Ben Bloom Talks Defensive Line Strengths And Challenging Opponents

On performance of the Browns DTs:

“(Defensive line) Coach (Chris) Kiffin is doing a great job with that group. You see a guy like (DT) Taven (Bryan) who is a veteran with experience come into our system learning our styles and our techniques and what Coach Kiff wants at the position. Really impressed with his get-off and his ability to disrupt and to penetrate. (DT) Perrion (Winfrey) same deal. He is growing and getting better every day. Been really impressed with (DT) Jordan (Elliott). Third-year, he has more and more of an understanding of the techniques of the systems and what he can do on the field to make plays. Those guys have been really impressive. Proud of how they are working.”

On Elliott’s transformation this past offseason:

“His confidence and his knowledge in what he has to do, I think it just comes with experience. I think it is difficult for some of these defensive linemen, and D tackles in particular, when they get in the league, there is a growth period and there is a maturity period just from understanding the game and the techniques and doing things over and over and over again. When you are entering your third year with all of the experience he has had, it is showing. I think it is just a natural progression for most players. I am really proud of him and encouraged by what he is doing.”

On the challenge AFC North RBs present, given oftentimes people talk about the difficulty facing AFC North QBs:

“There are great coaches and great players. You mentioned the quarterbacks, they are all really good, and the running backs are, too. I think the challenge is you have to defend the run and the pass depending on the situation of the game of course. I guess my point is you start a game and it is first-and-10 or it is second-and-7, you have to be coverages that can handle the pass game and you have to be in fronts that can handle the run game, and if you are going to pressure, your pressures have to be sound versus both. It is a great challenge, and it is why we love to play and coach.”

On if LB Jacob Phillips has picked up where he left off last year following the injury:

“Jacob, he is fast, he is instinctive, he is competitive and he is a student of the game. He is playing fast. He is not overthinking things. He asks really good questions when he makes mistakes or does not do something perfect. We coach him. (Linebackers) Coach (Jason) Tarver tells him what we want and how we want it to be, and he gets better and he improves. You are seeing a player in his third season with more experience and more understanding of the game that can keep improving and take his game to a higher level.”

On the evolution of the LB position in the NFL and why Phillips, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and LB Anthony Walker Jr. in particular have the perfect body types and skillsets for today’s game, including defensive coordinator Joe Woods commenting that he wants the LBs to look like RBs:

“I think Coach Woods, that is one of his sayings, and it is dead on – I could not say it better so I won’t. I think everyone knows the game is a little more spread out than it was 15 years ago, 10 years ago or whatever number you want to put on it. Whether you are playing zone coverage as a linebacker, you are playing in space or man coverage you are still playing in space. At the end of the day, when the ball is thrown or the ball is handed off, there are going to be a lot of situations where you got to tackle somebody one-on-one in space, you are going to have to close distance and you are going to have to react so you need athletes who can do that – those guys in different ways because they are their own men and own type of players – Anthony, Jeremiah and Jacob, they all can do those things. That being said, in our division, sometimes they are going to put two tight ends on the field, a fullback and a running back, and you are going to have to defend those bigger runs. You are going to have to do some of the stuff that was more prevalent 15-20 years ago. That stuff has not gone away either. Those guys, they can do all of that stuff so we are happy to have them."

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