It is no secret Coach Kevin Stefanski’s rookie year with the Cleveland Browns has been a good one.
The 8-3 Browns haven’t had a better 11 game record since 1969 when they went 8-2-1.
For this reason and many more, Coach Stefanski’s name will be in the discussion for Coach of the Year.
The best part of everyone saying this season was going to be extremely difficult on first year coaches because of the shortened off-season is they were right.
Excluding Kevin Stefanski they have a record of 13-28.
The Browns are 7-3.
Kevin Stefanski is special. pic.twitter.com/KYcgW7zIBA
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) November 24, 2020
Here are 3 reasons why he should be selected.
1. Leadership Style
Browns’ fans suffered through the dreadful Hue Jackson and Freddie Kitchens years.
Jackson was (and still is) notorious for casting blame on anyone besides himself for the Browns’ performances on his watch.
And even though Freddie Kitchens led the Browns to a win over the Ravens during the 2019 season, there is nothing else worth mentioning about his tenure or leadership.
Coach Stefanski is the polar opposite of his two predecessors.
He has a quiet, unassuming style.
His players like and respect him.
The Browns have had their share of adversity by way of injury, COVID-19, and weather this season, but Stefanski isn’t rattled.
He keeps moving ahead and leading his team by example.
GM Andrew Berry said this about his head coach.
“Our team is in about as good of hands as we could ask for with Kevin at the helm.”
2. Player Management
The Browns have a roster of talented players.
Talent has not been their problem in recent years; it has been the management of it.
Sideline skirmishes, yelling at coaches, and all the distracting antics of the past are gone.
Somehow Stefanski has managed the egos and got everyone to buy-in to his way even if it means they are not the stats leaders.
WR Rashard Higgins expressed it well:
“Coach believes in me. I would not be on the team for no reason. He knows what I am capable of, and I do at a high level every time. He kept me on the team for a reason. He believed in me. He trusts in me. The whole staff upstairs, they believe in me. They know what I am capable of. There is nothing to question. I am on the team for a reason. When I am called upon, I have to do my job.”
3. Game Management
Aside from perhaps the Raiders game where the 50 mile per hour winds howled through FirstEnergy Stadium, Coach Stefanski’s game plan and management of it have been on point.
Enjoyed everything about this play from the Browns.
3rd and 12, up 2 with 1:47 left in the game.
Great call by Kevin Stefanski, great effort from Joel Bitonio and J.C. Tretter, game over. pic.twitter.com/fYY5ef4PIw
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) December 2, 2020
And he is building an identity for the Browns offense, something that has been sorely lacking in recent years.
The idea of leading with the run and sticking with it even if it isn’t always working is how the Browns got to 8-3.
Despite the fact that Coach Stefanski is a leading candidate for Coach of the Year, it is likely he will be edged out by Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin.
In addition to their undefeated record (so far), Tomlin has led them through perhaps the most disruptive of COVID-19 schedules between the outbreaks affecting the Titans and Ravens right before their games with the Steelers.
Coach Stefanski will not care if he is given Coach of the Year honors; he is more motivated by team honors.
His greatest pride will be if his team finishes the season strong and advances through the postseason.