LB Anthony Walker (3.22.21)

 

On the outpouring of support he received from his former teammates:

“Definitely always great to have the respect of your peers and close friends. Leaving Indy is not an easy thing to do. I built some great, lasting friendships over there with a lot of great people, especially with (Colts LB) Darius Leonard, who played right next to me for three years. A great brother and friend there in him. (Colts CB) Kenny Moore, (QB) Jacoby Brissett, all those guys I was able to share the locker room with. Appreciative of their outpouring of comments and the love and respect we have for one another. It is definitely bigger than football.”

 

On his first impressions of the Browns:

“Obviously, playing against the Browns last year, I knew they were a playoff team. I talked to coach (Kevin) Stefanski and I told him, ‘When we played you guys last year, I told the guys in our locker room that is a great football team over there.’ When you can stop the run and run the football, you are going to put yourselves in position to be successful in the NFL. The ability to make big plays and limit big plays, I thought they played good complimentary football, offense and defense. Just happy to be a part of this organization and just do my small part to help us be successful.”

 

On how he can establish himself with the Browns:

“You come in and you be yourself. You do not try to be anything other than yourself. For me, I am not really a rah-rah guy or anything like that. I come in every day with the same mentality to come in and get better, come in and get better with my teammates. Just come in and go to work, honestly. I think that is the most important thing your peers respect, the way you come in and grind with them every day. That is just what I was taught when I was a younger player, high school and everything like that. Those friendships, the respect of your peers comes during training camp, during the offseason when they see you putting in the work with them and you are out there on the field producing. That is what I am going to try to come in and do. Not do anything other than be myself.”

 

On his habit of film study:

“I owe my dad [and] my coaches when I was younger, they get a lot of the credit teaching me how to watch film, study film and put yourself in the best position. When it is game day, you are not really surprised on the field when a team doe something. Owe a lot of credit to those guys. For me, it is all about preparation. As the MIKE linebacker, you are basically the quarterback of the defense. The quarterback of the offense, their job is to put you in the best position, the best play against the defense they are going against. For me, I want to do the same thing with our defense. I want to make sure we are lined up, we are ready to go against anything the offense can present against us. I take pride in that. Again, that is just a habit I have formed with film study and watching film with other guys to make sure we are on the same page. I listen to my coaches more than anything. I never overstep boundaries when it comes to that. More so, for me, I have always been big on doing a little extra. Just making sure I am on the same page with the defensive coordinator, but also on the same page as my teammates who I am out there on the field with. If they are seeing the same things I am seeing, we are able to diagnose plays and get tackles for loss, sacks, whatever it is. We are not surprised by anything. As a MIKE linebacker, I take pride in making sure we are prepared to go on Sundays and we are prepared to see anything the offense is trying to throw at us.”

 

On QB Baker Mayfield:
“It is funny, one of my [former] teammates texted me the other day and was like, ‘Oh, I see why you were defending Baker Mayfield in our locker room, because you wanted to go play for Cleveland.’ But I told him before, Baker Mayfield impressed me in college–the way he played at Oklahoma. Obviously, he always had that chip on his shoulder being a walk-on. Nothing but much respect to him for that. Going in with the mindset and going to work, putting the work in and being successful on the field with that. Honestly, for me, I know he can make every throw. That was the No. 1 thing, the first thing that I wrote down was that he can make every throw—out of the pocket, in the pocket. We had to make sure that we got to him as much as we could with our front four, because the talent at receiver and tight end is really crazy when you talk about the Cleveland Browns. Literally, one of my close friends texted me and was like, ‘You are going to play for the (Golden State) Warriors on offense.’ For us in that game we had to make sure that we got pressure with the front four and everybody was disciplined in our zone and man coverages. When you are playing against an elite quarterback, you have to make sure that the front and the backend are working together and that was our main topic that week. Obviously, the plays that he made in the first half really did not surprise me but to see him make the throws out of the pocket, rolling out, just the way he took control of the game early on and then being able to hold on at the end, I thought he played a great football game against us. Nothing but respect for Baker.”

 

On if he has talked to Mayfield:

“Yeah. He texted me right after the news was announced. He reached out to me. When you have the franchise quarterback reaching out to you when you first sign and know you are becoming a part of the team, it is always nice to get that welcome. Definitely was appreciative of him for that.”

 

On where he feels like he fits into defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ scheme:

“I think that the scheme fit is very much there, coming from (Colts defensive coordinator) Matt Eberflus’ defense. A lot of similarities and just enough little tweaks of things that I actually did in college that I am very familiar with as well. It is funny, as soon as we got in the office, we were able to talk ball in literally two seconds and a meeting that was supposed to go maybe 10-15 minutes turned into 30 minutes just because when you have two guys that love ball able to just talk and go. It was a great fit right away, I felt like. Hopefully, he feels the same way. It was good. It was good to meet him and understand the scheme and philosophy that he is trying to run and have the similarities that marry together.”

 

On how DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward help can make him a better player and vice versa:

“One thing I will always say is you have a guy that can get to the quarterback and a guy that can shut down half of the field. That makes my job a lot easier. Just make sure nobody catches the ball over the middle and make sure I am at my gap when the run fits. Honestly, that is all defensive football is. You have guys, and again, very fortunate enough to play in the NFL, where you have guys that can do that. Myles Garrett that can get to the quarterback in two seconds. Denzel Ward, who can lock down any side of the field, any receiver. Fortunate enough to be playing with those guys. This is special. I am looking forward to playing with those guys and it is exciting, I will say that.”

 

On if he knew he was going to sign with the Browns when visited last week:

“That is a two-part answer. For me, you always have questions that you want to have answered. But I also will say this, I took one visit in college to Northwestern University and I committed right away and I was kind of locked in on doing the same thing in Cleveland: take one visit and you will know if it is the right fit or not right away and I thought it was the perfect fit, honestly. I was locked in already.”

 

On if signing S John Johnson, CB Troy Hill and DE Takk McKinley swayed his decision toward the Browns:

“When you see a team trending in the right direction, you want to be a part of that. Seeing them play last year, seeing the pieces they are adding this year, you know they are building something special.”

 

On if he wants to be the defensive signal caller and why he would be good at it:

“I have played with it, I have played without it. Never felt that I needed it or did not need it to get my job done, honestly. Honestly, to create the means to say the green dot is literally just the person who hears the call first and then after that, when the other person knows it, then we are able to go. Whatever responsibility and role that I am trusted with to do this season, I am going to do it. If that is wearing the green dot, I will wear it and communicate the same way I will with anything. And if I do not wear it, I will still communicate the same way I do. All I need is the call, honestly, and we play football from there. I have always prided myself on knowing what the call is coming in before I should know that. We should know as a defense what coach wants to call on this down and distance versus this personnel grouping or whatever it is. Hopefully, I am trusted with that job and I will take it and run with it.”

 

On what he wants to accomplish as a player in Cleveland:

“At the end of the day, we play this game to win the biggest trophy in it and that is winning the Super Bowl. I am happy to be a part of the Cleveland Organization and to be a small part of what we hope to be–a Super Bowl team. That is my No. 1 goal. It will always be my No. 1 goal, whatever team I play for, it is to win a Super Bowl. Honestly, when you have that mindset, everything else comes after. You play good defense, everybody is going to get the accolades and all of that stuff. It is just what happens. My No. 1 goal is to help this team win a Super Bowl and the next part of that would be to help us become the No. 1 defense in the NFL and whatever that takes. Whatever happens after that, it is all gravy. At the end of the day, I want to win and that is why Cleveland is the place I chose.”

 

On if he feels like Cleveland is a place that can win a Super Bowl:

“Of course. You talk about a team that is a fourth-and-one away from beating the Kansas City Chiefs and going on to the next round. A team that you could say is a couple pieces away or maybe a play or two away from being in talks of playing in the Super Bowl last year. You join a team like that with the culture they are building, the team, the comradery, all of that stuff. Again, I am a small part of joining a great organization and an organization that is turning in the right direction. I am proud to be a part of it.”

 

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