Dirk Koetter on Baker Mayfield: You Can See Why He was Picked No. 1

Sports Xchange

(On defensive coordinator Mark Duffner’s interaction with the players and his approach to coaching)

“When I first came into the league in Jacksonville in [2007], Duff was on the staff in Jacksonville and way back – [1994] – I’m coaching at Boston College. Duff is renowned in the northeast for his work as a head coach at Holy Cross. He’s in the Hall of Fame there. Then he get’s the head job at Maryland. Duff’s done a lot in his career. He’s been coaching a long, long time and he’s still got really good energy. He’s got a lot of knowledge, a lot experience. For a guy that’s been around as long as him, he’s got a lot of energy. Both places where I’ve worked with him, his players have really like him and respected him. Respect is more important than like and he’s a good teacher and he’s a good football coach.”

(On if it’s difficult to prepare for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield with limited film on him)

“I don’t think so. The work that he’s put on film – you can see why he was picked what he was picked. This guy’s going to be a really good quarterback in this league. He can spin it, he can move around, he makes good decisions, he gets the ball out on time, he’s tough, he makes plays outside of the pocket, both as a thrower and as a runner. He’s impressive so far.”

(On if Duffner’s emotional connection to players is more apparent than other coaches)

“Yeah probably. He puts in a lot of time. He puts a lot of time in free agency – getting to know guys, trying to recruit guys. At the combine, Duff’s one of those coaches that if there’s 40 linebackers at the combine, he’s meeting with every one of them and comes away with a relationship with him. It’s always amazing, when it comes down to signing undrafted guys, how many times that’s made a difference.”

(On if it an advantage or a disadvantage that the Browns and Buccaneers only play once every four years)

“We’ve played them in the preseason. We’re familiar with Greg Williams and then, Todd Haley, coming from Steelers. Their systems we’ve seen before. We played the Rams for a couple of years there where Greg Williams was the D-Coordinator. The thing that is really different about Cleveland is that they’ve really established a lot of talent. They’ve had a lot of high draft picks, number one. Through free-agency they’ve added a lot of good football players to their team. I think the main thing is that they’ve added a lot of good players.”

(On if he will be more involved on the defensive side of the ball)

“No. That wouldn’t be the answer.”

(On keeping cornerback M.J. Stewart confident despite struggles)

“I think that’s just pro football. When you’re drafted high and you’re expected to come in and play and you’re playing against the best players in the world, your confidence probably is going to get rattled because you’re playing against really good players every week on the other team. That where Jason and his guys do homework on these guys, hopefully we’re drafting the guys that have the right makeup that when they do go through some down time – just like the high times – that they can stay focused on the job at hand. We’ve talked many time in here about Jameis [Winston] and experience is the best teacher, so I can tell a guy to stay confident until I’m blue in the face, but when you’re out there in the mix of the game and you’ve got guys like Julio Jones running around you, it’s just one of those things you’ve got to hang in there and keep getting better.”

(On bringing back linebacker Devante Bond)

“He’s been around here for the last couple of years, so he can compete right off the bat. The things you’ve got to remember is we’re in sub-defense roughly 70 percent of the time. Adarius Taylor is playing well at SAM linebacker right now, so I guess you could say it’s somewhat of a depth move. Also, Devante Bond is a really, really good special teams player. It gives you another guy in your core special teams.”

(On if it would be beneficial to bring in a consultant to help with the defense)

“I’m not a big a believer in consulting. I’m not a big consulting guy because guys that are in the building, they’ve got skin in the game. Consultants are like TV announcers. They go in at night and they don’t care who wins or loses. People that are really just giving you their opinions, you’ve got to really respect that person if they don’t have skin in the game. I have a lot of respect for a lot of coaches, but I’m just not a big believer in that. When we’re up there working on the game plan – offense or defense – it’s not like you’re up there thinking, ‘Oh my god, I wish I had more ideas.’ There’s plenty of ideas. When you start trying to put those ideas in motion, now you’ve got to start playing all the what if games. Ok, what if they do this? What if they shift? What if they motion? What if they change personnel? What if they come out in this defense? I just don’t know if there’s big value in that. If you add up the years of experience we have on the defensive guys that are still up there, we’re fine. We’re fine as far as that goes.”

(On having a new look package at Atlanta)

“We actually had five DBs in the game on that package that you’re talking about. That’s one of the things that’s probably hot in the league right now is covering all five of the linemen, having the threat of edge pressure or threat of middle pressure. We face that almost every week as an offense. We did have a little package that included some pressures out of that as well as some zone coverages.”

(On how much responsibility the defensive players have to take in not performing well)

“This is a team game, so whether it’s success or failure, everybody has to share in it – all the coaches, all the players.”

(On defensive tackle Mitch Unrein’s concussion and if he is a candidate to return from Injured Reserve)

“Yes. He is a candidate, but that will 100 percent be a medical decision. This concussion thing is tricky and everybody’s different. There’s a protocol. I’ve said in this room before, I think it’s one of the best moves the NFL ever made – as far as dealing with injuries – is the concussion protocol. It’s a stringent set of standards that have to be met. Steps along the way to get a player back on the field. We’ve had guys get back in usually it’s a couple weeks, but in some cases, guys just take longer to recover. I think what that process does is it takes the pressure off because all players want to get back out there. They want to get back out there, but if they’re not ready to get back out there, this is a perfect example of player safety working. Mitch is still in the protocol and we’re wishing him a speedy recovery.”

(On if Unrein has been around the team)


(On if the team would consider being more aggressive on fourth down and short)

“We have a plan every week. We have an analytic plan every week and it changes slightly from week-to-week based on some formula that’s way over my head that we’ve been trying to stick to. We really haven’t had that many fourth-and-shorts come up this year. We’ve got a plan for it.”

(On kicker Matt Bryant’s kick at the end of the Falcons game)

“I told [Dan Quinn] after the game, that was a heck of a call by him, the way it worked out. I think you’ve got to really know your kicker. Matt Bryant – I guess it was not always that stadium – in the domes that they’ve played in, Matt Bryant’s made a lot of kicks from that area. That was a lot of risk. We’ve would’ve had unbelievable field position had they missed, but he didn’t.”