Kevin Stefanski Spoke to the Media Today 11/1/21

Opening statement:

“Injury front, like we mentioned, (T) Jack (Conklin) has a dislocated elbow. He is in the multiple weeks we will be without him. (S) John Johnson (III), I would say is day to day with that neck sprain. Like I told you guys last evening, really disappointed and frustrated. We did not do enough of the things you have to do to win a game versus a division opponent. We have to own that, and we are owning that. Then we have to learn from it and then we have to move on from it. That is what today is really important with our players that we dive into it and see some areas where we can improve.”

On if Conklin will be placed on injured reserve or if the elbow injury will potentially require surgery:

“I am not entirely sure yet. We will see on that decision.”

On identifying how to produce more points and explosive plays from the Browns offense:

“You are right, we did not score enough points yesterday. We have not scored enough points the last few weeks like you mentioned. We have to look at it. We have to find ways to be explosive with the ball – run game and pass game. We have to stay on the field and convert on third downs. When new get down in the red zone, we have to convert those into points. There are a bunch of plays – like there are every week – that we all wish we had back. We have to make sure that we capitalize on them because in order to score those points, we have to make some big plays in the run and the pass.”

On QB Baker Mayfield’s performance yesterday and what led to struggles in the pass game:

“We just missed some opportunities is probably the easiest way of putting it. That is where I need to do a better job. I have to put guys in position to go make a play. The guys will tell you, when there are plays that they want to make them. There were some drops yesterday. That is uncharacteristic. We have to make those plays, and there are plays when I know I can do a better job. We have to take care of it, we have to address it and we have to practice it, but we absolutely have to be better.”

On WR Odell Beckham, Jr. only having two targets yesterday and how to get more production with Beckham:

“I would tell you first and foremost, I need to do a better job. I really do. I need to make sure that I put him in position to make some plays, and I did not do a good enough job certainly yesterday. Having said that, he gets a lot of attention from the defense. There were a bunch of plays where the safety is cheating to him, and that opens up opportunities for other guys. I think of an early third down that we had where the post safety stayed to the boundary side because he was cheating towards Odell, and we hit a big play to (WR) Jarvis (Landry). His effect on our offense is there, but I do need to do a better job of making sure that the ball makes its way into his hands.”

On if he believes Beckham is still a dynamic player despite sustaining injuries the past year-plus:

“I do. Yeah, I do based off of what I see from him each week. Again, I just think he can affect the game. That is where I am really making sure that myself and coaches we have to put him in position to make some plays.”

On the incompletion to Beckham in the fourth quarter:

“The ball was not really designed to go there necessarily. They played a coverage I was not anticipating, and we just did not connect on that. That would have been a difficult catch.”

On if there is confidence Conklin will be able to return this season:

“It is a significant injury, but I do expect him back this season.”

On if the Browns have had to adjust the offensive gameplan related to roll outs and play action to help further protect Mayfield and the left, non-throwing shoulder injury:

“No, not in that game. They played very, very wide in their attack so they are going to take away some of those boots, rollouts and keepers. No, we will not do those because of Baker in any way.”

On if the team has remained as focused and showed as much attention to detail as last season:

“Yeah, I do. I would not attribute the drops or some of those operational errors to preparation in any way being affected like you mentioned. I just think we have to do a better job. We had games at home I can think of last year in some tough weather when we had some drops, but we have to clean those up.”

On if Beckham ‘does not fit right now with the offense’ since Beckham has not regularly put up big numbers during his time with the Browns, despite comments that he as a coach needs to do a better job and Beckham is impacting opposing defenses:

“No, I think you are not going to like to hear it, but I need to do a better job. We scored 10 points so I certainly have to do a better job there.”

On if G Blake Hance will be the starting RT while Conklin is injured:


On if the Browns will look to add depth on the OL due to injuries, including potentially through a trade with the upcoming trade deadline:

“I think you know (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and his personnel staff are always looking at all of those type of things, but I can’t comment on anything that they may do.”

On if RB Nick Chubb looked ‘rusty’ yesterday after missing two games with a calf injury:

“I think he is healthy. Like anybody working back from an injury… I guess nobody is 100 percent – the first day of training camp, everyone is 100 percent – but I think he is healthy and then I think he will just keep getting better each week.”

On Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy saying DT Jordan Elliott’s hit on Steelers K Chris Boswell should have been a roughing the passer penalty:

“I am going to let Coach Dungy’s words… I will let him speak for himself.”

On if the Browns will have CB Denzel Ward available for the Bengals game:

“I am hoping that we will, but I will have a better feel for that come Wednesday.”

On what the Steelers did to limit Chubb and Browns running game:

“They did a nice job. We talked about that yesterday. The first thing is you have to give credit to their defense. That is a physical front. They have some really, really good players along that front, and they did a nice job against our running game a lot of times knocking us back. We won our fair share. They definitely were physical at the point of attack, and we just have to find ways to run the ball versus a tough front. We have gone up against some tough fronts this season. Again, credit to them.”

On if there was anything unusual or surprising about what the Steelers defensive front did yesterday against the Browns running game:

“Not really. They played their defense. They played their base front. They played their nickel front. They pressured some, but they did a good job. I have to find ways to make sure we can be explosive in our run game, and we did not do it enough yesterday.”

On the biggest area where the Browns can make improvements:

“For us, we have to make the most of our opportunities. I have seen it from this group. I have seen some really good moments from this group. I know what we are capable of. We have not done it consistently enough, and that is going to be the charge going into another division game is we have to find ways to score some points. Again, there is never one answer to all of it. It is certainly schematic things we can do. There are certainly plays that the guys can make. We will just make sure that we are pulling this thing apart and make sure that we have a plan this week that they can go play fast.”

On the Browns defense’s performance the past few weeks with the main goal of playing complementary football:

“Obviously, to hold a team to 15 points is a good outing but really not good enough is what I would tell you. That is what I told the players. None of us did enough. When you do not win, it is always a question of ‘what more could I have done?’ While we were good in moments, we have to take the ball away. We did not do that yesterday. We have to find a way on some of those drives to get off of the field.”

On if the Browns could take advantage of throwing more against an opponent that is looking to take away the run while understanding the Browns also want to be able to run against those fronts:

“When the opportunities are there in the run actions or the play actions off of the run, we have to make those count. Then when you get in the game, Nick has proven to be pretty good in the fourth quarter. If we can run the ball in tough situations, that is what we have done in the past. We did not get it done yesterday, but we will see each game is going to call for its own game. The bottom line is when you get in those moments, whether you are running it or throwing it, you have to find a way to get in the end zone.”

On if the Browns offense needs to take more shots downfield:

“I think a lot of what we are doing, off of those play actions in particular, you are looking to push the ball down the field. Sometimes those opportunities are there. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes it is the second read is covered and you come down to a check-down or what have you, but we are certainly looking for opportunities to push the ball down the field.”

On evaluating opportunities to push the ball down the field vertically, particularly early in the game:

“For a lot of our pass game, we do want to push the ball down the field. You also want to get completions versus zone, and you do not want to ask too much of protection. Versus a good front, there were times where we were trying to get the ball out quickly. That is not to say that every play is going to be getting the ball out quickly. There are some slower-developing opportunities to hit some shots down the field. Those are the ones we are going to work real hard on and find ways to get that done.”

On what has been different with the Browns offense the past four weeks compared to the first four weeks:

“The obvious answer is you have to score points. I think it is probably worth looking at all of it and pulling it apart. The simple way to score points is to stay on the field on third down, and then we have to make sure that we are explosive in the pass game.”

On if Mayfield had ‘happy feet’ in the pocket and if that led to some higher passes and if the injury was a factor to that:

“I thought there were a couple of plays and throws that I am sure he wants back – that is every quarterback every game – but we will always coach him up on every play on what he can do better.”

On specifics on to how he can do a better, including calling better plays, using different formations or collaborating more with coaches:

“All of the above. As we design plays, we have to give the quarterback some easy ones. We have to call them at the appropriate time. We have to do all of it better. That is where (offensive coordinator) Alex (Van Pelt) and the offensive staff we work together really, really hard. We work hard on these type of things. I can promise you this afternoon it is going to be more of that and find ways that we can be explosive.”

On if the Browns offense has to take into play getting the ball to players who have a ‘hot hand’ or had strong performances recently, referencing TE David Njoku and RB D’Ernest Johnson, respectively:

“Yes, I think it is all of that, and I just think with our players in particular, that is where again it is my job and it is our job as an offensive staff to put those guys in positions to succeed. Whether it is David, whether it is D’Ernest or whomever it may be, we have to make sure that we put them in position to succeed.”

On the Browns not producing as many points in the fourth quarter during the team’s losses:

“It is frustrating anytime you do not win. We have to finish. We have to close games. The games in this NFL are going to be tight. We understand that. We have to find a way to finish. We did not get it done yesterday, which is disappointing. We have opportunities where I have to come through for the players, and we have to make a play in certain situations, but it is absolutely part of what we are charged with moving forward is making a play in those fourth quarters and putting a game away on offense.”

On Landry’s career production and if yesterday’s game was a ‘blip on the screen’ for Landry or if the injury played a factor:

“I do not think Jarvis would say that the injury caused the drops or the fumble. He is a battler. He is fighting through that, and we are counting on him. I think you guys know that, and he knows that. He is going to continue to fight.”

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