Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (11.16.22)


Opening statement:

“Starting the work week. A big challenge going to Buffalo to play a really good football team. Have to make sure that we have a really, really good week. It started this morning with our meetings and getting to know this team. They are very, very good. It is an impressive roster – really players up and down the roster on offense, defense and special teams. Very well coached. I know a lot of their coaches, and I know what they are about. They play good football. Like most weeks, to go on the road and try and find a win against a really good football team, you have to make sure that you do all of those things that we talk about in going on the road: taking care of the football, playing sound, playing complementary and all of those things. Really, today is about getting to know Buffalo and then getting out on the field and getting some work done.”


On the snowstorm heading toward Buffalo this week and if it could impact the Browns’ travel schedule and potential contingency plans related to this week’s game:

“I am sure it could. I am sure some people are having some conversations about that. I am not in that circle right now. They will fill me in on a need to know. For us, we just have to focus on our preparation. If something changes, we will tell the players and we will tell you guys.”


On if there is potential the NFL could move Sunday’s game to a neutral site due to the weather forecast:

“I have no idea. I have been part of neutral location games. You guys can do your homework on that one.”


On if the Browns handled the weather conditions well at Miami, given his comment that the team can’t control the weather so the team just has to deal with it:

“I still feel that way this week, speaking of the weather. We will deal with it. Does that weather affect you? Yes. Is it an excuse? No. Every team that goes down there has to deal with that. There are certain things that you can do from hydration, messaging and things that we did to try to address those things – you do that each week – but it is not an excuse.”


On if Browns players seemed winded against the Dolphins:

“It is hard because I don’t want to dispute that it was hot, but every team that goes down there and plays Miami, you are in the sun in for the first half – that is how their stadium is designed – so you are going to be hot. That is why we tried to rotate as many guys as we did. Again, it is part of the elements of football. It is an outdoor game. It is what we have to deal with.”


On if QB Deshaun Watson will receive any first-team reps this week:

“Obviously, as you guys know, Deshaun can practice today. He was able to be a part of the walkthrough for the first time this morning. I am not going to get into the specifics of what reps he is getting, what (QB) Jacoby (Brissett) is getting and what (QB) Josh Dobbs is getting. We really don’t do that for any of the guys. It is going to be good to have him out there at practice with his teammates.”


On if Watson’s reps will incrementally increase moving forward:

“I am not going to get into specifics. Again, this is the next step for him, and it is good to have him back out on the field.”


On how to keep Watson’s return to practice from being a distraction for the team:

“We talked about it this morning. He is eligible to practice with the team. What is important is that we do everything we can to find a way to get a win versus Buffalo. That is where the players’ focus is.”


On if he had a plan during training camp and the preseason for how to split reps between Brissett and Watson at this point of the season:

“I think as you remember, things were changing in the moment there with some of those details of suspension and those type of things. Once you know the rules of the return to play, that is when we really accelerated the conversations on what it should look like when he is eligible to practice. That is where we are now.”


On challenges of getting both Brissett and Watson ready to play in upcoming weeks:

“That was a big part of our offseason and then the spring and the summer getting Deshaun reps. I think you bank those reps. I think he has a lot of reps that he can rely on and can watch the tape of him running plays that he will be asked to run when it is time for him to play. The most important thing right now is getting ready for Buffalo and getting Jacoby ready to play.”


On how to prevent the future transition of the starting QB from being awkward:

“I think you guys know the two parties at hand here. These are professionals. These are good people. They are friends. I think that is probably the most important thing.”


On if he feels comfortable in the plan to prepare both Brissett and Watson:

“Ultimately, I don’t know that there is a handbook. For us, we are just with the information available to us trying to make good decisions for the team. Again, Deshaun can come back to practice. That is the next step. We will get him out there in practice. Jacoby is starting. He is going to put everything he has into this game like he does each week. His preparation is not changing. My preparation with him is not changing. It is just a matter of finding the right amount, and that is something that we just have to work through.”


On if he has two separate gameplans depending on the weather conditions this week:

“I wouldn’t say two separate gameplans, but when weather is going to be a factor as it might be, you are always thinking about having plays that you might turn to should it be a major factor. Jacoby played in a whiteout in this stadium in 2017 so he is used to it. (Offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt is on staff. He played there for many years. The guys are prepared for if that is what it ends up being but can’t spend too much time worrying about that. Just on the front end, put together a plan and ready to pivot on the moment if need be.”


On memories from the NY Giants-Vikings game in 2010 that was relocated to Detroit:

“That was when the dome collapsed, which was crazy. I think for coaches and players, in any of those moments, you just deal with what is in front of you. Coaches and players, all we have to do is say, ‘Hey, go to this bus. Get on this plane. Go to this meeting.’ We don’t have to do all of the work that goes into it from the logistics standpoint. We are creatures of habit. We are creatures of listening to whoever tells us to go in whichever direction they want us to go in. You want to play the game on this day or that day? That is fine. Even going back when I was with the Vikings in [2010], we had a game versus the Eagles that was postponed until Tuesday night. It was supposed to be a Sunday night game. Like you dream about, playing Tuesday Night Football (laughter). I think for players and particularly the players, they are ready to adapt. That is what they do. Whatever comes our way, we will be ready. I also know this, what is most important is practice in seven minutes.”


On preparing for strong ball protection in tough weather conditions:

“Those are the kind of things you definitely work on. With the quarterbacks, some quarterbacks don’t love the wet ball drill because it is a heavier ball that puts some stress on your shoulders. Jacoby, I think he will be just fine. The rest of the guys, if you get into weather games, it just becomes one more emphasis on your technique is what it is.”


On the status of LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and TE David Njoku:

“I think with those guys in particular but with anybody, they just got to keep progressing. I think both those guys are progressing. I am hopeful on both of them. JOK is going to practice today. David is not. I think if they keep responding to treatment and keep responding to the rest, I am hopeful in them.”


On if G Wyatt Teller is available to practice today:



On if he has been informed about the 2007 Browns-Bills game played in a blizzard:

“I have not. Fill me in. (The Browns won 8-0, and the Bills attempted 33 passes) It is interesting because you go into each one of these games and weather is a factor. Our stadium is on the lake. Buffalo, it is lake effect snow that we are talking about. It is one more element that you have to deal with. I know this, they played in a very windy game versus New England, and they threw it 30-plus times. It is hard, even with the conditions, to say that the game is going to go one specific way.”


On if K Cade York’s inexperience in the snow will be a factor:

“Yeah, it is hard to practice. We have the cryochamber (laughter). I think those are day of the game things that you have to get really good reps in pregame warmup.”


On if he played in snowy games growing up in Philadelphia:

“Played in some cold games in college. Ithaca, New York is not real warm late in the year. I think we mentioned the other day, I was a part of the minus-6 [degrees] playoff game versus the Seahawks so that was cold so it is not going to be cold. Again, it is another element – it is another variable, a better word – that you just deal with. We will see if this is something that requires a lot of attention, and it may also require no attention. The weatherman sometimes is wrong.”


On the Browns not being able to pressure the Dolphins much last week and how to generate more pass rush moving forward, particularly in the interior DL:

“It is probably multifaceted because you also need to get into third-and-longer situations to really pin your ears back and rush. We didn’t do that enough in terms of first-and-10 defense is as important to set yourself up to get in those positions. Specifically to the offensive line, teams are going to give our ends attention. There are things that we have done and things that we will always continue to do to try to take that attention off of them, but teams, as we all know, are determined to get the ball out quickly versus us. That informs us in how we rush and that informs us in how we cover. We just ultimately didn’t have enough true rush opportunities in that game.”


On Bills QB Josh Allen:

“He is a great, great player. He is a huge percentage of their offense, whether it is the pass game, the designed quarterback runs or the off-schedule plays, which he is unbelievable at. Those are really, really difficult to defend. He has really good players on the outside. He has a good offensive line to protect him. When he wants to buy time and he is a huge threat to run – he has a big body and he is hard to get on the ground – he is huge threat to keep the play alive and survey the field for what feels like forever and then find (Bills WR) Stefon Diggs. They have a great rapport. I know Stefon well. He is one of the most competitive players I have ever been around. He is super talented. He can track the deep ball. Strong hands. You just have really impressive weapons on his perimeter that these plays go on for a while. You have to be ready for that. That is really hard to mimic in a practice setting, but in game, you talk about playing through the echo of the whistle, those plays take some time. Until he is down on the ground, until it is an incomplete pass or until you heard that whistle, the play is never over with him.”


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