Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.20.22)


Opening statement:

“Excited for the challenge this week in front of our fans down there Saturday. A huge challenge with this Saints team coming in here. A really good football team. I have a ton of respect for (Saint Head) Coach (Dennis) Allen, his staff and their players. They present all sorts of challenges offensively. They really can run two different offenses. You can have (Saints QB) Andy Dalton in there and maybe a little bit more traditional, but he is playing at a very high level, making great decisions and delivering on time and accurately. Then you have (Saints TE) Taysom Hill who you have to defend that offense. Sometimes they are on the field together. Sometimes it is one of them at a time. You really, really have to be about your business and understanding who is on the field, what they are getting to and really making it a rules game in a lot of ways for us on defense. A very, very difficult matchup. They have good players all around. Obviously, (Saints RB Alvin) Kamara is still a huge threat out of the backfield and can do it all. The young receiver (Saints WR Chris Olave) is playing really, really well for them. They are throwing him a ton of balls in all areas of the field. He is doing a nice job. Obviously, they have (Saints WR) Jarvis (Landry), who we all know how great a player he is. They have a bunch of good players. They are very well coached. Defensively, (Saints Head) Coach (Dennis) Allen running that side of the ball, and they do a really good job. They play very, very hard and very, very physical. From the front end to the back end, they are very physical. The two edge players (Saints DE Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan) are special, unique physically, play hard and make plays in the run and the pass. Just a ton of good players all across the front. In the back end, you have (Saints S Tyrann) Mathieu who is a ballhawk and just a really good player. A bunch of good players there on defense. Special teams is a challenge. Really well coached. Have a dual-returner (Saints WR Marquez Callaway) now who has speed. We really, really have to be great in our preparation this week and get to know this team. Another NFC South opponent that we haven’t faced them in a little while so getting to know them is a very big deal.”


On how the weather forecast for Saturday impacts gameplans and preparation this week:

“Weather is a variable that we all deal with. Obviously, we deal with it at home. Similar conversation prior to the Buffalo game when we didn’t know if we were playing there. There are always things that you take into consideration, but until you get down there and understand what the elements are, you have to wait until that becomes apparent.”


On if the Browns will ultimately make decisions about gameplans on Saturday when fully understanding the weather:

“You look at the forecast so you know what they are potentially calling for, but I think you also have to make sure that you are ready to pivot in game.”


On if the team discusses weather conditions during the practice week:

“We do. We talk about it, but we don’t control it.”


On the status of RB Nick Chubb, who was listed on the pre-practice injury report with a foot:

“We are going to hold him out of practice today, but he is rehabbing.”


On if Chubb has been dealing with the foot injury for a significant period of time:

“No, it is something that came out of this game.”


On if the Browns expect Chubb to play on Saturday:

“Hope so.”


On how the Browns can prepare for significantly low temperatures on Saturday:

“Just awareness knowing what it may be down there and having a plan. Again, the weather is an element, it is a variable that we have to deal with – both teams have to deal with it.’


On C Ethan Pocic being designated to return from injured reserve and if the Browns believe Pocic could potentially be available on Saturday:

“I do.”


On if the specialists go to FirstEnergy Stadium to practice this time of the year:

“They do Usually once a week. I think they are down there today.”


On the potential for the Browns offense with Pocic being designated to return from injured reserve after playing at a high level to start the season:

“He is trending in that direction but have to see him practice first. (G) Hjalte (Froholdt) has done a nice job in there. He has really played well for us. If it is Hjalte again, we are excited for that because he is playing well. If it is Ethan, we are excited about that. He was playing at a high level and playing very physically for us prior to getting injured.”


On Froholdt’s development and performance at C despite not playing much at the position in the NFL prior to this year:

“He had played center in college. It is something that he really hadn’t done with and maybe much in the pros. When you have a smart player like you do in Hjalte and a physically gifted player, once he got the reps – the game reps and the practice reps – I think you really saw him hitting his stride.”


On the Browns’ improved blocking last week compared to recent weeks, as noted by Chubb earlier today:

“Nick is right in that it takes 11 guys to get a run game going. Everybody has to be involved. The quarterback has to be involved in carrying out his fakes even when he is not blocking somebody. I thought the guys did a nice job across the board – the tight ends and the wide receivers, like you mentioned. That is what is required each week because each week it feels like you are running into some very difficult fronts, difficult looks and those type of things. I thought in the last ball game guys really strained to finish.”


On Chubb leading the NFL in rushing yards during the fourth quarter and if there are factors in Chubb’s game that allow him to be the strongest in the fourth quarter:

“I don’t know. I would tell you obviously he is very determined. He is a very physical runner. He does not like to be denied.


On Saints WR Jarvis Landry’s impact on the Browns while with Cleveland:

“Just over the years talking about Jarvis, just what he brought into the building, into the locker room and gameday, I just always marveled at him pushing through injuries. Sometimes wasn’t near 100 percent but fought through it, played, took a hit, got back up and just a very, very tough, physical football player.”


On preparing for a player like Hill within the Saints offense that can seem so much different than the rest of the NFL:

“It is really interesting. They do a nice job. He can line up at quarterback, at running back, at tight end and at a wide receiver type position. He plays all of the special teams for them. He is a weapon in his versatility. He does everything well. He is a very, very physical runner. Doesn’t run like a quarterback, per se. He runs like a fullback. Can throw the ball. Can throw the ball to all areas of the field. Three are no limitations to what he can do in that regard. It presents a huge challenge. Not to mention, you defend him as a quarterback, and he can just line up and block. They do a nice job. I think they utilize him in a very, very smart way. It is a credit to them. They are using a really versatile football player.”


On the Browns defense performing better in recent weeks while the offense has not played as well and the desire to play complementary football:

“Obviously, like we have talked about in the past, you are looking for consistency from your football team and then within the units you are always looking for consistency. Sometimes it can be a few different things. It can be opponent driven. It can be just certain things that you are doing offensively and defensively. Those are the type of things that we focus on week to week in practice this week and making sure that we are consistent in all three phases.”


On WR Daylen Baldwin and WR Michael Woods II playing last week and if those two WRs could see more time on the field, even if WR David Bell returns from the thumb/toe injury:

“I think it is a great, great credit to that room, to (pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O’Shea and to (Chief of Staff/assistant wide receivers coach) Callie (Brownson) how they prepare the young players to be ready to go. Daylen Baldwin is a guy who we have a ton of confidence in and faith in, and he knows what to do and he makes plays when the ball came his way. You mentioned David Bell and you mentioned Mike Woods, guys who have given us valuable reps. We will see how it shakes out this week and the remaining weeks, but it is always important to have dependable football players.”


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