Kevin Stefanski Addresses Missed Chances In 23-20 Loss To Falcons

Cleveland Browns v Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 02: Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns looks on during pregame warmups before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Opening statement:

“Obviously, disappointed like we talked about yesterday. Frustrated. You work really hard to go down there and get a win as a team, and we don’t come away with that. There is always good – there are always things that you want to continue to do, some individual performances and those type of things – but we have to really look at it and look at ways that we can go get that win and offense, defense and special teams and players and coaches all of us find a way to go get that win. When you don’t do it, it is very, very frustrating. Having said that, we know where we are, and we know we have an AFC opponent coming to our place this week so we have to make sure that we learn from it and then move on.”

On why the Browns’ plays on fourth-and-3 from the ATL 4-yard line in the first quarter and second-and-1 from the ATL 1-yard line in the second quarter, which resulted in a holding penalty, were unsuccessful based on the defensive personnel and scheme:

“On some of these, I don’t want to get too far into the weeds and into the details other than to tell you that we didn’t come off exactly how we wanted to, and that is unfortunate. You get a first-and-1 down there, we absolutely obviously have to come away with seven points. Didn’t punch it in on first down. Passed it and got a hold which backs us up, which is really frustrating. I feel confident with some cracks at it from the 1 we are going to score a touchdown obviously. I think the overall point is it is players, it is coaches and it is all of us, we have to be better.”

On if the mindset to pass on second-and-1 from the ATL 1 with a jumbo formation including two additional OL is that the Falcons defense would be fully committed to stopping the run and the Browns could catch them off guard:

“When we get down there, you have a plan for goal line. They had not been in goal line this season so you are also waiting to see what their alignment and what their front is this season. Sometimes you are fortunate enough to scheme a guy open down there. When you don’t, you hope it is incomplete and then it is third-and-1 from the 1. Unfortunately, we had the holding penalty.”

On if DEs Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett will be able to play on Sunday:

“I think we need to get to Wednesday, kind of take in information as we go and see how those guys feel and see how they look. Until we get to Wednesday, I think it is probably premature.”

On a report that Garrett may be impacted by the shoulder injury for two to four weeks:

“I don’t know about that specific report. I would just tell you I want to get to Wednesday. I know he is feeling better so we will see where we are come Wednesday.”

On consulting with members of the Browns football analytics department and coaches for in-game decisions and if that person is providing data or the ultimate decision:

“We have a lot of coaches upstairs. For me in all of those decisions, it is 100 percent me making the decision. I take in information from our coaches and from our staff up in the booth and on the sideline, and then ultimately, you have to own them. When they don’t work, you are frustrated, but it is my decision. I understand what you are asking, but when we get down in those situations, I take in all of the information and I make a decision.”

On QB Jacoby Brissett throwing a high incomplete pass on fourth-and-3 from the ATL 4 in the first quarter:

“He was trying to throw a high ball to (TE) Dave (Njoku), and the ball got away from him. Listen, plays I want back and plays he wants back – that is the nature of this game.”

On the Falcons having success running the ball on more than 10 consecutive plays in the second half:

“They committed to the run there on that drive and in the second half. It is never one thing. We played hard. There were times that we executed really well, and there were times that if it is one guy here or there. Certainly, we want to put the guys in position to go make plays, but in those moments, you have to find a way to get them off the field. A lot of times, that can be pursuit related, that can be making sure that we are assignment sound and all of those things, but you have to find a way to get them off the field.”

On if the Browns have opportunities to get RB Kareem Hunt the ball more in the passing game, in addition to getting RB Nick Chubb the desired amount of touches:

“Absolutely. It is a balance. We have two guys – we have talked about it many, many times – we have 1A and 1B. I trust both of those guys. Sometimes it shakes out with different opportunities, but certainly, you want Kareem to touch the ball in the run and the pass.”

On if it is frustrating that the Falcons were able to successfully run the ball in the second half despite limiting production from some of Atlanta’s top players:

“I think the frustration is not winning. I think the frustration is to your point with limiting some of their really good players, which I thought the defense did a nice job, and then obviously we just had a couple of drives that we would like back. It is just the margins in this game are so small, and you are trying to take away multiple guys. There is really, really good effort out there. We just have to learn from the ones that we can clean up and the plays that we know we can finish or we can put the guys in position to make a play. We have to learn from those.”

On what led to the Falcons’ 42-yard completion in the fourth quarter and if it was the same issue of miscommunication from the NY Jets and Panthers games:

“I don’t want to get into the specifics, similar to what we were talking about earlier [regarding offensive personnel and scheme in the red zone]. Sometimes it is miscommunication. In this case, just didn’t play a technique how we want to. That is unfortunate. Those are the type of things where big plays can happen when we got out of a gap, we miss an assignment or whatever it is. The bottom line is we own this as a team. We own the wins as a team, we own the losses as a team and similarly, players and coaches there is plenty of stuff we can all clean up.”

On if there is a common theme that allowed the Falcons to score on a 10-play, 75-yard TD drive that only featured running plays and if the team considered calling a timeout on that series:

“No, I don’t think there was one common theme on that. No, didn’t think about calling a timeout just because those are so valuable potentially late in the game.”

On why the Browns were not as productive as usual with screen passes yesterday:

“That is part of the frustration for me. I have to put the guys in position. It felt like there were some opportunities there. Give them credit. They made plays. That is really the truth.”

On Hunt appearing set up for a TD on second-and-11 and if Brissett simply has to find a way to make the completion one way or another in that situation:

“Honestly, it is way easier said than done. I don’t want to beat something that is obvious. Yeah, we are trying to complete it to him, but these defenders are long so we couldn’t get it done on that play. That is easier said than done.”

On if Brissett should have thrown to a different player on the interception at the end of the game or if Brissett was pressing too hard to make a big play:

“Again, I am sure you guys will talk to Jacoby. I know it is a play he wants back. He is trying to make a play for this team, which we appreciate. He fights like crazy. We have seen him in the two-minute make some big throws for us to help us go win a game earlier this year. Just a tough play.”

On if the Browns have the opportunity to elevate WR Chester Rogers to the 53-man roster moving forward to help at PR:

“The roster is always fluid. You are always looking game to game who can help you. I think everything is possible, yes.”

On the Falcons OL pulling well on the long TD drive and takeaways for the Browns defense from the series:

“No. 1 to your point, I think you have to give them credit. They are a good run football team. We knew that going into it. They have some really good players. They run hard at the running back position. It is a good scheme. Having said that, there are certain plays that we can just do a little bit better job of staying in our gap or whatever it may be. Obviously, you can always look at the play call and say, ‘Could we have done this? Could we have done that?’ It is all of the above is really the truth.”

On if injuries on the Browns DL and the ability to rush the passer impacted other layers of the Browns defense yesterday:

“Listen, you want your players out there and all of those type of things, but we have a ton of confidence in the guys who were playing yesterday.”

On Chubb appearing to come open as a late option on the fourth-and-3 from the ATL 4-yard line in the first quarter:

“If you watch it, you can kind of see it unfold. I would give them credit. They made a play, and we will learn from it.”

On if he was satisfied with the number of Chubb received yesterday, as well as personnel decisions at RB on the final drive of the game:

“You are always in constant communication knowing how many touches Nick has, how many touches Kareem has and really all of our guys who we want to touch the ball. That is a constant dialogue throughout the game. When we are able to run the ball late in the game, obviously Nick and Kareem are the main cogs to that. In that situation with the two-minute drive being what it was, I was comfortable with the roles we had.”

On Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh electing to go for the TD late in the Ravens-Bills game yesterday and relating to decisions that are primarily evaluated from an external standpoint only based on whether or not they are successful, as well if too much external focus is being placed on the fourth-and-3 series in the first quarter:

“I can’t speak to what happened with Coach Harbaugh – I am not exactly sure. To your overall point, you really don’t know what plays in the game are going to have a huge effect. Sometimes it is early. Sometimes it is late. I want to put our guys in best position to succeed. When I don’t do that, you look at it and you certainly want to make sure that you are making all of the best decision for your guys. We will look at all of those type of things. At the end of the day, I think our team understands how we want to play – offense, defense and special teams how we want to play – game in and game out and just give our guys opportunities to succeed.”

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