This morning Browns fans woke up to surprising news that the team did some house cleaning with the offensive staff. First reported by Josina Anderson, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, running backs coach Stump Michell and tight coach T.C. McCartney had been relieved of their duties. There was some confusion on the firing of Van Pelt, but ESPN’s Jake Trotter later confirmed after talking to Van Pelt he had been fired. Michell was also fired and McCartney’s contract wasn’t renewed. These moves seem to indicate the Browns want to move toward an offense more suited to the abilities of quarterback Deshaun Watson, i.e. empty backfield, RPO, misdirection and more motion.
After the injury to Nick Chubb, the run offense never seemed to recover. I don’t know if it’s fair to blame the lack of execution on Mitchell, however, when head coach Kevin Stefanski was hired, Stump Mitchell was retained from the previous coaching staff. Some fans are pointing to tight end David Njoku’s breakout season as a reason to keep McCartney. Was it the position coach or the quarterback play of Joe Flacco? As for Van Pelt, he attempted to leave once when he considered being hired by the University of Pittsburg to become their offensive coordinator. Personally, I thought it was odd that Van Pelt announced last week Jeff Driskel would be the backup quarterback for the wildcard game and then it was announced that PJ Walker would be the backup on game day.
Who are some names to watch: Tim Kelly, OC, Tennessee Titans. Kelly was Watson’s OC in 2019 and 2020 with the Texans. He’s still under contract with the Titans but might become available when Tennessee hires a new head coach.
Darrell Bevell, QB coach/passing game coordinator Miami Dolphins. Bevell and Stefanski worked together with the Minnesota Vikings. The Dolphins had the number-one offense in the league in 2023.
Kellen Moore, OC, Los Angeles Chargers. Very creative mind and could become available when the Chargers hire a new head coach.
Zac Robinson, QB coach, Los Angeles Rams. Runs an offense that could be best suited for Watson.
All year, there seemed to be a conflict between the head coach, the offensive coordinator and Deshaun Watson on how the offense should be designed. It appears now more emphasis will be placed on maximizing the talents of Watson. The offense was getting stale and fresh eyes and ideas are needed. It worked for the defense and the special teams going into 2023 why not the offense going into 2024?