On Tuesday, some of Cleveland’s position coaches met with the media for the first time all season to answer questions. We looked at some notes from the offensive coaches already, so now let’s get to the defensive coaches.
Defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi
- The competitiveness and preparation by CB Joe Haden was praised. With respect to the "struggles," he simply pointed to the fact that they still choose him to match up with the opposing team's best receiver every week, and that Haden has also taken on a mentor role with the younger players.
- The addition of CB Jamar Taylor was “unbelievable acquisition for this organization.” He thinks Taylor is having one of his best seasons, and has been able to play outside and the nickel.
- The safety tandem of Derrick Kindred and Ed Reynolds is the one they are settling down with right now:
“I think this has been – again, with them playing this year and them rotating in and out and everything – and I know we are playing, right now we are playing (DB) Ed (Reynolds II) and we are playing DK, but all those guys are young players and this is going to be invaluable experience for them moving forward. We had a meeting the other day, I think we have played 20 of our 20 – 20 of our players on defense have played for us, either started or played significant reps, so this is going to be excellent for these guys moving forward. DK continues to progress, and I think right now with him and Ed back there, that is our best tandem because you have a guy that has some skins on the wall. He has kind of settled it down back there, guys making checks and making calls and the coverage has been better in the last few weeks. Those guys, we put a lot on them. They are like the quarterbacks of the defense so it is a good combination. Like I said, these last four games I am looking forward to.”
Inside linebackers coach Johnny Holland
- With respect to Christian Kirksey's improvements in 2016, Holland expected it based off the film he saw last year. He calls Kirksey a smart player who is gaining more confidence in himself right now. Holland credits veteran Demario Davis for helping Kirksey get more comfortable with making the defensive calls and having the headset to be the team’s everydown linebacker.
- Kirksey has made a lot of good plays, but in order to be a great player, he needs to make “great” plays.
- While inside linebacker isn’t his primary position group, here is Holland’s take on OLB Jamie Collins:
“He’s fitting in really well. I think (LB) Demario (Davis) and Kirksey and the group has done a great job with him. He’s in (outside linebackers coach Ryan) Slowik’s meeting room, as well. He’s fitting in well. I think he feels comfortable with our guys. Football players and football players. Once they get to know each other, they become pretty tight. 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.”
Defensive line coach Robert Nunn
- Nunn says that DE Emmanuel Ogbah is settling in better at defensive end now that he's receiving more reps there. He points to the number of times he's been able to affect the quarterback, and feels Ogbah has been a bit unlucky that those haven't converted to sack numbers.
- The statistical numbers from the preseason have not translated to the regular season for DE Carl Nassib, and the broken hand hurt matters. He praised Nassib’s work ethic but says he needs to do some work in the offseason.
“He jumped out there and had some great stats in the preseason and was doing some great things, but I like where Carl is. He is not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination, but his motor and his toughness and his energy never changes. If he continues to do that and has another offseason in the weight room getting stronger in the lower body and doing those things, he is a guy that is going to have a chance to be a really good player.”
- With respect to NT Danny Shelton:
#Browns DL coach Robert Nunn said NT Danny Shelton has become one of top run defenders in the league. Said next step is affect QBs— Scott Petrak ct (@ScottPetrak) November 29, 2016
Outside linebackers coach Ryan Slowik
- He praised OLB Jamie Collins for being able to play any linebacker position at a high level:
“Yes, 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. 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.”
- There wasn’t much specifically said about OLB Joe Schobert, other than the fact that they like using him in multiple roles and taking their time with watching how he grows and develops.