Chris Tabor thrilled with chance to remain with Browns

Posted Feb 13, 2014

Senior Editor Vic Carucci says special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor counts the stability for his family as one of the biggest reasons he’s excited to remain with the Browns.

Chris Tabor is happy to be back as the Browns' special-teams coordinator, as is his family

One night, during the Browns’ recent head-coaching search, special-teams coordinator Chris Tabor was taking in a high school basketball game with his wife, Nikki, and one of their two daughters, Paityn.

“Dad, what do you think’s going to happen?” Paityn, well aware of the insecurity of her father’s profession, asked.

“I don’t know,” Tabor said. “Do you like it here?”

“Dad, I love it here.”

As it turned out, the Tabors were able to remain in Northeast Ohio for a third season – with a third different head coach, Mike Pettine.

Chris Tabor is happy about that for multiple reasons, but one of the biggest is the stability it afforded his family.
“As a dad, that’s the other side of it that people don’t really always talk about,” he said. “(Wanting to remain with the Browns) was at the root of everything. My other daughter (Lainey) expressed that, along with my wife.

“I’m excited about it because I obviously have a familiarity with the players and continue to be able to work with the guys that I know and how we can improve them and get them better. That excites me. We’re going through the (video) cutups right now and starting to map out individual plans for guys and where we can take their game for the next level.”

But it isn’t simply a matter of avoiding the hassle of relocating to another town and your kids having to adjust to new schools and make new friends or of avoiding the challenge of learning new players on another team.

Tabor has found plenty to like from yet another coaching-staff transition with the Browns, beginning with his relationship with Pettine. “Mike’s been outstanding, and I’m very excited to get the opportunity to work for him,” Tabor said.

Although they had no professional history together, they immediately found something they had in common.

“He’s also a coach’s kid,” Tabor said. “He played quarterback for his dad, I played quarterback for my dad. So we’ve kind of had some good laughs of what it was like to come home Friday night and your dad waiting for you, having to watch the tape again.”

Chris Tabor is particularly happy that Pettine is a former NFL defensive coordinator, most recently with the Buffalo Bills last season, and is likely to place a greater emphasis on that side of the ball.

Defensive players, as a rule, contribute heavily to special teams.

Click image to gallery

Click image to gallery

“As you look at rosters on a team, especially when you’re getting into your coverage units, those are more likely to be defensive players,” Tabor said. “When it’s all about setting the field position, having those guys that can go down, get off blocks and tackle, and using other coaches that can help you do that and give you input, it’s a big help.”

So, too, ironically, is the fact the Browns dealt with multiple injuries that greatly impacted their special teams.

The biggest was the season-ending knee injury suffered by Travis Benjamin, who established himself as one of the more dangerous returners in the NFL. The Browns also had four different returners on kickoffs and punts. And on their punt-coverage unit, they had six different players in the left slot, and four different left and right guards.

What made that so helpful?

“Because of all of the guys that we did play,” Tabor said. “They know the system and now we can move them a little bit faster, whereas when you have a lot of change during the year, it’s tough to get those guys caught up, especially when a guy’s not with you in OTAs or he’s not with you in training camp. In Week One or Week Two, he’s maybe your ‘personal protector,’ which is essentially the quarterback of the punt team and he has to make all the calls. That’s put a little more stress on the deal.

“Hopefully, playing a lot of those guys as we did is going to help us next season.”

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