Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters today following the final practice of the team's three-day mandatory minicamp. Here is a transcript from the news conference:
(Opening statement)- “We wrapped it up sort of like we started it out, indoors here this last day. Today as you saw we had the chance to work some more situations. We hit some goal line and some additional red zone and we did some move the ball periods where we were using the play clock and trying to simulate game-type situations. We got everyone on the sidelines for that. That has been good work for us. As far as the schedule goes for the next few weeks, we will still have the rookies so they will still be around in the rookie program. They will get a chance to lift, workout and go through some of the rookie educational programs that we have for them as well as some individual meetings with their coaches. Going back, April 1 is when we first got a chance to start hanging out and being with our guys, getting a chance to coach them, get to know them. I’m really pleased with the progress that we have made since then. Going back and starting out with Brad Roll in the strength room. From a conditioning standpoint, we have has some tremendous gains from some guys in there. He has done a great job with them. Then we got with the individual position coaches, us getting to know them and being able to have a chance to see them on the field and evaluate them to a certain degree as much as you can in that section of time. Them getting to know us, understanding not only the system but what we are expecting from them as members of the Cleveland Browns – how we practice, how we prepare and what we want from a culture standpoint. I am pleased with the progress that we have made. We are on the right track. We have a lot of work to do. We still have a long ways to go. There will be bumps in the road as we know, but we will continue along and stay on course.”
(On the theme for training camp and what it will be like)- “The thing we want to do with training camp that we really haven’t done or have been able to do out here is be able to see the physical part of football. Seeing the toughness and pushing through some of those things. Guys getting a chance to really compete physically, that will be the theme and that will be what we are trying to do along with bring guys along from an execution standpoint.”
(On if there will be roster changes before camp)- “We will look at it and that is an ongoing continuous process. I think we have a better grasp of our guys at this point to a certain degree. I think the lines are the toughest place to evaluate, the guys up front. More from a skill standpoint, I think you have a little bit better idea of that. We will always be looking to improve our roster.”
(On if they will go through and evaluate each position group)- “We will go through an assessment at the end of spring and a sit down of where we are at. Where potentially we need help from that standpoint and what plan we have to develop the guys we have.”
(On what he knows about the team now that he didn’t know on April 1)- “What I know now is that these guys want to win. They are hungry, they are willing to work and they are willing to do the things that we need them to do to put them in the best position to win. I love the attitude in the locker room. I think the guys have bought in and really are on the same page with what we want.”
(On recapping how Brandon Weeden did in OTAs and in minicamp)- “I think Brandon has done a nice job to this point. Everything we have asked him to do, it certainly hasn’t been perfect, but learning and being able to apply it on the field, to be able to listen to Norv (Turner) hollering at him and be able to make those adjustments and corrections. You see progress. I think all of you have probably seen it out here, not only from a technical standpoint in what he is doing – getting the ball out quicker, he has speeded up his delivery but also from a mental standpoint. His understanding and comfort level you can see it out there when he is operating.”
(On if he feels good about how the wide receivers are progressing)- “I do. I think the first thing they realize in this system is they have to be in great shape to play receiver and they have. They have understood and are more detailed in their routes, which is something in this system from a timing standpoint that is very critical. You have seen that growth from that group as well. You look at a guy like Greg Little who has made huge improvements. I think you saw him out there today. Everybody has their turn and again this is very skewed and geared towards the offense and the skill guys. When pads come on and guys are going over the middle and there is press coverage and some of those other things, that is the next step that they have to take.”
(On if he is concerned with Jordan Cameron’s injury and Cameron having injuries in the past)- “Those are always things that we have to try to work through. I am not concerned at this point right now about that. That position is a demanding position. As we get into the season we will make sure we are practicing and getting those guys the right amount of reps and things like that. Those are things you are looking for as a coach to be able to adjust to.”
(On if he is expecting all of the currently injured players to be ready for the start of camp)- “I am. (Chris) Faulk we will see. (Jamoris) Slaughter for sure. Trent (Richardson), Jordan (Cameron) and David Nelson, yep.”
(On how important it is for a tight end to be on the field)- “We need everybody. From a practice standpoint, just for them to be on the field to be able to improve especially for the young guys. A guy like Jordan, he has played. He has some experience. He is new to this system, but he is also really new to being a tight end and trying to take a step up as a tight end in this league. It’s a critical thing. The best ability is availability.”
(On evaluating Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer through OTAs and minicamp)- "I'm pleased with Jason. He has been exactly what we had hoped for from a veteran leadership standpoint and a guy that can come in and doesn't need every single rep to understand and grow. He has been in the system before so that has been really good and he has been outstanding. That group, overall, is probably one of the best groups from a chemistry standpoint that I've been around at quarterback. They work together, they are always talking with each other and helping each other out. There is a good vibe in that room. With Brian coming in late, picking things up in a short amount of time and he has a real good feel. He has been around as well. He has been in a number of systems so he understands what, overall, you are trying to get done. I do like the direction that the group has come. I think, as I mentioned yesterday, we have a ways to go yet, but we are on the right track."
(On if he knows how the fullback position will develop)- "I don't. That's one position where, until you get in pads, you are out here, practicing and guys are going up to each other like they are going to block each other and take on blocks and you stop. That's a position until, you get in pads, it's really difficult to evaluate. As I've mentioned before, I've been fortunate to have been around all different types of fullbacks. Whether it was the guy that's a blocker and that's all he does, to a guy who has been a runner and more of a tailback type of guy, to the other guys who are more of a receiver-type guy."
(On if he knows what direction he is leaning in regards to the type of fullback he wants)- "We will when we get the pads on."
(On what he is expecting from Joe Haden this season)- "I'm expecting a good year from Joe. If you go by how he has been from April 1 until now, and the focus he has had, the biggest thing is Joe being consistent on every single day. He has done that and I've been real impressed with him. He's going to be a critical part of what we are doing defensively at the corner position."
(On his impression of the secondary unit as a whole now as opposed to four-six weeks ago)- "Much better. Seeing the guys out on the field and seeing how much they've improved. I think Louie Cioffi and Bobby Babich have done a great job with those guys in coaching them. You've really seen a lot of improvement out of that group. You see (Tashaun) Gipson stepping up, two guys in Buster (Skrine) and Chris Owens that are working that other corner position. Of course Joe and the focus he has had and Leon McFadden coming in a little bit late trying to catch up. You see a good group there and I really like the way those guys are working together."
(On if he has formal exit interviews with veterans leaving for vacation)- "Not specifically with each one in that manner."
(On if he will talk to the players in a group setting)- "In a group and I've talked to them as a team previously earlier this morning."
(On if he had a departing message for the veterans)- "Yes, that we want to stay on the course that we are on right now. We want to come back and guys need to make gains. Think about the things that they want to do and get done and come back hungry when we start training camp. That's something I'm excited about already, to see our fans out here on the field and be out here for training camp with them, hooting and hollering. I am excited about that."
(On if Weeden has shown him that he wants the starting quarterback job)- "Yes, I think all those guys have progressed and improved. When we get in pads and we get out there in more competitive situations we'll be looking for improvement there. Ultimately, it's going to be about production."
(On if the quarterback picture has changed heading into training camp)- "No, I see it as the same. I think it has become clearer in terms of us knowing these guys a little bit more and them knowing what we want."
(On D'Qwell Jackson)- "D'Qwell has been great. You guys know from a leadership and character standpoint what he brings to the table, but he has been right at home, adjusting back playing the 3-4. Obviously, he has had that time before in a 3-4 so it has been no problem. It looks like he has been there his whole career."
(On if there is going to be an open competition for the quarterback spot or if Weeden has won the job)- "I don't really know what that term means exactly. I know Brandon is working with the first group right now. Jason is a second-teamer working with the twos and Brian is with the third group. There is a lot of time between now and when we are playing, whether it's the preseason or our opener. All these guys are going to get plenty of opportunities. There are a lot of reps and a lot of practices between now and then."
(On if they have not made a decision yet)- "We are where we are right now."