I’m floored with how many people refuse to bring Kevin Stefanski into the conversation about what went wrong this year. Stefanski did everything wrong. Long, over-developed routes, no real pass protection to speak of, abandoning the run when it was effective, and so many other issues that are months old at this point, like Jadeveon Clowney’s continued undisciplined behavior. How many times has he jumped offsides/lined up offsides this year? More than I care to count. That all falls on Stefanski.
You really can’t pin all that on a guy with a torn labrum, he did the best he could, it’s up to his coach to decide if he’s the best option from that point forward. We’ll never know if this season would’ve gone differently had they started someone else, that’s all speculation at best. If Case Keenum goes out and gets trounced by the Bengals, maybe fans will go “ok, Stefanski had a point to start Mayfield then”. If not, then he’ll have to answer for it. If so, however, someone else will have to.
If Keenum tanks against Cinncinati, then the blame flows up to Andrew Berry for not getting a better backup for this situation. Yes, Keenum was Stefasnki’s guy, but it’s on Berry to make the final call. It’s always going to be on Berry to make the final call. Maybe Stefanski wanted Colquitt and McLaughlin over Gillan and Parkey. Guess who made the call, however? Berry. So guess who gets the blame? Berry.
Now, many will see this as a call to rid the Browns of Berry, Stefanski, and even possibly Mayfield. It’s not. Don’t overreact like that. Stefanski doesn’t need to go. He’s only 39-years-old. There are men his age who engage in flame wars and trolling on social media. Let’s not pretend that he’s supposed to have all the answers today. He’s young for a head coach and a work in progress. That doesn’t mean taking the responsibility off of him, because he has to make changes. That’s not up for debate. That just means you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Stefanski has got to answer for his blocking scheme, his disorganized gameplan, and why he decided not to run the ball on one of the worst running defenses in the league. It’s fine, acceptable even if he went out and said “we run off or inside tackle primarily, and without Jack Conklin, I haven’t felt like we could sustain a running game effectively”.
Great, we have an answer. We may agree with it, but we have one. Instead, it’s one Bill Belichick quote after another. “Guys didn’t execute.” “We need to work on things as a team.” “It’s not all on one guy”.
Except it is. It’s on you. I’m 100% against razing the team and building anew. There was too much potential in 2020 that does still exist. Don’t live in your feelings on this year. Acknowledge that whatever could go wrong this year did. That’s not likely to happen again.
Let’s get a healthy Mayfield and a healthy Conklin back. Improve the receiving corp, retool the scheme on offense or bring in a new offensive coordinator to help right the ship and get back to work.