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Cleveland Browns' Kevin Stefanski discusses injuries, previews matchup vs. Cardinals: Transcript

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski discussed the status of several of his team's players.

BEREA, Ohio — Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski discussed his team's injuries and previewed its upcoming matchup vs. the Arizona Cardinals.

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

What follows is a full transcript of Stefanski's press conference, as provided by the Cleveland Browns Media Relations Department:

Opening statement:

“Big challenge this week. Undefeated Cardinals coming into our building. They are obviously very good as their record indicates. They are scoring a bunch of points on offense. They are not giving up many points on defense. It is a really, really well-coached team. (Cardinals Head) Coach (Kliff) Kingsbury and (defensive coordinator) Coach (Vance) Joseph, third year in the systems on offense and the defense. (Cardinals assistant head coach/special teams coordinator) Coach (Jeff) Rodgers their special teams coordinator has been there for 4 years. The continuity on those three sides of the ball shows up in how these guys are playing,. A ton of great players across the board. We really have to have a great week of preparation to get ready to face this team.”

On the game status for Browns players not practicing today:

“I am not ruling anyone out.”

On if CB Denzel Ward and T Jedrick Wills Jr. have a good chance of playing Sunday:

“I think they have a pretty good chance to practice today.”

On WR Jarvis Landry’s status:

“I think he is going to do some work today and we will see where it goes.”

***Note: Landry will do some running today but will not be designated to return to participate in practice today.***

On if Wills is over the worst of his ankle injury:

“With any injury, you have to make sure you are doing your work in the training room, and some of it is luck quite honestly with him. He has gotten rolled up there a couple of times. Hopefully, he is feeling strong and feeling good. We will be excited if we can get him back out there.”

On if there is a concern DE Jadeveon Clowney’s knee could be an issue each week, given Clowney was unable to play due to the knee following pregame warmups:

“I hope not. Obviously, he has an injury history there, but just with any of our guys, when they work out pregame and they are feeling something, you have to go with what they are feeling, and he did not feel like he could go. I think he is feeling better, but certainly with everybody, that is why every player goes out there on the field pregame to make sure they are feeling OK.”

On if the Browns are being cautious with RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt not practicing today:

“I do not think we are being cautious with any of our guys. I just think we are trying to be smart about it.”

On if CB Greg Newsome II will practice today:

“He is going to practice today.”

On if the Browns have designated Landry to return today:

“I do not know if it has happened yet, but we are going to have him out there today.”

***Note: Landry will do some running today but will not be designated to return to participate in practice today.***

On Cardinals DE JJ Watt’s performance despite not having a sack this season:

“A very disruptive player. Huge, as you guys know. We faced him last season. Every run and every pass, he is slippery. He is long. He has that swim move. He can bat the ball. He may not have a sack, but he is very, very disruptive on game day.”

On potentially incorporating a package with Chubb and Hunt together on the field:

“It is something we talk about. I think there are definitely different considerations with those two guys. You want to keep them fresh. If we do it, we do not want to do it just for the sake of doing it. We want to have a good reason to do it.”

On if teams are doing a better job of defending the Browns’ deep balls off of play action:

“We have had a couple of opportunities. Have not hit them yet, but I think what you are seeing is schematically you are facing different defenses week in and week out, and there are certain things defenses may adjust to try to take away that game and then there are counter punches by us, whether it be run or pass, that can hopefully find ways to be explosive in other areas.”

On the Browns not losing back-to-back games since becoming head coach:

“I can only think about this week and coming off of a loss last week. I will just tell you, our team and our players are pouring every effort they have into this game and what is in front of us or what is behind us does not matter.”

On WR Anthony Schwartz returning kickoffs as wanting to get Schwartz opportunities or if ‘there is anything deeper than that’:

“Nothing deeper than that. We think he is a fast guy with the ball in his hands. That is situation where if you get a crease in those returns, he can hit it. We feel really comfortable with (RB) Demetric Felton back there. We have (RB) D’Ernest Johnson that can do that job and have Anthony Schwartz. We kind of have a few guys who we really trust back there.”

On if he unsatisfied with the production from the WRs despite the offensive having a run-first identity:

“I do not really think of it that specifically that way. I think we have room to go as an offense for sure. We want to be explosive run and pass. I do not think we say we have to do it this way and it has to come through the run. We have never talked about that. That is not what we believe. We believe in being explosive any which way we can. Now opportunities will arise off of the run game, off run actions and off of the keeper game, and when they do, we have to make sure that we make it count.”

On if WR Odell Beckham, Jr. needed more than three targets last week, despite the Browns producing 42 points and more than 530 offensive yards:

“Again, I kind of look at each game and what do we have to do to win and what do we need to do to go score a bunch of points. As I have mentioned before, he is a dynamic football player. He is very front of mind when we are game planning and when we are calling plays. Sometimes the defense dictates if the ball goes elsewhere, and we are comfortable with that because we have good players elsewhere.”

On if the Browns offense is up to speed on what it needs to do when facing a must-score situation late in a game, given play action may not necessarily be an option:

“I think the hardest thing to do in sports is probably in those two-minute drives when they know you are throwing it and you know you are throwing it. From a protection standpoint, pass pro is difficult and navigating the pocket and finding open guys. We just have to when given those opportunities come through.  That is where I know I have already talked about it and we have discussed internally where we have to give our guys a chance to go make some plays.”

On how P Jamie Gillan can improve:

“He just has to hit it better. Again, this is nothing that Jamie has not been told by (special teams coordinator) Coach (Mike) Priefer and myself. When he gets those opportunities, we have to hit it well and hit it outside the numbers if we are directionally punting. That is like any of us, myself, any player or any coach, we have to all improve.”

On the decision to have S John Johnson III call the plays instead of a LB on Sunday:

“It was something we had really been talking about back since the spring. With (LB) Anthony Walker (Jr.) being injured and with (LB) Malcolm Smith not feeling 100 percent, we just felt like it was the right move to have John, who is out there for every rep and we know he can do it and we know he had done it, so just felt like last week was the time to have him do it.”

On if Johnson calling the defensive plays on the field contributed to communication issues related to coverage:

“It did not.”

On what happened on the Hail Mary that went untouched:

“We had one of our eligibles get tripped up and fell – (TE) David Njoku – so we only had two guys down there because of that.”

On if Njoku would have made the play if not tripped up:

“Who knows?”

On how disturbed or surprised he was by the situation with former Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden:

“I think unfortunate situation. I think it is a teachable moment for all of us, but it is a really unfortunate situation.”

On if the Gruden situation makes him reflect more on how he coaches and goes about his business as it relates to building a strong culture in the building:

“I do not think it has made me more reflective, but as you know, what we believe in here is a very inclusive workplace.”

On Cardinals QB Kyle Murray:

“He is great, and he is playing great. He can move around, buy time and throw it deep. He can run. When he does tuck it and run, he is an elite runner. He is fast. He is quick. He has a great understanding of what they are doing offensively. He is playing at an extremely high level.”

On how LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah is playing with increased defensive snaps:

“I thought there were some good moments and some moments like all of our young players, he is trying to clean up a few things, but he is battling.”

On if Owusu-Koramoah’s speed is what the Browns like in the DIME package:

“Yeah, his speed and length. Those are the things we were intrigued by throughout the draft process.”

On hearing DT Malik McDowell explain his story to the team:

“I have obviously spent a bunch of time with Malik before we signed him so I did know the story, but to just hear him explain everything to his teammates and the support that he had throughout the whole thing, just how he talked about his mom and how she helped him throughout all of it, I think was really impactful.”

On if Gillan’s muffed punt in Kansas City may still be in Gillan’s head:

“No. No.”