LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (1.3.24)

So what does this feel like? Getting ready for the playoffs?

“Well, I mean, it feels like we have a game this week. It feels like although we know that we’re in playoffs, we still have to keep our focus lasered in on the Bengals and all of that their game plan is going to do for us, but they have a few changes from the last time we saw them and we have a few changes. So we’re just trying to make sure that we’re locked in. Even for the players that maybe have a little bit less playing time, we’re still trying to stay locked in to prepare ourselves properly to get in that rhythm for the playoffs.”


The adage for contenders is you want to be playing your best football in late December going into January. Do you feel like right now that you guys are where you feel you need to be and do you feel like you’ve been playing your best football? 

“Well, I wouldn’t say the best football that we can play. I’m sure that the scores are looking a lot different than if we were playing the best while we could play, at least speaking for the defense, but we are playing at a level that allows us to get wins and I think that’s what’s important at the time is just to make sure that we come out with the win. Make sure that we execute, and that’s what we’re trying to do here Sunday with the Bengals.”


So are you expecting to rest at least to some degree, whether or not it’s all game or part of the game? 

“Yeah, I’m not really sure what the coach is going to do, but I know I’ll probably hear some words soon.”


Are you a believer in momentum? There’s one school of thought is if guys rest going into the playoffs, that kind of takes away momentum that gets built up and things like that. Are you a believer that game-to-game momentum builds and carries over? 

“I’m not necessarily like a big momentum guy, at least off the field. I would much rather rely on discipline. I would much rather rely upon the process in which we put in place since the offseason. I think that’s what we’re really going to rely on is that culture that we’ve built in the mindset to always finish out strong. Momentum inside of the game, though, is a real thing. You got the crowd and everything pumping you up. That’s a real thing. But as far as like off the field, we’re just trying to follow into the process that we’ve been doing and making sure that we come out with the win and that starts Sunday.”


How does Cincinnati look different to you with (Jake) Browning playing quarterback? 

“I’m sure that we’re going to be expecting some more quick passes than we usually have. They’re not trying to get hit or anything. I know our d line has been doing a great job putting pressure on quarterbacks, but it looks a lot different. I mean, they’re proficient in what they do. 70% completion rate from Browning. So I think that the offense is not an offense that we got to say, oh, well, this quarterback isn’t a good quarterback. He’s an excellent quarterback and he’s done a great job for them so far. They’ve been keeping the ball well. I think a plus eight in the turnover margin. So that’s a great stat to have. So, it’s just like any game, we’re going into it, trying to follow into the coach’s plan and follow through, making sure that all of our processes come to fruition.”


Joe Flacco’s impact on the field is pretty obvious. What’s he meant to you guys off the field? 

‘Yeah, I mean, he’s an anchor. He’s able to know guys personally and what I mean by personally is to understand personalities. He came into the locker room and guys are calling him cuz all type of stuff. I think he quoted, I think Coop (Amari Cooper) one time. But again, when you’re in the locker room and especially as a quarterback being an anchor, you have so many different personalities. You have so many different types of people. I think he does a great job of that. He’s been in the league for a long time, so I think he understands that to a high degree.”


What have you seen out of Greg (Newsome) in the last month or so?

“New has been improving since he’s got here. He’s a big energy guy. You’ll see on the field like he’s always the guy along with a couple of other guys, but he’s like the guy that’s always kind of doing celebrations, running over. You’ll see him, he may be down the field, but we get a sack and he’ll be the first guy down there to celebrate. So, he’s a big energy guy. He’s been doing very well with his defense, making sure he get a lot of PDs and he’s just been a playmaker as always.”


Do you feel like you’ve had a Pro Bowl season? 

“I wouldn’t necessarily say Pro Bowl season in the sense of my own standard. Right. I think the player standard is always higher than what other people may think. Right. But for me, I would have wanted to have some more TFL. I would want to have some more interceptions, more forced fumbles. Right. More tackles. But again, that’s the process, though. That’s the process that we have to go through to become the player that we want for ourselves. Right.”


Did you watch football this weekend? Did you watch the Ravens? 

“I actually didn’t watch much of that. I was trying to kind of take my mind away a little bit from football. I’ll probably get back in there and watch a little bit more, but for me, I was trying to lay back a little bit, make sure I take care of my body, travel a little bit, and see family.


So you didn’t look at scores? 

“Oh, no, I was definitely looking at scores. I wasn’t watching physically the game, but I did have my little ESPN alerts or whatever.”


The fact that the Ravens got the number one seed. They’re in your division. You beat them. That’s the pathway to the Super Bowl. How do you feel about that?

“Well, again, we’re focused on the Bengals right now. I think as we go on week by week, we’ll make sure to emphasize each team that’s coming up. The Ravens are a great team. They’ve done a great job this year and executing, and when we see them.”


Has the game slowed down for you this year? It just seems like you’re playing really fast and the lights have really kind of come on more so than ever. 

“I think you all love this question right here. That question right there. I probably got to ask that question more.  But no, I think for me, the more time that you get in doing something, the more experience you get in doing something, you become. Something gets better, right? Something may get worse, but also something gets better. And I think for me, I’ve been around coach (Jason) Tarver enough, been around the players enough to be able to kind of adjust and adapt to the system into which we play, how we feel each other. But, yeah, I think that for me, I think the more time, the more comfortability, and the more intensity that you put into the time you get, the better results you get.”


Sometimes it can be scheme, too, you know what I mean? Like Jim Schwartz could have put you in amazing positions of strength, and maybe that has a lot to do with it, too. Do you think it’s a combo of both of those? 

“Yeah, I mean, it’s a combo of everybody in the organization, from the people that help us out with the laundry to the people that’s in the front office. I think all of our success has to do with the organization in totality. It’s not just Jim Schwartz, although he’s mastermind, right? It’s not just Myles Garrett, although he’s the mastermind. Right. I think it’s a combination of a lot of small pieces that we may not even see.”


As the injuries started to pile up this year. When did you kind of feel like, yeah, we’re still good enough, we still have what it takes to overcome all of them? 

“Yeah, I don’t think it was a point for me. I was like, oh, we’re still good enough? I think for us, it was just like, hey, we’ve set in place a platform, we set in place a culture, a standard to which anyone who is inside of this framework has to keep that 1-11 as we talk about all the time. And I think for us, at least for the players, we’re not like, okay, we prefer this guy over this guy or this guy over another. I think for us it’s like, are you keeping a standard? Are you doing little things that will allow us to continue to propel ourselves forward, to give the city what it’s been asking for years. Right.”


Is it surprising at all that you guys have been able to overcome all the adversity? 

“Yeah, I don’t think anything is surprising when you put the work in. I think for us, we put the work in, the processes in, and we have wanted the season to go a bit better. Right, of course. But I think for us, it’s week by week. It’s second by second. It’s hour by hour. How can we be better than what were that last hour or that last second. Right. So I think that’s really the mind frame which we are right now. There’s AWalk (Anthony Walker) I haven’t seen AWalk in a long time.”


You guys have talked about next man up mentality. Was there a moment that you noticed a turn from like a cliche in football to like, no, we really do fully embody this as a team?

“I mean, you see that in camp, you got guys going out to camp, we have joint practices, and you see guys that fill in. You may throw a guy in there during the joint practices that’s maybe one with the threes or whatever, but still is able to kind of embody that culture that we’ve set—mind, body and spirit—to be able to be out there with tenacity and do his job. And I think that’s the basics. Football is all about the fundamentals, and I think for us, the guys that come in, know the fundamentals and are able to implement those things.”


What makes Browns—Bengals? It just seems that there’s something between these two teams, what makes games between you guys? I guess unique is the word. Intense, however you want to put it, just seems to be a little nice rivalry?  

“Well, I think the obvious is that we’re in the same state, right? I think the obvious is we’ve always had some chatter coming from each side. And again, it’s a prideful state. It’s a prideful two teams. And I think that anytime you have those two mix into one game in one atmosphere, it’s always a battle, it’s always an atmosphere. No matter who’s playing.”


That hit that you had against Breece Hall on that screen pass, you heard an audible pop. How much does that get you fired up as a linebacker to make a hit like that? `

“I mean, it gets me fired up, but at the end of the day, I turn around, I’m like, yo, what did d line do that allowed me to get to that play faster? What did the safeties tell me on that play? So, I think a lot of the things, you see somebody execute a play, and again, it goes back to what I was saying about the whole organization. There’s a lot of stuff that led up to that play, whether it’s the video guys putting up cut ups to all screens, right? Those are some of the things that really lead up to plays like that. I’m thankful for it. Of course, we celebrate those big, small wins, and I think at the end of the day, I give the glory to all those who made it happen.”


Hey, Jeremiah, Joe (Flacco) told us he kind of got to a point in his career where stats just don’t matter. He just wants to win. You just made a comment about, you wish maybe you had a few more tackles or more interceptions or whatever. How much do statistics validate how you feel about the way you played this year? 

“Yeah, that’s a good point. I think for a Super Bowl guy, I think there is a point where you get in the game and you’re not necessarily worried so much. And I don’t think me personally, I’m not worried too much about the statistics, either. I think for me, it’s more of, like, the production tells me, okay, I may have, could have done this better. I could have been in this spot. I could have broken faster on a ball that was tipped, right? So those are kind of like what the statistics do for us. I think that they have a saying in business that statistics are king, analytics are king. So, I think at the end of the day, you want to use the analytics and the statistics to be able to propel you forward. But also, it’s the intricate parts of Joe was talking about. The intricate parts of just making sure that he’s winning, making sure that his body stays healthy, those things.”


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