Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (1.4.22)

Opening statement:

“No real updates on the injury front from last night. Just like I told you guys last night, very frustrating night for us. Disappointing in a bunch of ways, but were not able to get it done, and it was not for a lack of effort. We just were not good enough. Too many lack-of-detail type things, and it cost us. It was really unfortunate. We really have to make sure that we put this one behind us because we are on a short week. We have Cincinnati coming to our place on Sunday. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) will not play in this last game. We are going to hold him out. He is going to get surgery scheduled really as soon as possible so that he can get back healthy as soon as possible. Throughout this whole thing, we have tried to make the right decision based on all of the information available to us, constant dialogue with our medical staff and with Baker and all of those types of things. Throughout, I have really felt comfortable based on all of that information that he was able to play and those type of things. Obviously, frustrated for him, but just felt like that was the right thing to do for right now.”


On if there is any regret about not resting Mayfield for a longer period of time earlier in the season:

“It is a fair question, but I would just tell you, each one of those weeks and those days when we made those decisions, you are just going off of the information that is available to you. That is information from our medical staff, from Baker, from second opinions and those type of things and then based on how he performed in practice. That is kind of how we made the decisions each week.”


On assessing Mayfield’s performance during the 2021 season:

“I will wait to talk about reflecting on this season. There will be time for that. Ultimately, I am frustrated for Baker, not to be able to finish the season and those type of things, but anything past that, I will wait to discuss.”


On an estimated timeline for Mayfield’s recovery from surgery:

“I do not have that information right now.”


On what the Browns could have done differently to limit the number of sacks allowed last night:

“Staying on schedule is probably the No. 1 thing. We were just in way, way too many third or fourth and seven and long. That was frustrating. It is always multifaceted. It is a combination of getting the ball out, of making sure that we are playing on time and that everybody is doing their job. It just was not what we set out to do in any way. Ultimately, that is something that we need to correct.”


On how Mayfield’s injury and wearing a harness on his left, non-throwing shoulder affected performance this season:

“I think throughout we have been pretty consistent and I think Baker has been pretty consistent with telling you guys how he felt week in and week out. I am not going to say that all of that did not affect it some way. Of course, it would affect it in some way, but I think he has been pretty clear that he has been ready to go in these games.”


On the Browns’ discussions in the decision for Mayfield not to play in Week 18, given Mayfield said after the game Mayfield was going to discuss the options with his family and representation:

“I think both sides were very involved, and I think throughout this whole thing, constant dialogue with Baker and like I mentioned, with our medical team, second opinions, his agent and those type of things. Just having conversations with his agent this morning and conversations with Baker, just felt like that was the right thing to do.”


On reflecting on if playing Mayfield when battling injury put Mayfield and the Browns in the best position for success, given the offensive struggles in recent weeks:

“Again, I think it is a fair question. Postseason, we can really look at the season-long performance and have those type of discussions. Like I said earlier, just each week trying to make the right decision for the team and for the players based on the information we had available to us.”


On his comment about the attention to detail not being where it needed to be last night compared to that element being consistent in 2020:

“I would not make a general statement like that about a lack of attention last night versus last season. I do not know that that is totally true. Last night, did not happen for us for a bunch of different reasons, and we have to look at that postseason, really pull it apart and get a better accounting of it. For now, I think it is really about what we are doing this week.”


On the Browns’ use of empty shotgun formations last night and not having as much success with it and Mayfield last night, and if the Steelers did anything differently this past week, given the Browns had success with it against Pittsburgh last year:

“That is a good question. Empty is something that we have gotten into in the last few ball games versus them. Had some success early, had a drop and prior to that had a big play off of it. They made plays. They got their hands up. They batted balls down. Ultimately, we just did not come through with enough plays.


On Mayfield’s postgame comment about the Browns gameplan against the Steelers, particularly about not giving more help to T James Hudson III:

“I think it is just something when you do not accomplish what you want to accomplish, people are certainly frustrated. We will always look at what we could do better. There were plenty of times that we did have a person in location to chip and those type of things. Other times protection held up, and ultimately, whether it was we did not get the ball out, guys were not open or whatever it was, it is always a multifaceted-type thing. That is our job to look at and try to find a way and be better.”


On if the Browns put Mayfield in the best possible scenarios to succeed this season, given Mayfield’s postgame comment:

“For all of us, I just think we were at times, as a team, we have been very, very inconsistent this season – as an offense certainly. All things that we will look at long term here once the season is over and have a chance to look at all of it, but certainly, there are frustrations there.”


On if he expects Mayfield to be at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus this week:

“I think they are working on when that surgery gets scheduled so I am not entirely sure yet.”


On if Mayfield is expected to be in the building this week if Mayfield does not have the surgery before Sunday’s game:



On the balance of limiting RB Nick Chubb’s offensive snaps in the first half with a rib injury while Mayfield was playing with an injury and sacked multiple times:

“With all of the guys, we try to make the right decision for each one of these guys. You are right, as guys are injured and banged up, we will make decisions with them. With the quarterback position, obviously we do not want him to get sacked as many times as he did – that is the obvious statement – but we are also trying to put our best guys out there trying to find a way to win, and ultimately, we did not get it done last night.” 


On citing the evaluation of Mayfield in practice when determining Mayfield’s availability for games this season and explaining the decision to play Mayfield against the Packers after Mayfield missed practice time while on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“Quickly because that was a couple of weeks ago. We were comfortable based on his health and based on him having a full season’s worth of work and practice – felt comfortable with that.”


On if he is aware of a report that University of Pittsburgh discussed a potential job opportunity with offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt:

“I do not know about that.”


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