HC Kevin Stefanski (9.15.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“Big challenge this week with the Bengals coming up here to our place. I think it is a really good team. A ton of respect for their coaches. Offensively, I think you saw that quarterback (Bengals QB Joe Burrow) is a special player, and then they have a ton of offensive talent around him with the receivers. They have fast guys, they have big guys and they have a couple really good running backs and a good offensive line. Getting (Bengals T) Jonah Williams back this year was big for them. Defensively, a stout front. Have long guys on the edge there. Great effort players. Fast linebackers. Some corners that can run and match you, and some safeties with some ball hawk ability. Well-coached. Good special teams unit. It will be a big challenge for us Thursday night.’


On the Browns’ decision to waive K Austin Seibert and sign K Cody Parkey to the active roster after one week:

“I think we weighed everything and have been. With any decision, we make sure we spend our due diligence on it and we felt comfortable making the decision.”

On if there were concerns with Seibert heading into the season, given the transaction after two kick attempts: 

“I would just tell you, with honestly any roster decision, you take all the information in from all time.”


On if it is worrisome that Seibert is expected to sign with the Bengals and could kick a game-winning FG to beat the Browns on Thursday:

“No, it is not worrisome.”

On not waiting until later in the week to release Seibert, given Cincinnati needed a K: 

“I think we were comfortable with the decision. I think we were comfortable with the roster move.”


On challenges preparing on a short week:

“Yeah, I think there is a balance there. Obviously, with a game on Thursday after a Sunday, you have to really dive into the preparations and get the players prepared for this scheme and prepared for these players while still addressing things that are going to come up in every game. There are definitely corrections that we have to make from the previous game, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and here we are really with our one workday, so to speak, this week.”

On Browns players’ response after the loss: 

“This is the NFL. You get games every week. You have to turn the page win, lose or draw.”


On an injury update following Sunday’s game:

“I really do not have any updates right now.”

On T Jack Conklin’s status and if Conklin will practice today: 

“We will see what we can do with Jack. Today is Thursday for us, if that blows your mind. We will get some preparation, we will get some full-speed work and then we are going to do a lot of it in a jog-through type setting.”


On TE David Njoku being placed on injured reserve and Njoku’s performance on Sunday:

“David made some plays out there. That was good to see having him back out there with the group. It is next man up for us, and we will get him back out here hopefully fairly soon.”

On QB Baker Mayfield learning to resist the temptation to go to WR Odell Beckham Jr. whenever he is in single coverage versus letting it occur naturally: 

“We give the quarterbacks very black and white reads. I think that is what you have to do with coaching these guys. It is not every single play that is starts with Odell. There are plenty of plays that start with him, but we make sure that we coach the quarterback on the reads, and the ball goes where the defense dictates based on the read.”


On finding a balance between wanting to get a player the ball and needing to get him the ball:

“I kind of look at it as we design the offense with our players in mind, and then we make sure that our quarterbacks and our offense as a whole is in tune with making sure we are taking what the defense has given us.”

On the Bengals’ offensive talent: 

“Really talented players along that whole offense. (Bengals RB) Joe Mixon is a tremendous running back. (Bengals RB Giovani) Bernard is a great change of pace to Joe and a good player in his own right. Just with (Bengals WR Tyler) Boyd, and then you add (Bengals WR) A.J. Green coming back and (Bengals WR) John Ross (III) taking the top off, a fast guy, they just have really complementary skill pieces to surround that quarterback with.”


On getting Beckham involved early in a game and potentially being more creative in doing so, given Beckham has said he prefers to get involved early:

“Offensively, with the staff and how we put the game plan together, we are trying to get all of our guys involved, recognizing it is hard to do it trying to get everybody a touch early. I think what we are trying to do is make sure that we are productive however we move that ball, run or pass. We are mindful of every one of our players. We are mindful of how we want to get them involved early, in the middle and late. Sometimes the game flows differently. Just all of our skill players are at the ready and ready to affect the game from the first play to the last.”

On if he believes the Browns offense can be more creative with WR Odell Beckham Jr., not saying Beckham should be lined up at RB:

“Maybe we will line him up as a running back this week.”

On the atmosphere without fans in Baltimore and what he is looking forward to with limited fans in attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday:

“It was strange two ways around it. There were cardboard cutouts of people. The noise was kind of a murmur. It was background noise, so to speak. We are very much looking forward to getting in our building. We will have 6,000 fans there. I think it will sound like 60,000. Excited to get in front of them.”

On if he is going to continue to emphasize that players need to bring their own energy to games with or without fans:

“It is. It is very strange. You can hear the other sideline yelling. You can hear your sideline yelling. It does take you back to like a JV high school game. It is strange, but it was is kind of cool also just to hear some of the sounds coming from the field, from our sideline and their sideline.”


On confidence that Mayfield can come back and turn it around for Thursday:

“When you talk about one game out of 16, you want to make sure that you stick to the plan. Baker and all of our players, we know that we have to play better and we have to coach better. That is the beauty of this thing is that we have an opportunity to do that Thursday night. I think we will have a really good day here on the field, make sure that we pour all of our energy into Cincinnati and then go play on Thursday night.”

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