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Transcript from press conference with Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan

By Nate Ulrich Published: October 22, 2010

Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan met with reporters Friday afternoon. Here is a transcript from the press conference:

Browns Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan press conference 10-22-10

(On his reaction to James Harrison’s hits and the league cracking down on illegal hits) -- “I never really saw the James Harrison hits.  I’ve seen enough of them on the news.  There were quite a few of them all in one week I guess.  My reaction is first of all, we always try to better the game.  All of these new rules the first time you hear about them, you always have the same reaction, ‘Why are we messing with the best game there is in sports?’  I’ll go back to some things that I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching.  I know I won some Super Bowls in New England by rerouting receivers.  I coached the great Willie McGinest and Roman Phifer.  Phifer used to reroute receivers about 25 yards down the field.  The rule was you have got to take your hands off of them at five, so we extended that a little bit.  We played against the Colts and I can still see their tight end with Phifer still on him.  That was a rule, but there was a fine line there.  That led to me getting a coordinator job in Oakland with the great play that we were doing.  We were extending a few liberties there that weren’t being called.  The very next year after we won the Super Bowl, our second, there was a point of emphasis, ‘Hey you can’t do that anymore.’  I go out in Oakland and we have this great corner named Charles Woodson.  Woodson is there and they make this new rule.  We are playing in the preseason and he must have 10 penalties.  He’s played 12 snaps and he has 10 penalties.  I’m like, ‘God almighty, we have got to do something about this.’  Woodson has got these hands that are massive and he’s just grabbing these guys and throwing them like we used to do.  Either we are going to lead the league in the most penalties in history or we are going to have to adapt a little bit, so we did.  It was just one of those things he had to learn to execute that way.  Everything about his instincts were, ‘No Rob, I’m not letting go.’  I can remember having an argument, really a good one, coming off the field one day because he was going to explain to Fabian Washington that, ‘No, this is how we roll.’  No, it’s not how we roll.  Pretty good argument, fight, whatever you want to call it.  Apparently, he’s moved on.  He got MVP last year on defense and he’s adapted and the league has adapted with that rule.  I don’t think anybody notices that, it didn’t juristically destroy the game.  Even though it’s the best game ever, (heck) it was the greatest game before.  Right now with all of the hoopla about how you hit a guy and all of this, we have been teaching for years the right way to hit these players.  Since that rule has been instituted, we have taught how to hit them.  It’s not drastically going to turn this game from the greatest, the most violent, most physically demanding sport and all of a sudden it’s going to end up looking like checkers.  It’s not going to happen.  Is it going to be a drastic thing?  I don’t think so.  Do our players have instincts?  Yes, but they have just got to adapt them.  There’s only so many Jack Tatums out there.  We have got one.  We have got a kid that’s Jack Tatum, we’re fortunate to have a great player who’s like that.  We’ll play by the rules and understand that a couple years from now, it will probably be all for the betterment of the league.”

(On if the league is just emphasizing rules that are already in place) -- “Yes, right.  That’s the thing.  The old statement ‘you do business as business is being done,’ that’s an old Bill Belichick line.  If players were going to get rerouted and they were going to let us get away with that, then we were just going to keep going until you can’t do that anymore.  It’s the same thing.”

(On why there have been more illegal hits than in the past) -- “I’m not real sure if there is.  Maybe it just happened all of a sudden all in one week.  It’s a violent game out there every Sunday, you look out there and people are getting blown up.  It’s a fast game.  I’ve been standing on the sidelines for 13 years now and the game is not any slower.  It’s an awesome game and I’ve been to car races before and it’s, ‘Look how fast it is.’  I say I see it ever Sunday except they run into each other, so it’s even better.  It will be great and we’ll just move on.  I don’t think anybody will notice.”

(On if defensive players will be a little more timid) -- “I don’t think timid, I think we just have to be more aware.  Look, our guys aren’t out to maim anybody.  We’ve never put a bounty on anybody.  Big hits happen and they still happen.  Hopefully you’re not using your head.  You don’t hit them with you head, you don’t hit a defenseless player and these are rules that obviously are there to protect the players in this league.  One thing about this league, it’s a great league and the players make it great.  That’s a fact, and coaches and you guys.  I don’t know what kind of order that is, let’s make it coaches first (joking).”

(On his father allegedly putting out bounties on guys when he was coaching) -- “I don’t know what kind of money he was using if that was the case.  I have got some money, but Kristin spends every penny of it.  I don’t know, they must make more money than I do.  I don’t know if that ever really happened.  Probably allegedly correct.  I don’t know.  I think every week you want to win and it’s easier to win when you’re playing against a backup.  These guys now a days, you just go out there, you try to beat the other team and it’s not so much trying to play against their backup.  You’ve got to play whoever is out there.”

(On the 50-yard completion to Mike Wallace when they were blitzing) -- “You can call that a blitz, that’s called double-coverage where you have two of your guys on them.  That’s an alert.  Before they put these headsets now with the microphone so you can alert your players and say, ‘Okay, this is what to look for.’  An example would be if they are backed up.  Matt Eberflus is our linebacker coach, but he’s in charge of ‘backed up’ and he does a great job.  We know him, so a conversation would go, ‘Hey Matt, hit me with these reminders again.  What’s the formation we’re looking for for the shot?’  ‘Anytime it’s a two back set.’  Then of course it would be like, ‘Alright guys, this is what it’s going to be.  We are getting direct runs, watch out for the two back shot because that’s when they are taking them.’  We have got our check off of it.  They give us a two back shot, they try to disguise it by lining up in a one back formation, but they motion back in to give you that two back look.  We know what we are looking for.  We get the right check into double coverage, the kid just outran us.  Did I go crazy and get into max pressure from the two yard line?  No.  In fact, we had double coverage on that.  The problem is they gave us a hard sell play action, we got sucked up as linebackers and it lead to the tight end being open down the middle of the field.  Abe (Elam) had two receivers on him instead of one, but he was supposed to be on top of that unit.  Everybody designs plays.  As a coaching staff, we go back two years on every situation there is on defense.  We have all the work in those situations, it’s amazing what you can do now with film.  In every situation that’s going to show up on Sunday, as a defensive staff, and I can only speak for myself because (heck) that’s who I am.  I’d lie to you and say everybody does it, but of course that’d be bull (crap).  They use like three games and go home.  We have got two years worth of work and I’m only saying the truth.  We have two years of work on every situation, that’s why you see a Matt Eberflus and now he’s gray, what a shock.  Kid came in looking good, now he’s ugly (joking).  That’s how the league is and you’ve got to prepare.  You’ve got two years of stuff, so you see, ‘Oh look they take shots every time it’s this.’  We don’t want to be surprised.  We don’t want to let our (darn) team down.  We were playing the (darn) game the way we wanted to play it.  We got beat on a play that we were prepared for this week, period.  This week, I think I just got done studying the red zone on New Orleans.  I had to do two years of work on them, (heck) they were in the red zone enough.  I barely made the press conference.”

(On what they need from Eric Wright) -- “We are definitely counting on Eric Wright as a coaching staff and as a football team.  Just because we are counting on him doesn’t necessarily mean he’s always going to do great.  The biggest thing is consistency.  Right now, Eric hasn’t been that consistent.  Not as good as he was last year consistent-wise.  The young man is working, he’s studying tape, he works extra with Jerome (Henderson) and he’s just got to play through it.  I guess it would be like a hitter in baseball going through a little slump.  Eventually they’re going to get their stuff back, their groove back.  Has he been beaten in man coverage sometimes?  Yes he has.  Did he miss a tackle last week that hurt?  Absolutely.  Did we get the throw we were expecting?  (Heck) yes.  The guy’s five yards short of the (darn) goal line, we have got to get him on the ground.  Is he a fine football player?  (Darn) right he is.  We have got to all play better, whatever it takes, we are going to do.”

(On at what point will they decide to use Joe Haden in the base defense) -- “There’s so many three receiver sets and all this.  Joe Haden’s doing a (darn) good job I think.  I think we’re doing the right thing because the kid’s also playing well on special teams.  This is a full game, I don’t know if he’s played any receiver yet but he’s a (darn) good athlete. He’s just a young player and he’s really doing a good job.  Will he eventually be an every down player?  Sure, no question about it.  We’ve got New Orleans this week and they’ve got so many (darn) receivers on the roster and they put them all in the games and all that.  The guy’s going to play 60 plays a game anyway.”

(On with only one win, how does he prepare his players physiologically for if something happens again) -- “Unfortunately, I’ve been through some tough seasons here the last few. I don’t know why.  It’s not from lack of effort.  I think our guys whatever it is the makeup of players on this team, it doesn’t take much to talk them into a fight and that’s what we’ll do.  We were disappointed last week we were playing the Steelers who we really want to bring it to and fight and we were doing a good job.  We got beat on two plays that took a lot of momentum away from us.  We got beat on that 50-yard play on that double coverage and then we got beat on an over route the very next play which we probably repped 12 times during practice.  That takes some wind out of your sails no question especially in a game whatever the score was (heck) we were right there in it.  We got one stop there we’d probably take the lead on them, so that hurt.  Then we came back and let them score on that play there a missed tackle and then we took over two drives inside our 20-yard line.  Do we want to respond on that, we got beat three times on third down on the red zone, usually we don’t let people score down there.  We had a great book on them so it was disappointing.  It sucks because you give up points and you lose a game.  Every game you prepare hard enough to win and as a coach that’s what you do.  You’re paid to win, you keep your job for winning and when you don’t win you go somewhere else.”

(On coaches being prepared but being limited to the players on the field) -- “That’s just like the ball, the ball bounces always to the other guy since I’ve been here, it sucks.  I think as a coach and (heck) I’ll use myself as an example because I’ve been through some losing now.  I just work harder.  I’m going to work harder because I think it would be the same for anybody’s job.  If for whatever reason all your work is not getting anything done then the first thing that you do, at least that I do, is I’m going to do something better.  I’m not one to blame my tools, I just know I can do a better job and I will.  That’s how the things gone to two years in every situation and that’s for real they don’t joke about it, it’s the (darn) truth.  Most people get three weeks of film, that’s not good enough.  (Heck) I’m going to do whatever it takes to win again.  That’s why you coach, that’s why you’re in this business.  It’s a win business.”

(On players sometimes not making good plays on offense and defense) -- “The players that you get, that’s the best part of the job in coaching.  The players make the job.  Believe me, when that guy is catching the football, somebody that has coached them is just as jacked as the (darn) guy that caught it is.  When something goes wrong, believe me there’s a lot of emotion there. It’s like, ‘Oh (crap).’ That’s what you want to do, (heck) you are out there, at least I am. Warren Sapp always said, ‘Rob I see you over there.  All of your yelling, you’re not playing.’  Yes, but I want to play.  You do everything you can.  Do we believe in these guys on defense?  (Heck) yes.  We’re not where we need to be, I don’t give a (crap) we are getting better.  We can sit around and pretend, ‘Woe is us.’  Bull crap.  We are losing some good players, absolutely.  Robaire Smith is a captain of our defense, he’s the toughest guy in football and we lost him.  That hurts you a little bit.  Brian Schaefering, who nobody knew about including me, is a (heck) of a player.  These guys are good, they step up and they do a good job.  You’ll see a really well-coordinated defense this week going against a (darn) good offense, I mean a really good offense with one (heck) of a quarterback.  They (darn) guy has thrown like two incompletions his whole life against me.  Am I going to shut my eyes and cringe every time I see him back there?  Probably, but something has got to happen.  The guy has got to throw an incompletion one of these (darn) days.  We didn’t make the schedule.  We are going down there and we are going to fight like (heck).  We have got a prepared defense and we have got some (darn) good people on that defensive side of the ball.  We are going to hit them right, we are not going to hit them with our helmet, and we are going to play by the rules because that’s the rules of the game.  We teach the rules even though we are tough.  Save the toughness and all of that, this is a violent game played with the top athletes in the world.   We are going to fight like (heck) like we always do, but if you’re going to go for a knockout, do it after the (darn) game on a street corner somewhere.  We have probably got some guys doing that too (joking).”

(On defending Drew Brees and his 70 percent passing completion rate) -- “I know, he’s off this year (joking).  I tell you what, every time I see him he’s 90 percent.  He’s phenomenal.  I’m telling you, you look at the way he throws that football and you look at the coverage that he completes it in and you just have no idea how he does it.  I don’t.  He sets his feet different ways to get away from the rush.  The guy is unique.  You can have a guy covering on the tape where you can’t see it and he’ll still get it in there to him.  How do you cover that?  I don’t know, we are going to find out.  We’ve got to do it better than I’ve done it before in the past.”

(On having his defense playing at a level that satisfies Mike Holmgren’s expectations) -- “I can’t speak for Mike Holmgren.  I’m going to do this, I’m going to be like a player when you’re trying to make a football team.  A player goes out and he does the best job he can.  Every team in the world is looking at him.  I’m going to be a head coach in this league, I’m not worried about being a coordinator.  I’m better than anybody there is.  Nobody works harder than I do, no one is smarter than I am.  We can say, ‘Well, they documented...’  Well, I don’t give a (crap) about documentation and that’s a fact.  I know who I am, so if I have to move, I can move.  I’ve been fired before, but I’ve also stayed on before.  Things get rough, pictures are ugly, families move, that’s the NFL.  If they do that here in Cleveland, so be it.  We have got great people out here.  A lot of times when that happens, there are some coaches that are left behind.  I’m never going to be that guy.  I can pretend I am, but why?  It’s a waste of time.  All of us know I’m a great coach, it isn’t going to matter.  There are other coaches with me that are great coaches that I care about that will be travelling along with me.  If we have to move, I guess we’ll have to back the U-Haul up.  You know what’s great about the NFL?  They move your stuff for you.  That’s great.  When I got fired in college, it was me and Kristin, ‘Hey Kris, honey, bring that big box.  Bring the big one.  Should I help you?’  I used to pack all of that (stuff).  I’m not worried about moving.”

(On if there is anything in Cleveland that is appealing to him) -- “I love the people, (heck) I do.  I love our players number one, I love the people.  I’m in Columbia Station, they have got some great people there.  We have got a great home there we are renting.  I love the people here. This is a town that wants a good football team and I want to be a part of it. If I’m not then oh well. I’m not going to cry, I promise you I won’t cry, but also Cleveland will be missing out on a (heck) of a football coach.”


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