Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.26.22)



Opening statement:

“First of all, hope everybody had a good holiday yesterday with their families. On the injury front, really the only thing to report is (DE) Jadeveon (Clowney) is still in the concussion protocol. I will update anything else that comes out of the next few days on Wednesday.

“Watching the tape, like we talked about, there were opportunities in that football game. Tough conditions for both football teams. An evenly matched game, but in the end, didn’t make enough plays to win that game, which was tough. The guys fought like crazy and fought until the end. Disappointed about that, but we know this, still have some football left in us, and we know we got Washington starting this week on Sunday.”


On if the Browns have considered resting DE Myles Garrett and/or RB Nick Chubb for the final two games, given both have been dealing with injuries:

“Those type of conversations, really haven’t gotten into. I know this, every single one of our players wants to compete and wants the opportunity that all of these Sundays provide. I know all of our guys are excited about that. As far as those type of conversations, I haven’t really discussed that yet.”


On if the Browns were satisfied with the balance of running and passing plays in last week’s game when evaluating the film, understanding the passing totals increased on the final drives due to trailing the Saints:

“Obviously, you are trying to find any which way to move the ball and trying to find ways to score points. Had some opportunities in the run game. We probably weren’t consistent enough, especially on second down. Then just a couple of opportunities where conditions were hard and there were some third downs where you were trying to throw it but really in some tough looks. All in all, always trying to give our guys an opportunity to make a play. There were plays to be made. The wind was very strong at times and then did die down at times, as well., but tough conditions for really both teams.”


On evaluating QB Deshaun Watson’s performance when evaluating the film, including how Watson handled the inclement weather conditions:

“I think that you definitely consider how he played in the elements in some very, very tough situations. That last drive to be on the field for that long and to make some really, really unbelievable throws in that moment. I know we didn’t come down with the ball. Again, our guys hold themselves to very high standards. I applaud Dave (TE David Njoku). After the game, said he should make that play. That is what he believes, and we know how tough it was, but for those guys to battle in that situation and to have the plays that they had late in the game I think speaks to how hard they were working.”


On if Watson’s performance in last week’s game is a positive indication that Watson has the ability to play well in harsh weather conditions:

“Obviously, that is his first time playing in those type of conditions. Again, like I mentioned, there were at times when the wind was very, very severe, and then late in that drive in that two-minute drive at the end there, made some really impressive throws as the wind had died down a bit. To deal with those conditions for the first time, obviously that cold was something that he hasn’t experienced and a lot of our guys haven’t experienced that type of cold in a football game.”


On if the Browns should have potentially run Watson more last week:

“There were a couple of opportunities. To their credit, they adjusted, as well, and were taking the safety out of the middle of the field and just playing him down for the quarterback run game and really selling out for it. There are always opportunities that we are always looking at in that regard, yes.”


On coaching points for Watson about making decisions when outside of the pocket to pass the ball to a nearby player or to scramble past the line of scrimmage:

“Those are all game reps that I think you learn from. There is really the one play in particular that I think you may be alluding to with (WR) Donovan (Peoples-Jones) in the flat. I think he knew it right away. You can always press the line of scrimmage as the quarterback and make those defenders come play you, and if they play you, you dish it, and if they don’t play you, you run. He understands that. He has played that game before. Obviously, there are plays that he wishes he had done something differently, but by and large, he battled like crazy.”


On why the Browns did not use WRs or other players in the run game last week as the team has done so at times in the past:

“There were some things, just felt like the exchanges, the quarterback to a receiver or a running back pitching it to a receiver, and just didn’t feel like the conditions warranted plays like that. The conditions really made you think long and hard about center-quarterback [exchange] and the long snapper to the punter. All of those operational things were very front of mind.”


On how K Cade York handled kicking in the cold, windy conditions last week:

“I thought he handled it well. Even in pregame, I think he was handling it really well and was kicking it well. It is hard because you can’t mimic those conditions, as you can imagine. You go down to the stadium during the week, but the wind is not nearly what it is going to be and obviously the cold is not where it’s going to be. All of those reps are important for a young kicker.”


On how much of a teaching moment it was for WR David Bell when the ball bounced up and resulted in a Saints interception, especially given Bell has had solid hands throughout the 2022 season:

“Those are the bang-bang plays. We had a very similar play on our interception that (S) Grant (Delpit) got. He was stumbling a little bit coming out of his break as he was trying to avoid a player so he was going to the ground, and the ball was a little bit more out in front because didn’t anticipate him trying to avoid the other player. A bang-bang play. You mentioned it. Dave is a young man who we trust and the quarterbacks trust. He has been very dependable.”


On what the Browns can accomplish in the final two games, if he believes the team can establish momentum in these next two games ahead of the 2023 offseason and if Cleveland will use the final two games to evaluate younger players:

“To your first point there, we do want to finish strong. You want to finish everything you do. We understand the scenario that we are in, but we also understand that we have an opportunity this week versus Washington and we have another opportunity the following week. That is really where our focus is. Any of those big-picture type of conversations are probably for another time.”


On why DE Myles Garrett did not play the first defensive series last week:

“That was just a team thing. That was my decision.”


On confirming that he does not intend to elaborate on the specifics of why Garrett did not play the first defensive series:



On why it was important for the Browns to reach a contract extension with T Jack Conklin:

“We have talked about Jack in the past and just all of the things he stands for. Just think about the rehab that he has gone through this past year and how hard he worked to get himself on the field and how hard he works in the building. He is really a model citizen in that regard in what we look for. He has played good football for us. Just felt like that was a great opportunity for us and a great opportunity for him to get something done.”


On why it was tough for RB Kareem Hunt to see production in the running game last week:

“I don’t really distinguish it between and (RB) Nick (Chubb). We at times blocked it really well, and at times, one or two guys really didn’t execute it exactly how they could. Again, in tough conditions where you had to come off the ball and there were going to be a lot of dirty runs. Nick had a couple of opportunities to scoot through there through some of the holes, and Kareem did not, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.”


On how to improve in making key plays during significant moments of the game:

“To your point, listen, there are going to be plays in the game that are game on the line and you have to make a play – Dave goes up versus Tampa on fourth down and makes the play. Obviously, we would have loved to have made the play last week. I think for us so much of the focus goes on those plays. As a coach, I can go back to the first play or second play of the game and talk about how we could have done something differently – players, coaches or you name it. You never know when that play is going to happen during the course of the game that is going to change the course of the game, and that is why the focus is really in terms of playing a 60-minute football game. If you do that and if you are playing clean offense, defense and special teams from the beginning, maybe you don’t put yourself in the position where it is a tight ball game. Again, the guys are going to make sure they are working hard and understanding what they have to do, and we just have to put them in position to make plays.”


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