LBs coach Jason Tarver (10.9.20)

Linebackers coach Jason Tarver: 

On how LB Mack Wilson has come along since returning from an injury:

“Mack has had great energy all week. He finished the game last week in the last drive with good movement. He has gotten more and more comfortable getting back in the swing of things after about a month off. He has really worked hard. This week of practice, he has been flying around, getting after it and attacking the ball. We are excited to see him play this weekend and going forward. Excited for him.”


On if he is amazed by the success on Browns defense and takeaways, given the number of injuries sustained:

“What has been awesome is from the start, we said it is about us because that is what we can control. We are going to work on what we can control and what we can control as a defense and that we need everybody. This year, 2020 is wild. We do not know what is coming, but we embrace it. We embrace whatever is coming. You have seen it, especially the linebacker position, all of us have played and all of us have made plays, and that has been great to be a part of. We are just getting started. We are only a quarter of the way through so we are focused on one week at a time.”

On determining which Browns LBs play in certain rotations and packages and if those decisions change week to week:

“Yeah, that is part of it. (Pro Football Hall of Fame) Coach (Bill) Walsh, who I was fortunate enough to work with when he was a general manager and I was a young coach, one of his favorite phrases was ‘Know your personnel and use your personnel.’ What that means is figure out what guys can do and then give them a chance. We do some substitutions, and we put guys in what we feel is the best position to be successful. Listen, sometimes it is not going to turn out perfect, but it is what you do the next time. That is what we have been impressed with this group for the most part is when something happens to us, nothing is going to be perfect but making quick adjustments and then going out and executing it the next time is what we want to see. We have been pretty good on that.”


On the trickle-down effect for the Browns LBs when DE Myles Garrett is making big plays:

“Oh man, it is fun to watch Myles. It is fun to watch Myles at practice with his great get off. Shoot, we know that we have a playmaker, but that is our defensive feel altogether. We get 11 on the field, and when guys are going fast because that is what we ask our front to do is attack, and then as linebackers, we know there are only two things they can do: they can run, and they can pass. We know when our D line is attacking, it makes it easier on us. We love that.”


On the adjustments the Browns defense made when the Cowboys offense was getting quick hitters in the first half:

“We have a mix. They got one explosive [play] early, and we fixed the problem on the sideline. They tried the play again, and it did not work so that was good, like we were talking about before. Offenses, especially that one, they do a nice job. They know what you look like. What we do is we keep our mix going. Coach (defensive coordinator Joe) Woods a great job of it. We have a few main coverages that we play, and they look the same so when things like that happen, we may switch to a different one, sometimes tighter and sometimes zone. That offense, they do the job. When you get tighter, they do things to pull you apart. When you get looser, they throw quicker. We were playing that game the whole time, and that is what they have done a good job of all year. What was awesome is we were able to finish it off in the red zone. That was another route that showed up in the past, and (CB) Denzel (Ward) made a great play and our guys, all 11, did the right thing on that last play. That was awesome to see. That is an example of fixing and working together.”


On how Colts QB Philip Rivers can trick a defense:

“Being a coach in the AFC West for a while, we have seen quite a lot of him No. 17. He is pretty good at that. It comes down to this: it comes down to doing our job within our coverages. Like we just spoke about, a lot of our coverages are going to start the down the same and then move differently. We have to make sure that we are doing our job and getting our spots and not as much worried about what he is doing, if we get too worried about when he is pump faking or doing certain things because he is really good at them, we just have to take care of ourselves. That is the way you play anybody, but especially No. 17.”


On how Woods and the entire Browns defense are responding to injuries: 

“Joe and I have worked together before, and the best thing about Joe is he is the same every day. He is detailed. He is intense. From the beginning, we have talked about next man up and find a way. We spoke a little bit about it, 2020 is wild. That is it. That is what we do. Every day we walk in and we say, ‘Shoot, we do not know what is going to happen with this thing going on outside,’ and then when we get in the building, it is next man up and find a way. He is consistent, and that leads to consistency from all of us – coaches and players. Love that about Coach Woods.”


On if he will get more of a feeling of what playing in Cleveland is like with 12,000 fans expected to be in attendance on Sunday:

“I think our fans have been wonderful. I was so excited to be able to come and work for the Browns and see what the Dawg Pound and everybody is all about. I was fortunate enough to work on some of those West Coast teams with great fans, but I have heard about it and everywhere we go, I love the community and they love the Browns. We are just working to do the best we can for everyone involved. We are excited about it.”


On if he expects the increased crowd to have an impact on the game:

“Yeah, the more noise we can give this quarterback and help our defense, we are excited about it. So come on, man. Let’s go.”


On Colts LB Darius Leonard:

“He does a good job of – what a linebacker mantra one of the best ones – linebackers, this is what we do – I said this in our first press conference – if they run, you have to run, no matter what it is. Like this offense, we are about to play, he is going to throw quick screens, and they are going to run it and they are going to do in a different formation. No. 1 is run, he does that. He runs really well after the ball. No. 2 is shed. You have to get off of blockers. You may start the down with people grabbing on you. There are some big tight ends and these guys have a few and they are going to grab so you have to shed. That is No. 2, and then tackle the guy with the ball. Those are the three things linebackers have to do. He does a good job of those three. That is what our guys are working on – run, shed and tackle the guy with the ball. When we do that to the best of our ability, that is when we are playing good defense and becoming a good linebacker.”


On how pleased he has been with the Browns run defense and the challenge the Colts run game presents:

“I think the run defense is a starter because there are only two things: the offense can run or they can pass. They are going to do both. The biggest thing for us is not looking at numbers. It is looking at attacking the ball and getting off the field. We want to get the ball back to our offense as soon as we can. It is not necessarily run game numbers, but what the run game numbers allow you to do is maybe put people behind the chains. That is where it helps. The opponent that we are playing this week, they do a good job of running early in the games out of a lot of personnel groups. They do a great job of using their personnel. We talked about know your personnel and use your personnel, one of Coach Walsh’s No. 1 rules. This staff is loaded with coaches that do a great job. (Colts running backs coach) Tom Rathman, running backs coach, he raised me. I was a young coach, working for him and Coach Walsh and great coaches at the 49ers. Using your personnel, changing looks and running the ball can be really tough on the defense. They have been able to run the ball get ahead. We need to make sure we are on point, run and pass, early in the game, regardless of what personnel groups they put on the field.”

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