RG Wyatt Teller (12.11.23)

Well, we just heard the news about Dawand Jones’ season being over. You tell us what you think will be your third right tackle coming in? What’s the state of things over there, and how do you think you guys will survive? 

“I’m sad for Dawand. I’ve been praying for him. It’s definitely one of those things where it’s just been a crazy season, but I’ve kind of said it all season, but we got a next man up mentality, and I truly believe in James (Hudson). And while I feel like refs were a little nitpicky with some of the calls, he played well. Every combo I had, it was great playing next to him, pushing out on certain plays and stuff like that. He helped me out and stuff like that. So he’s a great teammate, and I believe we’ll do more. I truly believe in James, but it’s definitely sad losing to Dawand.”


Hey, Wyatt, can you invite Joe Flacco over for dinner? It sounds like he’s pretty lonely in that hotel room. 

“Yeah, I know. I feel bad. I need to start inviting him over. We got a little baby, so I don’t know if he’d want to go back to a screaming baby, but I’ll have to invite him.”


Yeah, he might welcome that. Hey, he mentioned yesterday when he was talking to you guys in the locker room about, it’s mid-December, you’ve earned this right to be there. And now that he’s part of it and because of the experience that he has in these kinds of situations, what does that mean to you guys to have that guy in that position that’s been there before? 

“Yeah, it’s vet leadership. It was kind of funny in true vet fashion. He came over and he was talking to us. He was like, hey, look, this is the situation we got to get at this point. Once we do, we’ll be all right. He was like, once we get to the two minute, we got to the two minute. And he said, all right, now we have this and this, and as long as we get that. And then they scored. And then he was like, all right, as long as we fall on this ball, we’re good. And it’s just that voice of reason at the end of the game where we’re all having the same situational, shared, coach talks about it all the time—shared situational awareness. He was kind of the voice on the sidelines for all the guys. So it was cool.”


I was talking to Elijah (Moore) last night about some of those guys being wide open for some of those looks as touchdowns, especially David Bell’s, and he said it was a lot of a scheme, helped them do that for you as the offensive line, blocking and leading the way. How have you seen this scheme allow those wide-open touchdowns and allow for the run game to continue?

“You know, I feel like an offensive line mindset, you know we’re trying to protect for as long as we can and to have these guys open like that, catching contested balls and stuff like that, it’s a special thing, but at the same time, we’re so focused on who to block and where to push out to. I feel like one of those with David Bell, zero pressure, they brought all these different guys and we just had to hold up for a little bit. If you could just push out and block one other guy, hopefully Joe gets it out, then a contested catch at the point of contact and then all those yards after it. But, yeah, no, it was nice that happened, but you’re kind of focused on your job. We’re focused on blocking the guys in front of us. We’re not too much about scheme, but it is nice, it’s kind of like poetry when it all comes together. It looks nice and coach works hard.”


Hey, Wyatt. Obviously, you guys are going to have somebody else step up, but what has it been about your group, whether it’s Nick Harris, Geron Christian, James Hudson, you know, any of these guys that have had to step in, that have allowed them to come in and be ready to basically?

“I think it really does come back to Coach (Bill) Callahan and his ability to really bring along everybody. He works extremely hard. He’s a hard coach. He’s going to make sure that everybody’s playing at the best of their ability, which is a testament to how he coaches. But, yeah, we’ve had all these different line combinations. I remember when Coach came to the Browns in 2020, we’re all talking because we had some injuries and all this different stuff and we had all these different offensive line combinations and coach was telling us that he’s seen it all, he’s experienced, he’s able to, in those times of need, be able to already kind of pointed to it, but the next men up mentality, and when it comes offensive line play, you can get hurt at any time. So you got to be able to push through all that and kind of play at your best, even though there’s a lot of adversity going on. And I know everybody’s trying to do that.”


And then going back to Joe Flacco, we saw the locker room speech, heard guys talk about him yesterday after the game. What’s allowed him to endear himself to you guys so quickly? 

“I think it’s kind of the family atmosphere that we’ve created on this team ever since. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago but the Greenbrier where we’re in the middle of West Virginia, well, I guess not the middle of West Virginia, but in the mountains of West Virginia. And you’re coming together as a team, you’re sharing stories. And as a player coming in, it’s kind of a special group to join. And I really do believe that we’re a really good team. Obviously, with the injuries. We’ve had guys who fight through everything and it’s special. Speaking of the offensive line, we have had Joel (Bitonio), Po (Ethan Pocic) you know, Nick (Harris) stepping up, all these guys at right know Jack (Conklin) going down week, now Dawand (Jones) and now James (Hudson) coming in and still playing extremely hard, and Geron (Christian) coming in at left tackle. We’re special to have the guy step up and play how we need him to play and we’re able to win. Obviously, I wish we kept the gas on and kept on scoring, and we did. But obviously it was a close game there towards the end and I got a little scared, but it all worked out.”


Hey, Wyatt, I remember in 2021 when you were talking about all the injuries you guys suffered that season and it just wasn’t as bad as it is now. But I guess, number one, what did that season kind of teach you guys as a group for the ones who are back about managing that and stepping up and everything? And does this feel like, I guess, not really comparable to that just given the number of season-ending injuries guys have had this year? 

“Yeah, it’s crazy. I truly believe that the team, that coach (Kevin) Stefanski and Andrew Berry put together is a special group of guys that were able to fight through that adversity. We’re truly a family and people step up and players who, we have a lot of good players and even guys who might not be starting could start in the NFL. I always say that about Nick (Harris). Nick, his story is kind of crazy. I was talking to him earlier today, and after the game, I was just hugging him, and I was just so happy for him because two years ago, 2022, he was the starting center for the Cleveland Browns. He was the first center, and he got hurt versus Jacksonville and was able to come in and get a win. It was just special, you know, that ability, not be mentally out of anything you know. I talked to our rookies and Luke (Wyper) and Dawand, and I’m like you know, how long this season is. You guys are bowl prep now when you guys get to relax a little bit before you get to play in a cool championship game. We’re playing every week until mid-January, and then hopefully beyond that, it’s just a long season. We’ve faced a lot of adversity. We have a resilient team, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.”


Hey, why you mentioned Kevin (Stefanski) a couple times, but for you guys to fight through all this adversity and still win all these games, how has he been able to be at the head of that chip, how has he been able to do that, kind of set that culture for you guys? 

“Yeah, I know. Well, the way that he coaches us, he brings in the right guys, he coaches us tough. We’re all about the work. Even if you think you’re ready, you still got to get right. You still got to make sure that your eyes are in the right spot, your hands are in the right spot, and you’re doing your job. He doesn’t take that for granted, and he has good coaches. He’s put really good coaches around him that obviously help with his scheme and everything like that. So that ability to do all that, it’s been showing on the field, and a lot of times we’ve had really good coaches, we’ve had really good players, and we haven’t really been able to put it on the field like this. So, it’s special. We’re lucky. It reminds me of 2020, where I was going through injury and everything like that and being able to just come back when I could, and we had a team that was just playing really well. It was something special. You feel it. You feel it in the locker room after games, you feel it on the sidelines. You feel a part of a team that wants to win and is hungry for success. It’s a cool team. It’s a cool team to be part of.”


Hey, Wyatt. I’m calling on your legendary candidness when I asked this question. It is a small sample size, but hasn’t Flacco’s two games surprised you how quickly and how productive he’s been? 

“Yes and no. Obviously he’s a really good quarterback. His ability. Guys, do we not remember last year when were up 13 points with a minute and 20 left and Joe Flacco beat us? He is a great quarterback and his ability to learn the playbook. He’s a true vet. His leadership, obviously he’s throwing the ball well. We have receivers who are, I know that obviously with every new receiver, quarterback exchange or receptions and everything like that, it’s going to be new. But starting to find that consistency, starting to find that ability to make big plays, which is something that we’ve been limited to and we’ve tried to get the run game started and coaches sticking to the run game, which I’m thankful for. We get a lot of runs where he sticks to it, where as an offensive lineman, passing all the time is not fun, especially against good pass rushers. But being able to stick to the run and whenever we do need to pass and going forward on fourth down and not being afraid and trusting in the offensive line, I’m thankful.”


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