Steve Spagnuolo vs. Kevin Stefanski
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski seems to have finally found a recipe for the team’s offense that works for quarterback Baker Mayfield and the rest of the pieces the team has in place. That has led to a breakout season for the third-year quarterback and the team’s first playoff win in 25 years.
On the other side of the football, the Super Bowl LIV champion defense is led by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Not only has Spags already helped lead Kansas City to a Super Bowl title, he did the same when coaching the New York Giants.
How has Spags managed to be so successful as a coordinator? It’s about maximizing the abilities of the players around him, and adapting in game to what the other team is trying to accomplish. In the last two seasons under Spags, the Chiefs have gotten incredible mileage out of a group of undervalued cornerbacks, and a solid pass rush instigated through a variety of stunts and blitz packages that have managed to keep offenses guessing.
Thus far this season, Kansas City has not shown much in the way of new looks or packages. This has led to a decrease in sacks from 2019 and more points allowed overall. In particular, the Chiefs have seen a less effective Frank Clark in 2020, a trend that must change if the team hopes to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.
Is Spags in a funk from a play-calling or blitz creation standpoint? Or has he been saving new packages for when the games start to count?
We’ll find out on Sunday, because if the Chiefs can get consistent pressure into the Browns’ backfield, they should be able to significantly decrease the effectiveness of Mayfield, Chubb, Hunt and the rest of the Cleveland offense.