Browns Hire The Guy Who Lost Out To Freddie Kitchens Last Year, Kevin Stefanski
Ladies and gentlemen, they got him.
Kevin Stefanski is the 10th full-time head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the last 20 years (good lord, man).
I actually wrote a blog about Kevin Stefanski becoming the Browns head coach last year (right around this time) and never published it because the Browns went with Freddie Kitchens instead.
Well, here we are, this time around the Browns go with the young guy!
Here is a little rundown of Stefanski's football history...
This was regarded as the "analytics choice" last year and the favorite on the side of the organization that aligned with this guy...
Well, not the Jonah Hill version, but Paul DePodesta, the guy the 'Moneyball' character is based on in the book and movie. Once the Browns canned John Dorsey, it was clear that owner Jimmy Haslam was going to let DePodesta have a major say in what goes down this time around with the head coaching search. Reports from Cleveland following the Freddie Kitchens hire last year said that DePodesta stepped aside and allowed Dorsey to get his choice with Kitchens.
The hire comes on the heels of Stefanski and the Vikings tossing out a huge dud against the 49ers (and other coaching candidate, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh) in the divisional round of the playoffs. Vikings fans seem to not be... pleased?
EDIT: But, also, judging this on one game (a week after they beat the Saints) is probably foolish…
I don't have a super-strong opinion on the matter, but out of the group including Stefanski, McDaniels, Saleh, and Daboll, the Vikings offensive coordinator would have been my third choice, just ahead of Daboll.
Despite the awful performance in San Francisco, Stefanski led the Vikings to an upset win over the Saints last week, as well as a Top 10 ranking in the NFL this season in points. The Vikings' offense also finished in the top half of the league in total yards. Despite some injuries, the Vikings were able to put up some good numbers this season in Stefanski's first full season as the play-caller for Mike Zimmer's squad. There are plenty of people who believe in what Stefanski can do and back him as a creative play-caller, who deserves a top job…
EDIT: I do like this…
Playing to Baker, and the team's, strengths was something Freddie Kitchens completely forgot to do following his solid interim campaign in the 2018-2019 season. If Stefanski can help the Vikings adapt with Cousins, who has great numbers but notable struggles, and a rushing attack that was ravaged with injuries, then there is for sure a chance he can fix the passing game with Baker-OBJ-Jarvis and properly utilize Nick Chubb and (maybe) Kareem Hunt.
There aren't many assistant coaching rumors tied to Stefanski, but he does have two names tied to him for general manager…
The Berry name is an interesting one, he is a coveted front office man in the NFL and was with the Browns as recently as 2018, where he served as vice president of player personnel. This would be a movie celebrated by many, even if people aren't fully on board with Stefanski.
Who knows? I don't. I am on the fence about it, but I also am not going to emotionally invest all my optimism and hype into coaching hires this time around.
There is no guarantee with this shit and that is really where I stand. If anything, I like that people are not totally convinced. Most of the fanbase, including myself, loved the Freddie Kitchens hire. * rips loud fart *
Then there is also this…
Moral of the story? We just don't know. The Browns have tried it all, college coach guy, first-time coach guy, coach from within guy, older retread after being a coordinator guy, up-and-coming guy, bottom-of-the-list-guy, a guy named Freddie Kitchens, former coach guy, former Patriots coach who got a job after a Super Bowl, former Patriots coach who failed at his first job and got another job right away guy and now we land on first-time head coach who runs stadium steps before games guy.
I have no idea if it will work, but I still believe in the team and the talent… they just need the right people to put it all together.
Will it be Stefanski? If it is, great. If it isn't, then, well, we do this all again. At this point, the weirdest thing would be an offseason without a head coaching rumor mill. Last offseason I was optimistic, after years of being irrationally pessimistic, now, instead, I will just sit back and wait.
As always, go Browns.