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  • Writer's pictureJoey Jarzynka

Browns' TE Coach Drew Petzing Quotes 8.18.20


On his impressions of TE David Njoku:

“He has been great on my end. He came in ready to work and came in in phenomenal shape. He is asking questions and fully immersed in the playbook. He has done everything I asked since the moment I met him virtually in April. So, it has been a lot of fun to work with.”

On how Njoku can be more consistent and become a trusted target for QB Baker Mayfield:

“I think the big thing you see with guys like that is sometimes that may not be the issue. It could be they have a lot of other things on their mind from learning the playbook, from worrying about defensive looks. A lot of my focus is on making sure that he feels really confident in what we are asking him to do and what type of looks he is going to get from the defense. I think some of that understanding and that that quick thinking can lead to better production in other areas, as well. I think that has been a big focus, and I know it is something he has worked on in terms of technique, drills and spending time before and after practice. I think it is only going to improve.”

On if Njoku has used the JUGS machine more this year:

“I don’t know if that changed. It is funny you say that. One of the things I told these guys in the offseason is I love the JUGS machine because you’re you are focused on catching. That is what you are working on. The only issue I have with the JUGS machine is that you know exactly where the ball is going to go and at no point during NFL game do you know where that ball is going to be placed. One of the things I told him is I would rather see them catch balls from someone who, like myself, or really anyone, even if their arm is not great because it forces them to pick up the ball in different spots every throw. I think he has done that. I know that they always get some extra work before and after practice or during some special teams periods. I think he has definitely committed himself to working out and I have definitely seen that in my short time here.”

On clarifying he prefers players work with a teammate or coach to work on catching, rather than a JUGS machine:

“I always prefer that if it is an option. Now, hey, if the jugs machine is where you are and that is what you would like to do and that is your process, but I like to challenge those guys, ‘Hey, let’s just try something different.’ Even if it is a receiver or another tight end throwing to you, just keep changing that up so that you can’t predict where that ball is going to hit.

On what makes TE Austin Hooper so productive:

“One of the biggest things and one of the reasons we are really excited in this system is the versatility. All of the different things you saw him doing Atlanta from playing on the move, playing in line, stretching the field, and being great in the keeper game and in the wide zone run game. I think all of that versatility really allows a player, a team and an offense to be explosive. That is something that strikes you right away when you turn on one game and he is doing what looks like eight different jobs in a matter of 15 plays. Just being able to do that at such a high level over an extended period of time makes him a pretty unique player.”

On the competition for the third and fourth TE spots on the roster:

“There is no doubt. You said it, one of the things that has been really exciting for me and really been a lot of fun, even in the short amount of time we have been in camp so far is in my opinion, we do have five guys that belong on an NFL field on Sunday. That is a really unique experience in a tight end room to have. It has been fun to watch. They all have different strengths and things that they do well, and just seeing them go out there and compete every day, generally speaking, competition makes us all better. It makes us reach our full potential because we know other guys are trying to do the same. It has been a lot of fun and even early on, you are starting to see that. I think that is only going to progress here as we start to practice.”

On how the depth at TE can help a QB and what problems it can cause for a defense:

“How it helps the quarterback, I think that that is probably yet to be seen. There are pluses and minuses to that depending on scheme. In terms of affecting a defense, just knowing that we can roll out and run so many different personnel groups and so many different looks. W can get into a three tight end set and spread it out. We can get into a two tight end set and tighten it down. There is a lot of offense to cover, and it allows us to do it without being very confusing to our own players, if that makes sense. The more looks that we can give another group without confusing ourselves, it creates an advantage with very little effort on our part. I think that is going to be a big part of the multiple tight ends sets and who we want to be as a team and as an offense.”

On reaching out to other coaches to get a better understanding of coaching the TE position:

“Yeah, you are right. Anytime you move to a new position or a new room or new title, it is always good to pick guys’ brains who have done it. I think one of the best resources for me is (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski), who coached tight ends. Being able to lean on him and ask him questions about, ‘Hey, this is what I was thinking. How have you done this?’ The other guy in the building that I have really relied heavily on is (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan. He has been around the game in so many different aspects, including a head coach at the highest level. That is a key component for me as a young coach is trying to figure out exactly what you want your philosophy to be and how you want to present that to the players because at the end of the day, we are teaching. Whatever I want them to consume and then physically carry out, I need to be able to communicate effectively. I think that has been really important for me. I think the big thing is a lot of it comes down to effort and focus. You have to want to do something a certain way or you are never going to carry it out the way that maybe we want it as an offense. That has kind of been one of the things I have really tried to instill in the room, and hopefully, if they can take that to the field, we have a chance to succeed in all those multiple personnel groups that we just talked about.”

On what a normal game week will look like for him:

“I think every week is a little bit of a mix, but there is a constant focus on fundamentals and technique. No matter who we are playing, you have to run routes, you have to get out of your breaks, you have to be able to block one on one, you have to be able to work zone combinations. There is always a focus on that throughout the week. I think it is important that we don’t lose that. There is the variation in the playbook. There is the variation in maybe exactly what routes or exactly what run blocking combinations you spend your time on. There is some teaching of defensive football, as well. What looks are we expecting? How does that change how we are going to block or run certain routes? Then the combination of that being coupled with understanding of situational awareness of just different situations that could come up throughout a game, how that changes and what our philosophy needs to be not only as an offense but individually as a player. I think you kind of balance those three things throughout the week. You are going to focus on technique and fundamentals early, get in the scheme in the middle and then really focus on the situational once those other two places are taken care of as you approach the game.”

On if he has seen players who significantly improved their ability to catch the football or if he finds that it is hard to make a huge leap, specifically in reference to Njoku:

“That is an interesting question. I would have to go back through my mind. Again, I have not been around a ton of guys in terms of receiving ability. Now, I wish I could remember the player – I want to say it was on NFL Network – they had a guy who basically went into a training camp and was dropping every pass or just was struggling to catch. It kind of went back to what I hit on and it is kind of where I got the idea of it was someone said, ‘You have caught a football your whole life and you know how to do it so let’s take the focus off of that and worry about some other things so that maybe you are not thinking about it.’ I don’t know if you have played golf, but whenever you try not to hit the ball in the water, where does that ball go every time? It goes right in the water. I think the same thing can be said in terms of on field ability. If you are constantly thinking about ‘I have to improve my hands, I dropped too many passes,’ well, then you have almost already put that thought in your mind and you are only going to make that worse. I think that is kind of an area where guys have been able to improve is saying, ‘Hey, I have seen him make some of the most impressive catches anyone’s ever made. Right? So it is there.’ I think the real focus for him is to focus on the other details of your game, and that is going to take care of itself because it is something you have done well in the past and that you know how to do.”

On he has seen Njoku’s enthusiasm change over the past month after rescinding his trade request:

“I know [the trade request and rescinding it] was probably said and dealt with, and obviously, that that went above my level. For me, he has been great on the field in terms of interacting with the other tight ends, interacting with me on a daily basis in terms of asking questions, saying ‘Hey, how did you think this route was? What are we going to do on this combination?’ The other thing I think that has been fun to see and you don’t get this virtually is that players have been able to engage each other a little bit and kind of develop some friendships, and he has a lot of guys in this building that he knows really well that he has really good friendships with. It has been fun for me to be around these guys and start to meet these guys. I have seen nothing but really impressive engagement. I think he is a guy that a lot of guys on this team respect and really enjoy being around, and you can tell why. He has a great personality, and from my experience, that is really all I have seen.”

On his response to Njoku confronting LB Mack Wilson after a hard tackle on RB Nick Chubb:

“I told him this in the meeting, as long as we are doing it within the realm of the rules, we have to support our teammates, and he felt like he had to stand up for his teammate and he can do that. I have no problem with that, and I don’t think Coach Stefanski does either. If anything, that is a positive, right? He cares enough about the people he is in the room with to do those type of things. I think that has shown through on the field, and I think his teammates really understand that and I think we do as a staff.”

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