Why the Browns are Still Doomed Despite a Major Talent Upgrade

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” -Mike Tyson

By all accounts, the Browns have put together a substantial talent boost for the 2023 season. Especially at the D-line. No more of the “inviting them to run” bullshit from last season. This season, actual football will be played. True, the team is substantially weakened at running back without Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson there to back up Nick Chubb, but the position itself is not as important as the D-line positions.

But there is no amount of talent that can overcome Kevin Stefanski’s “deer in the headlights” style of coaching. Despite his many virtues, Stefanski is simply not a flexible thinker. He can’t make the half-time adjustments needed to win games.

“No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength.” -Moltke

Is it a coincidence that Stefanski’s only playoff victory came while he was exiled to his basement on Coof Quarantine and was not allowed to call plays? No, that was no coincidence. Stefanski has always said that the play-calling is collaborative with the rest of his staff. But perhaps he just hired guys who think the way he does. And who hired Stefanski? Did GM Andrew Berry hire someone just as stubborn as himself? Talk about stubborn; Berry stuck with Anthony Schwartz for two years.

Perhaps you think that I am exaggerating, or even hallucinating this problem. But what Browns fan can forget the Christmas Day game versus the Packers in 2021 when injured safety John Johnson III tweeted, during the game, “RUN THE DAMN BALL!!!”

And he wasn’t the only yelling at his TV.

Everybody knew.

Everybody knows.

The Browns are doomed.

Can Stefanski improve his cognitive flexibility? I don’t know; perhaps there are some mental exercises he can do. However, according to a study on mice:

“Cognitive flexibility declines with age and often results in an inability to adapt to new situations and environments.”

Will the Browns have a new play-caller for the 2024 season? Probably. Perhaps Stefanski can thrive if he limits himself to architecting the game plan, and then exiles himself to his basement while somebody else implements it – with authority to improvise, of course.

Stefanski & Berry are obviously very smart. But perhaps they are the wrong kind of smart to win in the NFL.