HC Kevin Stefanski (12.16.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“On the injury front, only two guys will not be out there today. That will be (S Andrew) Sendejo and (G) Wyatt Teller. Everybody else will be out there for practice. We will be inside, with the snow.


“On the Giants, a really good football team. Second in their division, just like us. Winners of four of their last five, just like us. It is a very, very well-coached team. You can see what (NY Giants Head) Coach Joe Judge is doing there. That is a disciplined, physical group that they have. I have a lot of respect for their coaches. They have a bunch of players at really every level and at every position that give you problems. Really are going to have to play our best ball, and that is the message going on the road and trying to get a victory. We are looking forward to the week. We pushed things back a little bit today, as you can see, just to have a little bit more time to recover coming off of the night game, but now, we are right back into it and into our preparations.”


On if he knows Judge personally, given they are both from the Philadelphia area: 

“I do know Joe, a good man. We crossed paths years ago. Played with his brother Jim in high school. A great person. I have been able to follow Joe’s career. We kind of had different paths. He went the college route coaching and then he makes his way up to New England and has three Super Bowl rings to show for it. I know Joe. (Pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O’Shea, who is our staff, knows Joe. They worked very closely together. He is meticulous. He is tough. He is demanding. We know that we are going to have our work cut out for us so when you are facing a Joe Judge-coached team.”


On QB Baker Mayfield rebounding from the interception with a strong performance and what that shows about Mayfield’s growth: 

“When you are playing the quarterback position and really all of the positions, you are going to get beat. It is an occupational hazard. How you respond to that is really what matters. We do not like throwing interceptions, and I know he does not. A defensive back does not like to get beat. An offensive tackle does not like to get beat. It is really how you respond to that play that matters going forward.”


On the impact of CB Denzel Ward possibly returning this week and how Browns players have played in Ward’s absence: 

“We will see where Denzel is throughout this week. We will take that day by day. We have talked about this before, our expectations regardless of who is out there really do not change. The guys had to step up in his absence. Guys are playing different positions for us, and that is what is required. If Denzel is able to make it back, obviously, that would be a big boost to our team.”


On NY Giants QB Daniel Jones dealing with injuries this week and preparing for the possibility of facing Jones or NY Giants QB Colt McCoy: 

“Two good players. Daniel Jones, I know he was a little bit banged up, but you know the type of athlete he is. He can really hurt you with his arm or his legs. A really good young player. I got to see him last year up close. He is a very, very good young player. Colt McCoy has done it many times over the years, and he has won for this Giants team. He is a veteran. He has seen it all. He understands what they want to do offensively and where to go with the ball. A really good backup quarterback.”


On the impact of having to prepare for two NY Giants QBs: 

“That happens over the course of the season. You have to go into it and study both guys and understand their strengths and things that they may lean on depending on who is in there.”


On if the Browns will have a walkthrough or practice today: 

“We are practicing.”


On Teller’s status and if Teller could practice later this week: 

“We are just going take him day by day and see how to respond tomorrow, and depending on what we do tomorrow with him, see how he responds to that and comes back. I really do not know. I would say it is more day to day with him.”


On if Teller’s injury is related to the calf strain sustained earlier in the season: 

“I think unrelated.”


On how Mayfield’s ability to make plays with his legs helps the Browns OL when protection is not perfect: 

“It helps out the play caller, too. You send in some plays that are not very good, and he makes it right. That is where a quarterback can be a great eraser for some bad plays. He has done a nice job, and then you have to know when to pull it down and run and when to hang in there. You mentioned the offensive line, to give up no sacks versus a tough group is a big deal, and that is important to us. We have to keep him clean is really the charge every game.”


On the composure Mayfield showed on his TD run: 

“He had a really nice pump there, held onto the ball and was able to escape and make a play. When you play man coverage, that is what happens and sometimes your back is to the quarterback covering your guy.”


On the advantage of being able to rotate RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to keep them fresh in individual games and late in the season: 

“I think that is the word – fresh. That is important for guys. In the fourth quarter, if you do not have a full work’s load and you just have one guy out there, it is hard for him to be at his best. You have seen both Nick and Kareem be able to play well late in games. (Run game coordinator/running backs coach) Stump Mitchell does an outstanding job with those guys throughout the week and then especially on gameday kind of knowing when to sub each guy and stuff. He is on top of it.”


On the Philadelphia connection between him, Judge and Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott: 

“It is unique. It is different. I think it is a great deal. It is great for the Philadelphia Catholic League. I am excited about that for Sean, Joe and myself to represent the league. It is pretty cool.”


On what he believed was possible for the Browns in 2020 on the day of his introductory press conference, given where the team is now:

“Hard to predict 2020 back then – I did not think a lot of things were going to be happening that are happening now. We really honed in as an organization on what we wanted to be. We talked at length about the players we wanted to bring in here and the players that were already here and what we wanted it to look like. In terms of focusing on results, that is never going to be what I am about. I am about focusing on the process and the routine of how we do things around here.”


On if he has to ‘pinch himself’ sometimes with how happy he is with the team being in ‘really good shape right now’:

“Honestly, I do not think of it in those terms. I think that is really something you do in the offseason when you reflect on what is going on. We really stay in the moment around here, put those blinders on and think about the New York Football Giants, a really good team, and us having to go on the road. That is on our mind.”


On NY Giants S Jabrill Peppers:

“A good player. Obviously, a very good special teams player, a good returner and plays down around the line of scrimmage. Excellent man coverage and ball skills. He does a nice job for them. They put him in a variety of roles.”


On if TE Austin Hooper will have any limitations at practice when returning from the neck injury:

“We will see what he can do out there today. On the field, we will monitor him and make a decision appropriately for the next day, but I think he is trending in the right direction.”


On what makes the NY Giants defense effective:

“They do a really nice job. (Giants defensive coordinator) Coach (Patrick) Graham, I have a ton of respect for him. They play multiple fronts. They play them all well. They vary in coverages. Really, really good at disguise. Maybe the best team that we play in terms of disguising their coverage. They are a sound defense that does multiple things, which is hard to pull off.”


On NY Giants DL Leonard Williams:

“They have a very good front along front. Leonard Williams does a great job there for them. He is athletic. He can penetrate. He can play the run. He is a very, very good player.”


On how the NY Giants’ ability to disguise coverage impacts Mayfield’s preparation this week:

“For any quarterback when you are playing a defense, when you pull that ball or when you get the ball in the shotgun, you have to confirm what is going on post-snap. Their safeties are savvy veterans that are trying to give you one look and play another so you have to confirm what is going on with all those indicators that you can get pre-snap. You have to confirm it post-snap.”


On how much Mayfield has grown this season in evaluating defenses pre-snap and post-snap:

“He works very hard it. (Offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt and all of the quarterbacks spend a lot of time grinding on that tape so that they can understand the different looks and try and get a few clues to what they are seeing. That comes from film study and then being diligent about your work out there on the practice field.”


On if he can appreciate how great of a game Monday was, given Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh told him afterward on the field that it was one of greatest games in history:

“Coach Harbaugh obviously was on the winning side there so I think he probably felt differently about it right then and there. He is a good man and I appreciate him as a person, but we are now moving on to New York.”


On how the NY Giants controlling the clock affect the Browns’ gameplan this week:

“You look at it each week, and you really are just trying to put a plan together that matches up what you do well and what gives them problems. Whether that means we play no-huddle or we snap it with one second on the play clock, that is just dependent on the game. How they play is how they play, and then you have to make sure you are staying true to who you are when playing any of these games.”


On what he would have liked the Browns defense do differently on the last drive of the Ravens game to prevent the game-winning field goal:

“Obviously, going back to the other night, you want to get a stop and you want to find a way to keep them on that side of the field, but they made more plays than we did.”


On if there is anything specific he would have liked the Browns defense to do differently on the final drive of the Ravens game:

“It is easy – all of us I am sure can point out a bunch of things that we wish we could do better. It was not meant to be, and now we are onto New York.”


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