Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer (12.14.22)


Opening statement:

“Good afternoon. When looking back on Sunday’s game against Cincinnati, we were obviously pleased by the way our punt team played, the way (P) Corey (Bojorquez) punted the ball and the way we covered punts. Flipped the field several times for our defense. (K) Cade (York) made both of his kicks and did a nice job there. We did a couple of good things on the punt return game, but we can’t have that roughing the punter. That really kind of changed the momentum of the game. We were playing great on defense. We were playing great on special teams. We were moving the ball a little bit on offense where we kept them off balance. We gave them the ball back. That was just not a very good play by us, and it hurt our football team. I think we made up for it later in the game. Late in the game, we rushed him again, and he shanked the punt off of the side of his foot. We got the ball at the plus-48 with four and a half [minutes] to go and gave our offense a chance with good field position. Looking back, obviously, I am going to look at the good, the bad and the ugly, but looking back at that roughing the punter penalty, that is something we don’t have here. We don’t have mistakes like that, and that was uncalled for.”


On conversations with LB Tony Fields II about what occurred on the roughing the punter penalty:

“We knew somebody was going to get home. We have been rushing the punt pretty well all year. We have been close unfortunately four or five times this year. He felt like as he got through there, there was no one there to block him, and he felt like he had a chance to block it. He wasn’t close enough in order to do what he did. If he was really close, I could understand, but he was still probably a yard, two or yard and a half away from really affecting the punt enough to try and block it. He went for it, and it was a mistake.”


On conversations with K Cade York near the end of the first half when York was seen on TV eager to attempt a 67-yard FG:

“I am looking at the yard line, and I told (Head) Coach (Kevin Stefanski) what I thought was a good yard line to get to. We weren’t quite there yet. Cade is over there campaigning, which I love. I love the competitiveness of the young guy. I kind of chuckled. Somebody said I was laughing, but I was smiling because I was pleased that he wanted to kick that, but he doesn’t look at the big picture of we have to cover with a lot of big people against a return man, they are going to put a guy deep like we would underneath the goal post and if he is short, they are going to bring it back. That is a hard thing to cover. We have two D linemen on our field goal unit, we have six offensive linemen on our field goal unit and we have a snapper, a holder and a kicker. It is going to be tough to cover with those guys against a good returner. That is why I am glad that we didn’t kick that in that situation. A game-winner, obviously, you have to. I think we were close on the Hail Mary. I think the percentages say go with the Hail Mary there. Maybe if it is 5 yards closer, maybe we go for it.”


On if York has lobbied to attempt other long FGs earlier this season:

“The end of the Atlanta game when we were starting to get into field goal range, he was lobbying for a certain yard line. We never got to that yard line. In terms of that, yeah. It was great. I expect that from him. That is probably why I laughed. I said, ‘OK, I understand that is what you want.’ I think as we get more confident with him and he gets more confident and continues to mature as a young kicker, maybe you do kick those. You have to look back. He has had a couple blocked that were low. Those are the things that go through my mind all of the time. The weather was actually pretty nice. The wind was blowing slightly in that direction so that would have been the direction to kick that in. I was happy that he did that, he is competitive and he is very confident. I love that about him.”


On if he enjoys having a K in York who is eager to attempt a long FG in those situations:

“Oh, I have been the other way. I have coached kickers in the past and it is like, ‘What do you think?’ and they kind of back into the shadows (laughter). ‘I need a volunteer.’ They go [moves to shy away] one of those deals. I would rather have it that way absolutely.”


On why the Ravens are so successful at blocking kicks:

“ (Ravens DE) Calais Campbell is 6’9 or 6’8. He has a lot to do with it. He is really good. As old as he is as a veteran – I am not saying that he is old – but as a veteran in this league, he does such a great job with his technique. He does a great job of getting in the A or B gap and sometimes the C gap when he swims. He gets his hands up in the kick plane. He is very talented that way. They have always been really good off the edge. (Ravens CB) Marlon Humphrey has done a great job off the edge over the years. (Ravens CB Kevon) Seymour No. 25 has done a good job as of late. (Ravens LB) Malik Harrison, the one who blocked against us, that was a 60-something yarder that he just jumped straight up at the line of scrimmage. You can’t protect against that. It hit him right in the face. They have good players. They have done a nice job with their schemes. We have to do a great job of getting the ball up in the air and having good timing, elevation and accuracy. That is what it is all about for a field goal unit. We are up to that challenge.”


On if York needs extra work this week due to the Ravens’ success blocking kicks:

“No, I think the thing with Cade as we have mentioned the last few weeks is getting the ball up in the air and great elevation. Ever since the Buffalo game, we have had the last two weeks or three weeks he has done a real nice job of getting the ball up in the air. That has been the emphasis, and we will continue to emphasize that going forward. It doesn’t matter who we are playing, you still have to get that ball up in the air.”


On watching film of Campbell on FG block gives him nightmares:

“He is so talented. We have to find him. We have to know where he is. We understand the swim and that they love to do. That is kind of their deal. We have to do a good job of staying low and square, meet force with force and all of the coaching points that we constantly talk about. Our protection has been very, very good all year, and I feel very good about the guys that we have out there.”


On the strategies determining when to rush or play coverage against an opposing punter:

“Every week is different. Some teams like Baltimore, they have been a fake team in the past and you have to make sure you cover eligibles, and make sure that if you do bring pressure, you have to make sure that the guys that are eligible that may go out for a pass or they might run, snap the ball and run to the first protector, who we call him the fulback. We are always aware of those types of things depending on the call. Every week is a little bit different. Tony’s assignment or anybody’s assignments is week to week.”


On York and Ravens K Justin Tucker kicking together during pregame warmups and if he would be surprised if Tucker attempted to do anything to get in York’s head before the game:

“No, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything Justin Tucker does. He is a smart guy. Every time I see him, I just kind of just bow and say, ‘Mr. Future Hall of Famer’ because I just have so much respect for him. If he was messing with him, I am sure it wouldn’t affect Cade. Cade is going to go out there, and Cade has the utmost respect for him as well for what he has accomplished in this league. Any young kicker would like to aspire to have that kind of success. I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all.”


 On if could be unnerving for a K to watch Tucker nail consecutive 60-yard FGs in warmups, as well as games:

“No because Cade is going to nail a 60-yarder after 60-yarder in pregame too. He just has to go out and do it in the game now, like Justin has done, to be honest with you.”


# # #


***Visit the Browns Media Center for materials provided by the Browns communications department, including media schedules, press releases, quotes, photos, media guides, rosters, depth charts and more.***