After failing to live up to preseason hype in 2019, the Cleveland Browns enter 2020 under new leadership.
Kevin Stefanski is the Browns’ new head coach after Freddie Kitchens lasted just one season. Andrew Berry replaces John Dorsey as general manager.
Berry and Stefanski spoke to the media on Wednesday and discussed plans for the long-struggling franchise.
At just 32 years old, Harvard graduate Andrew Berry is now the youngest GM in NFL history.
Berry returns to Cleveland after just one season away from the organization. He served as the vice president of football operations for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019.
In Philadelphia, Berry worked under well-respected GM Howie Roseman, whom Berry considers “the best GM” in the NFL.
Like Berry, Kevin Stefanski is a relatively young Ivy League graduate. Cleveland’s new head coach is 37 years old and played football at Penn.
Stefanski graduated from Penn in 2005 and worked with the Minnesota Vikings organization from 2006 through 2019. Stefanski was promoted to offensive coordinator before the 2019 season. He ran the Vikings unit that finished 12th in the league in yards per game and 8th in passing.
After Berry was officially introduced as Cleveland’s general manager on Wednesday, he discussed plans for the immediate future.
Berry made it very clear that under his leadership, the team’s front office will embrace analytics. He stated that the Browns will be a “scouting-centered front office,” and will employ analytics in that process.
He stressed that when making personnel decisions, a healthy mix of scouting and analytics is necessary in order to gain a competitive advantage.
The Browns acquired loads of top-end talent under former general manager John Dorsey but were disappointing in 2019. Many have pointed to cultural issues as the main reason why they faltered.
In his Wednesday press conference, Andrew Berry stressed that a winning culture starts in the front office. He strives for collaboration in the decision-making process, in order to ensure that differing views are considered before making any decisions:
In addition, star receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s tenure in Cleveland has been full of distractions. Rumors that Beckham wanted a trade made rounds, and he made headlines in January for off-field antics that resulted in a misdemeanor.
On moving forward with the talented but troubled wide receiver, head coach Kevin Stefanski had some words for the media:
Stefanski said that his “full confidence” is in Beckham after the two met several times.
To consistently compete for titles in the NFL, you need a franchise quarterback.
Berry and Stefanski are confident that they have on in Baker Mayfield, despite his struggles in 2019 under Freddie Kitchens. Mayfield threw an NFL rookie-record 29 touchdowns in 2018 but threw 22 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his second season.
Berry was part of the Browns front office that drafted Mayfield with the first overall pick in 2018, and stressed his firm belief in the quarterback:
A large part of Berry’s optimism for Mayfield is his belief in Stefanski to help him grow as a passer.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s words from Wednesday’s press conference sum up how many Browns fans feel about the new regime. He stressed his “high degree of confidence” in the new coach/GM duo, and that things will be “distinctly different” than in years past:
Whether or not things will actually be different for the franchise and its long-suffering fans remains to be seen. However, it appears that the right pieces are finally being put in place.