HC Kevin Stefanski (9.2.21)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

On if he is still amazed watching DE Myles Garrett in practice:

“Yeah, I would take you back when I first saw him last training camp in pads and going through drills. That was unique to see somebody that size and be able to bend like that and get off of the ball like that. Once I saw it then, it kind of became the norm.”


On if unvaccinated players are allowed to leave town during the three-day weekend:

“They need to test every day still – unvaccinated players. Vaccinated players can leave town, yes.”


On clarifying if unvaccinated players can leave town:

“They would have to test every day. I guess they would have to leave town and then get back to test that next day theoretically.”


On the NFL mandating three days off from players this Friday through Sunday:

“It is mandated by the league. We have to charge our battery up. They have to be smart in their rest and recovery. We talked about that this morning. We are very mindful that we have seven weeks until that mini-bye after the Thursday Night game. We have 12 weeks until our bye. We need to be real intentional as a team about how we rest and recover.”


On if this is the first time that Browns players have been allowed to go out of town before the season:

“That is right. I think it is the first time they have mandated the time off. I think it was up to each club how they wanted to handle this weekend. Remember, you would be playing a game tonight in previous years and then the final cuts would be coming in the next couple of days.”


On how the Browns coaches will handle work during the players’ three off days:

“We will work. We have plenty of work to do. We have kind of outlined what we need to get done this weekend in terms of getting ready for next week.”


On if he likes having the bye week late in the season:

“You have no control over it. I would tell you, with the 17th game with the late bye, we have definitely considered that as we put together our plan.”


On if he is ‘satisfied’ with where the team is at right now:

“I would not use the word ‘satisfied.’ I think we are where we need to be with a bunch of work left to do.”


On if there were specific steps identified to improve the culture when he got here last year:

“Nope, just got the right people in here.”


On which coach has had the greatest influence on his play calling:

“I would upset somebody if I gave you one person. I mean that I was really so fortunate to be around different people, different philosophies, different personalities and different schemes so I have tried to take everything from all of those guys.”


On if he ever worked on play calling before he became the play caller:

“I played quite a bit of Madden growing up (laughter). I think any coach period, you are calling the plays with the play caller throughout the game. ‘Hey, I really like call. I would not call that.’ I can’t tell you how many times as a young coach I would hear a play call come in and be like, ‘Oh, I would not call that,’ and then first-and-10 or touchdown. I think all of us when you are not calling plays are in that rhythm thinking about what you might call next. I know for us offensively,and even (defensive coordinator) Joe (Woods) defensively, I think it is a really collaborative effort on game days. Ultimately, I am making those calls and Joe is making those calls, but we have a lot of help along the way.”


On if he has any update on injured Browns players:

“No update other than to say that everybody is progressing.”


On if he is encouraging players to stay close to home this weekend:

“I think the message is stay safe, be careful and follow the rules that are set forth, but in terms of telling the guys what they can and can’t do, I am really not in a position to do that. I am in a position to tell them to be safe and reiterate some of those messages this morning and again today.”


On if he was feeling healthy and up to speed in the AFC Divisional game after missing the prior week with COVID-19:

“I was. I was fine.”


On if he was ‘rusty at all’ in the AFC Divisional game:

“Well we lost so I was not good enough, but physically, I was fine.”


On losing his taste and smell:

“Yeah, luckily that came back a couple of weeks later.”


On if he approaches Week 1 as if they are playing the Chiefs for the second time in a row or if the new season makes it more of a new game:

“It is definitely a new game. We have a lot of the same players. They have a lot of the same players. We have the same coaches. They have the same coaches. You do not pick up where you left off so we are certainly anticipating they are going to show us things that we have not seen throughout the preseason. I know they expect the same from us. Of course, there will be similarity because a lot of the faces are the same.”


On if he watches the TV show Ted Lasso:

“I have watched a bit of it. I have not gotten through season one yet though.”


On if he relates at all to Ted Lasso as a coach:

“I do not know how to answer that. It is a good show.”


On Woods’ performance last year and how eager he is to see the evolution of Woods and the Browns defense this year:

“For sure, I would tell you, there was definitely an evolution of the defense, as well, throughout last season – some different faces in and some different guys out. We added more in terms of the front and added more in terms of the coverage, even late into the season. We expect defensively to be different. We obviously need to be better, and we know that as a unit. We have outlined ways that we are going to do that.”


On if there is a competition for the starting WILL LB:

“I think we know who our starters are today, but I would say we will wait until next week to really finalize what we are going to look like going into Kansas City.”


On if finalizing the starting positions is a factor of game planning or competition:

“I would say a little bit of both. I know we have to set that depth chart and we will, but at the end of the day, we will play a lot of guys. We really will. We will wave guys in, especially on the defensive front. We will work through all of that next week.”


On if WR Rashard Higgins is back today:

“He is not, but he is excused.”


On what makes Higgins so effective:

“With Rashard, I can only go on what I know. He was inactive for a bunch of games early in the season, never complained, did whatever was asked of him and then gets in the game and produces. That is a testament to how hard he works. We have talked about that rapport between him and the quarterback before. There is a great ability to be where you are supposed to be and make the play when they ball is in the air. I just think that is kind of what I have seen from him in the last year.”


On Higgins always being where he is supposed to be:

“Yeah, obviously, that is a big part of it – being dependable to the offense, not just for the quarterback but just being dependable.”


On if the practice squad will be finalized today:

“I think we are finalizing it today and tomorrow.”


On the importance of having four DEs who can rotate and the decision to re-sign DE Joe Jackson:

“I would tell you, all of those roles are important, specifically to how we are going to wave the guys along the defensive front. Joe had a nice camp and did a nice job in the games. We expect him to continue to build on that.”


On why Jackson was re-signed over other players who were brought back to the practice squad:

“I think there is so much to consider with those type of decisions. Specifically to Joe, he had a nice camp.”


On if there is an ideal number of developmental players versus players that are ready to play on the practice squad:

“I do not that there is a specific number, but you definitely have guys that could play in Week 1, and you definitely have guys that you are looking at for next season that you want to develop and take a look at. It varies.”


On if G Michael Dunn is a candidate for IR:

“I think we will work through all that. He is progressing, though.”


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