Cleveland Browns Cite Lack of Improvement for Firing Rob Chudzinski

Updated: December 30, 2013

Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner made it no secret, the reason they decided to fire Rob Chudzinski as head coach of the Cleveland Browns was due to lack of improvement from the team. Haslam echoed what he said in his press conference back in training camp, “We need to be better in the last three games than we were in the first three games.” The firing of Chudzinski is a clear indication that the front office didn’t believe the team was showing improvement, something Banner discussed later on in Monday’s press conference.

While you might be hard pressed to find a quarterback situation similar to the Browns this past season, it’s hard to argue that the team showed improvement late in the season. After going 3-5 in their first eight games, the Philadelphia Eagles and their rookie head coach Chip Kelly finished the 2013 season 10-6. The Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars are all examples of teams that showed various levels of improvement under a first-year head coach and were undoubtedly part of the reason Chud was fired – a decision that was reached Saturday night according to Banner.

According to Banner, “There should be improvement happening, you go through the season you see teams get better. (It was) concerning to us that wasn’t happening (here).” Banner also added that the trajectory the team was headed in was down and that the team’s success didn’t match the success compared to other first year coaches (both this year and historically) and teams with similar situations.

Banner and Haslam also both weighed in on the importance of consistency, and that despite this move consistency is still something that is important to having and sustaining success. Haslam sited consistency in his company (Pilot Flying J) while Banner pointed out that he stuck with Andy Reid (in Philadelphia) after Reid only won five games in his first season. That doesn’t mean they don’t understand the criticism.

Haslam said that he understands any skepticism from the fans and media, but also understands the importance of getting things right. “There’s nothing more that galls me Monday mornings, and you all have the right to write it, when I read ‘same old Browns,” the Browns owner stated. He also added that he has confidence in his current front office, specifically Banner and Michael Lombardi (who was not present at the press conference).

Along those same lines, Banner also stressed the importance of this move, alluding that a move of this magnitude is an indication to fans that the front office does expect some level of success right away. While he declined to put a time frame on things, Banner added, “In this era I don’t think we’re asking people to sit still and wait for some long term plan.”

Banner summed up this move and the press conference in one sentence, “Lack of progress across the roster is what drove us to being here today.” He denied that this move was because of a philosophical difference between Chudzinski and the front office. Haslam stated and Banner echoed that they didn’t like the talent in the 2013 draft, but pointed out that they were one of the most active teams in terms of signing free agents. They both felt that there was ample talent on the roster to allow for improvement, an improvement that never materialized.

While Banner didn’t offer any names regarding the upcoming coaching search, which he also said will take as long as they feel is necessary, he did say that he doesn’t believe any of the 2013 candidates interviewed will be considered this time around. According to multiple sources around the NFL, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and the recently fired head coach of the Detroit Lions Jim Schwartz are two candidates for the Browns coaching position. Other potential candidates include Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien, former Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Stanford head coach David Shaw and Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

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