Transcripts: Browns Post-Game Quotes

Head Coach Mike Pettine

(General Statement) "It was certainly a disappointing way to finish. We had our chances, and I thought we executed our plan well for three quarters, we just couldn't finish. In a lot of ways it was a microcosm of our season. I'm just proud of the guys that were out there and battled. We put Connor [Shaw] in some tough situations that would have been hard on any quarterback. I tip my hat to them; this is a quality team that really made enough plays at the end to clinch them a playoff berth. In regards to the guys that did not play – I'm not going to address those today. I'll talk about them tomorrow. I know 90 percent of the questions are going to be about that. To me, it's disrespectful to the guys that put the uniform on today and went out and played their hearts out for the Cleveland Browns. I advised the team to do the same. We have guys that we should be celebrating. Jim Leonhard playing his last game, Craig Robertson, Marlon Moore, Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio the guys that do it the right way. The [Chris] Kirksey's, the [Joe] Haden's, the [Donte] Whitner's and the [Karlos] Dansby's. There were guys that didn't need to go out there and play. They could have shut it down and didn't. And to me it's disrespectful to them and the way they played today and went out and banged around. So like I said, I'll have plenty to say tomorrow. But I'm not going to comment today."

(on QB Connor Shaw) "He's tough, and he made some plays and left a couple out there. But I think given the circumstances we put him in, he's a tough kid, and he showed a lot of why he was successful at South Carolina."

(on the guys that played today and if it shows what to build on in the future) "It does. The fact that we came in here two-touchdown underdogs, and nobody gave us a chance and thought we would have one eye on the game clock waiting for it to be over so guys could get out of town – that's not who we are. The guys that were out there, to me it's a credit of the way they play. We ran out of gas. [The Ravens] made plays, too, and that's a playoff team, so it's frustrating."

(on Haden playing through the flu and injuries) "We gave him the 'Michael Jordan scoring 30-plus points right after he had the flu' speech. So we wanted to make sure we could get him out there. That's the kind of guy that he is. I think there were a lot of guys given the injury that he had, could have just said, 'No, I missed last game, I'll go ahead and miss this one too and head into the offseason and get healthy.' He went out there under the weather, clearly. I know he banged his shoulder on the one play in the end zone. But he's a warrior."

(on why he played Terrance West this weekend) "He was more accountable throughout the week; meetings; practice. Probably had a lot to do with he was coming home and realized I have a chance to play in front of the hometown crowd. But we have to get that type of effort and professionalism every week."

(on how Terrance West ran the ball) "He had some good runs, left a few out there."

(on the quarterback situation for next year) "I'll probably spend a little bit more time on that tomorrow. I think it's pretty obvious it's still a big question mark."

(on Connor Shaw being in the conversation for next season) "That's something we are going to sit down and go through all the postseason evaluations. Connor's a guy that we liked all season. We liked him coming out, and felt we were very fortunate to get him after the draft. He showed flashes today of that competitiveness. You can see he doesn't have a big arm, and the ball looks real big in the air when he throws it. He can make plays with his feet, and he's just that gritty, competitor type that finds ways to make plays."

(on if he said anything to the team prior to the game, about this week's off-field situation) "I didn't talk about it; our guys were already all in. They knew what this week meant. They knew we had a chance to get to eight wins. They knew a lot of people on the outside were expecting us to come down here and get blown out. Our guys had an edge to them, and I didn't have to say much."

(on finishing with a five-game losing streak) "This one stings like they all have. I think some people preseason would have said a seven-win season is heading in the right direction. But as competitors, as I've said a bunch of times, it's a "what have you done lately?" business, and lately we haven't been very good. That's the reflection and kind of talking about moving forward. I'm sure I'll hit on more of that tomorrow."

(on players performance showing how they feel about him) "I think it's more about how they feel about the staff. I think how they feel about each other is more important.  That's what we talked about, even pre-game, [it] was put a performance out there that would make the guy next to you proud."

(on defense running out of guys) "You look at our lack of success lately defensively. I don't know what the final stats end up being. In a lot of categories we were pretty good. I think where we weren't good was a function of several things. One of which was just being out there too long, and we need to play better complementary football. The struggle that our offense was up against a good defense and playing with Connor [Shaw], we were going to have to play a lot of plays and be out there for a while. Like I said; they made some plays. Joe Haden was right there in coverage, and the kid made a [heck] of a catch. The next play (Torrey Smith touchdown catch) that was a great throw; it went right past Buster's [Skrine] head. They made plays when they needed to."

(on Connor Shaw's poise today) "For his first start, I thought he handled it well."

DB Donte Whitner

(on evaluating progress of team in 2014) "It's very frustrating, but progress was made. I've been assured that we are going to bring guys in and get guys off this bus that don't really want to be here and do what they are supposed to do. Other than that, we've lost a football game to a good Ravens team. We felt like in that first half we controlled the game. It started to get away from us in the second half. All in all, we've made enough progress, but not enough for what we want to do."

(on the play of QB Connor Shaw) "I thought he played well. He didn't have that gaze in his eyes like a young rookie would have. He looked comfortable out there. He looked comfortable at the pre-game meal. He went out there and made some plays for this football team. He kept his mouth closed and he worked all year. He came out here and gave us a fighting chance."

(on not having a winning season) "I don't know what is missing, but we are going to get a few more guys that really want to win and want to do things right. We're going to get some guys out of here that don't want to do it."

(on his first season playing for hometown Cleveland) "We made progress. Last year, I think they won four games. I think we tried to double that, and we had an opportunity to do that in this game, so I think a lot of progress has been made. People didn't give us a chance to win one or two games when we started this season. Here we lost five in a row, and if we just win two of those, we might have had a chance to win the playoffs, but we didn't. We understand that. We are going to take a break here, then come back and hold everybody accountable."

(on the locker room atmosphere) "Any team in the National Football League where you have a good locker room, you have guys who understand what they are supposed to do. They understand when they are supposed to be there and when they are not supposed to be there. When you have those distractions, it kind of equals losses. Like I said, we need to get some guys off the train and get some guys on the train who want to win."

(on defensive play in 2014) "Um, not to make excuses, but we had a bunch of injuries and guys still came and fought. As far as us in the secondary, we're number one in a lot of categories in the National Football League, yards per play, quarterback rating, we're up there in interceptions. We did a lot of good things on third down, but we're going to sure up the run defense, get a lot of our defensive backs back next year and expect to play really well next year."

LB Paul Kruger

(on defensive play overall in the game) "I felt like guys played hard and some plays were made. It was a good team we faced, so being able to have some success early was important for us and we didn't finish out the way we wanted to."

(on the play of QB Connor Shaw) "I'm really proud of him. He showed he's a talented guy who has play making ability and showed a lot of maturity. That's a good [Ravens] defense and with this environment he was playing in, I'm proud of him."

(on his sack and forced fumble) "I wish I could have made a few more plays, had a few plays back and do them over again, but I guess people say that all the time. For me, I was just trying to influence the game any way I could, but there were a lot of guys on our side who had a good day."

(on the 2014 season) "We've overcome a lot of difficulty. We showed ourselves that we have to be a consistent team each week or else you're going to have an average record. That's what we're working on, to become a great team, and that takes time and a lot of effort from a lot of individuals. That's where we are headed."

DB Joe Haden

(on his health) "I feel a little sore with my shoulder, and I think I caught the flu. I had an IV before the game. I'm trying to be out there and lead by example and show these guys that you've got to want it and give it all you've got. I feel like if I'm out there and doing what I have to do, under the weather and hurting, it should just make other people on the team see that and hopefully do the same."

(on WR Steve Smith Sr. breaking up his potential interception) "That's what you've got to do. That's what you want your receivers to do. He wasn't going to let me catch that ball no matter what. I felt like it was a little bit of offensive pass interference, but that's what you've got to do instead of allowing an interception."

(on the team playing hard with no playoff chance) "We just want to win. People who are out there playing love the game. At the end of the day, you don't want to put out any bad film. If you love the game, you want to be successful, you want to play and you try to compete and win every time you are out there. That's just how we are. It doesn't matter who's out there. That's why I love our team and the players who we saw out there today just putting it all out there."

(on QB Joe Flacco's play in the fourth quarter) "That's a good team, you find a way. In the fourth quarter, making big plays and WR Torrey Smith made a great catch. It is just what it is."

(on having another losing season) "It doesn't get any easier. This year, I'm excited that we were 7-4, but I think we ended on a positive note. We have players that really love the game and are trying to win. I'm ready to be on a winning team. I'm ready for us to turn this thing around and get it going."

(on how to improve for 2015) "Everybody has to be all in. Everybody has to be in it together. Everybody has to fight for this one goal. It's very hard to win in the NFL. Every game matters. Every game counts. It means you have to be all in. Everyone has to be accountable. Everybody has to do their part and be on the straight and narrow, you know head down and trying to win. This year we did better. This is the most games I won, but just that little taste is not enough. We have a very good, good defense. Our offense is coming along, but everybody just has to be all the way bought in."

QB Connor Shaw

(on his performance) "I thought I battled pretty well. I felt comfortable out there. I'm disappointed we couldn't get it done. Winning would have been so great today."

(on the long pass to Taylor Gabriel) "That was actually a busted play. The offensive line did a great job buying me some time. I looked up field and saw a lot of green grass and Gabriel. He made a heck of a play and set up a touchdown for us."

(on the Ravens' defense) "I knew they would be bringing some heat, especially in long-yardage situations. I thought we handled the pressure pretty well. There were a few times they got a coverage sack."

(on his early fumble) "I think I pulled out a little quick on that play. That was completely on me. It was too bad, because we had a good drive going."

(on adjusting to the speed of the game) "I had a lot of help out there. There were things I thought I could do to help this team win, and the guys were very supportive. I'd go to war with these guys any day. This is a good team."

RB Terrance West

(on the difference in the game) "It was really a tight game until they made their move. Torrey Smith really had some great catches. When we fell behind, it was difficult for us to come back."

(on playing in his hometown of Baltimore) "I was a Ravens' fan for all of my life, and I know a lot of the guys on that team. I attended a lot of games here. This was the first time I ever played on this field, and it was a great experience."

(on his touchdown run) "It meant a lot to me because it was here in Baltimore. I just saw the gap, and I hit it. That [dance] was called the 'Dum Dum.'"

(on how he needs to improve) "My rookie year had a lot of ups and downs. Now I know what I need to do to get better. I have to grow up and lead. It's important for me to improve my focus. We could be even better next year because we have a really good rookie class. It's one of the best in the league."

(on finishing the season with a strong individual performance) "I've always felt it's more important how you finish rather than how you start. I wish we could've won. The first time we played the Ravens, we came so close. All of us wanted to win to finish strong."

S Jim Leonhard

(on his emotions) "I am going through a lot of different emotions right now. I'm excited about the future even though I don't know what it holds. This game has given me so much. I've gotten more out of it than I ever could've expected. This game also takes a lot out of you."

(on the Browns' future) "Mike Pettine is the right coach to lead this team. Early on, we really turned things around, but none of us wanted the season to end like this. Nobody is more upset about this than he is. This is the guy that will make this program get better. We haven't accomplished anything yet, but I know the future is bright."

WR Taylor Gabriel

(on the offense's play) "I feel like the game plan that we went in with played pretty good. It's just bad we didn't come out with the win."

(on his catch and run) "[QB] Connor Shaw made a good play, scrambling and getting loose and throwing it down field, so it was all on Connor Shaw. It was a broke down play. Connor Shaw somehow got loose. The cornerback forgot about me and I was wide open down field."

(on Connor Shaw's game) "I think he played pretty good and he had a lot of poise in the huddle. He did a really good job. He took control. He was assertive."

(on the positives going into next year) "It's this group. I love being here. I love being around all the wide receivers, the whole Cleveland Brown organization. So I feel like we'll be pretty good. I feel like I have a lot more room to grow, so this offseason I have a lot to focus on."

* *

WR Andrew Hawkins

(on the offense) "Obviously we didn't do enough to win, but I think Connor [Shaw] did an incredible job running the offense under the circumstances. He's a warrior and I think he showed that today. We couldn't be more proud of the way Connor conducted himself.  Starting his first game in the NFL, [after] playing scouting team QB for the last 16 weeks – that's a tough situation to be in – and going against the Baltimore Ravens and the defense they have. There are some plays we would like to have back but hats off to Connor."

(on the practices preceding this game) "It was tough. Connor's coming into a situation he hasn't been in. He hasn't been playing much, or preparing much, to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, but you couldn't have done a better job than Connor did all week in getting himself ready to play. And that's what I think makes Connor special. He's a competitor, so even when he's unsure about things, he's going to go out there and give all he has."

(on the season) "Obviously it didn't end the way we wanted it to end. We got off to a hot start. I think we have a great core of guys. It's something to build on, and we'll go into the offseason to get better."

DT John Hughes

(on the defense's play) "I think everybody played their hearts out. I'm proud of my guys."

(on the Ravens' two-play drive) "It was disappointing but there's not much we can do about it now."

(on the season) "It's a learning experience. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I think we have a lot to learn from this and a lot to build on. We're trying to build something here, and I think we've got a heck of a start."

(on stopping the run) "I think run stopping is all about technique. We have guys who are committed and will work on their technique. Everybody has to do their job to stop the run- all 11 guys on the field."

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