Hue Jackson seems to have found the man that he will be handing the play-calling duties to. The Browns and Todd Haley are close to a deal, according to multiple reports. Haley will become the team’s offensive coordinator and take over play-calling duties from head coach Hue Jackson.
Haley has been an offensive coordinator for eight seasons, with stints in Arizona (2007-2008) and Pittsburgh (2012-2017). He became available a week ago after the Steelers did not renew his contract.
Haley ran one of the most explosive offenses in the league with the Steelers. But after conflicting with the Steelers’ star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers determined to move on from Haley.
Under Haley’s watch, the Steelers have posted a top ten scoring offense the past four seasons. In 2017, the Steelers ranked in the top ten in total yards (third), yards per play (seventh), third down efficiency (second), and points per game (eighth).
In 2007, Haley took over play-calling duties late in the season. The Arizona offense finished in the top half of the league, including scoring offense (seventh).
In 2008, Haley created another explosive offense in Arizona. The team finished fourth in the league in total offense with an average of 365.8 yards per game. The Cardinals lost in the Super Bowl 27-23 to the Steelers that season.
The quarterback that played under Haley, Kurt Warner, recently gave Haley a ringing endorsement.
“I know if I had anything left in this old body, I would sign up tomorrow to work and play for Todd again,” Warner said.
Haley is willing to challenge his players to get the best out of them. He is not afraid to speak his mind to push a player to be better. His hard-nosed nature can rub players the wrong way, as it did in Pittsburgh with Roethlisberger.
Haley’s experience as an offensive coordinator made him the top target for Jackson. Jackson was looking for an offensive coordinator with plenty of experience for him to be comfortable to hand the play-calling duties to. Haley’s track record made him the obvious choice for the job.
Haley will be put in charge of the youngest offense in the NFL in Cleveland. But he will have one of the most explosive wide receivers in the league in Josh Gordon on his offense. After not playing for two and a half seasons, Gordon returned in 2017, catching 18 passes for 335 yards and a touchdown. For a coach known to stretch the field vertically, Gordon will be heavily featured in Haley’s offense.
Cleveland finished with the worst scoring offense in the league, averaging only 14.6 points per game. They were among the worst in the league in every offensive category. Haley will have his hands full in turning the offense around, but the Browns are likely to improve the group this offseason.
The Browns are expected to take a quarterback first overall in the 2018 draft, and Haley will be responsible for putting him in the best opportunities.
With the addition of a rookie quarterback, Haley could be in command of an offense that could have one of the biggest turnarounds in 2018. With Gordon, Duke Johnson, Corey Coleman, and David Njoku, Haley has the pieces to create another great offense.
He will be inheriting two new offensive assistants on the staff. The Browns added Ken Zampese as the quarterback’s coach, and Anthony Henry as the wide receiver’s coach this offseason.