Joe Thomas: Great franchises don’t fire coaches after one year


The Browns have fired their head coach. And angered their franchise left tackle.

Joe Thomas, the Cleveland left tackle who was named to his seventh Pro Bowl this season, doesn’t believe firing a coach after one year is a good move. Thomas told the Akron Beacon Journal after Sunday’s game that “I’d be very disappointed” if Rob Chudzinski was fired.

Now the Browns have announced that Chudzinski was, in fact, fired. And Thomas doesn’t think firing a head coach after his first season is the mark of a good football team.

“You look at the great franchises. They don’t fire your coach after the first season. You can’t do it,” Thomas said.

What Thomas thinks the Browns need is consistency, not to fire a coach who had just begun to build his team.

“It sets everything back,” Thomas said. “You just hit the reset button. Anytime you hit the reset button, it severely damages the organization, and it lengthens the amount of time that it takes to get back to the playoffs and turn the team into a consistent winner. … I think that this organization needs continuity and that’s the only chance that we’re going to have to turn this team into a consistent winner.”

If there’s any good news for Thomas, it’s that a league source tells PFT the rest of the coaching staff has been retained, for now anyway. It’s possible that the same offensive and defensive systems could remain in place in Cleveland next year, and there will be some consistency in Cleveland. But there will be a new head coach — the Browns’ fifth head coach since 2008.

123 responses to “Joe Thomas: Great franchises don’t fire coaches after one year

  1. I applaud him for being (I believe) the first player to have his name published with is comment. If I was his agent though I would be begging him to be quiet

  2. When an offensive lineman is smarter than your entire front office, your team is pretty much hopeless.

  3. It was dumb in this particular case but sometimes special circumstances change things. The Seahawks fired Jim Mora after that awful one season and jumped on Pete Carroll and they’ve been ascending ever since.

  4. The League’s Crusade Against The Steelers Continues… says:
    Dec 29, 2013 9:59 PM
    What are you trying to say, Joe?


    That Browns brass has NO idea what they’re doing.
    Also, likely that he’d rather play ANYwhere else. Haha.

    Terrible move here by the Browns, but hey, what else is new?

  5. What future HC would take over a team n not bring in his own staff? This tells me somebody on that staff is going to be the next HC, bet its Horton.

  6. If they replace him with turner, be ready for a sub par eight years. He seems to keep his job after many, many losing yrs. I’ll never understand that.

  7. The last paragraph describes a recipe for disaster. They might retain the coaching staffs while they hire a new head coach? What does that say for the prospective head coach? Or the front office that permits it to happen?

    Factory of Sadness? More like a Factory of Insanity.

  8. If Joe Thomas held out next year and refused to play for the Browns organization, it would be one of the very few times I would completely understand the reason.

    With Thomas, Joe Haden, Josh Gordon, and a load of draft picks, I thought the team was going the right way.

  9. Joe Thomas, you’re way too talented to continue to waste your career in Cleveland, dealing with a new coach and new system nearly every season. If you want to win championships, demand a trade. I’m sure nearly every team would like to have you as their franchise left tackle.

  10. I wonder what Joe Thomas will say when Cleveland’s front office lets Alex Mack go in the off-season.

  11. TheDPR says:
    Dec 29, 2013 10:02 PM
    When an offensive lineman is smarter than your entire front office, your team is pretty much hopeless.


    OL, along with QB, tend to score the highest on the Wonderlic out of the primary players which excludes P/K. Seems like Cleveland has a very smart one in this case because his comments are spot on IMO!

  12. redfield11 says: Dec 29, 2013 9:59 PM

    I applaud him for being (I believe) the first player to have his name published with is comment. If I was his agent though I would be begging him to be quiet


    Why beg him to be quiet? Thomas is one of the best LTs in the game, some would argue he is THE best. He already has his big contract from the Browns, so why should he be quiet? Most of the 31 other teams would gladly give him another big contract if/when he is no longer playing for the Browns.

    Besides, it’s true. Firing a coach after one season? You haven’t even given him a chance at all to build the team how he wants it.

  13. If you guys are sad now, just wait until your 2014 starting QB is Brian Hoyer.

    With Josh McDaniels soon to be announced as coach, Timothy Tebow isn’t far behind.

    Thumbs up for bringing me back to Cleveland!

    – Mike Lombardi

  14. Why would you fire the HC but keep the offensive and defensive coordinator? And what quality candidate is going to want to sign with a organization that fires a HC after one season and refuses to let him hire his own coordinators.

    Child please…

  15. Seattle fired Mora after one year and I said the same thing. Now; in retrospect, it seems to have worked out. But it is true that you start over and lose the one year you just went through. No progress and upside; fire and move on. I hope it ultimately works out for you all in Cleveland.

  16. I feel really bad for Joe Thomas, toiling away in obscurity with a franchise that can’t seem to get anything right.

    I think the Browns owe him a trade to a contender where he can experience some success before he has to hang ’em up.

  17. I sure hope they have someone lined up because is exactly right here. The top coaches won’t want this job if they show no patience. I though the team improved this year.

  18. It’s ridiculous that he was fired. You know the saying, “if you have 2 quarterbacks you have none”? Well he had THREE quarterbacks (Weeden, Hoyer, Campbell) playing the quarterback musical chairs due to injuries, and he’s getting the ax for that? Entire front office needs to go, not the coaching staff.

  19. If the Browns are seriously going to hire McDaniels, I see no reason why the Vikings can’t hire Wayne Fontes.

    Meanwhile, Monte Kiffin is signed, sealed and delivered to Oakland while Jerry Jones will continue to coach the Dallas Cowboys into further irrelevance.

  20. quoting former NHL Boston Bruins coach Don Cherry – “there’s 20 guys on the team who can’t skate and its the coach that gets fired”

  21. We don’t have time to give a coach two or three years to learn how to win. I think the Browns did exactly the right thing. We need to get the right guy in here that can motivate and lead this team now. When they saw that Richardson was a mistake, they traded him for number one draft pick. Now they look like geniuses for doing that. I think this regime is willing to say they made mistakes, cut their losses, and rectify the situation. We need to get the right coach now who knows how to win now. Also have to draft the correct players in the upcoming draft with the pics we have. With over a decade of bad football, we don’t have the luxury of letting folks do on-the-job training.

  22. Which is why the browns are not a great franchise. Who would want to coach a team knowing that they could be fired after 1 year, this team will never get better. I’ve seen the jersey with the list of QBs the browns been threw, is there one for the coaches

  23. Joe Thomas: Great franchises don’t fire coaches after one year…….he ‘s right…… Thats why your the Browns and the Bengals are great!

  24. This is the team that Lombardi went to?! Your credibility as a GM is totally shot now, why would ESPN, NFL Net or any other media pick you up after you lose This job? Joe Thomas can go to any team, your moves this year alone, resemble some lunatic at the controls…just saying, check yourself Dude!

  25. He is right. But dont blame management. Blame the fans. There is a strong push to have everyone fired after any given loss. What have you done for me this Sunday?

  26. Traded draft choices, traded starting RB and no starting QB. I agree with Joe, Chud deserved more time. I believe Haslam has talked to new coach. Watch out for Norv Turner.

  27. “If Joe Thomas held out next year and refused to play for the Browns organization, it would be one of the very few times I would completely understand the reason.”

    And if he did that, upper management would surely fight like heck to try and not honor his contract. That’s the dysfunction of the Cleveland Browns.

    And we all thought the Jets were bad last year.

  28. A great organization is built from the top down. We have a crook for an owner, a weasel for a president and a never was as a GM. You’re right Joe. Great organizations don’t fire a head coach after one year.

    What a joke.

  29. Right on Joe thanks for speaking up for the player and majority of fans! Chud got a raw deal, you could see the players played hard for him, with exception of last few games when all hope was gone. Unless they hire Gruden, Cowher, or another proven experienced head coach, this fanbase will be up in arms even more than they already are. I hope the stadium is half empty fo rthe home opener next season, as it will be at least 2 or three seasons before they can even plan on a playoff appearance, with yet another coaching staff rebuild. I am done with the browns after 35 years, have wasted too many sundays since 1999 to continue waiting year after year for a contender. Let me know when or if they make the playoffs again, I might watch again.

  30. “He is right. But dont blame management. Blame the fans. There is a strong push to have everyone fired after any given loss. What have you done for me this Sunday?’

    Wrong! Browns fans are clearly in favor of giving Chud some time and resources. did you read any of the above comments?

  31. The Real Problem: The Browns fans who are too blind to see Greg Little not getting separation, Davone Bess not getting separation, and the Browns mediocre to terrible O-Line performance (27th in RUSH Offense).

    As long as you think it ONLY Brandon Weeden and the head coach…. the team will continue sucking.

    Honestly… the team needs wide receivers (and a running back who can catch)… but… by the time they draft and mature those receivers…. Jake Long/Alex Mack/Joe Haden/etc. will be gone or too old… and new leaks will spring up.

    Cleveland won’t spend for TOP free agents and TOP free agents are going to sign with a losing team (unless the weather is better).

  32. What coach wouldn’t want that opportunity? Two first round picks. Groom your own about and new running back. This Team has several early draft picks. There is hope

  33. Unless they already have a specific candidate lined up
    its hard to imagine that any one respectable would want this job.

    Its like Washington with out the huge salary.

  34. Chud had to go guys, it was no other option! I applaud Joe but from a Browns and Football fans prospective it had to be done. We was 4-5 with a legitimate chance to make the post season amd lost every game thereafter. The same thing happened in Carolina under Chud, good D, just ok O and they were horrible because Chud refused to do nothing but pass and their D played all game so of course they lost game after game…does this story sound familiar guys? This was our life story for 16 terrible games this year. Our receivers were number 4 in dropped passes because they led the league in passes thrown at them. Chud was terrible guys, Shumur had a better record with less talent. 6 pro bowlers shows we didn’t have a lack of talent we just need a better leader of men. What are your thoughts?

  35. Chud was a players coach. Thats why Joe Thomas is saying what he said. Joe Banner is a numbers guy. There lies the problem. Joe Banner does the hiring and firing. Joe Thomas is suppose to block.

  36. They need to chop veteran heads and draft high character players.

    The Browns need to dangle Jake Long (still good but declining – good time to sell) and Josh Gordon for HIGH draft picks (not 2nds and 3rd – maybe… a load of 2nds).

  37. @ doctorrustbelt
    I agree. But did it take Chud that long to see Weeden sucked. After the flip Chud continued to play Weeden for more flips. Josh Cooper the last two games out played Bess’s 15 games. Edwin Baker was the best rusher we seen all year in the last two games. Chud had all these guys that had something to prove but he kept playing the entitled players who felt playing time was owed to them. They had no fire. And I feel the players gave up because they felt there was no way a first year coach gets canned. Oh how they were wrong. And Joe Thomas just may get traded. He is 7 years in and has trade value.

  38. I am beginning to think I am a closet Browns fan. I was reading threads when so-called fans though they threw in the towel after trading T Richardson and now I see them throwing darts again! From afar, I think this is the best of up-and-coming franchises in the league. They are are pedestrian QB who can stay healthy for more than eight games away from being in the playoffs! I wish my team had the defense that the Browns have and can think of 4 or 5 guys I would love to add from their D to our playoff roster. Stay calm Dawgs!

  39. Joe Banner still hasn’t gotten over losing Chip Kelly to the Eagles last offseason. He has to remember that he works for the Browns. Somebody has to finish last and keep hiring head coaches every year or two.

  40. Oh really !! what a moronic take , that’s like a saying a great husband or wife don’t DIVORCE their cheating spouse after 1 yr of marriage.

    You don’t hang on to someone who may NOT be right for the job just for the sake of it.A s i recall didn’t the ravens not fired their O-coordinator mid season , and it only resulted with them going and win the Superbowl.

  41. green41563 says:
    Dec 29, 2013 9:58 PM
    He’s right—especially when the guy doing the firing is the same guy who did the hiring.

    Such a great point. It would be one thing if Chud had been hired by the last management group on their way out and the new guys wanted their own guy.

    But the guys who fired Chud hired Chud. Which basically means that after one year they are admitting that their first major decision was a huge mistake.


  42. good for you brother, for speaking your mind!!!!

    he wasn’t a terrible head coach and the team showed a lot of promise. now they will have to rebuild the the ground up! IDIOTS! anyways…#goravens!!!!

  43. Someday these owners will realize they are the ones who like the idiots when moves like this are made. They are feeling left out, its their power play move to validate their worth to the team.

  44. Why should this firing be a surprise to Joe Thomas. He has to realize that this is the same team that fired the greatest NFL coach in history in Bill Belichick.

  45. All I heard is that Chuds wasn’t holding players accountable, and they wanted to nip that now. Why wait another few years?

    I don’t care one way or the other (not a Browns fan), but if things seem wrong, fix them. Why wait? Josh Gordon is good now. Two first rounders are here now. Lots of potential franchise QBs available now.

    Why not bring in the right guy and build a team around that?

  46. To fire the HC and maintain the rest of the staff makes even less sense. Your Head Coach should be the leader of the entire team including the coaching staff. The new Head Coach that is hired should not feel pressured or obligated by the GM to retain the previous coaches assistants. He should be able to interview them if he chooses too. But they shouldn’t “expect” to be retained for continuity. They won’t hire attract a very good HC of they go with that approach.

  47. To all Browns fans and football fans in general:

    As a life long Eagles fan I could not be happier to see him out of Philadelphia. We tolerated him for 15 plus years in the organization.
    He always has to be smarter then everyone else plus irritate the players during contract negotiations.
    I will bet heavily that he is meddling now that he has a 10% ownership stake in the Browns.

  48. Im watching the browns today as a steelers fan going, how the hell do their fans endure this? Cleveland deserves better. Their fans are diehards who keep showing up because of hometown pride I guess. Good luck to cleveland, I want the steelers to have to compete in a tough division so when they make the playoffs they are prepared to play the best. Cleveland Pitt hasn’t been a rivalry around here for years, no offense but no one gets too pumped for the game. They just act like its an expected win. I would love to prepare for a Sunday game going, damn how are we gonna beat cleveland this year? Here’s to making that happen cleveland. Good luck.

  49. LOL. The Browns are a joke.
    1) why would anyone want to coach for them knowing that they’re on a 1 year leash?
    2) Joe Thomas is absolutely right…..hope he gets to leave the factory of sadness and play for a real franchise
    3) Rob Chud might not be the best coach but how many coaches are dealt a subpar team with terrible QBs, an injury filled roster and a front office who wants him to fail by trading away star players.

  50. He’s right. On the other hand, great coaches don’t punt from their opponent’s 35 yard line when they are down 14 – 0 in a game that is meaningless to them. Should have fired him on the spot.

  51. I started to root for the Colts last season. I couldn’t take this garbage any more. Jimmy Haslem obviously learned nothing from the Steelers. And Mike Lombardi will become the most hated man in Cleveland. He purposely blew the draft and now just gives up. If his coach had become ill, like Pagano did last year, he would have fired him or forced him to resign.

  52. Chud was exactly the coach they hired, he did nothing to change their minds so the only way this makes sense is if they hired Ray Horton. Then it becomes a fear of losing Ray move.

  53. There has to be a common denominator in all of the issues up there in the wasteland. Can’t be that you just can’t pick a good HC? Maybe your GM is a bad talent evaluator? I think I’d start there too. I almost feel bad for the Browns fans. Oh, wait a sec, nevermind. That was just gas. Much better.

  54. As a fan, I really dont have a problem with the firing of Chud, but he is absolutely not 100% to blame for this year. The person that everyone should be upset about is owner Jimmy Haslam. I understand that he has his Pilot/Flying J scandal on his hands, but he has been a ghost this year as far as his role with the Browns goes.

    Chud lost 10 of his last 11 games this year and had plenty of crappy coaching decisions in that span. Whether it was to spite management for not giving him the players he needed to run his scheme or if they were just awful decisions we will never really know. The big thing that I am hearing that drove the decision was the fact that the front office wanted him to cut Greg Little or Shaun Lavao a few weeks ago, but Chud refused to do so, showing to the front office that Chud didn’t want to do what was needed. And lets be honest Browns fans, cutting Little needs to be done. He has proven time after time that he is not “Mr. Reliable” as Brent Musberger said earlier in the year.

    The front office needs to meet with the veterans and key members of this team asap(Haden, Thomas, Gordon, Jackson, Rubin, etc) and let them know their plan and get their input/feelings on the situation. This will show these guys int he locker room that they care and want to make this team a winning franchise.

    It would be stupid if they cut ties with Horton. The defense was one of the league’s best statistically. Resign Ward and bring Jackson back. They are the anchors and leaders of that defense. Cuttiing ties with them will really be starting from square one and you wont see any improvement next year if you get rid of them.

    Hopefully they can make a splash and hire the next big NFL coach after they failed in landing Chip last year. Gotta open that checkbook if you want the top of the line coach.

  55. Here’s hoping this is as good a move as trading Richardson for a 1st round pick. Gruden maybe? I don’t believe that either. I do think Chud lost the team the last few weeks. Sunday’s performance against the steelers was pathetic. I can’t see how any Browns fan didn’t just want that game over from the time it started.

    I will say I have a serious problem with the coaches naming Weeden the starter after watching him this season. He couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with a baseball bat. I was very hopeful after seeing what Hoyer did with the offense. Campbell is still Campbell, good enough to give hope with a loss. Wake me up for the draft.

  56. Joe: Drew Brees needs some offensive line help. Would you consider playing for a winning franchise with a HOF QB in a temperature controlled dome and a Coach who has WON a Super Bowl and has maintained continuity since 2006 and fans that are off the chain and would consider you a rockstar?

  57. doctorrustbelt says:
    Dec 29, 2013 10:59 PM
    The Real Problem: The Browns fans who are too blind to see Greg Little not getting separation, Davone Bess not getting separation, and the Browns mediocre to terrible O-Line performance (27th in RUSH Offense).

    As long as you think it ONLY Brandon Weeden and the head coach…. the team will continue sucking.

    Honestly… the team needs wide receivers (and a running back who can catch)… but… by the time they draft and mature those receivers…. Jake Long/Alex Mack/Joe Haden/etc. will be gone or too old… and new leaks will spring up.

    Cleveland won’t spend for TOP free agents and TOP free agents are going to sign with a losing team (unless the weather is better).


    Ummmmm, when did we get Jake Long??? Quit trolling Browns post and spitting statistics and watch a game. Yes, our QB play is the reason we were terrible this year. Look what happened when a competent QB in Hoyer started. 3-0. Other two QBs went 1-12. I for one am furious about this firing, not because I think Chud is the next great thing but because this front office literally told us fans that he would be here for a long time so we get some consistency in this organization. Why would I buy another ticket from a team that continues to lie to us as fans?? I am a lifelong Browns fan but this organization is a joke and I can see why other franchises laugh at us……..

  58. Romeo Crennel got the axe and the chiefs turned it around but hue Jackson got the heave ho and the Raiders crashed and burned. The Seahawks fired Mora then turned it around with Carroll rebuilt the team. The Redskins fired Marty after one season and are NFL poster child for underachievement the Packer fired Ray Roades after one season then were pretty successful under Mike Sherman. The Jags canned mularkey after one season and wear awful the next season.

  59. clevelandbrowns1999: Great Pro Bowl left tackles do not have 2 holding penalties that kill drives and possibly kill your teams chances of a victory either! Go somewhere else you are not that #%!$ing great yourself!!! @%#hole!

  60. I guess Denver isn’t a great franchise?? (Josh McDaniels) The point is, the ownership is trying to create a great franchise. Joe’s right – currently, it isn’t a great franchise and making comments like he did, doesn’t help it become one.

  61. Chud out?
    Mr. Banner, when you took this job you were the personnel guy, and Chud had to work with what you gave him…..

    Things we knew before the season:

    We needed NFL quality offensive guards

    We cannot run in the North with out a full back
    who would also give the QB more time in the passing game

    We needed better running backs

    We needed possession receivers who could catch the ball

    We needed a QB

    We needed a #2 receiver to open the field

    We needed another LB to stand next to Jackson

    We needed to make your draft picks count, (Did they)?

    We needed depth at CB in this pass happy league, yet you released Owens as soon as he was healthy.

    Before we look at the coaches who had to use what you gave them, maybe some self reflection is called for.

  62. Thomas is right. It must be frustrating as an employee of the team when you have to work for incompetent decision-makers. Evidently, the higher-ups can make mistakes without penalty, but the head coach, who has to work with the higher-ups’ mistakes, can’t.

  63. Here is a thought.
    Chud out of Carolina: first round bye (Newton pro bowl year)
    Horton out of Arizona: best record in years (10-6)
    N Turner out of San Diego: playoffs (Rivers has a pro bowl year)

    All those guys coached in Cleveland and none of those teams changed their systems. Kicking Chud out looks and feels wrong. Systems take time and the team competed well in most of their games. Bad move.

  64. It is utterly breathtaking to see the number of general managers, and owners who make a living in this industry, but yet are CLUELESS as to the nuances required to field a consistantly competetive team !!!!!!!!!

  65. The reason he was fired and not his staff goes back to a request by Haslem to Chud that a certain player on the roster needed to be released for unknown reasons. Chud refused the request.

    Joe Thomas, you can always come back home to play in GB. It was always your dream to play at Lambeau. We can fit you in and you’ll be treated like the all star you are.

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