Press Conference

Kevin Stefanski: 'We have to have a great week of preparation' 

Cleveland's head coach meets with reporters before Wednesday's practice

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

"Start with injuries, we will not have (LB) Tae (Davis) out there, (DT) Larry Ogunjobi or (DT) Sheldon Richardson. They will not be practicing. 

"Talking about these Colts, a really good football team. I know our guys looking forward to the challenge. Two 3-1 teams. Really should be a great game. When you watch the tape on these guys, you see a very well-coached team – no surprise with (Colts Head) Coach (Frank) Reich. They do a great job on offense and can hurt you in multiple ways on defense. It is a very, very sound scheme. They are attacking. I think you guys have seen the tape and see the stats, and they are outstanding. The same on special teams. They do a really nice job. Quite the challenge for us. We have to have a great week of preparation." 

On if the Browns and RB Kareem Hunt can keep the running game production and not have a fall off without RB Nick Chubb: 

"I am confident in our entire running back room. I fully understand the caliber player that Nick is and we would love to have Nick out there, but in the meantime, he is going to be hanging out with (Senior Vice President of Player Health & Development) Joe Sheehan and the training staff and getting ready to get back out there. I really think we have guys that understand the scheme and guys that can contribute in the run and the pass. I am really excited for those guys. I think they are well-coached. I think (run game coordinator/running backs coach) Stump (Mitchell) is excited for the challenge and these guys. We will have to make do until Nick gets back." 

On if he has talked with the Browns RBs about being themselves and trusting the system: 

"I think they understand what is at stake. I think they understand that injuries are unfortunately part of this game. You already said it, it is the next man up mentality. I think guys are very keenly aware of that." 

On the Colts defense: 

"Team speed. Effort. (Colts DT) DeForest Buckner was a great addition for them playing their 3-technique. He gets up the field. He is long, active. The linebacker corps can really run. Like I said, they are sound. They do not beat themselves. They are where they are supposed to be. Really impressive on tape." 

On balancing what the Browns do on offense yet adjusting it for the Colts defense: 

"I think that is your gameplan every week. It is what you feel like you are good at what you feel like they are susceptible to, and right in the middle, you find your gameplan." 

On why NFL scoring totals are up this year: 

"Hard to say. I have read the articles about penalties being down and that could contribute to it, but I really do not know." 

On if the Browns need to add a DT with injuries at the position and CB Kevin Johnson not getting any defensive snaps on Sunday: 

"With the defensive line, we will monitor that throughout the week, as we always do, and see how those guys are starting really tomorrow. We will not have them out there today, and we will just kind of take it day by day. Kevin just coming off of injury, we are going to need him and expect him to play. Just kind of how the game flow goes." 

On if Chubb's injury will cause the Browns to either pause or accelerate the evolution of the offense: 

"It definitely does not force you to pause. I think if we are worth our salt, we are constantly evolving so we know who is available to us each week and play to your players' strengths." 

On the Browns run defense this season and challenges presented by the Colts running game: 

"That is a good question because the Colts do a really nice job varying their run schemes. I think the rookie (Colts RB Jonathan Taylor) is a load. They really present some challenges. That offensive line is very impressive across the board, and (Colts C/G) Quenton Nelson, you have seen all the highlights. That is a power team that can also run zone and can get on the perimeter. I think you really have to be pure in your run fits. It is a big part of that this week because of the varying schemes that they present. If we have had success this year, it is because we have been pretty good on our run fits and swarm attack." 

On DT Jordan Elliott: 

"He has done a nice job and need him to continue to progress. His role will expand. He is very, very diligent about this. He wants to be great. He works really hard out at practice. He just needs to keep progressing." 

On what TE David Njoku can contribute to the TEs on offense and how the offensive gameplan will change following Chubb's injury:

"To the second part first, I think run game wise, our backs can really handle multiple schemes so we do not put in a run specifically for one of the runners, if that makes sense. I do not think it has to vary a ton without Nick. David brings his own skillset to the group. I think all of them are a little bit different, but David with his size and his ability to be in line and split out, we are excited to get him back out there."

On how much of concerted effort is placed on setting up plays for later in a game when play calling during a game:

"That is a big part of it, and we work really hard on Monday and Tuesday putting the gameplan together and then you have to have a lot of conversations throughout the week of what we are going to show first and what is coming second. Luckily, (offensive coordinator) Alex Van Pelt and the rest of the offensive staff have a great feel for that."

On if he did some self-correcting after the Week 1 loss at Baltimore and if he was open to advice from players:

"I hope to be evolving each week. From Week 1 to Week 2, we learned a lot about ourselves, and I hope I am changing and getting better each week. Part of this is throughout, early part of the season still, is understanding our guys, and I think I am getting a better grasp of what our guys are really good at and we have to double-down on those things and we have to protect those things. The good news is we have a bunch of guys that are really working hard and want to contribute to this thing."

On if there is a big change in Colts QB Philip Rivers in comparison to when he played for the Chargers:

"No, I would not say there is a big change. I think he is with some coaches that really understand him and that were with him out there. The schemes are similar, but he is surrounded by some really good players. He is a great player in his own right and he has guys on the perimeter that he can get the ball to. He has a run game. He has multiple tight ends. I have the utmost respect for Phillip Rivers."

On this game and Colts defense being a litmus test for the Browns offense, particularly with Chubb out:

"I think it is a challenge. I think that is the fun part in this business, and I think our guys are working really hard here on Wednesday to make sure they understand the plan and get out there on the field and start to get the mechanics of how we are attacking them this week. We totally understand what it is at stake. We totally understand the team that we are getting ready to face here on Sunday because you just turn on the tape and it is so obviously why they are good. They fly around and they are physical. I think our guys will be ready for the challenge."

On the Colts' ability to create turnovers and if he is encouraged by QB Baker Mayfield's progress after throwing no interceptions in the past two games:

"Every week we are going to go into it saying, 'Do not turn the ball over.' That is important, and I think that everybody knows the difference between winning and losing is razor thin. If you want to give yourself a chance, you have to attack the ball and you have to go get it on defense. This team has done a great job – like you mentioned, seven interceptions. They play zone so they have eyes on the Q. They play some man and they are tight in coverage where they are making plays on the ball. For every quarterback and for Baker for this week and for every week, just make sure that he goes through his reads and stays pure to them, and make sure that we do everything in our power to not give the ball away."

On making changes to COVID-19 protocols and procedures and if he has heard about the potential for NFL bubbles:

"I am not hearing anything to that end, but we have to always be ready to adjust to what is going on. We are trying to learn what is going on to see if there is something that we can do better."

On if he has found anything yet to help the team and staff stay safe during the pandemic, in addition to following protocols:

"Yeah, there are little things that you hear coming out of some of these teams that maybe help us. Like you know, we are following the protocols to a T. If there are things that we can do above and beyond, we are ready to do that."

On if there is a different play sheet for positions after turnovers or if it just a mindset to be aggressive:

"No, we are just trying to be aggressive. You are right, we have scored touchdowns with those turnovers and that is a huge deal. I think our players have fed off of that. I know the offense feeds off when the ball gets turned over. They are excited to get back on the field. We are just sticking with our offense in those situations."

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