Browns Players (9.22.22)


G Joel Bitonio:

On getting past last week’s loss to get the win tonight:

“It is kind of weird how the world works sometimes. You put yourself in almost the same situation as last week. This time we get a way to execute. I wish we got a first down so we could have kneeled out the clock. Special teams did a lot better. They got the onside kick. Our defense played lights out. It was good to exercise those demons and get the division win.”


On not being the OL selected to play FB like T Hjalte Froholdt or G Michael Dunn:

“No, I am happy. I hit my head enough so I do not need to play full back. That was great though. We need to get him a pass.”


On getting the run game going tonight:

“It is everything that you want. It is what we want to be as a team. Sometimes it does not work out, but when we do get the run game going, that is our M.O. We can play-action off of it and make big plays happen. I think the last couple of games it has been a little bit slow. We need to keep it going and keep leaning on guys until we get a few that break. It tires them out and gives our defense a chance to rest.”


On if this game provides momentum:

“It is big. Every game is big, but you want to win the Thursday night game. You get a little bit of a break. You get to watch the games this weekend. You are not thinking about a loss. It is the first division game. It is early in the year but definitely a big one for us.”


On being on the winning side of tonight’s game:

“It was good. I want to be a part of a lot of those. It was good. It is always a battle. They are a physical team and play a tough round of football. We want to do that, too. It was good to be a part of that and get the win.”


On if it is an OL’s dream to get the ball with a lead and trying to run down the clock and score:

“Yeah, that was perfect. That is what we want to be. Keep running the ball and take your shots when you need to. Take your shots when you need to, but that is our dream drive right there, maybe not wait until fourth down but get in the endzone.”


T Jack Conklin:

On his transition and returning back from last year’s season-ending injury:

“I appreciate the team letting me get my health back to where I can come out tonight at full strength. I felt great and comfortable out there. Could not be happier with how the team played. Great team win.”


On how it feels to end the game running the ball:

“That is what we strive for every game, breaking teams with the run. We are going to keep pounding and pounding. Those 3 and 4-yard runs at the end of the game are going to turn into big runs later. We believe in ourselves and were able to get it done.”


On how it feels to bounce back after last week’s loss:

“It is awesome, especially having a division opponent here like the Steelers, a rivalry that has come back and we have redeemed ourselves a bit. We now have a long break to get back and get guys healthy.”


On if attitudes were positive with the Browns throughout the week:

“Extremely. It is tough to lose like that, but it is on to the next. It is a long season. When it comes down to it, it comes down to the division.”


On the vibe of the Browns offense in the locker room:

“It is great. We are just trying to do our job. Every play is about doing our job and helping the defense and special teams out. That is our job to come out and get first downs. That is what is important to us.”


On QB Jacoby Brissett’s performance thus far this season:

“Just great leadership. Under pressure he is making the right plays and making the right reads. He is very calm in the pocket. He trusts us, and we trust him.”


WR Amari Cooper:

On what QB Jacoby Brissett has proven to the team, city and Browns fans:

“I think he has proven that he can win. I don’t think he has proven anything that we didn’t already know about him. I don’t think he would be in the league if he wasn’t a good quarterback at this point. He has been in the league a long time. He is a veteran and a good player. We are glad to have him.”


On how important it was to have a good game and win tonight following Sunday’s loss to the NY Jets:

“It was really important to come out and bounce back. It was a short week this week so it was a great opportunity for us to come out here and get the win like we did so that we can get that bad taste out of our mouths.”


On how difficult it was for the team to put Sunday’s loss behind it:

“I wouldn’t really call it difficult. We just came out and practice really hard, and we do what we practice. We have guys in the building who can achieve great things. (TE) David (Njoku) had all of the catches. We really believe in ourselves. We do what we practice, and we are happy to come away with a win.”


On his chemistry with Brissett:

“We go out there and practice hard and on our own time. We are always communicating, even outside of the building because we know at the end of the day, we are responsible for how we are playing. Jacoby and I are both from South Florida so it is easy to relate to him. He is a cool person and a really fun guy to be around. The communication is there so we just want to build off of what we have been achieving so far.”


On how fulfilling it is to finish a six or seven-minute offensive drive:

“For an offense, that is a great thing. Sometimes you want to have an explosive offense that can score in a couple of plays. If you wear that defense down, it gives everyone on offense the opportunity to make plays the more first downs you get. Obviously to finish strong with seven instead of three [points], that is how you win in this league.”


On what it means to be first Browns WR in nine years to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games:

“I didn’t know that. I guess that’s cool. That 100-yard mark is the standard for a receiver to have a good game in everyone else’s eyes. I just come out here and do my job. Do what I practice. Do what we practice. Do what the coaches are asking me to do and continue to show I can just get open and be productive for the team.”


On whether or not he was shocked he stepped out of bounds on the long pass play that was called back for illegal touching:

“I wasn’t shocked. I know better than that. I was caught up in the moment because I just wanted the ball. You only have a small amount of time to get the ball, and I saw the corner getting closer and closer to me so I was just trying to get farther away from him, but I should have been more aware.”


On what led to his open looks tonight:

“I was just doing what I practiced working on fundamentals. For me, watching film and knowing how those guys will try and play against me helped tonight. “


On if Brissett had more zip on the football tonight than usual:

“Not really. He is not really a guy who throws an uncatchable ball. I think he throws it just right.”


On how he found the opening for the deep pass from Brissett:

“It was what we practiced. We knew what type of look we would get in that situation, and it just worked out how we practiced it. I was patient, ran my route and got open.”


On how much it means to Browns fans to beat the Steelers:

“Obviously, in the league, those rivalry games seem like the most important games. I was happy we were able to come out with the win tonight. I kind of have a better feel now of what this rivalry is like, seeing it on the other guys faces after the game. It means a lot.”


DE Myles Garrett and TE David Njoku:

On if it was more fun for Njoku tonight getting more touches:

Njoku: “I love everything that requires being a tight end. Whatever the team asks from me, I will do it 100 percent. I am just glad we got the win tonight.”


On the TD catch:

Njoku: “I thought it was one-high, and the concept that we had was good for a one-high coverage. (QB) Jacoby (Brissett) threw an amazing ball. Came down with it, we scored and we have to just build off of it.”


On Brissett’s performance:

Njoku: “I believe that our chemistry is building as each week goes by so we have to just keep working hard together and we will do great things, God willing.”


On how important it was to win tonight and if the team was nervous it would not be able to bounce back from the Week 2 loss to the NY Jets:

Garrett: “No, I did not have a doubt in my mind knowing this team and the guys who are on it. I know everybody was anxious to get back on the field and get that taste out of our mouth and play a complete football game. That is what we did. Everybody did their job and all of the team came together to make it a really special win.”


On if Garrett was happy with the reception from Browns fans:

Garrett: “It is the reception I hope we get every night and I hope we all get every night. Performance we were trying to put out, and whatever reaction we get or we produce from them, we are going to put our best foot forward and give 100 percent and play our best game.”


On how the Browns defense pulled together this week, including holding the Steelers to three second-half points:

Garrett: “We have seen that a lot where we really come out of the second half or halftime and really shut guys down. It was just about doing it in the fourth quarter for that second half. I think that is where we took the next step tonight where we really were on our P’s and Q’s and made sure that we did not give any leaky gains or big plays. Everybody was communicating, and there were no mistakes on the front or on the back end. We were really able to hang with the guys and get the ball back to the offense so they can put points on the board.”


On if the Browns defense’s players-only meeting was effective:

Garret: “You tell me.”


On what the Browns defense talked about in the players-only meeting:

Garrett: “Pretty girls and fast cars (laughter).”


On if the Browns offense loves running the ball:

Njoku: “Any positive plays we produce on offense we love. Running, passing or whatever it takes to get those touchdowns and get those hard-earned yards is what we like to do and what we will do.”


RB Kareem Hunt:

On throwing and running the ball well in the weather conditions tonight:

“I feel like we are still airing it out pretty well. I guess we can throw the ball in any weather. (QB) Jacoby (Brissett) has a nice, strong arm.”


On the rivalry game and what the win means to him:

“It means a lot. Growing up, they always got the win over us. This time the tables have turned. We are collecting wins against them and other guys in this division.”


On how it feels to bounce back as a team after last week’s loss:

“It feels great. I don’t have to go to sleep angry anymore. I am just glad we responded and got that taste out of our mouths. We can enjoy this nice little break, get our bodies back and healthy and be ready for next week.”


On if it was tough for the team to shake off the tough loss this past Sunday:

“It was tough, but the next game came so fast we really didn’t have time to think about it too much. I am glad we did [shook off the loss].”


On Brissett finding stride:

“He is doing a great job leading us. He is hungry, too. He is a heck of a football player going out there and showing what we can do.”


S John Johnson III:

On all 11 Browns defensive players being in the huddle and communicating:

“Yeah, I think all 11. Usually, it is like seven or eight guys, but all 11 were in the huddle. It was a little different because (CB) Denzel (Ward) was traveling with No. 18 (Steelers WR Diontae Johnson) so everyone definitely had to stay in the middle, and it helped out with the play.”


On whether the Browns may stick with that huddle format for the rest of the year and if that helps with communication:

“I think it has to [help]. I think you have to get the call and communicate. It was sending and receiving. It was a lot better than last week so I think we have to [stick with it.].”


On how hard it was to watch LB Anthony Walker Jr. sustain an injury tonight:

“It is tough because you know he wanted to be out there. He wants to play. He is our captain, our guy in the middle. An injury like that and having to be carted off, you never know what is really going on. I hope he is OK and can get back ASAP.”


On LB Jacob Phillips’ performance stepping in for Walker:

“They both prepared like starters all of training camp. I think it was like kind of a battle. They both played on the field at times so it is like they are both kind of the same person. They try to both be starters. They both look at themselves like starters. He was ready for it, and like you said, he came up big today.”


On if there is pressure to be more vocal when Walker goes out with an injury:

“Maybe. Like you said, just getting the call and echoing the call, especially on the back end. I think that is even more important. Some of that I have done in the past so it will be easy. Like I said, I hate to see him go down, but we will be OK.”


On this being a bigger win since it comes on Thursday night against a divisional opponent:

“I feel like defensively we started out a little slow. We came out with a win, and that is all that matters. Like you said, a division opponent. I think we are at the top [of the AFC North] now. I know it is still early in the season, but it feels good to have a couple days off and get to work soon.”


On if the first quarter was about getting acclimated to the Steelers offense or about adjusting to new communication:

“It wasn’t communication. 100 percent it was just getting used to them. They are a downhill physical team. That is probably the most physical game we have had. A lot of guys got injured. Hopefully, they will be OK. Just getting used to the physicality of a division game at night. The stakes are high so I think that is what it was.”


On what QB Jacoby Brissett has proven to the city and Browns fans in the past two games:

“He is poised. He makes phenomenal plays. It is not like he is just managing the game. He is creating things, buying time and sending plays. He is running and getting crucial first downs. He has been unbelievable. The thing that sticks out to me is that I look up at the scoreboard, and we had scored like 30 points or 29 so I am like if we can score 30, there is no reason why we should lose games.”


LB Jacob Phillips:

On his mindset steeping into the defense after LB Anthony Walker Jr. sustained an injury tonight:

“I like when I feel the pressure. I feel like that is when I thrive the most when I am out there and I am able to adjust and get a feel of the game. Obviously, I am blessed to walk out of this game healthy and for the plays that I was able to make.”


On if he feels prepared if Walker misses games:

“Definitely. Even going into this game, my role increased, and I was excited for that. Whatever increase the team has me do I am thankful for.”


On if the Browns defense’s players-only meeting helped the unit tonight:

“Obviously, there was emphasis on finishing the game from last week. I feel like we did a good job of that. Anytime we can come together as a collective unit and talk to get things figured out, it is going to help.”


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