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Interview Transcripts: Thursday (10/30)


Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan

Opening statement:"We're using Ben Grubbs at right defensive tackle this week. No, I'm just kidding. But we are ready for that. He has gotten a snap at goal line."

On how Browns QB Derrick Anderson's game has evolved:"He's doing a good job, hitting receivers and things. He threw, the one pick that he had, I don't believe it was his fault when it was in the hands of one of his receivers and Ray [Lewis] hit [Kellen] Winslow, I believe, and the thing popped up. He's very accurate, and he's a big-time quarterback. He made the Pro Bowl last year. And I think he did struggle early, but that might have been who he was playing against, or something like that."

On if some of Anderson's attributes, big arm and accurate, remind him of QB Joe Flacco:"Yeah, huge, and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, you're right, he can zip it. I don't know if he's got quite the arm that Joe has, but he's got a strong arm, that's for sure."

On how much Browns WR Donte' Stallworth adds to their offense:"Fast guy, so you've got to add some speed to him. He kind of got nicked a little bit again with the quad, but he's a good receiver, former first-round pick and all that kind of stuff. So he certainly has ability – that's not to slight the other guys. You've got [Joshua] Cribbs who probably is a dangerous guy. You've got to make sure you're aware of him. And the [Syndric] Steptoe kid looks like he's improving each week."

On what led to LB Jameel McClain's involvement in the package where he got a sack:"It's just, you know, you get a comfort level with a guy, the way the guy prepares. You know he's going to go in there and he's going to do the right thing. You're not worried about some rookies making mistakes and all that kind of stuff. We have a lot of confidence in him, the coaching staff does, and we know that he's got certain abilities. And like anybody else, we try to utilize them."

On how tough it is to determine where CB Samari Rolle is after five weeks:"He's played the game so long, he's smart. Our last opponent that he played was Cleveland, so he's familiar with what they did and things, so he's studying. Hopefully, he can get out there this week and play like the Samari Rolle that we know."

On the strengths that McClain brings to the table:"He's smart, physical and tough, and he's durable. So he's a guy that you can count on each week, a guy that's got a lot of ability, but has always heard things like that in this league it's hard to play in the National Football League if you're [an rookie free agent]. But he's a smart young man. He's a backup – we've had him, actually, when Nick Greisen was hurt, he was our backup 'Mike' and backup 'Sam.' So, he's learning the package. You see him, and he's just getting better and better."

On if they expected that out of McClain since he was an undrafted rookie:"But every now and then, you do get a guy that… We saw he wasn't drafted. He was our No. 1 guy on defense, as far as a free agent goes. I mean, we put everybody on him that we had. We tried to recruit him with Ozzie [Newsome] and Harbs [John Harbaugh], everybody. We threw the big hitters at him, and we were fortunate to get him. He's a guy that, really in college, he played defensive tackle, defensive end. They threw him all over, kind of like what we're doing. But we like the way he plays the game. We never realized that he was going to be this smart and could learn our system, which I think is fairly complicated if you're learning multiple spots, and he picked it up really well."

On if he's hopeful that CB Chris McAlister will continue to play this year:"Hey, I'm certainly hopeful. You know, it's, he's surprised me before with… Sometimes you don't think, 'Uh, is he going to be able to go? What kind of role?' All that kind of stuff, and then he shows up and will play every snap. So hopefully, Chris will be back here and playing as soon as possible."

On how much players like DT Lamar Divens and McClain look to make the most of their opportunities:"Divens has only had the one snap, but the other big tackle we picked up, 'Big B' [Brandon McKinney], he looks like he's 400 [pounds], but he's only like 345 [pounds]. But he's done well, he really has. He's fit right in here. He got with Clarence Brooks and all the other guys and started playing techniques the way we like them taught. And he's got natural abilities. So yeah, we'll use our whole roster, whoever's available to us. If we think he can help us in a certain situation whether it be as a reserve or in a certain package, then we're going to utilize him."

On if he agreed with some defensive players that the QB Troy Smith to QB Joe Flacco pass would work after seeing it in practice, and if he had any input in the play:"No. I guess I would have been like them, 'Oh God, there's no way.' No, but it's really, the guy [Flacco], he's faster than he looks. He's so big you don't think he's going to get down the field the way he does, and the Raiders pride themselves on having a fast team and all that. But hey, Flacco out-ran that kid. It was great to see. First thing I did after he caught was, I glanced over at the other sideline. I wasn't worried about him scoring. I'm like, 'Oh my god, what's my brother doing?' It was a great play, and the timing of it was perfect. Troy threw a perfect ball there. It was great to see."

On how much the defense has benefited from the offense's time of possession:"It's great. It goes hand-in-hand. That's probably about as big of a team stat as there is because you, on defense, we try to pride ourselves on getting take-aways. That's the No. 1 way to get off [the field]. But three-and-outs [are important, too], things like that, so you limit teams and what they can do. And then the offense controlling the football the way they have… And really, you look at the runs, in particular in the fourth quarter, and the way we're able to control the clock and getting those extra first downs, it's critical of any team's success. I think you see that here. It's been great, there's no doubt about it. Like I said, we've got a great defense, probably the best in the NFL. But we don't have to be out there – that's better. We're unbelievable on the sideline. I'd just as soon not go out there."

On if he is more aware of offenses using trick plays now:"You know, we've always seen it in this league though. You go back, and you look at Pittsburgh [who has] always done it with Hines Ward and then they had [Antwaan] Randle El and things like that. So we would see it out of them occasionally. Cleveland, you'll see it with [Joshua] Cribbs. They've got quite a few packages with Cribbs at quarterback, and they're doing it there. I think that the big thing is, the tough ones are the ones that have a quarterback who can do that. Whether it's a Troy Smith, whether it's a Kordell Stewart, whether it's a Michael Vick or anybody else that has that kind of [potential]… Steve Young would have been fantastic at it, but those are the ones that are tough, they really are. Because now, you're really worried on the pass, run, all that kind of stuff. They give you a traditional passing set, and yet, they're running the football out of it, using the quarterback. I will say this: Fran Tarkenton, I saw him do this many years ago when my dad was coaching with the Vikings. I think he got a concussion and 18 stitches later in his chin. I'm not saying… I'm just saying that has a tendency to happen."

On if defensive guys take it personal when a quarterback is out there:"No, I mean, hey, he's a running back. Anytime a guy breaks a line of scrimmage and things like that, he's now a ball carrier. You're going to tackle him like you would anybody else."

On what he said to his brother Rob after the Raiders game:"Really, very brief. He was like, 'Hey, tell Cam [Cameron] thanks for the butt-kicking.' You've got to go on. I think their team knew what they were coming against. When they came here they knew that this team was going to be physical against them. They tried to match our [physicality]. Their whole thing was, 'Let's see who the more physical team is,' and I think they found out it was the Ravens."

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron

On how Cleveland's defense compares now to when the teams first met and if they have improved:"Well, they have. That game seems like about two seasons ago, at this point. Having [Sean] Jones back in the secondary has really helped them. I think they had had some injuries coming into that first game. I think they've made some adjustments since then. They're playing, obviously, extremely well. They're not giving up a lot of points, and they're in the top quarter of the league in points allowed. They're playing well as a unit, so this is a little different challenge. It was a challenge early on, as well, but it is a little bit of a different challenge."

On how tough it is to get Browns NT Shaun Rogers on the move with his size and strength:"He's playing – again, I think we said it before the first game – he's playing at an extremely high level. It is as high a level as any guy in the league. So you just come up with a plan, and the interior guys – Ben Grubbs, Jason Brown, Chris Chester – those guys have got their hands full. They're doing some new things with him in their sub-package that we've had to adjust to, but he's having a Pro Bowl year."

On how conservative or liberal he can be with using QBs Joe Flacco and Troy Smith at once and if he is concerned about showing too much too early:"Any game plan evolves. You're going to have things up, obviously, at this point every week. But then you've got to open your eyes and look out there and see if the things that you have prepared fit. Sometimes, they just don't fit. I think it's a trap [where] you can try to force something, and I've told both those guys we aren't going to do that. At the same time, they're both still young, up-and-coming quarterbacks. At the same time, it doesn't make a lot of sense to expose them to getting hit a lot. So we're not going to overcook this thing. But, at the same time, both are talented guys that can do multiple things, and we're just going to pick and choose when we decide to use it."

On whether he feels like he has given teams a lot more to think about and prepare for:"You probably have to ask that, but, if you look around the league, everyone's doing versions of it. It just depends on who you have and how much you trust that person with the ball. Obviously, I have a lot of trust in both those guys because our No. 1 priority is not to be clever. Our No. 1 priority is to take care of the football. So anything we're doing has that in mind, and, at the same time, trying to attack the defense we're playing. So you could see it anywhere from none to a lot. The weather conditions may play into it. There are a lot of factors."

On the reason for many teams using these different personnel packages:"If you look at how the college game has evolved, a lot of the NFL defenses – the traditional NFL defenses – were played in college about 10 years ago. People got tired of getting thumped, so they said, 'You know what? We've got to spread this thing out.' And they made the quarterback more of a running back trying to just gain an advantage. So now you've got more guys coming out of college that have done this stuff, so the learning curve is better for us. My first experience with all this stuff was with Antwaan Randle El in college. So you see trends. It used to be trends would go from the NFL down to college. Now, it's both ways. It's like anything else. It just works in cycles. But our season is so long, you've got to be careful of getting guys beat up, and I understand that. The play to Joe was great, but, if he loses a shoulder there, it's not so great – just say it like it is. So we're going to be clever to a point, but it's going to be done with a very specific purpose."

On if the media has overblown the whole thing:"I don't know because I don't… Our time is a little limited in reading [newspapers]. Reading doesn't get a lot of high priority during the season."

On getting a lot of questions about the formations:"I think it's a tribute to the players. If you don't have the players to do it, you don't do it. So that's the key – if you've got the players you think can do it. To me, it's about the players, good players who give you options. It's nice to have some good players."

On how he goes about coaching T Jared Gaither and trying to eliminate penalties:"I think you have to look at the call, number one. Secondly, what is the penalty? Obviously, we're not encouraging penalties. False starts are not something we're real keen on – pre-snap penalties, 'self-inflicted wounds,' we call them. Again, he's a young, ascending player that's learning, and I feel confident that he'll get it solved."

On losing WR Demetrius Williams after his big 70-yard touchdown:"And there's a guy who took zero snaps the whole week. The downside is for Demetrius because he's worked extremely hard in this offseason. He'll get back, and they'll take care of him. I think he'll come back and pick up where he left off, but it's a blow, in one sense. But, at the same time, we really haven't had him in practice. The silver lining in this is that we're getting some other guys ready. Yamon [Figurs], Ernie Wheelwright and Marcus Smith, those guys have really improved, and they're going to have to pick up the load now. But it's no different than any other team in this league. Any time you lose a starting receiver that can run, it's a blow, to a degree. But we'll get him back. We'll get him healthy down the road, and the other guys are going to have to step up."

On how QB Troy Smith has grown into the offense:"Just continually, like any guy would, the more you're exposed to it, the more familiar you are with the calls and all formations, the protections… You see a young quarterback doing some good things, usually you have a bright guy, and Troy's very bright. He picks things up quickly. The sky is the limit for him."

On using DT Haloti Ngata on the offensive line in short-yardage situations:"One of the first things when I got here, Rex [Ryan] said, 'If you need any defensive guys, feel free.' That's the first time I've ever heard that. I don't know if he anticipated the fact that we were going to take him up on it or not [with] 10 guys. We've had at least six to eight guys on defense that are ready to help fill in on offense if we need it. But he's about as good a big man as I have been around, and you guys all know that."

On the process of calling plays in the game and if head coach John Harbaugh has veto power:"Number one, as coaches, as play-callers, we're no different than the players. We've spent the entire week playing the scenario game and working those situations in practice, in meetings, on the field, two-minute [drills] during the week. We practice the game in the week just like the players do, so a lot of that comes up in the course of the week, and we've already covered those scenarios from our Tuesday night meeting where Rex, myself, John and Jerry [Rosburg] meet. So we cover a lot of scenarios, and then [during] the game, usually nothing needs to be said. But John will [give us], 'Hey, heads-up here.' John makes suggestions. He had a couple on Sunday where it worked out well. It's a team effort here. There's no doubt about it."

On T Adam Terry saying he is hopeful of playing Sunday:"More than hopeful. He'd better play. We're anticipating him playing in several roles, and he's a tough guy. He's a Raven. He's doing everything he can to get back out and play, even though he's still nicked up. He's not a hundred percent, but who is at this point?"

On if Terry will play at right tackle or shift down to right guard:"[Are you] from Cleveland? (Laughter) Help me here a little bit. We will see. He's another guy that can do a variety of things."

On whether young running backs like Ray Rice have to adjust their style once they reach the NFL:"I think maybe some do, maybe some don't. I just think it's not really an adjustment of style. It's more just growth. These are young players coming out of college that are just getting better. Ray has a style, and we liked his style. That's why we drafted him. It would be smart on our part, offensively, to gear things toward his style and let him grow from there, and that's what we've tried to do."

On utilizing three running backs:"This is the most backs I've ever been involved in rotating. A lot of it has been based on their health for that game. I don't know that we've had many games where they're all three a hundred percent, or four of them. Last week, we had all four of them in the game. It's almost week to week, quarter to quarter, play to play [deciding], 'I've got a good feel for Le'Ron [McClain]. I've got a good feel for Ray, Willis [McGahee] or Lorenzo [Neal].' So it's a pretty good feel for them, but yet, a couple of those guys are really young, ascending players, so they're going to continue to grow."

On if McGahee will carry a full load for the game:"He'll have a role for the game, without question. Again, we like all our backs. We'll continue to use them just like we have, running back by committee."

Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg

On if Cleveland Browns Stadium cut down on the unpredictable wind patterns Cleveland's old stadium was known for:"I don't think the new stadium has cut down on the wind. I think the wind has its own force. I think what has changed is the wind patterns. I've never coached in the old stadium. I don't know what it's like, but it was legendary with the winds. The new stadium, I do know that it's a very unusual wind pattern. It's really unpredictable. You have to get out there and feel it because sometimes it's going in two directions at the same time. So we'll have to figure it out when we get there because in a certain part of the field it's blowing in one direction, and the other part of the field it's blowing in another direction. But you have to play the game, and one part of the warm-up is that – it's figuring out the wind. You'll see teams go in there and punt and kick from a variety of different places on the field to get a feel for how the wind affects the ball when it's in flight."

On whether there is a trend in the stadium where it is better do be on one end:"You can generally predict – and this is very general because it changes by velocity – sometimes, when it's really blowing, it swirls more than it does when it's blowing a little. I guess the best way of saying it is that if it's a moderate wind, it's more predictable. With a heavy wind, then it becomes completely unpredictable."

On if punting or kicking is more affected by the wind:"A little of both. The thing you'll see in punting is the ball reacts to the wind differently because the flight of the ball is different."

On WR/RS Yamon Figurs' status:"We'll just have to wait and see on Sunday. In yesterday's practice, he participated. We'll just have to wait and see Sunday what the 45 [-man gameday roster] looks like and go from there."

On whether WR Terrance Copper would see action Sunday:"Same effect. We're practicing him right now at positions he might play. We'll wait and see on Sunday, and those guys that are active will play."

On what kind of instructions or limitations he has on how he uses S Jim Leonhard:"What we try to do – and this is no different for Jim Leonhard than it is for any starter – is we try to get involved with all the players as much as we possibly can and still have them be effective in their role. Their roles change based on who's up, real frankly. Jim's role has changed because he's doing so much with the defense now. His role was scaled back on special teams. For example, he was on the punt team prior to Dawan Landry's injury. Then we took him off the punt team. Then his role was accelerated on punt return when Yamon went down. So that's why it's so important to practice all these different guys at these different positions not only during the season, but during the offseason – so when injuries happen, you have guys you can plug in."

On if he is more inclined to keep using guys who are hot:"We like hot players."

On keeping a hot player in and the balance with their roles on offense or defense:"Well, it just depends, I guess is the best was of saying it. It depends on who we're playing and what the plan is for that particular week. That has something to do with how we want to attack an opponent. One player might be better at a particular return than another. But Jim's done a great job when he was in there, and it's evidenced by his numbers. We have great confidence in him. We also know that Yamon is a home run threat any time he gets his hands on the ball, so we feel fortunate we have two guys we can go to."

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