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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

Browns' DL Coach Chris Kiffin Quotes 8.18.20


On when DE Myles Garrett will be joining practice and what he has been focusing on while sitting out of practices:

“He is just a couple days away so he is going to be out there with us really soon. The main thing for him right now is we did not have an offseason for all of these guys. It was all virtual as far as learning the new system, learning the new scheme and learning how we are going to play up front. For him, it has been all mental here, so to say, with all these walkthroughs, meetings and doing what he can do. That is what he has been focusing on right now. Once we get him in back to full speed out there, then we can put it into action and go from there.”

On how DE Olivier Vernon has stepped up in Garrett’s absence:

“OV has been great. I have really enjoyed working with him. All offseason, he had 100 percent attendance. He didn’t miss a day. Right from the get-go, I was able to really start developing a relationship, even though it was virtual, but being able to earn his trust as a coach. Now that we are at work, it is time to put that together. He has had a couple seasons of not being 100 percent healthy and I know that is his main focus and he is feeling really good right now. Going out through these first couple days, he is giving us the effort we are looking for from the whole group. Like you said, he has had some good competition with our young rookie tackle (Jedrick Wills Jr.), and he has been a leader for our group so far. Super excited about him. Going to continue to push him to be his best, just like I do everybody, but he has been great so far.”

On if the personnel he had with the 49ers changed his coaching style at all:

“Yeah, for sure. When you are game planning, when it really dives into game planning and scheming things up as far as third down rushes and putting your guys in the best position to have success, for sure, you are always making it to the individual – putting (49ers DL) Dee Ford and (49ers DL) Nick Bosa on the same side, allowing them to do the things they do. It would be no different here when we get to that time where we can move guys around. We have a bunch of guys in there that have done it and added  (DE) Adrian Clayborn to the group so we have some different combinations where we can move guys around put them in their best position to have success but not only on third down. What do we look like on first down? What do we look like when we have a lead? What do we look like in a short-yardage situation? You are always trying to personnel those things and get your best guys on the field to make sure you have the best chance to have success.”

On his first impressions of DT Larry Ogunjobi: 

“Actually, he was one of the few guys I got a chance to meet before the building went on lockdown in the spring. From the day I met him, I could just tell how hungry he is, how eager he is and that he wants to be great. He is chasing greatness. He understands it is a process in this league, but he is hungry. He sees all those other guys getting all the accolades as far as top defense tackles in the league, and he wants to put himself up there. He works his tail off to do that. We had virtual videos in the spring to be able to see these guys check on them and working out and stuff. He was getting it in, and obviously, you see his body. You can tell he is a guy that works his tail off in the weight room and as far as running and that. Now, it is time to put it together and start film study and understanding his strengths and weaknesses as a player. We have to maximize his potential this year, for sure, and I know he wants to do that.”

On DT Jordan Elliott and what Elliott can accomplish in his rookie season:

“He is big, athletic defensive tackle. He can move. He has great short-area quickness. Those are the things you look for in the draft, and our guys did a phenomenal job of identifying him as a guy that would fit in our system and also as a guy that that is hungry to be great, just like I was talking about Larry.  I am not just saying this, I have been more than pleased with Jordan from the time we drafted him until now. We had those rookies for extra days starting training camp, and he just works his tail off. I said, ‘Look we got a lot of time to get these reps in,’ and he said, ‘We can’t waste any time right now.’ He is always trying to get it in. He is asking the right questions. He is a guy that we are very excited about, and he is talented enough to get in there and play right away so he is definitely part of the plan.”

On the Browns defense giving up an five yards per carry last season and how the DL can help improve that:

“There are so many things that go into that, but for us, just speaking about us and this year and what we are going to do, we are going to play an attack-style front. We are going to reset the line of scrimmage. We are going to create some negative plays in the run game. As we say, we are going to earn the right to rush the passer. Hopefully, we are playing with some big leads so now it is a different kind of run game we are facing in the second half. Like (defensive coordinator) Coach (Joe) Woods has told you, we are going to play an eight-man front, everybody is going to do their job, we are going to be gap responsible across the board and we are going to strive for perfection in the run game. As you know, run fits are crucial. It fits like a glove out there, and we have some in this conference and obviously on our schedule that can run the football well. In this league when you do that, it is what it all starts with to have success so we have to stop that. We know that. We are going to definitely do our best.”

On the impact DT Andrew Billings opting out of the season has on the interior defensive line rotation:

“We brought Andrew in here to add quality depth and be in the two-deep right from the get-go so we lost somebody that we thought was going to be in our two-deep. That definitely leaves a hole, but that obviously adds opportunity for some other guys. Right now, and I told these guys this morning, (DTs) Eli Ankou and Daniel Ekuale, that the competition is open. You have to go get this thing. Iron sharpens iron, and this is going to be a heated competition. I told those guys. We just used a third-round pick on Jordan. We are looking for that fourth defensive tackle that is going to come in, play with his hair on fire and create plays. Rent is due every single practice. This is training camp. We are in this thing and competition is open. Yeah, it left a hole, but it is also an opportunity for other guys. Both of those guys have shown some good things right now so we will continue to see what they do as we progress here through camp.”

On Ogunjobi’s potential:

“He can be very good. He has all the intangibles. He has the tools, the athletic ability, the skillset and the strength. I don’t see why not. Obviously, it is a process in this league. There are very few that come in and do it right away, but these guys can work and they can work their craft and get better and better and play 8, 10, 12 years. Those are the guys that continue to get better every single year, and I don’t see any reason why Larry would not do that as far as getting better every year, improving all the time. He has everything you want as far as defensive tackle goes. We also have to help him rush the passer on third down, teach him some moves and make him a three-down player that can dominate – not just be good, that can dominate in this league. I will say it for the 100th time, it will be a process. He knows that, and I know that. Excited to get to work together on it.”

On if he and Ogunjobi have talked about the importance of this season for him, specifically as it relates to it being his contract year:

“I do not really talk about contracts to these guys usually when someone is in a contract year and whatnot, but that is not my job to talk about that. My job is to work with them and to help them improve to be the best football player they can be, regardless of what year they are in. If that is on his mind, then that is up to him. I am going to be him be the best he can be this year.”

On the competitions for the fourth DT spot and DE spots:

“Like I said, both Daniel and Eli have shown great things so far. Jordan (Elliott) still has a ways to go, I gave him good praise, but he still has a ways to go. We are going to have some battles in there. At defensive end right now, we have (DEs) Porter (Gustin), Chad (Thomas) and Rob (Robert McCray) behind those other guys, and same thing. I told those guys the exact same thing this morning. It is a wide-open competition. We are going to rotate those reps, who is running with the No. 1s while Myles (Garrett) is down. When Myles is back, we are going to rotate who is playing with the No. 2s. I want to see guys work with different people and with different groups out there. Now is the time to show out. Rent is due every single day. Chad knows that, Porter knows that and Rob knows that. We will put all three of those guys out there, open competition and see what we have.”

On his core philosophies on the DL and how that ties into Woods’ defensive system:

“A lot of it is the same stuff we talk about on defense. We want to play fast. We want to play physical and play together. Those are the three things we are talking about on defense right now because that covers a lot of things. You play fast on Sundays and you play physical, like you said resetting the line of scrimmage, but most importantly, if you can play together, get four guys that are out there at one time but eight or nine guys that are up on gameday, we get all these guys playing together, then the sky is the limit. That is when you really gel is when you come together as a group. Philosophy wise, there is a bunch of different ways to do it. At the end of the day, we want great football players – guys that have awareness, guys that have relentless motors, that can chase the ball and that just want to compete like crazy. There is no spot in the league for guys that do not want to do that. It weeds them out very quickly. We just want really good football players that are ultimately team players and then you have to have the skill set and talent, as well.”

On how important the performance of the DE on the opposite side of Garrett is for Garrett to be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, given the tandem he worked with in San Francisco:

“I believe as a defensive lineman, obviously, you need a great group. Guys can have individual success, but the better the group is and it is so much more than that – how good is your coverage, getting them into third-and-long and all those things. Keeping those guys separate, (49ers DE) Nick (Bosa) is a phenomenal player. He should be in that discussion every year, and Myles is no different. He needs to be in that discussion every year. With OV clicking on all cylinders and Myles rushing opposite of him, I do not see any reason those guys can’t have great success together and then the accolades will come. We also need two guys rushing inside. We have to figure out our third-down group, but the sky is the limit for Myles and then obliviously OV can help that.”

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