Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.13.21)

Opening statement:

“On the injury front, (RB) Kareem (Hunt) with the ankle and (CB) Troy (Hill) with the knee, they are week to week, and they are unlikely to make it this week on the short week with the game on Saturday. Other guys, (WR) Anthony Schwartz and (CB) Greg Newsome (II) remain in the concussion protocol. (S) Ronnie Harrison (Jr.) with that ankle injury, we worked him out pregame and just did not feel like he could go so we will see how that progresses. Really the same thing with (TE) Harrison Bryant – getting better, and we will see how he progresses throughout the week.


“On the game yesterday, obviously great to come away with a win versus a division opponent, a really good football team. Obviously, late in the game, you do not want it to go to an onside kick and them getting the ball, but I thought the defense made a great stop there to end the game. A lot of good stuff to build off of, and then we have to really turn the page quickly because we have another AFC opponent at our place with the Raiders coming in on Saturday.”


On if there any updates regarding the three players on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“No update there. We will make sure we follow the protocol.”


On if the Browns offense was aggressive as desired in the second half yesterday, given QB Baker Mayfield lamented that the team was too conservative at times:

“I also lamented that we did not put the game away. We miss a field goal to go up 27-9. Really on that third-and-10, would have loved to convert it there and gain seven off of that drive. That was a long fourth-quarter drive, and we need to do more of that. It is certainly something that we talk about internally where we can be better –offense, defense and special teams – to put those games away, and that is what we need to do. The good news is we put it away, we got that win and now that has to be our focus moving forward in these games. They are all going to be close. A bunch of really good football teams. Starting with the Raiders, we have to make sure we are at our best.”


On finding the right balance with play calling with injuries, health issues and other variables:

“That is our job. There are variables in these games. Certainly yesterday, you are in the fourth quarter, and you are up two scores. Our defense had gotten some big stops. You try to be mindful of still being explosive on offense, do not take anyone out of the game, per se, and then ultimately, we just did not stay on the field. Following along the fourth-quarter drive, we had two three-and-outs. Obviously, with the defense fighting versus a tough attack there with their quarterback, ultimately, we just have to make sure we do what it takes to win, but I do agree we would love to put that away sooner.”


On the impact plays by DEs Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and Takkarist McKinley in yesterday’s game:

“All three of those guys were outstanding. Myles, as you guys know, that was a pretty impressive play by No. 95 there. Clowney and Takk, those guys, all three of them in particular play so hard just constantly rushing. That quarterback was not easy to get on the ground so they were tired. With those guys playing relentless, playing physical and playing fast, you have a chance.”


On Mayfield’s interview with NFL Network mentioning ‘internal things,’ in addition to the external criticism and noise, and if he is aware of what Mayfield is referring to or has spoken to Mayfield about it:

“No, I am not sure exactly what that is referring to. I talk to Baker every week every day so I think we have a good line of communication. I think we just all – coaches and players – as we move forward with all of these big games, an AFC opponent this week, our focus is always going to be on the same page and doing what we need to do to go get a victory.”


On if Mayfield’s comment needs to be looked into and addressed as the team moves forward:

“Again, I would tell you with Baker and with all of our guys, constant open line of communication so you will always address anything that is on people’s minds. Specific to that, I do not have a specific answer to that comment.”


On if there is a consistent item that has factored into K Chase McLaughlin’s missed FGs in recent weeks:

“Obviously, you want to make them all, and Chase is hard on himself. He wants to make them all. He is counting on them. We know that. Another big game this week, like you mentioned, and they are close games so he has to come through for us. That is no different than Week 1. I think he understands all of that.”


On T James Hudson III’s performance starting at RT yesterday:

“I thought he had some nice moments. He plays really, really hard. He plays with enthusiasm. He is athletic and on the move a few times. Like anything, he is a rookie so he is going to have some plays that we certainly want to get back, explain the technique a little bit better and those type of things. A couple of plays like that, but by and large, he played really hard.”


On Clowney potentially having the best two games of the season in recent weeks and if he sees Clowney coming on strong now:

“I do. I think with JD, he is feeling good from a health standpoint. He plays really hard. He throws his body around and plays physical in the run game and obviously in the pass game applying pressure – nothing bigger than that second-to-last play there or third-to-last play getting a sack there in a big moment.”


On Mayfield saying he is the healthiest he has been since Week 2 and if that impacts play calling during a game:

“I think Baker has been consistent in saying that you guys, to us and obviously internally. He is feeling good. I think he is feeling like himself. I think the bye week was big – for all of us – but for him to get healthy. I think he is feeling good.”


On Hunt likely missing this week’s game with the ankle injury and how a player like Hunt returning and then missing more time impacts the Browns offense’s planning:

“That is the nature of the beast. Obviously, you hate injuries, and the competitor that Kareem is, you hate that he is going through this, but he has to rehab and get back as soon as he can.”


On Newsome being in concussion protocol and if Newsome may be able to play on Saturday:

“I really do not have an update besides he is still in the protocol. Past that, I do not have anything else to add.”


On Newsome sustaining a concussion at the end of Friday’s practice and if it was a ‘freak thing’:

“Yeah, it was a freak thing. It was unfortunate. He was going up to catch a ball. The receiver was going up to catch it. I do not think they saw each other and came down hard. It is it just very, very unfortunate. We just have to make sure that we follow the protocols.”


On CB Greedy Williams’ performance yesterday and coaching points after getting beat on a few deep plays:

“Greedy had some really good moments in that game, and they made a few plays. That is occupational hazard for cornerbacks. There is technique that we can work on. There are things that we can be mindful of and make sure we are better going into this week.”


On the Browns’ point differential in the second half compared to the second quarter and factors into the disparity, including the opportunity to make halftime adjustments:

“We do have to be better. That is obvious. That is a team stat. Offense, defense and special teams, we have to be better through all four quarters. We are looking for that 60-minute game. The adjustments that you make, they really happen within series and within quarters. It is not like you get in at halftime and you wholesale change things. You have really good discussion and you talk about where you are going, but really, all of those adjustments should be happening in the middle of the second quarter, in the middle of the third quarter and so on. We do have to do better. That is our focus. We have to finish.”


On the changes the Browns made with offensive personnel groupings and formations in yesterday’s game and if the team may incorporate those moving forward and on the short week, whether or not additional Browns TEs are available:

“That is kind of what we are doing now is seeing who might be available to us, and some of those are up in the air. We have to plan accordingly. We kind of have to have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C-type things based on who is available to you. We have plenty of guys, and we will put a plan together so these guys can go play fast.”


On if the Browns plan to stick with McLaughlin at K:



On how the Browns value and evaluate QB pressures and the significance of them, in addition to sacks, based on his postgame comments:

“I do not think we are different. I think the entire league values QB pressures and how you affect the quarterback because such a small amount of those pressures turn into sacks. Sacks are great – do not get me wrong – but we are really focused on getting around that quarterback as much as we can because you are going to affect him, meaning you are going to make him get off of his first read, you are going to make him move in the pocket or cause an inaccuracy. The focus can’t solely be on sacks when you are talking about a defensive player’s ability to affect the game.”


On McKinley’s performance and sack-fumble yesterday:

“He played really, really hard. He was relentless. Even on that play, he was on the opposite side of the field and chased the quarterback down when the quarterback pulled up to make a move on someone. He plays with great effort. He really throws his body around there in the run game and giving great rushes on third down. He was playing how we envisioned him to play yesterday, and now as he is getting healthy, that is a big part of it, as well.”


On FB Andy Janovich’s explanation of the onside kick that the Ravens recovered yesterday:

“I have not had a chance to talk to him specifically about that. His job is to field it if he feels like he can field it, and if not, to go block. I think he was going to block, and I think the ball had a maybe unexpected bounce. That is not an excuse – he should obviously avoid it if he can – but I have not had a chance to talk to him specifically about it.”


On if the Browns used their normal hands team for the onside kick yesterday and Janovich potentially being the only non-LB in the first row of the unit:

“Yeah, I think it is our normal hands team. The thinking there is oftentimes the ball goes behind that line, and you want some bigger bodies to block the guys who are coming down on kickoff.”


On if the sun caused RB Demetric Felton’s two muffed punts yesterday:

“He needs to catch the ball. Whether it is sun, wind or whatever it is, he needs to catch it.”


On if WR Rashard Higgins could have more opportunities in the future to be more involved in the Browns offense, given Higgins played more yesterday but did not have any targets:

“I know he did not have any targets yesterday, but Rashard prepares really hard. He is ready to go. The ball did not find his way to him yesterday, but that is kind of how it went. The ball went to Hoop (TE Austin Hooper) a bunch and (WR) Jarvis (Landry) and (WR) Donovan (Peoples-Jones). That is just based on who is in there, where we are lining them up and the coverage. I would not read much into that.”


On Mayfield seeming frustrated after the Lions win and yesterday’s victory and if he talks with Mayfield about that frustration after winning the game:

“I can’t speak to that. Just for us as a team, these wins are hard to come by. We will continue to fight, scratch and claw for 60 minutes or more. That is going to be our focus.”


On if the Browns can build on the incorporation of G Blake Hance in the jumbo package during yesterday’s game or if the team will primarily go back to 13 personnel when the Browns TEs are available again:

“I think it is a good question. I think we No. 1 see who is available to us for this week, but it is nice having Blake who can play tackle for you and can really play anywhere along the offensive line, and then he is so intelligent that he can kick out and play tight end for you, as well. If you need him in a pinch or you design things for him, he can handle that from a mental standpoint. We will see where we go moving forward.”


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