The Cleveland Brown Can’t Get it Right Even When They Try

The Cleveland Brown made headlines Monday morning with their announced firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Jackson’s job security was in question after finishing last year 0-16 and owning a 1-31 record through his first two seasons with the Browns. However, he was brought back, even with the hiring of new general manager John Dorsey. But it was always a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ in regards to Jackson’s removal.

Jackson leaves with a 3-36-1 record as head coach, including a 2-5-1 mark this season. Disappointing to say the least, but not surprising considering the black cat of dysfunction that has surrounded the franchise for almost two decades. But, a 2-5-1 record was nothing to be discouraged by as some of those losses came at the hands of the Pittsburg Steelers, Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints, and the tie came against the Steelers as well.

Realistically, the Browns are two field goals away from being 4-4, but expecting to be better than what they currently are is delusional, and would further fuel their dysfunctional image.

Initially, it appeared as though offensive coordinator Todd Haley would assume the interim head coaching duties, but news came out later that he was fired just eight games into his first season in Cleveland.

But the performance was not the main reason for letting the duo go. It was, in fact, the internal conflict between Jackson and Haley and the power struggle behind-the-scenes that prompted Jimmy Haslam to dismiss them. The problem became more public last week as Hue Jackson told the media that he was going to take over play-calling duties and reaffirmed his power over the rest of the coaching staff.

When Jackson has to go out of his way to make it known, while also stating multiple times that he is the head coach and has an ultimate say, it gives off a sense of insecurity from him. There was a rift between the two shown on HBO’s Hard Knocks and reports that Jackson wanted to give some input on the offense but Haley rejected it.

Considering Haley’s past, it’s not shocking to hear any of this. He is a failed head coach and had a successful six-year stint in Pittsburg as their offensive coordinator, that was overshadowed by the unhealthy relationship between him and Ben Roethlisberger. Haley is known as being stubborn, hot-headed, arrogant, brash, etc. while believing that he should be a head coach. Not exactly the combination you want in a coordinator when the head coach he’s working under has no track record.

The dynamic between the two was not the environment owner Jimmy Haslam wanted with the team, which the team’s owner credited for being the reason for removal.

“Hopefully we made a big step today,” Haslam said at a news conference with Dorsey. “It’s very troubling. It’s hard to win in the NFL; if anybody knows that, it’s us. And I think the message today is we’re not going to put up with internal discord, that we want people who are collaborative and work together.”

Problems of all sorts have been going on since the end of the 1990’s, and Haslam is trying to rid the franchise of it, although he has been at the helm for some of it. Although this move frees the franchise of some the problems, it still shines a light on the dysfunction surrounding them.

First, it calls into question the hiring of Todd Haley. It was a considerable risk and looked like a mistake from the beginning. An error that would blow up in their faces. Haley shared the same offensive specialty as Hue Jackson while having a reputation that preceded him, and not a positive one. You knew there would be a good chance of heads and egos clashing, yet they wanted to bring him in.

It also calls into question the hiring of Jackson and not firing him after going 1-31 during his first two seasons. Under normal circumstances, when you start fresh with a new general manager like the Browns did with John Dorsey, and the current coach in the midst of a 1-31 stretch, the normal thing to do would be to relieve him of his duties and start fresh with a coach of the GM’s choice.

But that is not what happened as Jimmy Haslam made sure that John Dorsey retained Jackson’s services when he came on board. Which then begs the question: Why fire both?

This had the writings of “one or the other” all over it, but the Browns decided to remove both, which is a shocking decision considering they spent their number one overall pick from 2018 on quarterback Baker Mayfield. A rookie quarterback’s best friend is stability and having offensive-minded coaches to help him develop and grow. But management got rid of both of them when the smart and correct decision would have been to retain one of them.

Instead, defensive coordinator Greg Williams is the interim head coach, and we have seen in the past how defensive head coaches are the kryptonite for young passers. In today’s game, you need offensive minds to help the growth of what you expect to be your franchise quarterback.

Jared Goff is the perfect example. He is a complete 180 today with Sean McVay compared to how he looked with Jeff Fisher. Andrew Luck is a guy who has played his best ball with Bruce Arians and Frank Reich in charge (both offensive guys), but not the defensive-minded Chuck Pagano.

Patrick Mahomes is thriving with a quarterback whisperer in Andy Reid, and all coaches from Reid’s coaching tree have succeeded with their young signal callers (Doug Pederson & Carson Wentz and Matt Nagy & Mitch Trubisky).

You are not helping your rookie at all. It’s just added turmoil. Some guys have the personality to handle it while others don’t. We will find out a lot about Mayfield now.

These are head-scratching decisions that show once again how Cleveland can’t get anything quite right, even when they intend to. Baker Mayfield is being set up for failure this season which may have ramifications down the line.

If the Browns do not make the right hiring with the next coach, he will struggle to break the quarterback curse in Cleveland and be yet another first-round miss by the franchise. But it would be fitting.

Featured Image via Flickr/EDrost88

Sports and food enthusiast. Love reading thriller and Comic books. Will talk almost any movie or tv show (more recent preferred), especially Westworld!

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