Is Kevin Stefanski on the hot seat after Browns latest loss?

Browns, Kevin Stefanski. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Browns, Kevin Stefanski. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are now 5-8 on the season and once again looked completely out-matched. Does this loss put Kevin Stefanski on the hot seat?

Back in 2020, Kevin Stefanski won the NFL Head Coach of the Year award as a rookie for the Cleveland Browns. He led them to an 11-win campaign and they even got a victory in Pittsburgh during the playoffs.

Since then, things haven’t been going well for the Browns. They went 8-9 in 2021 and had a season loaded with drama. There was the Odell Beckham fiasco, which included the wideout’s father posing a video of his son not getting passes from Baker Mayfield.

That led to Beckham’s release but it was clear there was still some dysfunction as most of the locker room rallied around OBJ and not Mayfield.

As we all know, Mayfield was also out before 2022 began as Cleveland went all-in on Deshaun Watson — who was suspended for 11 games this season. Stefanski was 4-7 with Jacoby Brissett under center and the idea was that we would see better days with Watson starting.

But after two weeks, it’s been more of the same. Cleveland did beat Houston but that had nothing to do with Watson, who wasn’t great in his debut. Now, they suffered a 23-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and once again, some of Stefanski’s decisions were called into question.

The most confusing call from him was when he benched Watson on a fourth-and-one, only to dial up a deep pass from Jacoby Brissett. The unfortunate thing is, the play should have worked. Donovan Peoples-Jones was wide open but Brissett missed him with the throw. Had the pass been accurate, Stefanski would have been praised. Since it wasn’t, the blame for this loss is being put on him and this play is taking the heat.

As frustrating as that call was, the biggest concern with this team isn’t the calls being made. It goes deeper than that, which is why Stefanski should be slightly concerned.

Browns lack of discipline is a bigger concern than the play-calls

While we can debate the play-calling all day, the more pressing issue is the lack of discipline. Cleveland has been constantly flagged this season and even gave the Bengals a free set of downs when Tony Fields was hit with a roughing penalty on a punt.

Another penalty moved them deep into scoring range as Denzel Ward was hit with pass interference. The drive ended with a touchdown and Cincy went up 7-0 thanks in large part to undisciplined penalties.

Throw in the fact that players have gone to the media to call out coaches and one another, and it’s clear the leadership can be questioned. And with someone such as Jimmy Haslam making the ultimate decisions, it’s easy to see a scenario where he wants to blow it all up again.

Should Stefanski be on the hot seat?

It might not be a popular opinion right now, but the coach shouldn’t be given the boot. The fact is, we have seen the Browns clean house. It happens over and over, only for them to end up in the same boat.

Rather than going out there and hoping to find the next great head coach, it would probably be better to allow Stefanski one more season to prove he can get it done. Should he have a losing season with his quarterback under center, then we can talk.

Having said all that, we all know Haslam is a Wild Card. So none of us knows just how hot the seat really is.