Browns transcripts -- Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Rob McBurnett

Director, Community & Corporate Communications

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“You got the injuries for today. We will be inside. Quite a bit of rain out there on those fields.

“Big challenge this week. This is a game that went down to the wire there and Week 2. This team plays everybody tight. Their scores have been within one score except for one at Baltimore. The last time they were in their building, they won by eight. It is a really good football team. I know they are well-coached. You look at them up across the board on offense and defense, I think they have a bunch of playmakers. On defense, there are a few guys that are in and a few guys that are out, but by and large, it should be a similar scheme that we faced. It is a really good scheme. They threw every front imaginable at us last time so we have to be ready and on our toes. On our defensive side, obviously, big challenge with this offense. Quarterback is playing really well. Weapons at running back, tight end, wide receiver. Guys that can touch it and go. Good special teams. We have to really compete in the special teams area this week. Big challenge going on the road, versus a division opponent.”

On what he has to do to make sure QB Baker Mayfield does not lose his confidence this season: 

“I think we are just all focused on getting back out there and playing our brand of football. I think we are all ready to get out here on the practice field. It is the fun part of the rhythm of this season and the rhythm of the week is you get to focus all of your energies on the given day. I think all of our guys are looking forward to working this week and then being able to put our best foot forward on Sunday.”

On if playing a team for the second time so close together changes the preparation and self-scouting: 

“It is not that unusual to play guys this close. Since I have been around where you play them almost back to back weeks and you basically gameplan once and you just carry that next one with you to the next game. They have a couple guys out of the lineup from the last time we played, as do we, so they will have some wrinkles for us and we will have some wrinkles for them. There is definitely some familiarity. The quality control guys at have less tape to break down. That is one thing that is different.”

On the potential of getting Ss Ronnie Harrison Jr. and Karl Joseph back this week and what that can do for the Browns defense: 

“The last time Ronnie was in the lineup, he obviously had a big play in that ball game. We are looking for guys that can make plays on defense and get that rock, and Ronnie has done it. Karl has played at a high level for us. I think we are fortunate that we have played a lot of guys early in this season already due to injury, which is not ideal, but guys are getting a lot of reps and we are comfortable with playing guys back there, and if guys’ their numbers are called, they have a baseline of reps to work off.”

On if it is hard to not overreact or make significant changes after a loss like Sunday: 

“I do not want to overreact or under react. I just want to properly react. I promise we are trying to get one game better.”

On if he expects Mayfield to be limited in practice and Mayfield he will throw today: 

“He will throw. He will be limited but not to the extent he was last week.”

On learning more about Mayfield as the season progresses and if the Browns need to figure out ways to help Mayfield be more effective in the pocket: 

“I think it is a fair question, but I would say we are really doing that for every position. I think towards our offense line certain things that those guys do well we are going to increase certain schemes or maybe not do certain schemes that we thought might make sense. As it relates to Baker, I think I am learning about him each week and he is learning about me and how I call the game. I think that is just the natural evolution of an NFL season. Your offense does go through an evolution. You do start to you figure out you are good at one thing and then you have to protect that thing so the defense does not always know what is coming out of a certain personnel or a certain formation. There is a very real evolution that goes on in every NFL offense throughout a season.”

On if he sees Bengals QB Joe Burrow specifically doing anything better than he did in Week 2: 

“Nothing specific comes to mind, no. He is a very, very good player, but nothing specifically comes to mind.”

On if the Browns will make any changes to the team’s kickoff return unit following the Steelers game, including WR Donovan Peoples-Jones: 

“I think we talk through those types of things as a coaching staff, but it is never ever a one-man issue when you are talking about offense, defense or special teams. We all have to play better. We all have said it before. We all have to coach better.”

On Mayfield seeming to use a similar snap cadence on three plays in Pittsburgh and if that is something Mayfield needs to work on or change: 

“That is something that we work on during the week, and that is one area that I have to do a much better job of varying those snap counts, not letting teams time it up and getting the play in quickly so we can line up and we are not up against the clock because that is one way to jump for the defenses is they are just staring at the play clock. That is one of those areas that I know I can do a better job at.”

On if G Wyatt Teller is at least a week away from returning: 

“Those injuries are hard. He is trying. I do not like to rule guys out, especially a guy like Wyatt, but he is pushing hard. It is going be hard.”

On if T Chris Hubbard is still the next man up at RG if Teller cannot play: 


On the emphasis on the Browns OL rebounding this week and continuing to perform as the top-rated running team: 

“I think we look at it and have a plan this week and it is specific to the defense we are facing. I think the charge this week is understanding the front that they are in because they play multiple fronts. I know already there has been a lot of meeting time and already some field work during this walkthrough getting to understand these guys. It is just a matter of getting back out there and making sure we are being who we are.”

On if Mayfield saying ‘4-2 has never felt like 0-6 before’ is due to the criticism Mayfield is receiving outside of the building: 

“I do not know specifically to what Baker was referring. Maybe he felt the mood on the Zoom call maybe? I can promise you in here, we are ready to go and we are ready to put the work in to try and go 1-0. I think it was (Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach Bill) Parcells who said, ‘You are what your record says you are.’”

On if being 4-2 changes the urgency of each game, particularly knowing the potential impact of tiebreakers: 

“No, it really does not. You can’t lose sight of what it felt like in Week 2, what it felt like in Week 3 and what it felt like and Week 4. These games just keep coming at you. That is the fun part of it. It is a challenge. The guys get it. We have a really, really big challenge this week versus a good football team in their building.”

On if there is a fine line between a player being tough on himself and having the ability to shake off a bad game or bad play and move forward, specifically in reference to Mayfield: 

“All of our players, it is an occupational hazard that you are going to get beat, whether you are an offensive lineman, a defensive back or a quarterback. That is just kind of how it goes. It is how you respond to those plays. What we like to do is learn from any mistakes we make, and then you really do have to move on. It is just the next play is coming.”

On if he worries about national criticism taking a toll on Mayfield or any Browns players: 

“No, I do not.”

On maximizing WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s skillset while recognizing the Browns lead the league in rushing, given Beckham’s current stats pace to several career lows: 

“You said it, there are always things that we can do better. We can design better plays and just the rhythm of how we call them. I have said it before, it is no mystery he is a big part of our success. Our success winning ballgames, he is going to be a big part of that. And I hope that includes individual success, obviously, for him. For all of our players, I want them all to have individual success, but No. 1 is the team success, and obviously he goes a very, very long way in our success.”

On if he is seeing a difference in how Bengals WRs Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are playing, specifically Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd: 

“I do not know if I see a difference. I think they are really good players. Tee Higgins had a great game the other day. Boyd is a guy that has always produced. Then you have (Bengals WR) A.J. Green which when the ball is in the air, you hold your breath because he has gone up and gotten many times. He is s a very talented player. They have a lot of weapons over there, and we have to be about our business to try and slow them down.”

# # #

QB Baker Mayfield:

On how he is feeling physically and if he will be able to do more in practice this week: 

“Yeah. Luckily did not have any setbacks so yeah, should be able to do a lot more in practice and get more reps.”

On how he is able to shake off the loss and his performance and move forward to the next game and next play: 

“I have to have a short memory playing quarterback. That is for the good and the bad but especially the bad. Getting back to the basics, finding completions. It is tough when you are in a momentum swing like that to get back on track, but at this position, you have to be able to do that. It is about finding completions and getting back to basics.”

On what stood out about his performances in the two losses this season: 

“I think there were a lot of completions left out there to not let them up front pin their ears back and bring a bunch of different crazy blitzes, get the ball out of their hands and not let them get a little taste for hitting the quarterback and getting some of those sacks. Just playing the field position game early on is more than OK. You do not have to win it in the first quarter. I think there are things and little-details wise that I can do a whole lot better.”

On if he feels there is more pressure on him to perform with RB Nick Chubb out: 

“No. Obviously, losing a player and person like Nick is never great, but no, I do not feel any added pressure because of that.”

On if his confidence takes a hit after Sunday’s game, given his comment earlier this season that he doubted himself at points last season: 

“No, I think it is all very correctable things that will be corrected. No, I do not feel the same way.”

On the importance of bouncing back this week: 

“Yeah, I would say the feeling throughout the building after that loss, 4-2 has never felt so much like 0-6 before. That is because we have very high expectations for ourselves. We are eager to get back to work and to get out there and fix the problems that we know or are within our own control.”

On if he helps take the lead on lifting the mood in the building after a loss: 

“It is something I definitely have to do, but it has to be everybody. We have to realize that it only counts for one loss, and the most the important game is the next one. We have to get back to work and handle it with that mentality.”

On how to focus on now and not the upcoming ‘stretch of games the Browns will be expected to win’: 

“With that singular-game mindset, first and foremost. No matter what the expectations are on the outside, we have to go in there and handle it. It is the NFL. There are no gimmes. You have to earn it in this business so we have to handle it that way.”

On recent criticism from national media: 

“I do not give a damn what they say. It is within this building. We know we can do better. I know I can do better. That is how it is going to be handled. The outside noise does not matter. They get paid to talk. We get paid to do our work. That is how it is going to be handled.”

On the team holding each other accountable: 

“It is the next game mentality, but we know we can do better. I know I can be better, and they see that. We are all in it together right now. There is no ‘the world is crashing right now’ mentality. We are in it together. We are on to get to work and to move forward.”

On if the Bengals are playing differently than when the Browns faced them in Week 2: 

“They are doing a little bit, some small changes. Some personnel changes, as well. They lost (Bengals DE) Sam Hubbard and (Bengals DT D.J.) Reader on the inside so their D line, we are kind of expecting to react on how they are going to line up. St secondary wise, one new face. Schematically wise, they are not doing too much different, but they might disguise it. They are playing belt better as a unit. If you look at their games, the games they have lost have been all extremely close games.”

On former NFL QB Dan Orlovsky saying young QBs, including Mayfield, need to do a better job getting to their second and third reads and if that is something he has been working on: 

“I think when people say that, you can sit on the TV chair and go through the reads and say, ‘He is hung up on this guy,’ but yeah, I think when you are trying to have the play called and you want to get the ball to somebody and if it is not there, live to play another down. You can check it down and go through your reads. Most likely, if the play call, the one you have drawn up and you have waited for it, if it is covered for some reason that means something else is open. I would say that is where that is coming from.”

On Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick’s interception and if he needed to progress through his reads more: 

“I saw him going left when we brought the tight end in motion over there, and then at that point, I had lost vision of him. It is about seeing the whole picture, and if it is cloudy in there at all, live to play another down.”

On how Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has handled the adversity from the loss with the team: 

“Control we can control, which is a lot of corrections and mistakes that we can fix and move on. Go back to work and handle it in such a way that we are ready to get back into action in the middle of the week.”

On if there are things the Browns offense can do schematically to help him function better in the pocket, if teams take away bootlegs and rollouts: 

“I think we can just be more efficient in the quick game and stuff like that. I think it is all around. If teams want to take away and they have somebody really worried about the quarterback keeping the ball, then that means they have one less guy in the run game or if they are stretching out the field horizontally. There are different things that we can do, and we can do better.”

On how to counter when opponents try to take away certain aspects of the Browns offense’s gameplan, including to eliminate bootlegs and rollouts: 

“I think we just have to be able to react, find completions like I keep hitting on, and then be ready to fight for 60 minutes because they can’t play like that while game. Obviously, they are doing that and it is a numbers game. We will react and adapt, and I think we will handle it in that manner.”

# # #

WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

On his experience last week missing practice due to an illness and having to pass several steps before being able to return:

“It sucks, but that is just what we have set up for this year. That is what they seem to have voted on and did all these phone calls and everything to come up with whatever the gameplan is going to be. Like (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) said, just embrace the suck. It is what it is. It just part of the 2020 season.”

On if he was worried at all last week about potentially receiving a positive COVID-19 test:

“No, not in an arrogant way, I just do not think COVID can get to me. I do not think it is going to enter this body. I do not want any parts of it. It does not want any parts of me. I think it is a mutual respect. I was not really worried about the test. More in my mind for me and my maturity level, I felt like it was the right thing to mention that I may have not been feeling well and I just do not want it to spread throughout the whole building, if there was a case that I would have possibly had it. I was just trying to be an adult, be precautious about the situation and try to handle it the right way.”

On why he felt compelled to pull the Browns offense together midway through the game, given he has said in the past he is not always comfortable speaking in front of the entire team:

“It is just something that has been on my heart and it has been on my mind, even when we were winning games. As I have been in the NFL, I have really realized, OK there are 16 games. In the mindset within a game if you are getting beat up on, it is like, ‘Alright, we have a game next week.’ To me, I hate that more than anything. I feel like you should win every single game. I feel like you should give it everything you have until the last whistle because let’s say you come away with a win in that game instead of you have to wait until next week and now you have a loss on your record and you could have just won that game and so on again next week. I am trying to change that mentality and that mindset, but I understand it is the NFL. It has just been that way since I have been a rookie. I have seen it with my own eyes. It is just kind of an NFL mentality thing. That game is important, not just to keep the winning train rolling but it is a divisional game and it counts for a little more. Just trying to find a way that we can get us all going.”

On if he felt like Browns players appreciated the message and listened to him on Sunday:

“I do not know. That is something for you to ask them. I feel like I would not be taking any steps forward if I would not do that kind of thing, even though it is something that I do not generally do or really want to do because you do not know if the message will ever be received or whatever the case is. You kind of have to leave that thought behind you and just do what you feel.”

On how badly he wants to win and showing his frustration on the sideline on Sunday:

“I am pissed. At this point, I really do not care to keep trying to make myself look like a good guy to the world and all that because I am who I am. I got pulled out of the game. The coach said this was the best decision. It is eight minutes left, and for me, I would rather take my ass whooping like a man. I would rather take my win the same way. I want to be out there until the last whistle competing. As you know, Dallas game in the first quarter, I got tackled, stubbed my toe into the ground, kind of had this lingering turf toe issue so if I am not going to play and I am not going to stand there with cleats on the sideline and my toe be jammed in there. At the same time, I never want to come out of a game. Win or lose, I do not care if we are up 50 or down 50, I do not ever want to come out of the game. That is always going to be my mentality. I am kind of over trying to play the right thing because I love him to death, but there are people who have plenty of rings and are considered the GOAT, and they do things on the sideline and other people do things on the sideline and they get away with it, and that is classified as passionate because they may have something behind their legacy or whatever it is. To me, we love this so much and it means that much. There is no way around it. I do not care if I have zero rings, 12 rings or 20 rings, I love this game of football and I am not going to keep dulling myself for the world to feel like I am mature or whatever word you would like to throw around it. I am always going to be me. Tired of losing. Tired of losing to good teams. Just ultimately want to win. One day, when it is all said and done, we will all clearly see that but in the midst and in the meantime while we are in it. I am sure we will not so I will just keep pushing forward and it is not going to bother me anymore.”

On if his frustration was the result of a combination of the scoring margin and being pulled from the game:

“Yeah, a combination. Not to say that we should not have lost the game because they came out and just outplayed us and they were the better team that, and sometimes you have to give your hats off to the other team. A combination of everything. It is not like I get out here and I am giving up. I am never giving up on my teammates and never giving up on the team or anything like that so that is not really in me. I refuse to let that be the narrative of what was going on.”

On if he sensed that the Browns came out flat last week and if there is a new determination this week: 

“I do not really know if you can get a sense of it. I kind of was saying it all game long in Pittsburgh, I am like ‘This is one of those games you have to bring your own energy. This is dead. It is dead.’ There is no other way to explain it. The interception in the first quarter was like ‘Thank you. I needed it.’ I needed to be ticked off. The energy just was not there. Whether it was flat or whatever it was, I just feel like we did not come out as fired up as they did, and it showed throughout the rest of the game.”

On QB Baker Mayfield receiving criticism from national Media and if he has talked to Mayfield and tried to be an ally for him: 

“Of course, I hit him after the game. I told him even before I ever got here, ‘I have been through this fire. I have been in this situation. I am older than you. It does not seem like it, but I am older than you. I have been around this. I understand it.’ My advice always for him is just going to be a reflection of what I have been through. I really feel this way, everyone has to go through their own maturation process to know how to move. For me, I have to touch the stove to know that it is hot, no matter if they told me before do not touch it. There are plenty of examples. I am usually the one who I have to touch it and have to burn my hand and feel it that way. I know what it feels like, and I can move forward. I think he is going to come out fired up. I think he has always been inspired the negativity, the doubt and the haters. We will see on Sunday how he responds. It is not about what happened to you. It is about how you respond. I am sure he is ready to go and he is fired up. The worst part about is you have to wait till Sunday.”

On when the line is crossed in terms of what is fair and unfair regarding someone’s performance on the field: 

“I do not really know how to answer that question.”

On if everything is up for criticism in the NFL: 

“That is the world we live in, I would say for sure. People have an opinion that they may spit as fact at times, and that is just the way that this world works. There is no real way around it. I have seen it firsthand. It is just kind of the nature of the beast, I guess.”

On his reaction to hearing Stephen A. Smith say he and WR Jarvis Landry should ask to be traded due to Mayfield’s play and ability: 

“For me, it is just all the same talks it has always been and rumors he or there or whatever it is. I am here. Like I said, I have Baker’s back. It has been the same thing for me. It is a one day at a time approach. That was said yesterday, the game was on Sunday and today is Wednesday. Got practice, a bunch of plays and a bunch of things I need to memorize to get ready for Sunday. It is all just background noise. Really do not have much to say about it.”

On if he agrees with Mayfield saying ‘4-2 has never felt like 0-6 before’ and if it is good or bad that the team is taking the Steelers loss so seriously: 

“I think it is pretty important. For me, I hate losing. I think you should go 16-0 every season – that is the goal. Of course, falling short of that would be great, but I just do not see why you should ever go into a game and be OK with losing it or whatever it is. We are 4-2. We are in a good place. I think it is just about finding confidence within the people within this building because I do not think people expected us to be 4-2 anyways. They might have expected us to have some wins here and there. You think about the NFL, a lot of the games that might have been lost last year were won this year in a sense, and instead 2-4, we are 4-2. That is the way that the NFL goes. That is the way that these games go. Also for me, the biggest thing is I think it is important for everyone to understand to have a mentality that we should never lose a game. Even if we are down 21 points in the first quarter, it is not like you should pack it in and get ready for next week. The mentality should be to win this game, and that is the only focus is to win the game that is in front of us and to win the day that is in front of us. That is the plan for this Wednesday is to win the day.”

# # #

RB Kareem Hunt:

On what he saw in the running game when watching film from the Steelers game, knowing the Steelers have a strong front: 

“Saw a team that came ready to play and some things we definitely need to work on as a whole. That is all.”

On his confidence that the Browns can look like the No. 1 rushing offense again this week: 

“Very confident. We are going to get back to work and just keep getting better.”

On if he is eager to have a breakout performance in the run game, including a 100-yard game: 

“I guess. I would love it, but I am here for the wins and losses. My biggest thing is I want to win.”

On how important it is for the Browns to bounce back this week: 

“It is definitely important. We have to go back and fix some things and get ready to come out the next game. The most important is the next one.”

On if he feels any need to provide encouragement to QB Baker Mayfield after the loss: 

“We have Baker’s back. Baker is an awesome quarterback and awesome teammate. Definitely going to have his back no matter what.”

On if he felt the Browns came ready to play on Sunday or if the team came out flat: 

“Could say a bunch of things, but we have moved on. We are ready for the next game.”

On the running game against the Steelers and if the lack of production was the result of the Steelers being one of the best run defenses in the league: 

“Most definitely. They have a great defense, and we knew that. They came ready to play. They did a good job up front. Those guys on the defensive side on the ball over there.”

On if he talked with RB Nick Chubb after the Steelers game: 

“We definitely talked, but that is between me and Nick.”

On dealing with the outside noise following Sunday’s loss and the current mood in the building: 

“We are still in a great spot. We are 4-2. We never like losing, but we have to just come out and get better and play the next game. Do not let it keep going. Ready to get back on track.”

On going down early in the Steelers game and how that impacted the run game was frustrating: 

“I guess so. Hats off to them. They did a great job defensively.”

On if the Bengals defense looks different than it has in past years, particularly given playing time for Bengals DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap: 

“I guess so. I just know those guys have been playing well the last couple of weeks. We have to come ready to play.”

On how much he has talked with Chubb since the injury: 

“Talked to him right after the game. I talk to him all the time. Nick is a great teammate and a great person. He watched it.”

On how he is feeling physically: 

“I will be ready to go Sunday.”

# # #

C JC Tretter:

On if he feels the need to encourage QB Baker Mayfield and if he has seen Mayfield’s confidence take a hit after the loss: 

“No, I think Baker is fine. He is a pro. He is a good football player. Not worried at all about him and how he responds.”

On the Browns OL’s performance against the Steelers and if not having G Wyatt Teller was a significant factor: 

“What we put out there on film was not good enough. I do not think one player makes that difference. We all have to play better. Give credit to Pittsburgh. That is a really talented front seven – I would probably say the most talented front seven in football. We just did not do a good enough job. Wyatt is a good player, but I do not think just one person changes how that game went. We have to do better at protecting Baker and do a better job opening up holes in the run game.”

On if the Steelers DL was more physical than the Browns OL last week: 

“I do not know. It all I think relates back to game script. Against any team, especially good teams and aggressive teams like Pittsburgh, you fall down 10-17 points early, you kind of fall into where they want you to be and that is letting them kind of attack, blitz and do all the things they want to do. That is a tough game script to get into. We just have to do better overall.”

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski’s approach this week: 

“The season is 16 games long so there is really no panic or change within the organization. I know outside [the building] responds a little differently after games like that, but the good teams do not let it snowball. We have to go back, fix the mistakes we made last game and then come out this week and play better and put a better product and better play on the field. There is nothing changing. We do not need to make any changes or do anything different than what we have been doing. We did not play well enough against Pittsburgh. You go back, correct that stuff and you move forward. It is a long season. Nothing changed the way we were two weeks ago to this week. Everything is still in front of us.”

On if the Bengals defense is playing better than when they first faced the Browns: 

“The personnel is a little different. They have had some guys get banged up and then (Bengals DT) Geno (Atkins) has come back. He did not play against in that first game. Personnel-wise is a little different, and they are doing a little different thing schematically because of that personnel change. We will have to do more studying and just see what they are doing differently from Week 2 to now, but we should be good after a week of practice and a week of preparations.”

On what the Browns OL can do to make sure Mayfield can be more effective when defenses take away his bootlegs and rollouts: 

“We love running our boots and moving the pocket, but that is not all we do. We have drop back passes. We have run actions. There are plenty of things we can do to open up lanes and open up opportunities in the passing game. We are not solely dependent on boots, though we like to do them and as offensive linemen, we love running boots and running keepers, but that is not all we do and we are not dependent on that. That is just something that is part of our offense.”

On if he gets the sense that RB Kareem Hunt is ready to have a breakout performance since taking over the No. 1 RB role: 

“Kareem is a hell of a runner. We are kind of looking to have that big game. He kind of blocked up the looks, and last week again, we did not do a good enough job opening up holes for anybody who was back there. It does not matter whether it is (RB) Nick (Chubb) Kareem, (RB) Dontrell (Hilliard) or (RB) D’Ernest (Johnson). It does not matter who is back there. We have to open up the holes better. We have to keep doing that and come into this week and look to do that.”

On the support Mayfield has from the Browns locker room: 

“100 percent support. This loss was not about one player. I do not think anybody in the locker room felt they played a game worthy of a win on an individual basis. We all have to play better. When you lose 38-7, there are not many bright spots in that game. This is not about any one person. We all have to play better and raise our level. I know Baker is somebody who will do that and who is capable of doing that, as we all have.”

On how difficult it can be to block outside noise and criticism:

“For us, it is not really blocking it out; it is more of an eye roll. It just is what it is. It is part of the beast and part of the game. Everyone is going to have an opinion, and you see the giant sway of opinion from post-Colts game to post-Steelers game. That is kind of how the business works. I do not think any of us get caught up in that or pay too much attention to it. All that matters is what goes on in these walls. What goes on in this team and in this locker room. We have a lot of faith in each and every one in that locker room, Baker included, that we can go out there and play well. We have shown we can play well, and now it is about going out there and doing it.”

On how much input the NFLPA has in deciding if a game gets played on the weekend following positive test results:

“The NFL dictates the schedule, but a lot of these things are protocol based and going through the contact tracing and making sure that there is no further increased risk of transmission. A lot of that is handled on an individual basis per team. You have seen some games where things have to be postponed based off the contact tracing and based off what is going on, and some games have not. That is because it comes back and the science, which is all we want to follow is just follow the science, kind of dictates that on how it is going to look and what the transmission risk is. That is kind of all how it is based on, but again, the NFL sets the schedule.”

On if he is comfortable with the protocols and how the NFL is following and applying them as it relates to playing a game or not:


On Mayfield’s comment that ‘4-2 has never felt more like 0-6 before’:

“I do not know the context of Baker’s statement there, but I think on the outside it has been kind of a weird three days with how this team is looked at from post-Indianapolis to post-Pittsburgh. Again, I think you look at a team like the Packers, and the Packers went through a game similar to what we went through last week where they did not play good enough. Going back to that locker room, I can tell you from being with them and from being with the leaders on that team, there is not panic on that locker room. There is an understanding that they did not play well enough and that consistency is what leads to success in this league, and that was not the consistency they wanted to show, and that was not the consistency we wanted to show. We put four good games together, and then we drop the ball against Pittsburgh. That is something we need to improve on, but it does not change anything about how we feel we can play or how we can execute. We just have to do a better job of going out there each and every week and not having one of those games. Nothing changes from where we were two weeks ago to this week. We are the same team.”

On if the is more urgency each day, given the team is part of the early playoff chase:

“No, again, I think a lot of us look at this as there is a 16-week season, but each week is its own week. We are not looking at what is going to happen another 10 weeks from now. We are focused on what is going to happen this week. We have to go out there and play well. I think when you get looking too far ahead of yourself and start thinking about what is going to happen in January, bad things happen. You are really focused on what is going on. That is what Kevin preaches of going 1-0 each week, and that is what we are focused on.”

On if there is a chance the NFL will keep the current three-week IR rule:

“All of that stuff, I think there are a lot of things we did this year that you look at to see whether you like it or not. That is one of the unique things about this COVID situation is you are kind of forced into changes and unique rules, and then you evaluate to see if you like them. There is a lot of things. I for one want to look more into the training camp changes and look more in what we can do to make training camp better and safer and more productive to the players. I think all that will come later on when we will discuss everything as a whole, as the NFLPA and NFL.”

On Mayfield saying he held the ball too long against the Steelers:

“Our job is to block for him. I know there are written throws and things like that, but our job is to stay in front of our defender and give the quarterback as much time as he needs. That is kind of how I have always looked at it and I think we look at it as a team. It is all about protecting for infinity and not really having a time block in our minds of, ‘Well, I blocked long enough.’ You have to keep blocking until the ball is gone. Baker is a leader, and that is why he says those things. I do not think that changes our mentality as an offensive line. We need to give the quarterback and the receivers as much time as possible.”

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S Ronnie Harrison Jr.:

On his mindset coming back from injury and trying pick up where he left off with his pick-six against the Colts:

“Just like you said, exactly that. Just trying to get back in there and pick up where I left off. I just want to keep going out there and making plays and helping this defense and helping this team out as much as I can.”

On how he sustained his concussion:

“I am not really sure what specific play. It could have been a couple of plays that just added up together. Like you said, it was kind of tough not being able to finish the game and be out there to celebrate the win. I am just glad to be back and be back out there with them and happy to get this thing back rolling this week.”

On the number of concussions he has sustained:

“In the NFL, like two or three.”

On if it is scary to have sustained two or three concussions in the NFL:

“It is a part of football. I play a hard-hitting position. I play safety, I play defense so it is kind of in the game and what I am used to. It is scary. You never want to get a concussion or go down with a head injury like that, but it is part of the game and just have to try to minimize that as much as I can.”

On Bengals WRs Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins:

“I see a lot of athleticism. I see two playmakers, guys who the Bengals do a good job of getting the ball in their hands. They are two receivers that are pretty big. They can get open, especially Tee Higgins – good size, good speed. Boyd is not a small receiver, pretty shifty. They use him in a lot of different ways. I think they are two pretty good solid receivers that we are going to try to stop this week and slow down for their offense.”

On if it strange that Bengals WR A.J. Green currently appears to be the team’s third option:

“Yeah, definitely. With him being back, you would think that he would be like a top target coming back. I guess they see where they are having success with those other two guys so that is what it is.”

On how much he has been able to study Bengals QB Joe Burrow:

“Not too much yet. We just started to digging in today. Really, I just seen a gamer. He is pretty smart to be that young and to know the defenses and to be able to read the defenses that well. Pre-snap I have noticed that and he does a lot of looking and reading pre-snap and makes a lot of his decisions before the ball even gets in his hands. That is next level type quarterback of being in the league and stuff like that. You see (Steelers QB) Ben Roethlisberger and (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers do stuff like that. He definitely has some good in his game. A very smart player. Just going to have to try to mess with his eyes and his brain as much as possible.”

On if he has a full grasp of the Browns defensive scheme now after being with the team for several weeks:

“Yes, pretty much so. I have a pretty good feel for it. I feel comfortable in the defense now.”

On how the Browns defense can get back on track with creating takeaways after zero last week:

“It starts today. It starts with practice. I practice the way I play. If I do not do it in practice, then I am not doing it in the game. That is what I tell myself and tell everybody else. If we do not get interceptions and turnovers in practice, then it does not just happen in the game all of a sudden. I start in practice, practicing hard and trying to force takeaways. Just making stuff happen, and in the game it becomes natural and it becomes easy.”

On if he felt his pick-six coming after having other passes defensed prior to it:

“Yeah, definitely. With the week before, with the one with (Cowboys QB) Dak (Prescott) and then that week getting my hands on the ball earlier in that game on the tight end, I kind of felt like it was coming. I just had to be patient and wait on it. Yeah, definitely I felt it, I felt it coming.”

On how much practice plays a role in creating turnovers:

“For me, I do not believe in luck. I believe in hard word. That is what (Alabama Head) Coach (Nick) Saban always told me since Alabama. We practiced like that at Alabama to get takeaways and stuff, and it worked like that for us. I believe my sophomore year we had like 11 defensive touchdowns and like 16 takeaways – something crazy. It worked for us, practicing that way. I just believe it can put you in that mindset when you go into the game so you already thinking that way. It is not by luck or anything like that.”

On if he expects his role to continue to expand: 

“Yes, definitely. Week to week since I have been here, I have been earning more playing time. It has been increasing. They have been expanding my role here. I think it is heading in the right direction.”

On if he is more comfortable at SS than FS: 

“I am way more comfortable because I played it the last two years. I have a lot of reps at that position, but I can play either one when it comes to game time. Whichever side I end up on, I can play it.”

On the fan reaction to his pick-six against the Colts and if that felt like a breakthrough moment after joining the Browns: 

“Being a new guy anywhere – it could be a regular job or anything – you always kind of have to prove yourself and feel like you want to prove yourself. For me to and to be able to go out there and help the team like that and make a play like that in my first start, it was just big. That is really all I have been praying for and hoping for is just to go out there and help in the way that I know I can. For me to do that, it was a big blessing and a big load off my chest because now they know what I can do and what I bring to the team.”

On what he did with the ball from his first career pick-six: 

“It is at my house right now. I have to put it in a box and get it framed up.”

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