Transcripts

Browns coordinators assess the team midway through OTAs - Monken, Wilks, Priefer Press Conferences

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks:

On if he knows which positions the new LBs will play:

“We are still working on it. The biggest thing is that when you really look at our linebacker core, everything is versatile. Meaning right now, you talk about MIKE, SAM and WILL, but it is really interchangeable.”

On DE Myles Garrett and allowing him to have more of an arsenal pass rushing:

“Not just Myles, but with all of our players. We want to make sure that we put them in the best position to be successful. Not trying to limit them, and I don’t even know if that was the case last year. Moving forward, I want him – because he is so talented – to know how to use all of his assets.”

On if he sees Garrett reaching the next step of his development:

“I think so. It is that time. First overall pick. Very talented individual. Played well last year, and I think you are only going to see continued growth out of him each and every year.”

On if he saw Garrett only using two moves after watching last year’s tape:

“No, I really did not even look at it in that respect. I just try to evaluate the individual and not so much the scheme because everything is different. I have a lot of respect for Gregg (Williams). He has been in this league for a long time and has definitely proved himself. With Myles moving forward, along with all the other guys, we are just going to put them in the best position to be successful.”

On if the Browns are looking for leaders to emerge on defense:

“It is always hard to say. When you try to identify certain leaders, Myles a leader; (CB) Denzel (Ward) is a leader just because they are star players. (S) Jermaine Whitehead is a leader in my opinion so you don’t have to be that quote on quote guy that everybody looks at. I want all those guys to be leaders when they are out there on that field because we need everybody communication, talking being on the same page”

On Whitehead as a leader:

“Extremely smart. Very intelligent. Takes control when he is out there. Knows how to really communicate and articulate the defense and get everybody on the same page.”

On how a player like Whitehead who hasn’t had many opportunities is able to become a leader:

“I am not surprised at all. He has been in the league for a while, been on several teams. It just shows who he is as an individual. He puts in a lot of time into his craft. He studies the game a lot, and it really shows out on the field.”

On how Garret’s game has changed with the addition of DE Olivier Vernon:

“Not so much and it is very had to determine right now; as you just mentioned, we don’t have pads on. I like the addition with (DT) Sheldon (Richardson), as well. I think those two guys are going to be great for us. Their presence in the room and not only on the field has shown up this far. Does it take some pressure off Myles? Maybe it does. I do not know yet. We will have to wait and see, but I know those guys are going to be a major factor either making plays or allowing Myles to make plays.”

On the overall ability of the Browns defense:

“I think we are making progress. When you really look at where we were on April 1, how we started out with Phase I, Phase II, you have seen the development and growth of a lot of guys. Depth, we are always looking for depth. You saw that with the draft and the number of guys that we picked up. That is always going to be important because you are going to have injuries throughout the year and that is why it is so important as a staff that we really develop those guys.”

On competition at SS:

“It is still open. It is still too early to determine that. Everybody is going to have the opportunity to be able to get in there and showcase their talent and perform. Right now, we are just trying to lay a great – really the fundamentals and technique of the position. Those guys are doing a good job at really picking up the system. It is too early to determine who are going to be the starters.”

On CB Greedy Williams:

“No. 1, he is long and he is athletic. This game right now, you talk about the different receivers and the types that we have as far as big bodies. I love long corners. He is definitely that, very athletic, can run and he is very physical. That is important in the run game with me, that our corners tackle. We don’t have pads on right now, but you can see that athleticism out there on the field and the way he moves around.”

On if he has talked to Williams about tackling:

“Not a lot, but he made it aware that he is not afraid to tackle. He just needs to understand the technique and how to do it. That is encouraging because I always say that the identity of our defense is not really how physical our front seven plays but really our secondary, most importantly, and how our corners tackle.”

On how much emphasis he places on tackling technique:

“I think you really have to be able to teach the guys the different technique and fundamentals, understanding exactly where their help is within that particular play. I know Denzel last year had a situation when he had come in and threw his body around which resulted into some concussions. We really have to teach these guys how to tackle.”

On if he feels like he is in a race because it is the Browns’ first year installing his scheme:

“No, not at all. I think it is about layers on your defense, layers on your team. Freddie has done a good job of really setting the tone, expectations and really implementing the plan not only with the coaches but with the players. I am very confident in where we are right now and the direction in which we are going. The players are doing a great job picking up the system and executing.”

On how Whitehead can fit into the defense:

“He is a guy that is very smart and that can play multiple positions. You put yourself in a situation when guys get hurt; it is really just plug and play with him. It is still too early to determine. I like what he is doing and most importantly, his leadership.”

On how much would he like to have the option of playing three Ss:

“I think the word that you used is trust and that goes with any position. Where the game is today and how they try to spread you out quite a bit, you would like to have to option to be able to put those guys on the field so you are a little bit more athletic in space.”

On if Whitehead offers several likeable traits for the scheme:

“I would say that. When you really look at the position – as the question before you talked about offense trying to spread you out, trying to get you into a situation and really trying to create that match up with the linebacker – you like to be able to try to put more athletic guys on the field in regards to another safety. Whitehead does give you that option, but it is still too early to determine that.”

On areas for improvement:

“No. 1, we have to do a much better job in our tackling. That was an issue of concern last year. I would say this, too: this is a pass-happy league, but we have to stop the run. Gap integrity is going to be extremely important to us. I have said it over and over again, there is nothing more demoralizing to a defense than having an offense run the ball down your throat. We have to do a great job of stopping the run and most importantly, tackling.”

On free agent DT Gerald McCoy:

“I think he is a good football player. I know he is out there now, and that is pretty much it.”

On if Ward can improve his tackling:

“I think it is definitely correctable. It is more teaching the proper technique and that is where we are right now in this phase of OTAs. Really giving him the fundamentals of understanding how to tackle in certain situations where the ball carrier is. I also think it is important to understand where your help is coming from, too.”

On S Morgan Burnett:

“Veteran leadership. A guy that has been what I consider battle tested. He has been around. Very smart. Very intelligent. I like his physicality when he is out there. He communicates well, and that is very important on the back end when you really start talking and trying to get everybody aligned.”

On if he knew S Damarious Randall prior to joining the Browns:

“Damarious and I had a relationship, really an introduction through the draft process. I went out there and worked him out. Spent a little bit of time with him one on one. It was a private workout. Very athletic, extremely smart guy. He has shown that over the years with his versatility and his ability to be able to get interceptions. That is a major part of what we emphasize and talk about is taking the ball away.”

On if the Browns prefer to leave Randall at FS:

“He is definitely a free safety in our system. The door is always open from a standpoint of versatility because you never know exactly how it is going to be week to week and really trying to create the proper matchup.”

On if DT Larry Ogunjobi can become a Pro Bowl player:

“I think Larry has it. It is early. We have no pads on. Larry is doing a tremendous job in really the method in how he practices. I have seen him get better from Day 1. He is doing a great job in the meeting, picking the system up and most importantly coming out here executing. He has the talent and the skillset. We will see how it goes.”

On viewing Vernon on his past production or how he can produce in the future:

“I think it is a little bit of both. You know exactly what you are getting from a standpoint of the player. You see his skillset over the years and his ability to be able to change the complexity of a game. I am hoping he can do the same thing for us. The guy can rush the passer, but most importantly, it is just that emphasis for us stopping the run. I think he’s going to complement Sheldon, as well as Myles.”

On Browns defensive starters contributing on special teams:

“This is a team game. Special teams is a major part of what we do and the point of emphasis to the defensive guys is that, I hope we are all on special teams. Some of these guys, that is how they are going to make the team. In order for us to get to where we are going, special teams is going to be a major part of that. The defensive guys are definitely going to have to show up.”

On the Browns LBs ability in this system:

“You guys saw (LB) Joe (Schobert) last year and saw his ability to be able to perform out in space. I think he does that well. Joe is extremely smart. Smart players know how to put themselves in positions to be successful. (LB Christian) Kirksey – athletic, he is a smart, physical guy. I think these guys can run. You have to have that matchup with these talented tight ends that can get vertical down the field. I think we have that in these two linebackers but also able to spread out in space over to the slot receiver. I have no problem with these guys playing out in space.”

On DT Sheldon Richardson opening up the pass rush for other players:

“I think he fits right into that mode. When you go back and look at his history in his past, you have seen him dominate inside at times like that. That is what we are expecting him to do. It puts us in a situation to where they can’t always slide one way to another, and if they do, it is going to open up things on the opposite side. Most importantly, the ability to push the pocket and try to get the quarterback flushed outside to OV as well as Myles; I think Sheldon is going to do a great job inside for us.”

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken:

On the evolution of the Browns offense:

“It has been fine. It has been a work in progress whenever you are putting a new staff together. (Quarterbacks coach) Ryan Lindley had been here and (wide receivers coach) Adam Henry so they have a grasp. You also have to remember that (former Browns offensive coordinator) Todd Haley was the coordinator so when you install an offense, it has more of that flavor to start and then (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) took it the last eight weeks and made it along with Ryan and Adam. We are just trying to piece it together the way we want it moving forward.”

On what QB Baker Mayfield brings to the huddle and field:

“It is hard to see everything here because we are not in pads, but you can certainly see the competitive spirit. He likes having fun. The best way I can put it is he likes to have fun but he is not a clown. I think people misconstrue how much he likes having fun playing the game and around people. I am telling you, when you are in the meetings and you are out here, he wants to be coached, he wants to be great and he is a serious guy when it comes to the game of football.”

On Mayfield’s skillset:

“Tremendous arm talent and really has a unique knack once he gets outside the pocket to see receivers down the field and throw it accurately.”

On balancing being aggressive and taking what the defense offers:

“It is part of it. I think you can always have shots down the field where if your quarterback is dialed in enough, then he knows you have shots built in, but you can always check the ball down. That is part of it. Being aggressive and trying to be able to build explosive plays, that is how you win is being explosive and don’t turn it over. Unfortunately, we did not do that latter last year.”

On if young WRs have stood out during OTAs:

“One thing that I know is that they are getting lots of opportunities. That is the one thing for sure with some guys being out. I think Rats (WR Damion Ratley) looks pretty good. (WR) Derrick (Willies) got banged up a little bit, but I think those guys. Most of the guys that have shown up are the guys that were here last year that were at the bottom end of the roster that have had an opportunity to make plays.”

On if the Browns offense is getting in the necessary work despite WRs not being available:

“It is part of it. You do what you can. I think the most important part is we have a vast majority of our guys here. In terms of your installs, what we are doing offensively, our calls and our adjustments receiver wise, it is obviously a challenge for our quarterbacks in terms of the receiving core that are out there, but that is part of the deal. It is their job to make them right.”

On how inspiring is the talent level of the roster:

“It is exciting. Like I said, some of them aren’t out there, but we will be talented enough. It won’t be about talent.”

On the evolution of pass interference calls and instant replay:

“I have no idea. They are not asking me. I don’t really know. I don’t have the right answer. As to the [missed] pass interference calls, it is a shame, but that happens throughout the game. I don’t know why it is such a big deal. It happens in all sports where you have calls, you have missed calls and you have judgement issues. If they go to where everything is reviewable, then fine. I think that is fine. If they don’t, then they don’t. It is what it is. There are plenty of calls throughout the game that don’t go your way. I really don’t know.”

On how does Mayfield’s height shapes the dynamics of the Browns offense:

“I haven’t seen any restrictions right now. You would have to ask him. I really don’t know what it is in terms of the restrictions. We have not gotten into that yet. There isn’t one time I have heard him say, ‘Hey, I really wasn’t able to see’ or ‘Hey, can we do a little more of that?’ I may have more information on that. You either have to ask him or maybe down the road is when I will know.”

On if he has experience coaching a QB comparable to Mayfield:

“Yes, but it was a little bit different. We had (49ers QB) Nick Mullens at Southern Mississippi, but it is a little different in college. Now, we had some big guys up front and Nick is not an excuse maker just like Baker. They don’t make excuses. I don’t see that being an issue.”

On if he knows what the Browns offense will be in Week 1:

“I think we have an idea because we are doing the install. We are on install five. We go through eight installs. I would think that through eight installs you would have an idea. We have already discussed pretty much what will be the base of the offense because you have to practice it. After that, there is stuff week to week that you may do, but I would say majority of it, we had already gone through a number of it in Phase II. By the middle of next week, we will have most of everything installed. Now, it is the matter of finding it and doing it better than they do it. That is really what it comes down to.”

On if the Browns offensive development started with his playbook or last year’s Browns playbook:

“It’s a combination of it because the one that they had last year was Todd Haley’s. You are talking about Freddie’s background being that of Arizona and my background being not only Tampa – Freddie has a vast background; I’m not just saying that – but just thoughts that at one point if he ever did it and if it is what I want to do. Same with us and same with the other coaches and where they have been. It is a combination of things with everything you do from starting from how you huddle, how you call it, snap count to moving on to making it ours. I promise you next offseason will be a lot easier. “

On if he is in contact with WR Odell Beckham Jr. during install:

“No.”

On how difficult it is for players who are not in the offseason program to get acclimated to the new offensive system:

“I hope it is not [difficult].”

On getting to know Kitchens:

“First, he was a big reason why I wanted to come when I interviewed. Not only Baker being here and a young roster, but I really felt like we meshed as offensive philosophy and then how we are both wired. We coach for the players. We have a job for our players, and I think Freddie believes that. I always want to coach for someone that recognizes that we have a job for our players and putting the players first. It has been good so far, and I don’t anticipate that to be different. My job is to do whatever Freddie asks me. That is the job of any assistant coach is to. Everybody asks what is your role? Your role is exactly what the head coach asks you to do. I don’t care what role you have on this field. It can be one of the managers to the equipment managers to one of the trainers to the coaches. Whatever the head coach asks you to do, you do.”

On giving Mayfield the right amount of input, given other coaches will do the same:

“It is all the above. I think you always have potential that a head coach, a coordinator and a position coach are going to be in his ear that will talk about some things. I try not to. I try to listen as much. I think Ryan Lindley does a tremendous job in there. I am in there every day with the quarterbacks. I think he is on point. I only make comments when I feel necessary. Freddie is in there at times. At this point, we are building what we want the offense to be and we will go from there.”

On the NFL banning the Oklahoma and Bull in the Ring drills:

“I do not know what they are banning, but those two drills, I really don’t see much of anymore. You just don’t see much of the OK, ‘toughness drill,’ line up a guy in front of each other. I really don’t know. Most of the things that occur in this league, they have never asked me. In the end, whatever it is that they do, then we coach it and it is for everybody. That is the best thing. It is not like our ownership group is saying, ‘Hey, you can’t do Oklahoma drill.’ If we can’t do it, then nobody can do it. That is the way it is.”

On how much of a thumbprint will he have on the offense:

“I don’t know. Do I think all of our coaches on offense will have their thumbprints on it? I would hope so. I would hope that all of our coaches feel free to have input and they have. There have been different pieces of what we have done that everybody has added from the start or has tweaked as we go along. That is a good sign where you have a number of guys that can have input into what you do on a weekly basis. I think it builds a better staff when everybody has a piece of it as opposed to ‘Hey, here is what we are doing’ and you lay it out for somebody. That is what I liked when I met Freddie."

On how different the Browns offense will be compared to last year:

“I don’t know. It is hard to say because we haven’t gotten to that point yet. We are just installing, and we aren’t really game planning yet. That is really on Freddie because in the end everyone has ideas but someone has to make the decision. There are a lot of idea guys. I will be one of them. We have ideas of what we want to be able to run and what we like against a certain opponent, but then eventually, the guy that calls it, the head coach or the coordinator has to make that decision. At this point, it is hard to say, but obviously, I think what they did last year is part of why I wanted to be a part of it.”

On examples of pleasant surprises with the Browns:

“I don’t know. Certainly not the weather (laughter. Outside of that, it wasn’t that for sure. I don’t think I have a pleasant surprise.”

On if making adjustments has resulted in any pleasant surprises:

“This is the honeymoon stage. It never gets any better than this, right? You take over a new program, you’re the new person, everything is better, everything is great, never gets better than the honeymoon stage. It’s the same in Tampa, it was our fault in Tampa, so that’s the honeymoon stage there. It’s the way this business works.”

On what does he likes about the job so far:

“I’m employed (laughter). Freddie thought enough of me to hire me. That’s the big part of it. You are out of work wondering where the hell you are going coach. There are a lot of things. There are a lot of positives moving forward. That is why I wanted to be here. It is hard to explain them all so now it is about doing it better than they do it and finding a way to win.”

On if he sees opportunities to use the Air Raid in the offense:

“The Air Raid uses very similar concepts that everybody uses. It is really kind of more of a philosophy of being simple and doing it better than they do it. That is a big part of it, repetition, so I think there is something to that but I don’t think that from an Air Raid philosophy standpoint… Do I think he likes to go fast and play in the no huddle and be in shotgun? Yes. Do I like that? Yes. Will that transfer over? I don’t know. We are not there yet.”

On early impressions of RB Nick Chubb and how he will be used in the Browns offense:

“Again, hard to say. I really like Nick. We brought Nick in for one of our 30 visits in Tampa. We really liked him there. I think he is a powerful downhill back, a one-cut guy that you see on tape. Right now, it is hard to evaluate Nick or appreciate Nick in shorts. He is one of those guys you have to appreciate in pads.”

On if General Manager John Dorsey or anyone in the Browns organization asked him about free agent DT Gerald McCoy:

“They have asked me about Gerald, yes.”

On what he shared with the Browns about Gerald McCoy:

“I will keep that to myself. I think a lot of Gerald. I just said I will keep it to myself then I said something (laughter). I think a lot of Gerald. Gerald has had a tremendous career and was an outstanding football player for us. He is a great person. I won’t comment anything else about it. I know I can [comment] because he is a free agent and they let him go, but other than that, there was some other things that we talked about, but I like Gerald a lot.”

Check out photos from the fifth day of OTA practices

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

Opening statement:

“Good morning everybody. I hope everybody is doing well. OTA No. 5 today. We are excited about the progress. I think the big thing that we are accomplishing in the OTAs is that we are learning how to practice. We are learning how to get from drill to drill, offensively, defensively and special teams wise. I know that Freddie has been talking about that a lot this spring and understanding how to practice and how to practice effectively, well and doing the little things better. Kind of setting the tone for getting us prepared for training camp here coming up in July.”

On the Browns selecting K Austin Seibert in the draft:

“Austin was the best kicker we felt coming out this year. He was the most experienced. He had, we felt like, the best leg. He had a great Combine, he had a great Pro Day. Spent a lot of time with him in Indianapolis and separately, had a couple of different interviews with him and really felt good about him and his mental approach to the game – understanding his craft, how he works and how his body works and how he kicks the ball. It felt like he was the best option for us at the time, and obviously, I’m not in charge of the draft, but (General Manager) John (Dorsey) and the personnel guys knew how we felt about him on special teams and how he could help us compete for that jo. John did a great job in selecting him and here we go. It is going to be great competition between he and (K) Greg (Joseph).”

On the K competition, particularly given Joseph and Seibert missed kicks during last week’s OTA practice open to media:

“Where you guys were standing, I was trying to tell them to hit you guys with the ball just to make sure you guys were paying attention (laughter). Both those guys, I think right now are right about 9 for 10 in team. We will do another team session today. You guys probably saw them on the side. To be honest, we are working (P) Jamie (Gillan) in there as a holder and he has no experience because Jamie did all the kicking at Pine Bluff. He kicked off, punted and he kicked field goals so he has never been a holder. We had him working in those situations and those reps. Missed a couple because the holds were not great, but they are getting better, as well. It is a work in progress, but they are both very strong, very talented. I’m excited where they are.”

On the challenge for Gillan learning to hold:

“I have been there before with punters. In the NFL, punters need to hold as you guys know because we do not get a lot of time with the backup quarterbacks, backup receivers or whoever else can hold. At the end of the day, he is a very good athlete. He has worked very hard at it. He has made an amazing progress.”

On the biggest difference in Joseph’s and Seibert’s kicking style:

“I think they are both very similar. I think it is basically how they follow through or how they strike the ball. I think there are slight differences, but they are both strong-legged right-footed kickers. What I talk about a lot – you guys will hear me say this all year long – is for a place kicker to be effective, he has to have great timing so it doesn’t get blocked off the edge, he has got to have great elevation so he does not get blocked up the middle and obviously accuracy. Those three things play into it, and both of those guys do all three things well. We just have to continue. Right now, Austin does not have the timing down because the other three guys have worked out with Greg, (LS) Charley (Hughlett) and (P) Britton (Colquitt) in terms of the timing. We want them to be around 1.3, 1.30, 1.27 – 1.32 (seconds) is our parameters. Austin is a little bit slower than that right now, but as he continues to work with those guys, he will speed it up a little bit.”

On Joseph’s working on his mechanics:

“He has worked hard at that, and that was basically the beginning of his approach. He was really inconsistent how he hit that first jab step, and that is what I noticed off of game tape last year. It was a little bit when he was coming out of college a year ago. He is much more consistent, much more effective now. “

On the process of picking the best players for kickoff and kickoff return:

“What we are doing right now is all technique work. What I have told these guys is, ‘Don’t give the officials an excuse to throw a flag. Don’t be that guy that’s going to [give the officials an excuse].’ The official, he doesn’t want to throw the flag, but if it is there, he is getting graded on every rep, as well. I explain that to our guys that he doesn’t want to throw the penalty but he will if it is a penalty. We have worked really hard on technique. We worked on it in Phase II and we are just doing the jog-through stuff against coaches. We couldn’t have done it against our players. We have talked about in meetings. We sold a lot, and now what we have been doing in Phase III and the OTAs is all technique, all fundamentals. We constantly go over footwork. We constantly go over hand placement. We constantly go over how we finish blocks effectively. Basically through that process, we are going to find out who the guys are that are going to be able to do that at a high level. They are they are not going to give up tackles and they are not going to get penalties. Both of those come into play to be honest with you.”

On when he first became aware of Gillan:

“Really, I saw him and he was on our list – our personnel guys do a great job and our scouts do a phenomenal job of identifying these guys. I looked at him on his college tape. Honestly, they did a lot of different things with him with the rugby style, moving him around. He is very inconsistent. I knew he had a good leg, but there are a lot of good legs in college football. When he really came on our radar, we had some films of (Coach Gary) Zauner’s kicking camp out in Arizona. He had phenomenal camp. I think he was the punter of the camp. I saw that tape and I was talking with (Assistant General Manager) Eliot Wolf and John Dorsey one day and they said, ‘Why don’t you just go down there one day and work him out?’ It was their idea. I said ‘OK’. Went down, and I had never been to Arkansas before. I have been all over the word, but I had never been to Arkansas before and I went to Pine-Bluff. He had a really good workout for us. We brought him into our top-30 visit, gave him a physical, he was healthy and the sky is the limit. He has a big-time leg.”

On if Gillan has a real chance to earn the starting job over P Britton Colquitt:

“We would not have brought him in – it is going to be a competition for the punting, holding for those guys for both kickers. I’m not really into camp legs. I know Britton is an older punter, but Britton was pushed last year and he was up for the challenge. I’m sure he’ll be up for it again this year.”

On if the Browns want to have 11 great special teams players on each unit:

“You said it. You said want to, and that’s what it comes down to. You have to want it here. They have to be smart enough not to get penalized. They have to obviously have the athleticism necessary to be great on kickoff coverage, punt coverage or whatever corps phase that he is on. We have some really good players here, and we are starting to identify who those players are. Through the rookies, through the veterans – I did not know this team – now, I am getting to know these guys and I understand who wants and who does not. The ones who want it, if they don’t start on offense or defense, they are going to help us out. The ones that don’t want it, if they don’t start on offense or defense, they are going to be somewhere else. They are going to be on the street. I think guys understand that. This team has really bought into what we are all about. It starts with our head coach and on down to the rest of the coaches, assistant coaches, coordinators, everybody. The type of player that we want, the type of players that helps us win football games, that is what we are trying to identify as well.

On if WR Antonio Callaway leads the way as the primary prospect for kick return:

“I think Antonio is part of the conversation, absolutely. (RB) Dontrell Hilliard is part of the conversation. (WR) Damon Sheehy-Guiseppi, the young man that we bought in here that is a speedster, he has entered the competition. We bought in (RB) D’Ernest Johnson, the college free agent running back; he has entered the conversation. We really have not identified the No. 1 guy yet. I think that is going to be a process. Really, when we are allowed to practice more often and do more returns and that type of thing and stay with them after practice a little bit longer and work with the jugs and the punters and the kickers, we are going to identify who that guy is going to be. That is more of a training camp type issue. We are starting to get an idea of who those guys are.”

On Sheehy-Guiseppi’s opportunity to make the team solely as a return specialist:

“In Minnesota, we had (Vikings KR/CB) Marcus Sherels, who did a great job for us for eight years, but Marcus was also our best gunner; he was also on the kickoff team. If Damon is going to be the guy, then he has to play on more than just return phases. You have to be a guy that is going to help us in the cover phases, as well.”

On if any members of the rookie class are standing out on special teams:

“(S) Sheldrick Redwine has done a nice job. (LB) Mack Wilson has done a nice job. (LB Sione) Takitaki has done a nice job. I like saying that name. Some of these college free agent guys have done a nice job. (LB) Willie Harvey has done a nice job as one of our linebackers. I don’t really like to go on because I am going to miss some players and they are probably going to get mad at me, but that is OK; they will get over it – they are rookies. At the end of the day, I think we have a really good class. We have a good group. Our personnel people and coaches identified some really good football players, and I am excited about where we are at right now and I am excited about our progress.”

On if a specific ranking for special teams needed or negative plays produced that impact wins:

“I don’t know if there is an exact number, per se. We always talk about complementary football. It is offense helping defense, defense helping offense and special teams helping both; both offense and defense helping special teams. It is all about field position. It is all about opportunity. It is all about helping our football team be in the best position possible to help us win games. Is there a number of great special teams, bad special teams, mediocre special teams? I’m not sure what that number is. I am sure it is out there. Ask around the analytical people, they are a lot smarter than I am. We hope to be a unit, all six phases, including field goal and field goal block that help our team win a lot of games here and that is the goal.”

On if the Browns could have won two or three more games last year with better special teams play:

“I don’t like to criticize what they did in the past. I know that they were not allowed to use some of the personnel that was necessary. I think that starts with the head coach, and I know Freddie has done a great job at saying, ‘Hey, Prief, whatever you need and it is going to help you win. If you need starters on offense, starters on defense to help on some of the phases, then use them and use the backups.’ Obviously, the backups are going to be on everything. To be honest with you, it starts with the head coach. Freddie has done a great job giving us a time in all three phases to be. We are a lot further ahead than I have ever been at some of the places I have been because of the time that the head coach has given us on special teams. That is huge.”

On Kitchens saying he would give more time to special teams that other coaches in the past:

“You can’t be lip service. When I read that quote, I started sweating so now the pressure is on. If he is going to give me the time, now we have to execute. That is fun. That is a great challenge. That is what I love about my job – get to work with the whole team to benefit our football team and help our football team win a lot of games if we play well, and that is the goal.”

On if the Browns were not able to use certain players on special teams last year:

“It looked like some of the better players on special teams were on the sideline on some of those plays, which I don’t understand. At the end of the day, you have to put your best players out there, and sometimes your best players are starters on offense or defense. You might have to use a (LB) Christian Kirksey, might have to use a (LB) Joe Schobert, might have to use (S) Damarious Randall on some of the core special teams to help us win. Those guys have bought in and they are going to be there if we need them to. I would not use them a lot – that would be dumb on my part. I want to win. It is not all about just special teams. It is about all – offense, defense and special teams. If we can use some starters on some of these phases, then great. If we don’t need them and we have good backups, we won’t need them.”

On how many players make the special teams core:

“I think your backup safeties, the third and fourth, sometimes fifth safety; your third, fourth, fifth wide receiver; your fourth, fifth, sixth linebackers; your third, fourth, fifth corner; second and third tight end; second and third running back. All those guys, your fullback, those guys make up your core special teams players. Those are the guys that the group of people on gameday – you guys know we only dress 46 players – so we are going to have to make sure our players come from that group.”

On conversations with head coaches when asking to use certain players on special teams:

“The great thing is that our head coach is not just lip service. He has already shown it in this early stage of us being together that he wants to do well on special teams. We have had (RB) Nick Chubb on every drill. We don’t put him out on the punt team, but the first couple of phases. He is in every meeting, even now. He has done all the drill work. (RB) Kareem Hunt is doing all the drill work. (TE) David Njoku is doing the drill work. These guys who are going to play a lot of offensive snaps for us. (CB) Denzel Ward is in every meeting – punt, punt return. He is always ready for us if we need him to because if I am going to ask those guys to perform for us, I have to prepare them. That would not be fair to them if I didn’t do that. When the head coach says get them ready, I am going to get them ready. If we need them, we need them. If not, we will get those backups ready to go.”

On if it is frustrating knowing players could contribute on special teams but are not made available:

“It can be frustrating, but I don’t let it frustrate me anymore. I guess when I was younger and a little bit more of hothead – my daughter is over here; she can attest to that I am a little bit of a hothead. At the end of the day, just like when I was in the Navy, you are given resources and you are given a job to. Take those resources and get the job done. Same thing in coaching football. The resources are the players and the time that you have. It is my job to get those players ready. If I can’t use some guys, I can’t use them, I have to move on and I have to understand the big picture. I think I do. If a guy is banged up and we need him just on defense, well, he is only going to play defense. If a guy is banged up on offense, same thing. At the end of the day, I am going to use the guys that are available. When Freddie says these guys are available and use these guys, I have to get the job done. That is my job to do that, and that is why this time of the year is so important. We are preparing so many players that could or could not play on gameday. We have to prepare them to be on there when we need them.”

On if there will be changes in technique and scheme:

“I think technique, absolutely. I think scheme, I am not out here. I am not going to out coach another coach on scheme. I think there are a lot of great special teams coordinators in our league that are in our division. Our division has great coaches. At the end of the day, it is my job to make sure that we have the best schemes possible to take away what our opponent does well or how we think we can attack them. It all comes down to technique, it all comes down to want to and it all comes down to the players.”

On if Sheehy-Guiseppi was dominated primarily with speed in college:

“I think so. I just saw his workout to be honest with you. I was down in Pine Bluff when he came in for the workout. I just watched that workout. He showed his speed and athleticism.”

On how S Eric Murray can contribute on special teams:

“Absolutely, he is a great one to bring up because he was very good at Kansas City. He was well trained. They are very well coached at Kansas City. He has want to, intelligence, athleticism. He knows if he is not starting on defense then he is playing on all four core phases and he has bought into that. I love having a guy like him around. We have had several guys like him. One of our linebackers here, Ray-Ray Armstrong, has done a phenomenal job. He has had a great spring. He has bought into what we are teaching and talking about. Guys like him, they are going to be the leaders of our special teams units. It is like anything else – offense, defense or special teams – you need leaders to be effective. You need leaders to be good.”

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