Stefanski, Ward, and Tretter Spoke to the Media Following KC Loss

Here are some of the questions Coach Stefanski, Denzel Ward, and JC Tretter were asked today when they met with the media.

Kevin Stefanski

Opening statement:

“On the injury front, (T) Jed (Wills Jr.) has an ankle injury. We will see how he progresses throughout the week. I feel about the same as I felt yesterday – disappointed we could not get it done. You have to play clean football to win on the road against a good opponent. We finished minus-two in the turnover margin, and you are not going to be able to win a close game when you do that.”

On Wills’ status:

“I am going to say he is day to day.”

On the Browns’ poise down the stretch and if it is related to experience or if the team should have performed better ‘when it mattered most’:

“We have high expectations for ourselves. You know you are going to have to play a 60-minute game. All of these plays matter, No. 1-65 or however many plays you get. We have to be able to play clean football, and that is really for 60 minutes versus any opponent in the NFL.”

On reviewing the film of the events that led to S Ronnie Harrison Jr.’s ejection:

“Yeah, I did watch it again. I talked to Ronnie. It is the oldest thing in football and in sport. The game officials always see the second guy Ronnie has to show some poise there and not retaliate.”

On if the Chiefs assistant coach involved should be punished by the NFL:

“I am just going to concern myself with our players and our team.”

On if P Jamie Gillan could have been able to get a punt off after mishandling the snap in the fourth quarter:

“Yes, he could have, and he knows that. We talked to him about that in the moment, and we talked to him about it today. Obviously, he knows he has a job to do. We expect him to do his job at a high level. If something like that happens, you need to just get the ball to punt it, and he knows that.”

On evaluating QB Baker Mayfield’s overall performance and if Mayfield was trying to throw the ball away on the interception in the fourth quarter:

“As you know, there is always good and bad that goes with every game, and there was a lot of good. Baker did a nice job in a lot of the operation of what we were doing in a tough environment. Ultimately, he knows he has to take care of the rock and has to throw it away there – I know he was trying to throw it away – but he has to find a way to get an incompletion for us. Again, he is very hard on himself. He works at this very, very hard. There are plenty of plays that I want back from myself from myself from play calling, and there are plenty of plays that I know every single one of players want back. That is just the nature of this beast. We have to learn from it and get better because of it.”

On what the Browns can learn from the game and improve, specifically as it relates to finishing the game:

“It is a lot of little things that add up to be a big thing. It is simple alignment, assignment, technique and schematically what we are asking our players to do. It is our job to out our players in position to succeed, and sometimes, we as coaches fall short. Sometimes it is just as simple as an alignment, assignment or technique error. With all of that, you need to play clean football. You have to do it for 60 minutes, whether it is the first, second, third or fourth quarter.”

On T Chris Hubbard’s performance after replacing Wills at LT in the second quarter and if Hubbard will continue to fill the role if Wills is unavailable:

“I thought he Hub some good moments. As you guys know, we have called on him in the past to play right tackle and in this case left tackle. He has played inside for us. That is the nature of being that sixth man. He performed admirably. If Jed were not to be able to go, he would be the guy who would be in there.”

On if he came away from the game feeling better about the team as far as it relates to the overall picture and how they played and if the team cleaned up the mistakes, it would have won:


On WR Odell Beckham Jr.’s status and if the team plans to take ‘a really conservative approach’ to Beckham’s return:

“I would not call it a conservative approach. We are just trying to be appropriate with all of this. Ultimately, he is coming off of a major surgery, and we are going to work through it day by day. When he is ready to play, he will play.”

On if there are any positive takeaways from the number of pressures on Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes despite only producing one sack:

“I think we just have to be honest and transparent with the players in our assessment of the game, and that is what the coaches are meeting on as we speak – point out each play what we did well and what we could have done differently. Whether you win, lose or draw, you have to learn from these things. That is what we are working on very hard right now.”

On what the Browns could have done better to limit Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill:

“It is obviously a tall task to slow their offensive players down. We have a tremendous amount of respect for those guys, but we have to be better. We have to be able to find a way to slow them down. You are not going to stop an offense like that – I think everybody knows that – but we have to find to a way to slow them down. Again, not to take anything away from them.”

On if the Browns defensive schemed the Chiefs offense correctly, particularly as it relates to when to pressure and when to play back in coverage:

“You look at it, and there are plenty of things we wish we could have done differently, but then there are also moments where you have to make a play and find a way to get off the field and find a way to slow them down. As you know, it is never one thing. That is why we need to identify the things that we can to do better and the things that we can improve upon because all of these plays, they continue to show up. That is how the NFL works. When a play shows up and it hurts your defense, it is going to show up the next week in a copycat league.”

On evaluating LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s performance an in NFL debut:

“He had some good moments. There is a ton that he needs to clean up, but he played fast, and he is going to work at it. I know that. That is kind of how it goes for rookies. You want to constantly get better throughout the season.”

On DT Malik McDowell’s performance in his first regular season game:

“I thought he did a really nice job. You saw it on the very first play of the game. He was disruptive and made a play. We are counting on him to be that type of guy I thought he did a nice job.”

On McDowell playing a high number snaps after not playing football for a significant period of time:

“He has worked at it. We have talked about it, he has been through a lot, but since he been here on campus, the guy works. He does a nice job in the meeting room, the weight room and out on the grass. He takes this very seriously.”

On the impact of losing Harrison early in the game and if the team is considering further discipline:

“Those type of things we will keep it internal, but obviously, it is disappointing when you lose a starter after five plays.”

On WR Anthony Schwartz’ performance:

“I thought it was positive overall for Anthony in his first NFL game. I just think to all of these rookies and guys playing for the first time, they are going to grow in their roles and they are going to get better, but I thought that was a good start for Anthony.”

On what the Browns could have improved on third and fourth down in addition to better execution, especially in the second half:

“Yeah, it is always more than just execution. When you say execution, you are just putting it all on the players. All of us take a share in the success of this thing, and all of us take a share in the blame of this thing. We do have to find a way to get off the field on third and fourth down when it comes up. Then offensively, we have to be better on third down. When you add the fourth downs to it, obviously on third and fourth down, it looks a little better so the guys performed decent there, but we have to make a play in those critical areas.”

On the Browns falling subject to multiple impactful plays after RB Nick Chubb’s fumble and how to prevent a snowball effect that affects the game:

“We have to be a resilient bunch in these 60-minute games. Something is going to happen that does not go your way, and you have to respond to it. I think we have the right guys in this building that will respond when something like that happens in those games because it is going to happen again this week and the week after that. You are not going to play the perfect 60-minute game, and you have to be ready to respond though when things do not go our way.”

On the incident involving Harrison and the Chiefs coach’s response and if Harrison’s contact with the Chiefs player was incidental:

“Again, I can only worry about my players and my team, but I do think any contact that came from Ronnie was incidental. If you watch the play, it is pretty obvious that he is getting collisioned as he is trying to get off of their boundary. That does not excuse him from retaliating. You can’t do that. That is something we all know that the game officials will see the second guy and not the first guy.”

On if Beckham not yet experiencing contact in practice is a hurdle to overcome for a return:

“No, I would just say the natural progression of rehab is just getting ready to play football. We are not doing anything live in our practices, but we will just work through appropriately based on our medical staff and based on Odell. He will be ready when he is ready.”

On if he expected Beckham would be ready to play until shortly before the inactive list was announced:

“We listed him as questionable, which is 50-50. We knew we had a plan, and we made sure that he worked out pregame. Again, he was not ready, but when he is ready, he will play.”

On the two offside calls against DE Myles Garrett and if he believed they were good calls:

“It does not matter. They called them.”

On Garrett saying he will continue to be aggressive and that the offside calls would not change his mentality or potentially slow him down:

“We have a mindset as a defensive line that we want to get off the ball. Teams are going to constantly use a snap count, particularly when they are at home. They will always use the snap count against our front, Myles in particular, because they are going to use it as a weapon against him. He has to be disciplined in his approach while obviously still maintaining that ability to get off on the snap.”

Denzel Ward

On if he believed the team had the game in good shape when up 29-20 in the fourth quarter:

“Yeah, I did, but we have a to play a full game and a complete game. The game is not ever over. We were playing against a good team. There are a lot of good teams in the NFL. We just have to find a way to finish.”

On what makes it so hard to cover Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill:

“He is a fast player. He is quick. He is good with the ball in his hands, and his able to make a play.”

On the biggest takeaways for the Browns defense going against Chiefs offense:

“There were a lot of positives and a lot of guys out there making plays during the drives. At the end of the day, we just have to find a way to finish and find a way to get takeaways. We were minus-two in the takeaway game so we have to find a way to get the ball, attack the ball and take it away to get our offense in better position.”

On how the Browns can find a way to finish:

“It is as simple as just guys doing their job. I think it is as simple as that. A guy has to do his job. We have to take the ball away. We failed to do that in this game. We have to find a way to take the ball away in the next game and put our offense in a better position.”

On how CB Greg Newsome II played:

“I feel he played well. He did what he was supposed to do. He held his side of the field down.”

On the impact of losing S Ronnie Harrison Jr. early in the game:

“We need everybody. This is a team sport. Ronnie is a great player. We have a lot of great players, but it takes all of us to win. We just all have to be out there on the field for us to win.”

JC Tretter

On the biggest positive takeaway from yesterday’s game:

“For the offensive line, I think we ran the ball pretty well. I think we were pretty efficient. If you look at run efficiency, I think we averaged a decent amount per run. There are always things we can improve. I think we left a yards out there, but overall for the first game of the season, I think we ran the ball pretty well.”

On how the Browns learn how to finish games other than just doing it:

“I think it is just attention to detail throughout the entire game. Every moment throughout the game is important. Making sure you have the no lulls and no little let downs throughout the game. We had a few as it got later on, and that is just something we need to clean up. It is as much about finishing as it is about doing the right thing for all 60 minutes, no matter where that comes. You could have those mistakes in the first quarter and that could put you behind or it could happen in the fourth quarter and they can say it is not finishing. We just need to be more effective throughout the entire game.”

On the mindset when the coaches give the Browns offense the opportunity to go for it on fourth down and for two-point conversions, especially early in a game:

“I think that is what we would like to do as players, too. I think we feel really good about going out there and making first downs and being put in those situations to have to perform. It is good for us and we are excited when we get the opportunity to go out there and have another shot at it. (Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) is an aggressive coach, and Kevin is going to give us the opportunity to go out and make those plays so that is something we look for.”

On T Chris Hubbard’s performance after replacing T Jedrick Wills Jr.:

“Chris played well. It is always tough to lose a guy in the middle of a game and have somebody come and step in. That is never an easy situation for that player or the entire team. You have to get used to everybody. I think we handled it well. Chris is a grizzled veteran. He has been in those situations plenty. The expectation is he can step in and play as a starter at a high level so we never really worry about it when Chris has to come into the game because he has shown it time and time again that he is able to do that.”

On QB Baker Mayfield’s performance and how the Brown offense can help Mayfield close out games:

“I do not think it is a ‘he has to close out the game;’ we have to close out the game. We have to perform, and all of us have a piece in that. The offensive line has to protect better at the end. We have to pick up yards, and we have to do everything the right way. I would not say this is all a Baker thing and that Baker is going to have to be the one who leads us to the promised land. We all have to do all of the little things to win those games. That is really what it comes down to is the little things. It is all of the little details and doing all of the right things when the pressure is at its highest and the crowd noise is at the loudest. Everybody has to be dialed in and do the right things in those situations.”

On what the first half success says about the Browns offense and if it bodes well for the future:

“I think we played well early on. I do not think it matters too much. In the end, next week we are going to play a totally different opponent and have a totally different gameplan. We are going to have to go out there and produce the same way if not better. I do not really look for those ‘what does this mean going forward.’ We played well early on. We needed to do more to win that game at the end, and we did not do it. After probably tonight or tomorrow, we move past it and move onto the Texans. Then the whole thing starts over again. There are 17 of those this year where you have to forget about the last one, go into it and be ready to perform at your highest availability and be ready for next time.”

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