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Head Coach Kevin Stefanski


Opening statement:

"Proud of the team for that one. Proud of the win. I thought there were some unbelievable individual performances – some superlatives there with Myles (Garrett), with Deshaun (Watson), with Coop (Amari Cooper). But I'm just proud of that team. We talked about, this is a bounce back week. And the look in their eyes on that Tuesday told me they were going to bounce back and with losing a teammate like Nick (Chubb), as we've talked about all week, to then come out and respond, not just today, but to respond in Berea on Wednesday with practice. They told me from the jump that this team was going to respond. So, I'm very proud of the effort there. And the fun part is we get to do it again next week. AFC North coming right back at us in front of our crowd. This is what happens in the NFL, they keep coming at you and we got another great team coming into our building next week. So, we'll have to have a great week of practice to play a team like Baltimore. But today, just proud, really across the board and how the guys responded. And with that, I'll take any questions."

What can you say about the game Myles had today?

"I don't know. I'm running out of things, Mary Kay (Cabot). Teams come in here and they say, don't let 95 wreck the game. And he continues to do it."

Counting the defense as a whole, what did you like about the matchup going into Tennessee? They totaled under 100 yards, total yards today.

"Yeah, I mean our defense is playing lights out. So, from the players to Coach (Jim) Schwartz, the defensive coaches. We're playing at a high level. Now you have to continue to play at a high level. Every week is going be a different challenge. But the way we stopped the run, which we knew – we know that when you're playing Tennessee, you have to stop the run and you got to stop it getting off the bus. And I thought the guys did a really nice job knowing what the challenge was in front of us and I thought they stepped up to the challenge."

How important do you think it was for Watson not only to win, but to play his best game so far for you?

"Yeah, I don't look at it that way, Tony (Grossi). He wants to win. He wants to be a great team player. He'll do whatever it takes to win. We knew that this was going to be a game where we felt confident in spreading the ball around to different guys. I thought he took completions, obviously took the shots when they were there, made plays with his feet. So, I thought he was outstanding today."

Seven different (players) running. Even Harrison Bryant got in the act. You got the job done.

"Yeah, I mean, that's what we talked about, right, this week. It's not going to be one player. You have to find a way to win every single week in this league. Sometimes it's a challenge. There's a variety of challenges each week and for us in this first week, it was figuring out the rotation without Nick. But I thought Jerome (Ford) and Kareem (Hunt) gave us good reps and Pierre (Strong Jr.) gave us good reps. Obviously, like you mentioned, a couple of other guys touched the ball. But that's our job moving forward is finding out that right balance of who's back there."

Can you talk about Deshaun overcoming some adversity? Like on the throwback to Elijah (Moore). The way he kind of pulled himself back and played this game?

"No, we practiced that. Yeah, he made big plays and he's a playmaker. He can make them with his feet, he can make them with his arm. I need to tell you, the protection was outstanding today. I mean, outstanding. I thought our offensive line did a great job. A great, great job. So, there was time back there to survey the field and find a bunch of completions."

Amari's touchdown after the blown dead call on the sideline there…?

"I mean, it happens. What are you going to do?"

But I mean, just for, you know, to get that opportunity for the touchdown after that call?

"Yeah. I thought Amari was unbelievable today. Drawing penalties, one-on-one was a difficult matchup for them. We know what type of player he is. He played really well."

Deshaun showed a lot of toughness. He took that one shot look like to the neck, but doesn't miss a play and he gets hit a good amount out there.

"He's very tough. I knew that about him before he joined our team. But haven't seen it up close, how he throws his body around, fights for extra yardage. Very tough kid."

You mentioned Kareem briefly, Kevin. How do you think he played his first game?

"Yeah, huge play there on third and what was it? Third and long. Took the screen and I mean, I've seen that from Kareem so many times over the years. Doing a great job. He's a very, very good screen runner, as everybody knows. But he got north, south, immediately jumped over somebody, got us a first. That was a huge play in that moment of the game."

You talked on Jerome a little bit. But, those two touchdowns, one reception and one rushing. What did you see coming out of him?

"Really well-designed play by the coaches, by the offensive coaches. Seriously, on Jerome's touchdown, they did a nice job seeing something there. I thought Jerome ran a really good route on that play, obviously. And then the touchdown – good call. I mean, just I'll make mention coach (Bill) Callahan does a great job game planning, giving great ideas in game. So, he really liked that call on the touchdown as well."

Your opening script had a few razzle dazzle plays with Elijah Moore. What was the intent of that?

"I know you can call it razzle dazzle, but just trying to get plays in the perimeter. Honestly, just plays in the perimeter. We felt like that was something that we wanted to do today."

After the deep touchdown there to Amari, Deshaun goes straight to you look like you guys had a celebration.

"Yeah, I can't jump."

Was there something special about that play?

"No, I was just fired up for him. To see it, you know, great play. But he's got to learn next time, I'm not jumping."

You said you noticed on Tuesday the look in the eye from the team. What exactly did you see that you knew that this could be the bounce back week?

"Yeah, I know the people we have on this team. It's pretty simple. Everybody talks always about culture, cultures people. I know the guys that are in that locker room. I know you lose a player like Nick – we talked about it all week. I know what that does, but I also know how this team responds, and I saw it from the jump. And Nick not being here with us in that locker room, that hurts. But he's with us every time we're out there on the field. The spirit of what he brings to this team is with us. And he's literally with us every day in Berea, so the guys get to see him. So it's just important that the guys understand in a long season like this, you're going to need everybody. You're going to need offense, defense, special teams. You need everybody to pull their own weight."

There seemed to be some good news about Chubb's knee injury reported yesterday. Did that get back to the team as a group?

"I don't have much comment on that, Tony. I'm not smart enough to comment on that. I'm sure at some time we'll talk about that type of thing, but I don't have any comment."

You talk about the defense. How important were those red zone stops?

"Unbelievable. Yeah, at the end of the half there, they don't come away with any points. Was incredible. Our defense, you run out of things to say. Stopping the run, playing great in the pass game, hitting the quarterback. And I'm sure Coach Schwartz will remind them there's always room to improve. And I think there are things that we will continue to evolve and do better. So that's the exciting part."

Outscoring opponents 51 to six in your two home victories so far. How does that feel, to be able to do that?

"Well, I think we do it because of the home crowd and I think they make a difference. And we say this all the time, but that Muni (Municipal) Lot, I'm sure, was rocking today, and then they carried it into the stadium. We'll need it next week. They're a huge part of this. I can tell you from experience. It's no fun when you're on the offensive side and you can't hear and the energy that our crowd brings. It seeps into our defense. I mean, look at the celebration of our defense when they make a big play and how excited our fans are, and they're feeding off of each other. So, we'll need it next week."

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