**THURSDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: BROWNS – WEEK 3
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
Quite a matchup this week going against a Cleveland coverage team that has been quite good, so what do you see on film that makes them stand out? (Joe Platania) "On their kickoff coverage, one of the things that's helping them is Billy [Cundiff is] kicking the ball very deep, and we know he has those capabilities. He did it while he was here. And the kicks that have been returned have largely been brought out from way back in the end zone. And they're fast. They have good personnel. They get off blocks. They have some guys that make guys miss, and they've had good results so far."
You mentioned K Billy [Cundiff] … I know you had a really nice relationship with him while he was here. Is there some satisfaction seeing him recover from the way his time ended here? (Pete Gilbert) "You like to see good people do well, and Billy [Cundiff is] one of those guys that had a lot of success here. It doesn't surprise me at all that he's having the success that he's having in Cleveland. It's not an easy place to kick, largely because of the weather and the field conditions sometimes later in the year. But he has adapted well, and he's doing a good job. And yes, we're happy for him. We hope he doesn't play that well this week." (laughter)
Jerry, you've often talked about the challenges of kicking late in the season in Cleveland. Do you like having a September game there? (Luke Jones) "Yes, we do. We hope the weather cooperates. You never know. We're looking at the forecast. It looks more like a November day."
**Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak
Gary, with QB Joe [Flacco] missing [practice] Wednesday, obviously he's a veteran guy, but how much of an issue is it for a quarterback to miss one day of practice? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't think it's that big of an issue. The good news is, this week we actually got an extra day. So, he's really not missing anything from a preparation stand point – when it's all said and done – of what he would normally get. But he wasn't feeling well. And the good news is, it's probably good for guys to get put in situations like Tyrod [Taylor was], to have to go out there and run the football team for a day. Things like that happen in practice; you have to respond on Sunday sometimes that way when something happens. So, we practiced well, but Joe is back today feeling good and will be ready to go."
The level of execution – especially when you got back to the first half of Game One and what we saw against Pittsburgh all the way through and on a short week – it was so high, so few mistakes – how do you attribute the turnaround like that? (Pete Gilbert) "I want to sit here and think that we're going to continue to get better with everything we do, and we have to improve upon everything. The biggest thing last week [is] we played clean football. We didn't hurt ourselves with penalties, didn't turn the ball over [and were a] good third-down team last week. So, going on the road for the first time this week, those things win in the National Football League on the road, so it will be important that we continue that. But we need to keep working on what we're doing, gain some confidence. I think our guys up front have gained some confidence over the last couple weeks running the ball, and it will be important this weekend."
Gary, I think some people have been surprised that WR Torrey [Smith] only has four catches and FB Kyle [Juszczyk] hasn't been targeted yet, in your offense – and with so many weapons like this – is it just the case of it's hard to get everybody the ball, or what is it? (Ryan Mink) "We're going to attack the defense, and where the ball goes, it goes. We don't call a play and say, 'Throw it to him.' We're going to throw where we're supposed to throw it. So, I think those things all work themselves out. Our tight ends have been very productive in what they're doing. Our backs have caught the ball well. I'd like to think that we can be balanced, and the ball can get spread all over the place. So, those guys are working well. Torrey [Smith is] working extremely well. He has had a great week this week. He just walked in [and] I complimented him on how well he has practiced this week. So, I think those things will even out. 'Juice' [Kyle Juszczyk] is working. You just have to find a way to move the ball."
You mentioned that the offensive line has gained some confidence. How big a part has C Jeremy Zuttah played in that? (Jon Meoli) "Well, I think Jeremy [Zuttah] is new and that it's a new system, so the more control he gets of the system – he's the quarterback of the guys up front – I think the better we're going to be. I think the key is we're all playing together. We've been out there for every snap in training camp. We've now been out there for two weeks in a row, and you hope that continues. But the more reps they get together with what we do and we keep being repetitive in what we're doing, we should continue to improve upon that standpoint. But protecting the quarterback and running the ball is a big point of emphasis going into this season, and we need to continue to stay focused on that if we're going to be a good offensive football team."
Gary, do you think your offense is better suited for the road than maybe some other offenses where there's more communication on the line of scrimmage and things like that where you can line up and run it? (Ryan Mink) "The No. 1 thing you have to do is have poise. John [Harbaugh] has done a good job this week, and [the media] see how loud it is when we practice. Well, [the media] isn't out here for that, but it has been very loud. I can promise you that. So, we're preparing for that. But [in] the National Football League, you go on the road, and if you can't handle noise and you're jumping offsides and you're having penalties and you don't protect the ball, it's very, very difficult in this league. So, that'll be a big point of emphasis this week, and hopefully we can handle our end of the bargain there. We have to play clean."
As well as you move the ball – and you did have a few drives that stalled inside the 5-yard line – is there anything specific that stood out? (Luke Jones) "That has been a disappointment from that standpoint at first-and-goal on the 1- [yard line], and we don't get either one of those balls in. So, that's huge right there. We had another play, I can't think of what it was, but we had an opportunity, really, to put some points on the board last week. You have to learn from it. The good news is we're down there, so that's a good thing. And we have to be more efficient when we are down there, and working on the goal line this week and those types of things [are] a big point of emphasis. But you'd like to have five or six shots a week, so hopefully we can keep moving the ball and get down there."
When you look at the Browns' pressures, their blitz packages, anything unusual you've seen Mike [Pettine] do? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "No, [Mike Pettine] is very good. Mike is excellent. [He has] been in this league a long time, been around some great defensive coaches as he came up. So, you're going to get a little bit of everything from them, even-odd, a lot of pressures, that's the way they're built. That gets back to staying on schedule, running the football well and doing those types of things, which will be important to our success. If you're third-and-long … If we go there in this stadium and we're third-and-10, eight, nine, 10 times, it's not going to be good. So, staying on schedule will be a big point of emphasis."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
[The defense has allowed] one touchdown in two games. When you watch the film, what has really stood out collectively about the defense this year? (Jamison Hensley) "We're playing a little faster; we've had very few mental errors. Even though we called a lot of stuff and changed up the stuff, the game plan from the second game [compared to] the first game was drastically different, and the guys all did a great job of knowing what was going on. We didn't have any big busts. The only thing right now is we gave up a big run last week, where we actually played it well and missed a couple of tackles and [Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell] got out of there – and he's an excellent back, too. But we gave up a 21-yard run there and a long pass in the first game. If we can take those two back, I'd be extremely happy. Other than those two plays, we've played well."
When you look at the way the Browns are running the ball, do they do anything differently? What's the challenge in stopping them? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "They block you – that's what's different. They do a great job of their scheme. That offensive line, even though I know they have one rookie in there – [Alex] Mack is a Pro Bowler, and [Joe] Thomas – they really have a good offensive line. They really play well together. [Browns offensive line coach] Andy [Moeller] has them coached up. They're running the same stuff over and over, and they're doing it well. And I'll tell you what: These backs – I know 44 [Ben Tate] is out, but these other two guys, 34 [Isaiah Crowell] and 28 [Terrance West] – they're good backs, and they're doing what they're supposed to do. They know the value of a yard. They're not trying to take a 4-yard gain and make it into a 20-yard game. If it's there, it's there, but if not … A lot of guys do that, and they end up getting tackled for a loss. These guys are downhill runners [that can] break tackles. They ran the ball extremely, extremely well against those first two teams [Pittsburgh and New Orleans]. They're not real complicated, [and] they're doing it well."
With the rookies though, can you take advantage of them when you know [you're facing] two rookie running backs? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "Well, if somebody would've taken advantage of them, they would've done it in the first two games. I don't think they're rookies anymore. [If] you get two games under your belt and you're running the ball like they are – 150 yards a game – I don't think they're rookies. They're playing like vets. I don't think it has anything to do with being a rookie, or anything else. We've seen a lot of rookie backs in this league play well. It all has to do with the scheme and how they're coached and the confidence they have in the offensive line. You can talk about the running game and the running backs all you want, [but] you've never seen a good running team without a good offensive line – period. I don't care how good the back is. Barry Sanders is the best that ever lived, and he did most of it on his own. He probably would've liked to have had a good offensive line once in a while. That's what makes a team go."
You mentioned the rookies – you have a key rookie that's going to play a lot in LB C.J. Mosley. Through two games in his career, how do you think he's playing? (Garrett Downing) "He's playing well. Like we've talked about before with C.J., he's a smart football player, he understands the game; he's great on the game plan, great in the classroom. Like all rookies, he has his moments, but like all players he has his moments. Overall, I'm pleased with the progress that he's made."
Dean, you guys didn't see Browns QB Brian Hoyer last year. Just looking at the film, what are the problems he presents at the quarterback position? (Clifton Brown) "Well, I was with Brian in New England, so I know Brian pretty well. And he's a Michigan State guy, so I have a lot of connections with Brian. The thing about Brian is … Here's the guy that he kind of reminds me of: a guy named Chad Pennington when he played for the Jets. [The] ball gets out quick; makes good decisions; puts the ball where it needs to be; doesn't make a drastic mistake. Does he have the strongest arm? Not [really], but you don't need one if you throw the thing on time and know where everybody is going to be, and that's what Hoyer does. I don't really like the term 'managing the game' – he's more than that. He's just a real competitive guy. He's the kind of guy that offensive guys, offensive linemen and those guys, would like. Sometimes you like blocking a little harder for a guy that you respect in the back end, and I'm sure he has total respect from that organization. That's what I think of Brian Hoyer. He's a really excellent quarterback, but he just doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He knows his limitations and he plays to his strengths."
Where do you think that respect comes from?* (Clifton Brown)* "[Brian Hoyer] is just that kind of a guy. He's a hard worker. He's not a guy [who's] going to be out in front – it's 'me, me, me!' He's a team guy. He's a guy that they know is going to take the blame when he deserves the blame. There are a lot of guys that don't do that, and he's not one of those guys. He's going to own up to his mistakes. That always gains respect [from] players. I can see them playing real hard for him."
Your guys really brought it last week against the Steelers – very physical, really hard-hitting. How much of that was it [being] the Steelers, and how much of that was your [defense's] new identity? (Aditi Kinkhabwala) "I hope that's our new identity. [Playing] the Steelers always brings out the best in everybody, but that just has to be every week. I hope that is our identity. We really played fairly well, even in the first week, except for the big play [against the Bengals]. It's basically down in the red area. That [game] should've been all field goals. Hopefully that's our identity, and that's our plan. We'll soon find out."
Browns RB Terrance West – does he remind you of anybody when you're looking at film? (Pete Gilbert) "I can't really say anybody off-hand. He's just a really good back [that] runs downhill, and he can bounce it out and cut it. He's a little bit like [Steelers RB Le'Veon] Bell. A little different in style in some ways, but the guys that make those backs really special in that zone scheme stuff are the guys that have patience. Guys that don't have patience that just run and can't … Sometimes you just have to be under control and make the cut. In a zone scheme, you never know where the whole is going to quite open up. It's not like a gap scheme where, 'OK, that hole was supposed to be off-tackle, and that's what I'm going to hit.' In a zone scheme, you kind of run with it, and once that seam hits, you have to hit it. You need patient runners to do that, and he is one of those."
Dean, are you pleased with the success of only giving up one touchdown in the red zone, and can you carry that onto the road? (Adam Vorce) "That will soon be found out. We have to try and carry it every week. We've played well down [in the red zone]. We practice a lot down there. Part of the thing is I've been asked before, even last year when we were high in the red zone, 'What's the difference?' Part of it is when you play well – it's like third down or something else – you kind of start believing that you're pretty good down there, and that's half the battle in anything you do. [If] you think you're pretty good down there, you probably are. We have some scheme things, but it's more the mindset of our players, that we don't want to give up a touchdown. So, hopefully we can keep that thing going."
Dean, how do you think S Matt Elam fared in the nickel, and what advantage do you get having a safety in that spot, as opposed to a cornerback? (Luke Jones) "Throwing him in there and kind of going with it, I thought he did a really good job. The advantage always is going to be that you're going to get a more physical player in the slot – maybe better against the run in some ways, or maybe a better blitzer. Not necessarily though is that always the case, because I think 'Webby' [Lardarius Webb] – as little as he was – was always a pretty good blitzer. There are guys that have a knack for it. You always have to … It's always a week-to-week thing. You have to look at the matchup you get and what you're going to do schematically. To put somebody in there on a little guy that really can stop and go and really run a lot of short routes and get open, that's probably not fair if you're playing zone. [They are] just different things that you have to try and scheme it so you're not putting him in a bad spot. But I thought he did a very good job for us."
**QB Joe Flacco
On if he's feeling better:"I feel better. [It was] just a little virus. [I] didn't want to get the whole team sick [and] get something running through here."
On how strange it was to miss practice yesterday:"I don't think I have [missed a practice before], so it was definitely different not being out there. It was good that we had a long week coming off of the Thursday night game, so we had an extra day in here anyway. It kind of worked out nicely."
On if being sick affected his preparation for Cleveland:"No. Obviously, I would've liked to be out there on the practice field and everything, but I was able to be in the meetings and all that."
On if he studied last season's Bills game to prepare for Mike Pettine's Cleveland unit:"Yes, just to see what kind of stuff they like to do in certain situations. You definitely look at where he's been, because you only have a handful of games to go from and a couple preseasons and two regular season games with the Browns. You have to look at some Bills [film] to find out what he likes to do in certain cases down in the red zone, on third downs, things like that. It definitely helps to look at that stuff a little bit."
On what the Ravens have to do to be a better road team:"[We need to] stick to the fundamentals [and] play quickly. When you do those things right there, just simple little things like that, you allow yourself to go play free and not worry about too much mentally. When you play slower and you try to do too many things, sometimes it's tough to do that on the road, and one thing here or there could snowball into a bad couple plays, and before you know it, you're running off the field. If we stick to the fundamentals and can play quickly, then we'll help ourselves out a little bit."
On getting everyone involved in the offense:"We put the game plan in to get everybody involved and get everybody the ball. You get your playmakers the ball in their hands so they can make some plays. Come Sunday, it's about calling the plays and going out there getting it and just running it, hitting the open guy, going through my reads and seeing where the ball is supposed to go. I don't really worry too much about who the ball is going to on Sunday. But if our game plan works out well and we play a good game on offense, then there's going to be pretty good distribution, [and] you're going to see a lot of guys getting into the game."
On targeting WR Torrey Smith in games:"Torrey is a great receiver, so he's going to get his touches. It's not going to be a week-to-week thing where he's not touching the ball a lot."
On if Gary Kubiak's offense allows players to execute the fundamentals better:"I think so. He has a certain philosophy on the road, and he's going to make sure that we go out there and do it that way. We're going to go out there, and we're going to be able to play well. This offense probably has a little bit of something to do with it. It probably has a little bit of an effect, but like I said, it's more so just his philosophy and going out there playing on the road. I think it matches up with this offense and with what we've been doing over the last couple of months. This will be our first real test [on the road], so we'll see how it goes."
**WR Torrey Smith
On not being a targeted receiver each week: "It's not like [Gary Kubiak] goes into it [saying], 'Hey, we're going to throw the ball to this guy a thousand times and this guy not at all.' It's all about the way the coverage dictates it. Sometimes it's mirrored routes and one side has a better match up, or one side is off versus the other side that presses, makes for space makes for an easier completion. So, it's a bunch of different things that goes into it, but that has been football. I learned that since I've been here. One week when I was with Anquan [Boldin], I might have a bunch of catches, or next week it would be not much at all. Or [Dennis] Pitta might have a big week, or even [Vonta] Leach. That's how the game goes sometimes."
On helping to clear the middle for other receivers: "We all have that responsibility at times, but I might have it a little more than an average person because of the way teams respect me getting over the top. But I'm playing my part, and I know the ball is going to come more than it has been. So, I'm not frustrated at all."
On his friendship with Browns DB Joe Haden: "It's always fun to play Joe [Haden]. Obviously, he's one of the best corners in the league, but he's also one of the best people I know. I've known him for some years now, and he has always been supportive of me and my events in the offseason. And our families, like I said, half my family goes to his grandpa's church. We have a bunch of mutual friends from him being down in Virginia coming up. So, he's a great guy, he's a great corner, and it's always fun to play against [him]."
On whether DB Joe Haden gets enough credit as a cornerback: "I think [Joe Haden's] salary says it all. (laughter) If people from the outside don't want to respect it, his organization does, as they should. Going against him twice a year every year, I definitely think you can put him out there any time [and] argue with anyone as [Haden] being the best in the league."
On what makes DB Joe Haden a good player: "He's physical, but he's also crafty. He can play the ball well. He can bait you into thinking you have one thing release-wise, and he'll give you another look. But he can play both press and off equally as well. And like most* *corners, he'll try and take his chances. But I think that he has been, obviously, one of the better corners in the league over the years."
On emphasizing improved results on the road:"I imagine it's for [the offense] and the defense. We just have to execute. Communication is big. You can't have penalties that set you back. We've had too many of them already, but when it happens on the road, it's a lot tougher, especially with a crowd like Cleveland that's going to be rough, and they hate us always. It's always fun to play up there, but at the same time, we have to execute and we have to be sharp. Penalties – you can't afford those."
On embracing the Baltimore-Cleveland rivalry:"Sometimes I like away games more than home games. You kind of get a comfort level when you're playing at home. And when you play away … Mainly it's places that you don't play all the time … Obviously, we know what it's like to play in Pittsburgh, and we know what it's like to play in Cleveland and Cincinnati, and things like that, but when we have the opportunity to step outside of that, that's when I think it's really cool. There's nothing you can relate it to because you don't see these teams all the time. That doesn't take away from [it being] great to go in that environment [like Cleveland]. They have some great fans up there, and we know we're going to have to be on top of our game."
On the Ravens' offensive weapons creating a "pick-your-poison" situation for opponents:"Guys have been making plays – tight ends, Steve [Smith, Sr.], obviously, as well. We have guys that are effective at each level, especially with our tight ends, and we have a bunch of different receivers. We have guys that can make plays."