HC Kevin Stefanski (11.19.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

On managing the Browns roster with players currently out and who is expected to return to practice tomorrow: 

“Day by day. I think (DE) Myles (Garrett) is scheduled to come back tomorrow. We will see. I think (T) Jack (Conklin) potentially, and (K) Cody (Parkey) will be potential on Saturday. It is just day by day and making sure we are following the rules.”


On if it gets tougher to keep a one-game, one-week focus and not look at the playoff picture as the season progresses: 

“It is not tough for me. I am sure guys are human in that regard. For us in here, we really do not go there. These games are too important and the preparation required is too important to spend any time with your mind wandering elsewhere.”


On if there is a certain point in the season where making the playoffs becomes a carrot to motivate players as a goal or if it is something that is always in the back of everyone’s mind: 

“I think it is the goal the moment you get together. That first training camp meeting, I promise you all 32 clubs talked about their goals and what they want to do. You state them early and then just make sure you are playing good football throughout.”


On how Garrett is feeling: 

“I have not checked in with (Senior Vice President of Player Health & Development) Joe (Sheehan) yet about Myles, but again, with all of this, you just have to follow the protocols.”


On the NFL requiring all teams to remain in intensive protocols the rest of the season and how that impacts the Browns: 

“In a lot of ways, we are very used to it. The guys are also used to the schedule changing every other day, it feels like. Again, I think that has just has made sure that our guys understand that they have to be on their toes and that there are going to be some curveballs coming their way and they can’t blink, and they have not. In terms of the intensive protocol, it is kind of what we are used to. A lot of virtual teaching. We are not having any of those meetings in house anymore or out on the field. Guys are wearing the Oakley face shields and masks obviously. For us, it is very much business as usual.”


On the screen game and if he agrees that RB Kareem Hunt is good in that area when having open space, as well as what makes a team good at screen plays: 

“I think it is multifaceted in what type of screen are you talking about is really kind of how it shakes out. With a running back screen, and you mentioned Kareem, there is definitely a feel for that. There is a savviness to that. Then there is having the ball in his hands and making people miss. I think everybody knows Kareem is a talented ball carrier in that regard. There is so much that goes into the screen game, whether it is a running back screen, a tight end screen or a wide receiver screen. It really does take 11 guys to be on point using the technique and then timing and landmarks are so critical on screens to really get those things going. Sometimes the defense makes a great play and it looks not so good for the offense, and the next time, you get a different look at it and it is a great one coming out so there is some volatility in how the screens come out of the game.”


On what a team loses with less in-person time in the intensive protocols, particularly as it relates to having less time than the offseason: 

“Obviously, you lose something. We do not have any meals [together] in the building anymore. The guys grab-and-go all of their meals so you are not sharing meals with each other. There is a time limit that they spend in the locker room. It is get in and get out. It is very unfortunate when you are talking about a team sport that you can’t spend a lot of time with your team, and I think all 32 are experiencing that. We make sure that we are out there at practice, we are doing our jobs and trying as much to constantly come together as a team – I do not think that is just an offseason type thing – but it is a challenge. I am sure that all 32 are facing.”


On if there is a greater sense of urgency to  build camaraderie during the in-person time at practice:   

“I think the urgency is always there to get your work in so I do not sense that any more now than before.”


On if he anticipates C JC Tretter will be at practice today: 

“I do.”


On if Tretter was excused from yesterday’s practice for personal reasons: 



On how coaches and players are handling family life while in the intensive protocols: 

“It is hard. Again, nothing that the rest of the country I am sure is not dealing with. Some guys’ kids are virtual. Some guys’ kids are in school. It is just a strange time. We try to educate everybody about making choices that keep everybody safe, but it is a challenge just like it is for everybody out there.”


On if there are any players that needed to make adjustments to their family life or if players are taking it upon themselves to do that: 

“We have talked about it. When you are in the intensive protocols, you can’t hang out together outside of this building. For us, we just try to educate everybody on the risks that are involved when you are talking about having anyone in your home or wherever when you leave this building, once you leave this building, you have to make smart decisions. We talk a lot about that.”


On specific ways the Browns have tried to continue building team chemistry during the season: 

“For the season, you really do get wrapped up in your preparation. As much as you can, you have light moments out at practice or on the Zoom calls. It is a little bit harder, but it is not impossible to have some fun while you are working. That has kind of been our focus. Nothing specific other than to tell you the guys do a great job when they are on the Zoom calls and when they are out there at practice, making sure that we are getting our work done and doing it at a high level with a bunch of enthusiasm.”


On if Eagles QB Carson Wentz is difficult to prepare for due to Wentz’s and the Eagles offense’s inconsistency this season: 

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Carson Wentz and this offense. It is not hard to see what he is capable of. This year, he is making plays. You go back previous years, he is making plays. He is a unique talent in his size and his ability to move. You mentioned he can make every single throw so he presents a very, very real challenge for our defense.”


On if it is both challenging and opportunistic for the Browns defense that Wentz has been holding onto the ball longer: 

“That is not much different than last week versus (Texans QB) Deshaun Watson, somebody that could beat you from the pocket on time then has the ability to buy a lot of time and beat you late in the down. A very similar challenge.”


On how much it has meant to have fans at home games this season: 

“I am extremely appreciative of our 12,000 strong. It is a different year. I can’t wait to see that stadium filled at some point, but for now, we will just follow the protocols. I really do appreciate how loud they have been. I feel their enthusiasm. I definitely am looking forward to a point when FirstEnergy Stadium is full to capacity. We will see when that happens, but for now, we really do enjoy having our fans there.”


On the fans sticking around at games even through hail: 

“That is right.”


On the Browns defense’s biggest area of growth since the beginning of the season: 

“I think that bye week was big for us to take those eight games, look at them and kind of ask questions of what we could do better from a personnel standpoint and from a schematic standpoint. I think we are looking forward to applying some of those lessons. It runs the gamut of answers. Things that we can do better, putting our guys in positions better. Situationally we have talked at length about getting off the field on third and fourth down. I think our guys are excited to continue to grow in those areas.”


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