DL coach Chris Kiffin (11.20.20)

Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin:

On learning DE Myles Garrett was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list: 

“It hurts. It is unfortunate. He has obviously been a guy who has been leading this team, leading this defense and leading our position group week in and week out so to not have him out there obviously hurts. It is a next man up league. It is going to create opportunities for other guys. As we saw when (RB) Nick Chubb went down for some time, guys had to step up. It is no different at defensive end. We have to find a way to replace him the best we can Sunday.”

On the plan for the DE position without Garrett to help ‘carry the load’: 

“You said it there right at the end, to carry the load. To carry the load will be OV (DE Olivier Vernon), (DE) Adrian Clayborn and (DE) Porter Gustin. Those will be guys, that we have been playing all year long. All it means for them is just more reps. Really, it is hard to manage those guys’ reps at times so now to be able to give Porter Gustin those opportunities or give Adrian Clayborn those opportunities outside on the right side where he is comfortable playing and move OV around left and right, just the ability to do all that, I am kind of excited to see these guys do that in their spots and their roles against a quarterback that has been known to hold onto the ball and give us opportunities. I know these guys are very excited about it, but like you said, it is going to be a heavy workload for those three guys.”

On if the Browns have been preparing all week to be without Garrett after not practicing throughout the week: 

“It is 2020. If somebody says that they are not feeling good, you start to think the worst. Unfortunate he is not going to be with us. That is what it is in 2020. You start hearing about someone not feeling good this time of year, whether it is cold or flu symptoms or anything like that, it is just natural for anybody just to start thinking about coronavirus.”

On if he has talked to Garrett and how Garrett is doing, including knowing he can’t play Sunday: 

“When I found out he was going to be unavailable, I just said, ‘I hate it for you.’ He is hungry. He stays hungry. He texted, ‘Yeah, when I got the news, it broke my heart that I would not be out there with you guys.’ Someone like that who this is all he knows is being out there leading the team and just to take that away from you in a split second, maybe in a weird way it may be a learning lesson for him just as far how important it is for him being away to always stay hungry. He is very upset about it.”

On Garrett’s game-changing plays in all six wins this season and if he has talked to other Browns DL members about the need to step up and make those types of plays: 

“I was going to send a letter to the NFL to see if we could play with 12 guys to make up for the loss there (laughter). Somebody is going to have to step up and make a big time play. As (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) said, to win this game, we have to win the turnover margin. Myles has been a big part of us creating turnovers and takeaways. We as a defense have not done that the last two weeks so I know as a whole, our whole unit is excited about getting back out there and trying to get the ball out. This is an offense that has given the ball up some so we are going to attack. We are going to go after it and try to make that game-changing play.”

On if Gustin is improving this season:

“Absolutely. He is a guy that can’t help but to improve because he works so hard. I have spoken that about him before. Whether it is his off day, his nutrition, his film study or his questioning of the scheme, it is always trying to get ahead with him. Like I said a second ago, excited to see him with his opportunity and what he is going to do. You know he is going to play hard and you know he is going to be around the ball, but now he will have more opportunities to drop-back pass to rush the passer and be able to show he is capable of doing. Very excited about that.”

On how the Browns defense’s gameplan to stop the run is impacted without Garrett:

“Run defense, obviously scheme, getting us in the right calls when we think they are going to run, and this is a team that is going to try to establish the run in the first quarter. They have shown that, and if you take it away from them, then they tend to lean on their pass game. We work all week as coaches on scheme and try to find an edge in that regard to be able to stop the run. As far as personnel, yeah, Myles is good in the run, too. Porter, (DE Adrian) Clayborn or whoever it is in that role is just going to have to fill in and do their job of one of 11.”

On how Clayborn is getting stronger after recovering from the hip injury:

“I feel like he did recover. With him, he has not had the opportunities to show it either for whatever reason so another guy that is going to be able to play 30-40 snaps to show what he is capable of doing. Adrian is the ultimate pro. From the time I got here, all he does is work. He stays prepared. You can say he is a little bit frustrated with his reps early in the season with some guys in front of him, trying to figure out his role, but we are all working through that together. He will have a much bigger role this week. I know he is excited about it. He mentioned that this morning. We are excited to see him, too.”

On how the team learned and responded to the news that Garrett was out:

“(Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) addressed that in the team meeting, just like he has with any issues that have come up this year as far as COVID related issues. Just like he said to the team and just like I said and using Nick as the example, it is next man up. It is no different as if Myles rolled his ankle in the last game and was not available this game. You have depth for a reason. You try to have quality depth for a reason for times like this. It will be a collective group effort. It is a weird day when you get the news that one of your leaders, starters and potentially Defensive Player of the Year candidate is not going to be available.”

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