Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.15.22)


Opening statement:

“Finishing up our work week with practice. Guys did a nice job. As you know, this is a unique week in the short-week aspect of it but also just the different things that these guys present offense, defense and special teams and the unique challenges schematically that they present. You really have to lock in mentally playing this football team. They are well coached. They have really good football players. It requires you to lock in and really understand this football team so that is what we have to do this week and have been doing this week. Looking forward to Saturday at 4:30 p.m. down at our place.


“Before we go to questions, I do want to make mention the 49ers challenged us, and challenge accepted. The (late former NFL offensive coordinator and QBs coach) Greg Knapp Memorial (Fund), they raise awareness for distracted driving. That is something that is very important, I know, in our society. Those who knew Knapper, a great, great football coach and a great man. I wasn’t very close to Knapper, but if you are coaching quarterbacks, in the NFL, he is somebody who is like a god figure in the quarterback circles in how he coached quarterbacks. I am very close to a lot of people who were close to Knapper – (Bears tight ends coach) Clancy Barone, (former NFL head coach) Gary Kubiak, (linebackers coach) Jason Tarver and (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods coached with Knapper. A really special man who is gone too soon. We want to raise awareness for his fund and for his memorial. One of the things that teams are doing is running stadium steps before the game which is what we will do in his honor, which is something that he did before every one of his games. Just want to make mention of that.”


More information on the Greg Knapp Memorial Fund, led by the late Greg Knapp’s wife, Charlotte, and close friend and agent, Jeff Sperbeck, and its mission to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving, reduce the number of distracted-driving related deaths and promote distracted-driving awareness reform is available at https://www.knappmemorial.org/.


On WR David Bell being listed as questionable for Saturday’s game:

“He has been dealing with a foot issue, a toe issue the last couple of weeks. We will see how he does over the next 48 hours.”


On WR Amari Cooper’s status, given Cooper was not listed with an injury designation for Saturday’s game:

“He is going to go. Again, it is one of those things you have to get to Saturday and see how he is feeling. I know he is going to be battling through it, but he looked good out there today.”


On challenges facing the Ravens defense’s scheme:

“They can play multiple personnel groupings. They can play five on the line of scrimmage or an even front, a four-down front. They can pressure you, they can play zone and they can play man. They really do a little bit of everything to keep you off balance. They have very versatile football players – No. 54 (Ravens OLB Tyus) Bowser, the young No. 14 (Ravens S Kyle) Hamilton – these are guys who they can line up in different positions, which really makes identification very important for the offense.”


On the Ravens defense’s depth, given QB Deshaun Watson’s comment about it earlier this week:

“They have depth at rushers. You can see multiple and they can wave different guys in there, guys who are fresh certainly, from the edge-rush standpoint.”


On RB Nick Chubb’s reps in practice decline as the season progresses while many Browns veterans receive days off:

“He had a day off recently. It is so specific to the players. I wouldn’t say that Nick declines, no. He is a guy who takes great, great care of his body. I know he has a bunch of touches for us this season, but once Wednesday rolls around, he feels good. (run game coordinator/running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell) does a nice job managing his workload throughout the week.”


On if the recent day off for Chubb mentioned is the only one he can recall this season:

“As far as I can remember, yeah.”


On if he ‘reminds Chubb that he is not on the practice squad’ and that Chubb can gear down some in practice, especially late in the season:

“We try to be smart with the guys – guys who have injury history or sometimes age – but there is also something to be said for just pushing through it and not feeling great but getting out there. You are trying to be smart. You are never trying to be foolish and push through it if a guy needs rest. I think Nick in particular his teammates know that he is always going to be out there, he is always going to be working and he is not going to be wearing sleeves. That is just how he rolls.”


On how the Browns WRs have been blocking in the run game in recent weeks:

“I think they have been as they normally are blocking, the receivers. It is a big part of any run game and our run game is those receivers blocking force. When we say ‘force,’ we are either talking the safety or the corner, depending on who is the down guy in that defense. They get a big share of it. I am sure (pass game coordinator/wide receivers) Coach (Chad) O’Shea would tell you they need to be better because Coach is hard on them, but they have been assignment sound. When we have success, they are a big part of it.”


On if there are specific goals for Watson each week moving forward while striving to get back to full form:

“No. I think Deshaun really takes each one of these games in its own week. This week is all about the Ravens, what we need to do as a team and what he needs to do for the offense to play good football. Outside of that, I don’t really think that is his or our focus.”


On the Ravens’ ability to create takeaways:

“They are +9 as a team. We were -2 the first time we played them. (Ravens DE) Calais Campbell got his long arm on a ball. We turned one over on the last play of the game. They do a good job. We conversely have to do a good job on offense and special teams. When you have that ball, you have to put it away because they are punching, they are pulling, they are raking and they are doing everything they can to get that ball out. Calais Campbell and a bunch of the guys on their front are good at tipping balls. They do a nice job of getting their hands up as a pass rusher.”


On if the Ravens are an outlier in the NFL due to their successful record with a focus on the running game compared to the rest of the league that is now more pass oriented:

“I don’t know what is says in terms of the league. They have been very specific and intentional about how they have built their roster. You look at the skillsets of all of their quarterbacks, they can all run and they can all throw, as well. They can hurt you in multiple ways. Gap scheme so a lot of pulling guards and tackles. They have some bigger bodies up front. I think they have just in their roster building done a nice job. Now, is it different than the majority of the league? It is, and I think that is sometimes an advantage when you are talking about week to week facing different rush attacks and pass attacks. I think that can be a challenge for defenses.”


On the Ravens’ ability to take advantage of the middle of the field on offense in the running game and with TEs:

“It is a huge challenge when you are facing this offense. They do work that middle of the field, but they really do work you horizontally, as well. When they stretch some of their runs and the quarterback gets involved in particular, you really do have to defend all 53 and one-third [yards] of that field. As you mentioned, the tight ends are featured prominently in their pass game. They have multiple tight ends that are really, really good football players. It does stress your linebackers and it stresses your safeties to be really assignment sound in the run game and good in coverage.”


On LB Reggie Ragland’s development since joining the Browns:

“He is coming along. He will be up this game ready to roll.”


On DE Myles Garrett leading the league in pass rush effectiveness despite being double-teamed and chipped more than any other NFL player:

“Really since we have been here, and when you are a player of Myles’ stature, you are going to get a lot of attention. Teams go into it, and they want to chip him with tight ends and they want to slide the center to him so that the guard can get out to help them. He has to fight through double teams. He gets the attention because of his history, just like a lot of guys and a lot of the premier rushers, and that can’t slow you down. He plays a lot of snaps for us, too. He doesn’t come off the field very often. He is playing at a high level, and we need him to play at a high level to play good defense.”


On if the approach with Watson is to continue to expand the offense each week and if the gameplan is ‘wide open’ or if the focus is primarily on gameplans for each opponent:

“You do have to gameplan for the team that you are playing, but you also can’t do everything. You can’t put in every play that Deshaun has run. There is part of it that you have to slowly but surely progress into some different ways you want to tweak your offense. I think there are things that we have adjusted to what we are doing that are very subtle but that are good for us, and there are other plays that are maybe new that we are all just getting good reps on in practice and good game reps on.”


On if the Browns ultimately foresee using Watson more like Ravens QB Lamar Jackson in the running game:

“I think it really depends on the defense you are playing. Some teams don’t give you those opportunities in how they defend some of the runs. We don’t have a number of runs that he has to have in the game or those type of things. It is really based on the game that we are playing.”


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