Need to Know: Gregg Williams offers Browns' condolences to Texans over passing of owner Bob McNair

Gregg Williams had a front-row seat for the Houston Oilers' departure to Nashville.

Williams was a defensive assistant with the Oilers when they made the move after the 1996 season. He remained with the organization through 2000 before moving on to Buffalo to become the Bills' head coach. He saw how hurt Houston fans were to lose their team and, from afar, saw how thrilled they were to get one back when the Texans launched as an expansion team in 2002.

Texans owner Bob McNair, who passed away Friday, had one of the biggest hands in bringing football back to Houston. He was 81.

"We know it has been a tough week for the city of Houston. He loved football, he loves that city and he loved his family," Williams said, who opened his Wednesday press conference by reading a statement on behalf of owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam. "Cleveland fans know far too well what it is like for a city to lose an NFL team and get one back. What Mr. McNair did for that community of Houston by bringing in a football team back to the region was very noble, and the people of that city greatly appreciate what he did. 

"The NFL will miss Mr. McNair.

-- The Browns were without their top two centers at practice Wednesday and could be in the same situation Thursday.

JC Tretter (ankle) and Austin Corbett (foot) were listed as non-participants Wednesday. Tretter, who has battled a high ankle sprain since Week 6, hasn't practiced on a Wednesday or Thursday in more than a month, but hasn't missed a single snap in a game. Corbett suffered his injury in Sunday's game against the Bengals.

Williams joked offensive line coach Bob Wylie had to play the position at Wednesday's practice. In all seriousness, veteran reserve Earl Watford has some experience at the position and Cleveland has two versatile linemen -- Brad Seaton and Kyle Kalis -- on the practice squad.

-- This is Williams' second go-around as a head coach. In between his time as Buffalo's head coach and now as the Browns' interim head coach, Williams has mostly spent his time as an NFL defensive coordinator.

Asked if he could go back to being a coordinator after this latest stint as the head man, Williams, who will interview to be Cleveland's full-time option at the position, said it wouldn't be an issue.

"I love what I do, and in all honesty if I was not head coaching or defensive coordinator – I would love to be special teams coordinator again," Williams said. "I love that time there. Even the position coach part of it.

"You have to be able to handle the responsibilities they are asking you to do, but I really do love the aspect of having the chance to be in charge of whatever responsibilities they give me. It is not just head coach. I enjoy the competition factor of competing at the NFL level."

-- The Browns offensive line and quarterback Baker Mayfield are riding a hot streak when it comes to sacks. Cleveland hasn't allowed a sack in the past two games and surrendered just two Week 9 against the Chiefs.

That streak will be put to the test in a big way Sunday against the J.J. Watt- and Jadeveon Clowney-led Texans, who rank sixth in the league with 34 sacks on the season.

"This is the best group we will have faced probably overall all year," guard Joel Bitonio said. "They can do it in the run. They can do it in the pass. The tough thing about them is with Watt, Clowney and (Texans OLB Whitney) Mercilus and their big guys inside.

"They are a talented group. It is definitely going to be a good test for us."

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