HC Kevin Stefanski (9.24.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

On if he is excited to see T Jedrick Wills Jr. compete against a talented Washington’s DL and learn more about Wills’ skillset: 

“Yeah, I think we are learning about all of our rookies every rep they are getting. Jed is somebody that is going to get incrementally better each week, just like we hope for our offense just to learn from each one of our reps. Playing in this league, there are no easy outs. There are some really good defensive lines that he is going to face and that our offensive line is going to face. Obviously this week, the team coming in here with five first-round picks on the defensive line is really a big challenge for our whole team.”


On what makes Washington WR Terry McLaurin so effective and if McLaurin moves around or stays in the slot:

“They will move them around. He just he does everything well. He separates from people, he is good with the ball in his hands and makes contested catches. He is very, very dynamic.”

On the Kentucky grand jury’s announcement yesterday regarding the Breonna Taylor case and if the team and its social justice leadership team has or will discuss it:

“Like we have been talking about since the spring, we want to affect positive change, and we are starting in our community. I think our players, our social justice committee and all the players have shown to make sure that they want to help. To that end, we met with (Cleveland Division of Police) Chief (Calvin D.) Williams this week on Zoom and (Cleveland City) Councilman (Matt) Zone just to get a dialogue about our community and what we can do to help. That is definitely something that is always going to be on our players’ minds and see ways that we can affect positive change.”

On if extra time is being dedicated to special teams during practice, given the unit’s coverage in the first two weeks of the season:

“We are very aware that we have to do better there. There are some things that we can do schematically and there are some things that we can do personnel-wise, and we need to do it. I think we have the people to do that.”

On the importance of executing the first 15 offensive plays to open a game and when that set of plays is determined: 

“For us, at least our processes is I work on that Friday afternoon with a ton of input from the coaches and from the quarterback. I think a lot of emphasis gets put on those first 15 plays externally. We are just as diligent about worrying about the final 15 plays or the middle 15 plays. We want to operate throughout. A lot of times in those openers, you are trying to see how a defense is going to play you and you are going to show them one formation. We just have to make sure that we are clean operators throughout the 60 minutes as opposed to just concerning ourselves with those first 15.”

On the significance of getting a lead early:

“It is huge. It is the NFL. You would love to jump out, get a lead and protect that lead if you can. These teams are really good so both teams are trying to do that. Sometimes the game is in the balance into the 60th minute, and then sometimes you have success early. You just have to play the game as it unfolds.”

On if the Browns have considered using P Jamie Gillan for kickoffs:

“I will leave all those conversations between (special teams coordinator Mike) Priefer and myself. Just in terms of all roster related decisions or all schematic decisions, we talk about it all.”

On DT Larry Ogunjobi’s performance in the first two weeks:

“Larry plays really hard. He practices hard. He plays hard. It is important to him. He has a great combination of power and quickness. He is somebody that we rely on. He is one of the leaders of the football team. He has played well, and we are relying on him this week, as well.”

On TE Austin Hooper and if there will be more chances to get Hooper the ball:

“Yes, I think there will always be more chances to get the ball, but if you look at any of our success we have had the first two ball games, No. 81 is typically heavily involved in that success, whether he is catching the ball or not. I do know that opportunities in the pass game, they come one week, and the next week, maybe they are not there. It is really kind of you judge it after a few games more than two.”

On how much attention he pays to the run/pass play balance during a game, given the Browns were essentially even in the first half last week:

“We have some great coaches during the game that helped me out, particularly the guys up in the booth are giving me our tendencies on first and second down, by personnel and all that. I think balance does not have to mean 50/50 like we have talked about before. If we are 50/50, that is kind of the nature of how it went, but as long as you have the threat of the run and the pass for a 60-minute game, ultimately, that is what you are looking for.”

On if DEs Olivier Vernon and Adrian Clayborn will practice today and how Clayborn played at the start of the Bengals game:

“We will do the same thing we did [yesterday] with those guys so they will be working on the side. Adrian, it was fun to see him out there early in the game. It was unfortunate that he got injured there, but you kind of see what he has done in his career and what he is capable of affecting the pass game.”

On Baltimore and Cincinnati using a five-man front on occasion and if he expects to see that more as the Browns have success in the run game:

“I think the five man front has been around for a while. I think a lot of teams like to play that Bear front or Navajo, Jam or whatever they call it, where they want to cover up the center and the two guards. I think that has kind of been around for a while. Some people see it as a run-stopping front, and some people see it as a pass-rushing front where they get five one-on-ones potentially. I think we have faced some teams already this season, we are going to be facing one this week and I am sure down the down the line here where they are going to play multiple fronts and they are going to be in different looks. That is what is so important for us offensively to communicate both on the field and then when we get to the sideline look at these fronts and have some conversation about how we are picking things up in the pass game and how we are blocking it in the run game.”

On if Wills’ transition from RT to LT ‘has gone better than expected’:

“I do not know if I want to comment on it. He has played two games. With any of the rookies I just do not know if it is fair yet to say one way or the other on these guys. Jed in particular, he is doing a nice job. We are two games into it. We understand that there are going to be some mistakes that he makes, and there are going to be some bad play calls that I make. I am a rookie, too. We understand that we are not going to make some proclamations after two weeks.”

On NFL players making adjustments as a player builds tape and if that is similar to MiLB players moving up to MLB:

“Yeah, in a lot of ways it is. That is where we are fortunate to have some really good coaches on this staff that can work with these rookies and understand that the look is going to change. You are going to go up against different players. The technique has to get better week in and week out. That is where I give our coaches and the players a ton of credit.”

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