Cleveland Browns: Kevin Stefanski named head coach of the week, again

Kevin Stefanski might not get the love he deserves from his own fan base but the Cleveland Browns head coach is universally praised outside of Northeast Ohio

Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns
Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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Perhaps Cleveland Browns fans are used to a team without competent quarterback play so they think it's normal to run the ball constantly. Or maybe they just yearn for the days of Jim Brown. Whatever it is, their desire to see the ground game over-used has led to a strange dislike of Kevin Stefanski because he likes to *gasp* pass the ball. In a passing league.

These fans don't want to hear that he's the first winning coach they've had (outside of interim Gregg Williams) to own a winning record. They also don't want to hear that they're third in the NFL in rushing despite the fact that they're 23rd in yards per attempt — meaning he's running it a lot, the players just aren't doing their job. None of these facts matter because he calls passing plays.

While this faction of fans is probably small, they're loud. But they're also wrong. Stefanski isn't just a good coach but he's one of the best in the NFL. That's why Peter Schrager of the NFL Network just named him the Coach of the Week for the second week in a row.

Schrager praised Stefanski for his team's poise as they fought back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears. He also pointed to the lineup that was void of the following notable players in Week 15:

Nick Chubb
Maurice Hurst
Ogbo Okoronkwo
Anthony Walker
Jack Conklin
Dawand Jones
Jacob Phillips
Deshaun Watson
Grant Delpit
Rodney McLeod
Ethan Pocic
Jedrick Wills, Jr.
Jakeem Grant
Ty Nsekhe
Juan Thornhill
Michael Woods II

10 of the names mentioned are out for the remainder of the season. Despite all of this, the Browns keep winning and can lock up a playoff spot as early as this weekend. That would be the second trip to the postseason in four years for Stefanski compared to *checks notes* once from 1999 through 2019.

Schrager added that Stefenski is in a three-person race for Coach of the Year along with Shane Steichen of the Indianapolis Colts and DeMeco Ryans of the Houston Texans. All three would be deserving and while Steichen has had to win with a backup quarterback, he hasn't had the same injury concerns overall that Stefanski or Ryans have dealt with.

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Cleveland is likely to lock up Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry with extensions soon. That will lead to even more debate but there should be none. This is the best the Browns have been since returning and these two should keep making decisions for years to come.