WEDNESDAY MEDIA AVAILABILITY: BROWNS – WEEK 17
Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg
**Jerry, happy to see P Sam Koch and WR/RS Jacoby Jones at least be recognized as [Pro Bowl] first alternates, but a little disappointed maybe? Especially with Sam, we talked about him as far as being a Pro Bowl punter. *(Luke Jones) *"Let me talk a little bit about Sam, if I may. Thank you for your question. I think the fans got it right. The fans prove to be more informed than the experts in this particular regard, in my opinion. Sam has his team as the No. 1 net punt and No. 1 gross punt team in the league if you're looking just at numbers – which I'm assuming people did – and that's hard to do. It's hard to do both. And other numbers that jump out at you – he's one of the lowest numbers in percentage of returned balls, one of the lowest numbers in percentage of yards returned, one of the highest percentage of inside the 20 punts in the league. Besides that, he's probably – and I don't have numbers to back it up – but I suspect that the numbers would back me up to say he's probably the best holder in the history of football. He has held for three Pro Bowl kickers since he has been here. This last year he held for three different snappers, actually four counting Haloti [Ngata]. What more does a guy have to do? I guess that's the way I look at it. And this is meant as no disrespect for the two outstanding players that made it, but Sam … The reason we do what we do is because Sam can do it. And the season he has had has been phenomenal. He went through an offseason where he got some undeserved criticism that was thrown out there and some people swallowed it and then spit it back up. His family endured that, and all Sam did is work and take care of his family. He's a great husband and a father, an outstanding member of his community. This is a model for pro athletes. If anybody wants to look at a pro athlete, I say, 'Look at Sam. Be like Sam.' His teammates have an enormous amount of respect for him. The thing I think has happened here is, because he's such an unassuming team man – that he doesn't seek attention for himself – that I think he has been overlooked for a number of years. Certainly not by us, not by his teammates – he is not being overlooked. We are passionate in our support of Sam Koch, because he's such an outstanding man and an outstanding player. The other thing that I think is largely unnoticed, but to very few, is he's changing the game right now. The things that he's doing – because he's so skilled – nobody else is doing them, and it's changing the way football is played. There are not too many guys that will have that legacy, and Sam Koch will be one of those guys, because others are going to look at him and say, 'That's the guy that started this style of football.' My support for Sam is unwavering, and I have an immense amount of loyalty to him and his family, and I feel for Sam at this point in time, because this is the one time where I wanted him to get that recognition. I think back to the Super Bowl when the game was on the line – when there was 11 seconds left in the game to win the championship – we gave the ball to Sam twice in a row, and he brought home the trophy for us. That's how I feel about Sam Koch."
Can you describe how P Sam Koch is changing the game? (Ryan Mink) "He has a variety of punts. He uses different techniques and different skills that he has to put the ball in different places where it's hard to field. That's generally what happens. When you watch the game, you'll see guys chasing the ball rather than camping under it."
Is it the line drive punts? (Ryan Mink) "That's one of the things that he doing, yes. The ball is low and on the ground, yes."
I think I've asked you this before, but how many punts does P Sam Koch have in his bag of tricks? (Ryan Mink) "He has a lot of them." (Reporter: "Over 10? I have no idea!") "He has a lot of them." *(laughter)
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak
Gary, last week notwithstanding, are you proud of what you've done here? This team – I could list many things that they've accomplished – but I guess most importantly, they're 10 points short of setting the [franchise] record for points in a season. (Dave Ginsburg)"I think offensively, some of the things that we've been through – and the running back situation starting the season – I think you have to feel good about some of the things that have happened throughout the course of the year. Obviously, we were disappointed in how we played last week. We have to play a lot better than that. But I don't know. Evaluations will be at the end, but there are some players that have done some really good things. I think the biggest thing we've done offensively is we've gotten better at protecting the quarterback, and we run the football. So, those are important, but [I] always think there's more. That's why we do what we do."
Gary, what do you attribute to the decline in numbers in the run game? (Aaron Wilson) "I'll tell you what, the last two weeks we struggled to run the ball, and us running the ball makes everything else go for us. So, it was pretty obvious when you run the ball, what, 19 times last week for 30 yards, we're not going to throw [the ball] well probably, too. It has been a concern. It's something that we're working extremely hard on. Now, we have another challenge this week with some new faces up front. Hey, that's what it is. We have to figure out a way, because if we're going to win, we're usually going to run the ball well. So, I would like us to get back to it really quick."
Gary, we talked to John Harbaugh and he noted that the chip blocking thing would have been pretty tough with all the A-gap pressure. That was your take as well? (Aaron Wilson) "We obviously got some A-gap pressure, but we've been getting that all year. It's not [anything] we haven't seen. We didn't handle it as well as we have handled it before. And if you're not doing it well, then you're going to continue to get it. So, [the Texans] did a good job with that. They have a great player outside, so when you start chipping him – and you get inside stuff, too – that makes it even tougher. But the way you handle those things is to run the ball, and we weren't able to do that last week. We threw it 50-something times. [We] don't want to go anywhere and do that, so [we] have to get back to us."
What do you think on QB Joe Flacco as far as … I mean he was under a lot of duress. I think he got hit 10, 15 times. (Aaron Wilson) "Yes, [Joe Flacco] took a lot of shots. But I go anywhere … Start with me. I didn't do a good enough job. We didn't play good enough on offense. We can play a lot better than we have throughout the course of the year. You have to have a short memory, let it go, and we have to find a way to get back to running the ball and doing what we do best and get physical again this weekend."
Gary, how helpful was the experience T James Hurst and C/G John Urschel had earlier in the year? (Luke Jones) "I was asked that a while ago. The good news is we have something to go pull back from. We went through, what, four, five weeks with the same issue as a team, and those two kids [James Hurst and John Urschel] came in and played well. They're going to have to play well for us to continue playing this year. We believe in them. They both play hard, they're both very smart, and they get to play next to a center [Jeremy Zuttah] who's a very, very sharp guy. So hey, next-man-up-type mentality – I know how that is."
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees
Dean, CB/RS Lardarius Webb looks like he's starting to – right here at the end – kind of get back to himself. Have you seen that from him, in terms of mobility?* (Aaron Wilson)* "That's a good observation. I texted him Monday morning when I got in, and I actually graded the film on the plane on the way back, and then I came in and watched the film again on Monday morning and I texted him right after I got done and said, 'That's the best you've played all year. You look like you're kind of getting back to the Lardarius that I know.' I think that is a very, very positive thing about him, yes."
And that could bode well for him [CB/RS Lardarius Webb], especially for his future, to kind of play well here right at the end. (Aaron Wilson) "Oh yes, absolutely. Hey, we need him right here at the end. We need everybody here right at the end. But I was very pleased with the way he played. I thought he played, really, his best game, probably, of the year."
OLB Elvis Dumervil and LB C.J. Mosley [were selected to the] Pro Bowl – just your reaction to that, and how pleased are you with that news? (Garrett Downing) "Congratulations to them. They are both very, very deserving. I think Elvis has had a great year, especially on the sack total. I think C.J. Mosley is a special linebacker, especially for a rookie to be able to make it – that's really a special thing. It's always hard for me, though, as a coach, because I feel like there are so many guys that go unnoticed that also should be a Pro Bowler. I think Daryl Smith is a Pro Bowl player. Terrell Suggs is a Pro Bowl player. You have guys like that that I think still are worthy of it, and I know Suggs is an alternate or whatever. But Daryl Smith helps C.J. Mosley become who C.J. Mosley has become when [playing next to him]. I think he's just always kind of been an overlooked guy that hasn't got a lot of accolades, and I'm sure glad that we have him. So, it's always hard as a coach. No matter where I've been, yes, certain guys get kudos, but there are also guys you know as a coach that really make your team who they are, and sometimes they don't get the popular vote. That does not take anything away from Elvis and C.J., and I don't want you to think that. It's just I really feel like those … There are a bunch of guys that are deserving, and I'm sure it's the same way on other teams, too."
Dean, what have you found out so far about QB Connor Shaw, not just from his South Carolina days, but just kind of preseason football this year? I guess we can't count out QB Brian Hoyer until they rule him out. (Aaron Wilson) "I was asked earlier about Brian Hoyer. I'll tell you, my background with Brian Hoyer is if he can play, he will play, unless he can't do the things that they need him to do to try to win the game, because he is one tough cookie. As far as Shaw, we've watched him a little bit in preseason. I know he's everything I've ever heard about the guy. He's a gamer; he's a tough guy; I know he's well liked in the locker room; the guys are behind him. He can run, he can scramble around and that kind of stuff, which always worries you as a coach. And I'm sure that Kyle [Shanahan] will put him in situations that he needed to be put in to have success. Those guys are … If they have an NFL uniform on, they're a good player – period. It doesn't matter if you're on the practice squad or whatever. Think of the thousands of guys that don't make the NFL. So, it doesn't really matter where they're coming from, whether it's practice squad or whatever. To me, if they have the logo on, that means they're capable of playing."
Closing statement: "I'd like to say one other thing, too: I've been coaching a long time on defense – basically over 40 years. I have never been more proud of a defense than I was Sunday night after that football game with the defense that we had. To be put in a situation four times inside the 20-yard line and [the Texans] score one touchdown on a fluke halfback pass, and for us to be put inside the 50-yard line seven times and never give up a touchdown like that, our guys are warriors. They went out there and fought and fought and fought. To hold the quarterback to a 50.2 rating … Because what we had told those guys – 'Don't let [No.] 23 [Arian Foster] wreck the game. If anybody can make the quarterback good … ' and he couldn't do it. He didn't beat us; we lost the game ourselves. But I'm telling you, I want to go on record [saying] I have never ever been more proud of a defensive unit than that group that played on Sunday, even in a loss."
OLB Terrell Suggs
On if he thinks he and OLB Elvis Dumervil split Pro Bowl votes:"No, I think the guy that made it is deserving. Every year, somebody is going to get left out – there's only 'X' amount of positions. I'm pretty sure a couple years ago I probably edged somebody out. It happens, but we'll just see. I still can play – guys can still get knocked out or go to the Super Bowl. If we get in the playoffs, it will all be better though."
On if he cares much about Pro Bowl voting at this point in his career:"You care, but it doesn't affect you as much. I don't think that validates my season. As long as you're still making progress [in] your career, you're still pretty good. There's only 'X' amount of spots, positions that can go. It happens."
On if he thinks about this weekend being the last time that this team, the way it's constructed, plays together:"No, you really don't think about that until that last day. Until then, you're trying to make the use of as many opportunities as you can get. We still have one more game and we still can get in [the playoffs], so that's pretty much all we're thinking about."
On his mindset heading into this weekend's game:"It's all or nothing. If we win, we still can get in [the playoffs]. If we lose, we're out for sure. So, we damn sure better win."
On if he's disappointed that he will not be facing QB Johnny Manziel on Sunday:"I'm preparing for a quarterback. I'm not disappointed; I'm not excited. I really don't have any feelings toward it. I think the kid has tremendous potential. He's going to eventually [be] starting and playing in this league. I think he's banged up, so that's not really our focus this week."
On if he will be "scoreboard watching" on Sunday:"You want to say, 'No, we don't pay attention to that,' but we're damn sure going to be looking up. It still doesn't take away … We still have to get to 10 wins, we still want 10 wins, and we will start there. We have to do our business, and you have to play it as it lies, and let everything kind of take care of itself."