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Savvy vet Tank Carder poised to take on bigger role in middle of Browns D

Tank Carder couldn't help but notice how the Browns defense had a distinct edge to it by the end of offseason workouts.

The veteran linebacker says it starts with new coordinator Gregg Williams, who has Carder and other members of the unit feeling bullish before Thursday's first training camp practice.

"He takes everything into account and he brings everybody together," Carder said in June. " it's not like, DBs you all do this, linebackers you all do this. He coaches team concepts as far as like, 'OK, everybody needs to be on the same page as far as the way we think, the way our minds work, the way we need to go about winning and the way we need to go about working and the way we need to go about practicing.

"He keeps everybody in a tight-knit bubble," Carder continued, "I think that's what makes him great. He gets everybody on the same page and thinking the same way."

And Carder, who enters his sixth season with the Browns, will have the chance to earn a starting role on Williams' versatile defense following the departure of middle linebacker Demario Davis, whom the club traded in exchange for former safety Calvin Pryor III.

"I just want to do whatever I can to help the team, whatever that is," Carder said.

"Being a starter, that would obviously be awesome you get to get a lot of reps, a lot of playing time but wherever they choose to plug me in is where I'm going to play … we want to win games. I'll do whatever I've got to do to do that."

Named a captain in 2016, Carder played in all 16 games and gave Cleveland's special teams units an important veteran presence. He's one of just nine players on the roster with five or more years of NFL experience under his belt.

"He is a savvy vet who has been in a bunch of different systems in the NFL," linebackers coach Blake Williams said. "He's just a savvy vet who has been around the league a long time and knows things – knows things about the offense, knows things about defense and can kind of drive the ship out there and is doing a good job at that."

Though Carder will find himself competing against youngsters like second-year backer Dominique Alexander and Joe Schobert, he won't do so with a cold shoulder. Instead, he's embracing the chance to help mentor his less-tenured teammates.

"I know I've always tried to pass on any knowledge that I've come across or that I've obtained through my time her or anywhere to pass it on because that's only going to make us better," Carder said.

He'll have the chance to carry out that approach under a new defensive coordinator, who has Carder looking forward to this fall.

"He's a great coach, he's a defensive mind," he said. "You can definitely see how he is off the field because he's an awesome guy. He's one of my favorite coaches I've ever gotten the pleasure to play for."

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