Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (6.2.21)

 

Opening statement:

“Good to be out there on the grass. We got some good work in today with the guys. Now, we are coming off of the field and we are getting ready for our virtual meetings. Excited to be out there with the guys. I thought the work is really good for them. There is such a premium on communication. It is one of the things I reminded them just now of all of that pre-snap and post-snap communication that they are getting out there in the individual drills, the group drills and the special teams. I thought it was a really good day’s work.”

 

On the status of the Browns’ minicamp in mid-June and the modifications the team has made to this year’s offseason program:

“Minicamp will go on as scheduled. We have our program here with what we are doing each day in these OTAs, and we are just going to adapt and pivot as necessary based on the guys who we have available to us. That is something that we do every day so we see who is out there and what drills we feel like we can run. It is no different than when you are in a game. You have to be ready to adapt and pivot. That is what we are doing. That is nothing new to us.”

 

On player participation seeming to be defensive heavy this week and if it is expected to be offensive heavy next week:

“I will stay in the moment here. Truth be told – I have said this before and the players have heard me say it – this is a voluntary program. The guys who choose to show up will get coached here, and that is under their own volition. I know that is certainly a story that is being written about, but for us, we deal with it very matter of factly. It is a voluntary program. The guys who are here will get coached up, and the guys who are not here, we will see them for mandatory minicamp.”

 

On WR Anthony Schwartz’ status, given Schwartz spent time working on the side of the fields during practice:

“He is fine. In the offseason, you have a lot of little nicks and guys work through things, they are out for a day and they are back in there and some guys are sick and out for a day. That is the normal course of the offseason.”

 

On the significance of DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward attending today’s OTA:

“It is great to see any of the guys who are here. It is hard for me to single those two out. We are excited for the guys who come in and work. That is what it is about, and they are doing a nice job of it, but again, a voluntary program.”

 

On takeaways from OTA practices and reviewing the film:

“It has been outstanding. What we are focusing on right now is teaching. We are teaching, and the pace does not have to be full speed. The amount of coaching and learning that is getting done out there has been outstanding. We really value the work that you can get done in a walkthrough and the work you can get done in these individual periods, and these virtual meetings are a huge component to this. I see great strides being made just from guys getting some really close attention with the coaches.”

 

On fans returning to sports venues and if he believes training camp will be comparable to normal years or if additional protocols will be in place, based on feedback from the NFL:

“I am hopeful, but I really do not know that far out. I am hopeful obviously to have our fans out here and to have our fans in the building. That is something that I know our players and myself are looking forward to.”

 

On if he can quantify how much further ahead he and the team are compared to last year, given he had not met many members of the team at this point last year:

“I do not think I can quantify it, but the experience of being around the rookie class as much as we have been, I again see great value in that. We get a lot of really good instruction with the coaches. Just speaking to this year, yeah, it is always good when you can be around your players.”

 

On if there are Browns players who may not be on the field but are participating in virtual meetings:

“I am not going to report who is here, who is not here and who is on the calls, but I will tell you that we have very good attendance on those virtual meetings.”

 

On the process of working on communication and if the team is able to also assess how specific players can be used while teaching:

“I think it is all of the above. Any time you are with your players, you are assessing them while you are teaching, but we are in the infancy, and we are breaking the huddle and we are making the calls based on the formation and making the calls based on the motions and the shifts. That is where you really have to start and that is where we are starting right now, but in terms of assessment, I tell the players they are being evaluated every day. We evaluate how they do in meetings. We evaluate how they responsible on the field, their assignments, etc. Never going to miss an opportunity to get better as a team, and that certainly is what we are trying to do.”

 

On the importance of virtual meetings:

“I think we found out last year that you can cover ground in those virtual meetings so we are continuing to do so. We are getting close to wrapping up our installation for this spring, if you will, so we are still covering a lot of ground. All of us have learned to get better at Zoom, and we are still trying different ways to get better, but it is a component of life from last year that I think a lot of people in different industries are continuing to do.”

 

On the preference to teach rookies one position or multiple positions during the spring, specifically T James Hudson III:

“It depends on the player. If a guy can handle it, the more jobs you can teach him, the better chance they have to help your football team early. Having said that, you do not want to overburden a young player. We really deal with it on a case-by-case basis and see what the guy is capable of handling. Versatility is key, and you guys know that. Once you get to gameday and who is up, who is down, you need people who can do multiple jobs so any rookie who can take on multiple jobs, obviously, that is a big deal.”

 

On if Garrett as a leader and if Garrett is ‘leading the way in OTAs’ as a sign of leadership by participating in today’s voluntary OTA:

“I would not specifically say ‘leading the way in the OTAs.’ It is no secret that Myles is a leader of this football team and a leader of this defense. To see him out there with his teammates, going through the drills and that type of thing is great. Myles leads in his own way. I think he does a great job on and off the field.”

 

On LB Anthony Walker Jr.:

“I am glad you asked about him. I would say as advertised. You are playing that MIKE linebacker position, you are directing traffic, you are getting everybody lined up and you in a lot of ways are the quarterback of the defense. To see him communicate and to see his leadership on display in these types of settings is very impressive. I think he is the type of guy who we think embodies the type of style of play and the type of person we want in that locker room.”

 

On RB Demetric Felton and Felton’s ability to also play WR and the value that offers the Browns offense:

“Back to the question before about Hudson, versatility is a big deal. Demetric played running back and wide receiver previously in college. He has done both with us already. He has been in both meetings. There have been times he is a running back for that day and a wide receiver the next day. It does speak to his versatility. It speaks to his ability to mentally handle that. Versatility is a big deal.”

 

On RB D’Ernest Johnson’s and Felton’s chances to both make the team:

“It is way, way early for those types of conversations now. Now the conversation about competing, that takes place every day at every position. We will let that be determined over the course of the next month, but to say that guys are competing, that is no secret. That is what they are in this business for.”

 

On if he is expecting more veterans to attend OTAs next week:

“We will see. Again, can I say it is voluntary one more time (laughter)? The guys that are here, we will coach them up, but we are not taking attendance every day and saying who is here and who is not here. We know that there are three OTAs this week, four next week and then a mandatory minicamp. We will see, and we will adapt to who is here.”

 

On if he is OK with DE Myles Garrett playing basketball in the offseason:

“He retired so congratulations on a great career for Myles, really proud of him but he is done.”

 

On if he talked to Garrett about being done playing basketball:

“He is retired.”

 

On if he is concerned that the Browns may be falling behind other 2021 opponents who have higher attendance rates during OTAs:

“I would tell you that I am concerned about the Cleveland Browns every day – I worry about us. I know what we had to accomplish today. I know the work that had to be put in today. That is what I am focused on. That is really what concerns me is the Cleveland Browns.”

 

On if DE Malik McDowell is considered a DE or DT:

“Good question. I think we will see what he can handle. He is doing a great job. Really pleased with how he is attacking things in the weight room, the meeting room and out on the field. We will see what that role pertains, but he certainly can do both.”

 

On if he can share what he added to his repertoire this offseason, given he challenged the entire team to identify ways to improve this offseason:

“I think it was really important that we as a staff, players and coaches that we all made sure that we worked on our craft. You could talk to our players that we are very specific about what those things are. Working with the coaches and you know how I feel about this coaching staff – it is a staff that pushes each other – and we have to be better. I am not going to get into specifics, but I will tell you that we took it very seriously in terms of trying to find ways that we can adapt and become better coaches. That is something that we are going to focus on every single year is not just to be stale and stay the same. We want to continue to get better in an individual way, and that should help in the collective way, as well.”

 

On if he has had discussions with C JC Tretter and other Browns players about changing the offseason schedule:

“I have had a lot of conversations with many players. I will leave them private, but I think you guys know how I feel about our players. This is a voluntary program. We mean that. If they choose to come here, we want to make sure it is a safe place for them to get instruction from their coaches. Beyond that, really there is nothing else to add.”

 

On if it feels tricky at all that Tretter is also NFLPA President and has voiced strong opinions about the offseason program:

“No. I understand the dynamic completely.”

 

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