Browns QB Baker Mayfield Talks Impact of Coach Stefanski

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski returning to Minnesota to play his former team and if that may mean more to Stefanski than letting on:

“Anytime you have familiarity with the system – 14 years is a long time – I think it would mean a lot to him. He is not going to tell anybody here that, but we have a lot of people that have familiarity within the Minnesota Vikings franchise. Like I said, anytime you play people you know, it makes it more fun – just a little bit more friendly competition.”

On the biggest impact Stefanski has made since becoming the Browns head coach:

“That is a tough question. I would say between the consistency, his even-keeled nature and just holding everybody accountable and that standard that we are trying to set. We talk about building a winning culture and making that the new standard. He does a great job of keeping that the main thing and the most important thing every day.”

On Stefanski’s knowledge and insight to the Vikings benefitting the Browns:

“Anytime you have that much experience against a certain scheme, defense and a lot of the same players, then you have some insight and some tips and tricks of what to look for and little nuances. I know they will have their wrinkles for us – there is no doubt about that – but yeah, those little tips and reminders he is going to have, we have to pay attention to those.”

On struggles during the first quarter of last week’s game against the Bears:

“We just have to start fast. It is all around. We have to start fast, eliminate mistakes earlier and get going. We were lucky the defense played as well as they did, made those plays early on and held them to that few amount of yards. We have to start fast on offense and get better.”

On T Jed Wills Jr. playing through an ankle injury:

“Jed is a tough guy. He is a warrior. At this point of the year, the best you feel is when you show up for training camp. After that, your body is hurting a little bit so he is fighting through whatever it is, and he is doing whatever he can to get back at 100 percent each week and to get as close to that as possible. We appreciate that about him.”

On injured players fighting to play and what that means to teammates:

“You do not want them to hurt themselves more, but you appreciate it when they grit it out and when they tough it out through those circumstances.”

On making it a point of emphasis to complete passes to a variety of Browns players:

“That is exactly what we talked about going into it. Going through my reads and finding the open guy and finding the open guy. Letting the coverage and whatnot dictate where the ball goes and not trying to key in and lock in on one single person but let the flow of the game dictate that.”

On the Vikings defense:

“Obviously, they have some very, very good players on defense. You talk about the back end with (Vikings S) Harrison Smith, who has been there for a while. (Vikings LB Eric) Kendricks is great. Up front, they have some good players. You have to know where those guys are at all times. They are going be in the right spots at the right time. They have been playing together for a long time. They are going to disguise a little bit and then get into what they want. They recognize patterns and whatnot very quickly so they are instinctual. They are a good team.”

On if he expects former Browns DT and Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson to come after him nonstop:

“As long as he does not wear that single digit like he did in the preseason, I thought it made him look a little softer in the midsection (laughter). I love Sheldon. He is a good dude. Yeah, he will be chirping, that is for sure.”

On the benefits to the QB when using three TE sets:

“For us, when we get into that package where we have all three guys out there and seeing exactly how a defense is playing us, we can obviously run the ball out of that package, which teams are going to be prepared for, but then when we do spread them out, it is what matchups do we have and how are teams deciding to guard us. It is just recognition of that.”

On Stefanski taking full responsibility for the second failed fourth down attempt, saying it was a bad call and bad play design:

“I think it is a little bit of everything. I think we could have gotten the first down on second down before that, and then on third down, we could have gotten it, as well. That was a play where (Bears LB) Khalil Mack lines up on the left side and he is typically on the right. A player of that caliber is going to get his plays every once in a while. It just so happened to be on a fourth-and-one on a critical situation down in the red zone.”

On if another week of full preparation will benefit WR Odell Beckham Jr., who said he did not have his legs fully under him last week:

“Just those game reps, I think he knows exactly how he has to be prepared throughout the week, but that is something that is only going to come with those game reps. I think he is going to push himself during practice this week, as well, and get ready to go as best as he can.”

On K Chase McLaughlin’s season thus far and how that helps the team when it can be confident in its K:

“Yeah, it is definitely something that we can rely on that fallback plan. Hats off to Chase, but we want to go score touchdowns and not field goals. It is nice to have that definitely, but we need to be better on offense about scoring touchdowns.”

On where the Browns offense has grown most since last year:

“We know our identity. We know exactly what we need to be doing. Now, the execution part is exactly what we need to do. We need to play a complete game on offense. We need to start fast and finish. Last week, we did not turn the ball over, which was one of the things we harped on within the week of practice. Need play one of those complete games. This is the next great challenge and the next best opportunity to do it.”

On describing RB Kareem Hunt’s running style:

“He runs like Tasmanian Devil (laughter). His body, his upper body is leaning one way and his lower body… His balance is outstanding. It is something that very few people are blessed with. Like I said after the game, we are lucky and blessed to have those two guys (RB Nick Chubb and Hunt) in our backfield.”

On if Chubb sometimes tries to match the energy Hunt has on the field:

“Chubb is going to be himself no matter what. Whether it is a meteor shower outside or it is sunshine and rainbows, he is going to be the same guy every day, but that is what we love about him.”

On if he thinks that he started a trend with midfield flag plants in college football:

“I do not want to take credit, but I did see (TCU Head Coach) Gary Patterson’s comments. He was not too happy about the SMU Mustangs planting that in midfield. I think it is funny because it was not planned – none of it was. Now I am in Ohio so full circle (laughter).”

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