Browns name interim coach, quickly fill voids left by firings of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley
After all the coaching carnage that went down in Cleveland, there’s officially one man left standing: Gregg Williams.
With Hue Jackson now permanently out of the picture after being fired on Monday, the Browns have announced that Williams will take over as the team’s interim coach. Assuming they don’t fire him, the decision means that Williams will get to coach the Browns for their final eight games of the season, starting this Sunday when Cleveland hosts Kansas City (This franchise just can’t catch a break).
Williams has been with the Browns since January 2017 when he was hired as defensive coordinator. Although Williams’ defense ranks just 28th in the NFL this year in terms of total yards surrendered, his unit has been the best in the league at forcing turnovers. The Browns have 22 takeaways on the season — 12 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries — which is a really impressive number when you consider that no other team in the NFL even has 18 takeaways.
The interim title means that Williams will be a head coach for the first time in 15 years. Although he’s been an NFL assistant since 1990, Williams has only held one head coaching job and that came with the Bills from 2001 to 2003. Buffalo decided not to extend his three-year contract after Williams went 17-31 during his three seasons with the team.
Since then, Williams has served as a defensive coordinator for five different teams. The 60-year-old is known to most NFL fans due to his stint with the Saints from 2009 to 2011. After he left New Orleans, the Saints were investigated by the NFL for purportedly running a bounty scandal during the 2009 season.
Williams isn’t the only one in Cleveland with a new job title this week. The Browns have also named a replacement for offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who was also fired on Monday. With Haley out of the picture, the Browns’ offense will now be run by Freddie Kitchens. Kitchens was Cleveland’s associate head coach and running backs coach before being promoted after Haley’s firing.
Although the 43-year-old has been an NFL assistant since 2006, this will mark his first time as an offensive coordinator. Before being hired by the Browns this year, Kitchens spent 11 seasons in Arizona, where he coached multiple positions (tight ends, running backs, quarterbacks) over the years with the Cardinals.
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