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We knew that the Cleveland Browns organization has had no clue since the franchise returned to the NFL in 1999, but we were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt with a new owner, coach and power structure in place.
But once again, chaos has enveloped this clueless organization. The great fans of Cleveland deserve so much better than this.
Late Sunday night after the team completed a 4-12 season, first-year coach Rob Chudzinski was relieved of his duties, according to USA Today's Nate Davis. The front office stated a "lack of progress" as the reason for Chudzinski's dismissal, following the team's seven-game losing streak to close the campaign.
Owner Jimmy Haslam, president/CEO Joe Banner and general manager Mike Lombardi embarrassed themselves with this decision—period, end of story.
For the sake of fairness, the hiring of Chudzinski this past January wasn't exactly an inspiring one. The Browns clearly wanted Chip Kelly, and when Kelly chose Philadelphia, Chudzinski came out of nowhere to get the job.
But he ended up putting together a fantastic coaching staff that included offensive coordinator Norv Turner and defensive coordinator Ray Horton, and he did a phenomenal job in leading the Browns to a 4-5 record heading into the bye week, despite not having a proven quarterback and his front office trading starting running back Trent Richardson.
There's no doubt that the wheels came off and the Browns finished poorly, but what did Haslam, Banner and Lombardi expect?
When Brian Hoyer is unquestionably your best option at quarterback, how is it possible to win football games? When Willis McGahee's exhumed corpse is your primary ball-carrier, how is it possible to contend with the likes of Baltimore, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in the AFC North?
Seriously. The Browns expected Chudzinski to win with Brandon Weeden as his quarterback. Right. That's a feat that not even Vince Lombardi could have pulled off.
Look, maybe Chudzinski wasn't the man for the job. Maybe the Browns would have languished in 2014 and beyond. That doesn't change the fact that this organization hired him and made a commitment to him so that he could learn and grow as the head coach. Firing him after one season points to the dysfunction that's permeated the Browns since they returned to the league.
All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas had this to say even before hearing the news of Chudzinski's firing, per the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich: "You look at the great franchises. They don’t fire your coach after the first season. You can’t do it."
That says it all.
The Browns have once again alienated their players and their fans, slapping a Band-Aid on a gaping, bleeding wound. Yet another rebuilding project awaits a star-crossed franchise and its jaded fanbase.
The great city of Cleveland deserves so much better than this clueless bunch running its most beloved team.