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JC Tretter, Joe Schobert conference call - 12/18

LB Joe Schobert:

On how much the team is thinking about the possibility of going 0-16 and if the team feels the pressure of being winless:

“Personally, I haven’t really thought about that at all. I just go one game at a time. Obviously, you want to win in the NFL and you don’t want to be 0-16 at the end of the season, but I don’t think there has been, at least from my perspective, a whole lot of pressure on not going it. We just have to try and go 1-0 every week. I think the team has done a good job of trying to focus on that next week.”

On Browns players not publicly guaranteeing a win as they did last season and if there is a difference between last year and this year:

“As a competitor, obviously, everybody wants to win every week. I know people haven’t said it out loud or to the media or anything, but nobody in our locker room wants to go 0-16, but you can’t have that pressure looming over you and expect to be at your best. I think guys have done a good job of not thinking about it, just focusing on the next opponent ahead of them and just trying to go 1-0 in that week.”

On if he is mad about the idea of fans throwing an 0-16 parade, if the team is winless:

“I honestly don’t really pay attention or care if people want to do that. As supportive fans, fans drive the sport so they do their own thing. I’m not going to pay attention to it if it happens. I’m going to be happy if we win and they don’t do it, but I’m not going to pay attention to it if they have it. At the end of the day, you can’t really let that affect you and how you go about your business.”

On if a potential 0-16 parade would be disrespectful:

“No, I don’t see it as disrespectful. People are entitled to their opinions. They can do what they want, and I can’t really concern myself with what somebody else outside of the building is doing or saying about what is going on inside of the building.”

On the impact losing may have on young players and the culture:

“Obviously, I think the biggest impact of it would just be emotionally. Week after week, everybody is putting the work in. Everybody is coming in and preparing their butts off. Just to not get the payout at the end of the day on Sundays definitely takes its toll, but I think I can speak for the defense, especially with (defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams, does not let anything like that happen like complacency or getting used to losing. He does not allow that to happen in the meetings or on the practice field or even on gameday. I don’t think people are learning a culture of losing. I think everybody is striving to do their best week in and week out. Obviously, it is taking a toll, but everybody who is on the team has come from a winning program, whether it is high school, college or another NFL team before this. Everybody knows how to win. It is just a matter of being able to do it here in Cleveland.”

On General Manger John Dorsey’s comment last week that the previous regime did not bring in ‘real players’:

“It is the NFL. Every day, every game is an interview. You just have to come to work, do your best and if you belong in the league, you will stay in the league. If you don’t, no matter where you are or what team you’re on, you are going to get kicked out of the league really fast. You just have to mind your own business, put your head down, do what the coaches ask and stay in your lane.”

On if he has seen the losing taking a toll on Head Coach Hue Jackson, given his comments postgame yesterday:

“Hue is an ultra-competitive guy as a coach. When you get in our team meetings and after games, you can tell that he doesn’t really accept the losing. He is still stuck either in the game or whatever is going on. Like all competitors, you always wonder after games what could gone one way or how we could have won. I think with really competitive people like I know a lot of guys on this team especially, including coaches like Hue and GW, there is a lot of self-reflection after games. It is hard when you don’t win, especially in this business. I think Hue has done a great job leading us and keeping everything, like I said earlier, as a 1-0 mentally along with GW with the defense. You can definitely tell, especially after games, that everybody is frustrated and upset that we can’t get a win, but I think it is confined to a 24-hour rule and then when we get out there next week and everybody is ready to roll for the next game.”

On if Jackson breaks things or screams after games:

“No, he doesn’t break stuff or scream. He is just like everybody in the locker room – down, is frustrated and wants to go back out there and keep playing until we get a win. It is hard to describe when you lose. As a competitor, you think back on every little thing you could have done better and every little thing you wish you would have done or did it in the play call or whatever. He is not going out and shouting, screaming or breaking anything. He is, just like the whole team, everybody is just frustrated that we can’t get it done.”

On news about Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis’ departure from Cincinnati creates uncertainty for him of Jackson will coach next season:

“No, I haven’t really thought about that at all. Once we get to the offseason, things will happen, whatever happens. For the rest of the year, I know Hue is our coach and we are going to do our best to get a win for Cleveland.”

On if part of him was cheering for the Steelers to beat the Patriots last night:

“I didn’t really watch it. I just saw like the last minute at the end with all of the stuff that was going on. I didn’t want the Steelers to win. I didn’t want the Patriots to win. Just watching it and observing. The NFL these days with the no-catch rules and all of that, that made it interesting at the end, but I wasn’t really concerned.”

On why opposing TEs have had success against the Browns defense this season:

“Obviously, when we are in zone coverage, they like to check the ball down to the tight ends to get five-yard, 10-yard gains and stuff. If they can do that all the way down the field, that is good for them, but usually, teams aren’t able to do that. Just here and there over the course of the season, we have just had a couple of miscues or couple of miscommunications that have allowed a tight end – it happens with receivers all of the time, too – just a guy on offense will get free and quarterbacks in this league will make you pay if you do that. We just have to keep growing in our communication and our understanding of the defense, and I think that stuff will take care of itself.”

On if he spends a lot of time with QB DeShone Kizer:

“Not really. He is always with the offense or offensive coaches.”

On how he has seen Kizer as a leader on the team deal with the team’s record and his individual struggles this season:

“This is the hardest league in all of  professional sports, especially at quarterback for a 21-year old kid to step in and try to do what he is trying to do. You have seen all-time greats like Peyton Manning, for example, back in the day and other guys, their careers didn’t start off great. Obviously, DeShone wants to be great and he wants to make all of the plays, and he tries to force some things sometimes, but it is a learning process and I think he does a good job of not getting down on himself outwardly and not letting other people on the team know if he is down on himself. He always comes into work, always bright, joking around, taking practice seriously and trying to get the offense in the best position. It is the hardest position in the NFL to play. For him, I think just more experience is the biggest factor in helping.”

On if he has thought about winning on Christmas Eve last season and having the opportunity to repeat that this season:

“I for sure hope so that we get our first win this week. There have been multiple games this year that going into the game I was really confident that we were going to win. We played well a lot of games. Just something happens in the fourth quarter always or overtime when games are on the line, and we just can’t get it done. We have to be able to learn from that, and we have to put it into practice so we can get a win. I think once we do that, we will take off from there. Obviously, if we are to repeat winning on Christmas Eve, that would be great but mostly just because it will be the first win of the season and we need to get that win.”

The Browns play the Baltimore Ravens in Week 15.

OL JC Tretter:

On how QB DeShone Kizer has handled the team and individual difficulties of the 2017 season:

“I think no one at any level, especially at this level, enjoys losing. We are all ultra-competitive. We want to go out there and win every game. For all of us, it is a long, tough season. I think DeShone, being a young guy, a rookie coming in, I think has handled this as well as he can. It has obviously been a long year. I applaud him and his ability to come in each and every day looking to get better and looking to develop and understand more of the offense and understand more looks. In the building, we see the progress of him recognizing defenses, picking up blitzes and everything like that. I think he is doing everything you ask for him to. Obviously, the results haven’t been there as a team, but I think DeShone, his attitude and the way he prepares is exactly what you look for.”

On if he thinks about the possibility of going 0-16:

“I don’t think we really think about it too much. I think I talked to you guys about two weeks ago, and I don’t think we look at it as we need to win a game to avoid something. I think we go into each and every game expecting to win, wanting to win and prepared to win. It is about going out there, executing and doing what we know we can do. I don’t think that should weigh on anybody’s mind at this point. We have two more opportunities to go out there and play the game and prove what we can do. Thinking about things like that will only waste your energy and waste time in what you should be putting forth on preparing and getting ready for playing the Bears.”

On if it is too early to fully evaluate Kizer, given he is a 21-year old rookie QB:

“Yeah, I think it is always tough to grade someone on a binary scale – a zero or one. I think it is especially tough to judge someone so quickly. Like I talked to you a few weeks back when we talked about it, when you look at someone like (Rams QB Jared) Goff, last year, he was being hammered for his play. Now all of a sudden, they are an awesome team and he is playing great. It is amazing how things change, but it is tough to grade a young quarterback that quickly. Yeah, 13 games is a larger sample size than what it was a month and a half ago, but still four years ago, players weren’t playing in their rookie years. They had guys sitting there, learning. This is still an extremely young player. I still think the amount of time it takes for a quarterback to truly develop is more than 13 games. Obviously, I think some teams and fan bases have been spoiled like the Cowboys and the Seahawks where they have had a young guy step in right away and play great. That is awesome, but I don’t think that is the norm. I think those are the extraordinary examples and not what normally should be expected.”

On if fans planning an 0-16 parade is disrespectful or bothers him:

“I’m big on people can do whatever they want. I hope we as a group ruin what they are planning, but people are entitled to their own opinions and whatever they want to do or celebrate. I might not be a fan of it, but it doesn’t offend me. I’m not easily offended so they can plan whatever they want, but I hope we ruin it.” 

On if he has seen the losing take its toll on Head Coach Hue Jackson as the season progressed:

“Like I said with the first question, I think none of us at this level can tolerate losing. I think the amount of effort and work that goes into our play and our preparation each and every week, it is truly a pain to go out there and not see the results. To a man, no one is having any bit of fun with being 0-14 at this point. That is not just a Coach Jackson thing, but I think anybody at this level, losing games is rough. You go home and you can’t sleep; you sit up and you think of what you as an individual could have done differently to change something in the game. It is a lot of sleepless night, but I think that goes for everybody and not just the coaching staff. It is the players. I think it is everybody. Everybody thinks of what they could do, and putting 14 of those sleepless Sunday nights in a row obviously is a long year.”

On OL Joel Bitonio’s performance this season after returning from injury last season:

“Joel is an awesome guy – awesome guy to have in the room, awesome teammate, awesome leader. Coming off of an injury, seeing the amount of work he put in in the offseason to get back and get healthy and then go out there and play to the level he is playing at has been impressive. He is a very important part of the team both on the field and off the field. I have nothing bad to say about Joel. He is a pro’s pro and truly a perfect example of how you want to see guys act and guys perform at this level.”

On if he sees Bitonio as a Pro Bow-caliber player:

“I do. I think he is a top guard. Like you said, he is still young and he is playing at a really high level, but I think he is extremely talented. I’m looking forward to playing next to him for a long time. IT is great to work with him. Obviously, having (OL) Kevin (Zeitler) on the other side, as well, is just another talented guy that goes about things the right way and does everything you would want from a player on the field and off the field.”

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