"The skill set that our quarterback has is legit," Stefanski said Tuesday, as the franchise introduced him as its 18th head coach. "He's as accurate as they come. I think there's plenty of things that we'll do schematically to hopefully make life easier on him, and I'm looking forward to the jump that this kid will take. He's such a young player. The guys I've been around, they put their mind to it, they start to grind on this thing and understand the whys and concepts we're teaching -- I really think this kid has a chance to take off."
One year after breaking the NFL rookie record with 27 passing touchdowns, Mayfield struggled in 2019. This past season he was last among qualifying quarterbacks in touchdown-to-interception ratio (22 touchdowns to 21 interceptions) and next-to-last in both passer rating (78.8) and completion percentage (59.4%).
Stefanski, who spoke to Mayfield by phone Monday, said he wants his quarterbacks "to be themselves" and "lead in their own way," a nod to Mayfield's boisterous style. But Stefanski also added that for all his players, that while "personality is welcome, production is required."
"He's the quarterback, he's the trigger man, and that's the exciting part to me," Stefanski said of Mayfield. "I'm still in the infancy of studying last year and we'll identify some things as we get going, but certainly, when you're talking about this job and this franchise and everything that goes with it, you talk about the quarterback, and I think the sky's the limit for the kid."
The Browns were one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL last year. They finished 6-10 to miss the playoffs for the 17th consecutive season, prompting the team to fire both coach Freddie Kitchens and general manager John Dorsey, whom the team has yet to replace.
In addition to an offense that ranked just 22nd in efficiency, Cleveland's season was marred by a series of incidents on and off the field.
Stefanski said the Browns would have a "culture of accountability" under his watch.
"We'll have structures in place the players will understand," he said. "And we're going to be demanding and we're going to hold each player accountable. I know this about players, they may not ask you for that, but that's what they want."