CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam refuted a report Tuesday that new head coach Kevin Stefanski would be required to submit his game plans to the team’s analytics department by Fridays before games.
However, Stefanski and Haslam will have scheduled meetings each Monday.
“Let me ask you, if you owned a pro football team, would you meet with the head coach the Monday after the game?” Haslam said. “Of course you would. I mean, of course we would. The rumors out there, though, about presenting the game plan of those kind are just totally inaccurate, and I really think they’re irresponsible. I really do.”
During Stefanski’s introductory news conference on Tuesday, the first-year head coach also brushed off the rumor about Haslam checking off his weekly game plan.
#Browns Kevin Stefanski called it the ‘silly season’ in terms of some of the reports on analytics. pic.twitter.com/7tcCuJussY
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham) January 14, 2020
“It’s not true. I like that report. That was a good one. It’s silly season for that type of stuff,” said Stefanski during his introductory news conference. “Analytics, I can’t say it enough, it’s a tool.”
Haslam said he’s always met Mondays with his head coaches, and that the meetings typically last between 30 minutes to an hour.
“I dare say we don’t discuss a lot different than the questions you all would ask if you came to the game,” Haslam said. “It’s not a lot different than that.”
Stefanski and Haslam each said Tuesday they wanted to use analytics to the Browns’ advantage.
“I’m looking for any edge we can get on game day, and certainly ‘analytics’ I know is another buzzword out there, but we’re looking to make informed decisions,” Stefanski said. “So as a play-caller or whether it may be in player evaluation, information is power.
“I think we’re well on our way where we can provide impactful information to our coaches, to our personnel department, that can really, again, help the product in terms of wins and losses.”
Haslam said he hasn’t worked out the specific details with Stefanski, but the Browns plan to have someone in the booth to help with in-game decision making.
“I think if you went across the spectrum in the NFL, it’s pretty common to have somebody in the booth helping you decide when to call a timeout, when to go for it, etc.,” Haslam said.
Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta echoed many of Haslam’s statements, calling it “common practice” for NFL teams to allow an analytics specialist to have a headset during games.
“All eight of the candidates that we interviewed I think felt very comfortable with how we were going to sort of operate and even how they wanted to operate,” DePodesta said. “We were able to demystify it to some degree for them.”
Stefanski, 37, officially became the third-youngest head coach in the NFL on Tuesday.
I thought this was really interesting today from Paul DePodesta. He was asked what the “analytics say about Kevin Stefanski” since he’s “in the analytics department.” His answer: pic.twitter.com/sIjRYN5NbA
— Kevin Kleps (@KevinKleps) January 14, 2020
The Browns still have to hire a new general manager.
The organization also has to decide whether to retain current offensive coordinator Todd Monken and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
Monken and Wilks are still listed as the coordinators on the team’s website.
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