Browns Coach of the Year: Jim Schwartz, Defensive Coordinator
Joe Woods spent three seasons coaching the Cleveland defense and while he helped them make the playoffs in 2020, things started to fall apart for him after that. The Browns struggled mightily in his final two years and wound up being one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They also struggled in coverage — due in large part to his insistence on playing zone — and had no one other than Myles Garrett who could rush the passer.
That's why they decided to move on this offseason and he was replaced by Jim Schwartz. A long-time coach, Schwartz actually began his NFL career in Cleveland under Bill Belichick back in 1993. He's spent much of his career as a defensive coordinator but was a head coach with the Detroit Lions from 2009 through 2013. He returned to the defensive side of the ball after that and wound up winning a Super Bowl in 2017 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He was thrilled to be back in Cleveland and so far has been a huge success. The Browns defense is currently first in the NFL in stopping the pass and sixth in rushing defense. Those numbers are vastly improved upon what we saw in 2022 and that is why he's the Coach of the Year award at midseason.
For those who think this is an easy choice, the Browns actually have another new coach who deserves praise as well. Bubba Ventrone took over as Special Teams Coach and that unit has also been vastly improved, thanks in large part to Dustin Hopkins.
Kevin Stefanski has taken a lot of heat from fans but he did a good job this year when replacing his outgoing coordinators, and the results speak for themselves.