Press Conference

Jack Conklin: "We're all learning together"

T Jack Conklin:
On T Jedrick Wills Jr. and his transition to LT:
"It is a day-to-day process for any rookie and any guy coming in and learning new system. It is Day 5 of practice, and he has been working hard and the entire group is working hard to get better every day with the new leadership of (offensive line) coach (Bill) Callahan. I am excited to see. Obviously, I see why he was picked early, and he definitely has a lot of opportunities and a lot of talent. We want to see him progress as camp goes on."

On C Nick Harris and Wills and having two rookies currently practicing on the first team OL:
"It is typically a challenge, but surprisingly coming in with a new offense, we are all learning so it is not like it is an offense that been here for a long time and the older guys already know all the little cues and stuff. We are all learning together. I think that has made the progress smoother. I think everybody is taking it in every day and trying to get a little bit better, and both those guys are doing great job."

On the transition to a wide zone scheme:
"Anytime you come into camp, the first day of pads, everybody is excited. You really the difference the second day when guys start to settle down, really key in and start figuring things out. Coming from a wide zone offense for me, I would say the transition was not as hard as some other guys. It is fun. I love wide zone. I love the opportunities it leads to in the run game and in the pass game. I think we are having a lot of fun here with it."

Check out photos from the fifth day of Browns Camp

On if he was able to develop chemistry with teammates during the virtual offseason and if they have been able to build off of it since training camp started:
"Yeah, definitely. It was definitely a new challenge having to start off with Zoom, but it you actually led us to have a lot more chances to just install and go over stuff over and over again. It was not the physical reps, but those mental reps are huge. To be able to go over the offense three or four times and start top to bottom, that definitely helped a lot, especially with the offensive line. No matter what team you came from, we are all pretty similar guys, and you can really see that starting to click and the communication. Everybody has been on top of it and just willing to help each other. It has been very impressive."

On how different the Browns offense is from what he has played in the past and its potential:
"It is pretty darn close to similar to the offense I ran last year. A few different terms here and there. Seeing the opportunities that we had last year in Tennessee and seeing the roster we had compared to the roster here, we have so many threats here. It is going be exciting. I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities for big plays and having a lot of fun with using the wide zone."

On how much better the Browns DL is making the line Browns OL:
"That is huge. When you have those guys to go against every day, that just helps you get ready for Sundays. Those guys are such good players. Going in and out and getting those physical reps against those guys every day, you learn so much and it is leads to so many opportunities to get you ready for the real gamedays. It is great to have those guys on the roster to help us build up and get ready for the season."

On having Callahan as his position coach:
"It is great. Just the amount of information he has from all the years of being an offensive line coach, he has seen just about any look or any front you could ask for. To be able to have that knowledge and to be able to bounce questions off of him, he always has an answer, he has seen it or he knows how to fix it. It is going to be an awesome thing for us to have throughout the year just to be able to have him and have his knowledge of so many games and so many different players throughout his career."

On the most difficult part of changing teams personally:
"Especially this year with COVID going on, it was definitely weird moving up here. Really, the weirdest part was my first day coming into the building was the first day of camp. I had only seen guys on Zoom and then I am meeting guys with masks on. It definitely was a curveball there trying to learn names when you are only seeing half of somebody's face. It is nice once you get on the field. You can start putting the numbers together with the names, and that definitely opens it up. It was definitely a weird change, but the nice part for me is it was a new staff, too, so it is a whole bunch of people coming together learning new names and learning new stuff. That definitely made the transition quite a bit easier."

On how working with former NFL C LeCharles Bentley has benefited his game:
"It has been huge, just having that offseason capability of working out with a place that just specializes on offensive line play. There are not a lot many places that do that. You see all the different places that are working routes and skill stuff, and there just are not many people that are looking at doing just O line stuff. Everything from the lifting process is all based on situations that we are going to have to be in, strengthening certain parts, whether you are going to have to be sitting down on bull rush or different stuff trying to get the power back. Being able to just work on my craft all offseason with somebody who knows everything about it, that has definitely been a huge help. It definitely helps with focusing in and keeping this going throughout the whole year."

On how important chemistry is between the RG and RT and working with G Wyatt Teller:
"It is huge. We are right next to each other on every play, and the biggest thing is great communication. Wyatt is a guy who talks a lot so it makes it nice. It is nice to be able to learn on the fly. After every play, we come back into the huddle and even have just a few things we can talk about. He has been really open to that stuff. He is a guy who wants to learn and who is learning a lot. I am excited with how I have seen him every day getting a little bit better and even helping me out with stuff. It has been a lot of fun, and I am excited to see what we can do this year."

On if he has seen QB Baker Mayfield get frustrated at all as he tries to master the new offensive scheme:
"I honestly I do not see a whole lot – I am in front of him blocking. Baker is a competitive guy. He is a guy who wans to do stuff the right way. Everything I can see from him and just talking to him, he seems like he is guy who wants to win, wants to learn and he wants everything the right way. Like I said, I am really watching my O line play, not as much as what the quarterback is doing. From what I can tell from talking to him, he is excited about the offense, and I think he is going to have a lot of opportunities to do a great job."

On how Mayfield has helped develop chemistry with the OL
"It has been good. Throughout the offseason, just texting, talking and just trying to get to know each other. Obviously with COVID and everything, it was definitely harder to get to know the guys, but he was definitely talking to me a lot. We definitely talked a lot, and we were able to get to know each other and every day, we spend some time talking, whether it is about scheme or personal life, just getting to know each other better. He has definitely been on top of that."

On his impressions of Mayfield now compared to before coming to Cleveland:
"I am not a big guy who looks at the outside parts so coming into this year, I just knew him as a winner from college, obviously a Heisman Trophy winner. It is a young guy on a team that has had a lot of coaching changes. Getting here, seeing him and seeing the way he loves the game and how he goes about every day working hard, it has been impressive to see. There is no doubt in my mind that can flourish in this system."

On how tough it is to see a teammate get taken off on a cart during training camp and if that is a reminder of how fragile the game can be at times:
"Definitely, and I have been on that side of it, too. It is always a bummer to see a guy go down, but you always hope that it is something minor. When we get guys to fill in, everybody has to take their opportunity. That is really when teams start to build depth. When stuff like that happens, you get younger guys who are thrown in there, and they have to step up and learn more. Once guys end up coming back, that just leads to a better team, more guys that know what to and more guys that are ready to fill in and play at any time."

On the importance of protecting the QB's blind side and the importance of a RT:
"The blind side obviously you get a right-handed quarterback, he can't see what is going on over there. That is obviously the importance of having a great left tackle. When the right tackle was known as just a run blocker, people started figuring out, 'Hey, let's put our best rusher on the right side.' I think that has sort of become the theory is that both tackles have to be equally good at each aspect of the game in the run and the pass. Denver is a great example with (Broncos OLB) Von Miller almost exclusively lining up on the right tackle. It has definitely changed the game a little bit. I think it has made the importance of having a great pass-blocking right tackle, as well as a run blocker, such an important aspect of this game. It has been fun learning for me and just getting better and better every year. I am going to have an awesome opportunity here with Coach Callahan to learn more and more stuff I can put in my game."

On if there were conversations leading up to the final week of last season about wanting Titans RB Derrick Henry to claim the NFL rushing title:
"It was definitely a huge topic. We really wanted to get Derrick that title. It was something we talked about all week. Being such the high-level competitors we are, we want to win. For us to get Derrick that and to win him that title was huge. It was a focal point even until the end of the game. I think he was about 40 yard off, and he wanted to stay in and we were up. Luckily (Titans Head) Coach (Mike) Vrabel let us keep him in there. I think we had four plays left he could stay in, and we were able to break one off for him. It was definitely a focal point. Obviously, we had to win the game to get in the playoffs to begin with, but that was definitely huge for us as an offensive line and something that we talked about even on the sideline."

On the desire to have RB Nick Chubb win the rushing title this season after finishing a close second to Henry last year:
"It would be awesome. It is going to be a lot of fun, even with Nick and (RB) Kareem (Hunt). It is not often you two guys that are that good on one team. It is going to be a whole lot of fun. I am excited to see just how good these guys' vision is with this wide zone offense and the opportunities they are going to have to have some big games."

QB Case Keenum:
On his perception of QB Baker Mayfield coming in and his impressions of Mayfield thus far:
"Yeah, I have known Baker a little bit. Obviously, we played against each other in 2018. He came there to Denver and got the better of us then. I have known he is a gamer and can make some big-time plays and some big-time throws. I was really excited to work with him, and being here, it is impressive to see. I was telling somebody yesterday, he has a lot stronger arm in person than he does on film, and he made some really good throws on film. It has been fun to get to know him first and then see him work, see him operate and see how he interacts with teammates. I am very impressed."

On the new offense and how the scheme can help Mayfield:
"We are all learning. There are some similarities with a lot of things with the offense, but it is new. It is 2020 Browns. I think we are all learning. We are all growing. We all bring different things to the table, but this is a new year, a new team. I am excited. I think it is a very quarterback-friendly offense from just the things I have seen in the past from the way (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) and AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) present it. It is very black and white for the quarterback in a lot of reads a lot of situations. From what we have done so far, it has been really good.

On how Mayfield is adapting to new footwork, particularly in shotgun formation, and if he also had to learn the new footwork:
"Like the verbiage of this offense, I think some of the footwork I had some similarities with. There are some differences, too. It is learning a lot of new things, including just the operation of calling plays. I have heard a lot of these plays before or at least called them certain things, but I think Baker is doing a tremendous job because he some of this he is coming in cold and he is operating getting in and out of the huddle, has great feet and great tempo. He is even able to speed up or kind of tempo slow down his drop at certain times, too, depending on the concept and where it is down the field. I have been very impressed with how quickly he has picked it up, especially with not having a spring together. We were all working virtually trying to send our footwork in so to do that in such a short time, it has been very impressive."

On if learning the new offensive scheme has been tough for players, particularly following a virtual offseason program:
"Yeah, it is a challenge. Playing in the NFL is a challenge. Playing quarterback, I think is one of the toughest jobs that there is. It is probably one of the only jobs I have had, but I am a little bit biased. It is tough on everybody. There is a lot demanded of us, a lot asked of us. Kevin, AVP and those guys put a lot in installs and presented it all during meetings, but we are required to go out there and execute at a very high level. That is the NFL. That is our job. That is what we are paid to do. I think guys are responding. Nobody is perfect. I am not perfect. We are making mistakes, but we are learning from them. We are learning from each other's mistakes, too. That is one thing, the reps in the NFL in general most years are limited, and they are even more limited now so we are having to learn not just from my own mistakes from other people's mistakes. as well."

On if he feels that Browns players on last year's team have put last season behind them:
"I think so. I do not want to speak for other guys, but yeah, I think there is a lot of good talk around the locker room with guys that say the feeling is a little bit different this year and there is a different atmosphere around the ball club. Again, I do not want to speak for other people, but from my perspective, I think it has been really good. Like I said, we have not been perfect, but we are growing and we are getting better every day, and I think that is all you can do."

On the discussions and questions when watching practice film in the QB room:
"It is everything. It is new every day. There are critiques on every play. You can talk about your critique on every play. You can go through situations on every play about every little thing. I think AVP, Kevin, (offensive assistant) T.C. (McCartney), the guys in the room, I think it has been good discussion about all different types of things from reads to footwork mechanics to operation to philosophy. Kevin has done a good job of putting us in situations during certain periods where our point of emphasis today is you X so we are going to work on sudden change, we are going to work on second and short and we are going to work on all different things. I think it has been good. It has been a good training camp so far."

On if he feels he is ahead of other Browns QBs and if they are asking him many questions because he has played with Stefanski before:
"It is a good discussion. We are going through everybody from AVP, T.C., to Baker, myself and (QB) Garrett (Gilbert), there is a lot of discussion in there. I think you want to bring your past to you and learn from it, but like I said, this is this is our team now. This is this is the 2020 Browns, and we are all looking forward."

On how much Mayfield is picking his brain about adjusting to the offensive system:
"We have some great coaches, and they are doing a great job. I do not want to put too much out there in certain situations, but Baker and I have had some great discussions about plays. Baker has a lot of experience, too, with a lot of similar plays, and he has more experience with these receivers. It is kind of a good give and take because I like to talk to him about, 'Hey, how does this guy run this route? What experience do you have with him?' and how he sees this. It has been good both ways, and I am learning from him. I hope he is learning from me, but I have definitely learned a lot from him."

On if he has learned anything new about Stefanski in his new role as head coaching:
"Yeah, there is one thing about Kevin that was not there. I always say I do not like to see a guy change very much from being a position coach to head coach, and he said he has a lot more gray in his beard (laughter). I am trying to catch him a little bit and mine are catching up here. He has a lot more salt than pepper in his beard these days (laughter)."

On the importance of having a strong bond in the QB room:
"I think it is very important when we spend a lot of time together. Especially now with how things are with COVID, it is kind of spread out with position groups and in smaller groups so we are spending a lot of time together. It helps that we like each other. We respect each other. We get along, and I think our wives get along, which is great. Nothing else really matters if the wives get along (laughter). I think we have had some great discussions. Like I said, it has been good quarterback meeting room time, and we have had a lot of it. I think you learn from each other in a lot of different ways. Like I said with the reps, we are all standing back there watching the quarterback who is in – whoever is in. Whatever they are doing, we are going through the same reads, trying to operate the same way and trying to see the defense through all the same set of eyes. That is with AVP, with Kevin and those guys, all being on the same page is very important."

On what he learned about offensive line coach Bill Callahan during their time in Washington:
"I learned a lot about Bill. He was a big reason I was excited to come work here. Just the protection game, the run game and the way he coaches that up, it is nice to have some continuity with that and being able to operate with some familiarity, some terms and different things. He has changed up a lot, but he has kept a lot the same, too, at the same time. I am excited to work with him again and not just have one year. He been in this league a long time, he has coached a lot of ball and he knows a lot of ball, not just O line stuff, so it has been really good working with him."

On if the Browns defense is ahead of the offense early in training camp, which feels typical, and if he has played with teams where the offense was ahead of the defense early in training camp:
"Who is keeping score? I do not know. I think we are all growing. We are both growing. I think we are trading punches, if you will. I think we are competing. We are going at it. I think the defense has made some big plays, for sure. I think we have made some big plays, too. We have left some football out there, but we are learning and growing. I think both sides are doing a great job."

On if the Browns offense is different than when he played with Stefanski in Minnesota:
"Oh, yeah, there is a little bit of everything. Like I said, there is only one way to describe it, and that is 2020 Browns. Hopefully, it will be on full display come weekends in the fall."

LB B.J. Goodson:
On the disappointment seeing LB Mack Wilson go down in practice and if he has talked to Wilson since the injury:
"Definitely, I have been in touch with him. I do not know his status or anything. You would have to get that from the coaches. It is definitely disheartening to see a teammate, and for me a brother, go down like that. Hopefully, we will get him back soon."

On Wilson's spirits was when they talked:
"He is in good spirits. He is staying positive, and I am on top of him on staying positive."

On how the Browns LB will respond if Wilson misses significant time:
"We will hope that he does not [miss significant time], but if he does, it is an opportunity for somebody to step up, and someone has to step up. Next man up, it is kind of that saying. Definitely have the young guys that have to step up."

On how well Wilson was playing before sustaining the injury:
"Doing great. Moving well. Learning the defense well. High hopes. There is no ceiling."

On the Browns LBs not having a lot of experience and how he can help them as a veteran:
"Just have to keep leading them and steering them in the right direction. With not having the experience of a guy like myself, just have to keep pounding and grinding a day at a time with them and let them know that the little things are not big in the end result."

On if he feels similar to Wilson that the Browns LBs are taking unjustified criticism from outsiders:
"Me personally, I do not pay attention to the rest of the world so the noise, I do not really hear it and I stay away from it. I focus on the things that I can control and what we can control. As far as my brother's feelings, I am definitely behind him 100 percent on whichever way or however he feels. That is my stance on that."

On the ultimate identity of the Browns defense:
"I do not really want to talk too much on end result, what I see or how good things may look on paper or may not look. I just want to work at it a day at a time, execute with these and making sure that everyone is playing hard and executing."

On if it may be dangerous to try to speculate on a team's ultimate potential on paper instead of seeing what happens:
"I have been a part of a team that looks real pretty on paper before, and it did not pan out to be what it was expected to be before. I know how that can and how that will lead to going down a path that you do not really want to go down. Just chipping away at it, working a day at a time and just getting better."

On the Browns defense's energy in the first two padded practices and if he feels the defense has had the upper hand in team drills:
"I am not one to discern on anyone. I just look at it as earning something. Our offense is doing a great job, and we are doing a great job of giving them the looks that they need and they are doing a great job of giving us the looks that we need going forward."

On if padded practices have added more energy to the Browns defense:
"The game is played in pads. I think we are all just fired up to have the opportunity to go out and play. It is a privilege for us to go out and play. I think that is what fires us up."

On the reaction the LB Mack Wilson's hard tackle of RB Nick Chubb and he felt the need to say something to defensive players after it:
"I spoke to Mack about that. It is a solution that we keep in house. I definitely spoke with him about that, we cleared the air with that and everything is squared away."

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