Linebackers Coach Jason Tarver (9.9.22)



On the challenge for Browns players and LB Jeremiah-Owusu Koramoah playing against someone like RB Christian McCaffrey:

“I think it starts for he is a challenge in the run and the pass game because he can really line up anywhere for all of us. There will be times where it will be Jeremiah and all of our other linebackers and safeties. We are going to need everybody. We are going to need everybody together to be on the correct angles to approach him when he has the ball, whether it is in the run or the pass game. It is really a challenge for the entire defense. The directive to Jeremiah is we really want to see how he comes out this first game this year. Really, it is about us and it is about Jeremiah working on his mindset play in and play out from the first play of the game to whenever the last one is of being the same guy and doing his job because we know he is going to run and attack the ball. That is Jeremiah’s challenge for the week, and he is excited for it.”


On how much extra preparation goes into game planning for someone like McCaffrey who can line up anywhere on the field and how confusing that can be for an opposing defense:

“It can be. When your offensive weapons can do everything by their movement with good hands regardless of the position they play, people are going to put them in positions to try to find leverage or angles on your defense. It is really about understanding within each one of our calls where he is and how to surround him. We need more than one person at times to deal with them adding more weapons, other than Christian, as well. It is really understanding where he is within the call, what he can do from there and how we use the tools of the call to work together so our 11 can attack wherever that one ball is.”


On there is a specific need for physical players to match up with McCaffrey regardless of position:

“I think what we have and what we need to show by taking care of ourselves is that we have a lot of players who can do a lot of things on our defense. I think we have done a good job over the last couple of years of identifying some of the guys we need and then a lot of our guys are kind of built the same, regardless of position because position kind of blurs a little today in the modern NFL between safety, linebacker and all of those positions, and we have a lot of really good guys who have length and speed so we will use combinations. Without going into the gameplan, you are going to see a lot of our guys in different positions around all of their weapons.”


On LB Anthony Walker Jr. being listed as the starting MIKE while LB Jacob Phillips is also expected to play many snaps:

“I think our linebackers have been competing all camp, and this is our first time to go for real, which is awesome. We really have four guys who we feel have earned the starting role with (LB) Sione, Jacob, Jeremiah and Anthony, and you are going to see all four. We are going to use them in different situations, kind of like we said for matchups and for those things. Some of the guys are better at setting the edge on the line of scrimmage. Sione is excellent at that. We need him to do that. We need him to keep the correct arm free and keep this running back within where he is supposed to be. That is an example of how we use our four linebackers. With Jacob, Anthony and Jeremiah, they really are going to roll around and play. You will see all combinations of those players either three or two, depending on the packages we are in at times. There is a big role for Jacob. He has gotten better every day. His pace at practice yesterday stands out in my head as awesome. He is just under control and he is so tall and powerful that when he is under control and his feet are apart, I really hope he plays like he practiced yesterday. Today was pretty good, too. You are going to see them all.”


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