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Browns at Bengals Postgame Quotes

Posted Nov 26, 2017

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals postgame quotes

MARVIN LEWIS NEWS CONFERENCE

Head coach

Initial Comments ...

        “I think overall there were some positive things today, particularly (on offense). The only thing we failed to do a couple of times was put the ball in the end zone, and took field goals (instead). But the plan, I think the guys did a nice job of executing it.

        “Defensively, we had some plays that will be interesting to see where our breakdowns where, particularly in the running game a couple of times. So, we’ve got some things to do better ... We’ve got some things to look forward to getting better at, (but) it was a good job by the guys today and a great drive by the offense there in the fourth quarter to put the game away.”

 

How much can games like the one today with the rushing attack and Joe Mixon help in terms of momentum moving forward with the rest of the season?

        “Well, we just have to keep doing what we’re doing — keep practicing hard and continue to shore up and do better what we’re not — and continue to build upon what we are doing correctly. Just stay at it.

        “Today still, (our quarterback) Andy (Dalton) is (getting a lot of yards) off running plays and doing a good job of that. Those are the unhidden runs that we have every week, every game. Again, he did an excellent job of doing that today.”

 

What areas have you seen Joe Mixon improve in as a runner?

        “I haven’t seen the tape, but since the Jacksonville game in general, just being consistent — making the four-yard gain an eight-yard gain, and making the one-yard gain a five-yard gain. Those are the things (we look for). He got knocked back on one today, and occasionally he gets frustrated. You can’t get frustrated. (You have to) let the next run happen. But today, they caught us (on a play and) he made a guy miss in the backfield, and on the snap on the blitz, he made the first guy miss and turned it into a one-yard gain. That can happen sometimes. Sometimes it can be bigger than that.”

 

Do you think young runners like Joe sometimes look ahead trying to make a huge play instead of taking the small positive gains?

        “No, I don’t think he did that. Just be consistent. That’s all. For the most part, he has been one of those guys. I think that’s one of the things that was impressive about him in training camp at times: He let each play happen.”

 

You’ve been around A.J. Green for a long time. That catch he made on the sidelines with the defender on him in the third quarter, was it one of the best you’ve seen?

        “When Andy threw the ball, there wasn’t but one person in the world maybe that can make that catch and get both feet down without question in bounds. That’s why I told (the referee) to (pick up) the quarter there, because I thought it was inbounds. They ended up challenging it, so it stopped (the clock) anyway, but I had no question in my mind he had both feet down (inbounds).”

 

Is a catch like that teachable if a coach himself can’t do it?

        “No. You have to have the ability to track the ball, and the athleticism to get both feet down like that. It was incredible.”

 

It’s Pittsburgh Steelers week. The last time, you said it was just another game. Is it still just another game this week?

        “It’s another game, but it’s Pittsburgh, and they’re leading our division, so I’ll give you a ‘plus-two’ on that (laughs). They’re leading our division and they beat us up there. They’re coming here and it’s a big football game for us because we don’t get any more do-overs.”

 

Did you get a sense that it would have meant a little more to Adam Jones if the punt he returned for a touchdown would have stood?

        “It would have. It was a shame. It was a great job by him and a great finish with a block by William (Jackson). The guys got a block in the back on the back side ... That’s one of the things our young guys have to keep on understanding: They’re giving us the football, they’re punting it where they are punting it from, we’re going to get good field position, so let’s make sure we don’t have to have anything more. Let the returners make the guys miss, and positive yardage is positive yardage. Again, it’s something to learn from. I hope the block in the back was not egregious.

        “But that was a good momentum play in the game, too, to (seemingly) get the touchdown there.”

 

(THE FOLLOWING WAS WITH RADIO BROADCAST TEAM IN LOCKER ROOM ...)

 

You’re now 6-0-1 against former assistant coaches that are now head coaches. That’s pretty good ...

        “Well, let’s make sure we finish this year the right way.”

 

It seemed like you guys won the battle at the line and ran the ball effectively ...

        “We knew going into the game that they’re staunch against the run, and in doing the (other) things they do. Andy did a great job of directing the offense and throwing it when he needed to, along with handing it off when the look was correct.”

 

What did you think of the catch along the sideline by A.J. Green?

        “It was an incredible play and a big first down for us.”

 

Cleveland had some penalties that you capitalized on today ...

        “We did a good job, and I think going forward, it’s something to learn from. We have some things to shore up on defense. They had some runs that hit, and we have to make sure we get those corrected and to be in the right spots in the passing game.”

 

There were zero turnovers by either team, and you guys seemed to just execute better ...

        “Going into the game, I would have wanted us to get some turnovers. Our offense did a great job of not turning the ball over today.”

 

The Bengals seems to struggle when they don’t score first, but not today ...

        “I don’t keep track of all that, but they drove down and got the field goal. Our offense came back and responded, and that was great.”

 

Was there a point in the game when you knew the offense was in sync?

        “We have to get to a point where we’re handing the ball off and running the ball downhill on folks.”

 

It seemed like Mixon was very consistent with his runs all day ...

        “Well he stayed behind his pads all day and he challenged the defensive backs all day long.”

 

ANDY DALTON

Quarterback

You talked about getting the ground game going. Is today an example of what you can do when you have that part working?

        “Absolutely. Our guys did a great job. The line up front played really well, and Joe (HB Joe Mixon) was obviously running the ball really hard. We did it, so this is the expectation now. We have to come out and prove it each week.”

 

How much was getting the run game going an emphasis for you guys?

        “It was a part of it. For us, it was about just getting positive plays, and we did that. It’s great when we are able to run the ball like that, as effective as we did. It’s definitely a big part of what we want to do.”

 

You guys are still alive in the playoff race. You’ve talked about how anyone can get hot at this point of the season, and taking it game by game to stay alive for the playoffs. What’s your mentality as you enter the stretch run?

        “You have to keep winning. That is all we can worry about. Worry about this next week. We have to keep winning, and that’s all it boils down to. We know the opportunity we have in front of us. We have to keep playing well and win.”

 

JOE MIXON

Running back

A good day’s work, huh?

        “I tip my hat off to everybody that trusted in our run game. Coach did a great job calling plays, and our line did a great job executing. Our fullback (Ryan Hewitt) did a damn good job too. Our receivers blocked on the perimeter, and it was up to me to go ahead and finish those runs, and that’s what happened.”

 

It seemed you had a lot of consistent runs out there today ...

        “That’s definitely been our emphasis — running downhill and getting our shoulder pads low and driving our legs. That’s pretty much what we’ve been doing. We’ve been trusting in it, believing in it. And like I said, our line did a hell of a job. Hopefully, we can get together and take them out somewhere and keep on feeding them week-by-week. I plan for it to continue to get better from there.”

 

Seems like you and the offensive line have been communication much better of late ...

        “We’re just going to keep on going week-by-week and day-by-day. We’ve got a big one next week. We have to keep going to work and keep getting together. We all have to keep believing and make it happen.”

 

Did you see your former teammate running back Sanaje Perine (Washington Redskins) go for 100 yards on Thanksgiving?

        “Big hats off to Perine. Keep doing his thing, and we’re going to keep doing our thing too.”

 

Talk about the game plan of pushing the ball between the tackles ...

        “We are going to keep building and getting better. Our line has done well drive-blocking, and I’ll keep finishing runs. At this point, it’s about believing and getting the job done week-by-week.”

 

You showed a complete game today with your pass blocking and receiving ...

        “Like I said earlier in the season, we have a $96 million quarterback we have to protect, and I’m going to do my thing in protection to make sure he’s not on the ground. We have to keep on going.”

 

What went through your head when you pushed the lead to two scores on that touchdown run?

        “Our linemen did a great job. We executed and we caught an outside toss. A.J. Green had a great block and Russell Bodine did a hell of job carrying me into the end zone. Ryan Hewitt did a great job. We are just going to keep on moving from there and keep on believing and trusting.”

 

ANDRE SMITH

Offensive tackle

Joe Mixon was nothing but complimentary about the offensive line today ...

        “We put an emphasis on running the ball this week. We know if we can get Joe going, he’s going to work some big runs for us and he did that today.”

 

Is the pass protection much easier when you can run the ball like that?

        “Hell yeah, it makes it lot easier. It makes everything easy for Andy (Dalton) and it makes everything easier for us. They have to respect the run so you can throw the football around and vice versa — they have to respect the pass, and then you can run the football. I’m really happy to see us running the ball well.”

 

What is it about the Cleveland Browns and getting a 100-yard rusher against this team?

        “It’s the Battle of Ohio at the end of the day, and we know how much that means to this organization. We wanted to get the run game going, and that’s what we did today.”

 

Joe Mixon seemed to run angry today ...

        “He did some tremendous things today, and I happened to get behind him on some of those longer runs. To see him run hard and lower his pads was really impressive. I’m excited to block for him.”

 

You were impressive and you had a big day today ...

        “We had fun. Paul (Alexander) did a good job, and coach (Bill) Lazor did a good job. We just executed well as an offense.”

 

How did you like the balance of the offense today?

        “Bill said he was going to let us play fast today, and that’s what he did. We played fast in all three phases — offense, defense, and special teams. We did some really good stuff today.”

 

CARLOS DUNLAP

Defensive end

You guys did a great job pressuring the quarterback ...

        “Absolutely. We had an opportunity to work our man, and (Chris Smith) and I built that relationship to feel the rushes, and we play off each other.”

 

You guys did a great job in the red zone. It helps to trade seven points for three points ...

        “Yeah, absolutely. Bend but don’t break. Obviously, we don’t want them to get into the red zone. But when they get there, don’t let them get seven — hold them to three.”

 

CARL LAWSON

Defensive end

DeShone Kizer is a tough guy to get to, but you guys had some critical sacks today ...

        “We had to keep working. We have a lot of things we have to clean up as a defense — especially myself. We allowed them to get too many yards on the ground. We should have put that team away. I’m not saying they’re not a talented team, but we should have played better than what we did.”

 

Was there a feeling among the players to not be Cleveland’s first win?

        “It’s not even that. It’s the pride of the defense to not let them put up yards rushing or through the air. I’m happy we got the win, but there’s some stuff to clean up.”

 

What’s it mean to now be 5-6 after an 0-3 start?

        “It doesn’t mean much, to be honest. Everybody is patting you on the back when you win, so right now the main thing is to take the little things. It’s always great to get a win, but we have to keep doing the little things. We can’t pull off the gas. We play Pittsburgh next week, so I’m not really focused on this win. I’m already focused on Pittsburgh, and doing the little things so we can get another win.”

 

What did you think of Joe Mixon’s performance today?

        “I’m really happy for Joe. We know he has the talent. We just need to come together and keep pushing forward.”

 

CLINT BOLING

Guard

How do you think Joe Mixon has improved the last couple weeks?

        “He brings a lot of energy. The guy’s obviously talented. You get him in space and it’s fun watching him run. I think once he’s taken over that role, he’s obviously done well with it. He brings a lot of momentum when he starts running the ball like that.”

 

His most impressive runs had to be the last three on that last drive when you were ready to kill the clock ...

        “Yeah, that was a big drive overall. It started off with a screen, which I thought was a really good play call. We mixed it up well and then made some adjustments and really did a good job finishing up that drive, especially with it being a one-score game. To go down and finish like that, that was really important.”

 

TYLER BOYD

Wide receiver

From the first day, guys were saying they thought Joe Mixon was special and that he was the kind of guy who could take an unblocked play and make a play out of it. How good a player is he?

        “Everybody’s seeing it. I don’t have to say too much because we all know what kind of guy he is. He just goes out there and shows it every day.”

 

I know you wish this team’s position was a little better at this point, but you’re 5-6 and still in the mix. What do you think of your spot now as get ready to play what feels like maybe the biggest game of the season?

        “At this point, we just can’t give up. We have to keep hope. I believe that we can finish undefeated, and I believe that everyone else feels that way. If we can do that, the sky’s the limit.”

 

CHRIS SMITH

Defensive end

You evened out your AFC North record before you play Pittsburgh. That’s got to mean a lot for you ...

        “You try to take one game at a time. You know it’s going to be a battle each and every game. Our mentality is ‘1-0 each week,’ so that’s one thing about it. Even though Cleveland was 0-10, it’s still the NFL. Their guys get paid, too. That’s one thing about it — we knew it was going to be a grind, and we grinded it out today.”

 

When you’re standing on the sideline watching Joe Mixon today, what’s going through your head when you saw him run through holes?

        “It doesn’t surprise me. He’s a grinder. Each and every play he touches the ball — and he’ll tell you himself — he’s thinking touchdown.”

 

RUSSELL BODINE

Center

It was a very productive day with the run game. How much did this team look forward to having one of those days today?

        “We’ve been striving for it all week — all year, honestly. Things haven’t gone quite the way we planned them, especially in the run game. It’s just been an emphasis on trying to finish, and trying to push for those extra yards. Obviously it feels great when it actually works out. This one week’s not going to make the whole year. Just because we did it this week doesn’t mean we’re going to do it next week. We need to do the work that we need to do, and put in enough time to make sure we can run the ball again next week.”

 

How satisfying is it as an offensive line to finish off a game running the ball the way you did?

        “That’s huge. Obviously, you get the ball back there with some time in a close game. And then you drive down and (finish) it running the ball, get some good chunks, take a lot of time off the clock and go down and score. Give some credit to Joe (Mixon) for finishing off a lot of those runs, and getting yards after contact and running over guys. That’s the kind of stuff that gets you fired up, especially in that situation.”

 

Joe said he met with some of the linemen on Friday after a meeting. Was that out of the ordinary for this group to get together and talk about what you wanted to accomplish today?

        “No, it’s not out of the ordinary. We kind of have an open dialogue. If someone’s got something they want to talk about — some questions or whatever — obviously we can spitball. We have a players meeting we do every Friday, just to see where we’re at. So, as far as it being out of the ordinary, no it’s not. We had some stuff (for him), and there was some stuff from him too.”

 

Was there anything from that meeting that kind of clicked today?

        “The biggest thing, I think, was that just we talked about that we just wanted to finish.”

 

GIOVANI BERNARD

Running back

You’re just a game out of the playoff hunt, so you still have a chance at it ...

        “We know we’ve let a lot of games go. We shouldn’t be in the position that we’re in. Things happen for a reason — we became a better team that way. We know how to play from behind. I know it’s kind of sad to say we know how to play from behind, and we know how to play when we’re ahead. It’s just a matter of meshing it all together and being able to perform when the lights are bright.”

 

You’ve been around long enough to know what Pittsburgh week is like. Can you honestly say it’s no different?

        “Yes. It’s no different. It’s obviously an AFC North game — a divisional game. We obviously know that. Even today — you can ‘t say Cleveland week is any different than Pittsburgh week or Baltimore week. They’re all really the same. All those AFC North games are crucial in the standings, and we know.”

 

 

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BROWNS POSTGAME QUOTES

NOV. 26, 2017

CLEVELAND AT CINCINNATI

 

HUE JACKSON

Head coach

Initial Comments ...

        “As I just told our football team in the locker room, I’m proud of them because we continue to fight. I’ve been saying this now for weeks: Our guys fight extremely hard. We don’t always do things perfectly, but we continue to work, and that gives us a chance.

        “Obviously, one of the plays toward the end of the game sticks out, but we did have some opportunities throughout the game where we could have capitalized. Usually, it’s five or six plays a game that determine the outcome of a game.

        “When DeShone (Kizer) left the game due to injury, I thought Cody (Kessler) came into the game and played hard.

        “We still have some things that we need to address to get a different outcome. We can not turn the ball over. We need to reduce penalties too. A couple of those penalties led to us being less efficient at times, and we didn’t capitalize on all opportunities when we had a chance to put points on the scoreboard.

        “Obviously, we lost our quarterback and our punter during today’s game, but this team continues to come back and keep fighting.

        “I’ve been on teams before where players in this type of situation just check out. Not these guys, and I’m proud of them for that.

        “We’ve got a big game this week, and we’re going to begin preparing for that opportunity.”

 

What was your understanding of the hit on a defenseless player penalty?

        “The officials said that our player’s helmet hit their player in the head. I didn’t see that. I thought our player’s shoulder hit him in the chest. The torque of the impact could have caused their player’s head to react the way it did. To me, that’s football. He didn’t target their player’s head. That was a huge call at that juncture in the game, and the officials have to get that one right. I thought Jabrill (Peppers) did the right thing during that play, and I stand by him wholeheartedly. He hit the guy below the shoulder pads.”

 

Someone sounded very upset in the locker room after the game. Can you speak about that?

        “No one was upset in there. That wasn’t what that was. That was a guy on this team who is a leader, and he was telling this team to keep fighting. Please don’t take it that way. Nobody was upset. If anything, you are hearing the emotion and passion this group has to win football games. They keep fighting, and they want to get this right. Our coaches, players, and organization put so much effort into getting this right. We’re going to keep grinding and fighting until we get things done.”

 

Can you speak to DeShone Kizer’s concussion situation?

        “He was clear-headed when he came back to the sideline after being evaluated in the locker room. He kept asking me to return to the field. He did some good things today. Any time after a game that I feel good about where the ball was being delivered, that’s a good thing. I thought he played better today. I still think he is capable of playing at a higher level, and it’s our job as a coaching staff to get him there in the next five weeks.

        “Player safety is the most import thing to us. He was simply evaluated based upon his symptoms.”

 

Can you speak about the taunting call that was administered against your team?

        “I asked the official, and he said there was a lot of jawing going on out on the field. He said it was going back-and-forth, but it was more being initiated by us, not them. Those things should not be happening, and we’ll get them corrected quickly.”

 

Were you surprised today by the way that the Bengals successfully ran the ball?

        “Yes, I was. We’ve done a good job most of the season stopping the run. Today was a good day for them, and not a great day for us.”

 

We saw you talking to AJ McCarron in the pregame. Can you speak about that?

        “(Laughing) I’m glad someone mentioned that. Honestly, we were talking about the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama that was played yesterday. If I’m correct, I think the last time he played in that game, Auburn won that game. I think people sometimes make too much of stuff like that, especially since we had engaged in the previous trade situation. But, we didn’t get into anything more than yesterday’s Iron Bowl.”

 

You were in scoring position a few times today and didn’t convert. Can you speak about that?

        “We’re just not good enough yet to overcome adversity. We have to continue to get better. When we enter the red zone, the field is shrunk. We’ve got to convert some special plays down there.”

 

You missed a couple opportunities to intercept the ball this afternoon too ...

        “Yes. We’ve got to make those plays. As you know, good players make those plays when they get the chance. We just haven’t made those plays this year. Sometimes those situations arise, and sometimes they never do during a game. We simply have to start making those plays.”

 

Do you think with your team’s current situation, that you might not be getting all the calls you should be from the officials?

        “That may be true, but I don’t want to believe that. It doesn’t seem like we’ve had favorable calls go our way this year. When we are winning, I do expect those calls to go our way, because we are going to be winning here someday soon.”

 

DeSHONE KIZER

Quarterback

How are you feeling, and what did you feel? Hue Jackson said you told the trainer something wasn’t quite right and that’s why they checked you at first ...

        “Yeah, I just took a good hit. I think it was on the second drive there. I felt a little off, and figured rather be safe than sorry. I didn’t necessarily think I was going to go through the full concussion protocol, but obviously that’s mandated by the league to protect us. Went through that, cleared and good, and got back out there.”

 

What do you feel in that situation? A little dizzy, or a little headache...what happened?

        “Like coach said, I just felt a little off.”

 

You took what looked like a worse hit when your head got bounced in the second half. Did nobody say let’s take a look at that?

        “No, I was good on that one. That was in the momentum of the game and you don’t really feel that one. I felt great and got back out there.”

 

By the time you went back in in the first half you felt OK?

        “Yeah, good.”

 

What are you thinking when you score to get it to 23-16? What’s going through your head and what do you tell the team?

        “Just finish. We’ve been in that situation a couple times this year. I think that there’s a good chance that the game we will win, multiple games that we will win throughout the rest of the season are going to be in the fourth quarter. Why not today? It was an awesome opportunity with quite a bit of time on the scoreboard to try and get our offense up and going in the fourth quarter, and get multiple touchdowns in the fourth quarter.”

 

Overall, no turnovers. You made it close there at the end. Did you feel good about your performance after the Detroit game?

        “Yeah. For me I don’t think it’s about the development anymore. Obviously it’s about making myself better and feeling like I’m performing better, but when you see a group of 60-something guys out there every day putting their bodies on the line, you’ve got to reward them with a win. It’s about doing whatever it takes to win. Whether it’s turnovers, whether it’s taking care of the ball, it all goes into winning. I think that’s the mentality we’ve had throughout. When you’re a rookie quarterback in this league, you’re looking for the small wins. I think we’re done with small wins now. It’s about getting out there in these last five games of the season and doing whatever it takes to get a victory on the board.”

 

What did you see on that deep pass to Corey Coleman that he didn’t catch, and do you say anything to him after he drops the ball like that?

        “No. He’s a guy who’s obviously going to hold himself to high standards. There’s different guys who will react in different ways. I told him that the only thing I wanted to say was in that same situation, I’m going to throw you the exact same ball and you’re going to make the play. And we expect him to make that play every time he steps out there. Unfortunately he didn’t there, but there’s going to be multiple times throughout the rest of this year that we’re going to expect some big plays out of him.”

 

Do you walk out of here knowing you played one of the best defenses in the NFL encouraged that you’re getting closer and it’s coming?

        “Yeah. Once again, it’s about winning. This is 11 times in this locker room we get a pep talk. It’s 11 times where our leaders step up and make some sort of comment. It’s about time for us as a team to reward those leaders by winning a game.”

 

We could hear Chris (LB Christian Kirksey) kind of giving that pep talk. What is the message after a game like this?

        “That’s something that we’ll keep between us as a group in that locker room, but it’s along the lines that we’re going to continue to fight these battles. This is a war that we’re in right now. Once we get over that hill we’re going to win for a long time. It’s about getting there. It’s about putting together a complete game, both offensively, and defensively, and special teams to drive us together for the first victory.”

 

Did you happen to see the replay of the Jabrill Peppers call, and if so, what did you make of that?

        “I think Jabrill made a heck of a play on the ball. That’s the job of the safety to separate the ball from the player. From what we saw on the sideline, it seemed like a pretty clean play there. Unfortunately, the way this league is set up, they’re going to turn that call in, and they’ll probably send us a letter back saying we missed one. We’ll move forward. There’s not a lot of time to sit here and worry about missed calls.”

 

You said it feels like when you guys get in the red zone everything kind of needs to go right and you can’t afford any penalties or missed assignments. How tough is it when you know the margin of error is so thin to get in the end zone?

        “It’s just doing your job. I don’t think that’s tough at all. We spend a lot of time preparing ourselves for those situations. We spent quite a bit of time during the week preparing for the red zone, preparing for third down, preparing for situational football. It’s on us to make sure that we’re executing. It’s not good for us to go down there and shoot ourselves in the foot every time. It’s already as difficult as it is with the lack of space down there to execute. When you go and shoot yourself in the foot while doing that, it’s not a good look.”

 

You made a couple of big plays to your receivers, and now Josh Gordon is coming back and will be activated supposedly tomorrow. Does that give you a little bit of encouragement and hope that you can get over the hump?

        “First thing’s first, and that’s learning from this game, and going through and watching this film to detail and making sure that we can correct ourselves and get back to executing. Obviously, adding Josh is going to be awesome for us and see how he affects the game. We expect him to come out and not skip a beat. He’s been working his butt off and we’re looking forward to having him out there.”

 

Was he very active on the sideline today?

        “That’s not necessarily Josh’s personality. He’s a guy who leads with his actions, who motives with his actions. I think today he definitely spent a lot of time with the receivers. I was not necessarily part of those conversations, but I think his leadership is going to be out on the field and not in someone’s ear.”

 

Was it nice to see Kenny Britt come up with a big play for you?

        “Absolutely. That’s the reason he’s on this team, to lead us in big plays. That’s what good players do. We’ve got to expect that out of him every time he steps out on the field. I know he expects that of himself.”

 

Did you have any hesitancy to keep running after you got checked out for the concussion and took a bunch of hits?

        “No. Once again, I was good after getting through the protocol, and figured out I was okay, and went out there and played the solid ball I was playing.”

 

Are some of your teammates making comments to you about the toughness you’ve shown to get up from those big hits or come back from a concussion check?

        “We keep our conversations in the locker room between us. But I think this team has continued to show the fight that we have. This is an awesome group to be with. It’s an awesome locker room to be in. I’m very proud to be a part of this 2017 Cleveland Browns team as they continue to push, they continue to fight, and it allows me to continue to be motivated to go out there and do as much as I can to get a win for those guys.”

 

JABRILL PEPPERS

Safety

What are your thoughts on the hit you had on Josh Malone?

        “I tried to keep it within the strike-zone. It’s the referee’s job to call it if it’s not. They made the right call, and I just have to move on from it. I was trying to make a play for my team, and I guess I came in a little high.”

 

I saw coach Hue Jackson talking to you after the hit. What did he say?

        “He said not to change the way I’m playing. I’m getting better and better every game, and he wants me to keep that same aggression.”

 

Is it a tough call, considering you’d have probably gotten off the field had they not called it?

        “Exactly. It was third-and-five, and I just wanted to separate him from the ball and get them to fourth down. Maybe they would have punted or gone for it — who knows — but it definitely could’ve given us a chance to win the game. It is what it is. You just have to keep improving and getting better and trust the process.”

 

You’ve entered the league at a time when player safety is important. Do you understand that, or does it make it difficult?

        “I definitely understand. Player safety has been a big issue, especially with everything that has happened with former players. We’ve been playing this game for a long time — I’ve been playing since I was four, and I know the risks of playing this game. When you play defense, there’s a certain mindset you have to have. You have to be careful with how much aggression you use, but you never want to play any different.”

 

The very next play you made a shoestring tackle. What did you say to HB Joe Mixon?

        “Joe and I go way back. That’s my dog. He’s a hell of a player. I never got to play against him in college. We were always connected in college and talked to each other over messenger. He tried to say he ran me over, but I was the one who made the tackle. It could go either way. It was just competitive jawing.”

 

What do you take away from the penalty from hitting Josh Malone?

        “It was a bang-bang play. The refs have to do their job, and I have to do my job. It’s a learning experience. I should never leave any doubt. I left a little doubt, and they threw the flag. I’m not going to change the way I’m playing. I want to thank this organization for believing in me. It’s been a rough start for me, for us and this season. I’m getting better and better every week, and I owe it to them and the guys in this room.”

 

BRYCE TREGGS

Wide receiver

Did the coaches say anything to you about the taunting call that you received?

        “The coaches told me I need to keep my cool — which I do. Both guys were pushing and shoving, and they called taunting. I don’t understand how you can validate a taunting call on that play. I’m not questioning the refs, I’m just not sure, and I think they should’ve been more clear about it.”

 

BRIEAN BODDY-CALHOUN

Defensive back

I’m sure you saw the replay on Jabrill Peppers’ hit. What are your thoughts?

        “Don’t change a thing. Do the same exact thing. As a corner, that’s what we want our free safety to do. He did the technique he was taught. Don’t change anything.”

 

Should he just lower the strike-zone a bit, or do you feel it was a bad call?

        “You don’t know how hard it is to run full speed and not hit someone in the neck, but just in the chest. You have to do the same thing. Just as long as you’re not launching.”

 

Do you think they throw more flags because this team is 0-10?

        “No. You play the refs every game, no matter what your record is. If they are, it is what it is and we’ll have to beat them too.”

 

JASON MCCOURTY

Defensive back

What are your thoughts on Jabrill Peppers’ hit and subsequent penalty?

        “I thought it was a clean hit. The replay shows it was a clean hit. It looked like good football. He separated him from the ball by hitting him in the chest area. The receiver got up and ended up coming back into the game, I think. This is a part of our game today — if a hit looks too hard, automatically the referees are taught to throw a flag. I think it’s hard, as a player. He did a good job lowering his strike zone. It looked like a clean hit.”

 

The pass interference call on you seemed a little flimsy as well ...

        “I guess I’ll try not to get fined. I don’t want my wife to yell at me (laughs). It was close. I told Brandon LaFell I didn’t interfere, and he knew it. But it’s part of the game. You try to roll with it and bounce back.”

 

Do you think your 0-11 record is a causing more calls to go against you?

        “That would be a great question for the head of officiating.”

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