Stefanski was the pick among a packed field of candidates, one of the most well known being New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was the last candidate to interview.
McDaniels has an 11-17 record as a head coach, spending just under two seasons with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10. He spent the majority of his career in the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the Patriots, where is is likely going to stay now that he’s not heading to his “dream job” in Cleveland. But it appears his experience and expertise wasn’t the problem.
Josh McDaniels Wanted Sweeping Changes With Browns
There was a key reason that the Browns decided not to go with McDaniels, which The MMQB’s Albert Breer disclosed in a tweet. While McDaniels’ interview with Cleveland — which lasted around seven hours — went “very well,” McDaniels reportedly wanted sweeping organizational changes.
“Patriots OC Josh McDaniels did very well,” Breer tweeted. “My sense: the ‘problem’ was he wanted sweeping organizational change.”
He also mentioned that 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh made the decision hard on the Cleveland brass, and it’s likely his defense stuffing Stefanski’s offense in the NFC Divisional Round made the choice that much more difficult.
Another report from Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan echoed Breer’s sentiment that the Browns want to keep many of the same pieces from their 6-10 season in place.
“During interviews with coaches, I’m told Browns conveyed ‘90%’ of the solution was finding a head coach/GM and asked coaches to give those guys already in the building at least a year because they believe those people are really good.”
Browns Were Determined to Get the Hire Right
Cleveland took their time making the choice and interviewed a slew of candidates. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Ravens OC Greg Roman, 49ers DC Robert Saleh, and Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll also interviewed for the job. Former Packers coach Mike McCarthy was interviewed but was hired by the Cowboys.
Only time will tell if Stefanski is the man to turn the Browns around. The team has not made the playoffs in 17 seasons and has had just two winning campaigns since returning to the league in 1999.
The Browns finished the decade with a 42-115-1 record and were known more for their instability than anything else. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam was adamant in his press conference that the franchise wanted to get the hiring process right this time around.
“I think patience and continuity are good as long as you think you have the right people in place,” Haslam said during the start of the coaching search. “We just did not feel like we had the right people in place to move forward like we would like to. Believe me, this kind of change is hard. It is not something we wanted to do. I think I started out by saying it is certainly not something we are proud of, but it is something we are determined to get right this time.”