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Transcript from press conference with Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan

By Nate Ulrich Published: November 19, 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 11-19-10

(On David Garrard and if quarterbacks are harder to bring down now than a few years ago) -- “I’ll tell you he is a load.  It does seem like we play these big guys that are hard to tackle.  I’m sure that goes with all the athletes now a days that get bigger, faster and stronger but we played some guys that are really tough to tackle like (Mark) Sanchez last week.  He’s a fine athlete but I was surprised we couldn’t bring him down.  He made a lot of plays on us by extending the plays so it’s something that we’ve talked about, that we’ve worked on and we got to get these guys down on the ground.  We didn’t have much success with (Ben) Roethlisberger this year but there are other times where we wrap around his waist that way we could actually bring him down.  This is a big, strong guy that we’re going to have to definitely be able to get him down on the ground and quit extending the plays.”

(On what the key technique is to doing that) -- “I think you just got to wrap your arms around his waist and tackle him more like a rodeo-type of deal than just going up there just the traditional tackle. These guys pull out of them, they get out of arms, they seem to be more apt at stiff arming guys when they’re higher.  Every little detail in pro football matters and you guys watched the game last week, that helped us lose the game.”

(On the Browns’ offensive line) -- “I think their tone is set by their coach.  I think George Warhop does an unbelievable job. I’ve been around a lot of coaches and this guy is phenomenal.  He does a great job, he’s a hard worker, he’s there all night long.  He’s got all the respect from all our defensive guys of course those are the only guys I’m in charge of so I can’t comment on the rest of them, but our defensive staff loves him, thinks he’s the best in football and those guys play with his style, his temperament.  They’re all tough, nasty guys that you’re just happy that you have them here.  You don’t find too many offensive linemen that attack like our guys do.  The (Eric) Steinbach’s and Joe Thomas’, those guys are rare and they’re fun to watch.”

(On how painful the loss was last Sunday) -- “Our team has worked so hard and sometimes all of the hard work in the world doesn’t lead to a win.  We were about as close as we could get to winning that game.  This league is tough, every week is like that, every week is a challenge.  I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever called 99 plays on defense.  (Shoot) I was exhausted, so I know those players were.  It’s a mental challenge, it’s draining, there wasn’t a whole lot of sleep the night before and that was (darn) exhausting.  I know our players, we played every guy we had on our roster.  We lost a lot of key players, they fought their (butt) off.  It’s tough to do when you put so much emotion into everything you do and each week is just a new week.  I feel really strong about where we are right now as a defense.  I think we’ve done a great job of preparation.  We’ve obviously got a challenge with several guys out, but (heck) that’s just normal around here.  We need a win and we are working hard to get it.  We are going to fight like (crazy).  A Jack Del Rio-coached team is always going to be tough and they’re a very physical team.  They’ve got great a back over there, both of them are from the Bay City out there in Oakland.  We are looking forward to this challenge.  I know people think we are going to go out there and beat them, (shoot) this is a good football team.  This is one (heck) of a football team with a lot of talent.  I think their quarterback does a real fine job, their receivers are well-coached and they’re good players, but obviously that back is really something special.”

(On the season that Eric Wright has had) -- “I think Eric played much better least year.  I think Eric last year, to me, was a Pro Bowl player.  I think this year, he’s a (darn) good player.  He’s struggled and obviously everything is magnified out there, especially when you put him in man coverage.  Things go for touchdowns instead of a four yard run, they don’t notice a guy missing a play like that.  He’s still a fine football player, there’s no question.  He has to work on his technique, he’s up there with Rome (Jerome Henderson) all of the time getting coaching points and working and studying tape.  He’s working through it just like I say a hitter does, getting through in baseball I’m sure.  The young man is trying as hard as he can to work through it.”

(On if Wright was lined up where he was supposed to be on the last play of the game) -- “He was lined up opposite that wideout, so he was where he was supposed to be.  His technique could’ve been better, sure, no question.  It’s not all him.  Blame it on me because I messed it up.  Santonio Holes is out there and I should’ve had the whole team covering him.”

(On if multiple players could’ve tackled Holmes on that last play) -- “I think there was a little indecision there.  We had two ships crossing in the night and just a moment of hesitation with a player like that is all it took.  T.J. Ward has never missed a tackle in his life until that, we would have liked to see him hit that guy for sure.  It’s such a bang-bang plays and give credit to (Brian) Schottenheimer and the Jets staff.  They had some (guts) and went for it and it paid off.”

(On if that would have ended the game had they tackled Holmes on that play) -- “I think it was something that was going to be a quick throw or it was going to be a run and they were going to spike the ball.  That’s what was going through my mind and we called out base coverage thinking that we can live with a three or four yard play. Unfortunately, it went a (heck) of a lot further than that.”

(On who he would compare Maurice Jones-Drew to and his good power) -- “That good power is unbelievable power.  What makes this guy unbelievable is you can blitz him and he will stop them in their tracks.  That Eric Berry blitzed, I don’t think he ever wants to blitz again.  This guy will hit you.  This is the guy that knocked Shawne Merriman out in his prime, knocked him on his back.  This guy plays with unbelievable fire and (shoot) he’s hard to tackle.  Like we say, he’s like tackling a chainsaw.  He is.  He’s a load and he’s got that stuff arm going for him and he’s lightning quick.  This guy has got all of our respect, he’s got our attention.  I know we think they’re upset with the way the game went last year, so who gives a (crap).  We’re (mad) too, so we are ready to win.  We can’t wait.”

(On if he noticed that Jacksonville’s losses have been by large margins) -- “Yes, I did.  I noticed that their backup was playing quarterback quite a bit when they were losing.  I hope (David) Garrard doesn’t play well.  We have got to do some things to make sure that he doesn’t play well.  They are a fine football team.  They beat the Indianapolis Colts and the guys that these guys have beat, they’re pretty (darn) good.”

(On how difficult it is to play well on a consistent basis) -- “I think our team is playing well.  I think especially with an Eric Mangini-coached team, you get consistency.  It’s just part of our package, it’s part of how we work as a staff, it’s a part of how we are as a team and players, we are consistent.  You can see our team consistently getting better.  I know we didn’t win last week, but usually when you put up good consistent efforts, especially later in the year when people get hurt and things like that, you tend to win.  That’s what’s going to happen around here.”

(On if he is using last year’s 4-0 finish amidst injuries as a reference point for this season) -- “That’s a great point there.  I think all of our guys right now are focused, they’re all workers, they’re all good guys.  If somebody goes down with something, you have to step up and it’s not that we’re not going to miss our players.  Scott Fujita, in my opinion, was a Pro Bowl player this year for sure.  You take him out, he does all of our communication and he’s in charge of everything.  Without him, guys step up.  We’re so fortunate to have such smart guys.  We have Chris Gocong, we have Eric Barton, these guys are just like Scott in that they’re very intelligent, they have the respect of their teammates and we are just going to keep moving forward.  Do you miss a Scott Fujita?  (Heck) yes, but again we are going to be okay.  We’ve got several linebackers on this roster as all of you guys know, and they’ll all play.”

(On if not putting Fujita on injured reserve is to have him available for a possible race down the stretch) -- “If it was up to me, (heck) yes, but I don’t know.  Maybe that is the case, I’m not sure.  I just know when he’s not there, I can’t coach him, so we just kind of figure that out.  I’m sure that is part of the plan.  We’re here to win and that’s what we’re going to do.”

(On what it means to say that an Eric Mangini-coached team is going to be consistent) -- “Because he doesn’t flinch.  When all of the (stuff) is going bad and all of that around him, the same stoic figure that’s in front of you, that sucker is there and he’s consistent.  He’s going to demand it to be run his way, which we’ve won Super Bowls doing it his way and our way, the Cleveland Brown way.  That’s how you win, you have to demand things, you have to be set in your ways and you have to see it through.  Our start, obviously again this year, wasn’t exactly what we had planned.  Not me anyway.  You go through a lot of crap, but as long as you stay in front and you do your job and you lead that way, all of the people follow and then you get great efforts.”

(On if he coaches any differently with some key players in the secondary potentially being out Sunday) -- “You have to be smart with doing things that your players can do.  We were fortunate, we picked up a kid in this Eric King who looks great.  He’s working his tail off studying.  If the young man is active, we will use him.  No one plays them off of the street like we do, faster.  We’ll be fine.  He’s going to be okay and we’re happy we got him.”

(On how Joe Haden did in extended playing time last Sunday) -- “I think he played like 120 plays or something with special teams and everything.  Thank God the guy is young and tough.  He played really well.  He’s clearly one of our best players, he gets better every week.  His technique has improved night and day from when we got him, and that’s a credit to Jerome Henderson who, as we all know, is the best secondary coach in football.  I think he’s better than Dennis Thurman, who is great.  He’s made something out of this kid who is a credit to him and T.J. (Ward).  They come in on their day off, these are two young guys on their day off, I know it’s Cleveland (joking).  They come in and they are in there working and that’s for two hours.  Two hours and we give them a candy bar and put them on their way, that’s what they do, right next door to us when we’re game planning.  I’m really proud of those guys and the effort and the work ethic and everything.  You just see it on the field.  Those two guys are great draft picks, great for us on defense here and the city of Cleveland.”

(On if Haden is getting closer to starting) -- “Joe could start any day.  We are just going to line him up and play him. Whether he starts or gets his name called when they announce it that’s another thing.  Is the guy good enough to start?  (Heck) yes.  He’s good enough to start for any team in the league, including ours.”

(On if Haden did the right thing by intercepting the pass in overtime) -- “Yes.  With Joe’s ability to return the ball, I would have told him to run that (dang) thing back for a touchdown.  I think we saw some of that against Pittsburgh.  If he just gets a block or two, he’s going to score on that one.  I don’t see how you could say to just knock it down, that didn’t work out for Houston last week when it went for a touchdown.”

(On what Haden should do in that situation) -- “Just catch it and run.  It’s our chance on defense.  You never tell a guy to knock it down, except that’s what everybody says at the end of the game and then you see what happens.  I like the way Mike Holmgren said it, ‘If there’s no one around you, catch the thing.’  Catch it and then if there is a crowd, then you spike it.  That would be an awful way to lose the game.  I know hard ways to lose games, that was a hard one last week too.”

(On handling Shaun Rogers’ health) -- “He’s had a tough year.  This has been a year that he’s had injuries all year, he’s injured again.  You’ve got to be smart.  Here’s a veteran he’s a very smart guy, he’s tough.  I don’t know if he’s going to get any smarter or tougher by getting him out there every minute of the day.  He’s getting banged on three guys at a time.  We are smart with him.  Bryan Cox keeps him out of all the stuff most of the time but it’s taking it’s taking its toll on him that’s for sure.  Man does he make a difference when he’s in there going hard.”

(On how Rogers has been playing the past couple games) -- “Great, he’s been playing excellent.  He hit this kid last week and almost killed him but he stayed in the game.  I think when Shaun Rogers tackles you, someone gets hurt.  That’s nothing against the rules, he just hits them hard.  You see him, he’s gigantic.”

(On how Rogers was hard on himself for not wrapping up Sanchez and if he deserved to be hard on himself) -- “No, he had to get through three guys to get there.  This guy’s unbelievable when he’s going.  I know he was very upset after last game, I think all of us were. I know all of us were.  The guys on defense, again I can just speak for them because that’s who I’m in charge of, they’re playing as hard as they can.  They are playing as hard and as smart as they can.  We should have won that game.  We didn’t play well in short yardage and it cost us the game.  They had 99 plays because we couldn’t get off the (darn) field.  It’s short yardage and that’s usually one of our strengths and it was frustrating because we’re better than that.  There was a little alignment issue that we struggled with and we had about three or four different players in those spots because guys kept getting banged up and it was exposed.  You have to clean that up.  Like I say, every play in the NFL matters.  It’s not like Avon Lake playing some place, it’s us playing against the best.  When you’re playing a very well coached team it matters.”

(On if teams will cover Rogers with three players) -- “Yes, probably.  It’s unbelievable the attention he draws but I don’t blame teams for doing it.  It’s just how you do great players. You’ve got to show them respect and take care of them.  Just like Santonio Holmes, we had him doubled most of the game.  These guys are great players and they’re special players.  When Shaun’s healthy and going, he’s definitely a special player.”

(On how Ahtyba Rubin doesn’t seem like a typical nose tackle by making plays downfield) -- “No, he’s in a class by himself.  There’s nobody that plays the way Rubin plays.  Nobody in the league plays defensive tackle the way he does.  In fact, the young man came up I told him a technique I wanted him to use in short yardage and he came up to me and was like, ‘Well, Rob how am I going to get to the guy with the ball?’ and I’m like, ‘You know what Rub, do exactly what you do,’ because I’ve had guys that can’t move, that stand there and don’t do anything and it pisses you off watching them.  This guy’s phenomenal.  This guy gives more effort, he’s tough as (heck), you can’t run on him.  Now that center last week, him and Rubin are going to battle for years.  That (darn) center was a player last week.  I think he’s in a class by himself that (Nick) Mangold. I don’t care, compare him to anybody.  That guy’s (darn) good.  This (Brad) Meester’s been around a long time he’s going to get his (butt) kicked by our guy and that’s the way it is.”

(On what his conversation was like after last week’s game with his brother Rex) -- “He’s got his team going, they’re playing well.  He’s good, he knows he stole one out here but you’ve got to credit their team playing their (butt) off.  I’ve never seen a kid pull a muscle completely and dive for the ball like (Jerricho) Cotchery did.  It took special efforts on their part as well to win that game.  He loves his team and I love my team.”

(On how their dad was a neutral observer not wearing either of the teams’ colors) -- “Yes, it pissed me off but it that’s a whole other thing. That’s why he’s not invited to our house on Thanksgiving, the (heck) with that (joking).”

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