Kevin Stefanski To Call Browns’ Plays

Despite being hired after a successful one-season stay as the Vikings’ offensive coordinator, Kevin Stefanski refused to commit to calling plays for months. He ended the suspense Friday.

The first-year Browns head coach will indeed call plays this season, he announced. This certainly does not come as a surprise, with OC hire Alex Van Pelt last serving in that role 11 years ago in Buffalo.

Stefanski, however, does not have extensive experience calling plays either. He took over as Vikings OC late in the 2018 season, after Minnesota ended John DeFilippo‘s play-calling tenure, and retained play-calling responsibilities after Gary Kubiak‘s arrival last year. The Vikings moved from 18th to 10th in offensive DVOA from 2018-19, and their 38-year-old play-caller parlayed that into the Browns’ HC position — after being passed over for Freddie Kitchens in 2019.

The Browns finished 20th in offensive DVOA last season, with their Kitchens-head coach experiment lasting only one year. This metric has not placed the Browns in the top half of the league since their 10-6 2007 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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14 comments on “Kevin Stefanski To Call Browns’ Plays

    • crosseyedlemon

      They were the only team besides the Chiefs to beat the Ravens in the regular season last year and they’ve made good offseason moves. Playing the Bengals, Jets, Giants Redskins and Jags should provide them with a reasonable chance of finally reaching the playoffs.

    • wagner13

      Five reasons the Browns will be a surprise postseason contender:

      1. The outside blocking is vastly improved, with the duo of Wills and Conklin an immediate upgrade over Hubbard and Robinson

      2. Freddie Kitchens is gone and replaced by an ingenious offensive mind in Stefanski. The Vikings were among the most well-balanced teams in football last season despite shoddy blocking. Stefanski’s zone run-blocking scheme should mesh well with established veterans like Tretter and Bitonio

      3. Mayfield has a healthy Odell Beckham and Austin Hooper to throw to. Kareem Hunt will also be present for the entire season

      4. Myles Garrett is back after his well-deserved suspension and will wreak havoc in opposing backfields. The defensive line added some depth in Clayborn, Billings, and Elliott.

      5. The lockerroom culture has completely transformed, with players seemingly buying into the system, rather than proclaiming themselves as Superbowl contenders. Distractions appear to be at a minimum and the team is locked in

      That said, there are a couple of flaws. The linebackers are pretty abysmal, especially in coverage. The Steelers and Ravens will not be easy games, comprising 25% of their schedule. The secondary will also miss Delpit and could use an upgrade over Sendenjo/Redwine/Harrison.

      As a Steelers fan, I’m actually excited to reestablish an intense rivalry with our closest geographic competitors. I have a strong feeling casual fans might be sleeping on Cleveland

      • halofanatic

        I have nothing to contribute to your argument or the opposition. I just think you wrote a well thought out argument. Nice job.

      • Michael Chaney

        My only criticism of what you wrote is that Billings opted out of this season. But your knowledge of the Browns (as a Steelers fan) is pretty impressive.

        Every year, I trick myself into thinking that the Browns will turn the corner, but this year actually feels different. They have the talent, it’s had time to mesh together, AND they needed last year to humble them because they really weren’t as good as the media proclaimed them to be. But this is a solid team with few holes, and I think they’re in a position to really contend for a playoff spot this year.

        This regime doesn’t really seem to value linebackers for whatever odd reason, and their secondary will he dependent on Ward and Greedy being able to stay healthy. I have confidence that Stefanski’s offense is a better fit for their personnel (especially Baker), and that a better line will give him time to make better decisions instead of rushing everything and making bad plays like he did last year.

      • Yep it is

        5 reasons they won’t be a contender. Baker Mayfield Ego, Baker Mayfield mental capacity, Baker Mayfield Prima Donna, Baker Mayfield All about him and Baker Mayfield BUST

      • Datthew Millon

        By far one of the most well written and expressed comments I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading as a colts fan first and foremost see you week 16 best of luck in this rebound season and thank you for this fantastic comment

    • rusty.coqbern

      I think they’re on the verge of a double digit win total in season, playoffs though, lucky to win a Wild Card or Divisional round game. They have the talent and Stefanski should get them to score, the real question will be on the Defense and if they can stay poised on the field vs. freelancing on plays.

  1. JJB0811

    So their last HC had 1/2 season of calling plays as OC then moved up to HC. And this guy has 1 FULL season of calling plays before being moved up to HC?

  2. Calling plays is easy. Establishing an identity on offense is the hard part. Scripting the first 10-15 plays sounds hard, but you have all week to think about it.

    Developing the frame work of what kind of offense you want to be (with the players you have), is much more of a project than simply calling plays. Does anyone think the guy calling a slant route to OBJ is some kind of genius? Mike Martz had Kurt Warner and a bunch of weapons, he could call many different passing plays with the likelihood of being successful no matter what the down and distance was… of course you have to adjust to certain players and defensive schemes, but in the end calling plays should be easy to do.

  3. cubsnomore

    Things look better than 5 years ago. The constant revolving door of head coaches and systems will hold them back some.

    Hopefully the goof ball owner will keep this head coach around. You need at least 3 years to establish your team chemistry.

  4. goldenmisfit

    When a first year head coach who was an offense of coordinators decide to be the play caller that is a recipe for disaster. As a head coach you need to delegate responsibility and keep a close eye on all three facets of the game. When a head coach is calling plays their attention is diverted to only one side of the ball and it never works out.

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