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Transcript - Practice (Oct. 19, 2018)

Friday, October 19, 2018 | Allianz Park | London, England


Opening statement:

"Good evening. Well, we haven't been on the ground very long, but I have to tell you the hospitality has been outstanding so far. We're the home team and it feels like a home game even. Hopefully we can wake up in time and put on a good show. Any questions?"

On Friday's practice:

"I thought practice picked up as it went on. We started out a little slow. We even started out a little different. We ran some gassers in the beginning just to wake guys up a little bit and get their legs back underneath them. We're just trying to pump water into the guys and get them hydrated. It was a long flight, but it ended up being a pretty crisp practice."

On the hamstring injury for RB Melvin Gordon III:

"I think it was just sore. We had a long plane ride. He probably didn't drink enough water. We were just being extra cautious with him and we just held him out today. It would have been the third practice that he has been on field turf. With his knees and ankles, I don't think that's good for him at all, so we just held him out."

On Gordon's availability for Sunday:

"I believe so. He was limited today, but we'll see."

On the benefit of staying in Cleveland:

"Staying over in Cleveland was a much shorter plane ride than going back to California. It could have created some distractions for guys staying in a city that they just played in, but our guys handled it very well — using Baldwin Wallace's facilities, I appreciate them opening their arms up and letting us use their place. It wasn't home, but we made the most of it. We got two good days of practice. We got on the plane and flew out there. We just thought, through research, that was the best plan."

On any team bonding in Cleveland:

"It's interesting that you say that because we did have a team building activity and had 100 percent participation. I thought the guys liked it a lot. It was encouraging. The feedback was positive."

On the team building activity:

"Well, I left that up to my sports psychologist. The coaches get the hell out of the room and let the players talk and do their own thing. Everyone says it went really well."

On K Caleb Sturgis:

"Caleb is going to have to get a lot better. He didn't kick much this week. [K Michael Badgley] kicked a lot this week. I think it would be smart to go into the bye and just give him another week. Don't rush this and get him healthy."

On WR Travis Benjamin:

"He'll be a game-time decision. We had this a couple of weeks ago where he was a game-time decision and he lasted one play, then was gone [for the game]. We definitely don't want that to happen again. We're really thinking hard about that one."

On LB Jatavis Brown:

"He's a game-time decision as well. He was very limited this week. I just don't want guys to go into a game and play a quarter or a play and be done. We'll continue to look at him."

On seeing Wembley Stadium:

"We played there three years ago when I was with the Bills, so I've been on that field before. I didn't get to see it much today, but it's an exciting stadium. There's a lot of history at that place. Guys are fired up to play there."

On the crowd on his last trip to London:

"I remember the proud being pretty good. I think we were the visiting team — we were playing the Jaguars — but the crowd was pretty good."

On the European fans:

"It was a fun crowd. Sometimes, there was a constant buzz. I think they were into it. I think, as long as you're putting on a good show, they'll be into it."

On the importance to a quick start on Sunday:

"We've always emphasized quick starts. Whether we do it or not is another story, but we try to get off to a quick start every single week. I don't think anybody wants to start slow."


On the international interest in football:

"It's awesome. This is the second time back, so I'm excited to be back. It was 10 years ago in 2008. I think it was the second ever played over here and now there's been, I guess, 21 since then or something like that — this is the 23rd or 24th game. I'm interested to see, again, the atmosphere in the stadium. I guess last week it was an unbelievable crowd for Oakland and Seattle. I remember it being a great crowd 10 years ago. I'm looking forward to it on Sunday."

On memories of his last trip to London:

"We had a chance [to win]. We threw a jump-ball in the end zone on the last play of the game and came up just short. I caught the tail end of [Head] Coach [Anthony Lynn] speaking about that kind of constant buzz. There's great energy in the stadium and I just remember so many different NFL jerseys. There were so many different teams represented that I remember. The energy was in there. A long pass or a ball getting kicked, all of those things, got the crowd going pretty good."

On the flight to London:

"I got a little bit of sleep. I've had better nights."

On what time his body clock is:

"I don't have my watch on. I don't change my watch. What is it, four [o'clock] here? Eight hours [difference], so it's 8:00 a.m. [in California]. We've been East Coast time, so we're just five hours behind for the last — shoot, a whole week now. I don't feel too bad. We have a couple of days to get settled in and be ready on Sunday."

On getting through Friday's practice:

"It was alright. With it being a Friday, it was alright. Again, I just think that it's part of it. Tennessee is in the same boat. They got over here this morning as well, I think. You just kind of suck it up and make it work for 48 hours, then go on the long trip back."

On combating fatigue from the flight:

"Today was one of those days where I don't think anything can help. It got to that point that third or fourth cup of coffee was not working at all. It's not bad. I think if we can push through and get to eight or nine o'clock tonight, we should be okay."

On this trip pulling the team out of a routine:

"Certainly, in some ways. I don't [deviate] from a preparation standpoint. My routine is not really dictated — I don't go off exact times as far as when I watch this or when I study that. For me, it's just a matter of making sure that I get it done. Some Tuesdays, I drop the kids off at school and we run an errand. Some Tuesdays, I work in the morning before. That part wasn't a concern for me as far as being able to get prepared. In some ways, you're at the hotel on Tuesday, there's nothing else to do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. I feel like I've seen as much as you can possibly watch and study. As far as where and all of the logistics, that's been a little bit of a whirlwind. Like I said, being here now and having another, almost, 48 hours to kickoff, we'll be fine."

On if the trip was easier when he was younger:

"No, I don't think so. It hasn't been bad. Like I said, we did it straight from Buffalo where we got here Monday morning at eight o'clock in 2008. That Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday were pretty rough. Having been in Cleveland, a three hours closer time zone for a week — in similar weather. We had great days. I've been told this is an unusual mid-to-late October day [in London]. The leaves are turning colors. It's awesome. It's like a fall day in Alabama. It's pretty. It's awesome. I think everybody is kind of getting settled in, but certainly are excited about the weekend."

On the importance of a fast start on Sunday:

"It is important, but you have both teams that are good teams and have a lot going. This will be big for us to get to 5-2 — and I know for those guys to get to 4-3 and turn it back around for them. We're playing a team that has a lot of veteran players and a head coach that has won a lot of games in his day as a player. It's a prideful group. We know you're going to get two teams that, when it boils down to it, are going to say, 'Nobody cares what's happened and how hard travel was.' This game counts and we have to be ready to roll."

On his love for football:

"I grew up a coaches son. My dad coached high school football, so I was around it ever since I was little. I developed a love for the game itself very young, from the strategy and all that comes with it. I think the game is even more special to me just because of all the other things that it teaches you about life and the traits and characteristics that it takes to succeed in this sport — like many sports — but for me in football, they're the same ones that you need to be a good dad and be a good husband. All of those things. You can apply them in your faith, everything. That's why it is for me. All of those traits that you need kind of transfer. It's more than just the game. It's all the lessons, the teamwork and all the different things that come with it. In-between the lines and the game itself, I do enjoy playing. I play it like I did at 10 or 12 years old, just that same kind of kid-like approach. I'm still doing it at 36."

On balancing being a professional athlete and a father:

"You certainly can do both. During the season, obviously, it's a little bit more of a challenge just from a time aspect because you're spending a lot of time at the office. I think it's better to have a good balance. I've found that the biggest thing that our children want is our time. Whether that's 15 minutes at night on a long work day or a lot of time during the off day or offseason, they want that quality time. I've found that spending that [with them] goes a long way. I certainly try to do that as much as I can."

On the start of the season:

"It is a good start, statistically. We haven't been 4-2 for a long time. Maybe it's a little bit prideful of me to get a little bit defensive and say, 'Shoot, I've played pretty well in the past, too.' But it is a better start numbers-wise. We're taking care of the football better for the most part. I don't know if there's anything behind it. We're just collectively playing better as a group. We finished last year on a stretch kind of like this, winning nine of the last 12. We've kind of picked up, in some ways, where we left off. We need to keep it going, though. We know the great teams sustain that over the long haul. We're not great yet. We're trying to get there. To me, this game is huge to get to 5-2 right before the bye. Then we have two more road games coming up. This is a big game in our season."

On RB Melvin Gordon III:

"I think he's kind of been [trending up] his whole career, little by little and just becoming more of a complete back. Gosh, he's just hard to tackle. He's running hard and he has worked at it. I think it's shown. I think he had a heck of a season last year, but he's definitely running well, he and [RB] Austin Ekeler, both. The guys up front are doing a heck of a job in both the run and the pass."

On if he brought his bolo tie and cowboy boots to London:

"I don't know about that [if it will catch on in Europe]. I did not bring the bolo tie. I have the cowboy boots. I make sure to have those with me on game day — they're the same boots I probably wore in here in 2008. I've had them that long. They're almost like slippers now, they feel so good."

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