Last week, ESPN’s Mike Clay published a detailed article with some notes and nuggets about every team’s offensive playcaller, based on past tendencies. Although the article is intended to have some fantasy football implications, I still find it interesting to see in general. We’ve heard about the tendencies of new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski before, but it’s always nice to see more validation of them.
First, the article talks about the leading playcallers in certain categories, who have called a minimum of 16 games. For example: categories include the pass-heaviest playcallers, run-heaviest playcallers, most touchdowns per game, highest wide receiver target share, etc. Stefanski was a leader in three of those categories:
Run-heaviest playcallers*: Kevin Stefanski (CLE), Brian Schottenheimer (SEA), Greg Roman (BAL)
Fewest offensive snaps per game: Arthur Smith (TEN), Adam Gase (NYJ), Kevin Stefanski (CLE)
Lowest WR target share: Jon Gruden (LV), Kevin Stefanski (CLE), Doug Pederson (PHI)
As far as playcalling goes, Josh McDaniels of the New England Patriots has the most experience, with 204 games called. He is followed by Dirk Koetter (193 games) in Atlanta, Darrell Bevell (192 games) in Detroit, and Sean Payton (171 games) in New Orleans. Coming in at 25th on the list is Stefanski, with 19 games called.
Stefanski called plays for 19 games in Minnesota, including all 16 in 2019. He was extremely run-heavy during the tenure, as well as well below average in snaps. The run-heavy nature (perhaps fueled mainly by head coach Mike Zimmer’s desires) led to Minnesota RBs finishing top five in carries, receptions, touches, yardage, touchdowns, OTD and fantasy points last season. The wide receivers were near the basement in routes, targets and receptions, but fifth in aDOT. Tight ends were third in routes, which figures to continue in Cleveland following the Austin Hooper signing.
Will things change for Stefanski’s playcalling in Cleveland? He has two outstanding running backs at his disposal, but he also has two star-studded wide receivers who are going to want to be involved too.