Is Browns coach Kevin Stefanski on the hot seat in 2022?

Browns Kevin Stefanski. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Browns Kevin Stefanski. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns seem to have their franchise coach, but is Kevin Stefanski’s job safe or is he on the hot seat in 2022?

Kevin Stefanski is entering his third season as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and does boast a winning record of 19-14. In his debut season, he coached the team to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years and won the NFL Coach of the Year award.

That was literally two years ago, so is it too early for him to be on the hot seat? Jake Trotter of ESPN believes that Stefanski is indeed on the hot seat for the 2022 season. His main reason is due to the fact that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has never shown patience with head coaches and none have lasted three full seasons.

This season is different than the other two. This season has no Baker Mayfield on the roster, but instead, has Deshaun Watson — after Week 12 — that is. Stefanski was part of the decision-makers to pull the trigger on acquiring Watson from Houston along with Haslam and general manager Andrew Berry, so it would be irrational for Stefanski to be the scapegoat.

Now, of course, we know now what the length of Watson’s suspension is, but the powers that be did not know what the suspension would look like when the trade was made. So how would that be fair to Stefanski to be on the hot seat in 2022 when he doesn’t have the prized quarterback the team traded for during the first 12 weeks and 11 games of the season?

Nobody truly knows how this season will pan out with Jacoby Brissett set to start in Watson’s absence, but even if the rails fall off, this shouldn’t fall solely on Stefanski. No matter how this year plays out, Stefanski should get a crack at it next season when he has a full roster.

The 2023 campaign will be a true test for Stefanski as he will finally have a good quarterback for a full year. If for whatever reason he can’t guide this team to the playoffs, he could be on his way out of a job in Cleveland.

The season is far from lost for 2022, but with how it is heading with the suspension of Watson, this should not be the year that Stefanski is on the hot seat. If he can’t get it done next season, then we will likely be having a vastly different discussion.

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