Football is as much a team sport as any other, but nevertheless, the quarterback position still does loom large over all others. Other than the center, it is the only position that handles just about every snap of every game, and is the position that is responsible for distributing the ball, even, at times, making the decision on the field as to whether the play will be a run or a pass.
Because of this, you like to make sure that you have a head coach who is capable of working well with and bringing the best out of your quarterback. the Cleveland Browns erroneously thought last year that that is exactly what they were doing with the hiring of Freddie Kitchens, who had some success working with a rookie Baker Mayfield in the second half of the 2018 season.
After his embarrassing one-year tenure, there’s a new sheriff in town in Kevin Stefanski, who has spent the bulk of his career serving in various coaching roles within the Minnesota Vikings’ offense, most recently as the offensive coordinator.
Because of the virtual offseason made necessary by the ongoing pandemic, Mayfield and Stefanski haven’t gotten the chance yet to get on the field and work together directly, but of course they have had many talks about what their plans are for the upcoming season and how they view the offense going forward.
“Kevin is obviously an extremely sharp guy. Everything he does is with a purpose”, he told the team’s website recently. “It is a very deliberate message, and he has everybody believing in that on the staff. I think that is how the foundation should be set, and he has done an unbelievable job of that. (The Vikings) were a very efficient team for the last few years. That is kudos to him”.
After being drafted first overall in 2018, Baker had a rookie of the year season, setting a new rookie record with 27 touchdown passes, with 14 interceptions, and posting a 6-7 record as a starter. Last season, the team went 6-10 with him under center, as he threw only 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. That would have led the league by five in 2018, but Jameis Winston’s 30 bailed him out of the false critique Ben Roethlisberger was subjected to for his 16 interceptions in 2018.
Anyway, bringing it all back, Stefanski’s task is to fine-tune Mayfield’s game and maximize his efficiency. They have the skill players and the offensive line all around him that should enable him to do that. As long as they have a proper plan in place, he himself is the biggest variable in their offensive success.