HC Kevin Stefanski (11.11.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“We expect everybody to be out there on the practice field today. Have to have a great week of practice. We have a really good football team coming into our building. Starting with their offense, (Texans QB) Deshaun Watson, obviously an outstanding football player. Explosive. Makes plays late in the down. Their yards per play is very high. A really potent attack. On defense, (Texans DE) J.J. Watt, extremely disruptive player. As everyone knows, he can line up anywhere so everybody will have an opportunity to try to block him. He has very long arms and gets his hands on footballs. Special teams, they play very, very hard and have a really good returner. We have our work cut out for us there. Have a ton of respect for (Texans Head) Coach (Romeo) Crennel and his staff. We are anticipating this to be quite the challenge.”

On if QB Baker Mayfield has been cleared and is ready to practice today: 


On how RB Nick Chubb handled Monday’s practice: 

“He is progressing. I think we will continue to use each of these days to move him along and then make a determination Friday on where he is.”

On if G Wyatt Teller’s progression this week is similar to Chubb: 

“Yeah, I would say exactly the same way with both those guys.”

On Texans QB Deshaun Watson: 

“I think he is a tremendous football player. You saw what he was able to accomplish in college. They won the division last year and won a playoff game. He makes plays, like I said, late in the down and he makes them on time. He is a threat to run it. He can make all the throws down the field. It is readily apparent when you watch the tape how talented he is.”

On the focus during coaches’ meetings with Mayfield over the bye week:             

“I think AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) and the quarterbacks had some great meetings over the bye week and then even on Monday. Kind of used Monday as that bonus day to rehash some of the things that we did well. I think Baker would tell you there are moments where he was really good and moments that he wants to get better. I think that is just a great focus for our guys moving forward. We can help him, I know that. We can help him for sure in some of the design and some of the play calls. I think he is ready to ascend.”

On if the past two games give Mayfield momentum heading into the second half of the season: 

“Yeah, I think all the players when you come off good moments you want to build off of those so Baker is no different than a lot of our guys. I think there are some good moments that we can build off of and while also understanding that there is a ton that we all can get better.”

On why Mayfield is ready to ascend and if Mayfield’s comfort in the offensive system is a factor: 

“Yeah, I think it is. I think all of our players, the main focus was we have to get better. As individuals and as a team, we have to get better. That was our mantra that we have coming out of the bye. We can’t stay the same. I put Baker right in there. He has to continue to get better, and I think comfort level in what we are doing and my comfort level in understanding him and all of our players will allow us to put game plans together to play to our guys’ strengths.”

On the desired next step for Mayfield: 

“Continue to play at a level where we are winning football games, first and foremost. Then I think statistically as we all pull apart our own performance, you are going to look at areas and say, ‘Hey, I want to have a better completion percentage. I want to take care of the ball,’ or whatever it might be. For all of our guys, we tried to identify a few things that we can do better.”

On if it was a relief to find out Mayfield was cleared to return today: 

“I was pretty hopeful that he would be back in the building today – pretty confident, I should say.  He made sure that Monday and Tuesday he was spending a lot of time in meetings virtually, watching a lot of tape and preparing to play a solid game this week.”

On if there are any reservations about giving Chubb a full workload after returning from injury: 

“We will talk to Nick, we will talk to the trainers and talk to the doctors and see once we get through the week, really get to Friday and then put that plan together. Definitely, we will talk to Nick and see what he is comfortable with.”

On an update on CB Greedy Williams’ status: 

“No update. Again, I will just take you guys back to I think Greedy is trying very, very hard. He is rehabbing. He is attacking his rehab. We are just hoping that things continue to progress more, but I do not have a real update.”

On if he can imagine coaching at age 73 like Crennel: 

“I have not thought about that. I am trying to get through the week. He has done it at a high level. He has won Super Bowls. I am impressed with what he is doing with the team right now. Just looking back at his past, I think he should keep going as long as he is having fun doing it.”

On if he and the team have gotten used to daily testing and other COVID-19 protocols and what he has learned about the team from how they responded this week in the intensive protocols: 

“I think we are all used to it. We have talked about embracing the suck. It is not a lot of fun sometimes having the thing stuck up your nose every morning. By the way they do a great job, though, the [BioReference Laboratories] ladies out there. It is what it is. That is what we are dealing with. I applaud the guys from that perspective of moving on. It is the classic it is what it is. The intensive protocols, you are wearing masks; we are already wearing masks. We are meeting virtually; we had been meeting virtually. That is 2020. I think the guys understand that is the mentality of whatever it takes, you have to find a way.”

On dealing with Watson’s ability to escape the pocket and make plays: 

“We have all seen the play in the playoffs versus the Bills. He is a special talent when it comes to that. You just have to stay true to your rush integrity and then you really have to get as many people around him as possible. If it is one person, it is hard to bring him down. You have to have multiple people around him and stay disciplined in your rush.”

On if there were conversations during the bye week about preparing for weather conditions during the rest of the season: 

“Yeah, playing our games in Northeast Ohio and playing our games on Lake Erie, that is just part of how we operate. We have to expect the weather to be unpredictable. It is Wednesday so it is hard to look too far out in the weather report, but I think they are calling for rain on Sunday. We will see if that holds up. That is part of what we discuss as a coaching staff throughout the week as you put a gameplan together, and then you just have to take in more information as it gets later in the week as those reports maybe become more accurate.”

On if the Browns see opportunities to attack the middle of the field: 

“Yeah, we do talk about that. There are opportunities between those numbers to get big chunks and get explosive plays so that is always going to be an emphasis for what we do.”

On if Watt strikes the same fear into opponents, similar to DE Myles Garrett: 

“Definitely. He is a very, very unique player in that his combination of size, strength, athleticism, quickness and power is really unrivaled. He gets those long arms up, and he bats balls in the air. I want to say he has 25 forced fumbles in his career maybe. He is a very, very disruptive player. He lines up all over the formation so you can’t key in on where he is going to be. I have a huge amount of respect for what he has done in his career.”

On if he envisions a bigger role for WR Taywan Taylor: 

“I think we will see how it goes. He is certainly somebody that has a good skillset. With our entire room, I think you see the wide receivers in general a bunch of different players – some bigger, some smaller, some faster, some quicker. Taywan is a guy that can really run. He has made plays in practice consistently so we will kind of see how his role evolves.”

# # #