Shots fired (part 5 of 5) – Chudzinski

The end of the regular NFL season always marks the end of a few jobs. Coaches with losing records all line up to the chopping block to hear the final verdicts. Within a day of the season ending, a total of five coaches had their contracts cut and were booted out the door. Don’t feel too bad; with the money promised from their contracts, they’ll be living a happy, golf-filled retirement. Among those losing their jobs lie Detroit’s Schwartz, Washington’s Shanahan, Minnesota’s Frazier, Tampa’s Schiano and, shockingly, Cleveland’s Chudzinski. We’ll throw them out to sea and explore the “implications” (Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference) involved with each of the coaching situations. This’ll be a five part series that explores each of the coaches individually. WARNING: this article is largely based on opinion. Deal with it.

Chud-8sjp#93sj2-ski: nailed it!

Ok, so his name really isn’t THAT hard to spell… I just need to phonetically break it down every time I spell it – kind of like the word Wednesday; but I digress. Let’s hit Chudzinski’s history a little first to get some context out of the way. In 2005, Rob Chudzinski was the TE coach responsible for Antonio Gates. In 2007, Rob was the offensive coordinator responsible for the Browns’ 10-6 season with one of their most potent offenses in years. 2011 marked Chudzinski’s role with Carolina’s offense; he took one of the worst offenses in the league and, in turn, helped them set franchise records. Rob spells accomplishment in the NFL and came to the Browns in 2013 with a fairly short-term plan to turn the team around. He made some pretty ballsy moves early in the season – notably trading away the Browns’ stud RB for a first round draft pick. He then laughed his way to the bank as Trent Richardson severely underperformed for his new team. He also created some total offensive studs out of WR Josh Gordon and TE Jordan Cameron. A few significant injuries and a fresh team in a building year led the Browns to a 4-12 season. It didn’t matter because Chudzinski had established his franchise playmakers and had great draft picks ready for the following season… and then he gets fired. I’m sure you can tell by my build up that, contrary to the rest of the coaches in this series, I think this case was a massive mistake. Browns CEO Banner seems way too trigger happy – the team’s gone through 141 head and assistant coaches in 20 years. I’m not even sure how that’s possible! Chudzinski’s plan was in full motion right as he got the boot. An interview with Scott Fujita, a former Browns player, revealed that several of the current players are embarrassed by this particular firing; Fujita mentioned that the players seemed “deflated, confused” and leaderless. Regardless, if these constant staff changes continue because Banner expects nothing short of a miracle, the Browns will be a failing team for years to come.

FANTASY IMPACT

There is not a lot to go in depth about as far as the Browns fantasy players go. The team settled for Mike Pettine at head coach – a man with a very  limited NFL career. His game plan and coaching style have yet to be seen. The only signs to evaluate the players by are their performances in the 2013 season. The most notable fantasy players on the Browns are QB Brandon Weeden, WR Josh Gordon, and TE Jordan Cameron. Due to injuries, Weeden played off-and-on through 2013 for a very mediocre performance. According to the latest headlines, it seems he wants desperately to part ways with the team. I would avoid him like the plague next season. Gordon is one of the most exciting receivers to emerge this year. He popped out 7 games with over 100 yards (several of which were over 200) and 9 touchdowns, all while missing the first two games and playing on one of the worst teams. Remind you of Megatron at all? Gordon is now being tossed into new OC Shanahan’s offense which has been known to be friendly to big-play receivers. I would not at all be surprised, despite an unknown QB situation, if Gordon finished the season as the top wideout. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be drafting him incredibly early. Jordan Cameron was another emerging superstar – for the first half of the season. Of course, Chudzinski had played at TE and was known to create schemes that favored their play. Without him at all, I’d be very skeptical about taking Cameron at all next season. Let someone else buy high.

And that’s a wrap! Good luck to the 2014/15 coaches.

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