Word comes from new head coach Hue Jackson that he’ll most likely serve as his own offensive coordinator and call the plays for the 2016 Browns.
That means incumbent OC John DeFilippo is out, as is QB coach Kevin O’Connell.
There’s no doubt that Jackson is a gifted offensive mind. His success in calling plays and in developing quarterbacks and receivers led him to this position. But is it too much for one man to serve as both the head coach and the OC? It’s a reasonable concern, especially since he’s new to the organization, and it’s a team that has plenty of work to do in revamping both its personnel and its culture.
The force of Jackson’s personality will be an asset, but it’s an open question as to whether his attention will be spread too thinly to serve effectively as both the offensive decision-maker and the overseer of an entire coaching staff and roster.
Here’s what’s happened the last four times that a Browns head coach has also served as his own offensive coordinator. It’s not a pretty picture:
- 2011 — Rookie head coach Pat Shurmur served as his own offensive coordinator. Prior to his hire, he had been an offensive coordinator for all of two seasons, those coming under Steve Spagnuolo with the Rams. The Browns’ offensive output flatlined, and the win total fell from five to four. Brad Childress came aboard for 2012.
- 1999 — Chris Palmer, charged with leading an expansion team as a first-time NFL head coach, opted to serve as his own offensive coordinator. He too had been an OC for just two seasons, in Jacksonville under Tom Coughlin. He gave Ty Detmer the quick hook and stuck with rookie Tim Couch. The team ranked last in yardage, points, and wins, and Couch was sacked a league-high 56 times. Pete Carmichael came aboard for the 2000 season.
- 1991-1993 — Bill Belichick, though known as a standout defensive coordinator, served as his own offensive coordinator for the first three years of his tenure as Browns head coach. During this extended rebuilding period, the Browns were slightly below average on offense. By the end of the tumultuous 1993 season, running backs coach Steve Crosby was calling the plays. He officially became the offensive coordinator in 1994, which was the Browns’ breakout season.
- 1988 — After Lindy Infante left to become the Packers head coach, Marty Schottenheimer took over the offensive play-calling in what became his last season here. With several injuries at quarterback, the Browns’ offense fell to below-average rankings after being a top ten unit the previous two years. Schottenheimer, whose background was on defense, resigned after the coordinator issue emerged as a philosophical stumbling block with owner Art Modell.