HC Kevin Stefanski (12.12.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“On the injury front, you saw we ruled out (CB) Denzel (Ward) and (WR) KhaDarel (Hodge), and we will list (TE Austin) Hooper as questionable.

“Thought it was a really good work week. Just getting off the field here, thought it was a very crisp day today. We understand the challenge that we have with a very good football team coming into our building. Looking forward to getting in front of our fans again there on Monday night.

“I do want to mention Anthony Hughes Jr. He was the young man who lost his life on Wednesday night in our city. I just want to extend my condolences to his friends and his family. I know he was active in the Boys & Girls Club. Such a tragic, senseless thing that happened. I encourage everybody to read this young man’s story and then find a way that we can be a part of making sure things like this do not happen again.”

On Hooper’s injury and when it occurred, as well as Hooper’s chances of playing this week : 

“I do not know when it happened. It kind of popped up, if you will. I do not know [Hooper’s chances of playing]. I can’t put odds on it. We will see. The next 24-48 hours, we will monitor it and then make a decision before game time.”

On the impact of Hooper sustaining an injury late in the week, another late-week injury for the Browns: 

“Not ideal, but like you said, we have been here before. We will just make sure if we do not have Hoop, we have guys that are ready to go. If we do have him, we are full speed ahead.”

On if Hooper’s neck injury is serious: 

“No. If it was, we would rule him out for the game. He is truly questionable.”

On if the Browns are hopeful Ward will be back next week, given he said earlier in the week that Ward was not a ‘longshot’ to play this week: 

“It depends on your percentage of a longshot that you believe in (laughter). He is working hard. He is moving around. He is progressing about where you would expect. I am hopeful. It did not happen this week, but I am definitely hopeful for next week.”

On if G Wyatt Teller is still on track to return prior to Monday: 

“We are right on schedule in that regard, but as you know, it is kind of wait-and-see mode there, as well.”

On WR Marvin Hall and if Hall could have a role in the return game: 

“We are having those discussions as we speak in terms of his role. He is a speedster. He has made a bunch of plays over his career so we will see where he fits in.”

On how much of a difference having fans in the stadium makes and if he notices the fans on gameday: 

“Yeah, I definitely do. Our fans in our building have done a great job. They are compliant. They wear their masks, but they make a lot of noise. I definitely hear them. I probably hear them more than I would in a full stadium. We really appreciate having them there. Again, they are being very smart about it, but we appreciate them being there to cheer us on.”

On if he watched film of the Steelers-Ravens game and takeaways from it, given the Ravens’ competitiveness despite needing to activate several new players: 

“I did watch a lot of the film this week. That was one of them. I would tell you (Ravens Head) Coach (John) Harbaugh and their staff in general – I know a lot of their coaches – they do a great job. I know that they have expectations, regardless of who is in there so it did not surprise me one bit that they had guys ready to go.”

On Ravens DE Calais Campbell and Campbell’s impact on the Ravens defense: 

“He is a very, very large man. I remember seeing him when he was a young man there with the Cardinals over the years. He is a physical player. He is long, as you know. He is powerful. He is really a player who can be disruptive. I have a ton of respect for him as a player. I have a ton of respect for what he does off of the field. He is certainly a big part of what they do.”

On if the Browns DL is playing its best football of the year now and how much their health is a factor: 

“In total we are all at every position trying to play the best ball. When you get guys back healthy and you get to put guys in roles where they can excel, that is important. I think that is something that you are seeing along the defensive front.”

On defensive coordinator Joe Woods and Woods’ ability to adapt to adversity and missing players due to injury or other factors: 

“Nothing fazes Joe. Whoever is available to him, he is going to use and he is going to use utilize them to the best of their skillset. Every time the word comes up that so and so is not going be available, he really does not blink. He just goes into how they are going to put a plan together to find a way to go get a victory. I really appreciate that about Joe and the entire defensive staff.”

On preparing for the variety of ways the Ravens defense brings pressure: 

“It is a rules game. You have to stick to your rules because you are right, they do bring a multitude of pressures from various looks. If we tried to block every single one of the pressures they brought this season and a season’s worth of pressures, we will bog ourselves down. It is a rules game. We have to stick to them and put the quarterback in position to make a big play when they pressure. They do a nice job. They do it well. They are sound in what they do so it is a big challenge for us.”

On who on the Browns offense identifies the Ravens’ pressures: 

“I think in most teams, it is between the quarterback and the center that really drive the communication at the line of scrimmage.”

On why he feels strongly about C JC Tretter being able to identify pressures: 

“JC has seen a lot of defense. He has played this defense many times. It is hard to give him a look that he has not seen. Obviously, a very smart player.”

On what DT Larry Ogunjobi is doing to make an impact on defense that the average fan may not see from stats: 

“I encourage that average fan to watch the tape and go see the impact that he is making play to play. He gives us great reps, great energy and effort and defeats one-on-one blocks. He is doing a really nice job.”

Closing statement:

“I just want to wish the Crew best of luck tonight. Go get that MLS Cup.”

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