Jimmy Haslam, Kevin Stefanski deny game plan goes through owner

Browns owner admits he meets with the head coach after games

Daryl Ruiter
January 14, 2020 - 4:40 pm

CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Reports and rumors of Jimmy Haslam’s meddlesome ways behind the scenes in Berea have become as common as him hiring and firing people.

Tuesday afternoon, the Browns’ owner found himself playing defense once again as he introduced his fifth head coach since buying the team in October 2012, Kevin Stefanski.

Haslam did not deny that he’s made it a practice to meet with his head coach after games, typically the following day, and that it will be a practice he plans to continue with Stefanski.

“Let me ask you – if you owned a pro football team, would you meet with the head coach the Monday after the game?” Haslam said. “Of course you would. Of course we would.”

However, Haslam vehemently denied multiple reports, including from 92.3 The Fan’s Dustin Fox, that Stefanski will be required to run the game plan through the analytics department and Haslam every Friday.

“Rumors out there, though, about presenting the game plan and those kind [of things] are just totally inaccurate and I really think they’re irresponsible. I really do,” Haslam said.

A half hour earlier Stefanski also brushed off the report.

“It’s not true,” Stefanski said. “I like that report. That was a good one. It’s silly season for that type of stuff.”

As for the day after meeting, Haslam downplayed the significance of them other than them being standard.

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Haslam said. “And they're 30 minutes to an hour meeting and I dare say we don't discuss a lot different than the questions you all would ask him if you came to the game. It's not a lot different than that.”

Stefanski will have someone in his ear on headset during games from the analytics department to assist with game and situational management.

“If you went a spectrum of the NFL, it’s pretty common to have somebody in the booth helping you decide when to call timeout, when to go for it, etc.” Haslam said. “That’s not anything that’s really unique.”

That’s not new for the Browns.

Freddie Kitchens and Hue Jackson were afforded the same resource during games. The difference is, Stefanski won’t be resistant to the extra help.

“I think all 32 teams do that,” chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta said. “In fact, there are a bunch of head coaches that say, ‘Hey, I’m going to need a guy on a headset’ and we were able to tell them, ‘Oh, we’ve got a guy, don’t worry.’”