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Browns LB coaches splitting time with 'special' Jamie Collins

Even though Jamie Collins Sr. has only scratched the surface with what the Browns believe he can accomplish within their defense, the coaches who work closest with him have been impressed with what he's accomplished in his first month with the team.

Since he arrived from New England via trade, Collins hasn't missed a single snap. He's seen the field as both an inside and outside linebacker, sometimes switching places on consecutive plays. Doing that has required hours and hours of preparation with multiple position coaches, as Collins has split his time with outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik and inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland.

"Jamie is so athletic I don't really think there is anything he couldn't really do on a football field," Slowik said. "With him and his situation, it's just a matter of getting comfortable, getting more reps, seeing the role, experiencing the role, and seeing how he takes off from there."

The results so far: 34 tackles, a handful of which have gone for a loss, and all sorts of flexibility allotted to defensive coordinator Ray Horton with how he draws up schemes and tailors his defense to stop the opponent from what it does best.

This past week against the Giants put Collins primarily on the inside -- the spot he occupied the most with the Patriots -- because of the Giants' three wide receiver offense. In previous weeks, he's been moved all over the place, lining up as an edge rusher on one play and stationing himself in the middle next to Christian Kirksey on the following play. His sack of Baltimore's Joe Flacco came on a delayed blitz from the middle.

"That's very special and it's very rare, let alone for him to do it as soon as he did it, in the middle of the season picking up a completely different language, completely different position, playing it a completely different way," Slowik said. "The fact that somebody can play base defense on the ball, sub-defense off the ball, it's remarkable. It tells a lot about his football IQ and his athleticism."

Collins' impact, though, goes beyond his personal statistics. Holland points to the team's improved coverage against tight ends and running backs in the passing game as a direct result of Collins' arrival.

This past week, Giants' non wide receivers accounted for six receptions for 30 yards. The previous week, Pittsburgh's tight end tandem of Jesse James and Ladarius Green combined for one catch for 5 yards.

It's put a player such as Kirksey in a better position to make plays, too.

"He's a big guy. He's 6-3, 260 pounds and most tight ends are that size," Holland said. "Kirko is probably one of our best coverage guys as well, but Kirko is a smaller guy that a guy like (Rob) Gronkowski who is tall and big can body him and get away from him. Jamie has the size and the length to cover those big guys. When you've got he and Kirko on the field, we have a better match covering running backs and tight ends."

Kirksey and fellow inside linebacker Demario Davis have been front and center when it comes to making Collins feel welcome in an understandably unique situation. By balancing his time between two position group meeting rooms, Collins has had double the opportunity to get to know his new teammates on a personal level.

Holland and Slowik have seen it firsthand.

"I think he feels comfortable with our guys. Football players are football players. Once they get to know each other, they become pretty tight," Holland said. "Jamie, he fits in great with our group and he's starting to communicate more, run our defense more, communicate our defense. That is huge. He's a very sharp guy, a very smart guy, gifted athletically.

"He brings a lot to our team. He's been on a winner. He's won a Super Bowl. He knows what it takes to win. That's what he brings to our group."

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