Mike Priefer Spoke to the Media 11/26/21

Opening statement:

“Hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving. Excited to get back to work this morning and continue our preparation for the Baltimore Ravens. As you guys know, they are an outstanding football team, and they are built very well for special teams. (Ravens Head Coach) John (Harbaugh) did a great job in Philadelphia as a special teams coordinator. He has always put an emphasis on it, and (Ravens special teams coordinator) Chris Horton has done a great job as their coordinator, taking over for (former NFL coach and special teams coordinator) Jerry Rosburg when Jerry retired a couple of years ago. They just do not even skip a beat. New players and new returners, and they are still outstanding.”

On K Chase McLaughlin’s PAT getting blocked against the Lions:

“The PAT was a low kick. The protection was outstanding. He just hit it low. The guy (Lions DE Levi Onwuzurike) jumped up and timed it up perfectly. He has to get it higher than that. It was just a very low kick unfortunately.”

On McLaughlin missing kicks in recent weeks after starting the season strongly and the team’s confidence in McLaughlin:

“I am very confident in him. I have talked to him about that. I have not lost confidence in him at all. He missed one [field goal ] in Cincinnati, and he missed one [field goal] the other day. I can understand why you ask that question, but I think he will be just fine. He hit the ball well on Wednesday. We have a good day today. It is going to be cold obviously, like it is going to be on Sunday night in Baltimore. It will be a good challenge for him today with the conditions, but I am very confident in Chase.”

On the longest FG the Browns would potentially attempt with McLaughlin, regardless of weather conditions:

“We hit a 57-yarder earlier in our stadium. Of course, it was warmer. It depends on the wind and the weather. It is supposed to be a nice night – 39 or 40 degrees. Typical winds in Baltimore, not like our stadium, but it could get windy there. We will just see. Ask me that in pregame, and I will let you know (laughter).”

On Cowboys RB Tony Pollard posting a kickoff-return TD and factors leading to fewer kickoff-return scores in the NFL, including rule changes:

“That is part of it. I think the other part of it is people are content with kicking touchbacks so there are not as many. I think it used to be 45 percent touchbacks and then it was 50 or 55. Now, it is up around 60 percent touchbacks – at least it was last year, and I am sure we are in the same vicinity percentage-wise. There are not as many opportunities. Quite frankly, the kickers are getting better, and the punters are getting better in terms of the higher hangtime punts and the directional punting that people can do. I would think this time of year, you will have some more opportunities because of the wind and the weather for both punts and kickoffs. That is what we are preparing for.”

On McLaughlin’s self-confidence after a few missed opportunities:

“He is a very mentally tough young man. He has a lot of confidence in himself in a good way. He is not overconfident. He is not cocky. I just think he comes to work everyday expecting to make every kick, and when he does not, he is kind of surprised. ‘OK, what happened? Let’s fix it. Let’s move on.’ He is a very confident young man.”

On if McLaughlin may have more motivation this week with Ravens K Justin Tucker on the opposing sideline:

“I think anytime you play against the best in the league, hopefully, you outperform that person. Justin Tucker is outstanding. To me, at some point, he will be a first-ballot [Pro Football] Hall of Famer. He is a great kicker. We have gone against him several times, and he normally comes through. We did block one against him last year, which is very rare against him because his timing and his elevation are normally very good. Our charge is to put the best amount of pressure on him that we can and then let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully, he is not in a situation where he can hit a game-winner because that is what he does. He does a really good job. I think Chase knowing he is going up against that, I do not think it is him against Tucker – it is the Ravens against the Browns – but at the end of the day, obviously, he wants to put his best foot forward to help our football team win.”

On evaluating Tucker when entering the NFL and if he could tell Tucker would ultimately become a top NFL K:

“I knew he was good. I do not even think he was drafted. I know he was a college free agent. I think he has developed into and even at a young age two or three years in you knew he was going to be really good. He has just been so consistent. That is the mark of a true kicker. A lot of kickers have had great years, but he has a great year year after year after year. To me, the mark of a great kicker is when you can be that consistent performer.”

On where Tucker’s career compares to other Ks in the history of the NFL:

“I have been doing this for 20 years in this league, and he is probably one of the top one or two. You think of (former NFL K Adam) Vinatieri with the big kicks he made and his career. He has to be right up there with him.”

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