Coach Stefanski, Kareem Hunt, and Malik Jackson Spoke to the Media Today

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski

Opening statement:

“We got in late so we still have a bunch of MRIs pending so I do not really have a ton of updates for you guys on the injury front.

“Obviously, very disappointed. You go on the road against a good team, you want to come away with a victory, and we did not. I told the team, there are 1,000 reasons why we did not. We have to make sure we own them and get to the bottom of them because we have to be better. We will be in similar games against similar opponents, and we have to come through. I certainly have to do my part there, as well. Disappointed. Going to have to make some corrections and then have an undefeated Arizona Cardinals team coming to our place this weekend. We are going to have to again make corrections and then quickly move on.”

On if LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is back in Cleveland after being evaluated for a throat contusion:

“Not yet. He I think will land shortly, though.”

On if hindsight he wishes he would have done anything on the penultimate offensive series, including related to the draw play on third-and-nine:

“Yes, in hindsight, I definitely wish I did something different. This is where I have to put our guys in positions to succeed, and I did not do that there, and I am sick about it. Definitely got too wrapped up in the previous play call with the clock stopping and how that unfolded. Again, I have to put our guys in position, and I can’t do that to our team.”

On the Browns offense and defense playing well in certain games but not having a complete game of complementary football:

“You have to find a way to win every Sunday, Thursday or whenever you are playing. You have to find a way. Sometimes the defense is going to carry us like they did the last couple of weeks. Sometimes it has to be the offense, and the offense and myself, we have to come through in those moments. It is whatever the game calls for. Would we love for all three phases to be playing at their absolute potential? Yes, we would, and we are working real hard to make sure that happens.”

On calling a draw play on a third-and-long earlier in the game and if that indicates any lack of trust in the pass game in those situations:

“I do not think it sends that message. I talked to the offense about those calls. That first one, trying to really help the field goal. Third-and-longer when you get in the red zone and you limit the amount of space you have becomes difficult. We had a good run that really helped the field goal there. I would just tell you I have to do a better job bottom line.”

On clarifying his comment about getting caught up in the previous play call before the draw on third-and-nine in the fourth quarter, as well as if a potential missed penalty call factored into it, given QB Baker Mayfield’s comment after the game:

“I would just tell you, I am never going to rely and we as a team are not going to rely on the officials, and I need to in the moment, whether something gets called or does not get called, I have to move on and make sure I give the guys a chance to succeed.”

On if he feels the need to address officiating items to the team following a game when there may have been some questionable calls:

“We talked about it. I will obviously – like we do every week – have a discussion with the league on some of these plays. Listen, they are not going to get every play right, and I am certainly not going to call every play right and we are not going to execute every play right. It is going to be imperfect, but for our team, we are not going to leave it in the hands of the officials. We control a lot of that game, and we need to do better.”

On if there is something to be said about being in a close game against another good team with a chance to win:


On if he ever thinks about potentially having offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt call offensive plays and allowing himself to focus on overseeing the gameday operations, given him taking responsibility for areas of improvement and comments about wanting to always put players in the best position possible to succeed:

“We have a really good collaboration on gameday. It is a lot of us on there, but particularly AVP and (offensive line coach) Bill Callahan do a great job in making sure that our operation is how we want it. Certainly, like you mentioned, there are going to be moments where I need to do better, but I am getting a ton of help throughout the game.”

On evaluating the two long TD passes to Chargers WR Mike Williams on the game film:

“Obviously when guys get that open, the answer is it always is a miscommunication. That is what happened. We had poor communication out there a couple of times. We have to get lined up, get the calls and execute the defense. You never know when it is going to hurt you, and it was unfortunate that we had some miscommunication back there. We have to work real hard to make sure it does not happen again.”

On having a few shorter completions to start the final offensive series rather than chunk plays:

“We had a four verticals called that we checked it down to (RB) Kareem (Hunt). Then it was a third-and-one where were aggressive to Kareem in the flat to try and get the first [down]. That is the truth of it. The first goal of that drive was to make sure that we are in location to throw a Hail Mary. Obviously, we would love to get as close as possible to do that. That is what happened there.”

On what the team has learned about closing out close games against elite NFL QBs:

“You have to find a way to get a stop. We let him (Chargers QB Justin Herbert) out of the pocket too many times. We have to do a better job in contain. That is certainly going to be something for this week as well coming up because it is hard to cover for that long when you let the quarterback out of the pocket. They made a few plays – we made a few of them, too – but we have to find a way on fourth down in particular to get off of the field.”

On if QB Baker Mayfield’s shoulder played a factor in the protection or play calling yesterday:

“No. I would tell you, again, you have to call the game that is called for. Certainly, understand that we had some guys playing in positions where I need to make sure I call the game in a proper, appropriate fashion, but that does not excuse not being aggressive when it is called for.”

On if WR Jarvis Landry will be activated this week:

“I do not know yet. He is running today, and we will see how that goes.”

On why WR Odell Beckham Jr. did not get a target during the last drive:

“Yeah, there was a couple of opportunities, but the coverage took the quarterback elsewhere. That is really the simple answer to it. We just have to make sure that we find ways to get him the ball and all of our guys the balls. We have a bunch of different guys that can do something with the ball in their hands – I think about Dave (TE David Njoku) yesterday making some really big plays with the ball in his hands so we will continue to do that.”

On if in retrospect he would have called a timeout on the offensive drive at the end of the first half:

“Given how it went, yes. We were slow to get into that second play. We had some miscommunication, which we should not, but we had a miscommunication on that second play there. Did not run it exactly how it was designed and then we had to scramble and throw the ball away. That just took too long to get lined up and then we have to throw the ball away, and it is taking up way too much time. In hindsight, if I had known that was the case, I would have called timeout there right after that first play.”

On if there is a reason why he did not immediately call the timeout in that situation:

“It felt like we could get quickly into a call we liked on that second down and still have an opportunity to call our timeout and still have time. It really took too long. Again, that is on me.”

On if he thought about going for it on fourth down after the draw on third down of the second-to-last offensive series, knowing how the Chargers were moving the ball offensively:

“I think hindsight always is going to cause me to look at those decisions and think about what I can do to come through for our team so I will look at all of those things.”

On P Jamie Gillan ranking near the bottom of the league in gross punt average:

“Obviously, we want to punt better – that is no surprise. He needs to be better, and he knows that.”

On G Blake Hance’s performance at LT yesterday:

“I thought he did a fine job. He battled. Had some good moments.”

On if there are any potential long-term injury concerns for Browns players who left yesterday’s game:

“I do not know that it would be appropriate to say yet. I have to see what the MRIs say.”

On T James Hudson III’s performance at RT yesterday:

“He had some good moments. He tries extremely hard. There are definitely some things that he will clean up from an assignment perspective and from a technique perspective. He has done a nice job in his moments out there.”

On if Mayfield was hesitant to put the ball in Beckham’s hand after the fourth-and-two drop, including a reference to the incomplete pass to WR Rashard Higgins in the fourth quarter when there potentially appeared to be an opportunity for Beckham:

“No, I do not think so. Any receiver throughout the course of a season, you are going to have drops. It just happens. We trust our guys. On that particular play, he thought he had an opportunity to Rashard down the field, but it was just an unfortunate play.”

On if he is OK with or has an issue with Browns players criticizing the officials after a tough loss:

“They understand that we are not going to rely on those guys. They can say what they want to say in those moments, and it is the emotion of the that certainly gets us, but we can’t rely on the officials.”

On T Chris Hubbard sharing on social media that season-ending surgery was ahead:

“He gets surgery. It is a big loss. He is a guy who played for us last season, played and gave us some good reps at tackle and at guard. You know how I feel about him as a person. We are going to miss having him in the lineup both as a player and just as he is rehabbing, going to make sure that he is as close to the team so we can make sure that his presence is around, particularly some of the young guys on the offensive line.”

On if the Browns expect CB Greg Newsome II and T Jedrick Wills Jr. back this week:

“I do not know yet. After today with their workouts and as we get into Wednesday seeing them move around, I will know better. It is hard for me to say it today.”

On DE Myles Garrett’s status and if the Browns initially expected DE Jadeveon Clowney to play last Sunday:

“Myles, I think we will see. Obviously, he is sore, but we will see as the week goes on. With Jadeveon, he had the elbow injury throughout the week, and then through pregame, his knee got sore. That is really what held him out of the game.”

On how to slow down an offense like the Chargers after gaining momentum in the fourth quarter:

“I think you just have to find a way to make a play. There were individual efforts that they made great plays on, but bottom line, it comes down to getting a stop – something I think we have done well the previous two weeks. We did not do it yesterday, and that is where we have to look at it from all angles, and again, just find a way. On these Sundays, we have to find a way to win, whatever it takes.”

RB Kareem Hunt

On how to process a tough loss like yesterday when the team led for most of the game but ultimately lost:

“We just have to come in and learn from our mistakes during that game. Come and get better this week to make that not happen again.”

On the Browns calling draw plays to him on third-and-long:

“He believes we still can make something happen. I do not really care what is called. I just try to make it work to the best of my ability. If he calls a pass, I am going to do my job the best I can. If he calls a run, I am going to do everything in my power to get the first down.”

On his mindset and confidence when a draw play was called on third-and-nine yesterday, given he has broken long runs in those situations in the past:

“Yeah, for sure. There is no doubt in my mind. I always feel like if it is third-and-nine, I know where the sticks are. It is in the back of my mind when I run the ball. I do everything I can to get there.”

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski saying in hindsight he wished he called a different play on the third-and-nine:

“He is the coach so I understand whatever he calls in the moment. If it had worked, it would have been a great job, but it did not.”

On if officiating and potentially missed calls are in the back of his mind during a game and if it is frustrating when that occurs:

“Yeah, it is tough. Sometimes they just have to let us play. Some big calls during that game. It is what it is. We still should have found a way to win that football game. I do not necessarily just put it all on that.”

On if it is fun to play in a back-and-forth high-scoring game like yesterday’s contest:

“I would not say it is fun (laughter), but it is definitely intense. At the end of the day, it is like who wants it more, and we know we have to keep putting up points to win, but you never want to see them keep putting up points right with us.”

DT Malik Jackson

On if losses like yesterday are any easier to swallow:

“No, it is actually kind of harder. Especially when the offense goes out there and do what they do, we just need a few stops. A lot of the film we watched today, we just defeated ourselves, and that is kind of hard to swallow. No, it does not make it easier.”

On his message to some younger Browns teammates who may not have yet experienced losing a tough game that the team had an opportunity to put away:

“It is just what (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski said, just stay together and understand that we win together and we lose together. It is up to us just to really go out there, change the things we need to change and be better. Stay together.”

On if not having all of the Browns defensive players together for a significant period of time factored into miscommunication at times yesterday:

“No, I just think it is just things that we just have to be crisper. We have to be on the same page. I think that is all it is. I think when guys go down for a second and guys need to step up and we need to be on the same page and understand. It is like if one guy goes down, it is like nothing happened when the next guy steps up. I think it is just being on the same page and doing what we did Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and getting the job done.”

On his mindset in the fourth quarter when the Chargers offense had a lot of momentum:

“It was just get a stop. We would do good on first down, get them to second-and-long and then stop them on third down, and they go for it on fourth down, and we could not stop them. Definitely playing four-down football, and I think that is the thing is that we could not get off the field on fourth down.”

On how to regroup from a tough call by the officials and not allowing it to affect the next play:

“Watching the film, there were a lot of opportunities we left on the field from just running games the right way and making little tweaks here and there to really combat what they were doing. Of course, it would be easy to blame the refs, but I think it is us. We look in the mirror, and it is us missing opportunities and not doing the little things to get to the big reward, which is getting off the field.”

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