Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (12.8.21)

Opening statement:

“A big challenge versus the Ravens. Obviously, a unique scenario to play them back to back with the bye in between. Really looking forward to having a great week. We had an extra day here on Monday with the guys coming off of the bye. We got some really good work in on Monday. Today is Wednesday, and we have to have a great Wednesday. That is kind of where our focus is.”


On if the Browns are hopeful TE David Njoku may be available to play on Sunday after recently being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

“You just do not know. Yeah sure, I am hopeful, but we have to plan if we do not have him. If we have him, that would be great.”


On the Browns use of 13 personnel this season and how potentially not having Njoku and TE Harrison Bryant would impact the offensive gameplan:

“That is something we sit down every week and say, ‘Who is available to us? Where do we want to go?’ You are right, when you do have David, Harrison and Hoop (TE Austin Hooper), 13 (personnel) is a big part of who we are. If we do not have those guys, obviously, you have to pivot. Those are some of the conversations of how we do that, where do we want to go, what do we want to do more of and what do we want to do a little bit less of.”


On the balance as a play caller between using personnel groupings the Browns like and potentially needing a spark or change:

“That is a good question. Specifically to 13, we feel really good about those three guys. Ultimately, you try to put your best players on the field and use them to their best ability, not to say we do not feel good about other personnel groupings. It is not like you stay in that the entire game. We just have to make sure we do our job as coaches of putting guys in position to make plays, really regardless of what personnel is out there.”


On TE Miller Forristall:

“He has been with us for quite a bit of time. We have been around him. We got to see him work against our defense in scout team situations. Very attentive. Very good in the meeting room. Felt like he would help us just based on his readiness.”


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

“We are working through that. We have made decisions. I am not going to announced it right this minute, but we feel good about the five [starting] guys.”


On if the Browns are having an audition at RT this week:

“No, I would not say we are having an audition. With all of our positions, we do this every week. We go across the board – offense, defense and special teams – and figure out the guys we want to play with. The truth is, as you know and you have seen it around our game and other games, everybody has to be ready to play because you get one play into this thing and you are thrust into the starting lineup.”


On the challenge of potentially being down to one or two TEs this week, particularly with how much the Browns play their TEs:

“I think there are things we can do. Those are kind of the conversations you have about what plays do we want to run and what personnel groupings do we have to be in for those plays, and then ultimately, is it worth putting a guy out there that has not done that. Those are all conversations we have. Again, I think it goes back to as coaches we just have to put a plan out there that the guys can No. 1 play to the best of their ability but also play fast and not be thinking a lot.”


On the balance of correcting things following the bye week while also preparing for the next game:

“That is a good question because you do some out of the bye with things that you want to augment, adjust and those type of things, but you can’t do all of them at once. To do that would probably be doing a disservice to your offense, defense or special teams. There are definitely things that we identified that we want to do better – I think that is obvious – but we also need to make sure we are doing it within the scope of trying to get a win this week.”


On what defensive improvements the Browns need to make despite recording four interceptions against the Ravens in the previous matchup:

“I think there is always room for improvement. Listen, they are going to adjust, and so are we. That is kind of how it works in this game. They are going to go back and look at what worked and maybe some things that did not work so we are anticipating we are going to certainly see some wrinkles from them.”


On if the Browns received good news about Bryant’s injury, given the team did not place Bryant on injured reserve:

“He is progressing. I am not ready to say exactly what we are going to do or when we can expect him back, but he is progressing.”


On if Bryant is out for Sunday’s game against the Ravens:

“I would rule him out for this game, yes.”


On if there was a noticeable difference in QB Baker Mayfield’s mobility on Monday:

“I do not know if I saw a difference necessarily, but he looked good Monday. He was moving around. He looked like himself so I think he was pleased with where he is currently.”


On WR Anthony Schwartz’s status in concussion protocol and if Schwartz is currently in the building with the team despite not practicing:

“Yeah, he is here. He is still in the protocol, and we just have to make sure we follow the protocol.”


On Hooper’s contributions to the team despite what statistics may show and how valuable Hooper becomes if Njoku and Bryant are unavailable for Sunday’s game:

“I think you guys know and I have talked about it, Hoop gives us a lot of valuable reps out there going back to last year. I know it is easy to point to some of the statistics, but David Njoku is out there, as well, and Harrison is out there, as well. We are featuring that tight end group as opposed to just one guy. Now without those guys, certainly, you can expect Hoop’s number of plays to go up, and we are counting on him. I think he relishes those type of opportunities, but he has been instrumental in what we do as an offense – run game and pass game.”


On if the Browns can look to take advantage of some injuries to the Ravens defense:

“We have to go into this game like we do every week and say, ‘Alright, where are their strengths? Where are their weaknesses?’ likewise for us, and put a gameplan in accordingly. It is a really, really good defense. They have great coaches over there. They have great players. They have depth. We are going to have our work cut out for us.”


On if he believes in ‘selling out’ for a win and not worrying about the next game despite there being four games following this week:

“I do not know if I would put it that way, but I would tell you, I think you have to put everything you have into that one week. These are one-game season. For us, our focus really goes to this week and whatever we can do to get a win.”


On if he there is concern about potentially overworking RBs Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt on Sunday, in respect to the previous question and not previously playing the two at the same time:

“I think we will always be mindful of the next weeks. As coaches, I think we have to. Specifically to Nick and Kareem, I think they are both ready for a big workload. They have taken care of their bodies. They have done a really nice job throughout this season to make sure that they are ready to go.”


On Hooper’s comment that it appeared some players had ‘run out of gas’ in the recent weeks prior to the bye and if felt the same sense as Hooper:

“I did not, but obviously, Hoop has a good feel for his guys. This late bye, there are other teams that have the late bye, as well. There are teams that have a later bye than us. We try to be mindful from a workload standpoint, but it is a long season. It can be taxing physically. It can be taxing mentally.”


On the significance of turnover margin for a team’s record and the Ravens being 8-4 despite their -8 turnover margin:

“I think they have overcome those at certain times. They have won a lot of close games. They have come from behind in some fourth quarters. Their last game here came down to the wire. They have played well in tight games.”


On the impact of Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey:

“He is a key piece, a great player. You hate to see that for them. Does it change them? I think it remains to be seen. Again, I think they have a really good scheme and they have really good players, but it remains to be seen.”


On play calling against the Ravens pressure packages and number of players at the line of scrimmage:

“Certain teams play different styles, and there are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. Again, with all of those players up at the line of scrimmage, sometimes they bail them, sometimes they bring them, sometimes they bring them from the weak side and sometimes they bring them from the strong side. They do a nice job with their scheme of keeping you off balance and not knowing when they are coming and which side they are coming. Ultimately, for us as coaches on the flip side of that, we have to put together a gameplan that can account for those types of things and go make a big play. When you do have that many guys up at the line of scrimmage, there should in theory be some grass opened up in the defensive secondary.”


On S Grant Delpit being voted by his teammates as the recipient of the Browns 2021 Ed Block Courage Award:

“I thought Grant was a great choice for the Ed Block Courage Award. What I think is so great about that is that it is voted on by your peers. I think his teammates saw all of the work he put in in the training room and in the weight room, to get ready for this season. I am really proud of Grant in that regard. (CB) Denzel (Ward) is very, very deserving of that honor (2021 Browns Walter Peyton Man of the Year Award) with what he does in this community. I think it is outstanding. He works so hard. He may be somebody that does not say a ton out here on the field or not really somebody who is looking for all the attention, but he does a great job in the community.”


On the Browns and Ravens injuries throughout the season and how each team will find resilience:

“Respectfully, I can’t speak to them. I would just tell you with us, the injuries you face and the some of the challenges, everybody is facing those. We are not ever going to use those things as an excuse. You have to find a way. That has been our focus from Day 1. We have to find a way regardless of what is going on in the game, outside the game, injuries or otherwise. We have to find a way.”


On how the Browns offensively will respond to the Ravens defense and if the Browns will change their strategy and focus on the run game, given the Ravens injuries and strengths at stopping the run:

“I think that is a good question. Ultimately, we are trying to find ways to be explosive. Whether that is through the ground or through the air, that is what we are searching for. How we play and how we call it is always based on that opponent, that game and what we feel like gives us the best chance. It is certainly something that we start talking about on that Monday when you look at your opponent and you look at you, and say ‘Alright, how do we want to handle this game?’”


On if he could imagine running the ball 46 times and throwing the ball three times like the Patriots did in their win at the Bills:

“Yeah. In that wind? For sure. That was pretty crazy.”


On the Patriots-Bills game emphasizing taking into account all factors, in addition to doing what a team does best:

“You have to take everything into account, including weather. Our focus is playing a clean brand of football. We have been good at moments this season when we are playing freely – run and pass, staying on schedule, not hurting ourselves with penalties or negative plays and those type of things. That is really our main focus.”


On DE Jadeveon Clowney’s performance this season and how Clowney is in the building:

“JD has been great. He practices hard. Certainly, plays hard. Prepares well. I think you see his length and his speed show up in these games so he has given us some really good reps.”


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