AFC Notes: Browns, Jaguars, Steelers


Browns TEs coach Drew Petzing described HC Kevin Stefanski in their locker room, saying that he has a “very calm” demeanor instead of being the firey-type of motivator. 

“Sometimes you’re like, ‘Did he just crack a joke?’ He can work one into any situation,” said Petzing, via Jake Trotter of ESPN. “But Kevin is also extremely smart, very organized, willing to understand and very calm, cool and collected. He’s not going to yell or scream or give you that absolutely epic speech from ‘Any Given Sunday.’ That’s not maybe what he’s the absolute best at.”

Petzing added that Stefanski is “very self-aware” and he understands how to push his players. 

Now, does that mean he doesn’t motivate guys and drive guys and push guys? No. But he understands how to do that, knowing his personality and how people view him. He’s very self-aware, which is a great quality to have.”

Browns GM Andrew Berry called Stefanski “unflappable” and has a strong ability to work with people. 

“Kevin is unflappable,” said Berry. “He’s the same person every day, even-keeled demeanor, fantastic with people. And you need that steady hand within your organization with the inevitable ups and downs and adversity that’s in any NFL season, let alone this one.”

  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said they will monitor RT Jack Conklin (hamstring) over the next two days: “We’ll see how he responds over the next 48 hours.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Stefanski mentioned that they are excited for Browns LG Joel Bitonio to return from COVID-19 for Sunday’s game. (Scott Petrak)
  • When asked about coaching his first NFL playoff game, Stefanski said he’s just glad to be back with the team after missing last week’s game due to COVID-19: “I’m just excited for our team to have another opportunity to compete. I’m excited to be with the guys on Sunday.” (Petrak)


It seems very likely following the hiring of coach Urban Meyer that the Jaguars will be selecting Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence over Ohio State QB Justin Fields with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

“If you think you are going to throw Justin Fields in right away, and he is going to be a franchise guy, that’s not going to be it. He needs to sit a while,” an anonymous AFC scout said, via Ryan Dunleavy of The New York Post. “Trevor Lawrence is a can’t-miss guy with high character.”

Meyer himself had previously commented on the two quarterbacks during his time as an analyst on television and now becomes the 12th college coach to make the jump to the pro game. 

“I had Fields and Trevor right next to each other,” Meyer said. “I put Trevor Lawrence first for one reason — he played one more year. That was it. The one thing I’ll say about Justin Fields because I’m very close to the situation, any concerns about him being a throwing quarterback are gone now. He’s developed. He’s outstanding.”

  • Jason La Canfora reports that former NFL GM’s Ray Farmer and Scott Pioli, as well as Trent Baalke, could be candidates to be paired with Meyer in Jacksonville. Baalke is currently with the team and Pioli has a longstanding relationship with Meyer.
  • Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reports that the Jaguars are hiring Ohio State assistant Athletic Director for Player Development Ryan Stamper as Jacksonville’s new Director of Player Assessment. 


While the Steelers already have $19 million invested in QB Ben Roethlisberger next season, he also had the league’s largest cap hit at $41.25 million. Pittsburgh is now in a dangerous cap position. However, the decision to part ways with OC Randy Fichtner could be an indication they may also move on from Roethlisberger, who remained dedicated to Fichtner prior to their Week 17 matchup with the Browns.

“He calls the play. We have to execute them,” Roethlisberger said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “It’s not just me. He’s telling me stuff in my ear. We’re talking on the sideline. He should get as much if not more, I think more, credit than me or anyone else for that second-half performance (against the Colts) because he’s the one that’s really kind of given us the insight, the direction, and keeping it moving. To me, what I see with Coach Randy’s growth is just understanding where our strengths and weaknesses are, and really like I said, it boils down to us making plays and not the play calling.”

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