Mark Duffner on Disrupting Offenses & Working With Dick LeBeau and Woody Hayes

DC Mark Duffner spoke to the media on Wednesday during Week 7 about his goals in his new role.

(On keeping positive being a big part of his coaching)

“That’s just been how I approach life. That’s my personality, so I hope it’s been a big part of it with them. I believe we live each day to the fullest. If it’s drinking water or coaching linebackers or whatever it is, I’m going to do the best I can and have the most fun doing it. That’s where I’m at on that.”

(On how much Dick LeBeau has influenced his coaching)

“I learned a lot from a lot of coaches. I’ve been blessed from the very beginning being with Woody Hayes and having the chance to learn from him as a 21-year-old, wet-behind-the-ears coach. Certainly, all of them have had a big impact on me. Coach LeBeau did in a big way. I had the privilege to work with him for six years and on a daily basis learned from him. In the transition from being a college coach for 22 years and I had been a coordinator for nine and head coach for 20 years I guess and a head coach for 11 and now I’m in the NFL. I couldn’t have had a better mentor if you will to be under and learn from than Coach LeBeau. Many, many, many other coaches that I’ve had the privilege to be with.”

(On his approach to the defense)

“I believe our approach has always been we play defense as aggressively as we possibly can. That doesn’t define meaning necessarily all blitz or pressure. That means that you play hard, that you play physical, you play smart – all those words kind of go into that word, ‘aggressive’. You can play aggressive coverage and be in zone defense. You can play aggressive run defense and not be in a pressure situation, so I think aggressive and physical is what we’ve got to be on defense. Defense has no room for being soft.”

(On how he keeps his energy so high at his age)

“I didn’t think you had to go down that road [laughs]. I have to probably thank my genetics I guess a little bit with that, in terms of that. My philosophy is to be upbeat and positive I don’t see what you gain from not being that. Some people chose to do that. We all have that choice. Mine is to – shoot, let’s go after it with gusto whatever we’re doing and I think that you come away from it better after the result.”

(On what he sees in Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield)

“I think that first of all I see a guy that’s also energetic. He plays with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of confidence. As far as what we’re going to have to do it comes back to again improving our skills in terms of fundamentals so that we can execute. Shoot, he’s a pro football quarterback, NFL quarterback who’s a first round pick. Wouldn’t be there if he didn’t have things pretty special about him. We certainly have a challenge with that in front of us.”

(On maintaining relationships with players)

“Anything you’re involved with, I think it’s all much better for everybody involved if you show care. If your players know that you care about them, I think they’re going to respond in a positive way. They know if it’s genuine or not. I love what I’m doing. You get a chance to see people in a lot of different scenarios where you can assist them in terms of whether it’s off the field or on the field in terms of interaction with them and really getting to know them. How lucky have I been? Geez. It’s been unbelievable.”