T Jack Conklin (8.19.20)

T Jack Conklin:

On T Jedrick Wills Jr. and his transition to LT:

“It is a day-to-day process for any rookie and any guy coming in and learning new system. It is Day 5 of practice, and he has been working hard and the entire group is working hard to get better every day with the new leadership of (offensive line) coach (Bill) Callahan. I am excited to see. Obviously, I see why he was picked early, and he definitely has a lot of opportunities and a lot of talent. We want to see him progress as camp goes on.”

On C Nick Harris and Wills and having two rookies currently practicing on the first team OL:

“It is typically a challenge, but surprisingly coming in with a new offense, we are all learning so it is not like it is an offense that been here for a long time and the older guys already know all the little cues and stuff. We are all learning together. I think that has made the progress smoother. I think everybody is taking it in every day and trying to get a little bit better, and both those guys are doing great job.”

On the transition to a wide zone scheme:

“Anytime you come into camp, the first day of pads, everybody is excited. You really the difference the second day when guys start to settle down, really key in and start figuring things out. Coming from a wide zone offense for me, I would say the transition was not as hard as some other guys. It is fun. I love wide zone. I love the opportunities it leads to in the run game and in the pass game. I think we are having a lot of fun here with it.”


On if he was able to develop chemistry with teammates during the virtual offseason and if they have been able to build off of it since training camp started:

“Yeah, definitely. It was definitely a new challenge having to start off with Zoom, but it you actually led us to have a lot more chances to just install and go over stuff over and over again.  It was not the physical reps, but those mental reps are huge. To be able to go over the offense three or four times and start top to bottom, that definitely helped a lot, especially with the offensive line. No matter what team you came from, we are all pretty similar guys, and you can really see that starting to click and the communication. Everybody has been on top of it and just willing to help each other. It has been very impressive.”

On how different the Browns offense is from what he has played in the past and its potential:

“It is pretty darn close to similar to the offense I ran last year. A few different terms here and there. Seeing the opportunities that we had last year in Tennessee and seeing the roster we had compared to the roster here, we have so many threats here. It is going be exciting. I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities for big plays and having a lot of fun with using the wide zone.”


On how much better the Browns DL is making the line Browns OL:

“That is huge. When you have those guys to go against every day, that just helps you get ready for Sundays. Those guys are such good players. Going in and out and getting those physical reps against those guys every day, you learn so much and it is leads to so many opportunities to get you ready for the real gamedays. It is great to have those guys on the roster to help us build up and get ready for the season.”

On having Callahan as his position coach:

“It is great. Just the amount of information he has from all the years of being an offensive line coach, he has seen just about any look or any front you could ask for. To be able to have that knowledge and to be able to bounce questions off of him, he always has an answer, he has seen it or he knows how to fix it. It is going to be an awesome thing for us to have throughout the year just to be able to have him and have his knowledge of so many games and so many different players throughout his career.”

On the most difficult part of changing teams personally:

“Especially this year with COVID going on, it was definitely weird moving up here. Really, the weirdest part was my first day coming into the building was the first day of camp. I had only seen guys on Zoom and then I am meeting guys with masks on. It definitely was a curveball there trying to learn names when you are only seeing half of somebody’s face. It is nice once you get on the field. You can start putting the numbers together with the names, and that definitely opens it up. It was definitely a weird change, but the nice part for me is it was a new staff, too, so it is a whole bunch of people coming together learning new names and learning new stuff. That definitely made the transition quite a bit easier.”

On how working with former NFL C LeCharles Bentley has benefited his game:

“It has been huge, just having that offseason capability of working out with a place that just specializes on offensive line play. There are not a lot many places that do that. You see all the different places that are working routes and skill stuff, and there just are not many people that are looking at doing just O line stuff. Everything from the lifting process is all based on situations that we are going to have to be in, strengthening certain parts, whether you are going to have to be sitting down on bull rush or different stuff trying to get the power back. Being able to just work on my craft all offseason with somebody who knows everything about it, that has definitely been a huge help. It definitely helps with focusing in and keeping this going throughout the whole year.”

On how important chemistry is between the RG and RT and working with G Wyatt Teller:

“It is huge. We are right next to each other on every play, and the biggest thing is great communication. Wyatt is a guy who talks a lot so it makes it nice. It is nice to be able to learn on the fly. After every play, we come back into the huddle and even have just a few things we can talk about. He has been really open to that stuff. He is a guy who wants to learn and who is learning a lot. I am excited with how I have seen him every day getting a little bit better and even helping me out with stuff. It has been a lot of fun, and I am excited to see what we can do this year.”


On if he has seen QB Baker Mayfield get frustrated at all as he tries to master the new offensive scheme:

“I honestly I do not see a whole lot – I am in front of him blocking. Baker is a competitive guy. He is a guy who wans to do stuff the right way. Everything I can see from him and just talking to him, he seems like he is guy who wants to win, wants to learn and he wants everything the right way. Like I said, I am really watching my O line play, not as much as what the quarterback is doing. From what I can tell from talking to him, he is excited about the offense, and I think he is going to have a lot of opportunities to do a great job.”

On how Mayfield has helped develop chemistry with the OL

“It has been good. Throughout the offseason, just texting, talking and just trying to get to know each other. Obviously with COVID and everything, it was definitely harder to get to know the guys, but he was definitely talking to me a lot. We definitely talked a lot, and we were able to get to know each other and every day, we spend some time talking, whether it is about scheme or personal life, just getting to know each other better. He has definitely been on top of that.”

On his impressions of Mayfield now compared to before coming to Cleveland:

“I am not a big guy who looks at the outside parts so coming into this year, I just knew him as a winner from college, obviously a Heisman Trophy winner. It is a young guy on a team that has had a lot of coaching changes. Getting here, seeing him and seeing the way he loves the game and how he goes about every day working hard, it has been impressive to see. There is no doubt in my mind that can flourish in this system.”

On how tough it is to see a teammate get taken off on a cart during training camp and if that is a reminder of how fragile the game can be at times:

“Definitely, and I have been on that side of it, too. It is always a bummer to see a guy go down, but you always hope that it is something minor.  When we get guys to fill in, everybody has to take their opportunity. That is really when teams start to build depth. When stuff like that happens, you get younger guys who are thrown in there, and they have to step up and learn more. Once guys end up coming back, that just leads to a better team, more guys that know what to and more guys that are ready to fill in and play at any time.”

On the importance of protecting the QB’s blind side and the importance of a RT:

“The blind side obviously you get a right-handed quarterback, he can’t see what is going on over there. That is obviously the importance of having a great left tackle. When the right tackle was known as just a run blocker, people started figuring out, ‘Hey, let’s put our best rusher on the right side.’ I think that has sort of become the theory is that both tackles have to be equally good at each aspect of the game in the run and the pass. Denver is a great example with (Broncos OLB) Von Miller almost exclusively lining up on the right tackle. It has definitely changed the game a little bit. I think it has made the importance of having a great pass-blocking right tackle, as well as a run blocker, such an important aspect of this game. It has been fun learning for me and just getting better and better every year. I am going to have an awesome opportunity here with Coach Callahan to learn more and more stuff I can put in my game.”

On if there were conversations leading up to the final week of last season about wanting Titans RB Derrick Henry to claim the NFL rushing title:

“It was definitely a huge topic. We really wanted to get Derrick that title. It was something we talked about all week. Being such the high-level competitors we are, we want to win. For us to get Derrick that and to win him that title was huge. It was a focal point even until the end of the game. I think he was about 40 yard off, and he wanted to stay in and we were up. Luckily (Titans Head) Coach (Mike) Vrabel let us keep him in there. I think we had four plays left he could stay in, and we were able to break one off for him. It was definitely a focal point. Obviously, we had to win the game to get in the playoffs to begin with, but that was definitely huge for us as an offensive line and something that we talked about even on the sideline.”

On the desire to have RB Nick Chubb win the rushing title this season after finishing a close second to Henry last year:

“It would be awesome. It is going to be a lot of fun, even with Nick and (RB) Kareem (Hunt). It is not often you two guys that are that good on one team. It is going to be a whole lot of fun. I am excited to see just how good these guys’ vision is with this wide zone offense and the opportunities they are going to have to have some big games.”

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