When the Cleveland Browns hired Freddie Kitchens as the head coach of the team last offseason, I was excited about it. Honestly, from what I recall, most people were. What’s interesting is that the team also interviewed Minnesota’s offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski for the position. It was Kitchens that won the job over him to replace Hue Jackson. We all know how this past season went. It was so bad that this franchise went right back to a coaching search to find someone new after just one year under Kitchens. That man is, as we all know, is Kevin Stefanski.
Now, I am completely happy with the hire, but my only concern is that he isn’t “new.”
I think Stefanski is a sharp mind and has served many great years in various capacities for the Vikings. His introductory press conference was excellent and he answered all questions to the full extent, seemingly ready to take on this next challenge in his football coaching career.
Yet, the Browns did interview Stefanski last year and picked Kitchens over him. My question is why that happened and what it was that the team didn’t like in Stefanski enough to pick him as the head coach a year ago? Were there certain reservations that hadn’t been disclosed, or was Kitchens just, at the time, liked more for the position?
“Stefanski had a clear leg up after being the No. 1 choice of (Paul) DePodesta/(Andrew) Berry last year.”
Thus, one has to wonder how owner Jimmy Haslam was able to convince everyone that Kitchens was the right choice over Stefanski in ’19. We saw how that played out with such a disappointing 6-10 season on a team truly filled with talent to flip that to a 10-6 record or even better.
This franchise could be a year ahead of itself had JH3 gone with Depo/Berry and picked the guy that was actually right for the position of head coach of the Cleveland Browns last year. Hell, Kitchens could have even stayed on the roster as a coordinator or positions coach.
My praise for Stefanski is extremely high on many fronts. Thus, this article is not to poke holes in the new coach of our beloved Browns. It’s simply wondering why he wasn’t picked last year? If there is something that he needed to improve on to become a head coach, if he did as such, etc. I would hope that since Stefanski is the selection, any flaws were fixed or, at least, addressed for his upcoming tenure.
Like I’ve said in previous articles…
It is rare that a franchise fires and then picks a new head coach with as much talent as this team has on its roster. Usually, it’s a bunch of players that will not end up being on the future roster. Hopefully, Stefanski can take advantage of what he’s being welcomed into. Unlike his predecessor in Freddie Kitchens, who did quite the opposite.
From the way Stefanski looks (handsome, sharp guy, let’s just admit it), to the way he speaks (very well-spoken) and everything else, this guy feels like the winner the Browns need. Let’s hope the team was wrong last season and has made up for its mistake.