HC Kevin Stefanski (11.25.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“Starting with the injuries, (CB) Denzel (Ward) will be out this week with that calf. He is week to week. (S) Sheldrick Redwine, he will be day to day with a knee injury and (S) Andrew Sendejo day to day with a groin injury. (DT) Larry Ogunjobi will be out of practice today, but I do anticipate he will be back tomorrow, dealing with an ankle injury.


“With the COVID stuff going on, out this week, we talked about (DE) Myles (Garrett). (FB Andy) Janovich will be out this week.  (DE) Joe Jackson out this week. (T) Chris Hubbard has a chance. We will see how that plays out as the days go on this week. We had a positive this morning. We are working through contact tracing. With that, we will hold a few guys, players and staff out of the workouts this afternoon as we work through the contact tracing, but we will open the building. That is what we have been working on this morning. We will space this out a little bit. We will bring in the offense, bring them in, let them get a lift, get them out in the fieldhouse to work out, get an individual period and move them around. Then we will bring the defense in and have a similar schedule. We will space the two groups out. I think it is really important that we get the work in today. It is an important day. The players and coaches are in meetings as we speak. Our meetings are virtual already so we actually added a few more minutes of meeting time this morning since we were not bringing them in at the normal hour. The guys are adapting. They are being flexible. (Offensive coordinator) Coach (Alex) Van Pelt showed a picture of Stretch Armstrong this morning, and that is who we are and that is who we have to be.


“Big game this week, Jacksonville Jaguars. We have to go down there and play our best football. I know they are dealing with similar issues with COVID-related things and with injuries. I know they announced a new [starting] quarterback (Jaguars QB Mike Glennon). For us, we have to go down there and expect the unexpected. On offense, I think (Jaguars offensive coordinator) Coach (Jay) Gruden does a great job. Their runner (Jaguars RB James Robinson) is third in the NFL in rushing. Defensively, they play that Seattle Cover 3 defense, which is very, very difficult to attack. They play with speed. They play with effort. On special teams, I think they might be the fastest group that we play all year. Definitely have to go down there and play our best football.”


On when Ward sustained the calf injury in last week’s game: 

“I do not know exactly when. I want to say it was late, but I do not know exactly when.”


On the impact of Ward not playing this week: 

“Disappointed for Denzel, but really no different than we have talked about with all the guys. They are out, and next man has to step up. I think you have seen our guys do that throughout this year. Excited for the guys that we will have available to us.”


On if Ward is a potential candidate to be placed on IR: 

“We will work through that, but as of yet, we have not put him on there.”


On if the recent positive COVID-19 tests and circumstances are ‘wearing on the team at all’: 

“No, not at all. It is 2020. We are ready to go.”


On if it is safe to say the COVID-19 cases are unrelated to each other, given the results of contact tracing: 

“I think that is safe to say, but I am not an epidemiologist so I will stay out of that.”


On if he has reemphasized to Browns players the need to be careful outside of the building: 

“Yeah, we have talked about it all the time. When we are in the building, we are very safe. When we are out of the building, you have to be safe. When you leave our bubble, obviously, you have to make great decisions, and I think the guys understand that.”


On which Browns players will not be practicing today due to the positive COVID-19 test and contact tracing and the impact of those players not practicing: 

“I am not going to get into the list of guys. Again, we are just following protocols. The building is open. We can practice, but we will just be safe and hold a few guys out just because we do not know how the contact tracing is going to come back. How it affects you? May have less guys out there at practice so we have to get creative in how we do that.”


On if CB Kevin Johnson will be moved to outside CB and who will play inside if so: 

“That is under consideration. There are a couple of different combinations that we can do in the back end. Again, I go back to early in the year, we have had a lot of guys playing so I think we have options there, but we will see how that plays out this week.”


On preparing Glennon, who has not played in the past three seasons: 

“There is tape on him. There is a lot of tape on him. I know our coaches are going to go back and watch it and kind of know what his strengths as a player are. I would say it is not like an unknown player that you have not seen before.”


On if Browns coaches have talked to Browns practice squad players about the need to stay ready, given circumstances can change quickly to where they may need to contribute on gameday: 

“Yeah, that is something our practice squad they understand that completely. We have had those conversations. I think they do a great job. Each week, we give out game balls to the practice squad guys that helped us win, and I really do believe that. I think they help us win every week. You have to stay ready. These guys, like you mentioned, can be up at a moment’s notice so our coaches spend a lot of time with them to make sure that if that happens, they are ready.”


On how the team’s preparation is affected when the opponent has coaches or players out due to COVID-19-related situations, including Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash: 

“Every game while it is about the opponent and you study your opponent and you understand their tendencies and their scheme, it is also about us and how we prepare and how we execute our fundamentals. We double down on that every week. This week is a great example of that where it is really about the Cleveland Browns first and foremost. Then we have to really go to school on this team. We have to go to school on them because they have a new quarterback. You mentioned, they will have a different coach calling it, but I think their scheme is their scheme. We anticipate that it will be very similar to the tape that they have shown so far.”


On what he tells the team going into a week when facing a team with a record that is not as strong but has been in several close games: 

“We have to play our best football to get a win this week.”


On if S Ronnie Harrison Jr. will be OK to practice today: 

“Should be, yes.”


On if Harrison is excited to play against his former team: 

“I have not spoken to him about that yet. I think typically when you play your former team, the guys do get a little bit extra juice from that, but Ronnie is a pro. He understands that he has to make sure that his preparation is on point.”


On if it is possible that Garrett could play next week against the Titans: 



On if the Browns are looking forward to playing a game in nice weather and potentially have more opportunities in the passing game: 

“We will deal with whatever the weather is – sunny, rainy or whatever it shall be. I do not think we look at it as we want to go get the passing game going. We just want to go have a productive offense in whatever the elements may be.”


On if playing in bad weather games recently could be wearing on QB Baker Mayfield: 

“I do not think so. I think we all know we have played in three weather games. The game before that, he won the AFC (Offensive) Player of the Week. We will just deal with whatever weather is in front of us.”


On if there is a silver lining to having practices canceled as players could be healthier or fresher as a result: 

“It could be. I think that is a balance between sharp and fresh. If you do not do anything, you are going to be fresh but you might not be sharp. That is why I am excited that I can get the players on the field today and move them around. Even if it is on air and even if it is just individual, I think that is so important.”


On Robinson: 

“Really good player. He is a load. Fights for extra yardage. They are big up front so they lean on people and they move them, and he has a great way of falling forward and having great vision.”


On what he has learned about himself as a head coach after needing to make several adjustments this season due to injuries and other factors this season: 

“That is our job to adjust as coaches and to see who is available to us and put a gameplan together to go win. I would go back to I have some really, really good coaches working with me. On a day like this when you are trying to get the schedule and you are trying to add extra meetings, (Chief of Staff) Callie (Brownson) is putting everything together for us. She is the star of the day and able to put that together. That is where I am lucky to have really good coaches around me.”


On Mayfield’s opportunity to adjust play calls: 

“I think we try to have a balance there. We want to make sure we are difficult to defend, and that does at times mean you send the quarterback in a couple of plays. I think Baker has done a great job of the ball goes where the coverage dictates it goes. I think that is where you can be real efficient and real explosive when you are doing that. I think Baker has done that.”


On DE Olivier Vernon being named AFC Defensive Player of the Week and if Vernon’s performance last week can build momentum for the rest of the season: 

“I think that is outstanding. I am happy for OV. We mentioned, people have to step up. He stepped up, and I am counting on him this week to do the same. I think he understands that it does not matter where he is rushing, how he is rushing and how he is playing the run, we need him out there, and we need him to make plays. That is what he did in this last ball game.”


On Van Pelt showing a picture of Stretch Armstrong to the team and if it is important to keep things light this season when dealing with challenging circumstances: 

“I think Alex is just making a point to the offense in particular that you have to be flexible on days like this. We understand and we respect the nature of how things are in our country, and we are trying to make sure everybody is safe. That is first and foremost. With that, when we are on our Zoom meetings and when we are out on the practice field, we are trying to keep it light and have fun while we are getting our work in.”


On an update on CB Greedy Williams’ status: 

“I do not have an update. It is what it has been. We continue to check in. He continues to rehab like crazy. He is working very, very hard. Again, I am disappointed for Greedy that he is not in there at this point, but I can promise you, he is working very hard.”


On if the team’s schedule changes at all tomorrow for Thanksgiving: 

“A little bit. We are going to try and get in earlier and get off the field earlier.”


On if the team will practice on Thanksgiving: 



On comparing Glennon’s tape to what the Jaguars are doing offensively: 

“I do not think they will change their scheme so I think that all the tape from Jacksonville is good. I think though for us as a defense, we have to understand his strengths as a player, understand how we want to rush him, those types of things and understand his arm strength, which is very good. I think we have to understand the player, but I do not think they are going to wholesale change their scheme.”


On what he knew about WR KhaDarel Hodge prior to the season and what he has learned about Hodge this year: 

“Like a lot of our guys, I did not know much. I knew the player. I could tell you his strengths as a player, but I did not know the person. I really enjoy being around KhaDarel. I think he is a team guy all of the way – plays special teams, blocks and makes plays in the pass game. He has been outstanding for this offense, and I think the guys really, really appreciate him as a teammate.”


On if Hodge is more talented than the NFL realized when coming out of college: 

“He could be. When we call his number, he has made plays.”


On if the team’s practice today will be inside or outside today, given the rain and COVID-19 circumstances today: 

“We are going to be inside today.”


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