Take a look at what Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland's coordinators, wide receiver Amari Cooper and others said throughout the week about the Bolts ahead of their Week 5 matchup:
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski
On the Chargers defense:
"I think what you start with their defense, some really good players. No. 1, [Chargers OLB] Khalil Mack, who I have gone against quite a bit when I was with the Vikings and he was in Chicago. A very, very powerful football player. We played against him last season when he was here with the Bears. In the back end, [Chargers S] Derwin James [,Jr.] can show up anywhere. He can be the post safety. He can be a half-field safety. He can play linebacker. He can play nickel. You really have to know where he is. He is just an active football player. I think he had 16 tackles versus us last season. A really good football player. Multiple fronts. Multiple coverages. An impressive group."
On the Chargers offense:
"Offensively, the No.1 pass offense, so that gets your attention right away. A very good quarterback [Chargers QB Justin Herbert], as we all know. A good young quarterback. Accurate. Strong arm. Makes great decisions. Athletic. Still moving around really well despite the injury, but you really don't see that affecting his play. Weapons on the perimeter. A really good running back [Chargers RB Austin Ekeler] who can hurt you in a bunch of different ways. A good tight end [Chargers TE Gerald Everett]. It is an impressive group across the board. Sound special teams. Really getting to know this team right now, diving in and understanding some of the adjustments we are going to make on offense, defense and special teams in this game. Putting together plans so guys can go play fast on Sunday."
On how Herbert is different this year compared to when they faced in 2021:
"I think he is evolving, and he is getting better. I think young players just get better with more and more reps. I see a young man who sees it very clearly – big, can see it from the pocket, can just drive every throw and can throw with anticipation and touch. They do a really nice job schematically in getting the ball out of his hands. He doesn't take sacks. Then moving him on the pocket, max protecting and take some shots. [Chargers WR] Mike Williams, as we know, is a very, very good wide receiver, and across the board [Chargers WR] Keenan Allen, the tight end [Everett], it is a really impressive group."
On if Mack is taking on a bigger role on defense with Chargers OLB Joey Bosa on Injured Reserve:
"I don't know that he has taken on a bigger role. He is a great player. He is very, very powerful. Has unbelievable bend. Plays hard. Very, very good at rushing the passer, as we all know. Has multiple moves. In the run game, can win at the point of attack and can win as a chase player. He is a big part of their defense, but he was from Day 1 when he got there. Obviously, I know Joey Bosa is out on IR, but Khalil Mack is a great player."
On if the Browns secondary will be more locked in going against the Chargers No. 1-ranked passing attack, especially given the high-scoring game last year:
"Yeah, without a doubt. I think part of when you are playing this team, the Chargers, they go fast. They go fast, they get lined up and then they have multiple shifts and motions. Getting aligned is really important. It is doubly important when you are at home in our building, which is really, really loud when we are on defense. All of that nonverbal communication at home is really important."
Check out the best photos of the Chargers Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center
Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt
On what James does for the Bolts defense:
"He's definitely a guy that you definitely have to be aware of, both in the run game, the pass game and the pressure game when he does blitz, we need to treat him like a linebacker type. He's not a DB in our minds, so we have plans for him obviously. In the run game it's important to make sure you understand where he is and who has him in the scheme so he's a guy early on that we've isolated as hey 'we need to make sure that we know where No. 3 is at all times.'"
On giving OLB Khalil Mack extra attention:
"He is a difference maker in the pass game. I don't think it would be fair to ask any tackle to block him one on one for a full game so there will be times when we maybe potentially chip on his side or both sides. It is nothing different from many other of our plans. We feel good about our matchups, and we like our tackles, but we always look to help."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods
On how the Chargers have adjusted when Chargers WR Keenan Allen has been unavailable:
"I think they are being creative with how they are moving their receivers around. I think they are trying to get production from other receivers in different ways. I coached against him when I was at Denver, and he is definitely a big playmaker for them and definitely moves the chains. You can see they are trying to do things to cover up for that."
"He is a really good quarterback. He has the size. He has the arm strength. He sees the field well. They are the No. 1 passing offense, and it is because of him and the players they have. I know he has the injury, but he is still moving around in the pocket. You still see the bootlegs and things of that nature. He looks normal. If he was going to run it and try to get an extra 5 yards, he is going to slide this time, but he looks like the same guy."
On preparing the Browns secondary to face Herbert:
"This league is about matchups in my opinion. Last week, it was the tight end and the receiver. This week, it is the quarterback and their skill players they have. I just have confidence in the guys we have. I just feel like if we go out, we execute and we play our techniques, we can cover anybody in the league."
On Chargers RB Austin Ekeler:
"He is a very good back. He is a good back as a runner, and he is a good back coming out of the backfield as a receiver. Right now, I think he is there leading receiver in terms of catches by about nine receptions. He is definitely a challenge, and we are going to have to be ready for him, whoever is going to cover him."
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett
On the Chargers defense, including not having Chargers OLB Joey Bosa and if that allows the Browns to focus more on containing OLB Khalil Mack:
"I still think they have a really good defense. Obviously, he is one of their better players, but I think those guys still play really well and play really hard. It is a system that those guys know very well. We have a tough task."
More on the Chargers defense:
"A really good defense. Like I said, they know the system very well. Put a lot of guys in different spots, and they all understand the rules of their defense. Very tough obviously. Have known to be a really good defense. We have our hands full this week."
On the abilities James and the players in the middle of the Chargers defense:
"They have a lot of ballhawks in their secondary, including their linebackers, and a lot of guys who can make plays on the ball. Obviously, being good on my part and making good decisions and making sure I am not putting the team and the offense in harm's way."
Running Back Nick Chubb
On the Chargers defense:
"They are a great, physical team, especially up front. They have some big guys up there. No question Derwin James in the back is a very physical player and a very smart player. A lot of speed on the field so it will be a great challenge for us."
Wide Receiver Amari Cooper
On the Chargers secondary:
"They have some good players. They have some established players and they have some young players who make plays. Play a lot of zone and a lot of off coverage, but they are really instinctive guys. Good ball skills. It is going to be a good competition for us going into this week."
On Chargers James:
"Derwin, he is a really good player and has been a really good player since he came out. Has dealt with some injuries and stuff like that, but every time he is on the field, he is always making plays. A really aggressive player, a really smart player and instinctive player. Really good in the run game and the passing game. We always have to be aware of where he is on the field."
On the Chargers CBs:
"They have [Chargers CB] J.C. [Jackson]. He is a ballhawk. Have to be fundamentally sound going up against him when you are route running and everything like that. They have [Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr.]. He is good – plays just like his father ]former Patriots CB Asante Samuel]. Tries to jump routes and stuff like that off, inside and always looking for the ball. Just have to be disciplined in our route running."
Cornerback Greg Newsome II
On what has made Herbert so good:
"What has made him so good is just his God-given ability, obviously. He can read defenses. He is big. He is tall. He is tough. He can make any throw. He is definitely going to be a challenge, but I think we will be ready to go. We just have to continue to prepare like we have every single week, and we will be up for the challenge."
On Herbert's height as a strength and also a challenge for the Browns defense:
"He can see everything so that allows him to make throws in the middle of the field and on the outside. Smaller quarterbacks kind of see over D line sometimes so most of throws are going outside. Him, like I said, he can make every throw. That will definitely be a challenge for us."
On Herbert preforming at a high level despite a rib injury and if the Browns defense has the mindset that the injury is not a factor in Hebert's ability to be productive:
"For sure. Regardless, we have to play him true no matter if he has an injury or not. He is a great quarterback so we are definitely going to have to just play him true and work with our techniques."
On Chargers WR Mike Williams:
"Big body. Tough at the catch point. We are definitely going to have to play through the hands a lot and be physical with a guy like that. A lot of guys aren't physical with him so you have to match his physicality."
Chargers rookies Isaac Weaver, Stone Smartt, Deane Leonard, Otito Ogbonnia, Raheem Layne, and Zander Horvath visited Kelly Elementary in Compton to help run drills with the kids and teach them the importance of exercise in building healthier communities!
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