Former Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib is the next subject in our “Five Questions” series — and he’s currently in his second year with the Cleveland Browns.
The Lombardi Award winner started three times during his rookie season after the Browns selected him in the third round of last year’s NFL draft. He also played in 14 total games, racking up 20 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Nassib, who led the NCAA in sacks in 2015, discussed bringing a winning football team to Cleveland and what he expects in Year 2.
Q: You’ve been in the league for the a season now. What have you learned in your time with Cleveland?
A: A lot of things. Being in the NFL, it’s important to focus on football and not all the other things that come with it. I appreciate my team here. Everyone on the team is really humble and hard-working — a lot like the guys that I played with at Penn State. It’s been great.
Q: How prepared did you feel stepping into the NFL, having learned from both Larry Johnson and Sean Spencer?
A: I felt very prepared. There’s a lot of technique that I learned from both of those coaches that I utilize in the NFL. When they’d teach them in Cleveland, I already knew how to do ’em. I really appreciated having both those intelligent men be my coaches.
Q: With Cleveland, the way that last season went wasn’t ideal — since the Browns went 1-15. What are the team’s expectations for this upcoming season, and what was it like that first year under Hue Jackson?
A: It was a tough year. I hate losing at anything. But Coach Jackson is a great guy, and he’s a really, really intelligent coach. We’re lucky to have him here in Cleveland because he’s going to get the ship sailing in the right direction. We’ve got a great front office, did a great job in the draft and free agency, so I think you’re going to see a different team this year. We were a young, young team last year. At one point, we had like five rookies starting on defense, so we’re gaining a lot of experience. I’m really excited for my teammates, coaches, the organization as a whole and the fans. The fans here deserve to see a winning team, and I think that’s what we’re going to give them.
Q: You mentioned the draft. Obviously, the Browns took Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett at No. 1 overall. What are your thoughts on that pick, and the opportunity to compete alongside him every day?
A: I met Myles about a year-and-a-half ago down in Houston at an awards thing, and he’s a great kid. Very talented athlete, and hopefully there’s a lot we can learn from each other. I’m very excited for him to start working out with us in the next couple of weeks. Competition only makes you better, and I’m excited to have the best of the best be on our team. I think he’s that caliber.
Q: For you personally, what’s the next step in your development? What do you need to work on to take your game to the next level in Year 2?
A: There’s a lot of things, but really it’s just starting to kick ass. That’s all I’ve got to do.