Press Conference

Browns assistant coach press conferences - LBs coach Al Holcomb, TEs coach John Lilly

Run game coordinator/linebackers coach Al Holcomb:

On the Browns struggling to defend TEs the past couple of years and how the team plans to cover them this year:

"We are going to mix it up. We are going to play man, we are going to pattern match and we are also going to play more of the stop-drop. It is just based on the opponent and who we are playing. Right now, we have an entire system kind of going in so you are going to see a lot of different variations of different coverages. Definitely the middle of the field has to be controlled by the linebackers for the part, in particular the MIKE linebacker a lot of times. From a technique standpoint, we are working that in terms of where our eyes should be, what are exit angles should be, how we should address vertical routes down the field and things of that nature and at some point, we are going to continue to get better."

On if the LBs are trying to figure out placements and route combinations:

"No question. We have to be able to pattern match and read route combinations, based on a switch and based on releases, patterns and those things."

On how the Browns LBs are looking to correct missed tackles:

"We are working on it every single day as I mentioned previously. Our angles to the ball, leverage in the football, knowing and understanding where our help is in terms of tackling obviously. Obviously, continuing to not break down in the open space where there is a lot grass. We still have to close the distance between us and the ball carrier. A lot of times when guys miss tackles, you see them breaking down far too far away from the ball carrier. We have to continue to take the grass, close the distance and when we arrive, we have to have good fundamentals and form tackling."

On how hard is it to correct tackling for a player who has been playing for a long time, specifically in reference to LB Joe Schobert and his missed tackle total last season:

"Just have to re-teach it, every day. Every day, we are constantly re-teaching things every single day. The same things that we are talking about in late July and August, we are still going to preach throughout the entire season – fundamentals and technique."

Tight ends coach John Lilly:

On if he has information on TE Seth DeValve's status following a hit toward the end of practice:

"Not really, no. Obviously, just off the practice field and it happened there right at the end. I know the trainers have him. From where I was standing, it looked like maybe an awkward fall so it is hard to tell. It got kind of tight over there. They will evaluate him and let us know."

On TE David Njoku's training camp:

"I think the biggest thing coming into the camp in the first place was trying to find some consistency with David in really every aspect of his game. He has had days where it was better, and he has had days where it is kind of that ebb and flow that maybe he has kind of experienced in the past. I do think he is ascending in terms of what he is doing. I think it is a big thing, especially starting with the passing game for him, is you look around the league and a lot of the tight ends that have a lot of success and the things that are really starting to show up is when guys play with a quarterback. There are so many different little nuances and things that happen in the areas of the field they work that the more that he and (QB) Baker (Mayfield) work together, the better off the relationship will be. I think you can see some of that starting to show up. The big thing for him at this stage and will always be becoming a complete player. I think he has shown some signs in the running game. There is nothing we are doing that he can't do. I believe that 100 percent. He has to want to do it, I have to be able to get him there and we will work together to try to get it done. I do think he has the ability to ascend, but he has to cut the dips out." 

On if having talented WRs allows the Browns to keep TEs inside to block more often:

"That is obviously kind of a week-to-week, day-to-day gameplan type thing, but I would say this, if we feel like we are getting into some situations where we have to keep more guys in, then maybe it is because they are bringing enough guys where they are bold enough to play one on one on some of these guys that are on the edges. That is probably good for us if that is happening. The good thing about that room is that they are unselfish. I think everybody at the tight end position knows you get the glory for catching a lot of balls and those kind of things, but at the end of the day, we want to win. That is what it is all about. It could happen that way, but I also think it creates mismatches. It works both way. If they want to devote more guys to other players, it creates mismatches inside."

On if the Browns will want Njoku to be running routes more than blocking due to his skillset:

"I am not going to stand here and act like a guru because everybody can see it. The way he is built, what his strengths are, you love him out there running around and making plays on the ball, but I also think because of how he is built – he is long and strong, he can bend – he can be a great blocker and be a great point of attack blocker if he wants to be and if I can get him there. He can be a good pass protector because he is long and he can get his hands out and move his feet. He has all of that stuff. Whatever we have to do to score points, I do not care. If we run it 60 times or if we throw it 60 times, at the end of the day everyone is happy if we win."

On TE personnel having to go up against players like DE Myles Garrett and not always win in the trenches and that as preparation for 2019:

"It is why you practice. There are plays we probably run or plays that with certain guys you are like, 'Hey, let's see if he can do it'. That is why you practice. Then it comes down to a gameplan thing. Again, that will show itself."

The annual Orange & Brown Scrimmage will take place on August 3rd at FirstEnergy Stadium. Click for information and tickets.

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