HC Kevin Stefanski (9.28.20)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“(WR) JoJo Natson unfortunately suffered an ACL tear there. He is out for the season. Disappointed for him. He will go to IR. (LB) Tae Davis has that elbow injury. We will monitor that. He will miss some time, but we are just going to monitor that one. (CB) Denzel (Ward) with the groin was not able to go there for much of the second half but hopeful that he will be able to work through it this week. I do want to point out that there are a ton of guys that are fighting through these injuries that are working their tails off to get out there on the practice field and make it to the game. I think that is a great testament to this team and guys pushing through these injuries. On that note, (CB) Greedy (Williams), (LB) Jacob Phillips, OV (DE Olivier Vernon), all these guys are progressing, and we will see where they are throughout this week.”


On how the 11-play drive in the second half that opened up the run game and offense:

“We were a resilient bunch there yesterday. We went down [7-0] and we were down 20-17 so we had to answer. I thought the guys did that. The ground game takes 11 guys, like we have talked about before. I thought all those guys, and I would single out the receivers as well, (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.), (WR) KhaDarel (Hodge), (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and all those guys blocking downfield. Speaking of Odell, four catches, four huge plays. Four first downs, which was very big for us. Really pleased with the effort that those guys are putting out there.”


On losing Natson for the remainder of the season, including with how the Browns were using Natson on offense:

“Disappointed. Hate long-term injuries like that. JoJo was doing a nice job for us, like you mentioned, on the offensive side. As an offensive staff, those guys will sit down and kind of figure out if there is another guy on the roster that can do those types of things, and we have to continue to as much as we can try and be difficult to defend. Like you mentioned with JoJo’s role, we will work through that.”


On playing with three WRs after Natson left the game:

“We had four total up and then JoJo goes out so we had three. That is right. That is what you do when you are putting these inactives together. You are kind of thinking about what the game is going to look like and what might happen. Once we went down to three, we definitely stayed in some personnel groupings that limited the amount of receivers on the field.”


On if the wind was a more a factor yesterday than realized:

“I would not say it was more of a factor, but being on Lake Erie you know that wind is going to be a factor. We know that. I will tell you there were conversations throughout the game of really which way it was blowing, and that seemed to change throughout the game. Anytime you are playing at FirstEnergy Stadium, we are mindful of what the wind is doing. “


On what it means for the team when playmakers like Beckham and DE Myles Garrett are making big plays in key moments:

“We are counting on those guys. As coaches, we try and put them in spots to succeed. Sometimes we do and sometimes we do not do a great job of that and then those guys just make plays. That is what we are counting on. You mentioned Odell and you mentioned Myles, those guys are really talented football players, and I am counting on them and teammates are counting on them, and they come through. That is the nature of this beast.”


On TE Harrison Bryant’s development:

“Those tight ends as a whole, we are putting them sometimes at the point of attack in the run game and sometimes on the backside asking them to do different things in the run actions and blocking defensive ends. We are putting a lot on his plate. Fortunately for us, he studies very hard so he knows where he is supposed to be and does a nice job. He is coming along.”


On how encouraging it is to see Browns TEs embracing their roles as blockers, given Bryant’s reaction to making a big block on a TD run:

“Yeah, that tight end position is such a versatile role. They have to be able to affect the pass game and the run game, showing a little emotion like he did there is always a good thing.”


On RB Nick Chubb scoring a TD on a cutback run after the hole seeming available during an earlier play and how much of that is due to Chubb’s vision or coaching adjustments:

“It is a little bit of both. I will tell you, having coached the running backs before, you have to just give them their reads and then get out of their way. You do not want a running back who overthinks it. He has his technique. (Run game coordinator/running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell) does a great job with that entire room. Stump gives them the read, gives them their technique and then lets those guys trust their eyeballs.”


On S Karl Joseph’s leadership in the Browns secondary:

“Karl does a nice job. That entire room is a great mix of young and old. I hesitate to call Karl an old guy, but he has kind of been through a lot in his career, has great perspective and really does provide mentorship to the younger guys in that room.”


On if he believes LB Mack Wilson and CB Kevin Johnson were able to knock off enough rust to earn more playing time moving forward:

“I do. I think there is a ramping up to this thing. I think it happens out here on the practice field. Like you mentioned, it happens on the game field and getting them those game reps. I would anticipate that both those guys and a lot of these guys coming back from injury will slowly but surely add to their rep totals.”


On QB Baker Mayfield having less than 10 pass attempts in the second half of the past two games, both of which were wins, and if that is a favorable formula:

“I think the favorable formula is having a lead in that fourth quarter, and if you can run it efficiently and be smart about how you throw it, that is the formula for winning, but we do not go into it thinking about the number of attempts.”


On what he hopes T Jedrick Wills Jr.’s learns from his penalties:

“I think he was disappointed in those two penalties. I know I was. I let him know that. That is part of this deal, you have to be great with the cadence. Those were two that he wants back. We can’t let that happen. We just have to make sure that we clean that up. Once he settled in, he played really solid football for us, but I do not want him to have to go through that to settle in.”


On being close on the sideline to Joseph’s hit on Washington WR Antonio Gandy-Golden:

“Yeah, I did have a very good view of that one and a very clean, solid hit along the boundary there. Nice job.”


On the opportunity for players like WR Donovan Peoples-Jones with Natson out for the season, both on special teams and offense:

“We will work through that. I think we have some candidates in the building. That is something that I am going to sit down with Prief (special teams coordinator Mike Priefer) and talk through as this week unfolds of how we want to attack this.”


On the difference in the Browns running game’s production in the first half compared to the second half:

“I think these are some good defenses we are facing. I think that is a very good defensive front. It did not happen early for us. I believe in our run attack. I believe in that line. I believe later in the game, those guys can lean on people, and then you saw Nick and (RB) Kareem (Hunt) make some plays. It is just something that we felt confident in, and you can’t get discouraged knowing that you are going against some really good fronts in this league.”


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