Gregg Williams was a punchline. He was on the heart of “Bounty Gate,” had a laughable run as the pinnacle coach in Buffalo and had barely been on anybody’s radar as a high man since. Regardless of his boasts about head teaching alternatives, nobody gave him a prayer of ever touchdown a high job once more.
Seven weeks has modified all the pieces.
Since taking on because the Cleveland Browns’ head coach in Week 9, Williams has led the workforce to a 5-2 file. Their solely losses got here towards the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs and Houston Texans, two groups that shall be within the playoffs. Underneath Hue Jackson, the Browns gained three video games in three seasons and began the yr 2-5-1. Now they’re 7-7-1 and have appeared an increasing number of respectable every week.
So has Williams earned the job long-term? That’s definitely value debating at this level. There’s little doubt Cleveland is a special workforce with the 60-year-old coach on the helm. However how a lot of that success is solely because of getting Jackson out of the workforce’s constructing? It’s unimaginable to know.
Williams has had six stints within the NFL as a defensive coordinator and he’s fairly darn good at that job. He helped the New Orleans Saints win Tremendous Bowl XLIV as the person accountable for the protection and had success on and off at his different stops. However the “Bounty Gate” scandal crushed any hope he had of incomes a head teaching job. The one path he had was to by some means work his manner into an interim spot and show himself.
Effectively, he has. So what’s the talk?
A part of the issue is that Williams is already 60, which is previous by present NFL teaching requirements. Offenses are altering and going extra up-tempo, whereas defenses have to regulate their schemes nearly yearly to match new developments. Williams is a troublesome, hard-nosed, old-school man who doesn’t precisely appear hip to the sport’s new tips.
It’s value noting that Williams went 17-31 as the pinnacle coach of the Payments from 2001-03. Sure, that was a very long time in the past, but it surely doesn’t instill confidence that he could be the person to lastly take the Browns to the promised land.
With Williams in cost the Browns haven’t precisely been hammering the cream of the NFL’s crop. Their 5 wins have come over the Falcons (6-9), Bengals (6-9), Panthers (6-9), Broncos (6-Eight) and the Bengals once more. That’s not precisely assassin’s row.
It’s additionally value contemplating simply how properly interim offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens has carried out. Since Todd Haley and Hue Jackson got the boot, Kitchens has ramped up Cleveland’s offense and has rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield firing on all cylinders.
Since Kitchens took over, Mayfield has been a totally completely different quarterback.
In six appearances underneath Jackson and Haley, Mayfield accomplished 130 of 223 passes (58.three %), for 1,471 yards, with eight touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He averaged 6.60 yards per try and had a quarterback ranking of 78.9.
In seven video games underneath Kitchens, Mayfield has accomplished 157 of 221 passes (71.zero %), for 1,878 yards, with 16 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He’s averaging Eight.50 yards per try and has a passer ranking of 111.four.
So underneath Jackson and Haley, Mayfield was a under common quarterback. With Kitchens operating the offense, he’s a Professional Bowler.
Given how the offense has carried out, I don’t assume you may give Williams all of the credit score for Cleveland’s turnaround. And that’s what makes this so tough.
At this level, there’s little doubt the Browns are planning a full teaching search. They’ll do a ton of interviews. And, frankly, it must be a reasonably engaging job. There’s a number of younger expertise on Cleveland’s roster, the workforce has a football-mad fan base, tons of wage cap room and a full complement of draft picks in 2019 (besides a seventh-rounder that was a part of the Jarvis Landry commerce).
It’s a lovely job and there must be loads of certified candidates.
It’s clear the Browns’ high precedence is discovering somebody who can work intently with Mayfield. Each coach-hungry franchise is in search of the subsequent Sean McVay, Doug Pederson or Matt Nagy. A coach who can join with a younger quarterback and take him to the subsequent degree. Williams undoubtedly isn’t that man and it might value him the job.
Whereas Williams has had an awesome run as Cleveland’s interim head coach, he could also be simply one other candidate when it comes time to interview.