There is no getting away from the fact that the firing of Rob Chudzinski is an organizational failure for the Cleveland Browns. Regardless if it had to do with the standings or reported issues behind the scenes (it is the latter), this looks awful for the organization. Nothing the Browns front office can say is going to immediately clean this mess up and they knew that going into the decision. They are going to eat a ton of negative press for it and have to do it with a smile and a plan of how to get out of it. CEO Joe Banner has been described as ‘arrogant’ by many, but he is going to have to admit failure here and take a lot of difficult questions in the situations. In light of how fast this happened, it also means they have to have a plan.
They completely screwed the pooch on their evaluation of Chud. They thought they had someone that could lead this organization in a positive direction and in spite of some positive elements on the field of play, the Browns came to the decision he was not the right guy. Fairness is not involved here. They are playing to win, not to be fair. This does put pressure on them to do it and make the right hire as there will not be a third strike.
There is an element of courage and being willingness to cut ties with Chud now as opposed to waiting out an ugly situation like happened with both Eric Mangini and Pat Shurmur. The fact they did not wait means they are willing to accept the consequences of being this wrong this fast. That is not easy, but could ultimately be better off for the organization. It has to be for their sake.
The Browns find themselves in the position of getting their third different head coach in 12 or 13 months depending on the timeline. That does not look good no matter what team is involved, let alone one that has struggled since coming back in 1999. The fact they were willing to act so quickly suggests they have a plan in place; they better anyway. The last thing they can do is go into another head coaching search and come up empty on the guys they want. In order for this to eventually work out, they have got to have reached out to their targets and had some sense of mutual interest.
The first challenge is ultimately landing their guy they have picked out for the job. The two candidates that have been bandied about have been Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator and Bill O’Brien, the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions. If those turn out to be true and they believe in those candidates they have to land one of them. They cannot swing and miss and try to find one after picking through leftovers.
The second challenge is selling the coach to the public and media. Ultimately, that will take care of itself with wins and losses, but there was a good amount of enthusiasm around Chud after some initial concerns. He was able to make himself into someone people could buy into and the Browns front office is tasked with challenge with this hire.
The 2014 NFL Draft is critical. They have pushed all of their chips in the middle and it is a draft that will make or break this organization as it is currently structured. It is important they are on the same page with everyone involved, so they can make sure it is successful. Perhaps this firing underlines just how critical the draft is more than anything else. There are a ton of questions to be asked and answered with Banner and it is not going to be easy for him to get through, but they have to come through with the right coach in the end, politically popular or not. They simply have to win in this draft and show results in this coming season.