HC Kevin Stefanski (2.5.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

On the Browns coaching staff taking shape:

“We are working through it. We want to be thorough and methodical in that process. We have added some good ones that I am really excited about and then add a few more by weeks end and hopefully announce the staff in the next 10 days or so. I can tell you just sitting in the offensive meetings already with those guys and just hearing them talk and the vision that we have laid out together, it is a very impressive group. Just listening to (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) speak there about diversity of thought, I think we have that and really looking forward to finalizing [the coaching staff] and putting together a good first staff.”


On what he liked about offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt as a candidate and if Van Pelt will call plays:

“I think he is a really fine man, first of all. He is a family man. He is of the highest integrity, which matters a lot to me and to this organization. I think his reputation as an offensive mind, he played the game, played the [quarterback] position and has coached the position so I think he just really checked all the boxes for me. A good man, and I look forward to talking to him. As it pertains to play calling, I know that is a very popular topic. We will work through it. I do not know. That is the God’s truth, the God’s honest truth. We will work through it. Like I said before and it is still true today, we will do what is best for the Browns.”


On how his meeting with WR Odell Beckham Jr. went and if he is confident Beckham is committed to his team year round:

“My meeting went well. Not to get into too many specifics, but we talked about a lot of topics and then commitment is shown over time. I have full confidence in Odell. I have spoken to him a couple of times. I have met with him face to face and am really looking forward to getting to know him more and him getting to know me and getting him in this scheme, getting him around the coaches and then see where we go.”


On if the Browns will hire a specific QBs coach in addition to Van Pelt:

“I think we are working through the staff and going to finalize that here in the next couple weeks to 10 days and just make sure we get the right mix of people. You mentioned Alex, he has worked with a bunch of different quarterbacks and played quarterback at a high level in this league so I have been very impressed with Alex.”


On the Browns hiring Berry and their relationship:

“Another man of high integrity. A great family man. Understands the game. Broke in as a scout. I like everything about Andrew aside from the Harvard thing, which he can’t do anything about (laughter). Just a really good football man. Someone I am looking forward to working with for many years.”


On hiring chief of staff Callie Brownson and her role:

“Just working with Callie now for the last couple of weeks, she is outstanding. I could not be more impressed. That role is really where I broke in, and it is the breeding ground for coaches and that is something that Callie wants to do ultimately is work her way onto the offensive or defensive side. As of now, she is the chief of staff. What does that mean? It is that role of anything and everything. I can promise you she has made it and it is going to be a big role. She is going to be able to touch each area of this building and keep me on track, but I just think she is somebody that is always trying to learn so making sure she is in every meeting with me and just learning. I could not be more impressed with Callie.”


On how Brownson compares to him during the first few days in such a role:

“She is way better. Not close.”


On dealing with off-field issues as head coach and how much that adds to his responsibilities compared to as a coordinator, given recent incidents with WR Odell Beckham Jr. and RB Kareem Hunt:

“That is the gig. Listen, we have expectations for our players, and we will lay them out once we get everybody back in here on April 6. As it pertains to those conversations, I will be very direct with our players in what we expect from them off the field.”


On if frequent turnover within the organization in past years is unnerving in any way:



On why past turnover is not unnerving:

“I am ready for this challenge, and I think we are adding the right people to this. That is what I believe in. I believe in adding the right people and then making sure we have the right processes in place. Our vision is so forward thinking that I can’t really go back and change my mentality based on what has happened in the past.”


On what from a football perspective gave him confidence in a partnership with Berry:

“I think he broke in under some really good football people – Bill Polian, he mentioned (Eagles Executive Vice President/General Manager) Howie (Roseman) and (former Colts General Manager) Ryan Grigson – and I just think I similarly broke in with different head coaches and different coordinators. I think it is so important as young coaches or young scouts that you are exposed to different ways of thinking and different philosophies. I think that has really formed him into a very complete general manager, both in terms of evaluation, in terms of leadership style and all of the above.”


On if the Browns feel like they are far from the culture they are seeking in terms of emphasizing smart, tough and accountable:

“It is hard to say without having all of our players here in the building, but every roster is different year to year. As we add people to this mix, we will make sure that they fit the mold of what we are trying to build here. I promise you we will get the right people in here, and that will come over time.”


On if he believes in second chances for players with off-field issues:

“I believe in second chances. I think we will be very smart about the people that we identify out there that we want to bring into this building. I think Andrew mentioned smart, tough and accountable. There are different case studies obviously, but we will be diligent about keeping it to a group that we are proud that they are in this building and that they represent the Cleveland Browns.”


On the status of 49ers defensive back/passing game coordinator Joe Woods becoming the next Browns defensive coordinator:

“I think there will be an appropriate time to talk about it. Obviously, I will talk about Joe. I think he is an outstanding football mind. You saw that defense and what they were able to do this year. I think adding Joe to the mix was very impressive. I saw it firsthand unfortunately how good they were. A good family man. I have known him for a long time, and at the appropriate time, we will kind of dive into that.”


On if Woods is visiting the Browns today:

“I think he is coming in today.”


On if he is looking for a sense of regret from Hunt when discussing his off-field incident and a sense that Hunt can get past it and it is not a pattern of behavior:

“I think every situation is different, but certainly with any player, we are going to have standards by how we behave when we are not in this building and when we are in this building. I think Kareem understands that, and we are going to move forward with him understanding where I stand on all those matters.”


On if he wants and expects Beckham and Hunt to be on the team this year:

“I think certainly I want Kareem and Odell on the team this year. Yes, they are players I believe in. Again, two different situations, but to lump them together, I would put them with all of our players. There is a standard that we will set and that we are going to ask of them to adhere to those standards.”


On if there was any disappointment Vikings Assistant General Manager George Paton did not become Browns GM, given their relationship in Minnesota and how Berry fits alignment within the organization and:

“As it pertains to the first part of the question, we had three great candidates in my opinion. (Vikings Assistant General Manager) George (Paton) is a friend of mine, but I can’t say that would have made us more aligned in all football decisions. A great friend. As it pertains to Andrew, he knows how I think and we talked about it. It is not just we are just hoping we are on the same page. We talked about everything under the sun in the last two weeks, our football philosophy, the way we are going to acquire players and just the specifics about how we are going to do all that. We have worked through all that, and I can promise you that that partnership is very important. It is something that I look forward to starting and we have started that process already.”


On the dynamic of his role in roster decisions with Berry:

“Andrew is the general manager and I am the head coach, but I can promise you in decisions as it pertains to personnel, I will be involved. We have had a dialogue already about that. Andrew talks about he gets a lot of free advice from his dad in acquiring players and so do I (laughter). We have to make sure that we listen to the right people, but it is going to be Andrew and I, along with a bunch of really good people in this building, making those decisions.”


On if he feels he has already had ‘fire to put out’ as it relates to DE Myles Garrett’s suspension and Beckham and Hunt:

“I do not think so. I think is the NFL. There is always going to be something around the corner. You do not know when you walk in the building what is going to come up. As it pertains to all of our players, I can promise you that we are going to make sure that we are doing the right things on and off the field.”


On if offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will also serve as QBs coach:

“I think we kind of talked about that a little bit. We are working through all of it. It is a very fluid situation. I have spoken about this before, putting a staff together is a puzzle. You have to find the right pieces, and the big pieces are the coordinators. Even a seemingly small piece of the quality control coach, I want to get the right people in here as we fit this puzzle together.”


On signing offensive line coach Bill Callahan:

“It has been great. Coach Callahan, I just have a ton of a respect for the man just spending some time with him in that meeting room and hearing how he coaches certain techniques and some of the schemes that we are going to employ. Very excited for what he brings to the table. I have mentioned it before, his experience as a head coach of the collegiate and the professional level is something that I am going to lean on heavily.”


On if Callahan employs the blocking scheme he desires:



On if it cool to have Berry and his family with younger children like his in the building:

“I am much older than Andrew (laughter). I think it is cool that his kids are here. I am missing my kids as I am watching those two guys. Yeah, I think it is awesome.”


On the importance of integrity and character when building a staff:

“Extremely [important]. You have to start there. I want good people and good coaches, but I am starting with good people. I can promise you as we have gone through this process, it was not important to me to hire a staff in a day. We could have done that, but that would have not been the best thing for the Browns. It has been so important to make sure we are adding the right people with diversity of thought, diversity of race, gender, all of the above, age or you name it, but making sure that it is the right mix of people first and foremost.”


On addressing the perception that Berry was the team’s second choice for GM behind Paton:

“Listen, three great candidates and I know a lot was made of George’s and my relationship. He is a great friend of mine and will continue to be a great friend of mine, but I will promise you, what was important was getting the right man for this job and for the Cleveland Browns. I think Andrew again, I could not be more excited to work on a day-to-day basis with him.”


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