HC Kevin Stefanski (10.15.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement:

“Injury related, guys are progressing. With (QB) Baker (Mayfield), taking it day by day here, and he is feeling better today so we will see. He will be limited again today. Another note, we had to send (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) home today with an illness, and with this day and age, you just have to be so careful in this environment so just want to make sure we are being proactive in that regard.”


On if there is concern Beckham’s may have COVID-19 or if it is an unrelated illness:

“Just with how the protocols are just you have to be careful. I do not want to assume anything, but with all of our guys, we will make sure we just follow the protocols and just be safe.”


On if Mayfield was able to throw at all in practice yesterday:



On if he expects Mayfield will do more in practice today:



On if Mayfield’s injury and ability to play is more of a factor of pain tolerance, mobility or flexibility:

“I think it is all the above. I think with any injury, there is always flexibility and movement and then there is a pain element to all of this, but he is progressing.”


On his confidence in QB Case Keenum if Mayfield is unable to play, particularly given Keenum’s experience:

“Yeah, I think all of our guys, you look back to that last game, guys step up and have to perform. Case has been a backup in this league for a very long time and he has been a starter. He understands how to prepare, if need be.”


On if the Browns are on ‘high alert’ with Beckham’s illness, given what has happened across the league in recent weeks related to COVID-19:

“I think we have been on high alert. I think that is just 2020. We just make sure that we are following every protocol there is and keep everybody safe.”


On if there is anything else the team can do after sending Beckham home:

“I do not think so. (Senior Vice President of Player Health & DevelopmentJoe Sheehan does a great job of making sure we are on top of all this.” 


On if Mayfield is producing better play fakes compared to last year:

“I do not want to compare it to last year. I could tell you how he is doing this year. I think he is doing a nice job. We really, really drill that, we emphasize it and he takes it to heart. He is doing everything he can to be a big part of the run game and the play-action game. For him in a lot of runs schemes, you are not blocking the backside defensive end, and we say the quarterback is blocking him by his run fake and by carrying out his fake. He is diligent about that. He knows he owns them, and I think he gets excited when a run comes out of there because he helped [occupy] the backside D end.”


On if Beckham recently tested negative for COVID-19, given the team would have to shut down the facility if it received a positive result for a player:

“Correct. He is just feeling under the weather. You guys have heard it said – abundance of caution.”


On if the Browns will find out more on Beckham’s status tomorrow and Beckham’s most recent COVID-19 test:

“Right. Correct.”


On if the Browns can learn from other opposing defenses’ mistakes against the Steelers offense: 

“Yeah, I think throughout the season you do as you play every single one of these games, you kind of file things away. I know the teams we have played both from an offensive perspective and defense perspective, you do see things show up if you do not do a great job of addressing them in the first games. You have heard it said it is a copycat league. Our defense, if something hurts them in a game, I promise you it is going to show up in the next game so that is why corrections are such a big part of this week to week.”


On if not having as many fans this weekend at Heinz Field makes a difference regarding DE Myles Garrett’s situation:

“I do not know. It is hard for me to say. I do know this: in our building, I heard all 12,000 of them.”


On if Beckham Jr. took a COVID-19 test this morning:

[Nods yes]


On the Browns will wait to proceed with Beckham until receiving his COVID-19 test results tomorrow:



On the potential impact if Beckham is unable to play Sunday:

“I do not know if I want to go there yet. I would tell you, obviously – you have heard me say this before – he is a big part of what we do. He works very hard throughout the week. He is doing a nice job.”


On if the Browns feel a need to bring in a third QB after QB Garrett Gilbert signed with the Cowboys from the Browns’ practice squad, particularly with Mayfield working through an injury:

“We have talked about it. We will work in constant communication about ways to get better at all the positions so it is something that we definitely talk about.”


On if it feels riskier to not have as many layers of depth at the QB compared to other positions:

“I think you definitely have contingency plans, and you have to make sure you are smart about it from that perspective, yes.”


On if any Browns players will return to practice today:

“I think we will see. I do not want to speak out of turn. Let’s get through it, and we will give you the update afterward.”


On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger this year and if Roethlisberger seems to be playing how he did prior to his injury last season:

“Definitely does to me. I have a ton of respect for the player he is and all of the games he has won there. He has done a great job. Just see that offense fits him to a T. He is able to make all the throws. He spreads the ball around to all their playmakers. He does a really, really nice job.”


On special teams coordinator Mike Priefer stating the team will make changes to its coverage units and LB Mack Wilson volunteering to contribute on special teams:

“We have to be better in that phase. That is no mystery. I know our players know that, and I do appreciate guys like Mack and I do appreciate a lot of guys on this team that really just want to help us win. I point out a guy like (LB Sione) Takitaki, who did not have a ton of plays on defense this last game – I want to say he had 15 or so – but he was outstanding on special teams. He affected the game. He helped us win. That is a great attitude that I think permeates throughout our building.”


On what makes the Steelers edge players so good how T Jedrick Wills Jr. has held up against strong players during the first five games:

“There is a speed rush. There is speed to power rush. There is just bull rush. There are different and varying ways the two guys in particular (Steelers OLB Bud) Dupree and (Steelers DE T.J.) Watt how they rush. They have a full arsenal. It is going to be a great challenge for (T) Jack (Conklin). It is going to be a great challenge for Jed. Like we have talked about in the NFL, it seems week to week there is always another guy coming at you, and this will be a big challenge this week.”


On G Joel Bitonio saying Wills is quiet during the week and then shows up ready and prepared to do his job on gameday:

“Yeah, that is fair. He is quiet. He is conscientious. He does a great job.”


On if the Steelers’ combination of outside players putting pressure on the pocket and the interior players collapsing the pocket places more pressure on the timing of play calls, particularly for pass plays:

“I think it definitely does. I think any time you face a front like this and a team that is applying pressure, you know you can’t hold the ball. That is just the nature of the beast. We have to have plays where guys get open quickly and then have enough plays where we are pushing the ball down the field and being smart about how we do that.”


On how much Steelers WR Chase Claypool’s standout performance last week was due to the Eagles maybe not having as much tape of Claypool’s ability and covering him with LBs, as well as how Claypool has changed the Browns’ preparation this week:

“There is definitely something to that with rookies. You do not have a full book on them. Physically, we, like everybody did on him coming out, physically extremely gifted – size, speed and all of that competing for the ball. Now that you have seen it on tape, I guess it maybe solidifies what you thought about him, but we definitely have to have a plan for all of their guys, and he is a huge part of what they are doing right now.”


# # #