Cleveland Browns’ Kevin Stefanski leading them to the middle of the AFC playoff chase

Just in: Browns’ Training Camp Kevin Stefanski explains why….

Cleveland Browns' Kevin Stefanski expects coaching staff to return

BEREA, Ohio — On the sidelines, Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is rarely seen displaying emotion.

On Sunday’s pivotal play in the team’s 31-27 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland’s normally composed coach lost control.Early in the fourth quarter, Browns quarterback Joe Flacco maneuvered out of the Jaguar pressure and found second-year wide out David Bel wide open down the middle on a crucial fourth-and-three play call.

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Stefanski skipped along the sidelines, joining the players in yelling as Bell whirled around and raced untouched for his first career 41-yard touchdown.

“That particular play was a big moment for our football team in that game,” Stefanski stated on Wednesday. “And to see the play that (Flacco) made drifting away from pressure and then to see D-Bell obviously go in. … I feed off the emotion of our players – and that was an emotional play for our football team.”

a football squad that wins games after losing players on a regular basis.

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Since the Houston Texans in 2015, the Browns are the first NFL team to start four different quarterbacks in a single season.

Along with All-Pro running back Nick Chubb (knee), quarterback Deshaun Watson (shoulder), starting offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin (knee), backup tackle Dawand Jones (knee), and, most recently, safety Grant Delpit (groin) and defensive end Ogbo Okoronkwo (groin), who both sustained their injuries in the Jacksonville victory, Cleveland has also lost a number of key players to season-ending injuries.

The Browns are 8-5 and alone in the AFC postseason chase, thanks to Stefanski, despite the team’s struggles with injuries and quarterback turnover.

“He’s coaching his ass off,” defensive end Myles Garrett of the Browns said.To put the Browns in serious playoff contention, Stefanski has managed to navigate a slew of season-ending injuries and play four different quarterbacks. Nick Cammett/Getty Images photo
After two consecutive losing seasons, Stefanski seemed to be in the running for one of the league’s best coaching jobs going into the 2023 season.

In 2020, Stefanski won NFL Coach of the Year after leading the Browns to their first postseason appearance in 18 years during his rookie season.

However, the Browns have struggled to qualify for the postseason the previous two seasons due to quarterback turbulence. First, it was Baker Mayfield in 2021, and then it was Watson last year, who missed the first 11 games due to a suspension for breaking NFL policy.

With the way the Browns have recovered this year, Stefanski doesn’t seem to be in the firing line anymore.

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“He does a great job and I think he deserves a lot of credit, obviously, with the amount of variables that he’s been dealing with this year,” said Flacco. “He’s the first guy you’re going to have to look at when you talk about that kind of stuff.”

Stefanski has faced more quarterback-specific factors than any other NFL coach.

Watson was dealing with two separate ailments to his throwing shoulder, so freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and quarterback PJ Walker had to play almost the whole three games each. Despite this, Cleveland managed to win 3-3 in those games to maintain their postseason aspirations. That included a thrilling 19–17 triumph against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6 and a thrilling 39–38 victory with Walker at the center against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7. The team also triumphed 13–10 against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers, with Thompson–Robinson arranging the game-winning field goal drive.

In addition, Stefanski calls offensive plays. In none of those wins, the Browns lit up the scoreboard with him calling the plays. They did, however, generate enough offensive to win.

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Joe Flacco’s success is explained by Peyton Manning at 38Peyton Manning attributes Joe Flacco’s comeback as the quarterback for the Browns to his composure.
Andrew Berry, general manager, describes Stefanski as having three superpowers. “His intelligence, his creativity and his emotional control.”

Cleveland has been able to weather the injury storm and avoid any panic in the locker room thanks to Stefanski’s attitude. He and Flacco, 38, clicked right away, and that connection might carry the Browns all the way to the postseason.

On November 20, after Watson was scheduled to have shoulder surgery that would terminate the season, Cleveland signed Flacco. In his season debut on December 3, Flacco passed for three touchdowns, but the Los Angeles Rams prevailed in the end.

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Following the 1970 merger, Flacco’s performance in Jacksonville made him one of just five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw five touchdowns in his first two games as a new player. And the Browns made history by being the eighth team to have four different quarterbacks win a game in a single season since at least 1950.

Flacco, who is just three years younger than Stefanski, stated, “The more he learns what we’re good at while I’m back there and the more we can talk in the meeting rooms, obviously, the more I play, the more conversations…. the better feel (we’ll have) for each other that way.”

Twelve head coaches have come and gone with the Browns since they returned to the NFL in 1999. None of the team’s coaches have lasted more than three seasons since Jimmy and Dee Haslam acquired the team in 2012. Up until Stefanski, who is en route to ending that shameful trend and providing the Browns with the winning coach they have so desperately wanted.

“With everything that’s changed throughout the year, pieces moving in and out, switched around, he’s done a hell of a job,” Garrett stated, “and we’ve answered the call.”


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