HEAD COACH KEVIN STEFANSKI
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
KS: Baker has a knee contusion, so we'll keep an eye on that. Troy Hill is on his way to the hospital and we'll update you when we have an update. Obviously, we got our butts kicked. We got outcoached in every phase, outplayed in every phase. It was very disappointing. I'm very disappointed in myself, the players, the coaches. It was not a good outgoing. First thing's first, give them credit. Give their coaches, give their players credit. Again, they outplayed us, outcoached us. With that, I will take any questions.
Q: Kevin, could Baker have played with the score –
KS: Yeah, he could have gone back. It was my choice not to put him back in.
Q: Hey, Coach. Do you have any thoughts on Mac Jones today?
KS: Yeah, I think their – Mac Jones, in particular, but their offense played really well. We could not get them off on third down.
Q: A good first drive, and then after that what happened?
KS: Yeah, I think we made some plays on the first drive. You know, made a play on fourth down there. But, really, just couldn't convert on third down. It was a – you know, didn't do a good enough job game planning. And then, ultimately, didn't do a good enough job executing. But, again, outcoached and outplayed.
Q: Kevin, it seemed like it was a struggle to get the ball in the hands to some of the receivers. Why was it such a struggle?
KS: Yeah, I think they just did a good job. They covered us. It's a good defense. It's a good pass defense. Ultimately, they just did a good job.
Q: Was anything surprising from their offense?
KS: I wouldn't say surprising, no. They just – they did a good job. They ran the ball well. They, again, converted on third downs. We just could not get off the field.
Q: Kevin, last year's team, especially down the stretch, was so consistent. Maybe you didn't win every game, but you could count on the performance. How can you explain this year's team, being so up and down from week to week, and even last year so well, but so poorly today. What do you contribute it to?
KS: Yeah, I think inconsistency is frustrating. But that's where we have to do a good job as coaches of identifying things we can correct. And then we got to have accountability with the players and correct those things. But, yeah, any time you're inconsistent like we are right now, it's really frustrating.
Q: This was the fewest amount of receiving yards that wide receivers have had for the Browns since 2016. Why was it so difficult today to get those guys involved?
KS: Yeah, well, I think we were in a lot of 13, probably with one receiver on the field, would probably be one answer. But, ultimately, we just didn't do a good enough job really on third down just getting guys open. And that's where, coaches, we have to do our parts in helping that.
Q: Kevin, you talked about so much of the uncertainty. Do you feel like this team has an identity right now? And if so, what is it?
KS: Yeah, I think it's hard when you get beat today to hang your hat on anything. And that's where, again, I would give you – I would tell you, give credit to that team. They beat us in every phase. They outcoached us in every phase.
Q: Baker Mayfield always wants to play. So did he want to go back in there when the game was out of
KS: Yeah, I mean, Baker's a competitor. I just didn't feel it was the right thing to do, to put him out there.
Q: Just looking at the bigger picture?
Q: Would it be something that – saying he would be able to go back in the game an indication that he would be good to go next week?
KS: Yes. I mean, pending how it shakes out, but yes.
Q: Kevin, the defense hasn't been playing well really the last seven games, really. They basically scored at will.
KS: Yeah, I think I – I'll just say we didn't do a good enough job as coaches, we didn't do a good enough job as coaches. Both, I can tell you from the run game, to the first and second down passing game, the third down, red zone, you name it. Not up to par in any way.
Q: I think they were six for six on their first third downs. Obviously, you know that. What's that like on the sideline?
KS: Yeah, I think during that same stretch, offensively, was also 0 for on third downs. It's just bad on both sides of the ball. Bad on offense, bad on defense. And it's – really, we have to, as coaches, look at it hard and find a way to give our guys a chance to execute and go and execute. But it was bad football.
Q: Kevin, the Troy Hill injury: Did his head hit the ground?
KS: I don't know, Tony. I'm not sure.
Q: Can you put your finger on why you guys are – I mean, I know it's –
Q: Why was it bad football after you guys started so well?
KS: On offense you're saying or just in general?
Q: I guess on offense, particularly.
KS: Yeah, you know, again, I would give credit to them. Some of those plays that hit early, we didn't hit later in the game. You know, we came back to them and they did a nice job. So I think it's simple, that we got outplayed and outcoached.
Q: Can you talk about Baker Mayfield's interception?
KS: Yeah, we definitely didn't, you know, play well enough. After that, you know, obviously, we got fooled by their coverage. But we can't give the ball away. I mean, Baker's done a really nice job prior to this one. So we got to learn from it.
Q: You said a couple weeks that you were .500, and you're just an average team. Would you be surprised that seven games in, you'd still be talking about that?
KS: Yeah, you know, obviously, we have high expectations as players and coaches. But all we can really deal with is this one and know we got outplayed, got outcoached.
And we're .500 right now and we got a big one at home versus Detroit. And that's really got to be the focus of how we operate this week. So we got to be honest with each other. We have to be accountable for each other this week. Particularly, tomorrow, after we look at it and talk about it. And we got to find a way to move on against Detroit.
Q: Coach, are you satisfied with the effort on defense? It didn't look like it was there at all.
KS: Yeah, it's hard, Tony, without seeing it. But I would tell you, any time a team is having a lot of success versus you, it's easy to think that the effort's not there. But I wouldn't say that without watching the tape. We were just getting – they were out-scheming us and then we just ultimately didn't make enough plays.
QUARTERBACK BAKER MAYFIELD
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
Q: Were you worried the knee was something worse than it was?
BM: A little bit. Yeah, just kind of having an awkward hit, landing. No structural damage from the x-ray that we just took. So it's good news. So...
Q: Is there one thing worse than another about today?
BM: Losing is the worst part.
Q: Baker, did you see anything specifically from Mac Jones out there today?
BM: I thought Mac played well. I mean, their team won, so he played well.
Q: I know it's early, but are you confident you'll be able to play next week?
BM: Yeah, I mean, it's – got to find a way to get as healthy as possible. I'm pretty beat up right now. But, yeah, it was just an awkward hit and landing, like I said. So we'll see. Day by day.
Q: Did they take something away after the first drive, or did you guys just not execute?
BM: I mean, they had a good scheme. But I think there were plays for us to make there. Yeah, I think it's a little bit of execution. I think at this point we – everybody in our building has to look in the mirror and just kind of reevaluate and be accountable to themselves, to each other. Because we're sitting – you know, sitting somewhere where we thought we'd be in a better place right now. But we're not. So it's time to reevaluate and everybody needs to hold themselves accountable.
Q: Baker, Joel Bitonio just used the phrase, Jekyll and Hyde to describe you guys. Especially last year, you guys were so consistent. Maybe you didn't win every game but consistently performed. Why has it been so up and down even week to week for you guys this season, especially these last two weeks?
BM: Yeah, I'd say that's pretty accurate from Joel. But, yeah, I'll have to look at the tape, to be honest with you. And, you know, I'm not sure that I could point thing out. I think it's a combination of everything. We've just got to trust our players and make these plays and trust your eyes and go out there and execute. That's pretty much what I have for you right now.
Q: Are you seeing a lack of accountability in the room, in the building?
BM: I mean, we just – we talked about a certain standard that we – you know, you set for yourself. And you have to live up to it every day. And when you're sitting here at five and five, this is – obviously, something's wrong. So got to figure it out and get it fixed.
Q: Baker, do you think you guys, as a team, have an identity right now? And if so, I guess, what is it?
BM: You know, we've mentioned the, you know, run game. We're a physical football team. That's, you know, what we want to be. We just need to find ways to win. Because teams are going to play us differently. We just need to find ways to win. And that's – you know, that's, obviously, stating the obvious. But that's the truth. So whatever it takes and we need to do that.
Q: How surprised were you after the way you guys started the game, the way it ended up going?
BM: Yeah, I mean, it got out of hand pretty quickly. To be honest with you, after coming out at halftime, we felt good about, you know, only down a few scores and to be able to – defense got a stop. And, you know, we just stubbed our toe on that drive. It would have been a different ball game if we can execute coming out there on that first drive in the second half. And it's the just momentum at that point. And they're able to milk the clock and they did a good job of that today. Taking care of the football, we didn't, obviously. The pick almost returned for a touchdown. So things like that, a momentum game on the road, against a well coached team like that, you got to seize those moments and that's when it gets out of hand.
Q: What did you see on the interception?
BM: Yeah, I mean, they did a good job of disguising. I saw – I mean, it was sort of a two man coverage. Corner's eyes were inside. So, at that point, need to move on in the progression or it's going to be a ball that's placed outside and David [Njoku]'s going to take a hit on that. I thought No. 23 [Kyle Dugger] made a good play on it. But it's just one of those things they made a good play. And, you know, looking back on it, it's a timing throw. Just got to be able to put it in the right spot and David is going to have to take a hit or move to the progression.
Q: Joel Bitonio also pointed out that nine and eight is not going to be good enough to get in the playoffs. Do you guys feel the sense of urgency to find that consistency to stack some wins to where you can get a point to where you feel good about your chances?
BM: Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to look at it like nine and eight or ten and seven. We need to take this one week at a time, to be honest with you. There's no other answer besides that. So we got to find ways to win each week. And that's where we are at right now and that's the reality.
Q: Baker, on the pick, the Patriots said they were trying to show man and they slid into cover two. Was there a point when you threw the pass you were, like, "No, no?" Did that go through your head?
BM: No. I mean, that's one – I mean, it's kind of a mix. It's a combo coverage, somewhat cover two, somewhat man coverage on the inside. And 23 just made a good play on it. Can I put the ball outside a little more? Yes. But he made a good play on it.
Q: You've seen a lot of teams now. What's your impression of this Patriots defense?
BM: They play hard. They play extremely hard. I mean, obviously, they're coached well. They got a lot of veterans. They play hard and disguise well. And they just execute well.
Q: Is this the same knee you banged up last week?
BM: Unfortunately, no. So, yep.
ADDITIONAL PLAYER QUOTES
Joel Bitonio, G
(On any explanation from going to the biggest win of year last week to biggest loss today)
"I don't have an explanation besides we got outplayed and outcoached. We were in positions where we just have to go out and execute. Our first drive we did what we wanted to do, we ran the ball, had some good passes and got a touchdown and we didn't really have a good drive after that. It was embarrassing. We got embarrassed today and they deserve all the credit. They outplayed us."
(On how they compartmentalize the loss)
"We have to watch the film tomorrow and take accountability for it. There are certain things we just can't accept if we want to be a winning team. You are going to lose games, it happens, it's the NFL and it's tough to win on a weekly basis, but we have to be accountable for our actions on the field and what we did and how we get better from it. It's tough because we are trying to stack some wins here and go on a run. We know the AFC is tough but before we can do that, we just have focus on playing a clean game of football."
(On if the team has an identity and what it is)
"When we do things right, we play pretty well, but when we do things bad, we are not good. There is a little Jekyll and Hyde there right now. We've had some games, last week especially, where we showed what we could potentially be. On offense we do want to run the ball and take our shots on play action when we have those opportunities. Today, we did that for one drive and then it kind of fell apart."
Myles Garrett, DE
(On if he's surprised on the defense's play or if he saw something during practice that indicated this might happen)
"I didn't see any bad things during the week. I think we didn't counter like we are supposed to. We didn't stop the bleeding and they kept attacking where we were deficient."
(On the defense's struggles getting off the field on third down)
"Great play calling. Mac Jones made some great throws, he fit in a couple times across the middle. They were pretty much max protecting and trying to get to the middle of the field and we didn't have answers."
(On what he meant when he said they didn't make adjustments on the sideline)
"We didn't make adjustments, as in they kept on scoring and we weren't countering them. I mean we need to be better."
John Johnson III, S
(On whether the Patriots caught them off guard or the Browns just didn't execute)
"I don't think they caught us off guard. I think they did a good job of attacking what we have had trouble with this season. I felt like a lot of screens and reverses we kept getting hit on. We couldn't get off on third down. I don't think it was anything by surprise, we just weren't on our game today."
(On what adjustments they were trying to make during the game)
"Honestly, they went back to a bunch of plays where we got hit on all year and we just couldn't stop the bleeding. We can't let that type of game happen again. We are a competitive group and we should be in games regardless of who we are playing, but that didn't happen today. We have to watch the tape and get better."
(On how he explains the discrepancy in performance from one week to the next)
"It's hard to explain, just the ups and downs of the NFL. On any given Sunday, you can get beat. Like I said, our playmakers didn't make plays and that usually sparks the other guys but that didn't happen today."