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Why every member of the Browns defense must learn 2 positions

Posted Jun 16, 2017

Gregg Williams says the goal is to play best 11 players, regardless of position

Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams wants to field the best 11 players, regardless of position.

So it's why the 27-year veteran says all members of Cleveland’s defense must learn multiple positions. And, yes, that means everyone from veterans Joe Haden and Jamie Collins Sr. to rookie and No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Myles Garrett.

“Everybody on our defense, and I want you to watch this, has to play two positions,” said Williams, who met with the media Thursday before the team breaks for summer.

Williams, who’s coached five top-five defenses and won a Super Bowl in 2010 with New Orleans, said he conceived the concept with Patriots coach Bill Belichick long ago.

“I think Bill — I call him Bill, he’s a good friend of mine — Belichick, I think he does a really good job of that and he and I a long time ago started doing this a lot.”

Indeed, Williams said at his introductory news conference in January that the Browns won’t box themselves into a certain defensive scheme. He echoed that sentiment this week, saying they’ll play to the strengths of their personnel.  

“We’ll get as many good players in packages as needed. If it means only playing one linebacker, I will play one linebacker,” he said. “I think wherever I have been we have played with a lot of DBs before, because the league has become a one-back, throwing league and wherever I have been, people really don’t want to get lined up in two-back offenses and try to run it against us because of how we will load it up on you and outnumber you that way.

“We have got to get bigger if (the opposing team) is bigger, we have to get littler if they are littler and you still have to be fast.”

Williams also stressed depth as a means for overcoming the inevitable dynamic of injuries throughout the season.

“How you get through games, through injuries is play the next best athletes,” he said. “Not the next guy on the depth chart."


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