Competitive fire helps Skrine succeed

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Cleveland Browns defensive back Buster Skrine uses his competitive fire to help make plays.

Cleveland Browns defensive back Buster Skrine stands just 5-feet-9 inches tall and weighs in at 185 pounds, but the third-year cornerback plays much bigger than his measurables according to his position coach, Louie Cioffi, and coordinator, Ray Horton.

In the six months since the Browns started on-field workouts with a new coaching staff and new-look roster, Cioffi and Horton have noticed an intense desire to succeed within Skrine and believes it is the main reason for his added productivity.

“I see a young individual, a young man that’s working his butt off,” Horton said. “He’s competitive, always, and technique is a huge part of what we teach. Penalties are a part of this game. It’s an offensive game. We understand all that stuff, but he’s working very hard in practice. He’s a capable young man that’s really coming into his own.”

Cioffi added, “I think part of it is society, in general, is negative, and people tend to point out what guys don’t have instead of what they do well. Throughout his career, he’s always been thought of as a small guy, and I think he’s used that to his advantage. I think people don’t believe he can do well because he’s small. He’s a little guy that plays big. He’s physical. He competes with taller guys, and he’s just been making play after play for us.”

Skrine started his play-making barrage when he registered six tackles and broke up two sure-fire touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings in a game the Browns won, 31-27, with a last-minute scoring pass from quarterback Brian Hoyer to tight end Jordan Cameron at Mall of America Field on Sept. 22.

“The greatest tool Buster has, besides him being a great competitor, is his speed and quickness, and I think that’s shown up a lot in the last few weeks,” Cioffi said. “His ability to just close and finish on guys and never stop -- he plays to the whistle every, single play -- and when you do that, it puts you in position to make those types of plays that he’s been making.”

Skrine continued his play-making ways when he caught an interception, forced a punt with a third-down pass break-up in the third quarter and successfully defended the last pass attempt in the Browns’ 17-6 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Then, against the Buffalo Bills, Skrine matched a career high with three pass breakups and recorded his first career sack. And in last Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, Skrine broke up another pass in the end zone that was eventually intercepted by Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.

“He’s come in since the spring, and he wants to be one of the top corners in the league, and he prepares that way,” Cioffi said. “It’s been showing up on Sunday, and I expect him to continue to get better.”

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