HC Kevin Stefanski (10.28.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“Injuries wise, (C) JC (Tretter) will not practice today just with the knee. Hoop (TE Austin Hooper) is still recovering from the appendectomy. We will hold (DE) Myles (Garrett) out today, just with being cautious with an ankle. Other than that, we should be all ready to go.


“Big challenge this week in our building versus the Las Vegas Raiders, a well-coached football team. On offense, a ton of weapons. Obviously, the tight end, the receivers, the back and an extremely skilled quarterback that can make every throw. Defensively, the scheme we know a little bit with (Raiders defensive coordinator) coach (Paul) Guenther, and then they add (Raiders defensive line coach) Rod Marinelli to the group and you see his influence on what they are doing. It is a very physical front. It is a very disciplined, sound defense. They rotate coverages really throughout. They do a nice job. We are going to have our work cut out for us, but we have to have a great week of practice to get ready.”


On where WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has made his biggest strides this season: 

“He has done a nice job at practice. He is always – I know this sounds simple – in the right place at the right time, and getting lined up is not sometimes an easy thing for young players at the wide receiver position. We are able to line him up at multiple positions. When he has had opportunities at practice, he has made a play on the ball. That is really going all the way back through training camp. He has done a nice job. He studies very hard. He does a great job in the meeting room. Obviously, provides us with some special teams value, as well.”


On if he expects Garrett to practice later in the week, given he said it was being cautious that Garrett would not practice today: 

“I would expect that, but we will gather more information and know more later in the week.”


On how much confidence QB Baker Mayfield can gain from Sunday’s game: 

“I hope all of our players gain confidence when you can get a W in the fashion we did. Obviously there for Baker and being as efficient as it was, you always hope to build off those type of things, but I do not think Baker lacks for confidence.”


On if he expects WR KhaDarel Hodge to play this week: 

“I do.”


On if he expects Hodge to pick up from where he was playing before the injury and if Hodge could potentially start opposite of WR Jarvis Landry or if that is still to be determined: 

“I would say still to be determined. We will see how practice goes, but I do anticipate that he will be available on Sunday.”


On Mayfield winning AFC Offensive Player of the Week: 

“Obviously, anytime you get recognized like that, I think it is great for the guys. I am sure Baker would say this – maybe he did said this – but you get recognized individually, and you really have to share in that with the rest of your team. Just thinking about the catches that the guys made in that game, the contested catches, (WR) Rashard (Higgins) high-pointing one at the end, (TE) David Njoku’s catch in the end zone, it takes those guys to have a quarterback have the numbers he had. Great individual award and happy for Baker, but I think it is also a testament to the entire group.”


On the difficult throws Mayfield made and if those were successfully due to mechanics or confidence: 

“I would say it is both. When you are having success at the quarterback position, your mechanics have to be right to maintain accuracy and then obviously, confidence goes a long way for a trigger man. Again, I go back to that is the Baker I have seen in practice. He lets it rip because he trusts his guys.”


On if seeing Peoples-Jones, Njoku and Higgins step up on offense puts his mind at ease as a play caller, knowing he can count on those players: 

“I think you gain confidence through the week just watching those guys practice. The guys you mentioned, they get a ton of reps during the week so I see them do it. I know they are working hard in the meeting rooms. I know their coaches are working hard with them to get them ready so once Sunday rolls around, you feel really good about the plan based on the week that you have had.”


On how RB Kareem Hunt is feeling and Hunt’s ability to carry defenders:  

“I think he is feeling pretty good, as good as you can feel on a Wednesday after 21 touches or whatever it was. That is what Kareem does. He makes plays. He breaks tackles. He runs through tackles. He provides great leadership on the sideline. He was fighting for extra yards, and that is just the person he is and that is the player he is. I know that fires up the offense, and I know that fires up the entire team.”


On if there is any truth to the notion that Mayfield approaches the game and progressions differently when Beckham is not on the field: 



On if he rejects the media narrative that Mayfield may be better off without Beckham: 

“I do reject that, yes.”


On CB Denzel Ward sliding beneath the blocker to make the tackle behind the line of scrimmage on a screen play: 

“I wish I could take credit for that. That is an old (former NFL CB) Antoine Winfield Sr. move right there.”


On if he had any tackles like Ward’s when he played at Penn: 



On if the pressure on Mayfield could decrease now that there is not a ‘need’ to get the ball to Beckham: 

“I really do not think so. Again, Odell is a great, great player. We are going to miss him. I feel sick still without him in the building, but our offense is based on 11 guys and the quarterback going through his reads. It was like that with No. 13 in there, and it will be like that without No. 13 in there.”


On the analytical differences between when Mayfield is targeting Beckham and how Mayfield has played when Beckham is off the field: 

“I am not smart enough to make an argument for that. I will just tell you, I would much rather have No. 13 on the field, if available to us. He is not so we will make sure we have a plan to make sure we can move the ball any which way we can.”


On how things change for him as a play caller without Beckham and how opposing defenses will gameplan against the Browns offense: 

“I think that remains to be seen. We talk about what we might see from the Raiders this week and the way they may view us, and then we have to see how that shakes out. Like we talked about on Monday – I think you guys know this – I trust the guys we have. We will have multiple roles for some people because you are not going to just plug and play one person for Odell. I do not think that is realistic. We have a really good wide receiver room. Feel good about our tight ends and our running backs. This is a team effort, and we are going to need a team effort to beat a good Raiders team on Sunday.”


On if there is a chance G Wyatt Teller will be able to play on Sunday:

“I still would not rule him out today, but I will know more tomorrow and Friday.”


On if the Browns have changed anything due to the COVID-19 situation, particularly given how the Raiders’ past week was impacted:

“Them specifically did not make us change anything, but we are making slight adjustments to how we meet in an effort to space out and make sure there is no chance of any close contacts in our building.”


On if the goal is to not have a chain reaction where if one person tests positive that other players also have to go home:

“Yeah, we do not want any blinking red on this guy [points to Kinexon device].”


On when the Browns changed spacing adjustments and other efforts related to COVID-19:

“Today, what we did was we kept our meetings virtual this morning for the practice squad so that the meeting rooms had a few less people in there so the guys could spread out even more in those meetings rooms, and we are just going to make sure that we adjust. We will not have an afternoon meetings – we will do those meetings on the field so we can spread out, and then we will add a few more minutes in the morning to have those meetings that we typically would have in the afternoon. Not huge changes, but just trying to be as diligent as we can and limit the exposures and limit the chances of close contacts.”


On Higgins’ long catch on the game-winning drive and what makes Higgins so efficient with opportunities:

“He has great ball skills. I think he is a savvy route runner. I think he understands coverage. That was obviously a very impressive catch. I think just as impressive was the back shoulder that Baker threw to him earlier in the game. Just a great feel for how coverage causes maybe the ball to be in a different spot, and I just think that is a savviness that he has.”


On if there will be multiple scenarios prepared to adjust the Browns offense without WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“I give a ton of credit to the offensive staff. Huddled up on Monday and made sure that we had a plan moving forward. We have depth at that position, and then we have to make sure that we use that depth to highlight the strengths of each one of those guys.”


On if the Browns offensive meeting to discuss those adjustments without Beckham ‘was a marathon session’:

“No. We are pretty efficient when we meet. I think the guys understand what we are trying to do. Again, it just goes back to who do you have available to you and let’s go highlight their strengths.”


On if there is a possibility RB Nick Chubb could return after the bye week:

“That is a possibility, yes.”


On the Browns’ perfect record at home this season:

“I think those 12,000 fans are nice and loud. I think the guys love playing in that building, and we are excited to get out in front of our fans this week.”


On if he had to see the chemistry between Mayfield and Higgins at live game speed to fully realize that

the two ‘have something special’:

“I would tell you I think you are right, but I also think it is just reps. I think you can’t discount how many reps those guys have had together at practice. I think back to this summer and the spring when Austin Hooper went down and ran some routes for Baker. That is how you build a rapport there is just the shared number of reps.”


On if he anticipates replacing Peoples-Jones as the return specialist due to increased offensive reps:

“I do not think so, no.”


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