Kevin Stefanski Spoke to the Media Today 1/7/22

Opening statement:

“Just wrapping up the work week here on our Friday. Good tempo in there inside. I thought the guys worked really hard. Now, we will kind of move our preparations into the weekend. I am excited to get in front of our fans for one last time. I think the weather is going to be maybe wet and windy. We are excited to get down there.”

On Browns players listed as questionable on today’s injury report and the potential for them to play on Sunday:

“Some are close. They are not all exactly the same. We want to use the next couple of days to see where they get to before making a determination.”

On how difficult the past week has been knowing this is the last game of the year and that the team did not reach the postseason:

“Like you said, we have pros. There is no doubt that there is disappointment and frustration based on where we are, but as pros, we know that we have a job to do. We know that we have a game on Sunday versus the division champs. We get to play in front of our home fans. Another opportunity to compete. I do think the guys understand that part of it.”

On if any Browns players who are not listed on the injury report may not play due to rest, including RB Nick Chubb:

“Again, we will kind of make those determinations as we get through the weekend, but I would expect if guys can play, they will play.”

On DE Myles Garrett saying he has made multiple pitches to DE Jadeveon Clowney to return to Cleveland next season and what led to the DE duo’s performance this season, in addition to their athleticism:

“Those two guys, and I would really include the entire defensive line when talking about them, great camaraderie amongst that group. (DT) Malik Jackson is right in the middle of that. I just think that group really practiced hard, just watching that group go through their individual [drills], the amount of energy and effort that they use out there on the practice field, and they play hard during the game. Myles and Jadeveon, how they play, how they pressure the quarterback, attack the run and those type of things are very indicative of the entire position group.”

On how he has seen Garrett develop as a leader this season:

“I have known Myles for two years so I can only speak on these last two seasons. I see a professional who works hard at his craft, plays very hard and takes on a leadership role and a vocal role when necessary and in his own way – I think that is probably the most important part with leadership is being genuine and being who you are. I think that is what we are getting with Myles. You want to get the best version of each of these players.”

On Garrett saying he is ‘not afraid to kick somebody in the butt if he sees somebody doing something wrong’ and if he has noticed that from Garrett this season:

“I think if you look like he does, you are not afraid to kick anybody in the butt (laughter).”

On how his relationship with QB Baker Mayfield is different now compared to last year, referencing recent media reports:

“I would say it is no different. A good relationship.”

On if the Browns have discussion about the number of snaps for certain players in this week’s game, specifically Chubb, while understanding the team’s main goal is to win the game:

“Yes, certainly, understanding all of the variables at play here, we talk about each one of our players and how we are going to utilize them. I do think it is important, and Nick is an example of a guy who is pushing to play. All of the guys, they want to play, they want to go compete and they want to go win. I think that is important to have.”

On RB D’Ernest Johnson’s performance this season:

“I have said this a bunch of times about D’Ernest, he is very dependable. He does his job when called upon. There have been games where he has had to start. There have been games when he has been a backup and thrust into a bigger role. There are games where he has to play special teams. He is just dependable in all of those roles.”

On if it is significant for T Jedrick Wills Jr. to be able to finish this season with a strong game on Sunday, given Wills has missed time during the 2021 season:

“I really feel that way for all of us, for the entire roster and all of us in the organization, I think it is important to go out there, perform and win. Jed in particular, he did have early in the season some unlucky moments with injuries and obviously was out, but he is a young player. He is a young player who is constantly getting better. You know he works. With (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan and (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters, they put him through the paces, and I think he is a young player who is only going to keep getting better with really solid work.”

On how Clowney was able to take advantage of opposing offenses giving extra attention to Garrett:

“I think it does work both ways. You can. It is hard as an offense to give attention to multiple players. You have to make some decisions in terms of how you are going to do that, whether you are sliding a line one way each time or you are putting a tight end or a running back over on this side each time. The more guys who you have on defense who get the offense’s attention certainly plays to the advantage of those players.”

On how WR Jarvis Landry has been in the building and on the field as a leader in recent weeks:

“I was asked that the other day. He has been great. He really has been the same guy who walks into the building each day, works hard, provides leadership, plays hard and all of the above. Certainly, somebody who we value.”

On TE David Njoku’s development this season and how Njoku fits what the Browns want to do at TE:

“David is a guy over the course of the last couple of seasons who has shown great growth as a player and as a person. The way he is playing on the field and the things that we are asking him to do, I think he is doing a really nice job. I think the tape speaks for itself. He has grown as a professional. He is still a young man so he is continuing to grow as a person, as well. I am really pleased with where he is, and I want him to finish strong.”

On if the Browns will give younger players an opportunity to showcase their abilities with the goal of getting a better opportunity to evaluate them while winning remains the top priority, using the comparison to many college teams’ approach in bowl games:

“Again, I would tell you there are a lot of variables there, like you mentioned. Certainly, we want to make sure that we are going to win the game first and foremost – that is always going to be our goal anytime they are keeping score – and then we do want to be smart about guys who are out there, who we need to see and all of those type of things. It varies across the position groups, but nothing comes before going to get a win.”

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