Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.23.21)

Opening statement:

“Excited for the challenge going on the road Christmas Day, only show in town. I think the guys are excited about it. A great opportunity for us. Just finished up a ‘Friday’ practice for us, and we still have some finishing touches to put on it. Guys have to get recovery. Some guys need to run. Some guys need to meet extra with the coaches. We are still working towards that, but certainly, excited to go on the road in Lambeau Field playing a really good football team.”


On if there is any chance C JC Tretter could return form the reserve/CVID-19 list by Saturday or if Tretter can be ruled out:

“He just went on the list. I do not know if I would rule him out, but he is in the protocols.”


On the plan for the Browns OL if Tretter is not available and T James Hudson III returning from the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“We are going to work through it. Like you mentioned, James Hudson comes back. He will be available to us. We will see how (T) Jed (Wills Jr.) does when he comes of the list potentially. (C) Nick Harris obviously has to be ready to go if JC can’t go. Moving parts, but that is the name of the game.”


On QB Baker Mayfield remaining on the reserve/COVID-19 list, if the team still expects Mayfield to start on Saturday and if the team will coordinate separate travel plans for Mayfield if the QB does not test out tomorrow in order to join team travel:

“Obviously, like we have said, day to day. Taking this day by day. Tomorrow, we will see if he tests out and is available to be with us tomorrow. If not, we will take it to Saturday. If he is as healthy as he has been and he is cleared and ready to go, then I anticipate him playing.”


On how the Browns can improve upon their ability to finish games in the final three weeks of the regular season:

“That is a good question. We have to close out those games. So many of these games in the NFL are like that. They are one-score games, and we have to finish in those moments. Really, you never know what play is going to affect it. As important as it is to finish in the fourth quarter, you really have to be great for 60 minutes, and that starts from the jump. There are certainly some things we want to do better offensively, defensively and special teams schematically and things that we can do in those moments to go close out a game.”


On if the Browns will need to get creative with their preparation for Saturday’s game with Mayfield’s limited to no time in the building this week, similar to the team’s gameday walkthrough in a parking garage last season:

“We will have a walkthrough on gameday. That is something that we typically do on a late afternoon start like this, and that is the benefit, certainly, if we are able to get Baker back like we anticipate, if not tomorrow. On gameday, we will certainly do that. There are moving parts throughout this. With Baker and any of the players, when you do not practice, you also have to understand that those players have banked many, many reps. With the quarterback, we have plays, concepts and things in that we have many, many reps on, going back to training camp, going back to last year, etc. with the players who will be in there.”


On DE Myles Garrett’s status after being listed as questionable and if Garrett practiced at all today:

“He did not do anything at practice today. I would say he is 50/50. He has not done anything all week so we need to see how he progresses over the next few days here. Obviously, he is very confident and he wants to play very badly, but we will see how it goes over the next couple of days.”


On if Garrett will be a game-time decision on Saturday:

“We are just going to take in all of the information over the next couple of days. I would not say necessarily that it is going to be a workout-type thing and true up to the 90-minute, but I just want to make sure that we continue to take in information over the next couple of days.”


On if C Nick Harris has grown and developed this year, despite not playing a snap on offense this season:

“Yeah, without a doubt. He did play a little bit for us last season so there is some experience there for him playing some guard. He works very, very hard. He has had a good season just in terms of what we have been working with him. I do see growth from him. He is a young player, but I do see him getting better.” 


On the Browns secondary this week without a few players while preparing to face Packers QB Aaron Rodgers:

“Like you mentioned, we will be without a few guys. Again, that is what you have depth for, that is why you practice and that is why those guys take their job so seriously and prepare. We may be counting on some guys to step up. Again, that is really what we have done all season long.”


On QB Case Keenum’s availability for Saturday, given Keenum is on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“I do not know. We will see if he can test out here, but we will see how it goes.”


On how the Browns can increase scoring production from the TEs:

“We do want production from the tight end room. We want production, period. We will take the points any which way we can get them. If (TE) Dave (David Njoku) had smaller feet, we would have had a touchdown the other night – we will add that to the list (laughter). In seriousness, those guys do a great job. They are such a big part of what we do. Think about Hoop (TE Austin Hooper) in that game at home where he is playing every play, Dave is playing a ton of lays, and Harrison is coming off an injury. They have each come up big for us in different moments. I think the production in the red zone or production period when it comes to touchdowns is something that we are looking for as an offense, less so from a certain position.”


On if the Browns will consider adjustments to the offense to help RB Nick Chubb and the running game produce earlier in games, despite opponents looking to take that element away:

“Those are all things we talk about. Certainly, I would just tell you, not specific to Nick, but the run game in the last however many games has not been as efficient or as explosive as it was early. It is never one thing. It is never one player, one scheme or those type of things. We just have to do our job as coaches in putting these guys in positions to succeed. We know that teams – this goes back to Game 1, as well – they are going to commit to trying to stop the run. We have opportunities to still run the ball by scheme absolutely, but there are also opportunities in the pass game. We just have to make sure that we as coaches put the guys in position to succeed, whether you are running or throwing.”


On if Wills, WR Jarvis Landry and DT Malik McDowell are expected to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list as they reach the close of the 10-day window:

“Yes, I am confident they come off tomorrow. It is Day 10 so they will come off of the COVID list.”


On the challenge replacing Tretter, who has played every offensive snap for the Browns since joining the team in 2017 and was placed on the COVID-19/reserve list today:

“I have not had a chance to talk to JC yet. That news kind of got to me as I was going out on the field. Ultimately, any of our guys who are unavailable, I am very disappointed for them. Like we have talked about, whether it is an injury or COVID, JC is a big part of what we do. He obviously, playing that center position, you are in the thick of it, you are making calls and you are doing so much from a mental aspect of working with the quarterback. He is somebody you do not just replace, but (C) Nick Harris is definitely up to the task, and we have a bunch of smart guys up front that will help him.”


On if Browns players who were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Dec. 14 will be cleared to travel with the team to Green Bay tomorrow:



On if and how Mayfield and McDowell will travel to Green Bay separately from the team if they do not clear the COVID-19 test process tomorrow morning:

“It is all so fluid. Some guys may test out on Saturday morning who you were not anticipating having so you may have more than one person heading to Green Bay.”


On if he will have a plane on standby for Browns players to travel separately to Green Bay:

“I do not, no (laughter).”


On if the Browns will have a plane on standby for Browns players to travel separately to Green Bay:

“Yes, I think we will.”


On the Browns’ plans at S on Saturday:

“It is fluid. (S) Ronnie (Harrison Jr.) could come back. Very happy to get (S) Grant (Delpit) back, and we will determine again in what capacity based on how he is doing, how he is feeling and those type of things. I feel confident that with Grant, with (S) MJ (Stewart Jr.), with (S) Jovante Moffatt and with (S) Richard LeCounte (III), I feel like we have guys back there that we can count on.”


On the status of Browns assistant coaches who tested positive last week:

“(Offensive coaching assistant) Ryan Cordell is with us. He tested out the same day as me. We are still waiting on (offensive assistant) T.C. McCartney.”

# # #