Head Coach Kevin Stefanski (9.29.21)

Opening statement:

“Injury front: (CB) Greg Newsome (II) is out this week. He is dealing with a calf injury. He is week to week. He will not go on IR. Not practicing today: (LT) Jed (Wills) and (C) JC (Tretter).


“A big challenge this week. A really good football team. They very easily could be 3-0. They won on the road and played a good Cincinnati Bengals team and had it at the end – had a fumble almost in field goal territory. Week 2, they go to Arizona, who is undefeated. They had a field goal that they missed late in the game. Then they go home, and in their first game [at home], I thought they played lights out. Big challenge. Really good football players on their roster. Really good coaches. It is a tough place to play. We are going to have to be about our business.”


On when specifically Newsome sustained the calf injury on Sunday:

“I do not know specifically.”


On if CB Greedy Williams will step into the starting CB role:



On what Williams has shown in limited reps this season:

“He has had limited reps in the games but seeing him a lot in practice, and I think he has done a nice job. Going all the way back to when he first got back out there, worked through it and got his wind back, I think you just see a guy who is continuing to get better.”


On Vikings QB Kirk Cousins:

“A great football player. Has played a lot of football. He has seen it all so he processes really, really quickly. Accurate. A tough competitor. Very smart.”


On his emotions going back to Minnesota, where he spent 14 years as a coach and where his kids were born:

“I would tell you it is obviously a special place. I had a great time there and was treated great by the organization from the ownership to the coaches and staff. Really have good friends there. With that being said, it is a really big game and they are a good team so that has our full attention.”


On who his kids are rooting for in Sunday’s game:

“The Brownies.”


On if the Browns are content with Wills playing through the ankle injury or if Wills needs a break to fully recover:

“I am comfortable with what we are doing. The kid is working really, really hard. He is staying into it. Even if he is not practicing today, he is staying into it. He is dealing with an injury, which is really the nature of the National Football League, often times for a bunch of different players. I think he is doing a nice job.”


On how coaching in Minnesota for so many years molded him into the coach and person he is today:

“You are right, I was fortunate to be there for a long time and saw a bunch of different coaches come through – some really good coaches and varying philosophies. I will tell you that was probably the best thing for me to learn under different systems helped me grow as a coach.”


On if learning different coaching philosophies gave him the ability to pick and choose what he wanted to do as a head coach:

“I think that is ultimately what all coaches do. We kind of sit back when we are the low man on the totem pole, be very quiet and take notes, and ultimately, you try to be a sponge and learn as much as you can in those moments.”


On his responsibilities during his first season with the Vikings:

“Anything and everything. You name it. In a football operation – it is true here for sure – we have a lot of people who do a lot of different jobs, and you do not get much credit for it. Those jobs are as important to any job when you talk about winning on Sundays. That is where I would tell you I am no different than a lot of people in terms of when you get that start, you start at the bottom, and you just have to work really hard.”


On Vikings RB Dalvin Cook:

“He is a great, great player. He can do everything. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He can run every single type of run there is. He has a homerun threat. The first guy very rarely gets him down. The work is definitely cut out for us. He is a great player.”


On if the Metrodome was a tougher place to play for opposing teams than US Bank Stadium:

“They are both really loud. We talked about it already this morning with the team. [US Bank Stadium] is a glass building, and the noise reverberates in there. It will be the loudest, likely the loudest place, that we play this year.”


On if he believes U.S. Bank Stadium is louder than the Metrodome:

“Yeah, I do.”


On letting players be themselves while serving as a coach with the Vikings, given Cook’s comments about him:

“Just the way we do it. Dalvin in particular – there are a bunch of really great players there, and they are really solid people – is as good as they get.”


On the challenges or benefits of playing a team he is so familiar with:

“I think they know our scheme. I have been around obviously Coach Zim (Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer) and his defensive scheme, but they are evolving. You could probably say the same of us. It is a really, really sound scheme on both sides of the ball. They do a great job. Coach Zim is as good as it gets so we have our work cut out for us.”


On if he feels like he has to come up with something new this week due to the Vikings’ familiarity with him and vice versa for the Browns:

“I do not think so. They have really good football players. I know they have really good coaches. The challenge is just in that. We have to put together a gameplan that our guys can understand, go execute and not think too much.”


On how many Vikings players are still with the team from when he was coaching there:

“They have a lot of new players, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They bring in (Vikings DT) Michael Pierce and they get him after he opted out from COVID. (Vikings DT) Dalvin Tomlinson up front. The back end, (Vikings CBs) Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland and (Xavier) Woods. There are a bunch of new faces certainly on the defensive side of the ball. Having said that, they have some stalwarts who are great football players – (Vikings S) Harrison Smith, (Vikings LB) Eric Kendricks and (Vikings DE) Danielle Hunter. On the offensive side of the ball, they have really, really explosive playmakers. A lot of guys I have been around, but just making the point that they have good players throughout their roster.


On recalling the Vikings-Browns game at London’s Twickenham Stadium:

“I remember the team I was coaching on won (laughter). Loved the London experience. We were slated to go there last year had not that global pandemic.”


On how much of the lessons about culture he has applied to the Browns after working with Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer:

“A ton. Coach Zim, the way he runs his operation is very similar to the way we do things here. Coach Zim is very, very transparent and very blunt with the players. With the players and coaches, you know where you stand. He is honest. He was certainly helpful to me as a young coach. I owe him a great debt of gratitude for how he No. 1 retained me on the staff when he came in and then moved me through the offensive staff and made me a coordinator. He is somebody who was very instrumental in my development.”


On if he learned any new words from Zimmer:

“One in particular (laughter).”


On being in consideration for the Browns’ head coaching job in 2019 and if things worked out for the best, given the extra time to develop with the Vikings and former NFL coach Gary Kubiak:

“I firmly believe that things work out the way they should. I would speak to my whole time there was very impactful. It is a really well-run organization from top to bottom.”


On the Vikings not ‘having much of a TE presence’ impacts the Browns defense’s preparation:

“They have just had some injuries with (Vikings TE) Irv Smith out. It is a really good scheme. I think (Vikings offensive coordinator) Klint (Kubiak) is doing an outstanding job. I thought he was really good this last game. I got to do some TV watching of it. I thought he was dialing it up. They are versatile. They might not have the tight ends, like you mentioned, from maybe in previous years, but they still have tight ends who they can throw out there, with (Vikings TE) Tyler Conklin being a very good player. They can get into different personnel groupings, and they just have a very balanced attack.”


On his relationship with Klint Kubiak and if he feels like they see the game the same way:

“Klint is a very, very close friend of mine. Obviously, this week nobody is talking to anybody. I think he is doing a really nice job.”


On he and Gary Kubiak have similar personalities:

“Yeah, Gary and I are very similar. I do not think Gary is talking to me either this week (laughter). It was not even a calendar year that I got to spend with Gary but was incredibly impactful to me as a coach and as a person.”


On if he expects to get some grief from Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson this week:

“Yeah, I would expect so.”


On if he expects Vikings RB Dalvin Cook to play:

“We are expecting it, yes.”


On if will get to see friends in Minnesota on Saturday or meet for dinner:

“No, business trip.”


On if there any restaurant recommendations in Minnesota:

“I will hit you offline (laughter).”


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