Stefanski doles out much-deserved praise for Browns O-line

The offensive line was top of mind for Kevin Stefanski a little more than 12 hours after his first victory as Browns head coach.

The Browns' revamped group of blockers overcame multiple injuries to deliver a performance that featured more than 200 rushing yards from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and zero sacks on Baker Mayfield, who had plenty of time to throw throughout Cleveland's 35-30 victory.

Right guard Wyatt Teller — one of three new full-time additions to the Browns starting offensive line — was highlighted by Stefanski for his physicality.

"Those guys were getting people on the ground," Stefanski said Friday in a video call with reporters. "I hesitate to single anyone out but I would tell you Wyatt Teller really was playing a very physical football game. But also would like the single out (offensive line) coach (Bill) Callahan. He did an outstanding job with his guys, great job with the run game plan getting guys ready to play. So, really a kudos to Coach Callahan."

The Browns offensive line did all of this while dealing with injuries at both tackle positions and limited reps for C JC Tretter during the short week.

The Browns' revamped group of blockers overcame multiple injuries to deliver a performance that featured more than 200 rushing yards from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt and zero sacks on Baker Mayfield, who had plenty of time to throw throughout Cleveland's 35-30 victory.

Starter Jack Conklin was active for Thursday's game but did not play because of ankle and finger injuries. That thrust veteran Chris Hubbard, who had been dealing with an ankle injury of his own the past few weeks, into action.

Stefanski was thrilled to talk about Hubbard's performance after Thursday's game and the logic behind the decision to keep Conklin on the sidelines.

"I could not be more proud of Chris Hubbard, impressed by Chris Hubbard," Stefanski said. "He is a good person. He is a good football player. I just think the world of him. 

"We just did not feel like it would be right to put Jack out there. Jack fought his butt off in the last game and was not feeling great with that ankle, and he just grinded. I did not want to put him out there. Sometimes, you just have to protect guys from themselves. He was not totally ready to go for 60-plus plays. I thought it was a prudent thing to not start him and just have him available in case of an emergency."

Rookie LT Jedrick Wills Jr. didn't finish his first NFL game because of a shin injury. After undergoing X-Rays, which were negative, Wills battled through a short week of practice as a limited participant and played every snap Thursday.

The first-round pick held his own just like he did the previous week against the Ravens. It's day-by-day, game-by-game progress for Wills, who is playing left tackle for the first time since his high school days.

"These Thursday night games are hard on the players to answer the bell on a Thursday night after just playing in a physical football game the week before. So, it is not easy, and we had a bunch of guys grinding and trying to get to it and were unable to make it," Stefanski said. "Jedrick is somebody that 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, certainly what we want on the offensive line."

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