STC Mike Priefer (12.17.20)

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

On NY Giants TEs coach Freddie Kitchen being assigned play calling duties this weekend after the team announced NY Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett would be unavailable on Sunday night: 

“I have not given it much thought. I feel bad for Jason. I hope he is OK. Freddie will do a great job. Freddie was good to me. I like Freddie. He is a good man. Obviously, tough situation last year, and I know he bounced back and I know he is going to do a great job. I really have not given it much thought. I have other things to worry about with the Giants than who is calling the plays.”

On K Cody Parkey’s missed kicks on Monday night: 

“Just pulled the one, and then the second one, his heel barely hit the ground and he pushed it right. It is inexcusable. He knows that. He can’t miss those kicks. One of our goals going in, we knew the type of kicker we were playing against and we were going to try to match him kick for kick. We did not do that, and we kind of let our team down in that regard. The key was there he made those last two – one to take the lead 35-34 and one to tie it at the end 42 all. I was real proud of the way he responded there. He does not miss a beat. He is very calm and very collected. He has a very even keel about him, which I really like about him. Great kickers do not miss two in a row, and he had a bad night and he knows it. He is going to grow and get better. He had a good day yesterday and he is going to have a good day today, and he will keep getting better.”


On if Parkey’s misses weighed heavily in the decision to go for two: 

“The way I understand it is that they had a two-point play that they really liked in that situation. We had the deflection, we got it and that cut it to six. That was a big play for us.”


On if he is on higher alert when the opponent’s head coach has come through the special teams ranks like NY Giants Head Coach Joe Judge and Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh: 

“I do not know if it is any higher alert than any normal week. It just depends on their philosophy. Obviously, John has a great job as a head coach in Baltimore. He has always had good special teams. Every time I have gone against him, it has been a good game, a tough game and a hard-fought game. I know Joe is doing a great job as a leader in New York. He is a heck of coach, and he was a heck of a special teams coordinator, as well. I think what you do see is a little bit of their personality rubbing off on the special teams units. (NY Giants special teams coordinator) Thomas McGaughey is in New York, and he is an outstanding special teams coordinator. You can see a lot of his influence and you see a lot of Joe’s influence, as well. Any more high alert? I do not think so. I just think you have to prepare for what they do best.”


On if the Browns have to be on higher alert for trick plays, given those head coaches’ background with special teams: 

“If they think they can get one on us. I think we are really sound in what we do. I know New York against Dallas threw that hideout play on field goal, and they scored a touchdown, but it was called back – they were moving inside. Joe did that New England. Joe’s biggest influence, I think, on the Giants special teams has been their punt rush. They use big guys, and they bring it. They are very aggressive. They are big and strong. We have to be stout in our protection to get the ball out of there and have a good day on punt.”


On why the Browns did not call a timeout in attempts to freeze Ravens K Justin Tucker: 

“It is Justin Tucker. It would not have done anything. I am not a big freeze guy anyway because you guys would be asking me a different question right now and you would have asked (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski a different question if we call timeout as he is kicking or right before the snap and he misses it. That was a 55-yarder. That was a heck of a kick. If it was 57 yards, he is going to miss it because it started fading left on him and that is the Dawg Pound end. That was a heck of a kid. It was a great kick by a great kicker. I do not think it would have fazed him at all.”


On NY Giants S Jabrill Peppers as a returner: 

“He is an outstanding returner. He is huge. He is big and he is strong, and people just bounce off him like they are not even there. I told the guys we have to gang tackle him. We need as many guys around him as we possibly can. The guy is confident and catches the ball extremely well. He is also quick enough to make the first guy miss coming down there so not only do we have to be under control at the point of attack, we have to have a lot of guys around him trying to gang tackle him and get him down. He is 219 pounds, and he runs like he runs. He poses a different threat than a smaller, quicker guy.”

On if the Browns have to prepare for Peppers’ ability to ‘do it all’: 

“Exactly right. He is very confident so they will catch the ball at the 5-yard line if it is a line drive punt. We are in that plus-50 range, and the next thing you know he is it bringing it out from the five and he has 15 yards before you get anybody there. (P) Jamie (Gillan) has to do a great job in every situation. We have to limit the ability for him to get going as a returner. Our gunners have to have a great plan every time we go down there to go make a play. I remember where I was when I found out about the trade when he was gone. I was very depressed. I was really looking forward to coaching that young man because I know he is a great kid. He would have run the punt team and he would have been the punt returner. I know he is an outstanding safety. Just a very good football player.”

On if he admired Peppers when he was in college: 

“I admired him when I studied him coming out. I do not watch a ton of college games. When I was studying all of the returns coming out that year, he was up I think first or second coming out. He was very high ranked. When I knew I was coming here, for a month or so while I was coaching here – I did not meet him yet because were not in the offseason program yet – I was really excited about coaching him. He is a great player.”


On Parkey’s missed kicks on Monday night: 

“He just pulled the one and then pushed the other.”


On if it is an easy adjustment for Parkey to address the missed kicks: 

“Very easy. He made the adjustment. He drilled the last two. He is fine. He will be OK.”

On if he spends time with the Ks to analyze other Ks for them to model their games: 

“I study all of these guys. I study them when they come out and study them when they are in the league. Like you said, every kicker is a little bit different. I told the story when (K) Austin (Seibert) came back, and he had a great spring after we drafted him. He started studying different kickers and tried to model himself after some different kickers, and he came back and messed himself up. You guys remember at the beginning training camp in ‘19, he really struggled and went back and studied tape on what made him successful as Austin Seibert. He made those adjustments and won himself a job. Anytime you overanalyze what other kickers do and try to do exactly what they do, you kind of mess yourself up a little bit. Justin’s technique is different than a lot of guys. He is a taller thinner guy, but he has such a powerful leg swing and leg whip. His technique and his approach is a little bit different than other guys. Unless you are built like him and you have the legs like him, which not many do, I would not model anything off of what he does and just admire what he does for a living. He does a great job.”


On when he knew WR Donovan Peoples-Jones had the right makeup to be someone who does not back down in big moments: 

“When I met him at the combine. I had a nice interview with him at the combine. I just liked his demeanor. I liked how he carried himself. I liked his quiet confidence that we have talked about before. Beginning when they got here – obviously, did not have the spring to work with him, but just talking to him meeting with him one on one on those Zoom meetings in the offseason program and then getting to know him a little bit as the training camp started, I could see he has what it takes. Obviously, he is growing as a receiver and he is growing as a returner. I would like to use him a little bit more at gunner in the plus-50 situations. I think we are getting to that point where we might be able to throw them into games doing that. There are some different things that he is doing and growing and get better. I think it all started with that first interview.”


On what is says about Peoples-Jones that QB Baker Mayfield trusts him in big moments like on Monday night: 

“(Pass game coordinator/wide receivers) Coach (Chad) O’Shea has done a phenomenal job with him, and he has done a phenomenal job of learning all three spots as a receiver so Coach O’Shea can trust him. He can go in the game and he can play any spot. He understands what to do, he understands coverages and he understands his routes. I really am proud of him and his development as a returner and as an offensive player.”

On if there is something the Browns can incorporate from the blocked kick last week moving forward: 

“They are very good in protection. He does not get very many blocked. He has such a phenomenal elevation that you have to get good penetration and get your hands up. (DT) Vincent (Taylor) did a great job. He normally does when he is in there. (DT) Sheldon Richardson and (DT) Larry Ogunjobi, those big D tackles have done a great job for us all year. My only coaching point to them was just keep coming, keep doing those little things, and keep getting thin. Telling a big guy to get thin is funny, but trying to get thin through that gap and get your hand up as he is kicking the ball. The timing of it is always very difficult to time up. Vincent takes a lot of pride in that, as most of our D line if not all our D line does. We have (CB) Denzel Ward coming back this week. He does a great job coming off the edge. He was the one two years ago in 2018 and he got on off the edge against Tucker. It was a big play for us. I thought we should have scored. I thought (CB) Tavierre (Thomas) had a chance to score and he went down with the ball and flipped the ball there, but we will get that coached up.”

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