Browns HC Kevin Stefanski Proud After a Gutty Performance

Opening statement:

“On the injury front, (CB) Denzel (Ward) has a hamstring injury, and (WR) Donovan (Peoples-Jones) has a groin injury. We will see how those guys progress here over the next week or so. I can’t tell you about their availability for next week. We have to see how it goes over the next week.

“Watching the tape, I do not feel much different than I did last night. It was a gutty performance by a bunch of guys. I am proud of how they fought. They played complementary football and came away with a win. Now, everybody gets a little mini-bye here as you do after these Thursday night games, go for the fresh and then come back for a big one next week.”

On if resting QB Baker Mayfield for another week would make a difference to benefit Mayfield:

“I do not know the exact answer to that. I would just tell you we are going to continue to listen to the medical staff on this. When he is ready, he is ready.”

On the impact of G Joel Bitonio, G Wyatt Teller and C JC Tretter as the Browns have sustained injuries to the OL:

“Those guys three in particular… It is hard to single guys out on the offensive line; you get find for doing that. That group has to play as one – all five guys – and when you have the three guys inside who play a very physical brand of football, it makes a big deal. Some of these fronts that we play, quite honestly, there are some big people up front, especially last night. A bunch of these under front teams and odd front teams, there are some really stout fronts that we are facing. To have a physical group, and then ultimately, with (T) Jed (Wills Jr.) and (G) Blake (Hance) last night, those guys really played as one, all five of them. Jed in particular has not practiced and was not perfect, but he is another example of a guy who he wanted to be out there with his teammates. Blake playing left tackle and playing right tackle just performs and does his job.”

On attributing WR Odell Beckham Jr. having an uncharacteristic first half to battling through pain:

“Yeah, I think so. I do not see him drop very many balls in practice or games. He fought very, very hard to make it to that game. He went through pregame warmup. Felt comfortable putting him out there. He made some plays for us. He made some plays for us in the second half. He is hard on himself. He does not ever expect to have a ball on the ground.”

On Wills’ performance last night and Wills finishing the game:

“It was good to see him back out there really. He has not practiced very much, and really in a short week, no one practices so it was not perfect and it was not clean, but again, to have him back out there, he is a factor in the run game and he did a nice job in the pass game. The nice part now is he gets back to practice, he is starting to feel healthy and we can start to continue to improve.”

On if the Browns can use the mini-bye following the Thursday night game to make improvements, similar to what the team was able to do last season during the bye week:

“Yeah, I think we can. With how late our real bye is, you do have to use this as a point where you look at yourself so we are doing some of that right now as a coaching staff. What can we learn after a seven game sample? Ultimately, you have five more games until that real bye hits. We want to make sure that we pull this thing apart as much as we can because I think the sample size is decent at seven games and find out areas that we need to improve. Identify the areas we need to improve, really look at them and see how we can do that.”

On RB Nick Chubb’s and T Jack Conklin’s status for the Steelers game:

“I will wait until next week to give you a better feel, but I am hopeful.”

On if Beckham falling on his shoulder early in the game affected him negatively and may keep Beckham out for a period of time:

“It affected him negatively because it hurt, but he fought through it and made some plays for us so I do anticipate that he will come out of this thing.”

On Browns players being able to remain ready to contribute when their number is called upon:

“It is the oldest cliché there is – next man up. It is easy to say, but we put a major focus on staying ready. What that means to me is in the course of your work week and in the course of the meeting rooms, the walkthroughs and the practice reps that you make sure you are getting yourself ready to play, even if you are a backup. We have seen so many times where a guy goes down in pregame warmups or a guy goes down early in the game, and you are thrust into a role where you got no real live reps during the game, and that is not an excuse not to do your job. I think the guys do a great job of taking those mental reps, learning from reps that maybe they did not get, learning lessons and refining your game to get ready to play.”

On if there is a specific point of emphasis by the Browns coaches to ensure all players are ready when called upon, given the players typically get the credit for it:

“Certainly, the players get the credit, but I thought the coaches this past week were outstanding. Again, I do not want to single guys out, but I would tell you (pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O’Shea in particular with the moving parts at that position and Donovan going down, I thought he was outstanding getting those guys ready to play. I think the coaches on a short week put together a great plan and really made sure that their guys were ready to go.”

On Hance’s ability to play and contribute at multiple positions on the OL:

“I think he has shown that he is a tough, smart football player. If you think back to the preseason, he is playing some center, playing some guard, throw him out there at left tackle and throw him our there at right tackle. There is such great, great value in versatility. Blake really fits what we do. He fits who we are. He is really trying to get better every single day.”

On the Browns defense’s performance yesterday, including S John Johnson III’s interception in the first half:

“I thought the guys really played well. We gave up two drives in the second half, which we will definitely correct those type of things. I thought rush and coverage were good. I thought the guys were winning on first and second down and putting them in some longer third-and-to-go distances. The guys were sound in their assignments, and then when we had to rally, we made tackles short of the sticks. Obviously, you would love to do that every single time, but I thought the guys really executed the defense well last night.”

On the team’s comfort level with Keenum potentially playing more due to the uncertainty of Mayfield’s availability with the shoulder injury:

“The expectations for our positions do not change regardless of who is in there. We have expectations for the quarterback and how they play, and I thought Case played well last night. He made good decisions. He spread the ball around and took care of the football. Really across the board, when D’Ernest is in there, we expect D’Ernest to do his job. Whomever it is that is in the starting lineup, we really expect them to do their job.”

On DE Myles Garrett continuing to produce sacks and pressure despite additional attention from opponents, including potential being impacted by penalties that may not be called:

“Myles is going to get a ton of attention. I promise you, every Monday the opposing coaches are talking about how to stop him. They are going to chip him. They are going to slide to him. In the course of the game, I understand how it is going to go. We will deal with those things internally. Myles is going to get attention.”

On if the Browns were surprised by the nature and timing of the report yesterday regarding Mayfield’s injury:


On Johnson making the interception yesterday after being eager to make a big play for Browns defense:

“That was outstanding. We were plus-one in the turnover margin. We are really focusing on getting those takeaways any which way we can. He has great ball skills. He made a nice play. The quarterback read it as quarters [coverage]. He sunk back and made a great play on the ball.”

On if the Browns planned to split reps at FS between Ss Grant Delpit and Ronnie Harrison Jr.:

“Just the normal plan to rotate the guys in.”

On clarifying Mayfield took all of the Browns first-team reps at practice on Tuesday and the team was aware about the status of Mayfield’s shoulder:


On if Mayfield will be able to practice Monday and how the team will approach preparations prior to hosting the Steelers on Halloween:

“I do not know. I have to get to Monday to see how all of these guys are doing and how they are doing in their rehab before we concern ourselves with Monday or Halloween, as you put it.”

On if the Browns are hopeful Mayfield will be available next week against the Steelers, given Mayfield has shared he feels like he can play:

“We have been very consistent and our medical team with Baker on this injury, and I will continue to listen to the medical staff in terms of when Baker is ready to go.”

On evaluating some of the missed deep throws on film:

“We did not throw a great ball to Schwartzy (WR Anthony Schwartz), but I think Case was concerned about that half-field post player. By and large, he processed, and he got the ball out of his hands. We really wanted to share the rock in that game so 10 guys touched it, which I thought was really important. He has plenty that he did well and plenty that he can do better.”

On what stood out about Keenum’s run to convert the fourth down:

“He was not going to be denied. He is not necessarily known for that type of move there. To break two tackles to get the first, that was just a great, great individual effort.”

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