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Jake Delhommes Press Conference…

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Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme press conference 3-17-10


(On the players on offense and how he is going to mesh with them)- “I will be honest with you, I am still learning people’s names. March 17, I got here Sunday night, I am just learning different guy’s names. I know there are a lot of young guys. (Mohamed) Massaquoi, (Brian) Robiskie, I do not know Ben Watson. I’ve met some of the other players. It’s still early in the process. I can leave it at that. To say this is going to happen, I don’t know. We’re still very early in the process.”


(On why he didn’t go to New Orleans)- “We set up two visits basically. There were two areas that I wanted to go to, one was here and one was New Orleans. We had a bunch of other teams call and what not. I waited a little bit to make my trip because I wanted to let the, I guess, sting of the release get out and let the emotion kind of get out of it and try to write down all of the different scenarios. What might work, what might not work. I came here on my visit, I had a great time. Actually, I was at the airport headed to New Orleans, but the weather the Atlanta, that’s where I was connecting through. It kept getting delayed, delayed, delayed so I ended up getting a flight back to Charlotte that afternoon and I was going to head to New Orleans on Sunday evening and visit there Sunday and Monday.”


(On what happened last year)- “I didn’t play good football. I’m not going to blame anybody else or anything. I didn’t play good football, very simple. For whatever reason, I can sit here and blame this, blame that, but ultimately that doesn’t do anybody any good. I didn’t play good football from Week 1 on. The 2009 year football wise wasn’t fun. From January 10 of 2009 the playoff game through when I broke my finger in the Jets game, I want to say late November. We didn’t have the continuity on offense as we had the year before or as we have had years prior. I probably tried to press too much. I don’t think there’s any doubt I probably tried to do too much and it didn’t work. I wasn’t just being me and that’s something for six out of the seven years that I started there, I was just me. I maybe tried to do a little too much last year and it didn’t work obviously.”


(On what changed his mind about not going to New Orleans)- “I had an opportunity to compete over here. I kind of knew what my role would be in New Orleans. I didn’t think there’s any doubt. I’m good friend with Drew (Brees). I’ve known Sean (Payton) for many years. I’m very comfortable with that organization, naturally, playing there for six years. It’s two hours from my home. I had to decide if I still wanted to still try to compete or if I wanted to hold a clipboard. I wasn’t ready for that. I just wasn’t ready for that plan and simple. I wanted to have a chance to come in to compete and play.”


(On why 2010 will be better for him)- “I think for one, I’m optimistic, I’m a glass half full guy. Two, it’s a fresh start for me. That’s what I’m excited about. It’s a fresh start, learning a new system, new players and that’s what’s great. That’s been the most refreshing part about being here so far.”


(On his emotional leave from Carolina)- “I’m a guy, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I get to know people. I develop relationships with people. Those seven years there were great. We did some very good things and I became close to a lot of people. Not just football players, front office staff, equipment managers, trainers and things like that. You develop all those relationships with people and those are important to me. It’s very simple, those are things that are important to me. That was very emotional, those ties. In March of ’03 when I went to Carolina, I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t know any of the players or anything. You get to meet people and this is what we do. We get paid play a kid’s game. Along with that, so many people talk about games and what not but it’s everything else that goes into it. I think that’s what makes the NFL so special, the comradery, the locker room and the relationships you develop with people.”


(On the offensive system in Cleveland and his offensive system in New Orleans)- “I’m not exactly sure. We ran the west coast offense with coach (Mike) McCarthy down in New Orleans when Jim Haslett took over. Over here, we are still going to be running a lot of the same things that were run last year by Brian (Daboll). Who’s to say there’s not some new things that will be added? I haven’t got that far yet, I’ll be honest with you. Maybe there will be some things sprinkled in here and there, who knows. Ultimately, it’s about running, throwing, catching. That’s how you win in the National Football League. You have got to play sound football.”


(On what he has heard about the Browns)- “Jeff Davidson was my coordinator in Carolina for three years and Jeff was here for four years, I believe. Rip Scherer was my quarterback coach last year. Rip was here for four years, I believe. I guess I kind of had an understanding of the organization, somewhat. Everything they always said was the organization is trying to do things the right way, great people, it’s a great football town and things like that. I’ve been in the NFC my whole career, I’ve been in the NFC South my whole career. I am changing conferences. This is very new to me. I am still learning a little bit of everything. One thing I wanted to do, I wanted to come on my visit and kind of see what you feel inside. I’ve been around a few years so you see what you feel inside. I think I can kind of read people and what not and I just had a good feeling about a lot of things. I wasn’t kissed up to, so to speak. That was one thing that’s huge to me. I don’t like that kind of stuff. Let’s just talk. What direction we are going? What needs to be done? Coming here and just kind of seeing the pieces they started, signing guys, signing (Tony) Pashos, signing (Scott) Fujita, getting Ben Watson. A big thing for me was over last weekend and early last week kind of researching.  This team started 1-11. You find a lot of team that started 1-11 and those bags are packed in December. Guys are ready to get out. This team won the last four games. I am telling you, that’s something. Something was happening. Something was going in the right direction. That was a main reason I went to Carolina back in ’03. They won four out of their last five or something like that with nothing to play for. It’s a process, coaches leaning players, new coaching staff and things like that. That’s kind of the approach that I took when I came here and just everything kind of felt right.”


(On what he was told about the opportunity here)- “I was not guaranteed anything. I want to make that perfectly clear. I was guaranteed a chance to compete, very simple. There were no guarantees whatsoever. That’s the honest to god’s truth. I am here to compete and just be me. That’s what I’m here to do.”


(On how excited he is to be in Cleveland)- “It is exciting. It is fresh. I think that’s the biggest thing, it’s very fresh and new. It’s fun, I don’t think there’s any doubt. It kind of intrigued me a great deal. I wouldn’t want to say it’s a bad division either. There are some good football teams in this division. I do know that for a fact. That’s what I enjoy. This is going to be a learning process. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I am still trying to learn guy’s names and what not much less a system, coaches and how things are done.”


(On his style of play)- “There’s winning and then there’s misery in the National Football League. There’s no in-between. I don’t know how else to put it. It doesn’t matter how you get it done as long as you get it done. Walking into that locker room, that’s something that I’ll always cherish, that 10 minutes after a game in the locker room when there’s no one in there but the coaches and players and that job was done for that week. There’s something about that. Whatever my role is to help this team win, that’s what I’m going to do. It’s very simple. It’s about winning in the National Football League, that’s what it’s about.”


(On how he knows last year isn’t a sign of things to come)- “I have to go out and prove it. I can feed you whatever kind of line you want me to feed you, but I don’t know what good that is going to do. I just have to go out and play well. That’s how you get it turned around.”


(On if he is ready to mentor a young quarterback)- “Absolutely, whatever I need to do. I was lucky enough I had a couple of older quarterbacks kind of take me under their wing when I was younger. Billy Joe Tolliver was an older quarterback, played 10 years. When Mike McCarthy first came in, Billy was already in New Orleans and he had Mike in Kansas City. Here I am, extremely wet behind the ears trying to learn and he took me under his wing. He really helped me and taught me the system. After we studied all day and what not at the facility learning, we’d go back, Billy and I lived in the same apartment complex, and we’d do more that night. That was always special to me. Ultimately, it cost him a job. I beat him out that year. It cost him a job. When I went to Carolina, Rodney Peete, the same way. Rodney was the starter and I came in at halftime of the first game and kind of went from there, but my biggest cheerleader was Rodney. (He was) my biggest fan in the film room. It helped and I just think that’s important. I broke my finger last year and I was there for Matt Moore. That’s what I believe in. I’m sorry. That’s what I believe in and I was proud of Matt. Matt went in and did an outstanding job. If a young quarterback comes here, one, we have coaches but, two, I going to try to show him the right way, what I was taught was the right way. That’s a legacy that you pass on. To me, that’s important. That’s something that’s special especially if you are going to work with someone and be with someone every day in the film room, meeting room. You develop a relationship with these people, at least that’s my belief.”


(On if his confidence took a beating last year)- “It probably took a good bit. I’m not going to lie to you. I just wanted to do well. The playoff game was such a downer after such a great season. We go 12-4 and I probably tried to do too much. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I just tried to do too way much and I wasn’t myself. That’s something that over time you should learn from and what not and maybe I should have. You just try to do too much and I keep saying that. You work even harder. You put in more hours and just wasn’t getting the results because you are thinking instead of playing. That’s something that has never worked well for me.”


(On if the playoff loss carried over)- “Obviously it did because I didn’t play well last year. I think I put a lot on myself to try to get us back. I didn’t just try to forget about it and move on.”


(On building a relationship with wide receivers)- “So many people can talk about throwing routes in the offseason and this and that. The year we went to the Super Bowl, the first reps I took with Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad we’re in the third quarter of the first game of the season. Rodney Peete was the starter and Chris Weinke and myself. We all rotated so I didn’t take any reps with those guys. I get in at halftime and we did alright that year. I think just over time you learn routes. They know what you throw well and I think that is what makes coaches good too. You have got to play to the strengths of your players. I think that’s the biggest thing. Something that’s always been preached is players. You can have the best play drawn up, but if you can’t get it executed then it’s not any good.”


(On Mike Holmgren)- “I think that was a big attraction. I don’t think there is any doubt. He has a decent track record. I would say that. That was an attraction. Him and I, we did talk a lot about last year and things like that. I think the biggest thing is coming in to a fresh start, learning a new system and things like that. You don’t have those old scars. You build up scars as you play. This works, this doesn’t work and over time those scars kind of add up a little too much and you’re not playing. Something fresh, you start all over.”


(On describing himself as a quarterback)- “As a quarterback, I’m someone who, I think I’m at my best if I’m just out there slinging it. Sling, people take that as maybe a loose term or what not, but just out there playing, reacting, bouncing around and having fun. That’s the biggest thing, having fun. These 16 games you play during the course of a season, that’s it. It’s not 82 or 162, whatever basketball and baseball are. That’s it and they are important. They count. You have let loose on Sunday and go out and play.”


(On what his body is like at age 35)- “You know what, I’ll give the answer everybody is going to give, ‘I feel great’ (joking). I feel good. I was a backup for so long in New Orleans, I didn’t get hit. I didn’t get beat upon. The ’07 season, I tore my elbow in the third quarter of the third game, so really I had another year off at that point. The body feels really good, I will say.”


(On the offensive line and young skill players here)- “That’s what we are going to find out. I believe there’s a bunch of draft picks that this team has. Who knows who’s going to come, become available and things like that. That’s the great part about it. We are going to see what we have. In the ’03 season, Steve Smith was only a punt returner. He went to the Pro Bowl as a kickoff and punt returner as a rookie. He really didn’t play much receiver his second year, but you just kind of saw this guy during the course of the offseason. He’s kind of talented. He can be pretty good. He really took the league by storm that year, so to speak. Everybody knew he was talented as a returner, but as a receiver they weren’t sure. Who’s to say who’s that somebody who just starts to step up?”


(On his arm and finger)- “Everything is fine. The arm has never been an issue since the surgery in, whatever, October of ’07.”


(On if Holmgren and Mangini critiqued him on film)- “No ma’am, we didn’t critique a lot of things like that. That’s something that maybe we will get to down the road, but no we did not get into things like that.”


(On if he was healthy last year)- “Yes, just didn’t play well.”


(On if being a leader takes time)- “Guys don’t know me in there and I don’t know those guys in there. I can’t come in and say, ‘We do this and we do that.’ No. You develop  a relationship with guys. If you have been around and you know what works and you know when you have good years and bad years. The leadership on good years and there’s a void on the bad years. It’s very simple. Being around the guys just the few days I’ve been here so far you just kind of develop a relationship and see what we have. Those kind of just mesh together because each year is its own baby.”


(On if he can get guys to follow him)- “I think I’m myself. You guys can make an assessment in a year from now, but I just try to be me. I just try to be me.”


(On having Joe Thomas here)- “That is very nice. I don’t think there’s any doubt. I haven’t met Joe yet, I don’t think he’s around right now. I played with Jordan Gross, who’s very good and I’ve had numerous people who were here with Joe and they really kind of talk hand in hand about those two guys. That certainly is very nice.”


(On how long he’s in town for)- “I’m here. I’m going to be in and out some. My wife and kids are still in Charlotte. I will go back to see my family. My oldest is in school right now, so we are in the process of getting them here as soon as we can. We are in the process of doing that, but I will be back and forth.”


(On if his emotional leave from Carolina has faded)- “It has, it really has. I can remember that Friday morning. I didn’t want to go in. I didn’t want to have to go in and do that press conference. A couple of people that I respect a lot that I talked to we’re like, ‘You need to go, don’t wait until Monday. Don’t issue a statement.’ I was very happy that I did. I think the hardest part for me, in a room like this, there was a ton of front office staff in there be it secretaries and things like that. That’s what I’ll always hold special. The relationships and seeing some of the coaches and all of that. Like I said, I wear my heart on my sleeve.”


(On the Carolina staff being sincere about it being a difficult decision)- “Yes, that’s a relationship you develop over time. (John) Foxie (Fox) wasn’t just my coach, he was a close friend of mine too, same with Marty (Hurney). John is that way with a lot of players. You develop relationships and it is difficult. However way you slice it, a head coach and a quarterback are always tied together. No matter what, that’s just the way it is.”


(On Eric Mangini)- “I spent about an hour and a half with him when I came on my visit. I enjoyed every minute. We just talked. We talked about many different things from football to out of football and things like that. Certainly, I know what kind of X and O football coach he is. It was just more of a talk and different philosophies and things like that. It was very positive. I enjoyed it. I felt very comfortable.”


(On why Cleveland made his short list of teams)- “I’m telling you, this team won the last four games. I don’t care how you look at it. When a team is 1-11 and you win the last (four games), there’s something

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