HC Kevin Stefanski (10.14.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement:

“You guys got the DNPs and then (QB) Baker (Mayfield) will be limited out there. Looking forward to getting back on the grass with the guys.

“For the challenge this week, a really, really good football team – 4-0 and playing at their place. I think it is going to be a very, very big challenge. I think the guys are excited about it. Just looking at them across the board, obviously, well-coached. Have a ton of respect for that coaching staff. What they are able to do on offense, they have Big Ben (Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger) who is playing great just. He is so comfortable and that scheme. They have playmakers across the board. Really good up front. On defense, very impressive. They attack. They are physical. Really, really good players. A bunch of first-rounders up front. They vary their scheme so it can be a huge challenge for our offense. Special teams, very sound. (Steelers special teams coordinator) Coach (Danny) Smith has been doing it a very, very long time, one of the great ones. A big challenge for us, and I think the guys are excited.”


On DE Myles Garrett as a player, person and leader and how Garrett will be able handle his emotions this week:

“I think Myles has addressed it. I feel like it is something that he has definitely put in the past, he has definitely learned from and has grown from. I know the focus for our team and for Myles is on this game, but I trust that he has grown a lot in the last year.”


On Mayfield being limited in practice, if Mayfield will wear a flak jacket and if Mayfield will get more action in practice as the week progresses:

“I think we will take it each day at a time here. In terms of flak jacket and all those types of things, I just do not know. He is sore today so we will work through it today and then see where he is tomorrow.”

On the Steelers defense bringing various blitzes and fronts and the challenge preparing for the unit:

“They do a great job. The tape is very, very impressive. They do pressure a lot, based on the numbers, whether it is base or sub. They do a great job with it. They know what they are doing. They are attacking protections. They rush with violence. I think it is a very impressive, formidable scheme.”

On starting the game aggressively against the Cowboys and if that is indicative of his preference to be aggressive versus a ‘stall ball’ approach against potent opponents:

“Yeah, we have not talked about stall ball. That was kind of back in sixth grade CYO, keeping the ball away from the other team (laughter). Honestly, the way we look at it offensively every week is how can we move the ball. Early and late, how can we move it and how can put some points on the board. It is whatever the defense – we have talked about it before – but it is really, what do we feel like gives the defense problems and what do we feel like we do well, and that is typically where our game plan lands.”

On if Mayfield being listed as limited in today’s practice means he will not participate in the team portion of practice:

“I would not go as far as to say that, no.”

On if it is mandatory for a QB needs to get significant team work during the week to be prepared for a high-profile game like Sunday’s:

“No, I think every game kind of stands on its own merit. You get ready for Thursday night games with a very limited amount of full-speed team reps. I think every player is different and certainly every week is different.”

On if S Ronnie Harrison Jr. is in the facility:


On if Harrison has been able to do anything in the concussion protocol:

“Honestly, I would be speaking out of turn.”

On Steelers WR Chase Claypool’s breakout performance on Sunday and how that adds to a challenging Steelers offense with several established playmakers:

“That is a huge benefit for their offense. They have a young player who can come in there and is big, physical and can make plays on the ball. To couple him with the other weapons that they have is a very big advantage.”

On how players that stepped up at S have handled adversity and potential concern if Harrison and S Karl Joseph are not able to play:

“I think we will just kind of take it day by day as it relates to that. We talked about it earlier in the week. Ronnie went in and performed. (S) Sheldrick (Redwine) went in and performed. That is what you have to do as a backup. I know it is cliché, but we have kind of lived it. It is next man up, and we do not expect there to be a drop off when the depth comes in.”

On facing the Steelers defense after facing the Colts defense last week:

“Yeah, both great, great defenses, and both are completely different schemes. That is the challenge in the NFL is week-to-week you are going up against some great schemes and great players, and sometimes it is completely different and a 180 from the previous week. They play a different front than the previous team. They are going to blitz us a lot, but I just think it is a great marriage and really good football players with a really, really good scheme.”

On if Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin has always been intense, including when they were together in Minnesota during 2006:

“I have a ton a respect for Mike, a good friend. We had a great year together. You have to remember that was Mike T, (Steelers defensive line coach) Karl Dunbar, who is the defensive line coach there in Pittsburgh, (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods was our defensive backs coach, (senior offensive assistant) Kevin Rogers who is here and (passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O’Shea who is here so a little bit of a Vikings reunion there for us. Impressed with what he has been able to do there over the course of however many years it has been. He has done a great job.”

On what impresses him most about the way Tomlin coaches his teams:

“They are always prepared. He does everything. They are prepared. They win football games any which way they need to. He is a very outstanding coach.”

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s performance this year, particularly following last season’s injury:

“He is a problem for defenses. He is an outstanding football player. The comfort level in this scheme and what they have been doing there for so long, he understands exactly where to go with the ball and gets it to the playmakers. He still is the physically gifted player that he has always been. You said it, coming back off of injury, he looks outstanding to me.”

On if he expects WR Jarvis Landry and DE Olivier Vernon back at practice later this week:

“I do.”

On confidence in the Browns OL and offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s impact on the unit’s play:

“I think they are playing good ball for us. We are going to need them to continue to do that this game from a protection standpoint and from a run game standpoint obviously. I think you will see with all five of those guys, whoever is in there, the guys are applying the technique that we are teaching him. You mentioned Coach Callahan, he does a great job with those guys. They spend a lot of time together in the meeting room and they spend a lot of time together on the practice field, and they are taking to heart the coaching that Coach Callahan provides.”

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