LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (1.9.24)

Jeremiah, I know you obviously, the first time around, you guys, you know, prepared somewhat for C.J. (Stroud) because there was at least a somewhat uncertainty. Now that you’re preparing fully for them, how much different are they compared to what you saw a couple of weeks ago? 

“Yeah, it’s a little more blank based upon what their concepts are, what we’ll be expecting. We have more footage on C.J., than we did the last quarterback. So, it’s a little bit of a challenge. Of course, reference to personnel would be a challenge. C.J. is the type of player that he is, which is an awesome player. And then they have real good backs, real good line. So, it’ll be a challenge for us overall, but it’ll be a little bit more understood because we have the full week.”


Does the fact that he’s a rookie quarterback give (Jim) Schwartz any edge at all?

“I don’t think it’s like an edge thing where you come in and he’s a rookie quarterback and he may struggle with this, he may struggle with that. I think he’s mature enough to be able to, and he’s seen enough football to be able to execute in the way that he should. I don’t think him being a rookie quarterback is going to affect much.”


In your study of him, do you guys see him? Has he faced everything defensively now? 

“Well, I mean, he’s faced similar defenses. The Jets run a similar front to us and some of the concepts. So, he’s faced similar defenses. I think he’s seen the film of us to be able to execute the way they should.”


He has talked about going 1-0 every week, but how different is it, your mindset with this being a playoff game? 

“Each week we say we’re trying to go 1-0 and there’s possibly a game right after that. This one is more like we really embrace that concept and that motto to go one and it does intensify it a bit. I’m not one that’s going to lessen the game and say, oh, it’s a regular game. The city of Cleveland has been waiting for the game, right? The organization has been waiting for this game. It’s not just another game. I think there is a bit of intensification in reference to the speed of the game, in reference to guys pulling something out of themselves that they haven’t seen in the regular season. I think there’s more to it.”


What do you think your emotions are?

Well, in reference to emotions, I mean, we have a certain concept on defense that you know emotions will die down eventually. Joe Flacco got up in the team meeting yesterday and he said that this is an emotional season, and you have waves here and waves there. But at the end of the day, when you get into the game, some snaps in, the emotions are going to die down. This should be a game. This should be a game based upon discipline, based upon the fundamentals in that we’ve been fighting for all year. And that’s what Joe Flacco emphasized yesterday in reference to his experience.”


Is that your biggest takeaway from that? When the veterans got up and talked about their playoff experience? 

“Yeah, I mean, there were a bunch of keys. That was probably the best team meeting that I’ve been a part of. Just in reference to the focus, to the emphasis on making sure that you take every opportunity with intentionality, and I think that’s the important part going into this whole week has to be intentional. I think it was coach (Jim) Schwartz that said that when you have a great player, it can make you a legend, but if you have a great mistake, it can make you worse than any of the other cases for you. I think that’s the idea this week in the process to make sure that we correct all these things and figure out what we need to overcome.”


It seems like you’ve been here for quite a while, but you weren’t here in 2020. 

So how do you feel about the first postseason appearance? 

“I feel good about it. I think that within that first four-year contract, if you can experience it every year, that’s a good thing. But also, if you can experience it once, twice, just being able to get that experience in. There’s been a lot of guys within the league, ten years – ten plus years, never been. I was talking to (Sione) Takitaki earlier and he was talking about how in 2020 how the energy was and how the process was. Even at the team meeting yesterday, we didn’t have anything like that in 2020. The team that we had in 2020 wasn’t as close as it is now. So, think that’s something to be proud of. In reference to the culture that we have and we are continuing to build.”


You guys ended up with number one ranked defense in multiple categories. Obviously, the clock kind of resets here now with the postseason started, but how much pride do you guys take in that and how do you travel that year into the playoffs and carry that forward? 

“I don’t think we carry it necessarily over reference to statistics. I think the score is 0-0. I think that we are coming into this with a clean slate. Of course, we have the mindset and the pride in the good way that we have the Cleveland name on our back, right? We have the city on our back, we have the organization on our back and we have our name and what we build as a team and as defense, it’s very important to uphold that standard. And I think that’s what we are aiming to do going into the postseason. Of course, the statistics are important. We celebrate those, but we’re looking to build something more from the postseason.”


The defense and the team overall weren’t as good on the road as at home much in the year, but then you guys went down to Houston and played a really good game. Do you think you guys take confidence from traveling like you did on that day for that? 

“I mean, I think it’s a good thing sometimes when you experience difficulties early in the season so that you have that experience to be able to say, ‘Hey, I’ve overcome this already. This is something that I’m familiar with.’ So for us to have those away games that we did overcome, it gives us a little bit of edge going into this postseason. That right now it looks like it’s going to be nothing but away games. So again, we’re focused one and oh. We focus on making sure that we are still carrying that model of road warriors, and then that’s very important.”


When you talk about the closeness of this team and it being different, where does that come from? 

“I think it comes from the people. It can’t come from anywhere but the people. Right. I think that when we put the right people in place, put the right people into the positions that they need to be in, you see the closeness, you see the camaraderie, see the chemistry. You see the ability for us to rub off of each other. There are anchors. There are different parts of the puzzle. Everybody has a different role. And I think that when you put the right people in the right position, you see the fruition of a close team.”


What is the biggest indicator to you that this team is just not satisfied in making playoffs? You want to do more.

“The biggest indicator is just doing more. I think just in the first two days of this week, we see people coming in a little bit earlier, staying in a little bit later, more text messages. ‘Hey, make sure you watch this. Hey, I saw this with the running back or I saw this with the quarterback. Make sure you all see this. I think that the biggest indicator is people doing it. Nothing that they’re saying. It’s nothing that the coaches are saying, none of that, right? I think the emphasis on the action, right? The word is important, right? But if the word doesn’t become manifest, it becomes vain.”

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