On the Browns' contingency plans at QB, given QB Josh McCown is out:**
"I feel OK. We practiced with the right thought process in place in case something was to happen to (QB) Cody (Kessler) that we will be able to function a little bit better than we did a week ago. I feel better about that."
On McCown's status and how close he is to returning to play:
"I think he is getting there. He is doing some things really well, but as you guys know, we are going to err on the side of caution with our guys before we stick them out there. I want to make sure they are really healed up and ready to go, and I think he is close. I think he is really close, but just talking to our medical staff, it is the best thing to do for another week and let's see where he is next week."
On how DB Joe Haden hurt his groin and if Haden is expected to play Sunday:
"Yeah, I don't know that yet. We will go and continue to treat and get us back almost like we did against Miami, but it was in practice. It was just running. Sometimes those things happen. Nobody hit him or anything like that. It is just again he just tweaked another groin. We will see where he is."
On how difficult it is to have one of the Browns' best defensive players in and out of the lineup due to injury:
"It is tough. It is tough. One thing I do know about Joe, he wants to be out there with his teammates. If he is hurting, he is hurting. Nobody has a way to gauge that, but I do know the player. He wants to be out there with his guys. It is difficult, but we have to keep going. If he can't go, we have next man up. Let's go."
On if OL Joel Bitonio will need surgery:
"That I don't know. Obviously, he is out for the rest of this year. That is unfortunate. Joel is one of our best players up there. It makes it a little tough, but again, we will find a way."
On if Bitonio is definitively out for the rest of the season:
"I think there is probably a pretty good chance that he will be. No one has given me the 'Exactly this is what we are doing,' but if he is on IR, I think there is a good chance we may not see him for the rest of the year."
On the importance of winning Sunday to show young Browns players that the plan is working:
"Oh, no doubt. It would validate everything. If you build the foundation right, there is all kind of other things we can point to, too, as well. I want to win as bad as anybody. The players do, too, and they deserve it, but no one is going to just hand us a game. We are going to have to go take what we want and go earn the right to win the game. Will it help? Yes, it would, but I'm not concerned about that more so than how we play – how we play, play in and play out, every quarter and how we finish the game. That is what is really important. My focus is really on fundamentals of our football team getting better, really on how hard we play because we need to be a group that plays extremely hard and being an intelligent football team, make sure that we take care of the self-inflicted penalties that we have had and then obviously, to earn a win. Those are the four things we have really talked about a lot as a football team and those are the things we are trying to get accomplished."
On building the right process during the week to prepare for gameday:
"It is how you study. It is how you study an opponent. It is how they go into meetings engaged and understanding information prior to getting there and understanding what is required of them at their position. Everybody has a job to do, and making sure you understand your job as well as anybody that plays your position, that is your job. You have to know it better than anybody. We have tried to do that part extremely well. I don't think we are where I want us to be yet, but we are working at that, and I think the players see how important that is on gameday. You don't have to do anybody else's job. You just have to do your job, and you have to be the best at doing it on that day. That is something we really talk about quite a bit."
On which Browns players currently on IR have a chance of returning to the active roster:
"We will see. You said there are 12 [players] on there so I think we will work through that as it goes. As you guys know, we can only bring one back. There are quite a few on there, and we will see who health wise is closest and who can help the football team the most, obviously, and then where they are from that process in their recovery. That is a little ways away, I think. I know it is close on some, could be close on some, further on others. Once we get all the information needed and it gets closer to that time, we will make that decision."
On comfort with QB Kevin Hogan as Kessler's backup:
"Much more than I was last week (laughter). Obviously, he has practiced and been in meetings. He has always been in meetings and real engaged, but I think he understands obviously there is potential he could go out there and play. That is a different dynamic for a player when you think through it all and for me, as well. Last week, that was not the case. He was in street clothes. This week he will be dressed up, and he will be out there just in case things don't go as well."
On not expecting to be starting Kessler in Week 6 with Hogan as a backup in at the beginning of the season:
"It was not in my thought, you are right. No, I didn't think that, but I know these things do happen and I know this is our time right now. We are going through it. Hopefully, we will get through all of these issues and our future will be bright because maybe the injury god will look down on us as we move forward and say, 'OK, you guys have had your fair share for years to come.' Hopefully, that will be the case."