Browns notes: Stretch run has different feel this year

Gregg Williams could’ve been a doctor, wishbone stays OC says

Daryl Ruiter
November 23, 2018 - 7:39 pm
Myles Garrett Cleveland Browns celebrates win over Atlanta Falcons

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – As the Browns begin the stretch run following their bye week, there’s a different feeling this year.

It’s not nearly as depressing or hopeless around the building as it was a year ago.

“This time last year, it was kinda…I don’t want to say depressing, but I guess morale was a little different,” defensive end Myles Garrett said. “Guys are confident this year. You can feel it on the practice field and in the locker room.”

It also helps that the Browns enter Sunday’s game in Cincinnati still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, albeit their chances of playing in January are razor thin with their 3-6-1 record but a win Sunday keeps them alive headed into December.

“We do not think about that because we know that we left a lot of games out there,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “We know that we should be a lot closer than we are right now. The great thing is that we still have a chance. We just have to go out and put it together each and every Sunday. We have been practicing great – a great energy, great enthusiasm – but none of that matters if it does not show on Sunday.

“We are not thinking about the playoffs. We know that if we take care of each and every game week in and week out, everything else will take care of itself.”

The coaching change has helped.

“I just think we are more comfortable, more fluid and better practiced,” Garrett said. “There is more chemistry going around, and how we have been running things and how we have been handling possessions has just been changed around a little bit, and it has been suiting us a little bit better.”

Hue cares – Add Garrett and receiver Jarvis Landry to the list of players that really don’t seem to care that Hue Jackson will be on the Bengals sideline Sunday.

“I am not playing Hue Jackson,” Garrett said. “I am playing the Bengals that are on the field. I am not worried about him or what he is doing. I am worried about my matchup, Andy Dalton and (Joe) Mixon. I will see him after the game if he is there and pay my respects. He was my coach, and I appreciate what he did for me. After that, what is done is done.”

Landry doesn’t think Jackson joining the Bengals adds any extra motivation.

“For me, it does not,” Landry said. “I want to beat them as badly as before he was there. I want to beat them as badly as when he was here. For me, it does not make a difference.”

What's up, Doc? – Had interim head coach Gregg Williams not gotten into coaching, he would be a doctor.

“I thought about being a doctor, but everyone worried about my bedside manner. So, I became a coach,” Williams said Friday.

Williams, who said that he had an interest in orthopedics and neuro science, joked he married a doctor instead.

“She is a clinical psychologist, so I married a shrink,” Williams said. “I think she wants to write a new book.”

Full house – Get used to seeing a full backfield with Freddie Kitchens running the offense.

He plans to continue to use a version of the wishbone formation that allows him to put Duke Johnson, Nick Chubb and Dontrell Hilliard on the field at the same time for the foreseeable future.

“We are probably going to use it 45-50 plays this week, and we are going to go with it and see what happens,” Kitchens said. “It is just an opportunity to get some of our good players on the field. They deserve to play, too. As long as they are making plays and stuff, we are going to use it.”

Kitchens, who revealed two weeks ago he was adding it which drew laughs, declined to reveal if he had any new wrinkles ready this week.

“I am not going to do it anymore – you guys did not believe me last time,” Kitchens said. “I tried to tell you guys, but you would not believe me. You all thought it was a joke, but I do not know.”

All bets are off – Cornerback Denzel Ward and Peppers have been unable to come to terms on a bet for Saturday’s Ohio State-Michigan game with a bid in the Big Ten title game on the line at Ohio Stadium.

“I asked him to put a wager on it, but he did not want to put a wager on it,” Peppers said. “I think he knows what is up.”

Teammates from rival schools typically wager wearing the other’s clothing but Ward won’t go there according to Peppers.

“I said, ‘Let’s bet,’” Peppers said. “He said, ‘I am not putting on any Michigan (clothing).’ I am like, ‘Are you scared? You do not have belief in your boys?’ We will figure something out. It is not going to be as fun if he does not do that, but it is what it is.”

For the first time in several years Michigan is favored in the game.

Injury report – Questionable: C JC Tretter (ankle), TE David Njoku (knee)

Expected to play: TE Seth DeValve (calf), DT Larry Ogunjobi (shoulder), DB Tavierre Thomas (abdomen)