Kevin Stefanski can’t adapt to the injuries the team is dealing with.
If you just looked at the box score, you’d think Baker Mayfield was the problem against the Ravens. Except you’d be wrong. Injuries are the issue. The lack of talent around Mayfield is the issue. More specifically, Stefanski’s offensive packages, coaching, and play-calling are the issues.
The Browns are undisciplined. Whether it was Donovan Peoples-Jones lining up incorrectly, Ronnie Harrison giving up a huge reception and still committing a penalty, the at least two roughing the passer calls, and the debacle that was the Raven’s fourth-down conversion in the first half where the Browns not once, but twice had 12 men on the field, it’s become all to clear the issues resides with Stefanski and his coaching.
This team is undisciplined and Stefanski can’t overcome his own mistakes.
This isn’t the first game where Stefanski looked overwhelmed either. It’s been most games this year. The Browns finally got a big game out of Jarvis Landry but Landry’s most notable play was still his fumble as the Browns were building a drive.
Mayfield looked accurate when he wasn’t throwing the ball away because of the constant pressure, but instead of running the offense, Stefanski put Landry in at wild cat. Landry would then forget to pitch the ball to Mayfield and then ended up getting the ball stripped.
It wasn’t entirely Landry’s fault, as he never should’ve been in that package in the first place. Without Nick Chubb being effective, Stefanski has no idea what he’s doing. I’ve mentioned it before, he uses Chubb as a “erase all” type of option. A holding call on Jedrick Wills? Erase that mistake with Chubb. Peoples-Jones lines up offsides? Erase that with Chubb. The Browns have another five-plus drop game? Erase that too with Chubb.
Without Chubb, Stefanski’s mistakes look far worse than people realized.
Drives have looked uneven. Players are given far too many chances who don’t deserve them. We know Peoples-Jones and Blake Hance aren’t good in their roles. Why isn’t/hasn’t Stefanski put pressure on Andrew Berry to improve the positions? The offense is too slow to compete without the running game. There is no speedster the Browns can rely on and it’s beyond obvious when you realize your best receivers all run 4.8 40-yard-dashes.
The Browns need to do something to improve Kevin Stefanski’s coaching
If Mayfield just missed everything and the running backs weren’t able to get yards then fine. Yet, you run a package that had Michael Dunn in at tight end and you actually gain yards, but then what do you do? Take him out. Brilliant.
Mayfield is running for his life, what do you do? Empty-set shotgun, with no help for the tackles. The problematic part of the line.
On a crucial third-down, the Browns left in Demetric Felton, who has been as bad as any offensive play maker the Browns have. Kareem Hunt, the Browns’ best pass-catcher out of the backfield is on the sideline. Doing nothing, because Stefanski was trying to be clever.
It’s ridiculous that Stefanski isn’t being challenged more for his decision-making. It’s one thing to have to rely on Felton when Chubb and Hunt are hurt, it’s another to choose to rely on him when you have options.
I don’t blame Stefanski for abandoning the run, the Browns were able to move the ball downfield without it. The Browns were not able to overcome the poor pass-blocking play from the tackles, nor the penalties the team perpetually found themselves committing, nor the drops.
The biggest issue with those is that they all happen on key drives. Yes, Mayfield had an awful fumble, which really isn’t excusable. That said, teams can’t fall apart because of one bad play from one player. The team didn’t fail because Mayfield lost the ball once.
The team failed because the roster isn’t very good and Stefanski isn’t the genius so many told us he was. Sometimes the obvious decisions are the smartest. Until Stefanski stops making his job proportionally harder, it’s time to let someone else come up with the offensive packages and play calling.
It’s time to step down as play-caller and re-teach this team fundamentals.