Harbaugh: "That ends that and that stings."
What do University of Kentucky basketball players and Rob Chudzinski have in common? They’re both one and done.
The Browns beat everyone else in the NFL in at least one category: They became the first team to fire their coach after the season, cutting loose Chudzinski on Sunday night after a single 4-12 year. Chudzinski was the choice of the new front-office regime running the club, headed by owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner, and had been given a three-year contract when he was hired. But seven straight losses to finish the season finished Chudzinski.
Thus continues the Browns’ lack of continuity. Since 2008, the Ravens have had the same head coach, John Harbaugh. During the same time frame, Cleveland has been coached by Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur and Chudzinski. The Browns have won either four or five games each season.
Maybe Chudzinski wasn’t the greatest coach in the NFL, but how many more games would the Browns have won if Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick had been the coach? Don’t be fooled by the five Pro Bowl picks on this team. NFL observers say it’s lacking talent throughout the lineup.
That includes quarterback, where former No. 1 draft pick Brandon Weeden clearly has been abandoned. Former third-stringer Brian Hoyer was the most effective QB, but he was lost midway in the season to a knee injury. That left journeyman Jason Campbell as the starter. So the new coach will be starting over at the most important position on the field.
In a statement announcing Chudzinski’s firing, the club said: “When we believed we were not positioned to achieve significant progress in 2014, we knew we had to admit that a change was needed, and move forward.”
Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, speaking before the announcement was made, said (via The Plain Dealer) the Browns’ losing season "was on the players this year. We didn’t win the games to let people know how good of a coach he was. It fell on the players this year.”
The NFL Network’s Mike Silver reported that an unnamed Browns player texted him that the club’s management is “dysfunctional. These billionaires need to pick somebody and stay with them. These aren't girlfriends.''
So now the Browns are getting a jump on everyone else who will be looking for a head coach (and the accompanying new coaching staff). The Plain Dealer threw out a few names: Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien and Lions coach Jim Schwartz (widely expected to be fired soon).
Maybe the next guy will get more than one year.