C JC Tretter (12.7.20)

C JC Tretter:

On if the Browns have the necessary leadership for a playoff push, particularly at QB: 

“Yeah, I think so. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) has been the leader of our team all year, and we found some success this year. You never have playoff experience until you get it. It is a tough thing to get at this level, but Baker has plenty of success winning as he has come up playing football on all levels. I am not worried about that at all for Baker, and I think as a team, we have plenty of guys with that experience and also capable leaders who do not have that experience yet but know how to win and how to play at a high level.”

On if he has seen Mayfield mature and grow as a leader: 

“Baker has been a team leader from early on when he first got here. Like we talked about when he first got drafted, he has a magnetic personality, guys want to be around him and guys want to follow him. That is something that I think has always been a strength of his. Like you said, he is not going to change who he is, as he should not. He should keep being who he is and be comfortable in his own skin. I think that is working for him.”

On scoring a franchise record 38 points in the first half: 

“It is obviously a great feeling. You get the ball rolling, and you have a lot of positive momentum. We had a couple of big plays and the defense sets us up with a short field so things are just moving for us and everything is kind of working. It is always a great feeling when you get the long pass play for a touchdown. Those are always nice – you jog on the field and you jog off the field with seven points in your pocket, which is always nice.”

On if the Browns made a statement or answered any critics’ questions with yesterday’s win and how much fun the team is having with its success this season: 

“Winning is a lot more fun than losing so we are definitely having more fun. I do not think anything is centered around silencing critics or proving critics wrong. The outside opinions do not matter, positive or negative. If someone wants to come and tell us we are the best team in the world, it does not mean anything when you get between the white lines. If someone wants to tell us that we are terrible and we are not going to beat anybody, again, it is not going to matter once you get on the field. None of that stuff matters. I would not say it is top of the card of motivations for us. I do not think we should really be paying attention to it, whether people are singing our praises or telling us how bad we are. It just does not matter.”

On the biggest difference in how the Browns are playing this year compared to last year: 

“We are running the ball really well. The defense is playing well and taking the ball away. That is one of the main stats of winning teams is that turnover differential. The offense is protecting the football, and the defense is taking the ball away. When you have that formula, it helps things and it gives you more opportunities to put points on the board and to win football games. I just think we are all playing really well. I give a lot of credit to (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski), as well, for coming in and kind of shaping us into the way he wants us to play and compete and making sure we have the right mentality every day – if it is a day of practice, if it is an off day or if it is the day of the game – of making sure we understand what is important that day. I give a lot of credit to him, as well.”

On if Stefanski is the biggest reason for the Browns’ change in culture: 

“I think the culture starts with the head coach, and then it is up to the players to live up to that culture. Every coach has to come in and kind of lay out what they want and what they expect and then hold the team accountable. Then it is the job of the players to keep their level to that standard. I think it starts with Kevin. It starts with who he is as a person, as a coach and as a leader, and then it falls to the players to make sure we represent that on a daily basis.”

On if he expected the Browns OL to have this much success this season or if it has exceeded expectations: 

“I do not think we have exceeded our expectations. We bring in (T) Jack (Conklin) and Jed (T Jedrick Wills Jr.). Jack is playing at the level that we expect bringing in a guy of his caliber. Jed has not even started to scratch the surface of where he can be as he continues to progress in this league. Those two helping the outside and then the interior three have done well. I give a lot of credit to (G) Joel (Bitonio), who continues just to go out every day and every game and play at a high level, as consistent as anybody in this league. I do not think we have exceeded our expectations. We always had really high expectations for what we are capable of and what we can do. I think we have done a really good job, but I still think there is room to grow in our group, and we can always be better.”

On if everyone in the Browns OL room is jealous of T Kendall Lamm’s TD catch: 

“We were all just so happy for him. That is something you can never take away from a guy. It is something he can tell his and his grandkids. That is just awesome. Scoring an NFL touchdown, you join a really elite class. Not many people are able to say that. We have known that play and other plays have been in in the past where he has gone out on routes and we have always hoped as an offensive line is we will get a big man touchdown. We were really excited when we saw the ball floating his way.”

On his confidence level about the NFL finishing the season amidst COVID-19:

“Like it has been from the get go, it all goes down to following the protocols and doing the right thing. I would not use the word ‘confidence.’ I think if we follow the protocols and everybody does the right thing, I think we will get there. It is something that has to be top of mind every single day. You can’t forget about it or take it less serious as we get closer to the finish line. I think we are getting there, and I think we have done a really good job of getting to where we are now. If you look where we started in the summer, where the country was locked down and people were not sure if it was even possible to have a season to getting through 12 games, it is impressive. There is still a lot of work to do to get through the rest of the season and the playoffs, but that has been our goal from the get go is starting the season, following through and getting to the Super Bowl.”

On public conjecture about postseason bubbles and if he is in active discussions about those type of subjects with the NFLPA while playing:

“I am still the president and still have to be involved in the conversations. Those conversations really have not happened between the two sides at this point. That is a lot more the public talking about what they think should happen or what they think would be good. That really has not come across between the two sides to discuss at this point.”

On Lamm’s reaction to the TD reception:

“He plays it cool. He plays it cool, but I know as anybody in that position would be, just really excited and really happy. Again, he gets to keep the ball. We are all so happy for him. That is a great memory he will have, and we will all have being a part of it.”

On Mayfield’s performance and how Mayfield getting into a rhythm like yesterday impacts the offense and its momentum:

“Baker played really well yesterday. We feel it. We feel the momentum. We feel the moving the ball up and down the field. That is always great, but that is what we expect of Baker day in and day out is playing at a high level, and he continues to do that for us.”

On the Titans coming back in the second half and if that helps keep the team humble and focused on improving:

“I do not think anybody is becoming not humble. We understand every week that we have to go out there and compete and play. I honestly think it is kind of a common occurrence. There are a lot more games that go on like that where a team gets up to a big lead in the first half and it gets closer in the second half, much more than something like the Patriots game this week where a big lead and they just kept on rolling. I think most of the time, you see the team slowly come back and chip away as the second half goes on. It is something that we can always grow from and you do not want to see it, but the other side prideful and is going to keep competing to the last second so you know they are going to keep fighting to keep clawing back. It is something that we do not want to see happen all the time, but again, you come out of there with a win and I will always take a 31-point lead at half, whether it gets close and winning the game. I will be fine with that. We played really well in the first half, and we will work on continuing that momentum in the second half.”

On how fun it was to watch yesterday’s film, given the Browns OL’s performance:

“I thought we protected really well. That is something we continue to work on and continue to try and keep Baker clean and give him a chance to go through his reads and make all of his throws. I think we did a really good job. I think we had a good plan going into the week of how we wanted to handle the blitzes. They do a really good job of disguising. I think we did a really good job of picking everything up and giving Baker as much time as possible.”

On Stefanski and QB Mayfield being on the same page and that has progressed this season:

“I think they have a really good relationship. I think they get along and they understand each other, and that is always important. It is always important for everybody in the building to be on the same page, have good working relationships and understanding each other. That is extremely important for the quarterback and the play caller for the success of the team is making sure Baker likes the plays that are going in and understands them through and through and make sure Kevin knows what Baker likes and Baker knows what plays are going to be coming in and that communication making sure it always moving and flowing back and forth. They have a great relationship so it is something that has always helped us.”

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