Browns management tells players they’re not “throwing in the towel”

What lies ahead with 8 games left and who might be on the wish list this time

Daryl Ruiter
October 29, 2018 - 9:14 pm
John Dorsey Jimmy Haslam Cleveland Browns fire Hue Jackson

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were shown the door Monday, so now what?

First, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams takes over as the interim coach for the remainder of the season while running backs coach Freddie Kitchens will assume offensive coordinator duties.

Second, the 2-5-1 last place Browns are still trying to win games this season.

“This is not a throwing in of the towel,” owner Jimmy Haslam said of the message that was delivered to the team Wednesday afternoon. “It is a rebooting, if you will – an opportunity to give them a fresh start these last eight games.”

Haslam was joined by his wife and co-owner Dee, executive vice president JW Johnson, general manager John Dorsey and assistant GM Eliot Wolf around 2 p.m. in the team meeting room and the 4 returned to the second floor 10 minutes later.

Salvaging the remainder of Baker Mayfield’s rookie campaign seems paramount and played a role in the decisions that were made Monday.

“We have a lot of football left in this season,” Dorsey said. “We have some very talented players on this team right now as we speak. As we sat down and talked to the players today, I expressed that to them. I said, ‘You know, we have a lot of football left here you guys.’ They understand that. As I look at this thing, our job is to support Gregg and his staff right now and put those players in position to succeed.

“We are trying to create the best environment moving forward. That is what we are going to do.”

The schedule is brutal starting this week with the 7-1 Kansas City Chiefs. The previous 8 opponents are a combined 30-26-1 this season and the remaining 8 are a combined 37-25 with only Atlanta and Denver below .500.

Third, the search for Jackson’s replacement.

Haslam and Dorsey both tried to steer clear of that part of the equation, which is more critical than the remaining 8 games on the schedule. Who will lead the search remains a mystery along with who might be on the short list.

“I think that we will have a collaborative effort in everything that we do here,” Haslam said. “Right now, we are focused on the next eight games and Gregg and his staff winning as many of those games that we can.”

Could Williams work his way into the full-time job come January?

“I think if Gregg is interested in the job and we decide to do a full search, of course, he will be a candidate,” Haslam said.

For now, here are some names already being thrown around, which at this point is pure speculation.

Eric Bieniemy: the 49-year old first-year offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs is a Dorsey favorite, so he makes the top spot on the list.

Lincoln Riley: the 35-year old Oklahoma head coach is Mayfield’s former college coach. He just got $25 million reasons to be happy coaching the Sooners, but he’d be worth a look.

Matt Campbell: the 38-year old northeast Ohio native has drawn positive attention in NFL circles with the quality of program he’s run at Iowa State the past few years and again is tied to Dorsey.

Josh McDaniels: the 42-year old Patriots offensive coordinator, who backed out of an agreement to take over as Colts head coach earlier this year, and northeast Ohio native always seems to be tied to Browns coaching searches so we’ll include him.

John DeFilippo: the 40-year old offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings has become a hot name for head coaching jobs after a difficult year as the Browns offensive coordinator in 2015 under Mike Pettine.

Jim Harbaugh: the 54-year old Michigan coach would be an intriguing candidate should he choose to return to the NFL. The Browns tried to trade for Harbaugh in 2014 and 2 Harbaughs in the AFC North – Jim v John twice a year, get your popcorn ready if that happens.

Mike McCarthy: the 54-year old head coach of the Green Bay Packers makes the list in the event he is fired after the season. With the Green Bay roots within the Browns front office, McCarthy would bring championship experience and credibility to a franchise desperate to win.