Chico: Cram session in store for Browns

Kevin Stefanski will be dealing with even more hurdles and even less time to adjust

Mike 'Chico' Bormann
April 26, 2020 - 8:30 am
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Like any head coach taking the reins of a football franchise for the first time, Kevin Stefanski understood there was plenty of work to be done if he was to turn around the fortunes of the Cleveland Browns in 2020. As he addressed the media in mid-January, his priority list included hiring a staff and evaluating a talented roster that had just finished up a disappointing 6-10 season. A rabid fan base had been let down yet again, and it was up to him to get busy finding a solution amidst new faces and a ticking clock.
 
What came next was an obstacle nobody could have been prepared for, and even now, nobody really is.
 
A virus pandemic known as COVID-19 has put everybody and everything at a virtual standstill. Yes, issues of much greater magnitude than installing a new offense are at stake. Lives and livelihoods are being jeopardized with every passing day. But, if you're Stefanski, needing every minute of an already scaled back off-season program to get your guys on the same page, the degree of difficulty just went up exponentially.
 
The good news is, your front office has seemingly patched glaring holes at both tackle positions with the additions of Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills via free agency and the draft, respectively. Both guys are well suited for the Wide-Zone run scheme you want to feature with arguably the best backfield duo in football in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Quarterback Baker Mayfield will be put in more advantageous situations throwing to Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.
 
The bad news is, with off-season activities up in the air due to social distancing guidelines during this pandemic, how will the players get those all-important repetitions with one another? The talent is there to light up a scoreboard. Unfortunately, Freddie Kitchens proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that talent means nothing if it has no direction. Many of us feel confident you have a great plan and the personnel to execute that plan. But if circumstances prevent valuable practice time, that plan could be rendered irrelevant when (if) a season takes place.
 
And here's more bad news: This offense will HAVE to put up a lot of points if they are to compete for a division title. The defense has a lot of very young and new faces. Some very talented, but very green, particularly in the back seven. New defensive coordinator Joe Woods will also be under the gun to get a young defense up to speed with yet another new scheme. 
 
This team has plenty of talent. They also need plenty of time. It was already sure to be a challenge even before the coronavirus reared it's ugly head. Now, a tight window to get all the kinks worked out just got even tighter. Time is not on Kevin Stefanski's side this season.
 
Can he still get it done?
 
Time will tell. Tick,Tock.