Head Coach Kevin Stefanski 2022 NFL Combine Podium Availability (3.2.22)

Opening statement:

“Good to see everybody. Great to be back in Indy in person. This is a big part of our offseason and our player evaluation, and when we get to this point, I think this is a really important part of how we do this. (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and his staff are on top of it. Great to get the coaching staff here and around each other. Another milepost here at the Combine. Just seeing our coaches interact and start our process has been really, really good. Excited about being here.”


On the Browns naming Drew Petzing quarterbacks coach, T.C. McCartney tight ends coach and other coaching staff decisions this offseason:

“Certainly, all of those decisions are in the best interest of the Browns. I do think ultimately it is good for his growth. Similarly, T.C. McCartney coaching tight ends is great for his growth. I broke in coaching tight ends. I think that is a really important spot for a young coach. I think it is in the best interest of those guys, but most importantly, I think it is in the best interest of our staff. I think bringing in a different perspective into that room, adding T.C.’s voice into the tight end room, adding his voice and amplifying his voice, if you will, with the offensive staff, a lot of those moves are with the intention of doing our jobs a little bit better.”


On improving production from the Browns WRs:

“That is a main focus for Andrew and the staff is improving every one of those rooms – I know you mentioned the wide receivers and there are some really good ones in this draft, I have been told. I am still diving into the tape as we speak, but I think it is a fun time of year because we get to look at all of these guys we have watched on Saturdays and see how these classes are put together. All of these positions we are looking at. We are meeting with every position. I want to get to know all of these guys. Excited about that.”


On reviewing the Browns passing game in 2021:

“We were just too inconsistent. There were times we just had to do a little bit of a better job at every spot – coaching, playing and you name it. We have to nail down the details of our system, give our guys the best chance to succeed and then ultimately make a couple more plays a game is what it comes down to.”


On offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt’s responsibility in the QBs room moving forward:

“I will tell you this, I really, really value AVP’s role on our staff. What he does for or offensive staff and really what he provides for our entire staff and the voice he provides in the quarterbacks room is vitally important to what we do.”


On if Van Pelt will call offensive plays in 2022:

“I will still call the plays. Like I have told you guys many, many times. AVP is a huge, huge part of what we do throughout the week and on gameday. We have ideas of how we can do that better. That is something that we have really spent time on, making sure we have everybody’s voice and everybody has a way on gameday to contribute, if you will, and AVP is a huge part of that.”


On if the Browns will look to improve the schematics of their passing game:

“Always. We have to. That is going to be a major focus and has been a major focus of ours as we start this offseason and as we look at the tape of what we are doing – some things we are doing well, and some things we are not doing so well – and then really studying hard some other teams, seeing what they are doing and seeing how it applies to what we do. That is an ongoing process, but it is definitely something that we have paid close attention to.”


On evaluating offensive play calling in 2021 and opportunities to improve:

“Every offseason, I want to make sure that I am intentional about reflecting on everything we do. That is part of our operation and part of our process, if you will, and I think we can do it better.”


On why the Browns believe it is important for coaches to attend the Combine, given some other teams’ coaches do not attend:

“Andrew made me come is the truth (laughter). I like being here. I like seeing the players up close and personal, sitting down with them and watching tape with them. I like being out there when they start the workout portion of this. I like seeing all of the quarterbacks throw at the same time. I do think there is value being in person. As you know, we have found that there is great value in being able to Zoom. You can still get a lot of things done virtually, but I think it is still important to be here.”


On the process of evaluating players with communication between the personnel and coaching staffs:

“It is how we operate. It is great communication throughout the season – Andrew and myself, the entire personnel department and the coaching staff. The communication is vital. There is a great, great deal of respect there, and that allows us to communicate and be honest with each other. We have those discussions as you come out of the season. You look at your own players and you evaluate your own players, you evaluate free agents and you evaluate the draft. Throughout all of those evaluations, you are having honest conversations with Andrew and with his stuff, and then AB and the group puts together a plan.”


On the benefit of having more competition at the QB position, given QB Baker Mayfield has been ‘unchallenged’:

“I would push back a little bit that he is not challenged.”


On Mayfield being challenged by another QB in the room:

“I think every day those guys understand that it is a challenge. In terms of the room and those type of things, I am not going to get into that necessarily, but I think Baker and all of our players understand that it is a competition and you are getting challenged every single day. They treat every day like a challenge. I am comfortable with how that goes, but how the rest of the offseason goes, we will see.”


On if he still has confidence in Mayfield as the starting QB moving forward:



On if he has talked with Mayfield during the offseason:

“Yeah, I have texted with Baker and texted with a bunch of the guys. I have not been able to visit anyone. I could have gone to Kenya with (DE) Myles (Garrett). I passed on that one. Just try to stay in touch with our guys but also understanding this is a dead period so you want to give them space right now.”


On how much Mayfield’s play was impacted by injury:

“We talked about it in the moment a lot. Certainly, never hid from that, but I think it is one of those things where we acknowledge it, and Baker acknowledged it obviously throughout the season. He played through those injuries, but I do not think it is fair to put what percentage was on that. I think he knows he wants to play better. I know I want to coach better. All those type of things. We are really focused on how we are going to do that now moving forward.”


On the process of evaluating the 2022 draft class’ WRs and DL, given some players have different traits and strengths:

“It is a really good question because as I start watching the receivers and you watch some of the defensive linemen, each one of those players is his own entity. Some have traits that this guy does not have, but this guy does this thing really well. It is a puzzle. What you try to do is just be real honest about your evaluation in terms of what you see on tape. Then it is our job to figure out if we can exploit those traits or use those traits in our schemes. Certainly, it is fun. It is hard at times when you have a small, speedy receiver, a big possession receiver or you have a flamethrower defensive end and a stout three-technique and trying to compare those guys and how they fit in your scheme.”


On if WR and DL are the Browns’ top priority positions in the 2022 NFL Draft:

“I can keep going – then we have defensive backs… Should I name them all (laughter)? Honestly, I try to watch all of these guys across the positions. For us, what is really important is getting to know them as people right now so we have kind of knocked out some of the offensive meetings so far, the coaches are working hard on the informal meetings and we will start the defensive guys this evening.”


On the Browns’ philosophy about trading up or down in the first round going into the draft:

“Andrew probably could speak to that a little bit better than I could. Certainly, we know there are a lot of good players in this draft and there will be a good player available there, but to say we are going to move up or move back, I think it is premature to say that.”


On watching DE Myles Garrett participate in the NBA Celebrity All-Star game during All Star Weekend in Cleveland:

“I did not watch.”


On if Garrett needed his permission to participate, given past conversations that Garret was retired from basketball:

“No, it was a charity game. He did a nice job. He wanted to make sure he put his athleticism on display. That was a great weekend for Cleveland. I was able to go down Saturday night to the Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest. Cleveland, the city, the fans and everybody did a great job.”


On if the Browns do anything with draft prospects similar to reports that the Eagles had players shoot basketballs into a mini-hoop when entering their interview:

“No, we kind of get right into it just because of time. They have those TVs in there, and they are showing you the time roll off so you are trying to make the most of it. (Eagles Head) Coach (Nick) Sirianni is a big hoops fan – he is wearing his Sixers shirt right now – but we try to dig right into the tape almost immediately.”


On if the Browns are focused on learning more about a player’s intellect or personality during the Combine interviews:

“It is a little bit of both. Our scouts do a really nice job of letting us know who the person is who is walking in. They spend so much time with the player and with the player’s coaches so you really know a lot about the player, but you are getting a feel for their personality. Then we are trying in those moments to get an understanding of their capacity to learn. Some of the coaches do it differently. We give the coaches some leeway in how they structure those meetings, but we really want to hear how they recite back to you, how they recall on tape and what they can recall maybe what you install to them because so much of this is when you get into these gameplans, as you guys know, and you throw a lot at them, what can they handle, what can you ask this guy to align at different formations or places in the formation, can you ask this offensive linemen to run these different schemes. It is really important in those meetings to try and understand maybe their capacity for learning.”


On how much a player’s capacity to learn factors into how successful the person will ultimately be in the NFL:

“It is a good question. I think it varies by guy. A guy I have mentioned before to you guys, I believe, is (WR) Anthony Schwartz. His Zoom interview last year, it was very clear that he would have no problem lining up anywhere. He got it right away so was very comfortable with the learning ability from Anthony, and that we would have a young player who we could align across the formation. Those are the type of things you are looking for, but that is not going to be everybody.”


On the Browns’ use of TE and 13 personnel and how much flexibility the team has to use other groupings based on the roster:

“I think that is our job. We talked a lot about 13 personnel because those are our tight ends, and we feel strongly about those players. If your roster evolves, you better be ready to evolve, but we are not tied to any one specific personnel.”


On if the Browns would be open to potentially drafting a K or P:

“That is definitely an organizational thing with any position. We spend some time with the specialists with our scouts, like I mentioned. We will get to know all of those guys at every position – specialist is no different.”


On the evaluation process for the team at the end of the season and if it is easy or difficult to evaluate players who battled through injuries during the year:

“I think it is difficult. It is football. We have talked about the only time that you are healthy is that first day of training camp. Guys work through injuries, and then we are always trying to be realistic at every position what a guy can do – there are receivers who sometimes have a hamstring that they can’t open up fully so you are not going to see their speed on display. It is certainly something that you take into account when you are putting together your evaluation of a player.”


On reflecting on the situation between the Browns and LA Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr. last season:

“I am not going to rehash that, but obviously happy for Odell, and I wish him well.”


On Mayfield’s confidence heading into 2022 after playing through injury in 2021:

“Baker is a confident player. He has done it. We have all seen him do it so I do not think he lacks for confidence. I think this is a great offseason for him to get healthy and then have an offseason together to get him in the building with the rest of the team, work together and try and get better. That is kind of our focus.”


On if he is still not on social media:

“Still not on it.”


On Mayfield pausing social media activity this offseason and if he spoke to Mayfield about doing so:

“I did not.”


On the impact of social media:

“I am not speaking specifically to Baker – you guys have heard me say it before – I think social media can do a lot of great things, and it has done a lot of great things for our communities and for young people. There are also some pitfalls in there that you want to make sure all of your players are aware of those and make sure that they are doing everything they can to put the team first.”


On high competition in the AFC North:

“We are competitive. Certainly, we have a great division. We knew that going into the season. Certainly, you know that coming out of the season. The challenge will be year to year to find ways to defeat those guys. We have three really good teams in our division, and they are all well coached. It is going to be no different next year. We are going to have our work cut out for us.”



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