FanDuel - WFBC

December 30, 2013

Browns Fire Chudzinski After Only 1 Season: The Cleveland Browns have fired head coach Rob Chudzinski following a woeful 4-12 season in his first at the helm. The Browns lost 10 of their last 11 games, including a home defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars that particularly upset team management, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Several Browns players publicly scoffed at reports of Chudzinski's firing before it was announced, and afterwards two unnamed players texted Mike Silver of the NFL Network. One wrote, "this organization is a joke" and another "we are so dysfunctional. These billionaires need to pick somebody and stay with them. These aren't girlfriends." Early front-runners to replace him are New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a Cleveland native, and Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien, a former Patriots offensive coordinator.

posted by rcade to football at 08:51 AM - 30 comments

I'm not sure what they expected. I doubt any coach would win many games starting a hodgepodge of Brandon Weeden, Jason Campbell, and whichever scrub they chose to put at running back.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:11 AM on December 30

Chud deserved more time. But the Jaguars did this to Mike Mularkey last year and got a better coach in Gus Bradley.

posted by rcade at 09:21 AM on December 30

Belichick has unfinished business in Cleveland. I think he should go back. Please.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:33 AM on December 30

This makes no sense to me. It feels like an overreaction to the loss to Jacksonville. The Jags weren't as bad as they looked at the start of the year and it was a meaningless game for both teams and the Cleveland players probably feel like they had done well to survive the season. From what little I saw of the Browns, they seemed well prepared and a tough out in most of their games, in spite of playing with shit and/ or back-up quarterbacks.

As a Patriots fan, I hope Mike Lombardi's man-crush on Bill Belichick continues at least long enough to overpay for Ryan Mallet or some other Pats' overstock with promise, but I don't get the obsession with Josh McDaniels, beyond the coincidence he grew up in Ohio. O'Brien I could see, but he's a bit of a Catch-22 for me in that if he's willing to walk away from the Penn State program two years after making a major public commitment in a unique situation then he's probably not the guy you want. It's a bit like dating a married person: no matter how dreamy they are now, you wouldn't want to marry someone who'd do that.

posted by yerfatma at 09:35 AM on December 30

I don't get it - the team dealt its "star" running back for a future pick and expected the team to get better in the short-term?

This team was markedly better with Bryan freaking Hoyer at QB. A coach wasn't going to make Brandon Weeden or Jason Campbell into a serviceable NFL starter, especially with nobody in the backfield to make teams respect the run.

They added two guys on D (Kruger and Bryant) with a combined zero pro bowls between them, so I'm not sure where they expected the wins to come from. Both are starter-quality, but neither are game-changers.

Sometimes teams are so desperate to end a streak of losing that they can't get out of their own way to let a team develop. Josh Gordon developed into a star and Jordan Cameron blossomed into a guy that could be their TE for years to come. Now they go back to the drawing board, firing all their coaches and starting systems from scratch. Sad, really.

posted by dfleming at 09:56 AM on December 30

I think Hoyer looked good at QB and would have helped the Browns quite a bit. He was light years ahead of Weeden, and Campbell shouldn't have been counted on to start this many games and succeed.

It seems unfair, but it also feels as if the Browns have their eye on someone specific, such as Bill O' Brien.

posted by dyams at 10:05 AM on December 30

Liked this playoff preview in general and loved this line:

"Farewell, Rob Chudzinski and the Cleveland Browns. Chud failed to win with Jason Campbell and Fozzy Whittaker as his backfield; as soon as we find someone who succeeds, we should make him Emperor of Earth, not head coach of the Browns."

posted by yerfatma at 10:09 AM on December 30

Also, Happy Black Monday to Mike Shanahan!

posted by Bonkers at 10:10 AM on December 30

I'm trying to find the link, but the Frankenstein's Quarterback of Weeden, Hoyer and Campbell combined would have been about sixth-to-eighth in the league for yards and touchdowns this year. Which is good considering they have one Wide Receiver and traded away their starting back.

I also read that passing to that "one wide receiver" Cleveland QBs have a passer rating of 100+. Passing to everyone else they're at a rating of about 67.

Edit : It's a throw-away in this preview page on Grantland. Search for the Jets-Browns notes.

"If Jasobriandon Campoyereeden were a person, he'd be sixth in the NFL in passing yards and seventh in TDs. "

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:40 AM on December 30

Also, Happy Black Monday to Mike Shanahan!

The last few weeks sure seemed a lot like this...

posted by grum@work at 10:54 AM on December 30

Trent Richardson was a disappointment in Indianapolis. By the end of the year Donald Brown was getting more carries, and Richardson finished with 563 yards and three touchdowns. He had zero 100-yard games.

I don't think his trade to Indy should be included in the excuses for Chudzinski. Cleveland getting a late first-round pick for him turned out to be a huge steal (contrary to what I thought when it happened).

posted by rcade at 11:38 AM on December 30

I don't think his trade to Indy should be included in the excuses for Chudzinski. Cleveland getting a late first-round pick for him turned out to be a huge steal (contrary to what I thought when it happened).

It's not an excuse, but the owners can't expect a team that trades its lead back (no matter how bad they are) for a future pick to win more games. They expected more development from a team of also-rans and cast-offs - their young players (Gordon, Cameron) did develop.

I think they made as much progress as a team without a QB or legitimate RB could make this year, and another year of development with more skilled players might get them to .500, as they were in a number of games like the NE one until the end.

posted by dfleming at 12:10 PM on December 30

Chudzinski's Browns made the mistake of playing well too early. We're happy in Jacksonville despite a 4-12 record because the Jags went .500 in the second half of the season and had a streak of four out of five wins.

I don't think he should've been canned though. If you fire a coach you just hired a year ago, doesn't that mean the GM should be fired as well?

posted by rcade at 12:32 PM on December 30

I don't think he should've been canned though. If you fire a coach you just hired a year ago, doesn't that mean the GM should be fired as well?

Not that it necessarily changes your point, but Chudzinski was hired before the new GM was brought in.

posted by holden at 03:11 PM on December 30

Hiring a new GM when you already have an unproven coach is a dicey situation. When the Jags hired Mike Mularkey to coach, it was clear that Gene Smith was facing a win-or-else year as general manager. They didn't win, David Caldwell was hired as GM and he dumped Mularkey to bring in his own guy.

posted by rcade at 03:54 PM on December 30

Early front-runners to replace him are...and Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien

O'Brien seems to be leading the popularity contest among coach shopping NFL teams . He is supposedly the front-runner in Houston, and now is in the mix for Cleveland. If O'Brien takes either job, he might be falling for some fool's gold. Perhaps he will make a lot more money in the short run, but at Penn State assuming a continuation of the success he has so far enjoyed, he would very likely have a well-paid lifetime gig. There's no accounting for individual preference here, but the long-term successful job at a major college program would seem to trump 4- or 5- years of high pay in the NFL meat grinder.

Assuming O'Brien takes an NFL job, whom does Penn State go after? My bet would be Greg Schiano, now unemployed. He ran a pretty good program at Rutgers, and he has a background with Penn State as a defensive backfield coach under Joe Paterno. Schiano has indicated that he would like to remain in the NFL, but his hiring to another head coaching position is somewhat improbable. It is more likely that he would take a coordinator position somewhere. If McDaniels leaves Belichick's side for Cleveland, he might wind up as Offensive Coordinator with the Pats, although his defensive background would seem to work against this. Nonetheless, he does have a good connection with Belichick, and there are a number of players on the Patriots who came from Rutgers or Tampa Bay.

How the roulette wheel will turn, and whose number will come up where always makes for some off-season fun.

posted by Howard_T at 05:39 PM on December 30

Perhaps he will make a lot more money in the short run, but at Penn State assuming a continuation of the success he has so far enjoyed, he would very likely have a well-paid lifetime gig.

He has clearly played the hand he was dealt at Penn State very well thus far, but there is no such thing as a lifetime job in college football anymore.

posted by bender at 05:53 PM on December 30

Schiano becomes another in a line of college coaches who could not find success in the pros. Other than Pete Carroll, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer, there aren't too many others who have achieved success.

posted by jjzucal at 09:32 PM on December 30

Chip Kelly deserves mention - he didn't fare too badly this year with an Eagles team most picked to finish last in the division.

Bill Walsh also began his coaching career in college - 3 Super Bowls in 10 years of coaching isn't bad. Nor is Jim Harbaugh's 36-11-1 record after 3 years in the big league, also a recent college head coach.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:01 PM on December 30

Please, not Schiano to either the Pats or PSU.

I don't know where that guy belongs. (West Point just filled its vacancy).

Nary a whisper of Coughlin's name can be found as one cruises the NFL hot seat and carousel blabber...

posted by beaverboard at 11:39 PM on December 30

To answer my own Schiano question: Daniel Snyder.

Also, as Jerry Jones ponders his team's future, he should take into account that over the last three seasons, there has probably not been a more balanced, consistent coach in the league than Jason Garrett.

posted by beaverboard at 12:29 AM on December 31

Tom Coughlin was the head coach at Boston College before getting the Jaguars job. He reached two AFC championships there and won two Super Bowls with the Giants.

posted by rcade at 11:03 AM on December 31

I'll be sad to see him go, but it will shock me if the Bengals' Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer doesn't finally see his first shot at a head coaching gig. His name gets thrown around for every vacancy, as it has for the past 3 or 4 years. I don't know if nobody has made him an offer, or the right offer, or if he just hasn't outshined the likes of Schiano in an interview.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:09 AM on December 31

Tom Coughlin was the head coach at Boston College before getting the Jaguars job

Coughlin's a bit tough to categorize because prior to that he was on Parcells' staff with the Giants. But prior to that he was head coach at RIT where I assume his staff was terrific at hand signals.

posted by yerfatma at 12:09 PM on December 31

Other than Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll may actually be the worst example of a college coach having success in the NFL. He was fired in his first 2 stints in NY and NE, and it took another 10 years in the college ranks before he got another shot with the Seahawks.

Perhaps he erases some of that history this year.

posted by cixelsyd at 12:33 PM on December 31

Coughlin was a wide recievers coach for three NFL teams, which isn't a position you jump to NFL head coach from. He got the Jaguars gig because he won at Boston College running the whole shebang. So I think of him more as a college coach who succeeded at the next level, even though he had some NFL experience as a lower-level assistant.

posted by rcade at 02:29 PM on December 31

Perhaps he erases some of that history this year.

I think he's already erased a lot of it. Seattle is a great football team.

posted by rcade at 02:30 PM on December 31

One big reason Coughlin took the Jags job was that Weaver agreed to give him a tremendous amount of control over many/most aspects of the operation. A degree of authority which he wielded with relish. And mustard.

It was a tremendous accomplishment for both the Jags and the Panthers to have reached the title games in their respective conferences in just their second year in the league.

posted by beaverboard at 05:21 PM on December 31

Perhaps he erases some of that history this year.

I think he's already erased a lot of it. Seattle is a great football team.

Between the last few years with the Seahawks and the run at USC, Carroll's time in the Northeast is going to be pretty far down in his obituary.

posted by Etrigan at 05:49 PM on December 31

When the Cowboys say they are "going forward" with Jason Garrett, are they referencing the final scene of Spielberg's "Duel"?

posted by beaverboard at 08:20 PM on December 31

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