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Transcript from press conference with Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan

By Nate Ulrich Published: December 31, 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 12-31-10

(Opening Statement) -- “Good afternoon everybody. The Pro Bowl balloting came and went and we didn’t have any defensive players on it. Joe Haden was an alternate, I believe. Talk about a guy that is deserving, man does he come on.  He is really phenomenal.  What I wanted to do is just address a couple things about our defense because I think they’ve worked their (tails) off.  They’ve lost both captains early in the year, with Robaire (Smith) and Scott (Fujita).  I just wanted to let everybody to know because every time I hear and you know me I should never listen to the radio but I do and the guy doesn’t like me and that’s cool.  I’m good because I don’t like him but it’s like people just don’t know how hard these guys have worked and really what they’ve done so I wanted to point it out.  Right here in 2010 that’s this year, the defensive rankings, we’re in the top 10 in points allowed we’re seventh, takeaways we’re ninth and red zone we’re sixth.  Red zone I always think that’s real important. I think points allowed and takeaways are the most important stats in football for defense.  Maybe some people say it’s yards or whatever it is. I think we’re 13th in rushing defense per carry, 13th in passing defense but I really think it’s points allowed and turnovers and these guys are doing a great job.  You see that and we’re in the top 10 in all three of those and there are only three defenses in the league that can say that.  There are only three defenses in the league, Chicago, Pittsburgh and us.  Two of those teams are playing for home field advantage in playoffs.  I believe, I don’t know if Chicago is still or not but that’s saying something.  I don’t think people realize the type of effort these guys are playing with.  The free agents we’ve picked up have been outstanding for our defense, I mean tremendous.  It’s right there evidence by the improvement we’ve had.  When’s the last time the Browns have been the top seven or whatever it is in scoring? 1994, so it’s been a while.  That’s been a while.  To be that high in takeaways 2008 and 2001 but neither one of them are any good in scoring defense.  I don’t know if you’ve got to look back for when they didn’t have facemasks or what but our defense is playing pretty (darn) good fellas and I think you need to know that.  I think you also need to know in the red zone, we were sixth last year, we’re sixth again this year.  Only two teams have giving up five rushing touchdowns that’s us and Pittsburgh, we’re playing against these guys.  We’re first in first quarter points.  By the way Mike O’Connor put all these together, he’s going to be a scout.  He put all these stats together.  Third quarter points, we’re fifth in the NFL.  We have seven takeaways, I thought that would be an NFL record, seven takeaways in two minute.  In two minute situations, we’re second in the league and takeaways we’ve got seven of them.  The Bears somehow have nine, that’s a bunch of takeaways.  To see all this that’s saying a lot for what these guys have done.  We’ve got one first round pick in our defense and that’s Joe Haden and he’s playing like a first rounder, (heck) he’s playing like the first player taken.  He’s doing a great job.  His teammates are doing an excellent job and they all believe in each other and they work their (tails) off.  Again, I don’t see enough good praise on these guys, the way they’ve worked.  They’ve responded without their captains, we’ve got some veterans in there (David) Bowens, (Eric) Barton, (Chris) Gocong who we got, these linebackers are really playing well.  Upfront (Ahtyba) Rubin is really becoming a good player, the safeties, Abe Elam’s really come into his own.  It’s been a lot of great things.  Is our record any good?  (Heck) no we’re not very good.  (Heck) I’m looking here the last time a defense played with one first round pick, they were 1-15 or 0-16.  We have 16 undrafted free agents and the league averages just about eight.  These guys have worked their (tails) off.  Why I’m saying all that is because this game Sunday, we’re the Cleveland Browns and we’re going to go in here and beat the (heck) out of these guys.  They want to go for home field and all this stuff, I haven’t seen one good thing written about our defense from anybody over there or anything else and that’s just fine by us.  We’re working our (tails) off all we’re thinking about is Pittsburgh.  We know we’re from Cleveland, we know how big of a game it is and we’re going to get in there and get after their (behinds).  That’s all we’ve really got to say.”

(On 18 of their points allowed behind pick-sixes from the offensive side) -- “Everybody gives those up.  When you go through a full season everybody gives up points like that.  We’re not farming anybody else’s land. I just want to make sure that everybody knows that job that these guys have done, and these coaches have been excellent.  Jerome Henderson with the secondary, he’s been tremendous. He’s developed those two young players and they’ve done a great job.  (Matt) Eberflus it always goes without saying how good he is at linebacker and then Bryan Cox, he’s got guys you really need a roster to figure out who they are and we’re going to add a couple new ones this week.  I just want everybody to know these guys are working hard. We’re not looking to go and just slap it out there, we’re looking to go in there and beat these guys.  We’ve got a lot of fight left in us we’re going to give them (heck).”

(On what his mindset is going into what could potentially be his last game here) -- “We’ve been working out (tails) off.  It might be, it really might, and that’s just the way things are.  It’s win now, everybody wants to win now, and I understand that.  I’m not crying about that at all, but I just see our team getting so much better and it’s frustrating.  It’s frustrating that we lose those close games because, in my opinion, I think we are just right there.  We’ve got tremendous leadership.  Eric Mangini does a great job and he’s brought the right people in with Tom Heckert.  If that happens, I won’t be crying about it because that’s life in the big city, but I like it here in Cleveland.”

(On if it is frustrating to see all of the hard work by his players and coaches and not be rewarded with playoffs) -- “You know how it is, only the best teams go.  Right now, we don’t have enough wins to get in.  Do I think we are improving?  Absolutely.  Do I think we can compete with all of these teams in here?  Yes.  In our season, we have been playing all of these guys.  It’s just unfortunate, but to me, it’s not a disappointing season.  I want to win obviously, I want to make the playoffs, but I’ve seen a ton of growth, especially in my room.  We weren’t real good last year and to see these guys become one of the better defenses, and really we are.  People can say what they want, but the facts are the facts.  We are a better defense.  We are the only team in the league not to give up 30 points, these guys ran up 28 on us last time we played them.  You’re in every game when you do that.  I’m proud of our efforts and I’m proud of the way our guys are playing.  I don’t think this is going to be a swan song, I think we are going to get in here, get after it and see what happens.  If a change is made, a change is made.  That’s life, but these guys are really coming on defense, I can tell you that.”

(On if the uncertainty of what will happen after this season is wearing on Coach Mangini at all) -- “I tell you what, maybe he’s losing weight.  He looks great.  Maybe we all need to get that kind of stress.  I think he’s just a shade under 210 pounds now, which is amazing.  He’s a pro.  We’ve been around a long time, so I don’t see it affecting him at all.  He’s studying, he’s up there all night long working, the same as we are, and wanting to win.”

(On if he would be open to a scenario where there would be a head coaching change and he would return as defensive coordinator) -- “I haven’t thought of that.  I did that in Oakland three times, five times or whatever it was.  I don’t know.  I love Eric, he hired me and I’d be more than happy to go out with him if that’s what it takes.”

(On if he would be shocked if he didn’t get a phone call for an interview for a vacant head coaching job in the NFL) -- “Yes, I’d be really shocked because I think I’ll definitely get interviewed.  I have a really, really good feeling about that.”

(On if he has heard from any teams yet about potential head coaching jobs) -- “No, they can’t talk to you now, so no.  You can’t talk to another team now while the season is going on.  I’m sure I’ll get a chance.  You read all of these things, ‘Oh this guy is going here, this guy is going there,’ but nobody knows.  It’s a big process, obviously, to hire a head coach.  Am I going to be ready for that challenge?  Yes, absolutely.”

(On what he would hope people remember about his time in Cleveland if the coaching staff went their separate ways after the season) -- “It’s not a funeral, I hope (joking).  I just see tremendous growth in this team, I really do.  From where we took it when we got here to where it is now, we are a much better team.  We are a very disciplined team, I think we are second in the league in penalties.  There are a lot of really good things here.  We have got a lot of good, quality people in the room all throughout the team.  A good young quarterback, you have got a lot of talent on this team, young talent.  I don’t know how they would remember us, probably from beating Pittsburgh the last time we played.”

(On why their record isn’t better than it is) -- “I thought it would be, I really did.  I can’t really pinpoint it.  I know it’s hard to win, to change the culture overnight.  I know we are doing that, it’s just we’ve lost a couple games that, obviously, we felt we shouldn’t have lost.  I’m not sure why exactly.”

(On the notion of them underachieving) -- “It’s a (heck) of a league.  We’ve had a (heck) of a schedule, it’s a (heck) of a league and you always have to be at your best.  I don’t know what people are going to say.  Did we think we would win more games?  Absolutely.  Right now, we’ve won I guess five games or whatever it is and we are looking to get our sixth.”

(On if Mangini deserves a chance to see what he can do with a possible superstar quarterback in Colt McCoy) -- “Absolutely.  I think so.  I think the kid really grew up fast.  When he first got here, he was struggling.  His arm strength didn’t look what it does now, it looked like he was having a hard time adapting to the pro game and I think now the kid really has a little moxy to him.  I think he’s a winner and I think he will prove that in the time to come.”

(On if the criticism of Brian Daboll is unfair considering what he came into at the start) -- “I think it was unfair on me (joking).  I don’t know.  You know how it is, this is a top level job and heat comes with the territory.  That’s just the way it is.  I can’t farm Brian’s land, I’ve got enough problems with my own.  We are working hard to get in here and we want to end up being in the top five in every category and that’s what we’re pushing for.  We are obviously going to try to beat these guys, which is a huge game.  They are coming in, they’re going to be at their best and we are going to be at our best on defense.”

(On Ahtyba Rubin not getting any Pro Bowl recognition) -- “That’s why I wanted to post some numbers here.  I’m not a big stat guy generally, but I wanted everybody to see the body of work these guys are doing.  Rube is one of our best players, he’s like one of our stars.  He hustles to the football, he’s uncanny that way, he works hard, really made himself in working with Bryan Cox and he’s really developed into a (heck) of a player.  Again, he’s just a young guy that’s going to get better and better.  He’s a very physical guy and his best ball is in front of him for sure.”

(On their defensive statistics and only having one first round draft pick on defense) -- “Mike O’Connor, I don’t know where he gets all this stuff.  The guy is good though, he does a good job.  Again, I’m not up here pumping a resume, I just want our guys to get the credit they deserve on defense and our coaching staff.”

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