Kevin Stefanski was not sure of what to expect from his first offseason as a head coach, especially when he began facing the unique circumstances of COVID-19. However, Stefanski could not have been happier with how the team's virtual offseason turned out.
"It exceeded our expectations in terms of what we were able to teach and what they were able to learn," Stefanski said Thursday on Cleveland Browns Daily.
As has been the case through every step of the Stefanski program, the team was prepared, they had a plan and a process to implement that plan. That's why it was no surprise to anyone on the team the Browns maximized their time in the virtual offseason program, despite the initial uncertainty.
"We turned it into basically a 12-week program," Stefanski said. "We got their iPads to them on April 6, the official start date was April 20, and then we started a 10-week program that wrapped up this week."
The biggest difference Stefanski noticed was how much meeting time was available in the virtual offseason, given that all on-field portions were non-existent.
"It was a lot of meeting time, more than you're used to," Stefanski said. "In this case, we had plenty of meeting time and our coaches pulled out all the stops, showed all the video and made it as interactive as humanly possible because it was our job to teach systems on the offensive and defensive side and (Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer) was teaching his system.
Given that the Browns had so much meeting time at their disposal, Coach Stefanski devised a weekly schedule to keep everyone fresh but also give great recognition to the importance of special teams.
"In our program, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were offense and defense and then Thursday was a longer team meeting followed by special teams, so we still got our special teams work in on Thursday," he said.
Looking back now, Stefanski offered a final summation of the virtual offseason that inspires confidence this team will hit the ground running when training camp opens at the end of July.
Overall, Stefanski said the virtual offseason program "exceeded our expectations in terms of what we were able to accomplish."
Beyond discussing the successful virtual offseason program, Stefanski discussed the health of Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the opportunities in the receiver room, how to handle the workload for Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, his message to the team as they head into the summer, how we all can "Be the Solution," and much more in an 18-minute interview on Thursday's Cleveland Browns Daily.
Here are some of the top quotes from the interview
"Odell's done a great job this offseason taking care of his body … He makes sure that he's in tip-top shape … in watching the videos and just talking to him, he looks really good."
"He looks good as well. These guys, to their credit … they've really gone step by step. He's looked really good and he's chomping at the bit."
On Rashard Higgins coming back to the Browns and if his chemistry with Baker Mayfield factored in:
"That definitely played into it. We're going to be smart about Jarvis early and be smart about Odell early as well. There's going to be plenty of reps for the young guys. Rashard, he's one of those guys that's going to get an opportunity."
On Chubb and Hunt working together in the backfield:
"What I'm really excited about is that those are two team guys. I mean, they are about the team. The two of them in my conversations with them, they want so badly just to be contributors to winning."
On the key points of his message to the team as they head into the summer before returning for training camp:
"Maintaining a routine"
"Have a fresh perspective"
"Show up in the best shape of their life"
"And when we get here, "hit the ground running."