Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (5.14.21)

 

Opening statement:

“Great to be out on the field today. A beautiful day here in Northeast Ohio. Great to be coaching these kids. A lot of them are swimming as you can imagine with some of the mental things that we are putting on their plate, but they are very coachable. I thought it was a very good day.”

 

On how good it felt to be able to take off his mask at practice following the NFL’s updated protocols, joking that the media could barely recognize him without the mask:

“That felt pretty good. I agree, there were some people I did not realize that is what they looked like (laughter).”

 

On what he primarily focused on during today’s practice:

“You are watching all of these positions and you are watching the coaches coach, and you are seeing these young guys take information, take coaching and apply coaching to drills. Just to come out there and see (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan, (assistant offensive line coach) Scott Peters and (offensive quality control) Coach (Jonathan) DeCoster all surrounding (T) James Hudson (III) and they have him getting into a three-point stance and just really the basics right now and working on the fundamentals, it is just good to see our coaches get their hands on the guys and take them through. We walked through the drills before we did the drills. This is baby steps, but it is important to start there with these young players. A lot of really good technique work today.”

 

On LB Tony Fields II not practicing today:

“Tony injured his foot. I do not know if it was a few days ago or a week ago. He is going to be out a few weeks. Nothing concerning long term. That is where Tony was.”

 

On how much rookie minicamp and having time with coaches will benefit the players, despite changes to the weekend’s structure compared to past years:

“It was a really good student-teacher ratio out there at a few positions. It is really important. I think those guys are lucky. They are getting some high-quality instruction from the guys. To your point, there is one guy in line so you really slow down, you focus on that rep and then you take a couple of seconds off and you do the drill again. It really slows you down. It does not look like any other rookie minicamp that I have certainly been a part of, and that is OK. We really are getting a lot out of it.”

 

On overall objectives for this year’s rookie minicamp:

“We want to teach the systems to these guys – offense, defense and special teams. We want them to understand what they are doing, and then ultimately, see if they can contribute. That will be based on what they can handle. We also want to get to know these young men, and we want them to get to know their teammates and get to know their coaches. Really, acclimating them to how we do things around here.”

 

On teaching the system to rookies while expanding on last year’s system with veterans and if that new material is also presented to the rookies and how that process is different than last year:

“Even with the returning veterans, you start at the beginning. I promise you that is all 32 clubs do the same is start right at the general info Page 1. You talk about the huddle, you talk about the personnel and you talk about the different hook drops and buzz drops on defense. You really always start back at the beginning. I just think it is an important way to teach. We do not want to skip any steps. These young players are really hearing it for the first time and the veterans are hearing it for the second, third and fourth time. That is kind of where we start with the rookies. When they enter the meetings with the veterans, then they need to catch up. That is why we will have extra meeting time with them. We will have plenty of time with them individually and try to catch them up as quickly as we can.”

 

On how he continues to reinforce the message that last year’s results do not mean anything for 2021 and it is a fresh start to the season:

“I do not think it is hard. I think our players are smart enough to realize that. One way, like I said earlier, is you go back to the beginning and you install plays that the guys have heard already, but you dig into the minutia of them. That is part of being a pro is not getting bored. We will start back at square one. We have done that to a great extent with some of our meetings that we have had with the veterans to this point, but I just firmly believe that you have to go back and reinforce that foundation. Whether you feel like you have built a foundation or not, you definitely have to go back and reinforce it year in and year out.”

 

On opening the season against the Kansas City Chiefs and preparing the Browns defense with new personnel:

“They are an outstanding team – well-coached and really great players. We know we have a lot of work to do before Week 1 rolls around so we will make sure that we utilize every meeting we have and all of the time we have on the grass again to teach our systems, in some cases reteach the systems and then get ready for the season. Obviously, I have a ton of respect for the Chiefs.”

 

On if he and defensive coordinator Joe Woods have discussed how to ensure the defense gels with new personnel:

“You have to be intentional about it and plan accordingly, but you also look at last year and you can say that you were teaching new systems to everybody on both sides of the ball. You do have returning players who have heard some of what we are talking about now. To your point about gelling, absolutely, that is something that is important and that we will work on in a bunch of different ways. We will just make sure that we teach at an appropriate speed and bring everybody along.”

 

On if LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah could add more weight over time:

“I think he could. He is young. A lot of the guys, we will get them in our program and I think (performance dietician) Katy Meassick, our dietician, our strength staff and our high-performance staff will look at each of these guys and will figure out what the appropriate number is for them to weigh and what the appropriate dietary program is, if you will. It is individualized for each of those guys, but JOK in particular, I am comfortable with where he is, and I know he will continue to grow, just because he is a young player.”

 

On if rookies will proceed to OTAs next week and expectations about whether or not veterans will attend:

“The rookies will stay here so they will be back in the building on Monday. Past that, I am going to just control what I can control, and I think we will learn more as we go.”

 

On if he believed DT was a position that needed to be reinforced after the draft, given the team’s signing at the position:

“I think (Executive Vice President of Football operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and his staff looked at every position and were trying to make decisions to improve the ball club. I think there were some opportunities there recently that came about with a couple of players. Specifically identifying that one position over others, it would not be the case. Andrew and the crew do a really nice job of making sure we are trying to improve the ball team in any way we can.”

 

On when the Browns received the league memo about updated mask protocols:

“I got told while we were on the field so just trying to make sure we are in compliance.”

 

On if Fields told the team about the injury before he signed his contract and if Fields will not need a procedure to remedy the injury:

“Yeah, exactly. He told us about it, and we were aware. Obviously, we put all of these guys through a physical when they come in. He will be out for a few weeks. Not concerned long term.”

 

On what the team is assessing during a rookie minicamp that is much different than past years:

“You can learn a lot just even in walkthroughs. There were times out there where guys had the wrong drop on defense, and they got corrected. We did the rep again, and they got it right. That is kind of what I talk about is really starting at the beginning with these guys. We can go at that pace. We are afforded the luxury of going at that pace so that they can get it and so that it can crystalize in their mind. That is where the coaches are working really hard in the virtual meeting rooms with them and on the field and making sure that this is something they are constantly improving upon and their knowledge of our systems.”

 

On if any player in particular stood out today to provide some color to the activity:

“I would love to give you some color here. Honestly, Day 1 of a rookie minicamp when you have so few guys, it is just seeing them out there on the field with the coaches. That was all the color I needed. I get to look out my window and I see these beautiful fields, and they look a lot better when there are players and coaches out there.”

 

On WR Anthony Schwartz, who displayed speed but also had a couple of drops:

“I did not get to watch him the whole time. I will go back and watch the tape. I think you have to remember these guys are throwing and catching with that battery of thrower and receiver doing it for the first time so they are not going to have pinpoint precision just yet between the two of them. He is taking coaching. (Pass game coordinator/wide receivers ) Coach (Chad) O’Shea is working him very hard in the meeting room and out there on the field. He is doing just fine.”

 

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