How Scott Peters used his in-depth MMA knowledge to help make the Browns O-Line even stronger


The concept of “rooting” is perhaps the strongest principle that Peters presented to the group. In the world of MMA, rooting means having the ability to keep both feet firmly planted in the ground when being pushed or exerting force on an opponent.

This skill, of course, translates well in the trenches. One of the most crucial things Peters preaches is that his players have both feet on the ground when initiating contact. Next, he examines how each player’s legs are bent and whether their foot placement and knee angles maximize their blocking power.

Perfect position is nearly impossible to replicate game after game, but nothing is impossible in the world of trainers Callahan and Peters, who never hesitate to correct their linemen no matter how successful the game is.

“It’s about maximizing your control and your relationship with the ground so that you can transfer all the force you can generate through the ground,” Peters said. “For example, if a guy is running and he hits someone on a pull-up block and one foot hangs off the ground, maybe the force he is creating is because he has a good acceleration and good speed. He has a lot of mass to hold the block, but maybe the other guy has a really good relation to the ground and he has better mechanics and better leverage, so you don’t win that one.

“We try to make it perfect every time.”

This philosophy was one of the reasons why Peters got fired in his first round of jiu-jitsu against a smaller opponent.

It’s also one of the reasons the Browns have been able to create so much depth in their offensive line since the start of last season.

Chris Hubbard, Blake Hance, Michael Dunn and Nick Harris were among the players who filled a starting capacity last season after injuries and positive COVID-19 tests beat the Browns up front. The offensive line only appeared in eight games in 2020 where its top five starters were in the lineup, but they remained one of the best units in the league.

Peters’ tutelage played a partial role in maintaining the group’s strength. When the mechanics of jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts are applied correctly, anyone has a chance against their opponent, regardless of size or strength.

Just ask Harris, a 2020 fifth-round pick that grabbed attention last year in Week 13 of Sunday Night Football. He replaced Chris Hubbard in the right guard post following an injury to Hubbard, who was already replacing Teller after being sent off due to injury.

Still, Harris, who is 22 and the roster’s smallest lineman at 6-1, 293 pounds, performed well and allowed only one hit and one sack.

“To the naked eye it probably looks like we are fighting the whole game,” he said. “But it’s not. It’s a lot more detailed than that, and it’s more about how he gives us tools to optimize and use our strengths with his teachings. There are a lot of tools. different things he presented to us that were really helpful. “

Peters’ knowledge even changed the way some of the top O-Line veterans viewed aspects of their position.

For Bitonio, an eight-year veteran, three-time Pro Bowler and the only Browns lineman to make the Pro Bowl last season, Peters helped him learn to be more aggressive in passing protection. These types of games generally require the linemen to step back and prepare for the rushers to attempt to cross them – in other words, the lineman is preparing to be passive, not aggressive.

But Peters encouraged his players to be the aggressor instead. He wants them to step up and attack first if they think it will help them win the battle, and he’s taught them several hand and arm movements based on the fundamentals of jiu-jitsu that can help them win. this fight.

“For me, I was a lot more about seeing what’s in front of me and reacting to what’s going on,” Bitonio said, “but it allowed me to play a little more aggressively. The way Scotty is. The catch is that sometimes we can stop a run before it has even started. A lot of the hitting and recovery moves he’s taught us come from MMA, body manipulation, and the way the body works.

“When you do it one way for six or seven years, you’re kind of locked into that lane, but I slowly started learning the melee and melee stuff. It starts to become. second nature, and I’m starting to use it a bit more in my protections. “

The slight changes in philosophy and technique have sprinkled the success across the entire offensive line, which hasn’t had any glaring weaknesses no matter who’s on the pitch. This is because the principles of jiu-jitsu and MMA are supposed to work against anyone.

Peters learned that the first time he tried sports – and typed.

But instead of it being the end of a short stint in another sport, Peters managed to turn the experience into one way to revolutionize another.

“There are a lot of great men and powerful men, but some are just more efficient than others,” he said. “I think it’s about looking at those little details to make sure you can maximize the potential against the best guys in the world.”

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