DL coach Chris Kiffin (10.16.20)

Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin:

On if some players have a special knack for creating strip-sacks:

“I do believe guys have a knack for it, and I believe those guys do not necessarily have to be taught and drilled as much, but like I said last time on this question like, we are going to practice it all the time for all the guys. I think the guys that are getting there more often are going to have way more attempts at it so it may look like they have a knack for it. I always refer to it as shots on goals – the more shots on goal you have, the more opportunities and eventually you are going to get them. (DE) Myles (Garrett), we always talk about it on tape and point out the opportunities, whether he is at left or whether he is at right, and where the ball is going to be in accordance to your rush and being able to slap at the hand and slap at the ball, even when you do not have a clean win on the guy. All those things are talked about and coached. Hopefully, we can continue to get more of those.”

On what makes QB Ben Roethlisberger hard to take down, including his size and his leg strength:

“I think it is a combination of everything, pocket awareness.  I actually told my D line this story that they all laughed about. I played against Ben when I was at Colorado State and played defensive line. I got to chase him around myself so I know exactly what it felt like to chase him around and not be able to get him. These guys will have a much better chance of getting them than I did back then. Just his pocket awareness, awareness of the rush and getting rid of the ball on time, but obviously, it is the size and strength. He has been doing it for a number of years avoiding to use his off hand as a stiff arm. We have to attack that ball because anytime that that is going on, he is trying to extend the play and the ball will be available for us to go after.”

On balance the D line getting the a QB who releases the ball quickly while avoiding offside penalties or other negative plays:

“Our goal in every game is to have zero offside, and I believe we have had three this year on the D line. A couple of them were very, very close and (DT) Larry’s (Ogunjobi) was obviously not, but we are going to take great pride in that and trying to get off. We trained it a bunch of different ways, especially in offseason when you have time to really train your stimulus response as far as getting off. We show them their cadence and their different cadences. We do all the TV copies. We present that to them on third down Thursday so they know exactly what it is going to be like when they get in to the game, exactly what it is like on second down, on third down, in the red zone, under center and in the gun. We will do our best to prepare them that way. We can’t take aggressiveness off them, whether a 5-yard penalty will hurt you at times but a strip sack can change the outcome of the game in a hurry. Set a fine line of being aggressive but then also be disciplined in that.”

On if he has seen Garrett grow this season and if Garrett has more potential to develop:

“Oh, for sure. As young as he is, I hope he is always growing as long as I am here and throughout his career. I hope he is constantly getting better and striving to do that. Whether it is film study or whether it is out on the field, playing left end, playing right end, different sets, different moves and continuing to work on his toolbox as a pass rusher. He is obviously better than he was in training camp so he needs to continue to progress. As always with the great ones, it is fun to watch and to see him do different things.”

On why the Browns DL will have a better chance to get to Roethlisberger than he did:

“These athletes are the best at what they do in the world, and I was just a Division I college football player at Colorado State. I vividly remember a play that must have lasted – I do not think the film is still available – it must have lasted 20 seconds where I was chasing this guy around forever. Four D-linemen could not even come close to him. That is how much better he was in college than the people he was playing against.”


On Garrett limiting his penalties this year and how much that has been a focus between the two of them this year:

“Honestly, there was not a whole lot of conversation just specific to Myles in regards to that. For me, as a D line coach, I always take pride in teaching those guys to avoid those stupid penalties. Obviously (defensive coordinator) Coach (Joe) Woods and (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski, we talk about all the time – team, team, team and how you can hurt your team in making decisions like that. In the NFL, obviously, it is protecting the quarterback at all costs. With the landing on the quarterback penalties started being enforced last year or two years ago, we have to show them examples of those. He has done a great job. Part of that obviously is maturity. When you continue to understand situations that your buttons will be pressed in those situations in games and the ability to walk away from it, understanding that ultimately you are helping your team just by walking away from the situation and not costing your team a 15-yarder.”


On what Garrett’s next level looks like:

“Gees, the next level is just if you call him unblockable now, it is just really to be unblockable. As you know in this league, offense linemen are so good, as well, that there are going to be times he is going to be losing matchups in one-on-one pass-rush situations. For him, it is just to always get that percentage of winning your one on ones higher. Whether they slide to you and chip, there is only so much you can do. We have plans, and he should be able to beat a chip block and be able to beat slide protection, but when his percentages continue to rise and his one-on-one winning percentage in one-on-one situations. Being able to go speed to power whenever he wants but understanding those the sets that he gets and understanding that when he gets off the ball offensive tackles are already out of position because they have to kick back so far and so fast and speed up their feet to keep up with his explosiveness that speed to power will always be there for him so continuing to have confidence in that, and that will lead to more inside wins and things like that.”


On if he licks his chops when seeing opponents planning to block Garrett with only one guy, similar to Woods’ comment:

“Absolutely. His sack at the Dallas Cowboys, his strip-sack on (Cowboys QB) Dak (Prescott) – this is called over coaching – it looked like they were about to run the ball his way so I am on the sidelines yelling, ‘Set the edge. Set the edge,’ which is the term we use against the run. He just ran right past the tackle and stripped the quarterback. I was like, ‘Yes, I will keep yelling that next time.’ (laughter)”

On how Ogunjobi looked during practice this week:

“Great. Larry looks good. It is just good to have him back out there with his personality. We missed Larry all around, not just obviously as a player on Sundays but missed him out there practice keeping the group going. He is kind of the glue that holds this thing together. He looked good and really excited to get him back.”

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