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Kevin Stefanski plans to 'pivot' Browns offense to fit QB Deshaun Watson

The Browns aren’t currently looking to make any big changes to their offensive structure after the acquisition of Watson


PALM BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Stefanski is exercising patience as he attempts to roll QB Deshaun Watson into the Browns' offense.

Stefanski, of course, already has some plan in mind as to how the Browns offense will look with Watson under center in 2022. That's why the Browns traded six total picks — including three first-rounders — to acquire him from the Houston Texans on March 18, but Stefanski isn't hurrying to piece together new elements to his playbook that will fit Watson's skillset or make any other big changes to how the offense will look.

Not yet, at least.

"We hope that we have enough in our offense where we can pivot, week to week, to certain elements," he said Monday in his interview at the NFL Owners Meetings. "But to say that we're going to wholesale change everything, we'll see."

Much still lies ahead before Stefanski needs to finalize a playbook.

Free agency is still top of mind for most NFL teams, the Browns included. Several key offensive players are still available, and the Browns are certainly going to do their due diligence on them before they're ready to lock in their core pieces of the 2022 roster. They also believe they can grab an immediate-impact player with their first pick of the draft, which will arrive in the second round at 44th overall after they shipped their first-round pick to the Texans.

It's a safe bet, however, that a large amount of the plays Stefanski draws for 2022 will revolve around finding ways to help Watson deliver the ball to four-time Pro Bowl WR Amari Cooper. The Browns traded for Cooper, who has topped 1,000 receiving yards five times in his seven-year career, at the beginning of the new league year and fully expect him to be among their most heavily-used receivers. 

His acquisition, as well as the budding trajectories of two young receivers in Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz and return of TE David Njoku, are why Stefanski believes the Browns already have the tools to help Watson succeed — and why the Browns might not need to significantly restructure their offense.

"I think we feel confident with what we have right now," Stefanski said. "As you know, Andrew and his staff are constantly looking for ways to improve it but we're pleased with where we're at right now.

"It's nice to have a vet like Coop in there. We like having young players in there as well. As you know, our young players are very intelligent and on their ways to being good pros. I think it's good to have a mix of young and old but I really like the young guys we have in there."

Stefanski will also go to work on ensuring he has the close relationship necessary as the offensive play-caller for Watson. That chemistry is mainly built on the practice fields, where Stefanski can see what particular plays Watson prefers in certain situations and how he adjusts to the flow of the game. 

The first snapshot of that will come next month when the Browns will reconvene at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus for their first period of offseason workouts, which will be voluntary.

Watson is expected to be on the practice fields. 

"He will be here and it's a voluntary program as we all know," Stefanski said. "I think there's great value in being around your teammates and around your coaches in Berea, and Deshaun will be a part of that."

The final product will take time to develop, but Stefanski feels good about how it'll come together.

"I had a lot of really good conversations with Deshaun from a football perspective with the coaches and I think we have a good plan moving forward," he said. "That'll be an evolution over the weeks, months."

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