his backs. They are doing an awful amount of those type of things that keeps the run game going.”

On challenges facing bunch formations:

“More especially down there in tight in the red zone, those become even more difficult and even more difficult to officiate from week to week to week because offensively, you want to call them rubs and defensively, we call them picks, which you can’t do those things. It is very hard to officiate to see those things. That particularly close proximity formation makes it even harder to defend.”

On observing more teams using bunch formations:

“You do, and we have graded out pretty good against those situations all year long, but this week, there are even some more challenges this week now down there.”

On if he appreciates seeing veteran coaches innovating on offense:

“Yes, I do. Norv and I go back to when he started with the Cowboys in 1989, and I with the Oilers at time same time and practiced against each other three or four times in training camp playing against each other all of these years and to see where he has come from as a coach. I think he is outstanding and how he has adapted to the skillset of his own players of what is out there. It is really good to see that, and I have mentioned that before is everywhere I have gone, I have changed the style of the defense from team to team to team, from week to week, from sometimes series to series when certain guys go down. We have to change, and we have to do that. Even in that Kansas City game, we had all of those guys go down in that game. I think led the league that week and a couple of zone coverage calls that is all we did because we had to get out of the game and we had to be able to line up and get it done. Sometime to your benefit; sometimes not to your benefit.”

On Panthers DE Julius Peppers:

“There is another really good example of guys that scout in our league and had a really good understanding of what a phenomenal tough athlete he was, just because he was a basketball player. I think that it is outstanding that he had that skillset – the more different types of athletic movements you can handle and the instincts from other sports that carry over into our sport. Just the longevity and the healthiness that he has had the whole year and he has shown lots of different coaches and that have had a chance to coach him and watch him play, he has shown some things that we now continue to try to help coach other guys with similar body types. He has done a very good job. I shake my head on how long he has been able to play. What is this year for him? 18 is amazing, you know? Our defensive line coach here (Clyde Simmons) – I tried to sign him a long time ago and he leveraged me on a contract, but Clyde Simmons, he played for 15 years. Those positions, it is a fist fight in a phone booth for three hours for those guys to be able to play that long it is remarkable.

On if he gives DL Myles Garrett film of Peppers to study:

“We have had those things for a long time as (General Manager) John (Dorsey) talks about that, but those were passed onto him before John ever got here. Peppers was one of the guys that we had cut up body-type wise, athletic wise. It is just good for them to feel and see and to be able to experiment, yes.”

On if the next step for Garrett is to create game-changing sacks and turnovers:

“Yes, oh yeah. He is capable of doing that, and we have some time left to get it done. I have had the luxury and the honor of being around some guys like that on other teams that could do that. One of the ones that is out there right now getting all of the publicity is (Rams DT) Aaron Donald. Those are the types of things that you want those particular skillset kind of guys to do, and those are point-producing plays. We need to take the next step with that. He can do that and will. It is not that he is not trying right now. It is just it is a little bit different than some of the position areas he is playing in as opposed to some of the other guys.”

On how close Garrett is producing those game-changing plays:

“I think he is very close. I think it is instantaneous when it could happen. Some of the great plays he has had in the pocket already have just been fractions of an inch of where he is attempting and making the attempt at the ball. One of the things that we have emphasized all of the time no matter what position player it is – not only him, from a linebacker or DB – when you are in the pocket, we say a sack is great, but it is not perfect until the ball is out. We want a sack and a caused fumble. Those are the things we are looking at because the quarterback, it is the toughest to secure the ball when you are in pocket and have to block everybody out and go ahead and throw the football. It is really the most poor ball security is on that particular player. We want more production that way, and he is doing a really good job of crushing and getting to the pocket and continuing to get those sack productions things. We just have to get the ball out.”

On if there are particular aspects of Peppers’ game that he highlights for Garrett:

“Those kind of obvious things are obvious. If Myles was a person that did not understand or did not have the ability to understand, maybe you would do that. You do not have to do that with him. He understands. The things that we talk about not only with him but with other people, crossover film with whatever team we are playing, we have some good crossover film week by week by week that will show those types of plays. Our D line coaches do a good job with building those types of film cut ups for us to look at in here but also on their own time. Now, technology is with you 24 hours a day. They have their (Microsoft) Surfaces and stuff. We do projects where they do like take-home tests where they come back and give reports to us. We want to see what they are saying instead of them just reading what we are saying.”

On former Browns LB Clay Matthews’ Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials:

“I think they are definitely credible credentials for him. That whole family, I am just so respectful to that. Clay was a dominant player that you had to offensively take note of at all times. His ability to violently – and I mean violently – crush the pocket when he rushed the passer. There are some really good examples of some good cut ups of him, too, of how he was on taking the ball away in the pocket and some of the plays that he did, but then he could play pass coverage. He did some really good things with his hand skills in pass coverage on making quarterbacks think that he was in rush, but he wasn’t; he was dropping. Playing all of those years, another great memory of him was – I am pretty sure it was in ’99 – we came up here and played. I was at the Titans at that time. It was the last game of the year, (former Browns Head Coach) Chris Palmer’s first year. Their bye week, I think Cleveland’s bye week was Week 17. We still had another week to play, but that was the last game of the year. It was 20 below zero (degrees), 18 below zero, and Clay walked out to the coin toss in short sleeves because his brother, (Pro Football Hall of Fame OL) Bruce, was on our team acting like he was freezing to death. His older brother Clay came out there saying, ‘Hey, toughen up younger brother.’ I do believe, I really do believe that he has those types of credentials, yes.”

On if Clay Matthews was one of the first hybrid LBs:

“Yes, he was. Yes, he was. Another thing, an old joke going back between he and I is when we were trying to sign him in free agency when he went to Atlanta. We were recruiting the heck out of him, and I got a call from a Clay Matthews. I am home that night and I am thinking, ‘We got him. We are getting him,’ and it was Clay Matthews the postman that dropped something off at the post office and I was supposed to go pick it up (laughter). It was not the Clay Matthews that I really wanted to talk to. That is just is what it was.”

On if the accessibility of technological has made football better:

“I think both ways you could say. I do think now that there is a lot more of a total understanding conceptually. There are not any secrets out there. It does reinforce the thing that I continue to talk about all of the time with our guys, with me and with you guys is now, who is going to execute better? You are not going to trick an awful lot of people because it is all out there for us to see. The ones that are full-time people, the ones that are full-time that are so prideful of doing their job at such a high level, it allows them to excel. You can find out in a hurry as a coach who is just in it for a little bit and who is just in it for a lot. You can see that for sure.”

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