1. Kevin Stefanski
Injuries and schemes were a big reason the defense struggled in 2019, but perhaps the biggest reason was the Browns offense. Far too often Freddie Kitchens would call pass, run, pass, and then it was third down and time to punt. The defense didn’t get any rest and was constantly playing from behind.
Many times, you would see the defense play with fire for two quarters but was so worn out by the fourth quarter they didn’t have any fight left. The pressure of trying to win games from the defensive side of the ball leads to mistakes and big plays.
With Kevin Stefanski calling plays in 2020, the Browns defense will be in a much better position to be successful. Stefanski will pound the rock and give the defenders extended periods of rest. With the clock running, the unit will likely be on the field 10-15 fewer snaps per play which will be a tremendous benefit.
With the offense scoring points, the defense will see a lot fewer running plays as well in 2020. Teams won’t just be trying to bleed the clock the whole second half with big leads. When teams are forced to pass the ball, defensive coordinators can get creative and make things difficult.
Many things will lead to an improved defense in 2020, but I see Stefanski’s system being the biggest help. Once this team starts winning games, the culture of losing will also begin to fade away.
Fans have been waiting for that moment since 1999. Look for 2020 to be the first major step forward.