HC Kevin Stefanski (9.14.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“We are in the midst of our Cincinnati preparation, obviously, on a short week here. After looking at the tape from yesterday, just continues to be clear that we did some things that are going to make it really hard to win versus a good team, a good football team. I have to give credit to that [Ravens] outfit, the coaches and the players. We just have to identify and correct. That is Week 1. We are already into Week 2, but we have to make sure with the players that we identify some things that we can do better and correct them so that we do not make some of those same mistakes again.


“On the injury front, (C) JC (Tretter) made it out OK – sore but made it through just fine. X-rays on (T) Jed (Wills Jr,) were negative. He is sore. With (LB) Jacob Phillips and (TE) David Njoku, still gathering information on those guys. The guys that were on the injury report prior – (CB) Greedy. (Williams), (CB) Kevin Johnson and (T) Chris (Hubbard) – we will update you as we progress on them, but they are doing a nice job in their rehab.”


On what is at the top of the list of things to work on heading into Week 2: 

“When we play football games, you identify things that you have to do to win. I go back to you are playing a good football team and you are going to play really good teams almost every week here. Turning the ball over, winning that turnover margin is huge as it relates to winning and losing. Some of the penalties were just killer for us. That is just not the type of things you can do and expect to win.”


On if he stressed the importance of not overreacting after the loss, given it is just one of 16 games: 

“Yeah, we talked about that yesterday. We have a game here on Thursday so they flushed it yesterday to be honest with you. We are moving on while saying that we will still identify and correct those things that we have to get better at, but we are moving on.”


On his impressions of QB Baker Mayfield’s performance after watching the film: 

“What I say about Baker really could stand for everybody, just inconsistent, and put the coaching in there as well. We just in a bunch of different areas can get better. Baker had some really good moments and some moments that I know he wants back, but I am not pinning blame on any one person. I think we all share that, and that starts with me.”


On if Mayfield was forcing the ball to WR Odell Beckham Jr. at times or following his reads: 

“I do not think he was forcing the ball. We did not connect obviously as much as we would like to. I think it is a combination of things. You have to really start with them and give them credit. They made some plays. A couple balls, I am sure Baker wants back. A couple of routes, I am sure Odell wants back. That is the nature of this thing. We just have to make sure we work really hard this week and then get out there Thursday night and put our best foot forward.”


On if he believes Mayfield and Beckham Jr. can get in sync quickly: 



On Bengals QB Joe Burrow and if he scouted Burrow before the season: 

“Yeah, a really good young player. Obviously, had as good a college career and as good of a year as you can have. A special player. You saw on that [rushing] touchdown, he has great movement skills. He can make all the throws. We have our work cut out for us.”


On if the Browns will make a change at K: 

“With all the roster moves, we will just wait to gather more information and then we will let it go from there.”


On Wills’ status for Thursday’s game: 

“I would say too early to tell on that. For a lot of these guy, you are just coming off the game so we really have to see how it plays out over the next couple days.”


On if the Browns can build on encouraging signs from the running game, given the rushing yards total and rushing average: 

“I think we let it get out of hand there, and I think that the sequence at the end of the half there, as everybody knows, we let that game get away from us. Once it was away, it is hard to go the run. It is hard to be encouraged by something when you lost like we did, but I do think there are things that we can build on and learn from.”


On any positive takeaways from yesterday’s game: 

“It is the National Football League. There are going to be the ups and downs in every game. There are rhythms to every game. I just mentioned that that sequence at the end of the half there. We have to do a better job. I have a hard time not giving credit to Baltimore. They did a nice job, but there are things that we can do and things that we can clean up. Hopefully, that gives us a better chance moving forward.”


On the mechanics during his first game as head coach: 

“I thought the communication was fine between the coaches, myself, the players and everybody on the sideline. I think that was smooth.”


On if Mayfield’s interception was one that he can live with occurring, given the Ravens’ defensive scheme on that play: 

“Not many interceptions you can live with. We can coach off that tape. Every interception you can learn from. We can coach off of that. They did a nice job, but we can certainly do better on that rep.”


On if he is still getting a feel for the best ways to use Beckham: 

“I think we have a pretty good feel for Odell and his skillset. He is a talented football player. It is our job to put him in a position to make plays. Are we going to learn about him, what he is comfortable with and what we are comfortable with throughout the season? Yes, so that will grow, but I think we have a pretty good sense of it right now.”


On if the Browns made a specific point yesterday to find a way to get Beckham the ball and involved in the offense: 

“I just look at it in that way, he is a good football player so we want him to touch the ball. I think that is good for us. We are mindful of all of our players in terms of how they are touching it. There were opportunities early where the coverage took it away, somebody else was open or those types of things. He is a good football player so I do not think it is newsworthy that he is a focal point of our offense.”


On the best advice he received after the loss and if he received encouragement from other coaches, colleagues or friends: 

“I think that is the nice part is I have a bunch of strong people in my corner. I do not get too high or too low, but I do appreciate when people send messages win, lose or draw. I will keep that between me and them. Listen, this is a long season. We are one game into this. The best thing we have is a game coming up here Thursday night.”


On the failed fake punt and taking responsibility for it after yesterday’s game: 

“You got it. I think any play like that, I am fully responsible for. We were trying to maximize possessions in that game. When there are times that it calls to be aggressive, we are going to be aggressive, and there are going to be times where it does not call for that. It did not work. I know we get hung up on the result and we should, but we will from it and we will make sure that we continue to put our team in the best position to succeed. You are absolutely right in that buck stops with me on that type of call.”


On if there was talk in the locker room to get Beckham more involved in the second half and if it was a concerted effort to target Beckham many times in the third quarter or of it was simply the result of the reads on offense: 

“It really was not [a concerted effort]. It is just kind of where the reads took him. We got a couple penalties out of it, but that was where the reads took him.”


On the Browns OL’s performance and if the team hopes to get TE Austin Hooper more opportunities in the passing game: 

“I think on the offensive line, solid. The run game numbers would lead you to believe that we had some success there. Protection by and large was pretty good. Yeah, Austin, he is going to be a big part of this offense. I think we so often get wrapped up in one game or two games, and I think you really have to check in after four games or eight games to see where everybody’s role fits in.”


On if the Ravens’ continuity and previous success is a factor he takes into account with yesterday’s result, given the Browns’ recent performance and new personnel and scheme: 

“I just think we played a really good football team yesterday. Credit to them. I think very highly of their players and their coaching staff. We have good players and good coaches here, too. They got us yesterday. I think we will learn from it. Hopefully, we are ready to roll this Thursday.”


On NFL games often being characterized as ‘a game of inches’ and if the Browns are still a few games away from seeing how they can fully measure up against the league, given yesterday’s result: 

“Yes, this game is a game of inches. That is why we love it because these teams are so close to each other. That game got away from us. It is hard to say it was a close game because it was not. The final score did not indicate that. It is our job to make sure that we look at those little things, those gains and those plays of inches and make sure we  find a way to make them next time we are presented with them.”


On if the Browns back-seven’s struggles on defense can be attributed to inexperience or injuries: 

“A combination of all those things. I do not want to sound like a broken record, but hat tip to that offense and to (Ravens QB) Lamar Jackson. He made some incredible plays yesterday as you probably would expect. The focus goes on what we can do better. We have already talked about some of those things and some of those schemes. We can be better in our technique, we can be better in our calls and all of that because we will see that team again. We have to make sure that we iron that stuff out.”


On CB Greedy Williams’ status for Thursday: 

“Hard to say, honestly. Day to day so I really can’t pinpoint either way.”


On if the Ravens did something in particular to limit DE Myles Garrett’s impact, given Garrett’s stats: 

“I do not think necessarily. Every team we play is going to be very mindful of Myles Garrett so they will have a plan for him. We expect big things from him. I think Myles expects big things from himself. The good news is we have a game on Thursday.”


On if S Ronnie Harrison Jr. can be a significant contributor this week and evaluating S Andrew Sendejo’s performance Sunday: 

“I think Ronnie is somebody that we are finding out more about and seeing what he can take on. Obviously, a guy that we like. We want to include him and involve him. As it relates to Andrew or really any of the defensive guys, none of us played well enough. I think there are all things that we can clean up, and I can’t pinpoint one guy over the other. We have guys that we feel good about. If we can just make sure that we clean up these mistakes, whether it be technique, schematic or whatever they are, we will feel better about ourselves this week.”


On Wills’ debut at left tackle: 

“I thought Jedrick was good. Can always be better. There are some things that we want to clean up with him technique-wise, but I would say it was a solid first outing.”


On his expectations as a first-time head coach, calling plays on offense and takeaways from his first game: 

“I was comfortable with the mechanics of it. We had really good communication on the headsets with the offensive coaches and defensive coaches. We have to build off of it. There are always some things that we can do better. There are always things that I am pointing the finger right at me immediately and saying, ‘What can I do better?’ That will start and we have those conversations today and we hope to apply those lessons learned as we move forward.”


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