Kevin Stefanski hasn't been able to do much hands-on work when it comes to molding his new team into the same form usually expected during this time of the season.
For Stefanski, the majority of his coaching thus far has been conducted through video meetings and instilling trust in players to study the playbook and work out on their own. Those were the obstacles every NFL coach dealt with when they navigated a virtual offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So when Stefanski was asked Friday in a video call with local reporters about his early observations of the Browns — who returned to Berea last week for the start of training camp — he couldn't help but steal a line he heard from a recent conversation with Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
"The teaching is ahead of the doing right now," Stefanski said. "(Kubiak) said it, and it's right. We had a really good offseason of teaching. We have had a ton of meetings to this point."
Thankfully for Stefanski, the "doing" is finally happening.
The Browns have been able to complete walk-throughs since Monday, which has offered coaches their first true glance of players simulating plays and, well, simply standing on the field together.
Check out photos of the team working out Friday
It's still far from the live action teams crave in training camp, but after months of working remotely, the walk-throughs are a refreshing first step toward "normal" football life.
"With these walk-throughs, we are finally 'doing,'" Stefanski said. "I think the walk-throughs are awesome. We are outside, which is beneficial, and we are lining up. I think there is a progression to teaching. We have certainly had a lot of (time in) the meeting room, but you always want to walk through before you do something full speed. This works out really nicely in our teaching progression."
The Browns are still being cautious to ensure the team is safe — players are spread across the field to adhere to social distancing guidelines, so the formations look much different than the typical body-to-body alignments at the line of scrimmage.
But that's better than watching videos of guys lifting weights in their garage or participating in a team-wide Zoom meeting. That's what Stefanski meant when he said "teaching."
"I think we have seen the fruits of that work with the guys showing up here," Stefanski said. "It is not over, I should mention. There is plenty of work to do in the weight room. There is plenty of work to do in the meeting room and on the field."
The full grind of training camp will pick up Aug. 14, when players are finally able to practice with live reps on the same field. If Stefanski felt excited about watching team walk-throughs, imagine how pumped he'll be when he can see players take their first full-speed snaps.
That's when we'll have our first true glimpse at team position battles. That's when we'll see players donning the orange helmets. That's when we'll finally watch players make big plays.
That's when it will finally feel like August in Berea.