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Notes: LB coach Blake Williams has taken over as play caller on defense

BEREA — Linebackers coach Blake Williams took on added responsibility when his dad, Gregg, was named interim coach.

Blake Williams revealed Friday that includes calling the defensive plays during games. He makes the decisions and relays them to middle linebacker Joe Schobert through the headset. Gregg Williams, who remains defensive coordinator, called the plays for the first nine games, including one as interim coach, before handing off to Blake for the last two — both wins.

Previously Gregg would consult with Blake for a percentage of the calls.

“I will admit that there is a difference between random times … then getting into a flow of just the rhythm of being able to do it,” Blake said. “That is a small difference from that standpoint, and that is nice.”


He called plays in 2012 when he served as coordinator with the Rams as Gregg served a season-long league suspension for his leading role in the Saints’ bounty scandal.

This time around, Gregg has veto power over each call and Schobert has final say depending on what’s happening before the snap. Blake said the coaches spend so much time working on the game plan and playing out scenarios that he and Gregg would call the same things.

“We know what we are going to do ahead of time,” Blake said.

He said the duties during the week haven’t changed since Gregg took over for Hue Jackson when he was fired Oct. 29. Gregg builds the game plan and leads the defensive meetings.

“From a defensive standpoint, it is the same operation that it has been day in and day out,” Blake said. “There is a difference between the responsibilities of a coordinator and then the calling of a play. Those are two very different things.”

Blake is also an adviser when situations arise during games.


Safety Tyrann Mathieu was a free agent in March and chose the Texans over the Browns, despite a sales pitch by Gregg Williams.

“I’m sure Tyrann will tell you that I was trying like heck to recruit him to come here,” Williams told Houston reporters on a conference call. “He’s done a very good job. He’s smart as all get out on how he’s able to help other people play around him because he has a lot of awareness of where the ball’s going.”

Mathieu signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Houston. He’s started all 11 games and has 66 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

“It was an interesting conversation but, at the end of the day, I didn’t feel like that was the right fit for me,” Mathieu told the Houston Chronicle.


The Texans have won eight straight after opening the season with three losses. The Browns (4-6-1) have won two straight and aren’t intimidated.

“A team that just won 10 games just got beat by somebody who was (6-5),” defensive end Myles Garrett said.

Gregg Williams really likes Houston QB Deshaun Watson but would draft Garrett at No. 1 again.

He was referring to Dallas’ 13-10 win over New Orleans on Thursday night, snapping the Saints’ 10-game winning streak. Williams mentioned the upset to the players Friday.

“Anything can happen,” defensive end Chris Smith said of the coach’s message. “It is a week-by-week league. The main thing is that it is all about us and what we do. As long as we are executing, it is not about anybody else that we play. We stack two in a row, we stack three in a row and we just keep that same mindset.”


Free safety Damarious Randall (hamstring) was limited in practice, added to the injury report and listed as questionable for the game. Williams said he expected him to play.

** Rookie offensive lineman Austin Corbett, the No. 33 pick, was ruled out with a foot injury. Williams said he doesn’t think it’s a season-ending injury.

** Center JC Tretter (ankle) returned to practice in a limited capacity and was listed as questionable. He’s expected to play.

** The Texans listed defensive end J.J. Watt (knee) and receiver Keke Coutee (hamstring) as questionable. Watt is expected to play, and coach Bill O’Brien said Coutee would be a gametime decision.


Special teams coordinator Amos Jones said Williams is giving him more time in practice to do full-speed field goal block and protection drills. Jones said the preparation helped Myles Garrett block a kick in Cincinnati.

** Safety Jabrill Peppers lost $100 to cornerback Denzel Ward because Ohio State beat Michigan last week.

“Man of my word,” Peppers said. “They didn’t even expect that. They could have got me for more because I was overly confident. I’ll settle for a hundred.”

** Offensive lineman Jake Eldrenkamp was signed to the practice squad. The Browns had an open spot after safety Montrel Meander was signed to Oakland’s active roster earlier Friday.

Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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