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Coach Munchak's Thursday Practice Report



(on how crucial it is to have a good balance between the run and the pass)

We know it's important, usually we are on the other side of that where we are running the ball too much and not passing it enough so this is rare territory for us. We know that you can't count on winning by Matt (Hasselbeck) throwing for 300 yards every game and that's going to equal wins. You are seeing it happen around the league now that guys are throwing for 400 yards and losing so we know that it's up to ball control, first downs, time of possession and we all know that we have to be balanced in order to win, especially on the road.

(on if this is a good opportunity to get Chris Johnson going since the Browns' run defense ranks low)

I don't know that, even the last few weeks we have felt the same way no matter who we play against. It's hard to go by statistics because we are only three weeks in on how good or bad someone's defense is, their run defense, their pass defense I guess is in the top five. It all depends on how the game unravels for us but we know that we have to establish the run and we would love to be able to do that. We are going to go into every game like we always do with mixing the run and the pass and just kind of see where it goes from there.

(on if winning a road game would be another step forward for this team)

I think we look at it as for us, it's just this year and we lost the first one. We had an opportunity to win that one in the end and we didn't. We know we have to play better, we got a taste of what it takes to play on the road, now I think that you can't come out for three quarters and not play very well and then think you are going to steal it the fourth quarter. I think that was a wakeup call in the opener and hopefully we will come out playing well. We have won two games in a row, the confidence should be there, now we just have to go out there and play like we are playing at home.

(on if the defensive turn-around is more a change in attitude, or execution)

I think it's a little bit of everything, I think its new coaches, new players, I think there is a lot of newness and I so far we are off to a good start and you saw it right from the beginning. I think it was a good fit between Jerry Gray, his staff, and the players, and the scheme and players we brought in here.  We're just good fits and they panned out the way we hoped. All the way through preseason other than maybe a spot here or two in games, the defense has played well. They know it's early in the season and a lot is going to happen and they are going to face some great offenses and some great quarterbacks before the season is all said and done, but we are building confidence and I think we are seeing what it takes. It's all about making plays and making stops and that's what we are getting some success at, which will hopefully give us confidence when we go on the road here for the next two weeks.

(on if the goal of hiring Jerry Gray was to get back to a defense that had an attitude and dictated the tempo of the game)

It definitely was, you want that as a defense just in general and he was part of that when we had success here back when we went to the Super Bowl, back in those years, but also I just thought he was a good fit for the people, for the secondary, and for the guys we had on this team. I thought he was a great fit for just what we needed here in general. Then they did a good job with the draft, and free agency bringing in guys that helped fit what Jerry (Gray) was looking for. Jerry's staff did a great job of pinpointing guys that they thought would fit what he wanted. We didn't waste time, like with Akeem Ayers. We didn't say, 'well he is only a rookie so we are going to wait.' He came in day one and he was starting. I think the philosophy was that we went after guys that we wanted and we put them right into their spots when we got started. They got a lot of reps in a short period of time and so far we are headed in the right direction there.

(on if this game is extra special for Chris Palmer since he used to be their head coach)

You wouldn't know it from talking to him about that, I think that's the last thing he wants to talk about, but for sure. When you are a head coach somewhere, I can't imagine it doesn't mean something to go back to that town again. He was in a tough situation where they were rebuilding, he was part of two of those and people don't realize how hard that is to be judged by any of that. He has been there, been part of the organization, so I'm sure it's going to mean something for us to go back there and for us to play well.

(on what has stood out about Browns LB D'Qwell Jackson)

He is playing well, he has come back from injury and from the tape we have watched he is making plays, physical, he stays on the field, makes plays on all three downs, and he is their leader. He is back to making plays and a guy who is obviously going to be a force to deal with in the game.

(on Matt Hasselbeck's comfort level in the pocket behind this offensive line)

I think he has confidence in what we are doing. I think that's where it starts for a quarterback is understanding that he has protection, to go do the things he wants to do. I think that was something he looked at when he was picking teams to go to, I would if I was a quarterback. I would want to know that I had an offensive line that could protect me and he knows from being in the league how important it is to having success, and I think it has allowed him to look at the second and the third receiver knowing that he has a group of guys that will probably give him time most of the time if there is not a blitz to go ahead and do that. You have to have confidence in each other and so far he is still learning each other and getting a feel for each other in game time and with his receivers. It's a group effort, but I think that that's something that attracted him to coming here.

(on DT Phillip Taylor)

He has done well. We liked him in the draft, he was a guy that we brought in. He is a kid from Baylor, he went to Penn State for a year, good football player. We knew that he is the type of guy, just like we went out and got Shaun Smith for the same reason, we wanted a big guy in the middle that could make plays and they have two of them. Him and (Ahtyba) Rubin, those guys stay on all three downs. They don't come off the field very often and he is so far so good. You don't move him very far, he doesn't look as big on the tape as he actually is so that's a good thing. He doesn't look like he is some big guy that can't do a lot. He is quick and we saw that on tape. Unfortunately we knew he would be long gone before we had a chance to get him but he is a good player. I'm assuming he is doing exactly what Cleveland wants and they have two of them inside that can really make a difference.

(on if being back in Cleveland will bring back good memories for Chris Palmer)

For him I think it's going to. I think it's something that he is not going to talk about that I don't think. I think he is locked in to what he needs to do for us to win and for us to play well but I think that's something after the game. He will see a lot of familiar faces, there are people he knows from the organization, the media that he knew back then so I'm sure he will enjoy that part of it. I'm sure he will enjoy it more if we win.

(on the atmosphere in Cleveland since the stadium renovation)

It's still great, we haven't been back near as much as when we were in the same division we played there every year.

It's different every time they change it, it's a new place but it's still Cleveland Browns fans and excitement and those people are great fans and they live for those games. It's going to be loud, it's going to be rowdy, it's going to be a hostile environment, and it always has been. They have started off well at 2-1 so they are going to have a lot of excitement. We are their last game before they get a break so I'm sure there is going to be a lot of energy in that building and for how well they have been playing. I know the history and it doesn't matter what the records are, we used to go back there and it was a tough place to play.

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