LBs coach Jason Tarver (10.30.20)

Linebackers coach Jason Tarver: 

On if there is anything specific that he has emphasized with the Browns LBs this week: 

“A lot of things with the defense, but a lot of things of emphasis. (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski does a great job about sharing situational awareness. I heard him just say it a second ago. That is critical downs. We have to perform better understanding when it is third or fourth and get off the field downs. That has been an emphasis. Understanding what they are trying to do to us in those situations, what be it – man, pick routes – regardless of the coverage that we are in but understanding what the offense is trying to do and challenging the chains better. That is one thing is third down. We have to shorten the time we are on the field. We have been really resilient. Long drives, like the first drive last week, we fought, we fought, we fought and we fought. We had a ball tipped in the air, and we got an interception. That was awesome. Our guys have that part, but we have to get off the field quicker.”

On if the wind factors into the players thinking there might be more opportunities for interceptions on Sunday: 

“One thing we pride ourselves on is we are going to attack the ball. You have to grade each play as a player. If you had a chance at attacking the ball and you turn that down, that is really not a good grade. That is not us. We have been outstanding that. Every chance you get, it is shots on goal. There is only one ball on the field so we have to go get after it. We do not control the conditions, but this is football as you get in the middle of the year in the NFL and conditions are going to be what they are. Whatever comes out in our stadium, we are going to be excited to find out what that is.”

On LB Mack Wilson getting more playing time in nickel coverage last week: 

“He improved. He had a really good red zone series on one of the series where we held them to a field goal. He made a really strong tackle on the sideline and then was really good at coverage the next two plays. Getting more comfortable and rolling in more definitely. We have a competition in the linebacker room. All of our guys are fighting for playing time. We had a good week of practice. He did a nice job. He probably had his best week of practice of feeling routes and how they develop because it is a feel. He is just continuing to work. Been impressed with what he did this week in practice. We are excited to watch him play on Sunday.”


On what makes Raiders TE Darren Waller special and game planning for Waller: 

“He has incredible length, speed and hands and can drop his weight and make cuts for a taller player. They do a nice job where they move him everywhere. For us, it is going to be the whole defensive team. What I mean by that is we are going to change the matchups and change the calls. You have to know where he is in the formation and then it is the mix of the calls that will help us deal with him.”


On LB Malcolm Smith: 

“Malcolm is the ultimate compliment in the NFL because this season is a marathon, not a sprint. You probably heard this one before, but he is the same every day, and that is the ultimate compliment. He is smart. He is quick. He is the ultimate pro. He is always working on his footwork. For a linebacker, it is really important to be able to keep your hips down, your feet apart and to be in power positions when you move, be it in the run or the pass game. He is working that constantly. He takes some of our younger players after practice and puts them through drills that he has seen done that we do together or he has seen done to help them with their body position. Can’t say enough about what he has meant. His position flexibility, he has played everything for us and he does not mind. Always ready to go and the same every day. I hope I am the same every day to the players as he to us.”

On if it is common for veteran players to take younger players under their wings like Smith does: 

“He is such a good person, first and foremost, and a great player in addition to that. To be able to be that unselfish and lend yourself to the team to pick up a player, like Malcolm, is just amazing. There are a lot of guys that I have been fortunate enough to be around in the NFL that are that way, and Malcolm is at the top of the list.”


On if the Browns have the personnel to pressure and disrupt the QB as desired: 

“In this scheme, our D line gets to take off and go as fast as they can, and that helps our linebackers read run-pass and it helps our secondary. Rush and coverage work together. The other part about this scheme and you are starting to see it a little more – I will give you a hard example – is the one where we sacked the quarterback last week in the red zone with a slightly different look. The other part about this scheme is everybody does get a turn to blitz, and we are finding out who can do that and who is better at it and then allowing them to have more chances. Without giving everything away that we are going to do, everybody gets a turn, and the better you are at rushing, the more you rush. The D linemen get the most turns of course, and in this system, they are allowed to go fast. We will see hopefully some more things as we go through this weekend.”


On DE Myles Garrett being expected to take on a normal workload on Sunday: 

“It was good to see Myles today working hard at practice. We love seeing everybody. Everybody gets a turn. Everybody has done a great job of being resilient. I know you have heard it from Coach (Stefanski), everybody has done a good job of being resilient on this team, and we really believe and more importantly, the players believe it is next man up, no matter what. We have been great at not batting an eye, jumping on and going. Yeah, it is awesome to have him of course. We are going to fight. We are going to put our 11, and whatever 11 are on, they are all starters to us.”


On using LB B.J. Goodson in passing situations and how Goodson has performed in the nickel role: 

“B.J. has done a great job for us of communicating and getting everybody lined up, and he has improved. He has gotten better and better at his zone drops. He has not played exactly in this system yet in his career until this year, and there are some really good examples of him improving. He is a warrior. He is another one. He is just resilient so he just keeps going. It does not matter what happens on the drive before, he fixes it and he moves on. That part has been impressive. We do use all our linebackers so you will continue to see us mix based on situations and based on what opponents are doing, too, by their personnel that they put on the field. Last week because of some of their tempo, B.J. stayed on a little bit more in some of those situations, but we are comfortable with all our guys in those situations.”


On Raiders QB Derek Carr’s low interception totals this season despite a significant number of downfield passes: 

“They have good weapons. They have good size and good speed, and they use their players to the best of their ability, which is – you heard for me the last time that I spoke here – the No. 1 rule coming out of (Pro Football Hall of Fame) Coach Bill Walsh and a bunch of us who are trained out of that system, and (Raiders Head) Coach (Jon) Gruden of course was, as well, and their staff and (Raiders offensive coordinator) Coach (Greg) Olson who is outstanding. Know your personnel and use your personnel. They have gotten faster on the outside and they scheme up ways so that they can create those mismatches downfield and matchups. Obviously, we want our rush and our coverage working together, and we want to play top-down coverage and taking it back to us because that is what it is about. We have to recognize those formational keys, and we have to make sure we are top-down and take away the touchdown, force the check-down, go rally and get after that check-down when it happens. I think that is within the offense and that is something that they have emphasized this year.”

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