Can Browns bounce back?

Cleveland coach Butch Davis talks about his team bouncing back this week against the 49ers after his defense was bounced by an NFL-record rushing performance last week in Baltimore

Q: After making the playoffs last year, what do you need to do to get your team back on track after an 0-2 start?

Davis: Certainly, the second week was a lot more difficult than the first week. The first week, we played reasonably well in a lot of areas and we just didn't get the ball in the end zone and the red zone. The most important thing is for us to realize that we are being inconsistent. That periodically throughout the game, we're doing some things very well. As well as we did them at any time during the course of last season. But, we've been our own worst enemies. We've had multiple infractions, penalties that have taken away some positive good plays on offense and in Sunday's ball game, we played the run well for 25 plays and played the run absolutely atrocious for five or six plays. You just can't be that inconsistent. You've got to play well every single snap. It's early in the season and I think that our guys are going to be focused and I think we are going to play well.

Q: Have you had inconsistency across the board?

Davis: I don't know if it is all across the board, but I mean when you pick and choose from a defensive perspective, you know, you get four sacks, you create some turnovers, you get some interceptions, you knock the quarterback out of the ballgame and you do some things defensively. You set the field position up a little bit offensively by creating some of those turnovers and you handle sudden changes. Ultimately, when it is all said and done, we gave up those huge dramatic big plays. We cut the lead from 16-13. You feel like that we're trying to fight our way back into the ball game and you think you kind of have the run somewhat under control. The second play of the game, they pop a run and from that point on, we played reasonably well against it. Then, they popped it again and all of a sudden it breaks the momentum, changes the score, dictates to them what they have to do offensively and it just changes the entire dynamics.

Q: Looking back, the run defense came down to a handful of plays?

Davis: You can look at it that way. We didn't stop the running on those particular plays. You cannot give huge home-run runs. If they would have had 25 runs and 25 of them would have been 10 and 15 yards every single time they hand the ball out, it wasn't the case. They got an 82-yard run, a 60-yard run and another 40-yard run. You get three huge runs of virtually almost 175-200 yards on three plays. That is disastrous. It is very difficult to overcome that. The same runs, earlier in the ball game and in the middle of the ball game, they were making one-yard, two-yard and three-yard gains. But, it's just consistency. You've got to play well. This league is tough. Every team that you face has very talented players. They are very capable of making big plays, big runs and big passes. You just have to be fundamentally sound, you have to be good technique-wise and you need to be consistent.

Q: Do you expect teams to try to run on you more now?

Davis: Sure, absolutely. San Francisco, I believe is the fourth-leading rushing team in the league right now. They have two really explosive running backs. They are guys that are very capable of having huge big days and it is compounded from the standpoint that they have some really dynamic receivers and a quarterback that is extraordinarily capable of making huge plays. It's a totally different challenge every week just because the dynamics of the team that you are playing against.

Q: What's your reaction to your defense giving up so many rushing yards?

Davis: My reaction is that we certainly can't play that way and expect to win. The defense was disappointed because they know that we had played extraordinarily good in the running game the week before against Edgerrin James, who has a very talented offense and has good skill players. We made the plays. So, that is the part that goes along with the consistency. Not only consistency from week-to-week, but from game-to-game and position-to-position.

Q: What kind of familiarity do you have with Dennis Erickson's passing attack?

Davis: In the six games that we have looked, the four preseason games and the two regular season games, they attack in a multiple-fashion of ways. They have big play capabilities by putting the ball vertically down the field to the receivers. They certainly have kept a tremendous amount of the West Coast ideas of quick timing routes and getting the ball out of the quarterback's hands. They are doing a lot of things. They are mixing up personnel groups, multiple formations and running the ball extremely well. Garrison Hearst is still one of the more quick-dynamic change of direction type runners. He's been a very talented player in this league for an awfully long time.

Q: Is there still a 49ers influence with Browns?

Davis: With the exception of obviously the president, Carmen Policy, I never perceived that there was a 49er influence other than just the standpoint that guys that had worked there originally came here.

Q: What's been your emphasis on working on run defense?

Davis: Play better. Tackle better.

Q: How difficult was it to replace coach Erickson at Miami?

Davis: Not really because I had been at Miami before. I had been an assistant coach there for five years. I knew the state of Florida and the recruiting popularity and the areas that you were going to be immediately accepted. I think I had a pretty good understanding of the alumni. The president was the same guy that had been there when I was an assistant coach. It was kind of ironic because I think I was the third, fourth or fifth choice for the job. At the time, I was the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys and ironically we had just lost to the 49ers in the NFC Championship game after winning the two previous Super Bowls. If we had won that, there was probably a reasonably good chance that I never would have gone to Miami. I lost and several people turned the job down. I was fortunate enough that it was still open and had an opportunity to get the job.

Q: Did you have to remake image?

Davis: Well, I think that was the paradigm what was going on in college football. The rules were changing. They were changing the way the game is officiated, from the standpoint of the taunting rule, and it was indicative of all collegiate football. They were trying to take away the showmanship, showboating and flamboyancy. I don't think it was necessarily 100% targeted against the University of Miami. It was indicative of a lot of places and a lot of programs. That was just the way the NCAA wanted to do it. It was the way the University of Miami wanted to somewhat tone the image down to some extent. When you go in, you just start coaching and recruit. You coach the way people have taught you how to coach.

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