Browns fans react to their new head coach

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor AFC North and NFC South

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

 

As I was driving to meet my daughter and a friend to see the movie “Cats” on Sunday, my phone started blowing up.

Now, as a safe driver, I waited until I got to the theater to see what all the hullabaloo was about…. (*wink*wink*) and of course it was about the Browns.

Sources: The #Browns are planning to hire #Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski as their new head coach. Runner-up last year, winner this year.

So naturally I fired off a few quick tweets, shook my head in dismay, and went to the movies.  (Great movie, by the way. I have no clue what all the hate is about!)

During last season’s Head Coaching Search, Browns GM John Dorsey wanted Freddie Kitchens and word on the street was that Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta wanted Kevin Stefanski. As we all know, Dorsey won that power struggle and the Kitchens era started. A year later, both Dorsey and Kitchens are gone, so I’m not sure why so many fans were surprised that DePodesta’s guy got this job this time around.

As to Stefanski’s qualifications…. he’s been with the Vikings in some capacity since 2006, moving from assistant head coach to tight end, running backs & quarterbacks coach, up to offensive coordinator. He survived three coaching changes in Minnesota. That alone should tell you how smart and talented he is. Not many guys in my experience – at least here in Cleveland – survive regime changes like that. On January 9, 2019 the Vikings named him their Offensive Coordinator and it looks like a year later he’s moved on to become the head coach of the Browns.

This year’s search process was a bit different from the ones we’ve seen in the past due to the time and patience that was taken to meet with a large number of candidates. Instead of the usual rush to get someone hired before “all the good ones are gone,” Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and DePodesta took their time. I think that in the end, fans were not so much upset with the hiring of Stefanski itself, but with all of the rumors and hype surrounding New England Patriots OC Josh McDaniels. He seemed to be everyone’s front-runner for the job and yet, here we are.  Perhaps he’ll be the front-runner in next year’s search. Ok, just kidding, but really, it seems to be the trend around here.

The big question at this point seems to revolve around stories that Analytics will play a huge part in weekly preparation. I’m hearing talk of Friday meetings between Stefanski and the front office – including ownership – where they will go over the game plan and how analytics fit into it. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m thinking a Friday meeting might be a bit late to make any changes that players would need to practice. It’s early days so we’ll have to see how that shakes out, but it is a bit worrisome.

Oh, and they haven’t even hired the new General Manager yet!

All that being said, I’m not going to make the same mistakes I’ve made each time we’ve gone through this. I’m not flying off to Vegas to bet money on the Browns in the Super Bowl. I’m not optimistically predicting 10 wins next year. I’m not even smack talking with Steeler fans about how we’ll kick their butts next year.  Nope.  This time, I’m going to keep my head down and my mouth shut and my fingers off the twitter buttons (for the most part).  But I’ll also be keeping my hands in prayer position and hoping that they FINALLY got it right and it will be ok.

In other news – Browns fans have a very wide range of reactions to this hire! I don’t know about other fan bases, but Browns Twitter is hilarious and mean and bitter and hopeful and band-wagony all at the same time. Gotta love it around here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk NFL with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8 

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