On Thursday, Kevin Stefanski was one of four Cleveland Browns to win a prestigious award during the NFL Honors ceremony. The fourth-year head coach won the NFL Coach of the Year Award, which is the second time he's done so. He first did so in his rookie campaign and in year four, he edged out DeMeco Ryans by a tie-breaker.
Stefanski was able to secure the honor by winning 11 games despite starting five different quarterbacks. In addition to the signal-callers going down, Cleveland was also without Nick Chubb and they were down to their fifth and sixth options at tackle by the time they entered the playoffs.
The game-planning that Stefanski did throughout the season was fantastic but it wouldn't have worked if they didn't have the depth they did. General manager Andrew Berry deserves praise in this regard as the two have worked incredibly well together. And according to reports, they should continue to work well together for many more years.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler says the Browns are expected to offer extensions to both Berry and Stefanski this offseason. The move would make sense, considering the fact that they took a struggling franchise and set them on the right track.
Browns returned to relevance under Kevin Stefanski, Andrew Berry
Stefanski was hired ahead of the 2020 season to replace Freddie Kitchens. Two weeks after his hire was announced, Berry was signed as the youngest general manager in the NFL at the time. Since then, they've produced a record of 37-30 and made the playoffs twice.
For reference, no other coach (outside of interim Gregg Williams who was 5-3 in just eight games) has had a winning record in Cleveland since they returned in 1999. They also made it to the postseason just once between 1999 and 2019.
Making it into the playoffs twice and even securing a win back in 2020 is a huge accomplishment. Also huge is the fact that they won 11 games with so many backups. A return to health in 2024 should bring even more success and thankfully it appears they will have the brain trust responsible together for the foreseeable future.