Pass Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach Jeff Howard (10.7.22)


On how communication has improved in the Browns secondary:

“That has been a huge point of emphasis, especially the last couple of weeks. Obviously with some plays we have given up being attributed to that, it has been a huge point of emphasis for our group. It is really just having urgency with really fundamental things that I think sometimes you just can’t take for granted – guys being able to communicate prior to the play in the huddle, making sure we are on the same page and taking care of one another. All of our guys are going to play at their best when they are playing in unison with the rest of the group. As you know with the question, there are some plays that have been loose plays because we haven’t had two guys on the same page. It is really trying to make sure that happens all of the time.”


On the complexities and difference in the challenges of playing zone or man defense:

“That is a good question because even when we are in man coverage, there is still time, and we have to speak to one another as far as matchups are concerned. When you have any guys in close proximity to one another, they have to communicate whether that is verbally or nonverbally to make sure that in a man situation, it is always so you don’t run into one another so how are we handling those situations. Then in zone, it is similar. The different splits – when I say splits, how far or tight the receivers are to one another – dictates how we are playing coverage a certain way, making sure that those guys are on the same page. I think that is what is so frustrating – it has kept me up nights those plays as you guys probably know – it is very simple, but it can be frustrating because it is like we have given up plays that shouldn’t happen. I think that is what is so frustrating about it. If you take the emotion out of it, it is like, ‘Guys, if we just execute here, we are in really great shape here,’ but it is making sure that we have urgency in those situations and with the communication.”


On challenges facing Chargers QB Justin Herbert:

“Justin has a very strong arm in the pocket, as well as out of the pocket. From what I have seen on tape, he has been able to scramble to throw for some big plays and some big yardages all across the field. He will go to a side, and he is able to throw it all of the way to the opposite side or to the far sideline. I think his arm gives him range across the field. I think he makes some throws to the field. When I say the field, if he is on the right hash, he makes some throws to the left sideline that make him special because they are very precise, they are on target, they are not lobs and they are more direct, and they have taken advantage of that. When you have a quarterback there who can attack the whole field, it obviously causes stress. I think his pocket awareness, as well. I think that he sees the game fairly well. He sees coverages well. Puts the ball where it needs to be. Their passing game, they keep it tight enough that I think he knows where to go with the ball. A very good player.”


On Chargers WR Mike Williams and how to help prevent explosive plays like the ones from last year’s Browns-Chargers game:

“I think last year with Mike Williams, if you look at those explosive plays, it is one of those things I think they gain a lot of production off of their tempo. They are unique in the fact that they will use no-huddle a lot or they will break the huddle quickly, and they will (snaps fingers) snap the ball. You saw one last week against Houston where he is running a far cross, and there is nobody on him because they are on the ball quickly and the defense isn’t adjusted and you don’t have a body on body. The other thing with Mike Williams what he is good at is he takes what the defense gives him in those situations, but he is also really great in 50-50 balls. When he has body on body, he is a big target, he handles his body well and he is elusive at the top. We call them 50-50 balls. He comes down with a lot of those. He is really strong. His length and his size help them in those situations at the top of the route to win. The quarterback trusts him. Especially in the high red zone situation, they are just going to throw the ball up to him, and he has come down for them. From our standpoint, we want to make sure we are having body on body. I think we have great size and good matchups and try to come away with some of those.”


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