A Coach’s Life Isn’t Fair, Just Ask Chud the Scapegoat

It turns out that Rob Chudzinski received just one year to try to turn around the Cleveland Browns, getting fired last night after a 4-12 season.

Did Chudzinski do a great job coaching this season?  No, but he deserved another season to see if he would do better with a quality draft and therefore a better roster.  Instead, he became the sacrificial lamb for a front office sensing more anger in an already disgruntled fan base.

The former head coach did make mistakes, most notably in his judgment of QB Brandon Weeden.  Although Weeden did play well in the first two exhibition contests, it was clear early on that the football team didn’t respond to him.

However, isn’t the bigger miscalculation by Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi, who didn’t get another quarterback after the season ending injury to Brian Hoyer with the Browns having a 3-2 record.  When Weeden struggled in games against Detroit and Green Bay after being put back in the lineup, the coaching staff had no other alternative than Jason Campbell.

And after Campbell became the starter, it made Weeden the only alternative going forward.  That’s not on the coach, that’s on the personnel department.

We have been critical of the Browns’ ignorance of the running game, but what choice did they have after Banner and Lombardi dealt Trent Richardson to the Colts for a first round pick in 2014.  Yes, it was a good deal (Joe and Mike can pat themselves on the back), but it left the squad without a legitimate running threat.

It would seem to be another case of the personnel people letting the coaching staff down.

Another thing that let Chudzinski down was the defense.  After the Browns’ lost to the Steelers in Cleveland to drop to 4-6 on the year, they lost three games in which they scored a total of 85 points.  That’s an average of 28 points per game.

However, Ray Horton’s unit allowed 97 points in those games against Jacksonville, New England, and Chicago.  And the first two of those games were fourth quarter collapses by the defense.

Had the Browns won two of those games, they would have ended the year at 6-10.  Would Chudzinski have been fired then?

Yes, your record is what it says it is, but the former coach was offensive minded and somehow he pasted together a plan (with Norv Turner) to put up 28 points with no running game and a veteran journeyman quarterback.

But he loses his job because the owner and front office want better results?

Supposedly, the team made the decision after the Jets’ game, which came one week after the Browns scored 31 points against Chicago.  That means yesterday’s game didn’t figure in the decision.

So, the coach has one bad game and the decision is made to jettison the coach.

Many in the media are complimenting Haslam on a “bold” move.  But, it says here he comes off looking like Jerry Jones or Daniel Snyder, an impetuous owner who makes knee jerk reactions.  The bold move would have been to see what Chudzinski could do with a year of head coaching experience under his belt.

Nobody wanted Haslam to be like the reclusive Randy Lerner, but with this move he comes off as a meddler.

Firing the coach puts the pressure squarely on the owner and his hand-picked people (Banner and Lombardi) to win and win now.  That’s something that has been needed in Berea, but we’re not sure they had to relieve the head coach of his duties to establish it.

JD

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