Kevin Stefanski discusses Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr. in conference call: Transcript


CLEVELAND, Ohio – Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski answered questions from local media via video conference on Monday.

Here’s a transcript, as provided by the Browns’ media-relations department:

Opening statement:

“Injury wise just to recap, we really came out of it OK. Like we talked about yesterday, (QB) Baker (Mayfield) is sore, but he is nowhere near as sore as how he was last Monday so that is a positive.

“Do not feel much different than I did yesterday. Watched the tape, and I think there are just so many areas that we can improve. Defensively, we gave up some big plays early there in that second quarter, but those guys battled. Did not put them in some very good spots there with the offense not being able to get a first down on third or fourth down. That was very, very disappointing. We have to be better on special teams, particularly kickoff return. A lot of things that we need to improve. My message to the team today is No. 1 you have to own it; No. 2 you have to learn from it; and then once you do those two things, you have to move past it. That is what today is for, and the players are meeting with the coaches as we speak doing those.”

On if QB Baker Mayfield has had any follow-up X-rays since last week and what they may have shown if so:

“I would not get into in the specifics of any player when it comes to those types of things. I am confident in our medical staff and confident in Baker that he is going to progress each one of these days and then get better.”

On getting away from the Browns’ successful formula of getting takeaways and stopping the run and if those areas are correctable:

“I think we got away from a lot of things that we were doing to win some ball games. If you do not play clean on the road against a good team, you are not going to come away with a victory. I think there are a bunch of areas that I can point to that we can do better. You mentioned not taking the ball away and that is part of who we are, and we did not do it yesterday so that will be a focus for us moving forward.”

On if it is harder to keep the ’24-hour rule’ after a loss compared to a loss:

“I think you try and learn from the wins and learn from the losses as much as you can. There are days that feel like this and you do not feel great about yourself. You walk in the building and obviously that loss is sticking with you, but you really do have to move past it because this afternoon, we have to start game planning for a good Bengals team.”

On Mayfield citing the robber coverage on the first interception and how to avoid that interception within the defensive scheme:

“That is something that we talked about right afterward looking at the [photos]. We do not have film but you do have those Surfaces that show you the stills. You could see that he was coming in there to lurk or robber, whatever you want to call it, and he was taking that away so we need to move on in the progression. That is something that Baker understands, and he will be better at next time.”

On how a QB can move past a mistake with a read and continue to trust his eyes moving forward in a game:

“You said it, you have to trust your eyes. You have to process and believe what you see, and you have to do a great job pre-snap and post-snap to understand the coverage. That is just part of playing quarterback. That is something that Baker has done a nice job of and I think will continue to do.”

On if Mayfield has been tentative or put too much pressure on himself in the games the Browns have faced top-ranked defenses this year:

“No, I would not say he is putting any extra pressure on himself. We are looking for winning performances from all of our guys. Baker I think has won some games here, protecting the ball, getting explosives when they are there and scrambling for first down. There are things that you can do to affect the game and get a W. Just have to make sure that we double down on those.”

On balancing Mayfield being aggressive but not throwing interceptions:

“That is a fine line right between aggressive and smart. That is why you have to work really hard during the week. Understanding where you are in the game a lot of times is when you can let it rip and take a shot at a certain area. You think about those two-minute drives where sometimes you have to fit a ball in a tight window because it is third-and-10 and you must have it. Other times, a check down is the answer. I think that is part of playing the position and understanding what the moment in the game calls for.”

On if Mayfield held onto the ball for too long yesterday, given Mayfield said that was the case:

“No. We are obviously going to coach every player on every play and tell him what they could have done differently so there are of course plays that he could have done something differently, but again, our plan was to keep him clean, and we did not do that.”

On how much of Mayfield’s performance is on protection and ‘Mayfield feeling insecure with the ball’:

“I would not use that term. It is always a combination of things. It is never one answer on a lot of this. For us, what we are doing today is saying, ‘Alright, here was the play call. Was that a great play call?’ Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. On the ones maybe when it was not a great play call, was there a play to be had? Was there somebody that should have gotten open? Could we have sustained our block one extra second? Those type of things. I think it is a combination of all things.”

On how Mayfield can bring his game to the next level:

“I know this is probably boring, but I kind of put it in the framework of the team. I think we are just trying to win a game each week. Did not do it this week. I think there is improvement to be had across the board, but I have a hard time singling one guy out in a game like yesterday.”

On if the team’s four consecutive wins following the loss at Baltimore offers confidence that the Browns can bounce back following yesterday’s result:

“I think that is such a big part of the NFL season is you are going to lose some games. Not many teams go 16-0 so what do you do with those losses? What do you learn from them and how do you respond? We have already started talking about that, started talking about it in on the sideline as the seconds were ticking off, talked about it in the locker room after the game and talked about this morning. This is what you do in the National Football League. You come back after a loss, and you try and get better from it.”

On if he second-guesses the decision to play Mayfield:

“I think it is a fair question, but he was cleared. He was obviously sore throughout the week but got better. It was incumbent upon myself and how we performed the keep him clean and we did not do that. He answered the bell last week just in terms of how he went through and rehabbed and fought his butt off to get out there with his teammates on Sunday.”

On if he expects Mayfield to be able to do more in practice this week compared to last Monday, given his statement that Mayfield feels less sore this week:

“I would. Yeah, I would expect that.”

On lessons from yesterday’s game:

“I do not have my notebook in front of me right now but just so many things that I think schematically you look at them you look at us, and I am not going to get in specifics, but I would tell you there are plays that we ran yesterday that I would not run again and there are things that I did yesterday that I would not call again. There are just so many little things that I learned a lesson, obviously in a hard way, but that is what you have to do. You have to say ‘alright’ because we are going to see this team again obviously, and we are going to play a game this Sunday and we have to be ready to roll. What can you do moving forward and so much of it throughout the season as evolving, and we have to continue to make sure that we are evolving and getting better.”

On the Browns OL struggling against the Steelers DL and how much of that is due to the gameplan versus the Browns OL getting beat one on one:

“Again, I think it is a combination of all things. With the plan itself, we scored seven points so obviously the plan was not good enough. We will look at it, figure out concepts that we like, formations, you name it and what we can do better. At the end of the day, obviously, all of our guys know they have to play better. You have to win your one-on-one matchups, and that is part of part of having a successful offense. We have done a nice job to date of winning some one-on-one matchups. To their credit, they did a nice job yesterday.”

On why the Browns deferred rather than taking the ball to start the game:

“We do talk about that each week. I will tell you, the majority of the time we are going to defer, and just the reason being I feel like you have more information later in the game towards halftime on what the team is doing. It does set you up for the double-dip like we talked about – you score and the end of the half and then have a chance to come back in the third quarter. It may not be 100 percent of the time, but we do think that deferring is usually the way that we will go.”

On seeming to want to be aggressive again this week like the Browns were against the Cowboys rather than ‘holding the ball and playing a possession game’:

“Well, I think the possession game comes when you are able to convert on third and fourth down. Hard to play stall ball if you do not have the ball. We have to make sure we convert on those – 0-3 on fourth down is not going to get it done. Time of possession typically means you are converting on third downs or you are getting first downs on first and second down obviously, but that was part of the plan and we clearly did not do a good enough job there.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr. expressing his frustration on the sideline and if he appreciates a player showing that passion and desire to win:

“Yeah, he wants to win very badly. His teammates know that. He is a passionate football player. He gets frustrated in a game like that, just like the rest of us do. That is what I chalk it up to, and he is going to work really hard this week to make sure it does not happen again.”

On if RB Kareem Hunt came out of Sunday OK:

“Yes.”

On G Wyatt Teller’s, S Karl Joseph’s and S Ronnie Harrison’s injury status:

“All progressing. I would say Harrison is working his way through the protocol. Karl, I will have updates here as we keep going. Wyatt is pushing hard to make it this week, but with those type of injuries, you just really do not know.”

On how T Chris Hubbard played at RG:

“Solid. Battled. Battled against a really good front.”

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