The Browns are starting to put the final pieces of the puzzle together for their coaching staff. With all major positions filled, we can finally take a look at the gentleman that will be leading the charge for the 2020 season. Some of the hires that were made involved coaches that may not be familiar to some. I wanted to give a brief rundown on the new faces in the organization and shed some light on their experience and how they will help the Browns get over the hump.
General Manager: Andrew Berry
Andrew Berry (age 32) is a familiar face in Cleveland. He served as the VP of Player Personnel from 2016-2018 before taking his talents to the Philadelphia Eagles. While Berry may be young, he has experience in several different areas of the game dating back to his glory days as a star cornerback for Harvard. After graduating from Harvard in 2009, Berry took on a role as a scout for the Indianapolis Colts where his talents shined as he was promoted to Director of Pro Scouts just three short years later. In other words, Berry has an eye for talent.
One thing that does scare some of Browns faithful is Berry’s usage of… looks around nervously… the ‘A’ word. That’s right, Berry is somewhat of a NERD who utilizes analytics. I cannot tell you how many times I saw people complaining that Berry was not a “football guy”. Never mind the fact that some of the most prominent teams in the NFL are now heavily relying on analytics every day in their operations.
I like the hire of Andrew Berry. I will admit, I was hopeful that the Browns would snag George Paton from the Vikings to align with new head coach Kevin Stefanski. However, I think Berry is a great, young mind who will be a breath of fresh air in the front office for the Browns.
Head Coach: Kevin Stefanski
Kevin Stefanski will man the ship in 2020 as he takes over for Freddie Kitchens. Stefanski comes from the Minnesota Vikings where he held various positions over a 14 year period. That, for one, stuck out to me as a positive. A guy who worked his way through the ranks and stuck with a team through ups and downs over the years. I love a guy who will put the work in and keep his nose to the ground. It appears that is exactly the kind of guy Stefanski is.
Now, Stefanski may have 14 years of coaching experience, but only one year as the offensive coordinator. He served in an interim role in 2018 after the Vikings moved on from John DeFilippo and took over in 2019 as the OC. The lack of experience doesn’t appeal to some Browns faithful after the previous debacle with Freddie Kitchens, who was called up far before he was ready.
I like Stefanski and was on board with hiring him as soon as the search began. McDaniels and Stefanski stood as 1A and 1B for me. I’m excited for him to get started and see how well he can incorporate some of the outside zone run scheme and play-action into the Browns offense. Stefanski should make life much easier on Baker Mayfield and if Nick Chubb watches any Vikings film he will foam at the mouth at the opportunities that may present themselves in 2020.
Offensive Coordinator: Alex Van Pelt
Alex Van Pelt certainly was not the sexiest hire. I’ll be completely honest, I had no idea who Alex Van Pelt was before doing some research. There is one thing that does excite me about Van Pelt; His work with Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers and Van Pelt had a great relationship in Green Bay where Van Pelt served as the quarterback’s coach. In fact, Rodgers was disappointed, to say the least, when the Packers failed to retain him in 2018.
My hope is that Van Pelt and Baker Mayfield can mold a similar relationship over the next couple of years. Baker needs a guy in his corner that he trusts and respects. I’m hoping that guy is Alex Van Pelt.
Defensive Coordinator: Joe Woods
Hell yes. Joe Woods was the last domino to fall in regards to the “major” coaching positions (Head coach, OC, DC). Woods will be coming fresh off of a Super Bowl appearance as the DB coach in San Francisco. I LOVE this hire. Woods not only has an abundance of experience in different coaching positions, but he also has coached up some of the best DB’s to play the game.
Woods will come into a young and hungry defense. He’ll get the opportunity to work with Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams on the outside and Myles Garrett terrorizing the QB on the edge. There is a lot of work left to do in filling out the roster on the defensive side, but Woods has a solid foundation to work with and should be able to get creative and find the right scheme for the Browns in 2020.
Put the Work In
I can sit and write about these coaches and all their accomplishments until I’m blue in the face. The bottom line is, there is work to be done. Browns fans across the board are in “show me” mode. We’ve been duped into believing we found our guys too many times before. Let’s hope this staff is the right formula to help the Browns turn the corner in 2020.