Thu, Dec 12, 2019

As the aftermath of Myles Garrett’s indefinite suspension looms, there has been plenty of blame going around toward Garrett’s indefensible actions that are unprecedented in the history of the NFL. A former Cleveland Browns coach believes that ultimately the blame falls on Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens and the franchise’s entire coaching staff.

Todd Haley, who was the Browns offensive coordinator for half a season before being fired with head coach Hue Jackson, criticized Kitchens for the Garrett incident taking place. Haley told Sirius XM NFL Radio Friday the “total lack of self-control” must be placed upon Kitchens and his staff. 

“The Browns won the game, but it’s kind of what’s been biting them in the backside throughout this year and throughout the last few years is just lack of self-control and discipline,” Haley said, via the Akron Beacon-Journal. “This to me, this comes back to coaching. This falls squarely right on the head coach because the head coach talks to every assistant coach, who then talks to their group of players. There’s an old saying in coaching, ‘You’re either coaching it or you’re allowing it to happen.'”

Haley was replaced by Kitchens as the Browns’ offensive coordinator after seven games during the 2018 season. Kitchens was promoted from running backs coach to offensive coordinator. Haley was not promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach following Jackson’s firing, and instead, let go in favor of Kitchens. 

Kitchens was promoted to head coach this past offseason, and the Browns are off to a 4-6 start, but have won two straight games. That’s an afterthought after Garrett was suspended indefinitely following his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph which Garrett ripped Rudolph’s helmet off and swung it at his head. The following melee ensued that led to Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey getting suspended three games for throwing several punches at Garrett’s helmeted head and kicking the Browns defender after Steelers guard David DeCastro took him to the ground. Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi was also suspended one game after he shoved Rudolph back to the ground as he continued to apparently look for the officials’ flags.

Some, like Haley, believe the incident could have been avoided if Kitchens had more control of his team. The Browns lead the NFL with 87 penalties this year — a product of an undisciplined organization — according to Haley.

“When you allow stuff like this to go on — I’m not saying talking somebody’s helmet off and hitting them with it is going on — but I’ve been on those fields in Cleveland,” Haley said. “Part of the frustration is you see things happening and going on that you shouldn’t be allowed to be going on because you’re practicing bad habits, you’re practicing lack of discipline, you’re practicing lack of self-control. That’s what practice is for – to continue to press the players of how they need to play and practice, showing up on time, all those little things that add up to discipline are what needs to be going on full time. Because if you’re not coaching it, you’re allowing it to happen.

“And when I watch the Cleveland Browns, I see a lot of stuff being allowed to happen, whether it’s clown shoes, visors, whatever it may be, Myles Garrett hitting the quarterback low, hitting the quarterback in the head, it’s happening too much. It’s not just a fluke.”

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