BEREA, Ohio --
“Quentin, in a lot of respects, has been having a great camp,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “He is showing his pass-rush ability. He is getting off the edge quickly. He is showing leadership. He is an outstanding special-teams player. He shows up in practice. I couldn’t be more pleased with how he is approaching and being a leader.
“He is a very versatile player. He can play either side. He understands the defense obviously very well. The things he does on special teams will really help us.”
It is the leadership of Chudzinski and defensive coordinator Ray Horton, as well as the progress the players have made, that gives Groves confidence for the future of the Browns.
“I think Jabaal (Sheard) has done a great job,” Groves said. “He’s done a great job of knowing where he fits, knowing what the scheme calls for him to do. Him being so big and physical, it helps his skill set. He’s done a great job of picking it up.
“Everybody else who they’ve asked to move, they’ve done a great job of playing. (Johnson) Bademosi has done a great job of picking up the safety position from corner. Craig (Robertson) has done a great job of picking this defense up, as well as D’Qwell (Jackson). We have a chance to be a legitimate contender this year.”
Groves, who arrived in Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent in March, has long embraced the aggressive mentality of the Browns’ new, 3-4 defense, having played in a similar scheme in Arizona while Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton held the same position with the Cardinals.
“It’s huge because I think that’s my forte,” Groves said. “Anytime you can play aggressive and free, that gives you a chance to make big plays. (Horton) doesn’t get on you, doesn’t get mad at you for not making the big plays. He just allows you to be the best player that you can be. He says, ‘We can correct the mistakes on film, but if you’re not playing at full-speed, then, we can’t correct that.’ That’s one of the great things that he does and that he’s about.”
For Groves, Horton’s message was familiar. It was one of that he had heard before during the 2012 season under Horton’s direction in Arizona.
“Ray was the No. 1 factor (in signing with the Browns),” Groves said. “But then, when Chud came in and said, ‘Quentin, we have big plans for you, and you can help this team, and become a leader on this team,’ that was the stamp that sealed it. I said, ‘Hey, I’d be glad to be in Cleveland.’”
In 2012, the Cardinals led the NFL in passer rating allowed and interception percentage. They were also in the top 10 in interceptions, third-down efficiency allowed, red-zone defense, takeaways, passing yards allowed per game, points allowed per drive, and first downs allowed.
“I think we’re bonding, coming together, jelling together as a team,” Groves said of the Browns. “This is when your team is made. We’ve been doing a great job of doing things together, playing as a whole defense, a whole offense and a whole special teams. We just have to keep growing and keep getting better day-in and day-out.
“We’ve grasped it and picked it up pretty well. For the most part, in practices and live situations, it’s gone pretty well. From what I’ve seen in practice, we’re close. We have a chance to be a pretty good defense, as long as we keep playing and keep getting better, day-in and day-out.”