You never really know what you can trust unless you can see it for yourself. That is as true when it comes to reporting about the internal machinations of football teams as it is anything else. The number of confident reports about things that never even came close to coming to pass easily eclipses those who actually end up proving to be true. I’m still waiting for Ben Roethlisberger to be traded.
Sometimes, however, you just know. And yesterday confirmed that all the stuff we have heard about the turmoil and infighting within the Cleveland Browns’ power structure was true after the organization elected to dump both Head Coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, with the statement by owner Jimmy Haslam providing the key ingredient.
“The message today is we’re not going to put up with internal discord”, he said yesterday along with General Manager Jon Dorsey in addressing the media in the wake of the decision to fire them and to make Gregg Williams the interim head coach. “We want people who are collaborative and work together”.
When you fire two people and then say that, it makes it pretty obvious that they were the primary source of “internal discord” and were not able to work together. Jackson and Haley tried to deny and downplay it literally for months, but this move speaks volumes as to not only the reality of its existence but the fact that it was a major problem.
Both head coach and offensive coordinator have publicly second-guessed one another. Haley in particular has directly contradicted things that Jackson told reporters only a day or two earlier; even petty things like whether or not a play was inspired by another team.
It seems as though the Lovable Loser and the Tequila Cowboy were not able to play nice. And when you have those issues all the while not being able to win games, you have dramatic changes that are made. The Browns are 2-5-1 now and riding a three-game losing streak.
That was enough to convince, I’m guessing Dorsey in particular, as Haslam has always been extremely supportive of Jackson, but to convince the decision-makers that this pair was not the answer. They were not going to be the ones that put the talent on this team together into a winning and successful group. So they wanted to dump the toxin as soon as possible.
When asked whether or not the moves should have been made sooner, Haslam said that hindsight is 20/20. Jackson never even wanted an offensive coordinator in the first place, and then you bring in a guy who has reportedly had relationship issues everywhere he’s been? Yeah, not a great recipe with all the ego.
As for Haley, let’s at least acknowledge the fact that he is working with a mostly piecemeal offense, including two rookie wide receivers, a rookie quarterback, a rookie running back, and a rookie undrafted left tackle. About half of the offense was playing college ball at this time last year. Of course they’re not ready.