CLEVELAND -- Kevin Stefanski laughed off a report about him being required as the new head coach of the Browns to present his game plans to the organization's analytics department by Fridays during a normal work week in the regular season.
"It's not true. I like that report. That was a good one. It's silly season for that type of stuff," Stefanski said Tuesday during his introductory news conference when asked about what 92.3 The Fan host Dustin Fox tweeted Sunday.
But don't get it twisted -- Stefanski and the Browns will indeed lean heavily on analytics to aid game planning and player evaluation. No one is denying that.
"I'm looking for any edge we can get on game day, and certainly analytics I know is another buzzword out there," he said. "But we're looking to make informed decisions. So as a play caller or whether it may be in player evaluation, information is power.
"I think we're well on our way where we can provide impactful information to our coaches, to our personnel department, that can really, again, help the product in terms of wins and losses."
The Canton Repository's Steve Doerschuk wrote a column Sunday on his beliefs about elements of Stefanski's interview with the Browns, and owner Jimmy Haslam responded to questions regarding those thoughts. Doerschuk wrote Stefanski must have expressed a willingness to allow "an analytics person with a head set and access to the coaching staff on game days, in addition to certain Haslam likes, such as hours-long, Monday-after, owner-coach meetings."
Haslam explained previous Browns coaches have had an analytics expert on a head set during games, and chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta said he thinks all 32 NFL teams do it.
"All eight of the (head coaching) candidates that we interviewed I think felt very comfortable with how we were going to sort of operate and even how they wanted to operate," DePodesta said. "We were able to demystify it to some degree for them.
"There are a bunch of head coaches that say, 'Hey, I'm going to need a guy on a headset.' And we were able to tell them, 'Oh, we've got a guy. Don't worry.'"
Stefanski said the analytics crew in Minnesota helped him formulate his plan of attack when he served as Vikings offensive coordinator last year, giving him information on how apt to blitz the opposing defensive coordinator would be in certain down-and-distance situations.
"We have so much of this information," Stefanski said. "We have years of it, so let's use it to our advantage."
As for those Monday meetings, Haslam said he has always met with the head coach the day after games.
"Absolutely," Haslam said. "And they're 30 minutes to an hour meeting, and I dare say we don't discuss a lot different than the questions you all (in the media) would ask him if you came to the game."
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