It has been a busy Monday for the Cleveland Browns. Not only did they fire head coach Hue Jackson, but they also parted ways with offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Thus, the duo that infamously butted heads on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” are no longer part of arguably the most miserable franchise in professional sports.
The Browns were an atrocious 3-36-1 in Jackson’s two-plus years at the helm, including a record of 2-5-1 this year. Cleveland currently sits in last place in the AFC North behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. And things aren’t likely to improve when the Browns host the 7-1 Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
As for Haley, he was in his first year as the Browns’ offensive coordinator after serving in the same capacity with the Steelers the previous six seasons. But he has had several public spats with Jackson, leading many to believe that one would canned before season’s end.
But both were fired on Monday, with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams later being named the Browns’ interim head coach. Williams hasn’t been a head coach since a stint with the Buffalo Bills from 2001-03, but he has nearly 30 years of NFL coaching experience, which is probably why he received the promotion.
With that said, Williams’ promotion doesn’t come without controversy. He was behind the New Orleans’ Saints Bountygate scandal, so he doesn’t exactly have the most pristine reputation. And when asked about his involvement in the scandal in 2015, he basically made excuses for his behavior.
The question is, what will the firings of Jackson and Haley really mean for Cleveland both short-term and long-term?
Short-term, not much. Some were predicting the Browns would make the playoffs this season, but that was never going to happen. After all, they play in one of the toughest divisions in football.
Long-term, though, Cleveland has a lot of great pieces to build around. No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield is at the forefront of the Browns’ rebuild and he has all the tools to be a superstar quarterback. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry is among the targets he has to throw to, while the team’s defense is also very good.
The future appears bright in Cleveland, but Williams isn’t the answer as the Browns’ head coach. Jackson probably wasn’t either and it was likely the right time to move on. In-fighting among coaches is never a good thing, so getting rid of both him and Haley was the correct decision.
With all the young players on the Browns’ roster, it is probably time for a new voice to take over as head coach. Williams isn’t the way to go, but I suppose the front office will hire someone new for the 2019 season. And it’s likely best to let the next full-time head coach start fresh instead of taking the reins right now.
The firings of Jackson and Haley signal somewhat of a reboot, though, and that’s for the best. Good things are on the horizon for the Browns as long as they select the right full-time head coach to lead them beginning in 2019.
But that is the key: selecting the right head coach to lead them into the future. Otherwise, Cleveland will continue to struggle to maintain any consistency — or, you know, win a game at all.
The Browns are known for changing their head coach every few years, which isn’t a product for success. They’re also known for having had a lot of different starting quarterbacks, including seven during Jackson’s tenure. But now that they have seemingly found their long-term answer at quarterback in Mayfield, it’s time to do the same in terms of a head coach.
Cleveland made the right call on Monday because Jackson wasn’t the answer. Haley was also proving to be a problem, so he had to go as well. But will the Browns make the right call in the offseason?
If they don’t, they will remain in the “Pit of Misery” for who knows how long.