HC Kevin Stefanski (12.24.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“Injury front wise, we will get some guys back. I think the only guy who will not be out there injury wise will be (G) Wyatt Teller. I know you guys saw we put Jed (T Jedrick Wills Jr.) and (WR) Ryan Switzer on the COVID list this morning so we will see how that plays out.”

On the outlook at LT if Wills is out and how ready T Kendall Lamm will be if needed: 

“Kendall is ready to go if he is the guy. He prepares every week as if he is getting ready to start. He is the swing tackle. This is when those guys have to be ready to roll.”

On when the Browns learned Wills would be placed on reserve/COVID-19: 

“The last 24 hours.”

On if there is a possibility Wills could return and play on Sunday: 

“I think I would just tell you there is a possibility.”

On dealing with three injuries and COVID-19 on the Browns OL in recent weeks and it being ‘nothing new’ for the team to have to adapt: 

“I do not think it is anything new to any team really. Look around the league, people are dealing with injuries and dealing with the COVID list. All 32 clubs to some degree are dealing with this.”

On how well Wills has played this season: 

“He played well in that last game. He continues to improve. He is a young player. You see with young players there are some great moments and some moments that he wants to get better. The good news is he does want to get better and he works extremely hard with (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan before, during and after practice.”

On if the Browns OL situation further shows how valuable T Chris Hubbard has been to the team this season: 

“We have had a bunch of instances this season where guys have stepped up really at every position. That is why we have backup players. That is why we work hard to develop all of our players. That is why the guys prepare as if they are playing every play, whether you are a backup or not. I just think it speaks to the type of guys we have around here. “

On how S Ronnie Harrison Jr. looked at practice yesterday: 

“He looked good. Good to have him back out there moving around. We will see how it shakes out.”

On if there is a chance Harrison can play on Sunday: 

“I would say it is unlikely.”

On the Browns having a full-pads practice yesterday and if the team has had one full-pads practice per week, given the allotment NFL teams have for a season: 

“Yesterday was our last padded regular season practice. We had one left on the regular season. Just have tried to be mindful of when we use them. Coming off of a short week last week, did not use one. Just planned it out. You have to see how your team is. You have a plan and then you have to take it each day and realize where your team is. Yesterday the pads were on, and I thought the guys had a really good day.”

On factors into the decision to use the last full-pads practice this week rather than prior to the Steelers game in Week 17: 

“Just kind of where your team is from an injury standpoint and all of those type of things. Just felt like this was the right time to do it.”

On being supportive of Browns players’ community efforts but if there is also a concern about players hosting charity events and making donations, given the COVID-19 protocols: 

“We need to be mindful of that. We encourage our guys obviously to be impactful in the community. I appreciate all of the things that this organization does to that regard, but like you said, you have to be smart this year to make sure you are following all of the protocols.”

On how fresh and healthy RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are at this point of the season: 

“They are pretty fresh. Coming off of games, I can promise you there are bumps and bruises and they know they have been in the game, but when you have to guys like we do, I do think it keeps those guys fresh. I do not want to speak for either of them – they are still working hard to get in the recovery room, get their work done and take care of their bodies – but I like where they are.”

On if he imagined Chubb and Hunt would work this well together when joining the Browns: 

“I would say it is pretty close to how we envisioned it. They are two really good players. Different skillsets in their own right, but we just felt like we had 1A and 1B.”

On linebackers coach Jason Tarver and Tarver’s ‘infectious’ personality: 

“He is infectious – that is a good word. He has a great temperament for that linebacker room and a great energy throughout the building. The guys play hard and they are very well prepared, but Tarv brings it every day, not just gameday.”

On players like C Nick Harris stepping in and playing well and what that says about the front office and coaching staff that Browns rookies have made an impact this year: 

“It is a team effort in that regard. (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and his staff do an outstanding job, as you guys know, to identify the type of players who fit what we are about here and fit our scheme. The coaches work really hard to develop these young men. All that being said, there is a want to from each of these guys that wants to get better and wants to continue improving, and that really is half the battle.”


On how much of the burden is on position coaches to ensure backup players are ready to play each week: 

“A ton. I am very proud of our staff and how they work to get everybody ready because ultimately, you are trying to get the starter ready, but you better be developing the backup because as we all have seen over the course of this season and any season, you are going to have injuries and you are going to have circumstances where one guy can’t go and the next man is up. The individual position coaches have done an outstanding job of developing each and every one of their guys.”

On if the idea of ‘grabbing the team’s attention’ for the NY Jets game played into using the last full-pads practice this week: 

“No, I kind of had that slated this way for a while. We had it ready. We wanted to use it. Again, the guys, it looked like a Wednesday practice to me flying around and the pads were popping so that was good.”


On if Wilson had a bad week of practice last week and if that led to Wilson being inactive: 

“I would not characterize it that way at all. Just my decision in that last game. He is locked in and ready to roll.”

On who would be the Browns’ backup T if Wills is unavailable and Lamm plays in that spot, given T Jack Conklin is also listed on the injury report: 

“We have a depth chart so we will work through it. Really, the concern is at practice how do you give a good look to the defense and what does your scout team offensive line look like. That is the bigger concern right now. We have a plan. We will work through it. Any of the guys that are available, I trust.”


On if G Michael Dunn can play T: 


On NY Jets RB Frank Gore’s current production and career longevity: 

“It is incredible. I am a big fan of Frank Gore. Watching him over the years, just a tough runner, always makes the right read and always falling forward. I have never met him, but everything I have read about him and the people who have coached him just talk about the type of player he is and what type of person he is. I have the utmost respect for Frank Gore.”

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