C JC Tretter and CB Denzel Ward (11.25.19)

Below are full transcripts of today’s conference calls with the following Browns players:

 

  • C JC Tretter
  • CB Denzel Ward

 

C JC Tretter:

On what he learned about the team last week, given the distractions yet remaining focused:

“I think (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) preached it all week of just kind of controlling what we can control and focusing on this week. That has kind of been our mantra the last three weeks is just focusing on one week at a time and trying to go 1-0 each week. We did a great job of that.”

 

On if he ever doubted that the team would turn it around after a losing streak early in the season:

“I think we still have a lot of work to do. We are far from where we need to be and where we want to be. Everybody knew the talent we had in the building. We knew we just had to fix some things and get some things corrected, and we started doing that. We still have a long way to go, and we can’t really look at it like we have accomplished anything yet. We are still a sub-.500 team and we have a lot of work to go. We have to keep going one week at a time and control what we can control.”

 

On how RB Kareem Hunt has impacted the Browns offense:

“He is a huge weapon to have. He is just another weapon that, similar to (RB) Nick (Chubb), we know if we get something blocked up for him, he can take it to the house. He has been a great addition. He has done everything we have asked him. He has been willing the first week back to be a blocker and do all those things just to help the team. That has been a great asset for us.”

 

On if he still feels like the ‘sky is the limit’ for Chubb and Hunt:

“They both are kind of similar backs and do a lot of great things, but they are versatile and we can do a bunch of different things with them. We can use them both on the field at the same time, and that has been a measurable package for us since Kareem got back. I think we are still growing the packages that we can use him and we are still moving him around and finding the best place to put each of them. It is a good problem to have, and I think it is something that we enjoy trying to get both of those guys involved, get them opportunities and get them rolling.”

 

On if he expects emotions to be running higher at Pittsburgh this week than a typical Browns-Steelers game, given what occurred in Week 11:

“I am sure there it will be a more talked about game than it would have been otherwise on the outside, but I can really only speak for myself – I am going to treat this like any other game. I think it is going to be an important game both teams and both teams trying to accomplished what we are trying to accomplish from where we are right now. I think it is going to be scrutinized and talked about leading up to the game, but for me, at least, I am treating this like I would any game. I just go out there and try to win. I think what happened a week and a half ago, that has passed and it is over. The discipline has been passed down and now it is time to move past it. It is kind of a weird thing having to play the team pretty quick right back after it, but both teams have bigger goals than whatever we would waste by wasting it and going after each other and not focusing on winning the game.”

 

On how different it is to play a team twice within three weeks and the challenges with it:

“It does not happen very often, I feel like, but it is one of those things where preparation wise the scouting of personnel and things will be easier and you will be able to go back to your notes and remember the things you watched on film. The week of preparation will be a little smoother, but it is kind of an odd thing to play a group, especially on a Thursday game, and then right back at it a week later. Yeah, it will be a little different.”

 

On what has been clicking for QB Baker Mayfield during recent weeks:

“I think we have just given him the opportunity to make plays. Early on in the season, we were having a bunch of penalties and getting behind the down and distance. When you are facing third-and-15s or second-and-20s, the game of football is a lot different from those down and distances than once you are ahead of the down and distance and you are getting a second-and-5 or a third-and-3. The playbook is more open. You can do whatever you want. You can take shots. I think it is just all of us playing better and playing more disciplined around him has allowed him to do what he does, and that is make plays for the football team.”

 

On if the Browns OL is hitting its stride and G Wyatt Teller’s performance since starting at RG:

“Wyatt is doing well. We are continuing to grow to together. That is going to be a kind of an ever-evolving process that is just all of us are getting more used to each other and more comfortable with how we play and how we fit, but we are making solid strides, we are playing well and that is just something we need to continue to work on.”

 

On Browns players buying into the 1-0 mantra each week:

“Part of is it is kind of what we have to at this point. Were we found ourselves three weeks ago, you can’t start thinking about we have to win seven or eight games. You have to start thinking let’s just take one at a time and try to claw our way back into this this thing. I think it was at the point of the season where that is really what we had to start doing and that we had to start really focusing on each week of we have to win this game and we have to be dialed in and ready to go and go 1-0 and you can’t think about two weeks from now, three weeks from now or four weeks from now. You just have to worry about this week and slowly get things moving in the right direction. I think that is kind of just where we settled in. Obviously, like you said, in the beginning of the season, if you were to say let’s go 1-0 every week and you do that, then you will have a hell of a year. I think that is just where we found ourselves after kind of a rough, rocky start, and that is something we all kind of rallied behind now of just really focusing one week at a time of going out there and doing our jobs and making sure we put our best foot forward to win.”

 

On if he agrees with DT Sheldon Richardson’s comment that Head Coach Freddie Kitchen’s team meetings are a little long but the team needed it:

“I think anytime you can get the whole team together and get us all on the same page of what we are trying to accomplish that week and that day, it is good. I think the more we are all on the same page, the better and it is what the team needs.”

 

On if the Browns’ focus of going 1-0 each week has changed from the beginning of the year:

“I would not say the focus changes. Obviously, like I was trying to reference, you always want to win the game that week. I think now we have kind of put ourselves that our backs are against the wall, and if we want any hopes of reaching the goals we set, we have to go 1-0 every week at a time. I just think we have started to play better and play more disciplined, and we have stopped hurting ourselves for the most part. We have stopped putting ourselves in a position that makes it tough for us to win, and that allows our playmakers to make plays and it allows our offense to do what we envisioned what our offense would be capable of doing from the start. I think that is really what has changed is just we have just really become a more disciplined team penalty-wise, negative play-wise and missed assignment-wise – that we have stopped shooting ourselves in the foot for the most part.”

 

On if it is difficult to not look ahead and consider standings and potential playoff scenarios:

“No, I do not think so because again, if you just handle each week one at a time and you do what you are supposed to do, then it is all going to shake out for you. I do not think much happens by looking ahead and trying to pencil in wins and losses to each team and seeing what would happen. I think if we just focus on handling our business, things have a good chance of shaping out for us.”

 

CB Denzel Ward:

On if he agrees with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks saying that he has been playing lights out since coming back from injury:

“Yeah, I feel I have been playing pretty well. I still have a lot of things that I still have to work on, though and prove that. I feel that I have been playing a lot better ball than towards the beginning of the season, though.”

 

On how he is better than last season when he was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie:

“I would say my off-the-field habits and taking care of my body, as well as I feel like I am smarter player this year, just learning the playbook, how to watch film and how to translate that over to the game of the films that I watch on the team we may have that week or from the scouting of the players that I do. I feel that I am just a much smarter player on the field, and I am able to remember what I watch in the classroom and take it out there on the field.”

 

On assessing the Browns defense’s performance yesterday, specifically given missing personnel:

“I feel that those guys have been playing real well – the whole defense has done so. Definitely the guys that stepped up and played for some of the players that we have out, they made plays and did their job. The coaches all week were kind of preaching next man up and no matter who is out there, we have to go out there and make plays and find a way to win the game.”

 

On the importance of controlling emotions in rivalries like Ohio State-Michigan and Cleveland-Pittsburgh and if it is difficult to do so:

“I do not think so. I think just off how I was raised and then going to Ohio State, it kind of taught us how to keep our composure but still go out there and play to the best of our abilities and still play with passion but just being able to control your actions and control yourself, not really trying to do anything to hurt the team in any way. I do not feel that it is too difficult for me, personally, to kind of control myself out there on the field.”

 

On if he and the team are more cautious of emotions this upcoming Sunday with everything that transpired the last time the Browns faced the Steelers:

“Yeah, definitely. Especially this week as we play them, I know that it is going to be a lot of trash talking out there and a lot of guys are going to try and get into your head and do things to try and get you out of character. You just have to think about the betterment of the team and just go out there and win the game  but do not do any stupid penalties or anything toward the other team that could hurt this team.”

 

On if he looks at the standings to see where the Browns stand in the playoff race:

“No, not really. We are just really focused at taking it a game at a time and just being 1-0 the next week. That is what it is all about, and everything else will take care of itself towards the end of the year.”

 

On how to tune out trash talking from opponents:

“I think it is kind of fun. It is not really a big problem to me. It is just not doing anything to hurt the team and physically putting your hands on someone after the play or anything like that. I don’t think anything is wrong with trash taking or a few words back and forth, as long as you don’t do anything negatively to affect the team and put them in a bad position to win the game.

 

On the expected scene in Pittsburgh, given the rivalry and recent events:

“I feel it is going to be a heated game. Like I said, there is going to be a lot of trash talking. A lot of guys are going to try to get under your skin and do things that get you out of character, but we just have to stay poised and focused on what we are there to do, and that is win the game.”

 

On CB Greedy Williams’ performance this season:
“He has been playing well. Like all of us, we have stuff that we need to work on still to better ourselves and better the team. He has been playing decent, and we just have to continue to improve each week.”

 

On if he feels some of the emotions from the game and last week’s events will be lessened if Steelers QB Mason Rudolph does not start:

“Not at all. I do not think that single player is going to be the difference of how a lot of guys feel going into this game. Outside of what happened, there was still a lot of trash talking going on between specific players and just the rivalry within itself is going to spark a lot of emotions going into this game.”

 

On if there will be an added layer of emotion for players specific to Rudolph, given reports that DE Myles Garrett in his appeal stated Rudolph used a racial slur:

“You have to speak to those specific individuals on what motivates them individually, but for me personally, I am just going out there to do my job and find a way to help this team win. Everyone has their own motivation. The emotions are going to be high obviously because of the situation that happened and what happened to Myles and some of our other guys, but we just have to go in there and focus on trying to pull out a win.”

 

On DT Larry Ogunjobi returning this week following a one-game suspension and the impact on the defense this week:

“It is going to be a big boost having him back. Larry is a very good player, and we could use as much depth on the defensive line and the team as we need. Those guys get a rotation going on throughout the entire game and rotating the defensive linemen so whenever we can have good defensive linemen out there on the field and fresh, that is always a plus. He is a good player, and he is definitely going to help us.”

 

On where Williams has improved most this season:

“I think he is just comfortable. He plays with a lot of confidence out there. Whether he give up a catch or not, he is going to go out there and play the next play harder than the he did the last. He is going out there with that confidence. He has the technique and the physical ability to go out there and play with anybody and any of those guys. That is just pretty much it.”

 

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