The Cleveland Browns are off to a 5-8 record and most likely will miss the playoffs for a second straight season. The Cleveland Browns have four regular-season games left, and they will take on their AFC North division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, on Saturday.
The Browns just got their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson back from an 11-game suspension two weeks ago, and they are currently 1-1 with him as the starter.
Watson looked awful in his first game back against the Houston Texans, but he didn’t see real NFL action for almost two years, so it was expected.
Watson started to show flashes of why he was an elite quarterback in the loss against the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend.
The offense could have looked better the two weeks with Watson in there, but it is hard to put a quarterback who hasn’t played football in two years on a new team and a new system in the middle of Week 13.
The Browns are operating this offense like it’s Week Two of the NFL season, and every other team is in Week 15.
Stefanski Has Some Flaws
The head coach and offensive play caller, Kevin Stefanski, should have some fault in this, but wanting him fired is taking it too far.
Stefanski had to operate with a backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett for the first eleven games this season, and Brissett was a pleasant surprise. At times, Brissett played as a top-ten quarterback in the league, and he got the team to four wins. Yes, they probably should’ve won six games with the New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers games getting away from them, but four wins were perhaps everyone’s expectations, to begin with.
Stefanski and his opening game script of 15-20 plays are pretty good almost every week, but he has some issues adjusting to play calling late in games, which sometimes gets in his way.
He sometimes tries to be cute, running trick plays and trying to catch the defense off guard. But, still, Stefanski’s offense is a lot about miss direction and getting the defense to think you’re going one way, and it goes the exact opposite, and that’s why trick plays are there, but a lot of times, they aren’t successful.
Stefanski also, at times, doesn’t look like he has accountability towards his players, with them making dumb decisions on the field, and there are times when Stefanski is just outcoached. It’s pathetic but firing the head coach would be a horrible decision the team could make.
Why Stefanski Should Get Another Year
This is Stefanski’s third season with the Browns, and we all remember his first season in 2020 when he won NFL Coach of The Year and took the Browns to the playoffs.
The 2021 season was a disappointment with the horrible quarterback play of Baker Mayfield and the drama with wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr, and the Browns decided that Baker was a huge reason why this team didn’t succeed in 2021 and traded for Deshaun Watson, who then got an 11-game suspension to start the season.
Stefanski already has to deal with a backup quarterback for eleven weeks after dealing with Baker for two years. Then, when he finally gets his franchise quarterback in there for two games, everyone wants him fired because the offense hasn’t looked great.
If Stefanski were fired, he would be unemployed for less than 24 hours before he accepted a new NFL head coaching job.
Yes, Stefanski putting his head in a play sheet and sometimes not knowing what is going on in games is frustrating, but that is how the modern NFL head coach is. Watch most NFL games; most head coaches have their heads in the play sheet and only care about what play they are calling next.
If you were to make a coaching change, what coach are you bringing in that is an upgrade over him? For example, Sean Payton is the best coach out there, but he isn’t a free agent coach; he still is under contract with the New Orleans Saints and would have to be traded to acquire him, and the Browns don’t have the assets to trade for him.
Do you want to go down the coordinator route again, hire a guy with no head coaching experience, and tell him to run the show?
The Browns need to change the coaching staff and move on from special team coordinator Mike Priefer and defensive coordinator Joe Woods at the end of the season, but they should not touch the head coaching position.
Stefanski should get an entire season of Watson as his quarterback in 2023, and if it isn’t flowing, then a move will be made. Still, he deserves the fourth season in Cleveland and a real chance with the franchise quarterback they went out and traded for in the offseason.