The Cleveland Browns elected to fire coach Rod Chudzinski after only one year on the job. Judging by players’ quotes, the decision is extremely unpopular in the team’s locker room.
“This organization is a joke,” one Cleveland veteran told NFL.com. “I’m completely in the dark about this. … I feel for Chud. He was good to us.”
Players understood that this year was supposed to lay the groundwork for future seasons. By firing the coach, the organization makes 2013 look like a lost season, rather than a foundation for greater things to come.
“Tremendous mistake, just epic,” one Cleveland player said. “It makes no sense. Everything we did this year was setting up the future — trading draft picks, trading players for next year’s picks, playing young guys toward the end of the year to see what they look like, sitting older guys at the end to get them healthy (Joe Haden, Phil Taylor, John Hughes) when they could have played.
“This is such a rash decision. They just (expletive) hired him last year! The whole year we were making all decisions for the future and now you’re pissed the coach didn’t win this year? What the (heck)? It was like a big experiment with players and scheme. I think it came from upstairs, and then they are surprised we didn’t win more games? Yes, it’s all about patience and then fire your coach Year 1. This blows.”
Another player echoed those sentiments, citing the team’s trade of Trent Richardson, No. 3 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, as evidence that Cleveland was focused more on the future than the present.
“We had a disappointing season, but it wasn’t like we invested heavy into this year anyways. Trading away our starting running back was not the way to win games today.”
Chudzinski was the team’s fifth head coach since 2004. By comparison, divisional rival Pittsburgh has had three coaches since 1969. The lack of continuity is not lost on the Browns’ roster.
“It’s a crazy league, man. I didn’t see it coming. There’s just too much turnover in this organization … always looking over your shoulder.”
Cleveland now begins the search for its next head coach with another top five draft pick in its front pocket. With such an egregious rate of attrition one has to wonder if, at this point, the candidates sell themselves to the team, or vice versa.