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A Review of Kevin Stefanski’s Coaching Performance

The NFL draft is weeks away, and as preparation for the 2024 season is underway, I wanted to take a final look back at the 2023 season, as well as the seasons before, for Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski. In this article, I will rate Kevin Stefanski on three different criteria with an overall grade at the end. The three criteria I will be evaluating are his play-calling, leadership, and media presence. For reference, Kevin Stefanski is a two-time Coach of the Year with two playoff berths and a regular season record of 37-30 as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Playcalling: B

This may be a hot take for many, as fans’ biggest criticism of Stefanski is his play-calling and whether he should delegate it to the offensive coordinator, etc. Kevin Stefanski was hired to be the Browns’ head coach in part due to his offensive knowledge, hence why he is the play-caller. Stefanski does have a habit of overthinking and leaning too hard into trick plays, hence why the grade has dropped to a B. However, with an overall winning record and two playoff appearances in his time as play-caller, there is a lot more good than bad when it comes to play-calling.

Leadership: B-

Before anything else is said, I think Kevin Stefanski is a good leader. You have to be a good leader to coach multiple years in the NFL, have a winning record, retain players, etc., which Kevin Stefanski has done as the Browns coach. That being said, up until the 2023 season, I had questions about a few aspects of his leadership qualities. However, in 2023, Kevin’s post-game speeches made me, as a former football player, want to run through a wall for him. It was the first time in my life as a Browns fan and writer that I was excited to see what our coach had to say to his players after the game. Kevin showed he had the fire that fans have been looking for in him since he became head coach, and I feel as if this B- will quickly improve as Kevin continues to coach the Browns.

Media Presence: C+

Now, this category admittedly is for my own personal gripes. This front office and coaching staff has very much adopted the approach of holding their cards close to their chest, which in some aspects is smart and acceptable. I understand not wanting your opponents to know what is going on behind the scenes. However, as a fan, this can be frustrating because of the investment you put into the team; you want to know what is going on with injuries, firings, hirings, etc. With Stefanski, you get more deflection in press conferences and interviews than you do actual answers. An example of this is the Ravens game in the 2023 season at home, where Deshaun Watson was named the starter all day until an hour before the game, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson played in his place. The Browns still lost, and fans were upset because they had no idea. The grade of C+ is given because I understand that he is a united front with the front office, holding his cards close as they do. However, just because I understand it does not mean I always have to like it.

Overall: B

Stefanski is a great coach; his small body of work with a franchise that was very much in the gutter, the Cleveland Browns, shows that. He is not perfect, hence the B; some improvements can be made, much like most things in life. However, with talks of an extension to Stefanski’s contract on the way, he has done more than enough to deserve that and to be the Browns’ head coach for many years to come.


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