Ending with a Chud

by Cleveland Frowns on January 1, 2014

On Sunday evening the Cleveland Browns fired Rob Chudzinski as head coach after just one season. If the franchise hasn’t been propelled to new levels of dysfunction and league-laughingstock status as a result, it’s at least the first time the front office has been required to specifically confirm that it isn’t run by Larry, Curly and Moe.

Chudzinski is the first “one and done” head coach in Browns history less than a year after becoming owner Jimmy Haslam and team president Joe Banner’s hand-picked choice for the position, at the culmination of what the Browns brain trust called “a disciplined, deliberate, process,” a scientific, artistic, and exhaustive eleven-day search.

“I think hiring people is both an art and a science,” Haslam explained after hiring Chudzinski last January. “Joe and I could tell because we’ve spent a lot of time together in the last 11 days, and you learn to read each other’s body language, that early on we felt very comfortable that really from the science part and the art part, this is the right guy for us.”

The decision to hire Chudzinski came only three days after the Browns leaked to every news outlet under the sun that they had “a done deal” with their top choice, Chip Kelly, only to have it come out a day later that the Kelly deal wasn’t a “done deal” at all and was actually never going to happen. Having been spurned by Kelly, Haslam and Banner then tried to say that they didn’t really want him after all, claiming that they “weren’t certain that [Kelly's] heart was 100 percent into leaving” his job as head coach at the University of Oregon. Kelly then proceeded to immediately leave Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, who will be playing in a home playoff game this Saturday.

Chudzinski’s replacement will become Cleveland’s fifth head coach in the last seven years and now is when Haslam wants you to know how much it “galls” him when people say, “Same old Browns.” The man who claims complete ignorance of a multimillion dollar rebate scam undertaken by his employees at his other job (as CEO/owner of the sixth-largest privately held corporation in the U.S.A.) would like to emphasize that it’s his “single mission” to reverse the fortunes of Cleveland’s NFL franchise.

As for reasons to conclude that Haslam and Banner’s next coaching search will be any more successful than their last one, there aren’t many.

Last December, before he hired Chudzinski, Haslam explained that there was “one thing he learned [as a minority owner of] the [Pittsburgh] Steelers,” and that was “the importance of consistency in coaching and how much it sets you back when you’re always making a change.”

Apparently understanding the truth in Haslam’s statement on “the importance of consistency in coaching,” the Browns locker room was up in arms upon hearing the news of Chud’s termination.

“You look at the great franchises,” said Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas, “they don’t fire [the] coach after the first season. You can’t do it. It sets everything back. You just hit the reset button. Anytime you hit the reset button, it severely damages the organization, and it lengthens the amount of time that it takes to get back to the playoffs and turn the team into a consistent winner.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, after having been informed of early reports that Chudzinski would lose his job. “That’s foolish in my opinion. That’s not going to happen.”

“I didn’t even know that was possible,” receiver Josh Gordon said of an NFL head coach being fired after one season. “The guys here really bought into [Chudzinski] … The guys needed structure and he brought that here.”

Of course there’s no telling what the players are saying off the record.

Haslam and Banner’s explanation of why they cut bait with Chud hasn’t helped matters, as the pair has only been able to say that their decision was based on the football team’s failure to show improvement over the course of the season. This despite Banner having said as recently as November 13 that he was “hard pressed to think that … a first-time head coach [could] do any better or any more than [Chudzinski was] doing [through 9 weeks of the regular season].”

“I think real simply, and we spent a lot of time talking about this,” said Haslam, who reportedly stormed out of Heinz Field in the middle of the fourth quarter of Sunday’s season finale, “we want an individual who is a strong winner who knows how to win football games.”

The implication here being that Chudzinski had all the resources he needed to win consistently with the Browns in 2013, and reverse a decade and a half of historic incompetence in just one season. But even leaving aside the other holes in the roster that the front office deliberately chose not to fill through the draft via deferred picks, or free agency via $25 million in unused salary cap space, the inference is strong enough that when Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are your starting quarterbacks in the NFL, you don’t get better at playing other teams, other teams get better at playing you. The same almost certainly goes for a defense playing with critical holes in the secondary and linebacking corps, that lost its best defensive lineman to the IR for the final quarter of the season. An outmanned NFL roster can only outscheme its opponents for so long before the opponents adjust, and all the worse when the specific deficiencies are acute and obvious. Which is a big part of why “consistency in coaching” is so important in the first place, and why — along with the front office’s efforts to stockpile draft picks and conserve cap space for 2014 — nobody was reasonably expecting the 2013 Browns to be “strong winners” of anything.

Chudzinski’s offensive coordinator Norv Turner confirmed as much in a meeting with the Browns front office on Monday morning, where he pointed out that “the [coaching staff] was told repeatedly the team was building for 2014, that the running back situation was never solved after the trade of Trent Richardson, the roster was constantly juggled, and the team fired a coach after he had to start three different quarterbacks.”

At best the jury was still out on Chudzinski, as well as the notion that any other football coach on earth could have made “a strong winner” out of the 2013 Browns. Haslam and Banner played executioner anyway. Guesses as to the real reason why include petty disputes over management style and personality conflict, a temper tantrum, and the general frothing insanity that one should expect from a man who, having been born into a billion dollar fortune that his father lucked upon thanks to socialism, nevertheless remains hellbent on afflicting everyone else with “free market” political ideology, fraudulent business practices, and the destruction of the planet and human life as we know it in the name of private profit. Also, of course, the Curse of Chief Wahoo.

There’s no telling yet who the new head coach will be, but don’t expect him to have any more personality or capacity for independent thought than Chudzinski, who of course emerges as the big winner in all this, having escaped from Gasbagland with ten million dollars as painlessly as he could have hoped. Other winners here include folks who appreciate that sports are so much more fair than real life, and those who’ve been wondering how the organization is going to manage to screw up the integration of all that cap space and all those draft picks in 2014.

The losers, as ever, from the science part to the art part, are Cuyahoga County taxpayers and fans of the Cleveland Browns.

  • Brian Sipe

    I normally agree with Frownie, but not this time.

    1) they had enough talent to win more than 4. I saw Mangini beat Pitt with Big Ben and keep them out of the playoffs with Brady Quinn and a scrap yard of players. I also saw Doug Marone win 6 in Buffalo with a crap team.

    2) I am sick and tired about hearing how they let Trent go with no back-up plan. Trent sucked so it did not matter what they had, not like they let a stud go. Also, they brought in Bobby Rainey who was awesome in Tampa, but this staff could not do crap with him.

    3) Norv and Ray were only here for crap reasons. Ray wants to coach and got stuck here waiting. Norv never seemed to care, he was only here to back his kid up.

    4) Front office deserves plenty of blame for hiring Chud, but keeping him would have only made it worse. The team truly got worse and it was not all about talent or lack of… they lead almost every game and still could not close.

    • Dave Kolonich

      Agreed on Point 1. They had enough talent to easily win 5 games.

      • bupalos

        I think these are all good points, and I’m especially tired of hearing TR mentioned in any sense other than a win-win-win.

        The backups we threw in there were bad, like pretty well worst in the league. THEY WERE STILL A MARKED IMPROVEMENT. To hear that Norv in any way wants to throw in that point at all pretty well clarifies what he’s trying to do.

        • Brian Sipe

          Yes, stunned no one brings up how good Bobby Rainey was in Tampa. Bottom line is Grossi and others will not rest until Lombardi is out of town. Hate to see Frownie take the same side as Grossi considering the way Grossi attacked Mangini from the day he got to town and many years after.

          • Jim

            He was so good that the Browns front office, which recognized his goodness, kept him and cut a waiver wire pick up receiver from Green Bay instead. The rest, as they say, is revisionist history.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      I can’t wait to see what kind of great reasons the next coaching staff ends up here for.

      And it doesn’t matter how bad Trent was, is, or isn’t. The whole situation just speaks to the level of talent that Chud had to work with. Which is to say that we’re talking about a team that “earned” the valuable asset of a third overall pick because that team was terrible, spent that third overall pick on Trent Richardson, and had nothing to show for it at all on this season’s game day roster. It’s a significant point.

      And nobody’s saying a thing about how much Chud and his staff had to do with Gordon and Cameron emerging as Pro Bowlers this year.

      • BIKI024

        STOOPS!

        • Brian Sipe

          oh boy!!!!!!!!!! we now only interview Ohio natives I guess… HA!

          This job is the ultimate risk/reward job. You make the playoffs here you have job security for years probably. You make a single Super Bowl and get blown out you still get a statue…

        • bupalos

          CONTRACT LEVERAGE!!!

        • actovegin1armstrong

          Sorry about your condition Biki.
          I had the STOOPS once, it took a year to get rid of it.

  • Bob

    A great post. Well worth the wait.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    I think Bud Shaw did an excellent job with his column in the PD on this, especially given the constraints of the format. http://www.cleveland.com/budshaw/index.ssf/2013/12/cleveland_browns_owner_jimmy_h.html

    Same goes for Zac Jackson. http://msn.foxsports.com/ohio/story/browns-need-work-not-words-to-turn-corner-as-organization-123013

    To have to write about “December in Berea” year in and year out without being permitted to offend advertisers …

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Could there be a less inspiring display than Jimmy the Third storming out of Pittsburgh in the middle of the game because the Browns couldn’t go into Heinz Field with Jason Campbell and a blasted secondary to beat the Steelers in a game that Pitt needed to get?

    • p_forever

      Pretty disgusting.

    • 7ryder

      I believe it’s Jimmy the Turd

  • p_forever

    Really good frownie. The best part of Jimmy’s presser was when he said Clevelanders can trust his judgment because he is rich. Cripers #affluenza.

    Anyway, similarly, the best part of this post is this:

    “Guesses as to the real reason why [chud was fired] include petty disputes over management style and personality conflict, and the general frothing insanity that one should expect from a man who, having been born into a billion dollar fortune that his father lucked upon thanks to socialism, nevertheless remains hellbent on afflicting everyone else with “free market” political ideology, fraudulent business practices, and the destruction of the planet and human life as we know it in the name of private profit.”

    Lack of self-awareness + extreme solipsism = jimmy haslam (and spells disaster for the brownies).

    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      it’s always great when an nfl owner wants you to know his screw-ups are costing him in the pocketbook.

      but you really can’t look away. how many times have we hit rock bottom only to be surprised and amazed.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        jk, Please remember that when you think you have hit “rock bottom”, you are still on the verge of a dangerous precipice.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      “#affluenza”
      Loved it when John McEnroe blamed affluenza as the reason his children did not show his drive, or verve for the game.

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        I blame my own affluenza for how much time I’ve spent on the internet talking about this hellborne dumpster fire of a football organization. It’s the only explanation.

  • ChuckKoz

    i was talking to someone yesterday about how nobody’s going to want to sign with the Browns. He then pointed out after Johnny Manziel’s amazing game that a guy like him would probably refuse to even come to Cleveland. I agreed.

    And I had this thought, the Manziel’s are oilmen. So is Jimmy. Drafting him could be a match made in hell.

  • Jim

    Word is the Browns are looking at Jim Schwartz for D-coordinator which would result in a switch back to the 4-3. Should that happen, signing Kruger, Bryant, and drafting Mingo for a different system only a year ago would be the most Brownsiest thing ever.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Great new chant for the Browns, “Use the Schwartz”.

    • jpftribe

      This is inevitable. And we’ll hear all about how the wide nine is really a hybrid system and we have the personnel to be versatile, yada, yada, yada…..

      And I also predict we’ll be on the hunt for CB’s over 6 foot tall, in which case kanicki will be incorrigible.

      • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

        banner *was* in seattle today interviewing their DC.

      • bupalos

        MORE incorrigible you mean.

    • Bluedog93

      This is the most insane thing ever in the history of the Cleveland Browns, no exaggeration. The switch from the 4-3 to the 3-4 last year, which necessitated spending an entire offseason acquiring personnel appropriate to that defense, was strange enough, considering the much more pressing needs on offense. To switch back, and have to spend additional resources to cover for the problems created by the fact that the three biggest acquisitions of the past year (Kruger, Bryant, Mingo) are suited for a defense you’re now abandoning after one year, is stranger still. But what makes this the most insane thing in the history of the NFL is that the front office, which just a few days ago was explaining that they still suffer under the delusion that they have a situation that can attract a top-notch coaching candidate, is now picking a coordinator so that any head coach would have to take a coordinator he didn’t have any say in choosing. What head coach in his right mind would take a job with a franchise that didn’t give him final say in personnel, has a demonstrated quick trigger, has a long history of failure, and now won’t even allow him to pick his own staff and scheme!?

      • Bryan

        This is all based on rumors. I highly doubt that they would name Schwartz DC before the name a HC. If they do, then, man, are they insane. But my guess is that people are just mixing up various rumors from “sources.”

      • NeedsFoodBadly

        It makes sense if you imagine that Haslam is a Steelers deep cover agent and is actively trolling the Browns fanbase.

        • Bryan

          I cannot dispute that ;)

    • whosevelt

      It wouldn’t be alone as the MOST Brownsiest thing ever; it would be tied with all the other times they did it.

    • 7ryder

      Interesting that the word is the Browns “brain trust” wants to hire Schwartz while at the same time they are saying that the new HC will have free reign in hiring his staff…same ol’ Browns (SOB)

    • Petefranklin

      The most Brownieiest thing ever would have been dumping Gordon for another third rounder, then watching him blow up the league for another team. Now that’s what I expect from the three stooges, thankfully they didn’t off Josh.

  • actovegin1armstrong

    May we all at least derive some momentary solace with the chumps from Pittsburgh missing the playoffs because of two horrible calls by the zebras? The Steelers staying at home made me happy!

    • Biff T. Financial

      One man’s horrible is another man’s righteous, I say.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

      I had the misfortune of watching a 10:00 Browns drubbing by the great Satan with my yinzer in-laws. I was three Iron Fist Velvet Gloves deep by 11:00 (I’m nothing if not a quick learner) – http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/iron-fist-velvet-glove/136146/.

      I then had the wonderful, Super-Bowl winning equivalent (I’m guessing) experience of watching the Chargers (my geographical rooting interest at this point – I need something to look forward to) kick my in-laws in the nuts. It was a good day.

      • bupalos
        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

          Good stuff. I knew twin brothers when I lived in DC who rooted for the Satan and Cowboys because they wanted to be rebels and not root for the RedSkins. Extremely punchable faces is the best way to describe them.

          • bupalos

            I’m not sure of my favorite part. I think it’s the kicking motion he uses on “let me kick it with you.”

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          That is a great video.

  • jamick6000

    great post. the only thing I have to add is that I was listening to Rizzo on Monday morning for a few minutes and someone called in saying how outrageous it was that the Browns can afford to pay Chud $10 million to do nothing, but also are getting the city to pay millions for stadium upgrades.

    His response was that the Browns would say it’s the price of doing business and also he thought it was good Haslam doesn’t put up with losing.

    A lot of these guys think they have a responsibility to defend this joke of an organization

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      Yup. Remember how excited Rizzo when he talked about how proud he was to be collecting a paycheck from the Browns?

  • Bryan

    Good stuff Frowns. I agree with the concerns that, b/c we just fired the guy we proclaimed as OUR guy less than 365 days ago after a “deliberate, “exhaustive,” etc. search, we may have a VERY tough time selling future candidates on the position. This is a real and scary concern.
    BUT, I think the conclusion drawn by most fans that Banner is incompetent (or clueless) is too strong. Banner is the guy most tarnished by this decision in the short-run. He is now a laughingstock in local and national media. Yet HE made the decision and he, more than anyone, understands that his legacy is going to be tied to performance on the field. This suggests to me that he really had some serious, substantive, football issues with Chud. Something went wrong in the second half of the season.

    The reality is Chud lost 7 straight games after the bye, only 2 of which were to winning teams! That is an epic collapse, with each loss characterized by poor execution. It is honestly worse than any collapse we have seen. And as much as it pains me to cite to Tony Grossi, his column yesterday on Hoyer was quite fascinating. It was very Grossian in that it is unclear if he has sources to support his claims, but regardless he makes a fascinating point – Lombardi clearly was the guy who brought in Hoyer, yet Chud and Norv buried Hoyer behind Weeden and Campbell. Hoyer ended up being light years better than Weeden. My sense is that Chud generally had autonomy to play the players he wanted when the season started, so if he was the guy responsible for starting Weeden, that is a pretty serious blunder that would scare me if I was Banner and I was entering a deep draft in which I am evaluating future QBs. I would want a HC that, after a full offseason of evaluation, doesn’t think Brandon Weeden is better than Hoyer and Campbell.

    I was one of the people who loved the T-Rich trade even before T-Rich revealed himself as a fraud. I loved how definitive Banner’s decision was, and the calm way he explained it. I hope that this decision is just a larger scale version of that decision – i.e. he is actually making the right football decision, and the short-run anger it engenders will, in time, be revealed to be based on the fact that the decision goes against standard, accepted practices rather than some destructive need to exert power.

    • bupalos

      excellent take.

    • bupalos

      Just read the Grossi thing. Pretty interesting and makes sense to me. I think everyone calling this a “joke” and “clown show” and all that needs to address how competent a coaching regime that literally got the QB depth chart upside down (and seemingly didn’t spend any time or resources on that) could possibly be.

      Boy was the Weeden pick a disaster. It makes you realize that there are worse things than simply wasting a pick, ala TR.

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        Yes, the failure to start last year’s first round pick at QB over a career third-stringer and a washed up never-was. A complete scandal.

        You know, Belichick would have never started Brady at QB had Bledsoe not gotten hurt. Wonder why he didn’t get the axe.

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        Here’s some straight talk from McManamon on the QB scandal that Bup and Bryan have drummed up. http://espn.go.com/blog/cleveland-browns/post/_/id/3021/trying-to-answer-some-of-the-whys?ex_cid=espnapi_public

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      In no way can it be considered an “epic collapse” for a team that was expected to win 5 games to win only 4. Especially when it has to use 3 different F to C-minus level starting quarterbacks each for multiple games over the course of the season.

      And you’re really stretching to pretend that there was an obvious thing to do with this quarterback situation, even after “a full offseason.” They gave Weeden, a first round pick from last damn year, a little bit of rope to hang himself with, he did, and he lost his job. Okay. You’re also making a lot of assumptions about the understanding between the coaching staff and front office on the QB situation.

      • Bryan

        ” You’re also making a lot of assumptions about the understanding between the coaching staff and front office on the QB situation.”

        Precisely. I have no idea what was said between Banner and Chud re: the QBs. Nor does anyone in the media. But what I do know is that Banner has one clear incentive – to try to win. That’s it. He has no desire to lose. So if he fires the HC that he publicly proclaimed as his “guy” less than 365 days ago (knowing he will be mocked nationally), my guess is that he has strong reason to believe that the HC isn’t going to win. What I am trying to do is explore reasons why Banner lost faith in Chud so quickly. One reason is the 0-7 finish against teams that didn’t make the playoffs, all while fielding a roster with 5 pro bowl players. The other is the Weeden decision. Another might be that he a preferred candidate who was not available last year is now available.

        Of course, an alternative explanation is that Banner is a stooge and incompetent. My sense is that most people are jumping to this conclusion for the same reason they jumped to it after the T-Rich trade – Banner is pursuing an unorthodox strategy. Based on what I have seen BEFORE the Chud firing, I personally think Banner is pretty smart, so I assume there is more than meets the eye here, and am willing to see how this shakes out.

        All that said, the risks you identify in your piece, Frowns, are very real. And Banner certainly has no shortage of hubris, so there is a very real possibility that, despite having legitimate football reasons for this move, he may be burned by it and end up with a coach no better than Chud. But, of course, Banner knows that risk and still pulled the trigger.

        Finkle is Einhorn?

        • BigDigg

          Sometimes thinking outside the box can be good. Sometimes it can be Chris Grant.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          “But what I do know is that Banner has one clear incentive – to try to win. That’s it. He has no desire to lose.”

          And this makes him different from every other Browns boss of the last 15 years in what way?

          “Of course, an alternative explanation is that Banner is a stooge and incompetent.”

          Or just out of his depth trying to bring a winner to a place as special as Cleveland working for a sociopath as bad as Haslam. The bar is set quite a bit higher than “stooge” here, and incompetent is as incompetent does. To think it was only seven weeks ago that the Browns had a head coach who’d performed absolutely perfectly through 9 whole weeks of an NFL season.

          • Bryan

            Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter12m
            All-Pro teams announced today. Teams with most All-Pros: KC, SF and CLEV, each with five. So Browns job might actually be good one.

  • beeej

    Did they decide to eat the $10 million on Chud because Romeo just came off the books? The Brownsiest thing is it that the Browns’ operating budget has a continuous “previous coaches’ salaries” sunk cost?

    • actovegin1armstrong

      They are still paying plenty of coaches to go away, Blanton Collier still has two years on his contract and Forrest Gregg is an unused consultant.

  • Brian Sipe

    My God.. How do some of you get out of bed in the morning?! Stop being so dam negative. These guys want to win. They deserve more than 1 year to get it done. Yes, their is egg on their face, but come on….

    • Brian Sipe

      I meant “damn” of course

    • beeej

      You’ve got to hand it to Charlie Brown (coincidence on the name?) he never gave up trying to kick that football.

    • Jim

      You’re right. They just care so gosh darn much. We know this because they spent an entire press conference telling us this and how, despite all evidence to the contrary, this is not the same old Browns based in no small part on their “track records.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      One leg at a time, or my greatest get out of bed line ever:
      This is great, I was really trying to pick up your friend!

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      “How do some of you get out of bed in the morning?!”

      Joebees, bro. How else?

  • bupalos

    There’s a lot here with which to agree–especially the degree to which the constant change becomes comically harmful and the likelihood that arrogance and oligarchical tantrums have played a role here. But I think it mostly gets it wrong on the football. This roster, even badly mismanaged, is just barely capable of being as bad as 4-12. It took some real miracles and inattention to detail to get there. There was enough there to pretty conclusively say that Chud is plain and simple a bad coach;
    – Awarding a starting job to the worst “QB” in the NFL in a “competition” that was either a sham or evidence of stupidity, then going back to that “QB” after you’ve seen live-and-in-person the full spectrum of his suck… From the day that Campbell was signed it has to be clear to anyone that hopes to be a winning NFL coach that Weeden was either the worst or 2nd worst QB on this roster.
    – Having a statistical winning performance turn into a blowout loss in the biggest game of the last several years, solely on multiple blocked punts, sucker plays, bad time management, and bad preparation.
    – Taking a rare hybrid talent in Mingo and using him in the most conventional and least effective way possible.
    – Somehow gaming an obvious onside kick into a situation the other guys had about an 80% chance of success on.
    – running the clock and firing off timeouts and 4th down tries with complete quantitative illiteracy.
    – Running a locker room where the leaders are still talking about how much last week’s loss hurt a week later

    The Cleveland Browns have certainly underperformed before, but quite clearly in all their time back there never has been a worse talent:play ratio than we saw in the second half of this season. Not under Chris, Butch, Romeo, Terry, Eric, Pat. This is with 2 supposed superstar coordinators.

    I’m still agnostic on Banner, negative on Lombardi, and will never consider any football owner–qua football owner–as anything more than a fraud (and this one has special bonus claims therein.) But this move is a lot more like TR than anything else, with the additional vice of these decision makers having been the ones wrong in the first place, and the additional virtue that they are quickly admitting it and moving on.

    • Bryan

      I return the compliment – excellent take.

      People are sweeping under the rug how bad this team’s collapse was, especially relative to its talent level (as you noted). That is on Chud/Norv/Horton. And, yes, standard practice is to give the dude another year, but Banner ain’t following standard practice. He is going to rip off any band-aid he sees. Let’s hope it works like the T-Rich trade.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      “This roster, even badly mismanaged, is just barely capable of being as bad as 4-12.”

      This is just insane. You’re talking about a team that started Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell at starting quarterback for 14 games. The lack of talent in the linebacking corps and secondary, especially to guard against competent passing attacks, was also a massive and easily exploitable hole.

      And yes of course the failure to start last year’s first round pick at QB over a career third-stringer and a washed up never-was. A complete scandal.

      And Mingo should have been a star this year, like all undersized rookie hybrid linebackers are.

      In all, some very impressive hindsight-based nitpicking. Glad that you and HasBan are on the same page with standards that no first year coach would ever be able to live up to.

      I wonder if they’ll wait till week 17 to fire the next coach.

      • bupalos

        >>>You’re talking about a team that started Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell at starting quarterback for 14 games.>>>>

        Er…The former is exactly the point, and as much as the “elite” talk was best suited to the Cabotian hospice care that birthed it, Jason Campbell performed in a perfectly average way overall. He played winning ball twice, losing ball twice, and meh-bleh ball mostly. Which is exactly what a dozen other guys on teams with worse rosters and better records did. Weeden played losing ball every time he took snaps in any game. So how were they supposed to know Weeden sucked more? Uh, Eyeballs? I do believe no less authority than Frownalicious himself immediately recognized on the morn of the Campbell signing that he was quite obviously a better option.

        As for hindsight-based nitpicking, I think I posted versions of each critique at the time they occurred, maybe with less emphasis, but a half-a-season total suck fest does put you on a certain trajectory. I they hadn’t canned him, I would be very unenthusiastic about Chud going forward. But now that they have, much like the TR trade, it’s hard for me to see the other side.

        I don’t especially want to like banner, he of the “10-year marriage agreement,” and I never could like Haslem, obviously. This isn’t about liking them or siding with them– it’s their mistake in the first place and it seems like a big one. But the “can’t expect a first year coach to do better” is just patently absurd and substitutes empty generalities for particulars that are right there. He PREFERRED Weeden. The team is probably the 1st in the history of the NFL to give up two blocked punts in the same game. In every way the team performed worse when the stakes and attention were higher, from 3rd own to the 4th quarter to the bigger games to the second half, to the second half of the year. The 4th down decisions were without rationale. The clock management without rationale. The team had no idea what to do with an onside kick. There was that odd defensive finger pointing in the locker room half way through. The bottom line is no attention to detail and seemingly bad judgement where judgement was used.

        • bupalos

          Or to put this in terms that should resonate on your wavelength, Eric was 5-11 with a harder schedule and FAR FAR FAR worse roster than this in his 1st year.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            This proves my point, expecting a rookie head coach to perform at 4th-year Mangenius levels. It proves a lot of my points, actually.

          • bupalos

            No, it’s expecting a first year head coach with two top-of-the-league coordinators to perform FAR FAR FAR below 4th year Mangenius levels.

            Just what do you think Chud did even mildly well? He got players to like him. Is there really anything else? Do you really think we “outschemed” anyone?

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Yes, we outschemed the Greatriots, Bengals, Bears, Vikings, Bills, Jags, Chiefs and the Baltimore Raisins, to name a few.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            “We.” Gawd. Shoot me.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Loved the “we”. I hope it was merely a simple mistake, you have read my “we” tirade.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Yes I have read your “we” tirade. Would like to read it again if only I could find it.

          • bupalos

            We outschemed the Jags. The consensus worst roster in the league outside injury. In our house. Favored. With our breakout phenom busting off 95 yard rac touchdowns.
            And lost.
            That’s your claim counselor?

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Yes. Weeden played QB for the whole Jags game and turned the ball over three times deep in Browns territory. That wasn’t part of the scheme.

          • bupalos

            Tell me more about this Weeden character. He sounds bad.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Campbell and Hoyer were both unavailable for that game, if you remember.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          As far as empty generalities go, I put “we want an individual who is a strong winner who knows how to win football games” at the top of the list.

          Your number one indictment of Chud is that he couldn’t find an obvious choice between Weeden, Campbell and Hoyer. Think about that for a moment, please, and read this McManamon column.

          http://espn.go.com/blog/cleveland-browns/post/_/id/3021/trying-to-answer-some-of-the-whys?ex_cid=espnapi_public

          Yes, Campbell played well in two games, and then there was a tiny bit of tape out on him in the Browns offense and that was it.

          Would love to see your list of the “dozen teams with worse rosters and better records” than the 2013 Browns. Would like the QBs to be included on that list as well.

        • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

          Oh and let’s wring hands over a one game-special teams meltdown by a team that had the bottom of its roster turn over like three times during the course of the season.

          • bupalos

            Mangini’s first year special teams were rock solid.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Proving my point again about impossible expectations.

          • bupalos

            I know there is one and only one St. Eric (peace be upon him) whose 5-11 coaching jobs never have and never will be exceeded. (this is only partially tongue in cheek at this point.) But I do dream of the day when we can actually have someone worthy of touching his meanest garment.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            On this we can agree.

          • NeedsFoodBadly

            All the likes for Frowns’ points on this thread.

          • bupalos

            Believe those blocks were on Mingo, Obi, and…maybe Gipson, maybe Scrine? Not practice squad guys. Just lazy nonsense from a team that didn’t dot an i or cross a t all season. Same with the time management and execution at the end of that half that tacked 3 more on for Cinci.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Let’s get an Xs and Os up on that.

          • bupalos

            On the way.

          • beeej

            Before or after the Richardson one?

          • bupalos

            I tried pretty hard but never figured out how to do the Richardson one, it became too much proving a negative. “Here, look at these 70 examples of zone runs where he passes up at least one hole better than the one he eventually chooses 51 times, whereas Forte only does it 15 times out of 47.” The only way you can really analyze a RB is by volume.

          • actovegin1armstrong

            “The only way you can really analyze a RB is by volume.”
            Wrong again Bupa, that is the only way to evaluate a band.
            Turn it up to eleven!

          • bupalos

            Here’s a draft at it:

            Crossing i’s and dotting t’s : How to lose at NFL football

            If you had told me at the beginning of the year that Banardi would make Chud a one-and-done, I would have been apoplectic. As it turns out, I’m blasé. There were 3 troubling trends in his short tenure that I think warrant the boot: Inattention to detail, poor time management, and a tendency for the team to perform worse as stakes went up.

            The 2nd Cincinnatti game (in particular the 2nd quarter thereof) was the poster child for these trends. The Browns gave up a record-setting 31 points in this quarter, 17 of which came via unprecedentedly poor special teams play and bad time management. The first half was also sprinkled with critical turnovers and penalties, as well as the especially poor red-zone performance on both sides of the ball that the team showed during the second half of the season. This was by far the biggest game of the last several years, and it was destroyed in a blink.

            The lowlight here that I’d like to look at first was the first of back to back blocked punts, which is something like a 1 in 10,000 occurrence in the NFL. In a later post I’d like to look at the second, as well as the end of half sequence that saw the Browns take the ball at their own 24 with 51 seconds left, and still manage to gift the Bengals an additional 3 points.

            I watched every NFL blocked punt this year (there are only 18) and it appears there really are only two ways to get one blocked without a botched snap. The Browns managed to find both of them. The outside rush gets home only if there is a serious whiff or miscommunication on blocking assignment. Inside gaps get home almost exclusively when the personal protector reacts early to a real or perceived threat from one of the middle 4 gaps, and a second man is provided a red carpet to the punter. This first block falls into the later category with a bullet. In no other case of either a block or of a successful punt did I see a personal protector do what Gipson did, which was dive towards the line right at the snap, forcing himself to commit earlier by putting himself nearer to the line and with forward momentum. I feel like this is where the block really happened. Let’s have a look;

            The idea on Cinci’s 8 man rush here is to get 2 guys through the same gap. For those that grew up under the shadow of the cold war, it’s a MIRV strategy — shoot a multi-headed missile through a gap, then let it break apart nearer it’s target to present more threats than the defenses located closer to the target (the punter’s personal protector) can deal with. My palsied attempt at the relevant x’s and o’s is pic 1–

            The job of the first rusher is to open the gap by blocking on the snapper’s left shoulder and scrape by in good enough shape to take out the PP by forcing him to commit to one side. The second guy is stunting into that opened gap right across his heels and running through a clean lane off the occupied PP’s opposite side. This seems to be a pretty standard rush strategy which happens most commonly on the gap on either side of the long snapper, as it does here. The long-snapper is compromised by his snapping motion and already leaning to cover a gap, so it’s pretty easy to get quick leverage. The art of it on the rushers’ side is keeping the stunt really tight so the second man is right on the heels of the 1st and not liable to get picked off by the recovering long-snapper, and using just enough force on that first block to open the hole while keeping his rush credible. The art on the punting side is mostly in the personal protector, who needs to assess which men through the line really require dealing with, and to what extent. He needs to realize that the punt block design is largely about making him give up his position, to create the perfectly clean sprinting lane that is required to get a rusher back 14 yards in under 2 seconds. The last thing you want to do as protector is make this decision too early or commit to someone who is not a real threat to cover 14 yards in under 2 seconds. The reason these guys are positioned 5-7 yards behind the line is to allow them space and time for this assessment and reaction.

            Now from theory to practice, which works a lot better on the Cinci side than the Cleveland side. Frame 1 is pre-snap. Gipson has drifted back into his protector position and all is right with the world. In frame two on the snap, we see Gipson does a big part of the coming stunt’s job for it by running up as if he’s looking for a hole to run through, or going to meet a block he’s already identified pre-snap, and cutting down both his potential angles and reaction time on anyone coming through. I can’t find another example of a PP doing this, and I can’t see what it’s advantage could be unless you already knew where the stunt was coming from, trying to catch that MIRV while it’s still in its gap. It looks like Gipson has simply decided early on that the first rusher, RB Cedric Peerman, is his man (exactly the scenario the Bengals are trying to create), but I’d love theories from those more informed than I. Gipson is a habitually aggressive player, so another guess is this is an attempt to cheat into an early departure point to get into coverage. I have problems with this aspect of Gipson who I thought got burnt with bad gambles at safety, and it colored my opinion of DC Horton– who took every possible occasion to publicly praise him. I think Gipson’s kind of risk taking is partially what Horton means by an “attacking” defense. Is this an example of an “attacking” punt protection team?

            In any event, in the 3rd frame we see the stunt develop. Peerman does a great job of getting off the ball onto Yount’s left shoulder opening the gap for the stunt while staying upright and viable. Yount’s mass alone has probably given enough resistance to keep Peerman from getting home, but it’s a close call and he probably warrants at least another bump. Gipson in his aggressive move to the line doesn’t have time to make much of an assessment of anything–despite the fact that the most standard version of this rush is designed to free the second man, he has committed to the first before he likely can even see the threat. But from this view, you can see that if he correctly diagnoses this he still has the possibility of giving ground and using “just enough” force and staying alive in his lane to affect both rushers. This happens frequently with PP’s, not knocking guys on their butt, just staying in the mix to prevent anyone from coming clean and laying out. Instead, he attacks the first rusher aggressively and drives him down to the ground. This leaves the textbook lane for the second man which the Bengals were looking for– as seen in the fateful 5th frame.

            The only thing that saves it from being a full out block is an off center snap that has moved Lanning a yard or two to the right creating a slightly longer path to the ball. This off center snap did not take the total time from snap to foot beyond lanning’s usual range as I measured 10 punts of 1.96 to 2.15 seconds–this one was 2.05. It did create an extra distance for the rusher who came off Gipson’s left side. Lanning is apparently a little on the slow side of league average overall according to comments by the Bengals, but that didn’t show in my anecdotal measurements, and any slight bump or push would have kept Lanning clean here.

      • jamick6000

        the only way to evaluate a roster is how many pro bowlers are on it IMO

  • bupalos

    I’m wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on JMcD, since that looks like a 190 million percent likelihood to me.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

      Bob LaMonte is sending Jimmy Sexton tips on where to blow his money in Northeast Ohio as we speak.

    • beeej

      He beat the Steelers in the playoffs with Tebow at QB…then again, he used a 1st round pick on Tebow. JMcD combined with Lombardi means we likely take a punter with our first pick. Then another punter with our 2nd first round pick.

      • bupalos

        Fox beat the Stillers.

        • beeej

          My mistake.

      • bupalos

        I like punters. Maybe we can get Orin Incandenza.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        No way beeej, they are going to trade all ten picks to move up one place and then pick a running back with no ligaments in either knee.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Bupa, Where did you go to school? Pitt would be my guess.

      I always thought that the give 110% stuff was ridiculous and impossible until this morning when I got on my scale and body fat calculator and it said I have 110% body fat.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      My thoughts on JMcD are LOL.

      • bupalos

        No Bellichick Wonderboy points from you? Is there only room for 1?

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Frownie, you are crazy, I know that JMcD can be at least half as good as Charlie Weiss.
        The respective coaching apple does not fall far from the tree, however there are times when the apple takes a little tumble into the adjacent cesspool.

      • Jim

        Not to worry wonderboy apparently has decided to take his name out of the ring, meaning the Browns (again) will be selecting, at best, their second choice for head coach. Given how well that worked out the first time around, I suspect we will be having these same conversations next off season when said second choice fails to win “enough” to placate Jimmy and the gang.

    • Bryan

      I read up on the Cutler trade that McD gets ripped for. He traded Cutler for TWO first round picks, a third round pick, AND Orton. That is a pretty amazing deal. To me, that neutralizes the idiocy of the Tebow pick a bit.

      The big concern for me is separating his coaching ability from Brady/Belichick. That scares me. Dude has never really done anything outside of NE.

    • jpftribe

      The only positive I see is that it virtually guarantees Lombardi’s departure. It’s hard to see any “up and coming” candidate to be successful here. And they can’t get anything but.

  • Bryan
    • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

      they make some good points actually.

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        I threw up in my mouth a little bit at the Obamacare line. #whitegirls

        • https://twitter.com/jimkanicki jimkanicki

          clarification: i was referring specifically to the good points they made in relation to tressel as a coaching candidate.

          • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

            Someone better check these young ladies for #affluenza.

        • bupalos

          Right. Hey little brainwashed girl, how about “sucks like having MS and no health insurance sucks!”

      • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

        And so smug. Cripes. I might have to get a column up on this next week.

    • Bryan

      Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter 12m
      All-Pro teams announced today. Teams with most All-Pros: KC, SF and CLEV, each with five. So Browns job might actually be good one.

  • bupalos

    Uh oh. Someone call Mary Kay. Looks like Bess could be on the marijuana drug.

    http://www.dawgsbynature.com/2014/1/2/5267792/davone-bess-smokes-weed

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Bupa, In Frownie land we call it Biki Lettuce.

  • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

    Here’s a quick write-up I did on this weekend’s NFL playoff picks in case anyone is interested: http://jimkanicki.com/2014/01/02/cheddarbay-wildcard-week/#comment-1186742883

  • Steve White

    Nice to see Phil Dawson do well today.

  • nj0

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