Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Quarterbacks Coach Sean Ryan
QB Deshaun Watson
Conference Call with Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson
Conference Call with Browns DL Myles Garrett
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Do you like the progress that CB Kevin Johnson has made and where he stands right now?
“Yes, absolutely. I think he’s close. I don’t think he’ll be able to go this week, but he’s close.”
How did the team respond today without DE J.J. Watt?
“Absolutely. It was a very good response. We had really good focus in the meetings this morning, good focus in the walkthroughs, had really one of our better Wednesday practices. And you’re right, it’s unfortunate. You feel for the guys when they get injured – J.J. (Watt) (and) Whitney (Mercilus) missing a year after all the time they put in – but at the end of the day, there’s a big but there, like I said the other day, the train keeps moving. It’s not going to be one guy that takes their spot. It’s going to be multiple guys, it’s going to be schematic, it’s going to be a unified effort to make up for the loss of them, but it’s definitely something that you have to move forward with and our guys had a good Wednesday.”
What have you seen from Browns DE Myles Garrett?
“Big guy, explosive guy, good with his hands, instinctive guy. He’s been injured. I think he’s had a bad ankle, but you can see why they drafted him No. 1. He’s a difference maker.”
What did OLB Lamarr Houston and DE Kendall Langford show in their workout yesterday and what do you like about what they can bring to the team, especially in those two positions that you lost on Sunday?
“Two good veterans, really good guys, a lot of experience. Both have experienced adversity in their careers, which I think is a good thing. They’ve had to come back from injuries, they’ve had to come back and play at a high level. They worked out well. They’re obviously in shape, which is the big key in those workouts. Both heavy-handed players relative to the positions that they play. Smart players. Guys that I believe can help us. So, I think they’re definitely two good additions to the team.”
What is their availability after each going through injuries last year?
“That’s right, yeah. I think that they seem – they went through a rigorous medical procedure with us, physicals and all those things and then in the workout they did a nice job. So, like I said, it’s good to have them on board.”
Is G Dorian Johnson somebody that you guys see as a developmental guy?
“I would put him in the developmental category. I would tell you that we really, Coach (Mike) Devlin and I, had him pretty highly ranked when we studied him in the draft. I’ve known Dorian for a long time. He was a guy that we recruited when I was at Penn State. A guy from Pittsburgh, very smart guy, very tough guy. So, I think it’s good. I think it’s good to be able to get him on board and start working with him. Sometimes it’s about a fit. Sometimes guys fit better in some places than they do in others. So, hopefully, that’s the case with Dorian with us.”
How have you guys adjusted on the fly to the dynamic that you have with the offense and defense and the changes with them?
“To you guys I think that, obviously because we’ve played really good defense and obviously at times we haven’t played well on offense in the past and we’ve been up and down offensively, but to me in this building it’s still about the team. So, I don’t think we look at it that way. I think we really strive to play complementary football, which we did not do last Sunday against the Chiefs. We got down early, we weren’t able to answer drives, before you knew it, it was 13-0 and finally we scored, 16-7. We were always coming from behind relative to the previous week where we played great complementary football against Tennessee. We’ve got to play good complementary football. That’s the key. You’ve got to take advantage of good field position, take advantage of turnovers, you’ve got to get them to turn the ball over, take care of the ball on offense and we have to be more consistent on special teams. I really look at it more as a team thing. I really do.”
Over the past couple weeks, has there ever been a moment where you wonder how QB Deshaun Watson fell to you at No. 12?
“I don’t ever think that way. I really don’t. I’ve been in this league for a while now and I know that everybody has different ways of doing things. Everybody has different ways of evaluating, everybody holds different things important to them than other teams hold important to them. I think that at the end of the day we’ve always tried to make the best decision for the team, for the organization and you have to give Rick Smith a lot of credit when it comes to Deshaun Watson. On draft night, he turned to me and said he wanted to trade up and go get this guy and I said, ‘go for it.’ I mean, he did a great job in doing that and getting that done and now we’re just trying to coach him up and he’s doing a good job. But, at the end of the day, it’s really more about us, what we believe is important, than it is us thinking about other teams.”
What is it about the offensive line now and how they’ve grown from Week 1 to now?
“I go back and think about the fact that those guys hadn’t played together at all. Nick (Martin) hadn’t played last year, Breno (Giacomini) wasn’t even here, Jeff Allen was injured a lot last year, especially towards the end. So, I think it takes five guys a while to jell. I really do. There’s so much communication. They have to play in concert, they can’t be like a typewriter, they have to play together and I think that you’ve seen the improvement because they’ve been able to be on the practice field together, be in the meetings together more and more. I think schematically we’ve done some good things to help everybody and I think that at the end of the day those guys have done a really good job of jelling, and it has to continue. They have to continue to get better in order for us to be able to continue to move the ball.”
Do you see QB Deshaun Watson improve during the middle of the game and also learning from his past mistakes in the game?
“Definitely. I think he’s a very poised guy so he’s able to take the correction and learn from it, whether it’s a coverage tip that we can learn from, whether it’s some MIKE point that we need to correct. Whatever it is, he looks at you, he nods his head and he rarely makes the same mistake twice. I think that’s something that he does a really good job of and that has to continue because there’s no perfect way to play the game. You have to be able to adjust on the fly and I think he does a good job of that.”
What did you think when you saw QB Deshaun Watson on film switch the ball from his right hand to his left to avoid the strip-sack?
“He’s got a great instinct, he’s got good eyes, good vision, good feel. I always get concerned about answering these questions because I agree with you. He’s done a really good job for a 22-year old guy, but I mean, it gets harder and harder. The more you put things on film, the more you have to adjust. If anybody can adjust and anybody can adapt, it’s him. Being around him for the time that I’ve been around him, like I’ve always said, he’s very smart, very poised and he’s got a good instinct for the game. So, we just got to keep working day by day to get better.”
Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson made the announcement that QB Kevin Hogan will start this week instead of QB DeShone Kizer. When you’re facing a player that’s making his first NFL start, do you change things on your defense?
“I think that you have film of both of them playing, so you have to look at the film and see if there are differences when one guy’s in, whether it’s preseason or whatever. Are there differences when one guy’s in the game or when this guy’s in the game? What are they doing differently? And if there are, you have to be ready for two guys. I know that Hue (Jackson) named Kevin (Hogan) the starter, but you have to be ready for two guys because DeShone’s (Kizer) been the starter for a few games. So, I think you really have to study the tape and be ready for two. But, you don’t drastically change. You have to do what you do. You have to really play to your players’ strengths, you have to stop the run, you have to set the edge, build the wall, you have to be in good coverage, you have to disguise. You have to do the things that we do. You have to play very hard, you’ve got to get off to a good start, that’s important. So, I think it’s more about making sure that we do our jobs right.”
QUARTERBACKS COACH SEAN RYAN
Can you talk about when QB Deshaun Watson switched the ball from his right to left hand in Sunday’s game?
“Yeah, it’s definitely something that we focus on a lot. Obviously, ball security is something that we work on with him. Seriously, he’s got a knack, he’s a great ball handler, but some things he just does naturally that makes you shake your head. Can’t take credit for that one.”
The way that QB Deshaun Watson improvises at times, how does he find the balance of making stuff happen but also sticking to the script?
“I think part of it is he’s got just a good feel for our offense and when it’s a good time to extend plays and take some calculated chances versus just winging it all the time. He seems to really kind of understand the danger of doing that versus, ‘you know what, I’m in a situation here where if I extend this play, leave the pocket, I know I’ve got this type of route that can convert and give me something back in my field of vision.’ And he’s just got a very good feel for that and I think that’s probably the biggest part of it, is his in-game instincts that take over where he does a great job.”
How has the improvement on offense and the availability of weapons such as WR Will Fuller V helped you?
“I think having Will (Fuller V) back, like we’ve talked about, whenever you have all your weapons, especially a guy who can stretch the field and do things like he can as well as being a good route runner, certainly has helped us. We’ve played well in the last few weeks. We haven’t played any perfect games or anything that can’t be cleaned up, so we need to keep improving. We’ve been happy with the tempo. We need to keep that going. So, I think right now we’re feeling good about where we’ve gotten to, but I think we all understand that in order for us to really be successful and keep performing, we have to realize that we’ve just kind of scratched the surface of this thing, keep working, keep getting better and fix mistakes so we don’t repeat them on a weekly basis.”
Do you talk to QB Deshaun Watson about the fact that as he gets on more film, week by week, it just gets harder? What do you tell him and what should his mindset be?
“As people get more film and week by week it’s going to get harder. That’s what I tell him, to be honest with you. That’s just what it is. I think some of that is, I talk to him more about the defensive coordinators that he’s going to face and the schemes that they’re going to bring to the table and in our minds how we see them attacking our offense and what challenges that’ll create for him. And that changes a little bit week to week. Some guys more aggressive, some guys kind of sitting back and just watching him and reacting that way. So, I think it’s a week-by-week basis, but certainly I think that there’s always an emphasis by our offensive coaching staff to let him know that the hay’s never in the barn and every week you have to be ready for the challenges that are going to come. And he’s aware of that. He does a good job of understanding that, so it helps that he’s a level-headed guy about it.”
Do you ever forget that QB Deshaun Watson is only 22 years old?
“I mean, I guess, in terms of how he plays and the maturity that he carries himself with. Certainly there’s some – I’m impressed by how he acts and his professionalism at 22. But, he’s got that kind of exuberance he shows when he’s bouncing around the field and it’s hard to forget sometimes that he’s 22. He really enjoys playing, and I think that’s a great thing and it really sends a lot of energy to the rest of the team and I know it gives me energy on a daily basis. So, you’ve got to show up ready to roll with that guy. So, yes and no.”
On the last drive of the game last week, the game was out of reach and you guys decided to keep moving the ball down the field to attempt to score. Most coaches might have just ended the game, what was the strategy or thought process of trying to finish the game that way?
“I don’t think you ever want your players to feel that you’re taking your foot off the gas. We don’t ever want those guys to feel that. I think that’s part of it. I think the other part is all of us understand that with a young quarterback, every rep that guy gets, whenever it is – whether it’s on the practice field, it’s in the spring, it’s during a game – the more reps that guy gets, the more he sees, the better he’s going to be and it’s our responsibility to get him there. And I think those two things combined – we’re going to compete to the end always here. OB’s (Coach O’Brien) built that culture here and that’s what it’s going to be and I think people know that now. I think they knew that before. Our team certainly knows that, our coaching staff knows that and that’s just how we’re going to play the game.”
QB DESHUAN WATSON
What does it mean to you that you already have an item, your cleats from the Titans game, in the Hall of Fame?
“It was cool. It kind of caught me off guard, but a neat thing for myself and for my teammates and my organization to have something like that. Of course, they’re the cleats that I wore, but overall if you look at the big picture, it’s a whole, it’s a team thing.”
Is it amazing that just in a few weeks in that you’ve already caught the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s attention?
“I guess so. Hopefully it works out in the long run.”
What is your relationship like with Browns DL Myles Garrett and what do you think of him as a player?
“Our relationship is kind of, it goes back to high school days during different camps. I would see him here and there and we kind of communicated and talked there. But, he’s a great player. He was the No. 1 draft pick for a reason. A lot of talent, a lot of skill. I know he just came back from an injury but he’s going to be fired up and ready to go.”
On draft night there were two teams who needed a quarterback that went in a different direction and then the Browns, who needed a quarterback, they traded a pick that ended up becoming you. Was that ever motivation for you?
“No, not at all. God put me here for a reason. I’m blessed to be a Houston Texan.”
When you look back at games, do you spend more time looking at the good plays or the bad plays?
“I probably spend more time looking at the bad plays. There’s a lot more good than bad usually, but usually just checking out the bad plays, seeing what I can correct, personally for myself as a player and then overall how the operation of the whole offense can be better and put points on the board. So, that’s how I see it and every week as I watch the film of the previous game and I try to correct the mistakes and bring it to the coaching staff and try to correct it throughout the week for the next game.”
What does WR DeAndre Hopkins mean to you on the field and also in preparation leading up to games?
“He’s a great talent on the field. He’s going to make the plays that’s there and opportunities, he usually takes advantage of them. With the preparation, he’s seen so much football, he’s experienced so many different quarterbacks, so many different offensive schemes and seen so many different players. So, he’s seen a lot of football. That helps me out. So, usually when he comes to the sideline and tells me what the defense is doing, he’s usually right.”
A lot of people are talking about how you moved the ball from your right to left hand on that long touchdown to WR Will Fuller V and were really impressed with the way you were able to do that. Can you take us through that play and what you were thinking?
“Honestly, I didn’t even know I did it until after the game. I saw it on social media and people were sending it to me. So, honestly, I couldn’t even tell you how I did it. Just my instincts were telling me to switch the ball because he’s coming for my right arm. I always keep my eyes downfield, and once I did that, stepped over, set my feet and I saw Will (Fuller V) running. I gave him a shot.”
So were you surprised at what you did when you saw the video?
“Yeah, my mom and them was showing it to me and I just kind of was like, ‘I didn’t even know I did it.’ But, it’s pretty cool.”
Do you do a lot of things instinctively?
“I guess so. It’s just something I just usually, I do a lot of things that I kind of go back and watch the film and ask myself how I did it. But, just trying to make the play and that’s what I did.”
Does WR DeAndre Hopkins talk to you during the game to tell you that if you do this, then he can get open?
“Not so much in that way. He comes back and gives the whole offense an idea of what the backside or the front side of the coverage is doing. We trust in what he sees because he’s one of the guys that, he doesn’t see his side of the field, he sees the whole defense and what they’re doing on the other side. So, not so much of saying that he’s open and begging for the ball, he’s just trying to help the whole offense get open and find ways to move the ball down the field.”
How do you deal with losses?
“Just move on. It’s a long season. Anything can happen. You just build on it and continue to grow. Especially at this level, professional football, you never know what’s going to happen. So, you just kind of try to get better each and every week and try to move forward and prepare for the next one.”
Have you thought about how you’re changing the identity of this team and setting so many records?
“Not really. I just try to stay focused on my job and operation of this offense and do what I can really do, kind of control what I can control and keep the main thing the main thing and learn as I grow each and every week. But, as far as my impact, I know I have a lot of it, but honestly, I just try to do what I have to do to do my job.”
Have you gotten a feel for how you guys are going to handle not having DE J.J. Watt and OLB Whitney Mercilus for the rest of the season?
“Be just fine. Prayers for those guys and I know they’re going to be with us throughout the course, but it’s the next man up mentality and an opportunity for another guy to step in and have an impact.”
With the injuries on defense, do you feel any more pressure on offense?
“No, I don’t.”
Everybody says that you make players around you better. Would you say that you have an effect on those guys, especially WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Will Fuller V, who have nine touchdowns between them, the second-most tandem?
“I think a big thing for a quarterback to have is to be able to make guys around them better, have them motivated, have them come in each and every day trying to find something, one percent better at their game, and just build that friendship and that brotherhood between one another. I think that’s the beauty of this team. There’s no selfishness. Everybody wants everyone to succeed and all we want to do is just win.”
What is your relationship like with WR Will Fuller V?
“Our relationship is really, really good. He put in a lot of time to get back and especially when I was still learning the offense, I spent a lot of time with him kind of working him back, throwing him the ball and getting on the same page. But, not just for Will (Fuller V), but for all the receivers, just that chemistry and that relationship that we have in that locker room is top-notch and it’s one of the best I’ve ever been around.”
How much pride do you take in the fact that this team was like 31st in scoring last year and now it’s at the fourth-most today?
“This whole team takes a lot of pride in our opportunity and our job. We want to be the best at what we do, so each person has to put their foot down and work each and every day and strive to be the best. And if we all come all together and be on the same page and have that mentality, then we have the opportunity to be the best. So, we take a lot of pride in what we do.”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH BROWNS HEAD COACH HUE JACKSON
Could you talk about DE Myles Garrett, how he played Sunday and what you expect from him when he’s fully healthy?
“Well, obviously, I think that was a good start for him. Didn’t play a ton of plays, played I think 19 or 20 plays, so that was a start. Hopefully he’s better this week and he can start to play a little bit more. Obviously our goal is to get him to where he can play a full game, 50, 60 plays a game. But he’s definitely working at it and getting better every week.”
The Browns had an opportunity to draft Texans QB Deshaun Watson, but traded the pick. Thoughts on that decision and where you are right now with the quarterback position?
“Well right now I’m not going to really get into that pick. Deshaun plays for Houston and he’s doing a fantastic job for them, just like everybody knew he would. He’s playing well, obviously leading their offense, throwing touchdowns every week, and so that’s good for him. Obviously our situation, we’re going to start a young man by the name of Kevin Hogan and we’re looking for him to go out and play well for us.”
What do you see in QB Kevin Hogan?
“Well I see a guy that’s improved from year one to year two. (He) did a really good job in the offseason of working out some fundamental things to improve. Obviously it’s well documented what he did in college, obviously left Stanford as the winningest quarterback in their history and did a great job that way. (He) came in the league and knew there were some things he needed to work on. (He) ended up here in Cleveland with us, played for us as a rookie in some games, did some spot things but really took the bull by the horns in the offseason, worked extremely hard and came back and he’s been our backup quarterback since we started the season and now he’s going to get an opportunity to start.”
When you make a change with a young quarterback like QB DeShone Kizer, is there ever a concern on how that might affect him?
“I don’t because, I don’t think it means anything negative. I think sometimes it’s good for guys to take a step back and see where they are so they have an opportunity to go back out there and do it again. This is by no means the end of DeShone Kizer. But I think he’s competitive like any young man would be. (He’d) love to be out there playing and competing, but sometimes these things happen and it’s my job as a leader to make sure I get him through whatever tough roads there are so we can come out on the other side, and I think he’ll do that.”
What did you initially see in DE Myles Garrett and how hard has it been to keep him positive despite the injury?
“Well I think, obviously, he wanted to be out there but when we drafted him, we saw the young man was very dominant physically, that he was a tremendous person, that he worked extremely hard, that football was important to him, that he understood what a being a professional was about. He’s an old soul, probably a little bit older as a thinker than he is in age. The guy is all about football, and I think he has a burning desire to be one of the best at what he does. We feel like it’s a great fit for us. We think he got off to a roaring start this past week with two sacks and hopefully we can continue to build on what he did this past week.”
At a time where offensive line play in the NFL has been poor, how valuable has it been to have T Joe Thomas?
“It’s been outstanding. Obviously Joe is a cornerstone of our organization. He’s done a great job. He’s been here in some very lean times and hopefully someday soon we can get him back to winning like he deserves.”
How different is the Browns’ analytical approach to the football world different than what you’re used to and how has it been?
“Honestly, things are no different. These guys have done a great job of – I know everybody believes that it’s analytically driven, but it’s football driven just like any other place I’ve ever been. It’s still truly about evaluation and the players and making sure we put the right players on the team. So, I have not noticed anything different. I do know this process has been a little bit different, understanding and seeing different things that help you arrive at a decision a little bit faster. Other than that, that’s about all that I’ve seen that’s different.”
CONFERENCE CALL WITH BROWNS DL MYLES GARRETT
Do you miss being in Texas or college at all?
“I miss being in college. I enjoyed the atmosphere but I also enjoy playing against the world’s best.”
What were your impressions of Texans QB Deshaun Watson when you first met him?
“Good, humble kid. Played well.”
What was it like for you to play Sunday, get two sacks and get a sack on your first play?
“It was nice. Hopefully I can continue doing well and making plays.”
How much pressure is there being a No. 1 overall pick and how frustrating was it to suffer an injury?
“Nobody wants to start their career off that way, (but) you’ve got to roll with the punches. When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. You just go from there, recover, come back strong.”
Does the way Texans OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney, also a No. 1 pick, overcame injuries inspire or motivate you?
“A little bit. His career at first was a little bit rocky because of the injuries (and) not being able to play full time. Watching him bounce back and see the way he’s responded, it’s good to see. It gave me a little bit of hope when I was out.”
What percentage of healthy are you?
“I can’t really put a number on it but I know I’m not at my peak right now. I’m not where I want to be. Nothing you can really do about it. I can still come off the ball, I can still play the run, can still defend and give offensive tackles something to handle, something to deal with every snap. As long as I can do that, as long as I can keep them on their toes, I’m going to be out there trying to make plays.”
What do you think about the way Texans QB Deshaun Watson has started and how will it be trying to get to him with a lot of family and friends here?
“It should be great. He’s a hell of a competitor. We’ve seen now in the college level and we’re seeing it now again on the NFL level. He’s having a tremendous amount of success right now. It’s our job to go out there and stop it. The finger’s being pointed at me right now to go out there and help do something about it. Just got to make sure we can keep him in the pocket and try to get after him a little bit.”
What’s it been like dealing with the pressure of being a No. 1 overall pick?
“Really not that bad. I put more pressure on myself than most other people do. I’m focused on my goals and what I want to do each and every play and getting better. There’s really not any outside pressure that can phase me when I already have so many goals and so high expectations of myself. I’m not too bothered about outside opinions or expectations.”