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Press Conference

Kevin Johnson: "I believe in myself as a player"

CB Kevin Johnson:
On the importance of establishing himself with a new team before the season:
"I think it is always important to come in and put your best foot forward. That is really what I am trying to do. What I am focusing on is coming out there, putting my best foot forward and doing the best I can each and every day and trying to improve."

On why he signed with the Browns:
"It was just a feeling I had. I liked the new culture that was coming in with the new management and new coaching staff. The team has a ton of talent. It was a team that I just wanted to be a part of. It was a feeling I had."

On his role in the defense and if he is comfortable playing in the slot:
"Just play wherever they want me to play – playing inside, playing outside, whatever that may be. Like I said, coming in here, putting my best foot forward, doing whatever they ask me to do and trying to do it to the best of my ability."

Check out photos from the third day of Browns Camp

On if the one-year deal brings any added pressure:
"Doing a one-year deal, I believe in myself as a player. I had a lot of injuries early in my career. I want to come in here and be the best player that I can be for the team and for myself and just do the very best that I can. Whatever happens after that happens. I can't control that. I want to come in here and be the best player I can be for the Cleveland Browns."

On if joining a new team during the pandemic made him nervous:
"No, I wouldn't say nervous. It is just what is going on in the world right now. Things happen in life, and you just have to adjust. It was just one of those things where everybody was going through the pandemic at the same time. Coming to the Browns during it was just what it was. It was a pretty smooth transition, and things are going pretty smooth so far."

On what he knew about QB Baker Mayfield before signing with the Browns and his impressions of Mayfield thus far:
"Before I came here, I knew he was a top pick, a very talented player. I had seen him on film over the course of my career and seen the talent that he has. Once I came out here, seeing him practice and seeing him throw the ball, the same things are there. He is extremely talented. He has that feel for the game at the quarterback position. He can make all the throws. He has this swagger this come with it. I have been very impressed with Baker."

On if he will primarily play slot corner and his role as a veteran on the defense:
"I am taking a lot of reps at the slot. I am also taking reps outside, as well. Like I said, it is only the second day of training camp so what my role is we will see moving forward. As far as me being a veteran, I feel like I have been in this league for six years now, I have that experience and I want to be able to lead these guys to the best of my ability, just using my experiences and helping guys the way I can. I want to come here and be the best player I can be for the Cleveland Browns most importantly."

On working through injuries early in his career and how the adversity shaped him:
"It was a lot for me. I never had been hurt in my career at that point. My rookie year, I break my foot. My second year, I re-break the same foot. The next year, MCL. The next year, concussions. I had to go on IR twice. It was hard for me because I have high expectations for myself. It was hard to adjust to what was going on. Through it all, I feel like it made me mentally stronger. It showed me that I am still hungry, and I still believe in myself and what I want to be as a player. It definitely shaped me. I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder. That is very obvious there is a chip on my shoulder and that I just want to be the player that I think I should be. It motivates me every day to continue chasing the dream that I had when I was a little kid."

On if he has the mindset that people have not seen him at his best yet:
"Yeah, most definitely."

On the Browns CBs' potential:
"I think we have great potential. Obviously, the names that you just said, (CBs) Denzel (Ward), Greedy (Williams), T. Mitch (Terrance Mitchell) and myself, I think there are a lot of talented guys that you just named. Every day us coming out in practice, competing and trying to be the best we can be, it will elevate all of our games. I am excited to get to work with these guys and to try and be the best that we can be, for sure."

On if he still views himself as a starting-caliber CB:
"I believe in myself, and I believe in my talent. Do I see myself as a starter? Yes, but I control what I can control, and that is coming out here and putting my best foot forward every single day. I am not really concerned about what I can't control, but what I can control is coming out to practice every day, putting my best foot forward and doing the best that I can. Whatever happens after that, happens. I have faith in God and a belief in myself. I want to win. I want to be the best teammate and player for this organization. The rest of the things will just take care of themselves from there."

On defensive coordinator Joe Woods and the defensive scheme:
"It is a great scheme. He is a great coordinator and a great leader. He has a great feel for the defenses that we are running and really just showing us the details of it, and us understanding the 'why' behind everything that we are doing has been very important and very critical to the progress that we have had thus far. I am excited. Today is the first day in pads. We are just instilling that culture and just trying to turn this thing around. This is going to be a process, a day-by-day process."

On if Woods has asked him to change any techniques:
"Yeah, that is for everybody. Certain ways, coaching techniques and things like that. I think we are all good athletes and all good players, and we can adjust to it."

On if he came into the NFL with the same quality of being a pro's pro, given Head Coach Kevin Stefanski gave him that compliment earlier this week:
"I think I came into the league just kind of with those qualities, but like I said, going into my sixth season so all those qualities I think have evolved just as far as my football IQ, my instincts and what I am seeing on pre- and post-snap and all those things that they have evolved over the years, but I definitely pride myself on a step ahead when I am out there on the football field."

On how dangerous the Browns offense can be:
"Very dangerous. There is talent everywhere you look on the offense when they come out there. The receiver position, tight end position, running back position, quarterback position and offensive line has been very impressive to me this far, and it is just exciting that we just are just getting started. Like I said, every single day, everybody has to come out here, earn their keep and put their best foot forward. We have goals as a team and what we want to be. We have to work for it every single day."

On how much stress an offense with good, versatile RBs and TEs can put on a defense:
"Like you said, it is a lot of stress. It is a lot of stress. It is a lot of things. You have to be sharper in every aspect of the defense and on every aspect of your game and everybody else's game. Everybody has to be sharpening tools to be able to go up against an offense like that, but at the end of the day, if you are a good player and you are a good defense, then you think you can go against anybody. It is just a mindset and a competitive kind of way to look at it, but you have to go out there and compete."

On how competing against the Browns offense every day will help the Browns defense improve:
"Most definitely, it is going to make us a lot better. That is another exciting thing about going against an offense like what we have. Going against them every single day is going to make us all better. By Sundays when the games come around, I have a feeling that we will be very prepared for what we see out there."

DE Olivier Vernon:
On waiting to see what his future held during the offseason and why it was important for him to stay in Cleveland:
"First of all, at the end of the day when it comes to the NFL, it is a business. I understand that business aspect of it. Everything during the offseason just had to get sorted out. Kept in communication with the coaches and the GM to figure out everything that was going on. Just staying ready, trying to get healthy and everything like that. Those guys brought a lot of good coaches in here and brought in a lot of talent, and we are trying to make something happen this year. For them to have me a part of it shows that they want me here, and I am glad to be here. Now, it is just time to get to work."

On his mindset heading into the season and if playing hurt last season adds more motivation:
"It was really unfortunate for that to happen, but it is football. I have been during this offseason trying to get healthy. My goals for this year are to play healthy and contribute to the team. There are always going to be ups and downs and hurdles that you have to bound over, but that was just one them last year. It was unfortunate. The whole season last year ended up being unfortunate for everybody. We had high expectations, and it just did not go the way we planned it. That is the NFL for you. At the end of the day, it isn't a fairytale. There is not a fairytale script when it comes to this league. You play in the best league. You are playing against the best. Everybody has talent. Looking forward to this year, guys getting on the same page and putting in that work. We have a lot to look forward to right now."

On if he and DE Myles Garrett can be more effective in this defensive scheme:
"(Defensive coordinator) Joe Woods has a good plan. He keeps it very basic, very simple. He just wants guys to play fast. Joe Woods has had success a lot of places he has been – in Denver and San Francisco. Him implementing this type of style of defense, I feel like it could benefit a lot of guys."

On why the Browns were unable to meet high expectations last season:
"For one, everybody put those high expectations just because of how good we looked on paper. I feel like me coming in, it was a very young team across the board, and me being in this league for a little while, nothing is ever going to be given to you. You have to earn, scratch and claw to get a win. It is not going to come easy and no teams are going to just fold for you just because you are projected to make freaking run to the damn Super Bowl. If anything, it is going to be even harder for you. As far as the maturity level and having those expectations, too, I feel like that kind of got misconstrued so when the season did start and did not start off the way we wanted it to, especially when I remember one of the first games, I do not know how many penalties we had, but I had never been a part of any football like that in my life. Seeing that, we needed a lot more discipline. Right now, it is hit the reset button. It is a whole new coaching staff. We have a lot of different faces on this team. Now, we write our own script now for this year."

On if the Browns are more mature and better equipped to handle this season:
"I think it was a lesson to a lot of the guys and a lot from last year, especially when you know how long the season is and the type of competition we have in our division. We have Baltimore, the two-time defending champs in our division. It is always going to be a battle. It is not easy to win in this league. Week in, week out, you have to bring it no matter what. No team is every going to lay down for you. I think that was a learning lesson and learning curve for a lot of guys. Hopefully, a lot of guys gathered that information and carry it with them, and hopefully, that reminds them, especially for this upcoming season, just to give more motivation into staying focused, staying disciplined and getting after it."

On his impressions of T Jedrick Wills Jr. and Wills transition to LT:
"He is making a big transition. From what I understand, he played right tackle in college. Personally, doing that transition, especially coming into the league and to be left tackle, you have big shoes to fill. It is not going to be easy, but he is putting the work in. He is just trying to get better as far as technique-wise. Especially under the circumstances we are in now with an offseason with no OTAs, no preseason games and training camp, it is going to be a real fast learning curve for him. All he can do right now is soak in what he can and try to just focus on little things each and every day just to get better at it and get more comfortable on that side. The sky is the limit for him."

On if the Browns defense has something to prove this year:
"That is how the story is always going to be. Defense is always going to be on the back burner, no matter what. I feel like all we have to do is do our jobs on defense and worry about winning on our side of the ball. Everything else is going to take care of itself. We can only control what we can. I think a lot of guys understand that. Even when they bring in veteran guys, the (S Andrew) Sendejos here and being able to have guys like him to teach guys in the secondary to boost the IQ up on certain things. Anything you can do as far as just learning from your mistakes from last year and getting better from that, honestly. All we can do is play defense. Play defense and try to win on defense. That is it. Everything else is going to take care of itself."

On if the necessary discipline and structure is in place this year after not feeling it was in place with the roster last year:
"This is going on two and a half, maybe going on three weeks that we have all been together now so it is not going to just happen with the snap of a finger. We are just getting into pads today. Now, it is just going to really start strong with the people we have on our team and we just have to start building. Coach K (Head Coach Kevin Stefanski) is coming in here, and he has been doing everything as far as game planning and how he wants to structure the beat, he is doing a great job of that. He is all about efficiency – efficiency of everything. Work hard but work smart. Bringing in more veteran guys to the team helps establish how he wants this thing to run. I feel like the more time that we have and the more time that we are gelling together, it is just going to help the whole process. Right now, it is just the beginning stages. We have to just keep building, working, put our heads down and try to make this thing work because it is uncommon ground for a lot of people and a lot of teams. You can't make excuses about anything or about not being ready. Everybody is in the same boat right now. I think we have maybe 14 or 15 days until the season starts so it is a quick turnaround. We have to have everybody on their P's and Q's and everybody crossing their T's and dotting their I's. That is basically the main focus right now."

C Nick Harris:
On competing with the first team during the first few days of training camp, due to C JC Tretter's injury:
"Obviously, it is a great opportunity to get thrown in the fire. That is how you learn the best. That is how you get the best reps is going against ones on ones. I am definitely fortunate to have the opportunity to get my feet wet and get out there with the guys. As for me, this whole process is not new. Going into college, I kind of was thrown into the fire too as a true freshman so I know how to handle these situations. You are going to make mistakes. Just minimize those mistakes being made, learn from the guys around you that have played a little bit and at the end of the day, just play fast. If you mess up playing fast, at least you are showing that you care about what you are doing. That is kind of the mindset I have going about training camp so far."

On his confidence level that he will be ready to go Week 1:
"Honestly, I am just taking it day by day. That is my mindset going into training camp this year because everything is so different. I am just taking it sunrise to sunset. Don't get too high or don't get too low. Just trying to learn. Like you said, just be ready whatever the situation may be and making sure I optimize the opportunity I get when it does happen and making sure I stay ready so I don't have to get ready when that situation comes."

On if it was surprising or a jolt to him when hearing JC Tretter had a medical procedure and he would be out to start training camp:
"It is what it is. It is part of this game. Sometimes things happen where you have to play, and injuries are obviously a part of this game. When I heard it, I was just, 'OK. Well, here we go. I have to go now.' I get the plays, I get the scheme and everything so I just have to go out there and execute. It is what it is. It is a part of the game. It is just the next man up. If he is down for a little bit or whatever it is, I will be ready to step in when need be."

On evaluating his first two days of training camp:
"I think I have done well. I am still getting acclimated to it, but I think have done some really good things. I am still learning from those guys and those vet guys in the group. I am honestly just excited to be able to go out there and play every day with those guys. I am definitely excited. I think I am making progress every day."

On how playing C during camp may impact his chance to play RG:
"I am just trying to optimize whatever role I have and whatever that may be. Just trying to make sure I am ready for whatever comes at me and go out there and execute in whatever spot that is. Just trying to be a role player for this team and whenever my opportunity comes, I am ready for it. Just trying to prepare every day for that."

On his first impressions of offensive line coach Bill Callahan:
"He is a great coach. He is really technical, which you need when you are in this league. Everybody is good so you have to pay attention to all those small details and small things about this position, which I really appreciate because I do love this position. I take a lot of pride in the different techniques and stuff you can use at this position. He has been great. I have learned a lot from him in just a short span. He is very knowledgeable of O line play and the game in general. I don't think he talks about anything other than football so he loves this game more than anybody I have ever met. He is definitely a good guy to have on your side teaching you and showing you the ropes as a rookie."

On if he knew much about Callahan before coming to Cleveland:
"I knew a little bit about him just from people I have been coached by and hearing about his name and what he has done in this league and the guys he has coached. I definitely had a little tidbit of information before I came in here."

On which Browns teammates have been helping and encouraging him the most:
"All the guys up front are definitely helping me. (Gs) Wyatt (Teller) and Joel (Bitonio), (T) Jack (Conklin) and all those guys are helping me get ready every day, and if I have questions, they answer it. To be honest, probably Coach Callahan is in my ear the most. I talk to him directly if I question because I want to get it from the source. That is who is helping me the most in training camp so far."

On if he has had any trouble with 'too many voices in his ear' trying to help him and making a quick transition to playing with the first team offense:
"Like I said, it is a part of this game and I have been in this situation before previously in college when I came in expecting to redshirt and I played immediately. I have been in this situation. I know how to handle it. I am trying to maximize the time that we have on the field every day to get better, and when the opportunity presents itself, I am ready to do whatever I need to do as a role player on this team."

On if he is also handling any of Tretter's NFLPA duties:
"No, not that (laughter). I am just out there making sure everything is good before he comes back. Just that. None of that stuff. I am not ready for that. I am still trying to figure out my life first (laughter)."

On if playing C in the NFL is a big jump from in college, particularly given the pre-snap reads and responsibilities of the position:
"Yeah, there is a jump for sure. I think it all depends on where you came from in college. A lot of college teams are run like NFL schemes to where the transition is kind of seamless, especially at the center position. I came from a pro-style offense, but the demands of the center were a little different so I have to learn the intricacies of being an NFL center, ID-ing everything and telling people what to do, which I had to do in college but it is just a different degree of difficulty at this level because everything happens kind of fast. I think that is the main thing, but at the end of the day, like I like to think about it, it is football. I have been playing football for 15 years. At the end of the day, it is the same game I have been playing this whole time and I have been having fun with it every year. That is kind of my thought process going about it."

 On being only 6-1 at C or if it can be an advantage for leverage:
"I have gotten this question a lot throughout my career. Yes, I think it helps me to be honest. It helps me with leverage. It helps with my hands and hat placement. I have natural knee bend to where guys have to be coached to bend their knees when I can just already do it. It helps my lateral quickness. I think it helps me. On paper, if I was 6-4, it would sound better, but I think functionally, if you really know the intricacies of playing this position, I have the ideal build, I think, and I think other people also would think that. It is what it is. I have been asked about that numerous times, and I kind of get excited a little bit when people ask me that because I know in the back of their mind they are doubting me. It gives me a little chip on my shoulder. I have always held that close."

On his relationships with T Jedrick Wills Jr. and QB Baker Mayfield:
"Me and Jed were in the same [draft] class so I have gotten to know him pretty well from all of the rookie stuff we have to do. A good dude, good personality, a good dude to be around. Obviously, as everyone knows, he is a good football player. We have a good relationship, and it is still climbing just from us being on the field together now. With Baker, now I am being thrown in so our relationship is building, and hopefully, it gets to the point where we are super close but it is still growing. He is a super good dude. He is helpful. If I have questions about anything, he answers it. He is a good leader. Just from being in the fire for a week, I have learned that he is a good leader. He says what needs to be said to anybody. He is definitely somebody that if I have a question, I wouldn't be afraid to ask and he wouldn't be afraid to answer."

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