Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (11.1.22)


Opening statement:

“First, I want to start and acknowledge the very tragic passing of (former NFL and Vikings coach) Adam Zimmer. Adam was somebody who I got to work with together in Minnesota. Just a tragic, tragic situation there. My thoughts and my prayers are with the Zimmer family. It is just tough. A really, really good person and a really good coach. Just tough news for everybody.


“With the game – we talked about it last night or I guess it was close to this morning – really some great efforts by the guys, emphasis on the word effort. I thought the guys were flying around, playing for each other, picking each other up off the ground and pushing each other. It was night where kind of offense, defense and special teams were playing complementary ball at times. Never perfect. Always things that I want to do better and that we want to do better, and we will have those opportunities. We are meeting on it right now. Players are in their meetings right now wrapping up with their coaches. Then they will go for the fresh, make sure they recharge and get ready for the next week. Have to treat this bye week the right way, and that is making sure that we are taking care of each other, taking care of our bodies and those type of things, but really have to recharge.”


On QB Jacoby Brissett’s comment last night about remembering the Chargers interception when rushing for the TD and it serving as an example of Browns players cleaning up mistakes:

“I think you are right. I think these games are one-game seasons, as you know, but you also are trying to get better. You are making mistakes so that you can correct them and not make them the next time. The season has its ups and has its downs – we get all of that – but we are so focused on the moment. Last night, I saw our team very, very focused in the moment and making sure that we are going to do anything in our power to come away with the victory. That has to be your mindset every game. That is what the NFL requires.”


On an injury update on TE David Njoku, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, G Wyatt Teller and CB Denzel Ward heading into the bye week and their potential availability for the Dolphins game:

“Nothing new to add with Denzel. All of those guys are progressing. They are all heading in the right direction. Again, this bye week is helpful that they can use these extra days. All progressing, and I am hopeful on those guys.”


On the significance of WR Amari Cooper’s contributions to the team after the acquisition via trade this offseason, including as it relates to WR trades like the reports regarding Steelers WR Chase Claypool:

“I can’t speak to that [report on a Claypool trade]. I am not aware of that one. I just got out of a meeting so I am sure you guys know what is going on around the league. For us, Coop is a big part of what we do. I think he is a big part of what we do on the field and he is a big part of who we are in this building and on the practice field. I enjoy watching Amari work. I enjoy watching him and the quarterbacks work together, rhythm up and talk about different routes. He is a consummate professional, and he is a talented football player. For his size, the way he is able to come in and out of breaks, he wins downfield, he can obviously win at the line of scrimmage and tracks the ball well, a great player – that is the obvious part – but he is a really, really, really good pro.”


On if it is surprising that Brissett was able to recall the play in the Chargers game while in the fast flow of last night’s game and making the decision to run to the end zone:

“No, I think we all have scars, and I think we all have those flashes. It was in the same end zone and the same end of the building. I think all of us… I call plays thinking about a play from the previous week, and sometimes, you have to let that stuff go as we talk about. All of these moments shape us, good and bad. We all take those plays with us.”


On Brissett’s mental and physical toughness displayed this season:

“Yeah, he took a shot to the throat there. He is a big man. In the NFL and you are playing that position, you have a lot of guys closing in on you, and all of the quarterback sneaks, those are shots on the body and those type of things. He takes care of his body, and he is always going to give this team everything that he has.”


On if last night’s result impacts the team’s evaluation at the trade deadline and if he is expecting the Browns to make any trades today:

“I just got out of meetings so I don’t know – I haven’t seen (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) in the last couple of hours. It doesn’t change my thinking. Focused on what is in front of us. You guys get a chance to talk to Andrew later in the week. I am sure you can ask him. For us, we just focus on what we can control.”


On the Browns defense having strong performances in back-to-back games and if the unit has found something similar to what it was able to do down the stretch of the 2021 season:

“I don’t know that I would compare it to last year. I just think you go into these games and you are facing such unique attacks week in and week out. Think about you are going to face Baltimore, and that presents all sorts of challenges; you are facing Cincinnati, and you have different challenges. Just a reminder in the NFL as you put gameplans together and you try to play good defense, you have different challenges each week, and I think the guys understand that. We played really good defensive football last night. Just how we played early in that game getting the takeaway, then forcing them to punt after we missed the field goal and forcing them to punt after we throw the interception, us playing good defense early, I think, really set the tone for that game because if we don’t play good early, they are able to put points on the board. Of course, you always want to build on those type of things, but it is a week-to-week basis. We have to make sure after we get back out of this bye we put together a plan for Miami. That is really where our focus will be.”


On the difference takeaways made in last night’s game to keep the Bengals from scoring points early despite not getting points directly off of all of the turnovers:

“No doubt. It is something we talk about and something we coach and we emphasize. Felt like there would be opportunities for tipped balls last night, and sure enough, shows up on the first drive. (DE) Myles (Garrett) gets his hand on it, and (CB) A.J. (Green) makes a great play. We come away with no points like you mentioned with the missed field goal. We were able to turn I think the next fumble into eight points. Focus is going to be important whenever we get those takeaways to come away with points, but it is the best stat there is in this team game is that turnover margin so it is something that we will always be focused on.”


On if there is any sense of uneasiness for him on the day of the trade deadline:

“Not for me. I get it, but we just have to do our job.”


On what is exciting about the opportunity to self-scout during the bye week:

“You do self-scout every week. You are trying to keep tabs of where you are week to week. You don’t want to wait four weeks and then learn something that could have helped you a few weeks previous. You are constantly doing it. I think now is a great time that it is a big sample size where we are this many games into it so I do think you can gleam some things. I think the most important thing is, “What do we do well? What do we not do well?’ You have to have honest conversations with yourself and with your coaches about those type of things and then make appropriate decisions based on that information. If you have us do a lot more of ‘this’ and, ‘Hey, this is not working. It draws up on the board. It looks nice, but it is not working so let’s move in a different direction.”


On Brissett playing smart football and Brissett’s comment last night about the game slowing down so much and if he has sensed that the speed is slowing down for Brissett:

“I can’t speak to slowing down for him, but I would tell you just as a veteran, he has seen a lot of defense. It feels like week in and week out, you go up against a certain scheme, and he has played that scheme or he played a descendant of that scheme recently. He knows what the rules are for their coverages and those type of things. He is a big player. You see him standing in that pocket – I thought the guys with the protection was outstanding – but you see him in there surveying the entire field and making throws to all areas of the field. I just think he does see it clearly. I think that is one of his strengths. I think in terms of it slowing down, I just think that is preparation. I really do. He works very hard to get ready for these games and what he does in the meeting room and what he does on the practice field to make sure that he is getting himself ready to go perform in these games.”


On what LB Sione Takitaki has shown serving in a expanded role on defense than the past:

“He has done a really nice job. In the past, he has been our base linebacker and then not in there in some of the sub-packages, but he is always ready to go the moment we would need him. It is an increased role, and he is doing his job, I think that is where it always starts. He is doing his job, he is where he is supposed to be and then he is tackling well. There were a bunch of moments where they were checking the ball down to their running backs, and he was right in position and got them on the ground. A bunch of the guys, (S) John Johnson (III) had a couple of really nice open-field tackles. That was a big part of it. I did think that was probably our best tackling game of the season, and Sione played a huge role in that.”


On if he can quantify the impact of heading into the bye week with a win, especially to end a four-game losing streak:

“Listen, you are battling, as you know. Nobody likes the feeling when you lose, and I can tell you the locker room after you win, all those high fives and all that goodwill is just a deposit of goodwill after those wins. You enjoy them, but what you can’t do is you can’t lose sight of what causes those wins and how you get those results. I think it just goes back to how we prepare and how we handle our work week. Yes, it feels better today.”


On if the Browns do a statistical breakdown of missed tackles and yards after contact after games:

“We check our tackles and missed tackles. I know PFF (Pro Football Focus) puts out tacking statistics week in and week out, as well.”


On if there is a protection or trajectory problem pertaining to K Cade York’s missed kicks in recent weeks on long FGs:

“We just have to work at it. Obviously, that one came out low. He crushed the one at the end of the half. We will keep working. He is a young man. He is going to continue to get better at his craft, and we do have to protect obviously – it goes hand and hand.”


On if he remembers the last time he coached a game when a TE did not have a target:

“You are right. That is unusual for us. They played a big role on the game. (TE) Harrison (Bryant), (TE) Pharaoh (Brown), (G) Michael Dunn and (T) James Hudson (III), watched some of the things they did in the run game and watched some of the things they did in protection so they played a huge role. You don’t go into the games thinking you are not going to target those guys in the pass game. It is just kind of how it shook out, but they were a big part of why we were able to do what we did last night.”


On if the use of multiple additional OL could be an edge for the team, given opponents typically may not practice against or see that look often:

“Yeah, it could be. I think there is always that element where you are trying to give the defense something they have not seen or make them prepare for something. There always will be a package of plays that we can run out of those sets. I can tell you the entire offense is very excited to watch those plays when (G) Drew Forbes is at fullback, James Hudson is at the wing tight end and Mike Dunn is out there. It is unique. They enjoy it. Hopefully, they just got fined for me saying their names (laughter). It gave our players a lot of energy – just watch James Hudson running off the field after that two-point conversion. It really goes to show you how much those guys love competing and love to play that physical brand of football.”


On reports that the Dolphins are acquiring OLB Bradley Chubb via trade and if the Browns coaches have started their preparations for Miami, including potentially for Chubb:

“I haven’t started yet on Miami, but I will be sure to look at him. A great player. We will get to Miami. I think part of the bye week is you really do have to get to know yourself first. You have to really understand what we are good at and what we are not so good at and then we will use some extra time on Miami. It is a really good football team. They are very, very well coached. I know a few of their coaches. They are explosive. We will definitely have our work cut out for us when we head down there.”


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