Rob Chudzinski met with the Cleveland media on Wednesday to go over several things. He talked about the Green Bay Packers, Brandon Weeden handling adversity, the team's support of their quarterback and more.
"We started working today on Green Bay. They present a big challenge for us on the road. I'm confident that we'll embrace that challenge and our players will be excited about playing. To start with them offensively, outstanding offense, really been playing with good balance recently this season. Obviously, they're still very explosive, make big plays and are able to score a lot of points. (Packers) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a great player. He has the whole package: decisions, accuracy, his mobility and the production obviously that he is able to have. He has some good weapons, as well. Obviously, they're missing (Packers WR Randall) Cobb for this week, but (Packers WR) Jordy Nelson, (Packers Bay WR James) Jones and (Packers TE Jermichael) Finley are all guys that can be matchup issues. You look at them, they can be very versatile, and size-wise make plays, great hands, all of those things that they have. Their running backs have been very productive this year. (Packers RB Eddie) Lacy has made a big difference for them and (Packers RB James) Starks is playing well. A number of games, they have had 100-plus rushing games. They have a solid offensive line that blocks very well in their zone schemes.
"Defensively, they give you a lot of different looks. It's a very aggressive defense. They're excellent versus the run. The defensive line, they have the big guys. You start there with (Packers DL Johnny) Jolly, (Packers DL Ryan) Pickett and (Packers DL B.J.) Raji. Outside linebacker, they're missing (Packers LB Clay) Matthews and (Packers LB Nick), Perry who had injuries, but (Packers LB Mike) Neal has stepped in and did a nice job, as well as (Packers LB Andy) Mulumba. (Packers) Inside linebacker A.J. Hawk had a big game this last week and he's playing real good football. In the secondary (Packers CB Tramon) Williams and (Packers CB Sam) Shields are fast, really solid, good corners. Their special teams is solid. They do a good job in that area, as well. It'll be a great challenge for us, and we're excited about getting the opportunity to go to Lambeau Field to play.
As far as a few things from an injury standpoint, (LB Jabaal) Sheard will be practicing. He was close this last game. We just felt like in a few more days he would be back ready to roll. (OL) Jason Pinkston is going to practice today so we'll get him back, and he can practice for two weeks. At that point, we can make a decision as far as reactivating him, as well. (DL) Billy Winn will not practice today. He is running and he is getting closer."
On what gives him confidence QB Brandon Weeden can shake off the Detroit game and play better this week:
"His mindset has been good. I think that what you try to do as a coach any time you're talking and coaching guys and working with guys is you accentuate the positives and the good things. We had a chance to do that after the press conference. We had meetings, and going through it, he did some good things in the game, particularly in the first half. If you look at the first half, he was getting the ball out; he was very efficient; he was managing the game well. You really focus on those, and then you correct the things that he didn't do so well. We've gone through and talked about some of those decisions. That's the process that you do in coaching. We're going to do everything we can to put him in the best possible position to succeed, and then he has to produce."
On Weeden accepting criticism and coaching well:
"He has, and he understands. From the other day in the film session, he stopped by yesterday, as well, and we talked in the morning, I like his attitude. He's taking responsibility and accountability as we all are. It's not just about one player; it's the team, and as coaches, we're going to do a better job. I'm excited about this weekend and Sunday. Every week is a new week."
On the third-down defense results:
"We sat down and we did a big study with that the last couple of days. We sat down with (defensive coordinator) Ray (Horton), and we went through every third down that we've had so far. We also really incorporated with Green Bay and talking through some of the things that they do on third down and what we need to do. Just like anything else, it's a combination of things, but we have a plan of getting better."
On what he can do to improve on third-down defense:
"It's a combination of us from a schematic standpoint, meaning the field adjustments. Then from a playing standpoint, we have improved if you look at the season. The previous two games we played well on third downs. Then this game, we reverted or regressed back. That's the ups and downs of the season. Generally, as I look at our team, not just defense, but as I look at our team, I think that we've made a lot of progress and come a long way. You look back starting in April and the things that we've done and incorporated and the guys and their attitudes, we have coaches that love coaching; we've got players that take to coaching and love getting coached. I think we're improving. There's going to be some ups and downs still, but we have a plan for third down, and we have a plan for some other things that we need to improve on, as well."
On how he plans to put Weeden in the best possible position to succeed:
"I don't want to say too much here. We'll do some things from a scheme standpoint to accentuate the things he does really well and adjust some of the things we're doing. I believe in the balance that you want to have as an offense, and that doesn't mean it's going to happen all the time, but we want to be able to run the football and throw the football. I think when you get one dimensional, it's just not going to be in our best interest or give us the best chance to win."
On if Sheard has impressed him adjusting to the new defense:
"It really didn't surprise me because we felt like he could do that all along. He picked it up very quickly and a lot quicker than I expected or we expected. That was a real pleasant surprise. I thought he was really playing at a good level before he was injured. But I feel good about him coming back. It really helps us overall with him back because now we can get a good rotation. In the last few games when he was out and hurt, (LB) Paul (Kruger) and (LB Barkevious) Mingo had to play a lot more. I think Jabaal being back is going to help all of us and all of those guys and get them in a good rotation and keep them fresh and at their optimal [place]."
On what Sheard does well:
"From a pass-rushing standpoint he has a variety of moves and he has power and he has the ability to get around guys. It's something that he's developed over time. He's really improved in the things that he hasn't done, like dropping and those type of things. He understands the defense very well."
On a quarterback like the Packers' Aaron Rodgers making receivers look better and how to do so:
"Talking specifically about Aaron Rodgers, he distributes the ball. First of all, he has guys and he has weapons in all different areas. If you try to zero in on stopping one person or one particular aspect of their offense, he's able to find the right guys, and that's part of it. Out of a quarterback, that's what you want is making the right decisions and distributing the ball. Sometimes, some guys are going to have big games; sometimes other guys are going to have big games. Ultimately it's about production and getting your team in the end zone, and that's what Aaron Rodgers has done great job of over his career."
On if the front office weighs in on who starts at quarterback:
"No. That's my decision."
On how to improve in the second half:
"A few things, I've taken a hard look at it. Obviously, there's a lot of different things that come up and ideas and reasons from a coach and player standpoint, and it starts with me. We need to get better in coming out and playing in the second half. We're looking at tape and studied all the tape, and ‘What are we doing from a scheme standpoint? Offensively? Defensively? Special teams? Are there some adjustments and things that we can do differently there?' We feel like there are some things, and we have a plan for that from a procedural standpoint at halftime of what we can do. The thing that I feel strongly about is it's not a matter of emotions or energy coming out the in the second half because that's there. It's a matter of being able to jump back into the game at the same speed that you left it. We've been stressing that with our players, as well as just some things procedurally being able to get them going again physically, as well as what we're going to do and some organizational things in making sure that they're clear with on what we need to happen in the second half, as well."
On how much he gets done during halftime in the locker room with players and coaches:
"There's not a lot of time when you really break it down because the coaches get together for a little bit of time to discuss going forward. A lot of those things are ongoing anyhow. As the first half is going on, you're talking about things that you need to do, the adjustments you're making. A lot of times, we're already making adjustments as the games going on. Halftime kind of just gives you time to reset. Then players have a few minutes. A lot of times they're in there getting re-taped, doing all those type of things, changing and whatever they need to do from that standpoint so you really only have a couple of minutes with them to talk and then it's back out on the field. There's not a lot of time that you actually have. By the time the coaches get down, have talked things over and they have to leave to get back to the (press) box and so forth, there's not a lot of time, less than you'd expect."
On if he talks to the team about what they're going to do differently in the second half when games are going well:
"When things are going well, you've already made maybe some of the adjustments in the first half already. It's a matter of what we're doing coming out in the second half. Maybe it's not a matter of adjustments as it is just making sure that everybody knows where we're going from here. Then sometimes, if you're not playing well in the first half, maybe it's more major, the adjustments are more major. There's examples of us having to do some of that, not just offense, not just defense, but on special teams, as well. Personnel and adjustments, you have to make when somebody gets hurt in the first half. We've had a number of those type of things. It can be a lot that you're doing at halftime; it can be not a lot based on how the game is going; but whatever it is, we're going to do the best we can and continue to improve coming out in the second half."
On if he needs to talk to the captains or players to ensure they are still behind Weeden:
"Not to ask that specific question, because it's apparent to me without even needing to ask that, that it's there. I don't see any issue with that. This team has rallied behind Brandon and will again. We've talked about he's played well at times, and he's embraced the coaching and is working hard with Norv. He's doing everything he can to improve, and I expect that to happen and expect him to play well."
On if players sit at their lockers individually or if groups are addressed by their position coaches when addressing the team at halftime:
"It's all of the above. Guys have a chance for time with themselves to take care of the things they need to typically do. They'll get addressed by their coordinators; they'll get addressed by their position coaches with the groups. It'll be split offense-defense, it'll be a time when they're with their position coaches and position groups; and then I'll address them, as well."
On how QB Jason Campbell has handled this season:
"He's a true pro. He's been great. He's a great guy in the locker room. I know he's ready and will be ready if he's needed. His approach has been outstanding. Just last week, he's out there with the young guys running a mock two-minute drill on air after practice and those type of things. (He's) very valuable, and I appreciate him and his approach."
On playing mostly man-coverage against Detroit and the Lions taking advantage of it:
"We were trying to mix some of it, not getting into too much detail from a scheme standpoint or game plan standpoint. We wanted to mix it. If we weren't getting the pressure on the quarterback that we needed to get so you have to give some things up. Some of the matchups, if you're trying to lean towards doubling a (Lions WR) Calvin Johnson, you're going to single up other guys, whether that's zone or man. At times, we just didn't play our zone coverage as well as we needed to."
On allowing big runs in the past two games and if Sheard's return will help:
"Really, it's more of an issue of just the fits. We have to be right on the money with our fits on those runs. It only takes one guy getting out of his gap. Sometimes, that's a matter of just not being there; sometimes, it's a matter of trying to do too much to go out of your gap to make a play and go somewhere else because you think the ball is going somewhere else. Against really good backs, they make you pay if you don't do it. That's what's happened the last few weeks."