The last time I wrote about an article about Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, it was more of a defending piece. This piece will be a bit different. It will be more of an endorsement for the job that Stefanski has done this season.
No need to bring out the soapbox, instead I will be giving out pamphlets and spreading the good word about why Stefanski has coached himself to not only a new contract extension but potentially winning coach of the year this season.
As someone who has played football before, from youth league to NCAA Division 3, I’ve had a fair share of coaches I’ve been around. Some have been good, others not so much. What makes a great coach?
I have more but I’m going to leave it at that.
Stefanski checks at least all four of these traits. For years, the one thing Cleveland lacked at the head coach position was a leader. Stefanski has grown into being a leader of this football team. When you look at how he addresses the team in his post-game victory speeches, the team is dialed in. He believes in his players, and the players believe in him:
the guys in this locker room will not be denied pic.twitter.com/UPh4Zf5jbK— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 17, 2023
Despite all of our injuries this season Coach Stefanski still find a way to put us in position to win each week. Love that guy— The Chosen Juan ♂️ (@Juan_Thornhill) December 11, 2023
My three candidates to win Coach of the Year this season it would be these three candidates (in no particular order)
- Houston Texans HC DeMeco Ryans
- Cleveland Browns HC Kevin Stefanski
- Indianapolis Colts HC Shane Steichen
All have strong cases to win the award but if you were to ask me who is the front-runner to win it, it would be Stefanski.
Why? Allow me to explain.
Everyone would have been shocked if you were to say that Cleveland would be 9-5, in full control of gaining a Wild Card spot in the AFC despite losing multiple key players due to injuries, whether it is season-ending or missing time (players in bold out for season):
- QB Deshaun Watson
- RB Nick Chubb
- LT Jedrick Wills
- RT Jack Conklin
- DT Maurice Hurst
- S Grant Delpit
- CB Denzel Ward
- S Juan Thornhill
- DE Ogbo Okoronkwo
Multiple injuries. The team is 9-5. There is a narrative going around that the Browns are winning due to “luck” and that they are “the worst 9-5 team ever.” For starters, it is hard to win in the NFL. Not every win is a guarantee. Here are some numbers to share with you.
- 9th in Team DVOA
- +20 Point Differential (12th)
You might ask, why did I bring those numbers up? It’s simple. If you want to measure how good a team is, those two stats are key in determining how good a team is. Hate it or not, Cleveland is a good team.
If I were to tell you that the Browns would have multiple wins with 4 different quarterbacks this season, would you believe me? Quarterback Deshaun Watson, P.J. Walker, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and Joe Flacco are the 4 quarterbacks that have been under center and have won a game under Stefanski.
Insane to think about.
Cleveland is getting competent QB play which is why the team is in the position that they are in currently. Stefanski has a lot to do with it:
Love Kevin Stefanski's screen game— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) December 18, 2023
Sells toss left. Flacco then works right. That pulls 93, 97 and 95 away.
Works back left to three OL basically relocating the left side of the line, but now out in space pic.twitter.com/N9VIxaolj9
In terms of the playcalling, please miss me with the “Kevin needs to give up play calling.” or “We need to run the ball more.”
Flacco has his moments of putting the ball in harm’s way and throwing amazing passes, but Stefanski has a lot to do with why the offense has looked competent as of late. Go back to a few weeks ago on the 4th and 3rd play call against the Jacksonville Jaguars:
#Browns David Bell on his 1st career touchdown, couldn't believe how wide-open he was.— Camryn Justice (@camijustice) December 11, 2023
"Turned around and I just seen nothing but green grass...felt like little league back when I was in 2nd grade...seeing that much green grass—I haven't seen that much since I was about 6 or 7." pic.twitter.com/jnmyeHpIv0
With the way that Stefanski schemed up the play, the design and how it was executed Stefanski deserves credit. 38-year-old Flacco looks revitalized and Stefanski has helped, utilizing RPOs (run-pass-options), play-action and multiple short-quick game concepts:
Today, Kevin Stefanski secured his second winning season in 4 years as #Browns HC. Last CLE HC w/ multiple winning seasons? Marty Schottenheimer, who did it 1986-88.— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) December 18, 2023
Bonus note: Stefanski’s done it this year w/ FOUR starting QBs.
Kevin Stefanski HAS to be Coach of the Year.— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) December 17, 2023
What a remarkable, unbelievable, incredible job he’s done this year.#Browns
With the way the Browns are playing, Stefanski has not only played himself into Coach of the Year but a new contract extension as well. He’s earned it with the way that he’s coached this season.
Has this season ended your questions about Stefanski as the Browns head coach of the future?