Browns coaching situation points to irreconcilable differences more than standings


Dec 8, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski watches from the sideline as they take on the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Details continue to leak out in regards to the Cleveland Browns decision to part ways with Rob Chudzinski.  The picture being painted is one of a head coach who was extremely confident in what he was doing to the point where he clashed with the front office on decisions.  A clash of philosophies started early and was manageable when the team was 4-5, but the decisions made early look worse when the team lost 7 games down the stretch.  The result was the front office getting back to what they believed in, removing Chud and trying to nip certain issues in the bud.

Chud wanted to trust in and continue to use the players that were on the roster.  The front office wanted to take advantage of the year and make the most of it in terms of seeing what they had in young players and continue to use their evolving roster concept to find and try out players throughout the year.  Tony Grossi discussed the example of Chris Owens and Leon McFadden.  This was a microcosm of what was going on in Berea.  Older players that were not good, like Owens, were continually being trotted out there over and over again with rookies or other young players who could potentially contribute sitting on the bench.  This was a point of contention that was always there, but it got worse as the record declined.  It is unclear if this was an issue the team would have basically lived with if they had won more games, but the record did prove to be an easy way to support this drastic of a move.

In that respect, the record might prove to be a blessing in disguise.  The issues were not going to go away and someone was ultimately going to end up pushed out in this situation.  The head coach and the front office, quite possibly led by general manager Mike Lombardi, hired after Chud, had irreconcilable differences.

Fans and media have already started to weigh in on which side they fall on in that respect.  On one hand, there are commentators like Dustin Fox from 92.3 the Fan, basically arguing better they make that decision now rather than wait until later.

Daryl Ruiter, from the exact same station has taken a different path and is not pulling any punches.

It remains to be seen which side will ultimately be right in this scenario, but the Browns made their play and now have to live with it and make the right hire from here.  In that, they have to somehow find someone who can win relatively quickly, fits in with what the team wants to do and will be on the samge page with them in what is a critical draft not only for the franchise, but the pinnacle moment of this regime.  They will sink or swim on the decisions made in May.  That goes hand in hand with the head coach they ultimately hire, but the success or failure of this front office is going to ride on the decisions made in the five months.

The Browns are scheduled to have a press conference at 12:30pm and it remains to be seen just how much they will discuss and how many questions they will answer.  Considering the perception of Joe Banner by the media and fans at large could ultimately have an impact on how this comes across, it could be a difficult tightrope for Banner, rightly or wrongly.  Even if people do not like Banner, of what they know of him, if he comes across honestly, answers tough questions, and lays out a plan, he could ultimately come out well even if it will not clear initially.

It is important to note that the information and leaks are all coming from one side; the organization.  The Chudzinski side of the story remains to be told.  Nevertheless, the ultimate issue seems to be clear, so Chud’s opinion might help make a clearer picture, but the end result is he is still gone and the front office remains.

From a fan’s point of view, the hope is that they were right about Trent Richardson.  They could be right about this too.  In this scenario, there were issues that could not be fixed within Berea, but it remains to seen if anyone involved is the right answer at their given position.  The Browns have a lot of work to do in convincing the fans they are doing the right things, but even if there are fans at completely different ends of the spectrum on opinions, it comes down to what happens next season.  If the team wins, people will believe in them.  If they do not, the same articles, tweets, and opinions will come from everywhere; the same ol’ Browns.