Kevin Stefanski On Texans Gameplan And Integrating Watson

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 31: Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns looks on during the first half of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 31, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio.Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

Opening statement:

“Good finish to Friday in there. Got some really good work done offense, defense and special teams. Heading down tomorrow to Houston. Have on thing in mind: getting a victory. Really have to play good football on all three sides of the ball to do that. Really excited about going down there as a team and putting our best foot forward.”

On when TE David Njoku, who was ruled out of Sunday’s game, sustained the knee injury:

“Late in the last ball game.”

On if Njoku was close to being available for this week’s game:

“He wasn’t able to practice this week so it makes it hard when you can’t. If he was able to go today, then you say he has a chance but wasn’t able to go today.”

On how QB Deshaun Watson looked in practice this week and if Watson reached the desired benchmarks in practice this week:

“Like the rest of our team, he just has to do his job. When you are out at practice, everybody has a job to do, and you have to do your job.”

On how CB Greg Newsome II performed in practice this week after returning from the concussion:

“As you know, it is always good to have Greg out there. Those injuries are tough and to be without him is tough, but guys stepped up. He is a good football player – good in coverage and physical in the run game, and he is ball aware. We are excited to have him.”

On how the Browns have helped Watson shake off rust this week in practice after not playing in a regular season game in nearly two years:

“I think you just have to trust in your preparation and trust in what you do in the meeting room, individual period and all of the practice reps you get. I think that is really where you have to keep your focus.”

On Watson not facing contact in nearly two years and not being able to replicate it in practice:

“He has played a lot of football in his life. It is part of the game. I don’t think it is something that concerns him, per se. He has his job to do.”

On Browns skill players getting acclimated to Watson’s style and passes:

“All of the reps in the spring matter, and then when you get back out here with your teammates and you are able to throw before practice, during practice and after practice, all of those things are important for both sides, both Deshaun in this case and any his receivers. They have to work through his mechanics, his ball and all of those type of things.”

On CB Denzel Ward being listed on the injury report this week with a hamstring:

“Just some tightness.”

On the biggest challenges facing a Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith defense that plays a significant amount of Cover 2:

“I was with the Vikings for those years that Coach Smith was in Chicago. We still literally put on tape yesterday of him playing Cover 2 with some great, great players, really effective and physical corners, (former Bears CB ) Peanut Tillman out there and (former Bears LB) Brian Urlacher obviously in the middle. It is a really sound defense. It is run really well by Houston. You have corners that can be physical at the line of scrimmage. You have curl players that are visual on the quarterback and able to get hands on balls. Obviously, (Texans LB Christian) Kirksey is doing a great job patrolling the middle. It really makes the quarterback trust his reads. He has to make sure he is clear with what he is seeing, and like we talked about yesterday, it really does require precision from your pass game, and it requires precision from your wide receivers and your tight ends making sure that they are exactly where they need to be because this defense is predicated on being visual on the quarterback and trying to force the quarterback into a poor decision.”

On Watson’s and other personnel’s comments that the Browns offensive scheme is quarterback-driven, focuses on following rules in place and getting the ball into playmakers’ hands:

“I would say most schemes, yes, I hope. Again, it kind of goes back to he has to do his job. He knows what his job is, and he is excited to help this offense and help this team. With every quarterback and with Deshaun in particular, there are plays that are made off schedule – saw some last night. Those are the type of things that God-given ability takes over, as well.”

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