Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer (10.6.22)


Opening statement:

“Obviously, coming off a tough loss last week. We had to get that bad taste out of our mouth quickly and get ready for a very, very good AFC opponent this Sunday in the L.A. Chargers. It is crucial on Sunday that we get the best fans in football involved, and I mean that sincerely. We have to be loud. They are very good on offense, as you guys know – they are very good on teams and defense – but we have to make life difficult for them as much as we can from the fans’ point of view. Being a Cleveland fan, I have been there and done that, obviously like you guys have. I think that is really important because we do have great fans, and when they are loud, it can be one of the louder stadiums in the country. That I think is necessary on Sunday afternoon.”


On RB Jerome Ford being placed on injured reserve:

“That was tough. He got tackled low. Obviously, the guy didn’t do it on purpose, but he got his ankle twisted up on that one kickoff return so he will be out for a few weeks, hopefully not real long.”


On specific traits desired for a KR:

“Obviously, ball security. That is the No. 1 thing. You have to be able to trust that young man that he is going to go out there and give the ball back to the offense or score, and get the best field position possible. Decision-making. Vision. Whether or not he has got vision in order to see any seams that are there. Explosiveness. (RB) D’Ernest (Johnson) and (RB) Demetric (Felton Jr.) were both filling in last Sunday. They didn’t kick to us on those. Those type of athletes, that is what we want back there.”


On if he prefers a RB style for KR:

“No. Kickoff return bodies, you want bigger, stronger guys. I have had (Falcons RB) Cordarrelle (Patterson), and I have had (former Vikings WR) Percy Harvin. Demetric has done it. D’Ernest Johnson has done it since I have been here. (Titans RB) Dontrell Hilliard did it early on when he was here. They are sometimes a running back, and you like the bigger, stronger [players]. Sometimes the smaller scat-back type guys can’t take the pounding of a kickoff return. Those are the guys that you want as punt returners. You are always looking for a dual guy if you can, a guy who can do both. You are right. I think running back vision is one of those qualities that we talk about a lot.”


On if WR Chester Rogers can serve as and contribute to the team as KR:

“Chester, I think he is a good football player. I think he can do anything he wants to do. He can help us at wide out, and he can help us anywhere on special teams returner or wherever we need him.”


On coaching situational awareness on special teams:

“We talk about situational football all of the time. Special teams is unique in that a lot of these situations don’t occur all of the time. Offense and defense, you get a lot of those type of situations in two-minute, four-minute and end of half type deals. In special teams, you might have an onside kick one week and not have another one for 10-12 weeks. You might have a ball bouncing toward the endzone, like I think I know what you are talking about in the Atlanta game. We talk about situational football a lot. Our head coach does, and I do in terms of special teams. Every Saturday night, we talk situational football. We show different situations from around the league and how we would react to them. We cover it plenty during the week and especially on Saturday night. (Special teams assistant) Stephen Bravo-Brown is my assistant. He does a great job of making corrections and helping me with substitutions on gameday because I am always looking for that next situation. What is coming up? It is third down. What are we going to do punt team? Is it a field punt situation? Is it a plus-50 punt situation? Or kickoff return, punt return and everything, trying to stay one step ahead of it, and that is my job.”


On if S Ronnie Harrison downed the punt earlier than needed last week and the coaching points from it:

“I believe he thought the returner was going to grab it. (Falcons RB) Avery Williams) is a smart young man. He is a good player. He may have grabbed it. I think he was far enough away that we could have let that roll. That would have been the coaching point. Ronnie came to the sideline and said, ‘This is what I thought,’ and you can’t argue with him because it is a spur of the moment, split-second decision that you have to make. The worst thing that could have happened there is they grabbed it and got 15 yards. We were still inside the 10, and it was not a touchback. It was a really good punt by (P) Corey (Bojorquez), and we downed them inside the 10.”


On if the roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium opening after K Cade York warmed up affected the kicking game at all:

“No, I think any time you have a slight breeze in a situation like that, it helps get some airflow through the dome. I think it helps the kicking situation. It didn’t bother him at all.”


On the Chargers special teams units:

“Their special teams coordinator worked for me for six years so you know he is well trained (laughter). He does a good job there. Their returner (Chargers WR) DeAndre Carter is very good. I know he struggled a little bit last week, but he is a veteran guy who has a lot of confidence. I think they utilize him very well with the type of returns that they run on kickoff return and punt return. I think they have some really good players. No. 94 (Chargers OLB Chris Rumph II), No. 57 (Chargers LB Amen Ogbongbemiga) and some of those big guys, they play well. Their gunners are playing well. They rotate some different guys in there. Their kicker (Chargers K) Dustin Hopkins is one of the best in the league in my opinion. When he was with Washington, I thought he was great. They let him go, and the Chargers were smart enough to pick him up a year ago. Their punter, (Chargers P) JK Scott, to me, he is a prototypical indoor punter. Shoot, he had a 5.5 hangtime this year. He has had a 5.6 hangtime this year. That is unheard of. He is a very talented punter. I worked him out when he came out of Alabama a few years ago. They have good specialists. They are sound in everything they do. They play hard. We have our work cut out for us.”


On K Cade York’s range last week at Atlanta:

“As long as it needed to be. When you are in fourth down and if it is 60, 65, 63 or whatever, we have a lot of confidence in him to at least give it a ride and see what happens.”


On disappointment the Browns didn’t have an opportunity to attempt a game-tying FG due to the turnover at the end of the game:

“I think we were all disappointed the game ended, a game we thought we could have won. We have to learn from that, learn from the mistakes, build on what we did well and correct what we did not do well, and let’s move on to the Chargers.”


On how LS Charley Hughlett’s ability to control long snaps makes it easier for Bojorquez and York to succeed:

“Charley is really good. In fact, the thing about Charley, every holder is different in how they catch it and where they catch it. We try to make it close, but every guy is a little bit different – a different body type, some guys have longer arms and some guys have short arms. Where they catch the ball, that affects where the laces are. Charley actually can adjust how he turns the ball before he snaps it to compensate for what the holder does. It is incredible. I haven’t been around too many guys like that. He is very, very good at what he does in that regard. We are lucky to have him.”


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