The Cleveland Browns are, if nothing else, an organization that likes to keep a tidy house—at least in the sense that they like to freshen up the place every year or two. Following yesterday’s moves, it seems there is hardly a coach left on the staff that has been here for longer than a couple of months.
As we relayed yesterday, the Browns opted to name Freddie Kitchens their next head coach. He was their interim offensive coordinator for the second half of the 2018 season after they fired Todd Haley.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, in contrast, was named their interim head coach. In spite of the fact that he led the team to a 5-3 record over the final eight games, his only losses being to playoff teams, and nearly managing to salvage a winning record, he not only was passed over for the full-time job—he was also fired as defensive coordinator.
But it wasn’t just Williams. There are about a dozen other members of the coaching staff that have also been informed that they would not be retained for the 2019 season. Among the most notable names in that avenue are quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, offensive line coach Bob Wylie, and special teams coordinator Amos Jones.
Only a handful of coaches, among them their wide receivers and defensive backs coaches, have reportedly been told that their jobs are safe. It’s possible that further moves will be made to eliminate the current staff and bring new faces in.
It seems clear based on these moves that the front office felt the team’s second-half turnaround had more to do with what Kitchen was doing with the offense under rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield than with Williams’ defensive unit or his leadership capabilities.
The Browns managed to go 7-8-1 in 2018 after winning just one game over the course of the previous two seasons. That’s as close as you can get to a non-losing season while still losing. And they came up just short, losing in the season finale by two points, passing up the opportunity to go for a long field goal attempt.
Could that final win have made a difference for Williams? Or would it just have been another feather in Kitchens’ cap? How will he fare as a full-time head coach for the first time in 2019? We have been down this road a dozen times with previous Browns head coaches.