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Burning Questions

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15 questions with Larry Ogunjobi, who thinks the Browns defensive line is ready to be great

Larry Ogunjobi has tried to learn as much as possible about the defensive tackle position since the Browns drafted him in the third round of the 2017 draft.

This season, Ogunjobi expects those smarts to pay off as he lines up with three other Pro Bowlers in Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon on the Browns defensive line. caught up with Ogunjobi ahead of the Browns' third preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and discussed the progress of himself and the defense so far. How grueling has training camp been and how much are you looking forward to this season?

Ogunjobi: I wouldn't say 'grueling,' but it is a sigh of relief just finishing up everything finally. I think it's good. I feel like we're in a really good place. There's still a lot of work to do, but I feel like the guys have really come together in this camp. I feel like the players that had to step up and play are playing at the level they need to play at. We just have to continue to carry out these last two preseason games and really take that steam and momentum into the regular season. Now that you've established yourself in the NFL, how do you approach training camp differently, and how did you feel in this camp compared to other years?

Ogunjobi: I think it's just the experience. Just understanding what camp is like, how it feels on your body and handling the things you need to handle. For me, it's really just having that motto of getting better each and every day. That's all I can really do. Just come out here and try to prepare my craft and do what I got to do. What has it been like playing on a talented defensive line? Has it lived up to the expectations so far?

Ogunjobi: Yeah. It's just a lot of fun playing off these guys and being able to get after the quarterback. We're just having fun playing football and doing what we do. I'm excited. How does Sheldon's game complement what you do, and what does he do that might be a little different than you?

Ogunjobi: We just learn how to play off each other. Sheldon's a guy who is going to break down offenses really well. He's really smart, and he doesn't try to over-complicate the game of football. When you got a guy like that, it allows you to think of things that you'd overlook otherwise because you're trying to nit-pick at things. Really, it just simplifies things for you that way you can play fast. How much have you changed with Steve Wilks as the new defensive coordinator?

Ogunjobi: It's cool. He's honest. You got to go out there and make plays. I feel like the handcuffs are off now, but being able to go out there and play the game we got to play and play it fast. I feel like guys are really just embracing the process of the grind, and defensively just going out there and playing a good game. What has it been like to witness the talent injection that has taken place on the defense since you joined the Browns?

Ogunjobi: It's dope. Now, we really got a chance. Last year, I knew we had a chance, but this year, we have the pieces. Now we just got to go out there and put it together. Have you liked the all the attention the offense has received and the defensive line coming under the radar?

Ogunjobi: It's cool. It don't matter to me. Sunday is when you make your noise. What kind of confidence boost did you guys get in Indianapolis last week?

Ogunjobi: I feel like there's still things we got to clean up, but we went out there and played really good. There's always things we can clean up, so we just keep building. We can't get too high, and we can't get too low. Just really stay focused on what's in front of you because it's really about going 1-0 every week. When you put it like that, the rest will take care of itself. There's a lot of stuff online with you and Myles Garrett about the conditioning you did over the offseason. What were you looking to accomplish?

Ogunjobi: Get stronger. Get faster. Get better. That's it. Did you do anything differently?

Ogunjobi: No, I always work really hard. I got to do a little pass rushing with Von Miller and those guys. I really just went around and picked the brain of the league's top guys. I talked to A.D. (Aaron Donald), Demarcus Ware and these guys that are really good. Von, Derek Wolfe and guys who have been in the league for a while. I'm just perfecting my game, and you know me and Geno (Atkins) are real close, so I trained with him all offseason. That's my dog. Have you always been a student of the game in terms of wanting to know how you can get better from a mental standpoint? 

Ogunjobi: When I was in college, I think I messaged Kawann Short and Charles Johnson and just got an idea of what I needed to do to put myself in a position to make it to the league. Some guys might be afraid to do that when they get to the league. What made you fearless in that regard?

Ogunjobi: If you want to be the best, you got to be willing to do what it takes. Stuff like that doesn't happen overnight, so you got to be willing to go out there and stand up yourself because a lot of times, nobody will grab your hand and help you up. From a mental standpoint, how differently are you seeing the game right now?

Ogunjobi: A lot. Everything has slowed down a lot for me. I see the offense, know what they're doing and seeing my checks, reading offensive schemes and playing fast. I'm adjusting on the fly, so it's cool. I'm real chill, so I just take it one day at a time. Have you approached the game Friday any differently because it's the 'dress rehearsal' game?

Ogunjobi: Everybody knows it's preseason game No. 3 and you let your starters play. We really just go through the game plan and see how you set up the game plan with the offense and breaking things down. You look at tendencies and all that stuff, and you really just play your game from there. Has it felt normal going to Tampa every year?

Ogunjobi: Yeah, I mean we've been there every year. It's not too different for me.

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