Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (10.18.21)

“On the injury front, (RB) Kareem (Hunt) has a calf injury that is significant so he will miss some time – that is in the weeks. (LB) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has an ankle injury that is also significant so he will miss some time – that is also in the weeks. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) with the shoulder, we will just gather more information over the next couple of days on him, as well as (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) with the shoulder. Just going to gather some information and see how those guys do over the next 48 hours call it. On the rest of the crew, I know the questions are coming on (T) Jack (Conklin), (LT) Jed (Wills), (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and those guys, and we will see. I do not have a firm answer on a lot of those guys so we just have to get through this couple of days and see where everybody is.


“Obviously, still frustrated and disappointed with our performance yesterday, and then ultimately, we are moving on and we are full-speed ahead on the Denver Broncos. This thing comes at you quick. We are going to make sure we turn the page with the players as they come in this afternoon and we get started on the Denver Broncos team and (Broncos Head) Coach (Vic) Fangio, who does a great job with their defense. They have explosive players on their offense so it is going to be quite the challenge on Thursday night.”


On if Hunt will be placed on injured reserve:

“We will work through all of that on the roster, but it is likely, yeah in that it is going to be more than three games.”


On if the Browns should consider resting Mayfield this week:

“We will make sure to work through all of that in the next couple of days and obviously take what the medical staff says and what Baker in this case says. We do that for all of our players, making sure we make prudent decisions with all of these guys.”


On how the Browns may handle practice reps and game planning with Mayfield and QB Case Keenum this week:

“I am sorry, I can’t give you any more information just because it is so early in the day and early in the week. I will have a better sense tomorrow with a lot of these guys so I really do not know is the truth. I have to see how Baker and all of these guys respond in the next 24 hours.”


On if Hunt will be out an estimated 4-6 weeks, given a recent report from NFL Network:

“It is in that ballpark, but I did not get that exact number.”


On how the team approaches devising a gameplan on a short week with the number of injuries and not necessarily knowing who will be available to play on Thursday:

“We are still devising that game plan, and I think that is what we have to do. We have to be fluid in what we do. The truth is we may not know who is available to us for another 24-48 hours, if you will. That is what we have to do. That is no different than everybody in the NFL right now. You have guys who may make it to the game and may not, and that is just life in the big city.”


On if the Browns would consider playing or resting Mayfield on Thursday, even if the medical team clears Mayfield to return:

“With any injury, I am not the expert. I am not the medical expert so I will listen to the medical team here and will listen to the player. With every single player here, you treat them, and you have a dialogue with them. You talk to the doctors, and again, we will make good decisions and smart decisions with all of these guys.”


On Mayfield going back into the game right after aggravating the shoulder injury against the Cardinals, how much Mayfield and the medical team each factored into the decision and if the team might have to ‘protect him from himself,’ given Mayfield may want to play regardless of his injury status:

“All of those type of conversations, I am going to defer to the medicals staff on when a guy is ready and/or not ready. Again, we talk to the players. The situation yesterday, he was deemed ready to go back in, and obviously, as you saw, Baker wanted to go back in. We will always do what is right by our guys.”


On how to improve communication on defense to eliminate mistakes:

“Each week, we try to make sure the communication is on point really in the meeting rooms. Those walkthroughs that you mentioned, we have added walkthroughs. Going back a few weeks, we have added walkthroughs on Thursday to overcommunicate, if you will. At practice, we place a huge premium on it. It ultimately has to be better across the board, and that is really for the team when it comes to communication because often times, some of those mistakes you see are the product of miscommunication so we will keep working very hard at that.”


On if the Browns consider changing the mindset of going for it on fourth down or if the team needs to execute better:

“I really believe we have to call better plays and we have to execute better. In those moments when we are going for it, I have to make sure I give the guys something they can execute and something that we can get the ball out of our hands on time and those type of things. That is where I need to be better. Each game is different. I have said it before, we are not being aggressive just for the sake of being aggressive. We are trying to be smart in what we are doing. We have to be better. That is pretty obvious.”


On if he feels the need to say anything to the team to build morale entering the short week with multiple injuries:

“I will address the team later today. Listen, it is the NFL. Injuries are part of the game, and we have a game on Thursday. We have to get ready, and we are going to be full speed on to the Denver Broncos.”


On if communication is the only problem with the Browns secondary or if it goes deeper:

“I would not pin all of our issues as a team in any area on just communication. Obviously, it is an important part when you are playing these games that everybody is on the same page, but there are a bunch of different areas that we have to clean up. Sometimes it is alignment, sometimes it is assignment, sometimes it is technique and sometimes it is giving these guys things they can execute. It is all of those things. I would not just say it is a communication thing.”


On Mayfield’s performance yesterday and if Mayfield was as crisp as desired and making the desired reads and decisions:

“I do not think any of us were as crisp as we needed to be. We turned the ball over three times. We had zero takeaways. We had been doing a decent job of taking care of the ball up until yesterday. We just were a little too careless at times. Again, we did not take it away. You finish minus-three [in turnover margin], it just not how you are going to win a game in this league.”


On if Beckham should have received a handoff on a potential reverse play:

“I really do not want to get into the specifics of those types of things, respectfully. There are a bunch of different things and a bunch of different things I wish I did differently, and we can clean those things up.”


On if there needs to be a different approach when considering a QB playing through injury compared to other positions:

“I do not think so. I could think of some other guys who are pushing through injuries on our team, as well. As you know, you feel 100 percent the first day of training camp, and that is the last time you feel like that. Again, speaking about all of our players, we have a bunch of guys pushing through nicks, bruises and whatever you will, but we are going to always do what is best for the player.”


On if RB Nick Chubb may be able to play on Thursday:

“I am not going to rule him out yet. Obviously, a short week makes it harder, but he is progressing.”


On if Owusu-Koramoah’s ankle injury is a high ankle injury and if Owusu-Koramoah will be going on injured reserve:

“It is a high ankle. I think we are going to work through the roster designations today.”


On the major difference in the turnover margin this season compared to last season:
“I want to say we are middle of the pack, and that is not where we want to be when it comes to turnover margin. We put a huge emphasis on it. We drill it every day. Again, we had too many giveaways yesterday, and that is uncharacteristic of how we have been playing. We do have to do a better job, and those things come via tipped balls and they come via great plays on the ball, rip attempts and getting the ball out. It was on the ground a few times, and we did not get it. It is going to continue to be a huge emphasis of ours. Sometimes they come in bunches, but we have to make sure that we take that thing away.”


On if he would like to see Mayfield take the potential short pass opportunity to Beckham instead of holding the ball trying to make a big play on the sack-fumble:
“I would tell you on that specific play, quite honestly, it was not a very good play call – not many people open on that play. They covered it pretty well. Baker was getting close to having to scramble there so it is not like there was anybody wide open. To your point, I would tell you there was play – I do not know if it was earlier or later than that – where he took Kareem on a similar-type concept where Kareem was open and he dotted it on right now. That is always an emphasis of our quarterbacks of knowing when the be aggressive and when to take those things that are right in front of you.”


On how much ‘gut feeling’ weighs into the decision-making process on fourth down:

“Every game is different. Every matchup is different. We look at that when planning out those type of decisions. You are right, it was early in the game. It was a call that we liked and did not come through. Again, that is where I need to make sure I am giving these guys plays that they can execute and convert because we have to be better – that is no secret.”


On evaluating the turnovers by Mayfield yesterday on film:

“Again I would tell you, he has done a very nice job of taking care of the ball prior to yesterday. We had a couple too many times where the ball was on the ground or we threw an interception. I am not naive enough to think that it is not going to happen at all, but we want to make great decisions, we want to throw accurate balls, we want guys to run the right route the proper depth and all of those types of things. Really unfortunate on those plays. The one play, he is fighting trying to make a play late in the down, and they got him. Again, unfortunate. We can teach off of them, but we have to take care of the ball.”


On how much not having Chubb and Hunt being banged up entering the game affects early decision making in the game:

“It was part of it. We wanted to make sure we spread the ball around. We felt like we had opportunities there in some of those concepts versus their bigger personnel, but I credit the Cardinals. They did a nice job.”


On the confidence in the run game with Hunt out and Chubb’s status currently being uncertain for Thursday:

“I have confidence in our guys. I think you have seen it over the course of time, guys step up. That is the nature of the beast. The NFL, you are going to have guys in and out of your lineup every single week. Short weeks, it is a challenge. It is a challenge for both teams. Whoever is in there, I can promise you I have a ton of confidence in them.”


On if the Browns coaches have discussed potentially simplifying things on defense:

“I think those are the type of things that we are always discussing really on offense, defense and special teams. We need to be better. We need to be more consistent. Some of our mistakes, it really is not a matter of simple or hard; we just have to make sure we do our job. Ultimately, what I would tell you is we have to look at every angle and what we can do better as coaches and what we can do better as players.”


On if the coaching staff ‘also feels out of sync’:

“I think any time you lose a game like that, we all feel out of sync. We did not do a good enough job.”


On if there are discussions with defensive coordinator Joe Woods about potentially adjusting S John Johnson III’s role on defense, given Johnson’s role is different than past seasons:

“John is a guy who we are all counting on. He has done a great job in the leadership role that he is playing. I think he is doing a nice job in the role he is playing on the field. There are some opportunities where he is coming down with the ball, and he is getting close to it. I think he is doing a nice job. Ultimately, all of our guys, we are constantly looking at where we can use them so that they are used to the best of their ability. I would not say that is any different from any player.”


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