Browns transcripts -- Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020

Rob McBurnett

Director, Community & Corporate Communications

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“Injuries wise, (C) JC (Tretter) will not practice today just with the knee. Hoop (TE Austin Hooper) is still recovering from the appendectomy. We will hold (DE) Myles (Garrett) out today, just with being cautious with an ankle. Other than that, we should be all ready to go.

“Big challenge this week in our building versus the Las Vegas Raiders, a well-coached football team. On offense, a ton of weapons. Obviously, the tight end, the receivers, the back and an extremely skilled quarterback that can make every throw. Defensively, the scheme we know a little bit with (Raiders defensive coordinator) coach (Paul) Guenther, and then they add (Raiders defensive line coach) Rod Marinelli to the group and you see his influence on what they are doing. It is a very physical front. It is a very disciplined, sound defense. They rotate coverages really throughout. They do a nice job. We are going to have our work cut out for us, but we have to have a great week of practice to get ready.”

On where WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has made his biggest strides this season: 

“He has done a nice job at practice. He is always – I know this sounds simple – in the right place at the right time, and getting lined up is not sometimes an easy thing for young players at the wide receiver position. We are able to line him up at multiple positions. When he has had opportunities at practice, he has made a play on the ball. That is really going all the way back through training camp. He has done a nice job. He studies very hard. He does a great job in the meeting room. Obviously, provides us with some special teams value, as well.”

On if he expects Garrett to practice later in the week, given he said it was being cautious that Garrett would not practice today: 

“I would expect that, but we will gather more information and know more later in the week.”

On how much confidence QB Baker Mayfield can gain from Sunday’s game: 

“I hope all of our players gain confidence when you can get a W in the fashion we did. Obviously there for Baker and being as efficient as it was, you always hope to build off those type of things, but I do not think Baker lacks for confidence.”

On if he expects WR KhaDarel Hodge to play this week: 

“I do.”

On if he expects Hodge to pick up from where he was playing before the injury and if Hodge could potentially start opposite of WR Jarvis Landry or if that is still to be determined: 

“I would say still to be determined. We will see how practice goes, but I do anticipate that he will be available on Sunday.”

On Mayfield winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week: 

“Obviously, anytime you get recognized like that, I think it is great for the guys. I am sure Baker would say this – maybe he did said this – but you get recognized individually, and you really have to share in that with the rest of your team. Just thinking about the catches that the guys made in that game, the contested catches, (WR) Rashard (Higgins) high-pointing one at the end, (TE) David Njoku’s catch in the end zone, it takes those guys to have a quarterback have the numbers he had. Great individual award and happy for Baker, but I think it is also a testament to the entire group.”

On the difficult throws Mayfield made and if those were successfully due to mechanics or confidence: 

“I would say it is both. When you are having success at the quarterback position, your mechanics have to be right to maintain accuracy and then obviously, confidence goes a long way for a trigger man. Again, I go back to that is the Baker I have seen in practice. He lets it rip because he trusts his guys.”

On if seeing Peoples-Jones, Njoku and Higgins step up on offense puts his mind at ease as a play caller, knowing he can count on those players: 

“I think you gain confidence through the week just watching those guys practice. The guys you mentioned, they get a ton of reps during the week so I see them do it. I know they are working hard in the meeting rooms. I know their coaches are working hard with them to get them ready so once Sunday rolls around, you feel really good about the plan based on the week that you have had.”

On how RB Kareem Hunt is feeling and Hunt’s ability to carry defenders: 

“I think he is feeling pretty good, as good as you can feel on a Wednesday after 21 touches or whatever it was. That is what Kareem does. He makes plays. He breaks tackles. He runs through tackles. He provides great leadership on the sideline. He was fighting for extra yards, and that is just the person he is and that is the player he is. I know that fires up the offense, and I know that fires up the entire team.”

On if there is any truth to the notion that Mayfield approaches the game and progressions differently when Beckham is not on the field: 


On if he rejects the media narrative that Mayfield may be better off without Beckham: 

“I do reject that, yes.”

On CB Denzel Ward sliding beneath the blocker to make the tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a screen play: 

“I wish I could take credit for that. That is an old (former NFL CB) Antoine Winfield Sr. move right there.”

On if he had any tackles like Ward’s when he played at Penn: 


On if the pressure on Mayfield could decrease now that there is not a ‘need’ to get the ball to Beckham: 

“I really do not think so. Again, Odell is a great, great player. We are going to miss him. I feel sick still without him in the building, but our offense is based on 11 guys and the quarterback going through his reads. It was like that with No. 13 in there, and it will be like that without No. 13 in there.”

On the analytical differences between when Mayfield is targeting Beckham and how Mayfield has played when Beckham is off the field: 

“I am not smart enough to make an argument for that. I will just tell you, I would much rather have No. 13 on the field, if available to us. He is not so we will make sure we have a plan to make sure we can move the ball any which way we can.”

On how things change for him as a play caller without Beckham and how opposing defenses will gameplan against the Browns offense: 

“I think that remains to be seen. We talk about what we might see from the Raiders this week and the way they may view us, and then we have to see how that shakes out. Like we talked about on Monday – I think you guys know this – I trust the guys we have. We will have multiple roles for some people because you are not going to just plug and play one person for Odell. I do not think that is realistic. We have a really good wide receiver room. Feel good about our tight ends and our running backs. This is a team effort, and we are going to need a team effort to beat a good Raiders team on Sunday.”

On if there is a chance G Wyatt Teller will be able to play on Sunday:

“I still would not rule him out today, but I will know more tomorrow and Friday.”

On if the Browns have changed anything due to the COVID-19 situation, particularly given how the Raiders’ past week was impacted:

“Them specifically did not make us change anything, but we are making slight adjustments to how we meet in an effort to space out and make sure there is no chance of any close contacts in our building.”

On if the goal is to not have a chain reaction where if one person tests positive that other players also have to go home:

“Yeah, we do not want any blinking red on this guy [points to Kinexon device].”

On when the Browns changed spacing adjustments and other efforts related to COVID-19:

“Today, what we did was we kept our meetings virtual this morning for the practice squad so that the meeting rooms had a few less people in there so the guys could spread out even more in those meetings rooms, and we are just going to make sure that we adjust. We will not have an afternoon meetings – we will do those meetings on the field so we can spread out, and then we will add a few more minutes in the morning to have those meetings that we typically would have in the afternoon. Not huge changes, but just trying to be as diligent as we can and limit the exposures and limit the chances of close contacts.”

On Higgins’ long catch on the game-winning drive and what makes Higgins so efficient with opportunities:

“He has great ball skills. I think he is a savvy route runner. I think he understands coverage. That was obviously a very impressive catch. I think just as impressive was the back shoulder that Baker threw to him earlier in the game. Just a great feel for how coverage causes maybe the ball to be in a different spot, and I just think that is a savviness that he has.”

On if there will be multiple scenarios prepared to adjust the Browns offense without WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“I give a ton of credit to the offensive staff. Huddled up on Monday and made sure that we had a plan moving forward. We have depth at that position, and then we have to make sure that we use that depth to highlight the strengths of each one of those guys.”

On if the Browns offensive meeting to discuss those adjustments without Beckham ‘was a marathon session’:

“No. We are pretty efficient when we meet. I think the guys understand what we are trying to do. Again, it just goes back to who do you have available to you and let’s go highlight their strengths.”

On if there is a possibility RB Nick Chubb could return after the bye week:

“That is a possibility, yes.”

On the Browns’ perfect record at home this season:

“I think those 12,000 fans are nice and loud. I think the guys love playing in that building, and we are excited to get out in front of our fans this week.”

On if he had to see the chemistry between Mayfield and Higgins at live game speed to fully realize that

the two ‘have something special’:

“I would tell you I think you are right, but I also think it is just reps. I think you can’t discount how many reps those guys have had together at practice. I think back to this summer and the spring when Austin Hooper went down and ran some routes for Baker. That is how you build a rapport there is just the shared number of reps.”

On if he anticipates replacing Peoples-Jones as the return specialist due to increased offensive reps:

“I do not think so, no.”

# # #

C JC Tretter:

On how was he able to stay in the game after sustaining a knee injury on the first offensive drive against the Bengals:

“It did not feel good. Kind of got rolled up, foot got stuck in the ground and twisted around. It did not feel great at the time. Got off the field, got checked out in the tent and then I tested it and wanted to make sure I was still strong enough to play and then went back out there.”

On if he will be ready to play Sunday:

“Should be. We are going to do what we have always done, just take care of it, get a plan in place and just follow the plan.”

On if it was extra worry because it was the knee he had a procedure on during training camp:

“I would not say it was extra worry. We did our MRIs and did feel good about the results. Just keep moving forward.”

On if getting his foot caught was an example to what he referred to when discussing a desire to change turf fields to grass in all NFL stadiums:

“I would have to look. The tough thing is what happened in the play, the cameras already headed down field to follow the throw. We look at all that stuff as the union. We have people go back and watch the plays and watch how the field interacts, how much of it is contact and how much of it is the turf. I would have to look at it and have our experts look at it, but I am not even sure we have a clear visual of what exactly happened in order to take a look at that particular injury.”

On if he could not tell if the turf played a part in the situation from feel:

“It felt like my foot was stuck in the ground, but I do not know if maybe I was being stepped on. Everything happens really fast.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr. being injured on the same play and if the field surface may have contributed to it:

“Again, I defer back to our experts. They do that for every injury. That is what we do. We have people investigate it and judge it, and we get our results on what we think happened and how much of it is related to the field surface.”

On the Raiders defense:

“They have a really good defensive line coach. They are explosive off the ball, looking for knockback and do a lot of movement. You have to be kind of all be on the same page across the offensive line, making sure we know where we are going and how we are going to get there, both off run and pass. That is one thing with teams that move so much, usually you expect it on third downs with twist, but these guys will move, twist and pirate right in the run game so you have to be aware of that at all times and make sure both the back side and the front side of the run are ready for it and have the call in place to pick it all up.”

On if it feels like his life managing an injury to play is becoming common:

“The injury rate is 100 percent in this business. I think everybody gets a little banged up. Everybody has something going on. There is stuff that everybody knows about. We have people fighting through rib injuries and different injuries. It is part of the business. Especially this part of the year, it is Week 8, and I am sure everybody has something they are dealing with that is lingering, and you hope to get through this week, get to the bye, get some time off your feet and get your body back right. That is what this business is about – people playing hurt and people playing injured.”

On confidence in the Browns offense’s ability to adjust following the loss of Beckham:

“I think the guys that need to step up will step up. I think we saw that last week. It is tough to replace a guy like Odell – just that talent, that ability and that respect that the defense gives him and what that does to our gameplan. I think that is tough to recreate, but I know the guys and how much preparation they put in and how much work they have put in this offseason, this training camp and the weeks in practice that they will be ready to step up and make plays for us.”

On replacing the ‘juice’ that Beckham provides off of the field:

“We still have a lot of guys that are leading this team. We have (G) Joel (Bitonio), we have (QB) Baker (Mayfield) and we have (WR) Jarvis (Landry). We have guys who will get the team going, especially the offense. Again, it is never easy to replace a guy both in the leadership sense in Odell, as well as on the field with Odell, but other guys will have to step up and do more, both on the field and in the leadership capacity.”

On if he thinks that Beckham is sometimes misunderstood about what Beckham means to a team and teammates:

“Yeah, I think that has been pretty clear for a while now. I think what people look at him from the outside versus inside the locker room are very different. I think he has always been a very good teammate. It is what we were told before he even got here when you ask guys who played with him in the past. We were told that he is a great teammate and a great guy in the locker room to have. That has been clear. After we got to know each other and other guys in the locker room got to know him, he is all about the team. It is tough to see one of your brothers go down.”

On if opposing defenses have made more of a concerted effort to stop the run in the last three games: 

“You think back to those games we had, and I believe the Colts was three weeks ago – really good defense, a really good run stopping defense and do a lot of movement. Then you go to Pittsburgh, we fall behind in the game script and not really a lot of opportunities to run when you fall behind. Then last week, I think we were just a few blocks away on a couple plays where it could have been more, but we just did not finish the right way. There are things to improve. I think we are really close to getting back on. (RB) Nick (Chubb) is a great runner, but (RB) Kareem (Hunt) does a heck of a job and (RB) D’Ernest (Johnson), as well. I think that there is still more meat on the bone that we have to get in the future and hope we can bounce back.”

On if defenses will pay even more attention to the run game now without Beckham: 

“Maybe. We will see.”

On if there is more of a sense of normalcy to the season now that the team has reached Week 8: 

“I would not say ‘normalcy.’ I do not think you want normalcy. I think with everything going on when I hear normalcy, I feel like people then fall into a sense of relaxation, a sense of we have everything under control, we are good to go, we no longer have to think about this and we can just go through the motions. I do not think you want that. I do not think guys are looking at it that way. We have even recently enhanced the protocols to make them stronger and make sure we are doing everything to get through a season. I do not think anybody is looking at it as a normal season still. There are still changes going on. There are still things we have to focus on. Again, like we have always said, we expected to be able to start, and it is going to take a constant, concerted effort to finish. We are a little over halfway there now with training camp included. There is still a lot of work to be done. I do not think we want normalcy. I think we want everybody to stay with coronavirus top of mind and all the important things you have to do in order to finish the season.”

On if injuries this season have been affected by the changes to the offseason and training camp: 

“There is a little lag time on that data so that will continue to be looked at. It is always going to be tough with a one-year sample size with outliers and things like that, but I know we are currently going through all that information and that data. We have done it for the information we have. Again, there is a lag time. That probably will not be all figured out in totality of the season until a month or so after the season. That is something we are very interested in – all of it, not just soft tissue but also heat-related illness for training camp, concussions and all that stuff that we track and see if we are improving on. That is all stuff we will have to look at and get a clear answer, most likely at the end of the season when we have the full data set with as much information as possible.”

On if he has to speak with other teams as NFLPA President about the COVID-19 protocols and violations: 

“We stay in contact with our reps. Each team has reps for the union. We make sure we have our union calls where we talk about the importance of staying on our teammates and make sure we all understand it. I think that is understood. There are going to be mistakes made. We hope to correct those and make sure that the protocols, when enforced properly, keep this season going. It really takes everybody. It takes all of us. Not just players, it takes a staff and takes everybody who walks into one of these facilities doing the right thing at all times, both at the facility and away from the facility, in order to finish the season.”

# # #

LB B.J. Goodson:

On if there is a specific area the Browns defense is focusing on improving this week: 

“I would not say necessarily a specific focus. We are on to the next game. Last week was last week. We definitely have the things that we need to clean up and that we have gone over. We definitely had to do those things to touch up on those things.”

On what gives him confidence that the Browns defense will be able to clean things up moving forward: 

“We are able to actually face whatever it is that we dealt with, not turning the other cheek towards whatever the problem was. That is the first step in handling a problem and getting towards the solution.”

On if there is a common thread to the Browns defense giving up 30 or more points in five games this season: 

“Definitely have to tighten up and get better. Like I said, just get better and make the corrections. Definitely have to tighten up.”

On DE Myles Garrett seeming to generate most of the pass rush and how other players on defense can help: 

“Guys have to win their one-on-ones when the time comes. That is about it. I can see you saying that and it may seem that way because he is spectacular at what he does, but definitely when we get the opportunity, we have to win our one-on-ones.”

On if he feels like the Browns defense is putting too much pressure on Garrett to get to the QB: 

“No, I do not think so.”

On Raiders QB Derek Carr having only two interceptions this season and if there are still have opportunities for the Browns defense to create interceptions: 

“Yeah, as long as the ball is in the field of play, there is opportunity. No one is perfect. Believe me. It takes one game, and I definitely feel like our defense can get takeaways.”

On challenges facing Raiders TE Darren Waller: 

“He is more of a receiver body than an actual tight end. As far as in the passing game, you have to make the correct adjustment when dealing with someone like that. That is about it. Just have to understand who you are dealing with. It is all about personnel and knowing your matchups.”

On what CB Denzel Ward has brought to the Browns defense: 

“Denzel is a great teammate first and foremost. His play has been outstanding. Whenever he has been targeted, he always steps up. His play speaks for itself. I do not really have to rant on and on about Denzel. His play speaks for itself. He is also a great teammate.”

On if he gave Ward a gift for the deflection that led to his interception in the end zone: 

“I ought to because it was definitely an assist. Yeah, we definitely laughed about it. I appreciate it.”

On Ward sliding under the blocker on a tackle for loss on the screen play last week: 

“That was some 007 – I do not know what to call that, but it was beautiful. It was beautiful. I will say that.”

On if the Browns LB corps has determined their strengths: 

“I think we have a great feel of each other’s strengths and what we all need to work on. We just are all trying to get better each and every day. I feel like the guys are getting better, including myself, and just keep pushing forward.”

On what he has improved on most this season: 

“To be honest, I work on every single thing. I feel like I have gotten better at each and everything to be honest with you. I have heard numerous rumors of things that people think I need to work on. I feel like I have tightened up on those things but not because they said it but because I wanted to be great at it.”

On being surprised that he listens to the rumors of what other people outside of the building believe he needs to improve: 

“I do not.”

On S Ronnie Harrison Jr.: 

“Ronnie is a hard-nosed guy. Comes in and if we need to talk about an adjustment or whatever, he is with it. He is a real player, I will say that. He is a real player and a ballsy guy to say the least. It is just great having a guy out there with great instincts and able to make plays, as well.”

On if Harrison has a knack for getting his hands on the ball: 

“Yeah, I would say so. In the time that I have been with him and played with him and just as far as what I have seen and what he has done, I would say that.”

# # #

QB Baker Mayfield:

On the Browns losing WR Odell Beckham Jr. for the season: 

“Yeah, it sucks. You never want to lose guys. You especially do not want to lose them for that long. I just know how much he cares about the game and how much he cares about trying to win. It sucks for us, but you hurt even more just for him. No fun, but we have to be able to have guys step up and try and fill that void. Like (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) said, it is not going to be a one-man job. It is going to take multiple people fill that.”

On the media theory that he ‘may better off without Beckham’ and why that is a ‘flawed argument’: 

“No.1, I think it is just completely insensitive to a guy that just tore his ACL. I am not even going to comment on it. You never want to lose guys, and that is where I am going leave that one.”

On winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week: 

“I have always thought individual accolades are a representation of the team and especially the offense. That one goes for everybody making the plays and what was necessary for us to win.”

On if the Browns offense already has everything needed to get the job done, if the team does not add another WR: 

“Like I said, you do not want to lose guys – that is not fun – but we believe in the guys that we have. That is why they are here. We are going to expect them to step up and do what they are capable of, nothing more, nothing less. Just to go out there and do their job.”

On how opposing defenses will change their gameplan without Beckham on the field: 

“You see a lot of cloud coverage and them rolling a safety over the top to his side. We just have to be able to adjust and adapt. Just like a gameplan, you might have something planned and then they come out and show a different look. You have to be able to adjust on the fly. We will see what happens, but until then, I can’t predict it.”

On the value of having prior reps with players like WR Rashard Higgins and TE David Njoku: 

“Yeah, there is something for chemistry. You build up reps and experience seeing the body language in and out of routes. Obviously when you get more reps, you talk through certain things with guys. It might not have been a good play, but you can always learn from it. There is just that experience that dates back, like you said, that I think is helping.”

On Higgins’ long reception on the game-winning drive and where that stands for him with memorable plays this year, particularly given the significance of it: 

“That one is a definite at the top of the list. The freeze-frame picture of him fully extended catching that and high-pointing the ball, that is a special play. That is one of those opportunity balls and just give the guy a chance, and he made an incredible play in one-on-one coverage. They wanted to bring blitz zero. Had the chance to protect it up and throw the ball downfield. A good play call and good execution by Higgy.”

On Higgins staying patient early in the season and being presented with an opportunity to showcase his skillset on Sunday and moving forward: 

“Obviously, circumstances you never wanted to happen as to why he is going in, but happy for Rashard in the sense of he has been patient. He stuck to it. He has still been working so now he has a chance to go out and prove himself right to everybody else.”

On WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and his confidence to go to Peoples-Jones on the game-winning throw: 

“For me, it started when some of those guys came down to Austin to get routes, get reps and stuff like that. He has just been locked in on terminology and learning the offense a lot quicker than most rookie receivers would be in terms of learning and the pace of that. He is just all about his work and all about his business. I said it after the game, I missed him on a go-ball shot on a third down where they lined up offside, and I told him I was going to come back to him. It just so happened to be that circumstance. I trust those guys, no matter who it is, to be where they are supposed to be, and he made an incredible play.”

On his 21 consecutive completions and if he believes in momentum impacting a game: 

“Yeah, you can sense those moments when you are feeling it, you are putting the ball in the right place, you are going through your reads, your field of vision slows down and you are just executing well. That is also for everybody else on the field doing their job for us to be able to do that. That is an offense clicking and everybody doing their job.”

On if his performance on Sunday and how he played during his rookie season gives him confidence that the Browns offense can still be productive without Beckham: 

“Like I said, it is just awful to lose a guy like that. We believe we have a great team so that is why we are going to ask these guys to step in and multiple guys to try and fill that void. We still are going to lean on this running game, we are still going to lean on this play action and trust these guys to make the one-on-one plays when they are there. Without him, there might not be as many one on one opportunities, but that means we just have to be more efficient in zone coverages and things like that to make those plays.”

On how his approach changes without Beckham on the field: 

“Not just because we do not have him but teams are going to play us differently, like we hit on earlier, so I think it is about just understanding the looks we are getting and going through our offense based on the looks and just efficiently working through that.”

On the coaching staff, QBs and Browns offense making adjustments and if he feels they will be able to find a way to cope without Beckham: 

“This is a savvy group that we have here. We are going to do whatever it takes to win. However that comes and however we adapt and adjust, this is a group that is willing and able to adjust to basically anything. In a year of uncertainty and ton of adjustments, we are capable of doing that. Even though it is not what you want, we just have to do it.”

On the confidence he gains from a game like Sunday: 

“To me, that is what we expect to do efficiency wise and finding those matchups and executing. We know there are going to be a lot more ups and downs in games, but that is what we dealt with. We expect to be able to adjust and go. I would not necessarily say that it just builds a ton of confidence. To us, that is the expectation. That is why I had the comments after the Steelers game of how poorly we played. It reflects what we expect compared to what we produce.”

On takeaways from watching the Buccaneers-Raiders game last week and Buccaneers QB Tom Brady against the Raiders defense: 

“There is always stuff to learn. There is some good film to watch. They played the Patriots, Saints, Bucs and obviously, the Bills. They played some good teams so they are a good defense. Like you said, I think there is always stuff to learn from watching some of these guys go up against them.”

On what it feels like when he is ‘locked in’: 

“I would just say that one-track mind about the next play, the next series is always the most important, no matter what is going on. We had a lot of lead change there, but it is all about doing whatever it takes and having that focus for four quarters and three hours-plus, whatever it takes. I would say that is what it looks like.”

On if being ‘locked in’ this year feels different than it has in the past: 

“No, I would just say the confidence that we had to go out and win that game, it just so happened the ups and downs of the game, we just stay focused and did not flinch.”

# # #

Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden conference call

On Raiders QB Derek Carr’s success this season: 

“He has played really good for us, and I think he has been playing really good for us for a while. To answer your question, I think we have improved as a supporting cast. We have some guys that are in their second year now playing in the system with (Raiders TE Darren) Waller and obviously (Raiders FB Alec) Ingold and (Raiders RB Josh) Jacobs. Some of these guys, (Raiders WR) Hunter Renfrow have some experience – (Raiders TE) Foster Moreau and we have added (Raiders WR) Henry Ruggs (III) certainly and (Raiders TE) Jason Witten, some guys have come over and helped us. We get our line healthy, I think he can play even better. He is doing a lot of things well. He is seeing the field well, he is taking care of the football and he is putting points on the board and moving our team.”

On how Waller has improved this year: 

“You would love Waller. He is really smart, and he is so talented. He is one of the top two or three physical talents that I have coached in my career, and I can honestly say I have coached some great, great talents. This man can play wide out. He can definitely go outside the numbers and play like a receiver. He can come in line and pass protect against defensive ends. He can run after the catch. He has great stamina. He is really smart. He loves football. He is a pleasure to coach. I think his experience in the system and his working relationship with his teammates and Derek Carr really accentuate everything that he brings to the table.”

On how he can get a feel for the Browns when they have had such disparate results the past two weeks: 

“I think that is the NFL. You see that in a lot of situations right now. I think everybody is still finding themselves. I do know this about Cleveland, they have taken the ball away 14 times on defense. They have an impact player in No. 95 (DE Myles) Garrett. They can score on any possession. They have balance. I think they are an up-and-coming team. I think the offensive line improvements under (offensive coach) Bill Callahan are obvious and the addition of (T Jack) Conklin and their first-round draft choice (T Jedrick Wills Jr.). There is a lot of upside here with this team. Like most of us, there are some growing pains and there are going to be some bumps in the road. I like to how hard they play. I think (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski has done an excellent job with his staff, and maybe they have learned some lessons. We will see. We are anxious to compete with them, I know that.”

On what it is like for a team to lose a player of WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s caliber: 

“It is tough, no doubt. By the way, I hope I hope he is doing OK. He is one of the faces of the NFL, not just the Cleveland Browns. There are two things you can do. You can fold your tent, you can take it negatively and ‘We are done’ or you can look within the roster and say, ‘Hey, it is your turn to step up. We are going to need more from you and you and you.’ When I watched them play last week against Cincinnati, I felt that that was the path that they took. The ball distribution, the balance and their ability to hang in there and come from behind and win was really impressive.”

On evaluating QB Baker Mayfield on film:

“I just have to say, he is in a new offense and they are all in a new offense, and there is going to be some transition. The Baltimore Ravens, early in the year while you are having these transitions, can be tough on you, like they are everybody. The same with the Pittsburgh Steelers. There RE going to be some tough, tough snaps. I like my commercials better than his by the way, I will say that (laughter).”

On preparing for Garrett:

“We have a thing we call it a ‘factor grade,’ not just the sacks. Everybody counts sacks. That is like the only thing they count anymore is sacks. This guy forces fumbles. He causes other sacks for other people. He is good against the run. He bats passes down. His arms are up in the air. He forces inaccurate balls. He has a factor about him. His presence is felt a lot. He can play left end, right end or they can push him inside, and he is a factor wherever he plays. I wish we had Garrett, and I look forward to seeing him. I always look forward to competing with the best ones.”

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