In their NFL season opener Sept. 13, the Cleveland Browns were thrashed by the Baltimore Ravens and most valuable player Lamar Jackson, 38-6.
I wanted to get some observations from Kevin Stefanski’s first game as a head coach in the NFL. I will do it in the form of questions which your kids and grandkids may know as “how come quickies.”
How come first-time coaches cannot resist trickery as Stefanski did with a fake punt late in the first quarter Sunday? Fake-outs can fire up a team at times, but not for long. Veteran team members know what that was. The coach is telling the team, we cannot win head-to-head. You’re not good enough. I don’t know how you can say that on game No. 1 with no exhibition games.
How come if you don’t have a good offense or defense, there is no reason why you can’t have good special teams? In the first quarter, the Browns’ special teams gave up a fake punt, a missed extra point and a routine field goal.
How come if you sold yourself to the owner that based on job history, you should be able to call the plays on offense? If you spent 18 years looking for that job, combine that with play calling, and the best you can come up with is a fake punt in the first quarter, then you may as well have one of the ballboys call the plays.
Starting off with a new coach is a two-way street. It’s not just about coaches evaluating players and how to use them, the players are evaluating the coaches, too. At the point of Stefanski’s fake punt call, he had not proven anything. He’s got some making up to do. As of now, his head coaching resume looks to be no better than that of former coach Hue Jackson.
Is it unfair to judge Stefanski’s ability based on one game?
No, but he is the current head coach because of the past failures of so many others based on the same criteria. It is hard to believe that this is the 25th season since former owner Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore. In that time, mostly led by executive vice president Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens have won two Super Bowls and are always in contention for a third. The Browns will never catch up to what the Ravens have been able to do. That’s a sad ending to the Modell story.
Follow Les at Facebook.com/Cleveland JewishNews.