HC Kevin Stefanski (7.31.21)

Opening statement:

“Good to see everybody. We will have a group out there today. We will rest and guys that we talked about. Normal plan. I think we have one more day here in acclimation period. Have a day off tomorrow. Get them back on Monday. Like the work we are putting in and have to put another good day out there today.”


On S Ronnie Harrison Jr.’s injury status:

“No update. We will hold him out today and then we will kind of just take it as it goes.”


On who will be resting today:

“You will have to see.”


On if Harrison injured his hamstring:

“It is a lower extremity. We will do hockey terms.”


On if Harrison will be OK:

“Yeah, he will be fine.”


On how eager everyone is to practice with pads:

“The game is played with pads on and there are certainly some more things you can do just in terms of keeping guys safe. When you have the pads on, you feel good about some of the drills and you know that guys are protected. It is a physical game. I know that the guys are chomping at the bit to get to that point. We are just going to make sure that we ramp it up and are safe when we get there and we still continue to practice safe, but it is football so excited when the pads do get on.”


On if last year was a learning experience for TE Austin Hooper in terms of blocking more often than previous seasons:

“Hoop had a nice season for us. He really battled in a lot of moments. I mentioned it last year, in a lot of big moments where we were running the ball, he was at the point of attack. He was making big blocks. Think back to even (QB) Baker (Mayfield)’s run at the end of the Pittsburgh game to seal the game. Hoop was at the point of attack. He just did a lot of nice things for us. We are going to grow his role. I thought he just really understands now in Year 2 how we plan to use him, and again, I do believe his role can grow.”


On tight end coach Drew Petzing saying he thinks the Browns have three No. 1 TEs:

“Must be nice for that tight end coach (laughter).”


On if the Browns hope to feature the tight ends more this year:

“We like that room. We feel like there is versatility there with those guys. They all have things that they do differently and that one guy does really well and maybe the other guy does not. It is just about us finding ways to put them in position to succeed. Of course, we like that room.”


On the rarity and luxury it is to have three TEs who can play at every spot:

“Versatility is so big. We talk about it all the time. That room in particular when you have tight ends that can line up outside, can line up in line and can line up in the backfield, I just think it gives you a bunch of different ways to attack a defense. The fact that we have multiple guys who we can do in that regard, it gives us an opportunity put all three on the field at a time, which not everybody does, and then when we have those three on the field, we can run a variety of different offenses.”


On if he ever played TE:



On if he envisions the NFL game continuing to evolve around the TE position:

“Potentially. I do think sometimes you get a wide receiver that you can line up in the backfield. I think back to we had Percy Harvin at the Vikings for a bunch of years and lined him up and running back. It is really a matter of the more you can do from a positional standpoint. We have running backs that we feel real comfortable lining up outside and throwing them the ball. Listen, there are certain players who are maybe more one-dimensional across the league and they are great players that way, but it is just the classic the more you can do.”


On DT Malik McDowell:

“Malik has done a nice job going all of the way back through the spring and through the workouts in the building. He has really taken to what we are asking him to do. He is good in the meeting room. Working really hard. Excited to see what he can do.


On McDowell’s chances at earning a roster spot, given his time off from playing:

“We will see. I think that is the fun part of training camp. It is a competition. Like we talked about, when the pads go on, you will see some guys separate themselves. I think that is the fun part in this. Malik is going to have an opportunity so we will see.”


On if there was more energy with the fans in attendance yesterday and how the team responded to it:

“Definitely more energy out here. I think the guys enjoyed it. The fans were loud. They were boisterous. They were into it. Offense and defense, I think everybody responds to it well. I think that is also a part of this season is you are going to have full stadiums again. Dealing with the crowd and maybe a hostile crowd, not like this crowd here, you are going to have to operate in those environments.”


On DT Andrew Billings’ progress after opting out of last season:

“Andrew has done a great job. I had not met him until we finally met each other this spring. A really good person. Understands what we are trying to get done. Powerful. Excited to have him out there.”


On Billings losing 20 pounds to get to the desired range:

“Andrew did a great job working on his body. He really did. He is in a good spot. He is extremely powerful. You should hear the weight coaches talk about his power. He is in a good spot.”


On Billings’ strength:

“He is rare. He has a rare ability to move people.”


On if the Browns will have to change signals when playing the Ravens in back-to-back games:

“I think you normally do that in the course of the season so that may come up more often on the road. We are going to turn the crowd noise on next week because it is something that we have been talking about for a long time here. That is going to be new for most teams having not gone through it for an entire season. We will devote a good portion of time to dealing with crowd noise, silent count and all of the things that go with that.”


On how much less time have the Browns had to focus on teaching language and terminology this year compared to last year:

“Definitely in Year 2, you can go a little bit faster because of, like you mentioned, the terminology and some of the conversations that you have had, but you do start at the beginning. That first slide is still what we call our personnel and what we call our formations. You may be able to go a little bit faster through it in those meeting rooms, but that does not mean that we skip it entirely. We really believe strongly that there is a teaching progression to this thing so we are not going to skip any steps.”


On the decision process when building a gameplan and determining when the team will frequently use multiple-TE formations:

“Every gameplan is so individualized to that opponent. A lot of times, it is where you are from a health standpoint. Maybe, whether it is from tight end or wide receiver, you are down a body or two so that may adjust it. It may be a team has shown to struggle versus this personnel as opposed to this slightly more. It just depends on the game. I think we are fortunate enough and we want to be versatile enough to pivot to different personnel groupings week to week and even in game, as well.”


On how much of the input on practice music is from players compared to coaches:

“I am not going to get into specifics on that (laughter). I make a request every once in a while, but do not assume every song is coming from me.”


On if the mental health of athletes is being talked about more by teams compared to the past, given the growing emphasis on mental health for athletes and individuals overall:

“It is definitely emphasized more from the course of my time being in the NFL, and rightfully so. We take it very seriously for our players and for our staff. It is something that we talk about because it is very real. We want to make sure that everybody’ mind is right and your body is right. You can’t spend all of this time in the weight room and the field and then forget about the person who you are dealing with and what they have going on in their life. It is certainly something that is very much at the forefront for us.”


On DT Malik Jackson:

“Malik has done a great job. He is a pro’s pro. There is a schematic fit with him, but also, he practices hard. The guys enjoy being around him. He brings a lot of energy to what we are doing. Like you mentioned, he has been on a bunch of good defenses. We are excited to have him as part of that group. It is never a bad thing when you have a veteran in there who has been there, who has gone through it, who has been on good football teams and who understands this scheme. I think it is really important.”


On if there was a concerted effort by the Browns to overhaul DT:

“I would not say it was a concerted effort. I just think that is the evolution of how this offseason flowed, if you will. I thought (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew and his crew did a good job of identifying guys who fit us – who fit our scheme and who fit our culture. It is a competitive group.”


On how satisfied he is with the retention of information by Browns players in the second year of the system:

“The guys are working hard. It is not perfect. You are seeing mistakes out there that we have to clean up. We are early in our installation schedule so the guys are spending some time with it. You really expect it to pick up as we go. As we get through some of these installs, you hope that the guys own it, but there is no magic to this. You can’t just flip a switch and know your job. You really have to study and spend some time with it. That has kind of been the message – certainly to the young guys, making sure that they are spending enough time at their craft.”


On the timeline to complete install:

“Typically, you wrap up your installation prior to the first preseason game so we will do that prior to going down to Jacksonville.”


On RB Nick Chubb appearing to be given the day off yesterday yet standing ready to go in at any moment:

“We are just being smart. Like I mentioned, it is an acclimation period. We have a day off tomorrow so certain guys, we will make sure that we are being smart about it.


“Nick is always ready.”


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