Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (9.20.22)


Opening statement:

“Excited for Thursday night. It is always an opportunity on the national stage for these players to go play football in front of our fans at our place so I know the guys are very excited about the challenge, and it is a challenge playing Thursday night. You are coming off of Sunday so your body is not going to feel perfect. It is the same thing that our opponent is feeling. These guys are pushing to Thursday. Have a great opponent, a division opponent, an opponent we know really well. They are well-coached. They have players really at all spots on the offense, defense and special teams. We are going to have our work cut out for us. Have to really use these days of preparation mentally and physically and get ready to go Thursday night.”


On the importance of fixing communication issues, how to fix them and what challenge the short week presents with addressing those items:

“To your point, you do have to fix issues that can be big plays and can go against you. That has been something that we have addressed, will continue to address, will continue to work at practice and those type of things and really make sure that they do not happen again because when they do, as we have talked about ad nauseum, it can hurt you.”


On if it is difficult to fix communication issues:

“Bottom line when you are playing defense – we have played really good defense at moments this year and at a lot of moments last season with a lot of the players that we are talking about – it is just about being about your business, doing our job and our coaches putting our players in position. It is really a collective effort.”


On if the defensive calls may have been too complicated or have too many adjustments that have resulted in communication issues:

“I do not want to get too far into it. I think our players have been very accountable and our coaches have been very accountable. I have said it before and I will say it again, we share in all of the good stuff, and we share in all of the bad stuff.”


On what Browns coaches can do to help young players ‘grow up fast’:

“I think that is every roster. You are counting on young players. I think we have had a ton of guys play really, really good football for us from Game 1. Sometimes you have rookies that maybe do not play for the six, seven or eight games and then they are in there. We have had guys that to their credit have been in there from the jump. It is just a maturation process for all young players, and I think the guys are doing a nice job.”


On Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky:

“He is a really good quarterback. I saw him a lot when I was in Minnesota and he was in Chicago. He is very, very athletic. He can really move around. He can make plays with his feet. He can take off and run. He can throw while scrambling. I think they do a nice job of utilizing his athleticism. They have skill players really all over the field outside and inside that can hurt you.”


On leaders such as RB Nick Chubb and WR Amari Cooper taking accountability following last week’s loss:

“We have a very, very accountable group. Having said that, I have addressed those things, put it on me and those type of things. The players do not hide from it. I do not hide from it. For us, the focus really goes to Thursday night.”


On if DT Perrion Winfrey is set to return after last week’s discipline:



On if Winfrey is expected to be active and play on Thursday night:



On if G Joel Bitonio and DE Myles Garrett are expected to play on Thursday after being listed on the injury report:

“We will see. Again, I mentioned it before, these Thursday night games, sometimes it is hard for guys to make it. We will take every hour as they come.”


On if Winfrey is OK physically, given Winfrey was wearing a shoulder harness for weightlifting purposes in the locker room:



On if T Jack Conklin is expected to play on Sunday or if ‘we will see’:

“We will see – you took the words right out of my mouth (laughter).”


On the team’s confidence in DE Alex Wright after DE Chase Winovich was placed on injured reserve:

“Similar to what we were talking about earlier, these are young players who we are asking a lot of them right away. Alex in particular really has responded. He has made plays in these games. He has gotten his hands on balls. He is very active. A young player, he is going to make his mistakes like you would expect but really think highly of the young man.”


On lining up four DEs on the Browns DL on multiple plays last week:

“For us, it goes back to versatility. Having guys that have some inside-outside flex allows you to do those type of things in obvious passing situations. You have to look at the roster week in and week out and see what is available to you and sometimes those are options for us.”


On if Winovich and TE Jesse James have season-ending injuries after being placed on injured reserve:

“I do not know yet.”


On if DE Jadeveon Clowney will miss an extended period of time with the ankle injury:

“He will miss this one. Obviously, you get extra time on the back end [of the Thursday night game] so I can’t speak to it after this one. I am not sure.”


On Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick:

“He is a really, really good football player. Has corner skills playing corner earlier in his career where he can match receivers. He has unbelievable ball skills and unbelievable instincts. He is playing safety at as high of a level as anybody in the game in my opinion. Just a really, really good football player.”


On the state of the Browns pass game following Week 2 and it being a work in progress and if the team has more opportunities with play-action passes:

“I think each game calls for a different gameplan. There are some defenses that are going to give you opportunities and some that you are going to have to wait and be patient for those opportunities. Everything is a work in progress. We need to always consider all aspects of what we are doing. We have to work at it. It is no different the run, the pass, the run defense or the pass defense; we are constantly trying to get better.”


On the Browns offense and QB Jacoby Brissett performing better in Week 2:

“In all results, you are trying to learn. You would love to learn after wins, but you have to learn after losses, as well, find out what you do well and continue to do those type of things and protect those type of things, meaning find out what you are good at and protect it with different schemes and then find out some things that you are struggling at and figure out whether you can fix it or whether you need to move on. I have said it before, there is plenty of offense and there is plenty of defense. We just have to do what we do well.”


On how DE Jadeveon Clowney being out for this week’s game impacts DE Myles Garret and the Browns DL:

“We talked a lot about that player opposite of Myles often gets a little bit less attention. With Jadeveon, he is another guy who teams pay attention to. He is very disruptive. He does a great job in the run game. Very long. Gets great effort sacks and effort pressures. We need everybody whenever somebody is out, you just have to step up. Whoever is the next man up, we just need the best version of that person. I am not going to ask them to play like JD for instance.”


On if given the short week he will be looking for signs that last week’s loss may potentially be lingering with Browns players:

“I think that is why yesterday was so important. I think you spend time talking about it and then you spend all of your time getting ready for Thursday night. There are only so many hours so you really have to use those hours to get your mind and body ready for Thursday night because really anything in the past is in the past.”


On if facing a division opponent in the Steelers during the short week is helpful with the transition following the tough loss last week:

“I think it helps us and helps them. I think it is not an advantage to either of us, if you will. Very familiar with their scheme, but they have new players and we have new players. They are doing different things on offense, defense and special teams, and as you would expect, we are, as well.”


On how the Steelers are different under Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin:

“T.A. is a very, very good coach. Again, went against him when he was in Detroit. He is a very aggressive coach. You see fingerprints of what they have done in the past obviously because they have played good defense. You see Coach Austin. You see (Steelers senior defensive assistant/linebackers) Coach (Brian) Flores. You see different things from each one of those guys in this defense.”


On who with the Browns gets credit behind the scenes for getting RB Nick Chubb, who takes a lot of hits each week, and other Browns players ready for Week 3 on the short week and every week:

“To your point, it takes a village to get these guys to Sunday and in this case Thursday. We have some unbelievable resources here when it comes to nutrition, strength and conditioning and the recovery room. We want these guys to take advantage of every single one of these resources. I told them yesterday and I will say it again, these Thursday games, these guys are warriors with what they put their body through, and to make it to Thursday is very impressive.”


On if he has noticed anything different about DT Perrion Winfrey since returning from discipline:



On DE Isaiah Thomas:

“I.T. has done a nice job for us. I think back to when we got him, we did a lot of work on him the player and the person. He is very squared away, works very hard and diligent about what he does. If there are more opportunities for him, we trust him.”


On Steelers LB T.J. Watt being unavailable due to injury:

“He is a great player. Have a ton of respect for him. He finds ways to impact the game. Obviously, I am hoping he gets better. He is a great player.”


On Steelers DT Cameron Heyward’s career success:

“He is a great schematic fit for what they do. He is so strong. He is a mismatch really anywhere you play him along the line he is just so strong and such a big, powerful player. He plays with great effort. I think that is the thing that also shows up on tape is he really plays throughout the whistle down in and down out.”


On the Steelers offense not being as productive in the first two weeks of the season, especially given the talent the team has on the unit:

“It is an impressive group. Think about the guys that they have on the outside who can beat you with speed and size. They have guys who can win on the inside with speed and savviness. They really have multiple ways to beat you with their weapons and how they can align them. We have to be ready. We have to be ready for what I think is a really potent attack.”


On Fitzpatrick:

“Talked about him earlier. A great player. Can show up anywhere on the screen when you are watching tape. He is somebody who you have to pay attention to and know where No. 39 is at all times.”


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