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Transcript from news conference with Browns coach Rob Chudzinski

By Nate Ulrich Published: August 21, 2013

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski met with reporters today before practice. Here is a transcript from the news conference:

Opening statement: “Good morning, everybody.  We have shifted our focus from last week training camp, to getting now more into game preparation.  Obviously, we are playing Indianapolis this week.  We’re spending our mock week preparing for them and some of the challenges that they bring.  They’re a playoff team.  They were 11-5 last year, an outstanding team.  A road game, which will be a first time we will get a chance to do that this preseason so we will go through that process and guys getting used to doing that and what we want on a road trip.  We will also play indoors in a dome.  This is a team that has a lot of speed – I’m talking about Indianapolis – skill positions, their front, their defense, they run really well so that will be a challenge for us.  We are preparing for the crowd noise, as well.  One of the things we want to do in practice this week is utilize the crowd noise so we can go through those procedures and get use to that, as well. 

“They have a tremendous coaching staff.  (Colts Head Coach) Chuck Pagano and I go way back.  He was a graduate assistant when I was playing at the University of Miami.  A few years later, we had the chance to coach together at Miami and then coached here obviously with the Browns.  I know him well.  I have a lot of respect for him.  I still have the picture of my kids in their ‘ChuckStrong’ t-shirts that we sent to him last fall when he was going through his ordeal.  I’m just happy to hear everything is going well with him from that standpoint.”

On the trade involving OG John Moffitt being nullified: “It was before practice had even started.  We hadn’t finished going through everything, and he was eager to get going, so I just brought him back in and it was not a big deal.”

On Moffitt being eager: “Just to get out on the field to get going with stuff.”

On looking for a new offensive guard: “Right now, this is a time of year when you’re looking for everything.  Our scouting department is burning the midnight oil looking at a lot of positions.”

On difficulty of the Moffitt trade, the right guard position and transactions in general: “It’s always challenging.  Everything in the NFL is challenging.  We have some guys that are working there right now that have made some progress.  (Offensive lineman) Oniel Cousins is working there, (rookie offensive lineman) Garrett Gilkey is working there and (rookie offensive lineman) Caylin Hauptmann is a guy that is working there as well.  We have some other possibilities.”

On the Moffitt trade being voided: “Just out of respect for John, or any player that is in the situation, I would rather not get into detail about that.”

On why Denver picked up Moffitt after the trade was voided: “Every organization is different.  Like I said, out of respect for any player in the situation, I am not going to get into any details about that.”

On if DL Brian Sanford will be back with the Browns: “Brian is.  He is out there already.  He is out there in the walkthrough this morning.  He got in on an early flight.”

On if there is any discomfort with Sanford returning: “Not at all, he left here on good terms.  We had a great conversations before he left.  The last thing that I talked to him about was you never know in this league how things end up working out and where we might cross paths again.  It happened a little sooner than what we had expected.  We were laughing about it out there when I got a chance to talk to him.”

On starting WR Josh Gordon: “We will have Gordon starting this game, and we’ll roll those guys quite a bit, though.”

On keeping starters in through the third quarter: “The initial plan is to go into the third period, where they have to come out after halftime to make adjustments and go through that process.”

On how long into the third quarter the starters will play: “A series.”

On his evaluation of DL Billy Winn and John Hughes: “Along with all the guys on the defensive line, [they have] just relentless motors.  Those guys are athletic to begin with.  They are big guys that can run.  They play hard.  They have learned and gotten better at technique.  I think those two specifically are really guys who have focused on their technique as young players and are improving.”

On defensive line being a strength to the team: “We want them to be a strong unit.  From what they have shown and what they demonstrate on a daily basis, they are working toward that.  Time will tell if they ultimately get to that and to be that.  They also have a lot of pride.  I love going out and watching individual drills.  They’re all working to get better.  It is a competitive room, and that’s what I like to see as a coach.”

On athleticism of players who have played basketball: “Obviously, the athleticism required to play basketball, guys can run and jump, the movement skills and the ball skills from having to catch and all of those things, developing that hand-eye coordination, it helps guys as receivers.  Those guys also have a court sense and awareness that transfers over to the field.  You talk about (TE) Jordan Cameron, I had the chance to coach (former Chargers tight end) Antonio Gates.  That was one of the things that Antonio had, a sense of what was around him.  I think that was what was developed on the basketball court. 

“One of the things, as well, is learning how to use your body and post up.  Those are skills, in catching the ball at times when you have people on your back, you are able to transfer the football as well.”

On Cameron using his body as an advantage: “I think some of those skills that you see are being tied all together with his knowledge of football.  I think he will keep improving and improving in those areas, and that will help him ultimately.”

On if he is tougher on tight ends because he played the position: “Those guys would probably say that, yes.”

On WR David Nelson playing Saturday: “Yet to be determined.  He practiced yesterday.  We will go through another day of practice.  I want to see how he goes, and we will make that determination later in the week.”

On evaluating Nelson without seeing him play: “You have to go off of what he has done in the past on tape.  He came out yesterday and looked good running around.  Whatever evaluation we can get, we will just have to go on.”

On if he played high school basketball: “I did. I think I fouled out of too many games to be called an actual player [laughter].”

On growing up in Cleveland and sharing with the team his experience as a Cleveland fan, the team’s history and its success: “From day one, I have tried to talk about the tradition that has been here. We have talked a lot about the fans.  We have talked a lot about how important this team is to this whole area.  We want to bring a winner back to this area for those people, for those fans and to create that type of excitement. That is one of our goals and that is what drives us on a daily basis.  We have a lot of work to do to get to that point, but more than that, I think you see a lot of things out here like the interactions with the fans, with the players, that is bring everybody closer together. I think that is an important thing.”

On those messages meaning more because he grew up in Cleveland: “I don’t know about that.  I know it is very important to me because of our background.”

On being comfortable with Nelson playing if he does not in Indianapolis: “I think we just need to wait on that.  That is kind of hypothetical.  We still have another game and still some more practices yet.  Let’s just see how it goes this week and go from there.”

On DB Tashaun Gipson and RB Chris Ogbonnaya starting: “From a fullback standpoint and a tailback standpoint, we put Chris on the depth chart as a first-teamer.  I think he is a role player, but he is a first-teamer in many situations.  Hopefully, that answers that one.  As far as Gipson, he is the number one free safety.”

On DB T.J. Ward returning to practice and playing with Gipson: “I am looking forward to seeing that.  T.J. had a good practice yesterday.  We have been cautious with it, but he is looking full speed and everything seems to be a go.  We will determine that later in the week.  I am looking forward to seeing those two guys working together.  They have a lot in practice so it’s not like it is going to be something that is foreign once they get out on the field in a game, but we still would like to see them in a game.”

On RB Trent Richardson playing as much as the rest of the starters: “There will be other guys, and Trent will be one of them that will be less time.”

On rookie LB Barkevious Mingo’s status: “I don’t have update other than that he has improved.  The timeline nobody really knows exactly; it is just a matter of how quickly his body heals.”

On anyone who will not practice today that practiced yesterday: “(WR) Davone Bess, we are going to give him just a rest today.  (DL) Dez Bryant because of his back spasms we are going to hold him again.  I believe we held him yesterday, as well.”

On if DB Johnson Bademosi is the primary kickoff return man after RB Dion Lewis’ injury: “I feel comfortable that we have (WR) Travis (Benjamin).  I would really like to see the other guys, including Bademosi. (DB) Buster Skrine has done it before and has been effective, as well.  I feel like we have some fallbacks, particularly Bademosi, but any of the other guys that we have there.”

On evaluating special teams in the first two preseason games: “I have been impressed for a lot of reasons with the special teams.  You start out typically with these games in the preseason with a lot of guys on special teams. So just managing that alone, (special teams coordinator) Chris Tabor and (special teams assistant) Shawn Mennenga have done a great job with that, just managing that aspect of it.  The guys have been into it.  There is a real excitement on special teams and they take a lot of pride in it.  Hopefully, we will continue to take that and make it a strength for us.”

On LB Craig Robertson’s versatility and size and his role as a sign of the game evolving: “I think his versatility is what you speak of the NFL today as a guy who can play against running backs and against tight ends, can hold up in the passing game there, and in the run game.  He is a tough guy that can stick his nose in there.  His movement skills are outstanding.  He is just really versatile player, and that’s what you need today because of so much of the variety that offenses do.”

On if it is a risk to have Benjamin return kicks: “There is always a risk when you put certain guys out there.  Certainly, kickoff return there is more contact in that area.  We are going to try to put the best guys out on the field in those situations to go win the game.  If Travis happens to be the best guy in that situation, we will do it at that time, as well.”

On if has determined if starters will play in the fourth preseason game: “I have not.  It is yet to be determined, and we will base it on what we see this week.”

On CB Joe Haden as a leader: “Joe has really stepped up his game from a football stand point, and what he has donefrom taking on a leadership role with the other guys, he has really embraced that.  The biggest thing is he is setting an example.  He is focused on the coaching he is getting from (defensive coordinator) Ray (Horton), (defensive backs coach) Louie (Cioffi) and (assistant defensive backs coach) Bobby (Babich).  He is going out on a daily basis and applying those things on the field.  That is leadership by example.  I see him grabbing guys on the side and helping them out with some of their things.  You see a young player that is going from being a guy who is just trying to make sure he is okay to doing that plus taking the extra steps to help out other guys.  That’s huge and that’s huge in the development of our young team.”


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