Press Conference

Kevin Stefanski: 'We are looking to get one week better each time we get out there'

Opening statement: 

"Good team win last night. After watching the tape, offensively, did a nice job. Obviously, with one punt, but I thought they played very physical. Particularly up front, those guys were getting people on the ground. I hesitate to single anyone out, but I would tell you, (G) Wyatt Teller really was playing a very physical football game. Also would like to single out (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan. He did an outstanding job with his guys and a great job with the run game plan getting guys ready to play. Really kudos to Coach Callahan. Good situationally – third down and fourth down in total six of 10 with those combined. Pretty good in the red zone, although, one non-score. All in all, a good day. Defensively, defending the pass 61 times, I thought they got pressure on the quarterback and got home a few times but applied pressure. They did a nice job on the outside with (CB) Denzel (Ward) and T Mitch (CB Terrance Mitchell) limiting some of those bigger plays that they were trying to get. Always things to clean up on all of these phases, as you know, but stopped the run, and we were able to apply some pressure. Special teams, I think we have to be better on kickoff. That is something that we are working on as we speak and identify some things that we can correct. Just overall, we are looking to get one week better each time we get out there. We have 10 days until Washington. We will rest up a little bit here and then get ready to roll on Monday for Washington." 

On evaluating QB Baker Mayfield when watching the game film and if it was in the gameplan to get Mayfield out of the pocket more:

"A lot of times, those things are gameplan specific. It varies, and each game calls for a different attack, but Baker did a very nice job last night – extremely accurate, whether from the pocket or on the move. He made really good decisions with the ball, albeit that one pick at the end, which I know he is not happy about. Really played fast. Led the team. He did a nice job." 

On holding the Bengals to 2.8 yards per rush and forcing Bengals QB Joe Burrow to throw more:

"Our front did a nice job. The defensive line was very aggressive. (Bengals RB) Joe Mixon is a heck of a back, and he is not easy to get on the ground so there had to be some swamp tackling going on. If you can limit the run game like we did, it applies a ton of pressure and allows our front to rush the passer." 

On balancing the commitment to the run game on the goal line after a couple stops:

"Yeah, there is a balance there. Try to just trust what you see and then ultimately trust your guys is really the way I look at it." 

On the confidence boost the win gave the team:

"I thought it was a good team win. You should feel good about yourself when you get a win because those are not easy to come by. I will tell you, though, the coaches are meeting currently with the players, and you have to make corrections after a win. You can't just say, 'Well, alright, we got the W. We must have done everything right,' because that is definitely not the case. We are working very hard right now in those meeting rooms, pointing out some things that we can do better. There are going be things that happened in that game that we did not do well enough, and we have to make sure that we make the corrections for the next ball game and the one after that." 

On T Jedrick Wills Jr.'s performance last night, particularly after being limited at practice during the week:

"These Thursday night games are hard on the players to answer the bell on a Thursday night after just playing a physical football game the week before. It is not easy, and we had a bunch of guys grinding and trying to get to it and were unable to make it. Jedrick is somebody that he is grinding himself. He had some really nice plays out there last night, and it is never perfect. I promise you there are things we are going to work on, but he is showing the mentality of what we want this offense look like and certainly what we want the offensive line." 

On if he noticed development by Wills from Week 1 to Week 2:

"I think you will see growth from week to week throughout the season with all of our rookies. There is a speed of this game, there are different fronts that you face week to week and there are different style rushers. You are just trying to learn from each one of these reps and apply some lessons learned the next week."

On if the Browns may have some defensive players return from injury to practice or the game next week:

"It is possible. All of them, it is nice to have this weekend here and get these extra days of rehab. They are all progressing. They are all moving in the right direction. Do I know that they are all going to play? I really don't know at this point, but I think they are all heading in the right direction."

On if he believes age and experience is always beneficial to QBs or if sometimes it is good for a QB to think back to his style of play or approach when he was younger, when he may have more 'naïve confidence':

"All of the quarterbacks, you would hope they are getting better with age. I would hope all of us are getting better with age. I think it just comes down to reps and how many times you can see a concept versus a specific coverage and then a different coverage and then a different look after that. I just think you build upon those reps. Now, when you are a young guy, like you are alluding to, and you are just playing free and maybe you don't have all of those banked reps, you may be a little bit more aggressive, but I just think as you bank reps, ultimately, that is where you really start to hone those concepts."

On seeing QBs benefit from past reps:

"I would take you back to when I was fortunate enough to sit in the meeting room with (Pro Football Hall of Fame QB) Brett Favre. I wasn't doing much coaching, but I was just watching and listening. He could have a dissertation on one play that went on for 20 minutes because he saw that blitz in 1994 from the Chicago Bears, he went this way and he could have changed the line call to this. His rabbit hole goes so deep. I think all those reps and all of those years of doing it at a high level can serve you well."

On if his confidence in Browns players factors into being aggressive and going for it fourth down, as well as wanting to establish a certain mentality early in the season:

"I just think we are trying to be aggressive and smart at the same time. I will tell you, yes, I trust my guys. I trust these guys. I see it at practice. I am counting on them. I am going to continue to count on them. That won't change."

On if he learned his aggressive play calling style from a specific coach he worked with in the past:

"I hope I got a lot from people that I have worked with over the years. Honestly, I hope I have taken something from each one of the coordinators and head coaches I have worked with. Specifically, no, I would not single anybody out, but I will tell you that I am a product of all of that development I had with those guys." 

On striking a balance with Mayfield's 'aggressive, gunslinger' mentality but wanting to protect the football and not commit turnovers:

"We talk a lot about the balance between being aggressive and smart. I want our quarterbacks to be aggressive. I also want them to know the value of the football. We teach on every single play. We give them reads that are very black and white. When the play breaks down or the play goes off schedule, you just trust those guys to get smarter as the down gets longer. Baker's ability to make plays outside the pocket is something that comes to him very naturally and something that is important to our style of play. I thought it was on display last night." 

On if he is confident that Mayfield will have fewer interceptions as Mayfield gets more comfortable in the offensive scheme:

"I would say that is always going to be the focal point for our quarterbacks, our running backs and our wide receivers. Ball security is paramount so we spend a ton of time on the technique and how you hold it. We spend a ton of time with the quarterback on his decision making. We will always be making sure that an important part of our teaching moments are taking care of that rock." 

On if there is an update on DE Adrian Clayborn's hip injury:

"No real update other than he injured his hip and we are monitoring it and getting a few more tests." 

On if there were any other notable Browns injuries yesterday:

"That is it." 

On the areas the Browns defense is targeting to improve:

"Overall, we just have to make sure we are getting off the field. I think they were five-for-five on fourth down. We will look at that, pull it apart and see what are the ways that we can just get off this field. It is hard. There are going to be some attacks and guys are moving the ball, but if we can find a way to get off that field and we find a way to turn the ball over, that will play to our strengths." 

On how valuable it was to have Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham Jr. be more efficient last night:

"As it relates to the offense, whether it is just those two in particular, I would really hope that we are one game better every single week here. That is going to be the precision of the pass game, you would hope that with more game reps it helps the offense line, helps the backs and helps the receivers. In total, I think that these game reps are totally invaluable to what we are doing. I really hope that there is a constant improvement going on."

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