STC Mike Priefer (8.1.19)

Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer:

Opening statement: 

“Good afternoon everybody. I hope everybody had a nice summer day. I think practice No. 7 today was pretty good. We punted well. We covered pretty well. We still have some protection issues with some of our younger players that we have to get cleaned up prior to next Thursday night, but I thought we made some progress today.”


On if he is concerned with the Ks:

“They are both young. They both have hit the ball pretty well in our separate field goal period. Then they come to the team periods – they have each I think only had three opportunities – and we have done as well. That was in July. We just turned the page. We turned the calendar. We are in August 1 now. We have a game next Thursday. I think Saturday night we are going to kick a bunch of field goals. We are going to punt. We are going to be in situations that (Head Coach) Freddie (Kitchens) is going to put us in that puts some pressure on these guys. We will see how they respond. Am I concerned right now? No. I thought they both hit the ball better yesterday. We did not respond as well on team as I think we should have. Today, they both worked separately in some technique work. I thought they both did a nice job, and we will see how they do Saturday night.”


On the punting competition:

“It is funny (P) Britton (Colquitt) is going to be the steady eddy. He is going to give you the 48 (yards), 4.8 (hang time), outside the numbers. We are hoping that is a good punt for him. Then, obviously (P) Jamie (Gillan) is going to wow you. You guys saw him today if you guys would have paid attention to the punts, not that you guys think that the special teams is as important as I do, but you guys are here – at least that is a start (laughter). I think Jamie is the guy that is going to bomb the ball, and unfortunately, the next time he is up there he does not hit one quite as well. He needs to find consistency. Britton needs to what he does. Jamie will win the job if he is more consistent. Britton will win the job if he is obviously the guy that he has been the last several years here in Cleveland.”


On if he is focused more on the Ks’ mental state or mechanics during pressure kicks at this time:

“They are both pretty mentally tough. Although, they are young, I think they have done a pretty good job after misses coming back and making the next one for the most part since the spring, and we have been trying to put them in these situations since the spring. The more pressure type situation we put them in, we have to see if they can handle. Like I told all our guys, there are kickers and punters and linebackers and safeties on other teams in this league that are going to be available after the 53 cut, when everybody cuts down to 53. Just because they went and beat the guy out does not mean that they have the job. That may sound negative, but it is not. It is the truth. I try to tell them the truth. I know we have the right two kickers in camp – one of them is going to win the job. I know we have the right two punters in camp, and one them is going to win the job. We are hopefully going to win a bunch of games with those guys.”


On potentially having an inexperienced place holder if Gillan is the team’s P:

“That is part of the equation. Britton has been holding for a long time. When I first got Britton in Denver, he was not very good and he developed himself into a really good holder. He just did not do it in college. Jamie did not do it in college either because he was kicking off, punting and kicking all the field goals so obviously, he did not hold. He has improved immensely. He is a very good athlete. Situational football, he does not quite understand yet and that may take some time. It is my job to make sure that he is in those type of situations and he can learn the game that way. Obviously, that is part of the equation. If they are both even in punting, and obviously, the better holder is going to win.”


On the science behind place kicking:

“There is a way we teach them how to catch it. We have this jugs machine over here. We were even in here today after the first special teams period working on holding. We talk about snap. We talk about spot. We talk about tilt. We talk about laces. It is four different parts. Back in the spring with Jamie, we taught the catch the snap first – catch the snap over and over again. Then we taught snap to spot and how important that is. Then snap, spot, tilt. Each kicker is a little bit different. Then Jamie, he has to remember whose tilt is a little bit more. (K) Greg’s (Joseph) balls tilt a little bit more towards the holder, and (K) Austin’s (Seibert) is more up and down. Then we talk about laces. There is four different things going on, and it is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are trying to get the whole operation in 1.27-1.31 (seconds) is what we teach and that is when we want our kickers to get the ball off.”


On if Gillan will have enough time to understand the four phases of holding prior to the season:

“If you guys remember back to the first two weeks of OTAs, we did not have them hold at all because we had two kickers that are competing for a job. Now, he is holding as much as Britton is. We are getting more and more confidence in him. He is getting better and better, and it is important to him. He worked on it all summer long, too. When the rookies were here for an extra two weeks this summer, he was out every day working on holding.”


On the skillset of each K:

“I am never going to try to change a guy. I might recommend certain things to help him with his technique. I try to study them to understand how they kick, when they kick a good ball, study tape with them on what they think is a good ball and then we will just talk about it, and I will let them figure it out because at the end of the day, there is a reason why they are here. They are very good at their craft. They understand their craft. They understand their bodies. I am not going to sit here and say that you have to do it this way or that way, but I will make recommendations.”


On each K’s strengths:

“They are both really strong. They are both really confident. They both can do a good job if they hit their end-over-end ball to cut it through the wind. They both belong in this division. They both can play in this division in my opinion with their strengths.”


On if a K has more pressure on him if they are drafted, like Seibert:

“I do not think so. He was here to provide competition for Greg. The place I was last time, we would draft a kicker and then he would have the job. That was not the case here, and we told Greg that right off the bat. I think there is pressure that he is going to put on himself to make the football team. Whether or not he was a draft pick, I do not think it matters. Like I tell all our young guys, I do not care if you were drafted or undrafted, if you are not a starter on offense or defense I am going to demand that you play at a high level on special teams and the best guys are going to play, no matter where they were drafted or if they were not.”


On if Joseph has changed his technique from last year:

“A little bit. He has changed his approach, The one thing that we talk about when we first started working together back in the spring was that his approach was very inconsistent. If you watch tape of him last year, one time he would be falling this way and another team he is going this way or the jab step was short, the jab step was long. Now, we condensed it down where it is a nice short jab step. He is under control. He has a little forward lean, and he is getting the ball off quickly. He is much more consistent.”


On if Joseph is coming off higher with his kick:

“That is the beginning part of his technique. Everything else kind of plays into itself. In other words, last year when he had good get off, he was hitting the ball extremely well. When he did not, he was all over the place. That is what we try to condense. He is still hitting the ball high. He is hitting the ball quite consistently with good elevation.”


On if the Browns have determined a deadline for choosing a K:

“We have not.”


On if the K and P competition could go through all four preseason games:

“It depends on the number I am sure with John and Freddie want to do numbers wise with linebackers here or whatever. It depends. We will see how the next few weeks go. If after two weeks we know, then we know. I would hope that all four guys do extremely well, and it is going to be a hard decision for us at the end that it goes a little bit longer. That is up to those guys.”


On if the way Gillan rotates differently can be considered a weapon:

“It is because he is a lefty and not many people work against lefties. Not many people get a lot of reps against lefties. The only way we can simulate it if Jamie was not here for our returners is put a left footed spin on the jugs. You can turn the wheels a little bit, even though that is still not as realistic as you would like. It is hard, very difficult.”


On if Gillan has to learn how to do directional punts:

“He did a little bit [in college]. I think they asked him to do some of it. He is starting to figure out how to be a good directional punter. He did a really nice job this afternoon and this morning with his directional punts. Hopefully, that continues to get better. It is hard to directional punt in our stadium and other stadiums in our division. The teams that we play because of all the crosswinds and the winds swirling. Both these punters are strong enough that you should be able to directional point.”


On why it can be more difficult to field punts from a left footed punter:

“Just because [returners] are not as used to it. I think our returners are getting used to catching Jamie’s ball. Like I was talking to (RB) Dontrell Hilliard after practice today and he said that he wants more and more work with that left footed spin because it is a lot different.”


On if WR Jarvis Landry will primarily be the punt returner in late-game situations:

“He might be the starting punt returner Week 1. I do not know. That is up to Freddie and if we trust him back there, which I think we can to catch the ball and if he is explosive enough. I would not throw (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) out the mix either. Obviously. he has had some tremendous punt returns in his career. and if we trust him to go back there and do what he is supposed to do, that might be an end of game type thing. too. But both of those guys are extremely talented and they have done it before.”


On if the punt return competition has started:

“I think it is more of who are going to be the guys. I am still trying to figure out who is going to be the guy that we can trust to go out there next Thursday night to be honest with you. That is the challenge that I have had since the spring. (WR) Antonio Callaway is a guy that can do it. Obviously, we talked about the two number one, number two receivers, Dontrell can do it. We got some other young guys (RB) D’Ernest Johnson is trying it, he has done it a little bit in college. That has been my challenge here. (WR) (Damon) Sheehy(-Guiseppi) been back there doing it, too. He has gotten a lot better since the spring, as well.”


On the Browns being penalized on multiple punts last year:

“Do not give an official an excuse to throw the flag. I have said that 1,000 times since April when we started. Do not give an official an excuse to throw a flag. If you feel like this is going to be close, do not do it. We work on the finish part of our blocks on punt return and kickoff return all the time. All the drill work we were working on last night in the walkthrough, just little stuff – on the footwork and the hand placement, making good decisions. I have been harping at it a lot and I hoping that we can turn the corner because the last two years we were not. Where I was the last place I was, we were not penalized very often and that is why we got to get to that mentality here because you are exactly right, there were way too many penalties last year and that will kill a football team.”


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