Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (9.15.21)


Opening statement:

“Good to see everybody. You got the DNPs for today. (T Jedrick) Wills, (T Chris) Hubbard, (C JC) Tretter and (T Jack) Conklin, we will hold them out for practice. (DT) Tommy Togiai is ill and is not here today. Also, I want to update you guys – I am going to hold (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) out this week. I just felt like that was the right thing to do. Last week, I thought we had a good plan. He was very close and working very hard on the side, but just felt like it made more sense to have clarity early in the week from a game-planning and practice standpoint. That is the plan for this week.


“Texans week. A really good football team, 1-0 coming into our building. (Texans Head) Coach (David) Culley has done an outstanding job with them. You can see his influence in their offense and I think their team as a whole. They are playing a very physical brand of football. I think the quarterback is playing at a very high level. I have been very impressed with him. Defensively, (Texans associate head coach/defensive coordinator) Lovie Smith, they are going to try and take the ball away. That is what he is known for. He has done it really at every stop in his career, and you saw last week, they took it away three times. Special teams, they have a great returner and are really well-coached. Quite the challenge this week, and the guys are looking forward to having a week of practice.”


On clarifying Beckham’s status:

“He is not going to play in the game. He will continue to practice on a limited basis.”


On clarifying if there is no setback with Beckham’s injury:



On Conklin’s and Tretter’s status and if they are receiving veteran rest opportunities:

“With all of those guys, we are just trying to be smart. Part of it is yes, they are veterans and want to make sure that we have them for the long haul.”


On Hubbard’s triceps injury:

“That is new from the game. It is something we will have to monitor as the week goes on.”


On what the Browns will do at T today, given injuries:

“Good question. We have some plans. We will make it work. That is certainly something we are up on the whiteboard figuring out of who is going to be where. We will be just fine for practice.”


On if he was nervous at all seeing Mayfield block downfield and run with the ball following a lateral:

“He is a very competitive player. If you watch that plan, he is trying to show (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan his technique on that.”


On what it says that Mayfield is willing to help block downfield, including on WR Schwartz’ run:

“I think you guys know Baker. He loves his teammates. He will do whatever is asked of him. We are not going to try and put him that position often, though.”


On if the team practiced the lateral play last week:

“Yes. We rarely wing it.”


On if Mayfield was not supposed to be the trail player in that scenario:

“I guess the lead guy, basically. The way they played it, his job was to get it started, secure the end man at the line of scrimmage. When that disappeared, he kept going. That part probably was not drawn up exactly like that.”


On the uncertainty with Beckham last week and it leading to other players who could have gotten more reps before playing in the game:

“That happens in the NFL. You practice guys, you have guys in different spots and sometimes and sometimes you make a decision close to game time. It is the classic ‘It is what it is.’ He was pushing to get there but did not feel like he could get a significant number of snaps. I just felt like for this week, the prudent thing to do was let’s let these other guys get all those reps – although, they got a bunch last week – let’s gameplan accordingly and then we will update you guys as we get into next week.”


On if it is preferred to have a definite answer on Beckham’s game status early in the week versus making a game time decision:

“I think you would want to know that for any player coming back off of an injury. Every case is different. That was the plan last week and was very comfortable with that plan. I think all of our players were comfortable with that plan. I just feel like this week I want to do it this way and make the decision today.”


On the decision coming today helping keep it from being a full-week question of whether or not Beckham would play:



On Schwartz providing an additional element of speed to the Browns offense and Schwartz’ performance on Sunday:

“Week to week, we are going to call on different guys in different situations. I thought Anthony had his opportunities in this last game and did a nice job for his first game. That is not an easy place to go have your first NFL game. He was dependable when we called on him.”


On making the call today to sit out Beckham when he typically does not disclose much in-depth information about a player’s injury or status:

“Thank you (laughter). That is how I want to handle it this week. I talked to Odell about it. This is my decision, and I felt like it was the right thing to do for this week.”


On Mayfield addressing the team after last week’s loss and hoping the loss stings for the team while also recognizing there are still 16 more regular season games to play:

“I think it is a good message. I think it is very similar to what we talked about in the locker room postgame. It really is the nature of the NFL. These games come at you every week, you are facing a tough opponent every single week and they all count the same. We have another big game this week against a conference opponent so you need to lick your wounds and then right back on Monday get ready to prepare and do everything in your power to get ready for that Sunday’s game.”


On TE David Njoku’s effectiveness as a downfield target:

“Obviously, the easy answer is just his size. David is a big player. He has speed at that size where it allows him to create separation, but even if he does not create separation, I think with our tight ends, they can create vertical separation with how they can go get the ball.”


On what it does for an offensive to have a TE who can stretch the field:

“I would kind of tell you, we are trying to use everybody to their abilities. David had a couple of opportunities in this last game and then we have to see how it shakes out over the course of this game and the week after that. Just want to really put guys in positions to succeed and use their skillset to help this team.”


On Mayfield being hard on himself in critical situations:

“Anytime you are in a two-minute drill like that to go win the game, obviously, we all want to come through. I want to come through for the team. It is not one person’s mistake that you can say that caused the loss or anything like that. We need to learn from those. I think Baker is the type of player who he learns in those moments, he learns out here on the field and he tries to bank those reps because we are going to be in another two-minute drive. It might be in this one. You have to hopefully apply those lessons learned moving forward.”


On if the Browns defensive scheme will be different this week, given the Texans offense is much different than the Chiefs and if that gets the team’s attention in its preparation:

“Honestly, I think if you turn on the tape, it will capture attention. I think (Texans QB) Tyrod Taylor is outstanding. He has led a team to the playoffs before. I think he processes really quickly. He can scramble and hurt you with his legs. He can scramble to throw. He is accurate. They play a physical brand of offense. They can run the ball downhill. They can take shots. They have speed on the outside. I think that is what gets our defenses’ attention.”


On if he felt a need to drive home the message for the week after the loss to the Chiefs:

“Win, lose or draw, I think Week 1 of the NFL season gets so much attention from all of us because it is the first game you circle. Once that game is over – again, win, lose or draw – you have to turn your attention to the next opponent. That is the idea behind the messaging is just because this game is important, and they are 1-0 and we are 0-1.”


On if there is a physiological emphasis for the team to stew on being 0-1:

“That is up to them.”


On if the Browns OL members missing practice are all day to day:



On an update on Wills’ status:

“No update. I would say he is day to day. We will see as the week goes.”


On if S Grant Delpit is getting closer to returning to play:

“I think Grant has a chance. I think we are going to practice the next couple of days with him and see how he responds. He has worked very, very hard, as you know. He is somebody who is trying like crazy in these individual drills, in the meeting room and in special teams so he is working very hard.”


On if the team sent anything to the league about the S Ronnie Harrison Jr. incident involving a Chiefs coach:

“I will ‘no comment’ there.”


On the next steps for Beckham to return:

“He is working really hard Tom is what I would tell you. I think you see him working hard. I am not going to put a timetable on it, but I think the guy is working to get there.”


On how to know if a player is ready for contact when not having contact in practices:

“Not a ton of teams – I should not speak for everybody… Everybody does not go live like they used to. Some teams rest their starters for an entire preseason. There are guys who you play [in Week 1], and you have not been tackled into the ground until you do in the game. I would not say in this particular case that is what is missing, but I think with Odell, we are just going to make sure that we are continuing to be smart about it, listen to him – he knows his body better than anybody – and then we will make a decision that is right for him and the team. We will kind of make that decision next week.”


On DE Takk McKinley’s performance on Sunday:

“He played really fast. I thought he did a nice job. He was hustling to the ball. Looking forward to another good week from Takk.”


On if McKinley could have done anything differently on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ TD run:

“I think with any player, you always coach them off of the tape so you do tell him what he could have done differently and how he can break down and those type of things without taking anything away from their quarterback.”


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