Head Coach Ben McAdoo
Cleveland, they're a young, hungry team. Lost a lot of close ballgames. A handful of them. Defensively, they're fast and multiple. They have difference makers at each level with Shelton, Collins and Haden. Their corners are playmakers. They have eight INT's. Offensively, they're creative with their personnel and their schemes.
Both backs, Crowell and Johnson, have big-play ability both in the run and pass game. McCown is a pro and he's going to be ready. He knows where to go with the football. They have four talented perimeter players, all with unique skill sets and sizes. Thomas anchors their offensive line. Special teams, they're an aggressive unit with a history of fakes. Alexander and Schobert are good on the coverage teams, and Johnson is a shifty vertical returner. With that, we'll open it up.
Q: Justin Pugh hit the practice field today for the first time since his injury. How do you think he looked and what are his chances for Sunday?
A: He moved around. We'll take a look at him and see how he does during the week.
Q: What does he need to prove to you?
A: He needs to prove that he can go. Today, he was just out here moving around a little bit.
Q: That position as a whole, how many guys do you think will be ready?
A: We have a bunch of guys that are nicked up on the offensive line. We'll play with whoever is ready to go.
Q: Where does Marshall Newhouse stand at this point?
A: Same thing. He worked a little bit today but we'll have to wait and see how they progress through the week. We'll play with whoever is ready to go.
Q: That's something that he is going to have to deal with for the duration?
A: I don't know. That's a better question for Marshall.
Q: What happened with JPP?
A: JPP is sore.
Q: Is it more just a rest day?
A: No, he has some swelling. He's sore.
Q: You talk about the challenges of coaching and the dumpster fires, as you call it. How comforting is it to show up every week and know that your quarterback decision is made?
A: Comforting. Each week we play with whoever is ready to go. Who's healthy and able to prepare. Eli is always steady. That's the great part about this job. There's not a lot of franchise quarterbacks out there. One who is as steady as Eli and always prepares at a high level always helps.
Q: What was Odell Beckham so frustrated about in the Bears game?
A: I don't know. That's a better question for Odell.
Q: Is it upsetting that that's happening when the team is winning?
A: No. There are frustrations and highs and lows in every ballgame.
Q: Is there any more of a challenge facing a team that's maybe a little bit more desperate for a win to turn the season around?
A: I don't know any team that's not desperate for a win each week. That's why we're here and why we're working. Every win is important, every game is important and every week is important. Today was important for us. We had a good day of practice.
Q: Is Odell the kind of talent that lets a play caller get a little bit greedy? He let's you do so many things and you can use him in so many spots. For you, do you look at him as a guy that you can put in any of those spots even if he may not like them?
A: He's very versatile. You can use him underneath, over the top and intermediate. He can handle them physically and mentally. Most guys can't. He's a luxury to have.
Q: How do you handle tomorrow, Thanksgiving, with the guys?
A: We're going to bring them in a little bit early, practice earlier and get them out of here after the hydration stations.
Q: You made a point to tell us that after the bye week, you weren't really looking for a break. How do you personally handle tomorrow?
A: We have some work to do tomorrow. We have to take care of some things tomorrow. I'll get the chance to spend some time with the family, I guess, in the afternoon.
Q: There's a bunch of games tomorrow and they feature some teams that you have to play. How much do you pay attention, if at all?
A: I'll be preparing for my son in the afternoon. He wants to play a little tackle football. I'll accommodate him. If he wants to watch a little ball, I'll probably watch a little bit. We still have some work to do.
Q: Do you find that when you're aggressive on fourth down that that gets the attention of the players? More increased intensity?
A: That's a better question for them. I believe that they appreciate the confidence. We talk to them about how we want to play and coach. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
Q: Can you catch a defense maybe not expecting it?
A: I think defenses are prepared for it. They've seen it on film a few times. I don't think we'll catch anyone by surprise.
Q: Do you start to alter your play calling when you get past midfield knowing that you may have more chances than three?
A: I'd rather convert on third down.
Q: Are there challenges of not knowing who the quarterback is going to be? McCown is the starter but RGIII was back at practice today.
A: Yeah, they make you defend the whole field. They do it in a variety of ways. East, west, north and south. You have to be ready for the deep throws. They'll throw it up to Pryor. They have good speed with Coleman, and their backs are tremendous assets underneath. They can run the read option. They use pods out by the numbers. They make you defend everything. It depends on which quarterback is out there. They have a little bit of a different weapon.
Q: Are you impressed with how smooth Pryor seems to be given the position change?
A: Going back, I'm familiar with him from his high school days. He was a tremendous football player, basketball player, you name it. Just a tremendous athlete. You see it just transferring over. It took a little time but he's made the transition. I believe he is the highest targeted player in the league. I can see why.
Q: How'd you know him in high school?
A: I didn't know him personally, but I was aware of him. Southwestern Pennsylvania. WR Odell Beckham Jr.
Q: It's been two years since the catch that put you on the NFL map. Do you still think about it? If so, what are your thoughts on it?
A: I really just think about how it changed my life forever. In a sense, it kind of put a shadow over everything else. It is a moment that happened and it was a good moment for me. I think about it in retrospect but not really on a daily basis.
Q: Did you know that today was the anniversary?
A: Not until you just said that. I do now.
Q: What are your thoughts going against Joe Haden and the Browns this week?
A: He's a great corner, someone who I've watched for a long time even when he was at Florida. We're friends in a sense. I'm sure when we get out there it's going to be all competition but at the end, it's all love. I'm excited about the opportunity to go against one of the premier corners in this league.
Q: What skills does he bring?
A: He's got it all. He's been in this league for seven or eight years. I think he's been playing ever since he stepped on the field. He's been playing at a high level. He's pretty much got all the tools that he needs.
Q: How important is it for you as an offense to really put a game away?
A: I would love nothing more than that. It's unfortunate to be on the offense and have that feeling that the defense is saving us every game, which they are. They're playing at a high level. It's about time for us to just put one away. Let them sit on the bench with the warmers and their jackets. Not even let them worry about coming back on the field.
Q: Is the fact that they're playing so lights out motivating you to get to that level?
A: Absolutely. I think it's the difference between this year and last year. Last year, we just didn't have that same defense that's coming up with three or four stops in a row when we needed to. It was 22-16. We stopped them three or four times in a row.
Last year, they may have scored once and it would've been 23-22 and we didn't score on offense. They're doing a tremendous job of closing out games. It's time for the offense to take steps and close a game out for them.
Q: As you ride out this five-game winning streak knowing that the offense hasn't played their best ball yet, does it give you more confidence?
A: In a sense. We know that we haven't played to our full potential. We're still coming away with wins. We just need to step it up in each and every way. Put games away when they need to be put away.
Q: Is that where your frustration was coming from in the second half?
A: I don't know what you're talking about.
Q: Is there any focus on not being the first team to give Cleveland a win?
A: I think our focus is on winning. Not really not giving a team a win. I think our goal and focus is solely on the New York Giants and what we have to do.
Q: How good does it feel to be riding this streak right now?
A: It feels good to have a chance to make the playoffs. Do exactly what we need to do. We're in great position, we just can't give it away.
Q: How does Joe Haden stack up against some of the best guys you've played? Who are some of those guys?
A: I couldn't even tell you right now. I'd have to sit down and go back to watch film. Joe is a phenomenal corner. He's been doing this for a long time. I've seen him since he's been at Florida. You know what to expect. You're going against a premier guy.
Q: What are your Thanksgiving plans?
A: I have family coming to town. Get to see my little sister, stepdad, mom. Just enjoy the day.
Q: You cooking?
A: I'm not cooking, I'm eating.
Q: How much do you watch the games?
A: I don't really watch it as much. I'll catch a game if it just so happens to be on. Not really turn it on. I'm sure I'll watch this one on Thursday. It's Thanksgiving and the family will be right there. It'll be something I'll tune into. Other than that, I don't watch too many games.
Q: Cowboys and Redskins, does it matter the result to you guys?
A: Either way it goes, you need one of them to lose, or tie. Whatever it is, I'll be watching that game. It's two very relevant teams. In terms of our run to the playoffs, we need to beat both of those teams. Just scouting and seeing exactly what they're doing.
Q: Can you root for anyone?
A: I'm not rooting for anyone except the Giants and Jarvis Landry.
Q: Who's cooking for you?
A: My mom. My stepdad, too. He'll probably do all the food. My uncle, I have some people coming to town. It'll be cool.
Q: Have you talked to Lebron at all about coming to his city?
A: I haven't talked to him. It's a quick trip, in and out. 1 o'clock game so we can get out of Cleveland early. We won't be down there too long, I don't think. I don't live down there. I'm sure they enjoy it, but let's get in, do what we need to do and handle our business. WR Victor Cruz
Q: Is facing a team that is struggling more challenging than taking on a team that is on a roll?
A: I think so, just mentally. You want to go in there and put your best foot forward and treat this game as if it is as important as any other game on your schedule. You don't want to buy into the fact that they are 0-11 or whatever the case may be.
You want to go in there and prepare yourself as if they have the same record that you do. So it could be a little bit of a mental thing, mental hurdle for us, but I think this team understands that and will be ready.
Q: Is one of the challenges that you haven't been on a road trip in a while and you don't want to go in there and play down to their level?
A: Absolutely. I think it is going to take a concerted effort by all of us to make sure that mentally and physically that we are into it and that we don't take this one for granted or try to say that we are automatically going to win this one and keep it moving, that we are focused on this game and focused on the task at hand and our execution has to continue to be where it has been these last few weeks.
Q: Is it impressive to you the way that Terrelle Pryor has adjusted to the wide receiver position?
A: It is, man. To see the things that he has been doing, catching the football and not just catching the ball, I think his route running is what you see that just pops out at you. From a guy that is just that athletic to be able to switch things over and be as efficient and as dominant as he has been in these games. It has been fun to watch and I am happy for him. I know that he hasn't had the easiest road coming into the NFL and I am happy that he found his niche and hopefully he gets to grow in that role.
Q: You scored four touchdowns the last time you played the Browns? What do you recall from that game?
A: Well, first of all, how much fun it was. We had a good time out there, running around, catching some footballs, scoring some touchdowns, but you can't take much from it. It was so long ago, it was a whole different regime over there, a whole different crew of people from the staff all the way over to player personnel.
What you do want to take from that game is that we had a high level of execution. We understood exactly how we wanted to attack this team offensively and we approached that game ready and I think it showed from the amount of touchdowns I scored, that we scored, the way we drove up and down the field and you just want to continue that from a mindset perspective going into this weekend as well.
Q: The Browns are notorious for how many quarterbacks they have used. How much does it mean to you having had one quarterback your whole career?
A: It is amazing, man. It is truly a luxury. You look around the league and you see how many quarterbacks go in and out of this game and to have one that has won championships here and has a high football IQ and understands everything that is going on.
It is truly a luxury and is something that I never want to take for granted, never have and just want to continue this time that I have with him and enjoy these moments because tomorrow is never promised and yesterday is an afterthought.
Q: The offense has talked about how much the defense has done in this win streak. What do you need to do as whole to make sure that the execution is there and really put a team away offensively?
A: I think just understanding what we want to do, understanding the game plan. Once we understand exactly how we want the game plan to work from a coaches' perspective and the players understand that game plan, I think that is what is going to make this easier as we go on here, offensively at least.
To close these games out, have that high level of execution when it is time to close the game out in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter or whatever the case may be, we need to have that same level of execution and be able to close these games out in a way that is beneficial for the offense.
Q: There are some formations where you are out wide and Odell is in the slot. Do you ever think that is a little weird?
A: A little bit. Obviously I have grown more and more comfortable with the role of being outside. That slot position seems further and further away as these weeks go on, but initially it did feel weird, but we are so interchangeable.
Guys are all over the place, we are mixing in and out, we are putting Odell inside, Shep inside, I am moving around from left to right on the outside. I am comfortable, man. It just feels good to be in an offense where everyone is interchangeable and we can just go out there and play fast and run around.
Q: How exciting is it that you guys are interchangeable and you haven't even played your best offense yet?
A: It feels good. We just understand as a receiving corps to just stay the course. I think that we just have to stay the course and things will – we have had good games individually here and there, but I think that game where all of us come together and we are all putting up yards and catches and run after the catch and making big plays, I think those days are soon to come.
Q: How much attention will you pay to the other games being played?
A: I am not watching any football tomorrow, man. No, I am kidding. I will be tuned in. Well, obviously my Mom, literally my Mom watches more ESPN and Sportscenter more than I do. Anytime I come in the house, it is like plastered on NFL Live.
I am like, 'Mom, do you just have this in the background as you clean and cook?' So I am sure that tomorrow will be full of all the football that we can take in, without taking naps between food breaks. But yeah, I will be tuned in, I will be watching how these games unfold. I will be taking mental notes on how these things unfold and I will take it from there. CB Janoris Jenkins
Q: What are some of the challenges that the Browns present?
A: They have some talented guys over there, starting with the running backs, Crowell and Johnson. Both of them are dynamic and great players. As far as their quarterback, you don't know what you are going to get, so you have to be prepared for one of the three or four quarterbacks, including number 11, so just come out and play football
Q: What do you think of Terrelle Pryor's transition to wide receiver?
A: He has been pretty good, man. He is a big guy. He is tall, he is fast, it looks like his transition is going good.
Q: How do you think you matchup with him?
A: Man, like I said, that is for you all to decide and then I will see you all on Tuesday.
Q: Where do you think Terrelle fits in with some of the other receivers you have seen?
A: He is up there. He is tall, like I said, he is fast, he is physical. He is the prototype, but we have to see what is going on.
Q: Is it surprising that he has been able to do this so quickly?
A: No, he is an athlete. When you have good athletes like that, they are able to do a lot of things and he was able to transfer to receiver.
Q: What kind of impact does it have on a corner when you have a safety over here who is picking off balls left and right?
A: Hey, man, it is a good impact. He gets to roam and I get to play how I want to play and we both get to make an impact.
Q: Do you guys sit back this week and say, 'Let's not be the team who loses to these guys'?
A: No, we don't think about that. We just come out, focus on being better and just playing to the max, to be honest, and just playing for the man next to you.
Q: What are you guys thinking about right now as you have this five-game winning streak going?
A: Beat Cleveland. That is all we are thinking about.
Q: How are you focusing on just that?
A: We are putting in work, just coming out and just knowing what you have got ahead. You can't focus on the five-game winning streak or the team after Cleveland, just one game at a time.
Q: Do you feel that teams that are desperate for a win may be more dangerous?
A: No, they are just more dangerous with tricky plays, in my opinion, so that is what we need to be aware of. They have a bye week next week, so we need to be aware of the trick plays and the gimmicks and gadgets.
Q: Do you expect the Browns might try to do something like that?
A: Oh, yeah, they have a bye week next week, so I am assuming they will.
Q: What do you guys have to do as a defense better to start these games like you are finishing them?
A: Just start faster. Everybody needs to get on one page from the first play to the end of the game and like I said, just continue to play football.
Q: Have you been happy with your performance so far?
A: I have been alright. I haven't been happy. I have been alright. It can get better, but I have a lot more games to come.
Q: What do you feel like you can do better?
A: I just feel like some balls that I got my hand on could have been my ball, they could have been interceptions. I just feel like I need to come up with those.
Q: Does that motivate you to be even better?
A: I already have motivation, man.
Q: What is your motivation?
A: My kids. That is it.
Q: The defense is playing with a lot of excitement. How do you think that is helping the offense in trying to get to that same level?
A: I think they feed off of us. They see us playing good defense and they are just picking up where they are slacking at. It isn't going to happen too long, it isn't going to last too long, but around football you have to play great defense to give the offense a chance to get up with the defense.
Q: Is there any receiver you can compare Terrelle to?
A: Receiver? I don't really like to compare guys. I just see Terrelle as being Terrelle.
Q: Is this a big challenge for you going up against him?
Q: Why don't you see him as a challenge?
A: Because he is another receiver. He is just big.
Q: Do you feel like you matchup well with him?
A: I am going to do my job. That is all that matters. S Landon Collins
Q: You've really been leading this defense recently, how exciting is what's going on in this locker room and for this team as whole?
A: It's awesome. We're working as a team, working as a unit and we harped on that throughout the whole OTA's and throughout the whole Spring. We're doing it and we just have to keep doing it and raising the level.
Q: The defensive unit, you guys have set the bar. How do you think it's helping the offense raise their level as well?
A: Hopefully it helps them a lot. They see that we're playing hard and trying to get them back to balling. They know that we're expecting them to score and march the ball down the field and at least get three points on the board. We feed off each other and they've been feeding off of us the past few weeks and we've been feeding off of them, so it's hand in hand.
Q: Do you think about this streak that you have going right now and wanting to continue it or what's the mindset heading into Cleveland?
A: My mindset is to just do my job, play my ball, be the leader on the defense and on the back end and let it come to me. I'm not forcing anything and don't care about the streak. It's awesome to have, but it's better to get the W.
Q: You say you don't care about the streak but do you care about your individual interception streak?
A: Definitely. I want to catch as many interceptions as I can. The more interceptions, the better chance the offense has to score and sometimes when I have the ball in my hands I can get down the field and score myself.
Q: When you're watching the Browns on film, what are some of the challenges they present with the rotation at quarterback?
A: They're fluid with it, they can switch quarterbacks in and out and the quarterbacks are ready to go. They have different packages so you have to play sound and just play your technique.
Q: How do you prepare for that?
A: Watching film. They've had kind of things going on, just a little difference. But you have to go back on old film and just go from that.
Q: When you watch the film, what do you see out of Terrelle Pryor?
A: He's a very talented athlete, great player. He's done great things and you expect great things out of him.
Q: How much of a difference does it make being healthy in the secondary?
A: It's fantastic. You've got all your guys back; you can play all your packages that you could play prior to coming into the season. You can play all over the field, you don't have to worry about too many things going on and you know that everybody is going to do their job.
Q: When you look at this Browns team that doesn't have a win, is there any pride you take in this locker room in not being the team that gives them their first win?
A: Definitely. They're coming into it and they need to win, they want to win. They've had a lot of close games that they could have won.
Q: You're looked upon as a leader on this secondary, how do you help other guys avoid the proverbial trap game?
A: I don't know about a trap game. A lot of the younger guys, some of still don't understand what a trap game is, I still don't understand what it is. I don't believe in it, I don't look at it as a trap game, I look at it like we're playing our next opponent and they're going to play us as hard as they played any other team and try to get a W.
Q: What do you think of the Alabama team this year? Are they better than any of their teams that you played on?
A: My freshman year, that 2012 year, that was a great team.
Q: People say this year's team might be Saban's best though.
A: No. We had a pocket quarterback on that team.
Q: Any predictions for the Iron Bowl this year?
A: We win. They always play us hard; I'll tell you that much. It's always a struggle with them. It's always a three or seven-point game.