Former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is the newest head coach of the Cleveland Browns. He got his introduction to life in Cleveland quite early.
During his introductory press conference with the Browns, Stefanski was asked about a rather curious report that had emerged during the hiring process involving Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta and team owner Jimmy Haslam.
A column from the Canton Repository reported that Stefanski “made it clear he was willing to yield to certain DePodesta standards, such as an analytics person with a head set and access to the coaching staff on game days, in addition to certain Haslam likes, such as hours-long, Monday-after, owner-coach meetings.”
Cleveland radio host Dustin Fox took that report a step forward, tweeting that he heard Browns coaching candidates had to agree to turn in their game plans to ownership and the analytics department by Friday and attend end-of-week analytics meetings to go through the plan.
Stefanski firmly denied that second report. Transcript from cleveland.com:
“It is not true. I liked that report, that was a good one. It is silly season for that type of stuff and I understand that.
“To me, analytics, I cannot say it enough, it is a tool. How does it help on game day? Well I would meet with some of our people with the Vikings and they would help me understand as we got into this ball game, down and distance-wise, field position-wise where a coordinator may be more apt to blitz. So really, it is something as a play caller, formulating a plan of attack, you start to take in that information.
The 37-year-old Stefanski was brought in because of his ability to harmonize with DePodesta and whoever is hired as general manager, a trait that Haslam seemed to prioritize during the coaching search.
The suggestion that Stefanski had to submit game plans to Haslam and DePodesta like a weekly school assignment might be a little out there, but it’s rooted in the truth that Haslam wanted his next head coach to be willing to listen to the former baseball executive.
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