Safety John Johnson III made some waves earlier this season with a tweet that appeared critical of the Cleveland Browns‘ play-calling during a loss to the Green Bay Packers.
“RUN THE DAMN BALL 🙄,” Johnson tweeted in all caps immediately following Mayfield’s second pick in the game.
Johnson had not talked about the tweet since but assured it was well-intentioned during his exit interview on Monday, January 10.
“It was jokingly, [Kevin Stefanski] said something to me about it. He just did not really like that it was public,” Johnson told reporters. “We want to keep comments like that in house, but it was not anything bad. Everybody has opinions and feelings, and I was watching the game as a fan. It was early in the game. (RB Nick) Chubb, he had six touches for like 80 yards. That is all I saw so I was just like, ‘Get him the ball.’ I think he is one of the best running backs in the league, if not the best. It was not anything personal or bad, but we chopped it up.”
Mayfield ending up tossing four interceptions in the matchup, including the game-sealing pick on the potential game-winning drive.
Stefanski Not Huge Fan of Social Media Usage by Team
Stefanski did not sound too happy with his team’s social media use overall, addressing it in his exit interview.
“I would tell you, I do not know – maybe there is a metric for this – that our team is on social media more than others. I know that is the generation right now. I think you just have to be very careful,” Stefanski said. “I think everybody has to be very careful with social media because there is a lot – like we have discussed before – a lot of it is background noise. I think you just have to be careful with what you put out there because once it is out there, it is out there forever.”
Various players have made stories due to their social media use, most notably Baker Mayfield, who has sent a message on a few occasions about his feelings — sometimes good, sometimes bad. Earlier this month his wife, Emily, said that the couple had been receiving death threats.
John Johnson Thinks Team Needs to Mesh Better
This was Johnson’s first year with the Browns but he quickly became a leader on the defensive side of the ball. From his perspective, he felt the two sides could have meshed better to optimize their results.
“All good teams play complementary football. I am glad you mentioned that because that is one thing I felt like we did not do well this year, whether the offense was firing and the defense was not or the defense was firing and the offense was not,” Johnson told reporters. “Even just like mid-game, if we get a turnover, we have to get points off of the turnover. That has to be mandatory. I think complementary football is huge, but I think the leaders on this team kind of separated the offense and the defense – not in a bad way – -but defense worried about the defense and offense worried the offense. Maybe moving forward, we have to try to kind of mesh a little bit more together to understand that complementary football really has to come into play if we want to be a good team.”
Stefanski agreed, to an extent, but also cited the COVID-19 situation causing a bit of an obstacle in the typical team-building.
“I do think you have to be intentional, like you mentioned, in these times that you are making sure that the guys are around each other and building those relationships. It is harder than ever with having two locker rooms, everybody wearing masks and those type of things. I see guys who played hard for each other, and I see guys that pushed each other and supported each other. We will always be intentional about finding ways to come together.”
The Browns obviously need a few changes to take place over the next year to change their final result. Finishing 8-9 was not up to the Super Bowl-level hype the team was met with in the preseason.