Browns transcripts -- Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement:

“You guys got the DNPs and then (QB) Baker (Mayfield) will be limited out there. Looking forward to getting back on the grass with the guys.

“For the challenge this week, a really, really good football team – 4-0 and playing at their place. I think it is going to be a very, very big challenge. I think the guys are excited about it. Just looking at them across the board, obviously, well-coached. Have a ton of respect for that coaching staff. What they are able to do on offense, they have Big Ben (Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger) who is playing great just. He is so comfortable and that scheme. They have playmakers across the board. Really good up front. On defense, very impressive. They attack. They are physical. Really, really good players. A bunch of first-rounders up front. They vary their scheme so it can be a huge challenge for our offense. Special teams, very sound. (Steelers special teams coordinator) Coach (Danny) Smith has been doing it a very, very long time, one of the great ones. A big challenge for us, and I think the guys are excited.”

On DE Myles Garrett as a player, person and leader and how Garrett will be able handle his emotions this week:

“I think Myles has addressed it. I feel like it is something that he has definitely put in the past, he has definitely learned from and has grown from. I know the focus for our team and for Myles is on this game, but I trust that he has grown a lot in the last year.”

On Mayfield being limited in practice, if Mayfield will wear a flak jacket and if Mayfield will get more action in practice as the week progresses:

“I think we will take it each day at a time here. In terms of flak jacket and all those types of things, I just do not know. He is sore today so we will work through it today and then see where he is tomorrow.”

On the Steelers defense bringing various blitzes and fronts and the challenge preparing for the unit:

“They do a great job. The tape is very, very impressive. They do pressure a lot, based on the numbers, whether it is base or sub. They do a great job with it. They know what they are doing. They are attacking protections. They rush with violence. I think it is a very impressive, formidable scheme.”

On starting the game aggressively against the Cowboys and if that is indicative of his preference to be aggressive versus a ‘stall ball’ approach against potent opponents:

“Yeah, we have not talked about stall ball. That was kind of back in sixth grade CYO, keeping the ball away from the other team (laughter). Honestly, the way we look at it offensively every week is how can we move the ball. Early and late, how can we move it and how can put some points on the board. It is whatever the defense – we have talked about it before – but it is really, what do we feel like gives the defense problems and what do we feel like we do well, and that is typically where our game plan lands.”

On if Mayfield being listed as limited in today’s practice means he will not participate in the team portion of practice:

“I would not go as far as to say that, no.”

On if it is mandatory for a QB needs to get significant team work during the week to be prepared for a high-profile game like Sunday’s:

“No, I think every game kind of stands on its own merit. You get ready for Thursday night games with a very limited amount of full-speed team reps. I think every player is different and certainly every week is different.”

On if S Ronnie Harrison Jr. is in the facility:


On if Harrison has been able to do anything in the concussion protocol:

“Honestly, I would be speaking out of turn.”

On Steelers WR Chase Claypool’s breakout performance on Sunday and how that adds to a challenging Steelers offense with several established playmakers:

“That is a huge benefit for their offense. They have a young player who can come in there and is big, physical and can make plays on the ball. To couple him with the other weapons that they have is a very big advantage.”

On how players that stepped up at S have handled adversity and potential concern if Harrison and S Karl Joseph are not able to play:

“I think we will just kind of take it day by day as it relates to that. We talked about it earlier in the week. Ronnie went in and performed. (S) Sheldrick (Redwine) went in and performed. That is what you have to do as a backup. I know it is cliché, but we have kind of lived it. It is next man up, and we do not expect there to be a drop off when the depth comes in.”

On facing the Steelers defense after facing the Colts defense last week:

“Yeah, both great, great defenses, and both are completely different schemes. That is the challenge in the NFL is week-to-week you are going up against some great schemes and great players, and sometimes it is completely different and a 180 from the previous week. They play a different front than the previous team. They are going to blitz us a lot, but I just think it is a great marriage and really good football players with a really, really good scheme.”

On if Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin has always been intense, including when they were together in Minnesota during 2006:

“I have a ton a respect for Mike, a good friend. We had a great year together. You have to remember that was Mike T, (Steelers defensive line coach) Karl Dunbar, who is the defensive line coach there in Pittsburgh, (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods was our defensive backs coach, (senior offensive assistant) Kevin Rogers who is here and (passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O’Shea who is here so a little bit of a Vikings reunion there for us. Impressed with what he has been able to do there over the course of however many years it has been. He has done a great job.”

On what impresses him most about the way Tomlin coaches his teams:

“They are always prepared. He does everything. They are prepared. They win football games any which way they need to. He is a very outstanding coach.”

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger’s performance this year, particularly following last season’s injury:

“He is a problem for defenses. He is an outstanding football player. The comfort level in this scheme and what they have been doing there for so long, he understands exactly where to go with the ball and gets it to the playmakers. He still is the physically gifted player that he has always been. You said it, coming back off of injury, he looks outstanding to me.”

On if he expects WR Jarvis Landry and DE Olivier Vernon back at practice later this week:

“I do.”

On confidence in the Browns OL and offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s impact on the unit’s play:

“I think they are playing good ball for us. We are going to need them to continue to do that this game from a protection standpoint and from a run game standpoint obviously. I think you will see with all five of those guys, whoever is in there, the guys are applying the technique that we are teaching him. You mentioned Coach Callahan, he does a great job with those guys. They spend a lot of time together in the meeting room and they spend a lot of time together on the practice field, and they are taking to heart the coaching that Coach Callahan provides.”

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QB Baker Mayfield:

On how he is feeling physically:

“Feel good. Just one day at a time right now. Obviously, a little sore, but that is why we have the rest of the week until game day.”

On if his injury is specific to his ribs or if it is his whole right side:

“Yeah, kind of the whole right side. Everything is intertwined right there. I am lucky with the way that I landed that it was not directly on my shoulder – kind of rolled a little bit. Obviously, could have been a lot worse.”

On what it would mean for the Browns to win their first game at Heinz Field since 2003:

“Once again, we are not worried about the past. We are worried about right now. The next game is the most important one, and we have a very good division opponent we are going up against in their house. That is the most important part. The focus is on now, and that is Pittsburgh this week.”

On his wrist:

“Yeah, I feel good now on the wrist.”

On if he will practice today:

“That is to be determined.”

On if he remains confident he will play on Sunday:

“Yep. Just day by day. Still confident.”

On his relationship with DE Myles Garrett, given it seems as if it has grown during the past year:

“I think it has definitely expanded. I think as I am much more comfortable in this system, and like I have said, just trying to be a better leader for this team and reach out to more people. Myles and I have had conversations, and we know the time is now for us to take advantage of it. We know why we were brought here. We believe in that. Not everything is said between us, but there are certain looks we both know what we are thinking, and I think that is where you are picking that up from.”

On how excited he is to play against the Steelers, given both teams’ success to start the season and the significance of it:

“That is the exciting part about it. Obviously, division games are always meaningful for us, but they are undefeated and we are 4-1. It is an extremely important game, but that is because it is the next one. We have to handle it that way, and we are on the road in somebody else’s house.”

On facing the Steelers defense after playing against a tough Colts defense last week:

“Yeah, both very good defenses, I think Pittsburgh is a little less of just line up and play. They will show you some looks and bring more pressures. It is pretty typical for Pittsburgh that they are physical, they have guys that are making plays and it starts up front with a lot of those guys that are obviously extremely talented. We have to handle that – those front seven guys – and take care of business.”

On saying last week’s game was his worst of the season:

“Yeah, I would have to agree with what I said prior. Just looking at the drive before halftime and then also just going in the second half, finding completions is the most important part, which is what we did the weeks prior. I definitely could be a lot better, but like I said, it is always better to learn from a win than a loss.”

On if there is a common thread when he is missing guys high on throws:

“I think the one to (TE) Harrison (Bryant), I should have led him into the hole more instead of trying to put it on him over the backer. There are certain things that just going through reads to make the easier throws, not trying to make the hard throw every time. Just take the completions, make it easy on us and keep the chains moving.”

On his relationship with Garrett continuing to grow, particularly building camaraderie as former No. 1 picks and wanting to provide leaderhsip:

“Absolutely, I think that is something that throughout these Zoom meetings and once again the stuff we did off the field during those meetings to learn about each other more, I think was very important. For me and Myles, we took that personally and we have done that. That is where we are at right now, and I am happy about it. He keeps making plays, and we are trying to lead this team by example and vocally. He is doing an incredible job of being more vocal. We are proud of him.”

On the impact Garrett is making in games with big plays and how that impacts the record:

“A huge impact. Obviously, the stats and the sacks speak for themselves, but if you watch it, guys are having to chip and they are having to bring extra people over there. That makes such an impact on our defensive of freeing up other one on ones for other D lineman and other blitzes and stuff like that. It is not just Myles’ play individually; it is the things that teams have to worry about. That is something that we are lucky to have.”

On the rhythm of the Browns offense:

“We are efficient when we need to be. I think the consistency can always improve. There are little things you can always improve on, but when we need to be efficient right now, we have made the plays and we have made the conversions, and that is why you are seeing this streak of wins. We have to continue to do that but also improve on the consistency when it is not just crucial times and just help ourselves out. We do not have to make it close. We just need to keep getting better.”

On the Steelers DL:

“It is a great test for us. Another great defense. They bring a physical challenge. They bring the muddied pockets. They will hit you. They try to impose their will. That is what our division is all about. We have to play that ball, match that energy and exceed it. They are obviously extremely talented, but the mindset of the Steelers defense is that they play as one and they play together. That is the challenge that we are facing.”

On his confidence in the Browns OL against a physical Steelers defense:

“I believe in our guys first and foremost, no matter who we are facing. Obviously, the challenge that the Steelers defense is it brings plays that we are going to have ups and downs throughout this game. It is not going to be perfect, and we know that. That is what comes with these challenging games and when you play great teams. We know that we just have to do our job, and then if something happens good or bad, move on to the next play and do our job again.”

On evaluating his play in the second half of games this year:

“We talked about some of these plays that we are setting up later on if we get the right looks and taking these shots now. That is where I need to be able to take more advantage of these certain looks, complete these plays and be more efficient, and we will see improvement on this offense. I put that 100 percent on me to improve, and I like that responsibility.”

On the Browns’ mindset of playing in Pittsburgh for Garrett’s first game back against the Steelers since the suspension and how the team will rally to support Garrett this weekend:

“I think it is about right now. We are always going to have our teammates’ backs. We are worried about the right now, and we are playing the Steelers. We are not worried about what happened last year. We have moved on. Everybody wants to make the story of it, but we are focused on right now. The task at hand is playing the Steelers and doing our jobs to the very best we possibly can. That is the focus.”

On if the Steelers defense has changed over the years or if it has been consistent during his career and how the Browns’ new offensive scheme matches up with the Steelers defense:

“They are consistent – same coordinator, a lot of the same personnel. Now, they will have different flavors of the week that they bring, and that is what you have to adjust and adapt to, but they are very good at what they do. They are not going to change it up too much. They are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They are going to add in certain mixes, different looks, but that is the challenge at hand for us. Offensively, it is another physical game so we have to treat it [that way] trying to establish the run game and be efficient in the pass game. That does not change mindset wise for us, but scheme-wise with what we are having right now, we are continuing to improve and that is no matter who we are playing.”

On Garrett being more vocal as a leader this year and the Garrett’s and his work off the field to develop their relationship:

“Yes, I think when you get a guy like Myles, obviously a great leader, but he is more by example typically. When you speak, it speaks volumes and people listen. When his voice is heard, it radiates throughout the building. For starters, that is why he has such an impact this year, not just on the field but off. Just between text messages and all this stuff that we are trying to accomplish not just on the field off the field, I think that has become a great way for us to learn more about each other, obviously like I said off the field but who we are as people. I think that is extremely important for people to build relationships. We are fighting for the same goal to win a Super Bowl, but there becomes much more want and will when you know these people off the field.”

On Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s comment on the Browns offense that the ‘strength of the pack is actually the pack and not individual superstars’ and if he feels pressure to manage personalities and reps on offense:

“I would agree with Coach Tomlin on saying that strength is we have a lot of weapons, but it is about us doing our job. These guys are all doing their jobs efficiently, and that is the most important part. Like I said a couple of weeks ago, I talked to AVP (offensive Alex Van Pelt) and (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski before the season, my job is to go through the reads and distribute the ball, and it is up to them to call the plays and dial it up for these guys that need and want their touches. We are just trying to be efficient and win games. That is the most important part and that is the best part of how we are playing right now.”

On facing a game-wrecker like Garrett and if he naturally looks to where a player of that caliber is before the snap:

“Absolutely, you have to know where those guys are for protection sliding, for chips and all the stuff to add in to where you cannot allow him to be a game-wrecker because that is what those guys are. Very talented, very gifted. Like I said earlier, it is not just the plays that they make individually; it is those things that they can create for other guys and those one on ones. We have great players around him so that is a great part about having Myles on our team, as well.”

On the Browns 4-1 start being ‘legitimate’ and why others should take the team seriously:

“We are taking it one game at a time. I know I am truly not worried whatsoever about what everybody is saying if we are legitimate or not. We are taking it one game at a time. That is all that matters.”

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RB Kareem Hunt:

On how special it is to play in the Browns-Steelers rivalry with the teams being 4-1 and 4-0, respectively:

“It is special because we both have two really good teams this year. It is definitely going to be a battle. We want to keep our streak alive, and I am sure they want to keep their streak alive, too. It is going to be a good game.”

On the Steelers defense and run defense:

“They have good guys up front. Their front seven is really good. They have guys who can get to the passer and guys who make it a problem to run on. We definitely just have to come out ready to play and do our jobs and our one-on-one jobs.”

On if he dreamed of the opportunity to play in the Browns-Steelers rivalry as a kid growing up in Cleveland:

“Most definitely. I would always think I would love to be playing at this level and at this big stage, especially Browns versus Steelers. It doesn’t get much bigger than that.”

On if he is confident QB Baker Mayfield will be physically ready to play on Sunday:

“I am confident, and I pray he is ready. He is ready to take on the challenge. He is a great player and a great teammate.”

On if the Browns are better equipped this year to compete with the Steeler’s physical style of play, particularly on the OL and DL:

“Most definitely. I feel like we are going to have to come ready to give our best effort. Those guys are physical, but so are we.”

On his relationship with DE Myles Garrett and how the two became so close, particularly during this past offseason after Garrett returned from suspension:

“Nobody likes having their season cut short. I know I didn’t. I am almost positive I know Myles wasn’t either. That is the thing about that. Myles is a great player, a great person and a great teammate. You just learn a lot going through situations like that. You just have to come ready, forget about all that stuff and do whatever you can. This one is for Myles. This one is for Cleveland Browns fans. This one is for a lot of things.”

On the Browns rallying around Garrett and fully embracing Garrett when returning from suspension:

“Yes, we love Myles. We have Myles’ back no matter what, and he definitely has ours, too. We all know that. Can’t ask for a better teammate than Myles.”

On if Garrett has to be ready for emotions to potentially run high in this game, understanding the team has placed an emphasis on this year compared to what has happened in the past:

“Most definitely, but you are right, last year doesn’t matter. We have a new team, new coaches, new everything and a new record. We definitely have to come out, be ready to play, keep our emotions in check and keep playing in between the whistles. That is for everybody. We have to be smart. It is going to be a long, physical game.”

On if Garrett has the right mindset to handle any potential heightened emotions on Sunday:

“Most definitely. It takes a lot to get Myles out of his element. Myles is a great person and teammate. I have no doubt in my mind that he will keep those emotions in check and go out there and just play football.”

On facing one of the top-ranked defenses and run defenses in back-to-back weeks and if last week’s matchup against the Colts will help this week:

“Yeah, I definitely think it will help. They are both physical teams. They both have a good front seven and great linebackers and playmakers on that side of the ball. That is what makes them a tough defense, and they all work hard. We have to go out there, do our job and play physical.”

On how his groin is feeling:

“I will be ready to go Sunday.”

On if he may be able to take on a bigger workload this week compared to last week:

“I am just going to be ready whenever my number is called and whenever they want to give me the ball whenever. Whatever it takes to win, I am ready.”

On having his most carries as a Brown last week and if it is significant to have the opportunity to start:

“Yeah, it definitely feels good, but I would rather have (RB) Nick (Chubb) back helping me out, too, so we can do this thing together. I don’t mind carrying the load, but it is just part of the game. Injuries come and you have to just go out there and no drop off, keep going and keep winning.”

On running behind the Browns OL:

“Those guys did a great job of working, getting in shape this offseason and coming in ready to play. We had a new addition in a rookie (T Jedrick Wills Jr.), and he has been doing a great job of picking it up and playing hard for us. We have (G) Wyatt (Teller) who is playing out of his mind this year, and (G) Joel (Bitonio) and (C) JC (Tretter), those guys are just vets and really tough people. Honestly, it is a big, huge shout out to them. They have been doing a great job, and (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan has been putting them in a great position to make their blocks and stuff like that.”

On RB D’Ernest Johnson’s impact on the offense:

“D’Ernest is a great person and a great teammate. The start of his journey is insane. He just comes to work every day. I have always believed in D’Ernest and his skillset. It is the way he works and attacks game. I love the way he has been playing, the stuff that he is doing now isn’t really shocking me.”

On how Callahan is impacting the Browns OL and Browns offense:

“Honestly, intensity and just detail. Making sure his guys are in the right position and trying to help them get to the right position. He really does a great job of emphasizing the things that need to get done.”

On if this year’s Browns team feels similar to the Chiefs in 2017 and 2018 when Kansas City started to turn the corner:

“Most definitely. I feel like we are starting to get it going and learning how to play together as a team. That is the big thing and that is how you win football games.”

On how the Browns’ confidence is building each week:

“It is building extremely high. The biggest thing is the next one – the next game and the next play. Take it one play at a time – that is how I do it – and worry about the rest later.”

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CB Terrance Mitchell:

On how disappointed he is for CB Greedy Williams after having to be placed on IR:

“Greedy is a soldier. It is just a part of football. He will be alright. He will be back.”

On how he has stepped up and played in Williams’ absence:

“I have a responsibility to the team, and I have to do my job at a high level. Just have to keep working so I can help the team win.”

On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:

“He is a veteran quarterback. He has been around the league for a long time. We just have to play smart and cover long because he can make plays happen late in the game with scrambling and stuff. Just have to do our job, and we will be alright.”

On if being in the final year of his contract impacts his performance and mindset, particularly with his opportunity to start and show his skillset:

“Nothing like that. I am just next game. We are just trying to win games one game at a time, one day at a time and just keep winning and do the best for the Cleveland Browns.”

On if worries about his contract when focusing on the next game:

“Not at all. Not at all.”

On Steelers WR Chase Claypool’s performance last week and the Steelers WRs overall:

“I have seen a couple highlights of No. 11. He made some catches. As a whole, their receivers, they are good receivers, but we have to just do our job and we will win.”

On what the job entails this week matching up against the Steelers WR:

“Just doing our job. I do not want to speak too much on what our job is, but our job mainly is just to cover them.”

On if Roethlisberger is playing at the same level as a couple of years ago:

“He is a seasoned veteran so you always have to give guys like that respect and just do your best job. He looks good to me.”

On if Roethlisberger’s ability to take shots downfield stresses the Browns defense and secondary:

“No, it is not really a stress – more so a blessing because that gives us opportunities.”

On DE Myles Garrett continuing to make big plays for the Browns defense:

“We all have a responsibility on the defense to do our job, and Myles is doing his job. We all just have to continue to do our job, but he is doing a great job, though. I love Myles.”

On what it would mean for the Browns to get a win at Pittsburgh, given the team’s history there:

“Anytime you win, it feels great. We are on a roll right now, and we just want to just continue to do what we have been doing and just go take care of business.”

On how CB Denzel Ward has developed since his rookie year:

“He just attacks the ball. He loves the game. He likes to win, and he is a competitor. All that shows on the field and with his play.”

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C JC Tretter:

On T Chris Hubbard’s performance at RG on Sunday:

“He did really good. Stepped in really well. That is what you expect out of a pro like Chris, who has gotten a lot of game reps and understands what it takes to be successful in this league. We have a lot of faith in him. We have a lot of faith in him to be able to play multiple positions, and he showed why. I think he has played really well.”

On why the Browns have fully embraced the ‘one game at a time’ mentality so much this year:

“I give credit to (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski). I think Kevin has done a really good job of framing each week the right way and keeping everybody laser-focused on the task at hand, not looking in the past, not looking too far ahead and just really being dialed into what that week entails and what we need to do and what we need to accomplish that individual week.”

On how the Tennessee Titans handled their COVID-19 outbreak and Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent comments about the team following protocols and potential discipline:

“We had both the NFL and the NFLPA do an investigation and look into it, go down for multiple days to interview and see what was going on. We have nothing to do with the discipline or the punishment part. That is solely at the league’s discretion. We just defend the players. I think the whole situation just shows how much this needs to be top of mind and how easily things can snowball. We have known that for a while. We know when the virus gets into the building, it is extremely contagious if you are not doing the right thing and even if you are doing the right thing. It is all links in a chain of needing to do everything possible to mitigate the spread of the virus. That is something I hope everybody learns from and remembers going forward because you just see how quickly things can change and how quickly they can snowball.”

On if he is anticipating the NFL will have to add weeks to the end of the season due to postponed games and if that is something the NFLPA had in mind heading into this season:

“Yeah, we knew going into playing a season in the middle of a global pandemic there has to be room and the ability to move, change and adapt. I think we have done that so far. I think that will continue to happen if these issues – I hope we get back to where we were the first six or so weeks of the season with training camp where we were really moving with no need to change anything – but again, you need to be able to adapt and move. We do not want to miss games. We do not want to cancel games. We want to go out there and play. That has been our goal. We have said it from the start, we knew it would be easy to start and we knew it would take a lot of diligence and a lot of work to finish. Our goal from the start has been to play 16 games for every team, get through the playoffs and crown a Super Bowl champion. We have to leave everything on the table to make sure we do that.”

On the expected intensity for this week’s matchup with the Steelers, given the teams’ records compared to past games:

“I think they are all they are all similar. The Steelers have always been a really talented team. Especially as offensive linemen, their front seven is extremely talented and you know it is always going to be a battle in the trenches. I think it will not be any different in the games in the past. They get after the quarterback, and they cause chaos in the run game. It will be a really big challenge for us.”

On if the mindset changes at all about protecting the QB knowing QB Baker Mayfield is dealing with an injury:

“Like you said, we never want Baker to get touched as is. We never go into a game thinking, ‘Well, maybe we can let him get hit a couple times.’ We always want to make sure he stays clean the entire game and no one hits and no one touches him. It does not really change our mentality going into the game. It the same as it is every week.”

On offensive line coach Bill Callahan:

“Obviously, his résumé and his experience speaks for itself. His ability to scheme up runs and put us in advantageous positions and just being able to talk to him and he has seen everything, he has not just one answer but multiple answers for every question you have. It has been really, really nice to work with him. He is so experienced. He has seen everything. It is an asset for us to have.”

On how the Steelers defense creates chaos in the run game and how the Browns’ wide-zone scheme matches up with the Steelers defense:

“First of all, just the talent they have. You are going to be on one-on-one blocks and you have win your one-on-one blocks against very talented players. They do utilize movement, blitzes and dogs, which you just have to be dialed in at what they are doing and really be clear of where you are going and who you are going to. They are very multiple in their looks where they can present looks a bunch of different ways. That is always a challenge. I think after a full week of practice, we will be ready to go and we will understand their tendencies and things like that, but again, very talented up front and always a battle.”

On how LT Jedrick Wills Jr. has played through the first five games:

“I think he has done a really good job. Obviously being put in the position he was and transitioning with no offseason work, I think you continue to see growth every week. I think you will continue to see that throughout the entire season. He is still young at the position, continuing to get the work in at practice and continuing to get better and more comfortable every week. I think that will just continue.”

On factors for the Browns OL’s improvement from last season:

“It is tough to pinpoint something. Obviously, the additions we have made. (T) Jack (Conklin) is a hell of a player. Jedrick is a young player but playing at a high level already. Everybody is just playing well together. I think we have been really dialed in. I think the scheme that we run fits us very well. and I think Bill has done a really good job of coaching us up.”

On how has Callahan done a good job coaching the Browns OL:

“His experience in the wide zone. What he wants us to do and how he wants to fundamentally block things up. I think everybody is just on the same page. Everybody is doing the right thing. We all understand where we are supposed to be, where we are supposed to be going to and how we are supposed to go there. Especially in the wide zone offense, that is how you have to be in order to make it work and make it run.”

On the team welcoming back DE Myles Garrett back after his suspension to show Garrett how valued he is and if the team needs to be super supportive to Garrett this week, given the game could be one of high emotions for Garrett:

“That was never a question for us. Myles is one of us. He has done a great job of taking a real step this year of being a leader on this team. That has really stood out to me this year is that step he has taken. Whatever he needs, he knows we are there for him, but I think he is just ready to go play football. It is just another game for him. He is going to go out and play the way he has been playing, and that is at extremely high level. He has been producing and making huge plays for us, game-changing plays for us. That is the type of talent he is.”

On if there is a concern some NFL teams may not take COVID-19 protocols as seriously late in the season if they are out of playoff contention and if the NFLPA would want to play or cancel a game late in the year that does not have a significant impact on the playoffs:

“I think we would definitely be in favor of playing it. I do not think we are nervous about [non-playoff teams being lax about protocols]. First of all, we have enforcement mechanisms to make sure guys, whether they want to or not, both players and staff follow the protocols. I think guys also do not want to get sick. They do not want to contract the virus and bring that home to their families. I do not think their record will make the idea change. They do not want to catch COVID, and they do not want to give it to their families, their friends and their teammates. There is a personal responsibility so I am not very concerned with guys kind of throwing the protocols to the wayside because of whatever their record is.”

On his reaction to player complaints and comments about postponed games and limited practice time due to rescheduled games following outbreaks:

“First of all, I know (Patriots CB) Jason (McCourty). A lot of respect for Jason. We played together a year. I called Jason on Saturday, and we talked about it. Just wanted to know what he was feeling, what he was thinking. I think what we have done in terms of player safety just in these last six months and what we have done to ensure the safest workplace possible, we fought hard for daily testing because it is the safest answer. We fought hard for an acclimation period because it is the safest way to do it. We fought hard for opt-outs, making sure guys had choices and did not feel pressured into going back to work and instead protected them from making that decision. I think we have done a lot of great things for player safety, especially living in this word of a pandemic. It is what it is. I am not too concerned with people complaining. Again, we do not set the schedule. We do not chose when games or played or anything like that. That is the league’s discretion. Our job is to try and protect the players as best as possible.”

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Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin

On how much more dangerous the Browns defense is with DE Myles Garrett moving around:

“I do not know if it makes them more dangerous. I think it just makes it more problematic for more people. I think he has an impact wherever he aligns. They are moving him around a little bit. That is something you have to contend with, but I think that you see from all the significant players. We just played (Texans DE) J.J. Watt a number of weeks ago, and they moved him around in a similar way. I think that is just par for the course when you have an impact player like him.”

On what the Browns rivalry has meant to him:

“That is a hard thing because there have been a lot of change over there, and usually, the a rivalry based on the long term relationships and shared experiences. I respect what they have going on right now and the collection of people that they have over there right now. I worked with (Head Coach) Kevin Stefanski and (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods 15 years ago with Minnesota. I have known those guys a long time and have a lot of respect for them, and I think their play is a reflective of that.”

On if he expects the full Steelers OL to practice today and play this week:

“We have not practiced yet so it is kind of day to day. We will see what it looks like.”

On his growth as a coach from the first time he faced the Browns to now:

“I think we are all just continually evolving, but not only evolving – by evolving, I mean hopefully getting better – but all continually adapting because the game is continually changing because of schematics and because of different styles of players, play, rule changes and so forth. I am just trying to roll with the punches and stay a step ahead. I think that is what all of us are trying to do.”

On evaluating Stefanski’s performance in his first year as head coach, particularly given they coached together in Minnesota:

“I think we are all still writing those stories. We are four games in, and they are five games in. Significant weeks like this one, do a lot to write those stories. That is why this is a big game.”

On the Browns defense and defensive coordinator Joe Woods:

“They are getting after people. They are making the game-changing plays that we have always respected and coveted – the splash plays. They are leading the league in turnovers. They are doing the things that really impact what good defenses do. I am not surprised by that. Joe is a good football coach, a smart football coach and a hard worker.”

On the Browns OL and offensive line coach Bill Callahan’s impact:

“Those guys need no endorsement from me. Their 188 yards per game on the ground and the quality of possession of the football that they are displaying through five games is all the endorsement they need. They are doing a heck of a job.”

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