HC Kevin Stefanski (12.10.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“I will start with congratulations to (DE) Myles Garrett for being our nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year. Obviously, well deserved. The work he does in the community, particularly with the Waterboys initiative, is outstanding. Congratulations to Myles.

 

“On the injury front, we will not have (WR) KhaDarel (Hodge) or (CB) Denzel (Ward) out there again today. No real update other than they are both progressing, and they remain day to day.

 

“Just speaking to the Ravens, a very, very good football team. The tape does not lie. You put the tape on, and you see a really complete team. On offense, a huge challenge with what they do. They have multiple playmakers, and the quarterback (Ravens QB Lamar Jackson) is playing at a very high level. I think they are the No. 1 rushing offense. On defense, the No. 3 defense in terms of points. They do everything, and they do it really well. Good up front. Good in the back end. Fast linebackers. Really good scheme. Special teams, I believe they are the No. 1 kickoff return unit among their special teams, which is sound as you would expect. A really big challenge for us and again, why we feel it so important that we have a great week of preparation.”

 

On where the Browns have to improve from the first matchup against the Ravens, in addition to turnovers: 

“Turnovers is a great place to start really. We are plus-seven. It is very obvious the correlation to winning and losing in that turnover margin. That is a great stat because it is a team stat. It does not speak to one person, one position or one side of the ball. That is definitely a place to start. We just have to look at the tape, see how we have changed, see how they have changed and understand that there are going to be some different wrinkles that they show us and really that we show them.”

 

On preparing for Jackson and the Ravens’ offense: 

“It is a great challenge for our players. It is a great challenge for the coaches. They do run a unique scheme, not something that you see every week. You have to put together a really strong plan that the guys can understand and go execute, but there is no mystery with Lamar Jackson – he is an extremely talented player.”

 

On Garrett being named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year and Garrett not letting what occurred last year define him: 

“Myles, from the moment I have been with him, has been a team player all of the way. Obviously, you know what type of player he is and obviously a very high-caliber player. He does a great job of opening things up for the rest of the defense. Off of the field, he is very conscientious. He wants to make an impact in this community and really around the country and around the world. He has done an exemplary job at that.”

 

On the new standard for the Browns, given QB Baker Mayfield’s comment that fans should adjust their expectations for the Browns now and moving forward: 

“Our focus remains week to week. I do not know if there is some football coach cliché I can give you to speak to that, other than we have a big challenge this week. Just came down from my office, trying to find some plays to work versus this defense. It is not easy, and we understand the work that is cut out for us.”

 

On the Browns’ depth this season and winning despite missing key players: 

“You give credit to (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew Berry and the personnel staff in putting together a deep roster. The coaches work very hard to develop all of the players in their room. As we have seen over the course of the season, we have had to play multiple players at all of these positions. All of that experience and all of that work leading up to the games is what allows these guys to go play at a high level when they are filling in for someone. Injuries are a part of this game. We know that. We really just spend our time worrying about getting the next guy ready to go for the next game.”

 

On if the Browns still have something to ‘prove’ that the offense can be productive against an elite defense like the Ravens after last week’s game: 

“I do not look at it that way. I look at it as we need to score more points than they do. We are not in that business of proving people wrong, right or anything. We are just trying to be efficient in what we do. Specifically to the offense, we have to make sure that we are on point this week because it is a big challenge.”

 

On what makes the Ravens’ defense so effective at keeping opponents out of the end zone: 

“They do a nice job in the red zone obviously if you are holding people to the points that they are. They are multiple in their approach, and what they do, and they do it well. This is a defense that plays a lot of different coverages and multiple fronts, but they do them all well.”

 

On if he and Garrett talked about how to rehab Garrett’s image in their initial conversations, given last year’s situation and Garrett being named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year: 

“I do not think it was as in depth a conversation as presenting plans to each other. It was more we needed to get to know each other, and he needed to understand what I was about and I needed to understand what he was about. I understand what he went through last offseason. I get all of that, but for me, it was really moving forward and how he could be a great teammate. He has made sure he has done that every step along the way.”

 

On the biggest thing Garrett has done to ‘reclaim his image’ in the NFL and if it was on the field or off of the field: 

“I do not know. On the field, you see the type of player he is. He has been making game-changing plays for us all season. That is no secret. Off of the field, he does a really, really nice job making an impact in the community. We have had many discussions over the months with Myles and the entire social justice committee in terms of what they can do to help. The work he did going to Tanzania was a very big deal. He works really hard off of the field to make sure he is having a positive impact on our communities.”

 

On if the Browns offense is better equipped now to handle pressure from the Ravens defense than in Week 1: 

“It is a challenge this week versus a team that does bring a lot of pressure and bring all-out Cover 0. They are making the ball get out of the quarterback’s hand based on what they do. We have to be smart about how we design the offense and where we put people to combat that. That does speak to the challenge that you have this week because it is a team that really pressures the quarterback in a variety of different ways. Mentality wise for us as an offense, anytime a team pressures is you hope to make a big play. That has to be your mentality.”

 

On if Ravens DE Yannick Ngakoue has been a nice addition to the Ravens defense: 

“Absolutely. They added a good player to the front and somebody who can really rush the passer. He is athletic and can make plays in the run game. That definitely helps their front.”

 

On if there is hope that Ward can play this week or if it is a long shot: 

“I would not call it a long shot. I think we are going to see what he can do today with the guys off to the side and see what he can do tomorrow. I am hopeful, but I can’t peg it with a percentage.”

 

On if G Wyatt Teller is on track to make it back this week: 

“Yes.”

 

On if there is a scheduled day that Teller may be able to return: 

“It is later in the week, but I want to make sure we just follow the protocols there. I do not know the exact date.”

 

On if it is realistic that S Tedric Thompson could contribute this week: 

“I do think it is realistic. A smart player. He has played in similar systems. We will see how the week plays out. He has been spending a lot of time with (pass game coordinator/defensive backs coach) Jeff Howard and the defensive coaches on Zoom. It was great to finally meet him in person and get him out on the practice field yesterday.”

 

On how different the Titans’ and Ravens’ run schemes are: 

“I would say it is significantly different. They are both outstanding. This adds the quarterback run element to what they are doing. A few more gap schemes. They do it all. They have multiple schemes. They will pull people. They will play zone. They will run read things with the quarterback. They will motion. It is a challenge in its own right.”

 

On what impresses him most about how Jackson is able to avoid or run away from the defense on designed runs or scrambles: 

“He is hard to get on the ground. Bottom line, he is a great, great player. Outstanding with the ball in his hands, and then he can beat you with his arm or his legs. It is a challenge, and it is a challenge that all 11 guys on defense have to be about their business.”

 

On if he watches the film from the Browns win against the Ravens last season and if that helps provide a formula for looking to contain Jackson as best as possible: 

“Did not go back and watch that game. There is so much football between now and then. Of course, you are trying to limit Lamar Jackson – he is the reigning MVP, and he is a great player. One scheme is not going to take him away. One player is not going to take him away. Just have to play really, really sound defense, and then you need 11 guys around the ball.”

 

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