Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR.
Takeaways from introduction of new Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley …
1. It’s Haley’s offense now: New coordinator Todd Haley’s basic offensive philosophy is compatible with Hue Jackson’s – stretch the field vertically with the pass – and although the final product may blend a few of their differences, there’s no doubt the offense will be Haley’s. Returning players will need to learn a completely different language and terminology specific to Haley’s playbook. Jackson wanted to change the playbook so that returning players are invigorated by learning something new and don’t fall into the bad habits that developed during the 1-31 offense of the past two seasons. Haley said he’s not a “system guy” and there is no unique Haley offensive system. “What I believe in is playing to every player’s strength that you have as best you can,” he said. “Putting players into position to succeed, playing to their skillset. Wherever I have been, that is what I have really tried to do. Whether I was a position coach, coordinator, head coach, [I’ve tried] to put guys in position to succeed.”
2. The Dorsey impact: Although Haley cited GM John Dorsey as someone he’s known “a long time," he disputed the impression that Dorsey forced or suggested Jackson to hire him as coordinator. “My interaction was solely with Hue until I came to visit, but I believe that is a big part of having a chance to be successful in the NFL – that side of the building,” Haley said. “I have known John for a long time, and that obviously, as I said, was one of the reasons that this job really appealed to me. Hue, (Dorsey) and after getting to spend some time with the Haslams, those are three big areas for me.”
3. Will be part of QB search: Dorsey has cited Haley as a good evaluator of talent; his father, Dick, was a long-time personnel executive with the Steelers and Haley first cut his teeth in the NFL as a scout. So it stands to reason that Haley will be an integral part of the scouting process for the next Browns QB in the draft. He deferred a direct answer to whether he expects to play a big role in that, saying his time right now is in “coaching coaches … We will get to that and probably time is moving faster than you want it to.”
4. On traits he looks for in quarterbacks: The quarterbacks Haley is most associated with are Tony Romo (Dallas), Kurt Warner (Arizona), Matt Cassel (Kansas City) and Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh). “You are looking for highly-competitive guys with ability to weather the storms that are going to come up as a young quarterback in the league,” he said. “You are looking for physical and mental toughness. Obviously, you have to have an NFL-type arm. You have to have great feel and awareness and great leadership. It is a tough position to evaluate. It always has been, and there’s evidence of that year in and year out throughout the league. Like I said, that is one of the great challenges, and I’m excited about that process.”
5. The obligatory Baker Mayfield question: Everybody has pretty much the same response in regards to whether Mayfield’s height (barely over 6-0) disqualifies him from consideration for one of the Browns’ top two draft picks. “There are always going to be guys that break the rules,” he said. “Kurt in Arizona was barely 6-2. Don’t tell him I said that. There are always going to be guys that break those standards or prototypes, so to speak. I think you have to go into all of these, whether it is evaluating your own players or other, with an open mind. Really, you are looking for really good football players, and if they are really good football players, they usually find a way to succeed.”