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Behind Enemy Lines With Cleveland Browns

The Kansas City Chiefs are starting their easier half of the schedule with a matchup against the crumbling Cleveland Browns in Week 9.

The Kansas City Chiefs are preparing for their Week 9 matchup against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon. Cleveland looked to be a tough team to beat during the first month of the season taking multiple teams to overtime but has since fallen off a cliff. It seems like it will be at least another season before the Browns become a real contender in the AFC North.

With a tie against their divisional opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers, to start the season, things were looking up for the Browns. They continued playing as a tough team to beat for September as they forced teams into overtime. The team has taken four of their games to overtime this season, but it looks like the team is going into turmoil as of late.

Cleveland decided to fire not only their head coach Hue Jackson, but their offensive coordinator Todd Haley as well. Haley was expected by many to take over the head coaching job at some point this season, but he seems to have burned some bridges during his short stint in Cleveland resulting in him losing his job as well.

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With their defensive coordinator taking over as head coach and their running backs coach taking control of the offense, it looks like it could be a rocky road for the Browns the rest of the way. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield has looked good up to this point, but the lack of playcalling to tailor the offense and use their weapons properly has hurt the team.

We talked to expert Randy Gurzi of Dawg Pound Daily to get an inside look at what is going on with the team. He gave us some great insights into the Browns positive start to the season and where it all went wrong. We also looked into the game on Sunday against the Chiefs.

The Browns started off looking good. What has happened in the past few weeks?

RG: Honestly, I think there are two answers here. One is the discord between Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. We’ve been seeing that since Haley started Josh Gordon in Week 1 against Jackson’s wishes. The two didn’t get along and it was messing with the overall continuity of the team — especially the offense. Second is a depth issue. The Browns have a good roster, but it’s not deep. This shows through big time on the defensive side of things where Gregg Williams doesn’t even want to take his starters off the field. This has to be wearing them down, which is why they’ve lost games as it wears on.

I’m hearing that Todd Haley was doing his own thing instead of what was best for the team? Did his do it my way philosophy get him fired?

RG: In short, yes. You can argue all day that he knew better than Hue Jackson, and I’m of the belief he did. Having said that, Jackson was his boss and Haley needed to respect the position. He probably felt Hue was in over his head, which he clearly was, but he handled it wrong and cost himself his job in the process.

Did Hailey burn bridges by not using the players properly like Chubb? Hence why John Dorsey sent Carlos Hyde packing?

RG: That one I can’t figure out. I believe someone was making Dorsey mad about Nick Chubb not seeing the field, but Hue has always been the guy who thinks rookies need to sit even when they’re the better option. Haley wasn’t around long enough for me to know if he was the same way. The stubbornness of keeping Hyde on the field reeks of Jackson. But Haley was putting people out there without his permission as well. That’s a tough one, but it’s probably better that Hyde is gone no matter how it came about.

Will the firing of the head coach and OC effect Mayfield’s development?

RG: I don’t think so. The idea that you can ruin a rookie is about one of the most overblown statements I can think of. Look how bad Peyton Manning was as a rookie. He turned out to play okay, right? Either you have it, or you don’t. My opinion is Mayfield has it. I think this change will actually be good as he will show his leadership qualities and maybe win over the few remaining doubters out there.

Dorsey seems to have hit on a number of rookies in his first draft with the team. Do you think he’s set this team up with a solid foundation to build around with his first draft class?

RG: Yes, I do. I wasn’t a big fan of Austin Corbett with the No. 33 pick and for a while, it looked like Denzel Ward was the only rookie taken out of their No. 1, 4, 33, and 35 selections to see the field this year. Thankfully, that changed. With them all on the field getting reps, I feel better about Corbett on the bench with the hopes he can take over at an interior spot in the near future. Overall, I loved the draft. If I could change anything though, there would have been a tackle taken somewhere in the first few rounds.

Will Cleveland become competitive again anytime this season? Not for the division, but being a hard team to beat each week?

RG: I think so. They seemed like they had lost faith in Hue. When that happens, teams fall apart. I think just the change, in general, will give them a kick start and they could win 3-4 games in their last eight.

What are your overall thoughts on the firing of the head coach and offensive coordinator?

RW: I am not a Hue Jackson fan. To me, a leader takes the blame and passes praise. Jackson had it backward. He wanted to let you know how good he was at any opportunity. Anything that worked was courtesy of the sturdy coach. Speaking of which, did you know he was the coach? If not, he would remind you every 12 seconds in his pressers.

But it was the rude remarks that did me in. When someone asked about a David Njoku touchdown one week, he responded by letting us know how many times Njoku didn’t make a catch when it was thrown to him. That’s hateful and uncalled for. He wasn’t good to his players and for that, I’m glad he’s gone.

Next: Arrowhead Addict writer predictions for Week 9

As for Haley, he simply wasn’t here long enough. I thought he was set up to take over when they finally fired Hue, but that ship sailed. If he really was insubordinate though, it’s probably for the best anyway.

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