CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski, the 2020 NFL Coach of the Year, wants to improve his coaching and is taking aim at evolving the team's schemes while growing with the core of a playoff team that remains intact heading into the 2021 season.
Stefanski said that he and his staff will, over the next several weeks, delve into ways to improve the team in all three phases of the game.
"As we sit here in March, my focus—our focus, as a staff, as a team—is we have to get better, we have to improve and we have to, as coaches, really pull this thing apart and find ways to improve schematically. We have to evolve, and I think that's been a big part of our process to date," Stefanski said.
The coach focused on his own growth as well.
"As coaches, we have to get better. I have to be a better coach next year for this team, and that's my goal, and we're working really hard to find different ways for each of us to get better," Stefanski said.
Stefanski said that he, his staff, and the organization have been working over the past few weeks to make "evolving" the focus of the offseason, free agency, draft and training camp.
Aside from one new addition—offensive quality control coach Jonathan Decoster, who was hired on Monday—the Browns' coaching staff from last season has remained entirely intact.
"The fact that we're bringing all of our coaches back is a very, very big deal, and I'm very proud of that fact," Stefanski said.
Stefanski is a pro at not giving too much away during his press conferences, and his streak continued Tuesday as the coach kept his answers very general. He did, however, continue to point out that the goal headed into this upcoming season truly revolves around improving their schemes as they add players to their roster—or lose them— this off-season.
"With your scheme, year to year, you evolve. Sometimes, that's a different personnel group, sometimes that's a different play type. It really varies based on the players you have and moving them into different positions," Stefanski said. "To say that we'll get completely away from who we are on either offense or defense, I don't think that's fair to say. But I will tell you that we're going to try to evolve within the scheme and continue to make ourselves difficult to defend on offense and then defensively, find ways to frustrate an offense. And that's what we're working real hard on right now."
Stefanski said that the team is trying to fine-tune strengths while at the same time looking at the way other teams operate.
"Make no bones about it, we will steal from everybody, if it's a good idea," Stefanski said. "So we're watching a lot of tape of the NFL players, we're watching college tape, and if we think it might help us, we'll definitely make it part of our offense."
But as to which players have a future in Cleveland and which players don't, Stefanski wouldn't say for sure.
"There's always going to be opportunities to improve our team and we know, year to year, faces change. New guys come in, guys leave, that's just the nature of this beast. So there are always going to be opportunities to improve the roster," Stefanski said. "I'd love to bring everybody back. I've had really great relationships with all these players, and you want to bring them all back. We just realize this is a business, and sometimes that's not possible, but I will tell you we've had a lot of really good conversations with Andrew [Berry] and his staff and the coaches and trying to outline a plan for this off-season. Will there be new faces? Absolutely, there will be. How many? I don't know, but that's a process that we're working through."
The coach was vague about specific players he hopes to retain, but he did mention two players who are poised to return from injury next season—safety Grant Delpit and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Stefanski said that he saw Delpit on Tuesday and he "looks great" and "he's coming along."
"As you can imagine he's attacking this thing, so I know he's doing great -- no update to say where he is in the rehab, but he's doing really well," Stefanski said of Beckham.
Stefanski said that he believes Beckham will be ready to take the "year-two jump" right alongside the rest of the team as they try to make it even further in the postseason this year.
"He's very, very committed to getting back to 100%. He's well on his way in his rehab, excited about his future," Stefanski said.