Kevin Stefanski said Monday he expects the members of his coaching staff to be back with the Browns for the 2021 season.
That kind of stability will be vital for all three facets of the team as it looks to build off all it accomplished in 2020.
"Really proud of this group," Stefanski said. "They worked very, very hard in some tough circumstances. People stepped up when some of us were out. And really, I loved the way our group worked together and were very much trying to solve problems in the season as they came about."
That was never more apparent than during the final few weeks of the season, when numerous coaches, including Stefanski, were sidelined because of COVID-19 protocols. The Browns faced the Steelers in the Wild Card round without Stefanski and four assistant coaches but didn't miss a beat thanks to other assistants who helped fill the void.
The lack of significant change will be welcomed by a Browns roster that has endured plenty of it over the past few seasons. Stefanski said QB Baker Mayfield, who has played for four different head coaches since the Browns drafted him in 2018, already expressed his happiness about not needing to learn a new offensive system over the offseason.
"That is a huge part of this is we can start at that baseline," Stefanski said. "We can start that foundation and build on what we have done to date."
Stefanski said T Jedrick Wills Jr. likely will require multiple weeks of rehabilitation but ultimately didn't suffer a serious ankle injury Sunday against the Chiefs.
Wills went down with the injury on Cleveland's first offensive play of the game. He was spelled by veteran Kendall Lamm, who was sidelined with an elbow injury in the third quarter. Blake Hance, who was signed off the Jets practice squad earlier in the month, finished the game at LT.
With an eye toward the 2021 season, Stefanski said he expects a fully recovered version of S Grant Delpit and CB Greedy Williams, both of whom missed all of 2020 with injuries they suffered during training camp.
"I am excited about both of those guys. Unfortunate injuries," Stefanski said. "They are just going to continue to rehab and work through those injuries. That is the exciting part for us to get some of those guys back next season."
Check out the best photos from the Browns game against the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday by the Browns photo team
Checking In With OBJ
Stefanski said he exchanged text messages Monday with WR Odell Beckham Jr., who is continuing to recover from knee surgery. Beckham played in the Browns' first seven games before going down with the injury, catching 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
"I know he is working really hard to get better in his rehab," Stefanski said. "I am excited to get him back here. I know it was not easy for him being away from his teammates, especially as these games got bigger and into the playoffs, I know he definitely wanted to be a part of it."
Stefanski said he and his coaching staff will work through the week to "button up the season" before taking some much-needed time off. It was a long season in both a literal and figurative sense that required all sorts of personal sacrifices from players, coaches and staff while doing everything possible to maintain safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I do think all of the players and all the coaches, I do want them to reconnect with their families," Stefanski said. "It has been a challenging year for all of us, and people that have family in other parts of the country and they are traveling and need to go reconnect and obviously, I want them to stay safe while doing it."
Stefanski said he's as in the dark about the status of the upcoming 2021 NFL Combine as anyone else but expected it to be — much like everything this season — heavy on virtual interactions.
"We found a way last offseason to do a lot of this virtually and might have to do the same," Stefanski said. "We trust (Executive Vice President, Football Operations and General Manager) Andrew (Berry) and our personnel staff to gather all that information, watch the tape and then go from there."