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Press Conference

Week 15 Browns coordinator press conferences - Priefer, Monken, Wilks

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

Opening statement:

"Good morning. I hope everybody is doing well. Obviously, a big ball game this weekend. I am also excited, my daughter Samantha who lives in Denver, she is going to fly out there and she will be at the game with some of her high school friends that she went to high school with in Denver when I was with the Broncos for a couple of years. Also, you guys may not know this, but Army-Navy is tomorrow so that is obviously a big game. Really, it is Navy-Army – kind of say it that way. We lost the last three so we have to get back on that winning streak.

"Obviously, a big game against the Cardinals. Excited about facing them. They are a well-coached team. They fake punts. They have surprise onside ready with their kickoff team. They do a really nice job with (Cardinals WR) Pharaoh Cooper returning the ball. He does a good job bouncing it outside trying to get to the edge with their kickoff returns. We have to be ready for a whole bunch of stuff against these guys, which makes my job a little bit harder but it is kind of fun. I will not get as much sleep, but that is OK, you guys do not care about me or my sleep deprivation. At the end of the day, it is a big weekend for our football team. We have a lot to prove. I think every time we go out there, a team like us, we have a bunch of young guys, especially on special teams flying around. We have to go out and do a great job for the most part like we have been doing most of the year. We have to do a better job on kickoff return obviously, but some of the things we are doing are pretty good and pretty special. I am excited about that. We just have to keep building."

On NFL Ks ability to succeed with one team after not performing as well with another, in reference to former Browns and Cardinals K Zane Gonzalez and former NFL K Phil Dawson:

"I think with Zane and I worked Zane out when he was at Arizona State and he had all the talent in the world. Maybe he was not ready. Some guys when they get to the league, they are not maybe mature enough or they are not quite ready for the bright lights of the NFL or whatever the case may be. I do not know what it was with Zane, I do not know him that well but I do know he has done a very good job this year. He is well coached and does a good job on kickoff, field goals, everything. Cleveland is a tough place to kick. I think we all know that. I think that is what I like so much about (K) Austin (Seibert) before we drafted him was his maturity level, his confidence level. That has kind of made him fight through some of the misses that he has had, especially at home."

On P Jamie Gillan deserves to go to the Pro Bowl:

"No, I do not think so. No, I am just going to be honest. I would let you know if I thought he did. I think Jamie is a very good punter. I think he is going to get better and better and better, and there are better punters than him right now out there that have performed better this year. You just have to be more consistent. Is he a Pro Bowl talent punter? Absolutely. Is he ready to be on the Pro Bowl roster this year? I do not think so. I think there are two or three out of AFC punters that have probably had better years than him. Honestly, we have to protect better for him, we have to cover better for him and he has to perform more consistently, and we will get him to that level."

On if WR KhaDarel Hodge did what he was supposed to do on the onside kick at the end of the game:

"No, he was kind of the speed bump. (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) did a great job, we called timeout. He always asks me right before an onside kick – I think we have had maybe three against us this year – 'Do you want to call timeout?' The other two, they lined up how I thought they were going to lineup and they did pretty much have the same kick I thought they would kick. Cincinnati came out in something different. I am looking and I said, 'No, let's call a timeout.' Freddie calls timeout, and we bring the guys over. Because of the way their forces we deployed, so to speak, I had a good idea of what they might do. It was either going to be a slow roller or try to hit it and ricochet type kick – that is what we call it. The last thing I told KhaDarel and (CB) T.J. Carrie was 'Do not let the ball hit you.' Of course, he will remind you of that. He was supposed to get out of the way. I think he had enough time to get out of the way and (RB) D'Ernest Johnson was 20-25 yards behind him ready to recover it. We were ready for it. He just has to either olé it or he has got to try and catch it. I told him if his abs were a little bit more washboard like – like mine were back in the day when I was 25 – the ball would of ricocheted back and they would of recovered it so thank God his abs did not have too much of a wash board (laughter). T.J. Carrie did a phenomenal job recovering that ball for us."

On Seibert's 53-yard field goal and his range going that direction last week:

"The range going into that direction, I had told Freddie was right at 53-55. It was a crazy wind. The wind was really swirling different than most days. The good thing is on Wednesday they went down there and got some work in. The winds were a little bit different, but it gave Austin a ton of confidence. He did a great job last Wednesday. We film all that stuff and chart it all. Watched that film with him, he did a phenomenal job last Wednesday. It gave him a ton of confidence. He had a great pregame going into the Dawg Pound end – would not have been that far. We had an incomplete pass to stop the clock I think with 20 seconds left in the third quarter, which gave a chance to kick it going towards our locker room. I would have requested a timeout there, had we not gotten the first down and had we not stopped the clock. We called timeout and let him kick that direction, which he is more confident anyway. Man, I was proud of him. Great protection. Snap, hold and kick were perfect, and he played the wind perfectly. It kind of drew back in and went right down the middle. It was a big play for us."

On Ks doing well kicking into the Dawg Pound Sunday:

"Yeah, I know. (Cincinnati K) Randy (Bullock) did a good job for Cincinnati. He is a strong kid, a strong kicker. He did a really nice job. I talked to him after the game, he was pretty proud of himself, like most young guys are as you should be."

On why Ks performed better than the season average last week kicking into the Dawg Pound despite a crazy wind:

"I do not know. It was [a crazy wind]. It was very crazy. You hit a true ball, it should go through. If you do not worry about it and just go out there. I am telling you, and I know we talked about this before but Phil Dawson has said, 'You just hit your true ball, if it goes through, it goes through. Sometimes there are forces you can't control that are going to push that ball left or right.' I was hoping that would happen to Randy, but it did not."

On if the Browns have had to adjust on how to take or cover onside kicks, given new kickoff rules:

"Sure, absolutely. The cool thing is as a coach, you are always learning. You are always finding out different ways to attack certain looks. The more tape I watch with other guys around the league are doing, I am not afraid to not copy but maybe take some things and take some coaching points that I see from other teams. (Bengals Special Teams Coach) Darrin (Simmons) did a good job for Cincinnati. That was a good play. That is another way of doing it. We have our way of doing things, but I am always learning and always trying to get better in every phase in all six phases in everything that we do, whether it is field goal protection, field goal block, punt protection, whatever the case may be. I think anytime you go into it thinking you know it all, you are going to be in trouble. I am trying to always learn and try to improve our team in that regard."

On if the specialists stay at FirstEnergy Stadium long enough during the practice week to learn how to judge the wind:

"They are down there probably a good 45 minutes to an hour, including warming up, getting used to the wind trying to figure things out. (LS) Charley (Hughlett) snapping the ball in to the wind, against the wind, with the cross wind and trying to keep his spiral tight. Of course, Jamie just catching punt snaps or catching field goal snaps. We work on all that stuff when we go down there. It is probably a good 45 minutes to an hour that they are down there."

On State Farm Stadium being an advantage for specialists:

"We are fired up about being there, I know that. It is funny because I told our guys, 'Take advantage of that stadium, but do not take it for granted.' In other words, do not go in there thinking I do not have to worry about technique. I can go out and just do what I do, and hopefully it work out. No, they still need to focus on catching the field goal snap. We need to focus on snapping the ball. We need to focus on our kickoff steps and our field goal steps. All those things that we work on constantly to be successful in the windy stadium, we have to do the same thing and just take advantage of the great weather and the great venue."

On how personnel changes on defense have affected special teams:

"Every year, it is the same. Sometimes it is linebackers, sometimes it is safeties, sometimes it is tight ends, defensive ends or running backs. It is my job at the beginning of the year to make sure that we train enough guys to be ready that when the attrition does start and whenever it starts that we need to be ready for it. I think the good teams that we have and we have enough good backups that have done a nice job of stepping up and play well on special teams for us. (WR) Damion Ratley played three phases on this past Sunday. (S) J.T. Hassell came up from the practice squad, and he is making plays on kickoff and doing a good job for us there. Every year, you are going to have guys. If you have a good roster, you have guys stepping up and like I said, it is my job to make sure that they are ready when their time is called. I talk to the practice squad guys about that all the time When your number is called, you have to be ready. That is why I think you need good practice squad players as well to train them to be ready to play on Sundays."

On if Cardinals P Andy Lee is still the same high-level player as past years:

"Yeah, he still has it. When he has a little bit of time back there, he really bombs a good ball and they have gunners, too. They gave up the long one against Pittsburgh last week, which I think up until that point, they had only given up maybe 4 or 5 yards a return. I think he is having a real good year."

On how thin air may increase Seibert's range:
"Is there thin air in Arizona? I had no idea. I know it is desert air. I know it is indoors. I will tell you what, if they have the stadium open, there will be a little bit of a breeze in there. When that happens, the ball does travel a little bit better. I think anytime you go into an indoor stadium, you are thinking 53-yard field goal and then beyond depending on how he is hitting the ball in pregame. Then at the end of the game or end of the half, you might have to extend that out a little bit. I did not know Arizona was at altitude. I know Denver is."

On Gillan's dad participating in the flyover last week:

"That was cool. Jamie had told me the week before that they were going to do that. He is like a little kid any way, and he was even more of a little kid. I know he is really proud of his father and what his father has accomplished in the military and proud of his family. I was happy he and his dad and his whole family. I thought that was a really neat moment, and I do not think that has ever been done before where a father is piloting the plane that his son is playing in a game before the game in the pregame ceremony type thing. I was really happy for that whole family. It was cool."

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On Arizona's offense having more than 500 no-huddle plays:

"You can see some of that when you watch them. We played some other teams where we got to watch the Cardinals offense. Obviously, this week, we are not preparing for that, but we have seen them on tape and you can see some of the same things that (Cardinals Head Coach) Kliff (Kingsbury) has done before. You have seen some of that throughout the NFL, even previously. Concepts are concepts. Four verticals is four verticals. Curl-flat, three-level routes. What they have been running Y-cross has been around forever. It is just matter of are you really going to spread it out and they have decided they are going to spread it out. They are in wide open sets and a lot more four-wide personnel than most people from what I have seen."

On how does he go into the gameplan knowing the Browns defense can be on the field for a significant time:

"I can't speak of what they are trying to accomplish really offensively. I just know that we are anticipating that we are going to have to play well, and they have done some really good things on offense. Lately, I think turnovers have kind of cost them a little bit, but they have shown flashes of being able to move the football and score."

On how challenging it has been to draw up plays for WR Odell Beckham when he is limited in practice due to injury:

"I would rather not get into it for no reason other than only he can speak to how he feels during the week, what he can do and where he is at physically."

On who RB Nick Chubb reminds him of from his coaching experience:

"Hard to compare him to anybody. I just think he is a really good football player. Gets downhill. Hard to tackle with one defender. He is just a really good football player."

On WR Jarvis Landry being named the Browns Walter Payton Man of the Year:

"Good. That is a credit to him. He is a tremendous football player and a tremendous person. He is selfless when it comes to doing things off the field for people. He has a great heart. You can see it. He has a passion for football and a passion for people in life."

On T Kendall Lamm's performance starting at RT:

"He played well coming back. It took him a while. We have had him back for a few weeks but just getting himself back where he trusted himself. We liked what we had during training camp and then unfortunately during the first game getting hurt, but coming back I think it was a good step forward. I thought the O line played well."

On if it would mean anything to him as offensive coordinator if Chubb wins the NFL rushing title:

"Not particularity. For him, it is a credit to him and our coaches that design the run game and our guys up front and that is something for down the road. Obviously, the ultimate goal is to win football game."

On Cardinals OLB Chandler Jones:

"A tremendous football player, long, athletic, rarely comes off the field. He is one of those guys that once he gets around the quarterback, you have to make sure that you have the ball secured because he has a knack of stripping it. He can change the game so you have to know where he is at. You have to be able to run at him. You have to be able to – I would not say wear him down but you have to make him play not only the run as well as the pass, and chip in when you can and our guys are going to have to block him. That is a fact. A tremendous football player. He has had a great career up to this point and has had a really good season."

On LB Cardinals Jordan Hicks:

"Another really good football player. Volume tackle guy. Gets them lined up, smart. Obviously, very instinctive getting around the ball. A little like (LB) Joe (Schobert) here, if you are going to compare him to somebody. Another really good football player."

On if the Browns make note of opponents' and their helmet-to-helmet hits, specifically in reference to Hicks' penalty:

"No, I do not think he is that kind of player. I do not see that with their players. I see a group that plays really hard from front to back. One of my favorite players to watch on film is (Cardinals FS) Budda Baker. You talk about wanting to watch a guy that plays football with heart and passion and plays it the right way, there is a guy right there. I have seen him all the way back. We played him in the bowl game and the DBs they had a Washington and then now. He has not changed."

On TE David Njoku in his first game back last week:

"He was fine. Just getting him back healthy. It is hard when you have not practiced in that long. At this point in the year, trying to get some of the physical work that you miss is very difficult and then trying to get him in a flow. You do not move on but you have already started to kind of have packages for other plays. We will continue to do that where we see fit with David and where we think he gives us the best chance to have success on offense."

On his message to Njoku on the early interception:

"Make sure you have the ball. I think that is with every skill guy you have. I think in his mind, I am sure he thought he was down. In the end, make sure you come down with the football, and when the pile uncovers, you have it. An unfortunate situation for us because we were moving the ball. We were ready to start fast. We have started fast a number of weeks in a row with our first drive and it is unfortunate because we were."

On the Browns' success on third down last week and if it is primarily due to success on early downs success or execution:

"All of the above. We had shorter third downs, and when we did not have third downs, we actually executed a third and 19 that led to a touchdown. You do not get that very often. Then we executed a third-and-10 that led to a field goal so the longer ones we had we converted. We also when we needed to convert them, we converted three third downs on the last drive that killed almost six-plus minutes to make it a two score game so a lot better there. Like we say every week, you can't carry over statistics. It is not something we really talk about. It is an average. It kind of tells you where you are at, but we will look to continue that this week because it is a new week and who we are playing."

On if the Browns talk about run-pass ratios in their play calling during the game, given last week's breakdown by half:

"Not particularly. I do not think that that really ever comes up other than if we had discussed something before the game in terms of touches and plays and how we wanted to attack somebody. The opening drive, outside of the unfortunate interception/fumble, we were fine. Are we looking to get Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt the ball? Of course, they are both very good football players so that is an obvious question, but in the end, the object is to score points and to not turn it over, however you have to do that. You just need to make sure you are able to run it when you have to run it. Short yardage, goal line, four-minute and coming out, that is when you have to be able to run. That is when you definitely want to be able to run it, and outside of that, now what is the best way to give yourself a chance to score point. Those guys are that. I do not mean to not say they are not. In the end it is really sometimes in other games it comes up as RPOs and it is really part of the run play."

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

"Good morning. It was great to see us bounce back last week against a divisional opponent. I thought we did some great things on the defensive side of the ball. I thought the difference in the game to be honest was our performance in the red zone. I thought we did a great job in really holding those guys to field goals, and of course, the turnover on defense that turned into point were great by (CB) Denzel (Ward) and then you look at what we did on third down. What we need to improve is in the run game. A lot of self-inflicted wounds there, guys not executing and getting out of their gaps and also some things we were doing defensively with the man stuff put as at a disadvantage on the perimeter when we were playing man. We got out of that a little bit and started playing a little bit more zone eyes. I thought (Bengals RB Joe) Mixon did a phenomenal job and we talked about all week of trying to control him. It is not going to be any different this week. These guys do a great job in my opinion running the ball with (Cardinals RB Kenyan) Drake, as well as (Cardinals RB) David Johnson and then (Cardinals RB) Chase Edmunds. Then (Cardinals QB) Kyler Murray can make some damage of his own just running the football. It is going to be a task to be able to stop their run game. They do a great job as well when he drops back. I do not think this young man gets enough credit for his ability to throw the football. He does a tremendous job in getting the ball where he needs it to be and then also I think with their receiving corps, they still have (Cardinals WR) Larry Fitzgerald, one of the best in the league. It is going to be a difficult task again this week but we are up for the challenge."

On having coached Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald and what he is like:

"Phenomenal, outstanding player but even a better person. Everything that he stands for, he in my opinion is a true pillar of the National Football League in the things that he does not only on the field but off the field."

On challenges of the Cardinals' tempo on offense:

"No. 1, those guys do a great job in staying ahead of the sticks and really trying to create positive yardage on first and second down. That is where we have to try to create negative plays to try to get them into third down. We can't allow those guys to sustain drives. They are so potent at doing that just based off of who they have at quarterback. Up-tempo, we have to be quick getting in and out of the huddle. Those guys do a great job of substituting sometimes, again just getting right on the ball. We have to be ready to play. We have to be locked in and focused."

On what he learned from his experience coaching the Cardinals:
"What I learned is just really how to deal with adversity. As a head coach, trying to prepare each and every week, trying to get your guys up to perform at a high level. It was difficult going through the struggles, but I thought the guys performed and played well and they stayed together throughout. There were a lot of things I learned and a lot of things that I will carry moving forward."

On if he has shared any of those experiences with Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

"There are some things that we have talked about over the years of course this year. I think Freddie has done a great job in my opinion of really trying to get these guys ready to perform each week and really staying with a message and staying consistent."

On areas of Murray's game the Browns defense need to stress most:

"Really just trying to contain this guy as a whole because as you just mentioned, he is a dual-threat throwing the ball as well as having the ability to escape and make play with his feet. We have to do a great job of really trying to keep him in the pocket and try to contain him. Not a lot of teams have been able to do that this year. It is going to be a difficult task on our part."

On messaging the importance of containing Murray to the defense:
"Just really trying to pinpoint certain things you see on film with the way you incorporate things this week and how you practice. You have to be real disciplined in the things that you are doing to try to contain this guy."

On if preparing for Murray helps the Browns also pre[are for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

"Right now, our focus is just on Arizona so we will see exactly how much carry over we do have next week. With him alone, it is just difficult trying to contain him."

On Murray's ability to read defenses as the season has progressed:

"I think really the offense as a whole helps him out because he gets the ball out so quickly. He is not holding onto the ball, and he has the ability to sustain plays with his feet. We have to do a great job of really trying to get the ball out of his hand even quicker most importantly, trying to contain this guy when he does try to escape."

On CB Denzel Ward's performance against the Bengals:

"I told you guys probably maybe two weeks ago, I thought Denzel that he was playing high-caliber football and he did not really have the stats that people look for. As a coach, when I look and break down the tape, he is doing a lot of great things in the run game and coming up and supporting the run, really taking his receiver away at certain times playing man coverage. It just so happened that he got a big play last week that sort of stood out last week. I am not surprised, and as I said before, he practices that way. Each and every day he comes in and really tries to put the time and effort in so it is showing on the field."

On what DE Bryan Cox contributes to the defense:

"I think Bryan plays with No. 1 a tremendous motor, extreme effort. He is a guy that is going to give you an opportunity and chance to make plays out there just because he plays so hard. He plays within the system. He does a lot of good things, and he is being disciplined and trying to do his job. Along with him and (DE) Porter Gustin, I think we are getting some good play out of those two right now."

*On if LB Joe Schobert is playing at a Pro Bowl level: *"If I had a vote, I would say yes."

*On the LB duo of Schobert and LB Mack Wilson: *"I think Joe has definitely taken Mack underneath his wing, really tried to bring him along and really try to teach him the ins and outs as a rookie how to study at this level and how to prepare. They have built a strong bond. As I mentioned with Mack a couple weeks ago, he has grown each and every week. He is not making the same mistakes. You can see his progress and his growth from week to week in the things that he is doing. I am very pleased right now with him."

On if DT Larry Ogunjobi played his best game of the season against the Bengals:

"I would not say it was his best game of the season. He has put up some big numbers in the past. The biggest thing we are looking for across the board with Larry and all of the other guys is just that consistency. With the depleted numbers that we have up front, I think those guys are doing a tremendous job. Larry is stepping up. (DT) Sheldon (Richardson) is playing well without OV being in there so we need that continuous push up front to give us a chance."

On if there is a significant difference with DE Myles Garrett not on the field:

"Of course, you lose a lot when you lose Myles. I think those guys are trying to pick up the slack there, starting with (DE) Sheldon (Richardson) and his performance and the things that we are doing. Can you get more? Do we need more? Of course, but I think that those guys are doing a pretty good job in giving us a chance to be successful."

On if it is hard to quantify how much Garrett's absence impacts the defense, considering how offenses would scheme against Garrett:

"I would say yes. He is a guy that you definitely are going to try and chip and turn the protection to, but a lot of the things that they were doing with Myles teams are still doing from a standpoint of six/seven man protection. I think a lot of it is due to our pressure. We are still getting those kind of looks."

On goals for LB Sione Takitaki in the last three games:

"Just continue the growth – the details, being consistent. To me, this time of the year it is all about the fundamentals and technique., not only with him, but everybody across the board. This is going to be a big eye discipline game for us, guys understanding because a lot of what they do is a lot of window dressing, motion here, shift there, trying to get your eyes in the wrong spot. You have got to be very discipline across the board to have success."

On how the Arizona offense is different to others faced, given its use of Air Raid philosophies combined with two-RB sets:

"I think again it is just the tempo. A lot of the runs when you really break it down, most of the things we have seen before but you really can't practice the tempo that you are going against. We tried to simulate that yesterday as well as today, but they are so fast in what they are doing in their operation. We just have to make sure that we get aligned quickly, get our eyes in the right spot as I just mentioned and just try to play fast."

On his emotions returning to Arizona:

"To be honest, I do not really have emotions in regards to this week. I want to win this game just like I wanted to win last week's game, just like I wanted to win the first game against Tennessee. My focus is trying to get these guys in position to be successful. Hopefully, we can go out there and get a win."

On if Murray's size is a disadvantage in any way:

"To be honest, I have not seen that on tape. His size is really not a factor in my opinion with the things that I have seen him able to do on film. Tremendous player. I do not think he gets enough credit with his ability to be able to throw the football as well as he does. Not at all."

On Murray taking sacks with significant loss of yardage as Murray tries to escape pressure:

"You see that on film and again. It is just to his credit, he is trying to make plays and he is trying to make things happen. Guys are doing a great job again of trying to contain him and keep him in the pocket. I have also see his share of where he gets out of that and throws the ball down the field, as well. We have to do a great job of trying to make sure that we just contain this guy."

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