Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (11.23.22)


Opening statement:

“Starting the work week on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A good football team coming off their bye. Obviously, can talk about their offense and (Buccaneers QB) Tom Brady still playing at a very, very high level. Great receivers. Ran the ball really well in their last game versus Seattle – 44 rush attempts. We will see if there is a change in how they operate. No. 1 pass attempts in the league so far, and they do it really well. An explosive offense. Really well coached. (Buccaneers offensive coordinator) Coach (Byron) Leftwich does a great job with that crew. On defense, (Buccaneers Head) Coach (Todd) Bowles has always done it. A great, great defense. Physical, big. Up front, stout. Long at corner. They will blitz you from every angle. They can play coverage. They do it well. It is an impressive group. Again, good players throughout that front. Teams wise, (Buccaneers special teams coordinator) Coach (Keith) Armstrong does a nice job. A veteran kicker (Buccaneers K Ryan Succop). A rookie punter (Buccaneers P Jake Camarda) who is punting well. A couple of real good returners, young players. Have to get to know these guys. That is what today is about with our football team and then putting together a plan, practicing that plan and understanding that plan so we can go out and perform at a high level on Sunday.”


On if QB Jacoby Brissett has shown the league the ability to be a starting-caliber NFL QB:

“I don’t know that it is Jacoby’s focus nor my focus. I would tell you he has performed how we thought he would in his role. More than that, he has provided outstanding leadership for this football team. Good in the quarterback room, good in the offensive meeting room and good with the team. Has provided a very balanced approach to the group.”


On if he appreciates how Brissett is handling the situation knowing this may be the last start at QB of the 2022 season:

“I appreciate it, yes. Now, Jacoby’s mindset and our mindset is a one-week mindset. I think he has really performed well because he has done that. He focuses on what is in front of him, and that is this Tampa game. Not really thinking about what has occurred in the past and not thinking about what is coming down (in) the future. I don’t think any of us can afford to think that way. I think that is what I appreciate the most about him.”


On where C Greg Mancz stands in the depth chart with C Ethan Pocic and G Michael Dunn on injured reserve and G Hjalte Froholdt not practice today due to illness:

“Working through it. Sometimes you get to late November and things can get wonky along certain position groups. We are working through it. Obviously, Hjalte is sick today so that presents some things that we will work through today. I think we will be alright.”


On if anyone else on the Browns roster can play C:

“Can? Yes, there are a lot of guys that can do it. (LS) Charley Hughlett [can snap]. I think we have plenty of guys on the roster who can snap it. It is just a matter of getting them proper reps and getting them comfortable with that role.”


On keeping the team motivated despite its 3-7 record:

“I think we kind of talked about that on Monday. Just understand your record [is what you] are. Totally get that. that defines you for that moment for that week, but we have a huge challenge in front of us. It is a very good football team from the other conference. They are coming off their bye. They have great players.  We understand who those guys are on offense, defense and special teams. I think our guys understand the competitive nature of this business, and they want to do anything in their power to get a win bottom line.”


On how much more of a concern uncertainty at C is when matching up against Buccaneers DL Vita Vea:

“He is a great player. He is so, so physically just big from a measurement standpoint. Then just the way he moves his feet, it is very, very rare to have a guy that size who moves laterally and is so powerful. In terms of the center position, he is a tough player for any center in the league. We understand that and understand the challenges that come with that.”


On the approach facing an all-time great in Brady:

“I don’t think you think about it that way. I think you have to worry about doing our job. He is a great player. He doesn’t take sacks. He doesn’t throw interceptions. He throws it at a high level. He is on time and accurate. We really have to defend this offense and defend that pass attack, and again, the pass attack that comes off of their play-action, which is really good. Those are the challenges, not so much the big picture, if you will.”


On Brady’s ability to evade sacks:

“There are some guys who play who just don’t allow you to sack them. They will take an incompletion. They know where to go with the ball. They process really quickly. When you cover the first, second and third in the progression, the ball is out somewhere safe, knowing where to get a good incompletion. I think that is what he has done over his career. Excellent at checking the ball down. (Buccaneers RB Leonard) Fournette is their third-most targeted player. It just tells you he gets through his progressions. He knows what he is seeing. I think it just comes from obviously the amount of football he has played. He is an elite processer just watching him make decisions with the ball as the down goes on.”


On if LB Sione Takitaki will stay at MIKE this week:



On what he likes about Takitaki at MIKE:

“He is in the middle of it. He is around the football. He did a nice job in his drops, which that is a difficult task. That is not easy to do when you haven’t been trained there for a long time. Just the way he was assignment sound, in the middle of the action and being physical, he did a nice job.”


On if Takitaki being the team’s largest LB factors into now playing MIKE:

“I don’t know that that has anything to do with it. I think he is a physical tackler. He did a nice job. He was assignment sound, which is half the battle.”


On if CB Greg Newsome II is making progress in concussion protocol:

“I don’t have an update on Greg. We are just going to continue to work through it.”


On if that is the case with other Browns players with injuries:

“With all of the guys, yes.”


On if defensive coordinator Joe Woods should still be learning about the best position to put his players in Week 12 or if it should have been learned already:

“I think it is always happening truly. Even today, offensively there are certain things that you are watching a player run and you are thinking, ‘OK, haven’t done that with him. Can he do that?’ The answer is probably yes. We just have to evolve those type of things. I think you are constantly trying to know yourself. It is really important to know your opponent, but there is a constant need to know your players, know your scheme and know what the next evolution of your scheme is. All of those things are important throughout the season.”


On Browns players supporting Woods despite recent defensive struggles:

“I think we have talked about it here and I have talked about it with the team, we all share in it – -all of us. We all own what it is. That is why together we have to make sure that moving forward, we focus on 1-0 this week.”


On conversations with S Grant Delpit and DE Myles Garrett following their postgame comments:

“Again, as you know, not going to get into the specifics. With anything, after losses there is frustration, and you just have to make sure what you say and what you share is stuff that you feel good about. I think it is always important that if there is something on your mind to have a conversation with each other about it. Now, in some cases, words can get twisted and those type of things. Both of those guys in particular are very, very committed to this team and very committed to finding a way to win this week.”


On how the Buccaneers have improved their run game during the 2022 season:

“They had a ton of success the last time out. Obviously, they got their rookie runner (Buccaneers RB Rachaad White) going a little bit. All of their backs are good. (Buccaneers RB Leonard) Fournette presents his own challenges with his size and ability to catch the football. The young kid added a little bit of a spark. It remains to be seen – again, they are coming off of their bye – what they want to adjust going into the final stretch I am not sure, but we have to be ready on Sunday to see how that unfolds.”


On how much injuries to LBs Anthony Walker Jr. and Jacoby Phillips have impacted the team’s results and run defense over the past six or seven weeks:

“It is hard for me to pin injuries on anything. Go look at every roster. Everybody is dealing with injuries. I don’t think it is fair to say that. Both of those players – obviously, I have spoken both of those players – you want to have all of your guys and you miss those guys, but I don’t think it is fair to say that.”


On DT Perrion Winfrey not playing last week:

“He is going through concussion protocol.”


On clarifying if Winfrey sustained a concussion or is in concussion protocol based off of the new system in place:

“He is working through the protocol. He is going to practice today. Not everybody is in the same step, if you will, of the said protocol. He is coming along. He was in the concussion protocol.”


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