Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (5.22.24)

We obviously didn’t get to see the Deshaun (Watson) throw yesterday, but from what you were able to see, how much has he progressed in terms of his whole recovery and how much more you see from what you’ve seen previously?

“Yeah, I think he looked like himself to me. I’ve been able to watch him the last couple weeks now that we’ve gotten into phase two. So, I’ve seen him throw. He’s making great progress, and we will continue to just follow the medical team on this. But he looks like himself.”


Can you give us a taste of what the plan is like? How often is (Deshaun Watson) throwing? Kind of rotating days.

“We’re rotating days for now. That will change as we get into minicamp, as obviously when you get into training camp. But for right now, he’ll be throwing every other day.”


Hey, Kevin, when you signed Nyheim (Hines), what kind of conversations did you have with Ken (Dorsey) about how he could help your offensive passing?

“You know, it’s so helpful when you’re signing a guy that comes from a team where you have a coach on the roster, can fill you in on what that person’s about off the field, how they are on the field and what they’re like in the meeting room. So, Ken was able to give us a great picture of Nyheim and who he is as a person and a player. So, we’re excited about his skill set. I think everybody’s seen him over the years make a ton of plays.”


I was curious in the offseason, your kind of working with Jim (Schwartz). You look at what the defense did in year one. You finished one, very special. So, maybe the season doesn’t end with the type of performance you were hoping for. How do you as a coach go about looking at layers and the blueprint and the plan when you finish first in so many statistics?

“It’s really interesting. Year to year, things change, and every year stands on its own merit. And I could let Coach Schwartz speak specifically to it, but I know Jim and I know the conversations we’ve had. We want to be better on defense. There are plays that we feel were left out there. I think if you talk to coach as he watches the tape over the course of the season, he was surprised were able to stop anybody. You know, he feels like we can be so much better. Some of that comes from different things. We can adjust. Some of that comes from putting guys in positions to go make plays, but we are in no way satisfied on defense.”


Nyheim said that he got to work out and rehab with Deshaun in LA and here, too. How beneficial is that when guys are able to get together in the offseason and get that work in outside of Berea, too?

“I think it can be really beneficial, Cam (Justice). And as you know, there’s a dead period to it where we can’t talk to the players and we can’t have them in our building, but if they want to go through on their own, that’s great for us. And I think it just builds a rapport obviously on the field, but also builds rapport off the field.”


Is Dustin Hopkins 100% after that injury?



We saw it. Deshaun, you know, going through like the mental reps, right? Everything but the drawing part. Obviously, you think there’s value to that. So, I guess what is the value to going through those, right?

“I think it’s something we always talk about, it’s mental reps. So, when you’re not getting a rep, whether you’re the quarterback, you’re a running back, you’re trying to get a mental rep every single time. So, I think there’s a progression to how all of us learn, and I think as much as we can learn in the classroom, and then we can learn from being out there and taking the rep, I really think you can add another element of watching it while it’s happening live. So, our guys really do lock in and try to get that mental rep. Now you’re going to go into the meeting rooms and watch it again. So, you’re going to get another rep. But I just think it’s all of it adds up. We don’t want to be passive observers out here on the football field if we’re not in.”


Especially with the switch to whatever changes are with Ken’s offense, that would be even more beneficial?

“Absolutely. And I think it’s important year to year, it’s certainly important this season to lock in on all those adjustments and some of those are nuanced, some of those are maybe terminology. But every opportunity you have to cement it in your head is really important.”


Kevin, as you have had to rebuild this offense, I know there’s obviously no contact before OTAs, but how beneficial is this time when you can go through those things you guys have worked into the offense now that guys are back?

“I think this time is so extremely important for all coaching staffs. When you do have some new coaches in, so much of it is getting on the same page. And I don’t care how many conversations you have in February, March and April –until you get on the grass and you rep a play and then the coverage maybe changes, then there’s another conversation that has to happen off of that. So, I think Ken and the offensive staff are doing a great job of having these meetings where there are times that we got to talk through, we got to come to a decision, we got to work through it. And that’s just the natural part of having some new coaches.”


Saw Dawand (Jones) do some stuff. Jed(rick Wills) on the side, you know, Jack (Conklin), do you have a better sense of when Jed and Jack might be able to practice?

“They’re all doing really well in their rehab. I don’t know when the exact moment’s going be when those guys are ready to practice, but they’re all doing great.”


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