Joel Bitonio Spoke to the Media 11/29/21

On T Jack Conklin sustaining a season-ending knee injury in last night’s game:

“It is tough. I know he battled back from his elbow [injury] to try and get out there for the team and compete for the team. He is a selfless guy. He went out there, and it is an unfortunate injury. It is a serious injury. It is unfortunate. I know he has the right makeup to come back from this, but it is one of those things where you never want to see a guy seriously hurt. We know we play a dangerous game, but that was a tough one. He is in our thoughts right now, and we are hoping the surgery goes well and he can come back from that.”

On why the Browns were unable to establish the running game last night:

“It was tough sledding. First off, we did not execute well enough. There were yards to be had that we did not get. It was tough. They were loading the box, and their backers were firing very quickly a few times. It was definitely tough sledding, but there are things that we can do better. There are different things we can check to and get out of certain runs if they are overloading a side or something like that. At the end of the day, it comes down to win your one-one-one matchup more times than you do not. Sometimes there is an extra hat in the box or you have to push it a little farther than you want to and different angles. At the end of the day, we have to find a way to execute better, and that goes on the players’ shoulders.”

On if he is surprised the Browns offense has not been able to rebound from less productive performances in recent weeks:

“It is not surprising; it is just frustrating. I think we are just frustrated, and we understand that there are points to be scored. The defense played lights out last night – four turnovers and containing that offense was pretty impressive with what they did, and we just did not convert points off of turnovers. It was frustrating. It has been a few weeks. Like you said, we have not had our success to do what we have wanted to do. We are going to take this bye week, we are going to look at it and we are going to self-scout and really try to fully understand. At the end of the day, it is winning one on ones. That is the blocking game, that is in the passing game and that is all things. If you do your 1/11th on each play… Sometimes there are unblocked guys and things that are out of our control, but at the end of the day if you execute a little bit better, there are things to be done. For our offense, to be behind the sticks with penalties or a loss of yardage on first down puts you in second-and-12, and that is not where we are the most efficient so those have been some of the issues, as well. It really comes down to executing and figuring out do we have tells or what and can we exploit those in the last few games of the season.”

On the Ravens’ blitz packages last night, including with late pressure:

“That first one, he (Ravens LB Patrick Queen) had us timed up pretty well. That was tough to do much about that. They were bringing the house a few times, but that is their identity. They run [Cover] 0 blitzes and they try and cover the back end man to man, and they outguessed us a couple times. A few times we had max protection on, and they dropped eight. A couple of times, we had empty protection, and they brought [Cover] 0. That is a chess match. Sometimes you win those, and sometimes you lose those. It was definitely an issue. At the end of the day, you want to pick those up. You want to be perfect. You want to know they are running [Cover] 0 and we can run this protection or if they are dropping eight, we can run this protection. It is not that easy all of the time, but hopefully, we figure out some tells and we can figure out which way they are coming or if they are bringing [Cover] 0 or dropping eight. That is their identity. Early downs, they were doing it to try and stop the run, and third downs, they have their blitz package.”

On if it is hard to keep the team’s mantra of going 1-0 each week in order to make the playoffs after sustaining tough losses in recent weeks:

“I do not think so. I think we have a prideful group, and I think we have guys who want to compete and guys who play hard. It is not a lack of effort out there. It is the National Football League. You never know what is going to happen. We have to come out and get better this bye week and then get ready for Baltimore again, watch some games this weekend and see what we can do. You are not in the right profession if it gets hard like that because it is the NFL and everything is hard. I think we are focused. I think we had good meetings today, and we are going to be refocused after this bye week.”

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