It's hard to blame Cleveland Browns fans for asking about job stability because they've only known one thing for a quarter century — coaches being on the hot seat.
Since returning to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had 10 head coaches and two interim. That's 23 seasons with 12 different coaches calling the shots. So naturally, they've seen the pattern — lose and you're fired. There's no such thing as waiting to develop. They get a year, sometimes two, and they're gone if it doesn't work.
That's why there are some non-stop questions about Kevin Stefanski, who is actually the only non-interim head coach with a winning record since 1999. He's also the first coach since Bill Belichick to have a playoff win on his record for Cleveland.
However, he's now 26-24 overall and went 8-9 in 2021 and 7-10 in 2022. That means fans are starting to get their pitchforks ready with the new topic centering around their season-opening gauntlet.
Cleveland will play all three AFC North rivals in the first month of the year and that's led to some questions about Stefanski's job security. Recently, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com chimed in on this as she responded to a mailbag question where a reader asked her if a 4-0 start will lead to the decision to "throw the baby out with the bath water fire sale while coaches prep for exit?"
Cabot answered that she doesn't believe any rash decisions will come, even if they start out with a dreaded 0-4 mark.
"I think the Browns will stay the course regardless of what happens in the first four games — including three AFC North battles — and not make any rash decisions. Anything can happen in the final 13 games, including the playoffs even if the Browns start 1-3. With a 17-game season, they’d have a chance to turn it around."- Cabot
Browns would be foolish to overreact to a four-game struggle
Not only is she correct they won't overreact to a slow start but it would be completely foolish. The idea that we discuss how tough the start is and then ask if everything will be blown up if they struggle is odd. Of course they could struggle, because — as everyone keeps mentioning — it's a tough start to the season.
But it's just that, a start.
It's also going to be the first four games with Jim Schwartz as the defensive coordinator. And the first four games for several defensive starters after a major overhaul. And the first four games with Deshaun Watson working with Elijah Moore.
All of those things take time to get right and the team we see in Weeks 1-4 won't be the same one we see in Week 18.
Every season in the NFL is a marathon. They won't win every game and if a coach is fired every time there's some hardship, we would still be the 1999-2019 Cleveland Browns. Does anyone really want to go back to that just due to some struggles against rivals in arguably the toughest division in the NFL?