HC Kevin Stefanski (7.28.21)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening Statement:

“Good to see everybody. First of all, congrats to Bill Nelsen and D’Qwell Jackson for being named Legends. It is going to be exciting to celebrate those guys in person, along with Webster Slaughter and Josh Cribbs from last year – we were not able to do that. Good to be in person with you all for the first time in a while. Excited to have the fans back out here later in the week here at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. Ready to get to work. I know our guys are eager. Had a good walkthrough this morning and then we will get started this afternoon.”


On if all Browns players are healthy and available:

“We are going to be without (LB) Tony Fields (II). He injured his foot – the opposite of the foot that he had an injury on before. He will miss some time. (RB) D’Ernest Johnson will not be out here, but he is excused for personal reasons. We will see him later in the week.”


On if any Browns players are designated on an injury list or PUP:



On the Browns’ player vaccination rate:

“I am not going to get into the specifics, but we are trending in the right direction. Just continue to educate everybody that we have a safe and effective vaccine. We want to keep our players safe, keep their families safe, the staff, etc. That is what we are discussing with our guys.”


On if the team has to be careful to be sure a division is not being created in the locker room between those who feel strongly about getting vaccinated or not:

“Yes, and I think the guys know how I feel. I respect everybody’s decision. It is a decision that they get to make, but we are just going to continue to do our part to educate for guys that maybe want some more information. That is what we are here for.”


On the percentage of Browns players who have been vaccinated:

“I am not going to get into the specifics.”


On if he makes an effort to talk to the players who are hesitant to get vaccinated:

“The medical staff has done an outstanding job of being there for our guys and answering any questions they may have and continue to have. That is just what we are here for. Again, it is about player health and safety . We are here and respectful of any decisions.”


On building on last season’s success and where to start now compared to training camp last year:

“Back at the beginning. Every year stands on its own merit. The guys understand that there is a ton of work to do, and we are starting on that path. We started with the rookies and the quarterbacks early, bringing them in for a few days, and then getting the vets here yesterday starting the meetings last night – meeting in person again and had not done that a long time. We are well on our way, but we have a long way to go.”


On the team’s plan with WR Odell Beckham Jr. returning from a season-ending injury:

“With Odell – very similar to a lot of guys – they have an individual plan that is tailored to them and where they are in their rehab, if you will. We will bring him along at the discretion of the doctors, our medical team and Odell and see how he is feeling. Had a good meeting with him last night. He is doing well.”


On the NFL ramp-up period for 2021 training camps:

“Day off on Sunday. We are in pads on Tuesday. You can’t be in pads after that first day off. You have to wait till Tuesday.”


On the NFL restrictions during the training camp ramp-up period:

“There are restrictions on what you can wear and how long you can go. We will adhere to all of those rules and just make sure that we do this safely.”


On if he has talked about the external Super Bowl expectations with the team in meetings or the first one of the season:

“We talk about a lot of things. I promise you all 32 clubs talk about the Super Bowl. It is really easy to talk about it; it is hard to do. We are just going to focus on the work.”


On if he brought up the playoff loss to the Chiefs in team meetings:

“We have talked about a lot of things over time, but I would say we are moving on to 2021.”


On what he learned from last season’s playoff run and what the team needs to do in 2021 to advance further:

“We certainly established an identity on offense, defense and special teams, but I truly do go back to that every year stands on its own merits. Just because you did it last year does not mean you are going to do it this year. We are going to start back at square one as we install Install 1 with the offense and defense. Installed punt this morning with Coach Prief (special teams coordinator Mike Priefer). We are going to make sure that we reinforce this foundation and not get too far ahead of ourselves. I will tell you that going into Year 2, certainly, we have established, we hope, a way of operating.”


On if he has ever had this much continuity with an offense:

“I can’t think specifically, but yeah, continuity is great if you can do it. Oftentimes in this league, it is hard to do. It does not guarantee anything either. I have already talked to a bunch of our guys that I am glad that we are bringing some faces back that that we know and the teaching maybe dives into nuance a little bit more with those guys, but you really have to start at the beginning and start at the foundation. I think what you will see today is it is about fundamentals and techniques. That is where we will start.”


On if Fields was hurt during the on-field work with rookies and quarterbacks:

“He was.”


On if Fields’ injury is long term or if Fields will need surgery:

“I do not have a long-term update.”


On his philosophy on playing time during preseason games and how having preseason games will change training camp this season compared to last year:

“We will kind of cross that bridge when we get there. We have had conversations about it, but I want to see where the team is, I want to see where we are when we approach those games and then we will make decisions really player by player. You also have to be mindful of the extra game this season. There are a lot of things that we are taking into account as we start practicing and as we build this practice schedule out.”


On the Browns’ continuity and taking into account that opponents now know more about the team than last year:

“There is a bunch of tape on us last year on offense, defense and special teams. Teams when they are playing us, especially early, that is where they will start. That is where we are starting. It is very natural in this game to evolve your schemes in a given season or over a given season. We had a lot of those conversations this spring. We implemented a bunch of those changes in the offseason and into minicamp. We will constantly try to grow. I do not believe that you can stay stagnant in this league because from an offensive coach’s perspective, there are too many good defensive coaches out there. If you keep doing the same thing, they will take it away.”


On DE Myles Garrett saying he wants to step up as a leader even more this season, particularly given all of the new Browns players on defense:

“Myles has been doing that since I got here. He is never shy to share how he feels with his teammates. He works his butt off, and the guys see that. He practices really hard. He is a leader of this football team. With that defense, like he mentioned, with some new faces, he is needed. We need his leadership, and he knows that. That is also part of a maturation of a player and of a person. As Myles continues to stack some seasons on top of each other, he has grown into that role.”


On how different the vibe is heading into this season compared to this time last year when teammates and coaches were potentially meeting in-person for the first time:

“I am not very good at measuring vibes (laughter). I think the guys are excited. I think they are excited to be back around each other. We are excited to get to work. There was a lot of energy out here at walkthrough so I think that will probably carry over into practice.”


On if the 17-game schedule led to changes in how the training camp will be conducted in totality:

“I would not say totally, but you have to take it into account. It is not just for training camp. It really builds into how you proceed throughout the regular season and keeping that in mind.”


On how tough it is for LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah to be missing the start of training camp and if the team is able to keep Owusu-Koramoah in the loop through virtual meetings:

“We are. We have had a lot of practice at those virtual meetings so (LB) Coach (Jason) Tarver and (run game coordinator) Coach (Ben) Bloom are doing an outstanding job making sure he is up to speed and getting as much as he can while he is not here.”


On if it is tough for a rookie to miss the first few practices, referencing Owusu-Koramoah:

“I would say it is not ideal obviously. I am sure he wants to be out here, and we want him out here, but that is the nature of this thing. We will just bring him along as quickly as we can while he is not here.”


On if he can say if Owusu-Koramoah will be out for 10 days:

“I can’t.”


On if he understands that it may take time for the defense to mesh with the new players on the unit:

“Our coaches understand that they are introducing some new guys in the scheme, and we have a bunch of guys that are returning, as well. It is not like you are starting with an entire defensive new scheme like we were last year – like we were on offense, and defense. The guys have a plan. It really speaks to how you plan your practices, how you do your installs and how you make sure you do not go too fast too quickly. I think (defensive coordinator) Joe and the staff are on top of that.”


On what stood out about Woods last season and his confidence that Woods can turn the Browns defense around:

“Joe is a really good football coach. I believe in that staff. They did a nice job last season in some tough spots. They worked really hard this offseason fine tuning the scheme. As we mentioned, we are adding some new players in there. I think Joe is as excited as anybody to get out here.”


On if he learned anything new about Woods from working with him every day:

“Having spent time with Joe years ago, he is a grinder. He is in [his office] early and stays late. That light is always on in there, and he is working at it. It is something I knew, but having an office right next to him, maybe I got a front row seat.”


On if Woods was the first assistant coach he wanted to add to his staff as defensive coordinator:



On if he is looking forward to seeing WR Jarvis Landry get back to the ‘old Jarvis’ after being able to recuperate this past offseason:

“I am really impressed with how Jarvis looks. Physically, he is in great shape. He really worked very hard this offseason, and he is ready to roll. He is a consummate professional. Thrilled that he is in that meeting room with some young guys and they can kind of see how a pro does it. He is in a good place.”


On how training camp may look different due to the relaxed COVID-19 protocols compared to last year:

“It will be louder with the fans out here. I have heard all about it so I am excited to experience it. We will be mindful as we go that we do this the right way. What we will not do is do too much too soon. I do not believe in that. There is a way to start. It may look slow to some people, but we are just trying to reinforce the foundation because we have a lot of work to do, and we can’t skip steps to get ahead.”


On if it is tough to take the step from being a ‘borderline playoff team to a Super Bowl contender’:

“I just think this league is really competitive. There are some great teams. There are great coaches. Year in and year out, it is hard, and we get that. That is where our guys are up to the challenge. We are not going to think too much or think too far ahead of ourselves. Totally recognize that this league is difficult. You will get reminded every once in a while of how difficult it is. The guys understand this is a long season, and part of getting ready for that long season is putting some really good work in early as we get started.”


On if there is any carryover from the changes made last season due to the COVID-19 protocols:

“We certainly learned a lot. I would say a great example is what we are doing right now with JOK not being here. I think we can not lose too much not having him in person. Again, I think that is a credit to Coach Tarver, Coach Bloom and that staff. They are being very creative in how they can get him some walkthrough reps and make sure that he is staying up to speed. Those are the type of things that you learned last year that you can maybe apply to this year.”


On the differences in padded practices and hitting during practice during last year’s training camp:

“I do not know how different it was last year with the hitting. We are going to adhere to the protocols in terms of how many padded practices you can get and that type of thing. We will make sure that we do it in a safe way and that we ramp this thing up. As you know, it is football so once the pads get on, it will look more like football and the guys certainly I believe will be flying around.”


On what he is keeping his eye on with the rookies during training camp as it relates to potential burnout or overexertion:

“I think it is great that those guys were in here for those three days. I think they got to knock off some rust mentally and physically. For a young player, this is a lot. It is a long day. You get in, you are lifting, you are going to meetings and then you are going to walkthrough, getting lunch, you are going back out to walkthrough, you are going to another meeting, coming out here and you have meetings afterwards. It is a lot, and you make sure that those guys understand it is part of being a pro being able to operate with all of that going on. We will just make sure that they are there where they are supposed to be, they are taking coaching and I think you will see, as we all do, growth with them over time.”


On CB Greg Newsome II stating comfort of playing inside and outside:

“Versatility is a big thing. If he shows that he can play inside and out, that allows certainly Joe and the defensive staff to use him as such. I will tell you that about a bunch of players. (CB) Troy Hill is somebody that can play inside and out. When you have multiple guys who can do multiple roles, it just opens up the amount of things that you can do as a defense so certainly, that is a big deal.”


On how it feels going into the season when people have high expectations of the team and the Browns potentially having a ‘target on their backs’:

“We really – with all due respect – ignore what is going on on the outside. I am really concerned with what is going on with the guys inside the building. We will just keep our focus on what we have to do and the work that we have to put into this. Anything else that is going on on the outside, I will let you guys worry about that.”


On if the Browns will still do the 4 H’s – history, heroes, heartbreaks and hopes – with the team in meetings:

“Yeah, I have a plan to do that.”


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