Press Conference

Kevin Stefanski: 'We are going to evolve as need be throughout the season'

On CB Denzel Ward being added to the injury report yesterday and Ward's status for Sunday: 

"Yeah, we listed him as questionable and that is exactly what he is. Obviously, had something there with the groin. We have a few hours here to see how he does, and then we will make a determination before the game." 

On if he is hopeful that Ward will be able to play on Sunday: 

"Truly questionable. I do not know." 

On trust in WR KhaDarel Hodge as the third WR: 

"He does his job. He is always assignment sound, a great effort player, good speed and catches the balls as they come his way. He really fits our smart, tough type of football player that we are looking for from this team. His teammates really like him. He is the game captain this week, and I think the guys are excited about that." 

On CB Greedy Williams being listed as out this week and LB Mack Wilson being listed as questionable after both returned to practice this week: 

"We are just dealing with their injuries as they present themselves. I would not put them in the same boat. We kind of treat these injuries on a case-by-case basis." 

On if Wilson's status will be a game-time decision and what the team may want to see from Wilson between now and the game before making the final call: 

"I think we want to make sure we use all of the remaining hours before game time to make a prudent decision." 

On Hodge being named this week's game captain and how the decision is made each week: 

"It is just something we look at the roster, we look at the game and we are trying to just highlight the players. We have a ton of deserving guys, and I think what it speaks to is only one guy walks out there before the game and he embodies what we believe. I think KhaDarel has done a nice job. We had (LS) Charley (Hughlett) Week 1 and LO (DT Larry Ogunjobi) Week 2. Just have a different guy each week that kind of is you are who you send out there." 

On WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry embracing the team concept and their roles in the offense, despite decreased production than past seasons:  

"Obviously, it is about the team, but I will tell you, we are only two games in this thing. To say we are exactly what we are going to look like week in and week out, I do not think that is fair. I think this thing is growing really on all sides of the ball – offensively, defensively and special teams. We are going to evolve as need be throughout the season." 

On if he has several fun names for routes or plays, given he referenced one play or route as 'the Andy Dufresne' during a recent episode of Building the Browns: 

"I do, and I am not going to share them (laughter)." 

On CB Kevin Johnson returning to play for the first time this season: 

"Excited to have Kevin back. He has looked really good throughout the week, and then we just have to be mindful of this is his first football action. He has not played these last two games so we will monitor how he is doing, but he has had a nice week of practice." 

On how the matchup with Washington WR Terry McLaurin may be more challenging if Ward is unable to play: 

"We know what we are getting into. He is a dynamic football player. He is young, but he has a very, very bright future. We have to be about our business." 

On if Johnson has the ability to play inside and outside CB: 

"Yes." 

On CB Tavierre Thomas's performance at nickel CB: 

"He has done a nice job. He brings physicality to the position and does a nice job in the run game, on pressures and covering his guy. I am glad we have him because he is a versatile football player." 

On S Ronnie Harrison Jr.: 

"He has done a nice job. He is picking it up. Every day, it is getting a little bit clearer for him, but he does a nice job at practice and makes plays on the ball. He does a nice job in the special teams portions of practice and the game. We will be counting on him, and we will see how his role grows." 

On how impressed he has been with Browns players and other athletes across sports who have been at the forefront of the social justice movement: 

"I have been very impressed with our guys. We encourage them to be thoughtful, educate themselves and research, and then we encourage them to be about action. I think our guys have embodied that. I have been very impressed by them. They understand we have a job to do and we are doing our job, but they also know that they have a platform, and if they can affect positive change, they will do that."

Offensive line coach Bill Callahan:

On T Jedrick Wills Jr.'s progress so far this season: 

"We are just through the first two games, and both of these games that we have played have been a little different in the respect that we threw in a little bit more in Baltimore game, and against Cincinnati, we ran it, obviously. Yeah, he is progressing. I would not say it is perfect yet, but I think progress is more important than perfection right now. Incrementally, he is getting better with the techniques that were thrown at him. I think the main thing right now is the week-to-week adaptation versus the elite pass rushers in the league. You look at this week's challenge, that presents another set of techniques and obviously preparedness that you have to look at differently because all these rushers are different. It is a great challenge for Jedrick, as well as our team."  

On Washington's DL: 

"I think they are outstanding. I thought they were really good when I was there. You can see that the organization poured enormous resources into rebuilding the defensive line with the acquisition of (Washington DT) Jonathan Allen and (Washington LB Donald) Payne, and they took (Washington DE) Chase Young this year and (Washington DE) Montez Sweat a year ago. It has been an ongoing rebuilding project, so to speak, in that respect. You can see in the opening game against Philadelphia – I think everybody has watched their ability to rush the passer – it is different. There is more speed. There is more athleticism. The transition into the 4-3 has allowed them to really cut these guys loose, not only the edge players but the inside players, as well. It is kind of interesting. I have watched (Washington DT Matt) Ioannidis pass rush, Jonathan Allen pass rush and (Washington DT) Tim Settle, those guys are getting up the field. They are in their jet stances. By that, , their bases are narrow, their hips are up in the air, their head is down and they are like a racehorse coming out of the chute. Much different than a year ago or the last four years or five years, when I was in Washington, and they were in wide bases, wide stances and they were two-gap players. It is really difficult at times to transition into a pass rush coming out of a two-gap scheme. Much easier when you go into a 4-3 scheme. That transition has been really good for them. You can see the production that they have been able to create and the disruption that has been really productive for them. It lends itself to a really good challenge for us." 

On the difference Young's presence has made on the Washington DL: 

"I think all of them are different. It is interesting to watch them play because they put him in different spots. You won't always see Chase on the left side. You will see him on the right side or they will put him over the guard. The same thing with Sweat, they move him around. Then you add in (Washington DE Ryan) Kerrigan, and Kerrigan is all over the place. He was just a left side guy for them in years past. The last two game films that I have watched, they have Ryan Kerrigan over the left tackle. That is interesting. Their ability to rotate their depth, not only in and out of series or downs but also to try to create different mismatches across the board is what is really interesting to me. You can make a compelling argument that they kind of gameplan who they want to go up against based on what they think of your protectors. We are ready in terms of what we are going to see. We are anticipating that all of the rushers are going to be lined up on both our guards and our tackles so it just makes our preparation that more intense. We really have to be really, really well prepared for all the different types of moves that they present." 

On the changes that the Browns OL has to make when preparing for Washington: 

"Let us pick for instance a really long, lengthy type defensive then like you see in Montez Sweat, Kerrigan and also Chase Young. What you see is really exceptional length and levers in their arms. That creates the ability for them to be long-arm type players and rushers. When you long arm, going back to (Pro Football Hall of Fame DE) Jason Taylor when he was in Miami, when he created that long arm a long time ago, it presents issues because they can play from a distance and they can obviously play long. When they get that lever on your inside and your inside pec, they can create a push and all their moves come off of that particular move. That is something that type of player when they are drafted lends itself to that type of rush. Furthermore, their ability to transition out of the long arm into different rips, counters and things of that nature makes it really interesting. That is the athleticism that comes out in these players. It is nice to have a player like that who you can kind of chisel, groom and kind of fit to your techniques and add other things and other dimensions to their game. That is what I see in their players. I see their pass rush. (Washington defensive line coach) Sam Mills (III) is an excellent defensive line coach. We have gone up against him when he was in Carolina, and he presents the same type of issues. You can see the rapid growth in that defensive line in just a short period of time." 

On how smart Young has looked as a rookie, especially given the changes to the offseason, training camp and preseason: 

"It is remarkable. The thing that is pretty fascinating about him is that he carries himself so well in terms of his style of play and his ability to adjust and also to counter. That is where I think most young players, they don't have that repertoire of moves in their toolbox to throw at a pass protector. That is where I think he is really advanced. He has all the tricks and all the toolbox techniques that you want to have for a great defensive end. He is going to be great in our league, make no mistake about it. It is just interesting, comparatively speaking, I was talking to our guys about who he reminds them of, and a lot of the guys said (Titans DE) Jadeveon Clowney as a young pass rusher. That was interesting because he does kind of have that explosive element to his game and then he has the combination of his hands and explosiveness that can really create an effect. What really worries is his ability to edge and create that speed on the corner, and obviously, jar the ball loose from the quarterback when he is disconnecting the throw. That is always something that you have to emphasize as a protection coach is finishing the protection and riding out the pass protector, not only just up the field but over the top of the arc of the protection pocket." 

On how Wills has embraced the challenge of preparing for different pass rushers each week: 

"That is the nature of the National Football League. At that spot, I do not think you ever settle into left tackle because your challenges are dramatic week in and week out. Different types of rushers, you can have a speed-type rusher who is a little bit lighter and a lot of quickness or you can have a power rusher that you are faced up against. We will see that when Jonathan Allen and Ioannidis come over Jedrick's hat. You will see that matchup. Then you get the combination of the two, which is always challenging. Jed is going to have to adjust and adapt his strikes and his counters and find those windows of opportunity. When I say windows, when a pass rusher is moving up the field and his arms are moving, there is like fractional seconds where you can lay your punch and lay your hands and get your fit and get your handle so that you can control the rusher. That timing is different week in and week out. When that window opens, the ability to shoot your hands and get them inside to control the rusher becomes more important. Everybody has a different move and everybody has a different combination and a different window where you have to obviously time up your hands." 

On G Wyatt Teller: 

"He is getting better. He is a hard-working kid. He is really tuned into the game. He loves it. He loves the detail, the minutiae and all the finer aspects of offensive line play that you can't give him enough techniques. He has worked really hard with (assistant offensive line) Coach (Scott) Peters developing his pass-protection technique. You can see aspects of that show up in the game. We are still working on a lot of things with him, but we are really proud of his progress so far. He has not come close to where he can be. We have some great hopes for him to improve even more so. As we come into this weekend, that is going to be an interesting matchup to see who lines up over him. Will it be Ioannidis, Allen or Payne or will they put those ends over him on third down? It will be a real challenge and a real test because he is a big, strong guy and he is physical. When you are placed up against and countered against speed and quickness, those matchups get really interesting. I think that will be a big challenge for Wyatt as we go into the weekend."

Defensive line coach Chris Kiffin:

On DE Myles Garrett's strip-sack and if he is challenging Garrett to make more game-changing plays on a regular basis: 

"I do not know if I am really challenging him to make those type of plays. We just want to put him in position to use his athleticism to make it hard and take advantage of our matchups. That is what he did. He put him over a guard, and as you guys saw on the play, he has an unbelievable ability to create and counter an offense lineman's momentum. Obviously, we had it paired in a game with (DE) Porter (Gustin) there so just let him win one on one outside there, Porter wrapped and then he got his hand on the ball right at the right time, and it was perfect." 

On DE Porter Gustin and the spark Gustin has provided on defense: 

"Porter is the guy that every coach wants in the room. He wants one of those guys that you know is going to get the job done, he is going to do everything that you ask him and he is going to do it with the technique that you coach and make you look really good as a coach. He just works his tail off. He is in here on an off day for hours and hours getting extra flexibility and mobility work, studying tape and doing everything he can. I saw how he said this offseason gave him a chance to catch everybody else. That is great that his mindset thinks that way. I was telling somebody the other day that he was picking up breakfast, and he got some pre-made eggs. I said, 'Why don't you get fresh eggs?' He said, 'That is not time efficient, Coach. Can't wait for those.' That is his mindset. Love that guy." 

On how the depth on the Browns DL line is being tested: 

"It is tough. I think that happens everywhere in this league with the roster size. You are just a couple injuries away from being short-handed, especially with COVID this year and the timing and you can bring guys in and they have to get tested. All that stuff goes into it, but we have some guys here that we are looking at and seeing if they are ready to be quality backups for us. As always, it is a numbers game and we are going to try to survive with a seven-man rotation if we have to. If we need eight guys, we will find out who that eighth guy is. It presents its problems for every team when you have a couple of injuries at a position." 

On what he has seen from Gustin in the weight room and outside of practice: 

"Like I mentioned, I saw him on our off day doing all kinds of mobility and flexible work. It looked like he was doing a yoga class on his own. It was pretty impressive. I have not really seen him lifting weights or whatnot. Those type of guys that work their tail off in pre-practice, are out there early hitting the sled, working on their footwork or doing whatever are usually the guys are putting in the extra work in the weight room, too. That is just his mindset. He wants to be efficient with his time. He wants to work hard. He knows he has a chip on his shoulder to beat out some guys that are, some say, more talented in this league or whatnot." 

On the potential for DE Joe Jackson: 

"Joe is a guy they brought in, and right away, you can see that Joe had some very good attributes in his body. He has some violent hands rushing the passer and he has a good get off. He was a guy who was just a draft pick last year, and Dallas did not have room for him with the guys they signed. We brought him into the building, and he was playing for us on Thursday night, rushing the passer on third down with a big fumble recovery. We just have to continue to push him. He is still young as can be obviously. My job is to get him coached up and see what we can get from Joe. He is a guy who just wants to go to work and get better at his craft. I like what I see in Joe so far." 

On what Jackson's ability to make a big play in his first play shows: 

"Yeah, he was in the right place at the right time, that is for sure. Myles obviously made the play and then he got the fumble recovery, which was awesome, too. That was good." 

On DT Larry Ogunjobi's start to the season: 

"Very good. He surprises you every now and then, flashing with his athleticism, get-off, twitch and strength. For Larry, it is just continuing to work with him to where he is a three-down starter. He has been great in the run game. He made obviously the huge fumble two weeks ago, but he is just a guy that is going to make plays. It seems like every time we call a stunt, he makes the guy miss and he is in the backfield with the opportunity to TFL. I think he missed one last week, but Larry is going to be just fine. He is going to continue to make plays for us on first and second down. As he continues to progress, hopefully, we can get more third-down reps. 

On Ogunjobi's personality: 

"Larry is a quiet guy, but Larry has a huge heart. He is a very good person. He is a great teammate. He is somebody that he is not necessarily going to be a leader by shouting and yelling at guys to do the right thing, but he may pull somebody aside and say, 'Hey we need to get going here.' He is progressing in that area, too. He is a quiet guy that likes to work, but a really good kid." 

On if forced fumbles are a point of emphasis with Garrett, particularly given some NFL players have a knack for creating them: 

"Yes, I think all D line coaches talk about that in different areas. To me, I coach all the guys the same in that area as far as getting the ball out when you get to the quarterback. Like you said, some guys have a knack for it. Some elite rushers when they are running by just swat at the hand as it is up in motion. We have a technique called run, run, reach – as you are reaching that arm, straight arm, going for the ball and all that, which is what you saw him do to (Bengals QB) Joe Burrow the other night. Just reached that right hand out and slapped the ball right out of his hand. Now obviously, guys with good length, 34-inch arms, it makes it easier as they are coming around the edge and can reach and get the ball, but we are always going to coach that the No. 1 thing is us creating takeaways to give us the best chance of winning games. The defensive line is going to be coached that way, and then obviously Myles, challenge him to continue to get the ball out when he does get to the quarterback."

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