CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Browns are in a great position to pick a coach for 2019.
The past three games have been an indictment of the hardships experienced by former head coach Hue Jackson.
I have received a few emails from admirers who have echoed the statement after Jackson's firing that he would have corrected the Browns offense if given the chance. This is what he told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland, com.
In other words, the problem was former offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Or it is the owners of the reception who forced Jackson to hire a former offensive coordinator such as Haley and give him the power to call the plays.
The owners, Dee and Jimmy Haslam, and General Manager John Dorsey, decided to close the debate by dismissing the two men and referring the team to Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams.
I doubt that one of the Browns' leaders expects such a quick and dramatic turnaround.
The Browns are 2-1 under Williams. They are on a two-game winning streak and victories over Atlanta (28-16) and Cincinnati (35-20) have been their most impressive games since the 2014 season.
Baker Mayfield flourishes under new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens: nine TD assists, one interception and a 72% success rate in three games.
The players praise Williams.
"The discipline was great," veteran center JC Tretter told reporters on Monday. "It's something we desperately needed … He forced everyone to focus and focus everyone on one goal."
When Dorsey told Williams responsibility, he knew the defensive coordinator would be more demanding than Jackson. He also thought Williams and Kitchens would work together, ending what Jimmy Haslam called "internal discord".
Williams retains his position as defensive coordinator, assisted by his son – Blake Williams.
Williams does not have the time to handle the offense too microscopically.
"The team believed we had the talent to win games," said linebacker Joe Schobert. "We should have won more games earlier in the year."
Schobert added that "validation is a good word" to explain how the recent success met the team's expectations before the season.
Meanwhile, kitchens and coach Ken Zampese have created a climate of calm and confidence in attack.
Mayfield said the Browns' sudden ability to score in the first quarter (missing before the coaching change) "can be attributed to Freddie."
Tretter said Kitchens "did an amazing job."
Several players mentioned that Kitchens was asking for more information on faceoffs and other questions as the team geared up for the games. Kitchens allow players to feel more involved in the process.
At the moment, everyone loves everyone in Berea. Winning is the NFL's biggest emotional cure, especially when a team is sinking into the swamp of loss for so long.
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
The Browns still have five games to play.
It's five more matches not only for Williams and Kitchens to prove they should stay in their current position in 2019, but also for the front-office to evaluate them closely.
Dorsey had the same opportunity a year ago when he was hired with four games to play in the 2017 season. He knew the property required him to retain Jackson as coach.
But he could change the list. He observed the habits of the players and how they handle the stress of losing, playing in cold weather and their physical condition.
It is the advantage of being there every day.
Dorsey is present every day with Williams and Kitchens.
The Browns play this week in Houston. Deshaun Watson and the Texans have won eight straight victories. The Browns are an outsider and face a daunting challenge.
This will be another test for the team and the next coaching staff.
It's a blessing to have five other games to evaluate everyone.
There is no need to rush on a training decision. Williams and Kichens are not going anywhere. Their success makes the job even more attractive to external candidates.
And it's a great situation for the Browns who think of 2019.