Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.22.21)

Opening statement:

“Good to start the week here on the Packers. We are bringing the guys in in the afternoon. They are wrapping up virtual meetings as we speak. They were in here getting a lift in earlier, and then we will be out on the field starting our preparations for Green Bay. We are on a short week so we really have to go full speed ahead. I thought the guys were engaged in the meetings today. Obviously, a huge challenge going to Lambeau (Field) against a really good football team. They are well coached. They have great players. We have to be about our business. They present challenges on offense, defense and special teams. Obviously, offensively with (Packers QB) Aaron Rodgers, he is playing great. He is great. We are going to have to really hone in on ways to slow him down. With their pass attack and run attack, it really is balanced. Defensively, (Packers defensive coordinator) Joe Barry does a great job with that defense. They have some really good edge rushers. There are multiple in the back end. (Packers defensive backs coach/pass game coordinator) Jerry Gray is their defensive backs coach, who I know well from our Vikings days together, and you can see they are doing a nice job on the back end with disguise, playing multiple coverages and just doing a really nice job in coverage. Then they pressure the quarterback. They do a really nice job. They will blitz, but oftentimes, they are bringing four and they are applying pressure. We have to be really locked in this week. Like I said, on this short week, we have to make sure that we make today count, make tomorrow count and then we will get on the plane and head to Green Bay.”


On the 10-day period for players on the reserve/COVID-19 list to return without testing out and clarifying that it is fair to assume Browns players who received the designation on or before Dec. 15 would be eligible to return for Saturday’s game, provided they are asymptomatic:

“It is my understanding that yes, at the 10 day, they are available. With each player, we will obviously have dialogue with them and with the medical staff and make sure that we treat each guy differently, like we always do with any injury really. Those guys, yes, they would be available to play.”


On confirming Browns players under all of those conditions would at least be eligible to play, provided the team felt comfortable playing them:

“That is right.”


On how relieved he is to clear COVID-19 protocols and return to the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus:

“Good to be back. Obviously, working remotely is something that we all did a bunch of last year so it is definitely doable to work remotely, gameplan remotely, run meetings, etc., but good to be back in person.”


On if he was aware of the possibility of last week’s games being cancelled, given the comments earlier today by NFLPA President and Browns C JC Tretter:

“I was doing my job (laughter). JC has those conversations with all of those important people. I am focused on trying to help these guys, but no, that was not really in my wheelhouse.”


On the status of DE Myles Garrett:

“We will see. We are walking through today so not doing much from a physical standpoint, but I will get my eyes on him today, and we will see how it goes.”


On what Browns players on the reserve/COVID-19 list can do physically to prepare to play on Saturday while not at the CrossCountry Mortgage Campus:

“I think there are limits to what they can be doing when you are in this protocol so we are really focused on making sure that they are locked in from a gameplan standpoint, and then whatever they are capable of doing on their own, that is really up to them.”


On challenges creating a defensive gameplan this week with the uncertainties of who will be available to play:

“The challenge is facing a really good Packers team. You know they have star players. They are very well coached. We have our work cut out for us. Who is available to us and all of those type of things, we will just deal with it day by day.”


On clarifying if Browns players who hit Day 10 on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday can travel separately and be eligible to play based on the NFL’s transactions policies or if it is a special consideration for the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“I do not know the specifics honestly to expand on it, but it is my understanding that on Day 10, if they get cleared through the medical staff, that they would be available.”


On confirming that is the case if Day 10 is gameday for some players:

“As far as I understand.”


On if he has ever seen a WR triple teamed before as was done with Packers WR Davante Adams:

“Can’t say I have. You have seen teams over the years, I can think of teams when they used to face (former NFL TE) Antonio Gates, they would vice him at the line of scrimmage – take linebacker and maybe a defensive end and vice him. He got quite a lot of attention. Listen, he is a great player. He is just a really, really good player. Those two together have a great rapport in the pass game so you have to have a plan for him.”


On the results from additional testing on Garrett’s groin injury and Garrett’s status:

“We are just going to have to work through it. He has an injury there. We will see if it prevents him from playing. We will see if it prevents him from practicing. I think we are not there yet. We just have to see how he does today and the next day.”


On CB Greg Newsome II being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing time due to a concussion and CB Greedy Williams’ recent performance:

“It is disappointing when we do not have our guys for any reason. You do not want anybody to get injured, and you do not want anybody to get sick. Certainly, not looking for anybody to go on that list. Greedy stepped up. He has done that throughout the season when called upon, and we will continue to call upon him this week, as well.”


On the Browns’ decision to waive P Jamie Gillan and keep P Dustin Colquitt:

“Dustin did a nice job. I am disappointed for Jamie – I spoke to Jamie – but that is part of this business so he understands that.”

On what is most impressive about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and what is hardest to defend with Rodgers when creating a gameplan:

“He is a great player – I do not think you guys need me to tell you that. I have seen him up close many times when I was with the Vikings. He is supremely talented. He processes information really well. (Offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt was with him in Green Bay so Alex has good knowledge on what he does well, and there are a lot of them. He is a special talent.”


On Tretter balancing responsibilities last week as NFLPA President and preparing to play the Raiders:

“He does juggle that. He understands how important that role is and how important his role is for us. Having the extra days to prepare from a mental standpoint, I think, were probably helpful for all of the guys up front when going into it, you did not have a full schedule, if you will, of practice and meeting times. We tried to maximize those extra days in terms of getting a great understanding of what we were doing.”


On playing at Lambeau Field on Christmas Day:

“It is a great, great venue in our league. I encourage everybody – all of the Browns fans that is – to check it out. It is a special place. I think certainly as visitors going in there, you get some extra juice playing in that venue in front of those fans. It is quite a place to play, especially when we are the only game on TV and the only show in town.”


On the significance of TE Austin Hooper returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list, particularly given the importance of TE in the Browns offense:

“It will be great to get Hoop back out here. He has stayed engaged throughout this whole process for him. As you know, we will use him. Looking forward to getting him back out there.”


On how Browns DEs Porter Gustin, Joe Jackson and Ifeadi Odenigbo have stepped up recently when called upon:

“A lot of those guys have played for us at moments this season. I think of Porter going back to last year making some big plays for us. Go through this season, Ifeadi has made some plays and Joe. They have done a nice job. If their number is called, they have to respond.”


On if he has spoken to Newsome since being added to the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“I have talked to our guys. It is unfortunate. First and foremost, the No. 1 thing for us is our players’ health and safety. It is unfortunate that he is dealing with this, especially coming off of a freak thing with a concussion.”


On if Newsome is still in concussion protocol:

“Yes, I believe so.”


On if K Chase McLaughlin will continue to be the Browns K or if the team is working through a decision at the position:

“Yeah, Chase is our kicker. I told you guys the other day, he has high expectations for himself, we expect him when he is out there to make his kicks and we are counting on him, and I think he knows that.”


On T Jedrick Wills Jr.’s 10 Days on the reserve/COVID-19 list expiring prior to Saturday’s game and if that allows the team to know Wills will start at LT and can factor that into the practice rotation at RT this week:

“All of it is fluid because we have to make decisions based on each player, how they were feeling throughout this, how they are feeling now and what kind of physical shape they are in. We will just make decisions as we go. Part of the reason for that and how fluid it is, we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow in terms of guys maybe testing out.”


On CB Troy Hill and RB Kareem Hunt having injuries prior to being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and if those two players would be ruled out due to injury this week, regardless if they are able to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“I do not expect either of them to make it this week due to injury, yes.”


On the Packers run offense:

“They just have a really good scheme. They do a nice job pairing the run and the pass. (Packers Head) Coach (Matt) LaFleur and his experience, you see the wide zone and you see some of the movement stuff they do, and then with Aaron Rodgers and his experience with the RPOs that he has mastered over the course of his career, I think they have a good blend of those attacks.”


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