Whether it's Mike Pettine, Chuck Driesbach or the rest of the Browns inside linebackers, the message has been the same for months.
Tank Carder can play.
The fourth-year linebacker was one of the Browns' core special teams players last year and promises to be the same in 2015. More opportunities within the defense, though, could be in his future, as he's shown more comfort within Cleveland's scheme and continued to impress.
ClevelandBrowns.com caught up with Carder after Tuesday's practice to look ahead to a game in which he promises to receive plenty of snaps.
CB.com: What kind of mindset do you carry into a game like this?
Carder: I think the main mindset is to get the younger guys a lot of playing time. Just really develop those guys, including myself, and get a lot of us to the next level. We want to all play up to the level of the starters so we can all have depth at every position. I think that's the focus.
CB.com: What kind of goals do you set?
Carder: We want to win. Anytime they're keeping score, we want to win the game. I've got my personal agenda as well as the team agenda to get better at everything we want to do as a team and personally. As of right now, we just want to win.
CB.com: Is it good to know this coaching staff takes this final game seriously and has a history of rewarding players who impress?
Carder: This is a huge game. It's a game where they're going to play a lot of guys that aren't starters. This is a resume builder. If you don't make this team -- a lot of good guys are on this team -- it's going to be a resume for other teams to see. Fourth games are huge resume builders for guys that want to make the team and even guys that are on the team for future reference and throughout the season.
CB.com: How do you balance the nerves with wanting to play like yourself and compete?
Carder: You've just got to go out and play. You can't be thinking about it too much. You've just got to go play football.
CB.com: How's your camp been?
Carder: Good. I feel like I've had a pretty good camp. I've still got a long way to go and have a lot of work to do, can always get better at multiple things. That's the nature of the game. You've got to always work every single day. It's a neverending work ethic. You've got to keep on working at your craft and everything you do. I feel like I've had a pretty good camp but there's a lot of things I can do better.
CB.com: What does it mean to hear the coaches say they want you more involved on the defense?
Carder: I just want to do whatever I can to help the team out. If they need to put me in a spot, I'll do whatever I can to fulfill that job and whatever I need to do. Right now, I'm running the scout team and playing all special teams and being a backup. That's my job right now and I'm going to do the best I can to fulfill that job.
CB.com: How tough was it last season when you were dealing with a foot injury?
Carder: It was just part of it. You can't just jump right in and be a starter or the guy. You've got to play your part and know your role. Coach talks about that a lot, knowing your role and doing your job. Last season, that's what it was. I was a backup and didn't really get looked at because I was hurt and my foot and stuff. I came and played all special teams and felt like I did a really solid job. That was my job and I feel like I fulfilled it.
CB.com: What makes you such a good special teams player?
Carder: It's just competition, competitor's spirit. Especially on special teams. There's a lot of technique but for the most part, you're running full speed with your hair on fire. You've just got to go make plays and I think it's all about competing.
CB.com: How special was it for you to block the punt last year vs. Tennessee?
Carder: It was awesome. First blocked punt. We won the game, obviously, and it was a huge comeback. We all played our part: offense, defense and special teams. It was an awesome feeling blocking the punt, especially my first one.
CB.com: How strong can this year's group of inside linebackers be?
Carder: We all push each other every day. We compete with each other and push each other on the field and off the field. I think that's a huge part of any position is competition within it and making guys better. I feel like we've done that to each other and pushed each other.
CB.com: What do you take away from working alongside a player like Karlos Dansby?
Carder: Anything you can think of. There's technique. When we're in the film room, he's pointing out things that 'if they do this, this is why they're doing that.' You just take everything you can. You soak it up like a sponge because he's a 12-year guy. He's definitely a guy that's been around for a while and there are things you can learn from him.
CB.com: What kind of mentor has Chuck Driesbach been for you?
Carder: He's an awesome coach. He's probably one of my favorite coaches I've ever had. He's smart, he coaches hard and I feel like he gets guys that want to play for him. He makes guys want to play good for him and be good. I feel like that's a big part of being a coach and that's one of his key attributes is getting guys to want to play for him and he's a smart coach.
CB.com: What noticeable differences have you seen from the defense?
Carder: We'll see. I feel like so far we've pretty much lived up to what we did last year. I feel like we were a great defense last year and the things we did and we're building on top of that this year. We've just got to keep on working and sky's the limit.