Q: From a statistical standpoint, why have you run the ball so few times this season? Can that be contributed to the play of Josh Gordon and just trying to get him the ball as much as possible?
RC: I mean, some of it has been the situation in-game where we’ve been behind and trying to catch up, so we’ve thrown or had to throw a lot more. Those would be the previous weeks. This last week, a little bit of the same in those situations that we ran the ball a little bit more. But Josh has really developed as a receiver and has grown a lot as the season has gone on, so I think our quarterbacks generally have a lot of confidence in him, and we’ve given him a lot of opportunities to make those plays.
Q: In looking at the Patriots offense, how is
RC: He sure looks like it. You look at tight ends across the league and what he’s able to do, a lot of times you’ll see guys who are great receivers but not necessarily good blockers, or great blockers and not necessarily the receivers, and he does them both. He’s outstanding at them both, and there’s not many guys around that can do that. He’s such a weapon and he’s a clutch player, and certainly [Tom] Brady looks to him in those times. He’s so big, can run so well, so athletic… He’s just a tough matchup. Who do you put on him to cover him?
Q: What do you see in the Patriots run defense from your vantage point?
RC: I see they had some injuries to a number of key players in their front seven, and I think each game is different. I think you look at Houston, who is an outstanding running team and has been, and obviously I have experience with Carolina, and they played very well against Carolina, and Denver’s a different style as well. But I think the thing about the defense that I see is they make key plays at key times. I think the guys who have stepped in have done a real nice job. This defense is going to be a big challenge for us.
Q: What are your thoughts on Rob Gronkowski’s impact on the other players around him and how challenging that is to deal with, particularly in the red zone?
RC: He is, he’s that type of player. He’s a dynamic guy who is an impact player and you have to know where he is. You have to pay attention to him, and that obviously gives opportunities to other guys. There certainly is enough in the Patriot offense that enough guys, they can hurt you in a lot of different ways, so it makes it very difficult when you have one of the best quarterbacks of all time getting the ball and spreading the ball around. It’s quite a challenge.
Q: How happy are you with the state of the program as you install your program there?
RC: I think that, as I look at things and what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve done, we’re building a foundation for success. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen from what we’ve installed and incorporated from a mindset, philosophy standpoint, style of play. I see a lot of young guys who have broken out this season, a lot of veteran guys who are playing their best. Those are the good things. Obviously, we haven’t had the results on the field, and that’s the most important thing, is winning and losing. But I see a plan in place, and I see strides, and I see signs of us moving in a direction that we want to move, and I have a lot of confidence in our plan.
Q: What are the core principles of that plan?
RC: The core principles, to start out with, are building a sustainable success. So that’s not something that you do in the short term and that you want to be up and down. It happens in the long term in that building. We want to bring players in here that fit what our profile is of success for those types of players and continue to keep the players that are here that are those types of guys, foundation and core members and core parts of the team. We want to attack, we want to be aggressive from a philosophy standpoint and we’ll play to that way, and that’s what we’re trying to incorporate right now.
Q: Bill Belichick spoke earlier about his relationship with Browns General Manager Mike Lombardi. Can you talk about how you’re working with Mike and what his influence is on what’s going on there?
RC: Yeah, I mean Mike’s a big part of what’s going on here. He’s extremely intelligent, and I’m sure that everybody who talks about him says the same thing. He knows football, he lives football, he’s been around it, and he can tell you a story or relate something or an experience with anything that you go through and anything that you see, and any situation that comes up he has something that he can relate to from his experiences. It’s been great working with Mike. He’s got a great personality and certainly he’s outstanding at evaluating players and looking at players, so it’s been a great experience for me.
Q: Being from Ohio and having an understanding of the culture of your fan base, can you give us a sense of how hungry that fan base is for you guys to turn it around?
RC: We have great fans. I grew up as one of these fans, so I feel and have felt what they do and what they have felt in the past. The thing that I want more than anything is to turn this place around and be part of the group that is able to do that, and again, the things that are in place, the plan that we have, and the people that are here and the commitment level that’s here, I have no doubt in my mind that we’ll be able to do that.
Q: What do you think when you look at the Patriots having 13 consecutive winning seasons in this culture of salary caps and free agency in the NFL?
RC: It’s amazing. Everyone aspires to build that type of winning culture that New England has, and the key is how you get there. Every place has its unique challenges, has its unique situations, and so they’re going to be different and they have to be different in style than what New England’s created. But everybody aspires to build that type of winning culture, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.