Kevin Stefanski agreed to certain specific terms that limit his authority

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Head football coaches like to run the show. In Cleveland, the head football coach won’t be.

As explained by Steve Doerschuk of the Canton Repository, new Browns coach Kevin Stefanski showed during his interview a willingness to yield to certain expectations of part-time chief strategy office Paul DePodesta, including having someone from the analytics group wearing a headset and having access to the coaching staff on game days. Stefanski also agreed to owner Jimmy Haslam’s desire to engage in hours-long meetings with his head coach the day after games.

Dustin Fox of 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland added that the front office expects the head coach to “turn in game plans to the owner and analytics department by Friday, and to attend an end-of-week analytics meeting to discuss their plan.”

That was OK with Stefanski, or he wouldn’t have gotten the job. It’s unclear whether it would have been OK with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. By all indications and objective measurements, McDaniels is far more accomplished and experienced than Stefanski, who first became offensive coordinator late in the 2018 regular season and has only one full year in the job — a year that was necessarily undermined by the presence of assistant head coach/offensive consultant Gary Kubiak, who drew strong praise from coach Mike Zimmer as the best thing that had happened to the team since Zimmer arrived as head coach.

Mary Kay Cabot of reports that the job came down to Stefanski and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. Given that the Browns were determined to make a hire on Sunday, the truth in hindsight could be that they were ready to hire the loser of their round-of-eight showdown. Which, in hindsight, would make this decision fit well within the team’s recent history of ricocheting from one bad decision to the next.

It’s unknown whether Saleh would have taken the job if offered. On one hand, once the window opens it may not stay that way. On the other hand, the 49ers have a defense built to last, which means other opportunities may come along for Saleh that won’t entail excessive intrusions into his authority as coach of the team.

It’s quite possible that the Browns planned to hire a coach on Sunday because they guessed that the Vikings would lose, and that the hire would be the guy DePodesta wanted to hire last year. As noted yesterday, if hiring DePodesta’s preferred coach gets everyone in Cleveland on the same page, so be it. If it fails, however, the part-time chief strategy officer should have the same accountability as a full-time member of the football organization, whose jobs routinely hinge on whether or not the team thrives or fails.

56 responses to “Kevin Stefanski agreed to certain specific terms that limit his authority

  1. Sounds like Haslam and DePodesta both want to be NFL head coaches. No one should ever take a job with those handcuffs. It’s doomed from the start.

  2. I can’t imagine this micromanaging, business decision, type of arrangement will yield positive results. I get having a post-mortem but this sounds as if it is going to go way beyond that.

  3. This seems WAY over the top you want the analytics people to check out the plan fine… but what is the owner going to do with it.

    I can see why Dorsey got out of there.

  4. The Browns management has accomplished so much, it’s only natural that their new coach respect that.

  5. Browns ownership and front office: “we’ve been the worst team in the league for the last 2 decades. I have an idea, lets micro-manage the hell out of our new coach with analytics people that don’t really know the game so we can get a solid year or two out of him and we’ll be right back in the same spot as we are now.”

    The rest of the league: Yeah let us know how that works out for ya.

  6. Um wow, is Cleveland still Believe-land then?

    For what he is being paid I’d do it too, but not a good sign for fans of what is to come. I feel for Browns fans!

  7. Set-up to fail. Literally. I know there are only 32 of those jobs and they are coveted highly, but any smart football mind has to know you cant win with that level of intrusion. He’s doomed. And the Factory of Sadness continues….

  8. This was nauseating to read. To me, it shows a real desperation of the new head coach. Probably thought he would be fired from the Vikings and if that was the case, he caught a lifeline with contingencies, unheard of in the 100 years of nfl coaching. It would be one thing if Haslam and Depodesta were accomplished nfl veterans looking to mentor this guy. But they are not. Pathetic on every professional level.

  9. Thank goodness for the browns! they make the Jets and Giants look so much more functional in comparison!

    for now.

    The only head coach that will be happy there is when Jimmy Haslam just takes over himself?

  10. That’s not accurate. That is Doershuk’s “belief” what transpired. Stefanski is not relinquishing anything, just letting Analytics be a part of processes. No different than a majority of the NFL teams that utilize Analytics in their football ops. That includes the teams remaining. The difference is this transparency that the Browns are showing.

  11. Saleh most likely turned the job down once he heard their demands. Why would you leave a defense like his that he has control over, only to baby sit this bunch. He must have really been desperate.

  12. I think he made a terrible decision to sign on, BUT, He will make a truck load of money and if they try to blame it on him, Sorry guys, but remember that you signed off on the game plan on Friday.

  13. Saleh may be a fine candidate, but wonder how much having 5 or 6 first round picks on the 49ers defense helps his coaching ability?

  14. That’s crazy, he must’ve really wanted out of Minnesota to agree to such stringent concessions.
    Some people will do most anything to escape a burning ship.

  15. Jerry Jones is no longer the worst GM in the NFL. Haslam has taken over! Just because you have tons of money doesn’t make you knowledgeable enough to be GM. Sorry browns fan it’s not going to get better. Browns fans need to flush Haslam.

  16. Any team should hire a coach, GM, and other administration positions for their talent in a specific feild with specific duties. Then you let those individuals go about their business. I have a problem with dictators. It sounds like DePodesta want to be one, and everybody knows Jimmy Haslem is another fool when it comes to football. Having to give a game plan by Friday to Haslem and DePodesta for their approval is plain stupid. Stempanski is beyond stupid to agree with this. This will never ever work. It certainly won’t work out for Stemfanski. Ask the Cowboys how well a puppet coach work out. I fell sorry for Browns fans.

  17. Jason Harshman says:
    January 13, 2020 at 6:26 pm
    I guess this is why McDaniels…who most saw as a lock for the job, didn’t get the job.

    Josh had like the opposite idea. They already said that was why they didn’t offer him the job was because he was looking for control while they leave him alone.

  18. Craziest thing I’ve ever heard. No wonder they can’t attract anybody good to work there. McDaniels must have been laughing about this when he got on the plane out of town.

  19. Given how wildly successful they were this year it makes sense for the Browns to change as little as possible as they hire a new coach…. perfect sense…

  20. “It’s unclear whether it would have been OK with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.”

    Boston homer press brought this up yesterday and that those conditions led McDaniels to have no interest in the job.

  21. When are these damn Owners going to realize they are businessmen, their team is a hobby to them. They simply do not have the knowledge or instincts of a former player that has worked up the Coaching ranks. Stefanski had a much better future staying where he was.
    Analytics, where do I start! It is fine for helping on decisions but takes trick or surprise plays catching the other team off guard out of the picture. It turns into a computer chess game, and that is one of the reasons why the Browns will never be to a Super Bowl.

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