The Cleveland Browns announced they are parting ways with Rob Chudzinski less than a year after hiring him to be their head coach, and owner Jimmy Haslam defended the decision on Monday in a press conference alongside CEO Joe Banner.
"It was our feeling as a team we were not getting better," Haslam said. "A young team should get better and we simply didn't feel that happened."
The Browns got out to a hot start in 2013, as Brian Hoyer led the team on a three-game winning streak before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell were unable to find wins in his place, going a combined 1-12 in the starting lineup as the Browns finished the year on a seven-game losing streak.
Still, the decision to fire Chudzinski less than a year after hiring him for the position in January has drawn criticism that Haslam said is justified.
"We understand why there might be some skepticism. We also understand importance of getting it right," Haslam said. "My job is to find the right person to lead the organization and to coach the team. Candidly, we deserve skepticism until we get it right."
For a franchise that hasn't been to the postseason since 2002 and only twice since 1990, there is certainly no shortage of skepticism. However, it isn't all bad, as Mike Krupka of SB Nation's Browns blog, Dawgs By Nature, says. Krupka thinks that the firing shows a commitment to success that the franchise hasn't always had in the past:
There's no doubt about it, any way you slice it, this isn't a good look or outcome for the organization. It just fired the new regime's first head coach after 16 games. But what it does show us is that there is "accountability" and that Haslam isn't going to be sold promises, he wants results.
Haslam and Banner told reporters on Monday that they will begin the search for the next head coach "immediately" and that it likely won't include interviews for candidates that received interest in early 2013. Among those candidates were Bill O'Brien and Ken Whisenhunt.