Browns: With all the Jim Schwartz talk, don't forget about Bubba Ventrone

Bubba Ventrone hasn't received the same attention as Jim Schwartz but the Cleveland Browns will still see a major impact from the new special teams coordinator
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout
Cleveland Browns Offseason Workout / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns coaching staff underwent some big changes this past offseason. Firing the defensive coordinator and the special teams coach is huge for any organization.

Both will have different schemes and voices going into 2023. While everyone, including myself, has sung the praises of the Jim Schwartz hiring, it seems the other hiring that took place fell by the wayside. That was the hiring of special teams coordinator, Bubba Ventrone. We all need to understand that this was an exceptional hire in an important phase of the game.

So, how did we get here?

Mike Priefer's tenure in Cleveland didn't go well. The kicking game struggled every year to find any consistency. The coverage teams did not fair much better, and the return game until 2022 was downright awful under Kevin Stefanksi.

Priefer would get his best ranking from Rich Gosselin's yearly special teams rankings in his first season with the Browns as they finished 14th. In 2020 they ranked 28th on the list. 2021 was even worse, as they ranked 30th overall. With the addition of Jerome Ford and the move to put Donovan Peoples-Jones as the punt returner, Cleveland did jump to 18th in Gosselin's 2022 rankings. 

While the ranking increased thanks to a better return game, the coverage teams were still inconsistent, and the kicking game was awful.

Cleveland had three kicks blocked on the year and ranked near the bottom of every kicking and punting ranking in the NFL. Even with the issues and inconsistency, the Browns looked as though they were ready to bring Priefer back for another season until they weren't.


In a bizarre twist, the Browns would fire Priefer six weeks after the season ended. While no real explanation was given, not unusual, the tenure spoke for itself. The Browns also had their sights set on a coach that wasn't expected to be available.

Most thought new Indianapolis Colts coach Shane Steichen would consider keeping, arguably, the best special teams coach in the NFL. Instead, Ventrone decided to come to Cleveland as the special teams coordinator and assistant head coach. This new title gets him closer to his ultimate goal of being a head coach

Ventrone spent four seasons as the special teams coordinator. Per the same rankings, Ventrone's special teams ranked 29th in 2019, fourth in 2020, second in 2021, and last season eighth.

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It is clear that the former special teams ace and now special teams coach knows what he is doing. Now he will have the chance to work that magic in Cleveland, giving the Brown's special teams a chance to truly be special in 2023.