Mark Hutson

Browns To Part Ways With Several Coaches

Although the Browns kept a key part of their 2018 late-season setup in place, promoting Freddie Kitchens to head coach, they are going to be looking for a largely new staff.

In addition to letting interim HC Gregg Williams go, the Browns are ending the Cleveland tenures of several coaches, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Among them are quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese, special teams coordinator Amos Jones, offensive line coach Bob Wylie, tight ends coach Greg Seamon and special teams assistant Josh Cribbs. The Browns, as could be expected, will ax linebackers coach (and late-season play-caller) Blake Williams, Cabot notes.

Expected to stay are wideouts coach Adam Henry and DBs coach DeWayne Walker, Cabot adds, with running backs coach Ryan Lindley — a Cardinals quarterback during Kitchens’ time as Arizona’s QBs coach — could remain as well.

This Browns team lost fewer games than the franchise had since its 2007 season, but the Kitchens regime will involve many new faces at the Berea, Ohio, facility. This should not be incredibly surprising, considering these assistants arrived during Hue Jackson‘s tenure.

Jones finished his first season as ST coordinator, while Zampese took the QBs job last year as well. He’d previously served as the Bengals’ OC before being fired early in the 2017 season. Seamon served on all three Jackson staffs, finishing his tenure under Gregg Williams. Wylie, of Hard Knocks fame, came to Cleveland in 2017 after a CFL stint. Known obviously for his special teams brilliance in Cleveland, Cribbs broke into coaching this season.

Also let go: assistant DBs coach Jerod Kruse, offensive assistant Bob Saunders, assistant offensive line coach Mark Hutson and quality control coaches Brian Braswell and Eric Sanders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Bell, Ravens

Browns coaches represent one of the two staffs summoned to instruct sides at the Senior Bowl, and the team made a specific request. The Browns asked Deshaun Watson to play in the Senior Bowl only to see the Clemson quarterback pass on the opportunity, Peter King of TheMMQB.com reports.

Despite being a junior, Watson was eligible for the game due to having graduated early. Neither of his potential first-round peers, Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer, are eligible to compete in the top college all-star game. Watson would have played for the South team, which the Browns’ staff is instructing. Bears coaches are leading the North squad. The Browns have been linked to both Watson and Trubisky recently, but the latest report coming out of Cleveland pointed to the Browns eyeing Watson with their No. 12 overall pick. The direct communication with the dual-threat passer certainly points to this interest.

There are going to be other guys that are not participating either, so I won’t hold it against him,” Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “I don’t think that’s the right thing to do. He’s still a draftable player. … Obviously, we wish he were here. It would’ve been a great chance to have an opportunity to evaluate him doing the things we do in meetings and on the practice field.”

Here’s more from Cleveland and other AFC North cities.

  • Multiple key Browns assistants are no longer in the picture, with the team firing Ray Horton and watching Pep Hamilton follow former boss Jim Harbaugh to Michigan. The team went with a big name in filling its DC vacancy with Gregg Williams but did not take the same route to fill Hamilton’s role, promoting tight ends coach Greg Seamon to quarterbacks coach, Cabot reports. Seamon followed Hue Jackson from Cincinnati to Cleveland in 2016 after spending 12 years with the Bengals but has a longer history with the coach. Seamon coached Jackson while serving as offensive coordinator at the University of Pacific in the mid-1980s.
  • The Browns are also shifting Mark Hutson from assistant offensive line coach to tight ends coach, Cabot reports. Prior to arriving in Cleveland last year, Hutson’s only previous NFL coaching job came in overseeing the Raiders’ tight ends from 2012-14.
  • Le’Veon Bell said he injured his groin prior to the AFC championship game, Barry Wilner of the Associated Press notes. The franchise tag candidate played just 11 snaps against the Patriots in the Steelers‘ 36-17 loss. He declined to say when exactly he injured his groin this season but acknowledged he didn’t feel right during warm-ups.
  • The Ravens won’t be able to afford Ricky Wagner if the hype surrounding the UFA right tackle continues to build, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun writes. Pro Football Focus’ Cris Collinsworth listed Wagner as his No. 1 under-the-radar free agent, and NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal recently said he could fetch as much as $10MM per year. That would be quite the raise considering only one tackle, Lane Johnson, averages more than $7MM AAV. But Zreibec sees too many needs for the Ravens to go that high to retain Wagner.
  • Zreibec identifies Mike Wallace, Elvis Dumervil, Lardarius Webb and Jeremy Zuttah as potential Ravens cap cuts. Having missed the playoffs three times in a four-year span for the first time since the 2004-07 stretch, Baltimore is projected to have barely $15MM in cap room before any cuts occur. Zreibec expects several veterans to be released. The Ravens can save more than $11MM by cutting both Dumervil and Webb.