Transcripts

Week 1 coordinator press conferences - Mike Priefer, Todd Monken, Steve Wilks

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

Opening statement:

“Good morning guys. I have shaved for you guys so I hope you guys appreciate that. I hate shaving ever since my military days. It had been about a good six-seven days and my wife was even getting on me. It is so gray now. I have to shave it so hopefully, it looks pretty good. I hope you guys are doing well.”

On K Austin Seibert saying he needed a bit of a realignment following inconsistency earlier this year:

“He was jamming himself a little bit with his plant foot and that caused some inconsistencies with his follow through and leg swing and follow through and ball contact. It was just a little tweak that he found. We watched some tape together, figured it out and worked on it. Sent him down to the stadium twice this week – Monday and then yesterday – with the snapper (Charley Hughlett) and the holder to get some extra work in. It is still a little bit of a working progress, but he has found a little bit more consistent leg swing and follow through. I think that he is on the right track.”

On tweaking those types of kicking mechanics are more common than publicly known:

“Absolutely, especially kicking field goals, with the snap, hold, the tilt and everything that we are working with (P) Jamie (Gillan) on, as well, as the holder. He has come a long, long way since the spring and he has become a really good holder. He is such a good athlete and picked it up really quick. I think they have all done a good job of working well with each other this past week or two. Hopefully, that extra work at the stadium – we are going to do some more field goals today and more punts tomorrow. We will continue working on getting ready for Sunday.”

On Gillan’s long-term potential:

“Honestly, that is why he made this football team. I think the safe bet would have been to go with (Vikings P) Britton (Colquitt). He is more consistent, and he has been around a long time. I think it would have been very difficult to let a guy like Jamie out of the building. He is so talented and has such a big leg swing. The sky is the limit for him. I think he is just scratching the surface on how good he can be and how good of a punter and holder he can be in this league. I just think he is so talented that we just have to make sure that we channel that energy and talent and hopefully, get as many consistent punts as we possibly can.

On if the Browns had a sense other NFL teams were interested in Gillan:

“That is a great question. I do not know the answer to that. You would have to talk to (General Manager) John (Dorsey), (Assistant General Manager) Eliot (Wolf) and the personnel guys. I do not pay attention to that. Special teams coordinators on other teams mentioned to me, ‘Wow, this guy is really good. Where did you find him?’ I said, ‘I did not find. I went down and worked him out because I was told to. Who wants to go to Arkansas Pine-Bluff?’ No, actually, it was a nice area. It is a really nice town. I had a good time. The coaching staff is great. They were really good to me. Jamie had a bunch of players out there and all of his ex-teammates out there watching him punt and making fun of him, making fun of the way that he throws the ball. He can spin in with a rugby throw but he can’t throw overhand very well. We are working on that so that he can throw some fakes down the line.”

On Gillan’s progress as a holder:

“That was a big factor in the final decision. That is why the last game was important for him to go out and hold well for us like he did. He is such a good athlete. He picked up on it pretty quickly. When he first got here, remember he did not do it in college. He did everything in college, kicking, punting, kicking field goals and everything. He never even practiced holding before. When we worked him out, we saw that he was raw, but he was talented and he has great hands and is a very good athlete as you guys know. In the decision making process, it was a big deal. He showed enough in that last second preseason game and throughout the spring and summer that he has the ability to do it.”

On if the Browns would consider Gillan kicking a last-second FG at a long distance:

“I think Austin would be the best beat. He has such a strong leg, as well. He would be the guy.”

On if RB Dontrell Hilliard will return punts and kickoffs:

“Dontrell right now, he has come a long way, too. He returned kicks in the NFL for Cleveland last year. He has really good vision. He runs hard. He is strong. He is dependable. He will probably do both, but I would not say that (RB) D’Ernest (Johnson) would not be out there, as well. Who knows? On punt return you have those two really god receivers back there with (WRs) Jarvis (Landry) and Odell (Beckham Jr.) that are always possibilities. Fourth quarter if we need a big play, those are your big play guys that you can go to and hopefully win a game with one of them.”

On LS Charley Hughlett:

“We call the jug machine little Charles. He is kind of like the human JUGS machine. He is very good, a true pro. All the snappers in this league, there is only one of them on the team so they are all very very hard but he is a hard worker. He is really good with these two young kids and he will be a good leader for us in that room.”

On Hughlett knowing exactly how many times the ball spirals from snap to punter:

“That is another work in progress. Britton caught the ball a little bit different that Jamie so sometimes the laces are not perfect and we are working through that right now but I think we are on the right track. We will be more consistent. Even Charley said it today, he was joking around today in the meeting that he is the one that makes the field goal. It all starts with him, and he is right. We joke around about that, but there is a lot more into kicking a field goal and making a field goal or PAT than just the kicker. It is the snap, the hold and the protection. It is all the little things, field conditions, wind, all the things we talked about before. Charley is a pro. He is a true pro, and I am glad that we have him.”

On the importance of the Browns sending the specialists to FirstEnergy Stadium twice this week and if that would have been different if not for the stadium’s known kicking conditions:

“No, I think it is important anytime you have two new guys – the new punter, the new kicker – the more familiar they are with their surroundings, the more we can make FirstEnergy Stadium a home field advantage for us. Honestly, they have only been down there for a scrimmage and two preseason games until this week. When they go down there, I want them to feel more confident every time they go down there. They have been here. I know what the flags are doing, I know what the wind is doing. I have an idea where I need to punt the ball or what hash I need to kick the game-winning field goal from, etc. The more we go down there, the more confident they become by just working down there and getting used to that stadium. As you guys know as the year goes on, it gets colder and windier, and the weather is going to turn nasty here in Cleveland like it always does. I think the more they kick outdoors and the more they kick in a stadium setting more so than the practice field, that will get them ready for pretty much any outdoor stadium.”

On if the specialists will go to the stadium on a weekly basis:

“Yes.

On if Gillan is good to have in the special teams room based on his personality balance with Seibert:

“I think they have actually talked about that. One is very tightly wound guy in Austin and one is a little bit loosey-goosey. I think they are very good for each other. If they are both loosey-goosey, I do not know. I think that would be a little difficult for me to be around to be honest with you because I am more tightly wound and I am closer to Austin in that regard. I think Jamie approaches his job with very good focus and he is a true pro. I think he is learning how to be a better pro by being around guys in our locker room that are good pros. They are good for each other. Jamie has been great. I think the good thing about him is that he might not get a good punt and it might be a below average punt, the next one he is going to bomb. He does not worry about what he did on the last one. He probably forgot anyway to be honest with you. Having a short memory for him and his personality helps in that regard.”

On how many different punts Gillan has now:

“You have your basic what we call a field punt. You have the backup punt from inside the five. You have a field punt that is just anywhere from the six yard line to the 45-yard line. Then you have what we call the Aussie punt or plus-50 punt. He has some different tricks in his bag or we call them clubs in the bag. I am not much of a golfer so if you hear me use a golf analogy it won’t be very good (laughter). He does have different tricks that he can use, different kicks and different wind situations kicking from the hash, keep their return teams off-balance that we talk about getting ready for a ball game. He can keep people off balance because he has that rugby background and he can pretty much do whatever he wants with the football as long as he is consistent with it.”

On how much of premium it is that Gillan is left-footed:

“It is kind of a bonus. It was not part of the decision-making process per se. Being the fact that he is left footed and we are playing 15 games outdoor this year, I think that has a lot to do with putting other returners that can be a little bit uncomfortable returning from a left-footed punter in their organization. I think it makes it difficult. It is hard to get used to a lefty off the JUGS. It is not the same. Especially his ball, that he can use so many different things with it as well.”

On what NFL stadiums are the most difficult t:

“Ours is tough. I have not been here a lot, but ours is tough. I think being in the NFC North for eight years, Chicago and Green Bay were difficult certain times of the year. Chicago is always windy. Green Bay when it was cold, windy and nasty, it made it tough. That makes me appreciate those guys like a (Packers K) Mason Crosby all the more because he has had such a great career. One bad year and he has had a great year other than that. He has kicked in that division and in that stadium year in and year out. A lot of respect for those guys that are successful for over a longer period of time in those stadiums.”

On Heinz Field being among the most difficult to kick inside:

“Probably Pittsburgh. I have not coached there a lot, but yes, especially the open end. My son coaches there [at Pitt]. He is a graduate assistant there now, and I was at the game the other night. It was a beautiful night but that made a difference. Being in that stadium, I kind of got juiced up before the game. My son got me sideline passes. I know people there now (laughter). It was kind of cool, my wife and I were out there watching pregame and watching our son. It was pretty emotional for me. It was kind of surreal to watch him coach. Being in that stadium and understanding the winds, it is going to be tough to play there and Cincinnati and Baltimore as well. They each have their own challenges.”

On embracing Gillan tackling:

“Absolutely. You do not want them to tackle. The reason he had three tackles is because we did not cover with the flip on those three plays in the two-game period. It really ticked me off to be honest with you. Having him as the last resort as someone that is not afraid to stick his nose in there as long as he stays healthy. He is a pretty big strong kid. That is a nice bonus to have, but you are hoping that he does not make any this year. That means we are covering punts and kicks better than we did the other night.”

On if the Browns special teams needed a massive overhaul this year:

“I do not know if overhaul is the right word. I think that we have a focus from our general manager, our personnel department and our head coach that I do not know if they have had here in years past before John and Freddie (Kitchens) became GM and head coach, respectively. I do not know that for a fact. I do not want to speak for them because I am not going to criticize the people that were here before. I do know that we do have great attention to detail with our head coach ad attention to detail with our personnel department, starting with John, about the importance of special teams and how it can help us win games. Hopefully, we can carry that baton and be great on teams and on every phase. That is the goal.”

On challenges covering the Titans returners:

“(Titans WR) Darius Jennings is outstanding. I used to lose sleep over Devin Hester and all the other great returners we faced over the years. This kid may not be Devin Hester, but he is really good. He is not a big guy, but he runs like a big guy. He has good vision. He is explosive. He is quick. He makes people miss. He averaged 31.7 yards per return last year on 22 returns with that touchdown against Miami in Week 1. He is a very dangerous returner. They are well coached. They do a great job with their scheme. We have challenges.”

On if Gillan is one of the NFL’s better tacklers as a P, given his rugby background:

“I think right now he is the most willing tackler. A lot of these guys as you get a little bit older – I have been around some veteran punters and kickers – they rather not throw their body in there because they are older, and they are not as effective as a punter or kicker or whatever afterwards. He is such a great athlete because of his rugby background, and he played some soccer in high school, too. He is good at what he does. We do not need him to tackle. We rather he did not. It is nice to have that 11th guy there if you need him.”

On if the Browns have to continue to monitor Seibert’s plant foot, given the adjustments:

“You have to continue to monitor all day. Like Monday, he went day to the stadium and we tape all that stuff. We have Chavis (Cook) one of our ops guys that goes down there. He drives the van, he sets everything up and he videotapes. These guys are amazing around here. They do so many great things for us. We watched the tape from Monday, and he was not jamming himself and he hit the ball really well. Yesterday, he still hit the ball well but he jammed himself a few times. It is something that we have to continue to monitor and correct. Like any other technique in the game of football, it isn’t just specific to here.”

On what potentially causes Seibert to jam his approach:

“Just a little bit of the last step is a little bit too long. We are talking. A little bit off, we are talking a couple of inches now. That is why his jab has to be nice and short. His second step is short, his last step is really short. Everything has to be short and compact, and to be more consistent. Aim small, miss small. That concept. The more he works on it, the more consistent he will be.”

*On his son coaching at Pittsburgh: *

“The toughest thing for me is that he is very witty, Michael Jr. He calls himself 2.0; he is the upgrade from 1.0. He thinks that is really cute, but it is not (laughter). My dad went and spent a couple of days at camp at Pittsburgh, and Coach (Pat) Narduzzi was kind enough to let him go down there. He is the first generation, I am the second generation and my son is the third generation. My dad told me, ‘I thought I was good, I think you are better and your son is going to be even better than you.’ I was like, ‘Alright.’ That is a little bit of a challenge. 2.0 is the upgrade.”

On if his son coaches special teams:

“No, he was smart enough to get out of that. He did one year at the University of Minnesota as a special teams GA and now he is on the defensive side of the ball. He is a lot smarter than his old man.”

On what position his son coaches:

“Helping with the linebackers, helping with the defense and helping a little bit with special teams because of his background.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On excitement for Sunday’s game after seeing the full Browns offense practice this week:

“You have to have bullets to move the football so it is fun to have those guys out there and keep developing the rapport that (QB) Baker (Mayfield) needs to have with those guys.”

On challenges the Browns offense will face going up against the Titans defense:

“First off, when you watch them on tape, they play awfully hard. I know that is easy to say, but they play collectively well together, probably better than their pieces would indicate, even though I think they have a really good number of football players. They collectively do a great job of not giving up a number of explosive plays. You look at the explosive tape from a year ago, you did not see a lot of balls thrown over their head and you did not see a lot of explosive runs so teams had to earn it. They did a nice job in the red zone so they forced teams to kick field goals.”

On what separates WR Odell Beckham Jr. from other NFL receivers in terms of skillset and intangibles:

“I have not been around him that long. First of all, he is a really gifted athlete. Let’s start with that. His balance, body control, ball-tracking ability and his hands, just start with that part of it that is unique and rare. Then you combine that with he is a really smart football player. I do not think people understand that part of it and how important it is to him to know what to do, how to do it and where we want him. I think that is probably a big part of it. He has a unique skillset.”

On if he knew much about RB D’Ernest Johnson before the Browns signed Johnson:

“No, I did not know much about him. Crazy enough, we were 20 miles from each other and did not know much about him. He is an excellent football player. One thing he has – when you are talking about Odell you are talking about unique skillset – when you are talking about D’Ernest is you are talking about a unique mental toughness. His physical talents are solid, but he is a smart, tough football player that you can count on. It carries a guy a long way.”

On Johnson’s ability to pick up blitzes, including opponents much larger than him:
“Some guys just have edge.”

On level of comfort at RG:

“We are fine at right guard. Every team has different spots where you have competition. (G Eric) Kush has been in this league a long time. He is a good football player. Whether it is him, some of the guys we brought in or (G) Austin (Corbett), we anticipate that they will play well.”

On game planning the week, including with the QBs:

“Everywhere that I have been, this is no exception where you have everyone involved in the gameplan process. You use the expertise of the coaches. Very rarely do you have a staff and I do not think you want to have a staff where you have individual coaches that do not have input into certain areas. We divide up areas as a staff and then we go into the room and decide and break it apart. There is a run part, a protection part and some of the pass game that you are talking about. Everybody has different roles in that. It is everybody’s job and role to be a big part of our game planning and what we see. In my opinion, not one person can see it all so that is how everyone fits that together. Baker is a big part of it and (QB) Drew Stanton is, as well, being a part of this system in Arizona. He is a big help in that part of it and sees things as most guys who have played as long as he has, and he is really smart. He adds a lot to what we do on a weekly basis.”

On combatting potential double-team coverage on Beckham:

“There will be times, especially in the red zone, I anticipate that they will double Odell. They have shown that in the past. Not just Odell, they have shown that against the top receivers in the league that they will try their best to take away your best players, especially once you get towards the red zone. I think you have to do a good job of moving around. I think you have to do a good job of running the football where they do not want to take people out of the middle of the field to double a receiver. You have to find a way to take advantage of where he is at and then when other players have a one-on-one matchups, they have to win. That is the point of having good skill players that when they double one or decide to bracket not only him another player is you have some matchup issues for them.”

On if Beckham and Mayfield can make up for not having played together in the preseason:

“I think so. With every player you have, I do not care how long they have played together, it is always going to be a work in progress collectively between the two of them and getting on the same page. It is not nearly as hard when you are talking about maybe a free-access route or something simple, but obviously, when a player is pressed or something you have put in a given week or something that you don’t rep nearly as often, it is critical.”

On if he is eager to see the Browns potential offensive power with all players on the field:
“Sure. It is only going to continue to get better in four weeks getting AC (WR Antonio Callaway) back and in eight weeks getting (RB) Kareem (Hunt) back. You are going to add to that as you get going. We are excited to see it. It is hard, you used to get a little bit better gauge in my mind in the preseason, because more guys played. You played more often where you are. I am not sure anyone knows exactly where they are at right now. You have a feeling of where you are, you like your players’ mindsets. You can’t fear the season. That is what you do it for. It will be fun to get out there and see where we are at with the work we have put it. We have not used (RB) Nick (Chubb) a lot really. I do not know how many times Nick carried the ball in the preseason if he has so it will be exciting to see him because he is a weapon, and even (TE) David Njoku. We will see.”

On Chubb:

“Well, he is a pro. I know he has only been in the league one year, but he just goes out there every day and works. It is fun to have a guy back there who you feel like you can turn around and hand the ball off and the quarterback can take a break. He can break tackles and run downhill. That is a great luxury to have.”

On if it is detrimental that NFL players do not play as much during the preseason:

“If you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have said yes, I would of. As a coach, I do not think that you go in the profession believing that reps do not matter, I do not think you ever go thinking that we really do not need to practice to play a game. The statistics over the last couple of years with experience players and some of the other teams would say differently. They would say that it is not nearly as important as I would have thought if that makes sense. Watching the Rams last year when a number of their players did not go to the preseason and they were fine. I hold back a little bit of judgement there. From a coaching perspective, I do believe that reps matter. Otherwise, what do they need us for?”

On if he is conscious about touches for players going into a game:

“I have said many times before, I think balance is utilizing all of your skill players. They have to defend the field, maybe not always run-pass but by who your skill players are. What helps that is having really good skill players. This worked out last year, we had a number of players that deserved the opportunity to make plays in the game. They were talented players. We were blessed that way at tight end and receiver. I have been places before where you do not have as many of those guys so now you have to move certain players around to try and get their matchups to utilize their skillset. It goes both ways. You would like to have enough skill players to balance that, but if not, then you have to find a way to continue to feed the players that are your premier players and your advantage players. You can’t get away from that just for the sake of balance. It is a big part of it, but I would say you still want to feed your players that are deserving of that. I guess the best way to put it.”

On how much the team can get out of coaching during meetings and reviewing film:

“It is all part of the learning and developing process of anything we do, whether it is the initial teaching part of showing someone on a PowerPoint or a slip of paper that starts off with a plan, and then it is actually going and doing it or going on the field and doing some of your individual drills and then taking it to the field and then coming back, taking notes and watching it on tape. It is an eye-opener, I think tape is one of the most valuable things that we have not only in game planning but in players seeing because at times, I think that they understand that the picture is going to show exactly what they did because the memory of what they thought they did and what had actually ended up happening, like all of us. It just looks different. It just does. I realized that years ago. Let me tell you a little story here just as a reference because I forget and then it comes to me at age 53. We used to play noon basketball hoops all the time at Eastern Michigan 20 years ago, and I had this envision of myself that when we played I was Danny Ainge or John Stockton. I was really talented and them someone came and videotaped our practice, and I realized when I thought I was jumping three feet off the ground, I was getting three inches. I did not look nearly as smooth and as athletic as I thought. From a player standpoint for them to be able to see it and what you are teaching them, I think it is important.”

On meeting time and film study being one of biggest changes from high school, college and NFL football:

“We get more time with them. I think that is the biggest thing. The time maybe not in the offseason because that shrunk, but when we do have them here during the season, we have them here all day. It is a job. Like anything that any of us do, you are going to get better at whatever you put time into. Whatever you decide to put your time into, you are going to continue to get better if you attack it the right way, which these guys do because they are the best in the world.”

On if there was a noticeable change with Beckham when returning to team drills:

“You have to speak to him with how his body felt. That is probably the biggest thing is he has played long enough to know where his body stands and where he wants to put himself in a position to push. Obviously, it is about getting to gameday so you would have to talk to each individual player. It is fun seeing him running around. I am not sure yet we have even seen him full speed yet, but he has been building himself to get him to that point. We are excited to get going.”

On WR Rashard Higgins’ strengths:

“Consistency. That is the biggest thing with Rashard. He can play all three positions. You can move him around a little bit. That is the probably biggest thing is you can count on him. He does a nice job when Baker is under duress. You can see that in years past. I have said in terms of being an outlet for him. I think Baker has a trust in him playing all those positions. I think that is probably the No. 1 thing. He is another one of those things that if you probably looked at any particular part of his game, you would say that there is not one dominant trait but he does a lot of things really well. It gives you comfort as a coach and allows you when you go into a game, especially now with his role increasing, our confidence that he will continue to have success.”

On WRs playing the slot position, specifically in reference to Higgins spending more time there:

“The learning part of it is just about reps. It is completely different when you are lined up outside and the type of routes that you run and the looks that you get from a corner compared to nickel and the type of traffic you have to navigate around, and the ball gets on you quicker. When you are in the slot in terms of your hand-eye coordination and your quickness, that is what is a little bit different. The ball travels a lot further obviously when you are outside. We know that, but your matchups are different, your routes are different and your spatial awareness is different. That is where a guy can play in, there but obviously, the more they reps inside because it is different than being outside, the efficient he will be in terms of decision making. Utilize that guy in two-minute. Utilize that guy in third down. Utilize him from a matchup issue and at times getting their third corner or their nickel. From a game-planning standpoint and also from a learning curve, it is important for our guy to get some reps in there.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

On the performance of the Browns DL during preseason and that is expected to carry into the regular season:

“I was very excited with the way we played. I thought we had a great camp. I thought the guys really bought into the system with what we want to accomplish, and I was excited to see that we were flying around. The things that we talk about, the physicality, the effort and our ability to finish, we definitely did that. That is something to build on. As I talked to the guys, this is when the really bullets start flying with the season. I am excited about where we are, and yes, I definitely expect us to continue to do what we have been doing in the past.”

On the importance of giving players like DE Myles Garrett freedom in the defense:

“No. 1, I think it really gives them accountability. It gives them ownership within the defense. That is what we talk about all of the time is accountability, trust and commitment. When they have ownership in the defense, they perform a little bit better. As I tell those guys all of the time, I want to hear what you have to say; it does not mean I am always going to do everything because I still think we still need to work within the confines of the defense. Myles is doing a great job, along with the other guys up front so I am excited about our front four and the things they are doing.”

On input from DE Olivier Vernon, DT Sheldon Richardson and veteran players:

“They do, and what I have sort of created a little bit is somewhat of a leadership committee within the defense. Some veteran guys that I sort of call on, we meet so often – probably maybe three times throughout training camp – just to get a feel in the post of what those guys are thinking in regards to what I am thinking. It has been good open dialogue. As I said before, I just like to hear what they have to say.”

On planning for how the Titans OL will use personnel to oppose the Brown DL, particularly Garrett:

“Not just the Titans, but I am sure most teams throughout league are going to look to try to look and help on Myles’ side and try to chip, which I think is going to open things up on the other side for Olivier Vernon, as well as an inside look for (DT) Larry (Ogunjobi) and Sheldon. We feel like we are talented across the board and they are going to try to come in, particularly being depleted a little bit at the left tackle, try and protect a little bit more and give the quarterback time to get the ball down the field.”

On if Browns fans will be surprised by the defense and if it could overshadow the offense:
“It is a team effort. There is a lot of balance throughout what we are doing on offense, defense and special teams. It is a long season, and hopefully, we can complement each other throughout.”

On CB Terrance Mitchell responding to competition at CB:

“I think he responded well. I think he had a great camp and competition is something we emphasize across the board because we want guys constantly trying to get better each and every day. We really do not want guys to get into any kind of comfort zone. I think Mitchell responded well. I think (CB) Greedy (Williams) had a good camp as well and made some plays. You guys saw in the preseason game. The biggest thing that we need is the consistency throughout the year.”

On if having a high-powered offense allows the Browns an ability to be more aggressive, given the offense could potentially make up for mistakes or risks:
“It is not so much them trying to make up for it. It is really trying to create our own identity. That has just really been my make-up ever since I have been in this system – being aggressive, not really trying to sit back and react to the offense, but allow those guys to react to us. Is it a plus that you feel you have talent on the other side of the ball that can go put points on the board? Definitely, yes.”

On LBs Mack Wilson and LB Sione Takitaki fitting into the defense:

“Taki has been hurt unfortunately. He missed a lot of training camp and a lot of preseason games. Mack Wilson is doing well. I expect those guys to be in the mix. I would rather not say whether they are going to start Week 4 or Week 5 – I could not tell you that – but I am very impressed with what (LBs) Joe (Schobert) and Christian (Kirksey) have done. When you look back on some of the film from last year and some of the things they are doing this year, I love the physicality that Christian is playing with, Joe with his ball skills has been able to play out in space and those guys are doing a great job of playing downhill, which we emphasize a lot at our linebacker position.”

On if the rookie LBs have pushed Kirksey and Schobert to step up their game:

“I do not want to say that. Hopefully, they have the wherewithal to do it themselves, just trying to be a better player. Competition, just like we talked about with Greedy and Terrance out there at the corner position, it is important that you continue to make sure that you have that.”

On if the Browns plan to rotate between Williams and Mitchell:

“It is one of the things that I have not done in the past a lot. Rotation is always up front because we want to keep those guys fresh. Linebackers and DBs, we play. We want to get into a rhythm. We are going to do everything we can to get these guys ready to play throughout the year because once again, they are one play away. Look for both of those guys to be in there at some point in time.”

On the Titans offense:

“Very talented. When you look at their strengths, it definitely comes at the running back position with (Titans RBs Derrick) Henry as well as (Dion) Lewis. I think they are very talented at the tight end position. You are talking about (Titans TE Delanie) Walker who is dynamic and who I consider is really a receiver and then (Titans TE Jonnu Smith) and the run game and his ability to stretch the field. I think those tight ends are excellent. (Titans QB Marcus) Mariota to me does a good job of really managing the game. They want to try to run first and create that play action. We know that. We have to do a great job of stopping this run game. Henry is a big, physical back that loves to play downhill. He is going to try to test the perimeters of the defense. We have to do a great job of setting the edges and turning him back inside.”

On where WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s talent ranks amongst NFL receivers:

“I think he is one of the top in the league, if not the top. When you look at his ability to catch the ball out in space and make guys miss, that is a threat to any defense. I think you are always looking for that mismatch right there against Odell. Particularly if you put him in the slot, who is going to cover him? I am just glad we do not have to go up against him in a game.”

On how Beckham helps the Browns defense prepare:

“It makes us better competition-wise, knowing that this guy practices hard. I do not know how much you guys are out there, but he is going full speed every day so our guys are getting a great look in what it is going to look like with game speed come Sunday.”

On if recent injuries to Titans RB Derrick Henry change the Browns gameplan:

“I expect him to be ready. As I mentioned earlier, Lewis a very good back, as well. No. 33 does a tremendous job of getting to the perimeter as well and can run in between the tackles. I think they are going to try to come in and try to establish the run game being on the road for the first game of the year. That is what they do and then create the vertical shots down the field.”

On Mariota:
“He does a good job of managing the game. He is not going to try to force things in there. He is going to check it down, but he will take his shots down the field. It comes off the play action.”

On CB T.J. Carrie returning to practice:

“Anytime you have veterans in your locker room, veterans out there that are starting for you or playing, it is extremely important. They have what I call ‘skin on the wall’. They have been there before so it is not too big for them and they know how to respond. It is great to have him back out there. He missed a lot of time, but he is smart enough to be able to understand exactly what we need to get done. It is good. 

On the importance of having experienced players like Carrie playing inside CB:

“Of course, because when you look at the nickel position, you are a linebacker in the run game and then they are going to put you out in space as a DB in the pass game. He does a great job of understanding run fits, particularly with this week with what we are going to be able to see and face. It is good to have him back out there.”

On most encouraging aspects for improvements in the run defense:

“The trust up front with those guys, understanding that everybody has a gap. Do no try to do too much. We emphasize all of the time. Just do your job. We have to play with violent hands. Those guys do a great job of cutting up front, the front level as well as the second level so we have to stay alive, stay on our feet, use our hands right here and get off blocks.”

On most coaches preaching trust and defensive communication yet that sometimes still occurring and confidence Browns players will trust each other:

“I hope that will not be an issue. You never know when we get out there but I think so far the guys have built that trust with one another and understanding that it is about the big picture. Guys doing their down and everybody being in their gap. We know right now that our corners are going to be a major part of the game this week with as much as they try to bounce the ball outside. The point of emphasis with those guys, well, is chasing the hip and making sure we keep the ball on our inside pad.”

On if DT Devaroe Lawrence’s performance in the preseason was as much of a surprise to the Browns coaches as it has been to the fans and media:
“Not so much because we saw a little bit of that in practice, which you guys did not see. Those guys up front – I say this all the time to the defense – everything we do starts up front. It starts with our defensive line, how we penetrate and how come off the ball. Devaroe had a tremendous camp. He made some splash plays in the preseason games, and hopefully, we can continue to get that going this year.”

On if the Browns expect any changes in Mariota and the Titans offense with coaching changes:

“I think from a comfort level standpoint with the new offensive coordinator being the former tight end coach, I think he understands by being around Mariota, exactly what he does well and then also being a tight end coach, he is going to lean toward the run game. Dynamic running backs, good tight ends and I think they are going to try and do everything they can to try to manage the game that way.”

On S Damarious Randall’s versatility:
“I think you said the key word, his versatility so we can do a lot. Our safeties are interchangeable in what we try to do, but having that skillset, he can come down and cover that slot, he is a good blitzer off the edge and he has range in the post. You are not limited in your calls in what you want to be able to do so he gives me free range to be able to open up the call sheet.”

On if it is tougher to prepare for an offensive coordinator when not knowing tendencies and style:
“I think it is tough to prepare even if that coordinator is coming back because a lot of teams do not show a lot during preseason and then that first game of the year, it is really about fundamentals and technique and trying to keep everything solid. I have been telling the coaches all summer, we have to make sure we are smart and not trying to do too much. I guarantee if you pop on that film on Monday of the team that loses, it is going to be busted coverages, guys not aligning in their gaps, not getting over and not leveraging the football because again. That is what happens the first game. Hopefully, it is tight for us, we can play fast and run around.”

On how eager he is to see the ‘new and improved’ Garrett on Sunday:

“I am very eager to see that. I think it is important that guys have individual goals that align with team goals. If he is Defensive Player of the Year, I think we are winning a lot of football games so I am excited about that. He is a special talent. I think this guy has tremendous upside and skillset. We will see exactly how great he is going to be this year. I know teams are going to sit here, as we mentioned earlier, are going to try to put protection to him, try to chip, try to slow him down, which I think is just going to open up things for other players around him.”

On DT Daniel Ekuale:

“When you look at Daniel, I call him ‘Mr. Consistent’. He is doing everything we ask him to do. Daniel may not be making the splash plays, but he is allowing the other 10 guys to be effective. When you start talking about the trust that we mentioned earlier within this defense, he is a guy that I trust.”

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