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Transcript - Practice (Oct. 11, 2018)

Thursday, October 11, 2018 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"All right. We signed another kicker, just in case [K Caleb Sturgis] can't kick on Sunday. He had a sore quad, strained his quad last week and he didn't complain about it because that's the type of young man he is — but when he missed that extra point and his last couple kickoffs were kind of at the five-yard line, we kind of knew something was wrong. It's just a little sore right now, so we had to get a security blanket just in case. 

On any frustration with inconsistent kicking:

"Well, frustrating or not, we've got to fix it."

On if both kickers will be active on Sunday:

"No. No. One or the other."

On concern with keeping Sturgis active if not at full health:

"Well, we'll make that decision here real soon. [K] Mike's [Badgley] going to kick today in practice. If he kicks well today in practice, the decision could be made. We'll see."

On if Sturgis will kick tomorrow:

"Well, it will be sometime tomorrow, but if Mike [Badgley] kicks well today, and we feel comfortable with him, it will be an easier decision tomorrow, I can tell you that."

On K Michael Badgley:

"We brought three guys in to work out and Mike had a heck of a workout. Don't have a lot of history with Mike, so wanted to keep him around a little longer just to see. You never know."

On if the team considered bringing back K Roberto Aguayo:

"Oh, he was here. No doubt, and we had him the whole camp. So we're very familiar with Roberto. Mike is the one we're not familiar with, and he had a heck of a day yesterday."

On if he suspected Sturgis had an injury:

"No, I didn't. He didn't say anything. We didn't really know until after the game, you know, Monday, Tuesday before we found out he was really sore and may not be able to kick this week. So, like I said, he went into that week with a really good mindset, the mechanics are good between him and [P] Donnie [Jones], and the snapper [LS Mike Windt]. I had a lot of confidence in that group. I thought he kicked well. He missed one, but he hit it well, and when he missed the extra point, you know, no one thought maybe something was wrong. The way he missed it was bad and then we found out that he had the quad. So that's why."

On if the kickers have assurances they will be on the roster if there are misses this week:

"My man, nobody has assurance in this business."

On Sturgis' injury history:

"Well, it's been a knock on him, his health a little bit, but he's been one of the — the critical kicks, he was No. 1 in the league for a while. So you get him healthy, his injuries were minor — it wasn't major — but when he's healthy and working with a good operation, I think we have a pretty good kicker on our hands."

On the secondary:

"Oh, yeah. Our guys are getting used to playing different schemes. We're doing some things differently and it took a while for these guys to gel a little bit. To create more pressure, you have to do things different in the secondary. So I think they're getting more familiar with what's going on in the back end. When you get to the quarterback, like we did last week, it helps."

On the effect of DE Joey Bosa not playing:

When you have a Joey, and you have a [DE] Melvin [Ingram III], and you can get pressure on the quarterback rushing four, you can put coverage all day. When you have to bring in your secondary guys, now there are holes in the secondary. So it took a while for guys to gel and get used to that, but we're just making the adjustments that we have to make."

On how he wants the defense to play Browns QB Baker Mayfield:

"I want him on his back."

On Mayfield's ability to move outside of the pocket:

"He's a hard guy to contain. When he gets out of the pocket, he can move the ball with his legs. He throws accurately on the move. That's when he's most dangerous to be honest with you."

On replacing LB Jatavis Brown if he can't play:

"We would replace him by committee. We have other guys that will step in right now. What happens when you sort of lose your linebackers, it hurts your special teams depth because now you're pulling from special teams, but you have to do what you have to do."

On using S Adrian Phillips to fill in for Brown:

"Adrian Phillips plays in the box a lot, especially on dime package. He did a good job last year. He's doing a good job this year."

On S Derwin James and S Jahleel Addae switching positions throughout a game:

"I think [Addae] handled it well. It took a while to get used to playing back in the deep end. It's not his forte, but he's back up, and I think he's handling it well, and he's in the box. Obviously, he's a natural in the box. He's a pro."

On his comfort level with the safeties:

"I'm comfortable with both guys. I really am."

On Phillips as a safety:

"Adrian has done outstanding. Our dime package was really productive last year, and Adrian's a big reason why."

On C Mike Pouncey:

"He's limited. Yeah, he'll be limited again today. This time of year, I think everybody's almost limited, you know."

On if Pouncey will be a game-time decision:

"I wouldn't say he's a game-time decision. We're just taking care of him."


Opening Statement:

"Okay, looking at this week, you're looking at the offense with the Cleveland Browns — very talented. I know when we played them last year we thought they were very talented at their skill positions, especially the tight ends and backs. Now they've made some changes there. So I think that's the first thing that jumps out at you is just the tale of how they're executing. Now with Baker [Mayfield] in there at quarterback, it just seems like a team that plays with a lot of confidence. They're confident, he's obviously got some traits where he can extend plays. He looks to make big plays down field. You know, he plays with a lot of poise, so I think it's a team that has talent, and now with the addition of him, they're playing with a lot of confidence. You know, you really should start with their running game. They've got three really good backs. They're No. 1 in rushing attempts in the league, second in the league in rushing. Different styles too — big backs, quick backs. You can tell it's a team that's playing with lots of confidence right now and they're executing pretty well."

On if QB Baker Mayfield's aggressiveness results in some turnovers:

"You know what? They'll take shots down field, but big plays, just that if he is out of the pocket or is poised, he'll wait. He has enough poise. If he does get out of the pocket, he still keeps his eyes down field. It's not like he'll take off and run. He has at times, but he's more looking down field to try to make a big play, not maybe yardage as much, but convert on a third down or situations like that."

On if playing the Chiefs and Rams earlier this year helps with preparation for the Browns:

"Yeah, they have different styles of runs. You know, they've done a good job. You can tell [Browns Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Todd] Haley's influence, you know, they'll attack the perimeter and they'll attack inside. They'll do it with zone schemes and they'll do it with double teams. So I think the backs, they're very patient. They're very patient in the scheme. If it's a double team they'll allow it to develop a little bit, then they will get the seam. It has a similar feel to Pittsburgh run game. Very similar, I would say."

On Browns WR Jarvis Landry:

"I don't know him personally, but when I think of him and watch him on tape he's always extremely competitive, and a very physical, tough-minded, competitor. That's what we're preparing for. That's what he always has been when we've watched him play. I think he's taken over the role. I don't know if he was, I'm sure he was somewhat of a leader at Miami, but it feels like now he's taken over that role, too, as far as with the receiving crew. He's demonstrating it by his play. You know, so he's someone that we have to be fully aware of where he's at. They align him in different places. They'll put him in the backfield, they'll align him on the perimeter, different spots. So he's obviously a guy that they have a lot of confidence with and is a fierce competitor."

On DT Corey Liuget:

"You know what, he had flashes where he did some things really well, but I think he thinks that now another game he'll get back into where he was playing [before]. [We saw enough] that we were pretty pleased with how he came back."

On creating a pass rush without DE Joey Bosa:

"Yeah, I mean, I don't know if you ever figure it out. Each week you come up with different plans, how you want to utilize your guys, so we're doing that. Obviously, with a guy like Joey, you say, 'Well, he's going to lineup on one side and [DE] Melvin [Ingram III] on the other, and there are going to be times when they lineup together. Let's build it from there.' So, now, there's maybe a little bit more creativity in how we design things and where we place people, but we try to give different looks at times."

On rotating defensive linemen:

"I think [Defensive Line Coach] Giff [Smith] does a great job with that. There are philosophies with that. These are your four guys playing and let's roll. This is the first time I've been around where we rotate as much as we do. It's good and bad. I think the good part outweighs the bad part of it. The good is that you keep guys fresh. Then somewhere, if an injury happens and the next guy comes in, really the whole defense doesn't blink because they've played. I really like it. I think it's a credit to Giff for having that philosophy, you know, guys — are great because a lot of guys are getting playing time."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu's limited usage:

"He has on special teams. You talk to [Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator] George Stewart and how well he's playing. So it's kind of a challenge right now just with [LB] Kyle [Emanuel] and him playing that same position. We would like to get him more reps there, but the number of base personnel plays that we see is difficult. You know, there have been games where we only get ten reps in base. So that's why we moved him at the Leo spot, so that he could get some rushes in versus 11 personnel. Then he's part of the rotation there and on third down. So if it's a team that plays more base, then you should see them more and that's when you get the opportunity to look at them."

On S Jahleel Addae:

"Well, Jahleel — we put a lot on his plate. He's played our dime spot, e's played our strong safety spot, he's played our free safety spot. So the strong safety and the dime spot, he's pretty in tune to that. We know exactly what we're going to get. It's very, very consistent play. So now there are times he's back in the back end being free safety. So I think the more reps we can get him back there when we're doing that, then he'll get that done too. That's how he shows. The more reps he gets, the better he gets — and we've seen that when he's back there. Now, [S] Derwin [James] was playing pretty good up front in the box, but each week we have the ability, again, with the flexibility of [S Adrian] AP [Phillips], Jahleel, and Derwin — you know, we move those guys around."

On TE David Njoku

"Well, he's very athletic. I think he should get more credit as a blocker than maybe he does. As far as the catches, we go through the personnel with our players. His athleticism, his ability to make plays in space as a receiving tight end, he's very, very talented, but it's not like in the run game they take him out. I think they feel very confident with him as a run blocker. Their second personnel grouping, the highest personnel grouping is they have two backs and two tight ends in the game. So I think their whole group of tight ends, they feel very confident with, and I think it proves out with the number of reps they're playing in that personnel grouping."

On CB Desmond King and S Adrian Phillips as a free safety:

"We did Desmond in training camp. We gave him some reps, but we haven't really touched base on that lately. AP [Phillips] has the ability. He can be playing free safety this week, you know, so we have the ability to move him around and feel very confident wherever he plays for us."

On the secondary getting used to the defense without Bosa:

"Well, I think that last week it felt closer to how we think it should look. I don't know if the first couple weeks if it was there yet. I think there were times we played well, but more consistently with the rush and the cover working together. So we're trying to build off of that. Any time you can affect the quarterback, that's going to be big this week. To be able to affect him with the four-man rush are the times we bring pressure — and he can extend plays. He's very talented now. When you watch him on tape, the poise he's playing with, sometimes young quarterbacks don't look off. He looks off. In the pocket versus pressure, or four-man rush, he stays in there. He's just very impressive on tape."

On the defensive backs:

"I think in our system you have to play with precision, and it's a precision league. That's our philosophy. It's a precision league, so we have to play with precision. So at times — and it gets shown up in critical times where we gave up plays because of it. I just felt like last week it was closer. It was closer to what it should look like. I think our players are sensing that too, but every week is different."


On adjusting to playing more free safety:

"It's been good. [S Derwin James and I] both can play free, both can play strong. Coach always says we're safeties, but neither one of us [or] either one of us are strong. We're interchangeable. That's the good thing about it. [Defensive Coordinator] Coach Gus [Bradley] can move us around and give the offense different looks."

On playing with S Derwin James:

"It's exciting. It's fun. I mess with Derwin off the field, so playing with him on the field is even that much better. He's smart, he's fast, he's physical. He has all the intangibles. You can see he can rush, get the linebacker spot and play free. He's strong. So just seeing a young guy coming with that kind of athletic ability and that talent for him to live up to it, and continue to learn and see how he goes about his business is awesome."

On the most challenging aspect of playing more free safety:

"I don't think it's a challenge because I've played strong in this defense and, obviously, I played free safety in my career my first three years here. So I can do both. I don't think it's a challenge. Just every week is a different game plan. We have to hone in and come in on Wednesdays, see what the coach has drawn up for us and execute at a high level."

On the defense without DE Joey Bosa:

"I mean, any time you lose a player like Joey — that's a big part of your defense. You know what he brings to the table, but we've got to adjust and Joey will be back with us. I feel like we adjusted well. Coach brought pressure when we needed to, we got pressure on the quarterback. I don't think it's a big thing. It's just the next man up. We're confident whoever steps up behind Joey, they can get the job done as well."

On if Cleveland has more swagger about them:

"Oh, yeah. No doubt about it. Baker's coming in playing at a high level. He has that young, energetic energy, and I feel like they're all feeding off that. They have three good running backs. The offensive line does well in passing and blocking. Obviously, the star of the receiving corps is [Browns WR Jarvis] Landry. He's a competitor. He's going to bring it every Sunday. [WR Antonio] Callaway can take the top off the defense and have a good core at tight end. So the offense is strong, but we're ballers, too. We'll be ready to go."

On Browns QB Baker Mayfield:

"Biggest thing with him, I think, is his confidence level. Obviously, he's a No. 1 overall pick, so he has the talent, but I think he's confidence level. He's always been a guy that has to prove himself — whether it's walking on to two universities or coming in, being drafted, being under a guy like [Browns QB] Tyrod [Taylor] who is a proven quarterback in this league and getting a shot. I think it's just him playing confident and having fun. I think when you play and have fun, it's a game. I think you can see he's having fun and I think that's what makes him go."

On how much fun the defense has:

"We're having a lot of fun. It's what we love to do. I think you can see that. It doesn't matter who gets to play on the ball. It could be a linebacker, it could be a defensive player, it could be a forced fumble by a defensive linemen. It doesn't matter. Whoever makes that turnover, we're going to take it."

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