The Cleveland Browns playoff hopes now could be jumbled without their head coach on the sideline.
As the NFL playoffs arrive, it’s all about the teams hitting their stride at the right moment. Heading into Tuesday afternoon, the Cleveland Browns are not one of those teams.
According to reports from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns are dealing with another outbreak at the facility caused by COVID-19. Head coach Kevin Stefanski, along with two coaches and two players have tested positive for the virus.
Stefanski has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against AFC North rival Pittsburgh. Special teams coordinator Mike Preifer will act as the interim head coach for the time being. Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is expected to call plays.
The Browns also took to social media to release a statement about the outbreak.
We were informed this morning that Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, two additional members of the coaching staff and two players have tested positive for COVID-19.
Our contingency planning calls for Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer to serve as the acting Head Coach. pic.twitter.com/Mhh9Zt1e4d
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 5, 2021
An 18-year playoff drought could be the least of Browns fans concerns
A massive reason for the success of Cleveland has come behind the play calling of its first-year coach. Stefanski’s run-heavy scheme has helped the Browns established dominance in the run game while taking pressure off third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield.
After positive testing, the NFL requires an isolation period for those with the virus. To return, a person must test negative multiple times after a certain number of days in quarantine to help limit the spread. With the game less than a week away, it’ll be impossible for the Browns’ coach to return.
With Kevin Stefanski out, OC Alex Van Pelt will call the plays. https://t.co/RWSDKXNVwv
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 5, 2021
In Week 16, Cleveland was without their starting four receivers. Week 17 saw limited action from the secondary. And now, the Browns will be without the architect that looks to be the final solution to their losing ways for nearly two decades.
Certainly not the playoff picture Browns fans were hoping for mere days after the celebration.