Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (11.28.22)


Opening statement:

“Injury front, (CB) A.J. Green is in concussion protocol. Like I said to you guys last night yesterday, really proud of the guys in getting that team win. I think there were moments there where offense had to come through, defense had to come through and special teams had to come through, and we did ultimately in the end. It was a great battle, which we knew it would be. I think that is a good football team. We knew it was going to take 60 minutes or more – in this case 70. Really proud of the guys, and we are going to shift gears here and turn our gauge to Houston.”


On if the Browns have considered giving DE Myles Garrett a week of rest to help the shoulder recover, given Garrett appeared visibly in pain yesterday after the game:

“With any decision like that, you are always making sure you are protecting the players and making smart decisions, talking to the medical professionals and those type of things. We will continue to do that. I don’t know that is what is going to happen here. He is continuing to battle through what all of our guys are battling through, which is not feeling 100 percent.”


On the transition from QB Jacoby Brissett to QB Deshaun Watson and how Watson has looked in practice the past two weeks:

“As you know, we had Deshaun in the building for three weeks but not out on the field with us and then the last couple of weeks out on the field. Next step is obviously being out there taking all of the first team reps. He has been doing a nice job getting the defense ready with the scout team reps that he has gotten. I think he has done a nice job with his time away physically, staying sharp and mentally staying sharp so I think he will be ready to roll.”


On if Watson’s connection with teammates in the building has translated to the practice field when returning to the facility and practice in recent weeks:

“I think you can go back to the spring and summer. We spent a lot of time together, and Deshaun spent a lot of time together with his teammates. We mentioned at the time, I still believe those are banked reps, so to speak. It is something where Deshaun has spent a lot of time with his teammates. I think they have all enjoyed having him back and being a part of the team. I think they are excited for him and this next step.”


On WR Anthony Schwartz’s connection with Watson in practice and Schwartz building confidence with yesterday’s performance on offense and special teams:

“I am glad you asked about Anthony because I am really proud of him. I thought he had a really nice game yesterday. He helped us win, scoring early there on the reverse and then, like you mentioned, on special teams he is doing a great job as our gunner. Making some huge plays for us in a field position game where we needed those plays, we needed that yardage in that game. Anthony played at a very high level, we have a ton of confidence in him and I think he will continue to help this team win.”


On how important the past six weeks in the building and past two weeks of practice have been for Watson:

“I think all of it helps. When you are talking about getting ready to play football, I think you need the mental side of it, you need all of those meetings and you need the walkthroughs. Obviously, the practice reps help and even the scout team reps. When you are running the offense off of the card, you are playing the opposing team’s quarterback in there in the huddle and you are looking at the card, and we will stand there and kind of put the play in our own verbiage. Say, ‘OK, here is this play. Think one-high, two-high. Think progression read. Hey, it is a progression read with an option.’ Those type of things trying to put yourself in the game, if you will. I think all those reps even on the scout team have helped.”


On Brissett’s comment about initially during the practice week not liking the play that resulted in TE David Njoku’s TD and the offense ultimately deciding to keep the play in the offensive gameplan and use it at that time:

“You don’t want to call many plays that the quarterback does not like. In fact, you throw a lot of plays off the gameplan sheet if the quarterback does not like them. We had a look in practice on Friday on that play, a similar look, and we talked through where the ball could go. Basically said, ‘Hey, it is Dave one on one with the MIKE linebacker who will have his back turned to you.’ We talked through that rep. We did not get a live rep of throwing that. We have had it over the course of the spring and summer. I can’t sit here and tell you that Jacoby threw that exact ball to Dave in that situation. It was just something that you work through as a staff with your players. You constantly are talking about the gameplan and talking about why this play is in, what we are thinking and why we are thinking it, but there have been many times and plenty of times where Jacoby has not felt comfortable with a play where we just take it off the call sheet.”


On the importance of the relationship between the offensive play caller and starting QB and the process of getting up to speed with Watson and the offensive rhythm:

“I think you are right that the relationship is important. To me, it is also important the play caller to the quarterback room. It is really a group effort in there when you are talking about all of the players and talking about AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) and (quarterbacks coach) Drew (Petzing). It is a collective effort when it comes to play calling and the offensive staff, as you know, when you get to gameday. That quarterback room is where a lot of things get talked through and evaluated, and we end up kind of navigating where we want to go with the game so that is important. With Deshaun, again, we spent a lot of time together. He was here all spring, all summer and has been back in the building. I met with him this morning. We will continue to do that. That is what you do during the week. You spend extra time with the quarterback and the quarterback room, and we will just stick to our process.”


On what occurred on K Cade York’s missed FG:

“I am not sure. I did see it obviously on the film. Would have to talk to Cade. Before I say anything, I would rather talk to Cade. You are going to miss some. You are not going to hit them perfectly. He nails a 51-yarder. The specifics of that one, I am not entirely sure just yet.”


On what the team has seen from Watson since returning to the building and practice that provides confidence Watson will be able to have a smooth transition to starting QB:

“I have confidence in Deshaun based on his preparation. Really, the focus is on him just doing his job. We are still going to be all about the team effort and still offense, defense and special teams. This is never ever going to be about one person. As it relates to Deshaun, I believe in his preparation. I believe that he has worked really hard on a bunch of things to be ready to go.”


On CB Martin Emerson Jr.’s potential ceiling:

“I don’t know. You don’t really want to put a ceiling on a young player. He just to me is somebody who just continues to get better. He works really hard at it with his coaches, Again, mentality wise – we talked about it yesterday – people go after rookie corners, they just do. He doesn’t shy away from it. He makes plays on the football. Obviously, had the one penalty there, but I think that is the occupational hazard of playing corner. They are going to go after you and you are going to get beat every once in a while, but he keeps coming back and is resolute in that way.”


On the Browns special teams performance yesterday, including WR Donovan Peoples-Jones’ and RB Jerome Ford’s contributions on punt and kickoff return, respectively:

“I thought our special teams were outstanding yesterday, and we didn’t on offense do enough with some of that field position, but it was a field position game. I mentioned it yesterday, it was body blows. It was not a game that was going to be up and down the field. All of the extra return yardage and then you have to punt, it does turn into a field position game. All of it mattered. I was really proud of Donovan. He got north-south. He made people miss. It is nice to have him in those weather games. The wind is blowing and the rain is coming, and you have a ton of confidence in him – he has done it so often. Jerome, I think he is a pretty good returner. He hasn’t done it a ton in his career – I know he didn’t do it in his past – but he has shown that he has vision, he has speed and he is definitely a threat for our team.”


On how the Browns offense will change with Watson starting at QB:

“We will see is probably the short answer. What we will always do is try to maximize the talents of our players so there are things that you certainly will do with Deshaun. There were things that Jacoby was really good at. We just want to always be thinking about your players and doing what they do best. Ultimately, it is our job to look at our players who we have and what are the things that we want to do to maximize their talents.”


On the Browns run defense limiting the Buccaneers yesterday with a 35-yard run accounting for a significant portion of Tampa Bay’s rushing total:

“Like we have talked about all along, sometimes it is not real complicated. We ran a lot of fronts, a lot of pressures and a lot of coverages that we have run in the past, and the guys just played with incredible effort and relentless in setting the edge and getting off blocks. I think you saw a bunch of guys running to the football and tackling well. They did have that big run, which good run by them. We didn’t fit it perfect how we should, but that is going to happen. After that one, I think the next one was the [end] around they had to (Buccaneers WR) Julio (Jones). Guys fit their gaps, did their job and got the runner on the ground.”


On what part of Watson’s skillset might impact the Browns offensive gameplan most:

“Deshaun has played a lot of football. He has played in a lot of big games so I think the tape is out on him. I think everybody has seen his ability to make all of the throws, very athletic and can make plays with his feet but can really hurt you from the pocket, as well. I would say his versatility is something that you have seen over the course of his career.”


On if York’s plant foot potentially slipped on the missed FG:

“Yeah, for sure. Our field was in great shape yesterday. Sometimes you are playing outdoors and you are playing on grass, those things might happen, but they happen to the other side, as well.”


On external concerns about Watson having to shake off rust due to the time since Watson’s last NFL game:

“I certainly get it but can’t really control that. For me, for Deshaun and for all of our players, just have to keep the focus on doing our job. Think about there are some guys who don’t play preseason football and they get in there Week 1 and need to get tackled the first time before they are ready to go. I think some of those things may be true, but I don’t want to put anything on Deshaun that I think is unfair for me to say at this point. We don’t know.”


On if he plans to open up the full Browns offense with Watson or if the team needs to ease Watson into the system this week:

“We will see.”


On helping Watson handle the mental components of the suspension and surrounding circumstances:

“Deshaun has the support of his teammates and has the support of this organization. Really right now his focus and my focus is on the Houston game. That is what we have to do as players and as coaches is put the blinders on. Whatever is going on on the outside really can’t matter to us. We have to focus on doing our job, and I think he definitely understands that.”


On if there was any consideration to holding Watson out this week due to an expected ‘volatile environment’ at Houston:



On if CB Greg Newsome II is still in concussion protocol:

“He is trending in the right direction, but I don’t know exactly where he is [in concussion protocol].”


On what physically allows Emerson to compete with the best NFL WRs in his rookie season, in addition to Emerson’s mental mindset:

“One of the reasons we really liked him in the draft is a guy with that size who can run. That is rare. Good height, good length, can win at the line of scrimmage and then can stay with the receivers down the field. He is again a young player and getting better, but like that he is getting some really good reps and getting better each week.”


On how Brissett’s and Watson’s relationship can ease the transition at QB:

“That is something we have talked about is this is a unique situation. I don’t know that it has been exactly like this previously. With these two guys involved and with these two parties, you can have guys who respect each other and that really work hard together. That quarterback room is a team. I think I have seen support from Deshaun of Jacoby the last five weeks that Deshaun has been back. It just becomes now Jacoby supporting Deshaun. I think Jacoby is going to help us win this week. He is going to help get Deshaun ready, he is going to help get our defense ready and he is going to provide leadership to this team. That is just what he does.”


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