Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (7.29.21)

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement:

“We will have a few guys out today – normal and that was the plan, just with the rehab schedules. (WR Rashard) Higgins will not practice today – rolled an ankle. He should be fine. (LB) Tony Fields (II) you know about.”


On how CB Greedy Williams is doing after leaving practice early yesterday:

“Good. Good to go.”


On when Higgins rolled the ankle:

“Yesterday, but he will be fine.”


On if he expects QB Baker Mayfield to be more comfortable in the offense this year:

“Without a doubt. I know you are talking about Baker in that regard, but that is everyone who is coming back and has been in our systems on offense and defense. Talk to (CB) Denzel (Ward) playing corner in Year 2, for sure you take that step from Year 1 to Year 2 in a system. It manifests itself in the meeting room, just understand what you are doing, getting out here breaking the huddle and going through reads. It really comes in a bunch of different areas.”


On if the plays during 7-on-7 drills are scripted:

“It is all scripted.”


On if Mayfield has taken on more of a leadership or coaching role in the offense in Year 2 of the system:

“I do not think so. I think he is the leader of the football team and he does a great job of that. That is always going be part of his gig as a quarterback. In terms of specific to the offense, he has great input. He and AVP (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) share a lot of ideas and myself included. That is always going to take place, but I would not say that the leadership in the offense is any different.”


On how long it took to figure out who Mayfield was last year and how well he knows Mayfield now:

“Again, I know the question is about Baker, but it is hard for me to single him out. Going back to last year, which was ages ago, we all had to get to know each other at every single position. That is our job as coaches to understand our players. Specific to Baker, of course, over the course of time, we have certainly learned more about him, but I hope that we are doing that with all of our players.”


On Mayfield averaging under 10 pass attempts in the second half of some games last season:

“I can’t specifically to what those games are, but I would assume we were winning in those games. You are going to throw the ball a little bit less when you are winning.”


On Mayfield having more pass attempts in the second half of last season, even when the team was winning:

“I would not read too much into it.”


On if Mayfield averaging more pass attempts later in the season was due to him being more comfortable in the offense:

“Honestly, I would have to go back and look at specific games. Each game kind of calls for its own rhythm, if you will. That is kind of what we will continue to do. It is no secret we are trying to get the lead in these games – I think everybody is – but we will try to be explosive in any way we can.”


On if Mayfield came into camp in even better shape than last year after being in solid shape last year:

“Yeah, he did. He did a great job. That is Baker. Like a lot of his teammates, if you ask him to do something, he does it. He is very coachable.”


On areas on the field where the Browns saw Mayfield make significant strides in the second half of the season, in addition to overall comfort in the system:

“The answer is yes. I am trying to think of a specific. I know he took really good care of the football. That is always going to be the point of emphasis for our offense in general is taking care of that thing because we put such an emphasis on the turnover margin. That would be one thing that comes to mind.”


On Mayfield stating he believes he can still play much better and if he shares that sentiment Mayfield can take a big step forward:

“Yeah, I would hope. I know he is the quarterback and we want to talk about him, but I hope everybody is taking a big step. Myself included, we all have to get better. We have to find areas that we need to get better, and we have outlined how we want to do it.”


On working WR Odell Beckham Jr. back into the offense without disrupting how the team operated successfully in the second half of last season:

“I do not look at it that way. When he is healthy and he is part of this thing, he is dynamic football player. He is going to be very much front of mind as we put our gameplans together and those type of things. I just look back at how much better we got offensively just us coaching. I thought we did a better job the second half of the year of explaining thins and the nuances of our offense. I think we saw some of that growth, too. That is where you insert Odell into some of that, and he can be a really productive player for us.”


On how the ceiling for the Browns offense goes up with Beckham back in the mix, specifically mentioning the playoff loss to the Chiefs:

“I am excited for Odell coming off of this injury. He has worked really, really hard. Seeing him in person, seeing him work and getting him around his teammates, we are excited to get him back out here. Like I mentioned before, we are going to listen to the doctors in that regard and how and what he is back for. He is doing a great job. He is a great football player, and we are excited to get him back.”


On team’s emphasizing scoring first in a game and a recent analysis stating the team that has scored first wins 65 percent of the time during the past 10 years and how that impacts his decisions to defer to the second half:

“That decision, you do take a lot into account when making those decisions in the course of who your opponent is, weather related and all of those type of things. Whether you receive first or kick, you can still stop them on defense and score first. It is not like it is whoever touches first it is 65 percent [who win]; it is whoever scores first. We will take it into account as we look at these games.”


On C JC Tretter not being a fan of NFL teams using wristbands to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated players and the Browns’ decision not to use that type of system:

“That was organizationally, we decided [together]. It is on our lanyards when you are in the building. As you know, we are not dividing the team over this issue. I have been pretty clear with the team and I think you guys know how I feel.”


On S John Johnson III sharing LB Anthony Walker would call plays on defense and the decision to have Walker call plays:

“It is Anthony and it is our linebackers. I know John has done it in his past. Ultimately, who calls it is a coaches’ decision on what makes the most sense. Anthony as a MIKE linebacker, you have heard us say he gets everybody lined up, and you have to be vocal and you have to know what you are talking about. You have to be both loud and demonstrative in how you do it, but you better know what you are saying, as well. Think back to (LB) Jacob Phillips doing it last year, which was a big deal for a young football player to have that much understanding of our scheme to do that. Anthony fits that bill, as well.”


On what WR Donovan Peoples-Jones has displayed in practices:

“Donovan did a nice job for us last year as a rookie. You saw his role grow throughout the course of the season. A very intelligent football, and we knew that from the jump with him. He could line up everywhere and do his job. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do, as he grows and get gets more comfortable with what we are doing.”


On LB Mack Wilson working with the first team in minicamp and to start training camp:

“Mack is in a great place. He is working really, really hard. He had a great offseason. Both physically and mentally what he did within the scheme, I thought he did a nice job. He is out here, and I think we can’t look too much into who is running with the ones. This is a competition, and we are all competing. Now, we are going to start in one place, but everybody is fighting for those jobs every single day. Mack is doing a nice job.”


On how Johnson is establishing himself as a leader on defense during his first year with the team:

“The fit is certainly there. As you guys all know from watching the tape, he can play multiple positions and he can play multiple positions. He can play multiple coverages. He can be in the post, and he can be down around the line of scrimmage. From a leadership standpoint, it is a work in progress because really, we are around each other for not a long time in the spring, and we just got together here. It is about getting to know your teammates and them getting to know you, and those leadership qualities will start to come out.”


On if the coaches share the media sentiment that it is much more fun to see the staff coach without masks:

“It is funny, I was watching some tape of last year’s training camp, and it was jarring. Everybody is in a mask, and we did not huddle for the first 10 days or so. We had a split squad going on. I am glad those days are in our past.”


On if a particular moment or situation stood out most from reviewing yesterday’s practice film:

“I think it is exciting to have the guys around each other. It is Day 1 Install. The defense is playing three deep so it is not very hard. We did not have a blitz drill. We did not have full-speed team drills. It is really very early in camp. I think for us as coaches to see our guys around each other and be with them in the meeting room and out here on the practice field, that is the fun part for us is just seeing the players really want to be coached, take that coaching and then put it out on the grass.”


On WR Derrick Willies’ status:

“He is on a rehab plan. He had offseason surgery – minor. He is doing fine. It is just part of the rehab plan.”


On if he can clarify more about Willies’ surgery:

“A knee.”


On T Chris Hubbard coming back from injury and practicing yesterday:

“We brought him in with the rookies and quarterbacks, as well. Hub got a head start with those guys. He is working really hard. He worked exceptionally hard with the trainers this summer. He has put himself in a really good position, and I am happy to see him out there.”


On the severity of Hubbard’s injury and working to get back so soon:

“You guys know this, Hub is a great person, works his butt off and is a great teammate. We are all thrilled to see him back out here.”



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