Return to the start of the NFL season, and recall the cautious optimism about the troubled Cleveland Browns. Oh, not Super Bowl optimism, but there was talk about the club winning half of its games, even with a distant shot at the playoffs. The new owner, Jimmy Haslam, hardly could have been more pleased with his selection of Rob Chudzinski as the head coach.
Yet hire a guy without head coaching experience, and you know he will face a learning curve. Chudzinski had the sense to hire veterans to help on the sidelines, Norv Turner, the offensive coordinator, and Ray Horton, who led the defense. Haslam talked about his coach as one of the brightest young minds in the pro game.
So what did Haslam do to start this week? He did what Browns executives often have done. He dumped the coach. Since 2005, the coaching roster goes: Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Pat Schurmur and now Chudzinski. That isn’t exactly a model for continuity, or for letting someone fulfill the promise you said they possessed.
No question, the Browns performed poorly, losing seven straight games to end the season. Now Haslam wants the Browns faithful to trust he will get it right next time. He is asking much, Browns fans having seen this play often enough to wonder whether the coach is the problem.