Linebackers Coach Jason Tarver (12.30.22)


On LB Reggie Ragland’s ability to contribute as a leader and on the field despite just recently joining the Browns:

“Reggie has a lot of experience at all levels – high level college football, high level NFL with a bunch of different organizations. To his credit, he has an infectious personality. He knows when to focus. He knows when to keep things light. He knows when to say, ‘I don’t know that yet,’ which is powerful because until we play, whatever time we kickoff, ‘I don’t know,’ is an acceptable answer when you get into a new situation. The first couple of weeks, he did a good job of just repeating the plays to himself. It is all different words. He has not been in this system. What you have to do a lot, and (former NFL RBs coach) Tom Rathman, a great running backs coach and a great player, he used to yell every time right before the play to the running backs when he coached them, ‘Repeat it to yourself.’ I can still hear it. It is echoing in my brain. That is what you have to do when you hear new words. He did that for a couple weeks, played a couple of plays two weeks ago and then last week it really took off for him in practice. His focus level, his personality and he likes contact, which of course is very important playing linebacker. He uses his hands, and he can really diagnose the box the run game. Played very solid last week, and we expect two more weeks one at a time of that.”


On how tough it was to lose LB Sione Takitaki to injury and Takitaki’s performance this season:

“Sione’s progression since we have been able to work together for these three years I am so impressed and proud of Sione that I would talk all day about Sione. I am not going to, but I am going to say he played all three positions. He put time in at the MIKE position even when he wasn’t playing there so then when it was time for him to do that, he was able to get in and make all the calls. He was awesome. All our walkthroughs, he was yelling at the guys and getting them going. Just everything. Just watching his progression as a person and a player grow into who he is was amazing. He is going to come back from this like he comes back. Now, he has all of that experience to pull on so I can’t wait to see what’s next for Sione.”


On how LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah progressed in Year 2 and areas for improvement:

“His last game that he played was his most technical game – the least amount of minuses. The linebackers will tell you that I am one of if not the hardest grader because we want it that way. Everything is either a check, which means you did your job; a plus means you did something great but those are hard to get and you have to make a play; and then it is a minus. If you are a little bit off in your gap, that is a minus. Now you can turn minuses into checks and pluses. You can be aligned a little [off], and do something great, that works. To answer your question, Jeremiah’s most technical game where he was in the right spot at the right pace, which was one of the things we worked with because he is so explosive – if you don’t know, don’t go anywhere – was the last game. That is something to build on. With Jeremiah both years, he ended up playing about the same number of snaps – I don’t know what they were exactly both years – and for him, he has had little nicks or bigger nicks injury-wise. In the offseason this year, it is going to be building his body to handle the 17 weeks. I do like where he went by football progression and what he did the last week. Now, it is going to be a process of really mastering the offseason.”


On helping Owusu-Koramoah use explosiveness as a strength while staying in control within the defensive scheme:

“I think we talked about it a bit in one of the times that I was up here. It is about control, control and then burst somewhere to make a play when you know. He is so explosive and he is so instinctive that he takes in all of the information, and he feels everything. He will say, ‘Hey coach, the quarterback moved his left pinky.’ I am like, ‘That is nice. The ball wasn’t snapped.’ He feels it all. That is what great natural athletes have so it is that. It is about taking in the information and using it that one play to the best of your ability. He focused on it the week before his last game, and he was able to do that. Sometimes you might not be as productive, but for him, he is so fast that if he is in the right spot, he can catch things and go through things. He is physical. That play timing, he really felt it in the last game, and that is something he can remember and build on.”


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