Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (10.29.21)

Opening statement:

“I will start with I think you guys got the news on (run game coordinator/running backs Coach) Stump Mitchell. We are going to be without him for a little bit here, which is tough because he is such a big part of what we do and who we are. Obviously, my well wishes are with Stump. I have spoken to him obviously, and he wants to be there with the team but has to take care of himself right now so that is what he is going to do.


“Injury front, you guys have the injury report. On (QB) Baker (Mayfield), he will play. He will start. He has met all of the requirements medically. I feel good about that just in terms of that process and how that went.


“This week as everybody knows, it is a big one. It is versus a division team so we have to play our best. I am looking forward to having our fans down there. I am looking forward to my first full-stadium Steelers game. I am excited to hear our fans out there. They are such a big part of what we do when we are down there on the lake.”


On the factors that led to Mayfield being able to play on Sunday:

“It is pretty simple. It is really medically he is ready to go. Our doctors, our trainers and the second opinions felt very comfortable about that, and Baker feels that he is ready and he feels like he is ready to help this team win.”


On assessing Mayfield’s performance in practice this week, including with the new shoulder harness:

“Functionally, he is 100 percent.”


On CB Denzel Ward being ruled out with a hamstring injury and the number of injuries the Browns have sustained in the secondary this season:

“Obviously, injuries, we do not like them. We do not like any variety of them, but that is our job as coaches to get the next guy ready. It is the players’ job to stay ready. That is what we have to work through each week. It is really no different than in-game. You lose a guy in-game, and you have to make some adjustments so that is kind of what we have to do as players and coaches.”


On his excitement to potentially see Mayfield, WR Jarvis Landry and WR Odell Beckham, Jr. on the field together:

“We are excited to see all of our guys out there. Whenever guys are battling through injuries, I see the hard work that they put in the training room, in the weight room and obviously in the meeting room so we want those guys out there together all of the time.”


On if Mayfield’s injury will have to be managed the rest of the season:

“With any player who is dealing with an injury, I think there is always going to be an element to the training room for sure.”


On if he has a feel for if DEs Jadeveon Clowney and Takk McKinley will be able to play on Sunday, given they were both listed as questionable on the injury report:

“I would say I do not have a great feel. I think we will see how it plays out.”


On if McKinley sustained the injury yesterday:



On if the offensive gameplan has to be designed differently to help protect Mayfield with the shoulder injury:

“I think all of our gameplans are to make sure the ball gets out of the quarterback’s hand in a timely fashion. That is no different this week. We respect this defense, this pass rush and those type of things. I do not think it materially changes who we are or what we do.”


On S Richard LeCounte III being held out of practice due to disciplinary reasons:

“I will keep all of those things internal.”


On if it is fair to say LeCounte is suspended, given LeCounte is not practicing or playing:

“I would not call it a suspension, but I expect him to be back next week. The details of that I will just keep internal.”


On if LeCounte is at the facility:

“He is here – was not at practice.”


On if the team has additional conversations with Mayfield about sliding more this Sunday to protect the shoulder:

“(Offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt does a great with the quarterbacks explaining when we have to take care of ourselves and when we need to throw the ball away. I do not think those things have changed. Those discussions continue and will always be part of how we teach.”


On if part of the approach with Mayfield is that the team has to let Mayfield be himself and play his style of game while still protecting the shoulder:

“All of our players and obviously Baker, you have to play your style. You have to play your game. It does not mean you play reckless. You can go play a smart football game, like we ask him to do every time.”


On how Beckham looked in practice this week while dealing with a shoulder injury:

“He is battling through it.”


On playing the Steelers on Halloween:

“I just hope you are wearing brown and orange down there at the stadium.”


On how the Browns coaches approach in-game adjustments with Mitchell out this Sunday, given Mitchell’s contributions to in-game decisions with the RBs:

“I think we kind of take Stump’s lead and understand how he gets those guys in and out. I think it will be very similar to how we operate, but I think that goes back to just communication on the headset and making sure I am aware of who is in and who is out and making sure I am aware who has X number of touches, etc.”


On how important it is to have a number of versatile young coaches on the Browns staff and have them ready to go:

“We want to have versatility on the roster with the players and certainly with the coaches. I think it is really important for all of our coaches to understand offense, defense and special teams. We put a big emphasis with the young coaches in particular to make sure that they are working in different positions. (Offensive coaching assistant) Ryan (Cordell) has spent time with the running backs in his past so that is not something new, but if you look across our coaching staff, I think you will see some coaches who have worked among different positions and on either side of the ball.”


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