Kevin Stefanski, former Vikings offensive coordinator, was hired by the Browns, and nearly immediately all hell broke loose in Cleveland, or more accurately all hell broke loose in New Orleans. It was going to be tough enough for the first time head coach to meet his players, hire his staff, help with the search for a brand new GM, also while dealing with the fact that for many fans, he was not the first choice. However, the Cleveland curse struck again and Odell Beckham Jr. ended up slapping the behind of a police officer after LSU won the national title.
Stefanski needs to deal with hiring his staff. The name that seems to be floating around is Gary Kubiak. The former head coach has a great resume and helped Kevin Stefanski and the Vikings in 2019. However, Kubiak has yet to get an interview with Cleveland. It was announced that former Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scargarello will interview for the position. Scargarello has also worked under Kyle Shanahan, which could be what an offense under him would look like. He guided Brandon Allen to an upset with over the Browns and helped Drew Lock lead the Broncos to a 4-1 record as the starter. On the other side of the ball, it has been narrowed to just two men. Steve Wilks, who had the job in 2019, and Joe Woods, the 49ers defensive backs and defensive passing game coach. The Browns have shown a tendency to not hire their man until his team is knocked out of the playoffs. If the 49ers are beaten by the Packers, the announcement could come soon after. Mike Priefer will stay as the special teams coordinator. This makes sense as the Browns had a strong special teams unit in 2019.
Stefanski is expected to have a say on the search for the new GM, though owner Jimmy Haslam will have the final say. The major candidates are Andrew Berry, Monti Ossenfort and George Patton. Berry, who spent the 2016-2018 seasons in the Cleveland Front Office, had an interview on Friday. The Browns won just eight games while he was in Cleveland, but Jimmy and Dee Haslam liked him. He is currently the Philadelphia Eagles Vice President of Football Operations. Monti Ossenfort also interviewed on Friday. He is the director of college scouting for the New England Patriots. He has been in New England for 17 seasons and has five rings to show for it. There have been many rumors on if Patton is in for the job or if he is not, but he is the assistant GM in Minnesota and worked with Stefanski for the last 13 seasons. Jimmy and Dee Haslam have stated that having their coach and GM on the same page is crucial.
The final issue for Stefanski to deal with is his players. Baker Mayfield should not have a huge voice in terms of the GM or offensive coordinator. That’s what happened last time and it led to Todd Monken and Freddie Kitchens. Stefanski should privately meet with Odell Beckham Jr., alongside Jimmy Haslam and there should be a discussion about Beckham’s antics. As a fan, I do not want to hear of any news out of Cleveland, unless it is a coordinator or the GM signing a deal.
It’s a tough ask for a first-time head coach to deal with, but if Stefanksi can navigate this month, the talent is there for a successful first season for the Browns.