Q: Are you convinced that what you were building in Cleveland would have been successful if it had been given the opportunity?
PALMER: Oh yeah. You look around at the league, when people give you a chance and there is continuity and you stay the course, I think you can win. I think the fact that Cleveland was 7-9 last year, there were a lot of players from that first situation (on the team).
Things change. That's part of the business. I understand that, but I think the things that we did were very, very solid. It is rewarding for me to see a guy like Dennis Northcutt having success right now ... You have to live through that first year and let him develop.
You see a kid like (Aaron) Shea and a kid like (Mark) Campbell develop. You watch Couch grow to where he throws for 3,000 yards in his first full season. Those things are rewarding. Is it fun going through (the building process)? No. A lot of guys turned down the Cleveland job. I wanted that job and I wanted that opportunity, and I knew what I was getting into. Just like coming down here, I knew what this situation was going to be and what I was getting into. But I enjoy this type of situation of building, and we'll see what happens down the road.
Q: What went wrong in that last year?
PALMER: I think the second year was an indication of where we were going. We started off 2-1, but we still weren't real deep and we had a couple injuries.
You look at the Browns in their third year. Butch and his staff were doing a great job, then they had a couple of injuries and they just weren't deep enough and had some problems at the end of the season.
I think what is going on there is great. I think it is a good football season. I enjoy the people of Cleveland, and they just have to be patient and let them continue to develop.
Q: What feelings will you have coming back this weekend?
PALMER: We had so many good times back there in Cleveland. We enjoyed Cleveland very, very much. It will be tough. I can't lie to you from that standpoint, but I know deep down what we did and how we did it was done with the best interest of the organization. It wasn't self serving. We had character guys. We didn't have any problems in the two years I was there. I think the fact that some of the players still call, and send messages with their friends, or when they see me there is a genuine exchange of feelings, and that is all you look for in coaching.
Q: What are your feelings about what Tim Couch has gone through the last few weeks?
PALMER: You feel sorry for the player. It is part of the business that you never want a player to go through, but every one of them go through it. I try to explain to the guys ‘hey, this is going to happen to you.' It happened to Warren Moon here in Houston. It happened to Drew Bledsoe in New England. It happened to Mark Brunell in Jacksonville. It is part of the business. It is an ugly part of the business, but I can tell you, Tim Couch is a good quarterback. He is going to have a great career. There are better days coming for him.
Q: Was it a mistake to start Detmer and not go with Couch right off the bat like you have done with David Carr?
PALMER: If you recall, there was a cry throughout the city after the Dallas preseason game to start Tim right from the get go. What you don't want to do is break the confidence of your quarterback. You look back and when you don't have success, you look for ways to improve. That was one of the things I would have done differently. Say ‘he's our guy and we are going to grow together.' I think it paid dividends in year three for the organization with what I did. Was it an easy decision? Did everybody jump on board? No, but it was a decision I made in good faith and thought it would help the team down the road.
Q: How long did it take to get over feelings of bitterness and betrayal after Carmen Policy said you'll be back?
PALMER: You try to turn the page as quickly as you can. I'm a person who tries to be a realist and look at things for what they are. It took some time to turn the page, but I've got the page turned pretty good right now.
Q: How much do you think the loss of Jamir Miller has hurt the Browns?
PALMER: There are 19 guys left on the roster form when I was there ... Of the 19 guys who were left, I feel a special attachment to them because I want them to succeed. You see a guy like Jamir Miller and you think, hey, he had a breakthrough year and we kind of got him started and gave him a chance.
The Cleveland situation is a great situation. You have a great owner and a great stadium in a great sports town. A guy can come in there and be pretty successful.
Q: How is David Carr handling the pounding he is taking as a rookie?
PALMER: We are having the same problems we had with Tim. We haven't quite learned how to slide yet and sometimes we run out of the pocket and instead of throwing the ball away we step out of bounds a yard or two behind the line of scrimmage. I think he is an exciting player. He played very, very well last week and probably had his best game. He played well in the Dallas game. I think the fact that we had two weeks to prepare for Dallas and two weeks to prepare for Buffalo definitely helped with the number of rookies we are playing. He is a strong, bright eyed young man who loves football.
Q: Warren Sapp accused Courtney Brown of being soft. You were here with Courtney for his first year, what were your impressions of him?
PALMER: I think Courtney is a real good football player. I saw the play and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Q: What will be the most difficult part of coming back to Cleveland?
PALMER: I think getting off the bus and walking down the corridor. When you put your heart and soul and two years into building something, you feel a part of it. When I get done coaching, when I retire, I'm going to be a Cleveland Browns fan. I feel very attached to the city. I feel very attached to the team. It will be tough coming down that hallway.
Q: If you were here for a fourth year, would you be 2-4?
PALMER: It's tough enough to win in this game, just try to get one win. It is hard to say. You don't know what you are going to be. I think this is a very talented team and still has a lot of noise to make in this league. It is not a sprint. It is a marathon. Cleveland has a chance to do some things, I think.
Q: Who has advantage this weekend, Corey Fuller and seconndary knowing your offense, or you knowing Corey and Daylon McCutcheon from watching them practice for two years?
PALMER: (joking) If you talk to Corey, he has the advantage. He always does.
I don't know. We are doing a lot of things differently than we did in Cleveland. I think you will recognize some of the things. I think you try to adjust to the personnel you have. We are trying to build some things like that.
Q: If you listen to talk radio here, there are a lot of people who think the Browns should have taken Donovan McNabb instead of Couch. Is Couch still going somewhere in the NFL? Does he still have a bright future?
PALMER: I think so, and I'm not saying Donovan McNabb is not a good player. It takes time. I don't know what Philadelphia's offense is ranked. It is a one-man show right now. We were in a good game with them until late in the fourth quarter. I think he is a talented player. I think Tim Couch is a talented player. What were people saying last year at this time when they were 6-2 or 4-2?