Coach Gase Conference Call with Cleveland Media on 9/21/16

Written by Finatic Dave

(On the challenges of facing a rookie quarterback that he knows little about and has little tape on) – “I think the hardest thing for our guys is going to be just kind of the unknown. You can always try to do as much research as you possibly can as far as what looks like could be his strengths and weaknesses in the NFL from the limited exposure you have on him. You try to lean on possibly some of the scouting evaluation that went on coming out (of college), as much as you can; but obviously it’s such a different game at this level that it’s hard to really get great detail from college film. But you take everything you can and then the thing that you have to do more than anything is be able to adjust during the game.”

(On if he can empathize with the Browns’ quarterback situation right now) – “The hardest thing about this league is dealing with injuries no matter what position it is. The thing that they have going on there right now is the fact that (Head) Coach (Hue) Jackson is a very good coach and he’s made a living off of figuring out how to deal with adversity and putting his guys in great position and taking advantage of certain matchups. I think I look at it as he’s going to look at this as a great opportunity of putting his guys in position to win the game. Whatever he has to do – whether it’s lean on the quarterback, whether it’s lean on the running game, whether it’s get turnovers on defense and special teams, not turn it over on offense – he’s going to find a way to make sure that his guys are ready to go and that this is going to be a tough game for us.”

(On if he was more ready for this head coaching job now than when he turned down the opportunity to interview with the Browns in 2013) – “It was my first year as a coordinator and I had a lot to learn still. My focus at the time was that I wanted to make sure that I gave 100 percent focus to the Denver Broncos. I felt really good about our chances of competing in the Super Bowl. There were a lot of little things that went into my decision. It was more for myself than for the teams that wanted to talk to me. (I was a) first-year coordinator and trying to deal with all of those things, it’s a quick jump. I feel like the fact that I did not take that step that year was probably good for myself because it gave me two more years of experience in that position and allowed me to go through a lot of different situations.”

(On the biggest challenge of going from an offensive coordinator to a head coach) – “Dealing with non-football things – building issues, travel issues, itinerary-type things. Just things that you lose 15-20 minutes here and there and it just extends your day and you just have to be very good with your time management.”

(On why he thinks his team is struggling in the run game right now) – “I guess I don’t really see that we’re struggling in the run game. We played probably one of the best run defenses in football. You go back and look at the Rams – after we played Seattle – the next week the Rams averaged less yards per carry than we did. We know what we’re doing as far as what we need to emphasize. It’s like I told our media here, if I feel like there are problems with the run game, I won’t be afraid to say it.”

(On his expectations for RB Jay Ajayi this weekend) – “We’re going to see how everything plays out and kind of see how our inactives go. Hopefully we can get our rotation down this week and see who our guys are going to be and who is going to be up. I don’t know if I’m really ready to say, ‘This guy is going to get this many carries,’ or ‘So and so is going to play so many plays.’ We’re going to go through our work week and then once we hit Saturday night, we’ll have a better idea of who is up.”

(On what he has seen from WR DeVante Parker) – “I think the biggest thing with him is we’re just trying to figure out a way to keep him on the field. It seems like he starts making some strides and then some injury comes up and we have a slight setback. But as far as (being) a football player goes, he’s way ahead of what I thought he was going to be when he was drafted. I like his football intelligence. I like the way he works. I feel like he does a good job within the game of talking through some things and talking to us about things that are happening during the game – at least he was the last week. The thing that we love about him is the fact that he’s a playmaker. Within the game, you don’t see any kind of nervousness or hesitation with him. He’s very smooth within the game – very calm – and that’s a great way to be able to go about it as a wide receiver.”

(On Cleveland Browns WR Corey Coleman) – “I think he has been very impressive. He has done a good job of taking advantage of opportunities. When you’re averaging what he’s averaging per catch, that’s an impressive number to have right now. I’m sure for him he’s constantly going to be trying to figure out a way to keep getting better and put himself in position to be an explosive player. I’m sure they’re going to try to find as many ways to get the ball to him and give him an opportunity to change the game.”

(On what stands out about the Browns offense on film, outside of the quarterback situation) – “Obviously, the running game has really been impressive. There’s explosiveness there at the wide receiver position that you have to contend with. Obviously, they have a tight end that has been hard to deal with – especially in past years – and absolutely a viability. I think, for us, it’s about making sure that we don’t … If we let these guys get behind us and have explosive plays, it’s tough to compete with. When you can shorten up drives and push the ball down the field and chunk play it and figure out a way to get over the top and get into the end zone, it’s frustrating for the defense. Now all of a sudden you feel like you’re a little bit … The opposite offense is always trying to compete to keep up with a team that can explode at any time. We have to make sure that we do a good job as far as not letting these guys … We have to take away what they do well, and that’s going to be the challenge for us this week.”

(On if QB Ryan Tannehill has to step up his play to take the team anywhere this year) – “He has really been, probably, one of our most consistent guys that we have. I don’t know how much more he can really step up considering that he’s doing everything right now that we need him to do. It’s just that we need every guy to pull their weight.”

(On what makes the defensive line special) – “The fact that they’re relentless. They chase the ball down the field. They penetrate. They cause havoc. They’re a very frustrating group to go against. From my experience being down here going through OTAs, going through training camp, it’s just so disruptive and can be very frustrating at times in practice, because you feel like you can’t really get a great feel for what you’re trying to do. But when they’re on your side on Sunday, you really enjoy watching them go after it. To watch them play (and they) see something happen where a ball is thrown down the field and all of a sudden you see four d-linemen running down the field after the ball and trying to make a play down the field. It’s a very good thing to see, because you know that if the skill guys – the DBs, the linebackers – see the d-line running to the ball like that, they’re going to follow suit.”

(On how difficult it is for offensive lines to matchup against the Dolphins defensive line) – “I think it’s tough in the fact that if you do get behind and you got a group of those guys coming at you in waves and the speed that they bring, then if you become one dimensional, it really becomes a challenge. Obviously, we haven’t been able to do that really, yet. That’s what one of our things coming into the season was, ‘How do we put our defense in position to where they can pass rush?’ Hopefully, we can eventually get this going, as far as we’re more balanced overall as a team. I think that group though, when they get an opportunity to go close out a game, 2-minute drills, or if we’re up by a number of points where they can pass rush and can really make a change in the game in the early fourth quarter, third quarter – that’s what we are looking for.”

(On if the defensive strategy or mindset changes this week given the Browns’ injuries on the offensive line and that they’re playing a rookie quarterback) – “Every week we’ll go into a game and we’ll have a certain approach that we want to do. It’s more of getting through the week and going through practice and we make adjustments through the week. It’s hard to say, ‘This is exactly what we’re going to do when we hit Wednesday.’ We have an outline sketched out in pencil and then as the week goes on, we make adjustments. By the time we hit Sunday, that’s when we feel like, ‘Alright, this is exactly how we’re going to play them.’ So to be able to say right now how we’re going to handle certain things, I still think we’re still a little ways away from finalizing anything.”