G Wyatt Teller (1.19.21)

G Wyatt Teller:

On the 2020 season, playoff experience and last week’s loss: 

“It is tough. I wish we were still practicing. It is weird to kind of say, but I wish we were still practicing and getting ready for some more football, but that is not how it worked out, which is was disheartening. What is promising is that we did a lot this year. A lot of curveballs were thrown, a lot of ups and downs and a roller coaster of season, and it showed you what we were capable of. That is a good promise. A lot of guys were able to come together and play well. I think that it was a good start, and I think there is a lot of good football to be played with this team.”

On several Browns players saying ‘we will be back’ and what gives him confidence that the Browns can be a playoff team consistently moving forward: 

“Like I said, it is promising. 2020 was a weird year – we can all attest to that. It was a strange year. I feel that the more we learn about whatever is going on in the world, we can handle it a little bit better. With that being said, it shows you what we can do. Think about those last three weeks, it was kind of weird – the first full week I was able to get back was the Chiefs week in a month. It was definitely a weird year. It was definitely a weird experience, but I think it brought us together and made us stronger, and we were able to do a lot. Like I said, I think it is promising and it proves to the point that we are in the right direction and we have good guys here. It is good.”

On his improvement from last season and making an impression on Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry and the team: 

“It is always a good thing to have your name around the building to be spoken about and stuff like that. All I can do is my job. I know that sounds cliché, but I can’t really make those decisions. I want to be here and I want to do all those things. I think that AB is going to be doing big things, and I think that he is a very smart guy. Right now, I think he is worried about the combine and all of this different stuff so I am going to let him focus on that. I look forward to all of that stuff and looking into next year. It is going to be a good time.”

On if the Browns OL can build with continuity next year after the first year in the offensive system: 

“Exactly. Like you said, the first year in the system to do what we did and to have the performances we had on the offensive line is a good thing. While it sucks to go out the way we did, it shows a lot of promise. I am looking forward to the offseason, to getting stronger and to taking the similar steps that I took last year to replicate the success and then get back. Like the guys said, we will be back. I truly believe that. I believe in the guys on the team, and I believe in the guys leading us. If we all buy in like we did this year, it is hard to say that it can’t happen again, but it is hard. We all know it is hard to replicate success. I know there is going to be a target on our back, but I am looking forward to working next year, trying to get to that next step and keep on moving forward.”

On if he ever got used to daily COVID-19 tests and other COVID-19 protocols: 

“Today was my first day off. I know that old habits die hard, but I woke up at 6 a.m. and I was like, ‘What am I doing? OK, yeah, I can go back to sleep.’ Today was the first day that you kind of wake up and you kind of get back into a little bit different routine where you are not doing as much. I had to return some stuff for football and bring some stuff home, but for the most part, you do not have a lot to do. It is kind of staying in a routine, staying in the schedule and trying to replicate last year. I feel like the biggest thing I did was have a routine and a schedule and stuck to it and trained. I feel like I am going to rest a little bit, enjoy a little bit of downtime and then get back to it.”

On if getting tested every day and the COVID-19 protocols were mentally exhausting at times: 

“It was, but it is a curveball that the whole NFL had to roll with. Again, you can’t really play the victim card. You kind of have to be like, ‘Well, whatever it takes.’ (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski always said it, ‘Embrace the suck’ mindset where it does not matter what it is, we kind of have to do it to get it done. There is strength in that. No matter whatever life throws and whatever coronavirus throws, we have to roll with the punches.”

On Stefanski’s even-keel and calm demeanor and its impact on the team, particularly in a year like the past one: 

“The biggest thing is he let us know and he talked to us. There is stuff that you can tell the team and there is stuff you can’t – who has tested positive and stuff – but he always tried to keep us in the loop. Transparency is huge, especially with the trust of the team. I think that he was very open and honest with us, honest with the media, honest with people and just an honest guy. I think that paid dividends in the long run when people need to play and you trust your guy, you trust your coach and you trust your team. It is a good feeling. I feel like Coach is a good guy, and I am thankful to have him as a coach and thankful to be a part of the offense. It is good.”

On beginning his career with the Bills and if he is rooting for his former team this week: 

“Yeah, they gave me my shot. They drafted me there. I understand it is business. I kind of grew a part of that family there. I love Bills Mafia. I am pulling for them. I wish the best for them. It kind of sucks. I wish that we could be playing them, but that is how it works sometimes. Yeah, I hope the best for them and all of the success to them. (Bills QB) Josh (Allen), I have texted him multiple times. (Bills DT) Harrison Phillips, I have texted him multiple times and (Bills G) Ike Boettger and a bunch of guys on the offensive line. (Bills T) Dion Dawkins, I made sure to say hey to him and FaceTime him a couple of times. I have been sending some love, some wish for success and stuff like that to them.”

On WR Rashard Higgins’ fumble last week and if he thinks the NFL should revisit the fumble-touchback rule: 

“That is above my paygrade, right (laughter)? I would say that it kind of sucks, but imagine if you were on the other side of that. Imagine if you are a Chiefs fan and that is the play that defines your game. I think it is kind of difficult to play one side or another. Trying to be as honest as I can be, it is hard to say, ‘Oh, it sucks because it happened to us.’ I think the best thing to happen there is you learn from the situation. I think that Higgs is a brilliant player. I think that was just a moment where he reached across when he could have just gotten the reception and went out of bounds – we all know that. I think that is something we can learn from. I think the Chiefs a couple of years ago had a play like that where someone jumped offside and they learned from it. I think that [Chiefs player] actually got traded, and I hope that does not happen to Higg… Damn (laughter). You learn from those situations as a team. I hope that we do and that is a step. We are a young team, and I think that those are the growing pains you kind of have, and if we get another opportunity, we learn from it.”

On if he going to change his offseason workout routine from last offseason:

“That is the power of it is I did not do anything crazy. I think the biggest thing was I was not (Ivan) Drago in Rocky where I had machines put up to me and I was watching macros and micros (laughter). No, I just had a routine. I stuck to lifting. I stuck to eating in a routine, which is a lot because to put on the weight to have or play at this sport, it takes a lot of focus on just food alone. I think that it was just staying focused and a lot of work in just a routine and training hard. I do not think that it was anything crazy. I think that as long as I understand that it is the time you put pays dividends in the long run, it will be alright.”

On how instrumental offensive line coach Bill Callahan was to the Browns OL’s success, as well as adding players to the unit:

“He is meticulous. That is how he is. He is a perfectionist. No matter how good you think you are or how good you think it was, he can see that it can be better. That makes me want to play better and it makes anybody want to play better. Sometimes it is tough and you just want to hear, ‘Hey, good job,’ but that is not how it is going to be. You know that. You know that you have to work so hard to just get your job done and then it is the extra little finish and it is the extra little bit that springs the touchdown. He always understands that the little bit of head leverage is the little bit of difference and that little angle difference is key. I think that he is a huge part to the success we had, and I think that even the other guys would attest to that.”

On fighting a high ankle sprain to return for the regular season finale:

“Of course, when my calf went, I never had been injured. I know that is going to sound weird, but throughout 21 years of playing football, you might get hurt or something like that and you will have a brace but you can play through it. This was the first time that I have ever missed a game due to an injury in 21 years and then I got injured again, and it was four weeks apart. I was injured twice in 21 years, and they were four weeks apart. It is definitely a very weird feeling. When the calf went, it was just a weird freak [injury]. If you look at it, it was not like I was in a bad direction or anybody hit me in the back of the legs. It just went. The tendon went. As soon as I started getting back – that was three [games] and luckily we had the bye week so it was a four-week injury – I got back and I was training real hard to get to where I was running and conditioning wise. Taking four weeks off is a lot technique-wise and fundamentals. I start getting back, and I am like, ‘OK, here we go. We are getting on a roll.’ Then I get hit in the back of the legs and my high ankle sprain. Luckily, it was not worse, and I thank God every day for that. I feel like it was another thing that you have to deal with. Whenever I got back for that Steelers game, that was my playoff game, like you said. I think that is the way that is the way that I approached it. It did not matter and I knew that it was going to hurt, but tape it up, peg-leg it out and we will have to do what we have to do.”

On if he may have missed more time with the high ankle sprain if it occurred earlier in the season:

“High ankle sprains are nasty, and I know especially in skill positions – I am not a skill player – where if you do not take care of that high ankle sprain, that will last weeks and weeks and weeks. I understood that. I think there was a part of that to it. I am not going to be dumb. I do not think our medical staff and I do not think the ownership that no one wants that. I think that everybody was looking out for me, as well as the team, which is good and ‘Hey, look, if it was seriously bad, we would not let you [play],’ even if you were like, ‘I need to be out there.’ There is a little bit of a leash that they have to pull on some players – pull forward or pull backwards. Sometimes you have to understand that some players are like, ‘Hey, I have never been injured. This I fine. I am ready.’ and the reinjure it or vice versa and someone is like, ‘Hey, I am not ready,’ and it has been ready for a week. You kind of have to play both sides and understand that aspect to it. I was ready to go in two [weeks], and I was lucky for that.”

On reviewing his pass blocking with Callahan:

“I think that a lot of it happens with technique and fundamentals. I think that I have a lot of reps where it is done right and a lot of reps where it is not done so right. Trusting the technique and fundamentals is a big thing that Coach and I talked about – hand usage, hand striking and being able to pass set a little bit lower so I am not too high up. There were a lot of things, especially in this past game, that we had to go over and reflect on, and it sucks. I feel like I could have played better in the last game, regardless of who it was. I know that (Chiefs DT) Chris Jones is a hell of a player, and those are the game you have to perform your best. I feel that as anybody would say – we lost – I feel that we could play better, and reflecting on that is huge. I think that Coach Callahan understands where I have strengths and understands where I have weaknesses, and we have talked about that. This offseason is big on getting healthy again. I think that pass pro for me at the beginning of the season was off the charts and then it is a little nick here and a little bang there and trying to get back and get back to that fundamentals and foot fire, fast feet and all of these different things that it takes to perform at this level against these pass rushers.”

On if he is aware of his high Pro Football Focus ratings from the past season and if it matters to him:

“Yeah, that is great. I love the media attention, right? I love it and it means a lot to me because there is a little bit of bragging to that but we also understand that it is all a single grading scale and really what matters is what your organization or what another organization thinks about you. The media might think a certain thing and an organization thinks another. I think the biggest thing is taking it with a grain of salt. Hey, that is good pub. I love it. It is awesome and it kind of does show and some of the best players are graded high and they do show that they have some understand, right? I am thankful for that, but really it is what the organization thinks, and that is their own grading scale and that is the way that they view a player, an athlete or an offensive lineman. I love it and it is awesome, but it is also something I take with a grain of salt.”

On how exciting it is that the Browns OL’s starting five are under contract through next season and how much better the unit can be together next year:

“I agree. That is why I said it so promising. I started off with it is so promising because we do have guys another year and we have the success we made in this year where we were just learning the system, and we are going to have another year. Any offensive lineman would say it takes years to gain continuity with the player next to you. To see (T) Jack (Conklin) and I playing at a high level Week 1 was a testament to how many reps we took, how hard we worked during camp and to what kind of coach Callahan is. That is positive, and we have great backups and great guys who start. It is a promising offensive line and a great room to be a part of.”

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