Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (10.27.22)


Opening statement:

“Monday Night Football at our place on Halloween night, it will be an exciting atmosphere. I know our guys are excited for it. It is a long week so you have to really hone in on your preparation to get ready for Monday night. I know the guys are going to be excited. It is a good football team. In the Super Bowl last season. (Bengals Head) Coach (Zac) Taylor does an outstanding job with their team and with their offense. He and (Bengals offensive coordinator) Brian Callahan do a nice job. As you know with that offense, it is high powered. They are throwing the ball around the yard, especially in this last game and doing a nice job. They have weapons really on the outside and on the inside, a good running back (Bengals RB Joe Mixon) and a very good quarterback (Bengals QB Joe Burrow), that you guys know. Defensively, I think they do a really, really nice job. Again, a sound scheme. They have been together for a while. They have a bunch of veterans back there. You see them working together. They are good in the rush attack up front with some really, really good rushers. They are good in the back end. It is a balanced defense. Special teams, (Bengals special teams coordinator) Coach (Darrin) Simmons does a really nice job. They are well coached. They have good players. They play with great effort. We really do have to play a complete football game. You have to play a 60-minute football game when you are going up against this team.”


On an update on CB Denzel Ward’s status and if Ward remains in concussion protocol:

“No update. Yes.”


On if there is a particular aspect of the concussion protocol that has led to Ward remaining in it:

“I don’t know that I am able to say.”


On TE Harrison Bryant’s role and other options at TE if TE David Njoku is unable to play on Monday:

“I think that is part of our challenge each week is who do you have available to you and then put a gameplan together. With (TE) Pharaoh (Brown), his availability is unknown at this point with his concussion. Obviously, Harry is somebody who has played a ton of football for us. Had played really good football run game and pass game so we are excited about him getting a little bit more of an opportunity. Then we have different ways that we can run our offense, but it is really incumbent upon us as a staff to put together a plan with the guys who are available to you.”


On how significant the gameplan and personnel changes will be if Njoku and Brown are unable to play on Monday:

“Week to week, you really do have to pivot based on injuries sometimes and based on scheme sometimes. We have been in a good amount of different personnel groupings, but you are right, without David, he has been important to what we do run game and pass game. He is a great player, but if he doesn’t make it, next man up and find a way to run our offense.”


On the Bengals offense and Bengals QB Joe Burrow’s productivity, including in the deep passing game:

“It is a combination of good scheme and good players is the simple answer. Burrow is playing at a high level. He is a young player who seems to get better week to week. Dynamic players and major RAC (run after catch) from those players on the perimeter. A really good running back. Again, it is a balanced attack, and they do have the ability when you play single safety to throw go balls. It is a tough matchup. I think there are certain things that you can do as a defense, but you are just trying to slow that pass attack down.”


On if the upcoming trade deadline is a ‘distraction’, given reports about some players potentially moving across the NFL and with the Browns:

“I think that is the time of year you are in. Things get put out on social media, I am sure, but we don’t pay much attention to it.”


On updates on DE Chase Winovich’s and TE Jesse James’ status on injured reserve:

“No update on either of those guys.”


On RB Jerome Ford’s status on injured reserve:

“He is progressing. I don’t think we will get him back this week, but he is progressing. Should see him after the bye.”


On LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah not practicing today and if Owusu-Koramoah is expected to practice tomorrow:

“I think we will see. I just have to take that one day to day.”


On if recent changes to the concussion protocol have made it more difficult for players to return to play:

“I just think that each one is so different, and you have to treat each player differently and treat each injury, in this case a concussion, in its own way. I don’t know that it is different per se, but we will always follow every rule that there is. Just follow the protocol, and you can’t rush those things.”


On if there is a specific reason that RB Kareem Hunt has had fewer touches in recent weeks:

“No reason. Expect him to help us and contribute this game. Sometimes you get unlucky a little bit. He got unlucky with some really bad runs, quite honestly, but I wouldn’t read too much into that.”


On Ward’s 99-yard interception-return TD in last year’s game at Cincinnati and if that is an indication of how valuable Ward can be in these type of games:

“Obviously, that was a game changing play, and those are game changing plays when you can get your hands on the ball and flip the field or score. That is obviously a boon to your team. I think should Denzel not make it, I think we have guys that can similarly make plays. That is ultimately what it is about.”


On if the Browns need to make changes to the punt unit after longer returns in recent weeks:

“I think we need to certainly in those plays you need to change how we cover those plays. We didn’t cover them great. You correct them. That is what we do. You point it out, you correct it and you make sure it doesn’t happen again. I think when you watch those plays, we just have to make sure that we are in position that we need to be in.”


On how the Bengals offense has improved in pass protection:

“Four new guys along the offensive line. He is getting the ball out quickly, and he is doing a nice job. I think so much of that is the line. They are doing a good job. It is also him understanding protections and when he needs to get rid of it. Ultimately, with the receivers they have, he wants to get in their hands quickly at times and then he will take his shots down the field. I think it is a combination of the quarterback and the line.”


On the Bengals use of three-WR sets out of shotgun and how that impacts the Browns defense compared to other opponents:

“Week to week, you really do hone in on the attack that you are seeing that week, and it changes so much. For them, it is heavy 11, and it is shotgun, but nothing says that they can’t get under center versus us. Being prepared for all of the things they can do. Having gone against Burrow and this offense the last few years, I think it is really that game of they can try ‘this’ and we can counter with ‘this.’ Kind of playing the game and see where they want to go come Monday night, but certainly, it has been a lot of that shotgun, three wides and wide open [sets].”


On how much time the Browns staff evaluating its situational decisions and play calls from the previous week’s game when building a gameplan for the next upcoming opponent:

“Quite a bit. They are spending time on it so you want to know what they are seeing. It is so important to know yourself and from a self-scout perspective what formations mean what, what down and distances mean what and what personnel means what because you ultimately want to know what they know. That is a big part of it.”


On the excitement as a coach playing Monday Night Football:

“If you are a fan of this league, like myself, and growing up, that was a very big deal when your team was on Monday Night Football. On the east coast, it wasn’t good because you had to go to bed early. Knowing our fans and knowing how they support this team and it being Monday night and it being Halloween, I think that is the fun part of this business for us where we get to go into our place on the lake with a raucous crowd.”


On if he has a specific memory from watching Monday Night Football when growing up as an Eagles fan:

“Not specifics, but you just knew when you heard that intro it was your team versus – it was usually the Cowboys; it was usually Eagles-Cowboys. Those were some fun memories for me.”


On evaluating Brissett’s performance and contributions to the team thus far, understanding QB Deshaun Watson is a few weeks away from returning from suspension:

“I don’t want to evaluate any of the guy’s play at this point. I think that is for a different time. I am happy to speak to Jacoby the person. He has been invaluable to me and invaluable to this team. Just from a leadership standpoint of how he handles himself around the building and the things he does to push his teammates I think is what great leaders do. Particularly at that quarterback position, knowing how much he puts into it on a day-to-day basis and hour-to-hour, the amount of text messages that are flying between him and his receivers and the tight ends, watching tape at night and those type of things, I just think it is really priceless when you are talking about leadership from that position.”


On if there similarities in understanding and approaching the strong connection between duos of Burrow and Chase and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Ravens TE Mark Andrews:

“It is a connection with multiple targets. That is what makes them dangerous is his connection with (Bengals WR Ja’Marr) Chase, with (Bengals WR Tyler) Boyd and with (Bengals WR) Higgins down the field. They have a lot of reps together. I think they know where they want to put guys for certain routes, just like every team does, because there is a comfort level from the receiver to the quarterback position. I think anytime you are playing a team that has a lot of banked reps together, it does become dangerous.”


On the significance of playing the Bengals at the midpoint of the season and leading into the bye week, understanding the team takes the approach of one week at a time:

“It is the Bengals at home. It is Monday night. It is a division opponent. We do put the blinders on. I think it is just important that you can’t look ahead and you don’t look behind. We have a great opportunity against a really good football team. That is all we could ask for.”


On if it is unlikely Njoku will be able to play on Monday:

“He said he is day to day, right? I will stick with that.”


On if Njoku’s status is day to day or week to week, given he stated Njoku was week to week this past Monday:

“Yeah, we are all day to day. He is day to day.”


# # #


***Visit the Browns Media Center for materials provided by the Browns communications department, including media schedules, press releases, quotes, photos, media guides, rosters, depth charts and more.***