Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.31.21)

On if QB Baker Mayfield’s left, non-throwing shoulder injury and harness have impacted offensive play calling this season:

“I think with any player, whether they are wearing a knee brace or something with their ankle or their arm – obviously, for the quarterback, left arm as opposed to right arm – there is always working through and getting comfortable with those things. I think that was definitely early on for Baker was working through with that and getting comfortable with that through practice reps and those type of things. I know he changed harnesses as well early on. I just chalk it up to getting used to those type of things.”


On if he believed Mayfield did get used to playing with the shoulder harness:

“I do. Again, you could ask Baker. I would rely on what he says, but just watching him at practice yesterday and watching him at practice throughout this season, making good decisions and throwing the ball with accuracy, I see that.”


On how DE Myles Garrett looked at practice yesterday when returning to practice following the groin injury:

“I thought he looked good.”


On how important it is for Garrett to finish this season strong:

“It would be good for us if he finishes strong, I would say. I think he is getting better. I hope he is feeling like himself on Monday night, but it is important he plays well. As you guys know, he is a huge part of our defensive attack.”


On LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s status after not practicing yesterday due to a non-COVID-19 illness:

“He will be back [practicing] today.”


On Mayfield needing to adjust to and play with the shoulder harness will play a factor in the team’s evaluation of Mayfield’s season of it is just a ‘footnote’:

“I would not characterize it as a footnote, but it is not something that I am thinking a lot about. I think it is one of those things that he certainly worked through it, but we focus on how he looks at practice and how he looks in the games, and he has done a nice job.”


On the Browns having a majority of the players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list return and if the Browns are confident the worst of the COVID-19 impact is behind the team after what has occurred during the past few weeks while other NFL teams are facing similar circumstances:

“It is so hard to say. I am definitely not an expert on that. I think it has surprised some of the experts. It is really hard for me to say.”


On having an extra 48 hours to prepare for Monday night’s game against the Steelers after playing on Saturday:

“I think every day helps. When you get this late in the season particularly, every day helps. Game No. 16 and Week No. 17, it is a longer season so anytime you can get extra time this late in the year, I do think it helps.”


On C JC Tretter’s impact on the Browns and Browns OL, given Tretter missed his first offensive snaps with the team after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list last week and has returned this week:

“JC is very, very smart. He is playing at a high level for us. Certainly, when you talk about the communication that has to occur in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage and on the sideline in between series, it helps having a veteran who has seen it all and can communicate well with his teammates and the coaches.”


On C Nick Harris’ performance last week with Tretter unavailable:

“Similarly to a lot of guys, I am not real surprised at how Nick played. He played hard. He played physical. He had great effort. He had a bunch of good reps. That is kind of what he has shown over the two years being with him. We saw him play, albeit at guard, last year. Obviously, seeing him at that more natural position of center – he can obviously play guard – and seeing him get on the move and those type of things, I think you saw his skillset certainly in that game.”


On why Mayfield changed to a different shoulder harness during the season:

“Again, you would have to ask Baker that one. I am sure it was like anything, he was getting more comfortable with a different harness, I guess, but he can answer that better than me.”


On if he will talk to the team prior to the game about how the implications of Monday night’s game could be different depending on the outcome of Sunday’s games:

“I think that the timing of all that, we will be into our night-before-the-game meetings. As you know, we will know by that point so I do not think it needs to be addressed prior to that.”


On he will talk to the team about how to handle the potential playoff implications of Monday night’s game, given the Browns may or may not have control of their own postseason destiny based on how Sunday’s games finish:

“Again, it goes back to it being totally out of our control. I think we are not going to waste time and energy on things that are out of our control.”


On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s career longevity:

“Any of these guys who play this game for a long time, it is amazing to me. I think about just over the years guys who I have had the pleasure to coach or coach against, to see them do it at such a high level into their later age for football, it is impressive.”


On Roethlisberger and Buccaneers QB Tom Brady may be the last of a generation of QBs who are able to play in the league as long as they have:

“I do not know. That is interesting. Guys over the years, some of the biggest ‘pocket passers’ know how to get the ball out of their hands and know how to not take those hits, and you have some guys who are more movement oriented and scrambling, and you would think it would be harder to maintain that style, but I have been so impressed by some of the guys in our league right now who are just hard to get on the ground and they are hard to tackle.”


On if the Browns have determined who will start at RT this week:

“Yes. We will work through that this week. I am not going to announce the lineup, but we are comfortable with where we are going.”


On the status of Browns coaches who were previously unavailable due to COVID-19 protocols:

“They are all back.”


On the importance of the Browns RT this week when opposing Steelers LB T.J. Watt:

“You are right, he is a great player. He has our attention. We have to account for him in the run and the pass game, but they have a bunch of great players along that front. They do a nice job, and we have to make sure that we come ready to play.”


On if RB Kareem Hunt, S John Johnson III or CB Troy Hill will practice today:

“Kareem will practice today on a limited basis.”


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