La Canfora: Analytics Department Wanted Kevin Stefanski Over Freddie Kitchens
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, during the head coaching search that ultimately decided on Freddie Kitchens, the analytics department led by Paul DePodesta was pushing for Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski. The decision was ultimately general manager John Dorsey's to make and signed off on by Jimmy and Dee Haslam, the team's ownership. The discussion that comes with this news is more interesting than the actual ramifications.
Beyond the fact that it's difficult to know how Stefanski would be doing in his first season as Browns head coach as opposed to Kitchens, it's not known who he might have hired to be on his staff. When Sashi Brown was Executive Vice President of the team, there was a substantial portion of fans and media saying the Browns needed a football guy making football decisions. That's what the Browns did, giving control to Dorsey.
Sashi never got to hire a head coach and he along with the analytics department, strongly recommended the team hire Sean McDermott. The Haslams went with Hue Jackson. It's still unknown if Stefanski will be a good coach or not, but McDermott certainly has been for the Buffalo Bills, who the Browns host Sunday.
Currently under siege at 2-6, Kitchens only gets to find out that there were more people who weren't in love with him as a choice to be the head coach, this time within the building. The reality is he probably already knew, so this doesn't really mean much.
If after this season, Dorsey decides to pull the plug on Kitchens as head coach, the question will be whether in a new search, the Browns analytics department will be given more weight in the decision. For now, the best thing for the Browns, regardless of who they wanted to get the job at the time, is for the team to beat the Bills and then keep winning.