Offensive coordinator Norv Turner spoke up when Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner talked to the coaching staff Monday about the firing of coach Rob Chudzinski, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Whether it was a challenge or a calm question seems a matter of interpretation. Two sources said Turner was angry and spoke that way, another said he simply stated his concerns as part of a routine discussion that takes place when such moves are made.
Either way, Turner clearly asked why the staff was told the plan was for a long-term rebuild when the commitment from the front office didn't last a year. Turner also detailed his concern that the coaching staff worked with handicaps given the personnel on the field, the sources said.
Among his points were that the staff was told repeatedly the team was building for 2014, that the running back situation was never solved after the trade of Trent Richardson, the roster was constantly juggled, and the team fired a coach after he had to start three different quarterbacks.
The discussion followed Haslam laying out the thinking behind the firing of Chudzinski, which led to questions about the long-term plan for the team. A few seconds of calm followed, and Haslam asked if there were more questions.
Turner then spoke, and brought up the long-term plan and why the coaching staff would not be allowed to see it through. The implication was that coaches felt they went along with decisions all season that pointed to a committed rebuild, then had the lack of success in 2013 used against them.
Haslam and Banner explained the decision the same way they did to the media: The lack of progress late in the season was a downward trajectory the front office did not accept.
Sources said Turner did a slow boil throughout the season at the talent the coaches were given. That Chudzinski was fired given those limits prompted him to speak up.
He is not expected to stay with the Browns. Banner said the team would allow all the assistants to seek other jobs and that the new hire would determine his staff.
The Browns have started the process of replacing Chudzinski.
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