HC Kevin Stefanski (12.11.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

On if CB Denzel Ward will practice or be available for Monday night: 

“Denzel and (WR) KhaDarel Hodge will not practice today, but they are both progressing.”


On how much better he knows the team and how much more prepared the Browns are now compared to Week 1 at Baltimore, when the team had not yet played a game together: 

“I would not overstate that. We were ready to play, and we got beat in Week 1. All of the teams, all 32 gather information in every game they play. I would hope we are better understanding who we are here in our 13th game, and I think that just increases every game.”


On WR Jarvis Landry’s consistency throughout his career, given Landry’s number of games with five or more catches, and if it is tied to Landry’s preparation and what Landry does behind the scenes: 

“You hit it on the head right there. I think it is everything that goes on behind the scenes that allows that. He plays through injuries. He plays hurt. You all know how hard he plays, and he is very diligent about his job.  We move him around – he is a versatile football player for us – and we ask him to do a lot of things, and there are details that come with that. The way he prepares and stays on top of the gameplan, I have not been around any smarter players than Jarvis.”


On Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh saying he stays ‘very true to what he wants to do’ in all phases of the game and how difficult it is to do that: 

“I think maybe what Coach Harbaugh is speaking to is we have our schemes and we have our foundation on offense, defense and special teams, and then we would hope that each game we tailor that foundation or that scheme to that gameplan. We really work hard during the week as coaches to give our guys a plan that they can go execute at a high level and execute it fast and free of a lot of thinking. That is ultimately our goal is putting a gameplan together that the guys can really sink their teeth into.”


On how the coaching staff is checking on players’ mental state, given the potential mental fatigue at this point of the season: 

“That is a good point. You have heard about the rookie wall, and really for everybody and how this season is going with all of these Zoom meetings, there can be a monotony to this – obviously not this [media interview] Zoom meeting (laughter). It is important for us as coaches to keep things fresh and to keep it lively. When we work, we work, and we can have fun doing it. That is just our job as coaches to make sure that we are reaching them in a variety of ways.”


On G Wyatt Teller’s status: 

“We are right where we need to be. We will see where we are towards the end of the weekend.”

On if WR Rashard Higgins is a steadying influence for the Browns offense, given Higgins’ reliability: 

“Yeah, that is who he has been since I have been here. Early in the season, it was hard to get him active just with where we were numbers-wise and special teams and all of those types of things. He never wavered. He practices really hard and stays on top of his job and what he is supposed to do. A great teammate, a supportive guy. I am happy that he is getting his opportunities, and he is making the most of them.”


On Higgins crediting part of his success to him knowing what Higgins does well: 

“He is versatile. We can line him up in different places. There is obviously a rapport between him and (QB) Baker (Mayfield). He is in the right spot at the right time and makes the catch. We are going to be counting on him here in this game and the next one, and he understands that.”


On differences in the Ravens’ offense from Week 1: 

“Again, their scheme is multifaceted. They have had a couple of guys out due to injury. They are getting some guys back so I think you see in different games that they will employ certain schemes maybe over others. Just the way they attack a defense in multiple personnel groupings and multiple run schemes – we know they can make big plays in the pass game – it is a really difficult scheme to defend. It really goes back to us making sure we know our job and then we have to do our job, but it is a tall task.”


On how to prepare for the Ravens when he does not know how they may use their personnel and if he assumes he will face them all game: 

“I think part of it is you have to assume they are going to have everybody back. That is where we really get to gameday and once those inactives come in, we discuss as coaches and figure out where we think those guys are lining up, and we will line up our guys accordingly.”


On the Browns being 6-0 in games decided by six or fewer points and the team’s ability to win close games: 

“In all of the games but particularly the close ones that you are talking about, situational football becomes key. We stress here a lot of having shared situational awareness. That is where I give the players a ton of credit for everybody being into the game and understanding what we are doing and why we are doing it because in those moments, it is really, really important that everybody is on the same page.”


On how crucial the Browns hands team has been this season in close games: 

“It is a big deal. We spend time on it during the week. Those are big moments in the game. We have had our fair share of hands team this year, and the guys have done a nice job. We know it is going to continue to show up. That is what happens in the NFL with these games being so close. We really rely on the players to understand their job, and they have to go do their job. They have done that.”

On the emphasis on creating takeaways in practice: 

“That is something we have been talking about since we first got together. The players understand that our defense is all about the ball. We do talk about takeaways not turnovers. We want to go take it away. Offenses are so keen on knowing that. The ball security is great, but I think you see our guys raking, stripping, punching and tipping balls. That is just such a big part of who we are. I just believe that you achieve what you emphasize so we make sure that we emphasize it in practice every day.”


On if creating takeaways is being practiced more than what he has seen in the past: 

“I would only tell you from our perspective that it is very important so we make sure it is a big part of what we do. We never want to say we are about something and not do it.”


On how Landry’s recent big games after not having many in the first half of the season: 

“Jarvis is a receiver. He likes the ball in his hands – that is not breaking news – but he is a great teammate. Just watch him block and watch him finishes blocks, that is what we are about here is being a great teammate. He gives a great example to the entire team in that regard. He is a receiver who does a great job with the ball in his hands so we are trying to find ways to do that. It is always great when a guy gets some production in these games. I think it definitely gives him a boost.”


On if Landry being healthier now is helping him be more productive: 

“Yeah, he was coming off of offseason surgery to start the season. Then he had that rib deal, which that affects everything when you have anything with your rib. Yeah, once he is getting healthier because nobody is 100 percent, I think you are seeing his game improve.”


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