HC Kevin Stefanski (12.20.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“On the injury front, (T) Chris Hubbard has a knee injury. We will get further testing on that one. (DT) Sheldon Richardson had a neck injury and X-rays are negative. That is it for the injuries.

“For the game, proud of the guys for battling. Knew it was going to be tough. Understood what we were getting ourselves into with this team. I think very highly of them. I think they are well-coached. I think they play hard. I thought our guys really matched that level of intensity that is required. Proud of those guys. Some great individual efforts. Now, we have to get back home, have a great week of work and then right back at you here in New York.”

On QB Baker Mayfield’s performance tonight:

“Baker was outstanding tonight. He was dialed in. It is really what I expect from him, and it is what he expects from himself. It is how he practices. I really thought he was sharp.”

On the Browns reaching 10 wins this season:

“Getting the one win a week is hard. We understand that. Our focus will forever remain right there. Proud of the guys how they battled tonight, but we have to come back and do it next week. It is just the nature of this beast.”

On the Browns’ fourth-down stop in the first quarter:

“Special teams was able to defend that play and then hands team, I know it was not perfect but came through again for us. I was pleased with those guys.”

On C Nick Harris’s performance after stepping in at RG:

“I know Nick is going to battle. I am not surprised. I have not watched the tape, but I am not surprised that he can go in there and battle and fight. He is a very smart player, being able to play center and guard for us. Not surprised that he is ready to go when we need him. Have to look at the tape to give you a full evaluation, but really pleased with where Nick is as a player. He is continuing to develop and works very, very hard with (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters.

On LB Mack Wilson being inactive tonight:

“Just my decision.”

On DE Myles Garrett’s performance, given Garrett has shared the impact of COVID-19:

“I will have to look at it, but from the sideline, I thought he looked like himself. He had a few good rushes in there. The quarterback was getting the ball out pretty quick so did not have a ton of opportunities. He is coming along. He looks like Myles to me. I understand that he is working his way back, but I think he is looking pretty good to me.”

On the Browns producing two 95-yard drives and controlling the clock during tonight’s game:

“Those were some big drives for us, and we needed them. When you ever go that length of the field, you are likely making a play on third or fourth down. Our guys did a nice job of understanding the plan and knowing situationally what we were doing. Baker made plays with his feet on third down, which always adds an element to our attack. Anytime you can get a long drive, it is good because it chews up the clock and puts points on the board.”

On the decision to select Mayfield as tonight’s game captain:

“I just kind of every week think about what the message is going to be for that week, and Baker is a fighter. You guys know that, I know that and I thought that was what was going to be required tonight in this game.”

On how the Browns OL performed tonight:

“Gave up one sack. They battle. We got down there low on third-and-goal, ran downhill and ran behind those guys, and they move the line of scrimmage. I know what we have in that offensive line from a mentality standpoint, and that is very important in December.”

On the Browns winning following a loss for the fourth time this season and what it says about the team’s resiliency:

“It is important. Very few teams go 16-0 in this league. It is how you respond to those losses that matters. It is how you respond to a bad play that matters. Those are things we have been talking about throughout the season. I just think it speaks to the character of the players we have.”

On if the Browns paid attention to or discussed results around the AFC today while awaiting for tonight’s game and the significance of winning the game for playoff implications:

“Never came up with anybody that I was around. We are not really thinking about that. We are really just thinking about the team we are playing and the game we are playing. That is our focus. You are right, I was watching a lot of football, but that was not on my mind.”

On the NY Jets winning their first game of the season today against the LA Rams and if that shows the importance of not taking an opponent for granted:

“It is the National Football League. I trust that the Jets are going to give us everything that they have next week.”

 

On the boost provided to the Browns defense with CB Denzel Ward back from injury:

“They went after him early to see how he was, and he looked like Denzel to me. He was tight in coverage and making plays on the ball. It is good to have him back out there.”

On his message to WR Jarvis Landry after the taunting penalty following the TD catch:

“He did not think it was a penalty. I will look at it on the TV copy, but I just told him you can’t hurt the team. No matter what, you can’t hurt the team.”

On if there is one main aspect of Mayfield’s game that they are more comfortable with after reaching this point of the season compared to the beginning of the year:

“I do not think there is one thing, but with all of the players that we are coaching and that I am coaching, I hope that we are all getting to know each other. You get in these battles. There are high points and there are low points, and we are fighting together. For all of the guys, we are understanding that this is a long journey we are on and it is never perfect, but we have a bunch of guys that will fight their rear ends off.”

On if the Browns are being more aggressive with their play calls earlier in games to than earlier in the season to help get Mayfield in a rhythm and confident:

“I just think we are trying to do each week what we think makes sense to go score some points. If that means a few more passes or a few more runs, that is what we will do. I do not know if it is different than the beginning of the year – I would have to go check the game scripts so to speak – but we are just trying to do whatever we think makes sense in that game.”

On if the Browns are comfortable playing a game like tonight where possessions are limited:

“We are comfortable with it. I go back, we had a fourth-down play that we really liked and the ball got batted down at the line, and you are off the field. You are trying to make every one of these drives count. You want to come away with seven on each of these because you do not know the type of games you are going to be in so there is a sense of urgency really from the jump from the very first drive that you better come away with seven because that is just the nature of this game.”

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