Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.12.21)

Opening statement:

“It is tough in December. That is what it is like. I thought guys stepped up really on all three sides of the ball with guys who were unavailable due to injury or otherwise. Guys stepped up and did a nice job. It goes down there to an onside kick, and they get the ball. Those are nail-biter situations. I do not think we wanted to be in that situation. Listen, that is the NFL, and that is certainly December football versus a good football team, a well-coached football team. Proud of the guys in going 1-0 today. Plus-one in the turnover margin. (DE) Myles (Garrett) getting the sack, the fumble, the fumble recovery and the touchdown was obviously incredible. A great effort by him. Defensively, I believe they were one-for-12 on third down. That last series there, getting the sack on third down and getting the big stop on fourth down by (CB) Denzel (Ward). Offensively, efficient at times, but we stubbed our toe there on a couple of second half drives going out a couple of times. Six-for-13 on third. Two-for-two in the red zone – and that is the No. 1 red zone team out there. I just think special teams played some good complementary ball. I thought our kickoff unit was excellent. We got them inside the 20 on punt and then (WR) JoJo Natson made a very veteran heads-up play there on that kickoff return. Ultimately, we did what we set out to do, which is come in here and get a win versus a good team in our division, and then we will set our sights on next week tomorrow.”


On the last play of the game by CB Denzel Ward and that is expected of a team’s No. 1 CB:

“I think it was a great play by Denzel, but it is indicative of when everybody does their job – coaches, we put those guys in position and then you get 11 guys to do their job. One guy may blitz a certain gap and he does not make the play, but he opens up the play for somebody else and then the ball has to come out and Denzel is right there to make the play.”


On who informs the Browns sideline of the update that Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is not returning to the game:

“I think it goes from the PR staff – this crack PR staff (laughter)– to our coaches in the booth and then get it down to us.”


On if he felt flashbacks to last year’s game relating to Jackson’s injury and leaving the game:

“I do not remember last year – I have a bad memory (laughter).”


On if the wind factored into the decision to receive the ball to open the game and if the Browns had an indication of Ravens K Justin Tucker’s range going into the Dawg Pound:

“We did take the ball so we would have the wind. With Tucker, he is a great, great, great kicker. Even with that advantage in the fourth quarter, he is somebody who you are never feeling good when he is attempting a field goal.”


On if FB Andy Janovich was attempting to block during the onside kick that was recovered by Baltimore:

“He was trying to block. I did not see it. I was told it took a funky bounce and hit him. He was not trying to recover it.”


On if the Browns hands team was on the field for the onside kick:



On RB Kareem Hunt’s status:

“Kareem has an ankle injury. We will get images on that tomorrow. He wanted to try and fight through it, but just did not think we should put him back out there.”


On QB Baker Mayfield’s rest over the bye week and if it helped Mayfield this week:

“I think it helped him. We talked about it all week. He looked good in practice and felt good, and I think the rest helped.”


On if the number of new formations in today’s game made for a challenging practice week:

“We do put a lot on the guys. We do not want to at times sit in just vanilla formations, if you will. We will at times, as you saw, but we put a lot of emphasis on our shifts and motions. With that, you have to be great with your procedural stuff. I thought the guys were by and large were pretty good today.”


On why it was so difficult to close out the win:

“It is a good team. It is a good team. They are well coached. They have great players. I would have to look at it to give you a real good answer, but ultimately, we got the ball there and we did not sustain drives certainly on offense in the second half like we needed to. We went on some long drives in the game, but there in that second half, we just did not do it a couple of times.”


On DE Jadeveon Clowney’s sack late in the fourth quarter:

“That was good, too. JD plays really hard. His length, his size and his ability to get off of the ball fits with what we are trying to do. He affects the plays. I know everybody gets wrapped up in sacks – that was certainly a big one there on that last drive – but we really put the emphasis on pressure and how you affect the quarterback. I think he does that at a really high level.”


On DE Myles Garrett’s sack-fumble and returning it for a TD:

“We have not turned any sacks into fumbles this season. Hopefully, that turns a corner on that one for us. Just a great play by a great player. He is very difficult to block – just ask our offensive linemen when they have to go up against him in practice. For him to be ball aware in that moment was something we have been talking about and emphasizing just to get it out, and then to recover it and run it back in, I thought was again a great player making a big play in a big moment.”


On if the Browns were focused on getting the ball to TE Austin Hooper more, given the absence of TEs Harrison Bryant and David Njoku:

“It is kind of what we talked about this week, you have to see who is available to you and then you have to adjust accordingly. (G) Blake Hance gave us good reps as a second tight end. (TE Miller) Forristall got in there, as well, so we had to adjust a little bit on how we were using certain guys. Hoop knew we were putting a lot on him this week and we were counting on him. We made him a captain this week just because he has been so accountable to his teammates, and he did a great job. I know Dave (TE David Njoku) was I am sure very excited for him, and I know Dave is chomping at the bit to get back, as well.”


On who made the decision to pull QB Baker Mayfield from the game to be evaluated for a concussion:

“Just following the protocol. I do not know exactly who it was. It was not Baker’s (laughter).”


On if someone other than a member of Browns sideline made the decision to evaluate Mayfield for a concussion, whether it was an official, an ATC spotter or another league/non-Browns rep:

“As far as I know.”


On how often the Browns practice the play where WR JoJo Natson fielded the kickoff while out of bounds to force an illegal procedure, kick out of bounds:

“It is not something that you practice, but you certainly cover that in those special teams meetings often. JoJo is a veteran player. I bet you all of the guys on our sideline knew that rule. Everybody was aware of what JoJo was doing as the ball was rolling out there. That is a credit to Coach Prief (special teams coordinator Mike Priefer) of making sure those guys are situationally aware because those often come up in special teams plays.”


On how much the Browns knew about Ravens QB Tyler Huntley prior to today, given the team planned to face Ravens QB Lamar Jackson:

“He played recently. He played all of that Chicago game so you got good tape on him. Skillsets are similar. He can throw it. He can make plays late in the down, as you saw. He is hard to get on the ground. We felt good about our plan and not having to dramatically change with him in there.”


On if the Browns emphasized running the ball more compared to the Browns first matchup at the Ravens:

“We have a high standard for our team, for our offense, for our pass offense, rush offense or you name it. The guys took it to heart. We worked hard this week. (Offensive line coach) Coach (Bill) Callahan did a really good job of putting together a gameplan that the guys could execute with a young player at right tackle and making sure the guys understood the plan, and I thought by and large did a nice job.”




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