The Cleveland Browns punched themselves in the face long before the unjust firing of first-year coach Rod Chudzinski.
When? Simple. The Browns injected heating failure into themselves by drafting quarterback Brandon Weeden in the first round, 22nd overall, in the 2012 draft. What in the world pushes and arouses a team to draft a 28-year old, peaked quarterback? That’s a mystery scholars wouldn’t crack. Cleveland could’ve taken Weeden in a later round, drafting someone worthier of that 22nd pick.
Weeden never developed. He was inconsistent, failing to solidify Cleveland’s desperate quarterback needs — leading into Chudzinski’s unfair trial.
Chudzinski had no legitimate quarterback in Cleveland, injuries, and no running-attack. How can he be deemed guilty, glued to a situation that frowned upon him every way he turned? There it was: a man kicked out of the city after his first season, barely given time to pack his bags. Where is any proper due? Cleveland never quit; players respected Chudzinski, battling to the end.
What about Cleveland’s top-10 defense that was stout even through injuries? He managed his quarterback situation admirably, benching Weeden, plugging in Brian Hoyer, who played well until he was injured, then attempting to ride it out with veteran Jason Campbell. It didn’t succeed; he needed more. Let’s not forget, Cleveland traded away their top running back in Trent Richardson, weakening his arsenal. Who knows if Chudzinski could’ve developed Richardson? He should’ve had a chance. Chudzinski isn’t a laughingstock; He’s had prior experience, serving as an offensive coordinator, tight ends coach, and other numerous positions on various teams. He had a respectable Cleveland unit, despite the rusty parts and broken tools given.
Cleveland players quickly defended their coach. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson wasn’t pleased upon hearing news of Chudzinski’s misfortune. “It’s just absurd to me that a report would be out like that, about a good coach like that,” he said. “It’s crazy, and that (ticked) me off when I heard that,” Jackson stated when first hearing the speculations. Seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas didn’t want to see Chudzinski go. “You look at the great franchises. They don’t fire your coach after the first season. You can’t do it,” Thomas stated, defending Chudzinski.
And now Cleveland is scurrying, trying to wave coaches in. Really? What coach, experienced or not, would desire an organization that not only lacks a franchise quarterback — which is vastly important in today’s NFL — but also fires a coach after his first year in unreasonable circumstances? The Browns’ front office can smirk, thinking they’re in shallow water; they’re not. They said they didn’t see Chudzinski as a long-term solution; people on the outside looking in with clearer, sincerer eyes seen that he was wrongfully vanished.
Cleveland holds talent, but that’s not enough if someone can’t have a fair shot at the net. The ownership showed a lack of maturity, blatantly disregarding their flaws, pawning full blame on Chudzinski. Chudzinski may not be a Bill Belichick, but he did a serviceable job with the parts he had. If Chudzinski couldn’t get an ounce of respect for his time and services, another coach won’t either. Cleveland can blame whoever they want; the ones who deserve blame are those who are currently seeking a new coach, dishonorably chopping a man who deserved more, even though he did enough.