Early Sunday morning, the Cleveland Browns hired Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski over San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. This is fresh off the heels of Stefanski’s offense being dominated by Saleh’s defense. It’s tough to distinguish how much of that was on the play-caller and how much was on Kirk Cousins, but, either way, Saleh will be around for another year. Stanfski was high on the Browns list a year ago, so this isn’t too surprising he was named the head coach a year later. The Browns are trying to build an all-Ivy league staff, it appears. Cleveland is tied to Eagles VP and Harvard grad Andrew Berry, and current 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel, who graduated from Yale. McDaniel would be the Brown’s offensive coordinator. Just don’t take Juice from us, Cleveland.
Let’s go to live to Richard Sherman to see how he feels about the Browns hire:
Wow just wow...... just W....O....W.... guess I should have expected it https://t.co/NqY7s1GxP5— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) January 12, 2020
If you base the hiring off one game, it looks like a terrible hire. Previewing the 49ers defense against the Vikings offense, Minnesota had struggled all season against defenses that were worth anything. Stefanski is being rewarded for basic competence. What did the Vikings do this season that blew your mind? A solid quarterback, one of the best running backs in the NFL, and two top wideouts. He better produce.
It still feels like teams are searching for the “next Sean McVay,” and this hire reflects that. NBC Sports Matt Maiocco said that Saleh’s defensive background might have been viewed as a negative, despite outlining a detailed plan during his interview with the Browns. Apparently, Saleh pointed out that the top teams in the NFL don’t have offensive coaches and that the key to sustaining success was to develop the coaches who develop the players. That way, your system can continue to succeed for the inevitable coaching movements.
Saleh has done a great job all season. If the 49ers can replicate anything near their healthy defense next season, Saleh will be a head coach.