Browns hire Kevin Stefanski

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Grade the signing

  • A+ -Awesome Analytics Alignment!

    Votes: 25 18.0%
  • A - Good choice moving forward

    Votes: 49 35.3%
  • B - Better than the other options

    Votes: 21 15.1%
  • C - Could work out I guess

    Votes: 30 21.6%
  • D - Browns done put their foot in it again, but at least he looks good on TV

    Votes: 4 2.9%
  • F - A failure on every level

    Votes: 10 7.2%

  • Total voters
    139
  • Poll closed .

Bob_The_Cat

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Baker did work his ass off his rookie year. Last year was a disaster of a season across the board, especially in terms of developing our younger players. Especially Baker. Freddie's casual, slacker approach infected the entire team. But this season, there isn't even a hint that Baker hasn't worked his ass off. Though the nonexistent offseason really hurt in terms of learning a new offense.

Allen was not good for two entire years under McDermott despite all that hard work. What kind of QB do you think Josh Allen would be today if he'd come here and had Hue and Freddie his first two years rather than MCDermott, and now was on his third offense with no offseason? What would everyone be saying about him?

It's hard to imagine a worst 2 first years of development than what Baker got here.

5 games and a single truncated offseason under Stefanski isn't remotely comparable to 2+ seasons under McDermott. As long as Baker's got his work ethic - and everything we've heard suggests he does - he deserves an equivalent opportunity to develop under a competent coach. This entire season would be a good start to that.

The nightmare scenario is that we finally drafted the right guy, but cut the cord too quickly and he becomes the franchise QB for a different franchise.
This is a bit of the reason this thread has somewhat become a circular discussion. It seems just as many people are concerned with cutting the cord too quickly as they are not cutting it quick enough and watching a talented offense not reach it’s potential.

I see the merits of both, and though I feel like I’ve discussed both points of view, I still need the full year to determine that.

I am concerned though with Baker’s ability to read a defense. Texas Tech and Oklahoma were always out of the gun and their offenses are fairly similar.

In his rookie year after Hue got canned, the offense was effectively scrapped and they went to an extremely simplified version that included a lot of what Baker did at Oklahoma. I’m not really sure what happened with Freddie and his monstrosity of an offense last year.

There were questions coming out if he could be effective when he wasn’t in the gun the entire time. We still don’t know the answer to that, and whether it’s because of coaching or not it somewhat doesn’t matter. We’ve already discussed pending decisions that will need to be made, and depending on where the defense is after the offseason our hand might get forced a bit.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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This is a bit of the reason this thread has somewhat become a circular discussion. It seems just as many people are concerned with cutting the cord too quickly as they are not cutting it quick enough and watching a talented offense not reach it’s potential.
I think the key point of disagreement is where people think we are in that evaluative process. Closer to the beginning, or closer to the end? I think the shitstain of development of the first two years leaves us closer to the beginning. It was like he got very little coaching/experience in a legit NFL offense at all.
 

Bob_The_Cat

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I think the key point of disagreement is where people think we are in that evaluative process. Closer to the beginning, or closer to the end? I think the shitstain of development of the first two years leaves us closer to the beginning. It was like he got very little coaching/experience in a legit NFL offense at all.
Actually I don’t think it’s necessarily the case. While the past two years may have affected his growth, the pending decisions on options and extensions mean we can’t just disregard the past two years as nothing. If I have terrible teachers in 9th and 10th grade, my 11th grade teacher/the school shouldn’t give me a break because of that or say I should be graded as a freshman.

To a certain degree with that logic, you could’ve justified keeping Kitchens as HC because the front office that hired him wasn’t very competent at building a team.

I think in this situation, the only fair way we can evaluate Baker is by looking at what he was at the beginning of this year to what he is at the end of the year. Otherwise we’re letting old coaches and front offices influence the decision on what Baker actually is as this point in time.

It’s definitely a bit of a complex situation, and I’m glad I’m not the one pulling the trigger on this particular decision.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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Actually I don’t think it’s necessarily the case. While the past two years may have affected his growth, the pending decisions on options and extensions mean we can’t just disregard the past two years as nothing. If I have terrible teachers in 9th and 10th grade, my 11th grade teacher/the school shouldn’t give me a break because of that or say I should be graded as a freshman.
No...but in that case, you get held back and given a chance to catch up. You don't just get tossed out of school.

At a bare minimum, we have Baker under contract for the remainder of this season, and next season. We will have to make a decision on the 5th year option prior to next season, but the big decision is whether or not we sign him to a long term deal. And we don't have to make that decision until Spring 2023 if we don't want to. Rushing a "no" decision can lead to the worst possible result - handing off a franchise QB to another franchise

I think in this situation, the only fair way we can evaluate Baker is by looking at what he was at the beginning of this year to what he is at the end of the year.
I agree. I just think the standard should be how much progress he's shown during this season, as opposed to asking if he's where we would want him to be after three seasons. It's progress this year v. cumulative progress that should matter.
 
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Bob_The_Cat

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No...but in that case, you get held back and given a chance to catch up. You don't just get tossed out of school.

At a bare minimum, we have Baker under contract for the remainder of this season, and next season. We will have to make a decision on the 5th year option prior to next season, but the big decision is whether or not we sign him to a long term deal. And we don't have to make that decision until Spring 2023 if we don't want to. Rushing a "no" decision can lead to the worst possible result - handing off a franchise QB to another franchise



I agree. I just think the standard should be how much progress he's shown during this season, as opposed to asking if he's where we would want him to be after three seasons. It's progress this year v. cumulative progress that should matter.
[/QUOTE]

That’s true, but a school can’t trade draft, or sign someone to replace you. A team can, will, and should if you are progressing.

We can’t wait until 2023 to make a decision to sign Baker long-term. If we do, we likely end up with the situation Washington found themselves in with Cousins, overpaying a guy and entering every year with uncertainty because they have to use the franchise tag on a decent QB year-after-year.

The team will need to make a commitment one way or the other prior to 2023 or they will likely find themselves in a bad situation.
 

The Human Q-Tip

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That’s true, but a school can’t trade draft, or sign someone to replace you. A team can, will, and should if you are progressing.
[/QUOTE]

The opportunity cost of trying to acquire a franchise QB is massive, and can consume a franchise's attention for a decade or more. So I think we'd better be damn sure Baker can't be that guy before moving on.
 

Bob_The_Cat

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The opportunity cost of trying to acquire a franchise QB is massive, and can consume a franchise's attention for a decade or more. So I think we'd better be damn sure Baker can't be that guy before moving on.
I agree, but the point that many have made in this thread (including myself) is that the cost of hanging onto a guy for too long is just as costly, if not more if you believe the surrounding talent is good enough to get it done.
 

6.19.2016

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I agree, but the point that many have made in this thread (including myself) is that the cost of hanging onto a guy for too long is just as costly, if not more if you believe the surrounding talent is good enough to get it done.
True, merits to both sides.

Worst thing you can do is have your QB sit around "The Dalton Line"(tm)(c) with no easy means of getting better unless you tank/bottom out and decline like he finally did.

Even so, it actually looked in 2015 that Rifle was finally going to break through, after blowing winnable playoff opportunity before, until the injury (then it looked like McCarron was going to pull it through, until the Burfict/AB84 fiasco.) He might actually get carried to that elusive playoff win this time for his hometown team?

I actually liked the random stat from a fee weeks ago about Baker potentially joining PManning/Luck as one of a few in the 3500/20/first 3 seasons club, because this would actually put him just over the Dalton line; Wilson, like Dalton, just barely missed it, although those are of course completely different situations.
 

Out of the Rafters at the Q

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I know where I'm at in this discussion.

I see Baker, on his current trajectory, having a ceiling of around a Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, etc type player.

I don't think he'll ever reach Mahomes, Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, Manning, Wilson, Rodgers, etc type heights.

Let's assume that all three men involved in this get him there. Baker, Stefanski and Van Pelt all work together to maximize Baker's abilities and put him in a position to succeed.

Is that type of quarterback someone you commit 40 million a year to? Based on where I think Baker is going to end up, right now, I think the answer is no. That just goes by my team building philosophy.

It's entirely possible Baker exceeds my expectations. It's possible he falls short of them. It's possible his price tag isn't as high as expected. But, given what I think will happen, I wouldn't hate the idea of replacing him over re-signing him. Someone is going to commit to mediocrity by giving him a dump truck of money and I'd rather not cap our ceiling by doing that.
 

6.19.2016

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I know where I'm at in this discussion.

I see Baker, on his current trajectory, having a ceiling of around a Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Matt Stafford, Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, etc type player.

I don't think he'll ever reach Mahomes, Brees, Brady, Roethlisberger, Manning, Wilson, Rodgers, etc type heights.

Let's assume that all three men involved in this get him there. Baker, Stefanski and Van Pelt all work together to maximize Baker's abilities and put him in a position to succeed.

Is that type of quarterback someone you commit 40 million a year to? Based on where I think Baker is going to end up, right now, I think the answer is no. That just goes by my team building philosophy.

It's entirely possible Baker exceeds my expectations. It's possible he falls short of them. It's possible his price tag isn't as high as expected. But, given what I think will happen, I wouldn't hate the idea of replacing him over re-signing him. Someone is going to commit to mediocrity by giving him a dump truck of money and I'd rather not cap our ceiling by doing that.
It sounds feasible until you look at our last 20 years.

Replacing the QB via draft would also be difficult when we have a HOF edge and the offense cockpit we have to keep us from bottoming out, not to mention that we haven't in the last 20 years exactly put ourselves in the type of position to take advantage of the the rare Manning-to-Broncos scenarios.

Also, this taking one step back in order to maybe, possibly take two steps forward has the added drawback of potentially putting Stefanski's job at risk. Remember, Jimmuh is still in charge and is not going anywhere.

I don't think $40MM will be bad for a Baker-level QB a few years now, especially given that at that point, we would be able to replace OBJ, Jarvis, and other expensive veterans who will then be declining, with rookie deals.

You can still win a SB with Eli, Flacco - they were still very good many of his post-extension years - etc. Better to keep what you have than take the chance of having to fumble in the wilderness for 20 years again.
 
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Out of the Rafters at the Q

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It sounds feasible until you look at our last 20 years.

Replacing the QB via draft would also be difficult when we have a HOF edge and the offense cockpit we have to keep us from bottoming out, not to mention that we haven't in the last 20 years exactly put ourselves in the type of position to take advantage of the the rare Manning-to-Broncos scenarios.

Also, this taking one step back in order to maybe, possibly take two steps forward has the added drawback of potentially putting Stefanski's job at risk. Remember, Jimmuh is still in charge and is not going anywhere.
What happened with other organizations in the past holds no bearing on what this organization can do moving forward.

Just because Holmgren was a turd doesn't mean Andrew Berry, Kevin Stefanski, Alex Van Pelt, and our scouting department are any less capable.

I hope we do what it takes to be a winner--and that occasionally means taking risks. The data suggests that committing 40 million dollars to a mid-tier QB is how you sink a growing franchise's potential.

What would the Ravens look like if they still had Flacco at the helm? What about the Chiefs if they kept Alex Smith? Could you imagine if the Titans committed 40 million to Mariota? Do the Vikings have any championships in the trophy case after signing Kirk Cousins? Are the Rams in better shape now that they're committed to Jared Goff?

Making the wrong decision because you're scared is a reason to fire someone. Making the right decision, and accepting that there's a chance it could backfire, is the sort of leadership you keep around.
 

Douglar

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these two views of quarterback development suggest that the only year when quarterback improvement is significantly likely is year two. Then you have a few years where guys might improve or decline unpredictibly. There isn't really anything special about the fourth season. And then around age 30 or 31, as we've seen in previous studies, quarterbacks begin to decline.

Mayfield sort of missed two training camps ( first Kitchens, then Covid). Last season was essentially free base dysfunction, so I'll give him a mulligan.

He's not going anywhere right now, Browns are winning games, and I'm actually looking forward to games. Mayfield has 9-10 more games to turn it on in ways that impress Coach and DePodesta. I don't think they pay attention to things like this -- https://www.profootballnetwork.com/qb-power-rankings-2020/2/

In the mean time, you gotta love his enthusiasm for the game. The offense still has his back. He's trying hard. That's good enough for now. Might not be enough for the playoffs or the offseason, but what can be done about that? Browns aren't going to do trade him before Nov 3rd.

Now if Baker gets injured and the offense goes into over drive once he's out, it all might be a much easier decision to make in the off season, but it's still going to be an offseason decision.
 

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these two views of quarterback development suggest that the only year when quarterback improvement is significantly likely is year two. Then you have a few years where guys might improve or decline unpredictibly. There isn't really anything special about the fourth season. And then around age 30 or 31, as we've seen in previous studies, quarterbacks begin to decline.

Mayfield sort of missed two training camps ( first Kitchens, then Covid). Last season was essentially free base dysfunction, so I'll give him a mulligan.

He's not going anywhere right now, Browns are winning games, and I'm actually looking forward to games. Mayfield has 9-10 more games to turn it on in ways that impress Coach and DePodesta. I don't think they pay attention to things like this -- https://www.profootballnetwork.com/qb-power-rankings-2020/2/

In the mean time, you gotta love his enthusiasm for the game. The offense still has his back. He's trying hard. That's good enough for now. Might not be enough for the playoffs or the offseason, but what can be done about that? Browns aren't going to do trade him before Nov 3rd.

Now if Baker gets injured and the offense goes into over drive once he's out, it all might be a much easier decision to make in the off season, but it's still going to be an offseason decision.
Even if that happens tomorrow, that has to be taken with a grain of salt because the Steelers essentially have to prepare for either QB, but are probably spending the overwhelming majority of their time preparing for Baker.

If Keenum does well tomorrow, it'll largely be because they didn't really prepare for him, and because it's been nearly 3 years since there had been tape of him in Stefanski''s system. While Keenum will deserve credit for this week, it will not be sustainable, nor indicate that the team should move on from Baker.
 

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I’d like to point out the value in Baker continuing to take chances - if Stefanski trains all the risk-taking out of him, he’ll end up like Alex Smith - I do think that’s a pretty good floor, but not someone who can carry you to a Super Bowl.

That Mayfield keeps trying to make the hard throw does show that he has the confidence and arm required to succeed at a high level in the NFL. He does need to lower his risk appetite - aka don’t make the risky pass up 10 in the 4th quarter! That’s what I’d focus on if I was Stefanski.

I think Mayfield will figure it out.

ETA: main point I’m trying to make is that making Mayfield gun shy would be really bad.
 

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What happened with other organizations in the past holds no bearing on what this organization can do moving forward.
.
Just because Holmgren was a turd doesn't mean Andrew Berry, Kevin Stefanski, Alex Van Pelt, and our scouting department are any less capable.

I hope we do what it takes to be a winner--and that occasionally means taking risks. The data suggests that committing 40 million dollars to a mid-tier QB is how you sink a growing franchise's potential.

What would the Ravens look like if they still had Flacco at the helm? What about the Chiefs if they kept Alex Smith? Could you imagine if the Titans committed 40 million to Mariota? Do the Vikings have any championships in the trophy case after signing Kirk Cousins? Are the Rams in better shape now that they're committed to Jared Goff?

Making the wrong decision because you're scared is a reason to fire someone. Making the right decision, and accepting that there's a chance it could backfire, is the sort of leadership you keep around.
Even the "good" franchises struggle to find QBs when the time with one is up.

Steelers had an eternity between Bradshaw and Pig Pen.

Rats D dragged Trent Dilfer to a SB, then St. Ozzie the Near-Infallible struggled with Troy Smith, Mr. Carrie Prejean, the late great Steve McNair, etc. for years until Flacco came around. They actually did keep Flacco around after his Super Bowl MVP run until Lamar was ready.

You'd be very hard-pressed to see anyone who would've wanted to give any money to Mariota anyway.

Kirk realistically could've and still can match or exceed Keenum's NFCCG success, although Stefanski has been a huge loss.

Even if Cam can resurrect his career, he may only be in Foxboro this season, and the Pats may well be back to their long wilderness trip pre-Brady.

Rams and Goff, up-and-down as he is, may very well be back on track now; they have been hampered as much by their other all-in FA deals as a basically market-value deal on a QB, whom almost no GM would let walk.

And yes, since you mentioned him, obligatory "Berry/DePo did get us 1-31 and that does have bearing!11!" comment, that I know doesn't consider context.

No sense pulling the plug on Baker unless he, in fact, ends up Mariota level or lower, which for context is barely over 1 TD per game, with every single one of his seasons' YPG being below Baker's current career average of 243.7, and 180.6 and 171.9 being his 2018 and 2019 YPG.
 
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