Browns HC Kevin Stefanski told reporters that WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has taken a big step forward with his game.
“We’ve talked about how dependable he is,” Stefanski said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “He does what he’s supposed to do. He’s where he’s supposed to be. I do see his game growing. I think his body control — catching the ball and contested catches have never been tough for him — that’s just one of the traits he has. But in and out of breaks, some of the things we’re asking him to do are maybe a little bit different than he’s done in the past, and he’s done a great job. I think the quarterbacks like throwing to him, and that’s important.”
Ravens DC Mike Macdonald believes LB Patrick Queen is “a lot more comfortable” in their system now entering his third year in the NFL.
“Yes, I see a lot of growth in ‘P.Q.’, really, throughout the whole building and during practice. Obviously, he’s three years in now, but [with] the communication portion, he’s a lot more comfortable in the system. I’d say he’s just … The game is slower for him. But he’s going to have a big-time role in this defense, and I think he knows that. It’s a big year for him. [I’m] just happy with his progress right now, honestly,” said Macdonald, via RavensWire.
Queen agrees he’s made strides as a player and is hoping for a breakout in Year 3.
“Just being more comfortable by being vocal and actually communicating and understanding stuff now,” Queen said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “Not even being frightened by this formation or that formation, or I got this responsibility or that responsibility. Just being able to be more vocal and more open-minded to stuff. Just being able to play football and relax.”
Steelers DC Teryl Austin said that he isn’t changing his aggressive defensive approach this season.
“I am me. I am always going to be me,” Austin said, via Chris Adamski of TribLive. “I know nothing else. So I don’t try to change all of a sudden because I am doing something different now. No, I am doing things the way I have always done them.”
Austin reiterated that they will be aggressive next season but also wants to avoid giving up big plays.
“We are going to be an aggressive defense. We are going to be sound. We are not going to give up big plays. We are going to keep scores low and give ourselves a chance to win,” Austin said. “I think that’s really what we want to see, and good defense requires getting off blocks, tackling, stopping the run and turning the ball over.”
Austin added that their coaching staff has a collective approach with their defensive system, while HC Mike Tomlin also makes his own additions.
“We have input from the staff and the head coach comes in and adds what he wants to add and the things that he wants to see in his defense because it is his team. And then we go from there, and we build our defense. The bottom line is that it is our defense,” said Austin.