It’s 4th and 1 from your opponent’s 25. You have Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and a quarter billion-dollar quarterback. You also have a kicker you spent a 4th round pick on. What do you do? If you guessed: Bring in your back-up quarterback, try to be the smartest guy in the stadium, end up outsmarting yourself for the 15th time this season and throw a low percentage pass, then congratulations!! You won my little contest.
If this was a singular lapse in judgment I could understand. Hey, we all make mistakes. But this has happened over and over and over. Game-management and decision-making has been downright bad this year from Stefanski and his coaches.
Where are the results?
Jacoby Brissett played well enough for the Browns to be a .500 team, but his efforts were derailed by questionable coaching decisions and a lackluster defense. Think about how many games the Browns have won that we can contribute to Stefanski or anyone on his staff outcoaching their opponent throughout his tenure. I’ll wait… The playoff game in Pittsburgh? That was an extraordinary circumstance and Stefanski was in his basement at the time. He hardly spearheaded the effort. What happened that night was magical. It wasn’t a clinic in game planning. If it was, we would have seen further evidence of master game planning against superior opponents over the last several years. We simply haven’t seen that, which leads me to believe that game was an isolated incident.
Let’s talk solutions. Several arguments have been made that Stefanski should give up play calling duties. That rarely works. It’s the last gasp of a desperate coach trying to keep his job, not a viable long-term solution to a more macro problem. I’m feeling generous, so let’s imagine Stefanski gives up play calling. What does that really solve? He still remains head coach, oversees all coaching operations, manages in-game decisions, has at least some input with talent acquisition and evaluation and is entrusted with offensive adjustments and game planning, as well as leading the team on the field. Giving Alex Van Pelt play calling duties solves a minor issue, but it’s not going to fix this team. Do you trust Stefanski with EVERYTHING except for play calling? Because that’s what the solution implies.
This Browns team has a lot of talent, limited cap space, and little draft assets. Their cornerstone players are in their prime and under contract. There are no more excuses. Yes, there are holes in the roster, and it will take some creative cap savvy to fix them. Andrew Berry can handle that and the Haslams will certainly throw their money around.
The issue is coaching. Do the Browns trust Stefanski, Joe Woods, and Alex Van Pelt to use the team’s talent appropriately? Does the team think this current coaching staff can guide this current roster through their prime? The front office has to be right about this. They simply cannot waste any more years of their elite high-priced talent. No more mulligans for this coaching staff. No more post-game press conferences that talk about needing to be better or watching the tape or whatever generic coach-speak catchphrase we’re left to translate week after disappointing week.
The hourglass has run out
After an 11-5 2020 rookie season for Stefanski, he’s 13-17 since. For the record, I loathe constant coaching changes and organizational turnover. The thought of another coaching search is nauseating, but I think it’s the right move. That doesn’t mean I think it will happen. I don’t believe Stefanski will be fired. The likely scenario is Stefanski will be told to part ways with defensive coordinator Joe Woods and the head coach will be given an opportunity in his 4th year with Deshaun Watson to try and earn an extension and win back the faith of the front office and fanbase. It’s not what I would do. I don’t believe this is the time to have a “wait and see” attitude. There needs to be a sense of urgency.
The Browns’ front office is going to have to make some tough decisions. As they make these decisions, they need to keep one thing in mind: time’s up.
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Floyd O Weatherspoon
December 16, 2022 at 10:34 am
Sadly, I agree as after last seasons debacle by continuing to play a hurt Mayfield this season has been worse. Pissing away WINNABLE games this year like the jets, falcons, Chargers, Ravens made me SICK to my stomach, and sundays Bengals game was pathetic. The penalties and decisions we made ( like what you mentioned about the 4th and one pass by Brissett) turned that whole game around.
We’ve went backwards and even though this team COULD win their last four it would take a MIRACLE to get past the jets,dolphins,Chargers, patriots( hmm all reams we lost to)make the playoffs.
December 17, 2022 at 1:43 am
I am so disappointed in the Browns this year this maybe my last chance to see them bring home a super bowl as I have terminal nonalcoholic liver disease, had such hi hopes for this season and coaching staff and front office. Berry is very smart but I think he outsmarted himself,the backup would have been very serviceable with this roster
December 17, 2022 at 12:32 pm
13 – 17 compared to… have you watched this team in the past? Add in the 1st season, 24 – 22 , literally the best 3 yr stretch we ever have had since late 80s prolly.
December 17, 2022 at 1:53 pm
I really thought that this guy was going to be great but as the Browns ownership shows that they don’t have a clue.Go ask the common guy that knows football and he can make better decisions than people getting paid millions of $$ to make football decisions.You give up draft picks and spend all that money on a guy with all this Baggage REALLY!!!
December 17, 2022 at 2:59 pm
Agreed. But I think Stafanski should be told to step down as Head coach. Take the OC job where ahead coach can say NO we are not going it on 4th down in our own territory on the road of a tied game 2 weeks in a row. Plus the Jacoby debockal u mentioned. The Jets game was 1000% won! 1000% won with a half way decent head coach that wasn’t worried about the next play call not to see it. I could write a book. Not taking the sure feild goal countless times.
December 23, 2022 at 9:44 pm
I have watched every game for 4 years. Thank God for this article. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. This is the most uninspired and uncreative offense I have ever seen. Kareem Hunt is the most underutilized player in the league. Nick Chubb is God. Stefanski walks around the sidelines staring at his laminated Chinese Menu oblivious to everything. As you mentioned: no draft picks, so now is the time. Get him out of here. Sean Payton?
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December 28, 2022 at 10:01 am
They need to hire Bill Cowher as coach then we’ll see how far we make it
SUPER BOWL for years to come like he did in pucksberg no doubt he would get the job done only if they would go after him in a way he couldn’t pass it up
On side note he did play and also coached for the CLEVELAND BROWNS
GOOOOOOO get BILL COWHER NOWWWWWW JIMMY HASLAMS
December 31, 2022 at 4:04 pm
I would hate for them to do that and then have stephansky go somewhere else and turn into another Bill Belichick. Bill Belichick was run out of Cleveland and look what he’s done in New england.
December 31, 2022 at 10:13 pm
Belichick was not run out of Cleveland – he was fired when they moved to Baltimore
January 1, 2023 at 12:47 am
EEVERYONE has overlooked the true nature of the problem with Stefanski…He is an abject failure in the inspiration and motivation department. His stoic demeanor on the sidelines signals to the players his lack of enthusiasm, and it rubs off on the players and there petformance. He engages with no one during the game, meanwhile he has his face behind his play sheet. He makes eye contact with no one during the game, and again, this sends a message of apathy. All of this translates into lost trust, apathy amongst the players and coaches, as exemplified by the defenses lackluster performance on the field. Lack of discipline leading to penalties, missed tackles and lost games. Despite his trite statements of “We got to do better” he has attempted to make no changes or adjustments during his entire tenure in Cleveland and players don’t seem to be responding positively to his presence. Both he and Woods should be fired at halftime, in the locker room….in front of the players. Talk about a sense of urgency? That would light a fire.in the team.
January 1, 2023 at 2:41 pm
Read Tony Grossi’s explanation. Stefanski not coaching this team. It’s all on Depodesta and his love affair with analytics. That’s why Stefanski is safe.
January 2, 2023 at 9:47 am
Who are the Browns hiring if they get rid of Stefanski? Who even wants this job if they fire him? Don’t even mention Sean Payton. Stefanski has had the most success of any coach since 1999. And what’s been the big issue with this team under Haslam? Instability. If you fire Stefanski…what does that accomplish? You create more instability and further feed the narrative that this organization is a dumpster fire.
Stay the course through the offseason and see what he can do with Watson out of the gate next year. If it’s another debacle, then you have more grounds to fire him. But doing it now after all they invested in Watson make ZERO SENSE!
Stefanski isn’t perfect but what coach is? The solution isn’t to alway fire the coach.
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