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Browns safeties coach Jerod Kruse: Jabrill Peppers’ role, and blurring the lines

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How are the team’s young safeties doing, and what can we expect from Jabrill Peppers?

Before Tuesday’s Day 11 of Cleveland Browns training camp, assistant defensive backs/safeties coach Jerod Kruse spoke to the media. Here’s a recap of what he had to say about his safeties.

Jerod Kruse

  • Everyone has picked up on the fact that the defense seems to be featuring a trio/rotation of Derrick Kindred, Ibraheim Campbell, and Jabrill Peppers with the first-team defense. Kruse said that that type of thing doesn’t mean a whole lot right now, but pointed out that the reason he thinks Peppers is mentioned as part of that group is because of him being a high-profile guy — his point was that other safeties besides Peppers are also rotating into the mix.

“Our philosophy and (defensive coordinator) Gregg’s (Williams) philosophy on defense has always been to find out what guys can do and try and put those guys in the best situation, whether it is playing strong (safety) or playing free (safety) or playing both or playing a safety-hybrid linebacker down around the box. We have a few guys that can do some of those things.”

  • Speaking more on Peppers, Kruse talked a little bit about the Swiss army knife nature he can bring to the team.

“We are going to allow guys to do what they do best, and when you find players that can do a lot of things – a lot of players can physically do a lot of things – it comes into question sometimes, the mental overload when you are asking them to do a big myriad of things.

We know specifically with Jabrill that he is doing a lot in the special teams side of it. As Coach (Jackson) has said, he has some talent on the offensive side of it as well with some things he does over there, and then defensively, we all have seen the things he can do. People have seen less of the things he does in the deep zone, but you are starting to see some more of that, too. It is just finding those sweet spots for him, trying not to make sure we are overloading him mentally and just allowing him to react and go play.”

  • Talking about some of the other safeties, he used the word “energy” to describe Derrick Kindred, along with the ability to have a quick change of direction. He acknowledged that Kindred is playing the deep zone (free safety) more than he has in the past, so he’s starting to learn quarterback triggers and when he can start breaking on throws. But he also likes what he can do in the box, making him a versatile safety overall like Peppers.
  • Gregg Williams blurs the line on what’s what at the safety position, so you won’t always have a true designated “free safety and strong safety.” Sometimes, the free safety could end up being the one who blitzes a lot. Also, the team’s safety usage could change week-to-week, depending on the opponent and which skill set suits them best.
  • The final question squeezed in at the end of the 11-minute presser was about S Justin Currie being listed with the second-teamers. Kruse gave him some general coachspeak praise before adding, “You’re going to see him make more plays than you’d think, so I’m glad you asked that question.” I was glad to hear that question too, but was wishing reporters would’ve touched on Ed Reynoldsinjury, Kai Nacua, and Calvin Pryor too.