Skip to main content

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski on what he's seen from C.J. Stroud on tape: 'He's awesome'

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has had a first-hand look at quarterbacks aplenty in the 2023 season.

His Browns joined the 1984 Chicago Bears as the only teams since 1950 to make the playoffs during a season in which they started five quarterbacks, per NFL Research.

However, Stefanski has only seen rookie sensation C.J. Stroud on tape, despite Cleveland having defeated the Houston Texans only a few weeks ago. He'll get his first look in person on Saturday when the No. 5 Browns face the fourth-seeded Houston Texans to kick off Super Wild Card Weekend.

So far, Stefanski has been impressed.

"He's awesome," Stefanski said Tuesday, via team transcript, of the Ohio State product. "I remember watching him early … because we had some crossover tape and getting ready to play Baltimore. I know he played in -- that was his first game, and I think even in that game, you saw some plays and some throws where you knew right away that kid was really, really talented. I know the state [of Ohio] has seen him play quite a bit, so he's a very talented young man and I think the tape is what we as coaches always kind of go back to. And he's got some really great tape."

It was Davis Mills who got the start in Houston's 36-22 loss to Cleveland in Week 16 as Stroud was dealing with a concussion. Thusly, not only will Stefanski get his first live view of Stroud, but Joe Flacco will face off with the rookie for the first time.

It's an appealing matchup, as the 38-year-old Flacco has arisen from the free-agency couch to pilot the Browns to the postseason and a game against the 22-year-old rookie Stroud.

Stroud, in 15 games this season, has thrown for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions to lead the Texans to an AFC South title and a playoff berth for the first time since 2019.

Stroud's 273.9 yards per game are second all time by an NFL rookie -- and second in the NFL this year.

He has a daunting task ahead against the Browns, who boast the NFL's No. 1 total defense and pass defense.

Just how long his phenomenal first season carries on will be determined Saturday, but so far he's impressed plenty, including the opposing coach in his first NFL playoff game.

Related Content