The Browns are in for an earful Sunday in Minnesota.
Kevin Stefanski would know, of course, and he's driven that point home to a group of players who are coming off back-to-back wins inside the friendly confines of FirstEnergy Stadium, where the raucous noise was directed squarely at the opponent.
It'll be different Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, a building Stefanski got to know well from 2016-19 as an assistant and coordinator with the Vikings. It's just as loud, Stefanski said, as the vaunted Metrodome, which served as Minnesota's home in the 35 years prior.
Stefanski made it a point of emphasis in his meeting Wednesday morning with players before they officially kicked off their preparations for Sunday's game. Prepare to not be able to hear your teammates, no matter how close they are to you.
"They are both really loud," Stefanski said. "It is a glass building and the noise reverberates in there. It will be the loudest, likely the loudest place we play this year."
For months, the Browns have spent large amounts of time preparing for the crowd noise they'll experience on the road this season — one year after they never had to use a silent count because of the limited attendance for games in 2020. It promises to be even more of the same this week as the Browns prepare for their first game in a full capacity dome since they traveled to Arizona in Dec. 2019.
"It is a tough place to play," Stefanski said. "We are going to have to be about our business."
It wasn't all bad news on the injury front for the Browns, who revealed Wednesday that CB Greg Newsome II (calf) wouldn't play Sunday in Minnesota.
LB Sione Takitaki (hamstring) and T Chris Hubbard (triceps) both made their respective returns to the practice field Wednesday. Takitaki missed all of last week and the Bears game while Hubbard has been sidelined for the previous two weeks with his injury.
T Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle) and C JC Tretter (knee) did not participate in practice, marking the third consecutive Wednesday in which both offensive linemen were sidelined. Wills has gutted through his ankle injury in back-to-back starts but has required some time on the sidelines in both games. He played a much higher percentage of snaps this past week than he did in Week 2 as he continues to recover from the injury.
"I am comfortable with what we are doing," Stefanski said. "The kid is working really, really hard. He is staying into it. Even if he is not practicing today, he is staying into it. He is dealing with an injury, which is really the nature of the National Football League, oftentimes for a bunch of different players. I think he is doing a nice job."
Looking For A Complete Game
Baker Mayfield has enjoyed the highlights, but he's itching for the offense to reach its potential for a full 60 minutes.
His frustrations with the unit's latest performance stemmed from a slow start. The Browns didn't find the end zone until seconds remained on the clock in the second quarter and Cleveland's first two possessions ended in unceremonious fashion with Mayfield taking sacks on fourth down.
Mayfield was also frustrated the team had to settle for four field goals, all of which were made on a career day by Chase McLaughlin.
"We need to start fast and finish," Mayfield said. "Last week, we did not turn the ball over, which was one of the things we harped on within the week of practice. Need play one of those complete games. This is the next great challenge and the next best opportunity to do it."