C JC Tretter (9.30.20)

C JC Tretter:

On if there are NFL guidelines noting whether a team is required to have a certain number of practice days in order to play, given reports of the Steelers-Titans game being postponed: 

“I do not think there is anything written in there, and still a lot depends on the testing. We will continue to track the testing as this week goes on and make sure we are trending in the right direction. That is really the big thing right now, but I do not think there is anything written about a mandatory certain amount of days of preparation.”


On reports of the Titans-Steelers game being postponed and what concerns that creates about future implications or cases at teams: 

“I think the big thing like we talked about last time I talked to you guys is needing to keep this top of mind and understanding that this virus is still out there. It is easy to fall into a sense of ease or relax on some of the protocols, but the protocols are what is keeping us going and following those protocols and making sure we make the right decisions. The protocols are now in effect of contact tracing and testing and keeping people out of the facility to stop any further spread. We have been going really smoothly for a long time, and now there is some expectation that this was eventually going to happen. It is tough to keep the virus completely out, but now it is about everybody making good decisions and protocols going into effect and working from here on out.”


On if he or the NFLPA was consulted on the decision to postpone the game: 

“I think that is more the NFL sets the schedule. There are some rules that are in effect, but the NFL sets the schedule. Again, we still have to track the testing and make sure we trend in the right direction that everybody is safe to go and play that game.”


On his op-ed about the challenges of playing on field turf as opposed to grass fields and if he expects it will be a focus for the union moving forward: 

“The data stands out. Those numbers are staggering in the difference in injury rate between turf and natural grass. It is possible to get grass in every location. It is about pushing for that. Like I said in the article, we all should be working towards the safest style of play, and we know the dangers of playing on turf. That is not good for anybody – it is not good for players, it is not good for the GMs and head coaches, it is not good for the owners and it is not good for the fans. Increased injuries are not good for anybody. Until we can find a way to get synthetic turf to respond and react like natural grass, it is too much of a danger to continue to play on and expect different results. This data was from an extended amount of time. It is clear that it is one of the main causes of these increased injuries, and I think we need to start doing something about that.”


On how the NFLPA can push for more natural grass fields: 

“There are multiple steps to take. We have a committee of engineers who look into this. The first step is getting a better testing regimen on how we test these surfaces. The Clegg test tests for hardness but not for performance and safety. We need to get better league wide on all surfaces and a better testing procedure to make sure we are playing on the safest surfaces possible. That is about continuing to push to provide us with the safest work environment possible. If we know grass is significantly more safe than synthetic turf, it is about continuing to push forward and making it a priority. Player safety will always be a priority for us and for the union. Just making that push every single day and making sure we are providing the safest work environment possible.”


On if the topic of turf compared to grass came up during the recent CBA negotiations: 

“I was not on the executive committee at the time so I do not know if it came up in in bargaining. It is something that from here on out I think we need to make a priority.”


On if the injuries the 49ers sustained at MetLife Stadium factored into the timing of his column: 

“It definitely sparked an interest in writing it. I try to wait until each month to have something that is kind of top of mind to talk about so that was the issue, but this data did not even include last season and this season. This is not even taking into effect what has gone on the last two years. It has been pretty clear for a while. Again, I know how it how it feels anecdotally. I know how my body responds playing on turf versus playing on grass. I know how much I prefer to play on grass. The data backs that up. That is the main reason for writing it.”


On his confidence that the Browns offense can put up points in the pass game against the Cowboys, given the Cowboys offense’s potential: 

“I feel confident in that. I think our offense is going pretty well. Again, we have been able to run the ball well, and that marries up with the run and the pass. That is what we want is to not have the defense be able to know exactly what we are doing, whether it is a runner or a pass, and we have great action and great keeps. I think (QB) Baker (Mayfield) has done a really good job.”


On how the Browns OL has come together in the past three games:

“They had plenty of work together. Obviously, I was the guy that was not out there with them during training camp, but the guards and tackles worked together plenty in the training camp time. I have obviously worked with (G) Wyatt (Teller) and definitely (G) Joel (Bitonio) for a long time now. I think that was never a concern about how we were going to gel together. There was plenty of time to get that done. Especially with the type of offense we run, you know what the footwork is supposed to be, you know where you are supposed to be and how you are supposed to get there and it is all about marring up and making sure we are all on the same page, which we have plenty of meetings and getting all on the same page is never really a concern for us. We have a lot of experience, and we are able to go out there and we are coached up well.”


On how RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt push each other and how key their relationship is to making the offense work:

“They just care about winning. I think they are both big fans of each other, and they both are excited when the other one does well. We are fortunate enough to have two extremely talented running backs who run the ball hard, run the ball well and take advantage of any crease we can give them. It is great for us as an offensive line to have two guys like that behind you, knowing they are going to make you right and they are going to make big plays in the run game and make our job easier.”


On if it is challenging balancing being NFLPA President and preparing for a game: 

“Just an added responsibility. I do not think it is too troubling or too much of an issue. You always have some bit of free time during the season anyways. Instead of playing video games or scrolling on your phone, you are doing something with the union now. It is not that big of an issue. You have an off day on Tuesday where you can get a lot of your stuff done, and obviously, something seems to always pop up. You are just available whenever you can to help out with that.”


On offensive holding calls being down across the NFL this year and a recent report that enforcement of offensive holding is a bit more lax this year by design:

“I am not going to complain too much about that. Not too much of a worry for me. I think it shows that we were able to prepare even with the limited offseason and play with good fundamentals. I think that acclimation period was really good for players as it let you instead of being thrown right into 11-on-11 and thrown right into team drills and competitive drills, it gives you a bunch of time to work with your coaches on fundamentals, especially the offensive line of getting your footwork down and getting your hand placement down. I think that was a big advantage of getting guys their technique down early on in training camp, and I think that is translating to the game, as well.”


On the physical difference of playing on field turf compared to grass:

“Usually, I know going in the next day is going to be the issue so if we have to for whatever reason have really bad weather and have to go indoors and play on turf, I know my joints, my lower extremity joints are going to be stiffer and more swollen. That is something you kind of understand going into it and you kind of dread a little bit knowing that is it just going to be harder to get your body back where you want it by Sunday. That is just kind of the feel. Then you add in the increase in injury rate just based off how synthetic turf is built differently than grass and grass’ ability to tear away and release your ankles or your knees from being in compromised situations. Turf is not built that way. You have kind of two different issues. You have one, the pounding of just being on a hard surface on turf and just that constant pounding, and second, when you get put and you put so much force and so much torque in the ground, when you are doing that, eventually something has to give in certain situations. Usually, the grass is what is going to give and better release your ankle or release your knee in that compromised situation. When you are turf, the turf is not going to give and it is not going to rip away. It is going to be your joint that is the one that has to give. That is why you see kind of a higher injury.”


On if it means something to the rest of the Browns offense that Chubb gets the recognition of being one of the best RBs in the league, given Chubb does not seem to be phased by it:

“I do not think any of us get caught up in outside praise. I think we want both Nick and Kareem to run for a bunch of yards and be supper successful. I do not think we worry about rankings or anything that kind of is people’s opinions. We want our two backs to be extremely successful running the ball, put up great numbers and continue to do that. I think Nick is the type of guy, too, that does not worry about any of that. He just cares about winning, and we are in the same boat. We just want to perform on the field and not worry too much about where guys stand in the public eye. We are just focused on what happens on the field.”


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