CLEVELAND-- Christian Kirksey said it not once, not twice, but five times.
After the Browns' starting defense allowed 259 passing yards in a half against Tampa, Kirksey reiterated that the term "panic" was not to be used to describe the attitude of the unit.
"We are not in panic mode," Kirksey said. "We have a long way to go, and right now, we are just fine tuning things and seeing where we are.”
Though the game in Tampa was the most recent and possibly the most disappointing performance for the defense, the unit hasn't played well in any of the three preseason games thus far.
Following a game in which it allowed 320 yards to the Green Bay Packers back-up unit, the Falcons posted 498 yards in a 24-13 win in Cleveland.
Despite the struggles of the defense in the exhibitions, Kirksey assured that they won't be a sign of things to come when the real games begin.
"That is what the preseason is for, to see where you are and see what type of guys you have and where we stand on defense," Kirksey said. "Once preseason is over and we get into regular season, we are going to hit the ground running."
Part of the reason for Kirksey's confidence comes from his love for defensive coordinator Ray Horton.
Horton, according to Kirksey, is still experimenting with the defense and when he finds the right formula, the unit is going to come together quickly.
"Ray, he is like a mad scientist," Kirksey said. He is ridiculous when it comes to putting guys on the field and putting them in the best position to make plays... We are still developing guys. I just believe Ray has a master plan and that he will develop everyone into being the best player they can be.”
Another reason for Kirksey's lack of panic is the things he's seen on film.
Things certainly aren't going well as a whole, but when diving deeper, the mistakes made by the defense can be fixed quickly, at least in his estimation.
"We watched the film and we see some correctable things that we can correct," Kirksey said. "We are still trying to define ourselves and see where we are."
The mistakes stem, according to Kirksey, from some of the inexperience on the defense. The unit has plenty of young guys, but he feels there's an advantage to the general youth.
"They give us an extra motor," Kirksey said. "A lot of guys are fresh that can run for days and have a lot of energy so you have to look at the positivity in that and just keep going out there and playing football."
Between the inexperience and the lack of results in the preseason, the reasons to not believe in the Browns defense seem to outweigh the reasons for faith.
Still, Kirksey is steadfast in his confidence-- panic is not part of the equation.
"We are not panicking or anything-- we know what we have and that talent that we have," Kirksey said. "I believe in all of our guys and I believe in this defense and this scheme. I believe we will be fine."
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