Cleveland Browns outside linebackers coach Brian Baker is looking forward to April 1, when the players report to Berea for the beginning of the team’s offseason program.
At that point, Baker and the rest of the Browns’ coaches will have nine weeks, 10 organized team activities (OTAs) and voluntary and mandatory minicamps to work with players before the program ends in June.
“I’m really excited,” Baker said. “You had a little bit of that crescendo, and right now, it’s obviously the low tone of it. You’re building your roster, you’re looking at players. I like the phase we’re in right now, and as we build, I can’t wait for our guys to get here. I am excited to have a chance to work with these guys because that’s what I like most about coaching, working and developing players.”
For Baker, it is all about teaching the players in his position group the finer points of playing outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4 scheme. That process will begin in the classroom, and after about two weeks, it will move to the field.
“You need to have players who can be in a position to do the things you need them to do,” Baker said.
He described his style of coaching as “animated,” and said Bobby Ross, for whom he played during his career at the University of Maryland, had the most to do with that. It was Ross who gave Baker his start in coaching and taught him plenty of lessons about what it takes to be successful at it.
“Attention to detail, work ethic, the simplicity of seeing players without getting distracted with all the other stuff. ‘Does a guy run? Does a guy hit? Does a guy have the right attitude?’ We call it FBI, Football IQ,” Baker said. “Those kinds of things are things that I learned from him way back when. You try to get the best out of players.”
After Ross, Baker cites George O’Leary, who was the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech and the head coach at Georgia Tech when Baker coached there, as also having a major influence on his career.
“I was really fortunate to be around those two guys,” Baker said. “Then, I’ve gotten something from every guy I’ve been with since. Jim Haslett has been a tremendous influence. There’s something different with all of those guys, so I guess I’m a melting pot because I try to get the best from those guys.”