If Rob Chudzinski is fired, it’s just another Browns embarrassment

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Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 3.33.49 PMI could sit here and break down what happened in the Steelers game, but I have no interest in doing that. The only thing on my mind right now is what an embarrassment the Cleveland Browns organization continues to be with today’s “one-and-done” rumors involving Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. Granted nothing has happened yet, but just the fact that this rumor has legs across multiple analysts – From Chris Mortenson to John Clayton – is embarrassing. It may be even more embarrassing than the Browns’ bad record, which at 4-12 says so very much, but we’ve seen bad won-loss records plenty of times. I really hoped that the embarrassing Berea chaos of things like Mangini / Kokinis and even Phil Savage’s power struggle were long gone. If Rob Chudzinski gets fired after one year, it’ll be tough to believe that organizational dysfunction doesn’t flow through the pipes of even a renovated Browns complex in Berea.

Rob Chudzinski is not coming off of a good rookie head coaching campaign, to be sure. No matter what happened to the Cleveland Browns from a personnel standpoint, the fact is that only winning four games is a miserable failure. The Browns weren’t even able to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The fact that the Browns couldn’t win after having their bye week is miserable, but even given all that, I find it shocking to think that the Browns are going to fire Rob Chudzinski and his staff after just one year coaching a roster that wasn’t exactly loaded up on both sides of the ball by the front office. Yet, those are the rumors that persist today.

I asked the question last week. What does accountability look like in an organization where presumably nobody deserves to be fired? I expected some interesting quotes from the post-season press conferences talking about missed opportunities, promissory statements about the future and other general tough talk about how “unacceptable” this year’s record was. What I hadn’t accounted for was that the same front office – the same one that continually sent the message to its team that this current year was of little importance – could place so much stock in the coach’s performance in that same year.

Regardless of how you think about the Browns moves, it’s undeniable that many of them were forward-looking and for the future – at least in terms of what message it sent to the locker room. Trading Trent Richardson for a draft pick in 2014 is for the future. Remember that Chudzinski had to sit with Banner in the wake of that trade to talk to the media. Trading two picks on draft day to the Steelers and Colts is also clearly a move for the future. Signing and using a placeholder (at best) running back like Willis McGahee sends a message and it isn’t about trying to kick butt and take names in the current season. Maybe they’re all really smart moves, but they send a distinct message that the future is more important than the present.

Consequently, I find it disingenuous that the responsible parties could then be shocked by a lackluster won-loss record in a year where the Browns also were unable to keep a consistent name under center after injuries to all of their quarterbacks. Again, this isn’t to say that Chud’s been great and has earned unending amounts of goodwill, because I don’t think he has. I guess my conclusion from this season is that – while not impossible – Chud’s degree of coaching difficulty in 2013 was extremely high for many reasons that were completely out of his control.

The Cleveland Browns have stated many times that they’ll be bold in trying to re-make this football team. That boldness could include hiring a premier coaching candidate and firing Rob Chudzinski, but it’s hard to figure out how that’s going to be great for the team overall. It casts a shadow over Joe Banner and company for hiring the wrong guy in the first place. Firing Rob Chudzinski after one year says a lot about the people who hired and fired him. Some might even say that it probably says more about them than it does about the coach himself.

Unless the Browns have a direct line of communication with one of those candidates, it’s hard to understand how they could come to the conclusion to fire Rob Chudzinski this week. Unless there’s an internal candidate that they want to replace him with, it seems inconceivable from a timing standpoint. I highly doubt that the powers that be in Berea are grinding their teeth in anticipation of the moment they can elevate Norv Turner or Ray Horton to the head coach’s spot in the organization.

Even if they hire someone who turns out to be a clear upgrade, it’s exceedingly difficult to figure out how “missing” so badly on the first coaching staff to turn around your recently acquired NFL franchise wouldn’t reflect at least equally poorly on the executives in charge of overall franchise strategy. For the fans of this team, it would be yet another in a long line of embarrassments. You’d think that would make it easier, but it really doesn’t seem to be that way.

  • Dcdawg

    You’re clueless

  • kadhsdgks

    Best line of this article:

    Firing Rob Chudzinski after one year says a lot about the people who hired and fired him. Some might even say that it probably says more about them than it does about the coach himself.

  • BigDigg

    Delusions of grandeur if this front office thinks any capable experienced coach or talented up and comer is even going to interview here. Chud may not be the next Paul Brown, but I never got the sense that he was completely overmatched. Horton and Turner had their movements as well. I don’t think the coaches cost us any more wins than a roster featuring a red headed Spaulding Smails as opening day QB.

  • Stew Hawk

    Clearly you know nothing about football. One need only look to the Steelers for the formula. They do it year in and year out. The Ravens went to the Super Bowl in 2000 with a strong running game and run stopping defense.Trent Dilfer was QB! You typical Browns fans amuse me.

  • Stew Hawk

    Seriously? Can I quote you on that?

  • Stew Hawk

    I think your brain is saggy….Have a look at those championship teams any other championship football team for that matter.. They stop the run and they run the ball. Passing is secondary..

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    This is what Jimmy is afraid his cell mate will say! “Snap into a Slim Jim” will have a new meaning!!!!!

  • saggy

    The New York Giants, in 2011 finished LAST in the league in rushing yards. But, of course, all they did was win the Super Bowl.

  • JHop

    The problem isn’t if the new players would mesh better with Chud or a new coach, it’s a matter of how the veterans would take it. Last thing we need is for Mack and Ward to go elsewhere followed by Gordon demanding a trade all because we fired a coach they may like and bring in someone new who isn’t quite their cup of tea.

  • Josh

    Ummm.. well let’s see…

    The 2012 Champion Ravens were the 11th best running offense and 20th best running defense in the NFL.

    The 2011 Champion New York Giants were the 32nd best running offense and the 19th best running defense.

    The 2010 Champion Green Bay Packers were the 24th best running offense and 18th best running defense.

    The 2009 Champion Saints had the 6th best running offense and 21st best running defense.

    So yeah, go ahead and quote me. The only thing that matters in the NFL now is the ability to pass and stop the pass. It blows my mind people still think running is important in the NFL.

    Oh, and if you don’t want to take the word of fans, ask Joe Thomas…

    “To be able to run the ball is nice at times,” Thomas went on, “but it’s not a make or break-type thing because every team that goes to the playoffs and wins Super Bowls, it’s won by the arm of the quarterback.”

  • saggy

    Nice work. i don’t think he’ll be back here anytime soon….

  • C-Bus Kevin

    If they fire Chud, they better have an incredible coaching hire locked down…I’m thinking Chud is gone Monday and the new guy is introduced Wednesday.

    It better be someone with a big history of success, too…as in, he wears his Super Bowl ring to the introductory press conference.

    So who would that be? Tony Dungy? Bill Cowher? None of this “this assistant has shown a lot of promise” business. Sheesh, what an embarrassment.

  • saggy

    I agree – there is NO way you can fire this guy without having something else already locked up.

    You can’t just start a revolution unless you have a plan for something better.

  • Lyon25

    Trying to be as positive as possible…

  • BrownieBob

    Oh ok….I though for a moment you were being serious but with this last comment its obvious you are just posting stupid comments to see if anyone notices….lol…..good job….using a 13 year old super bowl champion as your evidence is priceless…..

  • devill77

    I agree. The only experienced coach that would arrive is one who is used up and worn out. All the others will remain and work towards the playoffs. It takes time to build a team that is so dysfunctional. Look how long it took Marvin Lewis to change Cincy and they continue to want him fired.

  • Lyon25

    In the real world you’re right. But this is Cleveland, so flying from the seat of their pants is the most likely scenario.

  • Logan Jones

    What a joke. I get the feeling Lerner sold to Haslem for a reason, he hates this city and area. Haslem will probably get caught stealing money for the stadium upgrades, why not he is a thief. I really hoped that the Browns would finally stick with someone and try to build, obviously not going to happen. Good luck trying to keep Ward and Mack, and then Hayden after that. Well on a positive note maybe we can get McDaniels as a coach, I always wanted to throw a bottle at his head.

  • Henry Brown

    Oh yeah, Haslam has a great record of hiring people who are now under Federal indictment and probably taking him down with them.

  • bupalos

    I’ll preface by saying I think Chud is a bad head coach. Almost to a one, his time management and risk assessment decisions have been demonstrably wrong. And it’s cost at least 1 game, maybe 2 and I would be profoundly unexcited about going forward with him. But this is still pretty shocking. I’m mean, he’s their guy. The only thing that would make clear sense is if they want to promote Horton, or if they knew they were going to lose both coordinators and have enough questions about chud or differences with him that they can’t let him stand alone.

    It’s pretty strange. I’m conflicted because I was really very disappointed with the guy despite wanting to root for him.

  • bupalos

    Some points, but you lose me with the TR stuff. Worst running back in the league. I don’t care if they gave 3 #1’s for him. He’s a practice squad player making millions.

  • Bob Wetsel

    Chud had some admirable qualities, but anybody with a pulse could’ve been inserted into the HC position this year and looked alright post-Shurmur. Let’s give this FO the benefit of the doubt? Most fans hated the Trent trade initially, but it’s looking pretty brilliant right about now…

    Also, maybe they have plans of promoting Horton to HC? I’m just speculating, but I know he was atop a number of lists of viable HC candidates…lots of vacancies coming up. Maybe he’s deemed more of an asset than Chud and they had no choice but to part with either Chud or Horton?

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    It’s undeniably embarrassing. Even if firing Chud is 100% the right move, they should be embarrassed today. Hiring a one and done coach is an embarrassment. Hiring a one and done coach with these coordinators to back him up seems inconceivable. This wasn’t just Chud’s plan. Chud was theirs.

  • dimoko


  • BigDigg

    Honest question Bup – has he been that bad? Admittedly I am rather less than engaged when watching browns games these days so perhaps I’ve missed some obvious stuff. The one that stuck out yesterday was failing to kick the field goal when down 3 possessions in the 4th quarter. That one blew my mind, but only a little bit since I had pretty much stopped paying attention at that point.

  • Stew Hawk

    Ha! None of those teams you mentioned win consistently. Joe Thomas was taking one for the team. What else would he say? “We’re Effed up, our Front office people have their heads up their asses”? You crack me up…

    You guys are the epitome of why the country looks at the Browns and their fans as pathetic losers. Idiots like you deserve a team like you have. The Steelers have 6 Super Bowl Rings. Open your eyes, do some research and see how they did it. All teams that win CONSISTENTLY run the ball.

  • Josh

    Alright, well you go ahead and be embarrassed then. And tell everyone how wrong the FO is like you did with the Richardson trade. I’ll just be glad our FO is much more worried about making the right decisions than if fans like you are embarrassed.

    Chud wasn’t a Randy Lerner interview one candidate and go with him hire. They performed an extensive interview process, missed out on all their top guys and hired Chud. Turns out Chud was better on paper than in the actual job. Happens ALL THE TIME. Smart decision makers correct the mistake immediately. Dumb ones wait so they aren’t “embarrassed” or for the sake of “continuity”.

    If the 1999 through 2012 seasons never happened this decision isn’t a big deal at all. And since not one of the people involved in the Browns decision making had anything to do with any of those previous seasons, it’s pretty silly to judge this decision based on those seasons.

  • Hopwin

    So now have holes at: QB, RB, WR, Pass-Rusher, the secondary and Head Coach? If we follow this course of action we won’t have a team within three years.

  • Nate

    I think they need a larger bar… RFD is always packed!

  • Josh

    So your argument is that Joe Thomas, who basically just came out and said the organization was stupid for firing Chud, only said running the ball is meaningless because he didn’t want to make the organization look bad? Got it.

    The rest of your post is just downright funny. You are either a troll or incredibly, incredibly ignorant.

    It is news to the rest of the NFL that the Giants, Ravens, Saints and Packers don’t win consistently. The standings must have been lying for the past six or seven years! Oh, and you should probably check how the Steelers won their last Super Bowl.

  • Stew Hawk

    Whether or not I am ignorant is neither here nor there. I do, however, understand how teams CONSISTENTLY win. Clearly you do not.

  • Josh

    Uh well actually you being ignorant is both here and there. You are completely ignorant to how the NFL operates since the rule changes made it impossible to stop a good passing game.

    I’ll tell ya what. Why don’t you list me these “CONSISTENT” winners since 2006 or so that rely on the run. I’ll give you a hint though, I wouldn’t list the MOST consistent winner in that time, New England. And I wouldn’t list your poster team of this supposed mastery of the run, Pittsburgh, either. Both have been well below average running the ball in that time.

    So since you don’t think the Saints, Giants, Ravens, and Packers are consistent winners and that the last four Super Bowl winners were just flukes, please explain to us who these consistent winners who depend on the run are?

  • Former Fan

    Seven of the top 11 rushing offenses in the NFL in 2012 , including the
    top 4 – Washington, Minnesota, Seattle, and San Francisco – were playoff
    teams. Only 5 of the top 11 passing offenses made the playoffs last
    year, and the top rated passing team in the playoffs, New England, was
    4th. So while passing has really evolved in the last 10-15 years, you
    still need to be able to run the football, especially in a division like
    the AFC North late in the year.

    Wake up.

  • Stew Hawk

    Amen brother.