The Cleveland Browns decision to fire head coach Rob Chudzinski after just one year on the job was a very surprising one, and the reasons given deal with Chud’s ability to develop players. There are reports and rumors circulating that Chudzinski lost control of the locker room and the respect of his players, but the Browns decision to fire him has been met with plenty of criticism. They were 4-12, but it’s not like anyone expected more from a team without a franchise quarterback. Heck, they signified record isn’t important to them but the future is after trading Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts. So by firing Chudzinski, the Browns are either stupid hypocrites, or Chudzinski is a bad coach who can’t develop players and lost the respect of the team. The latter is definitely a plausible explanation for a coach who was considered “too cute” as the offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers and was accused of auditioning for a head coaching role while with the Panthers instead of helping Cam Newton to take the next step.
Whatever the reasons for Chudzinski’s firing, the Browns reportedly decided to fire Chud before yesterday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers started. According to sources close to Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland, Jimmy Haslam and Joe Banner decided to fire Chudzinski before the Steelers game. And the meeting after the game with Chud to allow Chud to explain himself and potential save his job? That seems to be purely farcical, because they came to a decision prior to the game. Grossi adds that even if the Browns beat the Steelers, Chud wouldn’t have been able to save his job.
That last bit is incredibly interesting, because it proves that there’s indeed more at play here than wins-and-losses and competitiveness. If true, that part of the report seems to vindicate Haslam and Banner, because it points to there being fundamental issues with Chudzinski’s coaching as the reason for his firing.
We’ll see if more details come out, but keep in mind that GM Michael Lombardi wasn’t involved in either the hiring or firing of Chudzinski. Not only was Chudzinski hired a week before Lombardi last year, but Lombardi wasn’t involved in the decision to fire the head coach either. Hopefully, he can be involved in the decision to hire the next head coach, though that seems to make Josh McDaniels the favorite.