The Cleveland Browns have had some truly abysmal head coaches.
It’s fair to say Hue Jackson is the worst head coach the Cleveland Browns have had since 1999 and maybe ever. He seems like a charming enough guy until you realize he really doesn’t know how to coach up players, he’s a constant drama stirrer, he doesn’t work well with others and he lies like his life depends on it.
Maybe not his life, but his career certainly. Yes, he is the worst head coach the Browns have had since 1999 and it’s not even a debate. He won three games in three seasons. You can argue every which way you want, you can be on his side about how the Browns didn’t have a roster built for winning, whether he knew this was a true rebuild if the Browns offered him money; whatever you want to do.
Just remember this; he kept Nick Chubb on the bench for Carlos Hyde. That is a fireable offense and a reputation ender right there. Chubb started just nine games in his rookie year. Chubb, who’s a future Hall of Famer if he stays healthy for a few more seasons. Chubb, who’s arguably the best ball-carrier this team has had in decades. Chubb, the man in the open field only has one rival; Josh Cribbs.
Chubb, the already legendary franchise running back. For my money, no one is worse than Jackson in the modern era of Browns’ history, but who’s the runner-up?
Hue Jackson is the worst coach the Cleveland Browns have had since 1999 but who’s second?
Dawg Pound Daily tried to answer this question, ultimately naming Pat Shurmur No. 2. A worthy pick for sure. Other names in consideration were Mike Pettine, Eric Mangini, and Chris Palmer. Now, I agree that Pettine and Mangini deserve the criticism but I reject Palmer. Palmer had nothing to work with and when you look at the roster the Houston Texans got in their expansion draft just four years after the Browns’, clearly, the league wasn’t looking to help the Browns get going.
Yet, I don’t think any of them are the second-worst. Not in my opinion.
Save for Palmer, each of those four names (Jackson included) deserves to be ranked. Yet, I have to wonder if each of those men got more than one year with this team, how bad do you have to be to only get one year?
Enter my picks; Rod Chudzinski and Freddie Kitchens.
Chudzinski may be a name fans like, and he’s a fine guy, sure. Yet, his claim to fame is that in 2007 he was the offensive coordinator for one of the few 10-win teams in NFL history to miss the playoffs. He helped get Derek Anderson to the Pro Bowl that year, and it looked like the Browns’ struggles were over. But they weren’t. Not by a long shot. That’s it, that’s all he ever did in the NFL.
So when he got the job in 2013, a lot of people thought he was this genius play-caller that could get the Browns moving. That didn’t end up happening, the team won four games and never had any offensive firepower. Not all his fault, but we saw Mike Pettine win seven games with Brian Hoyer. So, you know, the bar wasn’t that high.
Chudzinski also had Pro Bowlers Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon, both players Pettine didn’t have in 2014, and Pettine’s offense was better.
Then we have Freddie Kitchens who maybe in 2030 won’t be a bad head coach prospect. Yet, in 2019, he was in over his head and didn’t have the emotional maturity to handle the spot he was in. He handled his staffing issues worse than Jackson did and ended up hurting a lot of players’ relationships with the team.
David Njoku requested a trade in part due to how Kitchens treated him; fair or not.
Ultimately, if I had to pick, Kitchens is truly the second worst coach in Browns’ modern history. Chudzinski was a borderline fall guy that the team didn’t have a lot of faith in and the roster-building reflected that.
Kitchens had an All-Pro team that he pooched.