DL coach Chris Kiffin (12.18.20)

Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin:

On DE Olivier Vernon’s performance and improvement in recent weeks:

“The thing with OV is he has been pretty consistent the whole season. His opportunities have just obviously come more when (DE) Myles (Garrett) missed some time, and then the other night he got two more sacks. Overall, not just about the sacks, he has been pretty consistent in his play and he has been one of our best edge setters in the run, which is where it all starts with for us up front. Pass rush, he is a power rusher. He has great upper body strength and he walks guys back a lot. I am just happy to see him have success.”

On his sense of where Garrett is after returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list and if Garrett is still working himself back to true form:

“Myles is still playing at a high level. Whether or not the stats or there the other night that you want to see, I still think that Myles is himself. He is playing good. I think for anybody to go through that sickness, then miss two weeks and really not doing anything to come back and work himself back into it, that is what they talk about in this game is you take a week off and it is really hard. I think he is just fine. Very excited to see him get back out there Sunday night. I know he is super eager about it. He is ready to roll.”

On if he checks in with Garrett daily to see how Garrett is feeling:

“I sense that Myles is totally fine. At practice, he is flying around, he is rushing and his legs looks great so I do not sense anything wrong with Myles, I think he is ready to roll. Like I said, in my mind, he is still playing very good football.”

On preparation this week with uncertainly of who will start at QB for the NY Giants:

“Obviously, you go through that in every year preparing for guys you do not know who is going to start, but obviously 2020 and with their building being closed yesterday not even practicing adds another element to it. We are very eager to know who we are facing, but we are preparing for both. We are preparing for (NY Giants QB) Daniel Jones to be able to run, where last week he was not able to run with his injury. You have to prepare for everything. You never know what you are going to get. Obviously, we watched (NY Giants QB) Colt (McCoy) versus the Seahawks and you evaluate that film. We look at everything as a coaching staff. We feel like we have a great plan no matter who we face, but it is all going to start with the run for those guys. That is what it is going to be regardless who the quarterback is. Coming out and trying to establish that run, that is what they have shown their identity to be so we are ready to stop that.”

On how the Browns DL did keeping discipline in the gaps to try and contain Ravens QB Lamar Jackson last week:

“You just remember the negative ones, the ones where you did not get it done. Coaches do. Players do. Media does. Unfortunately, we had four sacks and felt like we got after them at times, but the ones where he got you, it stings. Nothing we can do about it at this point. Learn from it as we always do moving forward. We have a big challenge ahead of here in 48 hours so we are excited about this new opportunity.”

On if the Browns DL’s best football is in front of them:

“I do not know if I would say our best ball is still in front of us. For everybody, it is always a progressive thing throughout the season. It is always great when we have our top eight healthy, which we are going on two weeks in a row now of having all eight guys available. I love our group. I feel confident in our group. We can mix and match a bunch of different ways. I feel like they are a strength for us. Whether or not we are playing our best ball, I do not know that, but I do know that I feel very confident going into any matchup with this group of guys.”

On the NY Giants being sacked eight times by the Cardinals last week and if there are opportunities for the Browns DL this week or if Jones’ injury was the major factor: 

“I think they have a young offensive tackle who is going through some rookie growing pains, I think that is a part of it. They were playing down from a couple scores, and I think that goes into it. Arizona obviously did a great job of executing. They ran a bunch of stunts, they ran some pressures and then Daniel Jones being hobbled, it was a combination of things. I think we are very capable of having that type of day if we do what we are supposed to. They are excited about that. My guys saw the film. They are ready to roll, but we know we have to earn the right to rush the passer this week more than any week we have had all year. We have to stop the run first, make it our type of game and then see how the game unfolds from there.”

On DT Sheldon Richardson’s personality in Zoom meetings and Richardson’s performance this season: 

“It was a long virtual offseason, and I never got to meet the guys before we started that offseason. We would go through the virtual days, and as a coach you kind of like when you are in the room, guys are joking around every now and then and the mood is light. On Zoom, they were all muted the entire offseason. It was so frustrating to me. I had to tell these guys, ‘Guys, you have to treat this like a meeting room.’ Of course, No. 98 was the first one to speak up, unmute himself and crack a joke or whatnot. He is a character. He is a lot of fun. Big personality. He gets the guys going. When Sheldon is happy, everybody is happy. He has played very well. He is always around the ball. He gives great effort. He has great awareness rushing the passer, and that is why you see him getting a bunch of half sacks because he is coming around the corner at the right time or he is diving in at the right time. He is a valuable, valuable piece for us up front.”

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