After Tuesday’s practice, Chris Tabor met with reporters. Most of the questions centered around the kicking competition. He was first asked who was leading the kicking competition, responding:
I am not going to tell you that. Good try, though.
Changing pace a bit, Tabor offered the following assessment of Jabrill Peppers:
He is pretty dynamic at it. I still think it is a learning process with him. Just like the other night, it was a good learning moment when he made the fair catch and still had some room because it is different. It is different in the NFL than it is in college. In college football, those guys on the interior can go downfield right away. In the NFL, technically you can’t go down until the ball is punted with the exception of the gunner. A high hang like that, his clock was probably going off like, ‘They are probably going to be here,’ because that is what he is used to. That is just something that we are working on breaking. He has a chance to be a good football player.
Tabor was then asked if another player was supposed to assist Peppers in judging the proximity defenders closing on a punt return. In short, Tabor responded that while he might try to offer advice from the sideline, “returners take a peek” to determine what the best course of action might be.
When asked if Peppers can handle both defense and special teams duties, Tabor offered:
I think he is a good football player. I think when he was born, there was probably a football right next to him. It is just an innate ability for him. He understands and his football intelligence is extremely high.
Continuing, on how the Browns could benefit from a dependable returner:
It does everything. It sets field position. That is what we are in charge of. When you are not able to do that, obviously, you are hurting the team. Our guys know first and foremost at the end of the play, we have to be able to hand the ball to the official, whether that is being tackled or we go in the end zone. We like to hand it to the official. That means we took care of the football. Secondly, in the punt return game, we want to get that first first down. After that, everything is gravy. If you can do that, you are probably going to be one of the top teams in the League. Kick returner is no different. We have to pick and choose when we are going to bring the ball out. When those opportunities arise, we have to take advantage of them.
Beat reporters then circled back to the kicking game, asking about Cody Parkey:
He has been really good. Both guys have been really good. That is what we are building here. This culture is being built on competition at every position. I say that whether it is at the quarterback position, left tackle, or defensive end, kicker, it makes no difference. If there is competition, you are going to get better and you are going to get more game ready a little bit quicker. Those things are taking place right now.
Finally, Tabor relented and offered a prediction as to who may start against the Steelers for the first week of the regular season:
We are looking at Tony (Grossi). Tony has the pull on 850 AM so we are going to see how that comes out.
Who do you think will starting kicker for the 2017 Cleveland Browns?
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