C JC Tretter (10.21.20)

C JC Tretter:

On if he feels the need to encourage QB Baker Mayfield and if he has seen Mayfield’s confidence take a hit after the loss: 

“No, I think Baker is fine. He is a pro. He is a good football player. Not worried at all about him and how he responds.”

On the Browns OL’s performance against the Steelers and if not having G Wyatt Teller was a significant factor: 

“What we put out there on film was not good enough. I do not think one player makes that difference. We all have to play better. Give credit to Pittsburgh. That is a really talented front seven – I would probably say the most talented front seven in football. We just did not do a good enough job. Wyatt is a good player, but I do not think just one person changes how that game went. We have to do better at protecting Baker and do a better job opening up holes in the run game.”

On if the Steelers DL was more physical than the Browns OL last week: 

“I do not know. It all I think relates back to game script. Against any team, especially good teams and aggressive teams like Pittsburgh, you fall down 10-17 points early, you kind of fall into where they want you to be and that is letting them kind of attack, blitz and do all the things they want to do. That is a tough game script to get into. We just have to do better overall.”

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski’s approach this week: 

“The season is 16 games long so there is really no panic or change within the organization. I know outside [the building] responds a little differently after games like that, but the good teams do not let it snowball. We have to go back, fix the mistakes we made last game and then come out this week and play better and put a better product and better play on the field. There is nothing changing. We do not need to make any changes or do anything different than what we have been doing. We did not play well enough against Pittsburgh. You go back, correct that stuff and you move forward. It is a long season. Nothing changed the way we were two weeks ago to this week. Everything is still in front of us.”

On if the Bengals defense is playing better than when they first faced the Browns: 

“The personnel is a little different. They have had some guys get banged up and then (Bengals DT) Geno (Atkins) has come back. He did not play against in that first game. Personnel-wise is a little different, and they are doing a little different thing schematically because of that personnel change. We will have to do more studying and just see what they are doing differently from Week 2 to now, but we should be good after a week of practice and a week of preparations.”

On what the Browns OL can do to make sure Mayfield can be more effective when defenses take away his bootlegs and rollouts: 

“We love running our boots and moving the pocket, but that is not all we do. We have drop back passes. We have run actions. There are plenty of things we can do to open up lanes and open up opportunities in the passing game. We are not solely dependent on boots, though we like to do them and as offensive linemen, we love running boots and running keepers, but that is not all we do and we are not dependent on that. That is just something that is part of our offense.”

On if he gets the sense that RB Kareem Hunt is ready to have a breakout performance since taking over the No. 1 RB role: 

“Kareem is a hell of a runner. We are kind of looking to have that big game. He kind of blocked up the looks, and last week again, we did not do a good enough job opening up holes for anybody who was back there. It does not matter whether it is (RB) Nick (Chubb) Kareem, (RB) Dontrell (Hilliard) or (RB) D’Ernest (Johnson). It does not matter who is back there. We have to open up the holes better. We have to keep doing that and come into this week and look to do that.” 

On the support Mayfield has from the Browns locker room: 

“100 percent support. This loss was not about one player. I do not think anybody in the locker room felt they played a game worthy of a win on an individual basis. We all have to play better. When you lose 38-7, there are not many bright spots in that game. This is not about any one person. We all have to play better and raise our level. I know Baker is somebody who will do that and who is capable of doing that, as we all have.”

On how difficult it can be to block outside noise and criticism:

“For us, it is not really blocking it out; it is more of an eye roll. It just is what it is. It is part of the beast and part of the game. Everyone is going to have an opinion, and you see the giant sway of opinion from post-Colts game to post-Steelers game. That is kind of how the business works. I do not think any of us get caught up in that or pay too much attention to it. All that matters is what goes on in these walls. What goes on in this team and in this locker room. We have a lot of faith in each and every one in that locker room, Baker included, that we can go out there and play well. We have shown we can play well, and now it is about going out there and doing it.”

On how much input the NFLPA has in deciding if a game gets played on the weekend following positive test results:

“The NFL dictates the schedule, but a lot of these things are protocol based and going through the contact tracing and making sure that there is no further increased risk of transmission. A lot of that is handled on an individual basis per team. You have seen some games where things have to be postponed based off the contact tracing and based off what is going on, and some games have not. That is because it comes back and the science, which is all we want to follow is just follow the science, kind of dictates that on how it is going to look and what the transmission risk is. That is kind of all how it is based on, but again, the NFL sets the schedule.”

On if he is comfortable with the protocols and how the NFL is following and applying them as it relates to playing a game or not:

“Yeah.”

On Mayfield’s comment that ‘4-2 has never felt more like 0-6 before’:

“I do not know the context of Baker’s statement there, but I think on the outside it has been kind of a weird three days with how this team is looked at from post-Indianapolis to post-Pittsburgh. Again, I think you look at a team like the Packers, and the Packers went through a game similar to what we went through last week where they did not play good enough. Going back to that locker room, I can tell you from being with them and from being with the leaders on that team, there is not panic on that locker room. There is an understanding that they did not play well enough and that consistency is what leads to success in this league, and that was not the consistency they wanted to show, and that was not the consistency we wanted to show. We put four good games together, and then we drop the ball against Pittsburgh. That is something we need to improve on, but it does not change anything about how we feel we can play or how we can execute. We just have to do a better job of going out there each and every week and not having one of those games. Nothing changes from where we were two weeks ago to this week. We are the same team.”

On if the is more urgency each day, given the team is part of the early playoff chase:

“No, again, I think a lot of us look at this as there is a 16-week season, but each week is its own week. We are not looking at what is going to happen another 10 weeks from now. We are focused on what is going to happen this week. We have to go out there and play well. I think when you get looking too far ahead of yourself and start thinking about what is going to happen in January, bad things happen. You are really focused on what is going on. That is what Kevin preaches of going 1-0 each week, and that is what we are focused on.”

On if there is a chance the NFL will keep the current three-week IR rule:

“All of that stuff, I think there are a lot of things we did this year that you look at to see whether you like it or not. That is one of the unique things about this COVID situation is you are kind of forced into changes and unique rules, and then you evaluate to see if you like them. There is a lot of things. I for one want to look more into the training camp changes and look more in what we can do to make training camp better and safer and more productive to the players. I think all that will come later on when we will discuss everything as a whole, as the NFLPA and NFL.”

On Mayfield saying he held the ball too long against the Steelers:

“Our job is to block for him. I know there are written throws and things like that, but our job is to stay in front of our defender and give the quarterback as much time as he needs. That is kind of how I have always looked at it and I think we look at it as a team. It is all about protecting for infinity and not really having a time block in our minds of, ‘Well, I blocked long enough.’ You have to keep blocking until the ball is gone. Baker is a leader, and that is why he says those things. I do not think that changes our mentality as an offensive line. We need to give the quarterback and the receivers as much time as possible.”

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