Browns Players Speak following 26-24 Win

Whitner on the win today: “This city really needs this. We understand we aren’t the same Cleveland Browns. Last week we came out in the first half, we didn’t play very well, but we felt like we should have come out of there with a win.

BROWNS PLAYERS

TE Gary Barnidge

On late game pressure on fourth down:

“I think there’s more pressure on everybody else, if you let the pressure get to you you might not play the best you can. We’ve proven that we’re never out of a game and you can never count us out, no matter what.”

On being player of the game according to Coach Pettine:

“It’s good to know, it’s good to know, but it’s a team. It’s not just one person. If the line wasn’t blocking I wouldn’t be able to go out there and catch the ball. It’s a contribution from everybody else.”

K Billy Cundiff

On how it felt to execute on the game-winning drive:

“It was huge, and I think it was a testament to (LS) Christian (Yount), as well. It doesn’t matter what happens earlier in the game. With the NFL, there are so many clichés that you can throw out in this sort of situation. The most important thing is that Christian believed in himself, (P) Spencer (Lanning) did his job and I did my job. That way for all that the offense did, we made sure that we gave the fans [a win].”

On if he was ready for the long attempt had Cleveland not gained any more yards on their last play from scrimmage:

“It would’ve been 57 (yards) from the left hash. I was definitely ready. It would have been the same mentality of the New England game (last year). I was just going to go out and throw my best effort out there. It would’ve been a little bit warmer (than that previous scenario), but I was hoping to get better distance.”

On converting the game-winning kick:

“There’s no such thing as a routine kick, right? There are some things that can go wrong and some things happen. I’ll tell you, a 29-yarder is a lot easier than a 57-yarder, so that’s just a testament to the offense. When they got rolling, they made my life a lot easier. I have to make sure that I come through with my end of the bargain if they’re going to make it easier for me.”

LB Karlos Dansby

On sacking Brees late in the fourth quarter:

“It was a great play, I counted on everybody to do their part, everybody did their part and I did mine. I knew it was a big moment, if they kick a field goal we would have to score a touchdown. I knew we had opportunities and that’s all we ask for. I heard Brees call protection, so I knew they were sliding the front, I knew I had a chance when I heard the call. I know I had to go full speed in order to get that sack. ”

On the play of Paul Kruger:

“Oh he’s awesome man, Paul is playing outta this world right now. I love every second of it I get to watch it firsthand up close in person.”

On the play of Jimmy Graham:

“That’s why they’re paying him so much money that’s why he’s asking for that much, he’s that kind of impact player. We held him in check for a little then he got loose and made his plays but we held him off in the end.”

On emotions during the last drive of the game:

“No I wasn’t nervous. They just stay alive, make a play, take their time, and trust one another. And that’s what they did. Brian Hoyer did an excellent job leading them to a winning drive, and the guys around him made plays and trusted him.”

DB Tashaun Gipson

On his intereception-return touchdown:

“Everything happened so fast and I saw a big amount of green grass. Then I saw (DB Donte) Whitner chauffeuring me to the end zone, and that’s what teamwork is all about. I couldn’t have done it without the front seven getting pressure to the quarterback.”

On how relieved he was when K Billy Cundiff made the game-winning field goal:

“Absolutely, this was a huge win for us and a huge win for the city. I couldn’t be more proud of my teammates and this organization right now. We are on a high right now and we have to continue to move forward. We’ll watch the game and continue to correct some of the mistakes that we made. It wasn’t a perfect game, but we’ll move forward, and we have Baltimore coming up.”

On how big of a win this was:

“We started off fast last year, but we just couldn’t finish games. I think we all put in a lot of effort, 11 men on offense and 11 men on defense. We came through and made a full, complete game. As you see, we have the guys that can do it and the scoreboard reflected it. This is a great Saints team and they were the favorite in this game. This is a huge testament to the guys that we have in this locker room.”

On the final minutes of the fourth quarter when the offense was on the field:

“Honestly, the way they were moving the ball this game, I had no doubt that they could at least get it to the 40-or 45-yard line. That’s what they did. They came out and made huge plays. Anytime your offense is on the five-yard line, it’s like a seven percent chance of them scoring a touchdown and scoring points for that matter. I tip my hat to those offensive guys and they did their job. As a defense, if they can give us 17 or 20 points, then the rest is on us.”

DB Joe Haden

On how he felt during that last drive of the game:

“I’m confident in our offense, but I am so happy on how they fought and made plays when it really counted. I tip my hat off to (QB Brian) Hoyer. He did a really good job.”

On how they contained the Saints offense:

“We just played our game and did what we do. It ended up working.”

On working against TE Jimmy Graham:

“Jimmy Graham is a special player that has a special talent. I ran up to him after the game and we just both paid homage. He was telling me how good I was at corner, but he is just a really big target. Sometimes it is really hard to make plays on the ball; you have to try and get under him. Once he gets that big frame in front of you, it’s kind of hard to hit that ball.

On Head Coach Mike Pettine saying anything after his first win:

“No, not really. He just said it was a team win and he was just proud of all us. He was proud of how tough we played. We are just trying to get it changed around here.”

On the emotions he felt after this win:

“It feels amazing. I don’t know if I even felt this happy after we won the national championship in Florida. It has just been a long time coming. We’ve been talking about how we have been trying to change and have been trying to get victories. It feels good to finally end up on the other side.”

WR Andrew Hawkins

On the final catch:

“Honestly, I think it was a dropped coverage by New Orleans and Brian (Hoyer) did a great job of reading it. I felt like it hung up there forever. I was trying to secure the catch so we could get the field goal and the victory.”

On whether he was thinking touchdown on the last play:

“No, I was thinking make the catch first then everything after that is bonus.”

On playing well at home:

It’s great. The fan base is so incredible, it’s really something that I have never been a part of. That’s who we are most excited for. I thank God that I am able to come out here and play a sport that I love and I just want to give thanks to God and the fans because they deserve it.”

On if he was nervous that he would fall down and not make the final catch:

“On the contrary, I actually fell down to secure the catch. I just needed to slow everything down. Obviously, it would have been great to have a touchdown, and I’m sure Brian (Hoyer) feels that way as well. I’m just happy I made the catch and Brian (Hoyer) made an incredible read. It was a great play call by (Kyle) Shanahan and it’s a good team victory.”

On why he was wide open:

“That’s a good question, I think they ran a Cover 0 defense and we had some motion, so sometimes things get mixed up. Like I said, it was a great call by coach (Kyle) Shanahan to get us in the right play and the right formation; they just dropped coverage.”

On the last drive:

“Well that’s football. You just have to keep pressing and I think that is what we did as an offense. Sometimes it’s not pretty and not every play works but it’s always about the next play and that’s what coach Pettine always harps on. I’m just happy to come out with the victory.”

On how QB Brian Hoyer was in the huddle on the last drive:

“He was himself. Very confident, very poised, and those are the qualities you want in a quarterback. There was no doubt in his mind that we were going to do down and get the points we needed to win the game, and that’s exactly the way it happened.”

QB Brian Hoyer

On today’s win:

“It was pretty exciting. I think it was a total team victory. I’d even give the fans some credit because they were rocking and prevented (Saints QB) Drew Brees from doing some stuff. That was crucial. To run out of that stadium after the game, the electricity almost felt reminiscent of last year when we beat Cincinnati. It was good to do that. (Head) Coach (Mike Pettine) told us that it has been 10 years since the Browns won a home opener. I was graduating high school that year so it was a long time coming and our fans deserve it.”

On the last drive of the game:

“Like I said, it was a total team effort. I’m not sure how many different guys I hit I know (WR) Miles (Austin) had a few crucial plays. (TE) Gary Barnidge stepping up big on fourth down and obviously Hawk (WR Andrew Hawkins) catching the one at the end. You have just got to play until the end and see what happens. Good things tend to happen when you do that.”

On the pass to Gary Barnidge on the last drive:

“When we came over in motion, usually that play is kind of designed for coverage, and it wasn’t the coverage we were looking for. I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m going to have to read this one out.’ I read it out and I think they jumped Hawk on the short (route). It was actually the same play last week that I tried to force so it was good to read that one out to get the first down and it got things going.”

On if the last play from scrimmage was scripted to go to Hawkins:

“That play, we were surprised they all-out blitzed us two plays in a row. (Offensive Coordinator) Kyle (Shannahan) had a great call, and when I saw the guy run over with, I think Miles (Austin), I’m reading him first, then you just see everyone fly down, it’s almost like you throw a punt and just let him catch it. I got hit and I didn’t get to see him catch it. All I saw was just him under the ball and then I heard the crowd and I knew we were set up to kick the field goal.”

On Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan calling blitzes often enough for it to be expected:

“Two plays back-to-back. The play before got batted down, and we were ready for it. Thank god it got batted down, I don’t know how it would’ve played out. Sometimes you don’t really see that and as soon as I saw the look, I knew what it was. You never really know how it’s going to play out. Different teams play a combination like that differently. Like I said, I read the flat and they jumped it, then Hawk was all alone.”

On Miles Austin’s sliding catch out of bounds to extend their final drive:

“I knew he caught it. I questioned whether his shoulder was maybe out of bounds. It was great for him to stay alive and work back to me. I had time and I got flushed I was looking to see if there was someone flying free to the end zone and see if we could end it there. He worked back down and made a great catch.”

On if this win cements his status as a team leader:

“Obviously, it’s great to get a win. I think the biggest thing for me is to win a game like that. We won like that in my first start against Minnesota last year and you see the guys really believing in you. It’s the best feeling there is. Winning the game is great, but when the guys in that room respect you, that’s what it’s all about. It’s a great feeling.”

On others stepping up amidst injuries on offense:

“I think a lot of people would’ve told us that we shouldn’t show up to this game. I think it’s a testament to the guys in that room. Regardless of who it is, it’s next man up. Whoever is in that locker room, that’s all that matters. Ignore the outside noise and go out and play. When a team can come together like that and play the way we did, regardless of all the situations that we had to deal with, and win a game against a team who some think are going to the Super Bowl, it was a pretty big win, for us to come together and see it come to fruition and actually win the game. Last week, we obviously got really close, but we came up a little short. To finish it out, it’s a great sign of the character of our team.”

DB Donte Whitner

On the win today:

“This city really needs this. We understand we aren’t the same Cleveland Browns. Last week we came out in the first half, we didn’t play very well, but we felt like we should have come out of there with a win. Because of the way we played in the second half. We wanted to carry that onto this game, and we did. We came out, started fast. That’s a great offense over there, especially with (Saints QB) Drew Brees at the helm. They have running backs that run the ball hard, the best tight end in the NFL and speed receivers all over the field. My hat goes off to this team, our coaching staff and this organization. We are going to enjoy this one and get ready for Baltimore.”

On the defense setting the tone:

“We had to set the tone. Last week, we didn’t start fast and that’s why we lost the football game. This week we wanted to start fast. We knew that they were going to make some plays. That’s a great offense over there; last week, they put up almost 600 yards of total offense. We knew that we were going to have our hands full. We came out and did what we’re supposed to do. We got our offense the ball one more time, and that’s all you can ask for in the NFL.”

On the play of QB Brian Hoyer:

“I think he’s poised out there. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do, not turning the ball over and getting the ball to the open guys. We had a few drops and a few errant passes, but he’s only going to continue to get better and better. As far as defensively, we have to continue to get the ball back to him. We have a really good running game, (Isaiah) Crowell and (Terrance) West, two rookies who are really carrying the load with (RB) Ben Tate being out. They are doing what they are supposed to do; we aren’t going to ask them to score 40 points. We are going to ask them to score a few points, and that’s what they did and we came out with the win.”

On the win contributing to the ‘culture change’ within the organization:

“We felt like last week in the second half, almost coming out with the win and completing one of the biggest comebacks in this franchises history against the Pittsburgh Steelers, we felt like we showed that. We could have easily gone into the locker room and been down on ourselves and really just try and get out of there. We wanted to come out and fight and win that football game, and we almost got away with it. We are almost sitting at 2-0 right now. This is a big win against a great organization, a great football team. We are 1-1 right now. We are looking forward to Baltimore. This week we come out with Baltimore and we can really prove who we are as far as the Cleveland Browns.”


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