Kevin Stefanski Speaks On Browns 29-17 Win Against Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Kevin Stefanski of the Cleveland Browns looks on during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 22, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio.Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Opening statement:

“Obviously, a quick sleep there. Just watched the tape this morning with the coaches. Feel very similar to how I felt last night. Proud of the guys. Good team win. I don’t have a ton of updates yet on the injuries. We are awaiting some MRI results.”

On if more information is available on the status of LB Anthony Walker Jr. following last night’s injury:

“I don’t have the final MRI results just yet.”

On how QB Jacoby Brissett’s poise and composure benefited the team following the loss to the NY Jets last week and the quick turnaround on the short week ahead of the win against the Steelers:

“I think you guys know Jacoby, know how he operates, how he carries himself and those types of things. I think that does have an impact on your football team when your quarterback is like that. I would also tell you we have a bunch of leaders on this team. We met. We talked like we always do every single week. I think those guys understand the role they play with our team and setting the direction.”

On if Brissett has exceeded the team’s expectations, understanding the confidence the team has expressed since acquiring Brissett:

“I wouldn’t characterize it [that way]. I would just tell you what I see in the games is what I see in practice.”

On Director of Football Communications Dan Murphy sharing the note that the Browns’ 572 rushing yards is the team’s most through the first three games of a season since 1958 and why the team’s rushing attack has been so successful:

“Nice job by Dan there. I think it is a combination of a couple of things. We have good players. I think we have good scheme. We are going to run into some really tough defenses. We get that. We get that it is not going to be clean early at times but just going to keep plugging away.”

On what the Steelers offense did to try to minimize DE Myles Garrett’s impact, given Garrett does not play many games without recording a sack:

“A lot, and that is what you can expect. Teams will wait to see where he lines up, and they are going to move the tight end to his side, they are going to send the line his way and they are going to send the back his way. That is just the nature of how teams are going to try to defend us. It opens up opportunities for guys. There are things that we did last night and things that we will continue to do as ways to try and free him up. It is no secret.”

On how Garrett responds to opponents doing so much to try to minimize Garrett’s impact, given that could be frustrating for a player:

“I think you control what you can control. Premier rushers get that type of attention. I think of (Bills LB) Von Miller when we played him a couple of years back. You are going to make sure you have somebody chipping him every play. It is just what teams do.”

On adjustments made by the Browns defense in the second half:

“A couple of things. Obviously, players did a nice job in the second half executing what we were asking them to do. They made a few plays in the first half, and we got them cleaned up, made a few adjustments in terms of how we were defending certain types of plays and those type of things. Natural course of adjustments in an NFL game.”

On if the Browns will submit tape to the NFL on the play Walker sustained the injury, given a Steelers player jumped on Walker while not moving on the ground, as well as that no penalty was called for that action:

“I will let the league handle those things.”

On if the Browns defense huddling more was directed by the players or coaches and if it will remain in place moving forward:

“You are supposed to huddle every play except for when they are on the ball. It is very important to do, especially when you are at home when our crowd is as loud as it is you have to make sure that you are huddled.”

On how he would grade his first three games as a play caller this season:

“Don’t know.”

On if there is a concern Walker sustained a long-term injury, understanding the team does not yet have the MRI results:

“When you see obviously the attention on the field, it obviously didn’t look good. I think that is obvious. We are hoping against hope for Anthony. Talked to him last night. He is a huge, huge, huge part of our football team, what he brings to us on the field and off the field. We will see what the MRI holds, but past that, I will just wait to see.”

On how the Browns will adjust if Walker misses time, including given that Walker was the defensive player with the green-dot helmet communication system:

“It does give me the opportunity to talk about (LB) Jacob (Phillips) and how he played last night, which I thought he was outstanding. Jacob would be our green dot moving forward. He does a nice job of communicating. The two plays he made late in the game with the blitz and the sack and then the PBU were outstanding. I was proud of Jacob because you wish you could put 12 guys out there for the defense. We listed him as a starter with Anthony early because those guys I really think they are both capable of starting. Now with Anthony out likely, Jacob goes in there, and we have a ton of confidence in him. He plays like he plays last night, I think he can really affect the game.”

On Brissett and WR Amari Cooper being trustworthy players and the duo establishing chemistry early in the season:

“I think they are demonstrating it. I think you are seeing it in games. That is a product of a lot of work. I know you guys leave after individual period [of practice], but I can promise you, they get a ton of work off to the side, both during an offensive period and when it is special teams, they are over there and Amari is running full-speed routes. That is a product of hard work with those guys.”

On DE Alex Wright’s performance last night starting as a rookie:

“He did a nice job. He made some plays. He is a rookie so there are some things of course – everything is new to him as you can imagine – but very pleased with the direction he is heading.”

On the toughness the Browns offense showed against the Steelers defense last night:

“The first thing I will tell you is that is a very good defense. It is a very physical defense. We knew we were going to have to play a physical football game for 60 minutes. It is AFC North football at its finest. They are a very, very stout front. We knew it was not going to be easy and was going to be tough sledding throughout, but I thought it was a heavyweight fight in that regard.”

On using OL players like G Michael Dunn at TE and if the Browns may explore doing more of it moving forward:

“Sure. I think we have done a lot of it throughout the course of this season so far. There are other things we can do, but yes, we can continue to grow those type of things.”

On continuing to emphasize takeaways:

“We had one there at the end, but we do want to take the ball away. It is part of who we are. It is the first thing we talk about as a defense. We have not had them in bunches. We are always looking to get them in bunches. That will continue to be something we talk about and we practice forever and for always.”

On T Jack Conklin’s performance in the first start of the season after last year’s season-ending injury:

“I thought Jack was really good. It was great to see him back out there. He battled, was physical, good in the run game and good in the pass game.”

On how S Ronnie Harrison Jr.’s pregame injury impacted the Browns defense’s personnel and gameplan last night:

“We use Ronnie a lot so that was tough when after the inactives are in to have an injury. You have to adjust. That is where I would say credit to the defensive staff for adjusting and credit to the players for adjusting.”

On jokingly if he is inferring that media members will now be able to stay at practice following the individual period:

“PJB (Senior Vice President of Communications Peter John-Baptiste) is the one who kicks you out, not me (laughter).”

On if it has been easier for him as his career has progressed to put tough losses like last week’s to the NY Jets behind him and immediately move on to the next opponent:

“I don’t know. It is just you do have to. You have to move on in these games. I know we are all living and dying wins and losses, but I have said it before, you can’t let a previous week bleed into the next week, and I am not going to let it happen next week. Win, lose or draw, we are moving on to whoever we are playing next.”

On how the timing of the mini-bye week following the Thursday night game and the bye week impacts the Browns:

“You are always interested when the schedule comes out where is the Thursday night game and where is your bye week. It is a mini-bye in a lot of ways. Hopefully, these 10 days, we get to get guys healed up and recharge for a second. On the front end [of the Thursday night game], you have to play. I mentioned it last night, there are so many guys who pushed to make it to that game, which I am really proud of them. Then they earned the time off on the other side.”

On what Browns coaches will do this weekend following the Thursday night game:

“We will get a little bit of a break here, but it does give you an opportunity to do a little three-game study of yourself and then do some work on Atlanta.”


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