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Transcripts: Ravens Media Availability 11/27

Head Coach John Harbaugh

Opening statement: "OK, good to see you guys – appreciate you being here. I have one announcement: We added quarterback Jimmy Clausen last night. I think you guys got the announcement on that, so he was out here [for the walk-through]. He just got through the physical this morning and was out here just in time for the walk-through. He did the scout team with the walk-through and, that's where we're at with the quarterback part of it. What else do you have?"

Did it help QB Jimmy Clausen having familiarity with Marc Trestman, as far as bringing him in on short notice? (Luke Jones) "Yes, that's a good point. It's part of it. Certainly, they've been together, and he knows Marc's concepts. That's a plus."

At running back on Sunday, RB Javorius "Buck" Allen got a lot of the carries. RB/RS Raheem Mostert was the only one that was up that didn't really get any carries. Is that just a matter of him getting more comfortable with the offense, or is that not the role you guys see him for going forward? (Jon Meoli)"[Raheem Mostert] has been here for about three weeks now, so 'Buck' [Javorius Allen] has had most of the snaps, and he would be the most game-ready guy – nothing against Raheem. Raheem can do it, and I wouldn't be surprised if he got a lot of reps going forward here in the future, but that was the way it played out on Sunday."

What have you liked most about RB Javorius Allen in his development with the increased snaps and as you see him more out on the field? (Jamison Hensley) "He's doing a good job. Everybody has seen it. You've seen it in games; we've seen it in games and practice. He continues to improve. He has come a long way, because he works so hard at it. He's very conscientious. As you know, he's very serious, but he has a light side. He has some personality, too. He has done a good job learning the offense. He's running hard. He's making people miss, making plays."

Has RB Javorius Allen done a good job in lowering his pads? It seems like he's running lower and making some physical plays out there. Is that something you guys have worked with him on? (Ryan Mink) "I think he has had that ability. [Running backs coach] Thomas [Hammock] does a great job working with those guys on all aspects of running back play. It's certainly part of it. You're probably thinking of the one play there where he got in the backfield and hit the safety. He has the ability to do that, certainly."

**Speaking of running backs, there are plenty of running backs – first- and second-year guys – over the last four or five weeks who haven't gotten a lot done against your defense. Is there some silver lining to be drawn from that? *(Joe Platania) *"I'm not following you." *(Reporter: "[Todd] Gurley, [Melvin] Gordon – a lot of the younger running backs around the league, they haven't piled up much numbers against you.") *"I see. I think we've played good run defense in the last few weeks. For the most part during the course of the season, we have been pretty solid up front with the run defense. But, [it is a] new challenge this week [against] very good running backs. I know the Browns are committed to the running game. It's something that's very important to them. I know that coach [Mike] Pettine believes strongly in the running game, so we have to continue to improve in that area."

While QB Joe Flacco waits for the swelling to go down, is he a big help right now even with the game plan and helping QB Matt Schaub look at the Browns? (Ryan Mink) "I'm sure he is. I'm not exactly sure of the details of what he's doing and when he's there or not. He was not in the quarterback meeting this morning, so I think he was taking care of his knee this morning."

* *

John, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher had some comments – I don't know if you heard them – about the Ravens. Any response to that? (Jamison Hensley) "No. That's not even … [Senior vice president of public and community relations] Kevin [Byrne] said something to me just a minute ago, so I don't even know what the comments were." (Reporter: "He basically said that for the Ravens to insinuate they're a dirty team that – his quote – that, 'The Ravens should look in the mirror.'") "That's unfortunate, because that insinuation was never made. My guess is that when he was informed of it, he probably was a little bit misinformed of the intent of the statement, because that's not what I meant to say. It's a tough game. It was a hard-fought game. It was a physical game. It was an emotional game. That's the kind of game you always expect to get with a Jeff Fisher-coached team. That's the way their guys play. It's not meant to insinuate anything negative. If he came back with a negative connotation, then that's too bad. If he was saying it in a positive way in terms of 'look in the mirror,' that could be construed as a positive, I guess. So, I'll just take it as a compliment and leave it at that. (laughter) Thank you, coach."

Final verdict on De Brent Urban this week? (Joe Platania) "Yes, Brent is going to come up [to the 53-man roster]. Whether he'll be active or not and play in the game, we'll have to figure that out. But, Brent will come up and be on the 53-man [roster]. He has done a really good job. He has worked hard. He looks good. It's going to be exciting to see him in real action at some point and time and see how he does, because he hasn't played that much. But, he has practiced very well."

Is DE Brent Urban going to take RB Justin Forsett's spot? Is that why you didn't put him on IR, yet? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I don't know exactly how the shuffling is going as far as whose spot it belongs to, but we [will] have a spot open. If that's the way the numbers work … You probably have a better count on it even than I do right now, so that could be the spot."

John, you were very complimentary Sunday thinking that QB Matt Schaub is ready for playing and doing well. What are the things that you've seen this year that he's doing to prepare – even though he hasn't been playing – that make you feel that he's so ready? (Cliff Brown) "I see him prepare every day, see him practice every day, see the balls he's throwing – you can start with that. There are plenty of track records for Matt Schaub. This is not a guy that has never played before. It's not a guy who nobody has ever seen. He has a track record in this offense, too, and he's a professional. I know one thing: I come in here about 5:30 in the morning, and many times he's walking right in with me. He's a worker. He's in here early. He studies. He's a real pro. Obviously, he's an experienced quarterback. We're very fortunate to have him in this situation that we're going into. I'm sure glad we got him."

John, you guys have liked WR Jeremy Butler since he got here basically. What's it like to see him get those reps and take those chances he has in the last few games?* (Jon Meoli)* "It's good, because … You're right. Jeremy is a guy that we had high hopes for from way back when we first brought him in last year as an undrafted rookie free agent. Maybe we would have thought he got out there sooner than this, but it's a process. He has practiced really well the last three or four weeks, and it showed up in the way he played in the game. And yet, there were some things in the game that were game-speed-type of things that caught him by surprise, even as far as holding on to the football, the way he was stripped on the one on the sideline. He has still plenty to learn. But, now that he has experienced the game, it'll be a chance for him to really step forward and improve in big strides."

**Speaking of the Browns, QB Johnny Manziel was supposed to get the start this week, but he's not. You're getting QB Josh McCown again, and you already faced McCown. What do you take out of that last game going up against him again? *(Todd Karpovich) *"He played really well against us the last game. We didn't play very well in the back end, and we gave up way too many passing yards, too many big plays. They made some spectacular plays. They caught one with their feet. That was a pretty good catch, the first time I had ever seen that. *(laughter) *He's a guy that we have tons of respect for."

Looking at their run defense, they've improved somewhat. DL Danny Shelton is continuing to progress. Watching them before your previous game and then before this one, have you noticed any changes or anything that would allow them to be a better run defense team? (Turron Davenport) "They're committed to stopping the run, for sure. Coach [Mike] Pettine is not a guy that wants the ball to be run on his defense. They have done it with personnel in the offseason, and they do it with scheme. They put a lot of guys up there whenever they have to, and they put it on their DBs a lot of the times to cover people, which is how you stop the run. It's something they're committed to, and it's important to them."

Last week, G/T Kelechi Osemele – I think – was a full participant on Thursday and then didn't practice Friday, and then obviously [did not play] Sunday. Any update on him? (Jon Meoli) "No, I really don't [have any]. I really don't have any update on that. It's just he's working through some things physically."

John, how happy have you been with the development of FB Kyle Juszczyk in all phases? We saw him get a few carries on Sunday – which we haven't seen before – obviously, in the passing game, and obviously, his work on special teams. How important has he been to your phases? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Great point. Kyle is a versatile player, obviously. He has been telling me he can run the ball, so you all saw it. (laughter) There it was, and he did a good job. He has been great in pass protection. Obviously, he can run routes and catch the ball. For him to be able to get us out of a game like that – in a four-minute situation – and carry the football was really valuable for us in that game, because you don't want to be in a situation where you have the ability to run the ball, but we [also] wanted to make sure we had pass protection taken care of there, too, and it's a strength for him. We don't want to run guys on and off the field and say, 'OK, he's a pass blocker. He's a ball carrier,' coming to your point about Raheem [Mostert] a little bit. So, we just put the most versatile guy out there and let him do both."

OLB Elvis Dumervil

On whether it is strange not to line up against QB Joe Flacco in practice: "It is, man. It's crazy, but that happens in football. If you play long enough, you're [injury] number gets called. But, we have a great belief in Matt Schaub, and we have to get ready for Monday Night Football."

On what Ravens fans can expect from QB Matt Schaub: "He's competitive. I know from the looks we've been having the past few weeks up to this point, he has been giving us great looks on defense. I know one thing he's going to do: He's going to go out and compete and try to earn a win."

On what the defense learned from the last game against Cleveland and can apply to Monday night: "We have to finish. They made some plays. They did some things. We gave up too many big plays. I think we can limit those big plays. I think we had the lead; we gave that up. We started fast. We have to continue to finish strong. We're a completely different team from that point. Everybody gets better, so hopefully we can prove that Monday night."

On whether the first game against Cleveland was a low point for the defense and what they have learned watching tape from that game: "Looking at it, [we said], 'Man, look how much better we got.' The energy – guys flying to the ball, knowing the assignments, communication – things like that helps turn defenses around. We're excited. That wasn't a great part of what we were doing at that time, but life is about progress, and hopefully we head in that direction."

On whether the defense will have to do its part considering the Ravens' offense is without its starting quarterback and running back: "I think everybody, collectively – as a group, as a team – we all have to pull our weight even harder. The one thing is it's a team effort – special teams included. I think as long as we continue to play our phase and do the best we can do and not really try to do too much – go out and do your job – I think we'll be OK."

On whether the team thinks about how many players they have lost to injury: "You can't feel sorry for yourself. That's why we went through camp and the offseason program – to get guys reps. So, at a time like this, it's going to happen. I think we have complete faith in the guys we have on this roster. We have to try to play hard enough for the guys we don't have."



QB Matt Schaub

On if this week feels different for him now that he is starting: "It feels a little different than the fact that I'm getting the live reps with our offense as opposed to the 'look team' for the defense. That's the difference. [It is about] the way you're approaching everything mentally. As far as how the week goes, it's the same, because you're always one play away. It just so happens we're at that point, so the difference is physically getting the reps out here at practice."

On what he did on the sideline during the first 11 games of the season: "On the sidelines you're watching. You're getting all the mental reps. You're staying in the game from the sideline – trying to see what the team is doing, be an extra set of eyes for Joe [Flacco] and the coaches [and] letting them know what I see, what might be good against them in the upcoming series. That has been my role. Now, I have to go out there and physically do it and execute our plays, execute our plan and get the ball to the open guys and handle the huddle – stuff that I'm accustomed to. I have to go out there a do my job."

* *

On whether the starting role reinvigorates him: "Yes, it does. Obviously, you have to keep those emotions in check a little bit. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get back out on the field, especially with the group of guys we have. In the short time I've been here, we've developed a great relationship, so I'm getting forward to working with them. We have a lot of talented guys and a lot of guys that can go out and play big-time for us. [I am] excited to get back out on the field."

On developing chemistry with TE Crockett Gillmore after practices and how important that will be in games:"It'll be big for us. Working with a lot of those guys all offseason and through the summer, I've gotten a lot of reps with all these guys that are out there. It'll be good to hone those things up this week in practice and let that shine on Monday night."

On how much motivation he has to show he can still be a starting quarterback: "That's part of this league. No matter what role you're in, what position you are on the team – whether you're a starter, you're a backup – you have to prove every day that you belong. Whether you've played two years, 12 years, 18 [years], you have to prove every day that you still can do it and you can play at a high level and compete. That has been my approach each and every day. Now, it's a matter of going out there and doing it in the regular season. I'm looking forward to it."

On whether he thinks there will be any rust in his game: "You can't afford to have any. You have to do whatever you can to shake it off here at practice and go out, take a deep breath and go out and cut it loose on Monday night. That's what this game is all about. Will there be a little rust? Maybe, I don't know. I'm going to do what I can to make sure there's not."

On what it has been like for him since Sunday night and whether he has any anxiety: "No. [There's] good anxiety for the fact that I'm excited to get back out on the field, get back out there in the huddle. It's unfortunate the circumstances that it's under with Joe [Flacco] and his injury, but I'm really looking forward to getting out there. I mean, [it is] not bad anxiety, but it has been a whirlwind couple of days, but [I am] looking forward to it."

On how much the offense changed for him: "I wouldn't say it changed much at all. I think we're doing a lot of the same stuff – approaching it the same – based on what the defense has been showing us on film."

* *

On whether he ever anticipated starting for the Ravens considering QB Joe Flacco has not missed a start in his career: "As a backup, you have to anticipate it, or else you're not going to be ready, and you're going to get caught off guard. It's something I didn't anticipate. I don't think anyone did, obviously. He has never missed a start in his career – which is exceptional in its own right – but you're only one play away at any time. You look at how the season has gone, and that has happened to numerous position groups on this team and a lot of players."

On whether he thought he might have to play last Sunday after QB Joe Flacco sustained an knee injury: "It was one of those things that I think I felt a lot like he did, probably. I saw him get up and come hopping away from the huddle, and I always wear my helmet, so I buckled up and knew the situation we were in. We were probably going to run the football. I was ready to go in if he was going to continue to the sideline, but then he turned around and went back in. I didn't know the severity [of the injury] until we were done, and he pointed at his knee, and he knew. I was ready if I needed to go in."

On how helpful QB Joe Flacco can be this week to prepare for Cleveland: "Extremely helpful. All the things that he has been through in his career – games he has played and things he has seen – that's a lot of experience there to lean on. I think he can be a very valuable resource, and he's going to be very important to this football team and for me personally going forward, absolutely."



DT Brandon Williams

On watching tape of the last time the Ravens played the Browns and whether they have improved or noticed things they left on the field: "[There were] things we left on the field and things we have to work on a lot more. The biggest thing is they gassed us a little in the run game, so definitely, we need to – first and foremost – stop the run game and make them one-dimensional. Other than that, we need to get to the quarterback a lot more. Last game, our defensive line had four sacks. But at the same time, we need to increase that number a lot more, because [Josh] McCown is the starting quarterback, as we heard. We know what he did to us the last game, so we definitely need to get to him and disrupt him."

On whether the run defense has made progress this season: "Definitely. We make strides every week to get better, even if it's 1 percent better. [We try to] get better at any little thing. I feel like our defense has gotten a lot better. I feel like our defense on Monday will definitely show what we've become and what we can be better at. I really have faith in my defense to execute and go out there and do what they need to do and everyone do their 1/11 to come out with a victory."

On whether he has faith in the offense despite personnel changes: "Definitely, for sure.  Definitely, it stinks to lose guys like that – Joe [Flacco] and [Justin] Forsett – and your heart feels for them. But at the same time, we definitely have faith in [Matt] Schaub and think that he will do a great job, and also, [Javorius] 'Buck' Allen and [Terrance] West. We definitely are going to stand behind them no matter what, and we definitely believe that they're going to do a great job on Monday."

On whether he expects Cleveland to be a hostile environment on Monday night: "We expect it to be like it usually is. Maybe the stage is a little bigger, because it's Monday night.  But other than that, we expect to go in there and handle business, absolutely. You have the Dawg Pound that is going to heckle and do whatever they do, but it is what it is. It's a game that we [have to] go in there and take over."

On currently being outside of the Top 10 for Pro Bowl voting at the DT position: "I'm just worried about Monday. I can't worry about anything else. It's not my focus right now. My focus is to get the job done on Monday."


G Marshal Yanda


On if it feels strange to have a different starting quarterback in the huddle this week:"It's definitely different. It's just going to be different; that's just the way it is. But obviously, injuries happen, and Joe [Flacco] has been really fortunate to play a really long streak, but tough things happen real quick, and it's just 'next guy up,' and Matt is [Schaub] in there. We're happy we've got Matt, and we're just going to keep rolling."

On how much confidence Schaub instills in the huddle since he's done it so many times before:"You can definitely feel when he commands the huddle, you can tell that he's been there before, and he's played at a really high level. You can notice that in the huddle when he's calling the plays. He's confident calling the plays and managing the huddle."

On if there will be a difference in the running game with RB Javorius Allen now starting:"No, I just think he needs to continue to get more snaps. He's a young kid. He's a rookie, and he just needs to continue to get more experience. Some of those cuts sometimes – and all running backs – they don't always hit the right hole, and we don't always make the right blocks either. He just needs more experience. He's running his tail off and working hard, so that's what we want. The more carries he gets, the better he's going to get. So, it should be good."

On how challenging it has been to deal with all of the season-ending injuries:"It's tough. Obviously, it's tough to win in this league no matter what, and then obviously, injuries are part of this game, too. It's a violent game, and people get hurt all the time. It's unfortunate, but there are no excuses at the end of the day. We have to have the next man in and the next man step up. We've lost a lot of really good, great players and leaders of our team, but that's not going to stop the guys on Sunday from coming. It's not going to stop in Cleveland on Monday night, so we just have to roll with the guys that they have in this building, [expecting] that they're going to step up and do their job at a high level that they've been practicing and being ready to do. The next man up, and obviously you hear that a lot, but that's what happens in football."

On if it's hard to not think that this team is snake-bitten:"As long as you're not the guy that's on [Injured Reserve], you can't really think like that. We've got six games left, and we've got to keep fighting no matter what. In the offseason, you maybe think about that, but guys are in this, they're still playing, we're worried about getting ready and prepared for Cleveland, keeping it simple. Everybody is working hard in practice. But obviously, yes, in the back of your mind, you're like, 'Yes, we've had a run of bad luck.' We understand that football is a violent game and guys get hurt a lot. It's part of the game. So, just like you said, it's been a little bad luck for us this year."

On if it's strange to think that he was a rookie the last time he played a game without QB Joe Flacco as his quarterback:"Yes, I know. I heard 'Harbs' [head coach John Harbaugh] say he hasn't had a snap without Joe, and obviously, that's a credit to Joe and how tough he is, because he's played through some injuries and he's never even told us. And if he tears his ACL and he's still walking around like pretty much nothing happened, the guy is tough as nails. It's definitely going to be different, but that's part of it. It's part of the NFL."

On what he's seen from T Rick Wagner's development this year:"He's really grown into a consistent player that plays at a high level. I think Rick has done a great job working every day, getting better and, like I said, his consistent play is there. He's not up and down; he's definitely taken into that role where he has become a consistently good player. [There is] nothing but [getting] better for him; he's going to keep getting better and better. But he's playing at a high level – he is."

On how C John Urschel did in his first start at center last weekend:"I feel like John did a good job, too. Obviously, everybody's first start … I remember my first start – a lot of things going through your mind, a lot of nervousness. But John got to break some of that ice last year, too, playing for us and playing guard. But still, you're still out there playing. I felt like he did a good job, and he'll continue to grow, too. I think he's going to get better each game. Just that experience level that you get week-in and week-out, he's going to get better. He's got a good attitude, so he's going to keep getting better."


Head Coach Mike Pettine


On the improvements in Cleveland's run defense:"[It is] still not where we want it to be. I thought we did some good things early against Pittsburgh that got them out of the run, but they hit some big throws on us, which was unfortunate. But it was something that we studied hard over the bye [week] and hopefully came up with some answers. We've got to do a lot of the little things better, but to me, it's limiting the big play in the run game; that's been one of our issues early. I know that even in the first time we were in Baltimore, we gave up the long run to [Javorius] Allen."

On what he liked about RB Terrance West and why he didn't remain with Cleveland this season:"We liked Terrance's [West] skill set. I felt he had a chance to be a complete back [with] his ability. [He is] a thicker guy; he could still hit some short-yardage runs but had the ability to either run a guy over or make him miss. He did some good work for us out of the backfield. That's been a point of emphasis, to get the ball to the backs more. It was just … Some of it was maturity issues with Terrance, just the accountability, the day-to-day practice habits and being a pro. It was unfortunate, because Terrance is a likable guy, but we just felt at the time that it was in both of our best interest to move on."

On preparing for QB Matt Schaub:"He's obviously very experienced. He has played for a very long time in this league and played at a high level. I know he hasn't done it recently, but I don't foresee the offense changing significantly. It's not like the Pittsburgh situation where they went from a [Ben] Roethlisberger to a Michael Vick and had to really change the offense to fit the skill set. So, he's still a prototypical, big pocket passer, but he's better on the move than I think people give him credit for, having played in that system in Houston for all those years. And he throws the ball well on the run. He's an experienced guy. He has seen everything thrown at him over the course of his career. So, we're expecting him to play at a high level."

On disappointment in Cleveland's quarterback situation:"It is [disappointing], and it's well-documented, having been on recording. [We] talked about this, obviously, for a long time this morning and even more yesterday. So, [there is] a level of frustration, disappointment, it's all there. But, it was something we felt we had to do that we weren't going to overlook. It was much more to do with the trust and the accountability piece more than any one incident. We have resilient guys in our locker room. We had a really good practice today. For Nov. 25 here in Cleveland, it was a beautiful day. We got a lot done. I felt the focus was there – the effort, the energy. I don't think it will have much of an effect on us come Monday night."

On the excitement level in Cleveland for a Monday Night Football game against a division rival:"I think you all know how our fans feel about the Ravens. So, that will be a big game no matter what. That's what I love about our division, just the natural rivalries that exist. Whether, for us, it's Cincinnati, the Battle of Ohio; whether it's Pittsburgh, which is everybody's big rival because it's Pittsburgh; and then the circumstances that surround the two franchises [Baltimore and Cleveland], obviously, make this a big rivalry as well. So, it's a big game here, the fact that it's Monday Night [Football]. I know we're not where – with both teams – where we want to be record-wise, but I fully expect to see two teams, passionate, wanting to win, going after it on Monday night, and hopefully our crowd is behind us."

On FB Kyle Juszczyk's developing role:"You can see – in comparing and contrasting their offense from the first game – you can see he has become a bigger part of [the offense] and for good reason. He's a good football player. He made some plays against us last year, he made some plays against us in the first game, and he's a guy we certainly have to be aware of. They do a good job of using him outside of the role of the traditional fullback. He can do some things out of a one-back set that, like I said, are not necessarily that traditional. I [have] a lot of respect for him, and I think he's one of the better fullbacks in the league."

On game-plan changes with QB Josh McCown's success against Baltimore in Week 5 and the quarterback change this week:"I think the plan was going to be very similar. When we've game-planned with [Johnny] Manziel or [Josh] McCown, the core of the plan is essentially the same. So, we didn't have to change much on the fly from that respect. And then, just looking back to that first game, it was a situation where we felt it was out of necessity we had to throw the ball as much as we did. We fell behind twice in the game early by a decent amount and had to come back. But you just look at the Ravens' strength; to me, [it] is how stout they are up front, their front seven. We have not run the ball well this year, and they've defended the run fairly well. It did not make a lot of sense for us to pound our head into that stump. But at the same time, we have to be able to run the football; that's a priority for us. That's a priority coming out of the bye [week], all the small details in the run game that we have to be dialed in on, and that's important. I don't think being in Cleveland, especially with the weather starting to turn towards the end of the year, that … You have to be able to run the football in this league to be successful, and it's something that's definitely a priority of ours."

On Baltimore's secondary:"I know there [have] been some lineup changes, but having been in Baltimore for as long as I was and knowing the pride that's taken in the defense and knowing, still, a lot of coaches on that staff and how important it is, that … We're expecting a group that's going to be fully prepared to take away what we were successful with the first time [we played them], and we just can't go in with the game plan thinking we're going to be able to throw it all over the lot. I know there will be some adjustments made, and we're going to have to find ways to move the football and score points."

QB Josh McCown


On the Browns' second matchup with the Ravens:"Obviously, when you face a division opponent, you get to see them a second time. The chess game, so to speak, is a little different because you take what you did well, and you wonder if you can use that again and try to match that off what you've seen on tape from the last few weeks and if it's available to you and how you can count [on] those things. So, that's really the approach when you're going in."

On Baltimore's defense since the last matchup:"I would agree [that Baltimore's defense has tightened]. Sometimes things just happen in a game. We got rolling, but we have a ton of respect for this defense, especially the front. And it's certainly evident on tape that they've tightened things up. We'll be aware of that, and just like every approach, go in there being smart with the football, but at the same time, doing the things we need to do to move it. We definitely see that, though, on tape, for sure."

On what he liked about RB Terrance West and why he did not remain in Cleveland:"I felt like Terrance [West] ran really hard, and I was with him through the spring and through training camp. I didn't get to see him in regular season games like they did last year, but seeing him on tape, I think he runs the ball hard, but he has still got some quickness and elusiveness and speed. I think sometimes you just get in situations where, as you move along … Obviously, we drafted a running back. Sometimes things just don't work out, and I think being there in that system, for him, is a good fit, because the running game is familiar to him, [which] gives him the best chance for him to put his best foot forward. But I don't know why, at the end of the day … The organization makes the decision and moves on. So, I don't know. I can't really put my finger on why it didn't work out necessarily."

On earning the starting role again:"I think, in fairness, it's hard to use that word, 'earned' it, necessarily in this situation. And it's more of a … It was just the product of the circumstance, and it's unfortunate. You understand that you have a job to do, and the coaches make the decision and tell you you're playing; and you move forward accordingly. But at the same time, I'm in the room with that guy [Johnny Manziel] every day, and we've built a relationship. I'm a big advocate of his and a fan as well. Anytime somebody goes through that … I'm sorry, as a fan and a friend, as well [is what McCown meant to say]. And so, when somebody goes through that, you don't want anybody on my team to have to deal with circumstances like that and go through stuff like that. That's hard, because at the same time, you understand that you have to go do a job, but you want to be there for your friend and your teammate as they're processing some hard things. I just kind of go out and do the job that I'm asked to do and do the best I can."

On the emergence of TE Gary Barnidge and his impact on the offense:"He has been a great help, obviously. Just his range and his ability to catch the ball and make difficult catches has been huge to us, and he has been key on third down. That's what you've got to do to move the ball and keep things rolling. We're glad he's on our team. He's a very dependable player and somebody we feel like we can look to when we need somebody to make a play and a big catch for us. It's certainly helped me and my comfort level this year."

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