Running backs coach Duce Staley (6.5.24)

When I noticed that Nick (Chubb) was out there watching. What’s it like to have Nick around? Just, you know, having his presence being felt and sort of inspire you guys? 

“Yeah, it’s awesome, starts in the classroom because he is a leader. I know he’s a man of little words, but when you get in that classroom and get out on the field, he’s having fun, and that’s what we want.” 


Duce, how would you describe your coaching philosophy? 

“Well, here’s what coaching is to me, okay, here’s one – putting these guys in the best position possible to make plays, number one. Two, getting them to run through a brick wall with me and not for me. Cause I’m gonna run through it first, if they decide to come along I got the right guys, that’s it. One and two.”  


What do you think? I mean, obviously, we know what Nick’s done. But the rest of the group that you have been able to work with and look at, what do you see, from them?  

“I see a good group. Jerome (Ford), Pierre (Strong Jr.), of course. D Fo (D’onta Foreman), just getting here. Those guys are working their butts off, and they love being here. You know, during this time, they could be anywhere. At the beach, vacation – no, they’re walking through those doors every day working, and that’s what we want.” 


Duce, it seems like from getting a chance to watch you out there with the guys, just picking up on how detail-oriented you seem as a coach, just how important is that for you, especially in the spring at this time, when you have younger guys, too? 

“Yeah, just being able to live vicariously through my players is number one, because I wish that I could still play the game. When I did play, I loved every minute of it. The blood, the sweat, the tears. That’s a part of their dream, and I loved it. So, the closest I can get between the lines is to play through them. So, every ounce of energy, everything I got, every day, they’re going to get it, good, bad, or ugly.” 


I saw Pierre Strong (Jr.) pushing the board or something like that on the grass. That looks torturous. What’s the idea for that? 

“Well, let me just say this to you. Anytime we put the ball on the ground, we’re gonna get on the ground, and that’s called a sled. It has a very unique name. And when you catch up with him, ask him what the name is. He’ll have to pull you to the side to tell you.” 


Duce, Kevin (Stefanski) has talked about, you know, this new offense. And obviously, people focus on Ken (Dorsey) as the new coordinator brought in, but he’s mentioned it as a kind of a collaborative effort. Can you talk about kind of how that effort and the collaboration has worked out? 

“Yeah, it starts with Kevin (Stefanski). It starts with Kevin, Kevin got all of us involved. You know, when you look around the league over so many years, you have the coordinator, you have the head coach and that’s where it starts and stops. But Kevin is giving us all a part of that coordinator side. You know, Ken is the guy of course, Ken is running his offense, but we’re all involved with the plays. We’re all involved in game planning. So, I salute Kevin.” 


Duce, we’re kind of led to believe we’re going to see a lot of shotgun offense this year. How does that affect the running game? 

“Well, man, it’s been around for a while now. You know, of course, back when I played, a lot of things were under center, and you couldn’t do the RPO’s if you wanted to. When the RPO’s came into this game, then it was a lot of shotgun. So, you got to be able to run your offense, no matter if it’s trap, no matter if it’s zone, no matter what it is. You gotta be able to do everything out of gun, just like you do most of it from under center. So, shotgun has been a part of the game for a long time we’re just gonna take it and use it ourselves.” 


So what did you think of Nick Chubb from far away? And then once you’ve gotten to be around him, is the impression changed at all? 

“Yeah, it’s funny you say that, because I had a chance to work Nick (Chubb) out when he was coming out of Georgia, and I believe it was Nick and maybe Sony Michel or someone like that, and going down there and just seeing Nick go through the drills, I knew he was special. It was hard to get words out of him, of course, but when you did get a word out of him it was, ‘Yes, sir, no, sir.’ And that was it, you know. So just being able to work with him, then being able to see him, just getting this league by storm, being able to impose his will, you know, I expect nothing less.” 


Duce, we can hear you out there getting fiery. And when they’re competing against each other, how much does it play into the competitiveness when you’re in this time of year, looking forward to try to put that on the field against our real opponents? 

“Yeah, you’re seeing the competitive side of those guys. Once again, I live vicariously through them. And I talked about, not to be redundant, but I talked about the energy. As coaches when we got to get out here between these lines, we have to have energy that comes from every coach on the field. Sometimes they’re going to go out there, they’re not going to feel it, but we don’t have that choice as a coach. We got to go out there and feel it every day.  


What do you expect when Nyheim (Hines) finally can get out there? What do you think he can add to that?  

“Man, you go back and look at his body of work, no matter if it was at the Colts or Buffalo, he’s a guy that has a good body of work, put some good stuff on tape. He’s a nightmare for safeties and linebackers, I expect him to get back and do the same things he’s been doing. Can’t wait to get him matched up on a backer. It’s a mismatch. So, we can’t wait to get him out there once again, get healthy, kind of show the world what he can do again.” 


Is there a coach that you as a player were around that you’re trying to, I don’t want to say copy, but just really had an impact on you that you’re drawing on from that experience as you now enter the coaching foray? 

“I had, you know, I had the pleasure to be around a lot of great coaches from Ray Rhodes to Bill Cowher to Jon Gruden. I mean, the list goes on. So, I was able to learn a little bit of everything from them, and being able to take some of that old-school coaching into the new world helps me. And once again, when I look at those guys and how they affected me as a player, I take a little bit from everybody, and I inject them with it.” 


You played in this league for a long time and you’re coaching now. Browns gave extensions today to Kevin Stefanski. 

“Oh, really? Awesome. Awesome. Kev, congrats.” 


What does that mean from both a player and coaches standpoint to know that there’s that kind of stability within a franchise? 

“I think it starts with the organization first. It says what the organization thinks about the coach and the GM and what he’s been doing. His body of work you can look at has been awesome. All right, so you start with organization, and you start with the owner and how he sees it. But on top of that, just being able for guys that play the game, for guys that coach the game under coach, it means a lot.”  


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