Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters today. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
Opening statement: “Good morning. Let’s get right to Chicago – tied with Detroit at 7-6 in the NFC North, a very good team coming off of an impressive win against Dallas on Monday night. This is our last game at home. We have great fans here. I really appreciate them. It’s important for us to show them on Sunday the direction that we’re going and that we feel like we’re going. We’re committed to being our very best for this game.
“Offensively, as you look at Chicago, they’re a top-10 offense in most categories and really playing well. At (the) quarterback position, obviously, (Bears QB Jay) Cutler and (Bears QB Josh) McCown have both played and played at a high level. They’re both good system fits for what they’re doing, and they’ve been very good play out of both of them. I know that McCown was named as the (NFC) offensive player of the week (by the NFL) just today, I believe. They have great weapons on offense, and as you look at their skill players, (Bears WR) Brandon Marshall and (Bears WR Alshon) Jeffery, big, big receivers, strong guys; the guys that can make things happen, real dynamic guys with the ball in their hands after the catch, as well. (Bears WR) Earl Bennett’s a solid No. 3 receiver, comes in and does a good job of making plays. (Bears TE) Martellus Bennett, a big tight end, a very good combination player as a blocker and as a receiver. The guy who really, I think, is the key to their offense is (Bears RB) Matt Forté, a complete player, a complete back. He can run, he can catch and runs great routes, and he blocks for them, as well, when he needs to do that. Then (Bears RB) Michael Bush is a change-of-pace runner that gets tough yards inside. You really look at the weapons in their skill positions and are really impressive there.
“I think their offensive line has played very well, giving up, I think, the third-fewest sacks in the league. They’ve run the ball. They’ve been balanced in what they’re doing, and their offensive line is a big reason for that. Young guy, (Bears OL) Kyle Long was one of the top offensive linemen coming out; he’s playing real well. (Bears OL Roberto) Garza has been playing well for years inside at center for years, and (Bears OL Jermon) Bushrod, I thought, had a great game this last one against Dallas in protections.
“Defensively, they’ve had a number of injuries. I think they’re playing solid defense. I think they’re playing their best defense that they’ve played of the season. They’re great at takeaways. That’s something that traditionally Chicago defenses have done very well. (Bears DL Julius) Peppers, still playing at a high level up front. I know that (Bears DL Jay) Ratliff they’ve moved in, as well, and (Bears DL Shea) McClellin. There’s some guys up front that could give you some issues there. (Bears LB Jonathan) Bostic’s playing solid; he’s playing inside at the MIKE linebacker position in their 4-3. (Bears LB Lance) Briggs has been out and injured; we’ll see what his status is for the game. Of course in the secondary, (Bears DB Tim) Jennings is playing very well at corner with (Bears DB Zack) Bowman. They have a solid secondary.
“You look at their special teams – a great kicker in (Bears K) Robbie Gould and of course, (Bears KR/PR) Devin Hester as a returner, one of the best if not the best to ever play at that position. I know him well and have known him for a lot of years.
“We’re looking and committed to being at our best for this game and excited about being at home and this being our last game at home.”
On who will not practice today: “Out we have (OL John) Greco, will not practice today, and we’ll see where he’s at as we go on with the week and his stats for the game. (RB Willis) McGahee will not practice today. He’s in the concussion protocol. (QB Brandon) Weeden is cleared to practice, only just for practice. Again, he still has some steps and hurdles to get through the concussion protocol, but he is cleared for practice today.”
On if McGahee got knocked out on the hit that caused his concussion: “I don’t know if he was knocked out. Obviously, he got the concussion on that running play.”
On if they signed RB Edwin Baker due to a possibility McGahee may not return by Sunday: “Not sure [of his return], yes.”
On if McGahee’s season could be over: “I saw Willis this morning. We sent him home this morning. We’ll see as the week goes on, what his status is. He said he’s feeling better so we’ll just go from there.”
On Baker: “(Offensive Coordinator) Norv (Turner) was with him. He was out in San Diego last year on the practice squad so Norv was familiar with him. He has good running skills, can move well. Obviously, he has some experience in the terminology in the system. I just met him yesterday, and he’s here and he’ll be practicing today.”
On if waiving QB Caleb Hanie means Weeden is the backup quarterback: “There’s some things that Brandon has to clear this week and some of the hurdles I mentioned as far as getting cleared for the game. We’ll see how he practices this week, and then we’ll make that determination. (QB Alex) Tanney will still get some reps, and then we’ll see later in the week how things go and how things progress, but we’ll make that determination later.”
On if this game is a ‘measuring stick’ game for DB Buster Skrine, matching up against Bears WRs Alshon Jeffery and/or Brandon Marshall: “I think it’ll be a good challenge for Buster, for (DB) Joe (Haden), for all of our guys. You look at them position by position, and they’re a tough team to match up with in that way. I mentioned a number of those guys that give you the issues and the size of those guys, even when you have good coverage on them, them still being able to make plays in those type of situations. It will be a good challenge for those guys, as well as the other guys who are going to be covering Martellus Bennett and Matt Forté and the rest of their offense.”
On crossing career paths with Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman and him receiving his first NFL head coaching job in Chicago: “I’ve known Marc for a long time. I’ve never worked with him, but he coached at the University of Miami a while back. We’ve gotten to know each other through the years, and I’ve kept in touch. Obviously, he’s done a great job in a lot of different places and everywhere he’s been, whether it was in college, whether it was in the CFL or whether it was in the NFL in previous times that he’s been here. (He’s) very intelligent, a great coach, and I have a lot of respect for Marc, his staff; (Beard defensive coordinator) Mel Tucker I’ve worked with in the past, as well, before. They do a great job and they’ve done a great job this season.”
On being in a spoiler role for the last few games: “We really haven’t talked about it as that type of role. We’ve more focused on what we need to do in our approach for the game, being consistent in that approach for the game. I haven’t talked about with our team underdog or spoiler or any of those kind of things. We’re approaching and playing in December. It’s important for us to play this December. These are important games for us, and that’s been our approach all along. I want to see us continue to make progress. As I mentioned before, I feel like we’re on the right track so these games are important for that.”
On McCown’s recent success: “I think as I look at them, I think both McCown and Cutler are very good fits for their system. You watch the game and he’s making very good decisions, he’s getting the ball out, accurate, running at the times he needs to run and make plays with his feet. He’s just playing real good football. Obviously, the people around him are making a difference, too, in that they’re getting open and they’re pretty formidable guys.”
On if games at the end of a season can carry over to the next: “Well there’s aspects and elements that can carry over. Certainly, what you do at the end of a season doesn’t necessarily guarantee what you’re going to do at the start of the next season; but as I’ve mentioned before, I think the things that I like are that we’ve developed a mindset with this team, and I’ve seen that evolve and it will continue to evolve. I think there’s a number of things from a player-development standpoint that we’ve been able to do, and I think you’re seeing some guys really taking steps. Those are the things coming out of the season that you would want to go forward as you’re pushing through offseason and into the next season.”
On how Campbell fits his system and his performance compared to expectations: “I think that from a system standpoint he’s been in it and he’s had success in it before. This last game, I think that he played very well, as I’ve mentioned. His decision making, leadership on the field, running when he needed to run, making first downs and making plays was impressive. Hopefully, he can continue that. I think that his experience and maturity have really helped in that regard.”
On if he’s seen enough to say Campbell could be an effective starter in the NFL: “I think that he’s shown that he can do it. Really, it’s a matter of consistency, continuity, some of those things, availability, for us this season that we haven’t necessarily had every week. That’s what we’re striving for at that position. I think our guys, including the coaching staff and Norv, as well as the players, have made great adjustments during the course of the season.”
On if OL Jason Pinkston played right guard in place of OL Shawn Lauvao prior to replacing Greco at left guard due to injury: “He did.”
On if it was planned for Pinkston to play: “It was part of the plan.”
On if Pinkston will play left guard if Greco cannot play Sunday: “That’s what he did in the game, and that would be the plan. He’ll get reps at left guard this week.”
On how Pinkston looked on Sunday: “I thought he did a good job. I was impressed with him stepping in. He actually played right (guard) and left (guard) and didn’t miss a beat when he jumped over from one place to the other. He was very competitive in the game. That’s what I noticed just seeing him into the game, and obviously, there’s always some technical things guys can do better and work on and focus on, but that part of it I was impressed with.”
On where he was when Trestman was coaching at the University of Miami: “I was here in Ohio at that point. He left right before I went down there as a player.”
On uniqueness of Trestman’s offensive system and his success: “A lot of X’s and O’s are very similar across the league so you don’t always see something that’s unique. Really, I think the key is how you coach it. I think that he’s done a great job in that regard. Obviously, he’s experienced, and he’s run it and it’s evolved over time. If you look at what he was doing 10 years ago, it’s evolved from that time. Certainly, his experiences have added to that, but he does a great job knowing what he wants and relaying that and teaching the guys that.”
On if he expects McCown or Cutler will start at quarterback: “We’re going to be prepared for both, and we have to be prepared for both. I’m sure they’re not going to announce that and let us know on that. Again, the system, they both are good fits for the system, and there are similarities between them as players, a few differences. You look at arm strength, that would be one thing that’s different, but as far as to how it relates to what they’re doing with either guy, it doesn’t affect them.”