Todd Monken and Steve Wilks Speak to Media Ahead of Browns vs Jets

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On challenges getting into an offensive rhythm when being set back by penalties:

“Very [difficult], and we did it the two touchdowns we had. We did overcome penalties, crazy enough. Just over time there were four other drives where we got pushed back, whether it is lost yardage plays or penalties. That makes it tough and makes it hard against a really good defense like the Titans.”

On explaining the Browns penalties against the Titans:

“If it was that simple, we would have had it solved, I guess. Some is technique. Some of it could be attributed to a momentary lapse of judgment in one instance. In others, it is reps in practice where guys get themselves out of position a little bit so it puts them in a position to grab a little bit more than they would normally. Sometimes it is attributed to the people you are playing. They put you in those positions because you are playing against a different group, a different look, different stunts and different coverages. Some can be frustration level. All of the above that obviously stops you from being successful and really choppy on offense.”

On how he and QB Baker Mayfield can make adjustments to get the ball out faster:

“Scheme it better. Coach it better. Don’t get behind where you are going to hold the ball a little bit longer because you feel like you are pressing a little bit, All of us collectively. I do not mean that directed at Baker. I just mean that in general. You can’t make it all up in one play, calling it and playing. That is a big part of it when you are in a rhythm running it, throwing it, getting completions and getting stops. When you are not behind the chains, then it is a lot easier to stay within rhythm.”

On if the Titans secondary took away Mayfield’s first looks and that leading to Mayfield holding onto the ball longer than desired:

“Sometimes. Sometimes that is true. Sometimes they take away. Sometimes it could be a little bit of leakage up front so he has to side step a little bit and create vision, and that is every quarterback. You are sidestepping and all of the sudden by the time you get your eyes back there, the window is closed a little bit so you move on. Sometimes a receiver gets rerouted. On that initial play to (WR Rashard) Higgins that set us up for the first touchdown, he got rerouted so that took him off a little bit holding onto the ball because he got rerouted, which we were not anticipating. Sometimes that happens – reroutes, a little bit of leakage, taking away the first read, all of the above.”

On if he was referring to Higgins’ 35-yard reception on the opening drive against the Titans:

“Correct. We had great protection that play. That is what allowed us to get the ball down there. We had great protection and he got rerouted. We ended up with our spacing a little compromised, but that was a part of it. That was one of those plays and one of the drives right after (T) Greg’s (Robinson) what they called a personal foul coming back towards the line of scrimmage, but it was one we were able to overcome it because of the play Baker made and the protection we got.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s comment about ‘watching out for cheap shots’ by NY Jets’ defense coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense:

“I do not have anything to say about that. That is his opinion. I am going to stay away from commenting on a comment that somebody else makes.”

On evaluating the Browns OL, particularly after changing personnel during the game:

“I think they played fine. We would have been fine had we not gotten ourselves into the position we were at. Then you brought in (T) Kendall (Lamm) and he got banged up and (T) Chris (Hubbard) is taking all of the snaps at right tackle. He goes over to the left and you bring in (T) Justin (McCray) who has been here a week. I thought they really battled. I really did. I thought the coaches did a great job. From that end of it, that was not why we struggled and where we were. That happens. Teams lose players and you have to find a way.”

On the emphasis on the NY Jets defense’s ability to create turnovers:

“I worked with Gregg back in 2008, and we played the Browns last year. We ended up turning the ball over too much. He likes to create disruption. That is what he likes to do. He likes to get after you, get you behind the chains and affect the quarterback and in turn, it puts put you in a positon. Some of those turnovers they created last week, the quarterback-center exchange was one. There were a couple. There was a tipped ball that was batted into the linebacker’s hands. That is part of it. Sometimes you have to have some of those, but the reality is you have to do a great job with their pressure packages, getting the ball out on time and the receivers getting their depths and not getting rerouted so we can assess what is happening down the field and get the ball out on time.”

On Mayfield’s ability to work against the NY Jets defense’s blitzes:

“Oh, he is fine. He is fantastic with getting us in the right protections and where to go with the ball if they come because you can’t block them all. He is really good at escaping so it is hard to corral him. I do not have any problem there. We just have to do a great job of communicating so we are all on the same page from receivers, quarterback and then the O line in terms of can we protect him or do we have to get the ball out and then after that with our timing and our rhythm. We were just a little bit off the other day and along with the penalties and some of the self-inflicted things that showed up, and that is what we go.”

On the importance of Higgins’ role in this offense:

“Yeah, I talked about it last week. With AC (WR Antonio Callaway) out and the role that he now steps up in terms of our starters. The No. 1 thing is you can count on him. You can move him around. You can play him inside and outside. You can count on him to make plays when afforded to him. A really good football player, been in this league a long time and understands what it takes to get him ready each week and prepare. I still think he has steps that he can continue to improve.”

On the Browns running game against the Titans, despite being behind the chains and trailing for a large portion of the game:

“The run game was fine. I think you hit it on the head. We ran the ball fine. Running the football was not the reason we did not produce more offensively. (RB) Nick (Chubb) ran hard with the ball. I thought we had some things we were able to take advantage of. At a certain point in the game, we were really not running it nearly as often. I think that is the best way to put it. In order for us to be effective and most offenses, we have to be able to run the ball and play action and take advantage of the opportunities you have down the field.”

On how important NY Jets LB CJ Mosely’s role is in the defense:

“Like any front-line player, the best way to put it is it is difficult to replace those guys. It would be for us on offense. It would be difficult to replace some of your best players. That is why you can see, whether it is defensively you can struggle at times on a play here and there and then offensively it is a play here and there. It is not particularly over 60 plays, but it is a play here or there that possibly another player may have not have made a mistake. Like we talked about our offensive line, I thought those guys battled their rear ends off, but there is a reason why you have starters and there is a reason why you play certain players what you pay them for what they bring to you team. When you lose those guys, you are hopeful that it stings a little bit or else you are paying the wrong guys. That is really the way it is. You expect them to play like A-list players and just play the level they play. When you lose one of them, it is hard. It is difficult to replace them. We will anticipate him playing and work our gameplan accordingly.”

On drawing the 15-yard penalty for a comeback block:

“I do not know if we are at liberty to talk about it, but they came back to us and said it should not have been called. Obviously, we could have done a better job with Greg being flat and (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) bringing the defender to Greg. If you talk from a coaching perspective, doing it better than they do it, forget even the official. If we do it technically better, then that is not even a factor. You are right in terms of the ruling in terms of working yourself back towards the line of scrimmage, that is something you always have to be conscientious of, especially the receivers.”

On why there should not have been a penalty on the illegal blindside block called in the first quarter:

“In their minds, it was not forcible contact is what I remember from looking at it. I did not commit it to memory, but they said it should not have been called. That is neither here nor there. That comes every week. I do not even mean it that way. There are multiple ones every week in our game and other games where they mention, ‘They should have called this. We will talk to the official.’ That is part of it. They are human. That has nothing to do with us.”

On the challenge facing NY Jets S Jamal Adams:

“First of all, he loves to play the game of football. You can see that. I have gone against him in the past when I was in Tampa. You better bring it because when he gets around the line of scrimmage, he is a physical, physical man. That is his game – energy and physicality. I think that is probably the biggest thing is they try to get him around the box. Now, Gregg likes to play a lot more two-high coverages so they will probably will play him a lot more on the back end higher than he is used to, but when he gets around the ball, you have to account for him because he is going to be very disruptive. He is one of their top players that we have to always account for.”

On if the timing was a bit on offense last week between Mayfield and Beckham in their first game together:

“I would have thought that, but when I looked at the film, I did not see that. There could have been a little route detail here or there that you are working through that I do not know if it would have been him and Odell, other than just maybe a defensive look. I do not think that was probably as big a factor as it could have been in terms of just it is still going to be a work in progressive like it is with every receiver, even guys that eventually Baker will have been with or any quarterback has been with over a number of years. You are always working your timing, your rhythm and different looks. Odell has played a long time, and when you have receivers like that in terms of their route running and style.”

On his message to Mayfield after the interceptions in the fourth quarter:

“It is a little bit of everybody, and you would have to talk to him in terms of that part of it. The choice route to (WR Jarvis (Landry), we could have reset it and created a little bit more space. At the end, you are just trying to make something happen. At that point, obviously – he know this and we all know – you can’t turn the ball over. You just can’t, and that is everybody. That is not always on the quarterback. That is on receiver depths, the details in which you do on protection and hen the game was in the balance. We had done a good job in the preseason of not turning it over. That has not been an issue so it is something obviously we address every week and something that we know we can’t have moving forward, but that was last week.”

On if there may be opportunities to take shots downfield, given Williams’ blitz tendencies:

“You have to. I think that is No. 1 is the only way to strike fear in somebody to not bring pressure is you have to hit explosive plays. You have to take advantage of it. If you do not, there is no risk-reward, and it is all reward from their end of it. At some point, you have to have enough skill players that puts them on the defensive a little bit to be fearful of what they do in terms of how much they come after you because the better your skill players, the more they may want to back up a little bit and maybe roll to somebody. That is part of it. The second thing is when something presents itself, are you are able to hit an explosive play? That is all part of it. When you don’t, you might as well just count on continuing to get it. That is the way it is. Not only him, just been doing this for a while and that is kind of the way. Now with him, I am not sure he stops. I do not know if he has much of a deterrent. It is what it is. Gregg has been successful because of that. I have a lot of respect for him. It is not any disrespect. It is just that is the way it is. You have to be able to take advantage when somebody brings pressure or you will continue to get it.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

Opening statement:

“Sometimes I think the difficult part about this session here on Thursday is that we, I have really gotten over last week and moved on, and I know you guys probably have a lot of questions about last week’s game. I know (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) has laid it out on the table, and it is hard to win when you have as many penalties as we had as a team and most importantly, even as a defense. I believe we had seven of those and the explosive plays over the top, which you can’t do in the National Football League. We had a good practice the last couple of days. Excited about where we are. Looking forward for this opportunity that we have in New York. With that.”

On NY Jets QB Sam Darnold being ruled out for Monday:

“To be quite honest, we really have not put a lot of thought into it. What I mean by that is our plan is not going to change our approach. (NY Jets QB) Trevor Siemian is a quality quarterback in the National Football League. I competed against him before and coached against him. He is more than capable of stepping in and making things happen for the Jets. Our approach is still we have to do a great job coming in there executing our gameplan, regardless of who is at quarterback.”

On Siemian:

“I think he is smart. I think he can read the defenses well. I think he can make every throw. He is very poised in the pocket. I think he is going to do a great job of trying to manage the offense.”

On correcting penalties and the cause of the penalties:

“No. 1, it starts with just lack of discipline and technique. We have to trust in our technique. Our corners, our defensive backs and even the linebackers are very talented, very skill guys. When they are in the position, I call it topping under route and when they connect with their receiver, they have to believe in their technique and not reach and grab. It is just a point of emphasis that the coaches have been emphasizing, as well as myself, all week long. Believe in your technique. Do not grab. You have great ability. Just use your skillset.”

On if he was particularly disappointed in DE Myles Garrett’s personal foul on Sunday:

“We were disappointed in all the guys from the standpoint of selfish penalties. One thing that we can’t tolerate is pre-snap and post-snap. We control those and that to me is just a lack of discipline. That is out of his character. We have to put team first. He understands and knows that. Within that drive that they scored on, I think we gave them four penalties and really five. They had two on one [play] which I think was a result of 35 yards. You can’t beat yourself in the National Football League like that. These teams are too talented and too skilled.”

On lessons learned following the long screen-pass TD:

“I take full responsibility, No. 1. I would definitely say that first. I have to do a much better job putting the guys in position to be successful. Within that play, we had a couple of technique things that we probably could of limited damage from a touchdown if we were in the right position. Looking at that call, I probably could have called something else in that situation to put our guys in a better position. I am always going to look at myself first. That is one thing that I emphasize with the coaching staff. We have to do a much better job for us coaching and putting guys in position to be successful.”

On preparing for NY Jets RB Le’Veon Bell and his ability to create explosive plays:

“A guy that talented, you just have to do a great job of really corralling the ball, getting 11 hats to the football. These guys do a great job with yardage after catch. He does a great job of yardage after contact. Point of emphasis has been that we have to do a great job corralling, tackling the ball carrier and making sure that we just do not assume that he is down.”

On CB Denzel Ward’s holding penalty as uncharacteristic:

 ”It definitely was. I thought he was in position. You can see the acceleration there when the ball was in the air. You talk to (S) Damarious (Randall), he will tell you that he probably needs to stay a little bit more in the middle of the field, as well. On that look, I thought we actually had a play when it went up in the air. The quarterback made a good throw and the receiver came down with the ball. Denzel as we all know is a very talented player. I think he is going to bounce back this week and have a good game.”

On if he gets involved in conversations with Browns defensive players if they are commenting on last year’s defense under Browns and NY Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams or if he leaves that to Kitchens:

“That is Freddie’s approach. Really to be honest, a lot of respect for Gregg. I know Gregg. I do not really worry about the past and what has happened there. I think as a coaching staff and even as players, we have moved on. I know some things may have been said the other day, but I really do not get caught up in that to be honest.”

On DE Chris Smith bringing an energy and joy to the team and now supporting him following the loss of his girlfriend, Petara Cordero:

“I think as a team – not just as a defense as a team – we have to really corral and circle the wagons and really support one another ad really support him from a distance. A very sad and tragic situation as we all know. He does bring a lot of energy. His passion, his enthusiasm each and every day in the building and on the field is unparalleled. Right now, we are thinking about him in a different situation. I know he is thinking about us, as well. I think all the guys are going to step up in regards to that as far as trying to bring the energy, really go out there and play hard for him because I know he wishes he was here, as well.”

On the Browns DL’s and Titans OL’s performance last week:

“I thought we did a really good job of stopping the run early. If you look at how we played the run in the first half, I thought it was great. Guys came off the ball. Violent hands. Linebackers played downhill. As we mentioned early in the year, teams are going to do certain things to try to combat our pass rush with the kind of guys that we have up front. I thought they did a good job of trying to neutralize a little bit with play action, the boot game and those kind of things trying to get us going sideways. Starting with me, we have to come up with different ways to be creative in how we are going to attack certain teams. I think we are alright in that situation now moving forward in some of the things that we going to try to do.”

On characteristics he looks for in assigning who will cover a slot WR:

“I think it varies just based off really the individual. In regards to a slot receiver where most teams put their quickest guy, a guy that can operate out in space like (NY Jets WR) Jamison Crowder does for the Jets, you are looking for a guy that has that same skillset – man-to-man skills, a guy that can really play with zone eyes, good anticipation, good instincts and I feel like we have the two guys that fit that mode in (CB) T.J. (Carrie) and (S) Eric Murray.”

On who can step up LB with LB Adarius Taylor’s injury:

“A lot of confidence in the linebacker room. When you look at (LBs) Mack (Wilson) and Taki (Sione Takitaki). Those two linebackers that we drafted will be in the position to be able to step up in that role. (LBs) Joe (Schobert) as well as Kirko (Christian Kirksey) has been playing outstanding. I am really pleased with where the linebackers are. We have to find ways right here to create takeaways on the defensive side of the ball. That was really the difference in the game last week when you look at we did not take the ball away and they did.”

On DE Olivier Vernon’s performance:

“He didn’t really have a very splash productive day, but he did some good things when you really watch the tape. A lot of times what they were doing was max looks, two man routes, leaving the tight end in the backend for max protection. It is going to be difficult at times to be able to get there when they try to turn protection to him or they chip him. Being creative in what we are doing and trying to find ways to neutralize that.”

On what LB Genard needs to do to be on the active gameday roster:

“I do not know if it is anything that he has to do per se like you push a button and he is out there. It is a week-to-week performance with all the guys and who we feel needs to be up in the 46. I think he is doing a great job in his preparation and his performance in practice is good. It is just the process of what we need that day based off what the offense is presenting.”

On CB Greedy Williams’s performance and if the Browns will continue to rotate at CB:

“I think Greedy played well. When you go back and really look at the film, he did a great job. Did not make really any splash plays, but he did his job. You can see him in the run game, coming up making tackles. Very effective in the pass game. Being a rookie, the lights were not too big for him. I think that rotation is still fluid with him and (CB) Terrance Mitchell. I think both of those guys are doing a great job. We will continue to rotate those guys to see exactly who steps up.”

On how to contain Bell:

“Playing discipline football. Guys doing their jobs and staying in their gaps. Making sure that we leverage the football because at any time he can get onto the perimeter of the defense. As we have been talking all week, it is just about execution. This guy is dynamic, as you just mentioned, in the run as well as the pass game. Eleven hats to the football is going to the key for us.”

On the Browns pass rush getting close with pressure on several occasions and how to turn those opportunities into results:

“I think it is complementary football, No. 1. They are close so we have to make sure that we are a little closer on the backend to make them hold the ball a little bit more. We talk about that all the time trying to complement one another. Good coverage is going to make the quarterback hold the ball. Good pass rush is going to make the quarterback get rid of the ball quicker. That is going to be the key: complementary football. The biggest thing with us this week, I know they like to go over the top with (NY Jets WR) (Robby) Anderson, No. 11. We can’t give up the big play like we did last week.”

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