The Cleveland Browns hired Kevin Stefanski as head coach on January 13, 2020.
Since then, it seems as if a day has rarely gone by without a media member, radio talk show host, or fan questioning whether or not Stefanski should give up calling the offensive plays.
That is even though Stefanski:
- Coached the Browns to the playoffs in 2020 with quarterback Baker Mayfield, who some fans irrationally believe was the worst thing to happen to the Browns since Art Modell.
- Coached a serviceable 11 games out of quarterback Jacoby Brissett in 2021.
- Coached the Browns back to the playoffs in 2022 by juggling a quarterback rotation of Deshaun Watson, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, P.J. Walker, and Joe Flacco.
It was no surprise then that the question about who will call the plays came up again on Monday when the Browns officially announced the hiring of Ken Dorsey as offensive coordinator.
Dorsey is coming off a 27-game stretch where he called the plays for the Buffalo Bills as offensive coordinator. With the Bills, Dorsey oversaw an offense that was Top 10 in total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, scoring, and third-down offense in 2022; and Top 10 in total yards, passing yards, and points in 2023 before being fired 10 games into the season.
When asked about it on Monday, Dorsey replied that he is coming to town to be a team player (quote via a team-provided transcript):
“Play calling to me is not as important as winning football games. To me, it’s more about, all right, what’s the decision that we feel most comfortable about moving forward to help our team win? And I’ve been in my career more interested about, OK, what can I do to help this team win more so than anything else. And that’s the only thing that matters to me. So, whether Kevin’s calling it, I’m calling it, that’s to me, the most important thing is us as a team.
“So now Kevin’s calling, what can I do? I could do my job to as high of an ability as humanly possible. I could get Deshaun (Watson) ready to play each and every week. I can get our room ready to play each and every week because we have got a great room and I’m sure we’ll add to that. And then I could help develop a game plan that’s going to help us be multiple, attack a defense in different ways, be aggressive, and be elite in what we do. And that’s the most important thing to me, just doing that to make sure if I’m in that role, hey, I’m going to do that at an extremely high level.”
Seems like a pretty reasonable answer. Dorsey is here to do what assistant coaches are tasked with doing, which is to make their particular group as successful as possible and follow the lead of the head coach.
Will that finally shut down the questions about Stefanski and the playcalling? Not with this team in this town, unfortunately.
But at least for one day Dorsey was able to quiet the noise a little by pointing out that it is the final score, not who is calling the plays, that is the most important part of how the Browns go about their business.