Mike Priefer Spoke after the Game 12/20/21

Opening statement:

“Good evening, guys. I told the team, obviously, I was very proud of their effort. Man, they fought hard. The offense took a little time to get going, but once they got going, they did a great job in the second half. Our defense played hard all night. Just came up short in the end. I told them I was so proud of their effort. We still have an opportunity. We are one game out of first place [of the AFC North]. We have three games left, and that is where the focus is going to be. When they come back to work, we have a short week, no excuses and we have to go get ready for the Green Bay Packers – obviously, a great football team. At the end of the day, I was very, very, very proud of their effort, fighting through the adversity this week, nobody batted an eye, nobody made any excuses and they went out there and fought hard. As you guys know, Takk (DE Takkarist McKinley) unfortunately was taken off the field and has an ankle injury, and he will be evaluated tonight/tomorrow morning. You guys will get further updates on him.”

On the frustration after coming from behind but falling just short of a win:

“Yeah, that locker room right now is hurting. That is the most I have seen it in that kind of pain. You are upset when you lose. Obviously, you are joyous when you win. When you lose that type of game, that one is tough. They are pretty down right now. We will have our job cut out for us this week in terms of coaches and getting them back up again and getting their spirits back up because they are young people. When you lose a game like that – a game we felt like we should have won there at the end against a good football team; they are a very good football team, a well-coached football team and they made the plays at the end, and that is a credit to them.”

On if he knew he would call a timeout prior to Raiders K Daniel Carlson’s final FG attempt or if that is a split-second decision:

“It is something you think about. Daniel is a very good kicker. Kicking into the Dawg Pound end. Our defense was a little bit tired – I could tell – so I wanted to give (CB) Denzel (Ward) and the other guys a little bit of rest. Part of it was icing him, and part of it was getting us ready to get a little bit of rest, a 30-45 second rest before we come after the kick again.”

On K Chase McLaughlin’s missed FG in the second quarter:

“They did a good job. He made the first one. He just did not hit it as well the second one. You have to make those kicks. The expectation is to make those type of kicks in that game, and he should have made it.”

On when the Browns knew G Joel Bitonio was going to start at LT and Bitonio’s performance:

“I do not know he did in terms of how he will grade out. I think it was probably a couple of days ago we found out that we were going to move him over there. I think he had one day of work out there. That is the first time he has done that since college. It is a credit to he and a lot of other guys who stepped up – guys coming off the street playing special teams and guys who were on the practice squad were starting on special teams. To come out and play that hard under those circumstances… I will never use that as an excuse because they are good football players; we have a really good locker room; and I want to give credit to our coaching staff for getting those guys ready. I want to give credit to our personnel staff. (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and his staff, they did a phenomenal of bringing in people off the street to get ready to play. These guys, a lot of the guys we were familiar with, but they came out and played hard tonight.”

On going for it on fourth down in the red zone in the fourth quarter and if the team considered kicking a FG:

“If there were seven to eight minutes left, maybe, but we were concerned that we may not get great field position if they got a few first downs and punted the ball back to us. They have a good punter. We may not have had great field position going back so to me, that was a no-brainer.”

On if there is conversation regarding the decision or if it was his call:

“Of course, there are conversations.”

On the Browns defense on the last drive and not quite being able to pressure Raiders QB Derek Carr:

“I think they came with pressure on the last one. We came close. We thought we had it. Derek made a great play. He is a heck of a quarterback. I do not know how many game-winning drives he has in his career, but I bet you there are a bunch of them. That was a good play by him.”

On why it took so long for RB Nick Chubb and the running game to get going:

“We had a young quarterback, who I thought did a good job, and really came on in the second half. I just think it took a while for the offense to get going, but once they got going, we gave ourselves a chance to win.”

On QB Nick Mullens maintaining his poise after the Chubb TD was called back due to a penalty in the fourth quarter:

“I think it says a lot about him. It says a lot about our whole offense, our offensive staff and everybody – offensive line. Those guys did a great job. When we knew it was first-and-20 at the 21 yard line, we had to score a touchdown. That is pretty rare, I would think. I do not know what the stats are. That was a great, great drive at the end.”

On what has to happen to bounce back from this loss on a short week:

“It is almost like it is actually a blessing that we have a short week because then you just come back to work and you have a new opponent. You do not forget about that loss. It is hard to forget about that loss. You have to move on from it, but I think my philosophy has always been, ‘Hey, let’s go back to work. Let’s keep grinding. Let’s keep working and get ready for a really good football team on the road.’”

On if he spoke to Head Coach Kevin Stefanski after the game:

“I have not talked to Kevin yet. I talked to him obviously before the game, and I will call him after this.”

On if he could tell DE Myles Garrett was laboring with a lower body injury late in the game:

“I think his groin is a little bit sore, but he is a tough guy. He fought through it like a lot of our guys.”

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