Browns offensive coordinator John DeFilippo has hit the ground running by getting to know what his players are like off the field.
The NFL prohibits coaches from talking football with players for a large portion of the offseason, and DeFilippo has honored that by keeping these conversations focused on the players' personalities and seeing what makes them tick when they're away from the Berea facility.
Those who have been in town rehabbing injuries, like Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, have stopped into DeFilippo's office for meet-and-greet sessions.
Putting it lightly, DeFilippo was captivated with Mack's mind.
"You can just see he's a very bright guy," DeFilippo said. "He's just so inquisitive. You can tell he's going to be a very bright center, which is exactly what you're looking for in a center. Watching the film from last season, you can tell he thinks like the quarterback on the offensive line."
Out-of-towners, like Long Beach, California, native Joel Bitonio, have been regular recipients of DeFilippo's emails. The offensive coordinator wants to get a feel for what makes each one of his players unique and establish the little ways he can adapt his teaching style to them personally.
"I think the first thing you need to do is get a personal connection and see how they learn," DeFilippo said back at his introductory press conference in January. "I spend a lot of time on developing how guys learn. Some guys are visual guys. Some guys need to be coddled a little bit. Some guys need to be ripped. I think you find that connection on how a guy learns best, and you go with that route. I think I've done a fairly decent job of finding that out with the different quarterbacks I've coached."
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