STC Mike Priefer (12.24.20)

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

On the NY Giants’ 48-yard kickoff return last week and if it is a little late in the season to allow that to happen: 

“I would agree with you. We knew the scheme that they were going to do. The kick was fine. We were trying to challenge them. We felt like we could do a good job against that group. They blocked us up pretty well. We did not get over on the front side. We did not get over the top to contain the ball. We had three missed tackles. We did not do a good enough job off the backside. Anytime you have two double teams on the front side of a return, guys on the backside have to show up, and we did not. It was a terrible way to start a football game.”

On how the Browns handled the NY Giants’ fake FG and if he was surprised by the play call: 

“They had run what we call a hideout play earlier in the year against Dallas. It was successful, but they were moving so they called it back. We were ready for that or ready for something like that – obviously, not that exact play. They had not shown that. (NY Giants Head) Coach (Joe) Judge had done a little bit of that type of stuff in New England and something similar to that before. We were in a safe look anyway so it was really easy to just check to our base defense, and the guys reacted perfectly. I did not see any holes. The only thing I wish we would have done is maybe rush the quarterback or their punter a little bit sooner, but I thought our guys reacted perfectly.”

On K Cody Parkey’s missed 48-yard PAT following the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty: 

“He has to make that kick – there was no wind; it was a beautiful night – and he knows that. He hit it, it started going down the middle and then he did not have enough power behind it and it faded it off. It was too bad, too because in any type of situation, we have to handle any of that adversity. It was a 48-yarder, not a 58-yarder. We have to make that kick. That obviously could have hurt our football team, and Cody knows that. He is a pro. He made no excuses. He knows he hit a solid ball but not a good enough to make it from 48.”

On if he talked about the change in yardage with Parkey: 

“Oh, sure. He did not bat an eye there. That part did not bother him. He is a pro. He can handle that adversity mentally no problem. He just did not hit the exact ball he needed to hit there. A 48-yarder is not easy, but at the end of the day, he is plenty good enough to make that.”

On LB B.J. Goodson making a play on the fake FG and Goodson’s ability to sniff out trick plays: 

“First of all, he is a student of the game. It is important to him. He watches a lot of tape. I know he has done a great job for the defense this year. It is important to him. His antenna is always up so he is ready for something like that. We had told him going in and the whole field block group and what we call our base stay or defense stay against their punt team group that they could do something trying to jumpstart their team, get some points on the board and maybe get an easy touchdown or an easy first down. He snuffed it out. (LB) Malcolm Smith did a great job. He is over there on the kicker and then he fades back to the inside when he noticed they were throwing it inside to the center, who was the guy who snapped the ball and who was their right wing. He already had reported eligible. It was a good scheme by them, and our guys did a great job. (S) Sheldrick Redwine did a great job. Overall, everything was covered how we needed to have it covered.”

On if there has been any benefits to the virtual work and COVID-19 protocols that could continue beyond this year: 

“I would love to do media Zoom meetings for the rest of my career. I think that would be fantastic. I think we need to do that. I will talk to Murph (Director of Football Communications Dan Murphy) after this is over and maybe he will set that up for us (laughter).

“I do not know. It is amazing how everybody has adapted – players, coaches, personnel and fans. Everybody has adapted. You guys have adapted to a very, very strange year. Is there some good to come out of it? Probably. I am sure we can all go back and write down and jot down the pros and cons of everything that is going on in terms of the football part of it, but I can’t think of anything right off hand. I would rather do everything in person to be honest. I am a people person, and I love being around our guys.  When they are in the building, we do not see them in the building; we see them on the field so that is a little bit different. Other than that, I think our guys have handled it well and our staff has handled it well, and hopefully, we will continue to flourish here down the stretch.”

On the scouting report on the NY Giants’ C to triple cover him on the trick play: 

“Malcolm Smith did a good job. He had the kicker in the flat, and once he realized where the punter was throwing the ball and the holder was throwing the ball, he kind of faded back inside. We did not know exactly what was coming. Our guys did a great job of communicating. You guys saw (DT) Vincent Taylor started running out and we needed him back in the box so the linebackers got him – actually, I think (DT) Sheldon Richardson told him to get back in the box. The communication was outstanding. You never know what is coming. The big thing there is you hope you do not jump offside and you can’t lose your composure. We are always ready for that type of play, and you just never know exactly what they are going to run. Our guys reacted well. I was excited about that. It was a big stop for our defense and a big stop for our field goal block team.”

On if he thinks NY Giants TEs coach Freddie Kitchens had anything to do with creating and calling the trick play, given they coached together: 

“Well, if he knew me well enough, he knew that stuff should not work against us (laughter). You hope it does not.”

On the NY Jets’ blocked punt last week and if a punt cannot be blocked if the team always executes its protection properly: 

“I think any team if they block it how they are supposed to block it or protect it, they should not get a punt blocked. (NY Jets S) J.T. Hassell – J.T. was here for a while – did a great job. Great get off, great speed and he dipped underneath the tackle’s outstretched hand and blocked the punt. He timed it up perfect. I was happy for him, and I am glad he got it out of the way. Hopefully, that is it for now. If we do our job, we protect the way we are supposed to protect and we use the techniques and fundamentals that we are supposed to use – that is why I am on these guys all of the time about that stuff – we should be able to protect against any scheme. It is about going out there and beating your opponent. If it is zone protection, you are blocking the guy in your gap. If it is man protection, you are blocking the man that is assigned to you. No matter what, it comes down to fundamentals, techniques, want to, being stout, having a good base underneath you and protecting that launch point.”

On the reasoning behind more spread punt formations being used recently, particularly in college football: 

“As you guys know, in college, there are no restrictions on who can cover when. You can have 10 guys covering downfield before the ball is punted [in college football]. In the NFL, it is only the two widest guys on the line of scrimmage who can cover prior to the ball being punted. That is why in the NFL we use a little tighter formation to protect that launch point because you can’t get downfield anyway so you might as well protect. Yeah, it is a lot different in college obviously.”

On if there is an advantage for the Browns specialists to play at MetLife Stadium in back-to-back weeks: 

“It was a great night. I think the winds are not supposed to be bad on Sunday either. I do not look at the weather; I just listen to my guys because they are constantly checking it. Yeah, it should be a similar type of game. I think anytime you play back to back in the same stadium, that obviously has an advantage.”

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