The Mayfield and Stefanski connection
One of the first things I learned as a football coach, was that you have to be able to establish a good connection with your quarterback and be able to trust that player to guide your team forward with the plays and tactics you try to employ every game and throughout a season.
We witnessed exactly the opposite of that first when former, Browns coach Hue Jackson was coaching Baker Mayfield in 2018. The stubborn, cocky coach couldn’t communicate with Mayfield in any type of productive way.
Mayfield didn’t respond to a coach like Jackson because he wasn’t respected in his view. There was a ton of negativity during that time between the coach and quarterback. Once Jackson left, Mayfield played better and finished off a strong rookie campaign.
With Kevin Stefanski, you now have player and coach on the same page. Mayfield has excelled under Stefanski’s leadership.
Tannenbaum, who thinks again that Mayfield is replaceable, tried pointing to the idea that when Stefanski was working as an assistant coach in Minnesota with the Vikings that it didn’t matter who one stuck in at quarterback. Either Case Keenum or Kirk Cousins, who played then in Minnesota when Stefanski was there, would win more or less because of the system that Stefanski was in part responsible for showcasing.
Now that Keenum is the back up quarterback here in Cleveland, Tannenbaum believes you could throw Keenum into the fire and you wouldn’t miss a beat because it’s more about the system then the quarterback.
That whole take is complete garbage and couldn’t be further from the truth when talking about Mayfield and Stefanski.
And this why Tannenbaum is doing reporting for ESPN now and not working for an NFL franchise.
When a player, like Mayfield trusts his coach the team is better off and will win games long term, and that can’t be replaced so flippantly like Tannenbaum believes.