Browns Players (8.17.19)
BROWNS QUARTERBACK GARRETT GILBERT
What did you think of your time out there?
“I thought we did a really nice job. Obviously, a little bit of a rocky start on the first drive but then we went 3-0 on the next one, but after that I thought we did a really good job offensively. Offensive line did a fantastic job protecting and was able to spread the ball around a little bit to receivers who were able to make some plays to make sure they caught it.”
How do you approach it? Can you play your way into the second spot? Is that under your radar at all?
“Absolutely not. My job, my goal really every day is simply to just go out and improve to be the best quarterback I can be for this team. I think it’s important to not make the same mistake twice. So just continue to earn every day and get better and then you know all of that where I fall in the depth chart, any of that stuff, that doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about improving every day and from there the chips will fall where they will. And if I worry about that and control what I can, then everything will take control of itself.”
Do you think getting all that playing time, even in the AAF, helped you?
“Oh, absolutely I think playing in the Alliance (of American Football) was really great. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to just play football. The amount of action that I have gotten this preseason has been fantastic. To be able to go play for an entire game and getting into a rhythm was certainly a great opportunity for me and I really enjoyed that.”
What was it like? You had different offensive lines every series practically. Different combinations.
“It’s preseason football. You know there’s not going to be a ton of continuity because guys in and out of the game. Receivers are in and out of the game. You just have to stay sharp. Make sure when a new center comes in, a new center, offensive line, that you’re good as far as taking snaps and from there it’s just playing football. That’s part of it. But after that slight adjustment of getting in the huddle, it’s a different group of guys but it’s still just playing football.”
When did you find out that you were getting to start?
“Yesterday. You know it was again, I expected to play a good amount, but to be able to go out and start the game off was a lot of fun.”
Do you think you’re better now than you ever were?
“That’s a tough question. I do feel like I am still improving and getting better. Like I said earlier, that’s my goal. Continue to improve, continue to improve every day and not really worry about where I sit or those types of things. But I feel very comfortable in this offense, but I’ve only been here a few months so I’m still finding my way and I’m just trying to improve as a player every single day.”
Jaelen Strong has kind of come on strong over the past few weeks. Can you just talk about how good he’s looking?
“Yeah, he’s done a really great job. He works at it, one of those guys that is always on their iPad, working out at the facility, watching tape. Studying and learning and sort of seeing all that work is starting to pay off these past few weeks. He’s done a really nice job. Made some big plays and had the touchdown today. He just does a really good job. A guy you can easily communicate with, takes coaching for lack of a better term. Whenever I am coaching him on the sideline, he wants to be on the same page with all of us quarterbacks.”
And D.J. Montgomery, you seem to have a connection with him.
“Yeah, D.J. has done a great job. Him and I have sort of been practicing together as far as our reps matching up in practice going all the way back to OTAs and he’s really done an awesome job getting fast on the offense and going out and executing and making plays whenever his name is called. He’s been in a position where he’s drawn some one-on-one matchups over the past two weeks and he’s done a great job taking advantage of those things and getting open and giving us places to throw the ball.”
When we talked to you a couple weeks ago, you said the preseason is really important to you. Is it gratifying to you with this opportunity to be able to put it together like that?
“Well yeah. I mean first and foremost I’m sure the old adage is, cliché it is, it’s never going to be as good as you think and it’s never going to be as bad as you think. We will go back and find plenty of stuff that needs to be correct, but it certainly feels good to go put something on the tape. It’s a lot of fun to go out there and have some success, put some drives together and get to the end zone a couple times with that group in the first half. But yeah, it was fun getting out there today.”
Coach was pretty steamed when he came in here and talked to us. He wasn’t very happy at all when it came to mental mistakes, missed tackles and penalties. Did he give it to you guys pretty good in there?
“Yeah, well you know, even in wins there is plenty to work on and we made our fair shares of mistakes, as far as penalties are a concern, putting ourselves behind the chain. You know our group was there at the end of the first half cost ourselves three points, getting knocked out of field goal range. We turned a 30-yard chip shot into a 55-yarder or whatever it was. So, we’ve got to play better situationally football. That goes across the board offense, defense and special teams. There’s going to be plenty to see on tape that we are going to have to fix.”
BROWNS RUNNING BACK KAREEM HUNT
How did you think the offense played while you were in there?
“Pretty solid. We were missing some guys out there, but for the most part I felt like we were able to do what we had to do. Slow on the first two drives but we figured it out.”
So, what’s the next step for you, more playing time next weekend?
“I mean yeah. Just going day by day and feeling it out, getting my legs underneath me and just keep getting better and better.”
What do you think of the format of practicing twice against a team and then playing the same team?
“It’s pretty cool, I guess. We run our plays off the last two days on them and you get a beat for what each other wants to do.”
BROWNS RUNNING BACK D’ERNEST JOHNSON
What was working for the offense on those back-to-back touchdown drives?
“I mean everything was working really. We were all on the same page. We were clicking. We still have a lot more work to do but those two drives, everyone was clicking and believing in each other in the huddle. Just believing in each other and believed Jaelen (Strong) was going to score on this drive.”
Garrett Gilbert played pretty well. You guys played together earlier this year. What does he do well under center?
“He is a great quarterback. He has complete control of the huddle. He is a leader on the field and off the field. He will go out there and make plays. That’s what he does best, go out there and make plays.”
The amount of work you put in today – you’re in the backfield, you’re catching the ball – are you used to doing that much in a game?
“Most definitely used to it. In college, I was (the) returner. I would play all special teams. I would catch the ball out of the backfield and also ran the ball, so I am used to it. I’m just trying to take advantage of every opportunity given.”
How do you feel you have impressed them (the coaches) so far?
“I think I have done pretty solid, but you know I just got to keep working. This game doesn’t define that much so I just got to keep working, keep my head down and keep working. I’m just thankful for the opportunity the coaches have given to play this game and just got to keep working.”
BROWNS WIDE RECEIVER JAELEN STRONG
You have been working with Baker Mayfield a lot. You worked with Garrett Gilbert today, what has it been like to be between quarterbacks and how do you think Garrett did today?
“All of our QBs are very good. They all put us in a position to win. I believe as a receiver, you learn a lot from them. I think Bake (Baker Mayfield) knows what it takes to come in and to tell us, ‘You should do this or you should do that’ and ‘Let’s do this and lets do that.’ We work with them and we are cool with that. I believe Garrett did a great job today, coming in and doing his thing. The scores show that.”
What do you think of the format of practicing twice against a team and then playing the same team? Do you like that?
“I mean its preseason. Anytime you can get some extra work against somebody else, it’s the NFL. You get better by competition. It allows you to see where your team is and get better as you get closer to the season.”
Do you guys leave here feeling like you’ve got something done? You looked great in practice. Freddie Kitchens wasn’t happy with the penalties, but overall was it a great week.
“I believe so. Anytime you get a chance to compete against other guys in the NFL and other teams using different coverages and different schemes that you don’t see against your own team; I think it was great work we got in this weekend. I am very appreciative.”