Quote of the Day is a recurring series that will single out something said by a Browns player, coach or executive in a given day and provide context behind its importance.
The quote: "I think we do have more veteran coaches, too. Even though they haven't been here, they have been around the league a while. You definitely feel that when they come to the building with (head coach Kevin) Stefanski. His first time being a head coach, I feel like he has been a head coach for many years. We all trust in him. One of the things that stuck out to us when he came here, he said, 'You have to embrace the suck.' That is what we have been doing. Nobody wants to wear a mask all day, nobody wants to take all this time just to go out on the field and play football, but it is where we are. You control what you can control, and that is what we have to do for now. I think him being confident and telling us to embrace it has really led us all to see that this is the new normal for us and we have to get used to it. We want to play football, so after this, we will." - Nick Chubb on perception that teams with a new staff and scheme this season are at a disadvantage, given changes to the offseason, preseason and training camp.
Kevin Stefanski has been taking his first season as coach of the Browns one week at a time.
That's not because he's needed to carefully piece together strategies or work with Executive Vice President of Team Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry on acquiring new players, although those processes will always be a part of Stefanski's offseason job.
This offseason, Stefanski has navigated the Browns through team activities and practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. That's a job no first-year coach would've desired in their first several months with a new team.
Check out photos of the team working out Tuesday
Stefanski, however, has received great praise from players whenever they've been asked about his role in the unique offseason. They've raved about how he still found ways to build chemistry during the virtual offseason program. He's been strict on everyone wearing masks and encouraging all players and team personnel to do their part in practicing safe protocols in and out of the facilities.
The players feel genuinely prepared for what's ahead. Isn't that all you can ask for a first-year coach leading his team through an unusual offseason?
"He has done a great job," Chubb said. "He is very good at communicating, very good at expressing himself and how he feels. He is just a great coach and a great guy, and I am excited to get out there and get to know him more and get to play for him."
During the virtual meetings, which the Browns have continued to use during training camp to keep the team safe, Stefanski has invited players to participate in a discussion called "The Four H's" — history, hero, heartbreak and hope. It's basically an icebreakers game a teacher might use with students on the first day of class, and it starts with a player outlining previous experiences and goals relating to each of the words.
Stefanski has used the conversational tool as a way for players to learn about each other away from chats in the locker room (which has been drastically changed to accommodate more space) or conversations in the team cafeteria (which no longer allows players to gather for meals).
Denzel Ward was asked by Stefanski to give his four H's Tuesday afternoon.
"I feel that actually Coach Stefanski has done a great job, especially in our Zoom meetings," Ward said. "He kind of has a way for [building] camaraderie. He gives us a base of what he wants us to talk about. From there, we just expand on maybe our history, our heroes or whatever it is that we have on our heart at the moment. It is kind of an open table."
Building the team chemistry should become an easier task for Stefanski as the league eases into full training camp activities. The Browns will have their first full-team practice of the year Friday, and for once, football will finally appear normal for Stefanski.
But the work he's done to steer the Browns through a unique offseason has appeared to pay off. Players are in high spirits, and they feel ready to finally show coaches the work they've devoted toward memorizing the playbook and staying in shape.
"For the most part, I like that everybody is on the same page," Chubb said. "No confusion, things are all in place and we are ready to get out there and get rolling. Now, it is just putting it together in person. They did a great job planning and getting us ready for what is happening right now."