Flashback Friday: 5 coaches the Cleveland Browns should not have fired
We don’t know whether Rob Chudzinski would be a great head coach or not. We do know that he was never given a chance and was caught in the crossfire between general manager Mike Lombardi and CEO Joe Banner. Chudzinski was fired after one season in 2013
Banner was more interested in rebuilding, presaging the tenure of his assistant, Sashi Brown some years later. Lombardi was more interested in near-term success. Needless to say, they were not on the same page.
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Chudzinski was a great choice for head coach given that he had been the team’s highly successful offensive coordinator. While he was in that role, quarterback Derek Anderson made the Pro Bowl, the team scored points and even won ten games.
Chudzinski’s job was to usher in the Brandon Weeden era. For some reason the Browns drafted him at 28-years-old, one of the oldest first-round draft picks in history, and expected him to be a star. However, by the next season he was a fading veteran.
The Browns lost all five games he started in 2013. Brian Hoyer was picked up after being cut by the Patriots and won all three of his starts. But Hoyer was then injured and replaced by recycled Jason Campbell. The Browns went 4-12 with the three quarterbacks, with only Hoyer looking really good.
Not only that but with the blessing of owner Jimmy Haslam, Banner was allowed to make some analytics based moves to save salary cap money and accumulate draft picks. Accordingly, running back Trent Richardson was traded for a first-round draft pick. Thus Chud and offensive coordinator Norv Turner had to fashion a running game with past-his-prime Willis McGahee as the feature back. Although a great back earlier in his career, he managed only 2.7 yards per carry with the Browns.
Would you believe that Turner was the offensive coordinator and was fired too? While he was not hugely successful as a head coach, he is a great offensive coordinator and has had success wherever he has gone.
Under the circumstances, winning four games with a gutted roster in a rebuilding year was not a bad achievement. Nevertheless, Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi fired Chud in order to facilitate taking pot shots at each other. Ultimately, both were fired.