Browns coach Hue Jackson has relinquished play-calling duties to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
The Browns announced the previously reporting hirings of Haley and special teams coordinator Amos Jones on Wednesday morning. They also revealed the addition of Freddie Kitchens as running backs/associate head coach.
In the team's news release, Jackson explained why Haley is worthy of calling the offense's plays after Jackson did so the past two seasons, when the Browns went 1-31.
"As I reflected after the season and contemplated adding an offensive coordinator to the staff, my first thought was obviously improvement," Jackson said. "If I was going to turn over the play calling duties to someone else, it had to be to someone that was experienced and had a long history of success in this league. We were going to be patient about it because there is always a lot of movement in the early part of the offseason. When Todd became available, I jumped at the opportunity to meet with him. Once we sat down and talked, it became quickly evident that Todd would be a great fit."
Haley became available when the Pittsburgh Steelers declined to renew his contract in the aftermath of their 45-42 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Steelers averaged the third-most yards per play in the NFL during Haley’s six-year tenure as their offensive coordinator. They were second in scoring the past four seasons, trailing only the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
But Haley is known for his confrontational style, and he reportedly clashed with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"I think he’s a great offensive mind," Browns 10-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said of Haley Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take. "He’s really smart, he’s demanding, he’s creative. And the only reason he got fired in Pittsburgh really was interpersonal issues with Ben Roethlisberger."
Below is a news release from the Browns on the hiring of Haley, Jones and Kitchens.
Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson announced today that the team has named Todd Haley as offensive coordinator, Amos Jones as special teams coordinator and Freddie Kitchens as running backs/associate head coach.
“We’re thrilled to bring Todd Haley in as our offensive coordinator,” said Jackson. “I’ve known Todd for a very long time and have respected and admired the job he’s done as a play-caller in this league. He’s a coordinator that has been successful in every place he’s been. He has been a guy that has adjusted his offense to successfully complement and taken advantage of the skillset of his personnel. I’ve witnessed firsthand how prolific his offenses have been in the AFC North over the last six seasons. As I reflected after the season and contemplated adding an offensive coordinator to the staff, my first thought was obviously improvement. If I was going to turn over the play calling duties to someone else, it had to be to someone that was experienced and had a long history of success in this league. We were going to be patient about it because there is always a lot of movement in the early part of the offseason. When Todd became available, I jumped at the opportunity to meet with him. Once we sat down and talked, it became quickly evident that Todd would be a great fit.
“Adding Freddie Kitchens to our staff as running backs coach and associate head coach is also very important. First off, Freddie is a very good coach that has a bright future in this league. He has coached multiple positions and gotten a lot out of his players. Additionally, we’re going to be installing a lot of new concepts and elements to our offense. It’s important to have coaches on your staff that will know and understand the new system. Freddie has a history with Todd and that will make the process of installing the new elements of the offense much more efficient. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do this offseason. I’m excited about the additions we’ve made to our coaching staff, and I’m especially excited to work with Todd to put together a productive Cleveland Browns offensive system that will get us winning quickly.
“Amos Jones is an experienced special teams coordinator that we think will do an outstanding job leading and improving our unit. We always talk about how the three phases must complement each other in order for team success to come. Amos has worked under really good coaches throughout his career and has helped develop some really good core special teamers. I’ve said this already this offseason, we have to get better in every area to become the type of team our fans deserve. Amos is going to be a part of that.”
“This is a great opportunity,” said Haley. “The Browns have a great history, great fans and deserve to have some fun and experience some winning. I want to help be part of that process. There is obviously a lot of work to do in order to get there, but I’ve always been excited about facing a challenge. There is no better feeling than when you can be a part of turning an organization around. Hue and I have had some good battles in competing against each other as coordinators and even as a head coach. We know each other well and I have a great deal of respect for him. He’s so competitive and winning is the only thing that’s important to him. You want to work with a coach like that. Hue and I share a lot of similar beliefs on how to be successful on offense. We have to score points, protect the ball, protect the quarterback and develop players. It’s not too complicated, but at the same time, it is a great challenge. We are really looking forward to getting to work on it.”
“I am so excited to be joining an historic franchise such as the Browns that has demonstrated a willingness and desire to compete for championships,” said Kitchens. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with Hue, [General Manager] John [Dorsey] and the whole organization, while we work together to achieve the desired success.”
“I’m really excited about joining the Browns,” said Jones. “I got to know Hue from coaching against him in the AFC North and have always admired his passion and knowledge of football. I miss coaching in the AFC North, so getting back to this division is going to be very exciting for me. It’s obviously a highly competitive division where the margin for error is small, so you have to be extremely sound as a special teams unit. I think I have a pretty good feel for the Cleveland fans and look at this as a great opportunity to come in and help flip the organization. Working with John Dorsey is something I also look forward to as a special teams coach. His track record speaks for itself as a guy that knows how to put talent on a football team. As a special teams coach, it’s comforting to know the guy making those decisions about who is on your football team once had 35 special teams tackles in a season. I can’t wait to get to Cleveland to start working with the staff to help create a unit on special teams that will make a difference.”
Haley has spent the past 21 years coaching in the NFL, including the past six as the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With the Steelers, Haley oversaw one of the top offenses in the league. The Steelers led the NFL with six offensive players selected to the Pro Bowl this past season. Under Haley, wide receiver Antonio Brown led the NFL in receiving yards in 2014 and 2017 and led the league in receptions in 2014 and 2015. Brown also became the first player in NFL history to record five consecutive 100-catch seasons (2013-17). He was named to five Pro Bowls and selected as first team All-Pro four times. Running back Le’Veon Bell finished in the top three in the league in scrimmage yards per game in each of the last four seasons, including leading the NFL with an average of 157.0 yards per game in 2016. Under Haley, Bell was selected to three Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro twice. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was selected to the Pro Bowl the past four years and tied for the NFL lead in passing yards in 2014. Haley also helped center Maurkice Pouncey and guard David DeCastro to multiple Pro Bowl selections.
Haley was the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-11 and helped the Chiefs capture the AFC West division title in 2010. He compiled a 19-26 record. Kansas City led the NFL in rushing yards per game (164.2) in 2010.
Prior to Kansas City, Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons (2007-08).
During his tenure with the Cardinals, the team won its first division title since 1975 and advanced to Super Bowl XLIII. In 2008, Arizona set a franchise record with 427 points and became just the fifth team in NFL history to have three wide receivers eclipse 1,000 yards in the same season.
Haley spent time as wide receivers coach for the Dallas Cowboys (2004-06), Chicago Bears (2001-03) and New York Jets (1999-00), helping each team advance to the postseason. He began his NFL career as an assistant in the Jets scouting department in 1995, where he scouted regionally and assisted in player evaluations.
A native of Atlanta, Ga., Haley earned a degree in communications from the University of North Florida.
Jones has 37 years of experience as a coach on the high school, college and professional levels. He has spent the past 11 seasons in the NFL.
During his five seasons at Arizona, Jones helped Justin Bethel (2013-15) and Budda Baker (2017) to Pro Bowl selections as special teams players. In 2014, kicker Chandler Catanzaro tied the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals to begin a career with 17 and set a Cardinals rookie record with 114 points. In 2013, punter Dave Zastudil tied for the NFL lead with 35 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Prior to Arizona, Jones spent six seasons in Pittsburgh. He spent his first five seasons (2007-11) as assistant special teams coach and 2012 as special teams coordinator. He helped the Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII. Jones helped develop Antonio Brown who set a franchise record in 2011 with 2,048 all-purpose yards with 1,062 yards coming from returns. Brown earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner following the 2011 season. In 2009, the Steelers led the NFL with a franchise record 1,581 return yards. In 2008, Pittsburgh had the NFL’s top kickoff coverage unit.
Jones spent three seasons with Mississippi State as special teams/linebackers coach (2004-05) and outside linebackers coach (2006). He was the tight ends and special teams coach at James Madison in 2003. From 1999-02, Jones served as the special teams and running backs coach at the University of Cincinnati. He helped Jonathan Ruffin earn the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker in 2000.
Jones also has collegiate coaching stops at Tulane (1995-96), Pittsburgh (1992), Alabama (1981-82, 1990-91,) and Temple (1983-88). He coached on the high school level in 1989, 1993-94 and 1998. In 1997, Jones was an assistant coach for British Columbia of the Canadian Football League.
A former player at Alabama (1978-80), Jones played safety and running back under head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He helped Alabama to back-to-back national championships in 1978-79 as the team recorded a 23-1 record during that span.
Jones earned bachelors and master’s degrees from Alabama. He is a native of Aliceville, Ala.
Kitchens spent the past 11 seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. He spent 2017 as running backs coach. He was also quarterbacks coach for four years (2013-16) and tight ends coach for six seasons (2007-12).
During his time as quarterbacks coach, Kitchens helped Carson Palmer establish multiple single-season team records, including passing yards (4,671), touchdown passes (35) and passer rating (104.6). Palmer also became the only player in Cardinals history to throw for 4,000 yards in multiple seasons (2013, 2015-16). In 2015, the Cardinals had the top-ranked offense in the NFL for the first time in team history and set numerous single-season team records including points (489), touchdowns (59), touchdown passes (35), total net yards (6,533) and first downs (373).
Kitchens began his NFL coaching career in 2006 as the tight ends coach with the Dallas Cowboys. In 2006, Kitchens worked with Jason Witten who was selected to the Pro Bowl.
Prior to the NFL, Kitchens spent seven years coaching on the college level with stops at Mississippi State (2004-05), North Texas (2001-03), Louisiana State (2000) and Glenville State (1999).
A three-year starter at quarterback for the University of Alabama (1995-97), Kitchens finished his playing career with 4,668 yards and 30 touchdown passes for the Crimson Tide. He finished his collegiate career ranked third in school history in career attempts, fourth in career passing yards and fifth in career completions.
A native of Gadsden, Ala,, Kitchens earned high school All-America honors and was named Mr. Football in the state of Alabama his senior season.
Browns coach Hue Jackson gives up play-calling duties to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley; team adds assistant Freddie Kitchens to guide running backs
Browns coach Hue Jackson has relinquished play-calling duties to new offensive coordinator Todd Haley.