Kevin Stefanski will be calling the offensive plays in his first season as Browns head coach.
Stefanski confirmed the decision Friday in a video call with reporters and explained how the unusual offseason played a major factor. He had hoped offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt would have the opportunity to call plays during the preseason, but the adjusted schedules in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out any chance at a few practice runs.
"I just think with everything we do I just tried to be mindful and take in all the information," Stefanski said. "I will tell you, I have not called 1,000 games, but I will tell you when I have called it we are very collaborative. So, we have a lot of people that have a hand in this, and I am really lucky because I am surrounded by a bunch of really good coaches on the offensive and defensive side. So, feel good about our staff."
Stefanski called plays for the Vikings during the final part of the 2018 season and all of 2019. Under Stefanski's watch last season, QB Kirk Cousins posted the most efficient numbers of his career, and the Vikings ranked eighth in the NFL in scoring offense (25.4 points per game) and sixth in rushing offense (133.3 yards per game).
"I am excited about the season," Stefanski said. "I think we have a great group here, both players and coaching staff. We are just raring to go. I think we are just like the rest of the world, who was excited to watch some football last night. We are ready to play football."
Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Ravens Sunday
Center of Attention
JC Tretter was listed as questionable for Sunday's game on the official injury report, and Stefanski said Tretter's final status will be determined closer to game day.
Stefanski, though, has been pleased by what he's seen from Tretter since the veteran returned to practice Monday.
"First time getting out there on the field in a while in his pads moving around," Stefanski said, referencing the team's Wednesday and Thursday practices. "I said the other day, he looked like JC to me. But he did a nice job, and we will just have to make a determination as we get closer to game day."
Excited for the Rook
Linebackers coach Jason Tarver is excited to see how third-round LB Jacob Phillips responds to his first NFL action Sunday in Baltimore.
With Mack Wilson sidelined, Phillips, the former leading tackler at LSU, could see an expanded role against the Ravens.
"He is intense. He likes contact," Tarver said. "He has gotten better and better at using his hands and his length, which is going to be critical as he gets into playing the opponents that we play one week at a time because what you see at this level is just the speed and the length of the big people that you playing against. So, he has to make sure he masters that and he has gotten better and better at it. So, we are excited to watch him this weekend."