HC Kevin Stefanski (11.23.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“I will start with injuries, and I will start the COVID list. (DE) Myles (Garrett) will be out this week. He will stay on the COVID list. (FB) Andy Janovich and (T) Chris Hubbard, we are really waiting to see on those guys so I can’t rule them in or out. Injuries coming from the game, we talked about (S) Ronnie Harrison (Jr.) and got his MRI back. He will be day to day to day with a knee contusion. (S) Sheldrick Redwine also has a knee issue that he is working through – day to day see how he progresses. (CB) Denzel Ward came in with a calf that we are getting MRIs on, and I will update you when I have those results.

 

“Going back to the game, like we talked about yesterday, guys fought really hard. Some adverse conditions there. Just thought the way the defense played, how hard they played, getting their hands on the ball and constantly going after that team, I thought was really impressive. Able to close it out there and win a situational football game there with our special teams having the hands team out there. Offense being able to take some time off the clock. Good complementary football there to get a W.”

 

On confirming that Garrett will be out for the Jacksonville game: 

“Yes.”

 

On Browns players not having as much success earlier in the year and then those players producing yesterday without Garrett and factors for it:

“I can’t speak to the first part, but I will tell you, yesterday, those guys were relentless in their pass rush. They played the run really well. A really good collective effort from the defensive line, and it is something that we need from those guys every game.”

 

On if Ward reported the calf injury today: 

“Correct.”

 

On the severity of Ward’s injury: 

“I really do not know. I will update you guys when we get the (MRI) results.”

 

On the pride in the team’s ability to make adjustments during the game: 

“That is our job as coaches to see what is going on and make adjustments. I think the misnomer is that they are halftime adjustments. There are adjustments within a series. There are adjustments really happening all the time, whether it be personnel using somebody else out there and putting in different personnel out there. There were a few things we did offensively and we adjusted a few routes on a couple of plays that we had not practiced that way, but watching how they were playing, we thought they might have a chance. We changed some formations up late in the game. Some runs that we had in the gameplan but we ran them out of some different formations based on what we were seeing. Defensively, (defensive coordinator) Joe (Woods) called a couple of different line movements early. What happens is you are trying to call the game that is called for. That is really our job to see what is going on and put our guys in position to succeed.”

 

On what goes into a team being successful at in-game adjustments: 

“I think you have to have great communication first and foremost. I think that is what I am really hard on our coaches to make sure that during the game we are all communicating well and then getting that information to the players because ultimately, it does not matter what we know; it matters what our players know, what they can handle and what they can put into practice or put into the game.”

 

On how Garrett is feeling and why Garrett is being ruled out at this point of the week, due to COVID-19 protocols: 

“I am not going to get into specifics per se on how he is feeling. I will just tell you we are ruling him out because that is what the protocols call for. We are just following the rules, and we will continue to do so.”

 

On WR Jarvis Landry’s lower snap count yesterday: 

“I think that is kind of how the game unfolded there. There were a couple of personnel groups late in the game that culture one receiver, and (WR KhaDarel) Hodge was taking the bulk of those. Jarvis, you guys know how I feel about him, how hard he plays and how he battles, and the plays he is making are making a difference in our wins and losses.” 

 

On if it was surprising that players were not slipping on the field late in the game, given the rainy conditions: 

“It gives me an opportunity to give a shout out to our grounds crew down there who do an outstanding job at the stadium and here in Berea. That does not surprise me. I thought the rain was a little bit heavier earlier in the game than late, but those were the elements, and I thought both teams had to deal with them.”

 

On if there is an advantage to knowing Garrett has been ruled early in the week rather than on Friday: 

“I guess for the defensive staff and as we put the gameplan together, we know who is available to us. Sometimes you have to wait through the week. Oftentimes, a guy is coming off of an injury and you have to wait and you will not see him on Wednesday, then he practices a little on Thursday and then you have to make a determination Friday. Whatever we have to do in that regard to make sure we have the guys in the right position.”

 

On who has stepped up on the Browns OL in addition to G Wyatt Teller, who has high Pro Football Focus ratings

“You mentioned (G) Wyatt (Teller). I thought he had a solid day. I think there are some things that I would like him to do better. I think he has a ton of room for improvement. All of it is technique related. I think he understands that, and I think our offensive line as a group understands that they can play a lot better.”

 

On sticking with the run game and how much of that is philosophical and how much is his belief in RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt: 

“I just think all of those games are their own entities, and that is what yesterday called for. You mentioned Kareem and Nick, I do think that that they are the type of runners that they eventually will pop one. I think we faced a really tough, stout run defense yesterday. They got their fair share of good rushes on us. They defeated blocks so the runs ultimately were not there, like you mentioned in the first half, but I know how close those are. You just look at the (Microsoft) Surface and you look at the pictures on the sideline, and you know how close they are. We just felt like we were going to stick with a balanced approach there, give those guys a few turns and make sure we were making ourselves difficult to defend, and then with their ability to break a couple late in the game I think was how we were able to cement the lead and get out of there with a win.”

 

On preparing the team to face a team with a 1-9 record: 

“Have our best week of practice first of all and then go down there and play our best to win. We do not think we are good enough to just show up and play. That is definitely not the case with us. There is a ton of room for improvement so our focus really goes to Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and the type of preparation that is required to get a road win.”

 

On if he reminds the team that opponents have been in close games during all of the Browns’ wins: 

“They have been in all these games. They understand how it is nip and tuck, and our job is to find a way to win any which way we can. I am sure that will be this week, as well.”

 

On why the Browns like running bootlegs: 

“It is part of our offense. There are certain games where it is a big part or maybe where maybe it is not so much a big part. That is our job as coaches to find out what gameplan matches up against the opponent. We had a couple of opportunities with the quarterback on the perimeter yesterday where he had the time to look down the field and we had a couple double moves there where the guys executed and they did a really nice job. We are always looking to find explosive plays, and those were the plays yesterday. We will see if those are the type of plays that we will have up this week.”

 

On if playing in bad weather conditions can make a team physically and mentally tougher: 

“I think so. I am glad we played in these last three ball games and played in the elements because that is what you are getting ready to play in when December and January football rolls around. That is Northeast Ohio. We understand that. I think now we are gone down to Jacksonville, I peeked at the weather report and it said 73 (degrees) so now we have to talk about dealing with the heat. Those are the elements, and we have to be ready to play in all of them.”

 

On if the team has surprised him with how it has adapted and made adjustments during this season: 

“No, I would not say I am surprised. I think those are the type of people that we brought in here. Those were the type of people that were here when I got here. We have talked all season long – again, I go back to those Zoom meetings in April – about resilience was going to be a huge key this year. I think you have seen adversity roll in in a variety of ways this season, and our guys have not blinked. They understand the task at hand, and we really can’t be distracted by the things that maybe are a little unique to 2020.”

 

On if he has concerns about players participating in community events in person: 

“We are trying to make sure all of our guys are making good decisions. It is very obvious to all of us what is going on in our communities, and we have to make sure that we are doing everything to keep ourselves safe, players and coaches, the staff and their families. We have to make the right decisions now more than ever.”

 

On if the team has sent out instructions and advice for everyone with Thanksgiving this week: 

“We made sure to educate everybody in the last few weeks about really what is going on, the risks that are involved and things that you can do to hopefully mitigate some of those risks. It is very, very strange times that we are dealing with, and everybody on this call and everybody in the country and in the world is dealing with.”

 

On QB Baker Mayfield’s missed throws in the end zone and his evaluation of Mayfield’s performance: 

“I thought the weather was a factor. How much of a factor, hard to say. I know Baker can make those throws. I have seen him make those throws so I know weather played into it. By the same token, he made a great throw to (WR) Rashard (Higgins) on that deep ball and made a great throw to KhaDarel on that deep ball. It was a factor, but again, he is hard on himself and he wants to make those throws. He wants to get his guys the ball, I know that.”

 

On if he sees any issues with Mayfield throwing into the end zone: 

“I do not.”

 

On if he can quantify how well Ward has played this season: 

“Not sure if I can quantify it. I will tell you, he is making plays on the ball. He is tackling well. He is doing a nice job.”

 

On if Ward was coached to blitz if the TE does not release on LB Sione Takitaki’s interception or if that was a heads-up play by Ward: 

“There are always calls that we have and then there are also heady plays that guys make in this scenario where a guy is blocking, and he knows he can add. The really good ones I have been around know when to take those risks, and that was one of those times.”

 

On going for it on fourth-and-inches instead of kicking a FG, given the significance of scoring first: 

“In most cases when you get down there that tight, I like our chances to score. That was very disappointing that sequence of four plays to not score. That is kind of where I go back and we have to be better. In big games and really every game, if you get down there to the 1-yard line or the 2-yard line, you have to come away with seven. That is our mentality, and it will continue to be our mentality. I know the guys understand that, and we have to do anything – we have run it, pass it or whatever it is – we have to be able to get those yards.”

 

On if it has become tougher to incorporate something new in the offense as the season has progressed: 

“I do not think so. I think every week we are trying to put together a unique gameplan that is going to be hard on the defense. If we have to get creative at times, that is definitely something we are constantly talking about. There is always a package of plays where we can have multiple backs out there or multiple tight ends. We want to make sure that we are versatile in our approach.”

 

On if he expects Harrison to play on Sunday, given he listed Harrison as day to day with the knee injury: 

“I am hopeful. I definitely do not want to overstate it, but I think I feel good about it.”

 

On if he is disappointed for Garrett and that Garrett’s season was interrupted and could impact NFL Defensive Player of the Year consideration: 

“Yeah, I want all of our guys to have individual success. I think that is a big, big deal for all of our guys. I want them to go to the Pro Bowl, put up numbers and win awards like you are talking about. Bottom line is it is a team game. I think Myles understands that completely. We are all about winning, not so much about awards.”

 

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