Kevin Stefanski is wiping the slate clean after a very successful first season as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Under Stefanski, the Browns made the playoffs for the first time in 18 years and won a playoff game for the first time in 26 years. The Browns went 11-5 last year, marking just the second time in 22 seasons since the franchise returned to Cleveland that the Browns won at least 10 games.
What does that mean for 2021? To Stefanski, not much.
“We go back to square one in 2021,” Stefanski said, via Tom Withers of the Associated Press. “We have a lot of work to do and we are here to get that work started, whenever that may be.”
The Browns did make significant strides last year. Stefanski was named the Coach of the Year for leading the Browns to the postseason. Once they got there, they had to go forward with a playoff game without Stefanski on the sidelines due to a positive case of COVID. Stefanski returned for the Divisional Round and the Browns gave the Kansas City Chiefs a scare in a 22-17 loss than ended their season.
There were things the Browns can utilize from last year’s experience to help them moving forward. But to Stefanski, the Browns can’t just assume they’ll be able to recapture the success of last season. They have to build it up all over again.
“We laid a foundation, but it is really, really important that everyone in this building, all of our players, understand we have to get better,” he said. “To say we are just going to be right back where we left off, that is not the case. It just does not happen that way. Have got to work at it.”