Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (10.24.22)


Opening statement:

“Injury front, (TE) David Njoku has an ankle injury. He is week to week. We will update you guys as the week goes on. (TE) Pharaoh Brown is in concussion protocol. (LB) Jacob Phillips has an injury to his pec that is likely season ending, but we will update you as this week goes on.


“I think you guys understand how frustrating it is when you try to win in this league, you come close and you don’t get it done, that is really frustrating. It is frustrating because the guys are putting in the work and the coaches are putting in the work, but we have to come away with victories. We are committed to that. We are working hard in this building today and learning from yesterday because you have to – you absolutely have to. You have to learn some of those little things that we can take care of and get over the hump and get a win, get a big division win. We get an opportunity to do that this week. We get against a division opponent at our house Monday night on Halloween in front of our fans. That is an amazing thing for us to have right in front of us. We are excited about that.”


On if he received and explanation from NFL headquarters about the false start called on the final FG attempt:

“Not yet. I have had one phone call in. I will have another phone call later today.”


On if he believed LS Charley Hughlett may have moved the ball on the play that potentially led to the penalty, given the comment by Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh:

“He didn’t. Charley is a veteran long snapper. He did nothing differently than he has done his entire career. We are in no way trying to draw them offside in that situation – the risk-reward is way, way, way, too high. You may do that if it is on the +10 and it is a short field goal – there are teams I see do that – but that certainly is not what we were doing there.”


On why the hold on the final FG was 1 yard closer to the line of scrimmage following the false start:

“That is just something with Charley and the holder (P Corey Bojorquez) that we have to work through.”


On the Browns’ smart, tough and accountable mantra and if the team is embodying those characteristics as desired, given the challenges presented this season:

“I think you are right, you never know what is coming, and it is a test. Everything is a test. Losing is hard and it is no fun, but it is a test for us. I do believe in those players. I do believe in those coaches. I do believe in our identity to your point. We just have to go do it. I do believe that everything is in front of us, and you get to really test your resolve right now.”


On if there is a desire to see more of those characteristics from the team moving forward:

“I think that is all of it. We want to be smart. We want to be tough. We want to be accountable to each other. We want to be a resilient team. It is who we are. Again, you are going to get opportunities. We have a great one this week coming up versus a really good football team at our place.”


On WR Amari Cooper taking accountability postgame for the offensive pass interference penalty and if when watching the film it appeared to be a penalty call that historically could have gone either way for offensive or defensive pass interference:

“I think you are exactly right, you have seen that one go either way. There is hand-fighting in this league. I get it. He created some separation there so you are beholden to whatever the officials saw.”


On Cooper taking accountability for the penalty even though it was a close call and may have potentially made the catch without it:

“Amari is a pro. He is accountable to his team. We are going to be counting on him moving forward. He is a really good player, and I understand that was an unfortunate moment. He is moving forward.”


On the Browns’ offensive series at the end of the first half and the start of the second half and why RB Nick Chubb did not receive more running plays during those possessions:

“We got into a two-minute drive at the end there, and we didn’t come away with points. We started on the 12-yard line, got it to the [Ravens 46] and we stalled. I take that upon me. I have to get the offense to break through there. You are trying to score a touchdown and settle for a field goal, and we did neither. We punted, and that is really unacceptable. When you get into those two-minute situations, sometimes (RB) Kareem (Hunt) is in there as our two-minute back and as our third-down back. In a lot of ways, that is to keep Nick fresh throughout the game. We come out in the second half and we go sack, completion to Nick and then a strip-sack. That is how it went down. It is not what we are trying to do obviously. Trying to just be efficient in the run and the pass game, trying to avoid third down as best we can and come away with points when we have opportunities to do it. When it is not good enough, that is on me and us to get it fixed. There were just too many moments there where the offense hit a lull, and versus a good team, you have to make the most of your opportunities. I don’t feel like we did that, and that falls squarely on me.”


On if Browns players are at a ‘breaking point’ with frustration following yesterday’s loss:

“No. I don’t. That is the short answer. The long answer is losing is frustrating. I would hope everybody gets that. Nobody likes it. It is a horrible feeling. You look around the league, and I know there are buildings that feel like we do right now. It is not fun, but I know this, these guys work hard, they play hard and they are going to continue to prepare. That is what we have to do, and that is why this opportunity right in front of us starting with this Monday night game is so important.”


On if there is some positive to Browns players expressing frustration:

“That is the environment you have in sports with locker rooms. You are pushing each other. It is frustrating when you are losing, and it is an amazing feeling when you are winning. That is all it is. Just have to continue to push each other.”


On why the Browns seem to be struggling with adversity more this season compared to 2022, understanding there are unique challenges every season:

“I think you are right in that every year is different. I really can’t compare the years. I just think where we are right now, we have to find a way to win. I have said it and you have heard me say there are the little things in football that you have to do to win on the margins, and we have to start doing them because these games are close. That is the NFL. That is why the product is so great and so exciting because these games are close. We have won close games before, and we have to find ways to close these out. That is something that we are working really hard on.”


On recent challenges on special teams:

“It is the ultimate team game. To win, you have to play good football on offense, defense and special teams. There were moments yesterday where we didn’t do enough from a special teams standpoint. You mentioned the long return and the blocked field goal so we have to be better. We will coach real hard to make sure the guys understand that, and we will get better just from making sure that they understand what we are asking them to do and then we have to go execute.”


On clarifying if the specialists independently made the decision for the final FG attempt to be 1 yard closer:

“No, I am not saying that. With the penalty moving us back those 5 yards, I think we just didn’t adjust accordingly, but those guys are always working to make sure that they have their landmarks correct. I don’t believe that was the reason the ball was blocked.”


On if the Browns offense called for the deep pass to Cooper late in the game or if that was a pre-snap audible:

“It was not an audible. You are looking for opportunities to score touchdowns. We will take them whenever you can get them. If we have to play defense, we will play defense. I understand what you are saying where you would love to take it all of the way down to 0:01 and score on the last play, but when you are playing a good defense and you have an opportunity with a one-on-one ball, you have to take it.”


On stating Njoku is week to week and if that indicates Njoku is not expected to play on Monday:

“It is a Monday night game so I want to get later in the week before I make that determination.”


On if Phillips’ pec injury is related to the biceps injury sustained in 2021:

“I am not sure.”


On if Phillips sustained the pec injury making a tackle in yesterday’s game:

“I believe it was one of the tackles along the sideline.”


On if CB Denzel Ward remains in concussion protocol:



On Phillips sustaining multiple long-term injuries since entering the NFL:

“I feel for all of our guys when they are going through these. It is not fun to be hurt. It is not fun to be in the training room. It is not fun to go get surgery. It is not fun to go get surgery. Unfortunately, Jacob has had to do that. I know this, he responds when he has to do this. He works like crazy. I know he will work like crazy to get back out there. Unfortunately, injuries are part of our game. You see it too often in this league, and it is so unfortunate for the players and in this case Jacob, but it also is part of the game.”


On who will wear the green-dot helmet communication system on defense following Phillips’ injury:

“We will work through all of those things.”


On losing multiple games by one score or less:

“It just speaks to again going back to we know these are close games. That is just how the NFL is. We welcome that. That is part of the excitement of being a competitor in those moments. We have to come through. You really never know when that one play that is going to swing the tide matters. There are plays in the first quarter that you don’t want to lose the ability to go make big play that can affect the game. It just will go back to making sure we are sound in everything we are doing – offense, defense and special teams.”


On RB Kareem Hunt’s touches in recent weeks and Hunt’s rushing average in yesterday’s game:

“The run opportunities he had were not blocked correctly. To Baltimore’s credit, they did a nice job so that is not on Kareem. He is playing hard like he always does. Opportunities didn’t come up necessarily, but he did a nice job on his plays and scored for us late. He will continue to do things that help us win.”


On LB Deion Jones’ performance yesterday:

“He had [33] plays. He had to play a little bit more with Jacob going out there towards the end. He is a good veteran linebacker for us. He hasn’t played football in a little while so I think it was just natural that he is playing himself into – he is in good shape – football shape, if you will, just because of when you haven’t played in a while and you are thrust out there. I think he will only get better because of that. Has a very good understanding of what we are doing. We will see how the role carves out as we move forward.”


On the Ravens’ pressure yesterday:

“They have good players. They have good rushers. They beat us on a couple of our one on ones. There was at least once where I feel I could have helped the offense with the play call in those scenarios. We have to do our best to protect. We have to take care of the ball. It is all of those things moving forward.”


On challenging the play that may have been a sack early in the game:

“We missed that one. It happens. It is always on me. Even if they tell me one thing, it is ultimately my decision on what to do. Just felt like in the first half you can be a little bit more aggressive in those situations. It was about 15 yards of field position potentially, and you are playing that field-position game. Obviously, if I could do it over, you don’t challenge that for the reasons that we all saw. You are going to miss that at times, but that is my responsibility.”


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